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Renegade

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  1. We literally have an unlimited supply of dollars. So, when politicians roll out big ideas for free college, healthcare, green energy, and UBI, we really do have enough money to pay for it. We can just print more. The Chinese want to give us manufactured goods in exchange for dollars? Cool. We can just print more. We can increase Social Security payments, add funding for infrastructure, and grant billions for research. We could increase foreign aid by an order of magnitude and double NASA's funding. Money is unlimited because money is an abstract thing. It's not real. Dollars are just a concept...an idea. The cost of producing more is almost nothing. On the other hand, resources are not unlimited. There's only so much steel, electricity, skilled labor, land, water, etc. We can print more money (or move it from A to with the stroke of a pen, but the resources available to be purchased by that money do not change, at least not quickly. So, when we decide to do something new, the resources have to be redirected from something old. For instance, we stop digging up coal and we start building solar panels. Of course, it's never that easy. Most coal miners don't know how to build solar panels. Coal mines can't be used as solar panel factories. Significant effort is required for re-training and re-purposing. So, change itself requires additional resources until it's complete. Change must be managed through a series of viable intermediate stages. To continue the coal/solar example, electricity must continue to be generated throughout the changeover period. You can't turn off coal today and turn on solar in 6 months. It's the same for all big changes. Additional funding for healthcare means we need more doctors...doctors take time to train. The people who become new doctors are not available to do whatever other work they would have done. UBI and increased Social Security will create additional demand for resources. How will that demand be met? Production resources will need to be re-purposed from whatever they're doing today to do something different. Either that, or prices will just go up (inflation) enough to absorb all the new cash and no reallocation occurs. Politicians focus on money instead of resources. They will fund these initiatives by taxing the wealthy. Cool. I'm good with that. But, what does it mean (in terms of real, physical resources) when you take a few trillion dollars from the rich and give it to the poor? What were the rich spending that money on (if anything)? Whatever it was, they won't be doing it now. Does that free up actual physical resources? If not, where will the resources come from to meet the new demand from people who benefit from the initiatives? I make these points, not to argue against the changes (which I believe are good and necessary) but to encourage a cautious, measured, and incremental approach. I realize this is the political 'silly season' when politicians put forth big ideas that are more long-term inspirational than short-term practical. I just hope those who get elected are prepared to moderate their proposals once they get in office and those who elect them will have the patience to accept managed change.
  2. Why is that different "today"? Did people not have responsibilities in the past? There are many cultural differences between the USA and Canada. I believe the relevant difference in this case is violence, not guns. The USA has always had a "gun culture". That's not what's different today. Today, we don't respect other people. We don't respect human life. Many see violence as a way they can demand respect from others. Our problems include anger, violence, division, marginalization, and dehumanization of others. I believe these problems are amplified by (and in some part created by) the press to appear 100 times worse than they really are. It's what sells papers, eyeballs, and clicks. Good news, friendship, cooperation, kindness...no one cares. People want to read about racists and mass murderers. A politician could give an uplifting and inspirational hour-long speech with one ambiguous phrase and you can guess what the headline would be. Guns are a distraction from the real issues. Fix the underlying causes of our violent, divisive, dehumanizing culture and guns won't be a problem. If we make guns illegal without fixing the underlying causes, the violence will continue with other tools. Consider that there were no guns used to take out half the Saudi's oil production last week. There's an unlimited number of lethal weapons all around us. None of your numbered actions would fix the cultural issues, in my opinion. Prohibition didn't end the "alcohol culture". The war on drugs didn't end the "drug culture". Making guns illegal won't solve anything either. If there's demand for a product, the product will be available. You'll just turn millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens (like me) into criminals. We need to address the root causes, not the symptoms.
  3. Builders in SF would love to go high-rise. That way they could provide more living space on a smaller amount of land, and make more profit too. But, they can't get zoned for that due to NIMBYism. On a personal level, that's completely understandable. No one wants a new high-rise next door. But, the result for the city is low availability and higher prices. It's interesting that even in one of the most community-minded places in America, it's sometimes almost impossible for people to put community first.
  4. I apologize for not answering your question properly. I'm doing the best I can. Maybe I don't completely understand. If this gun owner in a store is acting peacefully and lawfully, how does that weigh on your freedom? You're still free to do whatever you would like to do. No action of yours is impaired in any way. The only impact on you that I see is that it makes you uncomfortable. Just because other people make us uncomfortable, that doesn't give us the right to make them change their behavior. For example, I was once very homophobic. It made me extremely uncomfortable to see two men holding hands, or even worse...kissing. Was their freedom weighing more than mine just because it made me uncomfortable? I would say no. There is no right not to be made uncomfortable by other people peacefully exercising their freedom. This would apply to free speech as well. If I'm still not understanding the question, please be patient with me. It's harder to get ideas across when we have such different points of view on a subject.
  5. There is no end to the list of things people want to make illegal.
  6. If you're 51 miles from SF, how long does it take you to get there on mass transit? It seems to me that 51 miles is too far to commute.
  7. Rent controls are OK for people who can actually get an apartment, but they do nothing to address the root of the problem which is a lack of supply. The expected outcome is for new construction to become even more scarce. Existing properties will probably see less maintenance, updates, and upgrades. I would also expect landlords to charge higher initial rent for what new construction does happen.
  8. Good point. They have statistics on everything these days. Here's a website that lists the cities with the highest and lowest income inequality. Yep, San Francisco is one of the most unequal cities in the nation. Minimum wage in SF is $15.59. Minimum wage in Dallas is $7.25. Even allowing for the cost of living difference, $15.59 should go further than $7.25. Wouldn't the lowest earners in SF be better off than the lowest earners in Dallas? Maybe not when you look at the details. This site has downloadable data on rental prices by city. It says a studio apartment (the cheapest category) in San Francisco costs about $2,029 per month. Wow! In Dallas, the comparable number is $766. So, the overall 'cost of living' numbers are obscuring much bigger differences in the cost of housing. $2,029 represents 130 hours of work at minimum wage in San Fran. $766 represents 106 hours of work at minimum wage in Dallas. If I was king, I'd relax the building restrictions in San Fran.
  9. Exactly right. They have choices. But, Silicon Valley is where billionaires are made. People used to go (maybe they still do) to New York or Hollywood to 'make it big'. Now, San Francisco is where you go to get rich if you're an aspiring techie. They pay exorbitant rent prices for the privilege of being at the center of the tech universe. I'm not sure that the pay and cost of living are misaligned. These tech companies pay good money. The average salary of all employees in San Francisco is almost $90k per year, compared to $47k nationally. That seems to be in line with the cost of living. This site estimates that $50k in Dallas provides the same standard of living as $92k in San Francisco. Saying you make $92k sounds better than $50k, even if it provides the same standard of living.
  10. Goebbels also made sure the Nazi party censored everything they didn't like. It's a lot easier to get lies accepted if there's no opposition allowed. We are currently bombarded by propaganda all day long every day. Everyone has an agenda. Every corporation, NGO, politician, nation, news channel, social media poster, etc. spouts propaganda non stop. I couldn't possibly list all the sources of propaganda we swim in every day. We are exposed to propaganda from other nations all the time. What rule/policy could we use to stop this? I just don't see how it's possible. I disagree with this. Why do you think someone would believe a lie from Macedonia when they don't believe the same lie when told from the USA? Just because someone in Russia says I should hate others, that doesn't mean I will. You're completely discounting the fact that Americans have free will. We are exposed to arguments and propaganda from all points of view. We get to choose our own destiny. Looking at this and your last post, it seems like you're more focused on election security (which is reasonable and advisable). Does that mean you're reconsidering the need to censor 'fake news'? I'm completely on board with election security measures. I'm completely opposed to censorship. Although the threats come from the same people for the same reasons, our responses need to be considered separately. I agree with this.
  11. This is the second time (at least) that I have accidentally offended you. My intended meaning was: I don't think the threat is as severe as you stated in your "surrendering our destiny" post. If other nations can control our destiny with posts on the internet, we don't deserve any other destiny. I'm not disputing that the actions are happening, only the level of threat that they represent. It's like the actions that we took after 9/11. I think the threat to air travel was exaggerated (not dishonestly) and as a result we created excessive restrictions. I think the reaction was worse than the threat. I'm similarly afraid that we will overreact to the 'fake news' threat. Don't take my disagreement as a personal insult. I'm not questioning your honesty. You were obviously stating an opinion, as was I. I don't treat your disagreement with my opinion as an implication against my honesty...It's just a different opinion and that's OK. That's what I come here for.
  12. That's up for discussion. If they take down our banking system, or our utility grid, then I'd say yes. If they just make false arguments and spread conspiracy theories...I'd say no. No. It's not constitutionally guaranteed. Technically, my concern here isn't "free speech", it's "free listening". I believe free citizens in a democracy have a right to listen to all voices from all sources...not just the government approved ones...even if they originate in another country. That's my belief, not a fact or a constitutional right. It's far easier to claim the moral high ground and push other countries to allow free press if we do it ourselves. Wouldn't it be great if CNN could broadcast in China or North Korea? Implement something like this and we appear no different from them. I think you're exaggerating but, for the sake of argument, I'll set aside my skepticism about the severity of the threat. Censoring the bad content won't be simple or easy from a policy standpoint. What might the rules look like? Are foreigners not allowed to comment on American politics at all? Can they state their opinion? If the answer is 'no', you'd have to block just about all access to our internet. Will we censor false statements of fact? Who gets the impossibly difficult job of monitoring the entire internet for what's true and what's not? Would full disclosure be good enough to avoid actual censorship? What if every website and social media comment came with a 'country of origin' stamp? It would be sort of like GMO labeling or the 'made in China' labels. From reading other posts, I don't think you speak for the other folks in this room. That sounds like exactly what they want.
  13. I was thinking about this... The purpose of the 'militia' was to defend the nation/state. Back then, the standing army wasn't large enough for a real war. If and when England invaded we needed to be able to mobilize a larger force. So, the whole purpose of a militia was to provide armed men to support and defend the government. The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to preserve individual rights against government encroachment. So, why did they see the need for a 2nd Amendment at all? If the government needs an armed populace, why do you need a constitutional right to prevent the government from disarming the populace? It's sort of like having an amendment that says "the right of people to pay taxes shall not be infringed". Taxes and militias are both forms of government support and need no constitutional amendment to secure their safety from the government. The only logical reason to put the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights is to prevent the government from taking it away. Of course, we can always change our mind. We all start out with that right, but some crimes can cause it to be forfeited. They have no more rights than you do. You're free to make your own decisions. You don't "have to get a gun" if you don't want to. A person needs to practice with their weapon. It's safer for everyone when the person with a gun is proficient. I was driving down a two-lane highway last month, on my way to visit one of my daughters. With cars going both directions at 65 miles per hour, separated only by a thin yellow stripe painted on the asphalt, I was thinking how much trust and faith I put in the drivers going the other way (and them in me). If one of them, intentionally or otherwise, comes over into my lane...I'm a goner. How do I know these people aren't crazy? What if they're distracted? Society is built on trust. When we stop trusting each other, we start taking away each other's rights. I do. Consider that the vast majority of people are sane. If you were in a room with armed citizens, and someone shows up intent on doing harm, you should be grateful that your fellow citizens are armed and capable of defending the group. I believe the 49 people who died at The Pulse in Orlando would have preferred that at least one of their friends was armed that night. You might say that the best situation would be if none were armed, including the shooter. But, that's not practical. Those intent on doing harm will always find a way to be armed.
  14. Let me start by acknowledging some facts that support what you're saying. I understand that there are foreign actors whose sole purpose is to destabilize our democracy. They use all the information warfare tools available to incite us against each other. There are examples where foreign actors organized competing demonstrations in the same place at the same time, hoping for conflict. They use propaganda to divide us racially, economically, religiously, and politically. Those facts are not in question. The question is how to react. Does this propaganda constitute a real threat to our nation? Would we be better off countering it, even if that required sacrificing some of our civil liberty? I am self-aware enough to recognize that I'm an extremist on the subject of liberty...always have been, always will be. Some values are just too deeply ingrained to change. I see every erosion of the Bill of Rights as a step down the slippery slope towards authoritarian government. But, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm wrong. Rights are easily given away and almost impossible to recover. Here are the reasons I offer in opposition to this proposal to censor foreign 'fake news' sites: 1 - We are not at war. 2 - In the 'crowded cinema' example, there's an immediate danger to life and limb. 3 - This propaganda is not a call for violence. 4 - Propaganda from foreign soil looks no different than propaganda from our backyard. 5 - Every one of the justifications given could be (and has been) used by autocratic regimes to justify censorship. This is the path to single-party rule. This is how China stifles dissent. 6 - Never hand your enemy the weapon to strike you down. This proposal would create a justification and a methodology that could be misused by an unscrupulous domestic administration. What if Trump wanted to use this new censorship agency to block access to any foreign websites that refer to him as a racist? Say goodbye to sites like the BBC and Al Jazeera. 7 - Who will be your arbiter of truth? Who gets to decide what information I'm allowed to see? I consider myself an intelligent and rational individual, capable of discriminating between fact and fiction, propaganda and truth, spin and honesty. I'm >90% sure I'm more capable of making these determinations than whoever the President appoints. I do not want my news filtered by a government agent with an agenda. 8 - The OP refers to propaganda as something that should be censored. Here's Wikipedia's definition of propaganda: Propaganda is information that is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be presenting facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis or perception, or using loaded language to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information that is presented. That is exactly what most political speech is. If we decided to censor propaganda, we would censor virtually every word out the mouth of every politician in America. This thread started with a Wikipedia page about fake news. Here's a Wikipedia page about illiberal democracy: I don't want that to happen here. Here's an article from The Guardian (a foreign source) Censorship wins no arguments and just helps the right The man has a great way with words.
  15. The Chinese have all those details worked out already. I hear their 'Great Firewall of China' is very effective. They'd probably be glad to share their techniques. Perhaps when Democrats next control the government they can censor all the pro-Republican propaganda? Unless the Republicans think of it first... Is this discussion really happening? Did I log into the 'Autocrats Only Room' by mistake? Who gets to decide which sites are "truth" and which are "fake"? I do. You do. Each individual gets to decide for themselves. Otherwise, we are no longer 'free' by any definition. Do you think Trump invented lying? He's just increased production. I am not ready to give up my freedom just because he's a liar and some people are too stupid to realize it. My job is to spread the truth, not to silence others.
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