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How Do You Fix This? Re-establishing a working U.S. government

#41 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2016-October-20, 19:43

View Postmike777, on 2016-October-20, 16:00, said:

As I mentioned before there seems to be an increase in fear, an increase in anxiety.

I understand there have been over 3000 shooting in my old hometown of Chicago, many in my old neighborhood of Pullman/Roseland where I grew up. I hear reports of a massive heroin/opiate problem that is growing in this country. Many are dying from overdose.

In my current hometown there was a riot where one person was murdered. On my very quiet tiny block last week, 3 houses down, there was an attempted break in during the day. NO one was home and the alarm scared them away. This week 3 houses down the other direction a homeless person was found living in an empty house up for sale. About an hour ago the woman next door to me called the police when 2 unknown men came to her door during daylight and knocked, yes they only knocked and she grew so afraid she called the cops. The men were long gone by the time the police came but the point being they did nothing but knock.


I just wonder if other posters note an increase of fear and anxiety in their home town?

---


btw that bombing was about 2/3 hours north of where i live, no leads have been released.


According to the Trump's crumbling polling numbers, the idea of Donald Trump in the White House seems to be causing a lot of fear and anxiety. B-)
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#42 User is offline   Kaitlyn S 

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Posted 2016-October-21, 19:29

Why can't I give positive reputation to barmar's post?
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#43 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-22, 15:08

View PostKaitlyn S, on 2016-October-21, 19:29, said:

Why can't I give positive reputation to barmar's post?

We don't allow voting on admins.

#44 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2016-October-22, 17:42

View PostWinstonm, on 2016-October-08, 13:26, said:

Although this https://www.yahoo.co...arty-could.html is a joke, there is the question: what has happened to statesmanship? Is it possible to have a democratic republic where opposing sides are considered the enemy and compromise treason?

What steps are needed to correct these problems?



I think the problem is overstated. "I think it dramatically overstates the depth of the polarization, and the impossibility of reform."

Strong Presidential leadership would go a long way to "correct these problems".
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#45 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-23, 15:39

"Studio 360" this weekend re-aired a show they did a few years ago about the Lincoln Memorial, and how it has been involved in many historical events (e.g. Marion Anderson's performance in 1939, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech). Naturally, the show included a few quotes from Lincoln himself, including the Gettysburg Address.

I can't imagine any modern politician being able to move me like these people. It just doesn't seem possible these days for people like this to get elected in the first place. You want people with great integrity, but it seems like you need to sell your soul to get through the process of campaigning. "Mr Smith" can't go to Washington now.

#46 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2016-October-24, 11:13

View Postbarmar, on 2016-October-23, 15:39, said:

I can't imagine any modern politician being able to move me like these people. It just doesn't seem possible these days for people like this to get elected in the first place. You want people with great integrity, but it seems like you need to sell your soul to get through the process of campaigning. "Mr Smith" can't go to Washington now.


I've been quite impressed with President Obama in this respect. Besides being a magnificent speaker, his personal ethics and family life are beyond reproach (contrast with Bill Clinton for example) and his administration has been remarkably scandal-free compared to previous administrations (yes, Republicans in congress can always manufacture something, but there has been really no evidence). This is part of the reason Hillary Clinton is a disappointing candidate for many democrats -- it's not that she is truly corrupt or a bad person, but she's very much "politics as usual" compared to our current president. And she's really not an inspiring speaker (by her own admission). Given her expertise in "working the system" she may well be a more effective president than Barack Obama (who seemed handicapped by a naive idea that the Republicans would negotiate in good faith for most of his first term), and she's surely better than the lunatic the other side has nominated (or the incompetents the third parties have put up). We'll miss our current president when he is gone (and this may be part of why his approval ratings are soaring in the last year of his administration).
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#47 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2016-October-24, 11:42

View Postawm, on 2016-October-24, 11:13, said:

I've been quite impressed with President Obama in this respect. Besides being a magnificent speaker, his personal ethics and family life are beyond reproach (contrast with Bill Clinton for example) and his administration has been remarkably scandal-free compared to previous administrations (yes, Republicans in congress can always manufacture something, but there has been really no evidence). This is part of the reason Hillary Clinton is a disappointing candidate for many democrats -- it's not that she is truly corrupt or a bad person, but she's very much "politics as usual" compared to our current president. And she's really not an inspiring speaker (by her own admission). Given her expertise in "working the system" she may well be a more effective president than Barack Obama (who seemed handicapped by a naive idea that the Republicans would negotiate in good faith for most of his first term), and she's surely better than the lunatic the other side has nominated (or the incompetents the third parties have put up). We'll miss our current president when he is gone (and this may be part of why his approval ratings are soaring in the last year of his administration).


I quite agree with this assessment and might add that Hillary Clinton may well turn out to be more in the line of a Lyndon Johnson-type president, surely as tough but with not as much political ammunition as Johnson had at his disposal to force his will.
If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. - Herb Stein
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#48 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-25, 09:01

Yes, I agree that Obama is about the cleanest, most respectable politician we've seen in years, and I admire him greatly. Unfortunately, he was relatively ineffective at making significant changes. His signature legislation was Obamacare, and it's greatly watered down from what it should have been. If being able to bridge the partisan divide and bring about compromise is the mark of a good politician, then I suppose it was successful, but I can't help but feel that giving up so much makes this a weak victory. His other main legacy was that we killed Bin Laden under his watch, but I think that's mainly a testament to our military and intelligence organizations, and it was just a matter of time, not specifically related to his administration.

#49 User is offline   onoway 

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Posted 2016-October-25, 21:08

I think Michelle Obama is a very powerful speaker, and quite a few people have said they really wished it was her name on the ballot. I haven't listened to all of her speeches for sure, but the ones I've heard have been truly excellent. Elizabeth Warren seems to cut to the chase as well, both of them seem far more engaging to listen to than Clinton.
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#50 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 02:57

View Postonoway, on 2016-October-25, 21:08, said:

I think Michelle Obama is a very powerful speaker, and quite a few people have said they really wished it was her name on the ballot.

Give it 20 years and maybe it will be, at least if they decide to follow the Clinton model. B-)
(-: Zel :-)
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#51 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 06:59

I liked Adam's post a great deal. I have less overall enthusiasm for Obama, but the comments on his character are accurate and important. And I agree with the comments about HC and politics as usual, both that it is a bit depressing (my words, not Adam's) and that even though it's depressing it may give her a good chance to get things done. And of course that combination of facts is a bit depressing.


Sometimes it's the little things. I was watching Gone Baby Gone the other night, a so-so movie. The hero is talking with a cop he has been working with closely on a kidnapping, and later he replays the conversation in his mind and the plot takes a sharp turn. Hillary speaks of having a whole bunch of litmus tests for a Supreme Court nominee and I think "Hey wait a minute". I lack total recall, but as near as I can remember nominees steadfastly refuse to answer questions about how they would rule on any hypothetical case. Having a whole bunch of litmus tests plays well with her core base, but it is going to cause her trouble down the line. If she can have a whole bunch of litmus tests then so can the Senate. I, and I think by far most people, think the Senate should have long ago considered Garland, and if he is as qualified as advertised, he should have been confirmed. HC's comments undermine this position. And I find it ominous that she seemed unaware of this.

During the 1964 Democratic primary, Eugene McCarthy (a.k.a. the good McCarthy) commented that "Hubert Humphrey wants too much to be president". His meaning was clear. We expect a leader to lead. This requires solid political skill, but it also requires core beliefs. These two requirements can be in conflict. I wish her well.
Ken
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#52 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 07:41

I don't mind the comments about litmus tests.
Let's be real. There are tens of thousands of people who have the intellectual capability of deciding supreme court cases. Maybe their prose wouldn't win nominations for the Nobel prize of literature from SCOTUS commentators, but they would be perfectly able to understand the legal issues involved, as well as the relevant precedents. The differences amount to their "qualifications" (i.e., their CV points), and how they relate these legal arguments to real life (i.e., their political opinions). It would be disingenuous to pretend to only care about the former.

Of course, my own litmus tests would be somewhat different than Clinton's. I think its good that the New York Times and the ACLU and the United Auto Workers and individual Chrysler workers have first amendment rights. It would be inconsistent and illogical and counter-productive not to give the same rights to Breitbart and AEI and the chamber of commerce and the CEO of Chrysler.

On the other hand, a large number of cases taken by SCOTUS concern due process. It bothers me that both SCOTUS and federal courts are heavily tilted towards former prosecutors rather than defendse attorneys. If you have been a prosecutor for a while, it seeems highly likely that you develop a highly skewed perception of these issues. To take just one point: if someone gets sentenced to life or death despite being innocent, that should be sufficient evidence that due process wasn't served. (And whether you agree with me or not, I don't think 20 years on the federal bench, aka "qualification", give anyone any additional insight into this question.)
But SCOTUS has always carefully avoided making a ruling establishing that logic.
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#53 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 08:38

Real is good, and largely that is my concern here.

"litmus test" is perhaps vague in this context, after all it is borrowed from chemistry. But the common understanding is that the potential Justice will be asked how s/he would rule on certain issues and, if the answer is unsatisfactory, the person is out.

This differs from asking for a general orientation. Over the years, it seems to me that it has become not only acceptable but expected that the President will nominate someone with a general orientation that the President finds congenial. Obama's nomination of Garland fits that mold. Then the Senate is expected to look into qualifications and history. Some deference to the President regarding general legal philosophy is expected. Yes, I know this does not always happen. But, traditionally, the Senate then gets criticized.

Of course a President hopes for Supreme Court rulings to go in certain ways, and chooses a nominee that, by legal history, can be expeceted to be generally on the same page as the Pres. . But, traditionally, it has been acceptable for a President to select based on the general legal philosophy of a potential nominee, but not on specific promises to rule in specific ways on specific issues. And that is my understanding, and I think the widespread understanding, of a litmus test.

Short version: Nominating a cabinet secretary is nominating someone for the Administrative Branch. Nominating a Supreme Court Justice is choosing someone to serve in the Judicial Branch. Litmus tests may be ok in the first case, but they are not in the second.

And, as I said, it can be self-defeating since it undermines the argument that a qualified nominee should be approved even when the nominee's philosophy is not what the Senator might have hoped for.

Many in her base will cheer the use of litmus tests. They may be less cheerful about where this leads.

Playing to the base is, to some extent, expected. But it has consequences.
Ken
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#54 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 09:09

View Postcherdano, on 2016-October-26, 07:41, said:

I don't mind the comments about litmus tests.
To take just one point: if someone gets sentenced to life or death despite being innocent, that should be sufficient evidence that due process wasn't served.

That's like saying that when a weather forecast is wrong, the meteorologists were asleep at the wheel.

Sometimes you follow all the proper procedures, but still come to the wrong conclusion, because we live in an imperfect world.

#55 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 12:14

View Postbarmar, on 2016-October-26, 09:09, said:

That's like saying that when a weather forecast is wrong, the meteorologists were asleep at the wheel.

Sometimes you follow all the proper procedures, but still come to the wrong conclusion, because we live in an imperfect world.


And that is why its a bad idea to deliberately choose to use a badly flawed process to decide whether or not to kill someone.
Alderaan delenda est
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#56 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 14:53

View Postbarmar, on 2016-October-26, 09:09, said:

That's like saying that when a weather forecast is wrong, the meteorologists were asleep at the wheel.

Sometimes you follow all the proper procedures, but still come to the wrong conclusion, because we live in an imperfect world.

So, of course the actual question is the following: if someone is sentenced to death, but can prove in front of an appeal's court that he is innocent, is that sufficient enough of a reason not to kill him?
Obviously, any process will sometimes lead to wrong conclusions. But when you can prove that it led to a wrong conclusion, then surely there must have been something wrong when that person was declared "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" - there should have been reasons to doubt.
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#57 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 18:48

View Posthrothgar, on 2016-October-26, 12:14, said:

And that is why its a bad idea to deliberately choose to use a badly flawed process to decide whether or not to kill someone.

Only the death penalty? It's OK to use a badly flawed process to sentence someone to life imprisonment?

I'm not a fan of capital punishment, but absolute statements like that don't seem appropriate. We can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

#58 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 18:58

View Postcherdano, on 2016-October-26, 14:53, said:

So, of course the actual question is the following: if someone is sentenced to death, but can prove in front of an appeal's court that he is innocent, is that sufficient enough of a reason not to kill him?
Obviously, any process will sometimes lead to wrong conclusions. But when you can prove that it led to a wrong conclusion, then surely there must have been something wrong when that person was declared "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" - there should have been reasons to doubt.

Not necessarily. Sometimes the information that would lead to doubt simply wasn't available at the time. You can't keep investigating forever, eventually you have to decide that you've done enough and it's time to hold the trial, and you have to make decisions based on the information available at that time.

Consider people who have been exonerated using DNA evidence. DNA analysis simply didn't exist at the time of their trial, or it would have provided the necessary doubt then (they might not even have been charged). But you can't conclude that there should have been reasonable doubt because of some type of evidence the court couldn't even envision at the time. You do the best you can with what you have.

Or consider eye-witness testimony. In recent years, scientists have learned that this is not very reliable. But for hundreds of years, it has been assumed to be reasonable. So when a victim pointed to the defendant and declared "That was the guy that shot me", this was considered very reliable. There was little reason to doubt it. With what we know now, we perhaps should doubt it more, but tradition and psychology still make it difficult for jurors to discount it.

There also have been reports that forensic science isn't nearly as reliable as is assumed. Samples get contaminated, for instance.

But where does all this leave us? If we only depend on completely indisputable evidence, we'll rarely be able to convict anyone of anything. Note that the phrase is "beyond a reasonable doubt", not "beyond any conceivable doubt".

#59 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 19:06

What are you arguing for, Barry?
I am not saying it is possible that the justice system never makes a mistake. I am saying, when we do know that it made a mistake, then we should correct it. If we don't correct it, we are putting finality of the process over fairness of the process. That does not seem process of the "proper quality and extent".
Obviously we have a recall bias in favour of the assholes. -helene_t
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#60 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2016-October-26, 19:37

View Postcherdano, on 2016-October-26, 19:06, said:

What are you arguing for, Barry?
I am not saying it is possible that the justice system never makes a mistake. I am saying, when we do know that it made a mistake, then we should correct it. If we don't correct it, we are putting finality of the process over fairness of the process. That does not seem process of the "proper quality and extent".

Who is arguing that we shouldn't fix mistakes? Not me.

It seemed like you were saying that we can't convict people in the first place because we can never be sure beyond a reasonable doubt. Or that when we discover errors, it calls all previous convictions into question. Maybe I misunderstood you.

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