Posts in total: 591
Thoughts on LASIK?
I will probably get it one day.
More questions are encouraged.
Thoughts on Tik Tok?
What is the greatest indicator of economic health?
What is it that you like about being a lawyer, and for how long did you have the passion for law?
Thoughts on Venezuela?
Can you tell me how many days you think you have left in your life?
Is the death penalty constitutional?
I will get to all of these. Meanwhile, more questions are encouraged!
Do you think a horse knows if it won a race?
Do you talk to animals?
Do you believe in free will, the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces?
If he does, it wasn't his choice to believe in it (proving the anti-free-will side true no matter what).
28 days later
Why do the democratic and republican candidates seem increasingly polarized in comparison to the political climate before Barack Obama took office, particularly on societal topics, or the relationship of the people with their government?
Trump has less than 6 months before he is impeached, and once that happens the neocons will be back in power.
Quote from about 6 months ago. Further thoughts?
What kind of healthcare solutions would you like to see in the United States?
What are your thoughts on Jordan Peterson. Don't know if this will be taken as an insult but you guys seem similar in a lot (not most or all neccesarily) ways.
I'd like to know if you have any opinions in mind on our current electoral system in the United States. I believe Bernie Sanders is not a democrat, but he garners substantial support from factions with a limited pull in the democratic party. He should have been allowed a fair shot to present his platform in the presidential debates.
>Thoughts on Tik Tok?
It seems like a Vine knockoff, which is to say I have a low opinion of it. The memes from there have been amusing, but no more amusing than what was on Vine.
Overall, this seems to be one more addition to the collective destruction of our youth.
>What is the greatest indicator of economic health?
At what level of analysis? As a society, what you want to see is the absence of a concentration of capital at the upper levels of economic wealth. You want to avoid situations where capital returns are greater than the rate of inflation. You want to see low unemployment and low under employment. You want to have a maximum of about 5-10% of the labor force with part time work. You want to see average savings at a level of at least 5% of annual income. Stuff like that would be a good place to start.
>What is it that you like about being a lawyer, and for how long did you have the passion for law?
I like that I have a lot of autonomy in what I do, that I work in an office setting that has relatively little bullshit involved, and that I don't have a lot of oversight. I like that the people I work with are fairly agreeable, and most of them are good people or at least seem to be while at work.
I like the competitive aspects of litigation, and especially the strategic and tactical considerations involved at every level of the game. I see what I do very much as a game, that I get to play with other people who may not like the game as much as I do. That makes winning the game better for me.
There are so many levels of strategy involved in what I do, from broad-based strategies for how I want the facts to unfold, the order in which I want facts to be disclosed, all the way down to how I walk in and present myself in a room.
Here's an example:
I represented a company about a year ago that was engaged in some really fucked up shit. The company had probably defrauded a lot of people, and there was some evidence out there which could have been interpreted as proof of that misconduct. But, there wasn't only one kind of fraud... there was a lot of different kinds of fraud, misrepresentation, and general mischief. The plaintiff's attorneys were coming at us with the force of armies, and there were multiple classes of plaintiffs involved.
I had two strategies, and both of these were my ideas. The first strategy was to appear to comply in good faith with court orders with respect to class discovery, and we did that; but only with information that would have made it harder for the multivariate classes of what seemed to be similarly situated consumers to satisfy the procedural requirements for what is called "class certification". However, I gave them a TON of documents. It took their army of associates a while to get through them, if they even bothered.
The typical asshole-defense attorney thing to do is to bury the smoking gun among a mountain of irrelevancy. I didn't do that, mostly was because there were about thirty smoking guns. So, I picked the least-smoking of the smoking guns, and the second-least smoking, of the smoking guns, and turned it over to the other side. Then, we limited discovery to certification only on those issues, while I was selectively withholding more information that I'm fairly sure would have caused the plaintiff's to re-evaluate their strategy. Then, we released more documents that by then had set the baseline of expectation with regard to overall litigation success. I gave them what they wanted, but the other side only saw a fraction of what was out there. The plaintiffs believed this, because I made them work to figure this strategy out. I sent them on a wild goose chase while I could keep from them that which was most damaging to my client. Classic misdirection.
The second aspect regarded settlement. We were engaged in "good faith" (lol) settlement negotiations the entire time that the games I described above were going on. I acted like a beaten animal when we were talking global settlement for all classes in mediation, and gave the plaintiff's attorneys (idiots) the appearance of making it seem like there were massive conflicts between the general counsel and this team I was on, even to the point where the partner and I faked an argument on the phone (at elevated vocal levels) outside the central conference room where everyone was meeting up. It was all a show.
We settled, under terms where the plaintiffs thought they put the screws to us If the lawsuit had gone on, a post-certification settlement probably would have ended the company. Instead, we kept the client, and this company stayed solvent (and the thousand or so people who worked there kept their jobs).
Russian propagandists poisoned the well, with the disinformation strategy that Trump and company were staging a coup of Maduro with Juan Guaido. This was obviously false, but it worked. I am disgusted with how Trump handled the whole affair.
>Do you talk to animals?
I have never met a dog I wasn't friends with, or couldn't become friends with. And yes, some of the best conversations I've had, have been with dogs.
How many of these accents can you do?
Southern (come on)
British (come on)
>Do you believe in free will, the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces?
This is such a curious question, mostly because the position from which it is asked is in the context of a debate about human nature which is as old as civilization itself. The question is especially interesting now, because even though it is an essentially normative question there have been very sincere attempts in the sciences to say something empirical about whether we as human beings have free will. So, now the contours of that debate, and the sort of theoretical framework in which it's asked is not merely a question of, say, contrasting theological or philosophical perspectives; but also a question about the epistemological character of what science can and can not do. Namely, is it true that we can positively describe free will in such a way that we can then empirically test it? Is the claim that human beings have free will one that is falsifiable, and, if so, on what basis could it be falsified?
There's obviously a lot more complexity to the question than can be easily dispensed with. Likewise, I don't think it's good enough to reduce that question ONLY to one that is nothing more than a choice between whether the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice or is determined by either physical or divine forces. Namely, because both of those things can be true, at the same time; which is to say, that they're not mutually exclusive, which is to imply that the way that you have framed the question itself is less than ideal. Though, that's probably not your fault, but I am going to be very clear that I reject your framing of just what exactly belief versus disbelief in free will entails.
I also think there's another dimension to that question to the effect that whether or not, from a scientific or empirical perspective, we can even sensibly talk about free will, the question itself is futile to answer because the foundation of our society and culture (at least in the West, and in every country and culture on earth that has not totally destroyed itself so far) we all ACT as if we have a degree of free will that is at least sufficient to make individuals responsible for their own actions. So, that's at least two other levels at which the issue can be considered: both the normative question of whether as a sort of grand narrative we ought to act as if people have free will (and it is obvious that we should), and if so, to what degree? There is also a way to positively frame that question, to the effect of "to what degree is a will free, if it is free in the first instance?"
I'll say this: it is very clear to me that we as human beings both do and should act as if people have free will, and it certainly seems to me like people have at least a degree of free will that is sufficient for them to be autonomous moral agents. I think viewing the world and the people who populate it as if they lack free will to at least that degree is fatalistic and vacuous. I also think that the so called scientific research into the subject is mostly bullshit on stilts, and the pop-sci conclusions that, for example, brooding high school misfits come to about free will from their casual misunderstandings of epigenetic research, for example, lack without limitation the ability to stand up to even modest scrutiny.
I could say a lot more on the subject, but you just asked me what I "believed". I told you what I thought, though not so much why I thought it. Don't have enough time for that.
>Why do the democratic and republican candidates seem increasingly polarized in comparison to the political climate before Barack Obama took office, particularly on societal topics, or the relationship of the people with their government?
It's a political race to the bottom. The problem is that there is no bottom that we will ever reach, short of totally destroying the institutions of our government that have made our society as stable and prosperous as ours is. There is no limit to the depths of hell into which the Republican and Democratic parties have plunged themselves. Sadly, it may turn out that we will have to be in armageddon before they figure that out.
I was obviously wrong about Trump being impeached. The reason I was wrong is because I believed that the Democrats wouldn't be such fucking cowards as they have been. Pelosi, Schumer, and the lot of them, have demonstrated no more capability or courage or leadership than a swarm of lemmings. There are lots of reasons why this is true, but I had higher aspirations and ideals for the Democratic leadership than they proved to have. Maybe I was just too optimistic (and a bit too naive about justice's tendency to prevail over evil, the moral arc of the universe's bending towards justice, and all that jazz). I oscillate between running out of patience, and throwing in the towel.