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ruraljuror

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ruraljuror last won the day on September 15 2014

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About ruraljuror

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  1. Well, first I had to look up Executive Order 6102 - so I guess I couldn't really say that I have too strong of an opinion about it... I assume that you're more interested in the gold standard generally as well as the federal reserve's ability to print money than you are interested in the executive order itself (though correct me if I'm wrong), and given that I've gathered this is a major area of interest for you, I'm much more interested in what you have to say about it than I am in providing my own half-baked thoughts. I do think that currency and the means by which we store wealth are very interesting topics on a philosophical level, but I've never been that interested in the subject matter from a practical standpoint and haven't spent much time thinking about it as a result, so I'd be very interested to have you to take me to school and teach me a thing or two on these issues if you don't mind sharing. That said, to avoid burying the lede here - I'm not a goldbug (though I know some very smart people who are) and I think the gold standard had outlived it's relevancy by the time we did away with it. To me, storing wealth in precious metals (or currency backed by precious medals) has always seemed a little primitive, but without the actual advantages that even more primitive mediums have for the storage of wealth and value. To be clear, I think you're right that gold is a good investment - but that's not because gold is (or at least should be) a good medium for wealth/value storage. Gold is a good investment because other people think it's a good investment, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, as in all markets. The greater the amount of economic uncertainty (and the more that the Fed keeps printing money like there's more tomorrow) the more people will be driven to buy gold, which in turn will drive up the price ultimately becoming a really hot commodity if/when people start contemplating the possibility that the dollar could actually collapse one day. In the event that the dollar actually does collapse, however, that would likely mean we've entered a global depression on a scale that we've never encountered before, and I'm not sure what good that gold would actually do for anybody. If you just have electronic credits representing that gold, then the real storage system is just bits of data on servers that represent gold ownership, not the gold itself, and I'm skeptical that the bits of data on those storage system are going to be redeemable if the global economy collapses. The other option of course is actually maintaining a stockpile of physical gold, but that's not ideal either given that it's cumbersome and would either be subject to thievery - and who really cares about trading or buying gold anyway in the event of a worldwide depression other than opportunistic speculators paying fractions of penny's on the dollar. As I see it, there would be a lot better mediums of storing wealth/value than gold in such an event, which brings me back to the even more primitive options like livestock, pelts, tools, and...you know...promises. If the dollar collapses, I'm going to feel a lot more secure if I've got a goat and a couple chickens than a briefcase of gold bars buried in the backyard. With that out of the way, I will say that I think the major downside of getting off the gold standard (as I see it) is that the Fed can print its heart out - I'd imagine that's one of your major complaints here and I think that's a totally fair complaint. That said, we do have some control over Fed practices (political pressure, historic/tested monetary policy decisions/results, appointment of leaders), while on the other hand we have absolutely no control over what mother nature and/or science does in terms of the gold supply. Who's to say whether or not we find endless amounts of gold just a bit further down than we've ever gone before in the Marian Trench, and just because the alchemists didn't figure out how to how to turn Copper (or whatever) into gold doesn't mean that some scientist won't figure it out one day. Of course I don't think these scenarios are likely, but my point is that the amount of gold in existence is unknown and arbitrary, whereas we have a much better idea about how many dollars are in circulation, and I think it's possible that we may be better off retaining the ability to adjust the amount of dollars in circulation to respond to national economic needs than being subject to circulation amount variables like how much we were able to dig out of the ground or collect from melting down estate jewelry in a given year. I do recognize I could be way off base about these lines of thinking with any/all of this. I'll also say, as I assume you agree, that the Fed has done more than its fair share to funnel money upward to the wealthy over the years, often (if not exclusively) at the expense of those who have less wealth to begin with. That said, without better reason, I'm in the 'better stick with the devil you know than the devil you don't' camp on this one. We've seen how successful the wealthy can be at influencing fiat currency markets in their favor, but I'm not sure that they wouldn't be even more successful at manipulating the gold market. In any case, I'm curious to hear what your thoughts are on this stuff - I'm sure I'm missing boatloads of nuance to say the least, but it's certainly interesting to think about.
  2. I agree with most of what you're saying here Armacing, but the fact that there have been many ignorant and corrupt presidents doesn't necessarily doesn't change the fact that one of them actually has been the most ignorant and most corrupt. How to make award those distinctions and whether or not Trump has earned those superlatives is certainly a matter of debate, but if I were participating in that debate, I'd definitely want to be arguing on the 'pro' side and I'd like my chances.
  3. I understand that you 'feel' the opposite, Titanhog, but can you provide examples of what Obama did that you thought was so decisive? It seems to me that Obama went out of his way to be a centrist. Following the financial collapse, Obama endorsed (then enacted) Sarbanes-Oxley, which was a bi-partisan piece of reform legislation and much, much less proactive than what most progressives were advocating for. Similarly, Obama's signature legislative achievement (the Affordable Care Act) was based on a conservative/Republican healthcare reform concept that was conceived by the American Enterprise Institute (I believe) and had previously been enacted by a Republican Governor (Romney). Obama was caricatured as a leftist radical, but his policies were actually very moderate and rooted in compromise. What was it that Obama did that was so divisive? Also, if you want to talk about the what happened to the good old days when Republicans and Democrats compromised, you're going to have to address the Hastert rule, which was implemented by Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and was the first time that a congressional leader decided that he wouldn't bring a piece legislation on to the House floor for a vote unless it had majority support from his own party. I would argue that was pretty much the end of bipartisan compromise right there, though I'd love to hear a counterargument to the contrary if you've got one. Also, let's not forget (then) minority leader Mitch McConnell's quote when Obama got elected: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." That seems to me like it might be the cause of some division right there. Also, you say "Trump is what you get" and that Trump is a 'counter punch' that's just as wild, but that is removing a lot of agency from Republican voters who nominated and elected him, and continue to support him in record numbers. Trump may have been a registered Democrat (I have no idea) and I'm equally perplexed about why you think Democrats have loved him forever (I'd be curious to see what has given you this impression), but the Democrats certainly never elected him to anything - he was just a real estate developer, failed casino magnate, and (later) reality TV star who got a lot of tabloid coverage. He was certainly never the Democratic choice for "leader of the free world" so I think your argument here is a bit of a stretch here to say the least. More importantly, even if Obama had been evil incarnate - how on earth would that justify electing somebody even worse as payback? That's worse than playground logic. That's not just 'wer'e mad so we're taking our ball and going home' - that's 'we're mad so we're taking our ball and we're blowing up the whole basketball court so no one can ever play this stupid game again.' I've read enough of your comments over the years and have seen enough common sense and reasonableness in most of your posts that I have a really hard time believing that you actually support this nonsense. To quote...you actually... "Clean it up!" But, to get back to the point really. What was it that Obama did that you thought was so divisive?
  4. While I agree with Craiger's sentiment, I also think you're right Joey that his claim's about Trump would constitute attacking of a politician, in a sense. However, I don't necessarily agree that it's a political attack, because so many of the Republican and conservative thought leaders regularly make similar claims about Trump's corruption and authoritarian tendencies. Check out the writings of Bill Kristol, Max Boot, George Will, Jennifer Rubin, and Steve Schmidt for a few examples. That said, I personally think it's best to bring up specific examples to illustrate the point whenever making a claim, and Craiger did a good job of singling out an issue to highlight in a follow-up post with a specific claim about Trump floating the idea of delaying the election. I would again argue that raising this issue isn't a political attack as I've seen near universal condemnation of the idea to delay the election - with the notable exception that the current Secretary of State and Attorney General are the only ones who don't seem to recognize (at least publicly) that such a delay would be blatantly unconstitutional (which certainly seems to back up Craiger's 'wannabe dictator' claim). Here' an example of the election-delay condemnation that came from a co-founder of the Federalist Society who up until a week ago had been a staunch defender of Trump: Steven Calabresi, a Northwestern University law professor who has offered broad defenses of the President in recent years, wrote, "I am frankly appalled by the president's recent tweet seeking to postpone the November election. Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats' assertion that President Trump is a fascist." "But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president's immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate," he said. It's a significant break from the co-founder of one of the most influential groups in Republican politics. The Federalist Society has emerged as a leading conservative and libertarian voice in recent years, urging a limited role for judges in society's problems." Beyond that, there's also the news from today that Trump asked the governor of South Dakota about the possibility of having Trump's likeness added to Mt. Rushmore. The governor thought Trump was kidding at first, but apparently that wasn't the case. In short, did Craiger attack a politician - yes - but was it a political attack? I'd say no to the latter question given that the constitution is inherently nonpartisan. That said, should we all probably stick to providing concrete examples of any claims that we're going to be making about politicians or anything else for that matter - yeah, we probably should.
  5. Thanks for responding, LA_TN. I think you've clarified the issue pretty well here actually. You said "Did your posts contribute to the discussion? .......no" and also 'would this post make you proud of our city if seen by an outsider?' My answer to both of these questions is different from yours, but I do still think your assessment that my posts 'don't contribute to the discussion' and 'don't represent our city/urban planet page in the way you'd like' are totally fair interpretations. These are your completely justifiable opinions and you have a right to them. But, if your goal is to end the political discussion in its entirety, then singling out posts for deletion seems like a pretty poor tactic toward accomplishing that goal. In previous political discussions, even when a single post has clearly violated community guidelines and/or has included some wildly offensive language which deserves deletion, most moderators here have had the good sense to delete several of the other political posts (including posts they may agree with) in order to go out of their way to limit the impression of personal bias. In your case, it seems like you went with the exact opposite strategy in a way that actually amplifies the impression that personal bias drove your decision making about which posts to remove. Correct me if I'm wrong here, of course, but I see no other way to understand why you thought Armacing's post about Red vs. Blue state fiscal health did in fact 'contribute to the discussion' and 'reflect positively on the city' in ways that my post in response did not. To be clear, I would agree with you that Armacing's posts were positive contributions as well, but I think you'd probably have to apply some pretzel logic to distinguish why my posts deserved deletion but his did not - unless the answer is simply that personal bias clouded your judgement, which is OK and happens to us all, but I would hope that those in positions of power that allow them to shape the debate would try to be exceptionally mindful not to wield that power irresponsibly. I grant that you're a new moderator and there is certainly a learning curve which I understand, but given your relative lack of experience (and apparent disinterest in political discussions to begin with) maybe you should consult with some more experienced mods before choosing to exercise that power. I know both Smeags and Mark are busy (which is one of reasons you were brought on as a moderator), but I'm sure a simple DM to UTGrad or Dmills could help shed some light on how best to address these issues. Hell, even Timmay still stops by every now and again, and he's been gone for the better part of a decade. That said, I do appreciate the response and explanation - no harm no foul - and now back to discussing skyscrapers (or Economic Conditions in this thread, I suppose) as you please.
  6. It seems like you've gotten stuck on a tangent here. Forget that I even included the Trump quote at all in my post that you originally responded to, and focus on the original quote where a member of the Kushner-led team that was developing a nationwide testing and tracking plan reveals that they decided to scrap that plan because they thought that the Blue states would get hit hardest and the political fallout would be advantageous to the Trump administration and Republicans generally. That was the outrageous part that I wanted to highlight in response to Smeagol's claim that 'both sides of the aisle' were equally to blame. With that out of the way, I understand that you're more interested in Big vs Small government debate, but that debate isn't particularly relevant in the context of disaster relief and force majeure events. Nobody wanted to do an audit of Louisiana's fiscal health before deciding whether or not we should send FEMA aid after Hurricane Katrina. Nobody was questioning whether to supply federal money to NYC after 9/11. The Federal government should never be deciding if and when to dole out disaster relief based on whether or not a state 'deserves it' or whether or not that state tends to vote for one party or the other- that is UnAmerican to the core and should bring a deep shame on us all if we allow it to happen. All that said, if it helps us get back on track to the topic at hand - you're right that Red States are generally more fiscally stable than Blue states. That debate would have to address the factors that have led Red states to be more economically stable than Blue states - which would include how/why federal dollars are distributed among the states, minimum levels of services that government should provide it's citizens, debt/revenue ratios, the corporate relocation race to the bottom, and quality of life metrics like longevity, access to health care, for example - but that would be an entirely separate discussion and your claim about Red vs. Blue fiscal health is certainly true on it's face. You're also right that 'All states got hammered economically, but some were already in more precarious positions before the virus, and this was a known political issue before the virus where red v/s blue battle lines had already been drawn regarding federal bailouts' - but what I think you're missing here is that not all states were getting hammered equally at the time of the quote, which is why the administration was incentivized to make a political calculation to abandon the national testing/tracing program at a time when it could have allowed us to keep this virus under control. At this point, there's no way to put Pandora back into her box, but there was a time when we could've kept that box lid mostly shut just like most of the rest of the modern world did. Instead, we're in such bad shape that Americans are no longer allowed to fly to most countries in the world for fear of virus contamination. That cold, political calculation not only backfired politically, but it's inhibited our freedom of movement, destroyed our economy, and more importantly, is killing us at record rates. Seems to me that should be the bottom line, right?
  7. Your assessment would be correct if Trump had said "I don’t think the The Federal Government wants to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time” but what he actually said was "I don’t think the Republicans want to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time.” That said, you are correct that you can't tell from this snippet of the quote itself that he was talking about federal coronavirus relief spending, but that was the subject of the interview. If you're interested, you can read about it in this article with the headline "Blue-state coronavirus bailouts are unfair to Republicans, Trump says":https://nypost.com/2020/05/05/trump-blue-state-coronavirus-bailouts-are-unfair-to-republicans/ Now that Red States have surpassed Blue states in new Covid cases, we will see whether Trump changes his tune on federal coronavirus bailouts or whether you're right that he was making a principled stand about Big Government vs. Small Government.
  8. Trump doesn't say 'The Federal Government doesn't want to be in the position to bail out [mismanaged] states' - he says 'Republicans don't want to be in the positions where they bail out [mismanaged] states.' It seems to me that you're the one applying the Big Government vs Small government framing, not Trump. You are right however, that there are no ramifications related to coronavirus that are implicit in that quote, but coronavirus happens to be what Trump was talking about when he made that statement. Here's the interview where the statement was made, as reported in an article by the NY Post titled "Blue State Coronavirus Bailouts are Unfair To Republicans, Trump Says": https://nypost.com/2020/05/05/trump-blue-state-coronavirus-bailouts-are-unfair-to-republicans/ Further, your interpretation of the quote completely ignores the quote immediately above the Trump quote in my last post that makes it clear that it was in fact a political calculation, not a principled stand against federal spending. This is not a phenomenon unique to Trump, and I'm old enough to remember when so many Republicans opposed Big Government intervention and federal relief spending when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, but quickly changed their tune when Texas and Louisiana requested federal relief spending after Hurricane Harvey hit. Now that red states have surpassed blue states in Covid cases, I'd happily take anyone's wager about whether Trump's opinion on Big Government relief spending is going to make an abrupt u-turn.
  9. First, I agree that there are relevant mortality and economic considerations that come with any potential course of action we might take, whether it's Phase 0 or Phase 1001. You're also right that if the standard for opening schools is 14 consecutive days without a new Covid case in the county, then schools could potentially stay shuttered forever (although that concern becomes moot in the event that an effective vaccine, prophylactic, or cure is developed). And to be clear, I don't expect you (or anyone else here) to have some kind of magic bullet solution in mind that can solve all of our Covid problems. My main goal in entering this discussion was to clarify what you actually wanted to see happen here- i.e. what changes to our city's/state's/country's Covid response would you recommend? No radical ideas are necessary - I just wanted to know what you've got in mind. When people complain about the lockdown without brining up specific restrictions they'd like to see lifted or specific actions they'd like to see taken instead , I gives me the distinct feeling of being on a very long car trip with somebody asking 'Are we there yet?' every half hour. We're all tired of being in the car, we all would love to be done riding in the car - sure, we can get out and stretch our legs every once in a while, but that's not going to get us to our destination any more quickly or efficiently. I appreciate you being more specific in your latest post above. I think the shame factor is definitely an interesting point to raise. Shame has historically been a pretty good cudgel to wield in terms of getting people to do fewer stupid (but otherwise legal) things. Also, since there's no shame police or shame judges, the court of public opinion is the only place to get a ruling on the Covid shame issue, and it's not easy to get on that docket. That said, if appealing to public opinion was the goal in your previous post (i.e. winning the hearts and minds of some Urban Planeteers and/or feeling less isolated in your opinions) then your post seems to have served you well based on the number of positive responses it received. The school issue is a little less abstract and more concrete. I too want the schools to be open. In fact, the relevant question may not even be whether or not schools should be open, but whether they can be open. Here's an article about a school in Mississippi that opened a couple weeks ago, and now has 116 students home in quarantine: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/06/school-coronavirus-outbreak-mississippi/ Schools (especially lower schools) are notorious vectors for disease to the point it's a cliche that the whole family gets sick every year a week or two after school starts each Fall because the kids pass around germs and viruses so efficiently. Further, I'm not all that confident that opening schools will be all that big of a boost to the economy if that's one of the primary motivations for wanting the classrooms back in session, but I'm definitely open to seeing some evidence to the contrary and changing my mind. Which brings me to my final point - you're right that this isn't a zero sum game. The relevant question then becomes 'what kind of game is it?' @Soundscan brought up the very good point that the primary goal we collectively set will determine the best course of action. If our primary goal was minimizing deaths, then we should all be forced cover our doors and windows with cellophane and lock ourselves away for 2 months - with serious jail time penalties for anyone who leaves their house. Nobody wants that. On the other hand, everyone wants to get the economy back to being as strong as possible as soon as possible, so it seems like that should be the goal we're pursuing, and accordingly we should be implementing any and every policy that best helps us to achieve that goal. Does getting the court of public opinion to stop shaming people for not social distancing etc. help achieve that goal? Does opening up schools next week help achieve that goal? Even if we accept some sickness and death as collateral damage (which we do), the sickness and death rates will certainly have direct economic impacts that will affect supply chains, and business operations in addition to having obvious effects on the demand side of the equation, as noted above. This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of finding the right balance, which is why I think it's important to address specific courses of action in these discussions instead of generalized complaints that we all mostly share. I don't have these answers to these questions any more than anyone else here does, but I do know the answer to the question 'Are we there yet?. That answer is a resounding 'No.' Of course - if we wanted to - we could get out of the car and walk the rest of the way, but that's going to make for a very long and painful trip.
  10. I agree with your prediction about the importance of the vaccine in terms of the reopening schedule, and I also agree that bars can not just be abandoned until then and left to wither on the vine. At this risk of mystifying you even further, however, I wasn't refuting your observations in your previous post. In fact, I even agreed with what I deduced to be your proscribed strategy of choice. I just wanted to point out that making adjustments to the supply side of the issue you raised (restaurant capacity caps) doesn't necessarily affect the demand side of the issue (with lots of people still avoiding public spaces as much as possible and with lots of people either out of work or trying to save money in case they lose their job in the near future). Also, I thought it might be informative to highlight that if one of your primary concerns is widespread, non-chain restaurant closure (which I also agree is a very valid concern), then it might be worth acknowledging that those same restaurant caps could be helping distribute some of the limited demand in a way that helps more restaurants stay open through these tough times. In sum, I wasn't trying to contradict you so much as I wanted to supplement some of your lines of thinking that I generally agree with. That said, I am certainly aware that my 'parsing' can be pretty obnoxious, so I don't blame you if that's your natural reaction to my posts here. To me, the alternative is speaking in generalities and talking past each other in away that doesn't lead to very meaningful communication, so I parse my heart out - sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
  11. I agree that we need to find a balance, and I think that's exactly what we've been doing, right? That's why we have several 'tiers' on the open/shutdown spectrum to enable us to be as open as possible when possible, but also so that we're prepared to move two steps forward and one or two steps back when flare ups inevitably happen. Unless I misunderstand, it seems to me that the primary complaint in your post is that you think that greater than 50% capacity at restaurants should be allowed - is that right? That seems kind of like a minor quibble to me, but I'll address it nonetheless. Setting aside the fact that allowing greater restaurant capacity will make it more difficult to socially distance which in turn will make it more likely that we're heading toward the 'one step' back side of the spectrum instead of the 'two steps forward' end, I see a couple issues with allowing greater restaurant capacity: First, just because you allow more than 50% occupancy doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to suddenly have endless customers beating down the door trying to get a seat. The restaurants may be packed in 12 South at 50% capacity, but I guarantee that is not equally the case with all restaurants all over the city. Even if all restaurants were suddenly allowed to have 100% capacity again, there is a large portion of the population that is going to remain reluctant to dine out and there's nothing we can do from a policy standpoint in the short term that's going to bring demand back to the level that it was pre-pandemic. Second, because we can't artificially get demand back to it's pre-pandemic levels, allowing for 100% capacity would very possibly have the effect of further hurting many of the small restaurants who are struggling to survive, and we could end up with more closures as a result. It's somewhat counterintuitive, but the fact that capacity is limited at any given restaurant means that the limited demand has to be more spread around to other establishments and to take out options, which in turn may give more establishments a chance to weather this storm. Some people will stay home instead and do potluck dinners of course, as you noted, but from a public health standpoint I do believe small private gatherings that last hours would be preferable to shorter restaurant outings where there's more interaction with strangers and more people in a small space over the course of the entire dinner service. Regardless of the restaurant capacity issue, however, it seems like what you're advocating is a 'yo yo' approach to pandemic management, which I think is a justifiable strategy to manage the balance we're seeking. In fact, at this point I'm not sure if there are really any other viable strategies left on the table for us to pursue besides 'yo yo' other than draconian lockdown, which I don't think anyone wants. The question then becomes do we want the yo yo to be wildly swinging up and down or do we want a much smaller variation in the crests and troughs of the waves. As I see it, the latter option is clearly preferable despite requiring a tighter leash on capacity restrictions than you'd like to see, for example, but those are going to be the relevant parameters of this debate going forward.
  12. I completely agree with you here Smagols, with the exception that I don't think it's accurate to lay the blame equally on both sides of the political aisle. One side of the political aisle said the virus was a hoax and that it will be gone by Easter - the other side of the political aisle said no it's not and no it won't. These two positions are not equally blameworthy. It was also reported this week that early in the pandemic the Trump administration determined that Corona was primarily a 'Blue State' problem and made the decision to abandon a nationwide testing and contract tracing program that was being developed at the time because they thought it would be politically advantageous to to cast their political opponents in a negative light. Here's a quote from the NY Mag that should outrage us all: "Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert." And you can see this strategy laid out in the quote below that came directly from Trump in late April/early May. The scheme is pretty transparent, and very shortsighted to say the absolute least. In short, it's easy to blame both sides of the political aisle equally, but that doesn't mean that both sides of the political aisle are equally to blame: “You look at Illinois, you look at New York, look at California, you know, those three, there’s tremendous debt there, and many others,” Trump said in an interview with the New York Post published Monday. By contrast, “Florida is doing phenomenal, Texas is doing phenomenal, the Midwest is, you know, fantastic — very little debt,” Trump said. “I don’t think the Republicans want to be in a position where they bail out states that are, that have been mismanaged over a long period of time,” the president said.
  13. I'm genuinely curious what you're advocating for here. What would you like us to be doing differently? Do you want to reopen everything? Because it seems to me that plenty of places have tried that already (and keep trying it), and it's usually only a matter of weeks before cases flare up and they do a 180. You casually mention that the last batch of hotspots have tampered down now, but you completely ignore that they all implemented a bunch of new restrictions once they became a hotspot, not to mention the fact that being located in a place that attains hotspot status creates a revived fear in people that causes their behavior to change in favor of safety and isolation. These phenomena are not unrelated. And I think you'll agree that the 'case count obsession' is a little superficially dismissive of the situation here. I'm sure you've read that we've lost more Americans to Covid than we lost in any single war besides WWII and the Civil War, and those lives were lost over periods of several years, not several months. To be clear, I'm not framing the Covid death count this way in order to wrap my argument in the flag and grandstand - death is death and doesn't care if it's glorified or not - but I do think the war analogy provides good context to the scope of the tragedy we're facing and the death toll certainly deserves to be acknowledged instead of focusing your attention exclusively on the case count if you're going to be advocating for returning to business as usual. Further, it seems like you're glossing over the fact that all of these Covid cases (and the unmentioned resulting deaths) have happened while a significant portion of the population have been practicing unprecedented levels of mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and sheltering in place. You're right that one of our primary goals has been to avoid overwhelming the hospitals, but what do you think will happen if everyone stops doing all of the mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and sheltering in place all at once? Humanity is definitely flawed, and I agree that government policies should reflect that reality, but plenty of countries (in fact, almost all of them) have done better than we Americans have in our Covid response. Why do you think we're doing worse than most places? I don't mean that question or any of the other questions in this post rhetorically, I'm sincerely hoping you can give me some insight into your thought process here, because I read your posts but I still have no idea about what you'd like to see happen next.
  14. You're right that a lot of churches do a lot of good things for the community, but the fact that congregants pay income/sales/and property taxes isn't really relevant here. Also, there are a lot of non-religious organizations that do many good things for the community, as well - and those organizations still have to pay property taxes - so I'm not sure that aspect of the discussion is particularly relevant ether. In terms of church congregants paying income/sales/property taxes, it should be noted that the congregants of the honky tonks all pay income/sales/and property taxes, too. The same goes for country club members, visitors to the museums, office workers, etc. The relevant difference here is that country club fees and honky tonk tabs aren't generally tax deductible, whereas donations to a church are. So in effect, the congregants of churches may actually pay less in taxes than other non-church-related congregants, which kind of undermines the point you were trying to make with the AND. To be clear, I think it's probably a good thing and the right policy to give churches tax-exempt status. That said, in exchange for that status, I do think there should be limits on how much the church (or any other non-profit organization) should be able to pay their leaders so that people can't enrich themselves on the back of tax-exempt donations, but I digress. With regard to property taxes, I also don't think it would be a bad idea to apply some portion of back taxes that were forgone in the present if/when the property is ever sold for a profit so that way church leaders aren't tempted to get into the real estate and/or land banking business with an anti-competitive advantage.
  15. Has someone tried to 'deplatform' you? If so, what was your opinion that they found to be problematic? Or are you referring to calls for deplatforming that were targeting other people - in which case what were those target's opinions that were supposedly so objectionable? I'm genuinely curious here if you don't mind sharing. I agree with you that there is certainly plenty of unreasonable group think on social media, so there's not much that could surprise me here. Then again, there's plenty of just about everything else on social media too, so maybe there's more room for surprise than I recognize...
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