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About william.scherk

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    William Scott Scherk
  • Birthday 01/24/1958

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    William Scott Scherk
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    Poet and gadfly, WSS has been: - HR manager of a year-round silviculture company in the great white north - singer. songwriter, frontman - painter - sculptor - reporter - cook - janitor - editor - filmmaker - actor - amateur psychologist - web maven May he be all these things
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    Vancouver, BC, Canada
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    Fringe beliefs, pseudoscience, pseudophilosophy, fringe psychology, moral panics, cognitive neuroscience, Dusty Springfield, anthropology, evolutionary psychology, satanic ritual abuse/recovered memory therapy controversy, True Believers, cult dynamics, urban planning, 80s music, urban transportation, Grand Guignol, snarkiness . . .

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  1. Disantidebunkerizationalism ... And how, pray tell, do you know this? It is as plain as the nose on your face, in my opinion. It surprises me that you would see it otherwise (by otherwise I mean the Kremlin favouring Clinton in 2016). What happened to the Principle of Charity, Michael? On my last day at the desk here, what else can signal profitable disagreement?
  2. While I am on the subject ... recursion. A different angle, a different road taken. ("... need to be shared with the American people"? Really? That is your issue? It is an observation, an opinion, and pretty plain james. At some point Americans will get to know what changes Trump intends, in some detail. Until then, it's a need-to-know situation, as you or Peter pointed out. From the tea-leaves, from the silos of partisan hackery, from the entrails of sheep, from our own speculative fevers ... Compare and contrast a recent and fraught 'deal,' that between the Western signatories and Iran. While the actual exchanges were confidential at the various negotiating tables over the years, the process reporting explained bottom lines and goals of all parties. At some point the entire 'deal' was shared with the American people. I'd suggest your argument missed the point of "at some point" (in time) As for personal remarks ... At some point, the American people need to know what is proposed in any 'deal.' I don't think you disagree with that, so the characterization applies broadly. We are both 'advocates' of a certain level of public scrutiny. It's okay. Warm milk. Good suggestion. I see that we probably agree across the board, at least at some points. Following your suggestion and the Principle of Charity (which seems to be a subtext), can you not explain my opinion to me without added floss about being a goofy hack? As some VIP here once said, "you are better than this." Insert neutral-faced emoticon. Yikes. When you go full Charity ... Anyway, the sharpest point I made to interested readers was that a Trump 'deal' with Russia will eventually be unveiled and need scrutiny. Once the Russia Russia Russia "Feks Nawe" hoopla is purged and the commissions of benghazi finish their labours ... Who put the Hoo in Hoopla? Who put the Biz in Byzantine ... As of tomorrow I am moving to The Lake. Goodbye Parm. Goodbye border town. Goodbye to all my elderly acquaintances. Goodbye to my favourite check-out clerk. God be with you, good be with you, goodbye.
  3. "At some point the issues at that [USA-Russia] table need to be shared with the American people." That's my high bid. I partially agree. The 'sell-out' Clinton was not favoured in the Kremlin. The Kremlin favoured Trump -- on the basis of his public remarks as candidate, which were much friendlier to Russia than Clinton's. Now, Russia is very disappointed, as my posting yesterday showed. Nothing substantial has changed from the Obama policy, and while the Kremlin denies any collusion with the Trump campaign, its meddling in the US election is a 'political fact' noted by top Trump administration foreign policy voices. (eg, UN Ambassador Haley does not mince words about the meddling) Where I agree is that the Kremlin sees the same institutional barriers to sanctions relief as they did in 2016. For all intents and purposes, Russia faces the same American barriers to its goals as before. I think, I speculate, that the very existence of the Russia Russia Russia three-ringed hoopla -- a very messy, very public, very confusing and wide-ranging hoopla -- constrains the Trump administration from any policy changes that candidate Trump promised -- right now and in the near future. The 'meddling' at the core of Russia Russia Russia prevents immediate 'softening' of the Obama-Trump hardline on sanctions and other penalties. It is political reality now that constrains an abrupt shift or relaxing of penalties paid by Russia for its past actions. Back in July 2016, I speculated that a Russia 'thing' would continue to hang around ... A weird story that will probably continue to simmer for the remaining months of the 2016 Presidential election: what are Donald J Trump's ties to Russian interests? How can the purported ties be established in fact? Is there any record that can be examined? Would Trump tax returns show something hinky or surprising in this regard? In that speculative note, I mentioned Manafort and Page. At the time nothing was known of Mike Flynn's intriguing relationships with foreign interests, nor the back-stage lobbying and politicking conducted during the Republican National Convention. We knew nothing of the genesis of the RNC Ukraine-policy softening (which pleased Russia), we knew nothing of any coincidental meetings between Trump men and Putin men during that platform change. At that time, all we had to go on was "What does Trump propose for USA-Russia relations?" And all the evidence came from Trump's statements as policy wishes on the stump. Wouldn't it be nice if Russia and the USA got along? That was, perhaps, Trump's opening, high bid, the 'nice' situation for Putin vis a vis sanctions. Now we see the opening bid is no longer on the table. I keep hearing about the 'sweet uranium deal' on Clinton's watch as Secretary of State. Would anyone care to compile the facts on this? How to compare to sanction relief "exchange." Michael, you may argue that there is nothing at all to Russia Russia Russia (beyond the meddling) in terms of quid pro quo. I understand that. And I understand that underneath all the bumf about Russia Russia Russia is perhaps nothing more than co-incidental interests converging. In other words, no co-ordination, no quid pro quo, no explicit collusion, no 'pay offs,' no compromat, no particular crime or ethical lapse by any agent of Trump (save, perhaps, Flynn), and no strings attached. In that situation, where we learn that Trump had always yearned for a re-set with Russia, that his strategic vision saw the danger of a new 'cold war' not actually benefitting US interests, well, then the door is open to implementing that strategy. What I am getting at is that until the hoopla relaxes, until the committees of benghazi get through their business, until the matter is definitively settled in Trump's favour ... the President cannot make major moves in this area. In that sense, it doesn't matter if there is zero evidence of collusion emerging from the benghazi committees. It doesn't matter. Trump cannot make another high bid promising relief to Russia. A canny strategic thinker knows who his counterpart's friends are, and grasps the long-term goals of the alliances. Russia has many friends who are not friends of the USA. This too will constrain Trump. Eg, if Iran is a friend of Russia, if Iran is a beneficiary of a new Russia ''relax," then sanctions relief will have to be calibrated carefully, staged, made subject to conditions, and not unduly benefit Iran. I am actually glad that Trump brought in the Russia file (strategy). It brings into relief the different value systems of America and Russia. It unleashes debate that will be helpful to Trump's long-term goals. It thrashes things out. At some point, Russia will be brought in from the cold. I believe America will need to have negotiated with itself before opening doors for the adversary. After the thrashing out of fk nws and wild exaggeration, after a consensus forms in the body politic, America can make a steely-eyed offer to Russia. In exchange for this (relief), you will ... fix your borders with Ukraine and bring your conflict to peaceful resolution. You will fix your problem in broken Syria. You will accept NATO and EU expansion where popular opinion demands it. You will cease your meddling and black arts in Western elections. I expect that Trump deal will be as steely-eyed and demanding as any US administration. I believe the answer to the first question is Yes. I can only speculate on what will be 'on the table,' but my vision is clouded. That's why we need you, Michael, to use your superior vision of Trump mind-set, policy and procedure. I bet you could sketch out a good likeness, what Russia-USA relations look like once the process of change is accomplished. An end-point portrait. You might even agree with my opinion that the process is slowed or hobbled by Russia Russia Russia 'fake news' and the congressional commissions of benghazi.
  4. A weird story that will probably continue to simmer for the remaining months of the 2106 Presidential election: what are Donald J Trump's ties to Russian interests? How can the purported ties be established in fact? Is there any record that can be examined? Would Trump tax returns show something hinky or surprising in this regard? The biggest headline is that experts named and un-named have found the fingerprints of the Russian state on the Wikileaked DNC emails. That the supposedly "Romanian" 'Guccifer' was a Russian FSB agent. That is no surprise. What is surprising is how common-sense rational inquiry flies out the window, and how unusual are Mr Trump's policies in contrast to the bipartisan stance that views Russia as a non-democracy opposed to Western values. The Russian "Connection" with Trump takes three main forms: Russian Investment in Trump's real-estate ventures (rumoured and real) Russian Interests represented by Ash Carter Carter Page, a close Trump advisor on foreign policy/Paul Manafort's oligarchy-lobbying in DC USA/Russian policy changes under a Trump promise (ie, most significantly on NATO). A few things stick out in my mind: the very specific way Mr Trump denied he has investments in Russia (without the corollary "I have no Russian-money investment in any of my projects and plans")**; the actual NATO/Russia policy changes Mr Trump has promised to put in action. The common-sense understanding that this is a weakness for the Trump campaign, not a winner. A slow drip kind of weakness. A funny side-issue is Mr Trump's nomination for a Pulitzer Prize to the National Enquirer. Put that worthy news magazine's attention on Ted Cruz's father's involvement in the JFK assassination in perspective. Today, multiple lines of evidence suggest a corruption in the Trump machine, a back-door 'understanding' with the Russian point of view. It's the stuff of tabloids, and yet it could shake out true. If the roles were reversed (a Russian 'nod' to a Democratic candidate, etc), the drips would be Front Page News. That a Democrat refused to clear up the record by releasing tax returns would be scandalous, if not proof of the corruption of/meddling in American democracy by foreign interests. [a CBS4 News 'exclusive' may not appear in all browsers. Here is the link to the breaking interview with Mr Trump: CBS4 News Exclusive: Trump Denies Ties To Russia July 27, 2016 1:09 AM By Jim DeFede ] ____________ ** '“Is that the theory? I haven’t heard that at all,” Trump told the Miami station. “I mean I haven’t heard that. But I have nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do, I never met Putin, I have nothing to do with Russia whatsoever.” Trump went on to say he has no outstanding loans with Russian banks or Russian investors. “Absolutely not,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”' I predict this issue will hang and hang and drip and drip and become a millstone about The Candidate's Neck. His suggestion today that the FSB continue to probe US computer networks is not the kind of thing we have heard before in an election campaign. I will of course revisit my prediction in the months to come. I smell smoke. Is Trump a Russian Stooge?
  5. Is the weekly Presidential address better with music?
  6. Are you saying there is no data that supports your statements -- the statements I had questions about? To be clear, I was hoping you would answer one or maybe two of the questions I gave. It seemed to me that discussion could advance once I knew for sure which societies you had in mind. Please give those questions a once-over, if you would. I was asking for data in the sense of identification. Who, how, who, which, which ... 1. Who is a 'skeptical secularist' in your view? 2. How do you learn and demonstrate a person has a 'personal vacuum' where faith used to be? 3. Who are these 'secularists' in numbers? 4. Which of them have supplied scorn for strong convictions, which have been 'soft' and which (in particular) European nations have been damaged (by them)? 5. Which countries with large formations of 'skeptical secularists' are the ones we will be discussing, Tony? The underlying issue is interesting to me, since the 'data' may very well support your points. I am also interested in Good Arguments, the Principle of Charity, and working to expand a shared knowledge base. Or, how to better engage with my peers here.
  7. What about Peter? What does Peter need to do? Where? Where? Ice-melt fed watersheds are not everywhere on Earth, though where they are essential to life (Himalayas) by feeding rivers, declining glacial ice in the mountains has consequences downstream over the long term (100 years or so). Consider too the shrinking lakes of the earth .. and the effects of rising sea levels over a century. Or, tell us what you think will occur with a 0.10 degree-per-decade average rise in temperature over the next hundred years.
  8. Agree. I don't get this, don't understand it. In single-payer systems like the Canadian provincial plans, insurance coverage for medically necessary services is combined with universal access. So, the scheme covers everything from routine vaccinations to lung transplants to end-of-life care. The goal was not to add another layer or layers of administration devoted to clearing payments from insurers. For those provincial schemes that require you to pay a premium for your 'insurance,' it would make no economic/health outcome sense to disallow 'non-catastrophic' medical services. That some catastrophes can be averted before they take hold, via preventive medicine, seems to answer the "only for catastrophes' view of medical or hospital insurance. Perfection is the enemy of the good. But a supremely laissez-faire position needs no defense at Objectivist Living. "We should buy medical insurance the way we buy car insurance and computer service 'insurance.'" I mean, a laissez-faire system would have nothing to say about any company offering 'cradle to grave' coverage under the heading "Insurance." An Objectivist argument could rubbish the whole notion of medical insurance as stupid -- and support Stossel's wishes and hopes -- but it won't be objectively illegal or unethical to sell insurance for whatever the company thinks it can make money on. You buy car insurance because you don't want a 'catastophe' to hobble you or stop you from getting where you need to go. Generally speaking, employment earnings will cover food, clothing and shelter, and maybe transportation. Put ten dollars a week in your savings account, and when you are fifty-six you can finally afford a heart attack. I agree that the monstrosities of the US system contain component ogres -- like employer-provided health coverage mandates.
  9. Can you elaborate? Unbelievable! I know. MSK usually has a feel for secret plans of the ruling class. I would wonder how discussions are going. Are sanctions relief and another 'reset' in Trump's folder? What is going to be on the table, and what are America's bottom-line positions in such negotiations? At some point the issues at that table need to be shared with the American people. I could speculate, but. Well, Trump was on the blower and chairing meetings with 'the enemy' -- even with the 'to be destroyed electorally in 2018' Freedom Caucus members. And he has been talking to them via Twitter. I don't know if he has secret Russia negotiations underway. He hasn't talked directly to Putin since their last phone call, at least according to the White House. An Objective view on Russia Russia Russia has not yet formed. There is dissent in the land!
  10. Delingpole: More Climate Fake News From The BBC None of this weapons grade bilge went even slightly challenged by Rutherford, who flagged his own concerns about the Trump administration’s approach to climate science at the beginning of the interview by describing it as “troubling” and “disturbing”. [Says who? Why??] Let’s not forget, also, that there were three other scientists with at least as much knowledge and experience as Mann who were speaking at the same Congressional hearings, only from a sceptical point of view. Might it not have been useful for the purposes of balance to get at least one of them – John Christy, Judith Curry or Roger Pielke Jr – for the BBC to hear from one of them too? I.e., stop the Newspeak. Good. There's more. Apparently a preferred term to "climate science" is "climate studies." Which, depending on your point of view, is smart politics. I should note that (according to Politico's 'sources said'), the Energy Department denies instructing staff on phraseology. From Science magazine: Lamar Smith, unbound, lays out political strategy at climate doubters’ conference
  11. In Venezuela, Supreme Court Takes Over Congress Venezuela seeks to cool protests as court reverses Congress annulment
  12. Can you elaborate? *** In any case, the Russia Russia Russia mess is not going away this week. It is like a supercharged Benghazi meme. On the other side of the ledger, some plain words for those who appeased Russia in recent history: Oh, and then there is The View from Moscow: Kremlin spokesman: U.S.-Russia relations ‘maybe even worse’ than Cold War
  13. Let's compromise at "We don't know yet." I believe Trump will act to put promises and policies in action, to slash this and slag that, to hack away at Gargantua, the insatiable ogre on the Potomac. I mean, we knew Trump would face rough conditions his first time sailing the USS Behemoth. But this is a crafty, nimble, ambitious personality. He may leave behind a global 'adjustment' before his time at the helm is over. If I seem more optimistic than you, I should mention this is partly a pose at times. At the gates of Doom, I will be the quietly cynical guy, not Mary Poppins. Personally, my blood pressure pings every time Trump talks or tweets about NAFTA -- or intimates that Canada is fucking over the USA in this or that aspect of trade. The roots and routes of international trade are thick and deep as a mat, like a dermis, a shared flesh of circulation. I could hyperventilate and conjure up a crush of border taxes or anti-NAFTA 'adjustments' that suck marrow out of healthy bones. I could get anxious if I fed myself alarming mental images. I feed them to Pollyanna instead. Slash, crush, crunch crunch crunch. So far this week, my pressure only spiked once. I think that Canada's automotive and softwood industries are safe for another little while. Be still my heart. We are going to build a rocket-base in Nova Scotia, Bob! Not for SpaceX or a Mars shot, but hey.