Should we continue our weekly election post?

For a few more weeks?  Or are we done with this as a regular topic?  Your thoughts?

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431 thoughts on “Should we continue our weekly election post?

  1. Maybe keep going until at least the inauguration? Or, at least until we have a better idea of what’s going on.

    Anyway, on to my analysis. I was watching Charlie Rose and he was talking to Maureen Dowd (I know, I know). Anyway, she said something very interesting. In her opinion, Trump winning the election was like you trying to rob a bank and you expect to find locked doors, guards, etc. But, instead, you just walk in, grab the money and go.

    Consider for a moment that Jeb! had a $120 million war chest, Hillary had $1 billion and Trump just walked away with it. The most reasonable explanation is that the two establishment narratives were so tired they just didn’t work anymore.

    For example: George Will’s latest column.

    What are we saying if we say we are against free trade? Protectionism is comprehensive government intervention in economic life. It supplants commercial calculations with political considerations. Using tariffs, which are taxes imposed at the border, government imposes its judgment of what Americans should be permitted to purchase, in what quantities and at what prices. If conservatism can embrace such statism, can it distinguish itself from progressivism — the doctrine that government experts are wiser than markets in determining individuals’ choices and directing the efficient use of labor and capital?

    I think we have been operating with two establishment narratives: Reaganism and Bill Clinton’s Democratic Leadership Council centrism. The two establishment candidates, Jeb! and Hillary, regurgitated the same tired talking points and the public just didn’t buy it.

    At this point, my working assumption is that Trumpism is a kind of progressive populism. But, time will tell.

  2. It’s been interesting reading all the post election analysis from various viewpoints this past week. I like keeping the Totebag Election Page separate and on but in the real world topic and a battleground state resident I would like to move on.

  3. Pingback: Should we continue our weekly election post? — The Totebag – TheBrokeBlog

  4. If we don’t keep the separate election post for a while we’ll end up with the political discussions in the main topic, so I vote that we keep it going.

  5. I would like to keep it as a weekly post at least till the inauguration, with possibly another discussion to keep it through the first 100 days.

    People who don’t like political discussion by not reading this page and those of us who like political discussion can try to keep it centered here.

    I am optimistic that Trump’s election will increase left-wing support to push back against the increase in executive power under Obama. One of our country’s biggest challenges, both historically and in comparison to other democracies, is too much discretion in which laws are actually enforced and how.

  6. One of our country’s biggest challenges, both historically and in comparison to other democracies, is too much discretion in which laws are actually enforced and how.

    More discretion than a parliamentary system like the U.K., Germany, Japan, etc?

  7. Would like to keep the discussion going because this board is a rare space for civil conversation.

  8. Rhett, I haven’t been able to find the Economist issue (you are a better searcher than I am; maybe you’ll find it) but a couple years ago-ish, they had a whole article on the problems of the U.S. legal system. The Economist argued that other countries (not necessarily parliamentary democracies)
    1) Recognize that they are based on common law and don’t pretend to be constitutional. (The Supreme Court continues to find new rights in an unamended Constitution.)
    2. Have fewer laws that are more consistently enforced. (An example was a huge prosecution against someone who had imported some sort of seafood in boxes, which was legal, vs. packaged in plastic, which was not, or maybe the other way around, and how the prosecutor was trying to make a name for himself by imposing a draconian sentence for this error.)

  9. WCE,

    I couldn’t find the article you mentioned but I did find this:

    Legal minds in civil-law jurisdictions like to think that their system is more stable and fairer than common-law systems, because laws are stated explicitly and are easier to discern. But English lawyers take pride in the flexibility of their system, because it can quickly adapt to circumstance without the need for Parliament to enact legislation.

    You seem to be criticizing SCOTUS for doing what it is supposed to do in a common-law system.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/07/economist-explains-10

  10. When I took the bar exam in Virginia, it still had courts of equity and courts of law. What a mess! The idea of the court of law arose from the King’s law (strict adherence to the written laws) and the court of equity from the Church (based upon fairness). About 10 years ago they finally merged the courts and made everyone happier.

  11. This description of how low interest rates have dramatically reduced returns to capital, which affects both pensions and private savers globally, is the main reason I have never supported the liberal agenda of expanded government and is a main reason I chose engineering over actuarial science. I looked at the assumptions actuaries were expected to assume and thought they were unlikely in light of demographic change globally.

    It’s not an “election” topic, but it does often become a “political” topic, which is why I didn’t submit it as a regular blog post.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/era-of-low-interest-rates-hammers-millions-of-pensions-around-world-1479067408

  12. This description of how low interest rates have dramatically reduced returns to capital, which affects both pensions and private savers globally, is the main reason I have never supported the liberal agenda of expanded government

    You’ve never supported it because of post financial crisis Fed policy? So, c. 2002 you opposed it because you knew what was going to happen many years in the future?

  13. The Supreme Court continues to find new rights in an unamended Constitution.

    The ninth amendment is pretty clear that rights still exist even if they aren’t specially enumerated in the Constitution.

  14. Rhett, based on the fact that birth rates peaked in the 1970’s, I could see that the population wouldn’t continue to grow indefinitely. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the number of workers in the future is related to the number of births in the past.

  15. Rhett, another factor is that I knew economists believed (and it made sense to me from my own family history hearing about uncles trying to buy farms) that usually younger people borrow capital to invest in houses/farms/education and older people lend the capital. When the number of older people (presumably with capital) increases while the number of younger people drops, return on capital should decrease, independent of inflation or a central bank policy.

  16. “based on the fact that birth rates peaked in the 1970’s, I could see that the population wouldn’t continue to grow indefinitely.”

    Is that the worldwide birth rate that peaked in the 70s?

  17. OT, I’d also like to see the political thread keep going, although it may no longer be appropriate to call them election posts. Perhaps we can call them transition posts?

  18. Finn, I was saying casually that the birthrate peaked in the 1970’s. Technically the birth rate had been dropping before that, but the 1970’s is when the interaction between birth rate and child survival (due to vaccination against small pox, better healthcare for infants, etc.) reached the point where lots more babies born in the 1970’s would become workers and eventually elderly people. The website below has lots of charts that partially support and partially contradict my specific point.

    My general point that the ratio between the old and the young would change and is changing, with implications for real return to capital, still stands.

  19. I’m not gonna lie. Part, or maybe most, of any joy I feel in Trump’s win has to do with this.

    So funny. I found this video on Ann Althouse’s blog, and here was one comment:
    Ann Coulter and Milo are probably still partying…..
    The reference is of course not to our Milo, but to Milo Yiannopoulos, the infamous and outrageous non-PC journalist.

  20. My general point that the ratio between the old and the young would change and is changing, with implications for real return to capital, still stands.

    Which would imply a greater role for government in preventing destitution among the the elederly.

  21. that usually younger people borrow capital to invest in houses/farms/education and older people lend the capital. When the number of older people (presumably with capital) increases while the number of younger people drops, return on capital should decrease, independent of inflation or a central bank policy.

    For that reason, I believe that Trump’s plan for trillions in deficit fueled stimulus just might work.

  22. For that reason, I believe that Trump’s plan for trillions in deficit fueled stimulus just might work.

    I’m totally in favor of that. And what’s a little out-of-control inflation among friends?

    So, what’s everybody’s current investment strategy in this New World Order?

  23. And what’s a little out-of-control inflation among friends?

    An argument can be made that we’d be better off with a 4% inflation target vs. our current 2% inflation target.

  24. I am for it, too, RMS. And allegedly my taxes are going down. Plus the pre-existing condition portion of Obamacare might stay. Things are shaping up for the Kate family. Not sure I understand how it works without a mandate, but I shall not concern myself with such details. I am sure Bannon will figure it out.

  25. My taxes went down with Bush – I just increased my giving. I am not sure how my taxes can go down any farther, and I expect any medicare premium increases will eat that up. I definitely see a short term bump in my asset position as deficit spending kicks in and the fat cats get fatter – and I intend to stockpile cash over the next two years.

  26. I’m feeling positive about things right now. Trump doesn’t care about social issues and I’m excited about the infrastructure spending. I’m glad I hung on to our Wells Fargo stocks and we own some biotech and infrastructure type stocks that have shot up as well. The only bummer has been the FANG stocks and multinationals but it’s all balanced out pretty well.

  27. Please keep this as others have said at least until the inauguration.

    Most politicians end up governing from the middle (or at least more middle ground than staked out in the campaign). I suspect, hope, that’s what will happen once Trump takes office. His comments about the ACA (the pre-existing conditions and 26yo eligibility parts) are examples.

  28. I hope Trump’s meeting with Obama is in support of Trump making changes that make the ACA more workable , for example, selling insurance across state lines or an option for uninsured/underinsured people to receive Medicare rates vs. list rates on healthcare services or an obligation for a hospital/provider to provide a bundle of services for a fixed cost, so insured people aren’t trapped when they arrive for surgery to find their anesthetist or pathologist is out-of-network.

    Trump may be able to implement changes Obama would have liked if he had not been beholden to special interests. The tax on revenue rather than profits for medical device makers is an example of a law with possibly unintended consequences in the event of a problem or lawsuit against the medical device maker.

  29. Trump may be able to implement changes Obama would have liked if he had not been beholden to special interests.

    I think there are a great many things Obama would have liked to do that Trump will actually do because Republicans in Congress will think twice about opposing him. A lot of the kluginess of Obamacare was due to the need for it to be budget neutral. Now that we have a Republican president. deficits no longer matter.

  30. Rhett – you mean like the infrastructure bill? Yes. Obama tried to get it through. No go. Hopefully they will let Trump do it.

  31. Kate,

    Which is kind of sad. They actually supported it but didn’t want to give Obama the satisfaction?

  32. Not sure. They cited $ reasons. Infrastructure is something that both sides should be able to work together on but we will have to see. I know many fault Obama for his inability to work with Congress, but I think he did as well as he could. Cannot make people negotiate if they refuse. Especially if they are willing to go over the cliff to win.

  33. Deficits matter economically for the long-term, no matter who the president is. We don’t want to be Weimar Germany or Venezuela.

  34. I would also like to continue this page, at least through the inauguration.

    A Trump presidency is definitely going to be good financially for the Lark household, at least in the short term. He’s already created instability in the US healthcare industry, and instability + new legislation is manna from heaven for lawyers, consultants, and advisers to an industry.

    @ WCE, I think Rhett was being a little sarcastic. The requirement for budget neutrality was the justification they gave for opposing much of Obama’s spending requests. Now that they won’t want to automatically oppose all spending requests, that justification will be tucked away for now.

  35. I am really concerned about the potential for massive conflicts of interest between Trump’s businesses and his position, and I am surprised that no one else seems to be, even people who were very concerned about the same potential with Hillary Clinton. Trump has his kids running his businesses (which is not a blind trust no matter what he claims) and they are also on his transition team. Why on earth wouldn’t they be able to use their influence to choose administration officials who will be beholden to them in the future? Both Bush presidents put their holdings into a blind trust, and so did Bloomberg, whose situation with a massive business he had built himself was most comparable to Trumps. Why would Trump even want the perception of conflict of interest?

    I have numerous other concerns too, but right now this is weighing on me because it was one of the arguments against Hillary

  36. “Trump doesn’t care about social issues”
    Yes, he does – he has vowed to appoint an anti abortion Supreme Court justice. I am glad he is cool with same sex marriage, well, at least until Pence gets to him

  37. I don’t think Trump personally cares about social issues (I don’t think he finds abortion or gay marriage troublesome at all). But I don’t think that it then follows that there won’t be changes to things involving social issues. Once/if he appoints a very conservative Supreme Court justice, all bets are off. He doesn’t then get to steer that judge to overturn Roe but uphold Obergefell.

    MM – I think others are concerned, but what can we do? The American people have spoken and we lost fair and square. There will be no blind trusts and we likely will never understand his business dealings abroad.

  38. Kate, I just don’t get why all those people who were yelling Crooked Hillary don’t see the potential for problems here. Trump, in his business dealings, has always pushed the line – why would he change now?

  39. MM – I think it is safe to say that you and I don’t understand a lot of things about many of our fellow Americans :)

  40. OK, one other concern – it is clear that Hillary won the popular vote by a reasonable number – bigger than the gap between Gore and Bush in 2000. So we have the odd situation of a completely Republican government that doesn’t really have the overwhelming mandate. Now, I am not one to sign the petition to have the electorial college overturn the election – this is our system and we have to live with it. But it does mean that if Trump and the Republicans overreach, there could be problems – and if people are feeling locked out of the government, that could spill over into a lot of anger. I have some memories of the 60’s, an era with a lot of turmoil. How this plays out depends a lot on Trump. Can he reach out to the people who feel that Trump should not have won without the popular vote?

    I also would like to see some reform of the Electoral College, to correct for its current bias in favor of rural voters. We shouldn’t be seeing these gaps between popular vote and outcome. Simply eliminating winner take all and moving to a proportional system would be more fair.

  41. I think appointing R Priebus was an ok thing. Picking Bannon was just a big eff you to people who are concerned. Doesn’t do a lot to calm people down and whether he intends it to be a message or not, it is.

  42. The election occurs according to the system that was in place. Newt Gringrich addressed this on one of the Sunday talk shows. If California had mattered, the Republicans would have campaigned there, and probably would have picked up more votes, maybe enough to swing the popular vote. Maybe there would have been more votes in places like Texas for Hillary. We will never know.

    “But it does mean that if Trump and the Republicans overreach, there could be problems – and if people are feeling locked out of the government, that could spill over into a lot of anger. ”

    Probably this will happen. This is likely how Trump got elected in the first place. Only the people who felt locked out this go round voted for Trump. Maybe next time they will vote for the other guy/gal.

  43. I am pleased to see a number of opinion pieces coming out against the whole “safety pin” thing. My eyes were rolling pretty hard at that.

  44. I don’t think Trump will govern with a strong focus on a second term and I expect Democrats will make gains in the House in a couple years with improved voter turnout. If I had to guess, he’ll delegate most decisionmaking. I’ve read that’s how Reagan governed- does anyone know to what extent that is true?

    In the United States, it is necessary to govern both people and land/infrastructure/environment. Government policy decisions around the second weigh more heavily on rural areas than on, say, urban areas with tech and finance, where international law/tax law are important factors. I would have to be convinced that slightly overweighting the votes of people most affected by land/infrastructure/environment decisions has become, after 240 years, a bad thing.

  45. I don’t think Trump will govern with a strong focus on a second term

    I don’t know why you think that. Once you’re king, you tend to want to stay king.

  46. I don’t think Trump will govern with a strong focus on a second term

    I don’t know why you think that. Once you’re king, you tend to want to stay king.

    He might want to stay, but I don’t think it is likely. If there had been a decent alternative, he wouldn’t be president-elect. There will be decent alternatives from both the Dems and Repubs next time.

    Both candidates were horrible people, he was just slightly less horrible.

  47. . If I had to guess, he’ll delegate most decisionmaking.

    Given that he’s famous for being a workaholic micro-manger, what makes you think he’s going to delegate?

  48. He might want to stay, but I don’t think it is likely.

    If the massive debt fueled stimulus boosts the economy, he’ll win in a landslide.

  49. Given that he’s famous for being a workaholic micro-manger, what makes you think he’s going to delegate?

    I read that too. In the home country newspapers it is being reported quite a bit that Trump is not taking a salary nor is he going to take a vacation. A dig no doubt at home country politicians.

  50. “But it does mean that if Trump and the Republicans overreach, there could be problems – and if people are feeling locked out of the government, that could spill over into a lot of anger”

    Obama and the Democrats over-reached on Obamacare, among other things, and people did indeed feel locked out and angry. Many of them channeled their anger into the tea party.

  51. RMS +1000! I’m so tired of these people who act like wearing some symbol or posting on social media is making a difference. Participate in the process. Know your government officials, be willing to contact them, vote in every election, be a decent human being who stays informed and is willing to look at all angles of an issue so that you can make a decision that you can agree with, stop calling the people on the other side vile names and try to understand what their concerns are. Like I said in last week’s thread, those in power want sheeple and they don’t want people to “think” they want them bleating the party line.

  52. From the same WaPo article:

    “His style is to check every invoice, examine every light fixture. That will have to end, pronto.”

    And this

    “The guy doesn’t read,” said Jack O’Donnell, who served as president of the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City at the height of Trump’s casino empire in the late 1980s. “He reacts to what he sees and hears in the moment; he is a poor listener.”

    To correct for those qualities, O’Donnell said, Trump learned to delegate much of his work and give managers broad authority. But those who have worked with him say that Trump’s delegating requires extreme loyalty, and if anything goes amiss, the boss will explode.

    “He gets frustrated and impatient,” said Sunshine, who said she thinks Trump will quickly adapt to the vast size and scope of the federal government. “But he is relentless. When Donald puts his eye on a goal, there’s no distracting him.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-style/2016/11/10/138bbd8a-a761-11e6-ba59-a7d93165c6d4_story.html

    Trump is not a detail-oriented policy wonk like Obama and the Clintons or Josiah Bartlett. I can see him getting bored very quickly with all of the pesky stuff that comes across his desk, unless his staff does a good job of taking care of the pesky stuff for him.

  53. Based on Trump’s campaign style, I strongly suspect he will not make his decisions based on whether they will facilitate his re-election ~4 YEARS AWAY.

  54. Ah, I see what you’re saying, WCE. It does depend, though, on whether his advisors can point out to him “this will work against your re-election”.

  55. Does anyone think about his age? I’ve watched my parents age from 70 to 74 and there are noticeable changes in their abilities. I wonder if he will want to run again, or if he will want to just get back to his former life. I can’t even imagine how exhausting it must be to campaign and then jump right into this transition.

  56. I thought about the ages of the candidates often during the campaign. My Dad just turned 70 and he’s talked about how the changes between 60 and 70 are the roughest so far- and he was healthy enough to work a physical job until 65 and just got back from a trip to Israel with lots of walking.

    Supreme Court justices seem to do OK into their 80’s. I hope I’m that healthy.

  57. Supreme Court justices seem to do OK into their 80’s.

    My understanding is that as they get older their clerks do more and more of the work.

  58. The justices just sit in one building, and their hours are much shorter. He is traveling and hit with a every new crisis. They have a set calendar for 9 months, and the clerks. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I don’t think the physical demands are the same vs. a President.

  59. I have thought about Trump’s age because by 70, all the seniors in my family have retired from paid work. In the home country, retirement ages are 58 to 60. So, seniors have to find something to occupy themselves from ages 60 to 80.
    I do think however, that if you continue to work full tilt you are in a different mindset from even working part time. That said, the campaign and Presidency are a different ball game.

  60. A campaign can be more strenuous than the Presidency itself. Neither candidate is a spring chicken but Hillary has her own health and stamina challenges. Obama has managed to play 300 rounds of golf during his Presidency; presumably Trump will find his own way to recharge. But next time around I’m hoping that there are some younger folks on the ballot. You can see how the Presidency has aged Obama.

  61. Bannon is appalling, but I am also appalled that, according to reports, Giuliani is the favorite for Secretary of State. Ick, ick, ick. I had to live under the man. He was so mean, so petty, so divisive. Every couple of weeks he would pick a target, from umbrella vendors to teachers to squeegee men to ferrets, and go after it with all guns blazing. And he seems to have only have gotten more unhinged with age. What is he going to do, give Xi Jinping his ferret rant?

  62. The seniors at my house were upset when Hilary caught pneumonia and stumbled. It was – she should rest, what is her doctor doing, she should take care of her health etc. etc. Well, I am not Huma Abedin to tell her that.

  63. My 93 year old MIL is very upset by this election. It is interesting because she is in the Trump demographic – white, older, no college degree, working class. And she voted Republican for many years – I know she voted for Nixon and for Reagan (whereas FIL was a union Democrat all his life). And she was never one to talk politics, ever. But now, she has been very vocal about her disappointment with the election outcome. She wanted to see a woman president, but she also feels strongly that Trump is not worthy of being a Republican. I have neve seen her so outspoken on politics before.

  64. I keep reading that Bannon is anti-Semitic but the accounts all cite a headline on Breitbart calling Bill Kristol a renegade Jew and a claim by his ex wife 20 years ago during divorce proceedings. It’s pretty slim but I am open to being convinced. Can’t easily link from my phone but David Horowitz says he wrote that headline and that Bannon isn’t anti Semitic

  65. Bannon ran Breitbart, the major platform for the alt-right. From this Forbes article
    “Under Bannon’s tenure, Breitbart has become reliably and openly anti-women, anti-semetic, anti-progress, anti-immigrant, and anti-nonwhites. Some of Breitbart’s most controversial stories in recent years featured headlines such as: “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women In Tech, They Just Suck At Interviews,” “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy,” “Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism Or Cancer?” and “Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield.” In July 2015, just two weeks after nine people were shot to death while praying in an African-American Charleston church by a confederate flag-loving white supremacist, Breitbart published a story with the headline, “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.” Breitbart employs Milo Yiannpolis, a flagrantly racist, misogynist commentator who was banned by Twitter this year after inciting violent, racially-fueled cyberbullying of Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones. This summer at the Republican National Convention, Bannon proudly told a reporter that Breitbart is a “platform for the alt-right.” And it’s also a potential platform for a Trump White House that could present an obstacle for news outlets without such privileged connections.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ellenkilloran/2016/11/14/steve-bannon-and-breitbart-news-why-everyone-but-the-alt-right-fears-trumps-top-adviser-pick/#3a30edb6504f

  66. My mom (82) is also very upset about this election result, particularly Bannon. Talking to her last night it sounded like she was on the verge of tears at one point.

  67. I actually went to Breitbart.com and read a lot of articles and although I find it appalling, it is not like the expressly 1488 (neo Nazi) sites. There are some things that I can’t pull up, so I guess some stuff has been “archived”. It is intended as a “big tent” extreme right wing nationalist site, most notably without any commitment to traditional religion and morality, or to classic libertarian principles, and with a definite target of white persons solidly (at least by background) in the middle class and above – not the most disadvantaged. Its purpose has been achieved – to normalize and bring into the mainstream a type of discourse that was unthinkable a few years ago.

    First of all, there are contributors of various backgrounds. Milo Y, the young provocateur on social media, is gay, and a self described “mongrel” with mixed mostly non north European genetics. He is responsible for many of the outrageous tweets. IMHO, he was brought on as useful for outreach to young white men. He is clearly anti-black racist and misogynist, which are the main drivers for increasing clicks.

    The alt right has a litmus test for Jews, just as the far or campus left does – it is all about Israel. If you support the current expansionist and right wing govt in Israel and are willing to condemn all other Jews, you can sit at the foot of the alt right table. But it is best that you are far from the white racialists who sit “above the salt,”

    Scarlett – Most of us don’t understand why proponents of traditional religion think that the birth control mandate with its check the box form was insufficient and a serious abrogation of religious freedom for the Little Sisters of the Poor. But you feel strongly about that and think that we don’t recognize it for what it is. You clearly don’t see anti-Semitism in a lot of places and keep asking for chapter and verse. But we recognize it for what it is, and perhaps you should just accept that this is something that you don’t really understand.

  68. There were swastikas painted on a path near a parkway that is close to me, CoC and MM. There were many more in Rockland county and direct messages for No Jews that were spray painted on sidewalks. This all happened this weekend. I think there have always been anti Semitic people. But they seem to feel that they can just say whatever they want right now.

    The superintendent of our school district said that kids were suspended last week. The Principal in the HS is dealing with kids that made threats to kids of a different race.

    The schools are trying to do the right things with assemblies and letters to parents, but the superintendent admitted that she was surprised at how many incidents they had in the middle and the high schools since this is a fairly diverse community.

  69. Lauren, yes I knew about this incident. And keep in mind, this is an area where a lot of Jewish people live.

  70. Meme, I am trying to understand. I have read a lot about what happened in Germany and saw some parallels to Trump, especially in the reaction of good people who are convinced that he won’t actually do the things he promised so it’s ok to support and work with him. Lots of decent German political and military leaders fell into that trap so it pays to be vigilant. But if Bannon is as bad as they say, is there any merit to the argument that it’s better for his involvement to be open and public rather than covert? The WaPo had a story yesterday admitting that there isn’t much hard evidence of Bannon’s anti Semitism, but that he has created a platform for bigots and that is despicable

  71. Wiped away some anti-Semitic graffiti on the subway this morning with a wet wipe and my fingernail. Lots of appreciative nods and two out right thanks.

    Seeing more of this stuff over the past week than before the election. Tensions are high.

  72. “I wonder if he will want to run again, or if he will want to just get back to his former life”

    Since he won the R nomination, I’ve thought that he would be a one-term POTUS if he won.

    I’m not sure what his motivation was to run, but my guess is a lot of it was to satisfy his ego, and he got more and more serious about wanting to win the more people and the media didn’t take him seriously as a candidate.

    So I think that to a much larger extent than most previous POTUS, his end game was winning the election, to show all his naysayers and rub it in their faces (I wonder how Rosie O’Donnell feels now).

    If that is the case, then another reason this will be a fascinating presidency is that he is relatively unbeholden to anyone, and absent the need to mollify voters he would have if he wanted to run again, he’d really have free rein to push his own agenda.

  73. “My understanding is that as they get older their clerks do more and more of the work.”

    Hey, I know a former SCOTUS clerk.

    No other point to this, it just gave me the opportunity to brag.

  74. Finn, my hope is that the number of other Republicans who do want to run again will limit the range of his agenda and that his freedom will be used to make pragmatic but politically distasteful changes that are in the country’s best interests. In the best case scenario, the Deplorables (working class people who tend to be the less-dysfunctional members of their communities because they bothered to vote- my Dad agrees with RMS that people sensitive to word choice should Grow a Pair, an opinion he has held since being on the receiving end of criticism as an infantry officer during Vietnam) will receive consideration as people politicians should care about, and not be considered invisible racist losers.

  75. “my hope is that . . . his freedom will be used to make pragmatic but politically distasteful changes that are in the country’s best interests.”

    ITA with this part of your post.

    I think he’s already done some very positive things for the country, besides preventing Hillary from becoming POTUS.

    Winning on such a relative shoestring budget, without the full support of one of the two dominant parties, and showing it is possible, will undercut the influence of the parties and corporations, and tend to negate the impact of the Citizens United decision.

    And more generally, he shook up a status quo that really needing shaking up.

  76. “pragmatic but politically distasteful changes that are in the country’s best interests.”

    And perhaps also politically incorrect changes in the country’s best interest.

  77. “You can see how the Presidency has aged Obama.”

    I’ll wait until a year or so out of office to see.

    Eight years will age anyone, but it seems to me that Obama shows less visible aging over that time than most other recent POTUS. Give him a year to recover from the stress of the job, and my guess is that he’ll look like he aged about 9 years.

  78. Finn, are you suggesting that “my people” are politically incorrect? If so, you would be correct. One of my favorite quotes from my nearly 80 year old aunt, on the first non-white people she saw in Iowa, adopted Korean War orphans: “And even if you fed ’em good, they stayed smaller than farm kids.”

  79. When did basic manners, which I think most people think are a good thing, start to be branded “political correctness,” which many people mock? In my opinion, if you call someone by a name that you know they don’t like, that’s not edgy political incorrectness, that’s just plain rude. No matter what class you belong to.

  80. NoB, I suspect the disagreement started when nomenclature started to get complex, i.e., when it became hard for people like my Dad to know whether someone was “Black” or “African American” and, if they had immigrated from Africa, whether they were still considered “African American” if they were from Egypt or were from South Africa, and whether that depended on whether they had light skin or dark skin and were from South Africa.

  81. @NOB – I totally agree. And I really don’t think much of the objection has to do with worry about being able to keep straight the exact meaning of African-American in respect to Charlize Theron. Sure there’s a little of “keeping up with the times” being harder the older you get, but most polite people adapt to new terms. I do understand the instinct as at my age I initially bristled at some of the new polite transgender nomenclature, but I would be happy to learn to use the preferred pronoun with a coworker/neighbor/store clerk even if I find some of it a bit confusing or even silly.

    FWIW, I also don’t think Obama looks like he’s aged significantly more than 8 years. I think he looks pretty good for his age actually. I certainly have aged quite a bit since 2008, and it shows in photos.

  82. NOB – I agree with you that people mocking political correctness are really just being rude. How hard is it to be respectful to others and use the names/terminology they prefer. People get annoyed if you call them by the wrong name. For instance, I know someone is bothered when after introducing themselves as Michael the person calls them Mike.

    It seems that the default mindset here is that we expect everyone to know calculus, but we can’t expect them to know the correct name to use.

  83. ” if you call someone by a name that you know they don’t like, that’s not edgy political incorrectness, that’s just plain rude. ”

    OTOH, I think reactions to people who haven’t kept up with the nomenclature and use terms formerly considered inoffensive is also often rude. And then all of this taking of offense gets in the way of substantive dialog.

    Mean-spiritedness is one thing; not keeping up with nomenclature, especially if it’s not something you normally experience, is another.

    It seems like there is a certain group of people waiting for others to trip up so they can jump all over them.

  84. Finn – I agree with you that getting angry with someone that doesn’t know the correct nomenclature is wrong. But going back to NOB’s statement, “if you call someone by a name that you KNOW they don’t like” I think the emphasis is on the knowing. Do you know that the person prefers to be called Michael but you insist on calling him Mike? That’s rude. If you don’t know and you are trying to be friendly, then that can be annoying but excusable.

    I remember being in college when a friend called me out for saying retarded in a derogatory way. I never realized it was offensive before then. I listened to what she had to say and never said it again. I was glad she brought it to my attention as I don’t wish to cause anyone harm by unintentionally being offensive.

  85. “It seems that the default mindset here is that we expect everyone to know calculus, but we can’t expect them to know the correct name to use.”

    Calculus, and least basic differential and integral calculus, hasn’t really changed since the 1600s, and is pretty much the same all over the world.

    How many of you here were surprised when I mentioned that some people might take offense to the use of the term flip-flops, or to the use of “Hawaiian” to refer to people not of Native Hawaiian ancestry?

    Similarly, there aren’t many African-Americans around here, whether dark-skinned or Egyptian or Charlize Theron, and many here who don’t go onto military bases could go long periods without encountering one.

    It takes effort to keep up with the latest PC references to people with whom we don’t regularly interact.

  86. Disparaging political correctness is used as a tool by the racists, misogynists and deplorables. They want us to stop complaining when they use crude language while showing off their own racism.
    The same people who usually complain about political correctness are the same ones who use foul language when describing the Obamas for example. Oh but dare we call them rednecks or trailer trash. the same goes for racists of other stripes or colors.

  87. “How many of you here were surprised when I mentioned that some people might take offense to the use of the term flip-flops, or to the use of “Hawaiian” to refer to people not of Native Hawaiian ancestry?”

    True. And I appreciate the knowledge that you shared. I think the difference is the reaction to being clued in. My reaction is “Wow, that’s interesting, thanks for letting me know.” and then filing it in my memory banks. Not “Oh man not another thing that might make people I don’t care about upset. This is all just too hard to keep up with so I’m going to keep calling you whatever I damn well please.” Followed by a massive eye roll and joking about it months later. If I were a typical Facebook commenter, I would throw in the word “butthurt” and probably some f-bombs.

    Again, my stance is that the effort is worthwhile in most instances.

  88. Scarlett — How do you define “political correctness,” and what do you find distasteful about it? These are genuine questions. In my mind, “political correctness” is actually the act of making an effort to talk about people or groups of people in a way that won’t be offensive to the people about whom you’re speaking. And to me, trying not to cause offense to people is basic good manners. And basic good manners are worth praising — not disparaging. Do you hear something different when you hear the term “political correctness?”

  89. Maybe I’m equating being “politically correct” with being “diplomatic.” Which again, I think is a good thing. I really don’t think that being “in-your-face” is generally the best way for people to interact with each other. I do realize that people have different personalities, though, and some might be much more comfortable with a confrontational approach to inter-personal relationships than I am.

  90. My perception is that sometimes people take advantage of “political correctness” and use it to keep certain avenues of dialog off-limits, or that “political correctness” distracts from substantive dialog.

  91. I remember having a conversation about this with my African American engineering professor. Students worried about their elderly Iowa relatives using improper terminology when they met him. I admitted to him that my grandparents (in their 80’s) had learned that I had an African American professor, and their response was, “We contributed to the United Negro College Fund and NAACP back in the ’40’s and ’50’s. We’re glad to hear colored people are doing so well,” when “colored” was out-of-date by at least 30 years as proper terminology. His response was essentially that anyone contributing to those organizations in the 1940’s and 1950’s had a pass for life- he understood that students were in an awkward position with whether to correct their elderly relatives.

  92. My feelings….
    When we say the term Asian American we are putting too much emphasis on the first identifier. This makes the belonging to a subgroup feel more important than belonging to the country. This ties into the question of “where are you from” even for people who have been here for generations. When can they just be Americans ?

  93. NoB,
    To take the most dangerous example, political correctness prevents many in the mainstream media, university, and political world from observing that Islam in general and the Quran/hadith in particular are replete with misogynist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic teachings. At the same time, these same groups feel free to disparage evangelicals and Catholics for their supposed backward and anti-woman beliefs, as we saw most recently in the Wikileaks from Podesta’s email. The liberal Muslim journalist who wrote the WaPo piece about her support of Trump cited the reluctance of Obama and Clinton to face the reality of Islamic jihad as a reason for her abandonment of the Democratic party in this election.

    “Finally, as a liberal Muslim who has experienced, first-hand, Islamic extremism in this world, I have been opposed to the decision by President Obama and the Democratic Party to tap dance around the “Islam” in Islamic State. Of course, Trump’s rhetoric has been far more than indelicate and folks can have policy differences with his recommendations, but, to me, it has been exaggerated and demonized by the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, their media channels, such as Al Jazeera, and their proxies in the West, in a convenient distraction from the issue that most worries me as a human being on this earth: extremist Islam of the kind that has spilled blood from the hallways of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai to the dance floor of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2016/11/10/im-a-muslim-a-woman-and-an-immigrant-i-voted-for-trump/?utm_term=.d92a1fb8df7f

    Another example is the effort on many campuses to insist that members of the university community disregard standard English pronouns in favor of made-up words that obscure gender.

    “She, her, hers and he, him, his are the most commonly used pronouns. Some people call these “female/feminine” and “male/masculine” pronouns, but many avoid these labels because, for example, not everyone who uses he feels like a “male” or “masculine.”

    There are also lots of gender-neutral pronouns in use. Here are a few you might hear:

    They, them, theirs (Xena ate their food because they were hungry.) This is a pretty common gender-neutral pronoun…. And yes, it can in fact be used in the singular.
    Ze, hir (Xena ate hir food because ze was hungry.) Ze is pronounced like “zee” can also be spelled zie or xe, and replaces she/he/they. Hir is pronounced like “here” and replaces her/hers/him/his/they/theirs.
    Just my name please! (Xena ate Xena’s food because Xena was hungry) Some people prefer not to use pronouns at all, using their name as a pronoun instead.
    Never, ever refer to a person as “it” or “he-she” (unless they specifically ask you to.) These are offensive slurs used against trans and gender non-conforming individuals.”

    https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/

  94. Can I ask a serious, but non-politically correct question? How is transgender identity not body dismorphia (or believing something about your body that is not true)? For anorexics who believe themselves fat when they clearly are not, we treat it as a mental disorder. Fundamentally, how is this different for transgendered people? Perhaps I don’t understand body dismorphia (not even sure that’s spelled right).

    And why is the transgendered population so closely associated with the gay population and movement? It seems to me to be entirely 2 different issues.

  95. “Xena ate their food because they were hungry.”

    Isn’t that a perfectly fine English sentence? OK, the grammar is fine, but the logic is questionable. Perhaps their hunger is sated by Xena eating their food?

    Kinda like: “I ate Joe’s food because Joe was hungry.” That makes sense if Joe’s hunger is sated when I eat his food. Maybe there’s a transfer from my gut to Joe’s.

    Or maybe Xena is plural?

    I don’t like the use of plural pronouns as singular. It’s confusing and distracting.

  96. Lark, I wonder how many transgenders are so because of misidentification or genital mutilation at birth. Others may not fit neatly into M/F models, e.g., XXY. IOW, I’m thinking many of them become trans because they were initially mischaracterized.

    “And why is the transgendered population so closely associated with the gay population and movement? It seems to me to be entirely 2 different issues.”

    Strength in numbers?

    But I’m guessing there’s a lot of confusion there too. Say a girl is misidentified at birth as a boy, goes through childhood as a boy, but is attracted to boys, and thus thinks she’s gay until she figures out she’s really a straight female. In the meantime, she becomes very familiar and sympathetic and empatheric with the issues facing gay guys. So this straight girls is also considered trans by some, and also identifies with gays.

  97. Sorry, tried to link the msnbc interview with Dershowitz but it kept crashing.

    Lark, on the transgender issue, this article is interesting. http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120

    “We at Johns Hopkins University—which in the 1960s was the first American medical center to venture into “sex-reassignment surgery”—launched a study in the 1970s comparing the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as “satisfied” by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery. And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a “satisfied” but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.

    It now appears that our long-ago decision was a wise one. A 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden produced the most illuminating results yet regarding the transgendered, evidence that should give advocates pause. The long-term study—up to 30 years—followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery. The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable nontransgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription.”

    My limited exposure to the transgendered world suggests a considerable overlap in the homosexual/transgender populations.

  98. “My limited exposure to the transgendered world suggests a considerable overlap in the homosexual/transgender populations.”

    Makes sense to me.

    Child assigned at birth as male reaches puberty, realizes attraction to males. Not sure why, and quite likely not sure who to turn to for clarity. One possible answer is being gay; another is living as the wrong gender (misassigned at birth). Perhaps a combination. Experimentation with both possibilities leads to overlap, and also could lead to confusion between the two possibilities not just for that person, but for others around him or her.

    Yeah, we need a singular non-gender-specific pronoun.

  99. First, the reason that it is not “body dysmorphia” is that the term implies an illness or a disease. The reason that this feels so politically incorrect to ask, is that it appears you are calling transgendered people out for being wrong/diseased/mentally ill. Certainly the prevailing attitude less than a generation ago was that this was an illness and should not be encouraged/endorsed/celebrated.

    Interestingly, other cultures historically have some level of tolerance for transgendered people. From wikipedia, “The Khmer language recognises male (“pros”) and female (“srey”) as the dominant genders, but also includes term kteuy (equivalent to the Thai “kathoey”) for a third gender intermediate between the other two: it describes a person who has the external physical characteristics of either pros or srey but behaves in a manner appropriate to the other.”

    Second, to better understand this, I think you should separate out the ideas of sex and gender. Sex is all about equipment and plumbing, gender is all about the masculine/feminine role that one assumes in the culture. So, to become transexual (not a favored term) you require hormones and surgery. Changing sex would change your body. One could even call it a solution for body dysmorphic disorder.

    However, the movement (as I see it) is all about the cultural role that a person has – regardless of parts/plumbing. In the last decade, there has been a shift away from surgical treatment for transgendered people – I think less trans people believe their sex needs to match their gender. Also, the rise of the term “trans” – simply meaning incongruent, whether that is genitals or gender role.

    If you believe that the physical body you are born with by definition matches the gender you have been assigned, then any difficulty with either of those aspects is pathologic. However, the current LGBTQI (+/- some other letters) – holds that they can be independent and can match (cis-gendered) or not (trans-gendered).

  100. From the GLAAD website:

    “Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate. “

  101. “In the last decade, there has been a shift away from surgical treatment for transgendered people – I think less trans people believe their sex needs to match their gender.”

    Well, until the government and insurance companies started paying for it.

    “Demand is high, say doctors. Boston Medical Center, which opened its Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery this year, began performing vaginoplasty, which creates a vagina, earlier in September. It currently has 200 people on a waiting list for the procedure, says Joshua Safer, the transgender center’s director.

    “There’s much greater buy-in [for transgender surgeries] in the conventional medical community than there ever was before,” says Dr. Safer.

    In 2014, the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began to allow coverage of transgender-related surgery. Currently, Medicaid programs in 12 states and the District of Columbia cover transition-related care, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, in Washington, D.C. Many commercial insurers also have begun covering such procedures.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/with-insurers-on-board-more-hospitals-offer-transgender-surgery-1474907475

  102. the Quran/hadith in particular are replete with misogynist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic teachings.

    And so is the Bible.

  103. There may be buy-in from the medical centers, and there may be waiting lists of patients who would prefer to have procedures done at Boston Medical Center rather than the more traditional option – a Mexican or Thai clinic. However, that does not prove that there is an increase in the percentage of people being treated surgically for “gender reassignment”.

    In my experience, younger people are not interested in pursuing surgical avenues for treatment. My experience is limited; I see a transgendered individual about 1-2 x per month. For my friends who have made that central to their practices, they report less surgery in the younger cohort. The reality of cutting off organs that provide sexual pleasure is not to be taken lightly (insurance coverage or no).

  104. “The reality of cutting off organs that provide sexual pleasure is not to be taken lightly”

    Just one datum, but from what I’ve seen of her reality show, Caitlyn Jenner did not want to part with her male genitalia.

    Total guess on my part, but perhaps convenience in the bathroom may be a factor.

  105. “When we say the term Asian American we are putting too much emphasis on the first identifier.”

    I agree.

    Growing up here, the “American” part was usually assumed, so references to “nationality” (the term we used BITD) were to ancestry, e.g., someone whose ancestors are from the Philippines was typically referred to as Filipino, someone whose ancestry is Chinese was referred to as Chinese, etc. Separately, those who were immigrants were identified as such (often with non-PC terms).

    Beyond that, the commonly used acronym AJA, for Americans of Japanese Ancestry, which I believe was born out of their WWII experiences, is preferred by many in that group. To Louise’s point, the emphasis is on American.

  106. Language evolves. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There are plenty of words that seemed totally wacky at one time that today are accepted without question.

    I’m old enough to remember when “Ms.” was a new thing. When I was a child, a woman was either “Miss” or “Mrs.” There were many people who railed vehemently against the movement to introduce “Ms.” into the lexicon, but today, the vast majority of people take it for granted that “Ms.” is a perfectly fine honorific.

    I’m also fine with the idea that the list of “standard English pronouns” might evolve over time. It happens. We don’t use “thee” and “thou” anymore.

  107. “My perception is that sometimes people take advantage of “political correctness” and use it to keep certain avenues of dialog off-limits, or that “political correctness” distracts from substantive dialog.”

    This is true. To focus only on the nomenclature issue — “What’s wrong with using the terms that people prefer??” — is naively missing the point.

    The morning after the election, delirious with excitement, I flipped to MSNBC to enjoy the freak-out. They had sent a reporter to some diner in Real America to get voters’ reactions over breakfast. The reporter found a generic white-haired 60-something white male to ask him his thoughts on President-elect Trump. The guy responded with a few very measured and moderate thoughts, sharing equally his skepticism and criticisms of both candidates, but in talking about illegal immigration, he used the term “illegal immigrants,” and he went on for about 30 more seconds.

    When they switched back to the newsroom, the two anchors said “We just want to apologize to our viewers who may have been offended by that man’s interview, when he used the term ‘illegal immigrants’.” And they looked at each other and sort of nodded in uncertain agreement.

    “Obviously, that’s NOT the vernacular we use. Right?”

    “Right. The term is ‘undocumented immigrants.'”

    And I thought how this perfectly encapsulates the whole PC issue in the election that just concluded. These women couldn’t even see how they’d become blathering caricatures of themselves.

    But back to Finn’s point, it’s an example of using political correctness to completely dismiss and delegitimize a viewpoint with which you disagree.

    Furthermore, this specific nomenclature issue is an example where the “preferred term” is a euphemistic misnomer. The term “undocumented” implies that the issue is merely an administrative one, not that the person is here illegally, in violation of federal law. It’s kind of the difference between me driving with an expired license in my wallet, and my nine-year-old driving.

    Political correctness demands that you speak in misleading euphemisms, or else your viewpoint is automatically dismissed because you’re a hopeless bigot. This is why when people say (prematurely, and overly optimistically, imo) that political correctness is dead, many of us say “good riddance.” And when that horrifies MSNBC news anchors and Paul Krugman, and when it makes liberal college students run to their therapy dogs, Play-Doh, and coloring books, I say all the better.

  108. Scarlett, http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/cruelty/long.html

    We can argue about what’s in the Bible or Quran all day. The bottom line is there are millions of Muslims in the U.S. and around the world who are peaceful and not trying to kill anyone in the name of their religion. If killing nonbelievers is such a big tenet of Islam, then why aren’t the vast majority of Muslims doing it?

    You can call it “political correctness” to not condemn an entire group of people because of the actions of a small minority of the members. I call it common decency.

  109. Scarlett, I believe that conflating your concerns about Islam and your concerns about college students being themselves and annoying us old people undermines your point. Seriously, people, remember when we were kids in the 70s and everyone was like, “We can’t say ‘garbage man’ anymore? We have to say ‘garbage man or woman’? That’s bullshit.” But people say “garbage collector”, “congressional rep”, and lots of other gender-neutral terms without fussing now. (Okay, Milo and Scarlett, YOU both say “garbage man”, but whatever). You guys just don’t remember the screaming about it back in the day. Now it’s no big deal.

    I have concerns about Islamic treatment of women. I have greater concerns about Mike “miscarriages have to have a funeral” “I’m a Christian first, a Conservative second, and a Republican third (and an American not at all, apparently)” Pence because he’s the fucking vice president and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi isn’t.

  110. When I had my first contact with the Immigration and Naturalization service I was called “Alien”. I thought that was a weird term to use. It does however mean “belonging to s foreign country or nation”. So, technically it was a correct term.
    I am not sure what term is being used these days but there were changes after Homeland Security took over.

  111. “Do you find this of concern?”

    A little. But that’s part of the excitement of getting someone new, fresh, and irreverent. So the British PM got her phone call only after the Israeli PM? Horrors!

    DW and her insanely ambitious vacation schedule prohibited me from keeping up with every development, but I was amused to read one article from my mom reporting tumors that Trump doesn’t want to live in the White House full time. He prefers the tower penthouse. I’m thinking that they are going to need to close the entire block around it to vehicles (including Central Park West, right? If I have my location correct.)

    Whenever we elect someone new to the Presidency, I always feel this awe about the sudden transition from citizen to President. I felt that way about Obama, too, in 2008. 18 months earlier, he was sleeping in Hampton Inns in Iowa, waking in the frigid pre-dawn hours hoping that more than a few dozen people might be interested in hearing him.

  112. Milo – from what I have read, the White House staff is very efficient at transitioning incoming Presidents of varying backgrounds.
    They can probably make the private quarters look like the Trump penthouse.

  113. So the British PM got her phone call only after the Israeli PM? Horrors!

    History says these things are important. It seems unwise to throw out decades of precedent, especially when you apparently don’t know how your actions will be perceived by both our enemies and our allies.

  114. DD,

    Christians are not killing people on a DAILY basis and justifying those killings by verses in the New Testament explicitly supporting their actions. But although Islamic jihadists slay the idolators all over the world, every single day, making it *crystal clear* that they are motivated by the teachings in the Quran, we are not allowed even to suggest that there are serious problems in Islam lest we be accused of Islamophobia.

    That is an example of political correctness.

  115. “It seems unwise to throw out decades of precedent”

    I don’t see any conscious decision to throw it out. Just some disorganization right now.

  116. I think the NY Times, Washington Post and the media in general are going to breathlessly capture every bump in the road of the Trump presidency.

    I saw this headline this morning on CNBC – “Panic in housing market as Trump effect pushes mortgage rates up to 4%”. It’s all about how rates of 4% will spell doom to the housing market, people rushing to lock in their lower rates, blah, blah, blah and this may push home prices down but before the election there were countless articles about how people were unable to buy houses because they were being priced out of the market.

  117. Scarlett,

    In order to fight Isis and Islamic terrorism in general, we need the help of Muslim counties, their intelligence services, militaries, etc. If we use the term you prefer that is repellent to our allies and makes them far less likely to help us. Would you prefer we use your term if it puts us in ever greater danger?

  118. “but before the election there were countless articles about how people were unable to buy houses because they were being priced out of the market.”

    Have we gotten an investment update from Fred?

  119. I don’t see any conscious decision to throw it out. Just some disorganization right now.

    Which is even worse.

    Also interesting that Christy was purged in no small part because he was the one who put Trump’s son-in-law (and chief adviser) Jared’s father in jail.

  120. RMS,

    On the contrary, I was very careful with my sons to refer to mail carriers and firefighters instead of mailmen and firemen. But I have yet to see a female trash collector (not that they don’t exist) and didn’t object to references to the trash guys. (Who were heroes up there with the mail carriers and firefighters. We had several videotapes about garbage day.)

    I disagreed with Pence’s misguided law on fetal remains. I disagree with most of my fellow pro-life advocates on most legislative efforts to end abortion, and I don’t really care whether Trump is actually pro-life as some of my Catholic friends seem to believe. He’s not an ideologue on that or probably any issue, but Clinton is, I am thrilled that she is not going to be our first female president.

  121. No, it’s not worse. And he’s not even President yet. Cut him some slack, or I’ll have to Google up those reports of Obama presenting, as an official gift to the queen of England, some DVDs about himself.

  122. Milo,

    Now that you’re back I’d like to hear you thoughts on where this is going to go over the next four years.

    Personally, I’m on board with WCE’s “only Nixon could go to china” theory that Trump will be able to push through reforms that a typical Republican would never and a Democrat could never push through.

  123. Cut him some slack, or I’ll have to Google up those reports of Obama presenting, as an official gift to the queen of England, some DVDs about himself.

    One is not like the other.

  124. Rhett,

    The Islamic jihadists don’t care what we call them or think of them. Dancing around the term “Islamic jihadist” hasn’t actually made us safer, has it? Besides, “we” can’t solve the problems in Islam at all. That is up to Muslims, and we should be supporting the extremely courageous Muslim voices who dare to challenge their fellow believers to reform, instead of listening to the apologists running CAIR and similar organizations who cry “Islamophobe!” every time one of these individuals speaks out. But, again, a frank discussion of these topics is impossible if we are afraid to face the facts and use accurate terminology. The Orlando massacre was a perfect example of media and political reluctance to recognize reality, instead insisting that the killer was a closeted gay who was inspired by the repressive atmosphere in Florida.

  125. “I think the NY Times, Washington Post and the media in general are going to breathlessly capture every bump in the road of the Trump presidency.”

    Rhett, I believe you linked that NYT article yesterday and I wonder if you have any doubts about the NYT’s distortion in exaggerating how terrible things are in the Trump transition team.  After all, the NYT has told us that a Trump presidency is so horrible that they reserve the right to relinquish their usual “objective” reporting.  Althouse has a series of posts where she tries to break down NYT articles to get to the unbiased news. Here’s her take on your linked article.

    Trump chaos… as told by the NYT.

    I don’t trust the NYT to tell the story straight, so I’m picking my way “Trump Staff Shake-Up Slows Transition to Near Halt” looking for bits of real news and cherry picking evidence of bias:

    So… Rogers left and they’re finishing that legal document. But: disarray, chaos, turmoil

    I’m utterly jaded by the emotive prose from the NYT.

  126. “I’d like to hear you thoughts on where this is going to go over the next four years. ”

    I really have no idea. I have a long FB history of failed 2016 election predictions. (I know exactly ONE guy, at work, who in the summer of 2015 said unequivocally that Trump was going to be President. He also sent me the same video a few days ago that CoC posted at the top of this thread. I told him he was crazy, and all along, he just kept saying “He’ll pull it off.”)

  127. Dancing around the term “Islamic jihadist” hasn’t actually made us safer, has it.

    It certainly has as we have the assistance of Muslim countries in our efforts. There is little evidence that intentionally alienating our Muslim allies is going to make us safer.

  128. “Also interesting that Christy was purged in no small part because he was the one who put Trump’s son-in-law (and chief adviser) Jared’s father in jail.”

    I think this indicates Trump is a take no prisoners political animal, if we didn’t already know this. I just heard some horrendous details about the trial, and yet the team was willing to put up with Christie up until he was useful in getting Trump elected.

  129. Agree with CoC about NYT. I used to roll my eyes at the bumper stickers that read “I don’t trust the mainstream media.”

    No more. Wikileaks has proven that the paranoid were correct.

  130. Rhett, I believe you linked that NYT article yesterday and I wonder if you have any doubts about the NYT’s distortion in exaggerating how terrible things are in the Trump transition team.

    They purged the head of the transition team and his supporters. That leads me to believe things aren’t all that well organized.

  131. I think Trump personifies the caricature of the bumbling American, especially with regard to our overseas allies (not being politically correct here). So, there is a lot of unease of how it is all going to work out.
    Hilary Clinton was Secretary of State which made her a very familiar face to leaders across the globe.

  132. “They purged the head of the transition team and his supporters.”

    I’m going to channel Jeb “Do your job, Marco” Bush a little here and ask WTH the sitting governor of New Jersey should be heading the president-elect’s transition team in the first place? Doesn’t he still have a state to run? It’s just as well to get Christie out of the picture so that Bridgegate doesn’t feed into any sense of scandal with a new administration. It makes perfect sense that the new vice president should lead this.

  133. “Then why, specifically, are you so excited about it?”

    1) Because I was depressed anticipating a Hillary administration.
    2) I love the gigantic EFF YOU to the liberal/media/PC/elite Establishment.
    3) I love Trump’s irreverence for the whole system and process, in attitude, demeanor, and the way he won the biggest political upset we’ll see in our lifetimes (not so much from the eve of election day, because he had a 1/3 chance at that point, but from when he descended the escalator last summer).

  134. WTH the sitting governor of New Jersey should be heading the president-elect’s transition team in the first place?

    That’s a question for the President-Elect. It must strike you as odd to both have the sitting governor of NJ as head of the team and to purge him and his team so soon after the election.

  135. “Don’t you see danger in that?”

    Not really. I think you want to see everything in terms of 1914, and you see Trump as a potential catalyst, of which he has some characteristics. But the bigger, underlying factors aren’t there.

  136. Have we gotten an investment update from Fred?
    I was back in by Wednesday, so I missed the Tuesday rally and part of Wednesday’s. So ~25% of our portfolio missed out on a maximum 1.45% move in the S&P between the time I sold on Monday and got back in on Wednesday. Invested in the same asset mix as I had when I moved to cash.
    Our portfolio is too heavily weighted toward financials which obviously did well in the post election euphoria; I didn’t move out of those holdings.
    I am glad I did what I did, since if I had gone to bed when the Dow futures were down 750 (~4%) in the wee hours of November 9th, I would not have been able to sleep.

  137. I think you want to see everything in terms of 1914,

    More like September 15, 2008. That’s the scariest thing that’s happened in my life.

  138. Rhett,

    In October alone, there were more than 250 Islamid jihadist attacks, killing more than 2400 people and injuring another 3000. In 29 countries. https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ And that doesn’t include the attempted attacks, including some in our country, that were thwarted by law enforcement or prevented by ineptitude. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/isis-suspects/

    Having a hard time seeing that “we” are safer. Islamic jihad is an existential threat to Western society, and at least Trump is willing to talk about it, even if he hasn’t disclosed his secret plans.

  139. Oh I am just gonna sit back and relax and watch Trump mess up big time! If he is successful, good for everyone, but I have a feeling about this.

    Rhett, I have to agree with Scarlett on this one. The only good point about Trump administration is that I hope we do not go meddling in other countries affairs and wont need any “help” from muslim countries. You know that these same countries are the ones who started the issues in the first place? And after pretending to help us, they turn around and help the other side.

    Purportedly the attacks are because we seem to be interfering in their affairs in the first place.

  140. Rhett, I have to agree with Scarlett on this one.

    I don’t know that you do. Scarlett can clarify, but I believe her idea is that we need to convince Muslims that either their religion is wrong or their understanding of their religion is wrong.

  141. Purportedly the attacks are because we seem to be interfering in their affairs in the first place.

    That I agree with. Now that we are energy independent I don’t see why we need to be involved there at all.

  142. And yet, I’m told by Trump voters I know that one of their reasons for supporting Trump was because they support a strong military and were unhappy with Obama being a wuss (their words). Since I view Hillary as a hawk, and Trump as an isolationist, this makes no sense to me (leaving aside my suspicions of misogyny).

  143. And yet, I’m told by Trump voters I know that one of their reasons for supporting Trump was because they support a strong military

    I also don’t understand that. If he’s going to get Japan, South Korea, Germany, etc. to pay more then doesn’t that sort of imply we need to pay less? Why would we pay to be able to defend Germany and Japan if they are able to defend themselves?

  144. “because they support a strong military and were unhappy with Obama being a wuss ”

    That’s more cultural/personality vs. budget/interventionist.

  145. cultural/personality vs. budget/interventionist.

    Can you expand on that. They want the talk but not the action…or?

  146. Other Trump supporters I know are angry Obama deported 2 million, but are also angry about how unsafe they feel these days because of so many “bad” immigrants are coming to the U.S.

    Call me crazy, but that seems inconsistent, no?

  147. Rhett – Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a critic of Obama’s foreign policy or his handling of the military. I think that when Kerri’s relatives or HS friends call him a wuss militarily, they’re just lumping him together with the old stereotypical liberal peacenik of the 1960s. The perception is that his values and their values are not aligned. It’s mostly just signaling. But it certainly affects how people vote, which is why that polling question that asks which candidate better understands people like you is so important.

  148. Kerri – The WP link that Atlanta provided is fascinating:

    Nick Flores

    39 years old • Sacramento, CA

    I voted for Donald Trump because he will deport illegal immigrants more than Clinton. As a legal immigrant who had to wait 13 years for an immigration visa approval and pass two health screens and an English language proficiency exam prior to entering the United States, I consider it an insult to to cater to criminals who disobeyed immigration laws and cut in front of all law-abiding immigration applicants waiting patiently to be approved. I have never received any government assistance, nor is it my goal to do so. My dignity disallows such a thought. To witness some illegal immigrants gaming the welfare system boils my blood.

  149. Milo – my pro-military Trump supporter is 20 years old.

    The other Trump supporter is a recent immigrant to the U.S., so maybe has similar views to Nick Flores, but was talking about “violent” criminals and how they could no longer keep their doors open at night because they don’t feel safe.

  150. “my pro-military Trump supporter is 20 years old”

    Yeah, doesn’t matter. It’s the same dynamic. Obama’s a skinny, kale-eating egghead who took a really long time, and probably a few focus groups, before he finally relented in 2008 and started wearing a flag pin on his jacket lapel. He went on apology tours around the world and doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. Long before Trump became infamous for his ill-advised 3am Tweets, Obama was eager to show everyone how cool he is by Tweeting to a teenage punk/wannabe terrorist that his fake bomb was “cool” and he should bring it to the White House, an obvious dig at the inept cops who arrested him.

    These are the signals. Some are unfair characterizations, and others are aspects that he or his handlers or party have specifically cultivated.

  151. I know many legal immigrants but I know some people who entered on a tourist visa and overstayed. They somehow managed to get on and found a way to stay on. Now, these are educated people, though not highly skilled so they were very aware of what the legal process is and how to get around it.

  152. Milo,

    Interesting point. Did you ever see the Gordon Brown hot mic video?

    I wonder is the elite on the right and left get out of touch because having to spend time with the public, they are quickly overwhelmed by how what the public wants makes no sense – logically, economically, etc.

  153. Milo – and Clinton is just like Obama with respect to the military? I’m not fully getting it. Maybe it is more personality – Hillary is a woman, screwed up Bengazi, we hate her anyway, liberals are weak on military, Trump is a man’s man – that seems to be the thinking.

  154. “and Clinton is just like Obama with respect to the military?”

    I think that if she had decided to take her campaign a different direction, maybe hired on Jim Webb after he bowed out of the primaries instead of people like Robby Mook, Hillary could very easily have branded herself as One Tough Bitch. It wouldn’t have taken very much, either. Don’t forget that in 2008, she made herself into Annie Oakley, as Obama called her, drinking beer and bowling and wistfully remembering how her dad or grandpa or someone taught her how to fire a shotgun.

    That was all calculated to contrast with Obama’s Otherness, of which Trump has correctly reminded everyone.

    But instead, she decided to put all her chips in with the grievance groups, even to an extent that worried Bill Clinton.

  155. she decided to put all her chips in with the grievance groups

    Isn’t that Trump’s strategy? She just targeted the wrong grievance groups.

  156. Working-class whites aren’t a grievance group because they don’t have any sort of protected status, either officially or in terms of cultural/PC rules.

    The only slight exception to this is the military, because they often act and are recognized as a grievance group.

  157. Working-class whites aren’t a grievance group because they don’t have any sort of protected status,

    They do now. Trump’s trade policy is all about treating them as a protected class.

  158. His proposals are not racially specific.

    But to otherwise help your point, it’s been entertaining and a little surprising just how quickly and aggressively the op-eds from the liberal elite have been to castigate and disparage themselves. Not from Krugman or Blow, of course, but read “Confession of Liberal Intolerance ” in NYT. I think it was Kristoff.

  159. Milo,

    I don’t know if you saw my George Will quote above:

    What are we saying if we say we are against free trade? Protectionism is comprehensive government intervention in economic life. It supplants commercial calculations with political considerations. Using tariffs, which are taxes imposed at the border, government imposes its judgment of what Americans should be permitted to purchase, in what quantities and at what prices. If conservatism can embrace such statism, can it distinguish itself from progressivism — the doctrine that government experts are wiser than markets in determining individuals’ choices and directing the efficient use of labor and capital?

    Trump’s saying that working class whites are being harmed by free trade so it’s incumbent on the government to protect them.

  160. how quickly and aggressively the op-eds from the liberal elite have been to castigate and disparage themselves.

    That seems healthy. Better that than to double down if you think you’re wrong about something.

  161. Something that disturbed me a bit happened today – a friend of mine, who is local to my town and pretty well known to parents here due to her position, posted a link to a petition to abolish the electoral college. Fine, she is very progressive in her politics so that is not a surprise. But, she was also born in Taiwan and has a Chinese last name. She is a US citizen and was very upfront about who she voted for in the election. Anyway, she was immediately attacked in the comments section with a comment questioning her citizenship and loyalty to the US. And the worst part – the commenter was another local person who I know, and who most of the parents in town know. I can’t even believe this woman would have said something like that. I always thought she was a nice person. My friend was very polite, and pointed out that she is very proud to be a US citizen. I just couldn’t even believe that the commenter would have said something like that. This wasn’t an anonymous person from far away. I am sure they both know each other IRL. I feel kind of upset about this – it is too personal and close.

  162. “I believe her idea is that we need to convince Muslims that either their religion is wrong or their understanding of their religion is wrong.”

    Definitely not the latter. That is what far too many western liberal elites are doing now when they claim that Islam is a religion of peace that has been “hijacked” by extremists. IMO, the only option is the Muslim reformation proposed by, among others, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-reformation-for-islam-1426859626
    Continuing to pretend that jihad attacks are carried out by disgruntled young men who just happen to be Muslim and have nothing whatsoever to do with the fundamental texts of Islam is not moving the ball forward at all.

  163. And demonizing an entire religion for the actions of a very small minority does nothing to help things either.

    If Islam itself promotes such violence as a fundamental tenet, than why are there millions and millions of Muslims around the world who do not carry out these acts and are directly opposed to them? Either they fundamentally misunderstand their own religion, or maybe the idea that the violence is being pushed by a small group of extremists is actually true.

  164. “…before he finally relented in 2008 and started wearing a flag pin on his jacket lapel.”

    Can I just say that I’ve had it with the flag lapel pins? I love our country, and I love our flag, but enough with this notion that you’re not patriotic if you don’t wear a flag lapel pin.

    And just so everyone knows that I’m not only against conservatives’ displays of conspicuous caring (to borrow Rhett’s term), I also can’t stand all of the stuff that liberals pin on themselves purportedly to show that they care about something. All the way from the red AIDS ribbons of long ago, to the safety pins of today, I find it all so annoying. Please make it stop!

    Yes, I’m an old grouch.

  165. DD, at the risk of beating a mortally wounded horse, the Quran repeatedly and explicitly exhorts believers to enslave, subjugate and ultimately slay the infidels. And Islam teaches that the Quran is the sacred and unchangeable word of Allah by his last and greatest prophet. That most Muslims do not act on these teachings is irrelevant. Significant percentages of Muslims worldwide support the full implementation of Sharia law, and surprising numbers agree that violence in the name of Islam can at least sometimes be justified. Check out the Pew Research polls.

  166. NoB – I agree with you on the flag and other pins. I haven’t even noticed, though…are they still wearing them?

  167. It’s not “demonizing” a religion to observe that some of the teachings contained in its foundational text are anti-Semitic, misogynist, intolerant of other religions, and homophobic.

  168. Scarlett,

    I’m trying to understand how using words that instantly turn off Muslims and basically end the conversation is the best way to get them to see the error of their ways.

  169. “using political correctness to completely dismiss and delegitimize a viewpoint with which you disagree”

    Seems like a form of Ad Hominem attack, something one of Mooshi’s acquaintances engages in.

  170. “You can call it “political correctness” to not condemn an entire group of people because of the actions of a small minority of the members. I call it common decency.”

    Extrapolating the actions of a small minority of a group to all members is stereotyping. I call not doing that not stereotyping.

  171. @Mooshi – your friend has taken on a hot button petition. So, the comments even from people she knows are probably not going to be polite. She must vigorously state that she is a US citizen and prepare to defend her position.

    Like, I told my kids….you have Freedom of Speech but not everyone is going to like what you say. With that said I must start reading the law series that RMS recommended.

  172. Louise, if the commenter had argued with her on the topic, even heatedly, that wouldn’t have upset me. But she didn’t do that. She just stated categorically that the poster should be discounted because she wasn’t a real citizen (I don’t want to get into the specifics of exactly what she said). And again, I know both of these people – both are well loved people who work with kids in our town – and I am sure they must be at least acquainted with each other. It was ugliness from someone that I would not have expected to be like that.
    My friend did respond very politely that she is a proud US citizen. She didn’t argue back because the commenter had no real argument, just a “don’t listen to her, she isn’t really a citizen”

  173. “The Democrats and the mainstream media had handpicked their candidate and were manipulating us. They felt entitled to shove Hillary Clinton down our throats. I’m glad they didn’t get away with it.”

    I had other reasons for not wanting Hillary to win, but I empathize with this.

    I’ve mentioned before that Hillary has a history of having things blow up in her face, and this election may be a culmination of that.

  174. “It was ugliness from someone that I would not have expected to be like that.”

    Not to mention fallacious logic.

  175. MM — That response to the petition sounds odd and sad. That woman sounds very angry, and maybe she ignorantly thought the other woman was one our our Japanese residents.

  176. SCARLETT. You know perfectly well that most members of most religions don’t take their central texts literally or even seriously. For example, I really seriously doubt that you are living according to the rules set forth in Acts. No one does. I don’t either, and neither does WCE. We’re supposed to, though. The Mennonites have the pacifism interpretation absolutely correct. Are you a hard-core pacifist? No? Then you’re not taking Jesus seriously.

    You know that line from the Atlantic: “Liberals took Trump literally but not seriously, and Trump’s supporters took him seriously but not literally”? NO ONE lives according to a “literal” (and don’t go there, that word doesn’t even actually mean anything) interpretation of the Bible, or even just the New Testament, and very few Muslims live according to a “literal” interpretation of the Koran.

  177. NoB – It was great. Very busy, though. We did a ton of hiking: about 11 miles a day for three days in Sedona, and one afternoon at the Grand Canyon. Elevation changes were about 700 feet each day in Sedona, then 1200 feet down into the Canyon before we got nervous about running out of water and came back up. The food was really good in Sedona — I could eat the elote appetizer every day happily: http://www.elotecafe.com/
    El Tovar restaurant at GC was good, but not exceptional, imo. It was more of a niceness out of nostalgia and history (and I do appreciate the nostalgia and history of the place), kind of like the fancy restaurants at the Homestead.

    The West is interesting, but whenever I’m there I always have this feeling that it could never feel like home to me. We want to go back, though.

  178. “and one afternoon at the Grand Canyon.”

    We did stay overnight at the Lodge. I just mean that we had only one day of hiking there, because we had to leave yesterday morning to drive back to PHX for our flight home.

  179. “I also don’t understand that. If he’s going to get Japan, South Korea, Germany, etc. to pay more then doesn’t that sort of imply we need to pay less? Why would we pay to be able to defend Germany and Japan if they are able to defend themselves?”

    Some might interpret that as the US maintaining a strong military, but getting the countries that protect to pick up more of the tab. So yes, it does imply we would pay less.

    I thought the idea of us defending Germany and Japan stems from fears of a repeat of WWII (and in the case of Germany, WWI), and not allowing them to be able to defend themselves, or severely limiting their defensive capabilities.

  180. Since the election, I’ve been watching various social media among friends, acquaintances and colleagues with this Ron Burgundy scene in mind. I don’t post it because I refuse to add fuel to the fire but I do think it!

  181. And, for everyone else, if you live in our town for very long, you learn to recognize Japanese last names!!!

  182. @Mooshi – I think everyone needs to be informed (I don’t know if this is taught in schools) about how one can legally become a citizen of the U.S. In addition to this, people must be informed that you simply can’t up and move to another country without the required paperwork.

  183. Milo, I hope you will write a more detailed post when you have more time. The water thing is serious, and it happened to me in Bryce. I was with friends and I was early 20s. The Rangers warned about having enough water for the hikes, but we didn’t know how important this really was until we went on a hike in Bryce. A really nice ranger was able to get us some water, and I definitely learned my lesson.

    I love it out west, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest from the rest of my family to go back any time soon.

  184. RMS,
    I tried to respond with a detailed post, but it got eaten. So I will just say that hundreds of millions of Muslims worldwide, including non-trivial numbers of those living in places like the UK, believe that sharia is divinely-created, would like to live under sharia law, and support such sharia tenets as death for apostates. The Pew Research Center, a decidedly non-right-wing outfit, has surveys on these issues. They do a valiant job of putting a positive spin on the numbers, but the results are chilling.

  185. It’s not “demonizing” a religion to observe that some of the teachings contained in its foundational text are anti-Semitic, misogynist, intolerant of other religions, and homophobic.

    And again, the same things can be found in the Bible. But as you said, we’re beating a very dead horse at this point.

  186. The Democrats and the mainstream media had handpicked their candidate and were manipulating us.

    I’m sick and tired of conservatives complaining about how liberal the “mainstream” media. Fox News had higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC COMBINED for much of the election coverage. How is that not “mainstream”?
    http://www.thewrap.com/cable-ratings-fox-news-beats-cnn-and-msnbc-combined-in-primetime/

    And then there is radio. Aside from anyone on NPR, can anyone even name a national liberal talk show host? Of the top 10 national talk shows, two of the top three are on NPR, but five of the top nine are conservative: Rush Limbauch, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Mark Levin and Michael Savage. And the same holds for local markets – here in Denver, conservative talk shows are all over the air and you’re hard-pressed to find a liberal one, especially during drive times.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most-listened-to_radio_programs

    Yes, the OTA networks have a liberal slant, but their news viewership is much lower than it ever has been. And there are plenty of newspapers with conservative editorial boards.

  187. In addition to this, people must be informed that you simply can’t up and move to another country without the required paperwork.

    Then why do we have such a big problem with illegal immigration? :)

  188. Denver – I was going to say it, but you mostly answered your own question about radio. Around here, the standard news/traffic/weather station is WTOP, and whenever they do a political story, they bring on a journalist from Politico, which is unabashedly liberal.

    The “mainstream media” are the major networks — not cable — and the big-city national newspapers that maintain Washington bureaus. They no longer even try to appear objective.

  189. Milo – I don’t know the history here but in the home country there was always the establishment/government viewpoint newspaper and the others were known for their anti establishment views. Some others were known for their leftist views.
    You had to subscribe to at least two newspapers and judge for yourself

  190. Milo – one party usually got elected but there was always quite a lively opposition to that one party.
    Unlike the US where there are two major parties, in the home country there are multiple regional parties and all of them offer opposition to the government. It is the world’s largest democracy and all that.

  191. What does everyone think about the Medicare issue? My parents are very worried about it, but I am having a hard time figuring out of their worry is warranted.

  192. The comments on radio puzzled me, because I hardly ever tune in. There is no traditional AM/FM radio in the house apart from a few older alarm clocks, and the car is for CDs or digital streaming. So I was surprised to learn that 91% of Americans are still listening. I am clearly an outlier.

    “More than half of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to online radio in the past month,
    according to 2015 survey data from Edison Research – a clear indication that online listening
    continues to move rapidly into the consumer mainstream. And more of that listening is now being
    done through mobile devices than through desktops. Traditional AM/FM radio, meanwhile,
    continues to reach the overwhelming majority of the American public – 91% of Americans ages 12
    and older had listened in the week before they were surveyed in 2014, according to a Pew Research
    Center analysis of Nielsen Media Research data, essentially unchanged from 2013. And Sirius XM
    – the only satellite radio platform in the U.S. – reported a boost in subscriber numbers of almost
    7% from 2013.”

    http://www.journalism.org/files/2015/04/FINAL-STATE-OF-THE-NEWS-MEDIA1.pdf

    DH and I were in the car for 2 hours the day after the election, and that was the first time I had listened to the various talk radio formats on Sirius.

    These sorts of questions are why the tasks in my Bullet Journal are not getting done.

  193. The “mainstream media” are the major networks — not cable — and the big-city national newspapers that maintain Washington bureaus. They no longer even try to appear objective.

    Again, the major network news viewership is down and cable is way up – notably Fox. So if the definition of “mainstream” is by popularity, then Fox News and all the conservative radio hosts are mainstream.

  194. “The whole point is to transfer the expense from Medicare to the seniors themselves. Half a century after Medicare brought health security to America’s seniors, Republicans would snuff it out, leaving some unknown number without any coverage at all and breaking the fundamental promise the government made.”

    It’s my understanding, without having done any new research, that demographic changes make it virtually impossible for Medicare-as-we-know-it to continue for the generations just behind current retirees. Can anyone clarify?

  195. Yes – Ryan’s plan. And DD – I agree with you on seniors voting, but things are so up in the air right now.

    Scarlett – I believe Medicare is estimated to be solvent through about 2030 right now. Obamacare helped to extend that timeline.

  196. Denver – FOX may be the most popular individually, but it is not more popular than the mainstream sources combined. And FOX has a reputation for being conservative (similar to MSNBC’s liberal slant), while the mainstream sources are purportedly unbiased.

  197. Haven’t been following the Medicare issue, but five minutes on Google gave me a bunch of what Milo calls mainstream news sources using words like “gut” to describe Ryan’s plans. Which makes me instantly suspicious of the true merits of his plan. No time this morning to dig into it, but it seems obvious that reform of both Medicare and Social Security is required. Maybe Ryan’s plan is flawed, but the current regime is unsustainable. It’s not clear why affluent seniors, of which there are many, should be getting subsidized health care while many “working families” struggle to afford the same.

  198. Social security is so easy to fix. Increase the tax % on my people and raise the cap. Done. Please do it.

    Medicare is way more complicated and my parents are not affluent so they are concerned about a system that will be privatized with subsidies (Ryan’s plan).

  199. It’s not clear why affluent seniors, of which there are many, should be getting subsidized health care

    I believe the seniors would at least mention that they’d paid FICA for decades.

  200. And not everyone knows that each newspaper has their own slant. I was talking to a friend the other week and he was telling me that after he started working (after Masters degree so mid to late-20s) he felt like he didn’t know enough about current events so he subscribed to get the headlines e-mail from the NY Times. It took him a little while to figure out that the NY Times was so left leaning (and he’s not really Republican or Democrat, mostly votes Libertarian). He truly had no clue.

  201. If you make Medicare and SS means-tested, they’ll be eliminated entirely within 10 years. Rich people want their piece of the pie too. If only the poor are getting it, it’ll be eliminated.

  202. RMS,

    It will be a golden age when Ma and Pa Kettle are given the freedom to manage a diversified portfolio of investments. I’m certain they will be able to adjusting their portfolio strategy to take into account the future rate of medical innovation and life expectancy, thus all but ensuring a comfortable and secure retirement.

  203. “Social security is so easy to fix. Increase the tax % on my people and raise the cap. Done. Please do it.”

    Agreed. Raise the cap. I will pay more. I wouldn’t say “gladly” but I will pay more without complaint in order to keep the benefits for myself and my generation.

  204. Yes, Rhett, they have, but they didn’t have enough kids to keep on paying into the system. And when they started their work life, age 65 was just under the average life expectancy. Medicare was never intended to provide 25+ years of increasingly expensive medical care. Someone has to pay for this, and shouldn’t we look first to the beneficiaries who can afford to pay more before we impose higher taxes on others? Today’s children are twice as likely to be living in poverty than are seniors.

    I agree that Medicare is more complicated than it used to be, with Medicare Advantage plans that many seniors (including three I know very well) do not completely understand. But so is medical care itself. Raising the beneficiary age and requiring affluent seniors to pay more for their care seem like no-brainer ways at least to begin to address the fiscal issues. My dad (under $300K retirement savings) and MIL ($1.3 million) are not similarly situated. She can pay more. Why shouldn’t she?

  205. “If you make Medicare and SS means-tested, they’ll be eliminated entirely within 10 years. Rich people want their piece of the pie too. If only the poor are getting it, it’ll be eliminated.”

    Of course! That’s a big part of the appeal of these programs. Everyone benefits. And also why I don’t know if I believe that Medicare will truly be “gutted”.

  206. ” Today’s children are twice as likely to be living in poverty than are seniors.”

    Isn’t that partially because we have programs like Medicare and Social Security? What happens if you eliminate them or change them beyond recognition?

  207. Why shouldn’t she?

    Ideally, we’d need a deal: higher taxes, higher deductibles, co-pays, etc. for affluent seniors, stronger negotiations with drug companies, a look at QALY metrics for treatments, etc. We can look at other budget priorities. For example, if Germany and Japan are going to start paying to defend themselves that should free up a couple billion..

  208. ” Today’s children are twice as likely to be living in poverty than are seniors.”

    Because of SS. That seems to argue for a similar program for kids. Fortunately, the President Elect seems to be in favor of just such a program in the form of a big boost to the EITC.

  209. I agree with RMS and am reminded of the article I posted a while back by the Finnish lady who explained why socialism works. “Everyone works, everyone pays taxes, everyone receives government services.”

    I don’t mind if the cost of Medicare increases for affluent seniors and something has to be done to make social security and Medicare sustainable, but there has to be some benefit to working and saving to become affluent in retirement beyond, “Because you saved, you deserve an extremely negative return on your social security/FICA.”

  210. Children are in poverty more because of the increase in single parent families (at least legally). This is related to social change apart from tax policy, but is also related to how society handles benefits for married vs. (single, partnered or serially partnered) parents.

  211. WCE, that is definitely true. However, it is also true that today’s seniors, especially the younger older folks, are the age cohort least likely to be living in poverty. Perhaps largely due to Social Security, and I understand completely the need to provide incentives for retirement savings, just as there should be incentives for parents to save for college rather than expecting Other People to assume those expenses through scholarships and financial aid. But I still do not understand why it isn’t reasonable to ask affluent seniors to pay more for their medical care than their poorer peers. Shouldn’t these folks also be concerned about saddling their children and grandchildren with higher tax burdens going forward?

    Some families try to game the system by setting up Medicaid trusts so that they can “leave something for the kids.” Several inlaws have made noises along those lines, but there will be a Medicaid trust in our family over my dead body. Is that one of the driving forces behind the reluctance to ask seniors to spend more of their own money on medical care?

  212. Rhett, the poverty rate for seniors is about 9%.

    Just to be clear, you’re saying we should take the Medicare money and spend it on kids in poverty?

  213. Re: SS, I think it’s scheduled to make a big jump in the max next year, to not stop collecting off your paycheck until about $128k.

    I believe that HRC had proposed stopping there with the increases, but then hitting income again once (if) your individual earned income goes past $250k. It’s not the worst idea in the world.

  214. Affluent seniors already pay more for Medicare Part B, and there is substantial gaming of the system by some to avoid paying even that modest amount more.

  215. I think combined with adjusting the tax revenues to support Medicare, there has to be a discussion on rationing of care. It will be framed in the form of “death panels” which will immediately kill the discussion, but it is important. I don’t have the exact statistics of the top my head but we all know that a huge portion of Medicare spending goes to people in the last 6 to 12 months of their life. My mother-in-law, for example, was scheduled to have a major back surgery at 87 with diabetes that had been uncontrolled for decades, a 70+ year history of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, and a complete lack of interest in taking care of herself. Why in the world would it make sense to fund that back surgery? There are many similar stories out there. The fact is, if there is a limited supply of money, Medicare cannot pay for everything, and some commonsense needs to be applied and somethings need to be prioritized ahead of others.

  216. @MBT – I agree. I listened to a podcast about how encouraging more discussion about end of life treatment can save significant costs as it gives loved ones the opportunity to talk about what types of treatments that they really want at the end of life. And how it ends up saving money if the focus is about making the last year or months of life comfortable rather than extending with every possible treatment. But politically, this could obviously be twisted into trying to deny treatment to dying seniors and probably can’t be a productive policy.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/03/05/286126451/living-wills-are-the-talk-of-the-town-in-la-crosse-wis

  217. Scarlett – one of my colleagues does a fair numbers of Medicaid trusts. They work in limited circumstances, but they do still work. The elder law bar was up in arms for a couple of years when an appeals court decision found that the principal of one of these trusts (irrevocable, income only to settlor, no access to principal) was a ‘countable asset’ due to some bad language in the trust, but there was a more ‘favorable’ decision earlier this year. IME people who want to use them are not the rich clients (over $3M or so) but people with $1 or $2M who could pay for all of their care private pay, but want to save their money for their kids.

  218. Trump’s voters are those very “Hands off my Medicare” voters who were so vocal in 2010. I cannot imagine why he would dare to mess with their Medicare.

  219. The problem for seniors and close-to-seniors is that they did their financial planning assuming Medicare. My DH’s oldest sister (there is a big age gap) retired last year and is petrified right now. So is 92 year old MIL. She has talked to DH every night on the phone about it. If seniors are already panicking, imagine what will happen if Ryan actually does propose this.

  220. “Social security is so easy to fix. Increase the tax % on my people and raise the cap. ”

    Who are your people? Am I one of them?

    I would also suggest a small, gradual increase in the retirement age, and perhaps tightening disability qualifications.

  221. “IME people who want to use them are not the rich clients (over $3M or so) but people with $1 or $2M who could pay for all of their care private pay, but want to save their money for their kids.”

    Well, that makes sense, but IMO it’s completely immoral. It’s one thing to arrange your affairs to protect your spouse, quite another to ask the taxpayers to pay for your care because you want to enrich your adult children.

    “The problem for seniors and close-to-seniors is that they did their financial planning assuming Medicare.”

    Does that mean that they spent money during their working years on consumption items that they would otherwise have saved for future medical costs? Not sure what you meant by “financial planning.”

  222. “but there has to be some benefit to working and saving to become affluent in retirement beyond, “Because you saved, you deserve an extremely negative return on your social security/FICA.””

    ITA. I call it punishing personal responsibility.

  223. “If you make Medicare and SS means-tested, they’ll be eliminated entirely within 10 years. Rich people want their piece of the pie too. If only the poor are getting it, it’ll be eliminated.”

    Means testing will also add another layer of bureacracy and the costs, opacity, and system gaming that goes along with it.

  224. Does that mean that they spent money during their working years on consumption items that they would otherwise have saved for future medical costs?

    Sure, that’s why we have Medicare in the first place. Before WWII we really didn’t have much in the way of medical care – no antibiotics, chemo, etc. But, after WII there was suddenly a huge surge in treatments and many older people didn’t have the money to pay for them. Unwilling to tell them no, voters demanded Medicare.

  225. “Well, that makes sense, but IMO it’s completely immoral.”

    I can see why it’s easy to rationalize otherwise.

    As WCE suggests, if you work hard and save and delay/deny yourself gratification to put something away for yourself, your spouse, and your kids, it’s reasonable to ask why you have to pay for your care when others who were not as responsible have the their care paid for by others.

  226. “Children are in poverty more because of the increase in single parent families (at least legally). This is related to social change apart from tax policy, but is also related to how society handles benefits for married vs. (single, partnered or serially partnered) parents.”

    I believe tax policy has a role in this as well, in the form of the Head of Household filing status, which provides a financial incentive for parents of nuclear families to live apart.

    I believe Trump has proposed eliminating this filing status. It seems like a good idea, but OTOH, it’s something DW and I counted on when we planned for the possibility of one of us dying.

  227. “I think combined with adjusting the tax revenues to support Medicare, there has to be a discussion on rationing of care.”

    Basic economics says health care will be rationed one way or another.

  228. “stronger negotiations with drug companies”

    I wonder if Trump will be more open to exploring ways for the USA to shoulder less of the cost of developing drugs.

  229. Finn – not sure. Are you a liberal elite who is out of touch and pays a boat load in taxes? If so, you are my people and we are generally cool with an increase in FICA to keep SS solvent.

  230. Well, I’m definitely not liberal, we do pay a boat load in taxes, and IIRC I had one of the highest bubble quiz scores of anyone here who posted their scores.

    But if I do meet the qualifications and am your people, I’m not OK with shouldering the entire increase necessary to keep SS solvent, nor do I earn enough to do so.

    Now if meeting the qualifications makes me one of your people. . . .

  231. you work hard

    Do you feel that you do?

    For me, nothing I’ve done as an adult has been as hard as the scut jobs I had in high school.

  232. “Sure, that’s why we have Medicare in the first place. Before WWII we really didn’t have much in the way of medical care – no antibiotics, chemo, etc. But, after WII there was suddenly a huge surge in treatments and many older people didn’t have the money to pay for them. Unwilling to tell them no, voters demanded Medicare.”

    Source?
    Medicare was enacted 20 years after the end of WWII, for one thing.

  233. “As WCE suggests, if you work hard and save and delay/deny yourself gratification to put something away for yourself, your spouse, and your kids, it’s reasonable to ask why you have to pay for your care when others who were not as responsible have the their care paid for by others.”

    Is it also reasonable to ask why those who were not as responsible nevertheless receive other government benefits paid for by the responsible ones?

    Besides, when you “put something away for yourself,” isn’t that something supposed to pay for your needs in old age, including housing and medical care? You will live in a nicer nursing home and spend time in nicer medical facilities if you save and deprive yourself during your working years.

  234. “Is it also reasonable to ask why those who were not as responsible nevertheless receive other government benefits paid for by the responsible ones?”

    Absolutely.

  235. I think it is pretty reasonable to means test Medicare through a combo of assets and income over a period of time. I don’t think privatization for Medicare (or SS) is the way to go.

  236. Medicare was enacted 20 years after the end of WWII, for one thing.

    They had been working on passing it since the Truman administration

    Think logically though. 1939 all we had was basically hospice. Then during the war penicillin. Then in 1947 chemo. Open heart surgery in 1952. The pace of innovation exploded after the war and pressure from voters grew for a way to take care of those elderly folks who could benefit from treatment but didn’t have the funds to pay out of pocket.

  237. “I think it is pretty reasonable to means test Medicare through a combo of assets and income over a period of time.”

    Making income history part of the means test is a good start, but it still won’t filter out those with limited means due the their preference for leisure.

  238. I am not sure that it is possible to design a program (whether private or public) that someone doesn’t game.

  239. Making income history part of the means test is a good start,

    So if you panicked and sold during the financial crisis and lost half your money you’d still face a big Medicare bill?

  240. “I am not sure that it is possible to design a program (whether private or public) that someone doesn’t game.”

    Wouldn’t eliminating means testing make it much harder to game?

  241. Maybe? What about – you can’t design a program that doesn’t have perceived winners and losers. Nothing is ever going to be perfectly fair.

  242. Medicare pays for medical care. The premiums range from 110 per month per individual to over 400 per month at very higj incomes with drug coverage. Supplemental insurance adds more monthly cost. While we can lower the threshold where the first premium increase kicks in currently 170K MAGI joint filers, the percentage of seniors who are currently affected by that is very small. Our tote bag bubble means that many of us expect to consider that in retirement planning. Medicaid pays for nursing homes. The trade off in caring for poor and lower class children versus seniors both of whom have minimal assets will be stark with reduced Medicaid distributions from the federal govt are consolidated into block grants to the states who will choose how to distribute the funds. And nursing home chains have better lobbyists and campaign chests at the state level.

  243. Rhett, in 1965 life expectancy was still early 70’s, cancer was usually a death sentence, and high smoking rates killed many before they could benefit much from either SS or Medicare. No Lipitor either. Many of the major medical and tech advances had yet to bear much fruit for the senior cohort.

  244. Scarlett,

    Just think of pneumonia, once known as “the old man’s friend.” Before antibiotics, if you got it you died and you did it quickly and cheaply. C. 1960 it’s a hospital stay, antibiotics, oxygen, etc. then discharge. If it was brought on by poor lung function then it’s a few more inpatient stays before you finally died.

    Ike had a severe heart attack in 1955 and all they can offer was bed rest. Come 1960 they were doing heart bypass operations.

  245. “Nothing is ever going to be perfectly fair.”

    ITA. Different people have different ideas of what’s fair.

  246. I think it is pretty reasonable to means test Medicare through a combo of assets and income over a period of time.

    I totally disagree. People pay into medicare their entire lives, and people who earn more pay more. Everyone should be able to receive the benefit that they have paid for.

  247. But I still do not understand why it isn’t reasonable to ask affluent seniors to pay more for their medical care than their poorer peers.

    The affluent seniors have likely paid more into medicare over their lifetimes than their poorer peers. If anything, they should receive greater benefits because they have invested more into they system.

  248. Well, that makes sense, but IMO it’s completely immoral. It’s one thing to arrange your affairs to protect your spouse, quite another to ask the taxpayers to pay for your care because you want to enrich your adult children.

    I can just as easily argue that it’s completely immoral for poor people to have their nursing home costs paid for by medicaid. Why should someone who wasted all their money and failed to plan for the future be rewarded by having the taxpayers pay for their care?

  249. Also, some people are just poor, not imprudent.

    Absolutely. But should the imprudent poor be entitled to the same benefits as the prudent poor? And why shouldn’t higher-income people be entitled to the same benefits? If anything they should be entitled to higher benefits because they paid more into the system.

    I don’t know what the right answers are here. I just think it’s a lot grayer than “rich people shouldn’t get benefits because they don’t need them,” and I completely understand why people feel it is their right to set up a Medicaid trust to protect their assets.

    Regardless, if you have money, you have a heck of a lot more options than if you are relying on Medicaid.

  250. “Regardless, if you have money, you have a heck of a lot more options than if you are relying on Medicaid.”

    Most of the time. See my 2:53 for a counterexample.

  251. Yes, the imprudent poor should get the same Medicare benefits as the prudent poor. Poor people pay into Medicare too, and because they don’t live as long as the rich, some don’t get any Medicare or SS benefits at all, but we don’t compensate their estates. When people live to be 100, we don’t cut off their Medicare benefits because they’ve exhausted the amount that they paid in Medicare taxes. Demographic changes make Medicare in its current form unsustainable. People like us will need to be prepared to pay more for our medical care in retirement.

  252. A quick conversation this morning:

    Me: What do you think of Flynn?
    Other person: He’s a nut job.
    Me: What about Sessions, another nut job?
    OP: No, just a little racist.

    More.
    Me: Would you consider Flynn to be the antithesis of Colin Powell? One is a renegade and the other a more thoughtful strategist?
    OP: Yeah.
    Me: Well, how’d Colin Powell work out for us?
    OP: *Shrugs*

  253. “Racist” is now just a catch-all term meaning insufficiently progressive in the opinion of the accuser.

  254. Milo,

    Racist to such a degree that in 1986, for the second time in history, the Republican lead Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t recommend him for a judicial appointment.

  255. Sessions has been a public figure for decades. Is there anything more recent than 1986? Did he describe Obama in 2007 as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”?

  256. “Do leopards often change their spots?”

    The current president was elected twice as a bigoted homophobe.

  257. That’s all in the past now Milo. Let’s focus on the future.

    Do you believe that 40 year old Sessions c. 1986 fundamentally changed his views over the last 30 years? Does that kind of thing happen often?

  258. Lol! Focus on the future, ignore Obama’s position of three years ago, but simultaneously focus on Sessions three decades ago?

  259. Does a leopard spend 40 years in the public spotlight without ever again revealing his spots? No damaging emails, snide comments, membership in questionable organizations (see Robert Byrd, D-KKK), nasty tweets, marginalized staffers?
    I looked quickly this morning and all of the mainstream press were labeling Sessions as racist solely because of the incidents surrounding his 1986 withdrawn judicial nomination.

  260. Lol! Focus on the future, ignore Obama’s position of three years ago, but simultaneously focus on Sessions three decades ago?

    Fine, I agree with you that Obama is a viscous homophone. Now, back to Sessions.

  261. Barack Obama spent 20 years marinating in the racist, hateful brine spewed by Jeremiah Wright, regarding him as a spiritual mentor, asking him to officiate at his marriage and the baptism of his children, and only disavowing Wright after the publication of sermon transcripts forced his hand. He claimed to believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman until it was politically safe to reveal his spots. Sessions has no such baggage, to my knowledge. But the NYT/WaPo/Huffington folks say he’s a racist, so it must be true.

  262. Scarlett,

    So, your theory is that a viciously racist 40 year old has grown into an enlightened and inclusive 70 year old? I guess miracles do happen.

  263. “Now, back to Sessions.”

    I’m with Scarlett. The media needs to present something specific and maybe within the past decade.

    Same goes for Bannon. I don’t care what writers or commenters on his website have said.

  264. “The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony during hearings in March and May 1986, that Sessions had made racist remarks and called the NAACP and ACLU “un-American.”
    Thomas Figures, a black assistant US attorney who worked for Sessions, testified that Sessions called him “boy” on multiple occasions and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying that he thought Klan members were “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
    On why he never spoke up against Sessions’ alleged use of the term, Figures testified: “I felt that if I had said anything or reacted in a manner in which I thought appropriate, I thought I would be fired.”
    Sessions angrily denied the allegations at the time. His office did not respond to a recent request for comment.
    “I am not a racist, I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activity in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality, and fairness for all,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
    He said he detested the Klan, and called the assertion that he made those statements “ludicrous.”
    Figures also testified that Sessions was critical of the NAACP and other groups.
    “On the day in question, Mr. Sessions came into my office just as I was reading a newspaper account of some the recent action of the NAACP. I casually mentioned that development to Mr. Sessions. Mr. Sessions in response stated that he believed the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Operation PUSH and the National Conference of Churches were all un-American organizations teaching anti-American values. This statement clearly was not intended as a joke,” Figures said.
    Transcripts of the hearing also show that J. Gerald Hebert, who was a Justice Department lawyer, also testified that Sessions told him the NAACP and ACLU were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.”
    Hebert, who now directs a voting program at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, told CNN Thursday he stands by the testimony he gave 30 years ago.
    “Things that I had heard firsthand from him were things that demonstrated gross racial insensitivity to black citizens of Alabama and the United States,” Hebert said.
    At the time, Hebert testified that Sessions said a white attorney who represented black clients might be a disgrace and that the NAACP and ACLU did more harm than good by trying to force civil rights “down the throats of people.” ”

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/17/politics/jeff-sessions-racism-allegations/

    So, Sessions is a racist because two people said that he regards the NAACP and ACLU as un-American? That’s it?

  265. So, Sessions is a racist because two people said that he regards the NAACP and ACLU as un-American?

    No, the first part.

    And, just so we’re clear. You have a politician statute of limitations. If a politician hasn’t repeated anything in 10 years, then anything they’ve said prior to 10 year is off limits?

  266. And Scarlett,

    The Republican Judiciary Committee, for the second time in history, didn’t sign off on his appointment. Do you think, just maybe, they had a reason?

  267. If they had a good reason, we would have heard something about it, or something else, some time in the past 30 years.

  268. If they had a good reason, we would have heard something about it, or something else, some time in the past 30 years

    We have heard about it.

    Hebert testified that the young lawyer tended to “pop off” on such topics regularly, noting that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases.

    But, he obviously doesn’t have a racist bone is his body.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/may/05/jeff-sessions-arlen-specter-judiciary-committee

  269. I don’t understand dismissing what the writers on Breitbart have written as not attributable to Bannon. But I also don’t understand dismissing the stuff Trump has done either, including the housing discrimination DOJ stuff.

  270. Yes yes, drain the swamp and fill it with nepotism, racism and misogyny!!
    Looking forward to the next 4 years!

  271. “[He] denied the accusations but … admitted to frequently joking in an off-colour sort of way.

    You know, it’s just locker room talk.

  272. “The Republican Judiciary Committee, for the second time in history, didn’t sign off on his appointment. Do you think, just maybe, they had a reason?”

    You mean, a smoking gun? A white robe they found in his locker? A copy of Mein Kampf in his desk? Legions of former staffers or classmates who were bribed into silence?

    Or maybe they decided that it was politically expedient to move on and nominate someone else? It happens. Sessions didn’t exactly slink away into the sunset, and if there were any merit to the “racist” label, someone would have surfaced long before now to expose it.

  273. You mean, a smoking gun? A white robe they found in his locker? A copy of Mein Kampf in his desk? Legions of former staffers or classmates who were bribed into silence?

    Is that what it would take for you? As you have mentioned, you have a hard time believing that racism and antisemitism are still an issue in this country.

  274. Is there something else on Sessions?

    The “boy” and “race traitor” comment as well as his passionate opposition to the Voting Rights Act seems like enough. You seem to require a higher burden of proof. What would that kind of proof look like?

  275. “What would that kind of proof look like?”

    For me, something from the current century, and that goes beyond he said/she said.

    Otherwise, it’s just the typical liberal bleating of “racist! sexist! misogynist!”

    It’s time for the Democrat Party to offer a new idea if they want to win again.

  276. For me, something from the current century, and that goes beyond he said/she said.

    Fair enough. It’s refreshing to know that come 2020 anything a Democrat said will be considered as off limits, unless it was said in the 21st century and can be corroborated via a recording, multiple witnesses, etc.

  277. Milo and Scarlett, you were willing to believe every bad thing about Hillary even though there was no evidence for it (Scarlett, you even intuited her reasons for staying married!) and it had all been investigated 8,000 times. But no bad thing is true about Trump or his appointees.

    Okey-dokey.

  278. I am ok with not winning again if it means we don’t excuse this kind of stuff. Winning doesn’t mean that you are right.

  279. I’m sorry but people don’t change their minds? What about gay marriage? Ten years ago there were a lot of people in this country that were against it that are for it now. I think most people do change their views over time.

  280. RMS, I’m entirely willing to consider evidence that Sessions is a racist and Bannon is an anti-Semite and that Trump is both, so bring it on. So far, the record is underwhelming on all charges.
    However, there is plenty of evidence that Clinton was extremely careless with classified information.

  281. Sure, people can change their minds. And I think we should leave room for doing so. But uou don’t get to rewrite history and deny doing/saying things that you did/said.

  282. However, there is plenty of evidence that Clinton was extremely careless with classified information.

    But Trump conducting high level meetings with our most senior allies using his personal unsecured phone is just fine.

  283. He probably shouldn’t do that. Agree that is a problem.
    Maybe he should meet them on the tarmac in his private jet.

  284. In the case of Trump being careless with classified information just the other day, I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the country for these kinds of minor missteps to be endless debated, investigated and litigated all to score minor political points.

    Do you agree?

  285. The reason we have laws is so that we can enforce norms around classified information. I see a huge difference between breaking a law (obviously deliberately, because a server was set up to do so) and poor judgment, especially for people who are attorneys themselves and should understand those differences better than I do.

    If you exhibit poor judgment, that’s a question for voters. If you break a law (especially deliberately), you should be in court and if you are in a position of power, you should be punished AT LEAST AS HARSHLY as a low level person guilty of the same crime.

  286. If you break a law

    The Republican FBI director stated that while she was careless, it didn’t rise to the level of being criminal. Careless but not criminal is the same that can be said for Trump. Would you agree it doesn’t really make sense to start an formal investigation just to cause political trouble for him?

  287. Hey all – what is the point of these discussions? Scarlett will not change her mind. Neither will RMS. Rinse, repeat.

    I vote for shutting down these discussions for awhile or at least limiting the discussion to a particular issue per day.

  288. Scarlett will not change her mind. Neither will RMS. Rinse, repeat.

    People have changed their minds here about a great many things. And, some of us need to discuss these issues and prefer to do it with our learned fellow totebaggers vs. our relatives at Thanksgiving, on Facebook, etc.

  289. Scarlett with not change her mind about Muslims. Period. Many have tried. Let’s move on. If we had a focus to the discuss, like yesterday’s discussion about Social Security/Medicare, it’s still political, gives all sides a chance to voice their opinion, and yet is more neutral and less likely to offend.

    I for one don’t need to see pictures of fetuses or hear Scarlet’s views about Muslims again.

  290. To me, the issue with nominating Sessions, Flynn, etc, is that these are (as conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin put it) like waving a red flag in front of a bull. It isn’t a way to heal a very divided country. I am kind of past squabbling over the meaning of racist or sexist at this point. If Trump could get elected after mocking a disabled person in front of the cameras, then the issue is moot. It doesn’t matter, obviously

    I am more concerned with the possibility that Giuliani, who combines the very worst of both Hillary (millions of dollars in speaking fees from overseas organizations) and Trump (completely unhinged). Fortunately, his stock seems to be going down. Perhaps someone in the Trump organization realized the possiblity of Giuliani unleashing his ferret rant on Angela Merckel.

  291. Rhett, I don’t believe that the FBI director wasn’t under pressure to draw the conclusion that her behavior was “careless but not criminal”. If she were a good leader, she would have modeled proper handling of classified information.

    I have no desire for more investigations and think HRC should be left in peace, but I can’t accept equivalence between Trump’s unhidden, poorly-thought-out decision to use insecure communication and Clinton’s deliberately hidden decision to set up a server and instruct underlings to violate laws around classified information.

    I am optimistic that Trump will not hide his despicable behavior.

  292. Okay, Kerri, I will make an effort to keep my remarks focused on specific issues.

  293. Good god – the emails again!? DEAD HORSE!

    If you can’t stand how Hillary dealt with the emails, where was your outrage at how Rice, Powell and Petraeus dealt with theirs?!

    Like I said, rinse, repeat.

    My suggestions is to pick an issue – NATO, estate taxes, whatever – for discussion and move off these same old topics. I would love to hear Scarlett’s (sorry to pick on you, it’s not just you) views on other issues that our government leaders are facing. Let’s move on.

  294. Kerri – the whole point of the separate politics thread is so that those who want to discuss and argue can do so without bothering the regular daily threads.

    I’m only checking sporadically today because it’s boat cleaning day with a final cruise, just my 4 yo and I, in the unseasonably warm weather.

  295. Does anyone else harbor concerns about the level of involvement of Trump’s son-in-law? I read that Trump brought him along to a classified briefing for which the SIL did not have clearance, and that they are trying to find ways around the nepotism rules to allow him to serve in the administration. Given the lack of disclosure regarding their finances and the absence of conflict of interest laws applicable to the president, this concerns me.

  296. Yes, Milo I know. I am suggesting we move on to other political topics on this thread and letting certain dead horses rest in peace.

  297. If HRC had been elected, I would not put her decision to talk to foreign leaders via insecure communications on the same plane as deliberate, premeditated mishandling of classified information via an illegal server, either.

    And because I am more familiar with computer architecture and the details of internet security protocol than I am with the law (painfully more familiar!), it is easy for me to see how occasionally mishandling classified information due to intermittent server glitches (as I suspect you are correct that others are guilty of) is vastly different than setting up a server for the deliberate purpose of mishandling classified information.

  298. setting up a server for the deliberate purpose of mishandling classified information.

    Where do you get that idea? Of the 60k emails only 111 contained classified information. I don’t know that you can say the deliberate purpose was to mishandle classified information.

  299. I am not sure how other transitions worked but I didn’t know foreign leaders could meet with the President elect. The transition team should have a better set up than the one at present.

  300. Does anyone else harbor concerns about the level of involvement of Trump’s son-in-law?

    No, the president should be free to hire anyone they want.

    I read that Trump brought him along to a classified briefing for which the SIL did not have clearance,

    The president can grant anyone access to any classified information for any reason he sees fit. While as President-Elect Trump might not technically have that right it doesn’t seem worth fighting over as he’ll have that right in a few weeks.

  301. But, I assume Milo, Scarlett and WCE will immediately call for a congressional investigation into Trump’s many security missteps including the unsecured phone and intentionally revealing state secrets to those not cleared to know them.

  302. @MBT – Yes, it worries me because one of my major issues with Trump is that I do not believe that he will put the good of the country above his own business interests. In fact, I see his primary goal as President as to put forth policies that will enhance his business interests. (which is one reason I don’t know that I believe that he will put his money where his mouth is in regards to Immigration or trade.) I see SIL’s involvement as a sign of that meshing.

  303. Rhett, a google search suggests that the NY Times broke the news of HRC’s use of a private e-mail server. I wouldn’t call the NY Times an agent for a conservative witch hunt. I’m sympathetic to HRC’s argument that using personal e-mail was easier. But if all citizens are expected to comply with complex laws regarding housing and hiring discrimination and nanny taxes, high level officials should be expected to comply with complex, bureaucratic policies as well.

    To the extent I have an issue, it’s how complex laws are and how much discretion prosecutors have. Too much discrimination law enforcement, for example, is targeted at out-of-favor companies with deep pockets.

  304. , high level officials should be expected to comply with complex, bureaucratic policies as well.

    So then you agree we should immediately start an investigation into Trumps security lapses?

    Personally, I don’t think making mountains of these mole hills is in the country’s best interest.

  305. Rhett – when I saw the episode where QE II had a tutor brought in I thought of the President elect having to go through the same sort of quick tutorial.

  306. Rhett, it isn’t clear to me that Trump’s security lapses violated any policies. They only violated common sense, unless you have more information- I haven’t been tracking the issue closely.

    One of the things I hate about government is its power to add law upon law and policy upon policy and the resulting use of prosecutorial discretion as a weapon against corporations and political enemies.

  307. And in case you wondered- I’m no Trump fan. I voted for the candidate who could not name a single world leader and believes the answer to our country’s problems is communing with space aliens.

  308. Rhett, I honestly don’t know how what Trump has done compares to briefings HRC was present for when Bill was in office.

  309. what Trump has done compares to briefings HRC was present for when Bill was in office.

    The president can share anything with anyone. Of that there is no question. The question is, can the president-elect release classified information at his discretion?

  310. ” the answer to our country’s problems is communing with space aliens.”

    And smoking dope.

  311. With 359 comments, I think that we answered the question put to us.

    Jared seems like a decent fellow, based on the WaPo story the other day. Definitely competent and personable, and probably serves as a voice of reason in discussions with Trump. If Obama can run every decision past Valerie Jarrett, surely Trump should be able to rely on his son-in-law.

  312. “Personally, I don’t think making mountains of these mole hills is in the country’s best interest.”

    You may be right. Personally, I think that Obama should pardon Hillary and then she can disappear into private life, playing with the grandchildren.

  313. You may be right.

    Now that I think about it, maybe the reason we’ve had these mountain out of a mole hill scandals, especially for Hillary, is because there really isn’t any difference between Hillary’s foreign policy and that of the Republican establishment.

  314. For any crime she may have committed in connection with her private email server. Put an end to the calls for further investigations.

  315. “People have changed their minds here about a great many things. And, some of us need to discuss these issues and prefer to do it with our learned fellow totebaggers vs. our relatives at Thanksgiving, on Facebook, etc.”

    Exactly. If I want the best possible argument in favor of a position with which I disagree, I come here first.

  316. It would be strange to pardon someone who has not been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime. Of course, we no longer care about ruining everything, so I say have at it.

  317. Kate, that was a huge issue with Ford pardoning Nixon without any actual legal proceedings against Nixon. But he did it.

  318. “It would be strange to pardon someone who has not been charged, let alone convicted, of a crime.”

    Ford : Nixon

  319. Yes, I know about Nixon. But it would be a total reversal of Obama’s stated policy with respect to pardons. But as I said, have at it. Fidelity means nothing in our country, so he might as well let Hillary have some peace.

  320. What *is* Obama’s stated policy on pardons?

    Maybe it would be a better gesture coming from Trump anyhow.

  321. Crooked Hillary should pray that President Obama is so forgiving and in a mood to pardon her so she can live out her days at home rather than in a prison cell. She’s the biggest disgrace to his otherwise decent administration.

  322. She would have to apply for it. And he has said he won’t do it in the last days of his presidency; all pardons have to go through the regular channels.

    If he does do it, I hope he also pardons the Dreamers even though it isn’t clear if that would work. Might as well go down guns blazing.

  323. I’m just having a little fun while my 4 yo drives the boat, and I’m practicing my lines for Thanksgiving and the small “I’m with her” contingent. :)

  324. I was sort of kidding to suggest that Trump issue the pardon, but this is an interesting argument.

    “Putting her in jail would serve little purpose, even if it were politically possible, and would cause years of anguish and division. What’s more, avoiding jail is not the same as avoiding guilt. No one recalls Nixon’s story and claims he was innocent of all the charges against him (or if they do, it is not because of the pardon). In fact, a pardon has the opposite effect: it lets the accused avoid punishment, but sears his guilt into the public consciousness. After all, an innocent man does not need to be pardoned.”

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/10/donald-trump-pardon-hillary-clinton-not-prosecute/

    She’s already lost her life’s dream. No purpose would be served by further investigations. Let it go, let her go, and move on.

  325. “No purpose would be served by further investigations.”

    What about delivering on campaign promises?

  326. If Obama does not pardon Hillary, then Trump could, claiming all the reasons Scarlett lists, and it would have the bonus effect of making her seem guilty just the same.

    “Where is PTM ? He attended the Trump rally ages ago and has not been commenting of late.”

    I was wondering that, too.

    And if Trump is going to take a victory lap around the country after Thanksgiving because he misses rallies, I’m going to attend the nearest one.

  327. Rhett, do you remember Scarlett and Milo change their minds about anything? It’s a lost cause-much like some republicans who still claim that Orange Cheeto won the popular vote.

  328. Based on these discussions, I’m more open to the line of thinking that people have less control than we commonly think over the circumstances in which they find themselves.

  329. One of my most memorable Totebag realizations was that living in the dorms for all 4 years is not an option at many urban colleges. I assumed it was, because all the chem e co-ops from land grant schools (Ga Tech, U Mich, Ohio State, UT Austin, Purdue, etc.) could do so.

  330. I understand less about banking than I do about other areas.

    My major frustrations with government regulatory overreach are where the consequences are largely or completely personal rather than systemic. Appliance efficiency regulations top the list, along with the fact that my local hardwood furniture manufacturer had to stop making bunk beds because the regulations were too costly to keep up with for the volume sold. Only places like Ikea and Walmart sell in volume to justify the compliance costs and they don’t make what I like.

    This reminds me that we bought some LED bulbs at Costco and they are a lot nicer than the CFL ones, which never performed or lasted as specified.

  331. RMS – this is what I think. Since the financial crisis the government regulations on banks have increased tremendously. Big banks have to keep up with a ton of rules and regulations as have small banks. Big banks and spending millions complying with these requirements but I don’t think small banks have the capacity to do so. I don’t have figures but I would think competition from small and mid sized banks has decreased.
    In the meanwhile , non bank lenders have been increasing (Lending Club is one). I don’t think they are subject to the same rules as banks. So there is a growing sector where consumers have to look out for themselves when dealing with these entities.

  332. WCE,

    On efficiency regulations, those are designed to deal with systemic consequences. Given that the majority or our energy sources are still non-renewable and cause pollution, requiring energy efficient appliances, LED bulbs, etc. can easily be seen as being needed for the public good.

    This is one of the fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives. Liberals tend to look at things in terms of how they affect the public good whereas conservatives tend to look at things in terms of how they affect individual freedom.

    I’m unfamiliar with the regulations on bunk beds that are overly burdensome for small manufacturers. Can you please explain what the rules are and how they make it too costly for an independent furniture maker? I’m not being snarky here, I’m genuinely curious because I know nothing about this.

  333. DD, the problem is that rules on, say, water efficiency should vary by region, and washers that use little water don’t actually get clothes clean when one’s children are playing soccer in an area that got 12″ of rain that month. That’s why I object to national regulations on water efficiency for washers- if the clothes don’t get clean, water efficiency regulations are simply an annoyance, because you end up throwing out clothes or washing them multiple times.

    The same concept applies to CFL bulbs- as manufactured, they did not perform according to their theoretical capabiity. In addition, there are disposal issues because they include mercury that in my opinion were insufficiently considered in the regulations. The regulations assume people’s time to visit a disposal site, which may be miles away with limited hours, has no value.

    I don’t know the details of bunk bed regulations, but I know they are regulated by the federal government because my local preferred furniture manufacturer used to make them but when I asked where they had gone, they said it was too burdensome to keep up with the constantly changing federal regulations (probably implemented for The Safety Of Our Children).

  334. I suppose my viewpoint can be best summarized as, “In the absence of government regulation, consumers and manufacturers would make foolish choices, rather than have a range of choices that can be adjusted to their particular situations.”

  335. “All the comments on this article suggest this is “government overreach” and Trump will shut down this nonsense. Thoughts?”

    Broadly speaking, I consider this Wells Fargo shit part of the Swamp. There should be a few people, at least, in Wells Fargo facing jail time for this. I don’t know how Trump feels about it, but I’d like him to put Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in charge of the SEC or Treasury or something. This is an area where my populism crosses the aisle. But it’s possible that my feelings are partly due to knowing little about the benefits of having a politically strong investment banking industry. I don’t expect a whole lot to change with Chuck Schumer as the new minority leader.

    WCE – I’ve recently done about five loads of laundry. Our HE front loader has additional buttons for settings like “extra water,” “stain cycle,” and “extra rinse.” I typically select all three. Maybe you could try something similar.

  336. WCE – I’ve recently done about five loads of laundry. Our HE front loader has additional buttons for settings like “extra water,” “stain cycle,” and “extra rinse.” I typically select all three. Maybe you could try something similar.

    Those don’t work well enough to get rid of farmer dirt.

    A lot of regulations seem aimed at punishing people rather than any societal good. I just got back from the grocery store, after buying bags for my groceries. A proposition in the recent election in my state outlawed grocery stores from giving away bags. This rule seems aimed at punishing people who buy a large amount at one time.

  337. I agree that the head people at Wells Fargo should do jail time. It seems that a lot of rules and regulations are only in place for the little people.

  338. WCE, I agree that the rules/regulations on things tend to be based on simplistic assumptions. (Look at all the research on the plastic vs. paper bag debate for a prime example.) I don’t think there should be any regulations on washer efficiency, but again, I understand that the goal of the regulations are to deal with systemic issues and the consequences are not purely personal as you said they are.

  339. Regarding our capital markets/financial firms – I would hate to see someone like Bernie or Elizabeth Warren running the SEC. It is such a detail-driven disaster of an agency. Bernie and Warren would be good at the consumer protection stuff. I think people who have been running the financial firms would actually do a good job. They know where the weaknesses are and to exploit them. But they then need to be banned from ever going back and working for/profiting from the firms. A Lloyd Blankfein or someone like him would be great.

  340. I agree that regulatory bureaucrats are ideal for the financial industry. To what extent will increased regulation of banking cause consumers to transfer their business to credit unions? We’ve always used a credit union, never a bank.

    In energy regulation (let’s add low flush toilets here, which have improved dramatically since their introduction), I need more evidence that the market is inadequate and that the trade-offs against individual liberty are worth while, compared to finance, where I understand the systemic issues are more important. People are more likely to game the system to become wealthy than to buy a functional washer or light bulb.

    At least part of my frustration comes from my religious beliefs, because it seems that sexual freedom is the only area of individual freedom that liberals value. It’s important for the president to care about whether transgender people can use any restroom they choose and for third trimester abortion to be legal because of the cases where it’s appropriate, but the individual liberties for me to buy a washer appropriate for my climate, a light bulb that I can properly dispose of without driving 10 miles or a toilet that flushes all the crap the FIRST time are not liberties worth protecting.

  341. Those don’t work well enough to get rid of farmer dirt.

    If I were dealing with farmer dirt, I’d have a big galvanized washtub with soapy water, and I’d pre-soak everything. That’s essentially what my mom used to do, although she did it because she was a neurotic clean freak. Enzyme pre-soak stuff works well too. So people put stuff in the tub instead of the hamper.

  342. I bet you could use a big 32-gallon plastic trash can, too. Might fit better into most homes.

  343. Kate, I really enjoyed that article on Obama. I especially liked the parts about “truth” (on acid rain vs. climate change) and people being messy. It made me think about both climate change science and terrorism.

    Regarding climate change, I read two versions of the UN report on climate change and I saw how the models changed over time. My belief that it is “unclear” that long-term climate change is being exclusively caused by human behavior (vs. “mostly caused by human behavior” or “partly caused by human behavior and partly by sun spots”) is not grounded in ignorance. In Oregon, the state climatologist (George Taylor) was forced into retirement by the governor for making similar assertions, because he wasn’t compliant with the governor’s stance on climate change, both what is causing climate change and what policy decisions should follow. I’d like to see more discussion of that sort of intolerance toward scientific discussion by both liberal and conservative governors.

    Regarding truth and terrorism, both sides should publicly acknowledge that terrorists are disproportionately young, male and Muslim so that productive discussion about policy can ensue.

    Both liberals and conservatives have truths we don’t want to discuss, because acknowledging them messes with our worldviews. We all need to look for those blind spots- it’s not an exclusively conservative problem.

  344. WCE,

    You originally said this:

    My major frustrations with government regulatory overreach are where the consequences are largely or completely personal rather than systemic.

    So you are in favor of government regulations that are for the good of society and/or protect individual freedoms.

    then you said this:

    I suppose my viewpoint can be best summarized as, “In the absence of government regulation, consumers and manufacturers would make foolish choices, rather than have a range of choices that can be adjusted to their particular situations.”

    Which sounds like the extreme liberal view that people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions so government needs to tell them what is good for them.

    Then you said this:

    At least part of my frustration comes from my religious beliefs, because it seems that sexual freedom is the only area of individual freedom that liberals value. It’s important for the president to care about whether transgender people can use any restroom they choose and for third trimester abortion to be legal because of the cases where it’s appropriate, but the individual liberties for me to buy a washer appropriate for my climate, a light bulb that I can properly dispose of without driving 10 miles or a toilet that flushes all the crap the FIRST time are not liberties worth protecting.

    Which totally contradicts your previous comment, but is right in line with your first comment that government should regulate systemic/societal concerns but not restrict activities where the consequences are only personal.

  345. Regarding truth and terrorism, both sides should publicly acknowledge that terrorists are disproportionately young, male and Muslim so that productive discussion about policy can ensue.

    Absolutely. However, the problem is that many people then extrapolate this to mean “all Muslims are terrorists” and use that as a justification for discrimination. This ties into the stereotype that liberals would rather see guilty people go free to ensure that no innocent people are convicted, whereas conservatives would rather all guilty people are convicted even if it means some innocent people are also convicted. So liberals might be going a bit too far in not wanting to to refer to “Muslim terrorists”, at the same time, conservatives have shown these concerns to be completely justified with all of their rhetoric.

  346. A proposition in the recent election in my state outlawed grocery stores from giving away bags. This rule seems aimed at punishing people who buy a large amount at one time.

    This is another difference in the conservative and liberal perspectives. The proponents of the law (who are clearly liberal) see it as an incentive to get people to use reusable bags. They don’t see it as a punishment.

    It also ties into WCE’s comments about individual vs. systemic consequences. Liberals are focused on the systemic consequences to the environment of using disposable bags and conservatives are focused on the restriction of freedom for businesses to give out free bags if they want to.

  347. Denver Dad, I disagree that the consequences of sexual promiscuity are purely personal. Society spends huge sums of money on sexually transmitted diseases (HIV, hepatitis) and there are also systemic consequences to family stability when divorce becomes common. People who might have stayed in a mediocre marriage are more tempted to leave their mediocre marriage for what-may-or-may-not-be greener pastures.

    I probably see the consequences of sexual promiscuity as more systemic than most liberals do.

  348. Sexual promiscuity results in unintended pregnancies, abortions, and children raised without fathers, in addition to the medical costs WCE mentioned. It’s hard to describe it as having purely personal consequences.

  349. Scarlett, WCE, and any other conservatives who want to chime in:

    Given that the single best way to stop abortions (and in reality the only way) is to stop unwanted pregnancies, why are conservatives so opposed to things that are designed to do just that? Things such as sex education, insurance coverage for birth control, funding for the non-abortions services of Planned Parenthood, etc. all reduce unwanted pregnancies.

    Yes, the only 100% effective birth control is abstinence, but It’s been shown very clearly that people will just not stop having sex.

  350. Denver Dad, I completely agree with you on contraception and unintended pregnancy.

    The conservatives I know are opposed because they expect THEIR kids to remain abstinent (and many do) and they are terrified of exposing their kids to anything (included exposure to contraception information) that would contradict that worldview. That’s also a big reason why people homeschool.

  351. More than 60% of abortions are obtained by married women, so promiscuity is far from the primary driver (as certainly plenty of unmarried women having them are in long-term relationships). A significant number of women who have abortions already have at least one child. So I agree that better sex education and easy access to reliable birth control are key to reducing the number of abortions.

  352. And, as Kate notes, the relationship between contraception and abortion rates is not as cut and dried as many think.

    “Depending on how you calculate things, the nationwide abortion rate has been in steady decline since either the 1980s or the early 1990s. Over that same period, inflation-adjusted Title X funding — again, the funding that is allegedly essential to keeping the abortion rate low — has dropped by 60 percent, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s estimate. So again, Congressional Republicans have been following precisely the policy course that Milbank insists will drive up the abortion rate, not for a few years, but for more than a generation … and the results have been, again, the opposite of what he predicts.”

    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/there-is-no-pro-life-case-for-planned-parenthood/?_r=0

  353. Lest anyone think that someone is impersonating me, in the US (which has a fairly stable fertility rate), contraception usage should lead to fewer abortions and is something that I fully support! I also support sex education beyond abstinence.

  354. Hepatitis C is rarely spread through sexual contact. Also, new cases of HIV are most likely from injection drug abuse.

    In monogamous couples who are not using condoms, “the overall incidence of HCV transmission by sex was estimated to be 0.07 percent per year.”

    I think the “cost” of promiscuous sex is in unintended pregnancy, not infectious disease. What we should do for the expensive treatment? Make the treatment less expensive.

  355. My last statement wasn’t entirely clear –

    Let me rephrase – the largest burden of cost from sex outside of financially-stable, committed partnerships is the cost of children born in poverty.

    In terms of what we should do for the huge cost of Hepatitis C treatment (which is complicated – it can be curative, though people have partial courses that they fail all the time, which makes it all cost, no benefit) – re-evaluate how we reimburse for medications, how the government can negotiate prices. Make the Hepatitis C treatment less expensive through government regulation.

  356. I think this is the regulation that WCE’s bunk bed builder was concerned about –
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Product_Safety_Improvement_Act It sets out lead content for things sold for children (among other things).

    I’ve seen this come up in a number of forums – that the CPSIA prevents church consignment sales, people making blankets on Etsy, local furniture manufacturers. I don’t know what all has happened since it was implemented in 2011, except churches still have sales and people are selling all kinds of stuff on Etsy. There was a wake of stores threatening (or actually) closing or removing children’s items at the time the law passed, but I think that was reactionary. As far as I can tell, it is not enforced at all. My local thrift stores are full of things that have not been tested for lead/phthalates.

  357. Contraception usage *should* lead to fewer abortions, but given that most women seeking abortions are using or have used contraception, it doesn’t seem to work that way in the real world. Most methods of contraception require a high degree of diligence, and long-acting forms of contraception are not yet in widespread use. It is ironic that, at the same time many consumers shun BPA and seek out organic, chemical-free foods and products, they are also encouraged to submit to injections and implantations of powerful chemicals with uncertain long-term effects. All in the name of enabling sex without consequences.

  358. I just read and enjoyed the New Yorker article. To further WCE’s point about the climate debate, I can’t help but point out that Obama, himself, is not immune to the tendency to latch on to fake news that one wishes were true — the very inclination that he decries others as suffering — when he constantly repeats the “97% of scientists” myth (which he bumps up to 99%).

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303480304579578462813553136

  359. Back to the financial regulation discussion – I wonder if anyone remembers WHY financial industry regulation was passed? There was this little thing called the financial meltdown of 2008, remember? And it was caused at least in part by egregious abuses within the financial industry? Remember credit default swaps and collateralised debt obligations? The passage of financial industry regulation was intended to prevent that kind of crap from happening again. Many people at the time, in fact, thought the regulations needed to be stronger. Do we want to repeal these regulations and go back to the way it was? What happened to the sense of outrage over Wall Street trying to take us into financial collapse?

    The one really signature accomplishment of Obama’s presidency in my eyes, the one thing Trump can never take away, is that he steered us away from the precipice. And we were truly on the precipice at the time. My DH worked in the industry, in risk, in a position where he watched it all unfold. I remember the sense of terror at the time. The fact that we have now forgotten is perhaps a tribute to Obama’s leadership at the time.

  360. MM – people like Jamie Dimon and Blankfein don’t want all of Dodd Frank repealed. I think they know they will run amuck without it and it is a quick race to the bottom when left on their own. I think Obama did a good job managing the disaster. And while Paulson seemed to have missed a lot of the indicators of impending disaster, once it was upon us, I think he was really the one who stopped everything from collapsing.

  361. Kate – As your article alluded to, getting opinions about climate change from actively publishing climate researchers is a little like tallying the consensus about the effects of church attendance from actively preaching ministers.

  362. Hank Paulson was important during the last months of the Bush presidency, because he managed the immediate crisis and convinced Bush and other Republicans to go along (remember him pleading with Congress?)
    But when Obama came into his presidency, things were really, really, really bad. Mass layoffs. Constant watching of hour to hour economic measures. Everyone was worrying that the next depression was imminent. Obama stayed calm and did what had to be done. He took enormous flak from the left for propping up the financial industry, and from the right for auto bailouts. The first year of his presidency was consumed with managing the fallout.

    It really scares me that people don’t remember. I guess that is why we are doomed to repeat economic crises forever.

  363. MM – oh, I totally agree with you. My love for Obama runs deep. But I don’t think these things matter much (in terms of how the average person perceives Obama/his presidency/where we are going from here) except for history. I really think he will go down in history as a great president. But look where we arenow. At least part of that is a back lash to him.

  364. I had a front row seat to the events of 2008. I think MM description is singularly unfair and to say “Wall Street TRYING to take us into economic collapse” is unfair at best and incendiary rhetoric at worst.

  365. It seems that the recent double term Presidents have had things not going so well for them at the end of their second terms. So, the successor spends a year or so dealing with issues large and small that must be fixed.

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