robotslave
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Jul 22 robotslave commented on Science News: Exactly What's Wrong With Cliff Mass' Approach to Global Warming, Rare Fin Whale Sighting in Puget Sound.
@2

You know perfectly well what you're insinuating when you write what you do. And you should be ashamed of it.
Jul 22 robotslave commented on Science News: Exactly What's Wrong With Cliff Mass' Approach to Global Warming, Rare Fin Whale Sighting in Puget Sound.
For the life of me, I can't understand why none of the "reporters" at The Stranger have bothered calling up Cliff Mass on the telephone and asking him whether or not he believes global warming is real, caused by humans, and a grave danger to all. You could even follow up with a question about whether he thinks large-scale political action should be taken to address it.

But you don't.

It couldn't be because you already know perfectly well how he'll answer those questions, could it?
Jul 11 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@80

Actually, a new American Identity is being formed slowly and inevitably by slow demographic and economic shifts, as it has been for the country's entire existence. Americans saw themselves very differently in 1809 (agrarian society) 1859 (on the brink of the Civil War) 1909 (urbanization) 1959 (suburbanization) and 2009 (de-localization/globalization).

One thing radicalism has never had any noticeable success in changing is a society's sense of identity, unless you include the kind of radicalism that is now more commonly referred to as "genocide."
Jul 10 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@53

Slavery didn't happen in one lump sum; there's no reason reparations can't be ongoing for some period of time. It would make the funding a lot easier to manage, and you could set up some sort of test condition which would have to be met to end the program. Or you could have a fixed term, or an inflation-adjusted total, or any number of different targets.

But that's still the easy stuff-- the hard part, as you allude to, is deciding who receives the reparations.

Limiting it to descendants of slaves ignores the damage that slavery's lasting legacy has done to black Americans who immigrated as free citizens in the years after slavery was abolished. Limiting it to verifiable lineage will tend to leave out people lacking good family records-- and those will tend to be poorer people. If you grant reparations to anyone who self-identifies as black, you'll get a storm of accusations that this and that person is cheating the system, or stealing or making false claims... and indeed many people will be doing just that. It won't look anything like justice and healing.

This leaves us with the awful prospect of trying to create a government test that determines who is and who is not "black enough" to receive reparations; exactly the sort of deeply hurtful institution that reparations are supposed to make amends for.

I suppose you could make payments to organizations or institutions instead of individuals, but this depersonalizes what many people feel should be a very personal sort of restitution, and that's before you even get into the pitfalls of deciding how much money to give to which group, and what kind of group is "worthy," or more likely to spend the money improving black lives, etc etc.
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Jul 10 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@47, @48

Sure, it might be a good idea to let people opt out of making their contributions public. We can discuss this like grown-ups, can't we?

The public database would only serve to "shame" people if they 1) say they support reparations, but 2) don't put their money where their mouth is. Presumably the people opposed to reparations to begin with would be proud to have proof that they're not contributing, no? That part of the population isn't going to vanish overnight if we do get reparations rolling, is it?

Raindrop, perhaps violence motivated by the victim's contribution or non-contribution might be prosecuted as hate crime? It seems rather unlikely to me that a reparations program would necessitate a de facto legalization of, er, lynch mobs.

The idea here is to make the funding both voluntary, to prevent the program from simply exacerbating resentments, and verifiable, to address the rather understandable suspicion that there are lots of Americans willing to talk the talk about improving society's racial disparities, but unwilling to walk the walk.
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Jul 9 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@41

Funding seems like the easier part of the problem, see @39 for a broad sketch of one idea I think could work well enough.
Jul 9 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@37

I'm probably a bigger believer in the benefits of helicopter money than you are, but we've already got racially charged resentment of government benefits (e.g. the ugly "welfare queens" rhetoric) which is only going to be exacerbated by a benefit explicitly tied to slavery unless it's funded on an entirely voluntary (and, I think, public) basis.

Like, have a checkbox on your tax form to pay X dollars for that year into the reparations fund, and a public database where anyone can go and look up your name and see whether or not you've contributed.

But the funding is only half of the program, and I don't have any bright ideas on the other side-- deciding who should be compensated for the damage done by slavery in the US.
Jul 9 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@36

It's not the detractors I'm suggesting would be the obstacle to the question of who can and who can't claim reparations-- it's the proponents.

Let's assume that reparations are successfully passed and funded; what's your plan for deciding who we should award them to?
Jul 9 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@22

Um...

Crime is up all across America.


No.

According to all available evidence, crime in America is at historic lows, and declining, across the board.
Jul 9 robotslave commented on Five Concrete Things You Can Do to Make Black Lives Matter.
@18

OK, I think I see why you don't understand the Black Lives Matter movement, now.

Believe it or not, there are quite a lot of people who do very much believe that police killing non-resisting black people is, indeed, "a thing," as you put it. I think they might prefer to refer it to it as "an outrage" or "a tragedy" or "a failure of the American justice system."