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Law

UBI as a Compromise on Reparations for Slavery

On the subject of reparations, I have something to say that I haven’t heard anyone else say.

Context.
1. Assume that people of color are oppressed to this day because of the damage done by slavery.
2. Assume the point of reparations is to address that early damage.
3. Assume that others profited and continue to profit unfairly from that oppression.

Ok. So, you want to address this in an economic way that’s fair and viable and ethical.

I think a progressive tax and a UBI (unconditional basic income) accomplishes that goal. And it has the added bonus of not being by definition racist in the way that affirmative actions are. This seems counter intuitive but here follow along for a second. After all if it’s not a special effort made in favor of a specific race how can it qualify as reparations? In the same way that a given policy can disproportionately impact a given race without having to expressly specify a race anywhere within it. The same way a flat tax disproportionately hurts the poor despite being by definition totally even mathematically.

A UBI provided baseline income would have diminishing improvement effect as you climb the economic ladder. Hedge fund guys are not even going to notice the tiny bump in income their UBI check would provide, thus the fairness price paid in letting rich white guys collect the same reparations check as descendants of slaves, is offset by the fact that by the very virtue of being rich, there is no effective improvement to their lives.

Also it will be offset by the fact that on balance they’ll be paying way more then they are getting expressly because they are overly wealthy.

This means a UBI by definition is a smart bomb for poverty. It self selects and self adjusts its impact by the very metric we all agree on is the metric of most relevance: degree of poverty.

A UBI check to a homeless man is literally life changing. So to of anyone else economically crushed for any reason, including damage done by systemic racism of the present or the past. The more damage done, the more a UBI will help. Automatically and instantly the people most aided are those most currently crushed. And as they rise, the help done diminishes until they reach a point of economic sufficiency where they begin paying into the system instead of extracting from it.

The more oppressed a group actually is, the more the UBI helps them over others who don’t need it. No bureaucracy required. No debate over who gets what is needed. No one decides.

The only debate is how much to give, and at what rate to tax. That’s all. Two figures.

The other end of the spectrum is the progressive tax to pay for it. In this context a progressive tax is as much a smart bomb as the UBI is. It has the opposite effect as you go up the economic ladder. The more advantage you are granted for any reason up to and including profits from systemic racism, past or present, the more the progressive tax will take from you, and the more you can afford to have taken from you without impacting your actual quality of life.

See here for my primary post about the UBI:

http://underlore.com/one-possible-solution/

Inspired by this video:

Three Things Bernie Sanders is Wrong About

I’m a committed Bernie Sanders supporter, and politically very far left. However, leftists generally and Bernie specifically have some things wrong. Here are three areas where Bernie (and the left) needs to look into the facts with the a cold objective eye and assemble their theory based on that evidence, if they really wish to best serve and preserve human life and joy.

The Wage Gap: (It exists but it is not caused by discrimination, and therefore current proposed legislation would be counter productive.)

Nuclear Power: (It is so hard to find a good starter video that isn’t tied to a particular personality, or is rather long, or extremely specific, etc etc.)

Guns: (Prohibition is no more a solution in the case of guns than it was in the case of alcohol or is in the case of drugs.)

This video is the best I could find. As far as I can tell no one is making the really core argument, that the 2nd amendment is an essential part of the checks and balances that keep our democracy from completely crystallizing into a final stagnant oppressive form.

Here is my essay and debate on the subject: http://underlore.com/2nd-amendment-and-related-links/

Also: http://underlore.com/response-to-bernie-sanders-on-gun-control/

 

Response to Bernie Sanders on Gun Control

Bernie’s campaign sent this email. And below is it an explanation of why I can’t agree or sign.

Bernie Sanders for President

Dear Brandon –

Here is the very sad truth: it is very difficult for the American people to keep up with the mass shootings we seem to see every day in the news. Yesterday, San Bernardino. Last week, Colorado Springs. Last month, Colorado Springs again. Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, Isla Vista, Virginia Tech, Navy Yard, Roseburg, and far too many others.

The crisis of gun violence has reached epidemic levels in this country to the point that we are averaging more than one mass shooting per day. Now, I am going to tell you something that most candidates wouldn’t say: I am not sure there is a magical answer to how we end gun violence in America. But I do know that while thoughts and prayers are important, they are insufficient and it is long past time for action.

That’s why I want to talk to you today about a few concrete actions we should take as a country that will save lives.

Add your name in support of the following commonsense measures Congress can take to make our communities safer from gun violence.

1. We can expand background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. This is an idea that over 80% of Americans agree with, even a majority of gun owners.

2. & 3. We can renew the assault weapons ban and end the sale of high capacity magazines — military-style tools created for the purpose of killing people as efficiently as possible.

4. Since 2004, over 2,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list have legally purchased guns in the United States. Let’s close the “terror gap” and make sure known foreign and domestic terrorists are included on prohibited purchaser lists.

5. We can close loopholes in our laws that allow perpetrators of stalking and dating violence to buy guns. In the United States, the intended targets of a majority of our mass shootings are intimate partners or family members, and over 60% of victims are women and children. Indeed, a woman is five times more likely to die in a domestic violence incident when a gun is present.

6. We should close the loophole that allows prohibited purchasers to buy a gun without a completed background check after a three-day waiting period expires. Earlier this year, Dylann Roof shot and killed nine of our fellow Americans while they prayed in a historic church, simply because of the color of their skin. This act of terror was possible because of loopholes in our background check laws. Congress should act to ensure the standard for ALL gun purchases is a completed background check. No check — no sale.

7. It’s time to pass federal gun trafficking laws. I support Kirsten Gillibrand’s Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Gun Trafficking & Crime Prevention Act of 2015, which would “make gun trafficking a federal crime and provide tools to law enforcement to get illegal guns off the streets and away from criminal networks and street gangs.”

8. It’s time to strengthen penalties for straw purchasers who buy guns from licensed dealers on behalf of a prohibited purchaser.

9. We must authorize resources for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study and research the causes and effects of gun violence in the United States of America.

10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 21,000 firearm suicides every year in the United States. It’s time we expand and improve our mental health capabilities in this country so that people who need care can get care when they need it, regardless of their level of income.Add your name in support of these commonsense measures Congress can take to make our communities safer from gun violence.

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate voted against non-binding legislation to expand background checks, close the “terror gap,” and improve our mental health systems. I voted for all three, although each of them came up short.

They failed for the same reason the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey legislation failed in 2013, just months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School: because of the financial political power of a gun lobby that has bought candidates and elections for the better part of the last several decades.

In 2014 alone, the gun lobby spent over $30 million on political advertising and lobbying to influence legislators in Congress and state capitals across the country. And just last month, it was reported that the Koch brothers made a $5 million contribution to the NRA.

Americans of all political stripes agree. It’s time to address the all too common scene of our neighbors being killed. It’s time to pass a common sense package of gun safety legislation.

With your help, that’s what we’ll do when I’m president.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Sign Our Petition

I’m sorry but I can’t sign this.

I can’t add my name because of point 2. “assault” and “military style” are meaningless terms. And tough gun law in California and France obviously changed nothing. I will not be a party to creating a third unwinnable crime war.

The bottom line is this. Crime is already illegal. And shooting people is already a crime.

This entire debate is an absurd distraction from the real issues.

Guns are a containment technology. Take them away and the tools of psychosis become fire, chemicals, explosives, cars themselves.

Remember the guy that weaponized a bulldozer and stumped a whole town’s police force? They didn’t stop him. Faulty machinery stopped him.

The real issue here is a gargantuan impoverished class. We need to solve the root problems that drive people crazy and make it impossible to help them. We need to remove those social forces that allow them to feel there is no other solution but a violent death.

We need a single payer health system for starters so anyone anywhere in the country can walk into a hospital and get the help they need.

Gun control is a doomed, insane, concept. Every bit as insane as drug law and alcohol prohibition. Especially in this the era of 3d printers and CNC machines that can carve steel. Both of which a dedicated person can build from scratch.

Ban guns, and I assure you you’ll create a basement weapons cartel that will result in gun factories springing up like meth labs, everywhere.

You think gun violence is bad now? Imagine a totally disarmed legitimate populace vs a booming cottage arms trade that deals nearly exclusively in drum fed AK 47s.

The only reason gun control remotely works in Europe is because of extensive social services combined with police state style surveillance, and still, that didn’t stop the Paris attacks did it?

Gun law is not only wrong, it’s completely insane. Especially here. You start taking guns away and every survivalist hate group in the country gets the biggest I told you so in history to recruit with, and suddenly we’re drowning in domestic terrorism that could well escalate into civil war.

Fortunately, no one but ignorant commenters is honestly that stupid. You will not get your gun laws, so stop asking people. You’ll get token trivial gestures that will at best kill innocent people for want of self defense weapons.

There’s no such thing as “common sense” gun laws because gun laws are as nonsensical as prohibition.

All gun law does is make it harder for people like me to defend other innocent people.

#LeftistWithAGun

http://underlore.com/2nd-amendment-and-related-links/

Why not make it free?

I would be nice to make everything free, but some things are defined by their resistance to distribution.

http://underlore.com/why-i-oppose-the-venus-project/

Still, that being said we can acquire a high degree of ubiquitous material wealth if we do three things:

1. Reform IPL to make all code free as in speech and beer. Privacy could still easily be respected. In fact copyright enforcement and privacy of correspondence are mutually exclusive. (To program the robots.)

2. Deploy nuclear reactors quickly to provide the bottom of an anthropocentric materials economy food chain. (To power the robots.)

3. Develop an open source humanoid robot, recharged by the reactors, and instructed by ever evolving shared open code above, to automate any labor task we need done yet are unwilling to do personally. (To have the robots.)

With those things accomplished, essentially everything would be free. Certainly anything that could qualify as a basic human need.

In the mean time we absolutely could deploy a UBI and give everyone a piece of their human inheritance.

http://underlore.com/one-possible-solution/

Women and ISIS

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The fact that some women seem to be actually interested in being property in ISIS is incomprehensible to some, but it’s not completely devoid of logic if you look at a bit of the bigger picture.

We in the west live in a very ideologically individualist society and we seem to equate submission with weakness. Yet paradoxically we laud anyone who submits to the many collective positions on which society depends. Example: A submissive man is pathetic, yet a solider is heroic despite service being the very basis of being in the military. It couldn’t function without at least the majority of the time obeying orders without question and without hesitation.

But the thing is there are advantages both psychological and practical to being inclined to submit. After all, that’s why it’s a common survival strategy. Some people just aren’t assertive by genetic inclination. And a structured social order, even if that order places one in a subordinate role, can be a pleasant thing for some people.

I think the fact that western society both refuses to admit that and depends on it utterly,  drives a lot of people underground and makes them bitter about the hypocrisy of the mainstream.

We are still a young culture, and there are a lot of elements of human nature that we have not created niches for. Drug use and various paraphilias for example. We seem to wish to stamp them out, but realistically that’s never going to happen. We’re still not even done solidifying our response to homosexuals.

One draw of systems from the 7th century is that they have had time to incorporate everything. Even if that incorporation is oppressive or an effort to annihilate it, at least they have a clear answer, and that is fundamentally appealing to the human mind. We like answers, even if they are wrong and toxic. (Just ask anyone who thinks nuclear power is a bad idea.)

Authority is difficult even if it’s over only yourself. Self reliance is inherently difficult. The pressure of making choices can be quite high contrasted with the comfort of having imposed structure, especially in a culture like ours that imposes all manner of discipline externally thus corroding self discipline.

Also in our society most people realize what a raw deal the vast majority of authoritative roles actually are. Much of our culture is suffering from the curse of middle management, in which you have just enough power to get in trouble when things go wrong but not enough power to ensure things go right.

As a result, a lot of people just coast as much as they can. If you look at things and realize you’re going to end up property anyway, you might start looking at the situation the way a person did in earlier eras prior to selling themselves into slavery. (Which believe it or not occurred a lot.)

Also we tend to dismiss the owner types in ISIS as cartoonish monsters, but in reality they are more likely to be something like soldiers or cult members for the most part. Yes they by definition must be violent and the like to seek to join a violent death cult, but then again, it’s pretty obvious that many women are quite attracted to violent assertive men. (Just look at jail house serial killer marriages.)

Indeed we glorify and cultivate this attraction when it’s about the “correct” classes of violent assertive men, such as our soldiers and police officers. So, given all that, is it really so shocking that some women would arrive at a mindset that genuinely finds life in a 7th century Islamic culture appealing, even before you get into the seductive power of religion itself and the draw of a charismatic conman recruiter?

Not to me. Not so much.

Still, it must be said that for the good of the species those that wish to join ISIS should not be given the freedom to do so because that action directly leads to the harm of others. I’m a big fan of freedom as any of my readers should know, but when you find local girls or boys wanting to fly off to join ISIS, it’s time to seize their passports.

Blank People

It was recently asserted to me that multiculturalism is to blame for among other things a dramatic rise in the death rate of my demographic.

Here are my thoughts:

I think it’s more like a contrast thing. Like western culture seems recently eager to respect demographic variations, such as gender, race, income, orientation etc, but the side effect is a rising of the tide that doesn’t include the one group that essentially serves as the default. White men.

In western culture your demographic identity is more or less defined by some deviation from a somewhat arbitrary baseline. That baseline is white straight male. Or “Cis” males in the more hateful corners of the web.

Socially, if I can’t check one of the non-default boxes, I am essentially deemed unworthy of focused help.

Because white men have historically been in the top slot socially,  the perception is that the last thing that they need is help. But this is based on old data. Maybe my grandfather didn’t need help, but I might. Even by your definitions.

A culture is by definition people working together to help all members of the culture so long as they play by the rules. While the drive to unbias the rules is certainly a worthy ethical goal, the bigger picture of inclusion is being lost in some places along the way.

In today’s world I feel like a lot of assumptions about my value are made in a hateful way for actions and contexts that simply have never applied to me. I feel like I live in a bunker, waiting for the radiation to dissipate. I feel isolated and cut off because no part of the culture I was born in wants me beyond my family and friends or any pocket money I may have.

Nothing in this culture is welcoming to me except those things which welcome everyone and have a parasitic agenda. (Like the various cults on offer, both secular and spiritual, and of course anywhere my money is good.)

These days all the division lines are about keeping the 99% from uniting vs their real enemies. And while I have no interest in buying into that I must also face the fact that others have bought in, and as such I am going to find myself hated on many fronts for being white, or straight, or male, or whatever.

This makes me afraid to speak to people because I’m always an outsider in some sense. And always I feel silently hated. I can barely interact with minority strangers because I have to worry about everything I say lest it be twisted into some kind of racist remark. Which is extremely ironic when you think about it.

So the problem isn’t that society is reaching out to other groups, the problem is that the only people reaching out to my group are bigots, to the point that if you made any kind of support system for white men exclusively in any context it would be instantly crushed and mocked as being racist, sexist, etc. Or invaded by actual racists.

The only group that gets even a tiny fraction of respect (as well as disproportionate hate) is the men’s rights movement. And really that’s only because they have such glaring points. Male over representation in the homeless population and the work place fatality stats for example. It’s hard to say they don’t have a point when there is audio recording out there of men being mocked by domestic abuse help lines as if having a penis makes one immune to being beaten with a hammer or a brick. Or otherwise abused or intimidated.

I mean really, can you imagine calling 911 essentially only to be mocked? Calling 911 to protect yourself and being arrested because your attacker was female? That happens. And we learn as men of non-color to never complain about anything that applies to just us because of the hateful social response. Hell, the only reason I feel comfy sharing this post is because I assume no one will ever read it.

Essentially we are being left behind, and as men are generally conditioned by both evolution and social training to literally put our lives on the line in an effort to be useful, this lagging behind means that suicide looks more and more like a good idea. Especially when getting psychological help often essentially means being scolded and humiliated.

Many of these suicides are passive. Not wearing your seat belt, taking up smoking, eating all kinds of salt and sugar and processed meats just waiting for something to kill you so your family can get the insurance because Contrary to the popular image a whole lot of white men are Really selfless good people.

I’m not saying I’m one of them, I’m just saying they are out there. About once a day it like occurs to me that I could simply die and avoid a whole lot of potential horror. Nothing dissuades me from this except those same friends and family. TV seems to want me to die for all sorts of things. Especially being jobless. At the very least my death would be culturally invisible.

Again, think about it. When a death happens what’s the first thing the TV tells you to make you care about it? Gender, family status, race. Etc. How many times have you heard the addendum “including women and children” as a way to intensify the impact of a wrong? (Google the phrase in quotes, 434,000 results, virtually all of them attempted outrage multipliers.)

I’m fortunate in that I am articulate enough to explain myself to therapist types, but in all my interactions with them I had to make a clearly and lengthy case for why I don’t just go get some life crushing job.

The solution with those people always seems to be about going away or getting in line.

It’s not pressure from the other groups crushing my demographic, it’s the lack of help at the cultural level making it merely appear hat way by contrast. I am not oppressed by gays or minorities or women or whatever. I am oppressed by the 1% and its machine. I am oppressed by a culture that dismisses my suffering and the very value of my life. I am oppressed by being a blank person.

These groups I am instructed to resent by the TV all have legitimate issues that need urgent attention and I am happy to see them get what they need, and will help when I can, I however also think when you focus it on any race or gender or designation you are by definition perpetuating a prejudice.

The solution is a universal approach and holding everyone to the same rules.

Specifically we most urgently need a UBI. No picking and choosing, no red tape. Living wage for living people. Let greed and ambition and boredom and creativity and curiosity take care of the rest.

http://underlore.com/one-possible-solution/

The great thing about a UBI is it’s self correcting. A ubi check means nothing to a rich person but means salvation to a homeless person. No administration needed.

It’s like the opposite of a flat tax.

The problem is that when it comes time to be helped, I’ve been abandoned essentially because of my lack of a race or a gender or an orientation etc. I don’t have a culture in a sense. There isn’t much that helps me unless I’m a worker or otherwise funded.

It’s just culturally assumed that because I’m a white male I must be a-ok. And I assure everyone, that’s not the case.

I’m ok because I have a family that loves me. Otherwise I’d be homeless or dead right now.

I feel like the only social help I get is like an unintended side effect of support aimed at other groups that just can’t bring themselves to overtly exclude me in vengeance for the actions of the 1% of previous eras who’s race and gender I happen to share.

Underlore © 2013