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Messages - Wayward Son

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1201
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 18, 2016, 01:00:23 PM »
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But I want Democrats to acknowledge that they were also wrong to try to filibuster when Alito was nominated in 2006, and in general when calling the GOP on obstructionism to own up to and apologize for their own obstructionism in the past.  Obama has mentioned he "regrets" the filibuster, which is a start.

I don't think it is necessarily wrong to filibuster a nominee who a significant portion of the Senate feels is unqualified.  But can anyone tell me why Obama's nominee is unqualified? ;)

The filibuster should be used as a last-ditch effort by a minority to pressure the majority in dire circumstances.  (That's why I think a filibuster should be an oral one, where Senators have to keep speaking to keep it going, not this "gentleman's agreement" that you need 60 votes or you table discussion. :D)  But McConnell's threat to use it before any nominee is named is simply obstructionism and an abuse of power.  Which is why the Democrats had to remove it as an option for some regular business.

It also should be pointed out that the Alito filibuster never materialized, and that it was called for after the Alito hearings.  Democrats didn't unilaterally vow to filibuster whoever Bush nominated.

1202
Wayward, do you think that a surrogate should have less rights to abortion than a genetic mother?

Although a surrogate does not share genetic material with the fetus, the other attributes I listed do apply.  So on a numeric scale, I suppose one could say that the surrogate has "less rights" than that of a natural mother, but I doubt this difference should affect the overall rights of the mother.  In other words, there may be less rights, but not enough to make any difference.

If the rights are equal, then how can you claim that your reasoning in is dispositive?

Depends on what you think I'm dispositiving. :)

My contention is that Pyr has a point in that the fetus is part of the mother during gestation.  So any rights and responsibilities of the mother to the fetus must take that into account.  It is not just something that is growing in her.  It is an actual part of her.  Not the same as her heart, liver and brain, but still a part.

I don't think this necessarily gives the mother the right to abort up to the day of birth, but it is a factor that must be taken into account.  The rights of the fetus do not trump the right of the mother to control her own body, which includes the fetus.

For that point I think my reasoning is dispositive.

1203
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 17, 2016, 06:08:18 PM »
On the lighter side, just check out some of these lame excuses on why Obama shouldn't name a replacement for Scalia.  :)

1204
I find it interesting that you used the word "property" in describing the fetus, Fenring.  Because it isn't so much a piece of property, but a piece of the mother.
Wayward Son, we're specifically talking about independently viable fetuses.  They are inside the mother, but there's real basis to state they are "part" of the mother, they certainly are not required to remain a part of the mother (hence the classification of viable).
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Do you consider your liver a piece of your property?  Your heart?  Your gall bladder?  Your appendix?  I don't.  I consider them a piece of myself, which is much more than just property.
And which of those if removed from the mother and not implanted in another living being survives independently on its own?

If we were talking about pre-viable fetuses your argument would carry weight, and it does to most everyone that's weighed in on the issue.

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Of course, this is not so clear when it comes to a fetus.  Our liver, heart and gall bladder are supposed to stay with us our entire lives, while a fetus is supposed to be ejected after 9 months.  ("Ejected" not being even close to the right word, but you get my point. :))  But it is part of a woman's body until that time.  And so much more than just "property" that she can do with as she pleases.  It is part of her self.

Why is it a part of her self?  Honestly, why is a fully formed person, capable of surviving free from her body, that she expressly wants out of her body, a "part of herself" that she is entitled to kill? 

I think your entire argument is based on location, and if held to its logical extreme, would entitle a woman to have a baby killed during the birth process, if she choose.  Can you distinguish that fact pattern?  What if she's in the middle of scheduled C-section, hence there is no further physical trauma required to separate the live fetus from her body (other than lifting it out and cutting the cord), is she still able to have the doctor terminate this "part of her body"?

You're reading too much into my argument.  It is part of her body because it is in her body, because it is partly composed of her body, because it naturally grows inside her body.  It order to get it out of her body, you either have to cut her open or administer chemicals to induce her body to eject it (unless, of course, you wait until it comes out naturally).

But that does not mean that "she is entitled to kill" it under any and all circumstances.  Because it is not just another heart, liver, or brain.  It can and does grow into an independent person, and so cannot be simply considered as another organ.

But, by the same token, it cannot be considered a mere possession or something that the mother just happens to be feeding inside of her.

Both have to be considered in deciding what can and cannot be done with the fetus.

Any answer that does not acknowledge that the fetus is part of the mother is ignoring part of the problem.

1205
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 17, 2016, 03:19:16 PM »
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That's why the death of Scalia really hurts, his primary legal philosophy (notwithstanding, Raich) was to rely on the text of the law strictly.

I got the impression that he relied on the strict text of the law when it agreed with his politic stance, otherwise not-so-much (as when he declared that corporations can have religious beliefs in Hobby Lobby).

Do you know of any of Scalia's decisions where he took a liberal position because of his strict reading of the text?

1206
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I think you are confusing 'nourished by and connected to the mother' with 'a literal part of the mother.'

I think, Fenring, that you want to have a nice, clear divide between what is part of the mother and what isn't.

Well, you can't have it. :p

Because you are dealing with biology.

Biology doesn't give nice, clean dividing lines.  Just look up the differences between sexes.  Male and female are clearly divided, except when they aren't. :)  There is male, female, and all those cases where it isn't clearly differentiated.  Biology doesn't care.

In this case, you are right and wrong.  The fetus does have a unique DNA, different from the mother's (usually).  It does have it's own brain and central nervous system (usually).  It does become a separate human being after gestation (usually).  So, yes, it is different from the mother.

But it also has half of the mother's DNA (usually).  It is connected to the mother just like any other organ or system (usually).  It triggers certain chemical changes in the mother which cause changes to her physiology (usually).  It cannot survive without the mother (usually until gestation or so).  So, no, it is not different from the mother, anymore than any organ is "different" from the mother.

So there is no confusion.  It is both 'nourished by and connected to the mother' and 'a literal part of the mother.' :)

And here's the thing.  If you consider it only "nourished by and connected to the mother," you are neglecting that it is "a literal part of the mother."  You think of it only as a thing that the mother possesses.  But it is also a thing that is part of the mother.  Not exactly like a liver or heart or brain, but not something completely different, either.  Perhaps a new category.  But a category that is in the set of "part of the mother's body."

This is why, I think, Pyr is so intent on saying the mother should have absolute control over the fetus as she does over all other parts of her body.  Because even though it is a separate person being developed, it is part of her body during gestation.  And denying that it is denies both reality and the mother's control over her own body.

1207
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Since Social Justice Warriors have colonized and appropriated the Christian holiday of Valentine's Day into "V Day"...

You make is sound like its something odd or terrible to "colonize and appropriate" a Christian holiday.

Appropriating holidays is a long-standing tradition.  Christmas used to be solemn holiday of reflection of what we did wrong over the year, and of the poor begging at the doors of the rich.  Now its some happy day of gift-giving and celebration, because it was "colonized and appropriated" by some namby-pambys who don't appreciate the seriousness of life and eternity.

And do you think the Feast of Saint Valentine was always about love and chocolates and Hallmark cards?  Your ancestors would be horrified at what it's become!  Changing the name to "V Day" is the least of the sacrilege...

In fact Christmas and Easter themselves are appropriated holidays, colonized by the Christians.  Originally they were solstice and fertility festivals, but Christians early on used them as propaganda to convert the heathens, changing their significance to days supposedly to celebrate the birth of Jesus and his resurrection.  The last people who should criticize that holidays were "appropriated" are Christians!  ::)

People are going to celebrate holidays the way they want to, whether they were originally Christian, pagan, or something made up by a lady who thought mothers should get more recognition than they do.  And there's nothing you can do about it.  So get used to it.  You just sound silly getting outraged over something that's been going on for millennium. :P

1208
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2) That the fetus should legally be considered as a piece of the mother's property and not as a person until the moment of its birth.

I find it interesting that you used the word "property" in describing the fetus, Fenring.  Because it isn't so much a piece of property, but a piece of the mother.

Do you consider your liver a piece of your property?  Your heart?  Your gall bladder?  Your appendix?  I don't.  I consider them a piece of myself, which is much more than just property.

Property can be sold, taken, traded, replaced.  I can't trade myself.  I can't replace myself.  Sure, we can do some of those things with parts of ourselves (brains are excluded! ;)), but they are still parts that are far more intimate than just "property."

Which is think is Pyr's point.  Control of our bodies is control of our very selves, our deepest selves.  Telling someone that they do not have control of their bodies is denying them control of their most basic self.  That is more control than we demand of incarcerated murders, rapists and traitors!

Of course, this is not so clear when it comes to a fetus.  Our liver, heart and gall bladder are supposed to stay with us our entire lives, while a fetus is supposed to be ejected after 9 months.  ("Ejected" not being even close to the right word, but you get my point. :))  But it is part of a woman's body until that time.  And so much more than just "property" that she can do with as she pleases.  It is part of her self.

1209
General Comments / Re: A little perspective
« on: February 17, 2016, 11:21:47 AM »
It should also be noted that there are far more programs for mental health care and counseling for opiate addiction than there are for violence addiction, especially gun-violence addiction. ;)

So the larger problem is being address more than the smaller one.

1210
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 17, 2016, 11:13:41 AM »
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There's nothing saying there should be nine members.  They were originally set at five.  They were at one time set at eight.

The problem with having an even number of justices is the likely scenario of a deadlocked Court.

There are already seven cases on the docket that will likely end up in a tie, on aspects of Obamacare and contraception, union rights, redistricting, and drunk driving.  An affirmative action case will likely have a 4-3 reversal. 

Without a tie-breaker, the Court will not function as well as it should.

1211
Oh, yeah, Cruz is non-establishment.  It's a toss-up whether the Democrats or Republicans hate him more.  ;D  Apparently because he paints every Republican as "a corrupt phony and himself as the only honest man."

Just check out this analysis of the introduction to his autobiography.

1212
I still gotta ask, what's with Jim Gilmore?

He received fewer votes yesterday than Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.  Isn't there a message in there somewhere?  ;)

1213
Sadly, to western lefties, the idea of colonization by non-European is a contradiction in terms...

Could you show an instance where Lefties consider the idea of colonization by non-Europeans a contradiction in terms?  I have yet to hear that idea.  In fact, I would think the issue of Tibetan Independence utterly disproves that.

Or are you under the impression that lack of addressing all the world's woes means that Western Lefties don't really care?

1214
the pro life movement does not rely on facts nor need them

I must assume that you don't know any intelligent pro-life people to say such a thing. More likely you hear facts in the echo chamber of your side? It's one thing to say the other side is mistaken, or that they are missing some key fact that you think you have. But to otherwise denigrate the opposition in an issue as controversial as this one shows you haven't been listening well enough.

I will admit to succumbing to the Loudest Voices Syndrome, and that I see as the "pro life movement" those who protest the loudest and the most obnoxiously.

Could you direct me to a site where they do discuss abortion without resorting to hyperbole and distortion of the facts?  Where do you go to get reliable information from the pro-life movement?

1215
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It would be supercilious to the point of dishonest to demand that I provide proof prior to investigation.

Of course, it is equally supercilious to the point of dishonesty to demand legislation on a problem prior to investigation to prove there is a problem.  Or do you believe in legislating on moot issues?  ;)

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Why do you give a *censored* if there are only a couple dozen cases of sex or race selective abortion?  Why give the pro lifers even that much ammo?  How many decades do we have to make elections about abortion?

This is a very weak argument, because the pro life movement does not rely on facts nor need them.  Rumor and innuendo are sufficient.  Just take the "abortion pill."  It has been shown that the pill does not actually cause abortions, but that does not stop the movement from using it as an example of abortions, even for Supreme Court cases (like the Hobby Lobby case, IIRC).  We have seen it happen time and again.

So if you are truly concerned with not giving pro lifers ammo, you should be ashamed of yourself, because you just did.  By simply asking the question, the pro life movement will take it as being proof that hundreds of abortions are being performed for sex and race selection every year.  And any results of an investigation will be dismissed.

This is not to say I am against any or all investigations about abortions.  I believe that facts are always useful and should never be avoided.  But if you are arguing that we should start an investigation so as not to give pro lifers ammo, well, it's useless, because they don't need facts for their ammo, nor will facts dissuade them from what they already believe.

1216
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So it's possible she may again be defeated by upstart Sanders. Assuming he doesn't shoot himself with his off hand or have his plane go down, or have some unprecedented and sudden heart attack while in confinement.

While you may be worried about Sanders, perhaps we should be worried about Donald Trump:o  ;)

1217
General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 03, 2016, 11:12:56 AM »
And, once again, the "magic" comes from the media, and not from what actually happened. :(

Apparently, the "Miracle Six" coins tosses (which, at 1/64, ain't that rare :) ) didn't even really exist.  As NPR reports:

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In fact, there were at least a dozen tiebreakers — and "Sen. Sanders won at least a handful," an Iowa Democratic Party official told NPR.

So it more like Hillary won around 7/12 or so. Much less improbable.  But that didn't keep the headline writers from going over the top.

And the kicker is that it really didn't matter because the delegate reported were only rough estimates.

As NPR explains:

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Iowa has a multistep process for picking delegates. Monday night was just Step 1. Here's how it works:

1. There were 1,683 precinct caucuses on Iowa caucus night.

2. Those precinct caucuses elected 11,065 delegates to the county conventions, which take place March 12.

3. That universe of 11,065 delegates is whittled down to 1,406 who will attend congressional district (April 30) and state conventions (June 18).

4. And here's the root of what's causing all the confusion: The breakdown of those 11,065 is not reported on caucus night.

5. What IS reported, what Clinton's 49.9 to 49.6 percent tracing-paper-thin lead is based on, is "state delegate equivalents."

6. Those are ESTIMATES of how many of those 11,065 will attend the congressional district and state conventions.

So ... when those coin tosses are happening, they are elected delegates in that larger universe.

That means, for Clinton to have picked up the four delegates, she would have had to have won not six in a row, but more like 47.

So when Clinton picked up 6 more delegates than Sanders, she got 6 more of the 11,065 delegates--but the split of those 11,065 was never reported.  Only the estimate of how those 11,065 would be split into the 1,406 next month.  So each of those 6 "magic" delegates was worth only about 0.127 of an actual delegate.  ::)

Nothing magical or untoward happened that night.  It was a tie between Hillary and Bernie.  A straight-up, statistical tie.  But that was a boring story for the media, so we got the "magic six" coin tossed.  Which meant absolutely nothing.

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Of course God's a Democrat, but I resent your implication that He's an election cheat.

God doesn't cheat.  He decides how every coin toss goes.  To paraphrase Star Trek, Sanders didn't stand a chance, because God raided the game. :D

1218
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...seems to have duped a mob of abortion fans into supporting their newest offensive against the first amendment.

Wow!  Now the Grand Jury is "a mob of abortion fans?"  And I suppose the DA who was in charge, who is on record as being anti-abortion, is also a dupe?  Or is she the duper? ::)

Where do you get this stuff?

1219
General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 02, 2016, 06:47:45 PM »
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If you exclude the coin toss "votes" Bernie did take two more than Hillary.  That's a narrow margin but not a "dead heat."  Which means simply that the Democratic party isn't making this a fair fight for Sanders.

You make it sound like the Democratic Party had some say on how those coins fell.  Extremely unlikely.  More likely is that Hillary got lucky and Bernie unlucky.

Since it all came down to pure, unadulterated chance (a coin toss) on who got those last few delegates, I would call that a "dead heat."  Neither won on merit, but rather pure luck. :)

OTOH, if you're a religious man, perhaps Someone did have a say in how those coins landed.  (Although I had no idea He was part of the Democratic Party. ;))

1220
I was just looking at the raw numbers from Iowa.

Can anyone explain why Jim Gilmore is still in the race?  :o

1221
General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 02, 2016, 04:49:57 PM »
Any politician, Democrat or Republican, that claims he or she "won" the Iowa caucuses is blowing smoke.  Nothing was decided in this race.

Clinton and Sanders tied.  Yeah, Clinton took a couple of more delegates than Sanders, but it was by sheer luck of the coin tosses.  But even if Sanders took a couple more, it still would have been a tie.  There was no significant difference between the two counts this early in the national race.

And the Republican "winner" took only 28% of the votes.  The second and third place "winners" took just short of 25%.  Big deal.  What kind of "winner" can muster only a quarter of the votes?  ::)

Bernie needed a fairly big victory for a chance of beating Hillary.  He didn't get it.  They tied.  And a couple of delegates more wouldn't have changed that result.  He's in trouble.

And until quite a few more contenders bow out like Huckabee, we won't even know what the real race is for the Republicans.  Right now, nobody is winning.  It's still just as up in the air as it was two months ago.

1222
Remember, buying fetal tissue is only a misdemeanor and really has nothing to do with the felony charge.

The felony is based on using government ID from another state with intent to do harm.

So any prosecution will depend on what is considered "harm."

If "harm" only means stealing money or physical injury, they should get off easy.

But if "harm" can also mean slander, then they could be in big trouble.

But don't fixate on whether they actually meant to buy fetal tissue.  Consider whether they meant to do harm to Planned Parenthood.

1223
It may go deeper than that.  It could be a sign of alpha-male dominance, of showing that Trump can and will dominate his opponents, even the press.  He is the invincible hero, the unbeatable winner.  Josh Marshall called it (somewhat rudely), his "bitch slap theory of politics."

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When I first wrote about this a dozen years ago I called it the "bitch slap theory of politics." I'm no longer comfortable using that phrase. But I do think the heavily gendered, violent nature of that phrase is one of the only ways to really capture the nature of what's happening in these dramas.

Take Trump's evisceration of Jeb Bush.

Trump's comment about Jeb's being "weak", "low energy", "pitiful" ... these are demeaning and denigrating phrases. They seem frankly gross, with an emotional tenor we'd expect from street toughs or frat boys trash talking each other. It's raw and primal and all about dominating by denigrating. But what has really hurt Bush is not so much that Trump is calling him names. It's that Trump has used these attacks to demonstrate that Jeb is unable or unwilling to defend himself. Trump hits him and Jeb takes it. His responses are hapless and weak and generally meaningless. You probably barely remember them. The impact of this is not tied to Trump calling Bush "weak." Trump is engineering encounters that show that Bush is weak.

In an election dominated by national security, this kind of demonstration of power and dominance has a profound impact. That is why the 'Swift Boat' attacks in the 2004 presidential election were so devastating. Whether anybody really believed all these slurs and claims about John Kerry wasn't really the point. What was deadly was his seeming inability to defend himself...

Trump doesn't apologize. He hurts people and they go away. He says things that would kill a political mortal (ban members of an entire religion from entering the country) and yet he doesn't get hurt. Virtually everything Trump has done over the last six months, whether it's a policy proposal or personal attack, has driven home this basic point: Trump is strong. He does things other people can't.

This is why Trump has so shaken up and so dominated the GOP primary cycle, at least thus far. As I've said, this kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It's not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it's Trump's native language. I still believe it's rooted in the mix of the hyper-aggressive New York real estate world, his decades of immersion in the city's febrile tabloid culture and just being, at the most basic level, a bully. Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities ... none of that matters. Trump doesn't kiss babies. Babies kiss him. He doesn't have a billionaire backer; he is a billionaire. Trump doesn't ask for support. He just tells you that you need to stop being a loser and get on board.

After about an hour or so, I understand the debate moved past Trump and got down to actual policy questions.  But I think this is part of Trump's attraction to his supporters.  He's the Man.  He dominates everyone around him, even Fox News.  He has the power, and power attracts.

1224
I actually found the debate more tolerable than the previous ones (in that I was able to watch it for more than 5 minutes without wanting to throw something at the screen :)).  The questions (for the 20 minutes I watched) seemed important, and about half the answers actually were about the question.  My view of the candidates actually went up a notch.

Of course, the Unintentional Irony Award goes to Chris Christie, who, in response to a question, spent his 3 minutes talking about how Hillary refused to answer questions, while not answering the one asked him. :D

1225
Another reason the fake ID charge is a felony.  Because it is.

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Anderson dispels some of the misconceptions that have sprung up about her office's decision. For example, defense attorneys have argued that charging both Daleiden and Merritt with a felony for using fake driver's licenses is too extreme because young people caught with fake IDs often receive a misdemeanor charge. But Anderson explains that in Texas, using a fake ID from another state is a felony. "That's the law," she says.

As noted in a previous link, the fake ID they used looked like California drivers licenses.

1226
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Ever heard of the phrase "a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich"?

But somehow, when the prosecutors were tasked with indicting Planned Parenthood based on the videos, they ending up indicting the people who made the videos.  Does this mean that the citizens of Houston dislike bologna more than ham? ;)

I mean really, Planned Parenthood's remedy should be a suit for defamation if they believe they were lied about, this set of criminal charges appears to be a complete farce.

Which is Planned Parenthood's plan.  This is the State of Texas who is doing this, based on a Grand Jury investigation to find out if Planned Parenthood had broken the law.

Oh, the irony... :D

On the right, we have twits who blame planned parenthood. On the left, we have twits who cite Texas grand juries as some sort of moral authority.  No one grasps that the issue here isn't abortion but Texas' longstanding campaign against freedom of the press, and overcoming the prisons with nonviolent offenses.

The ID issue should be a misdemeanor.  The principal harm here is fraud and defamation.   Dragging one's politics into the criminal prosecution aspect of this story is pure whoring.


Are you calling Seriati a twit?  Because I was pointing out to him that it wasn't Planned Parenthood that was charging them criminally, but the State of Texas via the Grand Jury.  It's like blaming the guy who gets hit by a car for the driver being charged with reckless driving. :)

All-in-all, I agree that the charges are probably too severe for the crime.  Although there is evidence that the video's producers had it out for Planned Parenthood from the get-go, I'm not sure that constitutes intent of doing harm.  I'd have to see what criteria is used to determine such intent.  With what I know now, I'd probably let them off with a misdemeanor, too, if that.

But the lovely irony of it all is that, after several Grand Juries investigating these videos in several states, the only indictments that have resulted are against those who made the videos!  ;D  I mean, how much proof does anyone need before they admit that maybe, just maybe, the edited videos aren't accurate, and the members of Planned Parenthood just may not have done anything criminal?

Apparently much more for twits like Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina.

Ultimately, I would like to see something done to discourage lying jerks like the video producers from slandering people and organizations just because they don't like what they do.  But civil suits should take care of that, eventually.  But for now, let's just sit back and enjoy the irony of people who try to entrap their enemies ending up entrapping themselves. :D

1227
I mean really, Planned Parenthood's remedy should be a suit for defamation if they believe they were lied about, this set of criminal charges appears to be a complete farce.

Which is Planned Parenthood's plan.  This is the State of Texas who is doing this, based on a Grand Jury investigation to find out if Planned Parenthood had broken the law.

Oh, the irony... :D

1228
Here's an article that briefly describes the charges.

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Charge: Tampering with a governmental record

Daleiden has admitted to putting together a fake company he dubbed Biomax Procurement Services. His group assumed aliases and claimed to provide fetal tissue to researchers.

The fake IDs used by Daleiden and Merritt, which look like California driver’s licenses, triggered the felony charge, Schaffer said...

"They presented those to security at the Planned Parenthood office to gain access to the facility for the meeting they’d scheduled with the intent to defraud or harm Planned Parenthood,” he said. “They secretly videotaped meetings and edited the tapes to be taken out of context.”

Intent to cause harm is what elevated the possession of fake IDs to a more serious felony charge than, say, a 16-year-old trying to buy a six-pack would receive, Schaffer said. Under Texas law, the charge carries a penalty of two to 20 years in prison.

Charge: Attempting to buy human tissue

Using his false identity, Daleiden emailed Planned Parenthood in June, asking to buy fetal tissue for $1,600, Schaffer said...

Authorities don’t need to see evidence of a deal or interest from another party to pursue the charge. Planned Parenthood, Schaffer said, never responded to Daleiden’s email.

“He probably didn’t know he was breaking the law,” Schaffer added.

The charge is a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in county jail.


1229
Ah, but which is worse, Pete.  The abuse of law for political purposes, or the breaking of laws for political purposes?  ;)

1230
Considering the evidence, it's a wonder it took so long. :)

1231
General Comments / Re: Hillary: Too risky a candidate (cont'd)
« on: January 22, 2016, 12:43:04 PM »
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Because of this,  I infer / assume she likely did...  That,  or the line on what is top secret / classified is not always obvious.

I believe it is far more likely that she didn't know the information was classified because it may not be obvious that is was classified.

Extrapolating from how we are required by the government to handle technical information at work, simply quoting a line from a controlled document in an e-mail makes can make that e-mail controlled, too--even if the information may be publically available (as on the internet).  Assuming that a similar rule applies to secret documents, it would be trivially easy to put in a line from a secret document in an e-mail, making the entire e-mail "secret."  Thus the requirement to label such e-mails "secret" by the sender.

Now just imagine that you are a government official who receives dozens of e-mails a day.  Would you expect that you'd be able to recognize a line that contains information from a secret document?  Would you expect anyone to be able to recognize it from the hundreds of classified documents that exist, including ones the person is not familiar with?

Of course, some information is obviously classified, or something that Hillary could have recognized.  The devil is in the details.  But just because information is classified doesn't mean it is obvious.  It could look innocuous, and only after careful analysis would it be revealed to be classified.

----

Alas, Lloyd, the WSJ opinion piece appears to require a subscription.  Do you have a cheaper source? :)

1232
General Comments / Re: Hillary: Too risky a candidate (cont'd)
« on: January 20, 2016, 06:36:33 PM »
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If Cruz was as popular as Obama, there would be democrats looking for birthed arguments.

There might be some grumbling on the fringes, but all-in-all, no, democrats wouldn't be using a birther argument.  Not to the extent that Republicans have, where you have Congressmen indicating that "there might be something to it."  ::)

Remember that John McCain was born in a U.S. Territory, but was never questioned about his right to be President.

Perhaps you could name an argument that lasted nearly as long as the birther argument, which had so many high-ranking Democrats talking about it, which had Democrats demanding documentation from the President and then declaring it a forgery after it was released?  I can't think of one.  I think you'll be hard pressed to come up with one, too.

No, this argument is pretty much unprecedented in its scope, its continuation in spite of evidence, and its fervor.  While Democrats may look for such an argument, I doubt they'd settle on such a flimsy one.

1233
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 20, 2016, 12:21:53 PM »
It's actually not surprising that Sarah endorsed Trump.  In many ways, they are very much the same.

1234
General Comments / Re: Dem filibuster for Audit the Fed
« on: January 13, 2016, 01:15:40 PM »
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Yes, it's just oversight - an audit, pure and simple.

If it's "just an audit," how does it differ from the annual audits that are currently done by an independent outside auditor and are published on-line?

1235
General Comments / Re: let's cut the crap on gun control
« on: January 12, 2016, 04:05:27 PM »
It turns out that the U.S. isn't very good about reporting and compiling crime statistics.

[/url=http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-to-make-sense-of-conflicting-confusing-and-misleading-crime-statistics/]This article points out how it is done badly.[/url]

And here is why murder rates aren't even good at measuring gun violence.

Of course, the bottom line is that shootings and murders don't have to go up to justify doing something about them.  At more than 9000 shooting murders in 2012 alone, they are way too high by any measure. :(

1236
General Comments / Re: The theory that Dems want to ban guns
« on: January 11, 2016, 01:01:01 PM »
The idea of having an ATF booth to check registration is a good one, but it would HAVE to come from the Republican Congress.  First, because the cost would have to be approved by Congress, and second, because if it came from Democrats or (shudder) President Obama, it would be dead in the water.  After all, only Nixon could go to China. :)

I would see at a good faith effort to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them.

Anyone know what the NRA's response to the idea is (or would be)? ;)

1237
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 09, 2016, 11:49:21 AM »
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There's nothing illogical about people who believe the President is a dishonest liar believing that his actual goals are different than his stated goals.  Or do you think it was irrational to know in 2008 that President Obama really wasn't against gay marriage?  Was it "misinformation" to believe that?

I think I see where you're coming from, Seriati, but it's still a bad place. :)  Yes, you could say that the number is arbitrary, and what they really mean is that Obama wants to flood the country with refugees.  But that opens up a whole new can of worms.

For instance, I could state Trump plans on deporting all Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews by the end of his first year if he becomes President.  If someone points out that he never stated such, I would simply point out that we already know he is a liar, and that in his heart he wants to.  Thus, Trump planning on deporting anyone who isn't a WASP by 2017 is simply an "opinion."

It has the same problem as misinformation: it is immune to modification by reality. :)

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They just believe that Obama wants to allow a whole lot of Muslim refugees into the country for political purposes, mostly to undermine our Conservative values.  Thus, 250,000 is a reasonable number, much more reasonable than a piddly 10,000, and thus much more believable.  So they swallow it, hook, line and sinker.  And dispute the only number we know for sure because it doesn't fit in well with their narrative.


Now you're making things up.  The article did not show they "swallowed" the number, nor did they show a dispute of the 10k number.  They said they don't believe the President is telling the truth.  Not rocket science here.

What does that have to do with anything?  I'm just stating my opinion.  My statement has just as much legitimacy as those who believe that Obama wants to allow in 250,000 Muslims.  I'm not basing it on the article.  I'm telling you what these people actually believe in their hearts.

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You started a whole thread to sell the narrative that Trump voters only support him because they are misinformed, and have utterly failed to show that is the case with facts.

A.  I did not start the whole thread.  B.  I am not saying that all Trump voters only support him because they are misinformed.  Some support him for other reasons.  But I suspect a large number are "misinformed"--which means that they believe things mainly because they want them to be true, not because there is sufficient evidence to support it.  (Such as the 250,000 number.)

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That's not quite my thesis.  It's more of, if you show that Trump has lied, you should be less likely to support him, not more.


I am less likely to support him because of his lies and misstatements, that doesn't mean that others are not willing to throw their support to him in spite of it.  It is sometimes refreshing to hear him, even if its cringe worthy, when you putting him next to Cruz's always scripted responses.  That said, how illogical is it to demand less support for a liar when Hillary Clinton is almost certainly going to be the Democratic candidate?

You're still missing the point.  It isn't that this group had the same level of support before being shown facts that contradicted what they believed; they had more[/I] support after being shown facts that contradicted what they believed.  They became more likely to vote for him.

When I first heard about Hillary's e-mail, my heart fell, because it sounded like she may have really done something totally illegal.  I was less likely to support her at that point.  I will probably still support her (considering the bozos that the Republicans are fronting), but not as much as if she hadn't done it.  Now, if I had decided to support her even more, what would you make of that?

This group apparently wanted to support Trump more after hearing that the 250,000 number was made up, and Muslims didn't celebrate 911 in New Jersey, and all the other crap the man tells.  That is the point.  I wouldn't expect them to abandon him immediately, but I wouldn't expect them to embrace him more when they are shown facts that show he isn't always truthful.

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True, feelings and ideals and many other factors should come into play when deciding what to do and who to support.  But when actual facts--facts that are pertinent to the creation of these feelings and ideals--are shown to be inaccurate, if not outright false (like Trump's contention that “thousands of Muslims” had “cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center," a fact that Seriati did not address)


I did actually address it, you may want to look again.

I couldn't find it, Seriati. :-[  Perhaps you could point it out?

1238
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 08, 2016, 03:34:42 PM »
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There is no dispute about the proposed amount, true, but the question was about what the President wants.  Can you explain rationally, why the President does not "want" 250,000 refugees, what difference under his logic is there that would say 10,000 is good but 250,000 is clearly not?

Honestly, do you really believe President Obama would assert that we should not let 250,000 refugees in?

I think this is a bit of a semantic game, Seriati.  Admittedly, the word "wants" has more to do with the Presidents desires and intentions.  But no one has information of what Obama's ideal number is, least of all Donald Trump.  The only number we know is the actual proposed number.

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Since they were asked to comment on a claim about what he wants, you're absolutely correct, they have just as much basis to believe 4-5 million - if someone actually made that claim.

Why do they have to wait until someone makes that claim??  The 250,000 number is made up, as you admit.  Why don't some believe it is 1 million, and others 25,000?  Why did they all agree on the 250,000?

I'll tell you why.  Because they don't care about the number.  They just believe that Obama wants to allow a whole lot of Muslim refugees into the country for political purposes, mostly to undermine our Conservative values.  Thus, 250,000 is a reasonable number, much more reasonable than a piddly 10,000, and thus much more believable.  So they swallow it, hook, line and sinker.  And dispute the only number we know for sure because it doesn't fit in well with their narrative.

And that's what worries me.  When the narratives overrides the facts.  Trump is riding high on selling the narratives, and he knows the facts can be damned.  And he knows his supporters simply don't care.

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By lumping feelings into the latter group you implicitly impugn the idea that people should trust their feelings, and there are a massive amount of people who think that humans derive as much (if not more) useful information from their feelings and instinct than from intellectual assessment of data. In fact, I'm happy you refer to "we" as Western Civilization because the bias (which Nietzsche calls the sickness of Socrates) of putting rational intellectual thinking on a pedestal above all else is a distinctly Western bias at present and is frankly looked at with ridicule by others who don't share that view. I should mention that in my view this is a true assertion about Western thought as a broad statement but that it also represents a distinct weakness in thinking and understanding. So whoever this "we" is that you're referring to I'm not a part of "them" and neither are a lot of intelligent people. Actually I'm willing to bet you aren't really one of "them" either if it was really put to the test, but I recognize that you intellectually subscribe to the idea of basing your decisions on facts. But I doubt very much you literally only base decisions on rational analysis of facts; that's probably not even remotely true of anyone, nor should it be.

True, feelings and ideals and many other factors should come into play when deciding what to do and who to support.  But when actual facts--facts that are pertinent to the creation of these feelings and ideals--are shown to be inaccurate, if not outright false (like Trump's contention that “thousands of Muslims” had “cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center," a fact that Seriati did not address), then one should at least acknowledge the inaccuracy and consider how to modify your feelings and attitudes.  Or at least go back and check your source, to verify that you are not wrong.  But to simply hunker down, deny the information and become even more entrenched in your views, feelings and attitudes, that's what is worrisome.  That way lies madness. :(

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Seriati dealt with this issue well enough that I'll just leave it, with the proviso that while he's intent on showing that Trump's supporters may not have actually been misinformed, my main point is that you absolutely cannot get from showing they're misinforced to showing that they support him because of this. And this last connection (which cannot logically be made) is actually the basis for your entire argument. Your thesis is basically that Trump has support because he tells people lies, and then the lies serve to reinforce that support when challenged. It's just another way of saying "I don't think Trump should have supporters, since only someone misinformed would accept his lies."

That's not quite my thesis.  It's more of, if you show that Trump has lied, you should be less likely to support him, not more.  Don't we want citizens and voters who modify their views when they are shown facts that contradict their views and beliefs, not ones who become more firm in their beliefs?  I mean, that means the best way to make people believe in a lie to show them again and again that it is a lie! 

That would prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.  ::)

1239
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 08, 2016, 12:15:16 PM »
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Who is this "we"?

In this case, "we" refers to Western Civilization--people who believe our beliefs and reasoning should primarily be based on facts, not rumors, feelings and fantasy.  It is precisely what Conservatives have criticized Liberals for not being.


It seems more like you're asserting your values (or at least values that sound good to you on paper) as a given and assuming that only those values are relevant in assessing the consistency of human behavior. Or put another way, you're assuming by definition that Trump supporters are wrong and then trying to figure out how they're wrong. How do you know they're wrong? Because they disagree with you! And since you believe in correct facts it follows from this that their belief can only be justified by having incorrect facts.

And here you are completely wrong.  I don't assert that they believe in incorrect facts because they are wrong.  I assert they believe in incorrect facts because they believe in incorrect facts! :)

Let me quote from the quotes of the article I quoted:

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“Donald Trump says that President Obama wants to allow 250,000 Syrian refugees to come into the country,” Luntz said. “Who thinks that is mostly true?”

Nearly every hand shot up.

There is no conceivable dispute about how many Syrian refugees Obama has currently proposed to allow in this country.  To say that he wants more than he has asked for is, at best, making a guess.

So what happens when they are told the real number?

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“Do you know that Obama has said he wants only 10,000 refugees?” Luntz asked.

“What’s in his heart?” asked one participant.

“He’d let as many in as possible,” insisted another.

“It happens again and again,” said Jeff Scrima, 38, who moved to the D.C. area after serving as mayor of Waukesha, Wis. “The State Department says one thing, Obama says something else, and they change the policy to match him.”

"What's in his heart."  Mind-reading.  One could just as well say Obama "really" wants 4 million refugees, or only 5.  They have just as much basis in fact as 250,000.

Yet everyone believed the 250,000 number.  And when corrected, they came up with lame-ass excuses for why some arbitrary number is really true.

Or how about:

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Luntz moved on to questions about Trump’s claim that “thousands of Muslims” had “cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center.” Almost no one doubted Trump; more than a few people wondered why this was controversial.

No one has been able to show "thousands of Muslims" cheering in the streets of New Jersey, as Trump contends he remembers.  This is simply false.  But almost no one in that group doubted it.  And, more importantly, almost no one modified their position when told it wasn't true.

That's what I'm talking about.  This has nothing to do with my values, or Trump's political position, or even his bone-headed idea of building a wall with Mexico and having Mexico pay for it.  (You did see an engineer's analysis of how practical that would be, right?)  I'm talking about believing Obama took his oath on a copy of the Koran, and when told it isn't true, become more certain it is true.  About denying facts when they are presented to you.

If someone can't or won't modify what he believes is true when the facts are presented that show they are not, then there simply is no way to modify that belief.  And when a significant portion of the nation become like that, then we are all in big trouble. :(

1240
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 07, 2016, 04:56:14 PM »
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Aside from Seriati's calling into question whether they were, in fact, misinformed, my question is why you think the fact that they were misinformed implies that their increased support was because of the fact that they were misinformed. Did it occur to you that the factor in play here may actually be loyalty, where when presented with facts in contradiction with Trump's statements they felt their allegiance to Trump was being questioned and their natural human response was to rally to their guy? This doesn't make them dumb, but rather might show that they believe in loyalty more so than being right all the time. That's a value judgment and is beyond what such a simple study can address.

The bottom line is this: part of their support (in this case for Trump) is based on misinformation.  When presented with contradicting facts, they reject the facts and increase their support.  This is in direct contradiction to what we would expect as a rational response.

Whether it is from loyalty, or not wanting to be told they are wrong, or whatever emotion, it is not a rational basis for making a decision.  And when presented with the truth, and becoming more entrenched with the lie, well, that only leads to more trouble.  Because any decision based on bad "facts" will inevitably leads to bad outcomes, because reality won't conform to bad "facts."

I really don't care why people will double-down in belief and support when presented with corrections to their misperceptions.  I just worry what will happen when loyalty or orneriness or whatever trumps reality.  We all will suffer when ideology becomes more important than reality.

1241
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 07, 2016, 03:58:49 PM »
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Their non-expert "opinion" on whether Trump supporters are misinformed seems to based on be the Washington Post article describing how negative attacks made support for him stronger.  There wasn't any evidence that there was any misinformation played a material role in that process in that report, and in fact it proffered other plausible explanations.

The latter part of the article made clear that the group was exposed to facts that contradicted Trump, and it only made them more resolute in their support.

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Luntz moved on to questions about Trump’s claim that “thousands of Muslims” had “cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center.” Almost no one doubted Trump; more than a few people wondered why this was controversial. The youngest member of the group wondered why he never saw Muslims in the streets protesting terrorism. Kelly said that there was fresh audio evidence of Muslims celebrating the San Bernardino shooting, though he could not immediately recall the source...

Nothing seemed to budge the Trump voters. Almost all of them agreed that Clinton had committed crimes. Almost all agreed that the last Republican president had been wrong to invade Iraq in 2003. Finally, Luntz asked for a thought experiment — to imagine incontrovertible proof that Clinton would win if Trump split the vote. Only then did the group agree to vote Republican over Trump...

“In that scenario, sure,” said a middle-aged participant named Michael. “But that won’t happen. Trump would win.”

That confidence only grew as Trump’s alleged gaffes and mistakes were laid out. At 6:30 p.m., when the session began, all 29 participants were asked to rate their likelihood of voting for Trump, and just 10 people said they were at nine or 10. After one hour of mostly negative questions about Trump, six more people joined that confident group...

Almost nothing was changing that picture. The group heard Trump insist that the wives of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had been warned in advance and sent home. They saw Trump mock a New York Times reporter with a disability who had written about reports of post-Sept. 11 celebrations. Some people winced; more of them rationalized what Trump had been saying. “The real issue is that the reporter retracted his story after 14 years,” Scrima said.

(The reporter, Serge Kovaleski, then with The Washington Post, never retracted his article describing reports of a tailgate-style party of Muslims after 9/11. The article never described thousands of Muslims celebrating, and when interviewed about the article this year Kovaleski said he did not recall any reports describing numbers of that magnitude.)

It is pretty clear that information that contradicted Trumps pronouncements was presented to the group, and it only made the group more resolute in their support of Trump.

And as far as being informed...

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Asked whether the president was a Christian, only three of the 29 participants raised their hands. Asked whether he was born in the United States, eight said no. When Luntz returned to policy, mistrust of the president informed the exclamations of trust in Trump.

“Donald Trump says that President Obama wants to allow 250,000 Syrian refugees to come into the country,” Luntz said. “Who thinks that is mostly true?”

Nearly every hand shot up.

“Do you know that Obama has said he wants only 10,000 refugees?” Luntz asked.

“What’s in his heart?” asked one participant.

“He’d let as many in as possible,” insisted another.

“It happens again and again,” said Jeff Scrima, 38, who moved to the D.C. area after serving as mayor of Waukesha, Wis. “The State Department says one thing, Obama says something else, and they change the policy to match him.”

They believe Trump's lies when presented with the facts, and support him more afterward.  This is pretty consistent with the earlier study cited.


1242
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: January 07, 2016, 01:28:28 PM »
FiveThirtyEight has an interesting article today, talking about Trump supporters.  They classify them as primarily misinformed, rather than uninformed.

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But perhaps more importantly, his supporters have shown signs of being misinformed. Political science research has shown that the behavior of misinformed citizens is different from those who are uninformed, and this difference may explain Trump’s unusual staying power...

In 2000, James Kuklinski and other political scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign established an important distinction: American citizens with incorrect information can be divided into two groups, the misinformed and the uniformed. The difference between the two is stark. Uninformed citizens don’t have any information at all, while those who are misinformed have information that conflicts with the best evidence and expert opinion. As Kuklinski and his colleagues established, in the U.S., the most misinformed citizens tend to be the most confident in their views and are also the strongest partisans. These folks fill the gaps in their knowledge base by using their existing belief systems. Once these inferences are stored into memory, they become “indistinguishable from hard data,” Kuklinski and his colleagues found.

Furthermore, in 2010, political scientists Brendan Nyhan1 and Jason Reifler2 found that when misinformed citizens are told that their facts are wrong, they often cling to their opinions even more strongly with what is known as defensive processing, or the “backfire effect.”

Strong partisans are more likely to participate in the primary process, making it also likely that at least some highly engaged primary voters are also confidently misinformed and unwilling to accept contradictory evidence.

Telltale signs of misinformation, for example, were on display in a focus group of Trump supporters run by Republican media consultant Frank Luntz. Not only did negative information about Trump that was presented by Luntz to the group strengthen support for the candidate, participants held on more confidently to their misinformation as the session progressed. As Nyhan and Reifler’s research suggests, attempts to present corrections and generate counterarguments to the group’s beliefs only strengthened their opinions. The persistent claims by Trump and his supporters that his critics are too concerned with political correctness is a good example of this psychological process at work.

It is in Trump’s interest to allow misinformation — such as his statements about immigrants or Muslim Americans — to flourish. New work by Jennifer Hochschild of Harvard and Katherine Levine Einstein of Boston University found that there are incentives for politicians to keep citizens both misinformed and politically active. For most politicians, it doesn’t make sense to use precious resources to try to move or dissuade people from their incorrect positions — especially if this misinformation supports the political actor’s policy positions or legislative goals (as it does in Trump’s case). Instead, “the investment of resources goes much further in efforts to work around, accommodate, or even encourage the active misinformed,” the researchers write. Moreover, Hochschild and Einstein remind us that people find psychological comfort in having their opinions validated by others, especially by elites. So, there are many cases in which it makes more sense for politicians to encourage people to stay misinformed rather than try to provide them with accurate information.

Don’t expect Trump’s fans to abandon him anytime soon. And while there are reasons to think Trump supporters may be less likely to vote, that many seem misinformed is one reason to think they will.

Of course, this is a two-edged sword, and Clinton supporters may be just as badly misinformed as Trumps.  But it is something to consider, and worry about. :(

1243
General Comments / Re: Terrorized Americans
« on: December 22, 2015, 06:47:29 PM »
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There's is a chance, and the probability is closer to 100, that the refugees will have cultural incompatibilities with our culture.  There is also a chance, between zero and 100 that they will pass those incompatibilities on to their children.

And there's a chance that your next-door neighbor has incompatibilities with your culture.  There's a 100% chance that someone in the next town has such incompatibilities.  Get used to it.  You've had your entire life.  :P

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They started in a more dangerous country, you have to weigh that as well.

It became more dangerous.  That's why they decided to get the hell out.

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The "source" you saw, or the source it quoted is the FBI, and the number they report is not "murders".  It counts things that are not murder, like self defense in that total.

You got a better source?  Let's see it.  Is it significantly lower?

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First of all "we" don't attack each other.  A tiny percentage of the population is routinely involved in violent crime, generally targeting the same percentage of the population and those in their immediate vicinity.  If you want to argue that there are places in Detroit, for example, that are less safe than a war zone, feel free, but it's just a false and misleading statement to extrapolate that to 99% of the rest of the country.

And if you haven't checked lately, they are all Americans.  So get used to it.  They are our people.  They are your people.  They are Americans.

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Which is immaterially since virtually none of the 300 million people who already live here are used to that level of violence either.  Nor are they generally concerned about their next door neighbor, or the guy down the street.

And why is there an open-carry movement?  Are they concerned about bear attacks? ;)

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Where exactly?

Where most Americans live.

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The news has a terrible selection bias towards exciting, violent and scary stories.

Yes, like the overly-exaggerated threat of terrorism from strange foreigners. ;)

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Refugees from a radically dissimilar culture are more of a danger to us, than we are to them.

A ridiculous premise if I ever heard one.  Refugees are fleeing danger.  You think they like it?  You think they're a part of it?  Then why leave?

These are people who want to be safe and secure.

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In fact, the entire premise of your argument relies on them adopting and their children adopting our more "enlightened" positions on equal rights and western liberties to even make sense.  Generally speaking we're a good thing for them on a net basis.  How could that ever make them not the more dangerous?

They will learn to fit in with the culture they are living in.  All immigrants and refugees of the past have done so.  They will change America by their presence, but so will we change them.  It's a two-way street that has been going on for hundreds of years, since before this nation was founded.  Why are you so afraid of it?

1244
General Comments / Re: Terrorized Americans
« on: December 22, 2015, 05:59:43 PM »
That is a good point, Pete.  Refugees could be as violent as the "average" American (i.e. as a group have the same percentage of violence as the current U.S. percentage), especially if they are thrown into situations that promote such violence (e.g. slums).  So you could be right, and my statement could be wrong.

But it still does not invalidate my primary point: that Muslim refugees from Syria will not significantly increase the likelihood of murder in this country.  If they only have the same level of violence as we have, it will be a wash.  And to deny 10,000 needy people because of the possibility of one or two who might make the U.S. as dangerous as it currently is is both heartless and cowardly.

We still have no more to fear from them that we have to fear from ourselves.

1245
General Comments / Re: Obamacare Predictions for May 2015
« on: December 22, 2015, 12:41:20 PM »
Doesn't sound like it is Obamacare's fault, but the state of Georgia's.  If they had elected to expand Medicare, it appears that you would've been covered.

1246
General Comments / Re: Terrorized Americans
« on: December 22, 2015, 10:34:59 AM »
People--especially certain politicians--are equating Muslims with terrorists.  They are saying that allowing women and children into this country who are Muslim constitutes allowing in dangerous people.  I forget who said that it's like eating a barrel of apples when you know there is a bad apple in it.

So, no, I'm not the one who is saying that Muslims per se are dangerous.

There is, of course, some chance that one of the refugees could be a terrorist.  The probability is not zero.  So you have to weigh that danger against the benefits.

But you have to weigh that danger against our current level of risk.  And we live in a dangerous country.

In 2012, over 14,000 people in the U.S. were murdered, according to one source I saw.  Over 9,000 by firearms.  Our urban hospitals treat dozens of assault victims every month, if not every week.  On a day-to-day basis, we attack and kill each other at a rate that is only exceeded by countries in the midst of war.

The people we would let in--these Muslim refugees--are not used to this level of violence under normal circumstances.  Sure, they are fleeing a higher level of violence--bombs, "soldiers" with guns, organized mayhem and murder--but not from their next-door neighbors.  Not from the guy down the street.  Not in normal circumstances.

Not like here.

Once they arrive here, they have to get used to the idea that someone might attack them just because they look funny, or said something wrong, or because the other guy is having a bad day.  That someone might go postal.  That they are caught between two warring gangs.  Because the guy down the street became upset because their dog was peeing on their lawn.

Check the news.  Examples are there every single day.

So we have these chicken-***t politicians who are terrified of Muslim refugees, who are scared that these women and children will come and kill us, while representing constituents who are busy killing each other at a rate that far exceeds the likely rate that any given group of Muslims would inflict on us.  Some, in fact, who will fight tooth and nail to make sure that people who will use guns to kill other people are guaranteed a right to get those guns with as little problem as possible.  And they have the gall to call Muslims dangerous!  ::)

So, no, I'm not equating Muslims with terrorists.  I'm saying that the average American, a random guy who could grab off the street at any given moment, is probably more dangerous than the random refugee we would let into our country after we vetted them for a year or two.  And that the only reason these politicians are afraid of these refugees is because they are either too stupid to realize how dangerous a country they live in or because they are too bigoted to see that most people are more peaceful than Americans.

So who is more of a danger to whom?

1247
General Comments / Re: Fear trumps facts
« on: December 19, 2015, 12:51:43 PM »
It's worse than you thought, AI.  Not only are such counter-arguments ineffective, but they actually strengthen the argument to the person. 

Thus you see Donald Trump doubling-down on his recollection of seeing Muslims dancing in New Jersey. :(

1248
My whole point about the history of free countries being overrun by brainwashed masses from other lands was to argue that the Constitution should not be rewritten or reinterpreted to prevent Congress from closing the borders, as some Americans has advocated.

AFAIK, no one has advocated that the boarders be thrown open.  The latest brouhaha has been about 10,000 Syrian refugees--hardly a size to "overrun" anyplace but a small town, if they happen to all get placed there.

And no one has advocated to let in "brainwashed masses."  Refugees that are fleeing a despotic religious ideology are probably not "brainwashed" by it--else why are they running?  ;)

To say that any or all Muslim are not worthy of seeking refuge in our country is the point here.  Yes, the Constitution does not prohibit Congress from being a bunch of bigots that say practically all Muslim are potential terrorist or worse.  And the fact that is it a religion that most of them don't understand, or have prejudicial views of, makes it even more problematic in a country founded on freedom of religion and the principle of not having an official, established religion.  Allowing only those who pass a specific religious test--a religion that is perfectly legal in this country--smacks of making this a religious conflict, which is precisely what ISIS wants.

Whether Kosovo or Lebanon were overrun by "brainwashed masses" isn't the point.  That ain't gonna happen here.  Because no one wants that many refugees in this country, and the ones we let in probably won't be brainwashed by the people they're fleeing from.  It's a matter of letting our fears overriding our common sense, especially fears motivated by a skewed view of an entire religion.

1249
The traditional Muslim nation is false but merely precatory language, so the court would have to let that slide as a political question.  The law would be constitutional.

How about the language that it would change the Muslim nature of our country?  Doesn't that put Islam above all other religions in our country, establishing it as the de facto religion of our nation?

1250
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Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...

Let's turn this around for a moment.  Congress passes a law that states that Christians cannot immigrate into the U.S. because "this is a traditionally Muslim nation." :)  Anyone who is here already can worship whomever they please; but we don't want any more Christians because it might affect the Muslim character of our country.

Does anyone want to argue that such a scenario is not an "establishment of a (state) religion?"

If banning Christians because they are not Muslim enough would be an establishment of religion, why would the opposite not be?

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