• [ONLINE] This House Supports the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act

    The Freedom to Vote John R. Lewis Act (H.R.5746) is a bill in Congress that creates national standards for how states manage elections. It addresses voter registration and voting access, election integrity and security, redistricting, campaign finance, and voting rights. It was approved[masked] in the House of Representatives, and recently failed to pass the Senate. WE ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN PRESENTING A SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS *AGAINST* THIS BILL: Contact Peter through Meetup if you would like to do this.

    The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act was introduced on January 13, 2022, as a combination of two previously separate bills introduced in 2021:
    - the Freedom to Vote Act (S.2747); and
    - the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R.4).

    The summary below is taken from Congress's website:
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5746

    * Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.
    * Next, the bill establishes Election Day as a federal holiday.
    * The bill establishes certain federal criminal offenses related to voting. In particular, the bill establishes a new criminal offense for conduct (or attempted conduct) to corruptly hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from registering to vote or helping someone register to vote.
    * Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including by requiring states to conduct post-election audits for federal elections.
    * The bill outlines criteria for congressional redistricting and generally prohibits mid-decade redistricting.
    * The bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.
    * Next, the bill establishes new criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions must obtain preclearance before changes to voting practices may take effect. Preclearance is the process of receiving preapproval from the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making legal changes that would affect voting rights.
    * The bill also includes provisions related to federally protected activities at polling places and voting access on tribal lands.

    === READINGS IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION: ===

    National Education Association
    https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/action-center/letters-testimony/pass-freedom-vote-act-john-r-lewis-act-hr

    The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
    https://civilrights.org/resource/please-support-the-freedom-to-vote-john-r-lewis-act/#

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), representing a district that covers most of San Francisco
    https://pelosi.house.gov/news/press-releases/pelosi-floor-speech-on-hr-5746-the-freedom-to-vote-john-r-lewis-act

    Brennan Center for Justice
    https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/debunking-false-claims-about-john-lewis-voting-rights-act

    === READINGS AGAINST THE MOTION: ===

    Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04)
    https://newhouse.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/newhouse-protects-voting-rights-condemns-democrats-attempted-federal

    FreedomWorks (ignore the headline)
    https://www.freedomworks.org/content/key-vote-no-nasa-enhanced-use-leasing-extension-act-hr-5746

    American Center for Law and Justice
    https://aclj.org/election-law/a-government-takeover-of-your-right-to-vote-what-you-need-to-know

    Heritage Foundation
    https://www.heritage.org/election-integrity/commentary/the-10-worst-provisions-biden-schumers-voting-rights-bills

    =====================================

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    1
  • [ONLINE] Noam Chomsky Day! Discuss his ideas on politics (not usual debate)

    Noam Chomsky, who turns 93 today, has been a leading leftist critic of American foreign and domestic policy since the 1960s. This meetup is for both fans and foes of Chomsky to discuss some of his recent published views. Also come if you are merely curious.

    This meetup will not be in our usual debate format. Instead, we'll consider what Chomsky is saying, a chunk at a time, and debate what we think of his analysis, on both facts and value judgments.

    In addition to his published academic work in his day job as a distinguished professor of linguistics at MIT for 60 years, Noam Chomsky has written at least 100 books about politics, listed here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Chomsky_bibliography_and_filmography#Politics

    But who has time to read all that?
    At this meetup, we'll discuss, in detail, two of his very recent contributions:

    *** 1. An invited commentary in the Economist, "The future of American power: Noam Chomsky on the cruelty of American imperialism", published September 24, 2021:
    https://www.economist.com/by-invitation/2021/09/24/noam-chomsky-on-the-cruelty-of-american-imperialism
    If you have a paywall problem, try this link:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/chomsky/comments/puzkc5/the_economist_noam_chomsky_on_the_cruelty_of/

    Plenty for us to argue about here:
    - US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was wrong.
    - In military power, no country comes close to the US.
    - US military makes "a substantial contribution to environmental destruction."
    - US economic dominance is shown by share of profits going to US multinationals.
    - US "soft power" is declining as the US is seen as a "prime rogue state".
    - US has "capacity to issue sanctions that others must obey".
    - US, since founding, "has scarcely had a year without resorting to violence."
    - US intervention in the Philippines, Haiti, Vietnam, Iran, Latin America.
    - Can Europe take on a role as a civilizing force in the world?
    - Republican Party under Trump is "pursuing its long decline to proto-fascism."
    - "China’s growing power is real", but is not a threat to America.
    - The future of the world "rests on American-Chinese cooperation."
    - The US should apply the same standards to itself as it does to others.

    *** 2. An hour-long interview by Ralph Nader on November 20, 2021:
    https://www.ralphnaderradiohour.com/noam-chomsky-2/
    Transcript here:
    https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.254/c03.434.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Ralph-Nader-Radio-Hour-Ep-402-Transcript.pdf

    Lots about Nader and Chomsky's shared interests, including these debatable issues:
    - Support for the New Green Deal.
    - Americans need maternal leave, free medical care, workers' rights, cutbacks in military.
    - Since Reagan, wealth has flowed from the poor to the rich. It was the opposite before. Now there's "class war" against the poor.
    - Corporations were invented for specific purposes, but they've been allowed far too much power.
    - Support for public financing of political campaigns, restrictions on private financing, a parliamentary system.
    - Cancel Culture has long history against the Left, but now when the Left does it, it's wrong & suicidal.

    ---

    For those who have read this far, you can begin your Noam Chomsky Day festivities a couple of hours early, at 5pm Pacific time, when the news program Democracy Now! will have a virtual live event on its website featuring Chomsky along with other famous activists such as Angela Davis and Greta Thunberg:
    https://www.democracynow.org/live/celebrate_25_years_of_democracy_now

    Our own meeting at 7pm will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    The featured image above is from the 2016 film Captain Fantastic. Here is the scene:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bY_z1rQTYM

    12
  • Teaching divisive concepts on race/sex as truth should be banned in K-12 schools

    In 2021, a number of state legislatures have introduced & passed laws to ban the teaching of what they call "DIVISIVE CONCEPTS" related to race and sex. The same list keeps appearing with only minor modifications.

    The named "DIVISIVE CONCEPTS" are the concepts that:
    1. one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex;
    2. the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist;
    3. an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;
    4. an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex;
    5. members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex;
    6. an individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex;
    7. an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex;
    8. any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or
    9. meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.

    The term "DIVISIVE CONCEPTS" also includes any other form of RACE OR SEX STEREOTYPING or any other form of RACE OR SEX SCAPEGOATING.
    "RACE OR SEX STEREOTYPING" means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex.
    "RACE OR SEX SCAPEGOATING" means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex. It similarly encompasses any claim that, consciously or unconsciously, and by virtue of his or her race or sex, members of any race are inherently racist or are inherently inclined to oppress others, or that members of a sex are inherently sexist or inclined to oppress others.

    To be specific, we'll look at New Hampshire's HB544 as a model.
    https://legiscan.com/NH/drafts/HB544/2021
    It says:
    (a) The state of New Hampshire [including school districts] shall not teach, instruct, or train any employee, contractor, staff member, student, or any other individual or group, to adopt or believe any of the DIVISIVE CONCEPTS defined in the list above.
    (b) No employee, contractor, staff member, or student of the state of New Hampshire shall face any penalty or discrimination on account of his or her refusal to support, believe, endorse, embrace, confess, act upon, or otherwise assent to the DIVISIVE CONCEPTS defined in the list above.

    New Hampshire's HB544 also includes these General Provisions:
    I. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent agencies or contractors from promoting racial, cultural, or ethnic diversity or inclusiveness, provided such efforts are consistent with the requirements of this chapter.
    II. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit discussing, as part of a larger course of academic instruction, the DIVISIVE CONCEPTS listed above in an objective manner and without endorsement.

    ===== OUR DEBATE MOTION: =====
    Teaching divisive concepts on race/sex as truth should be banned in K-12 schools (via legislation like the above).

    Here's a tracker on what each state is doing:
    https://datavisualizations.heritage.org/education/critical-race-theory-legislation-tracker/

    =====================================

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    68
  • [ONLINE] This House Supports the Billionaires Income Tax

    Online event

    Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced a proposal for a "Billionaires Income Tax" on October 27, 2021:
    https://www.finance.senate.gov/chairmans-news/wyden-unveils-billionaires-income-tax

    This tax would apply only to the roughly 700 American taxpayers who have more than $1 billion in assets, or more than $100 million in income, for 3 consecutive years. The basic idea is that for these taxpayers:
    - If they have tradable assets like stocks that have increased in value, they will have to pay a tax of 23.8% on those capital gains each year. This would be a change from current tax law, which also taxes capital gains at the rate of 23.8% for high earners, but only once, when the asset is sold, not each year as one's portfolio changes in value.
    - For non-tradable assets like real estate or art or private business interests, which are harder to value on an annual basis, when a billionaire sells such an asset, they will have to pay not only the usual capital gains tax, but also an additional "deferral capture amount" akin to interest on tax deferred while the asset is held.
    - In the first year that the tax goes into effect, a billionaire will be allowed to spread payments of the tax over a period of 5 years. Also, billionaires will be allowed to treat up to $1 billion of tradable stock in a single corporation as a non-tradable asset according to the rules above, so as to avoid the annual capital gains tax on tradable assets.

    Our motion for debate is:
    "This House Supports the Billionaires Income Tax."
    What do you think?

    === ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION: ===

    * Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies, "The case for a billionaires income tax"
    https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/578282-the-case-for-a-billionaires-income-tax

    * Americans for Tax Fairness, "Report shows billionaires found in almost every state got richer during pandemic & would be subject to new federal tax"
    https://americansfortaxfairness.org/issue/report-shows-billionaires-found-almost-every-state-got-richer-pandemic-subject-new-federal-tax/

    * Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, "America’s Richest Would Finally Pay Taxes on Most of Their Income Under Wyden’s Billionaires Income Tax"
    https://itep.org/americas-richest-would-finally-pay-taxes-on-most-of-their-income-under-wydens-billionaires-income-tax/

    === ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE MOTION: ===

    * Aswath Damodaran, NYU Stern School of Business, "Against the Billionaire Tax"
    https://www.city-journal.org/billionaire-tax-will-not-work

    * John Tamny, RealClearMarkets, "A U.S. Wealth Tax Would Force Wealth Out Of The U.S."
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/a-u-s-wealth-tax-would-force-wealth-out-of-the-u-s

    * Steven M. Rosenthal, Tax Policy Center, "Wyden’s Billionaire Income Tax Is Ambitious But Problematic"
    https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxvox/wydens-billionaire-income-tax-ambitious-problematic

    =====================================

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    1
  • This House Condemns DoJ Directive to FBI to Address Threats to School Officials

    On October 4, 2021, U.S. Attorney-General Merrick Garland issued a memo stating:
    "I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district ... These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response."

    The full 1-page memo is here:
    https://www.justice.gov/ag/page/file/1438986/download

    The Department of Justice's press release about Garland's memo explains how "Threats of violence against school board members, officials, and workers in our nation’s public schools can be reported by the public to the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center (NTOC) via its national tip line (1-800-CALL-FBI) and online through the FBI website (http://fbi.gov/tips).":
    https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-addresses-violent-threats-against-school-officials-and-teachers

    Garland's action was prompted by a letter to President Biden from the National School Boards Association on September 29, "Re: Federal Assistance to Stop Threats and Acts of Violence Against Public Schoolchildren, Public School Board Members, and Other Public School District Officials and Educators."
    Read that 6-page letter here:
    https://nsba.org/-/media/NSBA/File/nsba-letter-to-president-biden-concerning-threats-to-public-schools-and-school-board-members-92921.pdf

    Garland's directive to the FBI has been condemned by some as an abuse of federal power against people exercising their right to protest against decisions made by school officials. Others say it is a prudent and reasonable response to actual threats.

    === OUR MOTION FOR DEBATE: ===

    "This House Condemns DoJ Directive to FBI to Address Threats to School Officials"

    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER TO GIVE A 6-MINUTE PRESENTATION EITHER IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION OR AGAINST IT, CONTACT ROY FERREIRA THROUGH MEETUP.

    WE ARE ALSO SEEKING A MODERATOR FOR THIS EVENT

    === ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION: ===

    * Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, "Merrick Garland’s Federal Offense"
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/merrick-garlands-federal-offense-department-of-justice-school-board-threats-11633540078
    If you have a problem with the WSJ paywall, try this link instead:
    https://theworldstockmarkets.com/index.php/2021/10/07/merrick-garlands-federal-offense/

    * Robby Soave, Reason, "A.G. Merrick Garland Tells FBI To Investigate Parents Who Yell at School Officials About Critical Race Theory"
    https://reason.com/2021/10/06/ag-merrick-garland-fbi-critical-race-theory-parents-schools-domestic-terrorists/

    * Christopher Rufo, Manhattan Institute, "Biden Criminalizes CRT Dissent"
    https://www.city-journal.org/biden-criminalizes-critical-race-theory-dissent

    === ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE MOTION: ===

    * Steve Benen, MSNBC, "Leading Republicans balk after DOJ responds to school board threats"
    https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/leading-republicans-balk-after-doj-responds-school-board-threats-n1280895

    * Ruben Navarrette Jr., The Daily Beast, "Merrick Garland Isn’t 'Criminalizing Parenting' — He’s Protecting Schoolkids"
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/merrick-garland-isnt-criminalizing-parentinghes-protecting-schoolkids

    * Laura Clawson, Daily Kos, "Republicans are officially in favor of threats to school board members"
    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/10/6/2056450/-Republicans-howl-about-silencing-parents-after-DOJ-reacts-to-threats-against-school-boards

    =====================================

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    3
  • [ONLINE] This House Supports the 8-Year Path to Citizenship for the Undocumented

    It is estimated that there are currently around 11 million foreign nationals living in the U.S. who are undocumented, meaning that they are neither Lawful Permanent Residents nor on valid temporary visas. It is illegal for undocumented residents to work in the U.S., and illegal for employers to hire them. They are ineligible for federal benefits such as Obamacare health plans. They can also be deported at any time if law enforcement finds that they are undocumented.

    A bill currently before Congress, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, would allow the majority of undocumented U.S. residents today to apply for green cards (which confers Lawful Permanent Residency), and later for U.S. citizenship. This same change to immigration law was inserted into the Budget Reconciliation Bill of September 2021, until the Senate Parliamentarian ruled that it was not sufficiently budget-related.

    The U.S. Citizenship Act would reform immigration law in multiple ways, but the part that we'll be debating is the "8-year path to citizenship."

    WHO WOULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE 8-YEAR PATH TO CITIZENSHIP?

    Any foreign national who:
    - was an undocumented resident of the U.S. as of January 1, 2021;
    - has been physically present in the U.S. continuously since January 1, 2021, with no more than brief absences;
    - is not a criminal, people smuggler, or child abductor, or seeks to engage in terrorism or prostitution in the U.S.

    WHAT WOULD THEY NEED TO DO?

    Eligible persons would need to pay a fee and submit an application with documentation that they have been physically present in the U.S. since January 1, 2021.

    The government would then do a background check, and if it passes (no felony convictions, etc.), the person -- as well as spouse and minor children, if any -- would be given Lawful Prospective Immigrant status.

    WHAT IS LAWFUL PROSPECTIVE IMMIGRANT STATUS?

    A Lawful Prospective Immigrant would be allowed to live and work in the U.S. legally, just like a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder), except that this status would be limited to 6 years.

    After 5 years, a Lawful Prospective Immigrant would be allowed to apply for a green card, to become a Lawful Permanent Resident.

    AND WHAT ABOUT CITIZENSHIP?

    After 3 years, a person who becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident through this route would be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

    ======================================================

    We'll hear opening statements from volunteers for and against the motion, then have a moderated debate involving all in the room who wish to speak. We will also take votes (Yes/No/Abstain) at the beginning and at the end.

    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE A 6-MINUTE OPENING STATEMENT EITHER FOR OR AGAINST THE MOTION, SEND A PRIVATE MESSAGE TO ROY FERREIRA OR PETER THROUGH MEETUP.

    LEGAL TEXT:
    The main part of the 8-year path to citizenship is in Section 1106 of the U.S. Citizenship Act currently before Congress:
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1177/text#toc-H33F3A8AB7E23487EBE1FB[masked]E4A5

    ======================================================

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    1
  • [ONLINE] The U.S. should have kept a military presence in Afghanistan

    After a 20-year presence in Afghanistan, the United States military withdrew on August 30, 2021, as ordered by President Biden.
    Was that the wrong decision at this time? Our motion for debate is:
    "The U.S. should have kept a military presence in Afghanistan."

    We'll hear opening statements for and against the motion, then have a moderated debate involving all in the room who wish to speak. We will also take votes (Yes/No/Abstain) at the beginning and at the end.

    BACKGROUND:

    In late 2001, the United States, supported by its close allies, invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban government. The invasion's public aims were to dismantle al-Qaeda, which had executed the September 11 attacks weeks prior, and to deny it a safe base of operations in Afghanistan by removing the Taliban government from power. The invasion began a 20-year-long war in the country.

    In February 2020, President Trump announced an agreement with the Taliban committing the U.S. to an April 2021 deadline to withdraw all U.S. and allied military forces, and all non-diplomatic U.S. personnel, from Afghanistan:
    https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Agreement-For-Bringing-Peace-to-Afghanistan-02.29.20.pdf

    The U.S. government's Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has been issuing reports since 2008. Its latest report is "What We Need to Learn: Lessons from Twenty Years of Afghanistan Reconstruction" (August 2021):
    https://www.sigar.mil/interactive-reports/what-we-need-to-learn/

    ARGUMENTS FOR THE MOTION:

    - Paul Miller, Georgetown U.
    "The 20 Years’ War: America in Afghanistan" (July 12)
    https://thedispatch.com/p/the-20-years-war-america-in-afghanistan

    - Richard Haass, president, Council on Foreign Relations,
    "America’s Withdrawal of Choice" (August 15)
    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/americas-withdrawal-of-choice-by-richard-haass-2021-08

    - Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State,
    "The Afghan people didn’t choose the Taliban. They fought and died alongside us." (August 17)
    https://archive.is/NRaG0

    - Tony Blair, former U.K. Prime Minister,
    "Why We Must Not Abandon the People of Afghanistan – For Their Sakes and Ours" (August 21)
    https://institute.global/tony-blair/tony-blair-why-we-must-not-abandon-people-afghanistan-their-sakes-and-ours

    - Various Hudson Institute experts,
    "Now What? The Global Consequences of American Defeat in Afghanistan" (August 23)
    https://www.hudson.org/research/17205-now-what-the-global-consequences-of-american-defeat-in-afghanistan

    ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE MOTION:

    - Remarks by President Biden on the End of the War in Afghanistan (August 31)
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/08/31/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-end-of-the-war-in-afghanistan/

    - Paul Pillar, Georgetown U. and Brookings,
    "Biden's Withdrawal from Afghanistan Demonstrates True Leadership" (July 6)
    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/bidens-withdrawal-afghanistan-demonstrates-true-leadership-189262

    - Stephen Walt, Harvard U.,
    "The Top Five Debriefing Questions About Afghanistan" (July 9)
    https://dnyuz.com/2021/07/09/the-top-five-debriefing-questions-about-afghanistan/

    - Peter Certo, Institute for Policy Studies,
    "Biden Is Right to End the War in Afghanistan" (August 18)
    https://ips-dc.org/biden-is-right-to-end-the-war-in-afghanistan/

    - Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, interviewed by Ralph Nader (September 4)
    https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.254/c03.434.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Ralph-Nader-Radio-Hour-Ep-391-Transcript.pdf

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    5
  • [ONLINE] This House Supports Recalling Governor Gavin Newsom

    Online event

    On September 14, Californians are being asked to vote:
    (1) YES or NO on removing Governor Gavin Newsom from office, and
    (2) who should become the new Governor in the event that (1) passes.

    We will be debating question (1), on whether or not to recall Governor Newsom.

    Instead of starting with designated SFDebate members giving prepared statements for and against the recall, we will instead kick things off by showing selected video ads released by the YES and NO campaigns before we go into our debate within the room.

    Here is KQED's Voter Guide: Newsom Recall Election
    https://www.kqed.org/recall

    One page of arguments on each side, written by their respective campaigns:
    https://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2021/pdf/recall-arguments.pdf

    IN FAVOR of the motion, California Patriot Coalition Recall Governor Gavin Newsom:
    https://recallgavin2020.com/

    AGAINST the motion, Stop the Republican Recall of Governor Newsom:
    https://stoptherepublicanrecall.com/

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

    9
  • [ONLINE] COVID-19 health orders mandating (1) indoor masks, (2) vaccine checks

    (Note: Changed to include both the indoor mask mandate AND the vaccine check mandate.)

    The San Francisco Department of Public Health has issued an Order intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in August of 2021. The latest version includes 2 mandates:
    (1) Everyone over age 2 must wear masks in public indoor settings and on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status. This requirement went into effect on August 3, in San Francisco and other Bay Area counties.
    (2) Restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, entertainment venues, gyms, recreation and fitness facilities are required to check all staff and patrons over age 12 for proof of full vaccination before they can enter indoors. This requirement went into effect on August 20 in San Francisco only.

    The full Order is here (26 pages):
    https://sfdph.org/dph/alerts/files/C19-07-Safer-Return-Together-Health-Order.pdf
    You might want to skip to the appendices:
    Appendix A (pages 20-24 in the PDF) is about issue (1), on face coverings.
    Appendix B (pages 25-26 in the PDF) is about issue (2), on proof of vaccination.

    We are going to do something unusual and debate BOTH motions at the same time:
    (1) This House supports the mandate to wear masks in indoor public spaces and public transportation.
    (2) This House supports the mandate for businesses that serve food & drink, entertainment and recreation venues to verify that all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated before being allowed inside.

    Another unusual thing we'll be doing is that there will not be designated speakers on each side of each motion. Instead, there will be "presenters", one pro and one con, who will start us off by summarizing arguments on each side. Then we'll move straight into what we've called "floor debate", where everyone in the room gets a chance to have their say. We've always spent the majority of the time at our debate meetups in floor debate, anyway.

    (1) MASK MANDATE:

    https://ballotpedia.org/Arguments_about_mask_requirements_during_the_coronavirus_(COVID-19)_pandemic,_2020-2021

    Arguments in favor of mask requirements:
    1. Masks reduce airborne spread of coronavirus
    2. Mask requirements are good for the economy
    3. Mask laws are justified to promote public health
    4. Mask mandates should apply statewide
    5. Masks reduce the intensity of COVID-19 infection and sickness

    Arguments against mask requirements:
    1. Mask requirements are not necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus
    2. They give a false sense of security
    3. They restrict freedom
    4. Masks present other health risks
    5. Mask requirements have harmful social consequences
    6. Mask requirements are unenforceable

    (2) PROOF-OF-VACCINATION MANDATE:

    New York Times on the case for and against "vaccine passports".
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/07/opinion/the-argument-vaccine-passports.html

    The Guardian:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/14/what-pros-and-cons-covid-vaccine-passports-immunity-certificates-travel

    Arguments in favor:
    1. The mandate provides an incentive for people to get vaccinated.
    2. It allows workers to work in a safer environment.
    3. It gives members of the fully vaccinated majority more confidence to patronize businesses that they might otherwise avoid because of fears of contracting the virus from other patrons or staff.

    Arguments against:
    1. Burden on businesses to check everyone's proof of vaccination.
    2. It gives a false sense of security: people can still transmit and catch COVID-19 even if vaccinated.
    3. It exacerbates social inequities and stigmatizes people who haven't had the opportunity to be vaccinated.
    4. Proof of vaccination can be forged.
    5. Privacy concerns.

    This meeting will be conducted on Zoom. The Zoom link will appear here on the event web page when you RSVP. It's your choice if you want to turn on your camera or not, but people who can be seen are often more persuasive. At SFDebate, everyone gets a chance to speak and is encouraged to do so, but no one is required to speak if they don't want to.

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  • Meet & Greet in Berkeley, in person!

    Live Oak Park

    It has been more than a year since SFDebate's last in-person meetup.
    At this meetup, we will see each other again and discuss motions to set for future debates, which may be online or may be in person.

    NOTE: This is Mother's Day, in case that might interfere with your other plans.

    If you want to get food, it's a 5-minute walk, or 2 blocks, to Safeway as well as such Berkeley institutions as Saul's Deli, Cheeseboard Pizza, the original Peet's Coffee, and Chez Panisse, which offers high-end takeout.

    Parking is free and unlimited. If you're taking BART, the closest station is Downtown Berkeley. From there, it's a one-mile walk up Shattuck, or you can take the 18 AC Transit bus to Berryman St.; this bus runs every 20 minutes on Sundays.

    Alameda County is in the orange tier of the COVID-19 pandemic, so following state public health guidelines, this outdoor gathering is limited to 50 people.

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