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My problem with a federal job guarantee program is that it's an indirect method to provide benefit; essentially, it's much easier to deny someone a federal job or disability benefits than it is to deny straight money, no conditions attached.

 

For example, they are trying to say my brother's physical disease has been filled out by someone as 'mental', and then have taken doctor's scripts to demonstrate that "there's nothing mentally wrong, therefore no disability".

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On 5/24/2019 at 7:12 PM, Old Man said:

And that's in raw numbers.  When you consider that the number of children in the US has been steadily increasing over the same timeframe, the percentage of single family homes is actually going downward.

 

Yes, there certainly has been a small drift downward in the last few years.

 

However, if you extend the time range on the chart you'll see that we are absolutely blowing it by historical standards.  And it is BAD beyond belief.

 

 

Image result for children in single parent homes in the 1950s chart

 

 

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I'm honestly not that worried about the number of youth raised in single parent homes. 

 

Bunch of other metrics on how we treat children strike me as compelling, aside from an apples to oranges comparison to when women were one step removed from chattel to their husbands due to economic and social pressure. I don't think the idyllic 1950s were all that fantastic for women, actually. 70 years ago was a pretty dark era if one was not a white male, in good health. And the further back you go, objectively the worse it gets. 

 

I'm pretty good with not going back to that, it wasn't a great look for society. YMMV

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Indeed. By any standard that can be measured with any degree of objectivity, we are doing steadily better -- mentally and socially as well as physicalloy and economically. See Pinker's Enlightenment Now. And this is true worldwide, not just in the USA, the West, or developed countries. Bluntly, liberalism works.

 

As for anecdotal evidence (sort of an oxymoron, I know), two of my gaming buddies recently felt comfortable enough to reveal the toxic -- even horrific -- two-parent households in which they grew up. So I am not convinced that Two Parents Are Always Better.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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3 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

Indeed. By any standard that can be measured with any degree of objectivity, we are doing steadily better -- mentally and socially as well as physicalloy and economically. See Pinker's Enlightenment Now. And this is true worldwide, not just in the USA, the West, or developed countries. Bluntly, liberalism works.

 

As for anecdotal evidence (sort of an oxymoron, I know), two of my gaming buddies recently felt comfortable enough to reveal the toxic -- even horrific -- two-parent households in which they grew up. So I am not convinced that Two Parents Are Always Better.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

 

Nobody would make the assertion that Two Parents Are Always Better.

 

But you can very easily make the scientifically backed assertion that Two Parents are Statistically Better.  Lower poverty rates, lower incarceration rates, lower rates of sexual abuse, etc., etc.

 

Not sure how you equate the booming global economy and vastly diminished rate of absolute poverty (both of which are great) as being caused by liberalism and not free markets.

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On 5/27/2019 at 6:08 AM, Hermit said:

 

This is a fair point. It's the kind of thing that drives me nuts when folks say "America can't..."

"America can't do universal health care"

"America can't afford to break up big monopolies"

"America can't cut down it's military spending "

"America can't reform political spending or college costs"

 

Could we not at least TRY???? 

 

 

We put a man on the moon nearly 50 years ago...

Since when did we become a bunch of America-can'ts instead of Ameri-CANS?

 

EDIT: And yes, I realize the pun undermines things but hey, we seem to be AWFULLY timid lately in our potential

 

Especially when the US has a record of succeeding by doing things that "established wisdom" said was foolishly idealistic or even suicidal:

 

How can you hold a sprawling country together without a king? Republics might work for city-states in Italy, but not someplace big. (And even in 1776, the US was a big place.) Just the slow speed of communication and travel makes it impractical.

 

How can a country survive without an established church to enforce unity of belief? Or without heavy state censorship? This "First Amendment" thing is a recipe for endless turmoil and dissent!

 

Extending the vote from landed affluent whit males to just anyone? Even to women? Are you mad?

 

Rebuild your defeated enemies, instead of grinding them down in hopes they never rise again? (Right, because "Keep Germany down"worked so well after World War One.)

 

"Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by Incapacity." -- William Blake, "Proverbs of Hell," in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

 

But I suspect that "It can't be done" often is cover for, "I don't want it done," because somebody fears for their money or their social status. Like, the fossil fuel industry has an obvious financial interest in blocking renewable energy. But forcing business interests, broadly, to defer to scientific and environmental concerns, broadly, also creates a new social status hierarchy that challenges America's deep anti-intellectual tradition. It ain't just the business leaders who will oppose that change.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

Extending the vote from landed affluent whit males to just anyone? Even to women? Are you mad?

 

Not sure our current implementation of voting is going to work out.  We're 23 trillion in debt and have north of 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities and our leaders are showing no signs of slowing down their spending.

 

Voting shouldn't be constrained by race or gender (nothing should, really), but I wouldn't mind an IQ test or some other metric required to be passed in order to vote.

 

If I want to fish - I need a license.

If I want a concealed handgun license I have to pass a background check; a written test; and prove I can hit a target while rapid-firing at the gun range.

If I want to drive a car I have to pass an eye-test, a written test and a driving practical.

 

If I want to vote I just have to make it to 18 years old and suddenly I have the power to pick which officials will determine the law of the land and who will, among other things, decide where our young men and women are sent to kill and die.

That really should require a certain level of testable knowledge and decision making.

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29 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

 

Nobody would make the assertion that Two Parents Are Always Better.

 

But you can very easily make the scientifically backed assertion that Two Parents are Statistically Better.  Lower poverty rates, lower incarceration rates, lower rates of sexual abuse, etc., etc.

 

Not sure how you equate the booming global economy and vastly diminished rate of absolute poverty (both of which are great) as being caused by liberalism and not free markets.

 

Confounding variables are the bane of social arguments based on statistical analysis. Do single-parent households cause poverty, incarceration, sexual abuse, etc? Or does poverty cause higher incarceration rates and incidentally make it harder for families to stay together? Or are these all epiphenomena of something else? The correlations do not necessarily show that you can solve these other problems by pressuring parents to stay together.

 

Liberalism is a package deal. Poverty is declining worldwide along with homophobia, institutionalized misogyny, racism, and many other social evils. The connection between free markets and, say, religious tolerance is that it all begins with the liberal assumption that individuals matter more than traditional elites, taboos and social structures. Once you apply this idea in one part of society, it spreads. For instance, women freed from chattel status start their own businesses, increasing the society's net capacity to generate wealth.

 

I will grant you, many contemporary American progressives seem to have forgotten that free markets are a liberal idea -- free people to seek their own benefit instead of locking them into traditional caste occupations, and give them access to property instead of elites locking up all the wealth -- but economic, political and social liberalism do go together and reinforce each other. On this I'll also recommend Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail, which discusses this in detail. One of their major arguments is that attempts to combine free markets with social and political restrictions are doomed to fail: Either the authoritarian political system chokes the economy into eventual stagnation and decline, or the wealthier population demands social and political liberalization.

 

The upshot is that when anyone seems to be defending Traditional Order, of any sort, I have my doubts. I think the evidence is pretty strong that breaking Traditional Orders usually produces more good than harm.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

 

If I want to vote I just have to make it to 18 years old and suddenly I have the power to pick which officials will determine the law of the land and who will, among other things, decide where our young men and women are sent to kill and die.

That really should require a certain level of testable knowledge and decision making.

 

Here, I sympathize: I've toyed with the idea that maybe birthright citizenship should be ended for everyone. As with immigrants, everyone must earn their citizenship by passing a test.

 

But the history of Jim Crow tactics to deny black people the vote shows that it's too easy to manipulate any system or restricting the vote to "qualified" people.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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16 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

Here, I sympathize: I've toyed with the idea that maybe birthright citizenship should be ended for everyone. As with immigrants, everyone must earn their citizenship by passing a test.

 

The original interpretations of the law (there's a decent Wiki article on the topic) wouldn't have covered the 300k-400k children being born to parents here illegally each year.

Even in the mid-1800s it was determined that only legal residents of foreign nationals were granted birthright citizenship.

 

Oddly enough, this has caused some problems for Lost Canadians due to the proximity of large Canadian cities with our border and their crossing over for emergency birth care on occasion.  If they are born here they are Americans and Canada doesn't recognize them as Canadians.  Even if they lived their whole lives in Canada and were born to Canadian parents.  Kinda nuts.

 

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, DShomshak said:

 

Here, I sympathize: I've toyed with the idea that maybe birthright citizenship should be ended for everyone. As with immigrants, everyone must earn their citizenship by passing a test.

 

But the history of Jim Crow tactics to deny black people the vote shows that it's too easy to manipulate any system or restricting the vote to "qualified" people.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

Ah, like in Starship Troopers. Civilian as the default legal status, Citizen as the earned one.

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1 hour ago, Toxxus said:

 

Not sure our current implementation of voting is going to work out.  We're 23 trillion in debt and have north of 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities and our leaders are showing no signs of slowing down their spending.

 

Voting shouldn't be constrained by race or gender (nothing should, really), but I wouldn't mind an IQ test or some other metric required to be passed in order to vote.

 

If I want to fish - I need a license.

If I want a concealed handgun license I have to pass a background check; a written test; and prove I can hit a target while rapid-firing at the gun range.

If I want to drive a car I have to pass an eye-test, a written test and a driving practical.

 

If I want to vote I just have to make it to 18 years old and suddenly I have the power to pick which officials will determine the law of the land and who will, among other things, decide where our young men and women are sent to kill and die.

That really should require a certain level of testable knowledge and decision making.

 

Literacy tests were long used in the South to disenfranchise people of color and other "undesirables".

 

https://allthatsinteresting.com/voting-literacy-test

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1 hour ago, Toxxus said:

The original interpretations of the law (there's a decent Wiki article on the topic) wouldn't have covered the 300k-400k children being born to parents here illegally each year.

Even in the mid-1800s it was determined that only legal residents of foreign nationals were granted birthright citizenship.

 

 

But the law changed with the passage of the 14th amendment, which is quite explicit that those children are citizens.

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13 minutes ago, Dr.Device said:

 

But the law changed with the passage of the 14th amendment, which is quite explicit that those children are citizens.

 

It's not clear that they are.  There's a whole debate about it and everything.

 

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. "

 

Groups that are very clearly covered:  Children born in the country whose parents are citizens.

Groups that are not clearly covered:  People illegally or legally in the country and subject to the jurisdiction of their country of residence.

 

In fact, in that same amendment, a little further down in the equal protection under the law clause they use "in the jurisdiction" which indicates a decision based on physical location and distinct from "subject to the jurisdiction" which is a legal obligation.

 

Historically the children of foreign officials - diplomats in particular - have not been covered as they are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States.

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

It's not clear that they are.  There's a whole debate about it and everything.

 

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. "

 

Groups that are very clearly covered:  Children born in the country whose parents are citizens.

Groups that are not clearly covered:  People illegally or legally in the country and subject to the jurisdiction of their country of residence.

 

In fact, in that same amendment, a little further down in the equal protection under the law clause they use "in the jurisdiction" which indicates a decision based on physical location and distinct from "subject to the jurisdiction" which is a legal obligation.

 

Historically the children of foreign officials - diplomats in particular - have not been covered as they are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States.

 

 

There's debate about everything, including whether or not the Earth is flat, so I don't find the existence of debate meaningful.

 

An individual can be subject to multiple jurisdictions. Almost all of us are. I'm subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, the state of Texas, and the city of Austin. If I were in the military I'd also be subject to that jurisdiction. If I travel to England, I'm subject to the jurisdiction of that country, but still subject to the jurisdiction of the US (unless I go through the complex process of renouncing my citizenship). The amendment does not say subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the US. The argument that being subject to another jurisdiction somehow means they aren't subject to US jurisdiction is entirely specious.

 

Besides which, to argue that these children are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US is to argue that their parents also are not. If they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US, then they are not bound by its laws. If that were the case, US law enforcement would have no authority over them. 

 

Children of anyone with diplomatic immunity have always been excluded for exactly that reason. They, in fact, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US. That's what diplomatic immunity is.

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6 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

Not sure our current implementation of voting is going to work out.  We're 23 trillion in debt and have north of 100 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities and our leaders are showing no signs of slowing down their spending.

 

Voting shouldn't be constrained by race or gender (nothing should, really), but I wouldn't mind an IQ test or some other metric required to be passed in order to vote.

 

If I want to fish - I need a license.

If I want a concealed handgun license I have to pass a background check; a written test; and prove I can hit a target while rapid-firing at the gun range.

If I want to drive a car I have to pass an eye-test, a written test and a driving practical.

 

If I want to vote I just have to make it to 18 years old and suddenly I have the power to pick which officials will determine the law of the land and who will, among other things, decide where our young men and women are sent to kill and die.

That really should require a certain level of testable knowledge and decision making.

You listed things that are choices we make. Being born in this country and thus being subject to it's laws in not a choice one makes.  As we were founded on the idea of no taxation without representation (and no that is not limited to federal income tax as the idea of taxation) the right to vote should only be revoked in only the most extreme circumstances. Sadly this country continues to try and strip away and discourage voting rather than trying to broaden the voting population. Even when citizens vote to allow more citizens to vote, those in power find new ways to thwart the will of the people.

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A knowledge test to vote, if done in a constitutional manner, would bankrupt the US in no time, as very large numbers of people would fail any stringent test, anything less would be pointless, as, for example, a passing knowledge of economics is effectively as worthless as none when dealing with some global economic issues one is voting on, and as soon as those large swaths of people can no longer vote, they also can no longer be taxed, as they can elect no representatives, unless failure on this test is a crime, which is an even worse idea.

 

No state(worldwide) with elections has ever really solved the problem of sufficient education of the voter base, and making the very people controlling the funds for education the ones who fund and serve as administration for the tests for who can vote is a really, really problematic ihing.

 

If the people are not wise enough to vote well in large enough numbers that it is an issue, there is almost zero chance that local governments hold no responsibility for it in the US education system, and it also means that at the federal level the citizens interests weren't being looked after.

 

So, literally, the government would be defining the qualities one needs to have to vote for the government, the administering of the tests, the retention of records, etc.

 

Which is why that's a more effective system to undermine democracy than to bolster it.

 

As has already been pointed out, the closest historical parallels we have to such tests were used against minorities and especially black Americans by people who often had to cheat to avoid the tests for fear of revealing their inadequate grasp of reality. That system made the American South an economically backward region that could not attract as much investment  as the North through the entirety of the first half of the twentieth century, Worse was the lawless conduct of those who did get to decide who voted, and that lawlessness was the reason they made sure to hold that power, not a byproduct, but the goal.

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13 hours ago, Toxxus said:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. "

 

Undocumented immigrants are clearly subject to US laws. Therefore, their US-born children are US citizens. 

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Incidentally, I do strongly recommend Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail. Their discussion of "extractive" vs. "inclusive" economic and political institutions becomes more relevant every year. And while I knew that the post-Enlightenment developed world was doing a lot of things differently than people did before, I under-appreciated just how drastic the changes were, and how relentlessly, brutally exploitative so many societies were before. Like, we think North Korea is bad (and rightly so); but in some ways the Kims are amateurs at harvesting wealth from a country.

 

Gaming utility: If you want to design a Sf dystopia or Fantasy Evil Empire, this book will give you a lot of material. But also story ideas on how societies can break free from the cycle of exploitation and turn in directions that enrich and empower the many instead of the few.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Robert Muller, as transcribed by NPR.  Emphasis by myself:

 

Quote

Good morning everyone, and thank you for being here.

 

Two years ago, the acting attorney general asked me to serve as special counsel, and he created the Special Counsel's Office. The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.

 

Now I have not spoken publicly during our investigation. I am speaking out today because our investigation is complete. The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the Special Counsel's Office, and as well, I'm resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life. I'll make a few remarks about the results of our work, but beyond these few remarks, it is important that the office's written work speak for itself.

 

Let me begin where the appointment order begins, and that is interference in the 2016 presidential election. As alleged by the grand jury in an indictment, Russian intelligence officers who were part of the Russian military launched a concerted attack on our political system. The indictment alleges that they used sophisticated cyber techniques to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. They stole private information and then released that information through fake online identities, and through the organization WikiLeaks. The releases were designed and timed to interfere with our election and to damage a presidential candidate. And at the same time, as the grand jury alleged in a separate indictment, a private Russian entity engaged in a social media operation where Russian citizens posed as Americans in order to influence an election. These indictments contain allegations, and we are not commenting on the guilt or the innocence of any specific defendant. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

The indictments allege, and the other activities in our report describe, efforts to interfere in our political system. They needed to be investigated and understood, and that is among the reasons why the Department of Justice established our office. That is also a reason we investigated efforts to obstruct the investigation. The matters we investigated were of paramount importance. It was critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person we questioned. When a subject of an investigation obstructs that investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of the government's effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable.

 

Let me say a word about the report. The report has two parts addressing the two main issues we were asked to investigate. The first volume of the report details numerous efforts emanating from Russia to influence the election. This volume includes a discussion of the Trump campaign's response to this activity, as well as our conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy.

 

And in the second volume, the report describes the results and analysis of our obstruction of justice investigation involving the president. The order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation. We conducted that investigation, and we kept the office of the acting attorney general apprised of the progress of our work.And as set forth in the report, after that investigation if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.

 

We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime. The introduction to the Volume II of our report explains that decision. It explains that under long-standing department policy, a president can not be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view, that too is prohibited.

 

The Special Counsel's Office is part of the Department of Justice, and by regulation it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider. The department's written opinion explaining the policy makes several important points that further informed our handling of the obstruction investigation. Those points are summarized in our report, and I will describe two of them for you.

  • First, the opinion explicitly explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents available. Among other things, that evidence could be used if there were co-conspirators who could be charged now.

  • And second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.

  • And beyond department policy, we were guided by principles of fairness. It would be unfair to potentially — it would be unfair to potentially accuse somebody of a crime when there can be no court resolution of the actual charge.

So that was Justice Department policy. Those were the principles under which we operated, and from them, we concluded that we would — would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office's — that is the office's final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.

 

We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general as required by department regulations. The attorney general then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and to the American people. At one point in time, I requested that certain portions of the report be released. The attorney general preferred to make that — preferred to make the entire report public all at once, and we appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public, and I certainly did not question the attorney general's good faith in that decision.

 

Now, I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak to you in this manner. I am making that decision myself. No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter. There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself. And the report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress. In addition, access to our underlying underlying work product is being decided in a process that does not involve our office.

 

So, beyond what I've said here today and what is contained in our written work, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to speak further about the investigation or to comment on the actions of the Justice Department or Congress. And it's for that reason, I will not be taking questions today, as well.

 

Now before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals who spent nearly two years with the Special Counsel's Office were of the highest integrity.

 

And I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments: That there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.

 

Thank you. Thank you for being here today.

 

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On 5/24/2019 at 8:12 PM, Old Man said:

 

 

The rate of single parent homes hasn't changed significantly for 25 years. 

 

spacer.png

 

 

And that's in raw numbers.  When you consider that the number of children in the US has been steadily increasing over the same timeframe, the percentage of single family homes is actually going downward.

 

Old Man presents a chart about children living in single parent households

 

On 5/28/2019 at 10:19 AM, Toxxus said:

 

Yes, there certainly has been a small drift downward in the last few years.

 

However, if you extend the time range on the chart you'll see that we are absolutely blowing it by historical standards.  And it is BAD beyond belief.

 

 

Image result for children in single parent homes in the 1950s chart

 

 

 

Toxxus presents a chart about nonmarital birth rates.

 

Old Man and Toxxus are talking about two different things but I get the impression Toxxus somehow thinks they're talking about the same thing.

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary also thinks different people may have different definitions of "liberalism."

 

 

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