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Thread: Big Bad Bears - Russia and Putin

  1. #81
    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypost View Post
    I didn't advise anyone. What I am saying is "When in Rome?..."
    That proverb doesn't quite apply to gay Russians who suffer discrimination in Russia as a result of their sexuality though, does it? Gay Russians aren't exactly temporarily visiting a foreign country or culture. They are born into Russian culture and are part of it. They are products of Russian society. They are Russian citizens with voices.

    Are you OK then with what you view as the discrimination of the "undocumented Irish" in the US? Why even bring it up, as if it was something with which you were taking issue?

    Does the idea of a tyranny of the majority under which minority rights are of little or no concern appeal to you?

    You've answered your own question. They have made a decision. The realities of that decision are well known, and what they choose to live with.
    But are priests, like those who engage in homosexual acts, defying your supposed "natural order" because they don't engage in intercourse with the opposite sex?

    Then you contradict yourself, telling us that humans are a product of nature, after saying we have no natural order. Now it has to be one or the other, not both. I have backed up my "claims" in the last post with a) and b).
    Not at all. If you've somehow managed to misinterpret what I'm arguing, let me be clearer. You're making the point that there is some sort of "natural order", by which we all must or should behave, and that any behaviour outside the as-of-yet undefined boundary of that supposed order is unnatural. My point is that no such dichotomy (natural/unnatural) exists as far as human behaviour is concerned. The concept of a "natural order" is meaningless here, as are the distinctions implied by it. When I say there is no such thing as this "natural order" you've imagined, it should be more properly understood as a rejection of the natural/unnatural dichotomy you are attempting to invoke via your use of the term. If you want to bring the notion of what is and isn't natural into the debate, that's perfectly fine, but then all human behaviour must be inherently natural for the very reason that we are of nature. If there is such a thing as a "natural order", then part of that order is every possible thought or action that can be conceived by man, including homosexual desires and acts.

    You don't tackle that at all in your response, whilst your odd "supporting" points a) and b) are extremely dubious if they are indeed genuine attempts to support an already-shaky claim rather than to obfuscate the matter with illogic and circular reasoning. They don't explain at all why anyone should think "men and women are biologically designed to be attracted to each other" (to the exclusion of all other possible types of attraction) and are question-begging more than anything. A bicycle is fundamentally different from a lava lamp; it doesn't mean the two things were designed to be attracted to each other. The supposition that men and women were designed with some purpose in mind is pretty fanciful stuff anyway; evolution isn't an intelligent director. And just because a man and woman can engage in intercourse to keep the human race going, it doesn't mean there is an obligation upon them to do so, does it? Or do we all have an obligation to engage in heterosexual rape as often as is physically possible in order to fulfill our "natural" duty? Your position is severely problematic if brought to it's logical conclusion. There are even other means besides heterosexual intercourse of contributing to the general survival of our species. I mean, are you saying that all activities besides heterosexual intercourse are unnatural because you think they aren't contributing to keeping the human race going or what exactly?

    Even if this "natural order" you claim exists did indeed exist and various types of human conduct could indeed be categorised or distinguished into separate classifications of "natural" and "unnatural", you've still not satisfactorily explained why these distinctions are things that ought to instruct us as to how we as humans should behave or why we should necessarily assign significance, especially legal/moral, to such distinctions. Why should we assume that "natural" is good and "unnatural" is bad?

    The majority of countries are completely intolerant of non-hetero practices, and in some cases, execute those found doing so. What the Russians have done barely registers by comparison, yet it's the big issue about the country in western media.
    And those others are very much open to criticism too, but I guess this is the reality Russia has to live with, eh?

    This thread is supposed to be about Russia, it's culture, it's identity, it's relations with it's neighbours, Chechnya, Ukraine, the fact that people are losing their lives everyday in massive numbers across the border, the oil/gas situation, and the knock on effects on the Russian/world economy, etc. There's a tonne of material there to work with.

    Sadly, it's yet again hijacked by a pointless debate on the same sht issue that has killed a total of 0, for a country with frankly far more serious issues to deal with.
    Just because you have an obvious distaste for homosexuals and this is a topic with which you clearly don't feel particularly comfortable, it doesn't mean it's a pointless non-issue or a case of the thread having been hi-jacked. We're discussing an aspect of Russian culture and law. Russia's relationship with the West also comes into it.

    If you want to discuss the other issues that you'd rather prioritise as well, nobody's stopping you.

  2. #82
    Seasoned Pro Lionel Ritchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypost View Post
    Now back on topic.

    The UN says that an average of 29 people are losing their lives in Eastern Ukraine every day. The toll has now passed 5,000. That's FIVE THOUSAND people, many of whom are innocent victims, who just wanted a normal life, under a government (either Ukraine or Russia) able to guarantee their security and freedom to go about their daily business as they wish.

    As I don't believe the West influenced the Kiev uprising, I don't believe the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk is being orchestrated by Moscow. It's as accurate as saying that the Irish government was responsible for atrocities in Britain during the troubles, which was never the case.

    20 people were shot in Paris recently. There was rolling coverage of the events for several days, and many world leaders showed up to be seen in Paris, some of them with at best, questionable approaches to the notion of free speech. By contrast, 30 people were slaughtered in Mariupol at the weekend, 80 were injured. There was no outpourings of sympathy for them and Europe's media were more interested in an election in Greece with a toll of 0.

    Priorities, priorities.
    My first post on footie in 2015. First I agree with you it's shocking how little interest there is in our media in this conflict.

    I also partially agree with the bit of your post I've in bold. I don't believe either that Moscow is orchestrating the conflict in Donetsk or Luhansk -but I do believe they're supplementing it with men and equipment.
    There is a swelling body of evidence that they are allowing military personnel to take gear and literally sign themselves out and head across the border for a bit of proper rough stuff. They've even accepted publically that soldiers are going there but claim they can't stop it happening. That is scandalous and an abdication of their responsibilities as commanders of their own armed forces.

    They then became victims, and I use the word victims perversley -perhaps 'authors' would be better, of unintended consequence when some of these drunken dopes shot down an airliner full of holiday-makers -and their pitiful response, rather than admit it had all gotten out of hand, was to start cooking up cocknbull stories (supported by tragically poor photoshopping) about Ukrainian airforce jets being responsible.
    " I wish to God that someone would be able to block out the voices in my head for five minutes, the voices that scream, over and over again: "Why do they come to me to die?"

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    Thank you Lionel for bringing the thread back on topic. Over the weekend fighting intensified between Luhansk and Donetsk with dozens killed. The border issue is growing and I can bet there is a lot of money being made in that area right now. A flood of Moscow money came south (mainly in Belgorod and Rostov) for helping refugees, but mostly went into pockets of carpetbaggers and other scumbags. There is a massive problem for victims of the fighting (both sides) as it seems Moscow and Kiev are content to let things bubble on while both are looking to gain a moral high ground.

    I'm not convinced by soldiers signing themselves out, some of this was bandied about in the Summer with "holidaymakers" landing in the middle of the conflict. At the same time BBC were caught making eejits of themselves by reporting there were military convoys headed to the border, when in fact they were aid convoys. I know they were aid convoys as I both saw them pass through and by Voronezh and also met them coming back when many trucks carried refugees. The BBC had trucks opened to them when they were at the border and when they were shown to contain food and humanitarian supplies, suddenly the story went elsewhere.

    There are many truths to the conflict, the majority we won't know about for another few years. The only thing that is certain is this, people at the top on all sides are making out like bandits - from those playing the currency game to those ensuring Russian only products on shelves, to border bootleggers to unscrupulous scum who are taking premiums from governments to provide aid for refugees and creaming it.

  5. #84
    Like the Fonz. Only a dog. Mr A's Avatar
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    The truth being at least somewhat unclear is something Russia relies on. I don't trust a word that comes from the Putin regime. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31020283

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr A View Post
    The truth being at least somewhat unclear is something Russia relies on. I don't trust a word that comes from the Putin regime. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31020283
    I agree, 100%, neither do I trust what comes from Obama, Cameron and Co. Nobody has clean hands in this, and the BBC have proved themselves to be little more than mouthpieces for who pays them. The first sentence in article is a complete lie - and sets the tone for the propaganda war. Unlike Kosovo, there was a vote in Crimea (which was only going to go one way with the % of native Russians who have been agitating for years to return to Russia and the large number of Crimean Tatars who were refused their rights by Kiev).

    Do you think that ANY media outfit worth its salt would be fooled by this? They were able to report minutae from space and call it fact to prove what they wanted. It is all about the economy, about people making money, and the people left homeless or lifeless are just collateral damage.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
    I agree, 100%, neither do I trust what comes from Obama, Cameron and Co. Nobody has clean hands in this, and the BBC have proved themselves to be little more than mouthpieces for who pays them. The first sentence in article is a complete lie - and sets the tone for the propaganda war.
    I think the general rule is: don't trust anyone pulling the strings of power anywhere to shed any light on what they're really getting up to.

    I think the Western powers are simply more adept and sophisticated in terms of covering up or "justifying" to their public their more suspect activities. Or that is certainly the case within the West anyway, where the mainstream media appears happy to play the role of establishment lap-dog. The Litvinenko case has been getting a lot of exposure in the UK today, but maybe the same applies in reverse and it's not something to which the Russian media will devote much air-time for obvious reasons? Then that BBC piece Mr A links to above, for example, mentions rather ominously in its opening paragraph how what's happening in Crimea has been "a textbook case of the Russian practice of military deception", almost as if to suggest deception is a uniquely Russian military practice that even has its own name in Russian and everything ("maskirovka") because, y'know, it's just so Russian and alien and everything...

    Something both myself and my girlfriend had noticed independently of one another is that the BBC's coverage of late generally has been of an anti-Russian nature. Maybe I shouldn't have been all that surprised, but it was just something that struck me. Certainly, any time Russia is included in the BBC's agenda for the day, it'll be a negative story (the fallen former power, suspected corruption, military aggression, a struggling economy...) or some "no good" that Putin's been up to. I used to think the BBC was a pretty trustworthy and neutral source, but I embarrassedly laugh at such naïveté now. Switching through the BBC, Russia Today and Al-Jazeera news channels one after the other can often provide a very interesting panoptic-style view of what's going on (at the very least, in terms of what we are being told by mainstream outlets and how we are being told) as the particular agenda of each channel will become slightly more apparent in contrast to the visibly-varying tack of the others.

    This a short documentary piece by Adam Curtis (who has worked closely with the BBC throughout his career) called 'Non-Linear Warfare by Media - A New System of Political Control' and featured in misanthropic satirist Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe:



    I was pleasantly surprised to see something so seemingly radical and incendiary on the BBC for it is critical of Western power at its very core and the manipulation of the public consciousness by those in possession of that power. Anyway, its relevance to this discussion is to be found in its reference of the behind-the-scenes work of "political architect" Vladislav Surkov on behalf of Putin as some sort original inspiration for those presently in power and shaping/guiding democracy in the UK. Whether that latter suggestion is completely true or not, I'm not sure - probably not as I'd imagine this sort of non-linear portrayal of affairs is something Western elites and their media have been using for a long time - but I'd be interested in hearing what you made of it, Spud?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Curtis
    So much of the news this year has been hopeless, depressing, and above all, confusing. To which the only response is to say, "oh dear."

    What this film is going to suggest is that that defeatist response has become a central part of a new system of political control. And to understand how this is happening, you have to look to Russia, to a man called Vladislav Surkov, who is a hero of our time.

    Surkov is one of President Putin's advisers, and has helped him maintain his power for 15 years, but he has done it in a very new way.

    He came originally from the avant-garde art world, and those who have studied his career, say that what Surkov has done, is to import ideas from conceptual art into the very heart of politics.

    His aim is to undermine peoples' perceptions of the world, so they never know what is really happening.

    Surkov turned Russian politics into a bewildering, constantly changing piece of theater. He sponsored all kinds of groups, from neo-Nazi skinheads to liberal human rights groups. He even backed parties that were opposed to President Putin.

    But the key thing was, that Surkov then let it be known that this was what he was doing, which meant that no one was sure what was real or fake. As one journalist put it: "It is a strategy of power that keeps any opposition constantly confused."

    A ceaseless shape-shifting that is unstoppable because it is undefinable. It is exactly what Surkov is alleged to have done in the Ukraine this year. In typical fashion, as the war began, Surkov published a short story about something he called non-linear war. A war where you never know what the enemy are really up to, or even who they are. The underlying aim, Surkov says, is not to win the war, but to use the conflict to create a constant state of destabilized perception, in order to manage and control.

    But maybe, we have something similar emerging here in Britain. Everything we're told by journalists and politicians is confusing and contradictory. Of course, there is no Mr. Surkov in charge, but it is an odd, non-linear world that plays into the hands of those in power.

    British troops have come home from Afghanistan, but nobody seems to know whether it was a victory or whether it was a defeat.

    Aging disk jockeys are prosecuted for crimes they committed decades ago, while practically no one in the City of London is prosecuted for the endless financial crimes that have been revealed there.

    In Syria, we are told that President Assad is the evil enemy, but then his enemies turn out to be even more evil than him, so we bomb them, and by doing that, we help keep Assad in power.

    But the real epicenter of this non-linear world is the economy, and the closest we have to our own shape-shifting post-modern politician is [U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer] George Osborne.

    He tells us proudly that the economy is growing, but at the same time, wages are going down.

    He says he is reducing the deficit, but then it is revealed that the deficit is going up.

    But the dark heart of this shape-shifting world is Quantitative Easing. The government is insisting on taking billions of Pounds out of the economy through its austerity program, yet at the very same time it is pumping billion of Pounds into the economy through Quantitative Easing, the equivalent of 24,000 Pounds for every family in Britain.

    But it gets even more confusing, because the Bank of England has admitted that those billions of Pounds are not going where they are supposed to. A vast majority of that money has actually found its way into the hands of the wealthiest five percent in Britain. It has been described as the biggest transfer of wealth to the rich in recent documented history.

    It could be a huge scandal, comparable to the greedy oligarchs in Russia. A ruthless elite, siphoning off billions in public money. But nobody seems to know.

    It sums up the strange mood of our time, where nothing really makes any coherent sense. We live with a constant vaudeville of contradictory stories that makes it impossible for any real opposition to emerge, because they can't counter it with any coherent narrative of their own.

    And it means that we as individuals become ever more powerless, unable to challenge anything, because we live a state of confusion and uncertainty. To which the response is: Oh dear. But that is what they want you to say.

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  10. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible
    That proverb doesn't quite apply to gay Russians who suffer discrimination in Russia as a result of their sexuality though, does it? They are born into Russian culture and are part of it. They are products of Russian society. They are Russian citizens with voices.

    Are you OK then with what you view as the discrimination of the "undocumented Irish" in the US? Why even bring it up, as if it was something with which you were taking issue?

    Does the idea of a tyranny of the majority under which minority rights are of little or no concern appeal to you?
    Yes it does apply.

    I didn't offer any opinion on what happens with the undocumented Irish. What I have said is, wherever you are in the world, you have to live by the laws and respect the culture of the country you are in. It doesn't matter whether you think they are tyrannical or not, you still have to comply with them, be it either as a tourist or a resident. If you refuse to do so, you're on your own.

    But are priests, like those who engage in homosexual acts, defying your supposed "natural order" because they don't engage in intercourse with the opposite sex?
    They're defying nothing. They have made a choice to be in the Catholic priesthood. They understand the sacrifices that result from making that choice.

    A bicycle is fundamentally different from a lava lamp; it doesn't mean the two things were designed to be attracted to each other.
    Neither are living beings. Therefore the examples above are obsolete.

    And just because a man and woman can engage in intercourse to keep the human race going, it doesn't mean there is an obligation upon them to do so, does it? Or do we all have an obligation to engage in heterosexual r*** as often as is physically possible in order to fulfill our "natural" duty? Your position is severely problematic if brought to it's logical conclusion.
    None of my "conclusions" involve nor condone the committing of extreme criminal offences. There's nothing natural about it. Committing such a crime is a choice made, and a choice that should be punished in the strongest terms.

    We're discussing an aspect of Russian culture and law. Russia's relationship with the West also comes into it.
    We're discussing one aspect of Russian law, and one of the ones they're least bothered about. Russia frankly doesn't care what the west thinks of this issue, and is certainly not going to allow the west to tell them how to live their lives. That's their culture regarding it, (it's also shared by Ukrainian people), and whether you agree with it or not, you have to respect it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel Ritchie
    My first post on footie in 2015. First I agree with you it's shocking how little interest there is in our media in this conflict.

    I also partially agree with the bit of your post I've in bold. I don't believe either that Moscow is orchestrating the conflict in Donetsk or Luhansk -but I do believe they're supplementing it with men and equipment.
    There is a swelling body of evidence that they are allowing military personnel to take gear and literally sign themselves out and head across the border for a bit of proper rough stuff. They've even accepted publically that soldiers are going there but claim they can't stop it happening. That is scandalous and an abdication of their responsibilities as commanders of their own armed forces.
    What responsibilities are these?

    The Russian rebels are mainly volunteers from the Russian army. Some of them have served their country in previous conflicts, so they are well trained and equipped to fight, and are showing that superiority atm.

    By contrast, this is all new to the Ukrainian army and they're struggling to cope. They gave up Crimea without a fight. The West isn't really interested in helping them, but prefers to impose sanctions on Russia, which the government there basically laughs at, and just carries on regardless.

    Ukrainian people are determined that the East should not be surrendered, while Russia sees it, (and Ukraine in general) like a long lost brother that needs to be brought into line. With neither side willing to budge an inch in their position, they just continue fighting and more lives are lost.

    As I said, the west isn't really interested in helping the Ukrainians, and has let them down badly. In Ireland, media coverage has been a joke and senior Irish politicians barely make any comment. At the time of the Maidan massacre, our politicians were more concerned about GSOC. How many people lost their lives from it?

    One of the reasons given to explain it is that it's "too far away" to affect us. So are Israel-Palestine conflicts too, but that doesn't prevent rolling news coverage of them. Ukraine and Russia are in Europe, Israel is not. Now which one should get more airtime?

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  13. #89
    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypost View Post
    I didn't offer any opinion on what happens with the undocumented Irish. What I have said is, wherever you are in the world, you have to live by the laws and respect the culture of the country you are in. It doesn't matter whether you think they are tyrannical or not, you still have to comply with them, be it either as a tourist or a resident. If you refuse to do so, you're on your own.
    OK, should I correctly interpret this passage and the prior discussion on discrimination suffered by homosexuals then as an outlining of what you feel is the practical reality rather than as a casting of judgment or the dispensing of moral advice?

    Why did you even bring up the undocumented Irish then, if not to imply the offering of some sympathetic opinion on their plight, or, worse, if not as some sort of unnecessarily pedantic red herring to distract from Peadar's questions (many of which you've still not answered, in case you forgot...)?

    They're defying nothing. They have made a choice to be in the Catholic priesthood. They understand the sacrifices that result from making that choice.
    I'm sure they do, but the sacrifices are voluntary and self-imposed. Let's not kid ourselves and pretend their choice will see them suffer the same sort of social marginalisation and legal discrimination that homosexuals have imposed upon them by both states and private individuals for doing (or wanting to do) what comes most naturally to them at absolutely no harm whatsoever to other consenting adults.

    Anyway, you'll have to do better than simply re-state that they're "defying nothing"; doesn't your supposed "natural order" demand that all men (including priests, I would think; they are men too, after all) be attracted to women and reproduce with them to keep the human race going? You've been arguing that anyone who doesn't engage in heterosexual sex is behaving in an unnatural manner, no? Why does this supposed rule apply to homosexuals but not to priests? Nobody is duty-bound to reproduce, whether they wish to engage in what we define as sexual activity or not.

    Neither are living beings. Therefore the examples above are obsolete.
    I don't see why that has to be so. You'll really have to explain to me better why it should be assumed that things that are fundamentally different must have been designed to be attracted to one another. I don't believe we, as evolved beings, have been designed with some purpose or function in the mind of an intelligent designer - indeed, the great body of evidence supports the theory of evolution at the fatal expense of the notion of intelligent design - but, for the sake of argument, let's assume you are correct (even though you've not remotely substantiated your claim) and let's consider living beings only then, if you'd like me to entertain your arbitrary distinction; a horse and a man are more fundamentally different than a woman and a man are fundamentally different. Have horses and men too been designed to be attracted to one another? Or ought they be more attracted even to one another than a woman and a man ought to be?

    Or is your argument that things that are fundamentally different and capable of reproduction must have been designed to be attracted to one another? That those two qualities in their combination are proof of something? If so, that begs further questions, but, for now, what of humans who are born infertile or those who are born displaying non-artificially-occurring hermaphroditism? To what "natural order" should they adhere? What have they been designed to do?

    Are you arguing that all men ought to be attracted to all women (and vice versa) as you see them as fundamentally different and capable of reproduction? If not, why don't you apply your supposed "natural order" to all people rather than just homosexuals? You'll presumably allow for heterosexuals to discriminate on the basis of their sexuality and desires; why not allow for homosexuals to do the same?

    Out of interest, what is your opinion on the nature of tri-parental babies? They're "unnatural beings", I assume?...

    Even if it was factual that some men and women have been designed to be attracted to one another, why ought that instruct human behaviour, laws and morality generally? And just because one might be able to reproduce, it doesn't mean one has to, does it? Our nature renders us capable of many things (even things we consider immoral), but that doesn't obligate us to do anything. If a human simply has no interest in or no instinctive urge for reproduction, isn't that entirely natural and acceptable? If such a human also wants to seek pleasure in their life by engaging in activities that do not lead to reproduction (be that playing football, riding a bicycle, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, dancing, engaging in purely recreational heterosexual activities, engaging in homosexual activities, whatever...) why must some of those acts be distinguished from the others as unnatural/wrong? Indeed, what and where are your lines of distinction?

    Anyway, more importantly, you're cherry-picking and dodging quite a few of the more crucial points I've made. For one, how do you account for homosexual behaviour documented in hundreds of other living species besides humans if you think homosexual behaviour cannot be naturally-occurring?

    None of my "conclusions" involve nor condone the committing of extreme criminal offences. There's nothing natural about it.
    But don't they? How do you make that natural/unnatural distinction then in this case exactly? Or are you now accepting that we don't have a "natural obligation" to reproduce, after all?

    We're discussing one aspect of Russian law, and one of the ones they're least bothered about. Russia frankly doesn't care what the west thinks of this issue, and is certainly not going to allow the west to tell them how to live their lives.
    The entirety of Russia is not orthodox in its thought. There are a significant number of Russians for whom you don't speak and who are very much bothered by this issue. As you say, they are a diverse culture. You were celebrating Russia's wonder and complexity up-thread and advising that we Irish should try and understand it better, but you appear to have little time for all of its complexity. You don't particularly strike me as wanting to understand the complexity yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    I think the general rule is: don't trust anyone pulling the strings of power anywhere to shed any light on what they're really getting up to.

    I think the Western powers are simply more adept and sophisticated in terms of covering up or "justifying" to their public their more suspect activities. Or that is certainly the case within the West anyway, where the mainstream media appears happy to play the role of establishment lap-dog. The Litvinenko case has been getting a lot of exposure in the UK today, but maybe the same applies in reverse and it's not something to which the Russian media will devote much air-time for obvious reasons? Then that BBC piece Mr A links to above, for example, mentions rather ominously in its opening paragraph how what's happening in Crimea has been "a textbook case of the Russian practice of military deception", almost as if to suggest deception is a uniquely Russian military practice that even has its own name in Russian and everything ("maskirovka") because, y'know, it's just so Russian and alien and everything...

    Something both myself and my girlfriend had noticed independently of one another is that the BBC's coverage of late generally has been of an anti-Russian nature. Maybe I shouldn't have been all that surprised, but it was just something that struck me. Certainly, any time Russia is included in the BBC's agenda for the day, it'll be a negative story (the fallen former power, suspected corruption, military aggression, a struggling economy...) or some "no good" that Putin's been up to. I used to think the BBC was a pretty trustworthy and neutral source, but I embarrassedly laugh at such naïveté now. Switching through the BBC, Russia Today and Al-Jazeera news channels one after the other can often provide a very interesting panoptic-style view of what's going on (at the very least, in terms of what we are being told by mainstream outlets and how we are being told) as the particular agenda of each channel will become slightly more apparent in contrast to the visibly-varying tack of the others.

    This a short documentary piece by Adam Curtis (who has worked closely with the BBC throughout his career) called 'Non-Linear Warfare by Media - A New System of Political Control' and featured in misanthropic satirist Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe:



    I was pleasantly surprised to see something so seemingly radical and incendiary on the BBC for it is critical of Western power at its very core and the manipulation of the public consciousness by those in possession of that power. Anyway, its relevance to this discussion is to be found in its reference of the behind-the-scenes work of "political architect" Vladislav Surkov on behalf of Putin as some sort original inspiration for those presently in power and shaping/guiding democracy in the UK. Whether that latter suggestion is completely true or not, I'm not sure - probably not as I'd imagine this sort of non-linear portrayal of affairs is something Western elites and their media have been using for a long time - but I'd be interested in hearing what you made of it, Spud?
    The viewing is uncomfortable and while I know Surkov is quite the shaker, he is US trained and leads Ketchum in Russia (the US PR agency who advise the Kremlin). The very odd aspect of all the Russians who have been put on the "blacklist" - is that not one is from the inner circle of the Kremlin (St Petes Mob) and all I have seen, bar 4, have fallen out with the authorities here. Nobody of any worth is on the blacklist and main Russian companies already have their assets offshore (Cyprus and Ireland mainly) so they're okay.

    I think it's quite the trip to go from RTE to BBC to RT to Fox to CNN and Al Jazeera and see how a single news item is reported. RT is terrible (sadly I've had to collaborate with them at times and I felt dirty), but BBC has become so woeful (I am glad that 2 more people in Ireland see this as I thought it was just me). They skew facts, report breathlessly and while it is right to hammer Russia for certain things, they are not consistent.

    Thanks a million for the Curtis update, really want to see this linear warfare docu!

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
    Thanks a million for the Curtis update, really want to see this linear warfare docu!
    Bitter Lake is on iPlayer at the minute, if you are able to view it from where you are. (If not, give Hola a try on Google Chrome.)

    Quote Originally Posted by BBC iPlayer
    Politicians used to have the confidence to tell us stories that made sense of the chaos of world events. But now there are no big stories and politicians react randomly to every new crisis - leaving us bewildered and disorientated.

    Bitter Lake is a new, adventurous and epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer.

    The narrative goes all over the world, America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia - but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted our politicians with the terrible truth - that they cannot understand what is going on any longer.

    The film reveals the forces that over the past thirty years rose up and undermined the confidence of politics to understand the world. And it shows the strange, dark role that Saudi Arabia has played in this.

    But Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of everything that the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan - and used them in new and radical ways.

    He has tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan. A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today.
    Curtis' style is very unusual; it's mesmeric and spacey - almost nebulous - but effective.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Just some thoughts for Mypost on "biological design" before I knock off for the night...

    You talk (without really substantiating your claims) of "biological design" as if to suggest that our human nature has purpose or some pre-defined function that, in turn, necessarily begets some behavioural "order" or correct way of being. Indeed, the process of evolution might appear to be teleological, but, as far as we can observe and in every practical sense, or for all intents and purposes, it is ateleological. As Ernst Mayr put it, adaptedness is a result of a process rather than goal-seeking. No serious evolutionary biologist thinks otherwise. When teleological-esque writing is used in modern biological literature, it is used simply for the sake of brevity. Even if one had to concede that evolution were somehow a teleological process with a purpose and an end-goal in sight, it would evidently be blindly so, thus rendering it effectively meaningless for us; there would be no intelligent meaning to be derived for the purpose of our debate from such a process behaving as if it were random, as evolution indeed does.

    Regardless of all that, however, just because something is or can be a certain way, it doesn't mean that something ought to be a certain way.

    Have you ever heard of the concept of exaptation or considered the notion that biological formations (be that arms, legs, flippers, mouths, sexual organs or whatever) can be used to do more than simply the one thing for which they might appear to our arbitrary judgments to be most compatible?

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    Seasoned Pro Lionel Ritchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypost View Post
    What responsibilities are these?

    The Russian rebels are mainly volunteers from the Russian army. Some of them have served their country in previous conflicts, so they are well trained and equipped to fight, and are showing that superiority atm.
    That's surely not a serious question? I can't think of many armies that allow their personnel sign out and worse take gear of any sort with them, let alone heavy gear like tanks and BUKs, to cross the border into another jurisdiction to become paramilitaries. Now I know there are volunteer divisions (more paramilitaries basically) fighting on the Ukrainian side as well but technically they're on their own sovereign territory and the Ukraine aren't being circumspect about their involvement.

    So to answer your question the Russians have a responsibility to keep their men and inventory in order. They should be locking up and court-martialling any of their personnel who seek to move property of the Russian Armed Forces off Russian territory without orders to do so. Unless that is the Russians are fighting a proxy war and are treating these guys as some sort of half assed condor legion.

    As for "well trained and equipped to fight" -it's a pity that not one of the estimated 13 individuals it would've taken to operate the BUK1 that brought down MH17 thought to grab so much as a pair of lidl binoculars when they were tooling themselves up for that days work.
    " I wish to God that someone would be able to block out the voices in my head for five minutes, the voices that scream, over and over again: "Why do they come to me to die?"

  18. #94
    International Prospect mypost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny Invincible
    OK, should I correctly interpret this passage and the prior discussion on discrimination suffered by homosexuals then as an outlining of what you feel is the practical reality rather than as a casting of judgment or the dispensing of moral advice?

    Why did you even bring up the undocumented Irish then, if not to imply the offering of some sympathetic opinion on their plight, or, worse, if not as some sort of unnecessarily pedantic red herring to distract from Peadar's questions (many of which you've still not answered, in case you forgot...)?
    I don't have to answer any of his questions tbh. However I brought up the undocumented issue to show that everybody suffers discrimination at some point of their lives. It may not always be personal, it may vary in degrees, but it does happen. As Billy Connolly once ranted on stage, white straight men are the only race of people you can say anything you like about, and there won't be a demonstration against it the next morning.

    I'm sure they do, but the sacrifices are voluntary and self-imposed.
    Yes. It's called a choice. It doesn't mean priests are not attracted to women. Other faiths recognise that, and so do not ban such relationships as the Catholic one does.

    for doing (or wanting to do) what comes most naturally to them at absolutely no harm whatsoever to other consenting adults.
    Oh really? Nigh on 200 countries do not allow them to marry. Many of them have zero tolerance of non-traditional relations. They don't do that for effect, you know.

    I read recently that in one free, large, Catholic, apparantly liberal EU state, local society views non-straight relations as an "illness". I don't see Irish press, public, or politicians though screaming "discrimination" and telling them how to behave, as they tell the Russians. Indeed, thousands of Irish visit there every year.

    You've been arguing that anyone who doesn't engage in heterosexual sex is behaving in an unnatural manner, no?
    While there is no obligation for men and women to reproduce, my argument is that men and women are naturally attracted to each other, and those who decide not to have made a choice, and are therefore subject to the realities and consequences of that choice.

    If such a human also wants to seek pleasure in their life by engaging in activities that do not lead to reproduction (be that playing football, riding a bike, dancing, drink alcohol) why must some of those acts be distinguished from the others as unnatural/wrong? Indeed, what and where are your lines of distinction?
    The lines of distinction are what is human instinct, and what is choice. It is human instinct to crave food, drink water, seek shelter, and as adults to mate with partners of the opposite gender. It is a choice to do all in the quote above.

    The entirety of Russia is not orthodox in its thought. There are a significant number of Russians for whom you don't speak and who are very much bothered by this issue.
    Name them. There's nigh on 150 million to choose from. So if you think there is a "significant number", you probably have examples to hand.

    I have visited Russia and Ukraine, have extensive contacts in both countries, and understand the differences between our lifestyle and theirs very well thank you. None of them are overly religious, but they all strongly believe in traditional relations and family values, so they have no issue with what to them is an insignificant piece of legislation.

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    International Prospect mypost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lionel Ritchie
    I can't think of many armies that allow their personnel sign out and worse take gear of any sort with them, let alone heavy gear like tanks and BUKs, to cross the border into another jurisdiction to become paramilitaries. Now I know there are volunteer divisions (more paramilitaries basically) fighting on the Ukrainian side as well but technically they're on their own sovereign territory and the Ukraine aren't being circumspect about their involvement.

    So to answer your question the Russians have a responsibility to keep their men and inventory in order. They should be locking up and court-martialling any of their personnel who seek to move property of the Russian Armed Forces off Russian territory without orders to do so. Unless that is the Russians are fighting a proxy war and are treating these guys as some sort of half assed condor legion.
    The pro-Russian fighters in Ukraine are a volunteer army, and are fighting a conventional state-backed army. Not all members of the formal Russian army are currently on service, so are free to go about their business like anyone else, and some of them have gone to help defend their brothers across the border. It doesn't mean that Putin has ordered them to do so.

    As for "well trained and equipped to fight" -it's a pity that not one of the estimated 13 individuals it would've taken to operate the BUK1 that brought down MH17 thought to grab so much as a pair of lidl binoculars when they were tooling themselves up for that days work.
    Don't know what good binoculars would have done, the flight was well above the clouds. But they were launching missiles at what they viewed as "enemy" aircraft for several days in the run up to the Malaysian Airlines crash, and they had radar to track aircraft flying over the area. Believing that this was another aircraft out to get them, they launched their missile. As far as I know, they haven't launched any since.

    The casualties though are still piling up. Negotiations are being held in a pro-Russian country though, and any peace agreement will be agreed on Russian terms. With the Yanks and NATO unwilling/unable to help, Ukraine really doesn't have much to bargain with, so they may just have to let Luhansk and Donetsk shape their own future.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mypost View Post
    I don't have to answer any of his questions tbh. However I brought up the undocumented issue to show that everybody suffers discrimination at some point of their lives. It may not always be personal, it may vary in degrees, but it does happen.
    You're quite right; you don't have to entertain or convince anyone and it's probably not a bad thing that you're not being at all persuasive considering the veiled animus and disdain you're concealing behind the curtain of deflection and pseudo-impartiality. Regardless, I think it's intellectually bankrupt to so blatantly cheery-pick a convenient select few points with which to deal whilst ignoring to answer the more challenging ones. But that's just me...

    Let's just admit it; it was an attempt to deflect from having to answer a question. We know discrimination happens. We were already addressing it. What was the relevance of the "undocumented Irish" exactly when Peadar's analogy did more than enough to help progress the discussion? Can we take it that the discrimination of minorities who intend no harm to others isn't really something that troubles you then? In fact, your comments might even suggest you positively approve of it in some cases?

    As Billy Connolly once ranted on stage, white straight men are the only race of people you can say anything you like about, and there won't be a demonstration against it the next morning.
    What was his point exactly? (Or your point even, assuming your interpretation and relaying of his idea is reliable?) Maybe I'm misinterpreting (as, from the limited amount I've seen of him, I've never particularly thought of Billy Connolly as being a mouthpiece for pro-establishment/patriarchal sentiment), but isn't that just a sanitised reformulation of those tired and hackneyed old refrains we hear from beneficiaries of privilege, sexists, racists, homophobes and apologists for the oppression and discrimination of minorities?: "How come they can slag us off but we're not allowed to slag them?"/"Don't you know there'd be uproar if the same thing was said about Muslims/blacks/gays/women!"/"It's political correctness gone mad!"

    Correct me if I'm mistaken, but are you trying to suggest white straight men are above victimhood or, worse, trying to equate the "discrimination" of white straight men with the historical oppression of minorities, as if white straight men are voiceless/fair game in our society or as if there is nobody to come to their defence? Sure, don't they have the luxury to remain aloof; against what would the entitled, privileged, insulated and well-enfranchised have to demonstrate when they can so simply initiate legal proceedings to protect their good names and positions instead?

    Yes. It's called a choice. It doesn't mean priests are not attracted to women.
    It doesn't mean some priests are not attracted to men either, believe it or not: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2...gation-ovation

    Anyway, going by your logic, mustn't you also be saying that a (hetersosexual-identifying) priest's choice, like the homosexual's choice, is an unnatural choice? That they're turning their back on women and reproduction, and therefore denying their nature? Because, according to you, homosexual men are actually attracted to women - no matter how much they deny it - and are behaving unnaturally and anti-instinctively in "choosing" (as if sexual desire could ever be a matter of choice) to turn their backs on women and reproduction. Why is the priest's rejection of his supposed nature considered natural and fine, but the homosexual's is not? If, whilst a priest might abstain from sexual activity, a homosexual wishes to instead do something else that his nature permits him to do - namely, engage in recreational sex with those of the same sex - that's a completely independent and separate matter. Then, what about abstinent homosexuals, for example; should they suffer discrimination too? They'd be doing no more sexually than a (committed) priest would.

    Oh really? Nigh on 200 countries do not allow them to marry. Many of them have zero tolerance of non-traditional relations. They don't do that for effect, you know.
    By the sounds of it, you seem to have an idea formulated in your head of some societal harm that such relationships cause. Please fill me in on what you're alluding to; why do these countries do it?

    Out of interest, were you aware that marriages between men occurred during the early Roman Empire?

    I read recently that in one free, large, Catholic, apparantly liberal EU state, local society views non-straight relations as an "illness". I don't see Irish press, public, or politicians though screaming "discrimination" and telling them how to behave, as they tell the Russians. Indeed, thousands of Irish visit there every year.
    Juicy stuff... To where are you referring? And where did you read this? If what you say is true, I would have no reservations in condemning such ignorant attitudes. Regardless, homophobia elsewhere doesn't exonerate Russia, about whom we're having a discussion here, before you slip off again whilst accusing others of taking things off-topic.

    While there is no obligation for men and women to reproduce, my argument is that men and women are naturally attracted to each other, and those who decide not to have made a choice, and are therefore subject to the realities and consequences of that choice.
    Your position is little more than homophobia masquerading as pseudo-science, at its very best. As if you're no more than objectively observing from above and commenting upon some reality you perceive to exist... Drop the charade. You sympathise with those subjecting homosexuals to these "realities and consequences", do you not? Who says they have to be the "reality and consequences"? At least have the moral courage and integrity to defend what is clearly also your personal stance, rather than vaguely side-stepping and continually passing the buck to conservative society at large, as if it is only conservative society at large and not yourself that has some issue with certain people's private choices or with what homosexuals get up to. Isn't your own stance an element of these "realities and consequences" too?

    If you're saying there's no obligation upon anyone to reproduce (that is to admit that it's not about some notion of "common good"; that the survival of our species is no longer a concern for consideration in this debate), then why on earth should the the reproductive habits and sexuality of private individuals cause need for your concern or wider discrimination?

    You've not satisfactorily explained why we should just assume that men and women are naturally attracted to each other either (with all other types of attraction assumed unnatural). How can someone decide not to be naturally attracted to someone anyway? That idea doesn't even make sense. Even if it was the case that men and women were naturally attracted to one another with no room in your "natural order" for any alternative forms of attraction, what is it to you anyway if people are interested in other forms of "unnatural" attraction at no harm to you? What difference does it make exactly?

    It's not even the case that all men and all women are attracted to all women and all men, respectively, anyway. As a man, are you attracted to all women? Doesn't the fact that you're obviously not demonstrate how daft, simplistic and generally-inapplicable your all-encompassing assertion is?

    You disapprove of the acceptance of homosexuals and approve of majority Russian attitudes, allegedly because "that's the reality", but can you accept that modern Irish society is changing and tolerate the place of homosexuals in it? That is the societal reality in Ireland now, but you don't seem to like it one bit.

  21. #97
    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    The lines of distinction are what is human instinct, and what is choice. It is human instinct to crave food, drink water, seek shelter, and as adults to mate with partners of the opposite gender. It is a choice to do all in the quote above.
    But those clearly aren't the lines of distinction, unless you also approve of the discrimination of footballers, cyclists, dancers and drinkers. From where does the supposed moral distinction arise between what you say is human instinct and some of what you say are choices? Even if homosexual attraction wasn't instinctive and was a matter of choice (it quite obviously isn't a matter of choice), there are clearly plenty of recreational things we can choose to do that are accepted by society as just fine; just because something is a choice rather than instinctive doesn't automatically render it less virtuous than something else. In fact, humans often congratulate themselves and celebrate the supposed uniqueness or virtue of being able to make choices over acting on instincts. Why should engaging in a recreational homosexual act warrant discrimination when engaging in a recreational heterosexual act will not, for example? The object of neither is to reproduce. Can't homosexual intercourse possibly serve basic emotional needs and instincts for those who wish to engage in it?

    Out of interest, would you describe sexual arousal as an instinctive state or as a choice? How do you imagine homosexual men engage in intercourse? By imagining women whilst doing it, is it?...

    How do you know what is and isn't human instinct or what is and isn't choice for all human beings anyway? We all have urges to do things, even beyond what we need to do to simply survive, but what is particularly human is having the ability to choose whether or not to act on those urges, so if you're going to say homosexuality is a choice, then you might as well say the same about eating. The hunger-striker can choose not to eat, for example, or the dieter. There's no necessary moral obligation to eat and to eat only, or to survive even. Generally, we choose to eat because we find it pleasurable, just as we do many other things because we also find them pleasurable. It's the finding of these things pleasurable that we can't choose. Maslow might have drawn up his hierarchy of human needs (although even that is often criticised as being far too simplistic an analysis of human agency and endeavour), but such a hierarchy provides no moral instruction as to how we ought to behave.

    Just because we can do something, doesn't mean we have to do something, nor does it necessarily mean we have to abstain from something else. You have a very limited and myopic outlook on the possible scope of human initiative, invention, ingenuity and imagination. It's rather bleak; a stubborn unwillingness to even comprehend that there might be an "outside the box". You erect arbitrary, wishy-washy boundaries for which you can't even provide satisfactory or consistent definition, yet you pledge some sort of odd obedience to the confusion they represent.

    Name them. There's nigh on 150 million to choose from. So if you think there is a "significant number", you probably have examples to hand.
    Nikolai Alekseev, Nikolai Baev, Irina Fet, Irina Shipitko, Dmitri Bartenev, Igor Kochetkov, Liya Kirgetova, Elena Novozhilova, Olga Krauze, Tatiana Puchko, Lena Katina, Dima Bilan, Philipp Kirkorov, Nikolai Baskov; groups such as Pussy Riot and Kolibri; organisations such as Gay Russia and the Russian LGBT Network... 14 per cent of the population support same-sex unions; that's 20 million people.

    I have visited Russia and Ukraine, have extensive contacts in both countries, and understand the differences between our lifestyle and theirs very well thank you. None of them are overly religious, but they all strongly believe in traditional relations and family values, so they have no issue with what to them is an insignificant piece of legislation.
    Well, of course it's insignificant to them; they're not the suffering minority. Why would caring about LGBT rights ever be a pressing concern for them?

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    Seasoned Pro peadar1987's Avatar
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    Mypost, if you think that naturally straight people can just choose to be attracted to men, then you are probably bi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peadar1987 View Post
    Mypost, if you think that naturally straight people can just choose to be attracted to men, then you are probably bi.
    Explain lovers of Ladyboys please? I'm not one, but I saw a docu-film about it on Channel 4 years ago and just switched off after 10 minutes. Maybe I was just afraid!

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    Onto some real news. Our Ambassador was down for a visit this week. Today he was at the State University to deliver a talk, really good one on the history of Ireland and some nice facts and figures. There was a q and a session after. 5 of 5 gobdaws who jumped up with the microphone asked about Ukraine and went off on monologues and crap that was so far removed from reality that it was embarassing. One eejit, a journalist from Lipetsk but lying about being a refugee from Donbass, went on about press freedom being restricted in Ukraine. I wanted to slap his head and ask why he hasn't defended colleagues in RUSSIA who have been attacked or killed (either for reporting the truth or failing to write the articles they were paid for).

    Now the situation in Ukraine is dragging on, the stupid threats are going to grow and there is an increase in the flood of refugees from Donbass into Russia that is not being reported in Russia (save some independent sources) and the BBC and other mouthpieces are gone silent. Many people are genuinely afraid of retribution and what is coming next. Not inspired by any of the sides.

    Last night at dinner the ambassador asked, the only way we can stop it is by taking away the weapons. I got some odd looks when I said - the only way to stop it is to take out the leaders making money from this and quickly put more reliable people in their places. Maybe I'm wrong, but I cannot see the current "rebel" lot wanting to be truly peaceful and Poroshenko is not long for office if the fighting does stop.

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