## Friday, March 29, 2024

### Mensa Math Puzzle Brain Buster

This is  a nice Mensa-based math puzzler using basic principles of Euclidean geometry and algebra.

A small circle - of radius r - is  inside a larger circle (radius R)  and tangent to it.

A diameter of the larger circle touches the point of tangency.  The line segment between the smaller circle and the larger one (shown in red)  has a length  of 330. There is another diameter perpendicular to the first.

The line segment between the smaller circle and the larger circle on either side (shown in blue) has a length of 210.

What are the lengths of  r and R.

## Thursday, March 28, 2024

### A Critical Biblical Hermeneutics Approach To the Easter Story

As we’re now approaching the Easter weekend, it’s a good time to be more critical and maybe parse that narrative of the death and resurrection of Yeshua. To be truthful, even when I was still  a practicing Catholic at Mgsr. Pace High, the Easter narrative bothered me. The timeline, as well as the behavior of the main personae didn't seem to make any sense. The teaching Marist brothers also weren't much help, content to just fob questions off with "Take it on faith. Not everything in the good Book can be subject to logic or reason."

Why not? Well, maybe that's why I became an atheist.

One of the first puzzling passages one encounters is Matthew 28:2, which takes up the story after the crucifixion and after two women arrived at the tomb. We read therein:

"
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it."

The passage relates that the stone was rolled away after the women arrived, and in their presence. However, Mark's Gospel says it happened before the women arrived:

"
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great."

Meanwhile, in Luke one finds:

"
And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre."

Can't these scribes  of the synoptic gospels agree on anything? But wait!  Maybe we can arrive at a supermajority for truth! John concurs with Luke: No earthquake, no rolling stone. It is a three-to-one vote: Matthew loses. Else the other three are wrong. If logic rules then an event cannot happen both before and after the key subjects arrived.

Now, some bible defenders may assert that Matthew 28:2 was intended to be understood in the past perfect, i.e. showing what had happened before the women arrived. But the entire passage is in the aorist or past tense, and it reads, in context, like a simple chronological account.

Matthew 28:2 begins, "
And, behold," not "For, behold."

If tenses of assorted verses can be so easily shuffled around, and believers can be so gullible as to rationalize them all, then what is to keep them from putting the flood before the ark, or the ascension before the resurrection ? Heck, they can do anything they want!

Consider an additional  problem: the fact that in Matthew the first post-resurrection appearance of Yeshua  to the disciples happened on a mountain in Galilee and not in Jerusalem as most Christians believe. Note the prediction by the angel sitting on the newly moved rock:

"And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him."

Assuming the angel was delivering the message of God this had to have been of supreme importance. Jesus- Yeshua had even predicted this himself sixty hours earlier, e.g. during the Last Supper (cf. Matthew 26:32). Later, according to(Matthew 28:16-17:

"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted."

Reading this at face value, and in context, it’s clear that Matthew intends this to have been the first appearance. Otherwise, if Jesus had been seen before this time, why did some doubt?

We further find that Mark agrees with Matthew's account of the angel's Galilee message, but delivers a different account of the first appearance. Meanwhile, Luke and John give different angelic messages and then radically contradict Matthew.

Luke relates that the first appearance is on the road to Emmaus and then in a room in Jerusalem. John, however, says it happened later that evening in a room, minus Thomas. These angel messages, locations, and travels during the day are impossible to reconcile. But who’s looking, or asking?  As Fr. Hecker put it in one of our Loyola Theology classes "I warrant not too many!"

Such contradictions don’t prove that the resurrection didn’t happen, but they do throw considerable doubt on the reliability of the supposed witnesses. Some of whom were flat wrong. Maybe they were all wrong. Let us also not forget Thomas Paine’s famous words (from The Age of Reason):

"I lay it down as a position which cannot be controverted. First, that the agreement of all the parts of a story does not prove that story to be true, because the parts may agree and the whole may be false; secondly, that the disagreement of the parts of a story proves the whole cannot be true."

All of which points up the need for judicious use of  biblical exegesis to scrutinize ancient words as opposed to blindly accepting them.

An ongoing problem that consistently emerges is that many who purport to have mastered exegesis have often omitted textual analysis as part of it, which also requires familiarity with one or more languages, in particular Latin, and Greek. Thus, a person versed and educated in these languages will be better able to at least parse the Latin Vulgate form of early biblical texts, and also make forays into the Greek Septuagint. (Both of which we had to do at Loyola.)

By using such language skills to examine then compare earlier and earlier texts, one is then in a position to identify errors and obvious mistranslations without having to have the original texts as references. Hence, one can reliably deduce where errors have been made and also where they've  propagated on the basis of simple deduction. Again, this is once inconsistencies are exposed.

One scholar who has plumbed the depths of critical analysis via hermeneutics is Elaine Pagels, and found the actual truth of resurrection may be more akin to what the Gnostics taught. In this sense, each person has the potential to "resurrect" himself as a Christ but must achieve the stage of gnosis first.

As Pagels has observed[1]:

Whoever achieves gnosis becomes no longer a Christian, but a Christ.

In effect, in the Gnostic teachings anyone could aspire to becoming a Christ. Pauline Catholicism (based on St. Paul's writings), meanwhile, held there could be only one on which all lesser humans had to depend for salvation.  This was the nexus for power and control over the masses, by way of Church hierarchy and patriarchy. Pauline Catholics clearly detested the Gnostics because they removed any role for mediators or middlemen. For this reason, as Pagels notes, the Catholic orthodoxy and tradition saw fit to consistently denounce the Gnostics "while suppressing and virtually destroying the Gnostic writings themselves[2]."

[1] Pagels: The Gnostic Gospels, .134

[2] Op. cit., 102.

This is also a good reason to interject once more that interested readers ought to avail themselves of the easily accessible online course, Introduction to New Testament History and Literature by Prof. Dale B. Martin of Yale University. (Roughly on a par with my 'Introduction to the New Testament' course taken at Loyola in 1964-65. ) The compilation of course sessions, all on video, can be accessed via this link:

http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-152

I also recommend - for those short on time - Lecture No.13, dealing with the "Historical Jesus" (link below):

http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-152/lecture-13

Enjoy your Easter, but also try to be aware of the pitfalls in taking events too literally as recounted in the Synoptic gospels! Also, try to see there may be other profound interpretations such as Elaine Pagel's research has revealed.  To this end, it also helps to be cognizant of the early history of Christianity, e.g.

And:

And:
by Amanda Marcotte | March 29, 2024 - 6:32am | permalink

— from Salon

Excerpt:

"Earlier this week, Donald Trump unveiled his newest grift to squeeze money out of his cult followers: Trump-branded Bibles. Claiming the book contains the "King James version" and "also includes the Founding Father [sic] documents," Trump promised "you have to have it for your heart, for your soul." The screenshots of the video are funny by themselves, but I highly recommend watching the ad Trump cut for these Bibles. Trump radiates total contempt for Christianity....

This is Trump in his angry-bored mode, letting viewers know with his listless tone and posture that he thinks all this Bible stuff is dumb. The not-at-all subtle message of the video is that Trump doesn't believe any of this faith-in-God crap, but he definitely believes in using Christian identity as a weapon to make money and dominate his foes."

## Wednesday, March 27, 2024

### Don't Dismiss Or Belittle The Trump "Hush Money" Case, It's One That Could Bring The Orange Turd Down

"How did I ever get into this criminal trial?"

Although Trump is entitled to an appeal, which he is pursuing, it still feels outrageous that he would get this unexplained courtesy after years of willfully defrauding the public. At the same time, it feels typical of Trump’s relationship to the various institutions of American life. If there seems to be a different set of rules for Trump, under which there is always a reason to look the other way or give him a second chance, that’s because for all intents and purposes, there is.” -  Jamelle Bouie, NY Times,  ‘No One Is Above the Law, Except, Apparently, Donald Trump’

----

Trump is not being persecuted in the middle of his campaign. Trump is campaigning in the middle of his prosecutions.

This man is showing us everyday that there are two justice systems. He is a crook and should already be in jail

Trump is not 'reeling' but basking in the free publicity displaying boldness, and generous benefits from Appeals. He is happy with opportunities to harass judges, law enforcement, proclaim his wealth and wins at golf.

Diaper Donnie's 'campaign' is not being interfered with in the slightest.

His "rallys" are nothing but rah, rah feel good gatherings for those in his cult that are going to vote for him no matter what.

--

....and they like to whine about how their paycheck does not go as far as it used to yet they still find enough to bail their hero out - dichotomy?

This grifter, alleged felon, and sexual predator is the man the Republicans believe should be President of the United States.

WTF is wrong with them??

At long last, have they no decency?

The crybaby does everything he can to delay the proceedings, then cries when he manages to push them into campaign season.

Wow ... this 77 year old man is throwing a temper tantrum like a 2 year old. He’s not only unfit for the White House, he’s unfit for Pre-K too!

(Some of the comments on Washington Post website after story broke)

-------------

On Monday, Judge Juan Merchan basically saved the U.S. Judicial system - at least for now-  from becoming the world's laughingstock.  The latter would have been realized had he tossed the orange cockroach maggot Trump yet another legal 'lifeline' on top of all those he's already received.  That includes a NY Appellate court ruling the same day lowering his bond for the tax fraud case to \$175m from \$454 m and giving the swine 10 more days to deliver it. To just get a whiff of the outrage from the bond deal Monday one need only have read a fraction of the 8,000-odd comments after the article on the WaPo site.

Fortunately, the debacle of the Appellate bond reduction and reprieve, including 10 more days to pay up, was followed rapidly by Judge Merchan's ruling that his trial would go forward on April 15th.  Why did Judge Merchan rule this way despite all the efforts of Trump and his thugs to terrorize him?

He grew visibly agitated with Dump's attorneys, and with good reason. The lawyers were arguing to delay the trial to review records from a related federal case. Judge Merchan wasn’t having any of this bullshit, especially taking exception to the intimations of prosecutorial misconduct.  That included - thanks to the Pea knuckle Trumper lawyer Blanche -  suggestions of Merchan's involvement.  Which he rightly slapped down as unfounded and brought down the hammer for his ruling of the trial date.

As tempers rose, Judge Merchan called a recess, and it wasn't difficult for anyone watching to predict he would soon be ruling against Trump. The traitor and pussy -grabbing grifter then stormed out in typical bratsky-melodramatic fashion. Then, further showing the immaturity of American media and too many reporter,  they shouted his name in the hallway. Seems our vaunted media can't get enough of the maggot's acting out, and worse, still treating him as a normal candidate as opposed to a psychotic.

Dump stopped abruptly, turned and seemed for a moment to consider whether to entertain their shouted questions. He then thought the better of it and marched his fat orange ass stage left - behind closed doors after muttering: “Thank you very much”.

Trump then gave a thumbs up and smiled, but soon was frowning and shaking his head.  He then bellowed to the peanut gallery that Judge  Merchan "sided with the prosecutors"  and ordered the criminal trial to begin April 15 — the first of a former president.

“See you on the 15th,” Merchan said as he left the bench.

Trump, full of fake chutzpah as he faced reporters again, said he would appeal the ruling, though trial dates are generally not appealable. But no one - as wifey noted - should hold his or her breath believing the courts won't bail this infernal shitwit out again.  Especially after all the 'gimmes' and gifts the justice system has already delivered.  Any other ordinary crook would be rotting in a Rykers Island cell, but not Dumpty.  The fungal ratfucker then whined:

It shouldn’t be allowed to happen! They decided to wait until now, just before the election, so that I won’t be able to campaign.”

No, Captain Bone spurs. El wrongo. Your Densan lawyers opted to wait too long to get the further files (associated with Trump former Lawyer Michael Cohen) to further their 'discovery'.

As for Trump - he never should have been a candidate and allowed to campaign at all after launching the Jan. 6th insurrection, e.g. according to Section 3 of the 14th amendment:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

Frankly the bastard ought to have been hung by now - and then maybe drawn and quartered like the Brits did to traitors in the olden days. Yet in another marble lobby on 40 Wall Street-  and ironically decked with American flags -  Traitor Trump was upset to see only a small group of reporters waiting.  He wanted a bigger peanut gallery but while they were held up outside, according to people familiar with the matter.   But he blustered to those members of the reporter pool who'd listen to his semi-psychotic blabbery:

"It’s criminal what they’re doing, and it’s never been done before in this country. I don’t know how you can have a trial that’s going on right in the middle of an election. Not fair. Not fair. It’s not fair at all.

No, what's not fair is you walking around free and alive spouting threats against the court and prosecutors when you ought to be rotting in a Rykers Island cell like your old pal Jeffrey Epstein.

Never mind. Trump renewed his attacks on the court repeating his attacks on the prosecutors as politically motivated and repeatedly thanking the appeals court for reducing the bond.  (It will still be interesting to see if he can cough up the \$\$, and besides AG Letitia James asserted this doesn't change the fact he is still to pay the whole \$464million.)

Biden campaign spokesman James Singer nailed to a tee Trump's 'pity me' act:

“America deserves better than a feeble, confused, and tired Donald Trump,”

Hopefully American voters will also wake up to this point before November 5th.

by Robert Reich | April 12, 2024 - 6:38am | permalink

— from Robert Reich's Substack

Friends,

Trump’s first criminal trial — the first criminal trial of a former president, ever — is scheduled to begin Monday. The 34-count business falsification case may be the only case against Trump to reach a verdict before the November election.

Many people I speak with are worried that this is the weakest of Trump’s four pending criminal trials because it has to do with an illicit affair.

Wrong. Although this case is commonly called the “hush money” case and referred to as Trump’s “coverup of a sex scandal,” this way of describing it minimizes its importance.

This case is really an election interference case — just as are the criminal cases charging him with seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Together, they establish an ongoing pattern: Trump will do anything to gain and keep power, even if his actions violate the nation’s laws.

## Trump benefits from an unequal system. Still, he can’t outrun justice.

Excerpt:

“In sum, some Trump cases will likely get pushed beyond the election. He might even wriggle out of the Mar-a-Lago documents charges. The New York civil judgment against him could get reduced. Less-wealthy defendants would not get such breaks. However, with tough-minded judges doing their jobs in the D.C. court and in Manhattan, plus major civil judgments (including two in E. Jean Carroll’s favor) already in the bag, Trump will not escape justice entirely. In less than three weeks, he will face a jury in a criminal case — something he has sought to avoid for so long.

Only voters can spare Trump the consequences of his conduct — by electing him president again in November. That would be the true miscarriage of justice.”

And:

by Maya Boddie | March 26, 2024 - 7:09am | permalink

— from Alternet

Excerpt:

When a five-judge New York appeals court panel on Monday significantly cut Donald Trump's \$464 million bond amount in the New York civil fraud case down to \$175 million, and gave him ten more days to pay up — just hours before the deadline, legal experts were astonished by "the major lifeline" thrown to the former president.

Former New York State Assistant Attorney General Tristan Snell "who successfully prosecuted the \$25 million Trump University case," slammed the order as "special treatment," while ex-federal prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner said, "The verdict is in: the rules, the laws, and the Constitution do not apply to Donald Trump the way they apply to you and me."

However, in an op-ed published by The Daily Beast, legal ethics and civil procedure expert Ray Brescia suggests despite Monday's win, Trump is "still in deep legal trouble" when it comes to both of his New York cases.

And:

by Amanda Marcotte | March 27, 2024 - 6:41am | permalink

— from Salon

Excerpt:

As anyone who listens to him can attest, Donald Trump may be the most self-pitying person on planet Earth. Pretty much all the man does is whine and cry about how he's the victim of an imaginary "witch hunt." In reality, his list of transgressions is staggering. If he were any other person, he would have been sentenced to prison many times over with no real hope of release: Sexual assaultDecades of fraudAttempted extortation of a foreign leaderStealing classified documentsFlagrant acceptance of what very much looks like bribesAttempting to overthrow democracyInciting a violent riot that got people killed. I'm sure readers can list a dozen more, but let's get to the point: It's absolutely bananas that Trump isn't in prison yet.

The concept of "privilege" is treated with great skepticism in conservative circles, and regarded by MAGA types like a made-up hoax. But no one alive proves the truth of the concept more than Donald Trump. He's proudly ignorant. The only talent he bothered to learn is cheating the system so that you "win" without ever having to be good at stuff. The only real skill he's developed in his 77 years is utter shamelessness, and frankly, it seems that might be more of a genetic defect than anything he's worked at. The man can't even bother to get good at golf, a sport he does seem to like, because he prefers to lie about it instead.

And:

— from Alternet

Excerpt:

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan has granted District Attorney Alvin Bragg his long-awaited gag order against Donald Trump, hours after the indicted ex-president attacked the judge and his daughter in a Truth Social post that appeared designed to elicit the very decision the judge made.

Judge Merchan is overseeing the criminal case involving Trump’s payments of “hush money” to adult film actress Stormy Daniels then claiming they were legal expenses. On Tuesday he issued a limited gag order barring Trump from publicly discussing witnesses or court staff, as Reuters reports. Some have noted the case is also about election interference, suggesting the payments were allegedly made to prevent voters from learning about his sexual encounter with the porn star.

And:

by Thom Hartmann | March 27, 2024 - 6:22am | permalink

— from The Hartmann Report

Excerpt:

In America today, if you can afford at least \$50 million in lawyers fees, you can get away with rape, massive financial fraud over decades, ripping off people who just wanted to go to college, stealing from children’s Cancer charities, paying off porn stars to influence an election, and leading a treasonous insurrection against your own country that results in the death of at least six people plus 3 police officers (with over 100 police officers ending up in the hospital, many with life altering injuries) without ever spending a night in jail.

Michael Cohen was sent to New York’s notorious Riker’s Island prison for paying off porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy centerfold Karen MacDougal to keep them quiet in the weeks before the 2016 election about their affairs with Donald Trump.

Having the affairs wasn’t Cohen’s idea, and he never slept with either woman. It wasn’t even his idea to pay them off: that came from Donald Trump and David Pecker, who called it “catch and kill” as in, “pay off the women to kill the story.”

## Monday, March 25, 2024

### Why Governments Can't Even Pay People To Have More Children - And Why No One Should Be Mystified

Isaac Asimov: Feb. 1976, Queen's Park Theater, Barbados

"It is now the willingly childless woman who is the heroine of our planet. She is the one who now deserves all the kudos and praise, for helping to do what is necessary to spare humanity from the ravages of over-population"

An astonishing fact of modern history is taking hold:  No matter what governments do to convince them to procreate, people around the world are having fewer and fewer kids. Many are opting to have no kids at all. What gives?  Is the human race on the verge of self- annihilation owing to population collapse?  Nope. In fact the opposite is true, we are on track to hit 10 billion by the year 2050, it's just that the majority will be in 3rd world (i.e. African, Asian) nations.

According to an article in 'Population Connection' (March) the U.S. birth rate has been falling since the Great Recession, dropping almost 23 percent between 2007 and 2022. Today, the average American woman has about 1.6 children, down from three in 1950, and significantly below the “replacement rate” of 2.1 children needed to sustain a stable population.

In Italy, 12 people now die for every seven babies born. In South Korea, the birth rate is down to 0.81 children per woman. In China, after decades of a strictly enforced one-child policy, the population is shrinking for the first time since the 1960s. In Taiwan, the birth rate stands at 0.87.

The drop has frightened lawmakers and commentators alike, as I have noted in previous posts, e.g.

Noting:

You do not generate more people to support the existing people - old or other.  The rational response is not to generate more American babies but to expand immigration to allow more workers from other nations - who seek work and have essential skills  - to enter the country and provide the needed economic support-  on a guest worker visa or basis.

Every baby born here in the U.S. creates a carbon footprint three times the size of that for a child born in the third world.  In other words, each American baby born disproportionately increases the Earth's overshoot pace.   If anything we need to reduce our numbers even below the replacement rate.

This is something Americans need to wrap their heads around. Contrary to Right wing propaganda immigrants have helped cap inflationary pressures by expanding the workforce, despite falling birthrates, and will boost growth and public finances for years. One recent estimate (WSJ, WaPo, FT)  found that the above-trend immigration from this year and last will boost potential growth by around 0.3 percentage point to 2.1% in 2024.  This means the rational solution to lower child numbers in the U.S. is to allow more immigration to fill jobs Americans won't take and don't want.

Indeed, historically, migrants from nations as diverse as India, Mexico and the Caribbean, have flocked to such jobs as the supply of local workers willing (and able) to do them has shrunk. Jobs such as elder care, construction, landscaping and crop harvesting.  Thus, in many ways the 'child birth' crisis is an artificial and manufactured one.

This despite headlines warning of a coming “demographic crisis” or “Great People Shortage” as different (mainly Western) economies find themselves without enough young workers to fill jobs and pay taxes. To stem the tide, the world’s leaders have tried everything from generous social welfare programs to pink-and-blue awareness campaigns to five-figure checks to veiled threats, all to relatively little avail.   Why of little avail? Because they are not sustainable over the long duration of child rearing.   What is really required?

Long term FREE child care. No mere subsidies!

Long term free child education as well as nutritional support (for at risk families)

Long term (i.e. 3 months) PAID family leave available each year for either parent.

Sounds "socialistic"? Yeah, so what? That is what's needed if you wish to entice more couples to reproduce!

Still, Trent MacNamara, a history professor at Texas A&M who has written about fertility rates, blabbed in the piece:

Even the richest, savviest, most committed governments have struggled to find policies that produce sustained bumps in fertility. If such policies were discoverable, I think someone would have discovered them.”

Newsflash, Prof!  They are there in plain view as I've listed above. But the Rightists in the various nations just don't want to pay up. But they still want to squawk and bellyache about parents not having enough kids - to work so they can cut taxes for the rich.

We also read in the POP Conn piece that:

"The failure of dozens of often very expensive pronatalist policies to produce much of a return has policymakers and observers alike wondering whether there’s any way for governments to convince their citizens to have more babies. If not, what should lawmakers should be doing instead to help societies adapt to a demographically changing world?"

### First,  these 'po-natalist' policies are not generous enough!

They are more in the line of grudging one-off 'bones' tossed to get the hoi polloi to breed more and faster to support an economy based on grift, cheap money and speculation in the stock market - as well as leverage and stock buybacks.  In the end the entire financial structure operates as a huge charade, much like the blackjack tables in Vegas.  That is why the most these governments do is offer a tax credit maybe, or parental time off - IF you take it out of your 401(k) savings.  It's a big laugher.  As for child care, good luck ! Yer on yer own!

Besides which, in many ways, the falling birth rate is a success story — the result of young people, especially women, having more options and freedoms than ever before. For example, women are better able to control their fertility than in decades past.  Prior to the fall of Roeteen births and unintended births were on the decline, and the use of highly effective contraception methods was on the rise.

Of course, that may not last if too many are stupid or politically ignorant enough to put Trump back into the Oval Office.  Because the first thing his MAGA mutts in the House will try to do is cut existing programs like food stamps, and then impose a national abortion ban before they go after contraception. (Either passing laws nullifying insurance claims for it, or making it so expensive -  via draconian commerce bills - that most women will either give up or go back to the methods of old:  no sex for thee.)

Of course, fewer births do have real consequences for how families and societies operate. In 2010, for example, there were more than seven family members available to care for each person over the age of 80; by 2030, there will be only four. An aging society also means fewer workers in key industries and fewer people paying into programs like Social Security.   But that is precisely why labor rules for migrants need to be relaxed.  Because there in are the workers to not only resolve ongoing labor shortages but also providing a larger base of workers to support Social Security.

Of course, Trump's hero Viktor Orban won't hear of it, declaring that "migration is surrender" and Hungarians must have more children.  Never mind the inflation rate for bread, eggs etc. leaves them barely able to feed the brood they have.

In the US, meanwhile, rhetoric aimed at getting people to have more children can ring hollow given a racist history in which white motherhood has been lauded while Black women’s fertility has been viewed as disordered and suspect, to the point that Black women have been forcibly sterilized. In a country where Black women die in childbirth at nearly three times the rate of white women, it’s impossible to hear calls to increase the birth rate without questioning who they’re really aimed at.

This is why equitable family-friendly policies in the U.S. must also include investment in health care for Black women, including maternal mental health and generous family leave and free child care.  Any discussion of fertility and birth rates also needs to address the safety of children, including overpolicing, racist violence, and the spiking rate of gun deaths

In the end, current efforts at reform to family policy are not likely to go anywhere soon, given most reproductive age people are intelligent enough to grasp what serious parenthood involves.   That is why at minimum these would be parents expect the state to do more,  i.e. paid family leave, free govt child care and education. Minus those more kids is a deal breaker.  Don't like it?  Then allow more immigrants in to support the economy.

Countries may find themselves needing to adapt, both economically and socially, to an aging population, but in nearly every case that will now entail allowing much larger migration.