World, Writing, Wealth discussion

10 views
Announcements & Book Promotions > Invite your mates

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Don't want to boast, but I hope we do have a vibrant community, where maybe even pro- and anti-Trump, Putin, Maduro, etc. individuals feel they have an outlet to express their opinions -:)
Anyhow, wouldn't it be even more interesting if your mates could join too?
Goodreads provides this wonderful opportunity and a dedicated link an each group for members to invite friends. So, feel free -:)


message 2: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5776 comments My mates in real life are even worse Luddites than I, very paranoid about an online presence. One of my friends still has a flip phone :-)


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments E-mates are also good. Besides, paranoid ourselves, we accept other paranoids and make them relax -:) (Disclaimer: participation in the group is not a substitute for a proper medical treatment, where required)


message 4: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5776 comments Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me :-)


message 5: by Matthew (last edited Aug 15, 2018 10:59PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) I certainly admire the commitment to openness, but there comes a point when tolerance is just another word for hypocrisy or cowardice. White supremacist have openly endorsed Trump and he's defended them, even when they've committed violence and murder. As for Putin, he's a man who's murdered his political opponents, invaded neighboring countries to ensure they remain Russian satellites, and sentenced anyone who dares criticize him to jail.

Social media can offer people chances to connect, but it also provides a forum for the spread of misinformation and the normalization of hate. I would hope this group would not be party to that.


message 6: by Scout (last edited Aug 15, 2018 11:48PM) (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5776 comments Wow. That seems an extreme response to Nik's invitation to open discussion. There's no tolerance here for hate speech. You seem to be categorizing those who disagree with you as haters. I don't think this group encourages that attitude.


message 7: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Matthew wrote: "I certainly admire the commitment to openness, but there comes a point when tolerance is just another word for hypocrisy or cowardice. White supremacist have openly endorsed Trump and he's defended..."

If Trump or Putin decide to join the group and post a comment I'm sure that one of the eagle-eyed Mods will address the comment appropriately.


message 8: by Matthew (last edited Aug 17, 2018 12:29AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Scout wrote: "Wow. That seems an extreme response to Nik's invitation to open discussion. There's no tolerance here for hate speech. You seem to be categorizing those who disagree with you as haters. I don't thi..."

I do not, I categorize people who endorse hatred as haters. Whether or not they think of themselves as hateful people, they need to recognize that if they are defending or endorsing people who are, they are just as guilty and I refuse to pretend otherwise. And Trump is nothing if not a man who has empowered hatred in the US, as evidenced by his acceptance and defense of white supremacists, even as they commit murder in his name.

Putin, meanwhile, is a man who has committed crimes of war and crimes against humanity, both against his own people and neighboring states. And the collusion between him and Trump is hardly in dispute, its so obvious it's painful. I also refuse to pretend that normalizing such things or embracing lies and deflections in the name of false neutrality is tolerance. It is to condone such things.


message 9: by Matthew (last edited Aug 17, 2018 12:24AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Graeme wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I certainly admire the commitment to openness, but there comes a point when tolerance is just another word for hypocrisy or cowardice. White supremacist have openly endorsed Trump a..."

Cute, but I am talking about the apologists and people who attempt to normalize the actions of these two polarizing (and yes) criminal individuals. I would think that the moderators would be interesting in addressing that too, rather than pretending that their own pro-Trump or pro-Putin positions are somehow a commitment to neutrality.


message 10: by Nik (last edited Aug 17, 2018 01:37AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Matthew wrote: "...I categorize people who endorse hatred as haters...if they are defending or endorsing people who are, they are just as guilty and I refuse to pretend otherwise..Trump is nothing if not a man who has empowered hatred in the US... "

Matthew, according to what you write you consider dozens of millions of Americans and Russians, who voted Trump and Putin respectively as 'haters'. I don't think you really mean it, but this tagging is definitely divisive and malevolent. In my opinion, you achieve nothing in humiliating those who think differently.
There is a reason why sanctions are not imposed on elected heads of state, be they Putin or Erdogan and are targeting lower officials. It's because of the respect for the nations, country, people they represent. You think people are wrong, stupid, whatever? Convince them, educate, win them over. You can't write them off. I hope that at least the idea of exterminating others won't ever resurrect.


message 11: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments Scout wrote: "Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me :-)"

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

“They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.
No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried.
Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked.
They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone."
And what difference does that make?”
― Joseph Heller, Catch 22


“The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on.”
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22


message 12: by Matthew (last edited Aug 17, 2018 09:36AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Matthew wrote: "...I categorize people who endorse hatred as haters...if they are defending or endorsing people who are, they are just as guilty and I refuse to pretend otherwise..Trump is nothing ..."

As I said, whether or not people are openly racist, sexist, xenophobic or bigoted, they chose to support a man who is. Does that make them a hater? Not necessarily, but it does make them culpable, whether they want to admit it or not. And last I checked, it was Trump and Putin who condemned people (sometimes to death) for not agreeing with them and were the divisive and malevolent ones because of the actions they take against other people and nations.

People like myself are appalled by the rise of petty nationalism, bigotry and hatred that has empowered these individuals, and the way they have empowered it in turn. I'm also appalled at the way some people seem to find this acceptable or even justifiable, and I will certainly challenge it wherever I see it. As for your recommendation, I've spent months trying to convince people of the evils of these individuals, only to have it dismissed, spat back in my face and told that I'm somehow the prejudiced one.

//There is a reason why sanctions are not imposed on elected heads of state, be they Putin or Erdogan and are targeting lower officials. It's because of the respect for the nations, country, people they represent.//

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything, but I imagine its a condemnation of the Magnitsky Act? What are we to do then when these people show no respect for the nations they choose to invade, or murder their own people for the sake of protecting their own self-interests and cronies? Sanctions that target a regime and its enablers are an entirely sensible and justified response to these regimes committing criminal acts.


message 13: by Matthew (last edited Aug 17, 2018 09:32AM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) That being said, this group still allows me a forum to talk here, so I do want to walk back my comments a little and say that the commitment to openness is a good one. I don't condemn anyone for thinking differently than me, I support tolerance and human rights and condemn those who either don't or actively promote an opposite agenda.


message 14: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Matthew wrote: "...they chose to support a man who is. Does that make them a hater? Not necessarily..."

Yes, you can't demonize half of America, when they needed to choose (or stay home for that matter) between Donald & Hillary. Unfortunately, xenophobic or whatever can be among supporters of either and excellent (why to presume otherwise?) people made their choice because of a whole bunch of reasons, some maybe even voting against Clinton more than for Trump.
I'm not sure we have that many fervent supporters of Trump here. If you ask me I'd rather see myself friending with Bill or Barack than with Donald, but I'm not sure being a nice person is a must for the president. As for his performance as a president, I guess he still has some grace. He addresses real problems, however I'm not sure he deals with them in the best way, but time will tell and it's a bit early to judge in my opinion. At some point - the time to evaluate his performance will come, especially for Americans, who'd need to either extend his term or send him packing. Or maybe Mueller will surprise with an impeachment.

Matthew wrote: "...I imagine its a condemnation of the Magnitsky Act?"

I don't really care about Magnitsky Act and I don't like Putin's regime. On the other hand, I do see more logic in Brunson Act against Erdogan (after all the pastor is an American citizen) than in a random instance of picking Russian accountant dying in Russian prison. Call it a Bill Browder Act - this would be a more candid approach -:) Unfortunately, excessive cruelty of penitentiary and law enforcement authorities in Russia (and probably in many other countries too) are notorious and people die much more frequently than they should.. Hope it'll change one day


message 15: by Matthew (last edited Aug 17, 2018 06:06PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Nik wrote: "Matthew wrote: "...they chose to support a man who is. Does that make them a hater? Not necessarily..."

Yes, you can't demonize half of America, when they needed to choose (or stay home for that m..."


They had choices other than Hillary and Trump, Nik. If Hillary was really so unpalatable, they could have voted independent or not voted. And like I said, people who supported Trump, whether or not they are racist, etc, have chosen to support a man who is. Who's demonizing? I want to educate and raise awareness, not to mention raise the issue of taking responsibility. And personally, I'd say we've already seen how Trump addresses problems, through negligence and incompetence and cronyism. However, that's just my opinion and we can agree to disagree.

Incidentally, there was nothing random about Magnitsky's death. He was an informant on Putin's regime who was murdered, like many of Putin's political opponents. He was the catalyst that began the process of placing sanctions that would hit Putin and his power base where they lived - i.e. their wallets.

I too hope Russia will change someday, because I know there's tremendous potential there and it would be wonderful if the US and Russia could engage in meaningful trade and diplomacy without all the recrimination and "whataboutism". I also hope Trump is indicted and the evidence many people claim is missing is presented clearly and concretely soon.

Let me just reiterate that I like and respect everyone here, and I trust the moderators. The fact that we're having a civilized discussion about this is certainly awesome. Perhaps I was too vigilant in stating my opinions, and lost sight of the fact that this is what we are here for.


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments All I know about Magnitsky comes from Bill Browder's book, and he is hardly an independent observer. Magnitsky's death was obviously a consequence of a murderous prison system, but I am not convinced that Putin had ordered it because Magnitsky had apparently uncovered serious corruption elsewhere, plus theft and numerous other crimes, and those criminals had a definite interest in silencing Magnitsky. Putin has certainly imprisoned opponents, and apparently has murdered some, but was what Magnitsky was doing warrant Putin's personal attention? I am less convinced on that, but maybe that is because I don't entirely trust Browder's account because there is too much self-interest there. Putin is definitely responsible for not taking action subsequently, though. And I disagree with Nik that it was the prison system that did it - as far as I am concerned it was murder, but I am less sure who ordered it.

Again, while Americans could decide not to vote in the recent election, and a little under half did, it would have made no difference - they were still going to get one or the other. To make a real difference, more action was needed in the candidate selection process if you did not want one of those two.


message 17: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Matthew wrote: "Let me just reiterate that I like and respect everyone here, and I trust the moderators. The fact that we're having a civilized discussion about this is certainly awesome...."

Well said, Matthew.


message 18: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Matthew wrote: "I would think that the moderators would be interesting in addressing that too, rather than pretending that their own pro-Trump or pro-Putin positions are somehow a commitment to neutrality..."

While I can't speak for the other moderators, let's use this thread to put something on the record.

[1] I am not pro-Trump, or pro-Putin, my basic position can be characterized as anti-plutocrat. Make of that what you will.

[2] I have precisely zero commitment to either the Republican, or Democrat party platforms. I'm an Australian, I have no right to vote in US elections.

[3] Our primary point of disagreement is with regard to the Trump-Russia Collusion narrative. The primary reason I disagree with you on this topic is driven by variance in our methodologies for assessing information.

[4] The fact that I or anyone else disagrees with you on the Trump-Russia Collusion narrative does not make them pro-Trump, and/or pro-Putin.

[5] Point 4 above is a classic error of logic as follows.

Trump/Putin supporters deny the Trump-Russia Collusion narrative, Graeme denies the Trump-Russia Collusion narrative, therefore Graeme is a Trump/Putin supporter.

Which has the same architecture as

Dogs eat meat, cats eat meat, therefore cats are dogs.

If you ascribe to me or anyone the characteristic of being pro-Trump or pro-Putin based on rejection of the Trump-Russia Collusion narrative you are falling into a category error.


message 19: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Ian wrote: "All I know about Magnitsky comes from Bill Browder's book, and he is hardly an independent observer. Magnitsky's death was obviously a consequence of a murderous prison system, but I am not convinc..."

Well, you're in luck Ian, because what I know about Magnitsky doesn't come from Bill Browder. It comes from multiple sources that confirm that shortly before his arrest, Magnitsky was part of an investigation into widescale embezzlement of money by corrupt Russian state officials. Like many lawyers and accountants who had come forward to reveal the extent of this crime, he was arrested, rather than the parties who were named. Magnitsky then died in prison and the Russian government refused to allow for an autopsy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/n...

So you admit that Putin has had his opponents killed, and the Russian prison system is murderous, but don't seem to see the connection between Magnitsky being an outspoken critic of Putin's government and his death? Whether or not Putin took a "personal interest" is irrelevant. The point is that this is what happens in Putin's Russia. The government turns a blind eye on rampant corruption by its own officials and those who have the courage to speak out or oppose Putin wind up dead, in jail, or both.

As for claiming Browder is hardly independent, no shit. He was the one investigating the embezzlement case before he was kicked out of Russia. To act like he's unreliable, but to give Putin the benefit of the doubt, seems mighty onerous to me.


message 20: by Matthew (last edited Aug 18, 2018 06:29PM) (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Graeme wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I would think that the moderators would be interesting in addressing that too, rather than pretending that their own pro-Trump or pro-Putin positions are somehow a commitment to neu..."

Well argued, Graeme, but entirely wrong. I make no automatic assumptions about people who disagree with me. I also don't lump everyone who has disagreed with me into that same category. I base my assessment on an individuals continued dismissal of proof that I am constantly asked for and offered. I base it on the fact that they respond to offered evidence (when they claim none exists) with dismissals and well-worn deflections - "what about Hillary's emails?", "what about Bill giving Yeltsin money?", "what about the US invading its neighbors"? And we both know there are plenty of people saying these very things in our threads and they seem to be the ones who comment the most regularly.

What your political loyalties or ideological leanings are, I could honestly care less. But if anyone employs the same tactics of dismissal, deflection and denial that has made the Trump administration famous (and is repeated ad nauseum by their supporters), then I will rightly question their bias. I will also question their sincerity when they claim they are not pro-Trump or pro-Putin.


message 21: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Graeme wrote: "Matthew wrote: "I would think that the moderators would be interesting in addressing that too, rather than pretending that their own pro-Trump or pro-Putin positions are somehow a commitment to neu..."

What's more, if you really think this is about methodologies, then let's compare them. Because to simply dismiss a narrative based on its source and claiming that it has no evidence is not an objective assessment. Neither is embracing it, but that's beside the point. I would like to know what arguments you have that the current narrative is not believable. Perhaps via PM?


message 22: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I'm up for that.

An excellent suggestion. I'll create a thread under the lounge, and discuss some ground rules to keep it on track.


message 23: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Graeme wrote: "I'm up for that.

An excellent suggestion. I'll create a thread under the lounge, and discuss some ground rules to keep it on track."


Good, and let me just reiterate that I make no assumptions about you or others (only specific people I was thinking about when I wrote that!) However, given the tone, I can certainly see why some people thought they were being painted with the same brush. And, I admit, it's too easy to get passionate and backed up into a corner on issues these days.

Take me for example, I'm not exactly pro-Hillary, but when in a debate about her vs. Trump or Putin, I do take that position! :)


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments Matthew, thanks to your links, I can recall more. First, information that came from Hermitage was probably from Browder, directly or indirectly, but that is beside the point. The reason Magnitsky was in trouble was not that he was criticising Putin, but rather he threatened to expose the $230 M tax fraud, one of the perps of which was a very senior Russian police officer. I still think the people most likely to want Magnitsky dead before he was released were the tax fraudsters, but I guess I don't know.

As I said, Putin is in a sense responsible for not sorting out the system, and definitely for not having something done about it ever since, but I did not think Magnitsky did anything directly about Putin to give Vlad a desire to kill him. I still think the corrupt officials had better reason, and through the senior policeman, adequate opportunity.

As for Browder's independence, the fact he lost billions of dollars does give him a reason to be anti-Putin. I guess the prison system in the old USSR was hardly non-corrupt, but the evidence is that under Yeltsin law and order became something of a joke, and something to be ignored. There are stories (I don't know how true) that you had ex-Spetznaz soldiers killing anyone the guy paying them ordered. Billions of rubles got siphoned off here and there. It is hard to fix that, although Putin had been on power for most of his first two terms, so we would have expected something to be done. I agree that Putin's biggest failing is his inability to deal with corruption. Some, of course, say that is because he is as corrupt as any of them, but again I don't know. The problem again is evidence, because Putin has the state behind him and technically does not need private money, so whatever he seems to spend might be the state spending it.

The real question is what happens in Russia when Putin goes. I don't think anyone has any idea that is sure to benefit Russia.


message 25: by Graeme (last edited Aug 18, 2018 07:21PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Matthew wrote: "..."

Threads up here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I've got more to write on this topic - and I'll try and put it in today, but this is cutting into 'writing time...'


message 26: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5776 comments Nik said, "Yes, you can't demonize half of America, when they needed to choose (or stay home for that matter) between Donald & Hillary. Unfortunately, xenophobic or whatever can be among supporters of either and excellent (why to presume otherwise?) people made their choice because of a whole bunch of reasons, some maybe even voting against Clinton more than for Trump."

Thanks for that, Nik. This group is so cool because we don't demonize anyone for their beliefs. State your opinions; defend them; that's how we roll.


message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments To give some additional points to argue about (in a positive way), would Russia sanctioning the US for police shooting an innocent African-American be similar to Magnitsky case to you?


message 28: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments Definitely different. Russia does not have the economic power to sanction the US in any effective way :-)

(Yes, I know that is avoiding the question but . . .)


message 29: by Graeme (last edited Aug 19, 2018 01:57PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Actually, China who produces something like 95% of the rare earths could sanction the US by withholding supply.

But such approaches only force your opponent to develop an independent capability - hence counter productive.

There is always the possibility that US sanctions simply force Russia to develop alternatives, hence will make them stronger over time.


message 30: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments Graeme, your last sentence shows why I have suggested from time to time that sanctions should be good for Russia in the long term.

As for rare earths, China need not worry about the US developing an independent capacity. It would take quite some time and raise the price considerably. Besides sanctions, they could apply an export levy (the complement of a tariff).


back to top