2017 Politics open thread, January 22-28

Do you miss Obama yet?

 

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374 thoughts on “2017 Politics open thread, January 22-28

  1. Given all of the carnage, I am pleased that Donald is focusing on the important issues of whether his inauguration had more people in attendance than Obama’s and how many times he has been on the cover of Time Magazine. MAGA!

  2. The answer to the question posed is no.
    Not sure why Spicer chose to engage the issue, except that he’s clueless?

    But because it’s fun to play devil’s advocate — what difference does it make that more people showed up for the march than for the inauguration?

  3. It matters that President and his press secretary are (1) lying about it and (2) focusing on it instead of more important issues. He really has a fragile ego.

  4. “what difference does it make that more people showed up for the march than for the inauguration?”

    Because it is the kind of thing Trump obsesses about?

  5. Not sure why Spicer chose to engage the issue, except that he’s clueless.

    He was specifically ordered to engage by the president.

  6. Also, if you have to tell the world that you’re a kind person, a good person, then you probably aren’t.

  7. (1) lying about it

    It’s not the lying so much as it is the lying about something that is so obviously true.

  8. I can handle lying. They all lie. But this is just total gaslighting. What are the odds that he will get impeached? Are we going to have a President Pence?

  9. One of the tools of facist leaders is to erase history. Trump knows that, and so he is practicing. He just isn’t very good at it yet.

  10. I suspect there is a lot of cause for impeachment. It will only happen, though, if either the Republicans in Congress decide that he is too much and turn on him, or if someone does some truly inspired digging and turns up a skeleton that is too big to be ignored.

  11. It’s not pretty, but it’s certainly not the first time a presidential spokesman misspoke/lied about something that touches upon a president’s ego. I don’t remember the MSM going crazy over this one

    Via the Free Beacon, a frivolous but fun historical misfire that illustrates how silly Team Obama’s idolatrous “unprecedented!” meme can get. In an attempt to demonstrate how popular and awesome his boss is, White House spokesman Josh Earnest asserted that Obama is the only president to win consecutive popular vote majorities since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956. This is wrong. Ronald Reagan replicated that feat in 1980 and 1984. When a reporter corrected Earnest on this point, Earnest smugly doubled down:

  12. If you believe Robert Reich’s anonymous source, some Republicans are itching to impeach Trump.

  13. Coc, I think the difference is the constantness of Trump’s disregard for facts. All Presidents (and their spokespeople) say things from time to time that can easily be shown to be false. And they usually get called out on it, but the story disappears. But with Trump, it is ceaseless and neverneding. It is like a firehose of falsehood.

  14. If RR is to be believed, how do Trump voters feel about this? Would you all prefer Pence to Trump?

  15. He did not “smugly double down”. Jesus H Christ, is even this blog giving over to “alternative facts”?

  16. If you are a real conservative, I cannot see how you wouldn’t prefer Pence. But many of Trump voters aren’t conservatives, right? I wonder how they feel. This is such a crazy time. Maybe we’ll end up with P Ryan as President. He certainly seemed very happy during the inaug!

  17. Scarlett, CoC, why are you eagerly awaiting the destruction of Medicare? Are you so much richer than everyone else that you can self-fund all your health care through your dotage?

  18. Believe me, I do not like Pence and I will work hard to fight his policies. But, I don’t think he has the nasty, thinskinned, bullying personality that Trump has. Unlike Trump, I don’t think his intention is to turn the Presidency into a giant kleptocracy. Like all politicians, I am sure Pence would spin facts to his own advantage, but I don’t think he would just stand there and spew nonsense that doesn’t conform to any true facts. And I think he would abide by the normal rules of government and politics.

    But, yeah, I would be fighting tooth and nail over his preferred policies, as I suspect many would.

  19. MM – totally agree with you. I wonder about those who say they held their noses and voted for Trump. What do they think?

  20. Pence signed a whopping eight anti-abortion bills into law in his less than four years as governor of Indiana. That’s every anti-abortion bill that crossed his desk.

  21. “He did not “smugly double down”. ”

    He doubled down and he looked a bit smug to me. I don’t see how these are “alternative facts”.

    And to get the facts straight, I never said i was “eagerly awaiting the destruction of Medicare”.

    “I am sure Pence would spin facts to his own advantage”

    As do all politicians. I think part of Trump’s appeal is that he’s more upfront about the spinning.

  22. CofC,

    You have to admit the crowd thing is an order of magnitude bigger lie than what Obama said. I also assume the Obama administration didn’t continue to insist even after someone googled the 1980 and 84 election results.

  23. “I think part of Trump’s appeal is that he’s more upfront about the spinning.”
    He isn’t spinning. He is just saying stuff pulled out of thin air. And he isn’t upfront about it. I think he can’t tell the difference.

  24. Agree that Spicer’s comments can’t really be defended.
    But not sure how it follows that Trump should be and will be impeached. After 48 hours in office.

    And, yes, Pence would be much better IMO. So maybe impeachment would be a win-win.

  25. Obama had his own attachment to alternative facts, such as the false narratives of rampant police brutality against blacks that fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.

  26. The BLM narrative is based on alternative facts that black men are being disproportionately killed by racist police officers. Obama has embraced that alternative reality, but the mainstream media failed to call him on it, because it too has embraced that alternative reality.

  27. I am not clicking on hotair.com, but don’t you see a difference with how Trump acts versus how all other politicians do? Take yesterday for example. What he has tweeted about the intelligence community v how he then said the media made it all up. I know you hate Obama, but you have to admit that Trump is a bit different, right?

  28. Granted, it’s bizarre and worrisome that Spicer, whether on his own or at the behest of his boss, took issue on a trivial and easily verifiable statistic. But it certainly doesn’t demonstrate that we’re headed toward the fascist or communist cliff.

  29. I have no idea where we are headed. But it is deeply concerning that day 1 didn’t go well. And that Kellyanne was out this morning essentially threatening the press (i.e., “we might have to rethink the relationship.”). If they don’t get control of themselves, they are going to alienate some who voted for them.

  30. This is a great article – a warning from a Russian journalist who covers Putin. The think the key phrase here is “bullshit”

    “Welcome to the era of bullshit

    Facts don’t matter. You can’t hurt this man with facts or reason. He’ll always outmaneuver you. He’ll always wriggle out of whatever carefully crafted verbal trap you lay for him. Whatever he says, you won’t be able to challenge him. He always comes with a bag of meaningless factoids (Putin likes to drown questions he doesn’t like in dull, unverifiable stats, figures and percentages), platitudes, examples of false moral equivalence, and straight, undiluted bullshit.”

    Yep, this is what Trump is trying to practice. He just isn’t as good at it… yet

    https://qz.com/884403/donald-trumps-press-conference-was-a-circus-but-vladimir-putins-is-way-worse-for-journalists/?utm_source=parVOX

  31. “If they don’t get control of themselves, they are going to alienate some who voted for them.”

    But to whom will they go? And it’s not like they can go back in time and change their votes.

  32. “(Putin likes to drown questions he doesn’t like in dull, unverifiable stats, figures and percentages), platitudes, examples of false moral equivalence, and straight, undiluted bullshit.”

    Unlike Obama?

    “In the middle of it all was Obama — occupant of an office once informally known as “leader of the free world” — putting on a clinic for some of the world’s greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.
    The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama’s eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: “I’m going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session.”
    Reporters for foreign outlets, admitted for the first time to the White House press pool, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they’re cracked up to be.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041303067.html

    BTW, this was Dana Milbank, certified liberal, complaining about Obama in a piece headlined “Obama’s disregard for media reaches new heights at nuclear summit”

  33. If he wants to get much of anything done, he will need Congress. For now, they are cooperating because (I think) they are scared of pushing back and losing the voters. But if they sense that is turning and people are losing patience with Trump, Congress will flip on him. Plus there is always the risk of impeachment and Pence taking over (which I think most of Congress would strongly prefer).

  34. “Choice between keeping a fascist versus bringing on a religious nut bag.”

    Ugh. I think I’d rather have Trump but I might change my mind in a few weeks or months.

  35. I’m with Ivy. As much as I think Trump is completely unqualified to be president, I much prefer him to Pence (and Rubio, Cruz, Jeb, and pretty much any of the others who were in the primary).

  36. But with Trump, if he is really unqualified, Pence will end up running things anyway, and if not, he could do real damage with love affair with Putin and lack of knowledge or understanding of the world.

  37. “You have to admit the crowd thing is an order of magnitude bigger lie than what Obama said.”

    How so? One is about crowd size and the other is about election results. Which is a more important issue? At the very least it’s arguable.

    “Earnest says that he will check on the facts and get back to everyone.”

    From what I can tell, getting back to everyone consisted of a short correction to the transcript. Who saw that? I missed the MSM headlines about the correction. (For the record, I am being sarcastic.)

    That Hot Air article linked to WaPo, which to many conservatives is as credible as Hot Air is to liberals. I often disagree with the WaPo’s Pinocchio rating, but Obama did not receive highest marks in this case. He got 2 Pinocchios. From that WaPo link:

    We agree that Obama’s language is slippery and could be confusing … Obama erred in saying the rules are different for Internet sellers. They face the same rules as other sellers — rules that the administration now says it will enforce better.

    A silver lining to the Trump presidency is that the MSM will rigorously fact check him, much more than they did the previous president. And as I said before, Trump is more obvious in his spinning of the truth.

  38. Ugh, I can’t believe the Republicans are pushing high risk pools again. Do they really think this will solve the problem of people with pre-existing medical problems? The pools were tried in 35 states and were mainly a failure because no state could afford to run them. So they resorted to waiting lists, and massive restrictions on the insurance, in most cases imposing waiting periods of 6 months to a year before you could get covered for whatever the pre-existing condition was. I really hope people don’t get bamboozled into this as a “replacement” for the protections in the ACA

    “Beth Martinez, 40, who has multiple sclerosis, was forced to join Texas’ high-risk pool when she and her husband moved to Austin. Only six visits to the doctor were covered, and she found she could not afford the annual M.R.I. recommended to monitor her disease because of her high deductible. At one point, she said, she went four years without an M.R.I.”

    “In Washington, over 80 percent of the people referred to the state’s high-risk pool never got health insurance, said Mike Kreidler, the state’s insurance commissioner. In California, which relied on lawmakers to allocate money as part of the state budget, there was a waiting list, recalled Richard Figueroa, who was a senior administrator for the program.
    The pool operated on a first-come-first-served basis, Mr. Figueroa said, without regard to people’s income or the severity of their medical condition.
    “There were people literally dying on the waiting list,” he said.”

    Why do Republicans want to go back to this?

  39. One is about crowd size and the other is about election results.

    As I said, Obama didn’t continue to insist it was true after someone googled the 80 84 results.

    Trump is like the little boy saying he didn’t take the cookies, with crumbs all over his shirt.

    Does it give you pause that even you agree with that characterization?

  40. “Ugh, I can’t believe the Republicans are pushing high risk pools again. Do they really think this will solve the problem of people with pre-existing medical problems? The pools were tried in 35 states and were mainly a failure because no state could afford to run them.”

    Do you really think that, because high-risk pools may have failed in the past, it is impossible to learn from those failures and design a better high-risk pool system?

    “Beth Martinez, 40, who has multiple sclerosis, was forced to join Texas’ high-risk pool when she and her husband moved to Austin.”

    No matter what system you create, in a country with 320 million people, the media will ALWAYS be able to find someone who fell through the cracks. http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2016/07/28/overwhelming-evidence-that-obamacare-caused-premiums-to-increase-substantially/#5290b2ed46e3

  41. Scarlett, A LOT of people fell through those cracks. Go read the history of the pools. Get educated.

    The reason they failed is because they cost so much money that the states couldn’t afford them.

  42. “Does it give you pause that even you agree with that characterization?”

    “Even” me? He’s not my boy. I voted for him because IMO the alternative was worse. Pence would be terrific, but he wasn’t at the top of the ballot. Perhaps circumstances will allow him to take over, and that would be fine with me.

    But doesn’t it give YOU pause that millions of voters, with full knowledge of Trump’s defects, took a look at Clinton and decided to roll the dice and hope for the best? The voters know that Trump plays fast and loose with the facts, but they.don’t.care because the alternative was Clinton.

  43. The Kaiser Foundation, which is very respected in the health policy world, has been tracking high risk pools for years . Here is a brief they wrote this summer, describing the history of high risk pools and the issues with them.

    Their conclusion – it would cost a lot of money to adequately fund these pools

    early four decades of experience with high-risk pools suggests they have the potential to provide health coverage to a substantial number of people with pre-existing conditions. State high-risk pools that existed prior to passage of the ACA covered over 200,000 people at their peak, and the temporary PCIP pool created as part of the ACA covered over 100,000 individuals.

    These high-risk pools likely covered just a fraction of the number of people with pre-existing conditions who lacked insurance, due in part to design features that limited enrollment. State pools typically excluded coverage of services associated with pre-existing conditions for a period of time and charged premiums substantially in excess of what a typical person would pay in the non-group market. PCIP had fewer barriers to enrollment – charging standard premiums with no pre-existing condition exclusions – but it did restrict signups to people who had been uninsured for a least six months.

    Even with these limitations, the government subsidies required to cover losses in these high-risk pools were substantial – over $1 billion per year in the state pools and about $2 billion in the final year of PCIP. A high-risk pool that had minimal barriers to enrollment could cost substantially more.”

    That is the problem.

    http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/high-risk-pools-for-uninsurable-individuals/

  44. MM,
    A lot of people are falling through the cracks because the ACA is not working for them. They can’t afford the higher premiums even with subsidies, they have far fewer plan choices than initially promised, and they face drastically limited doctor and hospital networks.

  45. But doesn’t it give YOU pause that millions of voters, with full knowledge of Trump’s defects, took a look at Clinton and decided to roll the dice and hope for the best?

    Oh sure it’s disgusting that she caused this debacle by insisting on running.

  46. Scarlett,

    Big picture do you feel the government has a role to play in ensuring that everyone has access to the heathcare they need at a price they can afford?

  47. “Their conclusion – it would cost a lot of money to adequately fund these pools”

    Well, it costs a lot of money to provide medical care for the people who would populate those pools. So it’s going to cost a lot of money to fund whatever pool they’re in, it’s just that with the high risk pools it’s more transparent how much it’ll cost.

  48. Finn, you and I were having the same thoughts. The questions of interest are, “What is needed care?”, “What percentage of household income should be dedicated to healthcare for it to be considered affordable?” and “To what extent should government-facilitated subsidies involve the rich subsidizing the poor vs. the healthy subsidizing the sick?”

    Once we agree on those answers, I think we’re set. :)

  49. “rich subsidizing the poor vs. the healthy subsidizing the sick?”

    And, to a somewhat lesser extent, the young subsidizing the old ( there are many older folks that are healthier than some younger folks).

    Mandated high health care premiums will make it harder for many young adults to launch, although that’s offset to some degree by coverage under parents’ plans until 26.

    And it’s also not just the sick. A friend who works in healthcare (on the IT side) told me that women of childbearing age are quite expensive to insure, even if they are young and healthy.

    BTW, I’ve read a case being made that if one looks at total compensation, including health insurance benefits, rather than just salary, this fact would narrow the gender pay gap.

  50. Rhett – when those photos were first posted, they had time labels. 2009 was taken at 11:30; 2017 was taken at 11:00. Soon, the all-telling time labels disappeared. And that doesn’t even consIder the difference in weather.

  51. Rhett,
    Absolutely, the government has a role to play in assuring care for the poor and the very sick. As Finn noted, no matter how you do it, it’s going to cost a lot to provide medical care for very sick people. Reasonable people can differ on whether high-risk pools (properly funded and structured) or some other mechanism is the best way to achieve that goal.

    WCE, thanks for posting the NYT link on the Niles field trip. What a shocker to find women who hadn’t gotten the memo or a pink hat, and who wouldn’t have travelled to DC to march even if they had. The media coverage of the DC march confirmed that it wasn’t a particularly diverse crowd. Not many waitresses or WalMart workers appeared to be among them, and prolife groups were deliberately excluded.

  52. WMATA does keep track of riders. As of Friday at 11 am, there had been 193k trips on Metro. For Obama’s 2009 inaug, there had been 517k by 11 am and for his 2013 one there had been 317k. W’s 2nd inaug had 197k trips by 11 am. Bus permits were also down. I went to the 2009 inaug. It was very cold. But fun!

  53. I agree that there were fewer people. It’s just the two pictures are not a good indicator when they’re taken at different times.

  54. Other than the lying about things that are pretty easy to verify, it doesn’t even matter that there were fewer people. He is still the President. But it goes to the point that it appears as though he doesn’t undestand the gravity and seriousness of his position. He is now the most powerful person in the world and he is focusing on nonsense. Not exactly confidence building. Days 1-3 haven’t really been inspiring.

  55. Oh! And yesterday Pence said it was clear that more than half the women in the March were Trump supporters. What?!

  56. This morning on a major cable network show I saw this inflammatory claim again go unchallenged.  Here is the CBS headline, which was similar to what the WaPo reported:

    Moments after Donald Trump became president, the White House’s LGBT rights page disappeared

    Surprisingly, Buzzfeed helped clarify what really happened.

    Let’s Calm Down About Pages “Disappearing” From The White House Website
    It’s a new site … because it’s a new president.

    It’s a routine process, one that was used by Obama when he entered office.  No, Trump is not erasing LGBT rights.

    Stuff like this from the MSM helps fan the flames arising from that orange hair!

  57. No, what deplorables thought of Hilary does not give us any pause. Our candidate was not perfect, but we all know who and why people voted for the orange one. These are the same ones who get all unmentionables in a twist with BLM and claim all lives matter, but don’t want to say happy holidays -only merry Christmas and want their version of white Mayberrry back and control over women’s Bodies. Not to mention that proclaiming that minorities should not claim to be afraid because all the atrocities that happened were only a figment of their imagination. So nice try!

    Milo, would half an hour have doubled the crowd?

    All this posturing- no more people came to my party than your party- by a man who is (for now) on the most powerful seat in the world is beyond pathetic. We are officially the laughing stock of the world.

  58. And day 4 starts with lawsuits being filed. Hopefully the discovery stage is full of fun. And now we might get to find out what the emoluments clause is all about.

  59. Calling Trump voters deplorables on here is getting a little uncivil. I like hearing everyone’s view points without the name calling (since people I love did vote for Trump and I don’t find them deplorable).

  60. Reuters confirmed that the photos were taken at the same time.

    Why are we continuing to argue about easily verifiable facts? They lied. Is this really so difficult to admit? Is it really so difficult to criticize any aspect of Trump and his administration? Folks, if we can’t even agree on basic facts what are we trying to accomplish here?

  61. Fox’s coverage of the marches was disappointing. I also expected more out of the NYTimes but have enjoyed their recent pieces trying to show different perspectives. WashPo did a good job.

  62. I post this as a gentle reminder of what we said we’re all about:

    “…we take pride in the civil tone of our discussions covering a wide range of topics from current events…anything that has to do with work-family balance. We promote the idea of no dumb questions.”

  63. I think we let the ship sail on civility on the politics topics long ago. But I shall do my best to keep it together!

  64. “we take pride in the civil tone of our discussions covering a wide range of topics from current events”

    To that end, I suggest we not have a political thread. I really don’t need to see pictures of aborted fetuses. For me, that’s when the line was not just crossed but obliterated. I’ve greatly enjoyed this board over the years, but for me the political thread has poisoned the well. I disengaged for awhile, and recently have tried to re-engage, but I see these conversations headed down the same path.

    If others want to continue the political thread, then let me just say thank you for all your insight, advice and friendship over the years and goodbye.

  65. In the spirit of unity and because I really do think one should apologize if he or she has offended people, I do apolgize if anyone thinks that I have ever crossed a line. For me, these discussions are kind of fun and I like the back and forth. It is possible that I sometimes become entrenched in a side of argument that I really don’t feel all that strongly about just because that is my nature.

  66. Houston – thanks that was great.

    No offense taken in the back and forth. Ya’ll feel free to argue your points and criticize Trump, Obama and any other politicians Just making the point that making generalizations about half the country is probably unfair.

  67. Houston, I didn’t vote for Trump, but I also agreed with the article. I hope Trump is a one term president, but I don’t think calling his supporters names is going to help elect someone else.

  68. I don’t understand the point of defending Trump. He is the president. That is reality. I wish the Democrats had put up a viable candidate instead of the only one who could lose to Trump. But the election happened, he is the president, protesting isn’t going to change that.

    While I found much of his inaugural speech horrifitying, this part rang true for me. I know others for whom it also rang true.

    The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now. Because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you.

  69. “To that end, I suggest we not have a political thread. I really don’t need to see pictures of aborted fetuses. For me, that’s when the line was not just crossed but obliterated.”

    It’s interesting that Kerri feels this way, because my late term abortion was when I emotionally crossed over into “safe, legal and rare” territory regarding abortion. Abortion had been politically divisive my whole life, and when I first heard that statement, in the early ’90’s, my thought was, “That viewpoint might be an opportunity for compromise, so we can focus political energy on systemic rather than individual problems.”

  70. (Darnit Winemama – after I thought I had made such a bold and dramatic exit, I am sucked back in! =) What FB group? Please send me a link – you have my e-mail. Also glad to hear the Goodreads group has gotten some traction. Can’t remember the last time I checked in there.)

  71. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country.

    While true, do people really understand what that means? For example, free trade. When the first Toyotas and Hondas arrived in the 50s and 60s they were comically underpowered crap. But, they kept plugging away and eventually started making cars so good Detroit couldn’t cope. The free market had spoken and American consumers preferred Japanese cars. So, in order to save Detroit Reagan entered into a gentlesmans agreement with Japan to limit the number of Japanese cars American consumers could buy. If you wanted a nice reliable Accord the government was stepping in to say, “I’m sorry, we’re going to force you to buy a crappy overpriced Chevy or Ford.”

    Folks like George Will are apoplectic at the thought of government bureaucrats micromanaging consumer buying decisions. But, many on the right now seem fine with this new level of government micromanagement of the economy.

  72. Trumps populist policies seem to mostly be about the government interviewing in the market when the market fails to deliver the goods to the average American. If so many on the right are on board with that, why have they fought so hard against that idea for so long?

  73. @WCE – I feel the same way about abortion, personally. Having gone through pregnancy and birth makes me my belief stronger that no one should be forced to carry and birth a child, but it also makes me sympathize with the pro-life movement much more because it really changed my outlook on where “life” begins. So I agree – safe, legal, and rare. I believe a lot of people actually feel that way & are not extreme on either side.

    FWIW, if anti-choice/pro-life groups were discouraged from joining in the women’s marches, I think that was a huge mistake.

    Right now, I feel like there are a lot of really extreme voices yelling at each other, and a whole bunch of people in the middle covering their ears. I don’t buy what Trump is selling, and I certainly don’t agree with the Pence/Ryan/Koch Brothers idea of an ideal world, but I don’t believe the hyperbole from the far left that the world is ending either. I am worried that we are at the point where compromise and moderate politics are at least temporarily obsolete at the Federal level. It’s been going that way for awhile, but right now feels like an apex of divisiveness. And that frustrates me. I lean more liberal than conservative, but I would love to see a true middle block come out of this. It just doesn’t seem possible right now as the Tea Party ran all the moderates out of the Republican party, and the Democrats seem headed down the same road.

  74. Atlanta, no offense intended. But I really do feel that way about people who feel and argue the points I mentioned in my post. my statement was about them. I fully acknowledge that people who are not deplorable, who are actually really good people, voted for Trump. though I feel frustrated with them.

  75. Houston, just as the Tea party marches and demonstrations alienated a lot of people… But in the end, it worked – the Tea Party took over the Republican party and now dominates. Why do liberals have to get held to a higher standard than conservatives?

  76. Rhett – I wasn’t defending Trump making an issue of crowd size. I was just pointing out that the original photos I’d seen in the comparison were taken at different times.

    I think he’s wrong to focus on it, but I’ll allow for the possibility that he knows what he’s doing in his media games. Or he’s totally nuts. Or both.

    Cordelia – if the speech horrified you, but you agreed with the portion you quoted, what part horrified you? I thought what you quoted was the central thesis.

  77. “Why do liberals have to get held to a higher standard than conservatives?”

    Not Houston, but if it works for them, electorally, then they don’t. I think it might be more difficult for them for a number of reasons, though:

    1) democrats are more geographically concentrated in a few areas, so riling up their base has less effect on congressional or electoral college representation.

    2) by definition, liberals generally want the government to do more, not less, so obstructionism is less fruitful to their cause.

    3) center-right country.

  78. “Why do liberals have to get held to a higher standard than conservatives?”

    Because liberals scorn the crudeness and exclusionary politics of conservatives, and then act the same way. Because liberals say and think they’re better than conservatives.

    If liberals agree that they are just as human as conservatives–just as prejudiced, angry, exclusionary, myopic, but also generous, kind, engaged, and patriotic–then we can have a conversation. However, as a conservative, I feel that I am looked down upon by liberals and the media.

  79. what part horrified you?

    Presumably the immigration restrictions that would dramatically increase the price of farm labor* and the trade war that would decimate farm prices.

    * even those that don’t directly employ illegal farm labor hire from a poll that does compete with illegals.

  80. And as a longtime liberal, I feel I have been looked down upon since the Reagan era by conservatives. I am old enough to remember the 80’s when “liberal” became an epithet. Remember all the scorn heaped on Dukakis because he was a Massachusetts liberal? And Clinton won precisely by not being “liberal”. When Obama won, it was the first time I could really remember when we had a president who reflected ME.

    One of the reasons I left my homestate was because I was sick of the scorn heaped on everyone who wasn’t a conservative evangelical.

  81. I’ll tell you, politics in Texas now is just insane. I can’t even call our local politicians conservatives–they have become very militant!

  82. but also generous

    I’m not going to give you generous and I’ll give you an example of why. High risk pools. The ACA says that MM’s son should be able to buy a regular Blue Cross, Aetna etc policy and pay the same as everyone else. Many conservatives say he should be either charged far more or be forced into high risk pools. If he needs extra help he should be forced down to the welfare office to have the fact that he needs help rubbed in his face.

  83. Rhett, that is a perfect example. Obamacare is simply one way to provide medical insurance to very sick people. It is not the ONLY way, and to label as “ungenerous” those who are seeking alternatives merely serves to validate the stereotype of liberal arrogance.

    Besides, research has established that conservatives are more generous with their time, talent, and treasure (including blood donations) than liberals. Liberal Nicholas Kristof, in a NYT column headlined “Bleeding Heart Tightwads,” has admitted as much:

    “Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.
    Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.
    Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.
    The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children.”

  84. Obamacare is simply one way to provide medical insurance to very sick people. It is not the ONLY way,

    Right, my point is that conservatives want to
    force MM’s son to prostate themselves before the welfare office in order to get benefits. Liberal’s prefer that it’s handled without that burden.

    I would add to this the means testing aka welfareiszing of SS. If ones spouse runs off to Belize with all ones money the state has a role to play in providing a minimal existence but again with a suitable stigma attached vs the system we have now where everyone gets it’s with no questions or stigma attached.

    You brought up charity which again allows those who do well to force the less fortunate to prostrate themselves at the food bank in order to receive alms.

  85. “Right, my point is that conservatives want to
    force MM’s son to prostate themselves before the welfare office in order to get benefits. Liberal’s prefer that it’s handled without that burden.”

    I don’t think that’s fair.

    As we’ve discussed before, among many liberals and conservatives, especially those nearer the center, there is agreement about providing benefits for those in need. The disagreement is in how to deal with those who try to take advantage of others’ generosity. Means testing isn’t necessarily to humiliate those receiving benefits as much as making sure the undeserving aren’t taking advantage of the generosity of others.

    Personally, I prefer the SS approach, where benefits are not means-tested (taxing of SS benefits notwithstanding). Means testing, IMO, consumes resources better spent on actual benefits.

  86. “If others want to continue the political thread, then let me just say thank you for all your insight, advice and friendship over the years and goodbye.”

    Please keep in mind, the reason for separate political threads is to keep political discussions separate from our other discussions, and to allow those who do not care to discuss politics to continue to participate in all other discussions.

    So I encourage you to continue to provide your viewpoints in the other threads, but skip over the political threads if you find them distasteful.

  87. “I think we let the ship sail on civility on the politics topics long ago. But I shall do my best to keep it together!”

    I don’t think so. While there may be some individuals who at certain times have become less civil than is the norm for this group, I find that there is still a lot of civility in our political discussions.

  88. “we all know who and why people voted for the orange one. These are the same ones who … want their version of white Mayberrry back …”

    I took this to be an accusation that Trump voters are racist. Am I wrong?

  89. “I took this to be an accusation that Trump voters are racist. ”

    Yes, but what else is new? Anyone who disagrees is a racist/bigot/homophobe/sexist/misogynist…”you name it.”

  90. We do need some balance on the court, but hope to God, republicans do not get to nominate more than one.

  91. “I took this to be an accusation that Trump voters are racist. Am I wrong?”

    Maybe not necessarily racist, but it put them all into one bucket, which I believe is incorrect.

    I am quite confident that there is more than one person who voted for Trump, and likely a significant number, because he’s not Hillary.

  92. Dell, IMO you’re not helping your case by lumping all Trump voters together.

    OK, so maybe there were a bunch of them who fit the profile you describe, but there are others who had other reasons for voting for him, and lumping both groups together, besides being logically fallacious, ignores those other reasons and overemphasizes the importance of the reasons of those you cite.

    You also could be insulting many of the voters who had other reasons.

  93. “I took this to be an accusation that Trump voters are racist.

    Not all of them. But when the people who constantly point out that Obama was a diversity admit to Colombia and Harvard never had a problem with W being a legacy admit to Harvard and Yale, it does make you wonder.

  94. “OK, so maybe there were a bunch of them who fit the profile you describe”

    even this, I’m not sure what’s so bad about the profile that’s described in the Washington Post article. Can you explain it, Dell?

  95. Rhett, one of the reasons black conservatives who oppose affirmative action (Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams) oppose it is that the stigma of having been admitted under different standards is enduring.

  96. “But when the people who constantly point out that Obama was a diversity admit to Colombia and Harvard never had a problem with W being a legacy admit to Harvard and Yale, it does make you wonder.”

    That’s probably because, for a time, the media told us endlessly about how uniquely brilliant Obama was. Nobody, left or right, assumed that W.’s admission to Yale was anything but a legacy admit.

  97. I heard that Obama omitted his race on his Harvard application. He was not a diversity admit. I admire him for this.

    Bush was *definited* a legacy admit. Nothing wrong with this. I wish my kids were legacy admits.

  98. WCE,

    How is it any different than legacies? If we give a leg up to athletes, males, donors*, alumnus, kids for South Dakota, why are is racial affirmative action so much worse?

  99. Finn, TBH, I have never talked in person to a Trump voter who also does not make an offhand remark about oh how nice it will be now FLOTUS will be a nice looking lady versus the previous one. Quite telling no? And that is just an example.

    Yeah, but like I said above, I did not mean to lump all Trump voters together for sure. But deliberate obtuse/ red herring arguments here certain bring out my angst.

  100. Houston,

    A quick googling doesn’t say that he omitted his race. Do you recall where you saw that?

  101. When people don’t have a problem with the birtherism, or the comments about Mexicans, or the wall, or the grabbing of genitals or the registry, it does reflect poorly. You can hold your nose and vote for someone but if you don’t state that you are against those things, a lot of people will then think that you agree with them.

  102. “FLOTUS will be a nice looking lady versus the previous one. Quite telling no?”

    Aren’t you the one who just referred to the President based on his coloring?

  103. “Do you really think that?”

    Absolutely. The whole Messiah treatment that Obama enjoyed from the mainstream media.

  104. I absolutely do not have a problem with the wall, Kate. Why should I? How does border enforcement make one a racist? Hillary was in favor of stronger border enforcement as recently as 2008, by the way.

  105. OK then – out of all the people who objected to Obama being a affirmative action admit that didn’t object to W being a legacy admit what percentage were and are racist? I’m just trying to gauge how much of an issue you think racism still plays in America.

  106. Well said Kate!

    Milo, you just made my point by making that argument.

    I am independent, leaning right, but man, for every valid arguments non- republicans make, republicans make a school yard counter argument.

  107. Red herring. If we want to get serious about people being here illegally, we could do that. We could go after the people who employ undocuments workers and those who overstay their visas. But we don’t. Instead we have a president who says we are going to get a wall paid for by Mexico. Because that makes a good sound byte.

  108. Rhett: I wish I could remember! It was in a tv interview when he was first running as a presidential candidate. It just stuck with me.

  109. “Milo, you just made my point by making that argument. ”

    You’re going to have to explain that. Which argument?

  110. Your argument that the wall is fine because who wouldn’t agree with border protection. As though there was nothing wrong with what Trump proposed. Totally innocent and wasn’t a dog whistle.

  111. I absolutely do not have a problem with the wall, Kate. Why should I?

    It substantially impinges on the economic freedom of American businesses.

  112. Kate – The U.S. Border Patrol has miles of fencing and physical barriers, cameras, heat sensors, manned patrols, aerial patrols.

    Are you saying that whatever level we happen to have now, from President Obama’s tenure, is exactly the right amount, and anyone who believes that there should be increased physical barriers is racist and hopelessly uninformed about the correct ways to deter illegal immigration? Any possible addition to the current makeup is not “getting serious”?

  113. “As though there was nothing wrong with what Trump proposed.”

    What’s wrong with what Trump proposed? It’s not like a physical barrier is something new?

  114. No. I am saying that Trump was being an asshole and rallying the voters around some idea that Mexicans are bad and we’re going to solve the problem by getting them to pay for a wall.

  115. Milo, I called Trump by the color he puts on his skin, and you claimed it to be similar to what certain people called the former FLOTUS for her inherent attributes. That tells me that republicans cannot or do not want to discern between a racist comment and a jab. By making a jab equal to a racist comment, they want to justify that which is inherently racist.

  116. Some of our current wall:

    But don’t anyone dare suggest that it should be one inch longer! Only a racist would think that! Dog whistles!

  117. You’re right Milo. It was totally innocent. He intended it with the upmost respect of Mexican people.

  118. dell – It sounds like you want to justify your own “jab” at someone’s personal appearance while screaming that anyone who makes a similar jab against someone you like must be racist.

    Look, Melania was a model. Michelle was not. Melania is better looking, and while it’s not necessarily polite to make such announcements, it’s not racist, either. You obviously don’t have a problem with taking jabs at personal appearances, though, so you really have no room to criticize here.

  119. “Nobody, left or right, assumed that W.’s admission to Yale was anything but a legacy admit.”

    Right, and a big deal was made about how he wasn’t a good student.

    Al Gore also went to an Ivy, and while he wasn’t a legacy, I believe he was there largely because of who his father was, and he was no great shakes as a student either. But for some reason, his shortcomings as a student didn’t seem to be as well covered as W’s.

  120. “You’re right Milo. It was totally innocent. He intended it with the upmost respect of Mexican people.”

    Not all Mexicans are illegal immigrants, Kate.

  121. ” But they aren’t sending their best here. ”

    Well, no. Illegal immigrants are criminals, by definition.

  122. I really liked Melania’s powder blue dress for the inauguration ceremony! I didn’t like Michelle’s outfit, but I liked her shoes.

  123. “You can hold your nose and vote for someone but if you don’t state that you are against those things, a lot of people will then think that you agree with them.”

    And that doesn’t necessarily reflect well on those who think that.

    A lot of people don’t talk much about politics IRL, and during this past election, I think a lot more refrained.

  124. Milo, pretend all you want and claim contrary. if people decide to be obtuse, there is no helping them. But I will try for the last time.

    Former flotus was ridiculed and called names including comparative reference to a certain mammal. all certainly because she was born that way. If that is not openly racist not just “impolite” as you would prefer to characterize it, dont know what is. Certainly nowhere close to calling someone orange because that person smears orange color on themselves.

    BUT you already know that. Go on pretending.

  125. “I absolutely do not have a problem with the wall, Kate.”

    I do. It’s potentially an environmental disaster, e.g., cutting animals off from much of their native habitat, and it doesn’t seem to me that enough thought has gone into making sure it’s not.

    OTOH, some of what might be considered human disasters have had positive environmental consequences. The DMZ in Korea has apparently become a haven for wildlife. I’ve read that in Africa, elephants have learned to avoid mines, making minefields there into refuges from poachers.

  126. “Former flotus was ridiculed and called names”

    People say all sorts of horrible things. Madonna recently said that she thought about blowing up the White House.

    But are you really saying that you’ve not met any Trump voters who have not referred to Michelle Obama as an ape or monkey?

  127. But are you really saying that you’ve not met any Trump voters who have not referred to Michelle Obama as an ape or monkey?

    In your defense, many of those making ape comments aren’t even racists they are just suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome just as many, like Madonna, are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  128. Rhett – In any case, I’m not defending people making ape comments. There’s no defense for that. I’m criticizing the tendency to ascribe that to all or most Trump voters because that’s what someone saw on Reddit or heard their drunk uncle declare.

  129. OK, just to dive into the fray a bit…. On Facebook, I keep links with some really conservative people. Some are evangelicals, mainly people I know from adoption circles, and they are fine.Their opinions are really different from mine, but the stuff they post is political. But I also have links with some ex-co-workers, who are probably alt-right people, although when we worked together, that term did not exist. And they post stuff that is ugly, really ugly. There was one recently that referred to getting rid of Obama and his “wife” – in quotes like that. And another that said “Its over! 8 years of your anti-American Muslim crap and now you’re out!”. And another – a photo of a young black man clad in bra and panties and fish nets, with the caption “If Obama Had a Son”.
    I allow the stuff in my feed to remind myself what is out there.

  130. Mooshi – If nothing else, that is informative to me. I have a lot of really die-hard conservatives on my FB feed — some have been so strident and relentless that I’ve unfollowed them over the years just because it becomes boring and tedious — but nothing like that is ever posted that I can remember. I’m not doubting what you say by any means, I’m just surprised, and these are presumably professional people who are your former coworkers.

  131. “In your defense, many of those making ape comments aren’t even racists they are just suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome just as many, like Madonna, are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

    Funny and true!

    My FB feed is completely opposite from MM – it’s all people posting Occupy Democrats stuff and dressing their children in black on Inauguration Day. I have a friend who posted today that she was hoping to just see pictures of people’s food again on FB which made me laugh.

  132. And I have a lot of teacher friends from college who are busy posting petitions to oppose Betsy DeVos (which I agree with them on).

  133. Certainly we can stipulate that there people on both sides of the political spectrum who behave very poorly.

  134. IRL people I know don’t talk politics to me. The one thing that had many people concerned here was the situation with the police shootings. The shooting of black men, followed by riots and protests, sometimes followed by shooting of police officers in different cities. It seemed like the situation was spinning out of control in different parts of the country. They could visualize their cities becoming like parts of Chicago and that is something no one wanted.

  135. If the only Trump supporters you encounter make offensive ape jokes or similar, then I would venture to say your circle is not very diverse. To extrapolate those vile voters to all other Trump supporters is close minded, and gives liberals a bad name. And in my opinion that’s another reason #whytrumpwon. My circle must also not be diverse because I’ve never heard a Trump supporter voice opinions anything like that, except maybe for one distant relative who actually suffers from a mental illness. However, I have heard Hillary supporters express how all Trump voters are idiots or bigots.

  136. Atlanta Mom – I have lots of FB friends who post Democrat stuff too. My feed was a wall of pink hats on Saturday.
    I also have friends on FB from church who voted for Trump. It is kind of weird because our church is liberal, and these people are somewhat liberal. They just hated Hillary so much. I also am a FB friend with the mayor of CoC’s little hamlet – not a political like, but actual friends with him and his wife. They were in our church for a long while, and wrote a letter of support for us when we were adopting. They were at the inauguration and very proud of being Trump supporters. But they wouldn’t say anything nasty – definitely not the types.
    My very evangelical friends, though, largely did not vote for Trump. They sat it out.

  137. I guess it’s a testament to their perseverance that they’ve been able to accumulate millions in assets while subjected to capricious government overreach.

  138. Rhett, the establishment is the people in power who have the ability to sic or call off govt agencies.

  139. Rhett, the establishment is the people in power who have the ability to sic or call off govt agencies

    Aka millionaire landowners and their army of lawyers.

  140. Good article on special education students and their priority under federal law compared to ESL students/students in poverty. I especially liked the data on how IDEA is an unfunded federal mandate, like many other unfunded federal mandates. When IDEA was passed, the federal government promised to fund 40% of special education costs but in reality, the federal government funds only 16%. The fact that 25% of educational dollars in the U.S. go to special education is consistent with other estimates I have seen.

    Please try to ignore the fact that De Vos is ignorant. :)
    https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/is-the-bar-too-low-for-special-education/514241/

  141. It seems that it has never been fully funded. Looking at the history, it appears that year after year, bipartisan groups of senators introduce bills for full funding, which are then voted down or allowed to die in committee. For example, from 2001
    http://all4ed.org/articles/education-bill-moves-forward-mandatory-special-education-funding-left-behind/

    This is pretty typical though. For example, one of the little know reasons for this years ACA rate hikes was that money that was supposed to go to insurance companies that took on higher risk people was cut by Republicans in Congress to only 12% of what it was supposed to be. And I think you can probably find tons more examples of Congressional underfunding if you try.

  142. Anyone see the Badlands National Park tweets and the responses? Political protest now means tweeting science and facts.

    Yes, I miss Obama.

  143. Mooshi- unrealistic government spending is my main concern about government. The example that comes to mind in addition to your ACA example is significantly underestimating the cost of student loans that will never be paid back.

    Both Democrats and Republicans need to raise the taxes to fund their preferred programs (and associated long-term costs, like military pensions and VA health) and no one is willing to do it. The extent to which legal and illegal tax avoidance, transferring work to lower tax countries and individuals choosing to work less will be responses to higher taxes is not well understood but is significant.

    The reason I could not vote for HRC was my fear that her efforts to expand entitlement programs would be successful.

  144. The #FreeMelania meme is funny but sad. I think part of the problem is that she has a Resting Bitchy Face, not a good thing for a first lady.

  145. No, it is more than that. She has not been part of the campaign at all, she has made it clear she prefers to stay in NYC, and Donald doesn’t even treat her with respect in public. Michelle Obama often suffered from RBF too, but she made it clear through her actions that she was proud to be First Lady.

  146. Ross Douthat, a conservative commentator who often makes sense, made a ton of sense today in his column on healthcare. OK, he supports the Cassidy/Collins healthcare proposal (which basically leaves it up to the states), a proposal that has no chance in hell of passing. But he also discusses the point I keep making here, which is that there is no working example of a healthcare system based on the principles that Ryan and the other Republicans favor. To go down the path of instituting something that has never been tried before on a nationwide basis seems to me the antithesis of conservatism. He notes that and says that trying things on a statewide basis, to see what works, is a better idea. I think his column is worth reading

  147. MM,

    That sounds like a fair plan. I don’t have a lot of faith in its ability to save money with so many folks still on medicare and traditional employer insurance. AFAIK HSA save money by people notgetting care not by providers providing care more efficiently.

  148. It would be a useful experiment, and might work well in sparsely populated areas where the the rack rate for services was not completely fictitious, because in well insured and densely populated areas is the negotiated rate available to people with insurance that represents actual cost to the consumer, even if you are still running through the yearly deductible.

    States that do not want to permit the issuance of catastrophic only plans or limited services plans could continue on with their own systems. That would also avoid the inevitable problem with the federal government legislating that health insurance is a federally regulated (and by implication interstate commerce protected) good/service as opposed to something that is traditionally subject to regulation at the state level. The dissenting states under that federal “overreach” scenario would have standing to sue on a powers reserved to the states basis, and certainly might win in a originalist Supreme Court.

  149. David Hoyt
    ‏@DavidJHoyt

    The thing the dystopian novels could never predict was the sudden rebellion of the national park social media managers

  150. “No, it is more than that. She has not been part of the campaign at all, she has made it clear she prefers to stay in NYC, and Donald doesn’t even treat her with respect in public. Michelle Obama often suffered from RBF too, but she made it clear through her actions that she was proud to be First Lady.”

    Well, as I said RBF is only part of Melania’s problem, but I don’t have any reason to believe she is not extremely proud to be first lady. Her son is the main reason she’s staying in NYC for now. And unlike Michelle, she’s probably been “really proud” of the USA even before her husband became president.

  151. but I don’t have any reason to believe she is not extremely proud to be first lady.

    I thought the Donald explicitly said that she didn’t want him to run.

  152. Even bigger reason to love the national park service.
    Ignore that De vos is ignorant! – yes, like ignorance is the worst thing about her. Ignore everything- that is the motto of republicans.

  153. I’ve been a little puzzled by the liberals who are annoyed at Melania for shying away from the spotlight. “We hate Trump, and how dare his wife not want to be front and center!”

    “The food at the restaurant was terrible, and even worse, the portions were tiny!”

  154. I have no animus against Melania. And I disagree with CoC; I think we do have some reason to believe she was dragged into this whole mess. If she wants to stay out of the spotlight, that’s fine. Ivanka seems to want to be First Lady, so let her.

  155. @RMS – I agree. I think the notion of the “First Lady” decorating the White House and managing the parties is outdated anyway. Let her say phooey to the whole thing. All the better for future first spouses.

    But let’s not attribute some grand patriotism to her either. We have no proof of that either, maybe she is even more patriotic as a naturalized citizen, maybe she misses Slovenia desperately. Who knows? I’m happy with letting her stay unknown to all of us.

  156. I have zero problems with Melania and Ivanka’s respective chosen roles/involvement. I’m appalled by any negative comments related to Barron, and I think liberals who focus on any of the three are ridiculous.

  157. Can we please refrain from taking any cheap potshots at either Michelle or Melania? Thank you.

  158. “I’ve been a little puzzled by the liberals who are annoyed at Melania for shying away from the spotlight.”

    Being the first lady is an honor. She doesn’t seem to be honored.

    I have zero issues with her not playing the traditional first lady role. I’d prefer that she acknowledge that it is hers though, or publicly hand it over to Ivanka.

  159. “I thought the Donald explicitly said that she didn’t want him to run.”

    That’s not uncommon among political spouses, but I don’t assume they are then not proud of their role after the victory. My default opinion Is that a presidential spouse would be proud of their role unless they show me otherwise. Melania or Michelle are obviously different, as were previous first ladies. I don’t think it’s fair to make assumptions about their beliefs and attitudes from casual observation of their behavior or from gossip.

  160. “Melania seems really reluctant, while Ivanka is all grabby hands for that power!”

    My perception, based largely on watching The Apprentice, is that Trump has a great deal of confidence in Ivanka, more than his other kids.

  161. I don’t really care if Melania wants to be First Lady or not, except that if she insists on living in Trump Tower, then I would like to see the federal government reimburse the NYC taxpayers for the expense, which they DID NOT DO for the transition period. Securing Trump Tower is really expensive and disruptive, much more than securing a suburban house or a ranch. And the level of security when they are living there obviously has to be more than when they are not there.

    Melania is a cipher, a complete cipher, and it is clear she wants it that way. Fine, except the role of First Lady requires one not to be a cipher. Even painfully shy First Ladies like Pat Nixon stepped up to the role as well as they could. I think Melania should just say that she is handing over the hostess, social role to someone else, and live her life.

  162. But why do we need anyone to play the role of “First Lady”/hostess? I don’t think we do.

    Not debating your point about the security costs – I think that’s a different issue. I wouldn’t care if she lived in Washington & didn’t want to do anything but sit around the living quarters doing whatever it is that she likes to do. I don’t think the spouse of the President should have any prescribed role to fill in 2017. If the person would like to use that role to advance an agenda or to play a visible role in the administration – fine. But if they don’t and barely show up to State dinners, I really do not care one bit.

  163. I don’t care unless he’s transmitting classified information (or, to be as specific as Clinton-speak requires, information that is either classified, was previously classified, and/or should have been classified.)

  164. “I don’t think the spouse of the President should have any prescribed role to fill in 2017.”

    I agree. This role is ripe for change, and it should be up to them how they want to handle things.

    Interesting about the phone because It was reported a few days ago that he had exchanged his old phone for a new secure one.

  165. Milo, how do we know? Obama agreed to only use a secured Blackberry, and it had to be subject to the Presidential Records Act.

  166. I am having a hard time getting past Congress making a rule that it’s members “own” all their records and therefore those records are exempt from DOJ subpoena. So now there is no way to investigate claims of misuse of taxpayer funds or other illegal behavior? I wrote my representative when I first learned of this, and called one if his offices today when WaPo refreshed my memory on it. I think I’m going to call a different one of his offices every day, using my family members’ names, until I run out of steam.

  167. “I wrote my representative when I first learned of this, and called one if his offices today when WaPo refreshed my memory on it. I think I’m going to call a different one of his offices every day, using my family members’ names, until I run out of steam.”

    Realizing that I have never contacted any member of Congress to express my opinion on any issue, whether by postcard/letter, email, or telephone. Your post suggests that you regard phone calls as more powerful than other means of communication. Is that because phone calls require an immediate, time-consuming response by the staff? Or because they give you the opportunity for some conversation?

  168. I don’t care unless he’s transmitting classified information (or, to be as specific as Clinton-speak requires, information that is either classified, was previously classified, and/or should have been classified.)

    I actually agree with Milo on something :) As long as Trump is using a secured phone for official business, I don’t care if he uses an unsecured one for talking to Billy Bush about how best to harass women or whatever else.

  169. Scarlett I was told that phone calls are more effective. I email all the time, although I know the emails are never seen by the congressman himself, I’m hoping their is at least a poor intern tallying “for” and “against” inputs. I don’t know whether there is validity to the suggestion I call for things that are really important to me, but I was sitting in a car line and they answered promptly, so I shared my thoughts.

    MM – apparently it was led by McCarthy. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/opinions/a-new-house-rule-is-a-gift-to-lawmakers-trying-to-hide-criminal-acts/2017/01/25/acbbcb1e-e27e-11e6-ba11-63c4b4fb5a63_story.html?client=safari

  170. If the phone has not been secured, it is a security risk to use it for anything, especially in the White House. The Times has written about the potential problems. As I said earlier, Obama used a secured Blackberry, and later a secured smartphone, for his personal purposes. Remember that we hacked Angela Merckel’s cellphone.

  171. RE: women registering for the draft – NO. Listen about all we have right now is dollar drafts and no cover on Ladies Night and not having to be drafted. As soon as we are paid equally and have full autonomy over our bodies then then maybe I would be in favor.

  172. Sorry, but as the mom of boys who are will be draft age soon, I think everyone should have to register or none at all.

  173. Mooshi I have a boy too, I’m just saying until girls are truly equal they shouldn’t have to.

  174. Moxie – Your definition of bodily autonomy is very much in debate. A guy could just as easily say “Until I have autonomy to drink a beer, (or rent a car, enter into a lease) I should not be subject to the draft.” And the pay discrepancy has never been demonstrated to be anything but the result of personal choices. But even if you want to go with that, Hispanic males earn less than white males, so maybe they shouldn’t be subject to the draft? Short males earn less than tall males — no draft for them?

    Your argument is specious.

  175. The Wall- does any one who voted for trump really think this is where we should be directing our money right now??

  176. Kerri – that’s not “the Texas GOP.” That’s one congressman who, according to your own article, “campaigned on the promise of standing up to Trump and this week called on the new president to release his tax returns, said it is “impossible” to build a physical wall in the rough terrain of his district.”

    Really?? It’s “impossible” to build a wall on rough terrain? Give me a break.

    “Each section of the border faces unique geographical, cultural, and technological challenges that would be best addressed with a flexible, sector-by-sector approach that empowers the agents on the ground with the resources they need.””

    Trump’s doing that, too, hiring 5,000 more border agents.

  177. Sorry, but as the mom of boys who are will be draft age soon, I think everyone should have to register or none at all.

    I’m good with no draft at all. We’ve all agreed slavery is not acceptable. It certainly is not acceptable to conscript anyone to face the risk of death.

  178. From the article: “No member of Texas’s congressional delegation had offered full-throated support of a complete border wall as of Dec. 20, according to a survey by the Texas Tribune.”

    So 38 Congressman from a border state haven’t gotten on board with a wall. It’s not just 1 guy.

  179. “Each section of the border faces unique geographical, cultural, and technological challenges that would be best addressed with a flexible, sector-by-sector approach that empowers the agents on the ground with the resources they need.”

    This sort of rhetoric is not helpful. (I’m not aiming this at anyone on the board, but at the politicians who spew nonsense.) Of course we can build a wall. We build stuff in Antarctica and have sent vehicles to the moon and Mars. Should we do it? Maybe.

    A constant theme in the election and inaugural address was that one segment of the population benefits from a policy and another segment bears the costs. The open border policy brought in lots of people who worked cheaply, brought their families who imposed costs on the education system. If you are someone who doesn’t own a business, or employ a housecleaner, then watching your child’s school days and school resources used to teach kids English is an incentive to support Trump.

    Do the benefits of an open border exceed the costs? If they do, is there a way to spread those benefits so that the people bearing the costs are compensated? I think that would be a more productive discussion than whether we can build a wall.

  180. Milo – spend a little time as a woman and then you can get back to me on how equal it all is. And there is no debate, when the government tells ME what I can and cannot do with my body then that is not full bodily autonomy regardless of whether you choose to dress it in religion.

  181. As you may have guessed, I would rather spend our funds (and it will be our funds) on other things than a border wall, but I’d love to hear from those of you who live in border states.

    I have family friends who live in Arizona that are full throated Trump supporters and in favor of a wall. Other relatives in mine in Florida are anti-immigrant (despite being immigrants themselves)/ pro Wall as well. None of them are really convincing as to why a wall is a good option (and certainly not given the projected cost of the wall).

  182. If you read the Tribune article, what many of them said was simply that a wall across the entire border is not necessary, and Trump backed away from that months ago. But they’re not opposed to more of a wall than we currently have, they’re not opposed to increased border enforcement and resources. And they’re also concerned about eminent domain issues.

  183. “spend a little time as a woman and then you can get back to me on how equal it all is.”

    That has nothing to do with the draft and your insistence that we should not try to make it more equal in this way.

  184. “and Trump backed away from that months ago”

    And yet, he’s now going for a full on wall. We used to call politicians like that flip floppers and believe them not to be credible. Ah, the old days.

  185. Oh, he’s not backing away from the wall. He’s just backing away from building it the full 2,000-odd miles, through rivers, etc.

  186. “Do the benefits of an open border exceed the costs? If they do, is there a way to spread those benefits so that the people bearing the costs are compensated? I think that would be a more productive discussion than whether we can build a wall.”

    I agree. And yet, this administration is not taking this approach so we have to deal with the issue as is, not as we wish it might be.

  187. “Do the benefits of an open border exceed the costs? If they do, is there a way to spread those benefits so that the people bearing the costs are compensated? I think that would be a more productive discussion than whether we can build a wall.”

    If Republicans and the rest of America wanted to have that discussion, they would have elected Jeb Bush.

  188. It’s a mistake to consider someone to be “anti-immigration” if what they oppose is illegal immigration. I see this mistake being made all the time in the press. (Not aiming this comment at anyone in particular here.)

  189. CoC, to be fair, Trump is also proposing to limit LEGAL immigration as well (from certain muslim countries). You can agree or disagree with that, but it does impact legal immigration.

    Personally, I think this wall is a boondoggle, and since he is using it to antagonize Mexico ( and succeeding it seems), I think we could lose a good relationsihp as a result.

  190. “That has nothing to do with the draft and your insistence that we should not try to make it more equal in this way.”

    Yeah let’s ignore the blatant and systemic sexism and exclusion in education and in the tech communities, label them as personal choice and then strive to make it equal in all the worst ways. That sounds fair. You can’t be a legit part of the coding community but we’ll let you fight wars. We may be women, but we aren’t stupid and we know a raw deal when we see one.

  191. “Other relatives in mine in Florida are anti-[illegal] immigrant (despite being immigrants themselves”

    This describes many of my mom’s students, about whom she’s said “You’ve never met a group of people more passionately outspoken against illegal immigrants.”

  192. CoC – I felt OK saying that my relatives are anti-immigration because I know how these relatives arrived in this country and their personal views. Some were legal immigrants, some its gray, some were not (until they married). They also want only to allow immigration to allow companies to hire workers. They’re very anti- other reasons for immigration (unless the immigrant is from their native country). Part of why they are not really all that convincing to me.

  193. Milo – can you please elaborate as to why bodily autonomy is under debate? It’s only under debate if the person in question happens to have a uterus. I can’t think of any other bodily autonomy issue that doesn’t side with the owner of the body.

  194. “can you please elaborate as to why bodily autonomy is under debate?”

    You’re unaware of the opposition to abortion?

  195. No. My second sentence made that point. The only part of either a man’s or woman’s body that is under debate is the uterus and use thereof. You made it sound like there’s more to it than that.

    So using bodily autonomy as an argument for equality… men and women are not equal.

  196. To reduce it down to “the uterus” is incorrect, since I’m not aware of any real objection to elective hysterectomies.

    So on one hand, your complaint is against biology and science, since women are the only ones who carry another human life inside them. In terms of legal inequality, it’s only men — not women — who are compelled to become parents against their will.

  197. Mexican Reaction to Trump Policies
    From the start there were two options as far as Mexican reaction was concerned. There could be an attempt to be conciliatory and
    hope that most of the commentary from Trump was bombast. The alternative would be to be aggressive and find ways to hurt the US in
    retaliation. During the campaign the conciliatory approach was tried as Mexico’s President invited Trump to visit. That was a disaster for
    Peña Nieto in every way. Trump was not the least interested in being conciliatory and took the opportunity to play to his base with a
    series of anti-Mexican tirades. The government in Mexico was stunned and Peña Nieto’s polling numbers collapsed. He was vilified by
    parties to the left and right and was accused of cowardice in the face of the US. Now that he has to start worrying about the end of his
    Presidency and his ability to anoint a successor he can ill afford to appear weak again. Mexico will react aggressively and will seek to
    exact damage on the US economy even if these actions ultimately hurt the Mexican economy as well.
    Analysis: Thus far the Mexican response has been very clear on some key points. The first is that there will be no Mexican contribution
    to paying for any wall or other border security plan put forward by the US – not now and not in the future. The statements from Trump
    assert that the wall will be initially paid for by the US but that Mexico will be required to reimburse the US or face consequences. The
    most often suggested response would be to somehow restrict the level of remittances that come from Mexicans working in the US back
    to their families in Mexico. This is possible but not easy as these are private transactions that normally come via wire transfers and
    money orders. A formal restriction on the remittance would likely force the transactions underground and basically provide yet another
    income stream for the drug cartels and other criminal organizations. It is also possible to freeze Mexican assets in the US but such a
    drastic move would trigger a like response in Mexico and the US has far more to lose in such an exchange.
    Mexico has also reacted to the demand for a Nafta renegotiation and there is no desire to engage in this either. The US is threatening
    a “border adjustment” process that essentially imposes a tax on imports from Mexico (and other states). There are calls to US companies
    that have set up operations in Mexico demanding they cease or face penalties in the US. The response from Mexico has been to promise
    retaliation of a like kind. US goods would be discriminated against and taxes would be imposed as a real trade war erupts. There is no
    doubt this would hurt the already weak Mexican economy but politically the government has no alternative. Failing to respond to what
    Mexicans consider an attack would doom the PRI to defeat in the next election.
    There are at least two long term implications for the US should such a trade war erupt beyond the obvious business and economic
    impacts. The first is that immigration pressure on the US would intensify sharply regardless of progress on border security. A collapsed
    economy in Mexico will force many thousands more to search for jobs in the US and elsewhere. The second issue is that politics in
    Mexico could shift in a decidedly anti-American direction. As Peña Nieto sinks in the polls his left wing rival has been rising fast. Andres
    Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is a populist of the left and rigidly anti-US. In past elections he has held a policy that suggests Mexico
    would help people trying to cross illegally into the US and he has advocated expropriating business belonging to the US business
    community. He would be a very dangerous leader to deal with and would be as prone to overreaction as Trump.

    http://www.armada-intel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/KYCPACurrent.pdf

  198. One of the things that Trump may not understand, being a business guy, is that negotiating with a foreign leader is really different from negotiating with a fellow businessman. A business person mainly operates on financial interests. A foreign leader has voters that he or she must answer to. Even in a country like China, President Xi has to tread carefully. The Chinese people are intensely patriotic and have a lot of pride. He can’t appear to be allowing the US to disrespect them.

  199. “In terms of legal inequality, it’s only men — not women — who are compelled to become parents against their will.”

    I just spewed my coffee. Done here for today.

    (Thanks for posting that analysis Wine.)

  200. He may not be backing away from building the wall, but he’s certainly backing away from Mexico “paying for it, believe me”. Now “they will pay for it eventually in some form that may be complicated at some point in the future”. What does that even mean?

    I watched that ABC interview. That was tough to watch. Ranting about voter fraud but offering no evidence except that “smart people believe it”. Yet insisting multiple times that NOT ONE of the supposed millions of illegal votes were cast for him. This doesn’t make any logical sense at all. And again with the crowd size nonsense. I about choked when he praised the Obamas & said how “classy” they were knowing his history pushing the birther nonsense. Most of it was him just rambling – so vague.

    Debating policies is one thing – but this guy being our President is just embarrassing.

  201. “In terms of legal inequality, it’s only men — not women — who are compelled to become parents against their will.”

    What do you think happens when the government restricts or bans abortions? Women may be compelled to be parents against their will, depending on their reasons for seeking an abortion.

    Is that how we should make it equal? Because that’s just ridiculous.

  202. I’m not aware of any real objection to elective hysterectomies.

    Then you’re simply not aware, period. Most young women who know they don’t wan’t children can’t get their tubes tied. Docs won’t do it. And removing a healthy uterus? Yeah, try finding a doctor who will do that. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

  203. Rhode – I wish! They were “n9y25ah7” and “Aqenbpuu”. I hope he’s changing the passwords on his checking accounts and everything else.

  204. “women are discussing wanting to be equals, and you answer with that Milo, seriously?”

    1) It’s not incorrect.
    2) Moxie has stated that she doesn’t want equality.
    3) Rhode, abortion is legal.
    4) Rocky, that comes down to the individual physicians and their practices, just like how a urologist won’t do a vasectomy without the wife’s consent.

  205. Gizmodo, which is a tech site, posted the opinion that those posted strings looked like passwords. Who knows? I wish they would ban Twitter in the West Wing.

  206. “Moxie has stated that she doesn’t want equality.”

    Woah – don’t you dare put words in my mouth Milo. That is not what I said and you know it!

  207. Moxie – It’s exactly what you’re saying when you think that the draft should apply to men but not women.

  208. Goddam it, why cain’t I quit this thread? Time to figure out what to wear to the Cory Gardner protest tomorrow. Much better use of my time.

  209. Why? Why bother? What is to be gained by pissing off a neighboring country with whom we have always had a good relationship.

  210. wow Milo – thought more of you than that – really. That’s like saying: “Well I offered you a dirt sandwich. If you were really hungry you would take it.” Can’t go any further without being really, really hateful so I will stop. Please rest assured that you have only encouraged and emboldened me more. So I do hope that has been your goal.

  211. Moxie – In this whole thread, one of us is saying that the government should strive to treat men and women equally, and one of us is saying no, they should not be treated equally.

  212. Moxie – And like I said, that’s a specious argument. There are many reasons why women don’t earn as much as men on average, and why coders are jerks. None of them are logical reasons why the federal government should be able to compel men to uniformed service and not women.

    And if you really want to make that argument, then you’d have to exempt men shorter than 5’10” from the draft UNTIL they earn the same amount of money as their taller counterparts. Or exempt from the draft people of only average attractiveness until they’re not systemically excluded from industries such as acting and theatre.

  213. @Moxiemom – I’m pretty sure there are some people on this board who feel that sexism and racism no longer exists, so they skipped over the word “until”.

    I do think that there should be a mandatory draft with no exceptions – maybe draft the kids of politicians first, so that they really think about what it means to go to war.

  214. Milo you do know that declaring an argument specious does not automatically make it so. I do not want your dirt sandwich as I am entitled to a proper one.

  215. Milo I will also work to ensure that your wife and daughters have access to a proper sandwich – that’s how nasty women work. We want to give people things not take them away.

  216. Moxie – Why do you think that women should get to wait out the draft until society becomes exactly as you might wish, but, for example, short men, or men from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, should still be subject to a draft until that perfect, undefined time in the future?

  217. Moxie, if these political threads have shown me one thing, its that people are freki #@ as3s. When people continue to argue their specious arguments again and again even when proven wrong, there is no point in arguing at all.

    If you don’t want to be a forced father, keep your pants on!

  218. Moxie – my recommendation would be to stop arguing. Nothing can be gained. Just make a donation to Planned Parenthood and be grateful you aren’t hateful.

  219. “If you don’t want to be a forced father, keep your pants on!”

    In other words “keep your legs together”?

  220. Yeah well, we are told that all the time aren’t we? So its time the ball is in the other court -keep the pants on. That was me at 12:49

  221. If you don’t want to be a forced father, keep your pants on!

    yeah, its not like there is some big problem with women going around raping men

    and if men don’t want a child, there is a system in place right? that will shut that whole thing down? for legitimate rape?

  222. Cordelia, it has been a very long time since we were fighting Mexico. Is this really something we want to do again?

  223. Mooshi,

    No, we don’t want to start the wars again.

    Isn’t there an amendment that states if the president is incapacitated that he can be removed?

  224. Donald J. TrumpVerified account
    ‏@realDonaldTrump

    Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?
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  225. “If you don’t want to be a forced father, keep your pants on!”

    You’ll get no argument from me. But that’s not the way progressive society sees it.

  226. Trump just has a unique way of introducing an issue, especially when it’s the one he’d prefer the media to focus on. I don’t believe that 5 million illegal aliens voted for Hillary Clinton, but the correct number isn’t 0, either, as the mainstream media is so desperate to insist.

    This was written years before Trump. There are non-citizens who show up on jury duty rolls all the time, because they’re registered to vote.

    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/07/the-threat-of-non-citizen-voting

  227. Um, you can end up on the jury duty roll simply because you have a driver’s license.There are lots of ways to end up on jury duty besides voter registeration. I know many people who never registered to vote who still got called. I suspect that is a major way noncitizens end up in the pool

  228. If women are eligible for combat positions, why shouldn’t they be required to register for the draft? The whole draft thing is a red herring anyhow, because the military neither wants nor needs it.

    As for insisting on “bodily autonomy,” that is another specious argument. None of us has full bodily autonomy. Both the criminal and civil laws prevent us from using our bodies in ways that harm other people. The very real biological differences between men and women, and the fact that only women can conceive, bear and nurse children, are an insurmountable obstacle to the quest to achieve “equality.”

  229. “There are lots of ways to end up on jury duty besides voter registeration.”

    I posted in TOS about when DS got a jury notice when he was in kindergarten.

    At the time, he had not registered to vote.

  230. Just skimming some news I see President Pena Nieto is not very popular at home and has faced dropping currency and economic woes in the past. A steep tariff is not good for his constituents. He may not be in a very strong position now and may cave. This is interesting.

  231. The reason he is not popular at home is because Mexicans want him to stand up to the US. If he caves, he will be out of there.

  232. Rocky – I’ll be honest and say that I’m just a little bit anxious to see how this all plays out. I just convinced my longtime Trump-supporting coworker of some reasons to feel the same.

    On the other hand, even from that article, it sounds like the Mexican president believes that illegal immigration should simply be expected and tolerated as a matter of course:

    “Mexicans view a wall across the 2,000-mile border as a symbolic affront, part of a package of Trump policies that could cause the country serious economic pain. They include a crackdown on illegal immigrants, who send billions of dollars home, and renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

    “When we are talking about building a wall, about deporting migrants, about eliminating sanctuary cities [for migrants], about threatening to end a free-trade agreement, or to take away factories, we are really talking about causing human suffering,” Margarita Zavala, a possible candidate for the presidency in 2018 and the wife of former president Felipe Calderón, said in an interview.”

    So what’s an average American to think about this? The talking heads on CNN (and others) all want to tell us that the wall is pointless, won’t do anything, a waste of money, can’t build it on rough terrain, anyway–that’s well beyond our civil engineering capabilities. On the other hand, now we’re being warned about how devastating the effects of a wall will be on the apparently necessary level of illegal immigration that we’re supposed to tolerate as enlightened people.

  233. Milo, I think it is simply a matter of Mexican self respect. What if Canada decided to build a wall and make us pay for it? How well do you think that would go down here?

  234. I am talking about a wall. “We’re going to build a wall and make YOU pay for it” is a slap in the face. Let’s say that illegal guns started flowing across the border into Canada, and no one was able to stop the flow, so the Canadians said “we’re sick and tired of your guns so we are going to build a giant wall across the border and make you pay for it”. You don’t think Americans would be really angry?

  235. Pena Nieto experienced sharp drops in his popularity way before this Trump wall thing.

  236. Comment on the NYTimes article about the proposed tariff
    “Great, so Trump is going to take away our vegetables at the same time he takes away our healthcare”

  237. Is it really a wall he wants to build?

    I looked for some photos, and all I found were photos of fences.

  238. “I’m trying to figure out what I buy from Mexico so I can stock up.”

    Coke with real sugar?

  239. I was looking more at the 20% import tax Trump wants to impose. I suspect I will be buying fewer tomatoes.

  240. He calls it a wall. To both our voters and to Mexican voters, that is the term that is important.

  241. I haven’t had a sugared cola in over 50 years. But it will be kind of interesting to see which of my usual purchases turn out to be from Mexico. Maybe I should get a greenhouse started.

  242. If we felt like illegal guns crossing from America into Canada were not only not our problem but were actually necessary, and Canada said that they were going to put up a wall and make us pay for it, then sure, some Americans would be mad, but so what? Who’s right?

  243. Finn – it’s going to be a “beautiful border wall.”

    That’s the term that always sticks with me. I will never forget the first time I really listened to trump when he was a candidate in summer 2015 and I was folding laundry and watching him on C-SPAN at one of his very early Trump rallies. I thought “My God, this guy just rambles on and on at will, and yet you get so transfixed by his words.”

  244. Milo, speak for yourself. He doesn’t transfix me. When I hear him say somethng like “beautiful border wall””, I think “my god he is insane”

  245. Remember, the Florida and California farm economy depends on undocumented Mexican labor. How are they going to cope with a rise in demand? I don’t even think there is enough water in California

    But Trump voters don’t need no stinkin vegetables

  246. Well okay, Milo, but that’s kind of a dodge. It seems likely to me that prices will go up.

  247. I’m just not convinced by arguments that say people have been breaking the law like this so they need to keep breaking the law. Let the price of produce go up a little bit. We’ve never had it so cheap.

  248. Rocky – Americans are spending more money at restaurants and bars and they are at the grocery store. I say this as I drive home with takeout pulled pork and smoked sausage sitting behind me in the backseat.

  249. Milo said “Let the price of produce go up a little bit”. OK, you are admitting it – the American consumer will pay for the beautiful wall

  250. To some degree, sure. But mine are the liberals who are otherwise for “certified, organic, fair trade, fair wages, legal protections for farmworkers and “suddenly horrified that Trump wants to crack down on illegal labor?

    You should be happy! Take yes for an answer.

  251. The largest categories of imports are “he top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2015 were: vehicles ($74 billion), electrical machinery ($63 billion), machinery ($49 billion), mineral fuels ($14 billion), and optical and medical instruments ($12 billion).”

    Not veggies.

  252. There will be certain small cars for which it still makes sense to continue manufacturing or assembling in Mexico, mainly those that have a worldwide market. But for others, why shouldn’t we be building them in America?

    I’ll admit that I never paid much attention to NAFTA before and thought that Ross Perot must just be some kind a kook. But why should I be so opposed to the idea of a little bit of protection for American manufacturing? Or, at the very least, not taxing exports while we allow imports tax free? If that’s the case, it seems like the claims Of an uneven playing field are legitimate. Or am I wrong?

  253. But why should I be so opposed to the idea of a little bit of protection for American manufacturing?

    1. Because economic theory states that the consumer pays for that bit of protection.

    2. Because entering into a trade war/increasing tarrifs ala Smoot Hawley is generally considered one of the precipitating factors of the Great Depression

    3. Because how do you decide which part of the American manufacturing chain gets protected? The steel industry, now inputs to cars, construction equipment, buildings increase in cost.

  254. But why should I be so opposed to the idea of a little bit of protection for American manufacturing?

    Because other, importing countries, will retaliated and we lose markets for our exports.

  255. My recollection is that without NAFTA, a lot of manufacturing that now goes on in Mexico would’ve gone to China.

    I believe having the manufacturing in Mexico rather than China meant many of the things manufactured there had a higher content of US-made components, and more of the associated engineering jobs stayed in the US rather than going to China.

  256. Rasmussen has had him in the high 50s. And his inaugural speech was well received by about 60%, iirc, according to other polling — WSJ/NBC maybe?

  257. The difference appears to be “likely voters.”

    He’ll succeed or fail based on economic growth percent in the next four years. If it’s decent, he’ll be re-elected.

  258. Cordelia – is it true that we are taxing exports but not imports?

    Meme would know better than me, but I am not aware of taxes on exports. I do know there are programs (not sure if that is the right word) that allowed for decreased income taxes on products that are exported.

  259. Finn 4:45 is correct. US based multinationals established manufacturing and assembly operations in zones right across the Mexican border. while some of the goods produced there were destined for international markets, most were destined for sale in US and Canada. The intellectual property remained in the US.. The Mexican government did not tax the full value of the goods produced, only the “value added in Mexico”. In effect there was taxation only on a deemed profit calculation roughly equivalent to standard markup on labor inputs, payment of local payroll taxes and profit sharing requirements, and some low level property taxes. So there was no heavy cross border cost to the company or the ultimate consumer from taxes and export duties on the Mexican side, or on import duties on the US side. US Supervisory personnel, engineers, etc., could travel freely to the factories without being treated as employees in Mexico subject to income tax or mandated Mexican profit sharing with employees.

    If a 20% tax is slapped on goods produced in Mexico, production will not magically shift to the US. The US consumer will ultimately pay the tax in the price of goods. Or the goods will no longer be profitable to produce (a lot of this is heavy equipment , vehicles and larger appliances, so it will take time to relocate production and in the meantime Asian manufactured equipment will become even more cost competitive since the shipping costs will be less than the tariff cost). Most of the really inexpensive and lightweight goods are not produced in Mexico, and not even in China anymore, and production is easily moved. So it will be whack a mole as the US tries to erect tariff barriers to more and more nations. Sub Saharan Africa may yet become widely industrialized for exports.

  260. There were export tax reduction regimes for many years, but they fell afoul of the World Trade Organization because they were reductions in corporate *income* tax rate based on place of eventual sale. Other countries don’t collect Value Added tax on exports. VAT is the main mechanism for funding government operations. Since VAT is a consumption tax, not an income tax, those regimes are okay.

    And there aren’t many giant Multinationals based in Mexico and owned by Mexicans flooding the US with cheap goods. Mexico is the cheapest place in North America to make stuff. If the stuff is heavy or bulky (think laundry detergent), you prefer to make it on the same continent or at least the same hemisphere rather than putting it on a ship. If the tariff is 20% and the price has to go way up, you can just ship from your Asian factory for less.

  261. Meme – when Democratic candidates for years were saying that we were rewarding companies who ship jobs overseas, to what were they referring?

  262. The equality discussion with the dirty sandwich analogy reminds me of why I don’t think legal equality of the sexes is necessarily something to be sought. Until 1970, the Department of Defense required pregnant women to resign. Requiring all pregnant employees to resign is technically equal, but pregnant transgender men would be the only men affected.

    I don’t know to what extent universal policies (which implies resources to enforce said policies without individuals having to hire an attorney) should accommodate pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc., but equality is a low bar.

    I agree that if men are drafted, women should be drafted. Israel allows people to choose the military or other types of national service. I’d prefer that we just pay people, vs. force them to spend part of their youth in jobs that are a poor fit. Paying people to be good at their jobs is economically rational.

  263. Until 1970, the Department of Defense required pregnant women to resign.

    And you endorse that?

  264. It has to do with the fact that the US has a worldwide income taxation system, but allows US companies that have foreign subsidiaries to defer US tax on the income earned by a subsidiary until the profits in the form of offshore cash are brought back into the US, where they are taxed at the 35% US corporate rate reduced by taxes paid to the foreign country (More or less). . Most other countries have a territorial system – income earned outside the country is only taxed by the country in which it is earned. Their corporate tax rates are usually 20 percent or less, close to zero in tax havens where they try to park their intellectual property. Other countries pay the bills with VAT, not income tax. When you read the term “repatriation” it means a chance for US companies to bring all that cash back at a toll charge of 5%, instead of 15 to 35%. When it gets here, they are not going to build factories. They will buy back stock to increase the per share value. Maybe increase dividends. Maybe buy some companies for cash from the private equity guys and consolidate/reduce competition. No successful company has burdensome debt any more, not at these low interest rates.

  265. In Britain, a person can apparently bring an employment law case before a tribunal for ~$1500. I wonder how illegal discrimination of many types- in employment, in rental housing, in medical care- would decrease if legal costs were similar in the U.S.

  266. It’s cheaper than that in the U.S. Just call the EEOC. But don’t tell DH. In his view they’re hugely overstaffed and have become jackbooted thugs. And he’s pretty leftist!

  267. I really like David Brooks column today. OK, as a moderate Republican, he is definitely a bigger fan of Reagan than I am, but I share his essential point – that Trump has completely changed the outlook of the Republican party.
    He addressed this to high school and college students. I think I will share it with my two high school kids. We have been having a lot of hardcore discussions recently.

  268. “Desperate to be liked, Trump adopts a combative attitude that makes him unlikable. Terrified of Mexican criminals, he wants to build a wall that will actually lock in more undocumented aliens than it will keep out. Terrified of Muslim terrorists, he embraces the torture policies guaranteed to mobilize terrorists. Terrified that American business can’t compete with Asian business, he closes off a trade deal that would have boosted annual real incomes in the United States by $131 billion, or 0.5 percent of G.D.P. Terrified of Mexican competition, he considers slapping a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods, even though U.S. exports to Mexico have increased 97 percent since 2005.”

    Not sure whether Trump is “desperate to be liked.” Liked by whom?

  269. Lindsey Graham reminds me of some of my conservative evangelical friends from my adoption group – very conservative, but has kept his values, unlike that sleaze Paul Ryan.

  270. I thought that Trump didn’t mean what he said or something to that effect…at least that is what people told me. This Muslim ban is shameful and horrifying. Let me know where you draw the line Trump supporters.

  271. I am a naturalized citizen of this country and mostly a lurker on this site. When I became eligible to became a citizen – I debated internally on whether I wanted to become a citizen or not. My country of origin is a democracy with tons of economic opportunities for someone with my education. But I thought and still think that USA is the exceptional place where people can dream and achieve things, people are open to world and are not scared of someone “different”.

    I can understand to certain extent the frustration with “illegal” immigration. It took us 10+ years to even become eligible for permanent residency. But where is the humanity in Trump’s policies targeting Mexicans and Muslims. Where is the separation of Church and State? Where is the Christian principle of helping anyone in need? I am neither Mexican nor Muslim – but that is just an accident of birth. How does this fit in with the American values?

    I am an independent – and I was not a big fan of Obama’s policies. I respect him as a role model and as a human being – but I found him to be too unwilling to negotiate for middle ground. Ideologues don’t make the best presidents. But why keep on attacking him to defend Trump and Trump’s policies?

  272. “I am neither Mexican nor Muslim – but that is just an accident of birth.”

    The religion of any adult in the US is not an accident of birth. We are all free to choose or reject any religion.

  273. “Where is the separation of Church and State?”

    Here.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    How does the executive order violate the First Amendment?

    One doesn’t need to defend Trump’s order to note that it is not, in fact, a “Muslim ban.” http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444370/donald-trump-refugee-executive-order-no-muslim-ban-separating-fact-hysteria

  274. Scarlett is already on record as saying all Muslims are violent, so of course she is going to defend this. Technically it’s not a Muslim ban, it’s just denying entry to people from predominantly Muslim countries who have valid visas, and in many cases have green cards. And the ban conveniently excludes countries where Trump and his family do business.

  275. The National Review has no idea what is going on…they seem to be disputing that green card holders are being denied entry to the US.

    “However, there are reports that the ban is being applied even to green-card holders. This is madness. The plain language of the order doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S., and green-card holders have been through round after round of vetting and security checks. The administration should intervene, immediately, to stop misapplication. If, however, the Trump administration continues to apply the order to legal permanent residents, it should indeed be condemned.”

    Except for the part where they say, “this is madness”.

  276. I don’t care about the ban, and support it to an extent because vigilance is needed, but come on! You just cannot CANNOT stop green card holders of any belief from coming in! That is insanity and fascism.
    And on to even more disturbing news is the complete support of anti-choice brigade. And now Scott Bannon has even more power than anyone else with today’s shuffling/firing of director of national intelligence and chairman of joint chiefs.

  277. And not to mention that that fount of Wahhabism- Saudi Arabia, is nowhere on the list. How convenient.

  278. I fear the ban is being used as a distraction ( and working) away from the other far more egregious things Trump is doing.

  279. “And not to mention that that fount of Wahhabism- Saudi Arabia, is nowhere on the list. How convenient.”

    There is a reason for that. The list is exactly the same as the one the previous administration identified for denying visa waivers for foreign nationals — if you had visited one of those countries, no visa waiver.

    https://mic.com/articles/166845/the-list-of-muslim-countries-trump-wants-to-ban-was-compiled-by-the-obama-administration#.ghY2ojRGY

  280. The question whether the executive order actually applies, on its face, to green-card holders seems to be in dispute, though there is little dispute that it should NOT so apply, as those people have presumably already been vetted. From what I understand, the court orders thus far have focused on the green-card holders, not would-be visitor, immigrants, or refugees.

    However, there isn’t any reference to “Muslims” in the text of the ban. It does not apply to citizens of most of the Muslim-majority countries in the world, nor does it apply to the millions of Muslims who are religious minorities in their home country. It applies to all citizens, regardless of beliefs, of seven specific countries. And, to the extent that the order refers to “beliefs,” this is what it says:

    “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-presidential-executive-order-on-refugees-20170127-story.html

    Admittedly, that last sentence is a little vague, and, according to some of the marchers last weekend, would apply to every person with a Y chromosome, but if you replace “oppress” with “kill or otherwise persecute,” then it’s hard to argue with it.

  281. The tech companies are scrambling to make sure none of their employees are affected, and to make sure employees from the 7 countries do not travel. One of my colleagues is affected – he is a green card holder from Iran. He is on the tenure track so he is expected to present at conferences, but many of the best conferences are overseas. He won’t be ab;e to go to them.

    Evidently Steve Bannon is drafting a lot of these orders, including this one, but he doesn’t have the knowledge or policy expertise to do them correctly. So besides the absolute heartlessness of this order, it is also causing chaos because it wasn’t phased in correctly.

  282. What I cannot understand is if the goal is simply to improve security checks on immigrants from high risk countries (though that is debateable), why not quietly develop new policies for screening and questioning, train all the embassy staff who do the interviews, and implement the new methods? Why impose a sudden ban? Just do the hard part.

    Well, actually, I do understand. They want to send a signal to the US and to the world that the nastys are now in charge.

  283. There is a Facebook group for women in the Democratic party in my area. They have been organizing meetups, and held one at a nearby bar yesterday, advertised as a postcard writing partty. I stopped by about halfway through – the bar was mobbed with women. They said they had run out of postcards in the first 30 minutes, but there were still tons of women (and their husbands and boyfriends too) stopping by, taking down addresses for postcards, and discussing future events. Several of my mommy friends from the local school district are making plans with me to organize town meetups. I have never seen political activity like this before in this area.

  284. The order prioritizes Christian refugees

    Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.

    As a general matter, this will give priority to Christian refugees over Muslim ones. Though framed in a neutral way, this part of the order may raise questions of religion-based discrimination. Mr. Trump has said that he means to favor Christian refugees.

    That violates the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion, according to David Cole, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “One of the critical questions with respect to the validity of executive action challenged under the Establishment Clause is its intent and effect,” he wrote in a blog post. “If intended to disfavor a particular religion, it violates the Establishment Clause.”

    NY Times.

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