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USA Elections 2016

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Banta, Apr 12, 2015.

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  1. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Now, on a slightly different topic, we discussed extensively a while back the utility of nuclear weapons, and the wisdom of the US policy of nuclear deterrence. It turns out this is more topical a subject than I knew of at the time, and it's coming to a head in international politics right about now.

    According the to The Washington Post, major US allies around the world are coming together to kill a potential policy change in the US that President Obama has wanted to be part of his nuclear 'legacy'. To whit:

    The short and sweet version is that while threatening to use nuclear weapons (a la Trump) is a terrible signal to send, so too is threatening not to use them. This should be a less in How Things Actually Are to all the potential voters flirting with Jill Stein, who is shown to be even more out of touch with reality on this subject.

    ---------- Post automerged at 20:54 ---------- Previous post was at 20:47 ----------

    I think this was supposed to be a witty riposte, but it falls flat. I'm saying that if I can afford it, I shouldn't be told to fuck off just because I'm white/male/straight/etc./other-immutable-characteristics. Or another person because they're black/gay/etc.

    You appear to be saying that like poor people not being able to afford things being a fact of life, gay people should just get over the fact that they can't buy your cake because whatever, they're gay. Or black people should just accept it and move on that they're black. Because each of those things is 'equally heinous' as someone who can't afford something not being able to buy it (read: not heinous).
     
  2. Aurion

    Aurion Headmaster

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    Let them eat cake.

    Yes, I know Marie Antoinette didn't actually say that. No, I don't especially care because this analogy is bad and y'all should feel bad.
     
  3. Xiph0

    Xiph0 Administrator Admin

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    Just because Wildfeather can't make proper analogies doesn't mean we need to devote pages and pages of the thread to discussing whether he understood the analogy he was trying to make in the first place, it's mind numbing.


    From what I can tell, this is accurate to what he was trying to argue and it's in line with some Libertarian people I know. If he confirms that then I'm happy to explain why he's wrong.
     
  4. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I apologize for derailing things rather magnificently, but in my defense it was very interesting. :sherlock:


    In order to get back on topic, though, the New York Times has interesting reporting out just in time for the Monday news cycle about Paul Manafort's ties to the former pro-Kremlin president of Ukraine. Could be food for thought about the Trump campaign's worrying ties to Putin.

    The counterpoint is continued questions about HRC's ties to donors from the Clinton Foundation. She's accused of granting pay-to-play access, but it's unclear to me why the things she's been referenced with are not simple acts of DC networking.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  5. Wildfeather

    Wildfeather Seventh Year Prestige

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    If a person doesn't want you to partake in their services, they should have the right to not serve you (except in the event that their non-service would result in bodily harm or death). I feel like it's a pretty simple concept that gets bogged down in the details, and to be fair they're pretty important details. As all things in politics go, some level of compromise is necessary, but I lean against the government compelling private entities to do work or provide a service against their will. That being said, it really has nothing to do with the elections, so I'll try to let the matter drop.

    In regards to Trump, I will say that it's really hilarious that his old strategy of "stay in the news cycle as often as possible by saying outrageous things" seems to be backfiring (at least from my perspective) because of the (apparent) lack of social decency/ common sense. Before Trump was saying some ridiculous stuff (objectively) but it at least felt like he was coming from an understandable position. I'm no stranger to mental gymnastics, but even as someone who wanted to be on his side (or at least against Hillary) it's becoming increasingly difficult to see any good sides to the man at all.
     
  6. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    I think it's a matter of the appearance of impropriety. It might well have just been standard DC networking, but when you're networking on behalf of someone who just gave you a bunch of money it looks bad even if everything's technically aboveboard.
     
  7. mangaguy

    mangaguy Fourth Year

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    The NYTimes editorial board has a pretty good (imo) response to that.

    http://nytimes.com/2016/08/15/opinion/end-the-first-use-policy-for-nuclear-weapons.html?_r=0

    Edit: I think, in particular, comparing it to the totality of our other tools of deterrence, including our military and economic power, is convincing. I honestly doubt that there is much aggression that is deterred in the modern day based on our nuclear policy rather than our other collective defense policies. I think the benefits of non-nuclear proliferation encouraged by this move could be worth it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  8. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    Yeah, lately his more ridiculous remarks seem less like him speaking bluntly about real issues, and more like his just shooting off his mouth at anything that piques him. The only time in the last couple weeks when it felt like he was really trying to make a point was during the whole "Obama and Hillary" founded ISIS mess. The rest of the time, like his shouting match with the Khan family ... it was just noise and stupidity.
     
  9. Darth_Revan

    Darth_Revan Secret Squirrel Prestige DLP Supporter

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    I am assuming, then, that you haven't seen the widely reported news of the renewed Russian Air Force patrolling of nuclear-armed bombing aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico, or the renewed Russian navy nuclear missile submarines that are trolling off of the Carolinas?

    Because if you had, the idea of us giving up our first-strike doctrine and saying that we will only nuke you if you have already killed us all is pretty fucking worrying.

    Edit: Also, to be clear, our doing this is not a step against nuclear proliferation. We already have nuclear weapons. We were the first. We can't really proliferate more than we already have.
     
  10. Solfege

    Solfege Professor DLP Supporter

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    Putin's lowered the thresholds for first-use on the Russian side --- look at the inclusion of "limited nuclear strikes" into standard operational doctrine over the past decade as a field defense against a conventional war they'd be sure to lose.
    He's begun reinvesting in short- to medium-range GLCMs (we called them out on it last year).

    Gutting our own stock of said missiles, as the NYT suggests, while the Russians are rearming theirs, would be a mistake.

    However, I do think there may be merit to a no-first-use doctrine --- if you believe the Russians/potential antagonists are rational actors. Which requires something of a... leap of faith.
     
  11. Narf

    Narf Administrator Admin DLP Supporter

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    OK, quick question, class. What did we learn way back in 5th grade? Don't use double negatives. It's nice that you're trying to hide behind bad grammar as you patronize me, though.

    Who says I'm in full support of President Obama? I don't like a great number of things he's pushing forward, including the TPP.

    Hillary's voting record should very much be in question right now, regardless of 20/20 hindsight vision. There were many people that opposed any military action in Iraq (including Sanders, btw), Hillary was one of the ones that went along with Bush's bullshit reasons for attacking. She wants to be President of the United States of America. She doesn't get the benefit of hindsight. Her decisions in the present matter, and her record has been far less than stellar.

    These aren't little things that she and I disagree on. These are pretty major issues. These are enough for me to question if I want to vote for her in the general, especially now that I find her not only extremely unethical, but also extremely incompetent.

    And when Madeleine Albright goes to the podium with Hillary Clinton at her side and says there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other, it's not a matter of opinion that they're being condescending towards women. It's a matter of fact.

    No, you fucking bitchass jew faggot, this isn't a safe space. But if you want to have a goddamn intelligent discussion, don't come in and shit on the other side because you think they don't know policy. Your condescension doesn't fucking help things, and that, sweetheart, is not that complex. Saying "if the shoe fits..." in the same paragraph where you deny everything I'm saying it pretty fucking ironic.

    You said many things in your initial post, things about hurt feelings, childishness, being silly, policy not registering. All of these things point to you calling me ignorant and, you know, me not voting for Hillary because of the feels. But yeah, my bad, I should have used the words 'heavily imply' instead. Regardless of my choice of words, what you said and meant is as clear as day to both of us, so let's stop arguing semantics, hmm? You know what you said, have the balls to own it, at the very least.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  12. Hashasheen

    Hashasheen Totally Sirius

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    Just food for thought.
     
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Heir

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    You are all missing the factual context of “let them eat cake“. She said “let them eat brioche“, which in 1789’s France made sense because a law forced bakeries to diminish brioches’ prices when other, basic, products weren’t available to the mass. So the State to ensure that a positive freedom was observed.
     
  14. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon Prestige DLP Supporter

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    Come in to Politics.

    4 page discussion about cake.

    DLP <3
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  15. Garden

    Garden Minister of Magic

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    The fundamental question is "What do I think the State should do? "

    I answer, "not very much". My moral reasoning, like most people's is a somewhat inconsistent blend of deontological and utilitarian reasoning. I think coercion is evil, and therefore seek to reduce it. I also believe, within that framework, that increasing the utility of everyone is good. I also believe that free markets are a great way to increase utility, especially future utility.

    I'm not 100% committed to preventing coercion, so I make exceptions for cases where lots of utility is 'one the line', or where emotional quirks of mine overpower that moral reasoning.

    But a good approximation of my beliefs are: "mostly libertarian."

    If you want an explanation for all those things, then I could try, but that might just be post-hoc moral reasoning. Maybe I just don't like being told what to do, so I argue from first principles to get there.

    Another explanation: libertarians/classical liberals don't see a distinction between economic freedom and political freedom. Or they don't view political freedom as more important.

    Regardless, moral values are in some sense impossible to argue for or against-- they're moral axioms that you either agree with or don't.







    On the questions:


    Originally, of course, none of this stuff happened in a free market. For one, there were pre-existing inequalities in wealth, because most black people had been slaves until Emancipation. There were obviously massive gaps in literacy, numeracy, all kinds of cultural capital that would take a while to acquire for former slaves. I am totally in favor of large-scale wealth redistribution after slavery given that slavery is a pretty huge violation of what libertarians hold dear-- freedom from coercion. Extracting just compensation from former slave owners seems pretty okay to me.

    When the Federal government shied away from full Reconstruction, "Every man 40 acres and a mule", then inequality was inevitable. The South didn't have a dynamic economy, there wasn't a ton of free movement of labor, and the local courts (military courts, when the South was still occupied, were better) were not just.

    In that context, in a South that had kept black people down for so long and through so many ways, I think the Civil Rights Act is very justifiable.

    Nowadays it is a lot harder to justify.

    Yes, there are large differences in average wealth and income and educational attainment and life expectancy between some minorities (Black and Hispanic) and Whites (and East Asians and Indians).


    But it is hard to claim that present differences are the result of current large-scale discrimination, or that the Civil Rights does enough current good to justify it's inevitable coercion.

    I'm not speaking about it's provisions that apply to government services (preventing voter suppression) , but about the provisions that apply to private businesses, which are the debated item.



    How does libertarian political philosophy not have an answer to this? It's a form of mild assault-- treat it accordingly. If you mean the right to be thought of as a person, not be treated like trash, not be called subhuman etc. then to the degree to which that involves coercion or state actors-- libertarians are on-board with stopping that. Otherwise, nope, no one has or should have any right to demand others to view them in a certain way.


    Presumably if everyone in America hated me so much that they'd refuse my money, I've done something pretty bad, so I'm not sure what the problem with people refusing me service is. It would harm me in the same way that being better than me at basketball when I'm a professional basketball player would harm me-- your free choices and my free choices compete and I lose, with no coercion involved.

    But obviously your situation is hilariously hypothetical. How in the world would that boycott be coordinated? You think no gas station would sneak me a couple gallons of gas for a couple hundred dollars? In which case I'm paying a premium for my dickish behavior, which seems reasonable to me.




    If a private fireman has agreed in advance to attend to a fire at someone's house, then they're obligated to do so. They can't just break a contract without penalty. If they have refused in advance to do so, then why would they be obligated to help? Presumably the person who owns that property knows that and has taken steps to get another fireman, or has implicitly agreed to live without one.

    If the fire station in question is a government-run firestation, then I agree they should be obligated to help.

    Fire firefighting is an interesting question because a fire on my house necessarily endangers your house, so if I choose not to have fire station service, I endanger your house and life. So it's not quite as simple as "I can do whatever I want".

    In that case I'd expect private home owner's associations to spring up that required people to pay for firefighters when they move in a certain neighborhood through property deeds that required firefighting payments, or local governments to require it because the coordination of all those private actors would be very difficult.

    If a government has decreed that you are required to buy a service, then in that case I'd be more okay with requiring that service in question to be non discriminatory.

    So the short answer to that question would be: "I guess you could require people to pay firefighters and then require firefighters to help all people."


    Emergency services fall into that bucket of things that are very difficult, if not impossible, to coordinate in the absence of government coercion to support them and government assurances that they will will help everyone.

    Not impossible, because private firefighters and private ambulance companies (especially in tight-knit religious communities) do exist, but very difficult.

    To Invictus

    Sesc covered a lot of those points, namely that there is no obvious right to purchase something from somebody. The right to property includes the right to refuse to sell. How could it not?

    But regarding a specific point:

    I am not familiar with this specific historical event. A quick skim through wikipedia, however, implies that you're wrong.

    "Although food production was higher in 1943 compared to 1941,[3] due to the British empire taking 60% of all harvests and ordering Bengal to supply a greater proportion of the food for their army to fight the Japanese, the demand exceeded the supply. " along with simultaneous "The proximate cause of the famine was a reduction in supply with some increase in demand. The winter 1942 aman rice crop, which was already expected to be poor or indifferent,[10] was hit by a cyclone and three tidal waves in October. An area of 450 square miles were swept by tidal waves, 400 square miles affected by floods and 3200 square miles damaged by wind and torrential rain. Reserve stocks in the hands of cultivators, consumers and dealers were destroyed. This killed 14,500 people and 190,000 cattle.[12] "The homes, livelihood and property of nearly 2.5 million Bengalis were ruined or damaged."[13] The fungus Cochliobolus miyabeanus destroyed 50% to 90% of some rice varieties,[14] causing even greater damage to yield than the cyclone.[C]"

    There were also internal trade barriers in India:

    "In 1942, with the permission of the central government, trade barriers were introduced by the democratically elected provincial governments. The politicians and civil servants of surplus provinces like the Punjab introduced regulations to prevent grain leaving their provinces for the famine areas of Bengal, Madras and Cochin. There was the desire to see that, first, local populations and, second, the populations of neighbouring provinces were well fed, partly to prevent civil unrest. Politicians and officials got power and patronage, and the ability to extract bribes for shipping permits. Marketing and transaction costs rose sharply. The market could not get grain to Bengal, however profitable it might be. The main trading route, established for hundreds of years was up the river system and this ceased to operate, leaving the railway as the only way of getting food into Bengal. Grain arrivals stopped and in March 1943, Calcutta, the second biggest city in the world, had only two weeks' food supply in stock.[38]

    British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1943
    The Government of India realized a mistake had been made and decreed a return to free trade. "

    So basically natural disasters that reduced supply plus coercive British policies that vastly increased demand and decreased supply, along with a market that wasn't fully open to the outside world.


    Incidentally, this is a not so different set of causes that caused the massive numbers of famine deaths in the Great Leap Forward in China.

    A strong central government under the collective delusion of Maoist socialism collectivized small peasant-owned farms, introduced terrible agricultural practices, levied huge taxes on grain, increased grain exports, prohibited home cooking, prohibited individual ownership of livestock, prohibited newspapers from mentioning famine-- and between 30-80 million people died as a result. The high figure of 80 million is from "Mao's Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine".


    I haven't read Amartya Sen's book, though it is on my to-read list, but my impression from readings that reference him is that censorship is what causes food shortages (which might arise from natural disasters or war) to turn into famines, and censorship is ultimately a political decision.


    All of which is to say that while terrible things can and do happen under markets, famine nowadays is more likely the result of stupid or evil governments.



    I don't dispute that social/cultural context limits or structures markets. I agree with you on that. Sometimes religion can hurt markets, as when Christianity and Islam prohibit lending money at interest, or they can help, as when strong religious ties increase trust between merchants and facilitate long-distance trade in areas with weak governments and courts.


    And I'm not totally against temporary government interference with a market that has settled at an undesirable local minimum. But there should be a very strong presumption against it.

    Healthcare is also a terrible example of a free market in the US.

    An incomplete list of significant regulations on healthcare that existed before the ACA:

    1. Requiring hard to get licenses to practice medicine legally.

    2. Requiring prescriptions for a variety of medications and imprisoning those who buy or sell some substances without licensing.

    3. Requiring hospitals that receive any amount of federal funding or Medicare payments to not deny emergency care to anyone because of their ability to pay.

    4. Requiring medications to pass through the long process of FDA approval.

    5. Tons of regulations like community ratings, rate bands, and guaranteed issue that completely distort the ability of insurance companies to accurately assess the likely costs of a given applicant for insurance.

    6. Government subsidies (through large tax breaks) of employer-sponsored healthcare, an artifact of WWII-era wage controls.

    7. Government control of what benefits insurance companies must offer.

    Way before the ACA the government had massively distorted the market for insurance. You can view that as a good thing-- I obviously don't-- but calling that a free market, or a liquid market, or even a 'market-like structure' is innacurate.

    It was the worst of both worlds-- a hugely expensive, massively regulated, bureaucratic nightmare that didn't even offer universal coverage or emphasize public health.

    in order of preference: free market in healthcare>>>universal healthcare>>>US healthcare.




    Agreed 95% here. My view is that cases where libertarian laws leads to terrible outcomes are pretty rare. Cases where state overreach lead to terrible outcomes are not so rare. Additionally, and this is F.A. Hayek's argument about central planning, any degree of state intervention makes more state intervention more likely. This is a slippery slope argument, yes, but it works.

    It is rare for countries to retreat from social services-- it is not rare for governments to add more regulations, intrude more into private lives, etc.

    Thus, we should have a very strong presumption against state intervention, even where it seems somewhat justified, because it increases the probability of future state intervention that is not so clearly beneficial.





    I kind of agree that the strength of libertarian ideology is its consistency-- otherwise you're left with wishy-washy neoliberalism.

    But it is possible to say "You must have exceptionally strong reasons for state interference and they should be temporary when possible" (libertarian-lite) instead of "markets are reasonably good, but states and technocrats sometimes know best" (what you seem to be arguing. Forgive me if I'm assuming stuff but you seem pretty centrist, so...)


    If you demand libertarians to be consistent, then demand that of all political positions. A lot of political positions are somewhat arbitrary and require judgement, not just an algorithm of "I agree or disagree." Democrats value welfare for poor people but also want an underclass that is empowered by good jobs. Those are moderately in tension. Republicans want less government but don't push for military cuts. All living ideologies compromise, not just because they need to compromise with other parties, but because human moral values are not super consistent, we're not utilitarian calculating machines or rule following deontologists. We're an inconsistent imperfect species.


    Anyways, I'll get back to US elections:


    I find it funny that Hillary isn't making a ton of concessions to the Right in an effort to win over some swing Rupublicans. I guess she thinks she doesn't have to. It makes it harder for moderate Republicans to endorse her, though. The only concessions she's made is lots of patriotic rhetoric in the DNC, which was a nice touch but pretty meaningless.
     
  16. Oment

    Oment The Betrayer

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  17. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    Can we declare the Libertarianism stuff finished? Otherwise I'll have move the posts, but I dunno it's going anywhere more productive than it already has. And Khan, if that's literally all you got out of it, I have no idea why you are posting here.

    Also insert standard reminder for everyone that attacking content > ad hominem.
     
  18. Skiddo

    Skiddo First Year

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  19. KHAAAAAAAN!!

    KHAAAAAAAN!! Troll in the Dungeon Prestige DLP Supporter

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    It was pretty obviously just a joke, Sesc.

    Edit: But I apologize for the pointless derail, I suppose.

    Edit 2: On Topic -

    Trump proposes that all Muslim immigrants and visitors to the country should undergo extreme ideological vetting before they can come in. I suppose the ban from the 'terror countries' wasn't quite ridiculous enough for him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  20. Joe's Nemesis

    Joe's Nemesis High Score: 2,058 Prestige

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    Just a note, your pre-ACA idea is wrong if you believe that was a result of natural market force. Most of the monopolies or duopolies came because state regulators demanded certain types of coverage, causing many insurance companies to bail from the state. Market re-entry penalties and other factors kept it that way. It's why I believe ACA was like answering, "GREEN!" when the question was, "What is 1+1."

    ________________________________

    As for the general idea being discussed here, I am also a libertarian, but one has to remember that for true libertarianism to work, everyone must have the same rights, and someone must be able to enforce those rights. The problem in the US is that too often, historically, the state (as in the 50 political entities in the United States) has either ignored or outright violated the rights of individuals, and often did it at the pleasure of the federal government (Dred v. Scott, Plessy v. Fergussion).

    However, the federal govt. of late (last 40 years) has began enforcing individual rights, which they have the right to do, and should have the right to do, as the foundational moral impetus for the US govt. is that every human being has inherent, God-given rights (specified as such in the Dec. of Indep.).

    Of course, they're also trying to take away other rights that assure personal agency, but that discussion belongs in the 2nd Amendment thread.

    Nevertheless, whenever a state, or an entity within the state, encroaches on agency of another person, it becomes the right of the governing state to stop that encroachment.

    The problem, as has been discussed here, is where exactly does that line fall? For me, it falls on the "Active" vs. "passive" idea. As a typical conservative Christian, I hold traditional beliefs about sexuality. I do not think it right the federal government should force me to attend a gay wedding, as it is counter to my freedom of religion and right of association). That is, what I believe, is an active move against my agency.

    Passivity, however, means that if I, in a passive manner, receive business from a gay couple who want to be married, then I must provide the cake. By that I mean, if my doors are open to my business and a couple walks through them to buy a cake, I must sell them the cake, and I must treat them equally to anyone else who comes into my store. Only when they ask for me to move from passive--receiving the business where I'm at, to active—having to go perform the business in a way that likely communicates a choice of free association, do I then have the right to say no (IMO, legally, not so much right now).

    Thus, no, I do not believe photographers should be forced to photograph weddings they do not want to photograph, for whatever reason. A baker? Yes, the must bake the cake. If they do delivery, yes they must deliver it. But, must they stay there throughout preparation? Must they wait until it is cut and served? No.

    And, I believe the same is true, all the way around. I do not want to force a young young black caterer to serve a Christian Identity after-Church meeting, either. But if laws force one, they must force the other, or there is no equality under the law. Thus, I prefer to restrict active participation as I have defined it here.

    All of that is what informs my vote, and another reason I cannot vote for Hillary—she will restrict protection of agency at the most basic level (again, see 2nd Amendment thread). It is also why I can't vote for Trump—threatening to remove rights legally obtained from immigrants not yet citizens is as much a violation of agency as anything else: due process, anyone? (and that last statement is also how I can easily delineate what rights a person has when it comes to legal vs. illegal immigration. As with anything else, violating a law removes certain rights).

    ---------- Post automerged at 08:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:09 PM ----------

    Damn.

    This is what I get for not looking over the ENTIRE thread before I post. Sorry Sesc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
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