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RSS Marcusmoon

Reward Points:471
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10 most recent arguments.
marcusmoon(471) Clarified
1 point

The strategy you are articulating is not the reason for the tariffs according to Trump who provided domestic rational.

He is playing to voters.

The advantage does not go away, just because it was not cited as a useful aspect of the policy.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, the EU,Mexico and Canada are all exempted from the tariff. Which makes this look pretty targeted at China, for the benefit of a narrow domestic industry, and the detriment of general domestic consumers.

Clearly. That supports what I am saying, though.

I have not argued that there are not domestic down sides, nor that there are other reasons people do this. I am only pointing out that there are foreign policy advantages to not UNILATERALLY adopting unrestricted trade. The main point I am making is that the UNILATERAL dropping of all restrictions is diplomatically disadvantageous.

The NAFTA countries, Australia (who supports the US in almost everything), South Korea, EU were obvious candidates for exemptions.

China and South Korea, like the NAFTA countries and The EU already reopened negotiations. South Korea is already supporting the US with the DPRK.

But look at some of the steel & Aluminum exporters left off of your list: (Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan, India, Japan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and a host of other countries.)

Turkey, Russia, and the Middle Eastern Nations are particularly difficult to get to support some of our foreign policies, particularly with respect to Israel, terrorism, and some Kurd-related issues. The potential of these tariffs to be bargaining chips is significant.

Regarding China, the US needs all the levers possible when negotiating with the Chinese. One more lever, especially one that can be used as a de facto bribe, is sure to come in handy.

1 point


You seem to be conflating the benefit of narrowly imposed trade sanctions with general tariffs, causing the muddied view of the detriment of general import tariffs.

Then maybe I did not make myself clear. Sorry about that.

I was pointing out how the general tariffs relate to (and contrast with) narrowly imposed trade sanctions in terms of foreign policy leverage, particularly in the case of unilaterally unrestricted trade.

Regarding Unilateral Free Trade Policies

My main point was that in a situation wherein a nation UNILATERALLY dispenses with ALL general tariffs, the only ways trade policies can be used to support foreign policy goals is by imposing or lifting the narrowly imposed trade sanctions.

This means that the nation that unilaterally adopts a free trade policy (in terms of general tariffs only) cannot reward a particularly cooperative/supportive nation with a better deal than less supportive nations.

For example, the most favored nation status (both in general historical sense and in the modern sense outlined and formalized by the WTO) is only a useful designation in supporting the foreign policies of a nation that imposes general tariffs. Without the general tariffs, all nations get the same benefit except those targeted by narrowly imposed trade sanctions. This puts close allies on the same trade footing as unsupportive nations. Given that lack of distinction between allies and (unsanctioned) adversaries, trade agreements cease to be a factor in whether a unilaterally free trading nation can encourage diplomatic policy support from other(unsanctioned) nations.

This disadvantage is particularly impactful to unilateral lifting of trade restrictions because it puts the unrestrictive nation at a diplomatic disadvantage by removing trade agreements as a tool for that nation to develop or cement alliances and cooperation, but leaves that tool in the toolbox of all other nations.

Trump's Metals Tariffs

Consider Trump's metals tariff in light of this. Because there are so many nations that export steel and aluminum to the US, the initial imposition of the tariff on all nations does not really single out any particular nation. This creates two main opportunities for the US in terms of international politics:

- 1 - Initiates/Encourages renegotiation of trade agreements in light of the new development.

- 2 - Introduces a fresh opportunity to encourage various nations to support various US policies and objectives that are completely unrelated to trade. If a country is supportive, they can be "rewarded" by a reduction/lifting of the metals tariff. The universality of the tariff means that cooperators can be singled out in a positive way (carrot) without having to say non-cooperators are being punished for their lack of support.

This is how moving to impose a universal tariff on aluminum and steel is about more than steel and aluminum trade. It is a way for Trump to get a supply of carrots ready to go for use in unrelated situations.

Did I explain it better this time?

marcusmoon(471) Clarified
1 point

Actually, the concave brass mirrors were used to focus the sun onto Roman ships during the Siege of Syracuse in 212 BC.

Archimedes (who also applied mathematics to the explanation of the lever and other simple machines) acted as an engineer for defensive devices to protect Syracuse when Rome attacked it during the Second Punic War.

When Syracuse was finally overrun, the Roman soldiers were ordered not to kill Archimedes, but to capture him and take him to the General Marcellus. A Roman soldier ended up killing him anyway because he Archimedes would not go with him.

marcusmoon(471) Clarified
1 point


How is drowning somebody repeatedly (i.e. waterboarding) not a form of torture you dumb fuck?

Your statement indicates that you did not bother to actually read what I wrote.

I assume by the insult that you think I weighed in on whether or not waterboarding qualifies as torture.

Try reading my posts before you comment.

Psychological abuse has always played a big role in torture.

Clearly, that is true. However, the torturer uses physical pain, or the threat of physical pain, as the lever to move the subject's psychological set in order to get the information, etc..

Sleep deprivation and bright lighting are not acknowledged by most agencies as torture, but some organizations do consider them torture.

The solitary purpose of the things you describe is to make somebody extremely uncomfortable in order to extract information from them.

Your use of the term extremely uncomfortable precisely illustrates what causes the definitional problem. Negative physical experiences range from uncomfortable to severe pain, with extremely uncomfortable at an indeterminate point in between. At what point on that continuum torture begins has not been particularly well defined.

The legal parameters of what activities qualify as torture have moved. For example, waterboarding did not qualify under US law until 2006.

The definition of torture in Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is "severe pain or suffering." This is unfortunately vague. Pain and discomfort are relative to the individual's previous experience and individual tolerance.

Regarding legal definitions, severe pain is a far cry from extremely uncomfortable. It is also distinct from ordinary pain.

The definition of torture in common parlance has also changed. It is only recently that anybody has accepted the proposition that saying mean things is damaging. I have actually talked with people who insist that insulting or embarrassing people is torture. This was unheard of 30 years ago, and many people still disagree with that proposition.

Hold up you idiot.

What you mean is "Hold up, you idiot."

If you want to call somebody else an idiot, it behooves you to use correct punctuation. Without the comma, it looks like you are in no position to judge someone else's intelligence.

marcusmoon(471) Clarified
1 point

Look it up before you answer, and everyone knows what torture is. It cruel and unusual punishment.

Everyone? Really?

THINK a moment.

Your definition, "cruel and unusual punishment" is extremely vague and mutable.


What counts as cruel is relative, at least on the edge of the bell curve.

Obviously having one's arm hacked off is cruel, but what about being left out in the sun for a couple of hours to get a sunburn the equivalent of what tourists get in an afternoon on a Florida beach?

I have been sunburned before. I definitely would not call two-hours worth of sunburn cruelty, but there are people out there who would.


Unusual is a sliding scale, based on NOTHING more than how common it is. All that is required to disqualify something from your definition is to do it more often, thereby making it usual.


So, we can see that your definition of torture is useless because it is exactly that sort of sloppy vagary that causes changes in what is considered torture.

Legal Definitions

For years waterboarding was excluded from the US government definition of torture. In fact, when Gina Haspel was in Thailand, waterboarding was NOT defined as torture under US law or International law.

That has changed.

It changed in international law in 2008, and in US law in 2006.

Consider also:

Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is the internationally agreed legal definition of torture:

"Torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."

Here also we are met with a changing interpretation.

The problems are the terms severe pain or suffering and lawful sanctions.

Lawful Sanctions

We already know that the law has changed regarding waterboarding.


What counts as severe changes depending on the basis of comparison.

I have seen medieval torture devices, and read about how they were used. That basis of comparison disqualifies from the definition of torture things like sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and dangling someone over a cliff threatening to drop them. Compared to drawing and quartering, they are not severe. They are not even close.

However, if your basis of comparison is being publicly shamed at school for wetting the bed at 15 years old, or being grounded from your video games and smartphone, then sure, sleep deprivations, etc. is torture.


No, not everyone knows what torture is because not everyone agrees on the definitions and practical markers for cruel or severe, and what counts as unusual or lawful changes.

1 point

I am not even sure what people mean by the term torture anymore. The definition used to include only what physically damaged people.

Now however, people use it to include withholding opportunity to sleep, waterboarding, scaring with dogs, humiliating, etc., which, however unpleasant, are not physically damaging.

People have even insisted that putting a Quran in the toilet (which happened in Guantanamo).


If we are using the old definition, the answer is an unmitigated yes, abolish torture.

Physically Damaging Torture

There are some obvious reasons to abolish it.

- It encourages the enemy to torture your own people.

- It is unreliable in producing reliable intelligence. People will say ANYTHING they think you want to hear just to get it to stop.

- It brings out the worst traits in the torturers on your own side. You cannot afford to let these folks loose in society again, so what do you do with them?


By the same token, if we are using the new definition, the answer is a qualified no.

Sleep Deprivation

About 99% of people will break down and tell whatever you want to know after a few days of no sleep.

This is because lack of sleep breaks down emotional and psychological defenses, making people vulnerable to things like minor kindnesses, or even simple, direct questions.

It even makes it harder to lie.

As soon as they sleep they are as good as new. No harm, no foul.

Fear Responses

These are not a good idea for some obvious reasons.

- It is unreliable in producing reliable intelligence. People will say ANYTHING they think you want to hear just to keep from suffering the reality implied by the fear stimulus. At least in this case there is the opportunity to recheck with the subject.

- Methods based on fear response (heights, dogs, etc.) depend on the belief that real damage will occur if they do not comply. This increases the danger of having to do real damage to assure the subject that the danger is real, which gets us to the original definition of torture, and all its problems. Not good.


Waterboarding is a hybrid. The whole method is based on artificially stimulating a fear response deep in the reptilian brain that triggers the "drowning panic". It causes no physical damage, but is risky. It is insanely unpleasant, but physically harmless unless done wrongly.

My biggest problem with waterboarding is that it has the intelligence limitations that physical torture has: people will say ANYTHING they think you want to hear in order to get it to stop. That means the likelihood of getting reliable intelligence is functionally nil, so there is no point.

Ethical Issues

Most of these issues are null in the case of war and trying to avoid war. The question inevitably devolves to What are we willing to sacrifice in order to ensure our own survival? Even when people introduce the question *Do we want to be the kind of people who torture? is subject to the need to survive.

What is right when there is no direct cost to us is obvious.

What is right is less obvious when something wrong WILL happen to somebody, and the question is only about who it will happen to.

2 points

All types of physcial abuse are violation to the right of being treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity

Dignity, respect and sensitivity are NOT rights.

Within particular legal parameters (e.g., you are not violating the following rights of others) You have two real rights.

- Being physically safe in your person is a right.

- Being safe from your property being taken, stolen, or damaged is a right.

Because these rights are universal, how people treat you (provided

they do not interfere with your physical person or property) is up to them. In order to force them to treat you with dignity, respect, or sensitivity, you have to interfere with their person by controlling what they say, for example.

For a similar reason, this also means that you do not have the right to force others to support you, pay for your food, medical care, etc. because that is a violation of their right to property.

marcusmoon(471) Clarified
1 point


penniless parents worked in the family business or on the family farm!!!

Yep. I think you are mistakenly applying a modern concept of "family business".

Being an employee of some company or other is an outgrowth of industrialism. (The exception are the seagoing trades, the military, and academia.) Before that, and well into the nineteenth century, unless somebody was apprenticed to someone else, the Smith family worked at their own forge, the Mullers/Millers ground wheat in their own mill, the Hoopers/Coopers made barrels, etc.. They and their families were their own businesses, with no guaranteed paychecks, just a set of skills and a need to hustle if they wanted their kids to eat.

Having a business was not a sign of prosperity, but rather was economically precarious in perpetually uncertain times. Often these folks were in rural areas, and were supplementing farming activities with whatever skills they had.

Those who lived in urban centers did not have the advantage of any independent food production, so their situations were even more economically precarious. These people had to rely only on selling their skills, or the products of those skills. Those whose skills were less developed, more common, or in lesser demand were very likely to be poor and perpetually trying to stave off starvation BECAUSE they were business owners, and the entirety of the business risk fell on them and their families.

The rise of industrialism changed this model some as the Mr. & Mrs Weaver (and their kids) were put out of work by steam run textile mills, etc.. But industrialization did make it possible for people to transfer the short term risks of business ownership to the company, and have a better chance at regular pay, however inadequate.

Obviously, this trend increased over time, until now, when the vast majority of people are employed by some established company.

Even so, well into the twentieth century the majority of people did not work at companies. Again, in the US, it is only in the twentieth century that farmer stopped being the most common thing people did for a living, even if they were also doctors or tinkers or carpenters.

Even in the 1950s, most tradesmen were independent contractors, without the good pay and security of working for large companies that provided paychecks based on hours worked. Mechanization and unionization impacted this, and reduced the rate of entrepreneurism.

Literally millions of children who were reared before the 1960s had common enemies, hunger and poverty.

Yep. In most of the world, this only stopped being the majority of children in the late twentieth or early twenty-first century. Welcome the world of the risks of small business ownership combined with a shortage of corporate jobs.

marcusmoon(471) Clarified
2 points

Hi, Excon.

Nahhh.... It's violent video games and gay marriage... Plus the Clinton Foundation and Bengazi too.

I think it started earlier than that. The video games and gay marriage just threw it in our faces that we are doomed but don't care.

The blatant immorality of the TV shows Three's Company and The Love Boat are really to blame. Cancelling Little House on the Prairie was the beginning of American Cultural Armageddon!


marcusmoon(471) Clarified
2 points


I would attest that the mass slaughter has grown to be a cult among the spoiled and psychology disturbed youths of today.

This definitely seems to be the case.

I think much of the problem is that, despite being spoiled, many of these kids are told they are disadvantaged. So on top of being spoiled, they are also envious and ungrateful.

Sounds like a recipe for antisocial behavior to me.

Until comparatively recently most households were poverty stricken and children were forced into a life of crime by manipulative adults such as the character Fagin in Charles Dickens Oliver Twist.

There was some of that, but more often kids worked in the family business or on the family farm.

It was not until the early 1900s that children became net consumers. Before that they produced more for the family than they consumed. This did not make them less poverty stricken, simply better supervised, more mature, and more useful therefore more valuable. They grew up in an environment that made them from a young age important to the degree they looked out for others, particularly their families.

Could this have been due to the lack of firearms and/or that the fight for survival left little, if any room in the minds of the starving and abused children of yesteryear to develop such deadly schemes?

Lack of firearms? No.

Just because there are more guns now, does not mean they are more widely distributed. The percentage of people living in homes with guns is down from 50% in 1967 to 36% in 2016, but in that time, per capita gun violence has gone up.

Over 50% of Americans lived in rural areas until after World War II. Rifles are like shovels in rural living. They are basic tools, and they were pretty standard. They are/were used to hunt, protect farm animals from predators, put down sick/injured livestock, protect a home that was a mile or more from the nearest neighbor, etc..

For many gun owners, particularly in urban areas, however, guns are not the same sort of critical tool, which I think changes the attitude about them, in the mind of some useless and irresponsible teen or tween who is looking for attention.

Fight for survival? Probably.

Significantly, living in smaller, less mobile communities made the need to be integrated with the community greater. This is where your point about being spoiled is so critical.Without being part of the reciprocal responsibility to each other, and the attendant requirement to be a useful person, some people simply don't internalize how valuable other people are, and how necessary they are to their own survival.

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About Me

"Degrees in English, World Religion, Education, Technical Project Management."

Biographical Information
Name: Marcus 
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Married
Political Party: Independent
Country: United States
Religion: Agnostic
Education: Masters

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