09-17-20 9:09  •  Getting Enough pt. 2

LD:In order to end racism you must first abolish all entitlement programs and organizations that provide benefits and / or advocacy solely based on skin color.

American elites created racism with Bacon's Rebellion and have used it since to keep the lowest classes fighting each other while they make off with all of society's resources.

The cure for racism is for everyone to have enough.

LD: What?

Capitalism does not provide for everyone. Capitalist economies cannot function without generous social aid. We should be trying to make ours more generous, for everyone at every level. Many other countries do, and they are doing better. They have better health, better education. It works.

Everyone from the middle class down in our system is fighting for scraps. We should also require that working people get massive pay raises. They are doing the actual production that is making a few rich. They deserve a much larger share of their own production.

Our current intense race crisis is a symptom of mass deprivation. When people are getting a fair share of their work and when there are generous social support systems, they are far less concerned about tribal markers like race.

LD: Why?

Why would the guy who comes in for 6 hours a day to do the random jobs deserve anywhere close to the amount of money that the person who devoted 30 years of his life and 85 hours a week to creating the business?

Why do you think it would be close?

LD: People live where they do by their choices and actions. It is totally possible for anyone of any race to study hard and work hard for scholarships if need be to rise above their current situation. The key words are work/study hard to get ahead.

You can't sustain a society where only those who win scholarships get the tools to succeed. Why not just give the tools to succeed to everyone.

LD: The POC I know work hard. They work sometimes two or more jobs and make sure their children get an education. They are actually disgusted by the idea of getting any sort of hand outs.

Social services are not "hand outs." They are infrastructure. If you want to do business, you need good roads, an electrical grid, and a healthy and educated populace. Providing public education and health are standard in many countries and are not a handout, they are part of constructing a healthy society.

Furthermore, capitalism requires a pool of reserve labor for expansion and contraction and to put downward pressure on wages. That is the unemployed. As long as we use a system that creates reserve labor, we have to provide for those people in some other way. Otherwise they have nothing to put back into the economy and it recesses.

In a healthy system, everyone would have access to basics like full public education and healthcare, and people in the reserve pool would continue to have enough to get by regardless of employment status.

This is going to be more important than ever as automation takes over a lot of low-income jobs. We may come to a point where there are way more people than jobs. If we want to keep using capitalism at that point, we may have to institute a universal basic income, so that everyone can continue to participate in the economy even if there are fewer jobs. This would also allow people to take risks on developing new projects without risking homelessness.

Capitalism does not function without massive support from the society. If we want some people to climb the ranks and get very rich on hard work and grit, we have to make a society for them to do it in, where everyone else is not so deprived that they fight for scraps.

The alternative is what we are doing now and it is not working.

08-31-20 7:57  •  Getting Enough

Ramona: What even are the two sides in America?

Hailey: I suppose it could easily be said as the Black Lives Matter vs. Blue lives matter sides, although both of those sides encompass many different factions with different names.

Whichever other groups could be easily sifted into one of the two sides, Proud Boys , Antifa , The NFAC, Patriot Prayers ect...

Most of America is none of those things.

Hailey: But most of America knows which side they want to see winning.

Sure, but those sides have names like "Democrats" and "Republicans" and are a requirement of our electoral politics. There is no getting around that in a two party system, and it even almost worked until recently.

Most Americans are not interested in Antifa or the Proud Boys winning anything. People just want systems that work. All we have to do to end all this conflict is provide working systems.

Hailey: If the black lives matter crowd and the blue lives matter crowd expand to include all the other groups, then expand to include democrats and republicans which are the political heads of the nation... what kind of a working system would satisfy both sides?

A system that is fair. A system that provides more than enough.

Look at countries where they are NOT melting down. Some places have working systems. If everyone was getting plenty of what they need and the system did not disenfranchise groups, this conflict would not be necessary.

Hailey: Yes, but those countries have very different definitions of what fair means than the United States does.

What does a fair system mean to all Americans?

Putting "all Americans" aside for one moment, I'd really like to know - what would a fair America look like to you?

Hailey:I'm not quite sure. It seems like in America , what is fair to one takes away from another. If we were just to enact a blank slate of "Everyone is exactly equal, paid equal, and accessed equally for their abilities" would that be fair to all those that have been disenfranchised before now?

Can America start from a blank slate, or are they still 50 years from being able to do that?

I think all we have to do is make sure everyone has enough. Anyone can start from enough. How could that be unfair?

The problem is that most people in America have far less than enough, particularly in terms of education and healthcare. How could that ever work?

We are such a wealthy society, we have it within our power to make sure that every person has more than enough. People who start with more than enough have a better chance of making it. Why don't we give everyone that chance?

Above an adequate starting level, things don't have to be "equal" to be fair, but the reasons why have to make sense.

Almost everyone in America is deprived. The petty factions and to-the-death "us vs themism" are not because of fundamental intellectual disagreements on governance. The intensity of these conflicts are a direct result of an unfair system squeezing people for generations for everything it can get out of them. They are clawing for the scraps.

People who are healthy, educated, and enfranchised, flush with resources and opportunities to use their talents, do not begrudge others the same, or at least, are not compelled to kill others for more.

We are running on ancient ideas of scarcity that no longer apply. There is plenty of everything we need. If we shifted it even a little there would be plenty for everyone to start well.

08-31-20 2:08  •  What BLM Wants

Reeds: More stirring of the racism pot by the BLM people. How helpful and timely. I can't get behind the idea that it's totally acceptable for certain people to commit crimes, then to resist arrest and worse, because of the color of their skin and that slavery happened 200 years ago.

No one thinks it's "totally acceptable" to resist arrest. Of course people who resist arrest should be charged with the crime of resisting arrest, and if they are found guilty of resisting arrest then they should be sentenced to serve time for resisting arrest. Etc.

What is unacceptable is cops killing people for resisting arrest without due process.

Reeds: Actually, people do think that, or it would not happen. I saw it repeatedly on reality shows when they were still on the air. We see it on dash cam and body cam footage. It happens all the time.

First of all, people who actively resist arrest aren't thinking, "Hmm, resisting arrest is a logical and acceptable action. Think I'll try it." They are panicking.

Secondly and most importantly, activists and people who support Black Lives Matter are not thinking, "It should be acceptable for criminals to resist arrest," only that they should not be killed extrajudicially for it. NO ONE is calling for it to be "totally acceptable for certain people to commit crimes, then to resist arrest and worse," as you described originally. That is an exaggeration - a parody - of their actual position, to make it seem like BLM wants to place black people above the law. Not the case.

08-27-20 2:51  •  Sympathy for the Devil

Anon: I think we are rushing to judgement in the Kyle Rittenhouse case.

I was watching a clip earlier today and at least the second guy he shot seems to be in self defense. He was on the ground and being kicked in the head by the guy he ended up shooting.

I believe there's also a clip of him being beaten with a skateboard by another guy, so it seems he was being attacked. He wasn't just sweeping the crowd with bullets either, although he could have if he was just out to kill.

I think this is another case of let's wait for the whole story and until the entire video is available. I believe they're referring to him as a white supremacist? If he was, why would he not be randomly blowing away PoC which he could have done? 2 of the 3 people he shot were white. The black guy was the one kicking him in the head.

I don't think we know everything there is to know yet.

Yes, someone really said this. Sorry.


Anon: About the Jacob Blake shooting:

Did the cop actually shoot him seven times, or did he just discharge his weapon seven times? All I've heard is that he is paralyzed. I would think if he was really shot seven times, one of those bullets would have killed him.

Anyway, he was bending into his car where a knife was present. It's dealing with police 101, do not turn away or reach for things or if you're out of your car, do not try to get back in without being told to do so. As unpopular as it is, I can't have sympathy for a woman-beating sex offender thief who thought it was totally normal to do what he did through this encounter. We've seen this kind of thing far too much. I'm fed up with it.

About the Kyle Rittenhouse shooting:

I saw that clip, and it doesn't fit the narrative we've been hearing. It looks like one more time we're going to have to wait for the whole story.


Two days later:

It seems painfully obvious to me that neither of these shootings should have occurred. Blake should not have been shot and Rittenhouse should not have shot people. The problem is the shooting.

There are several reasons why Blake should not have been shot. First of all, he was unarmed. The officers could have tackled him long before he reached his vehicle at no risk. Secondly, warrants can be wrong, that's why we have trials. Warrants in no way excuse excessive force. Thirdly, I saw the video and the man was obviously in a daze. He had just been tased, and studies show this interferes with mental processes, even up to an hour afterwards (1). He may not have been able to hear or understand their commands. If I had been in his situation, dazed and lurching with people screaming and pointing guns at me, my only thought would have been my children in the car. Fourth, cooperating didn't help George Floyd. Blake may have thought his only chance of survival was to get away or defend himself. Yes, he should have cooperated, but panic and flight behaviors are to be expected, and they are not an executable offense. Have officers no better plan for this than shooting in the back?

Fifth, why were there armed officers there with guns drawn in the first place? This is exactly what "defund the police" refers to. This wasn't a bank robbery, it was a domestic disturbance between people who knew each other. There could have been negotiators dispatched to the scene to defuse the tension or ensure a cooperative arrest; instead the only available response is armed enforcers, who turned it into a life-or-death situation. If they had not been there, no one would have been shot.

There are also several reasons why Rittenhouse should not have shot people. First of all, "militias" are just gangs of people with no more authority than anyone else to patrol or enforce. Having a gun does not make you a cop. Secondly, "Castle Doctrine" applies to the owner of a home, business or vehicle and applies to defending lives when there is forcible entry (2). It's not a license to roam the streets looking for someone else's property to "protect." Thirdly, anyone showing up at a riot with a gun is looking to shoot.

Most importantly, after the first killing, a second and third killing are not justifiable as "self-defense," they are a "killing spree."

The way people are bending over backwards to excuse these shootings is disturbing. The benefit of every doubt is given to the shooter. Couldn't it possibly be that the ones doing the killing are wrong?

1. What Tasers Do To The Brain
https://www.popularmechanics.com/techno ... our-brain/

2. Wisconsin's "Castle Doctrine" Explained
https://www.grievelaw.com/MilwaukeeCrim ... eExplained

08-27-20 1:40  •  Understanding the Protests

Wondra: These "protesters" make no sense. How do they expect anyone to care about their cause when they are smashing windows and burning shops? I don't understand it.

The civic temperature runs on a scale from cool to warm to hot. At cool you have cooperation, at warm you have protest, at hot you have riots.

When there is massive injustice in a society, the civic temperature is kept at a low simmer all the time. When the injustice ramps up, the civic temperature goes up and protests begin. If the injustice is unaddressed or exacerbated, the temperature will continue to go up. The results are predictable - keep cranking up the heat and eventually protest boils over into riots.

You cannot lower the civic temperature by trying to pound the victims of injustice into submission. People get hurt and die and it raises the stakes, raises the civic temperature even higher, makes the confrontations even worse.

The only way to turn riots back into peaceful protests is to lower the civic temperature at the base, where the low simmer is. By addressing the systemic injustice, the temperature comes way down, and when individual incidents cause it to flare up, it usually stays below the boiling point.

Other times when we reached the boiling point, we resolved it by addressing the injustice, such as during the Civil Rights Movement. This is what we need to do again.

08-25-20 8:39  •  Do "Blue Lives" Matter?

CrittyKitty: Do you support the "Blue Lives Matter" movement?

Suredo: Yes, I support the police!

The institutions of the state already have the institutional support of the state. They are not disenfranchised.

Revisiter: I support police, but not this "movement." I also don't support "white pride" or "straight pride" movements.

Sharon: So pride is something only a select few are entitled to?

Anybody can feel anything they want, but pride movements are redundant for dominant populations and tend to represent backlash.

For example, it's not necessary to have a White History month. In the USA "white history" is just history, as it is routinely taught. The purpose of a Black History Month is to raise awareness, to show another side of history that for a long time was distorted and ignored.

Pride movements exist to raise people in non-dominant cultures to equality with the dominant culture. The dominant culture is already supported by the institutions and conventions of the society. They don't need a social movement to raise awareness of their disenfranchisement from the larger culture. They ARE the larger culture.

08-22-20 4:51  •  Again Why Joe?

Poetry: Besides "he's not trump" I would love to hear some genuine arguments on why I should vote for Biden. Not why I should vote for Biden over Trump but what good things you believe he will actually do for this country.

Moschen: I believe he will take action to protect the environment and be guided by the science on climate change.

Hi there Poetry, I appreciate your sincere question and the civility with which you have conducted the discussion. I also appreciate Moschen getting right to the most important point - Biden and the Democrats are willing to act on climate change using science. This matters because climate change is at the heart of many other problems - wildfires are destroying acreage as we speak, drying equatorial conditions are driving northern migration, heat and rising sea levels are making storms worse. We simply can't wait; we must act to prevent all this from worsening.

I have also observed that the economy functions better under Democrats:

Read more here.

I have studied political theory and our current system, and I feel the facts show that Democratic policies help ordinary people more, from the New Deal to the Civil Rights Act to the Lilly Ledbetter Act. I'd be happy to support these positions, but each of those could be its own post.

So instead, I'd like to raise a couple of additional reasons to consider voting for Joe Biden, specifically. First of all, he is genuinely religious. I'm not even religious, but I can see that Joe Biden is using his faith well, for strength and moral guidance, taking the best possible lessons from it, and trying to live it. I think that his sincere dedication to a high moral purpose will influence him to make decisions he can square with his god and his conscience.

Secondly, I'm not usually concerned with a politician's personal story, but Joe really was a regular kid from New Jersey who grew up in the middle class. He lost his first wife and daughter in a tragic accident and raised his two sons as a single parent for 5 years. These events have really affected him, how he has lived and acted as a politician. For example, for years he rode the train 90 minutes each way from D.C. to Wilmington to be home every night with his sons.

You can't fake that kind of parenting, or that kind of dedication to public service. There are moves I disagree with in Biden's senate history, but after 36 years on the Amtrak I don't doubt his sincere effort.

Every vote counts in this election, so even if you would never ordinarily consider voting for a Democrat, I would hope you could consider swinging this one toward a decent human being who cares about other human beings.

Thanks for reading!

08-21-20 10:13  •  Religious Choices

CrittyKitty: Religion is a scourge!

Religion is actually very helpful for society. The problem is the available assortment.

Norse_of_Odin: Religion is great but the problem is religious choice?

I wonder where I have heard that before.

No, you have misunderstood. Choice is fine. The problem with religion today is the quality of the available choices.

Norse_of_Odin: Quality how?

Well, the big religions available today were all invented thousands of years ago, by people who did not understand very much. They are demonstrably wrong about a lot, and fail to be right about principles we really need.

When you build a new house, do you choose from a strip trench or an outhouse? Why would we turn to ancient technology for something we know so much more about now?

Religion does a lot of important things in a social group. It provides guidance, shared rituals, celebrations. Unfortunately, there are no mainstream choices for this other than ancient traditions mainly based on animal sacrifice.

There is no real reason for this. We have updated our other technologies as we learned. We could bring our current understanding of society, reality and enlightenment to craft systems of understanding and care that can be verified and really work.

It's time to get our social narratives some indoor plumbing.

Norse_of_Odin: Ah, I would highly disagree there. Thousands of years ago they many have had less scientifically based vocabulary, but they were highly knowledgeable when it came to living in a symbiotic relationship with nature and because of that, continually building knowledge and medicinal capabilities.

America sacrifices thousands of animals daily for our nourishments, they just don’t say a prayer for the animal anymore. Because of that people lost the sense of spirituality when eating and because of that no longer respect the animal or the earth it lives off of.

Many of our problems today stem from losing those spiritual connections with our surroundings.

Well, thousands of years ago, for all their medicinal wisdom, people routinely died of infected wounds, lived with horrible dental pain and tooth loss, women often died in childbirth, only half of children made it to adulthood, etc. I would not say that they knew nothing; only that we have been around longer and discovered more. Knowledge is cumulative. Why stop with their discoveries? Anything they recommended which is actually true, we can verify that it works and continue to use. But, we can also use what we have discovered since then.

I agree we need to acknowledge our connection to all life on this earth, but there is no reason to think ancient people knew something about it that we can't find out now. They didn't live in a symbiotic relationship with Iceland, for example. Ancient people were massive deforesters, all over the world they moved into new territories and stripped them beyond recognition, farmed once-fertile soils into deserts. If anything, we need to incorporate our modern understanding of environmental sustainability into our moral structure if we want people to live within the bounds of nature instead of exploiting it.

There is no reason to think ancient people knew something we don't, especially when it comes to religion. My point is, there should be religious choices that reflect what we have learned about the universe in the thousands of years since.

Norse_of_Odin: There isn’t any reason we should stop, knowledge should continue to accumulate for as long as humans exist, but there’s no reason the old religions and new progress should be at odds.

It is where new understanding contradicts old religions that they are at odds.

Norse_of_Odin: A wise old tale does not have to be exact truth to pass on the wisdom. Aesop’s fables might not have actually happened, but here is still much to learn from their existence. Nothing in the Norse or Celtic religions would aim to stop scientific or political advancement.

I agree that modern religions could treasure ancient wisdom like Aesop's fables. They might not have actually happened, but the point is, no one ever claimed they did, or expected anyone else to believe that they did. However some ancient religions are making equally impossible claims (talking animals, etc.) and then requiring that people think it is true.

So how much Norse or Celtic religions are at odds with progress would depend on what they are claiming to be true. If they are used to teach us to cherish nature and show each other compassion, perhaps some kind of Neo-Celticism will be the wave of the future. However if they try to use gods to explain thunder, they will not be useful.

Norse_of_Odin: Yes, See, exactly that. I don't think there's any Norse followers today that truly believe that the sound of thunder is Thor's Chariot racing across the sky, but the stories can incite some spiritual feelings as you sit in the night listening to the sound of thunder.

Even though no one believes in the story, the telling of that story cements a culture and tradition that can span ages, and truly leads people to believe that there is an essence about natural forces that should be respected.

That sounds beautiful, and is very much the direction I expect religions of the future to go. Understanding the real reason for thunder and lightning removes none of the awe when it happens, and the stories just add to the wonder and delight.

Unfortunately, my country and much of the world is dominated by religions which make a lot of claims about gods, and require people to believe in the story to a great degree. Even more unfortunately, their claims are mutually exclusive.

The only way to get past these ancient contradictions and conflicts is to approach the stories the way you do here - treasured parts of our cultural heritage, with insights about the human condition, but not literal descriptions of how reality works.

Thanks again, this has been a really enjoyable discussion.

Anon 12: Are you saying that the quality of someone else's religion affects YOU? Or are you saying that you wish there were more "quality" religions for you to choose to follow?

Yes and yes. Allow me to explain.

The quality of religions available in society do affect the people in the society. For example, women are more likely to be the victim of an honor killing in a society where the dominant religion prizes female chastity over female agency. They are more likely to wear burquas where the local religion requires it, etc. We are all affected by the strictures of the religion that dominates in our region, by the values and the rituals, even by the days that are proclaimed holy. It is a cornerstone of our culture.

So yes, I do think there should be more religious choices, and there should be available choices besides the ancient ones, for reasons I described to Norse above. Ancient religions were not designed to value equality or democracy, for example. Well, they didn't know. But we do.

Anon 12: Are you displeased enough to do something about that? Start a new church?

I'd love to see people create new religious systems. I have done a lot of speaking and writing about religion, and what people may require of religions in the future. However I have no illusions about my own personal abilities as a speaker or leader, so I never expected anyone to hop on my bandwagon, lol.

I'd really just like people to consider what religion is for and what it can be, beyond the limits of our ancient past.

08-19-20 1:23  •  Blame the President

Terry'sMom: Here's what this woman had to say at the Virtual Democratic National Convention: Dad was a Trump supporter, listened to Trump on coronavirus. In April, Dad went to a karaoke bar and caught Covid-19. In early June he died from it. Before he died, Dad blamed Trump and now the daughter blames Trump for Dad's death because Dad believed in Trump and what he said about the virus.

Here's my problem with this. Yes, I think Trump made some critical errors in handling this Covid crisis. But we all had more resources than just him to get information and make our own decisions about Covid.

Blaming Trump is too easy. The father made his own choice to go to that bar in the middle of a pandemic and he suffered the consequences of that choice. And pretending like it's all Trump's fault is not going to change that, and it's not going to do anyone any good.

If the leaders don't affect people why have them? They get some responsibility, especially when they do the wrong thing, for the bad outcomes that result.

Terry'sMom: Except this isn't a dictatorship or monarchy. We aren't supposed to blindly follow the President and he doesn't have complete, full control over what we do.

Then what leaders do is meaningless.

Terry'sMom: It's like with doctor's too. We trust them to a certain extent because they are the ones with the education, not us. But we also don't trust them blindly and will do our own level of research and ask questions and advocate for our own health. Because we know doctors get things wrong too.

The law recognizes that doctors are responsible for practicing competent medicine. If they give bad advice and the patient follows it and dies, that's malpractice. Even if the patient SHOULD have gotten a second opinion or whatever, that doesn't let the bad doctor off the hook for doing the wrong thing.

Otherwise doctors, leaders etc can just do or say anything, and it's on you if you listen. So why have any expertise at all? We should all be our own doctors, and our own leaders, and take direction from no one?

Think of it this way - Trump was quick to blame the Chinese, but by this measure, nothing they did was wrong either. But if it was wrong of them to downplay the virus and fail to contain it, then it was just as wrong of Trump to do the same.

Terry'sMom: The Chinese government hid it, lied about it then tried to blame the U.S. saying it was brought there by Americans and unleashed to make China look bad. China is the bad guy all the way around.

So China had an obligation to protect us from this, but Trump didn't.

Terry'sMom: I'm pretty sure I said in my OP that Trump has made bad decisions in dealing with this pandemic.

But did Trump actually say, in late May, "It's absolutely safe to go to your karaoke bars, there is no way you will catch the virus"? Casinos in my state are open but you don't see me heading out there. Why couldn't the dad in the story make the same kind of decision for himself?

He DID make that kind of decision for himself. He was misled. The misleader has some responsibility for the misleading.

I think it's very important to understand that compliance with authority occurs in humans on a scale. Some humans are very obedient to authority and some are very rebellious to authority and of course all in between. That is how it should be.

It's easy to say that all people should be as skeptical of leaders as you are, but it's unrealistic to think that just because you aren't the follower-type, then no one should be. The fact of the matter is that most humans are very prone to follow authority and for good reasons. It even works well when the systems and leaders are good.

That is why what leaders do matters. We evolved to be influenced and led and some people are just going to have this tendency more. That doesn't make it their own fault when leaders they trust mislead them.

Terry'sMom: Some, perhaps. Trump was not the only source of information for him to make his decision. Trump was never intended to be the only source. Trump is not a doctor.

Trump is the fucking president and he knows doctors. The information he provided should have been the best available and it is ENTIRELY his fault that it wasn't. He wasn't mistaken. He was acting in bad faith, trying to downplay the seriousness of the pandemic because it was damaging the economy and hurting his re-election chances.

Yeah, people should know better than to trust such a low-down dirty dealer, but he IS the president. Yeah, it's only partly his fault, but since his motives were entirely selfish and hundreds of thousands of Americans have suffered horribly and died as a result, and because that matters in making decisions about what kinds of leaders we want in the future, I think it's entirely appropriate to bring up his culpability and gross negligence at the DNC.

Terry'sMom: Look, I don't 100% blame the dad either. This virus took us all by surprise and we've all stumbled our way through it.

But we all make decisions every single day that affect the course of our lives. To deny that, and try to put blame everywhere else but our own decisions, it doesn't do society any good. It doesn't do ourselves any good.

No man is an island, making decisions without information and influence from others. You do extra research, but at some point you trust that research. You think for yourself but not by yourself.

Maybe that guy didn't think for himself enough, and so he got exactly what he deserved. But this is happening to our whole country, and happening to way more people than it had to. THAT's not the dumb guy's fault, and it's not everybody's own fault that Trump put his re-election above them.

Since the DNC exists to influence the vote, this is the time and place, and pinning Trump's fault right to his head might result in a better leader next time. So yes, that will do good.

Read more in the Archives.