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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#17921 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-February-27, 16:26

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-February-27, 14:47, said:

I am more and more concerned that we in the U.S. are blindly stumbling toward an American Spring, a type of anti-Arab Spring where the goal is greater authoritarian control and less liberal democracy.

One of the bigger reasons for my concern is the lack of diversity in points of views that our media has decided newsworthy. For example, only today there was a headline about some old Fox news lady who pulled her children out of school for some wacko reasoning - why should that be newsworthy? Only because she has some kind of audience - and she only has an audience because she has been promoted.

We are in for a great fall - and I really don't see how all the pieces can be put back together again.


very true - Luis Rooten wrote a little poem about it

Un petit d'un petit
S'étonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! degrés te fallent
Indolent qui ne sort cesse
Indolent qui ne se mène
Qu'importe un petit d'un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#17922 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-February-27, 16:44

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-February-27, 14:20, said:

The USA is constructed on the central big lie that everyone "believes". E Pluribus Unum. From many comes one.

This tiny phrase suggests to Americans that anyone, no matter their circumstances, can rise "like some rough beast, its time come round at last, and slouch towards Bethlehem". To paraphrase.

As a sidebar, the word 'bedlam' comes from the name of a major psychiatric hospital (my sister worked there) called Bethlehem (contracted to bedlam.
I'm pretty sure that quite a few of the occupants of this hospital also thought that they could become President at one time or another.

Of course, this is BS. Less than half of the people legally present in the USA can become President. And that's just based on citizenship and age.

The reason it's called the American dream is that it's only present in your dreams.

The Australian dream is to own a house. This is a much more achievable objective - around two-thirds of the Australian population have owned their own domicile. It's similar in the USA.
You don't lose your home in Australia if you have to pay medical (or electricity in Texas) bills.

I had the same sense of existential anxiety when living or working in the USA when visiting Iran.
At least the white people in the USA don't have to worry about being picked up on the street and imprisoned for no good reason by other white people.

I suspect that people develop these crazy notions because they watch too much television or other forms of entertainment that have no aesthetic value.
Someone once commented that the difference between art and pornography is that in a porn film, there is no story, 'actors' move from one scene to another doing things - alone or in groups.
The same applies to much of the 'product' in books, film and song. There is no aesthetic value; the action just rolls past your eyes like a duck (so to speak).


One of the reasons "people develop these crazy notions" is because in our own lives the American Dream reflects reality as we have experienced it.

Some of us, I hope many of us, are willing to discuss how the American Dream can become reality for others.

Added for amusement: It's true that my father was ineligible to be president. I can't recall hin ever expressing any bitterness over that fact.
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#17923 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-February-27, 20:15

From Noah Smith interview with Saikat Chakrabarti, creator of the Green New Deal:

Quote

Another idea we've advanced has been to return the Federal Reserve System back to its roots as a network of regional development banks. So while the FFB/NRDC focuses on national-level development strategies, a network of regional development banks can bring in the kind of bottom-up input necessary to have successful national development. To do this, the Fed would expand its direct-to-business lending to support productive small and medium sized businesses--similar to the Sparkassen in Germany. And unlike today, where the NY Fed makes the biggest financial decisions, the Fed would empower its regional banks to develop their respective regions. The Fed could be informed by the NDS put out by the NRDC every year to guide its investing decisions while also feeding information about what's actually working on the ground back to the NRDC. This would be a great way to rebuild, with some intentionality, the small and medium businesses that are dying by the millions right now due to the COVID-19 recession.

But beyond policy, successful national economic development will take a different kind of political leadership than what we're used to. We need leaders who are willing to take risks, be creative, throw out ideas when they aren't working and double down when they are, think outside the box to call the nation to action, and always be pushing to go bigger and faster. Just as an example, a few weeks ago some of us at New Consensus began digging a bit more into our vaccine production bottlenecks. New Consensus put out an op-ed arguing for going faster since if we can shave off even a couple months in vaccinating all of America, we could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Worst case, we would end up with the capacity to vaccinate the rest of the world faster, which we will need to do if we don't want COVID-19 to become a yearly disease like the flu. But when we started looking into what the actual bottlenecks are in mRNA vaccine development, we mostly came across articles arguing for why we can'tdo it. These articles are interesting and I'd encourage the reader to read them, but the argument boiled down to our inability to make more of these nanoassembly machines and train enough people to operate them. This sounded surprising to us--if only a handful of these machines are making our supply right now, how could we not possibly make more of them? My colleague Zack Exley and I called a few people in industry who work on vaccine manufacturing to see if maybe we were missing something--perhaps these machines were incredibly hard to make? But the people we called, including someone at a company that makes these nanoassembly machines, thought we could easily build more in a matter of weeks. So why isn't Biden pushing to invest in building more of these machines now to ramp up our production?

The point of this anecdote isn't to say that there is one weird trick to upping vaccine production by building more nanoassembly machines. Even if these machines are the only bottleneck now (which I'm skeptical of), as soon as we fix it there will be a new bottleneck. My point is we need the kind of political leadership that tries to relentlessly figure out what we should be doing to go faster and does it. With vaccines, the only reason to not make more doses faster would be if there is some raw material we have to get from nature that we are running out of. But then our leaders should ask, why not make a synthetic version of it? We need leaders who assume there is a way to do better instead of assuming we're doing the best we can.

This is, unfortunately, the opposite of how most of our political leaders act today. From my time in Congress, I learned that politicians in America are greatly incentivized to do as little as possible as long as it doesn't get them in trouble. The consequence for action and failure is obvious to them--you get attacked in political attack ads and probably the media. Also your colleagues won't like you because you are the annoying person asking uncomfortable questions and telling people they could be doing a better job. But we need politicians to realize that often, the consequences for trying and failing are minimal compared to the consequences for not trying at all. We need leaders who are brave enough to question, break through barriers, and drive progress even when there isn't public pressure to do so. Without that, I fear even the best designed institutions and industrial policy will not get us very far.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17924 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-February-27, 20:30

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-February-26, 16:34, said:

It turns out (naturally), that the place of atheists (like me) in society is a well-studied topic.

....


I would regard myself as a secular Christian upbringing atheist (who tried to incorporate and make sense of half a dozen other major traditions etc) with a lifetime of complex experiences who has a distrust for some high profile outspoken atheist types due to their rather limited lens on the world and human experience. They/many atheists seem to deny the sophistication and complexity of human evolution, cognition, psychology, and what all the different philosophical/religious interpretations and representations of those things could be.
I prefer to work out and question (as a scientific type) what things mean(how they came about) rather than mocking them which is a common approach.
Note - regarding your comment on locus of control is it not the case that possibly the majority of the world has a very little power/control (and entitled to feel it is largely external) and many of those who mock/similar word have huge power

I feel that some extreme atheistic pronouncements/attitudes are on a par with the distrust I have with techs running our world

PS I remember when I first visited Indonesia I was advised to call myself a Christian rather than an atheist. It was a safer approach :)

PPS As an afterthought I should be careful what I say about papers from one of my associated (and trained) professional groups, but I do find the nature of much psychological research (including my own) to be rather frustrating in how it is researched, analysed and written up. It too seems to lose the complexity of the human mind. This thing appears not to be correlated with this but it is with that kind of thing
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#17925 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-February-27, 21:05

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-February-27, 14:47, said:

I am more and more concerned that we in the U.S. are blindly stumbling toward an American Spring, a type of anti-Arab Spring where the goal is greater authoritarian control and less liberal democracy.

One of the bigger reasons for my concern is the lack of diversity in points of views that our media has decided newsworthy. For example, only today there was a headline about some old Fox news lady who pulled her children out of school for some wacko reasoning - why should that be newsworthy? Only because she has some kind of audience - and she only has an audience because she has been promoted.

We are in for a great fall - and I really don't see how all the pieces can be put back together again.


I am curious how to reconcile this with the recent celebration of the Democrats' (EDIT fixed apostrophe - more than one Democrat) success :)
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#17926 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-February-27, 21:14

View Posty66, on 2021-February-27, 20:15, said:



Just out of interest Mr 66, what is your personal opinion of all these quotes that you post?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#17927 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-February-28, 09:11

View Postthepossum, on 2021-February-27, 21:05, said:

I am curious how to reconcile this with the recent celebration of the Democrats' (EDIT fixed apostrophe - more than one Democrat) success :)


Just because your troops remove an enemy sniper doesn't mean you have won the war.


PS: Here is an example of the continuing war:

Quote

PHOENIX — A Republican lawmaker wants to allow the Arizona Legislature to overturn the results of a presidential election, even after the count is formally certified by the governor and secretary of state — and even after Congress counts the state’s electors.

This post has been edited by Winstonm: 2021-February-28, 10:04

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17928 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-February-28, 14:17

View Postthepossum, on 2021-February-27, 20:30, said:

I would regard myself as a secular Christian upbringing atheist (who tried to incorporate and make sense of half a dozen other major traditions etc) with a lifetime of complex experiences who has a distrust for some high profile outspoken atheist types due to their rather limited lens on the world and human experience. They/many atheists seem to deny the sophistication and complexity of human evolution, cognition, psychology, and what all the different philosophical/religious interpretations and representations of those things could be.
I prefer to work out and question (as a scientific type) what things mean(how they came about) rather than mocking them which is a common approach.
Note - regarding your comment on locus of control is it not the case that possibly the majority of the world has a very little power/control (and entitled to feel it is largely external) and many of those who mock/similar word have huge power

I feel that some extreme atheistic pronouncements/attitudes are on a par with the distrust I have with techs running our world

PS I remember when I first visited Indonesia I was advised to call myself a Christian rather than an atheist. It was a safer approach :)

PPS As an afterthought I should be careful what I say about papers from one of my associated (and trained) professional groups, but I do find the nature of much psychological research (including my own) to be rather frustrating in how it is researched, analysed and written up. It too seems to lose the complexity of the human mind. This thing appears not to be correlated with this but it is with that kind of thing


Other work has shown that atheists tend to know more about philosophy and religion than people that claim to believe in a supreme being. I put this down to a need to "check the evidence".
My Atheism is hard-core. I am certain in my disbelief of things that do not subject themselves to rational explanation.
Bridge is a synecdoche for life in this sense. From time to time, I harbour incorrect ideas about bidding and play. I know they are wrong because my results are bad. So I constantly test these ideas to check which are right (useful, give positive results) and those that are wrong.
On top of that, there are advanced methods that I know exist, but I haven't conquered - that's a different problem,

Regarding what I should appear as in different countries. I was always advised to introduce myself as an Australian in Europe in case they took me for British - or American.
Luckily, because of my upbringing, I'm quite good at accents.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek, J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots.
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#17929 User is offline   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-March-01, 19:44

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-February-27, 21:14, said:

Just out of interest Mr 66, what is your personal opinion of all these quotes that you post?

Interesting question.

#17930 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-March-01, 20:51

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-February-28, 14:17, said:

Other work has shown that atheists tend to know more about philosophy and religion than people that claim to believe in a supreme being. I put this down to a need to "check the evidence".


Maybe on average which is the limit of most studies. That's something I call "needing to look for limitations in models"

However as an atheist I feel I would know more about religion and philosophy than most people - religious or atheist :)

However since I am not a professor of religion or atheism (or even have a PhD) those who profess to know most about everything and conveniently use models to back them up would take no notice of anything I say on the subject :)

Come to think of it are atheism studies a subset of religious studies?

I also struggle with claiming to believe or not believe in something that isn't really very well defined at all

However on the other subject, when visiting (and trying to respect) highly religious countries and cultures I try not to let Western whatever (godlessness?) it is get in the way of choosing to avoid unnecessarily complex or difficult arguments with people who may not accept or understand that viewpoint. Maybe it depends who you talk to, but most of the time when traveling I preferred to be with ordinary people like me rather than those in the Universities
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#17931 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-01, 21:01

I guess I will weigh in on the posts w/o comment.
I often find them interesting and I suppose the implied comment from Y is "I found this interesting".

One of the reasons that I stick around is I see various views from various sources that I would not have consulted or, in some cases, didn't know existed.

I agree that this could be abused, but I have often found these posted links, from others as well as Y, to be interesting. In particular, I sometimes click on the link and read the link in its entirety, sometimes even look for other notes by the same author.


I sometimes feel that I have posted my own views so often everyone knows whether I prefer my fish to be fried, broiled or baked. Visitors welcome, even remote visitors.
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#17932 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-March-01, 21:26

View Postthepossum, on 2021-March-01, 20:51, said:

Maybe on average which is the limit of most studies. That's something I call "needing to look for limitations in models"

However as an atheist I feel I would know more about religion and philosophy than most people - religious or atheist :)

However, since I am not a professor of religion or atheism (or even have a PhD) those who profess to know most about everything and conveniently use models to back them up would take no notice of anything I say on the subject :)

Come to think of it are atheism studies a subset of religious studies?

I also struggle with claiming to believe or not believe in something that isn't really very well defined at all

However on the other subject, when visiting (and trying to respect) highly religious countries and cultures I try not to let Western whatever (godlessness?) it is get in the way of choosing to avoid unnecessarily complex or difficult arguments with people who may not accept or understand that viewpoint. Maybe it depends who you talk to, but most of the time when traveling I preferred to be with ordinary people like me rather than those in the Universities



"Jonah, he lived in a whale" or "Methuselah lived nine hundred years", are religious tenets that many would agree ain't necessarily so. But if religion means organizing our lives in ways that are not strictly a matter of inescapable logic, then things get more complicated. It's not that I take a religious view, I don't. Rather it's that I don't believe that my life stands up to full logical scrutiny either. Try reading Kant. If you can make it all the way through you are a better person than I am. Choices are certainly worth thinking about, but we choose, probably putting Kant aside unread. We might rethink some of those choices later.
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#17933 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-March-01, 21:31

View Postkenberg, on 2021-March-01, 21:26, said:

"Jonah, he lived in a whale" or "Methuselah lived nine hundred years", are religious tenets that many would agree ain't necessarily so. But if religion means organizing our lives in ways that are not strictly a matter of inescapable logic, then things get more complicated. It's not that I take a religious view, I don't. Rather it's that I don't believe that my life stands up to full logical scrutiny either. Try reading Kant. If you can make it all the way through you are a better person than I am. Choices are certainly worth thinking about, but we choose, probably putting Kant aside unread. We might rethink some of those choices later.


I've read more than enough religious and philosophical texts to last me a lifetime

The way everyone trivialises argument with constant straw men such as those on this thread are part of the problem. How many sentences are there we could take issue and throw at each other etc

The sad thing is that its hard to even get atheists (with their supposed superior intellect) to think and argue at a higher level

Many extreme (I use the word cautiously) atheists or rationalists maybe are at a level that think everything can be explained at a reductionist level of neurons and genes. That is a battle we have to fight in many disciplines, not just philosophy/religion whatever. I am seriously concerned about the state of the world with the increasing dominance and power of those tendencies/outlooks and the loss of the philosophical. I started studying (went a long way almost to practice) psychology - mainly because of its groundings in philosophy and its more sophisticated analytical/philosophical elements only to find a gradual take over of the cog-neuro perspective with its very limited lens

I posted all this stuff about human history, psychology, cognition, language, migration patterns, evolution and what all those philosophies may have meant at some period in time - its a widely studied and fascinating subject, not to be trivialised.

Why do I always feel at risk on these forums. As if I am being setup for something

PS Its also concerning to me that many people (powerful influential and authoritative ones) have a very limited view on what constitutes evidence. Thats what I was getting at with my comment about evidence and understanding of models. There is so much evidence in many important disciplines that is ignored simply because people cannot find a trial or meta analysis to back it up etc. Thats the point I am trying to make in relation to philosophical outlook and different modes of inquiry
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#17934 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-March-01, 22:41

View Postthepossum, on 2021-March-01, 21:31, said:

I've read more than enough religious and philosophical texts to last me a lifetime

The way everyone trivialises argument with constant straw men such as those on this thread are part of the problem. How many sentences are there we could take issue and throw at each other etc

The sad thing is that its hard to even get atheists (with their supposed superior intellect) to think and argue at a higher level



Being an atheist and a rational thinker does not deny the possibility that some things cannot be explained using existing models.
It does mean that - as a rationalist - I am always attempting to explain any phenomenon in a way that does not require the invocation of supernatural beings.
As it happens, I ascribe to Jewish ethics (which btw are focussed on how you behave in this world - not some "afterlife"). Most of the subsequent "new-fangled" religions as my father called them do the same.

People who identify with different parts of the political spectrum make constant appeals to authority and set up straw man arguments.

How often do we hear the following phrases:
"the American people want."
"The Framers (of the US) constitution knew what they were doing"
"As everyone knows."
"You must never lead away from an Ace."

Whenever I hear someone utter one of these lines, I instantly find it hard to take anything else they say seriously.
If you are prepared to blindly accept one thing, how can I trust anything else you say?

Personally, I expect that 90% of what I say will be proven wrong within a fairly short time.
That's how learning works; by not sticking blindly to rules set down by authorities.

Regarding the specific question about reductionism, I don't believe in a soul or essence. Ultimately, everything in a biological organism ought to be explicable in terms of the elements of the organism and how it interacts with the world.
Given that any vertebrate is more complex (slightly) than a deck of cards. It seems obvious to me that trying to devise a model that explains all human action is probably impossible. Heisenberg backs me up on this.

Heisenberg is stopped by a traffic policeman. "do you know how fast you are going?"; "No, but I know where I am".

or this very slightly rude version (warning it contains a slightly offensive word)
Spoiler

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#17935 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-02, 05:54

David Leonhardt at NYT said:

https://messaging-cu...896ed87b2d9c72a

In dozens of states, the Republican Party has responded to Donald Trump’s defeat by trying to change election laws, often to make voting more difficult.

The Democratic Party is struggling to figure out how to respond.

And voting-right experts are worried that the result could be the biggest rollback of Americans’ voting rights since the demise of Reconstruction in the 19th century.

First, some background: Trump did not start this trend. For more than a decade, Republican politicians — often worried about their ability to win elections in a diversifying country — have tried to reduce voting access. But Trump’s defeat and his repeated claims about voter fraud (almost all of them false) have lent new energy to the effort.

Legislators in Georgia are pushing bills that would make it harder to register and harder to vote by mail. Arizona, Pennsylvania and several other states are also considering new restrictions on mail voting. The Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank in New York, has counted 253 bills across 43 states seeking to tighten voting rules, as The Times’s Michael Wines has noted.

It’s a reflection of a widespread belief among Republican officials that high voter turnout hurts their chances of winning elections. They may be wrong about that: As the Republican Party has become more working class, it has attracted many supporters who vote only occasionally.

Still, Republican candidates will probably benefit from any changes that disproportionately affect Black and Latino voters, like the elimination of automatic registration. “The restrictions we’re seeing are going to have a greater impact on the communities that have been most traditionally disadvantaged,” says Myrna Pérez, a voting rights expert at the Brennan Center.

Democrats, along with any Republicans and independents who favor wider voting access, have three possible ways to respond. One of those three will be on display today at the Supreme Court.

‘The last place you want to be’

The court will hear a case from Arizona in which Democratic officials are challenging two state provisions. One requires the disposal of any ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and another forbids people — like church leaders or party organizers — to collect absentee ballots for submission. The Democrats argue that these provisions especially affect minority voters and thus violate the Voting Rights Act. (Adam Liptak, The Times’s Supreme Court reporter, explains in more depth here.)

The Arizona lawsuit is an example of a main way that advocates have tried to protect voting rights over the past few decades: through the courts. Along the way, they have won some victories, including in a recent case from North Carolina.

But they have usually lost. The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has generally ruled against voting-rights advocates, and most court observers expect the justices to allow Arizona’s restrictions to stand.

If anything, the justices may use the case to issue a broader ruling that endorses other voting restrictions. “I think the real question here is not what happens to these particular restrictions,” said my colleague Emily Bazelon, who’s covered fights over election laws. “It’s the test the Supreme Court imposes for future challenges to more onerous restrictions, more of which are coming down the pike.”

Richard Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told me that he thought Democrats had made a mistake in bringing this case. “If you’re a voting-rights lawyer, the last place you want to be right now is the Supreme Court,” Hasen said.

The filibuster versus voting rights

Other than the courts, the other two main voting-rights battlegrounds are state governments and Congress.

But state governments are hard places to protect voting rights today, because Democrats control only 15 of them — and none in swing states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. The Democrats’ biggest problem in many states is the failure to develop a message that resonates not only with college graduates and in major metropolitan areas but also in blue-collar and rural areas. Republicans have compounded that issue through aggressive gerrymandering, including in Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

The remaining option for voting-rights advocates is Congress — and Democrats now control both Congress and the White House.

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would expand voting rights, and President Biden supports it. It would guarantee automatic voter registration and widely available early voting and mail voting, among other steps. For the bill to have any chance in the Senate, however, Democrats would need the unanimous support of their 50 senators, and they would need to scrap or alter the filibuster.

The debate over the filibuster can sometimes seem theoretical. But voting rights is one of the tangible ways in which it matters. If the filibuster remains in place, voting rights in the United States will probably be in retreat over the coming decade.

A different G.O.P. approach: In Kentucky, Republican state legislators are working with Democrats to expand ballot access while also strengthening election security, as Joshua Douglas of the University of Kentucky has explained for CNN.

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#17936 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-02, 07:53

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

https://www.bloomber...n?sref=UHfKDqx7

I’ve seen a number of perfectly fine articles about why and how former President Donald Trump still wields influence over the Republican Party, but c’mon! The main reason that Republican politicians feel stuck with Trump is that they know that he’s capable of turning against their party at the drop of a hat.

Yes, Trump is good at tapping into resentment, but plenty of Republican politicians are good at that. Yes, he’s popular among Republican voters, but most politicians are popular among their own party’s voters. Yes, he’s willing to take sides in primaries, but he doesn’t actually have a particularly impressive record of swaying primary voters.

No, what’s different about Trump is that unlike any other former president — really, any former nominee — in living memory, it’s that easy to picture him telling his voters to stay home and handing elections to the other party. And that’s why he’s been an impossible dilemma for Republican politicians ever since he emerged as a major candidate in 2015.

No one worried about that in 1976, 1980 or 1992, the last three times that an incumbent president lost a presidential election. Oh, yes, Jimmy Carter has occasionally criticized Democrats since his 1976 defeat, and it’s possible to find examples of failed nominees criticizing their party or it’s leading politicians. But full-on rejection of the party? For that, you have to reach deep into the pile of rejected presidential candidates to find a Democrat like Eugene McCarthy or Republican like Pat Buchanan who ran as third-party candidates in 1976 and 2000, respectively, but took very few voters with them.

Why? For one thing, a lot of politicians strongly believe in the basic policy orientation of their parties. It may be why they got into politics in the first place, and they know that turning on their party would risk enactment of policies they strongly oppose.

For another, many politicians develop deep friendships they would be betraying. Others identify with demographic groups or organized interests that find homes in the party, and don’t want to turn against them even if they don’t care about the party itself.

And then there’s reputation. Many retired politicians, such as Carter and Richard Nixon, spend a lot of time and effort trying to rebuild their reputations, especially if they were pushed out involuntarily. That’s obviously not true for all retired politicians — ex-President George W. Bush has done almost nothing active to revive his reputation after the Iraq War debacle, and neither George H.W. Bush or Gerald Ford did much after their electoral defeats — but it does seem to be true for some of them. And for them, turning against their party is a losing move, since it would alienate most of their remaining fans without adding many new ones. Staying above the fray, with occasional electioneering if invited, is surely the safer path if reputation is the goal.

None of these factors appear to apply to Trump. And even if they did, Republican politicians are (or should be) aware that Trump does things against his own apparent self-interest all the time, anyway. That’s a big part of why he was such an unpopular president. It’s also worth noting that Trump wouldn’t really get anything from betraying the Republicans other than revenge for perceived slights. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t do it.

If Trump persuaded only 5% or so of Republican voters to stay home or support a third-party candidate, the damage from the top of the ballot to the bottom could be devastating. This gives Republican politicians a strong and continuing incentive to try to accommodate — to try to mange — the former president.

Of course, that’s not all that’s going on within the Republican Party. Some politicians and other party actors surely are trying to flatter Trump because they believe (perhaps correctly, perhaps not) that it will propel them to successful careers. Surely others sincerely (if implausibly) believe that Trump really was a great president and that the party is best off with him as their leader as long as he’s willing. But I do think that a lot of them just consider him a threat they need to appease.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17937 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-02, 10:42

Not Carlito's Way but Biden's Way - getting things done rather than talk trash. WaPo puts it in perspective:

Quote

We're witnessing endless obsessing over the constellation of enemies that increasingly define the Trumpified GOP — rioters burning down cities, woke mobs conspiring with Big Tech to effect mass repression of conservatives, Pelosi and "the Squad."

But that's also uncontrollably bleeding into an effort to tar Biden and most mainstream Democrats as radical socialists who are similarly destroying the country.

If Biden and Democrats can pass economic relief, followed by a big infrastructure package — both offering ambitious, broadly popular solutions to major national problems — it could further marginalize the hysterical anti-leftism that increasingly defines Trumpism.

All this could undermine Trumpism in still another way. As the Times notes, a big infrastructure package might include "spending on highways, bridges, rural broadband networks, water and sewer lines and even some cornerstones of fighting climate change, like electric-car charging stations."

If Biden and Democrats can recast public expenditures on climate as a form of job-creating infrastructure repair — a broadly popular concept — it could give working people a stake in battling the climate threat.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17938 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-March-04, 10:55

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

When I started writing about lowering the voting age 10 years ago, I was toying with a hypothetical. It’s no longer purely a pipe dream.

The idea moved a baby step forward on Wednesday, with a second attempt to add it to a big democracy bill in the House of Representatives. As was the case two years ago, an amendment to set the voting age at 16 failed, with a final vote of 125-302, almost identical to the 126-305 vote in 2019. The small progress? Despite losing its only Republican vote, the amendment this time won 57% of Democratic votes, an increase from 53% last time.

Sure, that’s not much of a change. But the issue has come a long way. For one thing, advocates have organized around a specific change: lowering the age to 16 from 18. For another, it’s now a part of the Democratic agenda, although to date winning the support of only the more liberal portions of the party. It’s plausible to see the 16-year-old vote becoming a mainstream Democratic position. If that happens, the it will have a realistic chance to be passed when the partisan context is right — that is, unified Democratic government with larger majorities in both chambers. Whenever that might be.

In the meantime, advocates did post one practical victory in 2020, lowering the voting age for school board elections in Oakland, California, although they fell just short at a second attempt across the Bay for San Francisco municipal elections.

The national effort, although far from succeeding, does suggest that statewide efforts in solidly Democratic states might have a chance to win.

The Constitution says that citizens who are 18 or older must be allowed to vote, but leaves any further decisions optional. Congress could mandate a lower age; if it remains silent, then the states are free to lower the age for federal, state or local elections. Many states also allow local jurisdictions to set their own lower minimums. Expanding the franchise through the legislative process is always a tricky proposition, because it requires elected officials to listen to advocates who currently have no vote, and therefore (usually) less influence. Even when a political party theoretically supports such laws, it’s often difficult for such a measure to become a top priority, and parties usually only have the ability to pass their top priorities.

But Democrats have made voting rights one of their top priorities, and it does appear that lowering the voting age is working its way onto the group of policies that make up a broader democracy agenda. Of course, it’s far from certain that any of that agenda will make it through Congress any time soon, no matter how urgent supporters believe it is or how many times many Republicans indicate their contempt for and opposition to basic democratic norms and practices.

I won’t repeat the arguments in favor of lowering the voting age, but I will say one thing I’m quite confident about: Had folks several hundred years ago, at the beginning of mass democracy, set vote-from-birth as their rule, we would all use vote-from-birth now, probably with kids gradually taking over their own vote from their parents by their teens, and everyone would think that was natural and normal and would be aghast if anyone suggested eliminating it. Kids are people, and they have political interests! (I’m not for vote-from-birth, but I do think the arguments for it are reasonable).

I think that the biggest obstacle to lowering the voting age has been that it just seems weird to people who haven’t thought about it. Choosing 16 as the target has no doubt helped, given that it’s harder to think of a two-year adjustment as a big deal. But more than that, each attempt, and every vote that generates some publicity, makes the entire topic seem less of a fringe idea than it was a decade ago. And that’s why I’ve come to believe there’s a reasonable chance that it’s actually going to happen at some point.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17939 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-March-04, 16:51

The New Yorker has an excellent article depicting the binary thinking patterns of the Christian Nationalist insurrectionists who attacked the capital with the intent to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

Quote

It was among the most jarring scenes of the Capitol invasion, on January 6th. As rioters milled about on the Senate floor, a long-haired man in a red ski cap bellowed, from the dais, “Jesus Christ, we invoke your name!” A man to his right––the so-called QAnon Shaman, wearing a fur hat and bull horns atop his head, and holding an American flag—raised a megaphone and began to pray. Others in the chamber bowed their heads. “Thank you, heavenly Father, for being the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us into the building, to allow us to exercise our rights, to allow us to send a message to all the tyrants, the Communists, and the globalists, that this is our nation, not theirs, that we will not allow the America, the American way of the United States of America, to go down,” he said. “Thank you, divine, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent creator God for filling this chamber with your white light and love, your white light of harmony. Thank you for filling this chamber with patriots that love you and love Christ.”

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17940 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-March-04, 16:55

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-March-01, 22:41, said:

Being an atheist and a rational thinker does not deny the possibility that some things cannot be explained using existing models.
It does mean that - as a rationalist - I am always attempting to explain any phenomenon in a way that does not require the invocation of supernatural beings.
As it happens, I ascribe to Jewish ethics (which btw are focussed on how you behave in this world - not some "afterlife"). Most of the subsequent "new-fangled" religions as my father called them do the same.

People who identify with different parts of the political spectrum make constant appeals to authority and set up straw man arguments.

How often do we hear the following phrases:
"the American people want."
"The Framers (of the US) constitution knew what they were doing"
"As everyone knows."
"You must never lead away from an Ace."

Whenever I hear someone utter one of these lines, I instantly find it hard to take anything else they say seriously.
If you are prepared to blindly accept one thing, how can I trust anything else you say?

Personally, I expect that 90% of what I say will be proven wrong within a fairly short time.
That's how learning works; by not sticking blindly to rules set down by authorities.

Regarding the specific question about reductionism, I don't believe in a soul or essence. Ultimately, everything in a biological organism ought to be explicable in terms of the elements of the organism and how it interacts with the world.
Given that any vertebrate is more complex (slightly) than a deck of cards. It seems obvious to me that trying to devise a model that explains all human action is probably impossible. Heisenberg backs me up on this.

Heisenberg is stopped by a traffic policeman. "do you know how fast you are going?"; "No, but I know where I am".

or this very slightly rude version (warning it contains a slightly offensive word)
Spoiler



EDIT Sorry I want to respond to your comments about supernatural beings and afterlife and similar concepts - please bear with me :)

When I thought back to my comment about rationalism I was concerned that I had used the word correctly and how I intended. So I re-read a bit and sure enough I had. But I also know that within myself I am closer to that end of things than extreme empiricists who deny rational thought and have to have stuff pointed out or proved with an experiment. Those who seem incapable of thinking things through. So I regard myself as a rationalist and an atheist but not an extreme one. I think (and I was interested in those early psychologists and philosophers whose methods seem out of fashion) that many (even most) things and problems can be thought about, solved, or at least hypothesised about simply using one instrument (human thought) - I get totally irritated at people who dismiss it all by asking to see an RCT or meta analysis to back it up

Extremists are always the problem. I also found reading about these different terms how much aspects of philosophical discourse annoy me. That is that they are obsessed with constantly arguing and debating extremes of different models and seemingly incapable of abstracting away to the higher level and the high level. Everything must always be couched in these low level models and debates

I always feel at a disadvantage when people produce names I need to have read or models I need to have read. I prefer to debate things just using my own brain and thought and argue with other people on that level playing field. Resorting to specific models or names of people who we may or may not have read is a way of disempowering and essentially cancelling an argument. People also quibble over words, use their advantage of regularly using exactly the right term and model and not listening and thinking about what the other is really saying

I generally prefer just talking about ideas and thinking about ideas. When I say stuff it usually fits into someone's model without me even knowing it or remembering it

As for reductionism and explaining (theoretically - clearly not possibly) everything looking at very low level processes if I am suffering sever trauma from something that happened to me in my life I think its more useful to discuss people's experiences at a level that makes sense - the traumatising incident, the impact on their lives, feelings and experiences - not at the inhuman (EDIT I don't mean inhuman in case anyone is upset - low level systems are essentially prehuman but also essentially human too) and impossible to really explain level of genes, neurons, chemistry - beyond saying that certain biological systems may have been messed with. That is the level at which most human experience needs to be dealt with discussed and thought about. Of course you can look at brain scans and body chemistry but seriously. Of course people study and have their models of the damage that is caused to a biological and neurological systems but for most of us and most of our experiences and communications that is rather useless

PS On the subject of atheism, I was re-reading various different philosophies/traditions I have tried to understand over the years - one of which is Jainism. I was interested in their cosmology and understanding of the world. Evidently its not really theistic or atheistic. Some have even coined transtheism as a higher level concept.

Can we not do the same and try to argue at a higher level about true meaning. We could argue endlessly at the levels of atheism-theism, empiricism-rationalism etc

Thats what I am trying to get at. And its very hard ever being able to argue at that level because we all have these models which are useful in some way but also very constraining

PPS Some of the worst cases of resorting to authority come from the academe who use it all the time to assert claimed superiority and their sole right to speak without actually listening. They are often worse than the examples of unbacked statements and straw men you referred to. We are currently being expected to change the whole world by a group of people whose confident utterances may be proved wrong in so many years time

Final edit by way of apology for how my posts always turn out, start to ramble, need editing. It relates a bit to what I was getting at above. Discussing in these types of forums causes extreme anxiety - and a very extreme anxiety response (explainable no doubt by by neurology and body chemistry and fear systems out of whack - something is flooding my body and brain). But the cause of that anxiety is at a much higher level - it is fear of being misunderstood, fear of using the wrong word, fear of looking stupid, fear of causing offence, hurt or disrespect etc. Both personally and professionally I like to (and feel obliged to) treat everyone the same, respect everyone's beliefs and view points, while at the same time holding my own. Its a strange thing and something of a contradiction that by simply trying to understand and explain (to myself) somebody else's beliefs, explain it with my models I could be causing disrespect rather than even getting close to understanding. But that is a problem we all face in life
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