The Essential Three
The Biden administration has committed to organizing a “Summit for Democracy” to galvanize support for combating authoritarianism, fighting corruption so often associated with autocracy, and advancing human rights. The global gathering is part of the president’s stated goal of placing democracy and human rights at the heart of his foreign policy.
Crafting the invite list will be one of the thorniest elements of organizing the forum. This sensitive task will include determining which countries should have a seat at the table, particularly whether countries of strategic importance should be included even if they are emerging democracies or their leaders have taken significant — even shocking — steps backwards on civil liberties and human rights.
This debate, however crucial, obscures the summit’s intent: finding solutions to shared and pressing challenges to democratic governance and the values for which it has stood traditionally, however imperfectly. Indeed, it is a summit “for” democracy and not “of” democracies.
Local governments are largely ignored when we discuss politics, but their function is essential, some would say even more so, than politics at the national level.
And — for a very brief moment — elected Republicans and Democrats were united in their condemnation of the violent mob and the president who in many ways inspired the attack, according to leading elected Republicans at the time. It is worth recalling House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) own words just one week after the Capitol insurrection: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters.” Similarly, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) denounced the former president’s actions, calling his behavior a “disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
Despite these early condemnations, both GOP leaders resisted holding the former president accountable through the impeachment process, with McCarthy focusing on mostly process arguments, saying, “No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held. Most Americans want neither inaction nor retribution. They want durable, bipartisan justice.”
It’s probably not fair to lay blame solely on the GOP overall, Bipartisanship has been hard to come by in the hyper partisan environment that we now live in. Nonetheless, standing in the way of a commission that is attempting to better understand the root causes of a near-coup of the world’s oldest democracy doesn’t bode well to their image.
The Biden administration's American Rescue Plan increased the 2021 child tax credit from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under age 6, and $3,000 for other children under 18. It is expected to cut child poverty by more than 40 percent.
The benefits of such policies aimed at children, especially the youngest ones, are important to families today, but their impact could also be compounded over the hundred years these children are expected to live.
The “period life expectancy” at birth—which assumes currently observed mortality rates will persist into the future—stands at 76 for men and 81 for women, an average close to 79 years. COVID-19 has been a setback, likely temporary, with average life expectancy dropping by a year, and as much as three years for Black males.
But over the long haul, decreasing mortality rates and increasing lifespans have accompanied widespread socioeconomic development. Cohort life expectancy, which accounts for falling mortality rates, of a child born today is likely to grow to 100 or more (PDF).
It would be interesting to evolve this into a baby bond/retirement scheme. Would generate useful data as how to improve society as we know it.
For the first time in 11 months, the daily average of new coronavirus infections in the United States has fallen below 30,000 amid continuing signs that most communities across the nation are emerging from the worst of the pandemic.
The seven-day average dipped to 27,815 on Friday, the lowest since June 22 and less than a tenth of the infection rate during the winter surge, according to state health department data compiled by The Washington Post.
The pandemic map remains speckled with hot spots, including parts of the Deep South, the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. At the local level, progress against the contagion has not been uniform as some communities struggle with inequities in vaccine distribution and in the health impacts of the virus.
Improvement across the board, vaccinations are slowing this thing down. The question is, will a mutation escape the vaccines?
The U.S.' sharply declining rate of population growth threatens to put an expiration date on a country built around a vision of endless reinvention.
The big picture: Fewer people means fewer workers to support an aging population, fewer innovators with new ideas, less economic growth — and more of one thing: political fights over a shrinking pie.
By the numbers: At the end of April, the Census Bureau reported that between 2010 and 2020, the U.S. population grew at its slowest rate since the Great Depression and the second-slowest rate in any decade since the country's founding.
The end of the decade marked some significant changes to immigration to the United States with net international migration the lowest in 10 years.
According to information from the U.S. Census Bureau, 595,000 was added to the country’s population between 2018-2019 from net international migration – the lowest level in a decade. This is a drop by almost half from the migration high of 1,047,000 in 2015-2016.
Another change is that immigration from Mexico had dropped significantly since the recession at the end of the last decade.
At the beginning of the last decade, Mexico was the largest sending country of foreign-born immigrants. As of 2018, China had replaced Mexico for the most immigrants.
Immigrants are key to America’s long term viability. That is one reason that the MAGA philosophy was/is so dangerous. I explored this here.
Urban and rural districts show stark differences
Only 17 percent of urban districts, compared with 42 percent of rural districts, were offering fully in-person instruction to students as of February 2021. Suburban districts fell in between at 27 percent.
Rural district leaders perceived greater support for in-person schooling among both their teachers and their students' families than did urban or suburban leaders.
The Biden administration recently gave a bit of simple advice to businesses that are unable to find workers: Offer them more money.
This recommendation, included in a White House memo about the state of the economy, gets at a fundamental tension in an economy that is returning to full health after the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are coping with spiking prices for goods such as steel, plywood, plastics and asphalt. Yet workers, after enduring a year of job losses, business closures and social distancing, are no longer interested in accepting low wages
On May 15, 6½ months after losing the presidential election to Joe Biden, Donald Trump continued his baseless claims about election fraud with a statement about the GOP-commissioned audit of results in Maricopa County, Ariz.
"The entire Database of Maricopa County in Arizona has been DELETED!" the statement said.
Trump called the alleged deletion "illegal," then went on to make several other claims of "election crime" and "presidential election fraud."
Trump’s statement didn’t describe the database he referred to, and his office did not reply to our requests for information to support his claim.
There is no evidence that an entire database from the 2020 election in Maricopa County was illegally deleted. In fact, one of the firms doing an audit of the election essentially walked back its initial claim of the database being deleted.
The problem is that even after the retraction/correction, the damage has been done. The “fake” news will spread, while the correction will be ignored.
I have stood against this audit for a number of reasons, one of which is the ease for one to spin something innocuous into something nefarious.
Of the more than 3 million ballots cast in the 2020 election in Wisconsin, only 27 are potentially fraudulent, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Sixteen of the ballots in question had a UPS store as the mailing address rather than a residence as is required, the AP reported. The clerk sent the voters a letter giving them 30 days to register at a residential address for future elections.
Aside from those cases, four people voted both in person and by mail, one person was a convicted felon, and one absentee ballot was returned by the voter’s son. In addition, three people voted in two places, one person returned two absentee ballots, and one person wasn’t allowed to vote because they had been adjudicated incompetent.
As has been confirmed time and time again, voter fraud is extremely rare.
With all the talk about vaccine passports, many have pointed out that they seem to violate the spirit of existing law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act includes a privacy provision. This, according to the CDC, protects “sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.”
The law is popular because it seems to protect individual privacy. Plain people like me might justly suppose this would prohibit government or private parties from demanding to know whether I am vaccinated against Covid-19. After all, an untold number above 100 million Americans have natural immunities from prior infection – or cell memory or cross immunity from other infections – and do not want the vaccine.
Why should they be forced to become second-class citizens? Surely HIPAA protects them?
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The Lianeon Project is a publication for people who recognize that civilization’s growth requires forward-looking public policy that prioritizes reason, truth, and human progress.
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