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

#18341 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-10, 13:15

A few words of a somewhat hopeful note.

On Tuesday PBSNewhour had Marget Spellings on explaining why she favored expanded Pell grants instead of free community college. Last night John King was on explaining why he favored free community college.

The point is that they had a Republican, Stallings, and a Democrat, King discussing sensible ideas in a civil manner.

Spellings thought that the grant would give a student more choice, which I think is right. Upon high school graduation, I got a scholarship and I could use it at any college in Minnesota. I couldn't use it at Stanford or at MIT, but I could use it at Carleton, or Macalester, or at my choice, the University of Minnesota. If there had been community colleges in MN back then,  I would have been very happy that the financial help gave me a choice. I certainly would have chosen the U of M over any CC. Others, some others, would have chosen a CC. Or Macalester. Or...You get the idea.

So I favor Spellings's view, based on what I heard.

But my real point is that this is the sort of discussion we can hope to have more of. Neither one took to Twitter to explain that the other was an idiot or part of a deep state conspiracy, or at least I hope that they didn't.

There was a time when this sort of discussion was the norm. I greatly miss it.
Ken
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#18342 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-10, 13:33

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-10, 13:15, said:

A few words of a somewhat hopeful note.

On Tuesday PBSNewhour had Marget Spellings on explaining why she favored expanded Pell grants instead of free community college. Last night John King was on explaining why he favored free community college.

The point is that they had a Republican, Stallings, and a Democrat, King discussing sensible ideas in a civil manner.

Spellings thought that the grant would give a student more choice, which I think is right. Upon high school graduation I got a scholarship and I could use it at any college in Minnesota. I couldn't use it at Stanford r at MIT, but I could use it at Carelton, or Macalester, or, my choice, the University of Minnesota. If there had been community colleges in MN back then, but I would have been very happy that the financial help gave me a choice. I certainly would have chosen the U of M over any CC. Others, some others, would have chosen a CC. Or Macalester. Or...You get the idea.

So I favor Spellings's view, based on what I heard.

But my real point is that this is the sort of discussion we can hope to have more of. Neither one took to Twitter to explain that the other was an idiot or part of a deep state conspiracy, or at least I hope that they didn't.

There was a time when this sort of discussion was the norm. I greatly miss it.


And both valid arguments.That too is important, although without pointing out..,you know, Hillary’s e-mails...I can’t see how McConnel can support either idea .
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18343 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2021-June-11, 00:58

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-09, 15:14, said:

...and your evidence for this is?
Anti-semitism is everywhere.
"Surging" in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
One example - https://www.hrw.org/...ge-antisemitism
White nationalism and hatred of Jews are everywhere - especially In Europe.

Just stay the f* out of other people's discussion if you can't read statements in context, ok?
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#18344 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-11, 08:23

View Postawm, on 2021-June-08, 14:43, said:

There are certainly many countries around the world whose citizens are worse off than those of the US. I'm glad to have grown up in the US rather than in Honduras or Guatemala or Nigeria… or many other places. It's clear that citizens of those places often feel the same because many of them are desperate to leave!

But with that said, there are places I'd rather be from than the US; for example many Scandinavian countries or Switzerland or Canada or the Netherlands. It does seem that in modern times the US has fallen down the list a bit (for example kids now in Germany are better off than Americans in many ways but this was not true when I was born in the 1970s and definitely not true when Ken was born in the 1930s!)

I think the concern is not that the US is terrible (it's not) or that other places are better (a few are, most are not) but rather that things seem to be getting worse in the US.

For example, the recent wave of anti-Semitic violence in the States is again reaffirming my choice to move to Switzerland, and despite the election of a Democratic government a quarter of the country seems consumed by conspiracy theories and voting rights/democracy is being further restricted in many states with certain Democratic senators refusing to take action to correct it. Much of Biden's agenda is DOA in the Senate and the justice department is still defending Trump administration abuses.

And of course a third of the country is refusing to vaccinate.


I'll explore this a bit, it has several aspects.

I'm not Jewish but being in math I have known several Jewish mathematicians who departed from the USSR back when it was the USSR. They had to say (I am sure you know) that they were leaving to go to Israel but after they left they were of course free to choose. One who came here was explaining that the US was his first choice, and strongly so.
Would that be the case today? This gets to your discussion of changes in the US over time, and I confess that I do not know the answer. And believe me, you do not have to be Jewish to have substantial concern about the direction we are headed.

My father, not Jewish, not educated, happily left Europe behind to come here, as many have done in the past. And now? Well, certainly many who live in Guatemala would rather be in the US. Well, yeah. But I would hope that "better than living in Guatemala" is not the best that can be said about the US.

Those of us who believe we are lucky to have been born here can think about how to pass on that luck to others. It is hardly simple. We cannot do everything, we can do something. And "lucky to have been born here" was never intended as "can't imagine anywhere better".
Ken
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#18345 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-11, 11:27

Economic nationalism, Biden style by Paul Krugman

Quote

One thing is clear: If you thought the revival of economic nationalism was purely a Trumpist aberration, you’re wrong. The Biden administration isn’t going to go in for dumb stuff like Trump’s obsession with bilateral trade imbalances, but it isn’t going back to the uncritical embrace of globalization that has characterized much U.S. policy for decades. Will this lead to a new era of trade wars? Probably not — but don’t expect a lot of big trade deals in the years ahead.

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#18346 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-11, 16:41

Or, to put it another way: "It's a good thing I was born in America and not China because I don't speak Chinese."
Or, if that doesn't work for you, try to understand why so many victims of domestic violence don't leave.
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#18347 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-June-11, 23:19

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-11, 08:23, said:

My father, not Jewish, not educated, happily left Europe behind to come here, as many have done in the past. And now? Well, certainly many who live in Guatemala would rather be in the US. Well, yeah. But I would hope that "better than living in Guatemala" is not the best that can be said about the US.

I heard one refugee said something like "I would rather be in a US prison than free in" whatever Central American country he was trying to escape from.

Quote

Those of us who believe we are lucky to have been born here can think about how to pass on that luck to others. It is hardly simple. We cannot do everything, we can do something. And "lucky to have been born here" was never intended as "can't imagine anywhere better".

Right. If you win $1,000 in the lottery, you should consider yourself pretty lucky. If you win $1,000,000, you're even more lucky.

Even poor Americans live far better lives than average citizens in third-world countries. Unless you're homeless, you almost certainly have indoor plumbing, a phone, television, and reasonably modern kitchen appliances. Everyone can get inexpensive food at supermarkets and fast food restaurants. People at our poverty line would be considered rich in the developing world.

There may be better places to live than the US, probably quite a few more than a generation or two ago. But there are still far more worse places.

#18348 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-June-11, 23:23

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-07, 20:36, said:

I must be weird as I don’t view luck as having anything to do with it. My parents were both Americans so it would have been odd not to have been born and reared here, though not impossible.

That's a weird way to view it. You were lucky to have been born to parents who lived in the US in the first place. It's not like you had any choice, it just happened to you.

#18349 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-12, 03:13

Here's a link to the "best country to live in 2021 list". According to the US news - whatever that is.
The best cities - according to CNBC are:
  • Auckland, New Zealand (96.0)
  • Osaka, Japan (94.2)
  • Adelaide, Australia (94.0)
  • Wellington, New Zealand (93.7)
  • Tokyo, Japan (93.7)
  • Perth, Australia (93.3)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (92.8)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (92.5)
  • Melbourne, Australia (92.5)
  • Brisbane, Australia (92.4)

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#18350 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-12, 08:34

View Postbarmar, on 2021-June-11, 23:23, said:

That's a weird way to view it. You were lucky to have been born to parents who lived in the US in the first place. It's not like you had any choice, it just happened to you.

I was conceived by two Americans; that is not luck, just biology. Luck has something to do with what happens during your life but is not concerned with residency.

In other words, ‘I’ could not have been born anywhere else or it wouldn’t be me. How is that lucky or unlucky?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18351 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-12, 11:21

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-12, 08:34, said:

I was conceived by two Americans; that is not luck, just biology. Luck has something to do with what happens during your life but is not concerned with residency.

In other words, 'I' could not have been born anywhere else or it wouldn't be me. How is that lucky or unlucky?




We could push this further. I wasn't lucky to grow up half a block from a skating rink,, my parents house was half a block from the skating rink. I wasn't lucky to have Miss Kinne for my 8th grade teacher, Miss Kinne taught the 8th grade class there. Quantum mechanics aside, the world is fairly deterministic. When I speak of good luck, I mean that I myself had nothing to do with a good thing that happened. I have made choices in my life, some with good results, some with bad results, but the results have at least been influenced by choices I have made. Being born in the US had nothing to do with any choice I had made, just as living near a skating rink had nothing to do with any choice I had made.

Of course most things that happen are determined by choices. When my own choices have had no influence at all on the result, and the result is good for me, then I say I have been lucky.

I really think that most people use the word "lucky" in that way. Maybe also in other ways, sure, but I do not regard my usage as weird.
Ken
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#18352 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-12, 12:03

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-12, 11:21, said:

We could push this further. I wasn't lucky to grow up half a block from a skating rink,, my parents house was half a block from the skating rink. I wasn't lucky to have Miss Kinne for my 8th grade teacher, Miss Kinne taught the 8th grade class there. Quantum mechanics aside, the world is fairly deterministic. When I speak of good luck, I mean that I myself had nothing to do with a good thing that happened. I have made choices in my life, some with good results, some with bad results, but the results have at least been influenced by choices I have made. Being born in the US had nothing to do with any choice I had made, just as living near a skating rink had nothing to do with any choice I had made.

Of course most things that happen are determined by choices. When my own choices have had no influence at all on the result, and the result is good for me, then I say I have been lucky.

I really think that most people use the word "lucky" in that way. Maybe also in other ways, sure, but I do not regard my usage as weird.

Had your parents been American missionaries and you had been born in Guatemala, would that have been unlucky?
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18353 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-12, 12:57

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-June-12, 12:03, said:

Had your parents been American missionaries and you had been born in Guatemala, would that have been unlucky?


Well, I guess I would have US citizenship so that would be good luck. And of course just being born is good luck. Often luck is mixed.

Leaving aside terminology for the moment, I think it is important to distinguish between results, good or bad, that are due to choices that I have made and results that have nothing to do with choices that I have made. Of course often it is a mix. Recently (and often, for that matter) I played a bridge hand better than some did but not optimally. Had I found the optimal line I could not have been set. As I played it, I could have been set but the opponents missed that opportunity. So I give myself credit for finding a decent line, I take myself to task for not finding the optimal line, and I count myself lucky that the opponents did not defeat me when they could have.

I see it as good luck that I grew up half a block from a skating rink. But I found some older kids who taught me to skate by holding me up and doing some pushing, and then I practiced. So living near a skating rink was lucky, learning to skate was through effort. A useful distinction, whatever words are used.

So in 1939 I popped out and said
"Where am I?".
"In a hospital in Minneapolis"
"Great, lucky me!"..
Well, maybe not exactly like that.
Ken
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#18354 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-12, 14:45

View Postkenberg, on 2021-June-12, 12:57, said:

Well, I guess I would have US citizenship so that would be good luck. And of course just being born is good luck. Often luck is mixed.

Leaving aside terminology for the moment, I think it is important to distinguish between results, good or bad, that are due to choices that I have made and results that have nothing to do with choices that I have made. Of course often it is a mix. Recently (and often, for that matter) I played a bridge hand better than some did but not optimally. Had I found the optimal line I could not have been set. As I played it, I could have been set but the opponents missed that opportunity. So I give myself credit for finding a decent line, I take myself to task for not finding the optimal line, and I count myself lucky that the opponents did not defeat me when they could have.

I see it as good luck that I grew up half a block from a skating rink. But I found some older kids who taught me to skate by holding me up and doing some pushing, and then I practiced. So living near a skating rink was lucky, learning to skate was through effort. A useful distinction, whatever words are used.

So in 1939 I popped out and said
"Where am I?".
"In a hospital in Minneapolis"
"Great, lucky me!"..
Well, maybe not exactly like that.


I have played a lot of poker. In Texas hold 'em, the odds say I should make a flush 1/3 of the time when I "flop" a 4-flush. If I played one day and had 6 four-flushes and never made a flush I would say I had been unlucky. If I made 4 out of 6 I would have been lucky.

So I agree with you that those things outside our control determine luck. But I don't think this is an infinite line (sorry if my terminology is poor there ). I don't see where a person is born as being on that line. In my thoughts, that line is not infinite and starts only at the point where choices can be made. It seems to me that only when a person has the ability to make a choice but something other than that choice is the arbiter of the outcome can it be called luck. Prior to that, it is something else. Karma? O.K. But whose?

Now, getting back to the original question: do I feel lucky to have been born in the U.S.? The only answer I know to give is that on a comparative basis I understand that most likely I am better off for having been born in the U.S. than in many, if not most other countries. But if you go back to the poker example - luck is a comparative to normal expectations - then luck was not involved.

I'm not sure this horse can even walk anymore, much less canter or trot. But this whip feels so good in my hand... Posted Image
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#18355 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-June-13, 08:28

Probably it is (past) time to leave off on my "Do you feel lucky" question, but I have been thinking a bit more.

I look back at my life growing up and I think "If kids could have something like that, I would feel good".A recent post of mine about Pell grants versus free community college is relevant. I don't want to tell a 17 year old "Hey, look what we have done for you, you now get two more years of free school at a community college". Not everyone wants to go to a community college. I wanted to go to the university, my friend Fred wanted to become a plumber. I went to the university and Fred became a plumber. A 17 year old is plenty old to have opinions "I want to do this, I don't want to do that". So that's my goal. Young people get to think about what is suitable for them, and then have a reasonable shot at making it happen. That's the way I see my early life, it's what I mean when I say I believe I was lucky, and it's what I want to see for others.


Ok, enough about being lucky.
Ken
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#18356 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2021-June-13, 15:27

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-June-12, 03:13, said:

Here's a link to the "best country to live in 2021 list". According to the US news - whatever that is.
The best cities - according to CNBC are:
  • Auckland, New Zealand (96.0)
  • Osaka, Japan (94.2)
  • Adelaide, Australia (94.0)
  • Wellington, New Zealand (93.7)
  • Tokyo, Japan (93.7)
  • Perth, Australia (93.3)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (92.8)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (92.5)
  • Melbourne, Australia (92.5)
  • Brisbane, Australia (92.4)



I'm glad to see that our home retains the 7th position on the list!

This list is impacted a lot by Covid though (the accompanying article mentioned as much, and obviously people have had a higher quality of life for the last year and a half in in countries that handled Covid well). This is behind so many Australia / New Zealand cities being at the top, but hopefully we have another 100 years before the next global pandemic (and if not, many places will hopefully be better prepared).
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#18357 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-June-13, 16:51

Some of the reasons that Australia does so well in terms of livability:
Education. Completely free K-12, a small fee is charged for some University courses, but you don't have to repay it until you start earning a good wage. Research degrees are completely free, AND you get paid a stipend to do them, which is tax-free, and you do not have to pay it back.
Health. If you get sick, you will get treated free, including hip replacements, cardiac surgery, and cancer treatment. - everything.
Medicines. No essential medicine costs more than $20, and then only if you are not a pensioner.
If you lose your job, you get unemployment benefits. If you retire, you get a decent pension.
Weather. Excellent - except for drought, floods, cyclones etc.
Poisonous animals. Better off in New Zealand.
Airlines. QANTAS aircraft tend to stay in the sky - until they land.
Mateship. A much-maligned concept, but here's an example. They tried to do a competitive reality TV show here (Iron Chef Australia) - it didn't work so well because if one of the competitors were having trouble, the others would immediately rush over and help them.
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#18358 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-13, 18:37

How Joe Manchin Can Fix the Filibuster by Ross Douthat at NYT
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#18359 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-June-14, 10:18

View Posty66, on 2021-June-13, 18:37, said:



He needs to hurry.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#18360 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-June-14, 15:06

Not just coyotes wailing along the trail these days deep in the heart of Texas.

The Unlikely Demise of Texas’ Biggest Corporate Tax Break
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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