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

#17641 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-19, 17:56

I don't know what you're talking about.
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
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#17642 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 05:47

David Leonhardt at NYT said:

A presidential inauguration in the United States is usually a celebration of democracy.

Hundreds of thousands of people descend on Washington to watch a newly elected president take the oath of office. A departing president signals his respect for the country by celebrating the new one, even when that departing president is disappointed by the election’s outcome — as was the case with Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and others.

“I grew up in the Washington area, and inaugurations have always been a time of hope and fresh beginnings regardless of party,” Peter Baker, The Times’s chief White House correspondent, told me.

But when American democracy is under siege, an inauguration can have a very different feel. That was true in 1945, when the U.S. was fighting fascism in World War II, and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth inauguration was a spartan affair. It was true in 1861, when the country was on the verge of war and Abraham Lincoln was the target of an assassination plot. It was true again four years later, when smallpox was raging and the Civil War was nearing its end.

And it will be true today — when mismanagement has left the U.S. coping with the world’s worst Covid-19 toll and when law enforcement agencies are warning of potential violence by President Trump’s supporters.

The day will still be a triumph of democracy in the most important way: A defeated president’s attempt to overturn a fair election has failed, as has a violent attack on Congress by his supporters. The election’s winner, Joe Biden, will be sworn in as president around noon Eastern, just after the new vice president, Kamala Harris.

Nonetheless, American democracy is under siege. Washington resembles an armed encampment, with visitors barred from many places, fences surrounding the National Mall and troops lining the streets. Trump will not attend the event, and many of his supporters believe his false claims.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Peter, who has covered every White House since Clinton’s and who first covered an inauguration as a junior reporter in 1985, the start of Ronald Reagan’s second term. “It’s surreal to see our city become such an armed camp. It reminds me of Baghdad or Kabul back when I covered those wars, but I never imagined we would see it quite this way in Washington.”

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#17643 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 05:56

Jimmy Kimmel said:

Six years ago, we were all perfectly fine to let him keep bumbling around New York, pretending to be a billionaire. He could have been hosting golf tournaments, making TGI Fridays commercials, playing this role he created of the wealthy tycoon. He could have bought a couple of new helicopters, a couple new wives, and we would have all just rolled our eyes and been like, ‘Oh, that’s Donald Trump.’ Probably would’ve landed a sweet gig as the cranky TV judge on some hooded celebrity pie-eating competition. That’s where Donald Trump belonged. But now, most of the country despises him; most of the world despises him. We found out he pays no taxes; he has no money; he is likely to face criminal charges in New York. Nobody will do business with him. Can’t host a golf tournament; can’t even operate a carousel in his hometown anymore. His wife hates him; his kids are screwed. He’s got to hole up in that Cheesecake Factory with a golf course in Florida he lives in for the rest of his life. He won’t be able to invite centerfolds up to his office anymore, and he’ll be generally thought of as the worst president in the history of the United States. So was it worth it? For him, it probably was, but it’s over now.

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#17644 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 06:53

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

Let’s say goodbye and good riddance to President Donald Trump with three lessons everyone should learn from his failure of a presidency.

The first lesson: Believe politicians when they tell you who they will be in office. Trump campaigned as a bigot. He campaigned with contempt for learning the basics of government and public policy. He campaigned as a would-be authoritarian with a fascination with violence and no interest in the rule of law and republican institutions. He campaigned with disdain for the truth. These attitudes, and not anything he said about policy — much of that was either nonsensical or confused — were his real campaign promises. And, unlike his policy promises, Trump’s attitudes amounted to pledges that he followed through on once in office.

The second lesson: The White House, as presidency scholar Richard Neustadt wrote 60 years ago, is no place for amateurs. Trump never did learn how to use the powers of the office to influence the other legitimate players in the governing process. He never understood how to use information to his advantage. Instead, he starved himself of information outside of what he saw on Fox News and what played well at his rallies. He failed to build a formidable professional reputation, which (as Neustadt would have predicted) badly weakened his bargaining position. It didn’t help that he was a historically unpopular president. The result? Botched administration of government; policy initiatives (such as health care and infrastructure) that never got around to being launched; other policy attempts that were too sloppy to survive court challenges; and an administration of free agents and loose cannons who pursued their own policy preferences regardless of the damage it did to the president. The paradox of presidential weakness: The less Trump could get done through the normal policy process, the more he retreated to things he could try to do himself or by evading rules and norms, thereby threatening to turn the nation into a lawless autocracy.

The third lesson: Parties risk much by nominating someone they cannot trust. In some ways, Republicans were lucky with Trump. He was willing in almost every instance to go along with what they wanted, notably by ceding control of judicial nominations. But even a weak president has some influence, and Trump used his to build up the most radical wing of the party at the expense of its conservative mainstream. Trump’s power within the party had little to do with how popular he was with Republican voters. It derived, and still derives, from the plain fact that everyone knows he has no significant loyalty to the party and wouldn’t think twice about harming it. Thus, to pick the most recent major example, Trump was able to hold most of the party hostage to his false claims of election fraud because it was plausible that he would tell his strongest supporters in Georgia to stay home on the day of special Senate elections earlier this month and deliver the Senate majority to Democrats, something that no other modern president would ever have done.

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#17645 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 08:06

Winston, will you start the new thread?
I propose as a title "Will US democracy survive?" Nothing too dramatic, you know.
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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#17646 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 08:55

I'll repeat the first point Bernstein makes and add a bit:

Quote

The first lesson: Believe politicians when they tell you who they will be in office. Trump campaigned as a bigot. He campaigned with contempt for learning the basics of government and public policy. He campaigned as a would-be authoritarian with a fascination with violence and no interest in the rule of law and republican institutions. He campaigned with disdain for the truth. These attitudes, and not anything he said about policy — much of that was either nonsensical or confused — were his real campaign promises. And, unlike his policy promises, Trump’s attitudes amounted to pledges that he followed through on once in office.



From the beginning I have said I would not want Trump as president even if his views on policy were close to mine. With Trump that was easy, he is very clearly a horrible person. But even with a more normal choice I want the president to know more than I do about policy. I have recently said that I think that I, and others like me, should not be getting stimulus money that could be better spent on others And I think teachers and parents of small children should get the vaccine before i do. And I think student loan debt help should be a much lower priority than some others do. But what do I know? I want someone in the WH who knows more than I do. Someone with good sense and who has the best interests of the country at heart.


There are quite a few people whose professional lives have suffered because they worked for Trump. And perhaps a growing number of voters who think maybe they made a mistake. Me, I would have been more likely to trust a phone call from someone saying he is my grandson and I need to send him five thousand dollars that I would have been willing to trust Trump.


Anyway, I do not expect to always agree with Joe Biden. One of the good things: I think he would be ok with that. He does not seem to be in need of a butt kiss.
Ken
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#17647 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 10:08

I think it only right for this thread to include a final message from Donald Trump himself:
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#17648 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 10:19

Many people voted for Trump because he was a bigot. They're bigots as well, and he made it OK for them to vote with their feeling of xenopobia and fears about losing their position of supremacy.

Many voted for him because he was an amateur. They were fed up with business as usual, they wanted someone to shake things up. I guess they got their wish. But he most definitely did not "drain the swamp".

Unfortunately, I don't think they really learned their lesson. They allowed themselves to be gaslighted by Trump, and many of them still think he was a great President. If not for Trump totally bungling the pandemic, he probably would have won re-election. We had to lose hundreds of thousands of innocent lives to get him out of office.

#17649 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 14:40

Trump used a classic piece of right-wing newspeak with the phrase 'drain the swamp'.
When Malcolm Fraser said (in 1975) that he was going to 'Defend and extend Medibank' - the forerunner to universal health care in Australia, what he meant was that he was going to sell it to private investors who would charge customers and make money from it.

If Americans say that everyone deserves food, clothing, education and decent health care they mean something very different to the person-in-the-street meaning. So does the right-wing in Australia.
Read our current prime minister's speech on fairness. He thinks that fairness is simply the chance to succeed without government.
No wonder Trump gave him a medal and he was the only foreign leader to pick up the phone last week when Trump/Pompeo called.

What I mean when I hear this statement is that nobody in the society that I live in should be deprived of decent health education and welfare no matter their circumstances. This is what I call 'fair'.

The attitude in America seems to be fundamentally different. Even people who are self-described democrats in America abhor the idea of 'socialised medicine'.

The difference may be embedded in the culture.
A little while ago, there was a competitive cooking show called Iron Chef that started in Japan and made its way to America and then to Australia.

The premise was/is simple. Three resident Iron Chefs ruled the roost. A challenger would then arrive and challenge one of the Chefs to a competition.
The host then reveals the secret ingredient and the two teams have ~ an hour to undertake "Battle Zucchini" or whatever.
Bobby Flay might Battle the White house Chef in the preparation of a multi-course meal where the key ingredient was cabbage.

A ferocious and exciting competition then took place, and a panel of experts judged the result.
This format worked well in America and Japan.

In Australia, it was a disaster. Why? Because in Australia, if one of the competitors were having a problem, the other competitor would offer to help.
This kind of behaviour is characteristic of Australia. We call it 'mateship'.

In America, you are only as popular as the amount of money you possess. Since having money (in excess) means that you have deprived someone else of it this approach to having a society has terrible consequences.
No money, no health care, no home, no education and no friends.

American movies and Television reflect this: Hunger Games, Lord of the flies, Greed and on and on.
Australian movies are characterised by people overcoming hardship by helping each other: Priscilla queen of the desert, or about how the British f*****d us up.

Films that do really well in Australia highlight the way Australians from different backgrounds work cooperatively to overcome adversity. They are particularly successful when this is achieved at the expense of Americans or the British.
The Dish and Crocodile Dundee are examples of the former. Any film about Australia in WW1 is an example of the latter.
In the Dish, Australia is the key link in the chain that sets Armstrong on the moon. At a critical moment, there is a problem. Despite the behaviour of the guy visiting from NASA, the problem is solved and I get to sit in my primary school and watch it happen on a Black and White television.

Interestingly, as D. Chalmers once commented, American heroes can be characterised in two ways; Christ-like figures or lone moral agents.
Superman is the archetype of the Christ figure. A Father and Mother send their only son to Earth where he sees and knows everything and solves all of your problems because he is always right moral and just.
Shane and Batman are lone moral agents. They are human, but they 'know the difference between right and wrong' - probably Bridge players.
Australian heroes are the tireless workers (so long as they don't make a fuss) or the people that overcome adversity. Wealthy people who succeed for no apparent reason (Trump) are treated as crooked gold-toothed rats worthy of contempt.

Trump is the epitome of what happens in this type of culture - he is simultaneously an aspirational figure, stupid and rich.
The educated people in America presumably voted for him because he was a joke, others voted for him because he represented their desire to be suddenly and effortlessly wealthy and because he was just like them. And he still lost.
Only getting elected because of a corrupt gerrymandered system set up to protect white supremacist slave-traders (The Founders).
I still hear people say that Hillary Clinton didn't get elected because nobody liked her, even though she actually won the election but was kept out of office by a bizarre electoral system set up to keep the right-wing in power.

From an outsiders perspective, it was hard to believe that a person who is incompetent in almost every area could become President.
Trump is obvious - give me money and I'll say or do whatever you want - whenever you want.
But that's politics, to run the world you don't need skill, you need 'likes.'
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots
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#17650 User is online   Chas_P 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 19:53

View Postkenberg, on 2021-January-20, 08:55, said:

Anyway, I do not expect to always agree with Joe Biden. One of the good things: I think he would be ok with that. He does not seem to be in need of a butt kiss.


I hope he nominates you for Secretary of Common Sense.

#17651 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-20, 22:53

I just watched the first press briefing in the Brady room from Jen Psakas.
She was asked what I am going to call the 'Kayleigh question' but reframed slightly - Do you promise never to lie to us?

It's a strange question - Would I lie to you?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
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#17652 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 02:57

Oh well, US politics is boring again. What next?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots
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#17653 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 04:17

View Postcherdano, on 2021-January-20, 08:06, said:

Winston, will you start the new thread?
I propose as a title "Will US democracy survive?" Nothing too dramatic, you know.

How about "American Cocoon - When will Biden die on us?"
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#17654 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 04:48

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-20, 14:40, said:

American movies and Television reflect this: Hunger Games, Lord of the flies, Greed and on and on.
Australian movies are characterised by people overcoming hardship by helping each other: Priscilla queen of the desert, or about how the British f*****d us up.

Films that do really well in Australia highlight the way Australians from different backgrounds work cooperatively to overcome adversity. They are particularly successful when this is achieved at the expense of Americans or the British.

I think you are overblowing the differences here. Human nature is the same the world over. The examination of that nature from your list - Lord of the Flies - is actually British, not American (both the book and the 1963 film). Meanwhile, one of the archetypal movies about a disfunctional human nature is arguably Mad Max, which is Australian (only the sequels are American). Meanwhile, the quintessential Australian different cultures survival film, Walkabout, is officially British and was distributed internationally by 20th Century Fox. Lord of the Flies and Hunger Games were made as movies because they were successful books. I am quite sure that if an Australian company could have afforded the rights and production costs of HG, they would have been more than happy to have stepped in. Those big budget movies get made by American companies because that is where the money is.

One of the slightly interesting developments in recent times is that writers are increasingly looking away from movies and towards mini-series dramatisations of their work. This allows much more of the book to make it to the screen and since it covers more of the TV schedule, it is a little easier for non-US companies to get involved and coordinate together in partnership. Hopefully this trend will continue and we can get a better mix of styles to choose from. In general though, good TV and film is more or less universal outside of specific cultural elements. That is why series like Game of Thrones become hits internationally and why TV companies import successful formats rather than creating their own. Change the format though and you quickly turn a hit into a flop, without even realising that you have touched a critical element of the appeal. It sounds like this happened in the Australian version of the cooking show.
(-: Zel :-)

Happy New Year everyone!
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#17655 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 06:12

View PostZelandakh, on 2021-January-21, 04:17, said:

How about "American Cocoon - When will Biden die on us?"


Trump promises to "be back in some form", furthering the cocoon idea.

But WaPo has a headline that captures my thinking in brief "History Made, The Work Begins".
Ken
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#17656 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 06:54

Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg said:

The professionals are back.

If there’s one thing that’s going to be obvious about the brand-new administration of President Joe Biden, it’s going to be professionalism. Jobs are going to be filled, from the top down and with few exceptions, with people who know how to do them. Many officials will be returning to government after a brief four years on the outside — perhaps a step above their old levels, but well within their competence. Others will move from state government. There will be plenty who are new to government, but most of them are (judging from what we’ve seen so far) well-credentialed, with the expertise that their jobs demand.

Competence was on display on Day One. Wednesday’s major inaugural events went off without a hitch (OK, the “virtual parade” made for awful TV, but the evening entertainment extravaganza more than made up for it). Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s first briefing went well, and provided a sharp contrast to the way such things were done in the previous administration. She supplied information that wasn’t immediately discredited by fact-checkers, and did it without smearing the reporters in the room, or anyone else. That’s professionalism. Biden rolled out 17 executive actions, none of which seemed likely to be immediately thrown out by the courts because of sloppy drafting, nor provoke an international incident, nor anger major groups of voters. That’s professionalism, too.

This is almost entirely a good thing. Sure, too much reliance on the same people (even if they are individually skilled) can lead to groupthink, a danger in any organization, but there’s enough new blood in the new administration to guard against it. Expertise can also walk hand-in-hand with arrogance, and Team Biden should be alert to that peril. Still, the diversity of the administration’s personnel should help ward off that problem.

I should emphasize that political expertise is no less valuable than substantive know-how. Biden isn’t likely to ignore that reality as he tackles big challenges like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. Public policy requires political judgment. Neither its evident scientific nor political expertise guarantees that the Biden administration’s policy choices will be the best ones in any objective sense, but they will improve the odds of producing policies that accomplish their intended purpose while minimizing strong opposition.

Professionalism in government was missing under President Donald Trump, and it’s been missed. Its return won’t automatically deliver sound policy, but it’s likely to clear out some policy-making breathing room. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something of a media honeymoon as reporters react to officials who clearly know how to do their jobs — especially in contrast to the previous gang of bumblers. There’s nothing wrong with that; Indeed, Team Biden probably should treat a grace period as an earned asset in the early days of the presidency. They should know, too, that it won’t last long.

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#17657 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 08:15

View Postkenberg, on 2021-January-21, 06:12, said:

Trump promises to "be back in some form", furthering the cocoon idea.

But WaPo has a headline that captures my thinking in brief "History Made, The Work Begins".

US only or intergalactic?
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#17658 User is offline   mythdoc 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 08:21

View PostZelandakh, on 2021-January-21, 04:17, said:

How about "American Cocoon - When will Biden die on us?"


I’d change the first part of this new thread title to “Heart Finesse” or “Heart Stopper”
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#17659 User is offline   pilowsky 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 12:16

View PostZelandakh, on 2021-January-21, 04:48, said:

I think you are overblowing the differences here. Human nature is the same the world over. The examination of that nature from your list - Lord of the Flies - is actually British, not American (both the book and the 1963 film). Meanwhile, one of the archetypal movies about a disfunctional human nature is arguably Mad Max, which is Australian (only the sequels are American). Meanwhile, the quintessential Australian different cultures survival film, Walkabout, is officially British and was distributed internationally by 20th Century Fox. Lord of the Flies and Hunger Games were made as movies because they were successful books. I am quite sure that if an Australian company could have afforded the rights and production costs of HG, they would have been more than happy to have stepped in. Those big budget movies get made by American companies because that is where the money is.

One of the slightly interesting developments in recent times is that writers are increasingly looking away from movies and towards mini-series dramatisations of their work. This allows much more of the book to make it to the screen and since it covers more of the TV schedule, it is a little easier for non-US companies to get involved and coordinate together in partnership. Hopefully this trend will continue and we can get a better mix of styles to choose from. In general though, good TV and film is more or less universal outside of specific cultural elements. That is why series like Game of Thrones become hits internationally and why TV companies import successful formats rather than creating their own. Change the format though and you quickly turn a hit into a flop, without even realising that you have touched a critical element of the appeal. It sounds like this happened in the Australian version of the cooking show.


I think you might enjoy reading The Lucky Country by Donald Horne. Then you may gain a real insight into how Australians view the world.

Your assertion that 'human nature' is the same all over the world is obviously untrue.
All people deserve to be treated equally and have certain fundamental rights. Even that apparently reasonable statement is interpreted in different ways by different humans with different 'natures' as you put it.

Or are you like the Gentleman in the play by George Bernard Shaw who claimed to know the difference between right and wrong?
non est deus ex machina; även maskiner behöver lite kärlek; Schämen sich Roboter, wenn sie lügen?
J'ai toujours misé sur l'étrange gentillesse des robots
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#17660 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-January-21, 12:43

View Postpilowsky, on 2021-January-21, 12:16, said:

I think you might enjoy reading The Lucky Country by Donald Horne. Then you may gain a real insight into how Australians view the world.

Your assertion that 'human nature' is the same all over the world is obviously untrue.
All people deserve to be treated equally and have certain fundamental rights. Even that apparently reasonable statement is interpreted in different ways by different humans with different 'natures' as you put it.

Or are you like the Gentleman in the play by George Bernard Shaw who claimed to know the difference between right and wrong?


At the fundamental level, all human nature is probably the same::self-preservation and continuation of the species. In my view, everything after that falls under the broad umbrella of cultural differences.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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