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#61
Sciencerocks

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Trump Team Met With Lawyer Linked to Kremlin During Campaign
Source: New York Times

Two weeks after Donald J. Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination last year, his eldest son arranged a meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian lawyer who has connections to the Kremlin, according to confidential government records described to The New York Times.

The previously undisclosed meeting was also attended by Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, Paul J. Manafort, as well as the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to interviews and the documents, which were outlined by people familiar with them.

While President Trump has been dogged by revelations of undisclosed meetings between his associates and Russians, this episode at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016, is the first confirmed private meeting between a Russian national and members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle during the campaign. It is also the first time that his son Donald J. Trump Jr. is known to have been involved in such a meeting.

Representatives of Donald J. Trump Jr. and Mr. Kushner confirmed the meeting after The Times approached them with information about it. In a statement, Donald Jr described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program. The statement did not address whether the presidential campaign was discussed.

(snip)

The Russian lawyer invited to the Trump Tower meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, is best known for mounting a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged Mr. Putin that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.

 

 

(end snip)

Read more: https://www.nytimes....times&smtyp=cur


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#62
caltrek

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Darn. the one political act I most remember while I was in Maine was to vote for ranked choice voting.  Still, I was worried that something like this would happen.  I do hope they amend their Constitution to overcome this hurdle.

 

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Rules Ranked-choice Voting Unconstitutional

 

http://bangordailyne...constitutional/

 

Introduction:

 

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s high court said Tuesday that the state’s first-in-the-nation ranked-choice voting system is unconstitutional, throwing the voter-approved law into jeopardy ahead of the key 2018 campaign when it was supposed to be implemented.

 

In a unanimous, 44-page opinion issued Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s seven justices agreed with Attorney General Janet Mills, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Republican legislators that the system violates a provision of the Maine Constitution that allows elections to be won by pluralities — and not necessarily majorities — of votes.

 

But Maine’s history of plurality elections that colored the referendum approved by 52 percent of voters in 2016 and the non-binding opinion from the high court casts doubt that Maine will pioneer the change in its gubernatorial, congressional and legislative elections.

 

Gov. Paul LePage was elected with pluralities in 2010 and 2014, though his Democratic predecessor, John Baldacci, also never won the governor’s office with a majority. If a ranked-choice system were in place in 2010, a Bangor Daily News simulation found that independent Eliot Cutler would have been favored to win.

 

 

The Legislature and Dunlap’s office haven’t moved to implement the law amid the uncertainty around its legality. Now the Legislature will be under pressure either to throw out the law or amend the Constitution to allow it.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#63
caltrek

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It is pretty pathetic when you have the name recognition and still poll lower than Donald Trump in the approval ratings.  

 

Finally, a Poll Trump Will Like

 

http://www.msn.com/e...ID=ansmsnnews11

 

Introduction:

 

(Bloomberg) -- For a president with historically low poll numbers, Donald Trump can at least find solace in this: Hillary Clinton is doing worse.

 

Trump’s 2016 Democratic rival is viewed favorably by just 39 percent of Americans in the latest Bloomberg National Poll, two points lower than the president. It’s the second-lowest score for Clinton since the poll started tracking her in September 2009.

 

The former secretary of state has always been a polarizing figure, but this survey shows she’s even lost popularity among those who voted for her in November.

More than a fifth of Clinton voters say they have an unfavorable view of her. By comparison, just 8 percent of likely Clinton voters felt that way in the final Bloomberg poll before the election, and just 6 percent of Trump’s voters now say they view him unfavorably.

 

“There’s growing discontent with Hillary Clinton even as she has largely stayed out of the spotlight,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. "It’s not a pox on the Democratic house because numbers for other Democrats are good."


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#64
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This is actually why Trump won. Clinton was the worst possible person who could've run against Trump because her likability ratings are so abysmally low. These two were literally the only ones who could've lost to the other; a proverbial coin-flip had to be done and Trump won.

 

 

Here's a chart, in fact

trump-and-clinton-favorability-146497633

 

 

I know that the presidential race should be a matter of policy and experience, but I won't deny that likability is one major factor in modern times. And both had virtually none of it. 

 

Remember that infamous post of mine back in the 2016 Presidential Election thread, comparing Trump and Clinton to some, eh... less than pleasant things? I wasn't wrong! The whole year was a pisspoor experience all around, and the election was the cream of the crap.


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#65
caltrek

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Yes, well for me it was a real toss up as to what was the worse day of 2016.  The day I finally had to throw in the towel on whether Bernie could win the nomination, or the day Trump won the national election.  On points, I would say that Trump winning was the worst. Still, Hillary winning over Bernie was also pretty sad.  In a way it was good Bernie did not win. Harder to blame him for life not being perfect.  Of course, that will not stop the Trumpians from trying.  Still, even for the Trumpians, Hillary was a far easier target. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#66
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http://prospect.org/...own-implosion-0

 

Articles in the American Prospect  are simply toll long to attempt a meaningful extraction, or even an introduction. So, in addition to the link above, I will just leave this chart by way of a tease.

 

0617_millerchart.jpg?itok=l8EKJXNO

 

This is what happens when hard right conservatives are allowed to put their trickle down tax cut policies into effect.  This sort of thing is why I shy away from libertarian economics.


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#67
caltrek

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Although this story is set in Maine, it is actually typical of communities all over the United States.  In California, at least where I live, the magic set-aside number is 15 per cent. That is not to say that California is better, as a lot depends on actual enforcement.

 

Portland Mayor Wants to Require Developers to Include More Low-income Housing

 

http://bangordailyne...ref=BusinessBox

 

 

 

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling wants to require developers in the city to include more low-income housing in their projects.

 

Strimling announced Wednesday a proposal to raise the percentage of low-income housing to be included in large residential projects to 20 percent, as well as lower the income eligibility requirements for tenants seeking access to those units.

 

The city already has a nearly two-year-old ordinance requiring new developments with at least 10 housing units to set aside 10 percent of those units for low-income tenants, and the mayor’s proposal would amend that.

 

“Portland’s housing crisis has not gone away,” said Strimling in a Wednesday statement. “While our current Ordinance was an important step in the right direction, it is clear we must do more. Additionally, I feel the current income eligibility requirements are too high to make enough of an impact so I am proposing they be lowered to reach more of our residents.”

 

 

The mayor’s announcement comes as developers are vying to build on four high-visibility acres of city property in the West Bayside neighborhood. Several competing proposals for the six city-owned lots were blasted for not including enough low-income housing during a Wednesday night meeting of the City Council’s Economic Development Committee, according to the Portland Press Herald.

 

40629581_H19501136-600x400.jpg

 

Mayor Ethan Strimling speaks to reporters after giving his State of the City address in Portland on Monday night.

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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#68
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I definitely fall into the 74% that find it frustrating to talk with a Trump supporter.  It is a little bit like being in a car heading for a cliff at full speed while somebody else is driving who is oblivious to the danger.  The driver then goes on to lecture you on your poor manners and excitability.  Meanwhile, the cliff just keeps getting closer and closer....

 

Poll Finds Trump’s Election Is Stressing People Out

 

http://www.courthousenews.com/poll-finds-trumps-election-stressing-people/

 

Introduction:

 

Democrats are also more likely to feel frustrated talking about politics with people who have different opinions about Trump. Sixty-eight percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners told researchers that it’s stressful to talk about Trump with people who have a different opinion of the president, while 42 percent of Republicans said they found such conversations interesting and informative.

 

Sixty-four percent of women said they were frustrated by political conversations with people whose ideologies differ from their own, compared to 54 percent of men.

 

 

White Democrats are more likely to be frustrated by such conversations than black and Hispanic Democrats, according to the report. Seventy-four percent of white Democrats said political conversations with Trump supporters are frustrating, compared to 56 percent of black Democrats.

 

 

Despite the stress of talking about politics, most people surveyed said that knowing that a friend had voted for Trump or Hillary Clinton would not have any effect on their friendship.

 

 

 

…The survey found that the majority of Americans, regardless of what party they identify with, say that people in the other party share many of their same values and goals.

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#69
caltrek

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Why is it that conservatives seem to care most about state's rights when it comes to exerting such rights to deprive individuals of their rights?

 

 

Is It Nobler to Protect States’ Rights or Children’s Rights?

 

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2017/07/24/nobler-protect-states-rights-childrens-rights/

 

 

Controversy over the role of the federal government in shaping our nation’s public education agenda was thought to have ended when months of rarely seen bipartisan effort in Congress culminated with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015. The new law was thought to have rebalanced the playing field, curtailed the power of the U.S. Department of Education, and returned power to the states. But its passage raised concerns about how the rights of students, particularly minority and low-income children, would be protected if the federal government took a more passive role. 

 

The election of Donald Trump and his appointment of Elizabeth DeVos as Secretary of Education reassured those who wanted a more limited federal role in public education. Six months into the Trump administration, as ESSA is being implemented, however, the issue of state-federal balance remains active, and worries about protecting minority rights remain high.

 

ESSA requires states to develop plans that set goals and lay out strategies for improving school effectiveness for all students, with an emphasis on those students, schools, and school districts having the hardest time providing quality education. The law requires the Department of Education to review and approve these plans, a process that was expected to be pro forma under Secretary DeVos’s leadership. However, there was much surprise when the department’s response to the first batch of plans was anything but. According to Education Week:

 

"The U.S. Department of Education has expressed skepticism about elements of those plans, from the ambitiousness of long-term academic goals to the use of Advanced Placement exams in state accountability systems. Last month, the Council of Chief State School Officers said the first set of feedback to three states was 'too prescriptive in certain areas and goes beyond the intent of the law.'

 

In later feedback to six other states, the department said states needed to provide more information or be more specific about a range of issues, from English-language learners to which schools are identified as the lowest performing."

 

kid-going-to-school.jpg

 

 

Pixabay. Public domain.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#70
Sciencerocks

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Bipartisan Group Of Governors Warns Senate Not To Pass Skinny Obamacare Repeal Bill
Source: Huffington Post

07/26/2017 09:20 pm ET
One key Republican senator may be paying close attention.


A bipartisan group of 10 governors wrote a letter Wednesday urging the Senate to reject a proposed “skinny” health care bill that Republican leaders are now trying feverishly to pass. And if the collective voice of so many governors doesn’t get the attention of GOP leaders, the letter’s endorsement by one particular Republican governor might.

It’s Brian Sandoval, from Nevada. He has emerged as a key player in the health care debate because GOP leaders in Washington desperately need the vote of Nevada’s Republican senator, Dean Heller.

Heller’s opposition alone could very well sink legislation, given that two out of the Senate’s 52 Republicans have already said they would oppose any Obamacare repeal option now under official discussion. And Heller has said he will listen closely to what Sandoval advises.

“If you want my support … you better make sure that the Republican governors that have expanded Medicaid sign off on it,” Heller said in a June press conference, at which he appeared alongside Sandoval. “I’ve been saying that for months. … Where is Governor Sandoval? What does he think?”

Read more: http://www.huffingto...ion=us_politics


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#71
caltrek

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I can almost hear the discussions behind closed doors: “So, you don’t want to repeal Obama care? You don’t mind the additional costs?  Well, my aide Steve Bannon has an idea on how to pay for those costs?  Do you want to go back to your donors and explain what a good idea it is?”

 

 

 

Bannon Is Said to Call for 44% Tax on Incomes Above $5 Million

 

http://www.msn.com/e...ID=ansmsnnews11

 

Introduction:

 

 

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon supports paying for middle-class tax cuts with a new top rate of 44 percent for Americans who make more than $5 million a year, according to a person familiar with his thinking.

 

It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump would support the move, which would bring the top rate, currently 39.6 percent, to the highest level in 30 years. Trump has said he’s focused on tax changes that would help the middle class, but an analysis this month of the tax outline the White House released in April shows it would mostly benefit top earners.

That plan condensed the seven existing individual income tax rates to three, with a top rate of 35 percent. Income thresholds weren’t included in the outline.

 

White House officials and congressional leaders have been meeting weekly to agree on a framework to rewrite the tax code. So far, they haven’t announced any decisions on how deeply to cut tax rates or whether the lost revenue should be offset, and how.

 

It’s not the first time that kind of tax increase has been suggested.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#72
caltrek

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(See also post #13 on page one  and post #66 on this page above).

 

Governor. Sam Brownback of Kansas Will Be Nominated as Religious Ambassador

 

https://www.nytimes....us-freedom.html

 

 

Introduction:

 

Sam Brownback, the beleaguered governor of Kansas whose aggressively conservative fiscal polices turned some fellow Republicans against him, will be nominated to serve as ambassador at large for international religious freedom, the White House said in a statement on Wednesday.

 

Mr. Brownback, 60, represented his home state in Congress before being elected to two terms as governor beginning in 2011.

 

On Twitter, Mr. Brownback wrote on Wednesday: “Religious Freedom is the first freedom. The choice of what you do with your own soul. I am honored to serve such an important cause.”

 

Melika Willoughby, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brownback, said he remained Kansas’ governor as of Wednesday night. She said there would a news conference on Thursday afternoon, but declined to comment beyond Mr. Brownback’s Twitter statement.

 

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a doctor from suburban Kansas City who previously served in the State Legislature, is expected to take over as governor if Mr. Brownback’s nomination is confirmed by the United States Senate.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#73
Sciencerocks

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Sally Yates: Justice system 'may be broken beyond recognition' under Trump
Source: The Hill
 

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is warning that the U.S. "justice system may be broken beyond recognition" during the Trump administration.

“The president is attempting to dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department, and undermine the career men and women who are devoted to seeking justice day in and day out, regardless of which political party is in power,” Yates said in a New York Times op-ed Friday.

“If we are not careful, when we wake up from the Trump presidency, our justice system may be broken beyond recognition.”

Yates said that while the country is transfixed by President Trump's criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, there is "something more insidious happening."

 

-snip-

Read more: http://thehill.com/b...ond-recognition


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#74
caltrek

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The Night of No Bill—Skinny Repeal Goes Down in Flames

 

https://nonprofitqua...al-goes-flames/

 

Introduction:

 

Senators John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the Republicans who cast the deciding votes against the so-called “skinny” version of a bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Collins and Murkowski were expected to oppose the bill, but suspense hung over the Senate floor early Friday morning as McCain held a 20-minute conversation with Vice President Mike Pence and hung out with Democrats on the Senate floor. While the GOP murmured “trust us” to some recalcitrant senators, promising that the House would not pass it anyway, the president was tweeting “Go Republican Senators, Go!” and health insurance coverage for an estimated 16 million Americans hung in the balance. In the end, however, the no votes came from exactly where it could have been predicted they would.

 

In the end, senators did not, as Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said, want to vote for a “pig in a poke” simply for the exercise of passing something at the insistence of the president. As the New York Times explained,

There’s the question of what would come next. Republican leaders are assuring senators that the narrow repeal would be merely a vehicle to begin negotiations with House Republicans on a broader compromise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But some senators worry that they are being asked to vote for legislation they don’t like on a promise that it won’t become law—but they have no guarantee that the House won’t take it up and pass it.

 

And in the end, the vague nonbinding assurances were insufficient.

 

Industry associations like the American Medical Association (AMA) and AARP emphatically opposed it, with the AMA writing:


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#75
wjfox

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#76
caltrek

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Yes, but remember....

 

 

 

 

“We must maintain an open dialogue … the relationship portrayed in the media between the president and the (fill in the blank________ - caltrek).... is a far cry from what I have personally experienced and witnessed … there is a healthy dialogue and a good back and forth discussion.”

 

 

http://www.motherjon...lk-about-trump/


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#77
caltrek

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20294340_1191516407619580_74399388316974


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#78
caltrek

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Finally, Republicans are turning on each other as they continue to practice what they do best - blame somebody else for their shortcomings. 

 

GOP Blame-game Begins After Senate Sinks Health Care Drive

 

 

http://www.msn.com/e...=ob-fb-enus-280

 

Extract:

 

House leaders had no hesitation about blaming the Senate for the collapse of one of the GOP's paramount priorities.

 

In a statement, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pointedly said "the House delivered a bill" and said he was "disappointed and frustrated." Nearly three months earlier, the House approved its health care package after several embarrassing setbacks. 

 

He added, "But we should not give up. I encourage the Senate to continue working toward a real solution that keeps our promise."

 

Underscoring the House's view of where the fault lie, leaders opened a morning meeting of the chamber's GOP lawmakers by playing audio of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," which recounts the 1975 wreck of a freighter in Lake Superior.

 

Several lawmakers said House deputy whip Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., told them the song was meant as a reference to the Senate.

One moderate Republican said Trump shared responsibility for the bill's breakdown.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#79
caltrek

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I tend to think that philanthropy is better than the lack of charity. Still, there are problems with the philanthropic approach that this article focuses upon.

 

 

The Ethical Argument Against Philanthropy

 

https://qz.com/10350...nford-ethicist/

 

 

Exceptionally wealthy people aren’t a likeable demographic, but they have an easy way to boost personal appeal: Become an exceptionally wealthy philanthropist. When the rich use their money to support a good cause, we’re compelled to compliment their generosity and praise their selfless work.

 

This is entirely the wrong response, according to Rob Reich, director of the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University.

 

Big philanthropy is, he says, “the odd encouragement of a plutocratic voice in a democratic society.” By offering philanthropists nothing but gratitude, we allow a huge amount of power to go unchecked. “Philanthropy, if you define it as the deployment of private wealth for some public influence, is an exercise of power. In a democratic society, power deserves scrutiny,” he adds.

 

A philanthropic foundation is a form of unaccountable power quite unlike any other organization in society. Government is at least somewhat beholden to voters, and private companies must contend with marketplace competition and the demands of shareholders.

 

But until the day that government services alleviate all human need, perhaps we should be willing to overlook the power dynamics of philanthropy—after all, surely charity in unchecked form is better than nothing?

rtx11kbz-e1500585092536.jpg?quality=80&s

(Reuters/ Rick Wilking)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#80
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Ex-Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Found Guilty in Criminal Contempt Case

 

http://www.nydailyne...ticle-1.3371912

 

Introduction:

 

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt Monday.

 

Arpaio, who was booted from office in November, was charged with misdemeanor contempt-of-court for disobeying a 2011 court order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow in a racial profiling case.

 

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton issued the verdict after closing arguments were delivered to conclude the eight-day federal trial. 

Arpaio, 85, was ordered to stop traffic patrols targeting immigrants, but he continued to enforce them months after the order was implemented. The judge ruled the patrols had targeted Latinos.

 

Prosecutors say he used his anti-immigrant rhetoric to promote his 2012 reelection campaign.

arpaio-contempt.jpg


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






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