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hp blogger Gabe Zichermann's Comments

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Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 12:15:43 in Gay Voices

“True...except for people's limited time, energy and attention spans - plus the Kremlin's reaction.”
Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 12:13:04 in Gay Voices


If there was a way to boycott Russian exports, I'm all for it. But if you look at the economic data, Russia doesn't export anything of significance that consumers can really boycott beyond Lukoil. Everything else is direct-to-industry or direct-to-government sale....unless you're buying a lot of uranium and missiles. :)

And the comparison with South Africa is a false dichotomy. Russia is very large, very powerful, on the Security Council *and* in the WTO, so it's basically untouchable. ZA was a small country, far removed from the rest of the world, dependent on the west for many things. To whit, South Africa was *sanctioned*, not just boycotted (see Iran). This is a very different thing, and will be impossible to do to Russia because of the aforementioned Security Council and WTO seats.”
Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 09:52:06 in Gay Voices

“Calling for a boycott of vodka absolves LGBT people here of the sense of urgency and distracts them from doing things that could be meaningful, save lives, change the status quo. It's a distraction from the real issue, IMHO.

I'm all for getting companies to help change the situation, but I fear we chose the wrong company for the wrong reasons.”
Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 09:48:25 in Gay Voices

“I'd love to see this.”
Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Boycott Russia? Here's a Better Idea

Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 09:48:02 in Gay Voices

“Sir (or madam), you gloss over key details in your sources:

1. The Russian population *might* not decline in 2013 based on current projections. However, in every year for the past 20, it has declined - including 2012. Even if it meets the optimistic projections laid out in the Mark Domanis' article you cite, it would be neutral. It will still be many years until Russia shows any significant population growth, and decades to recapture what they had.

2. Transparency's corruption index is perceptual not empirical (e.g. a cynical population will natural bump the ratings). On empirical measures (like oligarchic economies), Russia scores very poorly. Even still, Russia's position isn't very good.

3. Russian life expectancy continues to under-perform nations of comparable wealth and infrastructure.

Regardless, why do these points suggest that this scapegoating is not a political distraction tactic exactly?”

ThePoliceAreRight on Jul 31, 2013 at 19:55:45

“None of the details have been glossed over, it's just to refute what you say core issues are not looked into.

1. The Russian Population has experienced it's first positive birth rate in 2012, the population has decreased mainly due to poor healthcare and budget issues, but that has been on a decline. The goals of the Putin government have been an increased birth rate as it is vital to Russia's future and what has been observed in Europe.

2. Russia has managed to reduce corruption regardless of whatever system you might use, it is corrupt however not as it use to be. The current Putin government understands corruption is a threat it's current legitimacy, As it affect the economy and military sectors.

3. Russia is still considered a developing nation, after a massive economic failure in the 90's, two internal wars, failing economy, it has managed to increase the life expectancy in what was a chaotic country. It has risen from a mere 59 previously to 69, It will gradually improve.

Russia has been looking into it's core issues and improved otherwise it would have been a failed state it has done good for itself and will improve upon.

Gays are not accepted in Russia nor will be in the likely future, anti homosexuality is very high on par with opinions on that with many of Arab and African countries. Russia doesn't need it's gays, and they will likely leave to Europe or the USA.”
Rethinking Elections With Gamification

Rethinking Elections With Gamification

Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 08:01:03 in Technology

“John - I think voting should be easier, but the reason why the majority of the population doesn't vote isn't because it's not easy. :) That's like saying the reason why the majority of the population is overweight is because working out is too hard. It's true, but not enough to motivate (or demotivate) the desired action. What people need is more positive reinforcement, they need to feel that their actions matter, and that they are on their way to a lifetime of progress.”
The Gay Panic Defense and Trayvon Martin

The Gay Panic Defense and Trayvon Martin

Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 16:08:43 in Gay Voices

“I never suggested the case was one of "minority bashing". Rather, I've suggested that panic defenses have been used to slow down, distort and abridge justice for minorities in disproportionate ways.


luieburger on Apr 10, 2012 at 22:47:35

“Although you're right about panic defenses, I find it hard to believe that Zimmerman's motive was racially motivated. I also find it hard to believe that stand your ground laws are racially motivated. What's the real panic defense against racial minorities? Drug laws.”

Adam Sass on Apr 10, 2012 at 18:05:18

“Very well argued! Murder has far too many loopholes as it is.”
Egypt: Why Is The United States Afraid Of Arab Democracy?

Egypt: Why Is The United States Afraid Of Arab Democracy?

Commented Feb 15, 2011 at 09:39:34 in Books


Many of your conclusions are accurate, but some of your logic is fundamentally flawed.

By conflating the word "democracy" with the concept "democracy", you perpetuate a startling failure of discourse that seems inappropriate for a history professor - and a very un-nuanced take on the situation.

Democracy (the ideal) in our modern era is a combination of free elections, a free press, relative stability, low corruption, access to opportunity for all people, an impartial judiciary/justice, low/no conscription, access to health care, the right of self-determination and mostly peaceful relationships with neighbors.

It's not merely the right to choose the President. Many of the world's most repressive regimes have the word Democratic in them, and hold sham elections, simply to satisfy the paper-tiger requirement that they are democracies. This includes most communist countries, military dictatorships and theocracies. Unless the people have access to a strong foundation, foment in the streets will only put (more) dictators into power.

I think your title is misleading. The US is not afraid of democracy in the middle east, it just doesn't think real democracy is likely to happen any time soon outside of Israel and Turkey.”

Manchesterian on Feb 15, 2011 at 13:26:56

“The USA did not anticipate the Mubarak leadership crumbling as fast as it did either. This time the Emperor had no clothes. And, if said Empire keeps clinging to old ideas, well, she will end up buck naked and remarkably vulnerable.”

Enimal57 on Feb 15, 2011 at 12:41:41

“Gabe I see your point and I also see Mr. Makidisi’s as well:

To think Israel is a democracy is denying reality. Israel is a Police State that does few democratic things like free press, elections. It has a “concept” of democracy right to use your word. But it has corrupt rulers as the other Arab states do and it is a police state just like the others in the region all in the name of security.

The west IS afraid of Arab democracies that might bring radical Islamistes to power. I am not sure which of these two in the ME scares more: Islamistes or democracy.
Remember, when Hamas won the election by a majority, we did not recognize them even though they were legitimately elected. We were encouraging free elections as long as our side wins. What an unattainable position.
The “President” as in the case of Egypt is the OBSOLUTE ruler. You kind of have to remove him BEFORE you can change anything. Dismantle before you re-construct.

You said “I think your title is misleading¬. The US is not afraid of democracy in the Middle East, it just doesn't think real democracy is likely to happen any time soon outside of Israel and Turkey.”
Well last month NO ONE thought Tunisia could topple its Dictator either.
Democracy as you describe it does not depend on culture or religion. It is human based.”

Artos on Feb 15, 2011 at 11:16:01

“ Ask any Republican and they will tell you in no uncertain terms, that America is not a Democracy. In their view it is a Republic. In the history books that I have read Republics such as Rome and Greece were not true Democracies, they were Slave nations in which a Patrician class ruled. Perhaps Republicans know exactly what they are talking about.”

JGallardo on Feb 15, 2011 at 11:10:09

“A very good answer. I would only add in the topic of free elections by UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE so that you don't get twisted results like in Venezuela where 52% of the opposition only got 34% of seats.

I feel that many people in the US Government have lost the concept of what a democracy really is and now talk about "realpolitics" meaning that its okay to sacrifice principles as long as you're benefitting your own self interests. How Machiavellic! "The end justifies the means."”
huffingtonpost entry

Can Games and Gamification Fix Washington?

Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 16:48:39 in Politics


You are among the lucky few...I'm plagued with insane dupes and was standing next to a guy at the apple store on monday who had 30,000 duplicate entries in his mac address book. Just sayin. ;)

But on the subject of SCOTUS nominations - I wasn't proposing that elections are the right answer, but rather than unfettered presidential appointment is now, clearly, the wrong answer.

What are some other ideas? What did you think of my "max 1 nom per term" idea, maybe other above and beyond that being nominated and voted on by the house/senate?


Matt Mihaly on Feb 5, 2011 at 05:11:35

“I suspect that whether unfettered presidential appointments are a good or bad thing depends on the timing of when they retire/die along with who is President at the time and whom you're asking. I'm not sure there's a better answer. There are certainly different answers, but I don't think this is a solvable problem in the sense that there's some universal nirvana that any particular policy can achieve relative to what the huge range of citizens want. All you can ever get is something that makes some people somewhat happy. Not a reason to give up, of course, but I tend to think SCOTUS is the best of the three branches of government, even given the state of the Court today. At least they provide detailed, well-reasoned (even if you disagree) arguments rather than pandering to the camera 99% of the time.”