Politics Open Thread, Oct 28 – Nov 3

From WCE

On a day when the benefits and ease of “new technology” at work seem particularly overhyped, I stumble on this article identifying the challenges of some important inventions. The money quote is, “The best things in life are not virtually free and usually can’t move fast.”

https://aeon.co/essays/what-silicon-valley-wont-admit-about-technology-and-progress

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237 thoughts on “Politics Open Thread, Oct 28 – Nov 3

  1. I’m pretty depressed right now over the pipe bombs, the hate crime killing of black people at the Kentucky grocery store, and the Jewish hate crime shooting in Pittsburgh. Normally I am pretty positive and think the best of people, but I think we are in a time where many people think it is fine to speak out and act on their hate.

  2. The Pittsburgh attack was beyond horrific, especially considering that most of the victims were elderly.
    But I am old enough to remember the 1970’s, when there were literally hundreds of bombings, shootings, and hijackings in this country. https://www.cnn.com/2015/07/28/opinions/bergen-1970s-terrorism/index.html
    Compared to current times, there were many more people then who apparently thought it was fine to speak out and act on their hate. But most people, then and now, are appalled at the violence. I contributed to a GoFundMe campaign for the Pittsburgh synagogue that drew thousands of donors in just a few hours. Many more people are reaching out to help than are acting on their hate.

  3. According to the ADL, 2017 showed the largest single-year increase in attacks (after a declining trend) since they started keeping track in 1979. We may not be at the level of the 1970’s, but a 57% year-over-year increase is alarming. There appear to be many people now who think it is fine to speak out, and internet sites such Gab give them a platform, and some of our politicians and pundits seem to be attempting to mainstream their ideas.

  4. That ADL study has some problems, which is unfortunate, as the ADL does heroic work. It included nearly 200 bomb threats that were NOT motivated by anti-Semitism, for one thing, and also itself acknowledged that the increase could have been due to better reporting. https://reason.com/volokh/2018/10/28/has-there-been-a-surge-of-anti-semitism

    Anti-semitism on college campuses, however, IS probably a bigger problem today than it was in the 1970’s. https://www.tabletmag.com/tag/campus-anti-semitism And IMO this has far greater implications for our society than those who rant online but never take it further. Those who want to mainstream ideas usually start on campus.

  5. I remember the 70’s too. I lived in Germany during the Baader-Meinhof era, and saw many evacuations due to bomb threats over there. We were there during the horrific Munich Olympics. Northern Ireland was a mess of bombings. I was on a plane that had a threat called in and spent 36 hours in an overseas airport as a result – that one was likely related to the trouble in Northern Ireland. Back in the US, my junior high had constant evacuations due to called in bomb threats. It got ridiculous, almost like a fad.
    And yet, today feels far worse. Why? Much of the violence in the 70’s was “foreign” – either European radicalism, or Arab terrorism. Honestly, most of it happened overseas. The campus forment of the 60’s was dying down and had never been that visible in much of the country anyway. Campus protestors were not a threat to people going about their daily business. Aside from the terroristic acts of Southern supremacists in the Civil Rights era, it didn’t target people for their color, religion, or national origin. I was too little to remember the 60’s, but by the 70’s, most people were far more worried about Saudi oil shocks, inflation, and that beef boycott – remember that? – then they were worried about American radicals. In fact, we used to complain all the time that there was no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. How quaint! There was not this sense of Americans pitted against Americans that we are seeing today.

  6. And yet, today feels far worse. Why?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosy_retrospection

    It may be hard to recall now, but there was a time when most Americans were decidedly more blasé about bombing attacks. This was during the 1970s, when protest bombings in America were commonplace, especially in hard-hit cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Nearly a dozen radical underground groups, dimly remembered outfits such as the Weather Underground, the New World Liberation Front and the Symbionese Liberation Army, set off hundreds of bombs during that tumultuous decade—so many, in fact, that many people all but accepted them as a part of daily life. As one woman sniffed to a New York Post reporter after an attack by a Puerto Rican independence group in 1977: “Oh, another bombing? Who is it this time?’”

    http://time.com/4501670/bombings-of-america-burrough/

  7. I grew up in a society given to mob violence and vandalism. There were no guns involved but rioting and destruction of property was/is plentiful. For lone operatives, gun arsenals, knowledge of how to make bombs is an easy way to do harm. I am no psychologist but what gives rise to rage and therefore violence has to be addressed. What surprises visitors is the peaceful nature of day to day American life but then the mass shootings, actual bombs that could happen for any reason or grievance.

  8. It would have felt far more threatening BITD with 24/7 cable, Twitter and countless other media outlets that bring all of these horrors right to our phones. It is easy to forget the different world in which we lived then.

  9. From your article “The deadliest underground attack of the decade, in fact, killed all of four people, in the January 1975 bombing of a Wall Street restaurant.”

    Perhaps this is why? Most of these bombings were not mass casualty events. Actually, according to Wikipedia, this stat is wrong because 11 were killed in a bombing at Laguardia the year before. But if you look at the Wikipedia chart, the numbers of people killed in domestic terrorism events are low until you hit the Oklahoma City bombing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States

    And while most events remained low casualty in the 00’s, you can see a real uptick in numbers killed as we get further into the 00’s. Although the chart is not complete – I don’t see the Charleston shooting on it, for example, though it is mentioned under the white supremacists attacks at the bottom.

    Actually, it appears that the 1800’s were worse for high casualty attacks, excepting of course 9/11

  10. It would have felt far more threatening BITD with 24/7 cable

    It would be interesting to find out how often the networks interrupted regular programming for breaking news in the 70s. My guess would be almost never.

  11. Actually, it appears that the 1800’s were worse for high casualty attacks, excepting of course 9/11

    Then you get into the anarchist bombing era.

    The Wall Street bombing occurred at 12:01 pm on September 16, 1920, in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. The blast killed 30 people immediately, and another eight died later of wounds sustained in the blast. There were 143 seriously injured, and the total number of injured was in the hundreds.

    The Wall Street bomb killed more people than the 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times, which was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil up to that point.[3] The death toll was exceeded in the Tulsa Race Riot in 1921.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_bombing

  12. I was too little to remember the 60’s

    You are one year and three months younger than I am, and I remember the 60s back to the Kennedy assassination.

    And in the San Francisco Bay Area, we had all kinds of random violence and political violence in the 60s and 70s.

  13. Now all the Silicon Valley workers are too exhausted to go strangle or bomb anyone.

  14. Rhett, not only did regular networks not interrupt regular programming but they simply didn’t have capacity we take for granted today to bring real time coverage to screens. And there were a lot fewer screens. And no citizen journalists capturing events on their phones either.

  15. Who cares what it was like in the 70s? Oh, the bombs were more plentiful back then so we shouldn’t care about what is happening now? Do you realize how insane that sounds? Having bombs in any decade is wrong, regardless of how lethal they are or are not. We should be asking ourselves “what can we do today to mitigate these bombings and terrorist acts?”

  16. Oh, the bombs were more plentiful back then so we shouldn’t care about what is happening now?

    No, just that we should put things in perspective and not get all hysterical.

  17. RMS, I remember the late 60’s but through the eyes of a child, without understanding the import of anything. And I am impressed you can remember things when you were a preschooler because I sure don’t.

  18. The first political thing I remember was MLK being assassinated. I was a first grader.

  19. And I am impressed you can remember things when you were a preschooler because I sure don’t.

    You mean world events or things in general?

  20. I still think there is a difference. Social media did not exist in the 60’s and 70’s so a lot of stuff stayed within its fringe group. For example, in the 40’s and 50’s, the Ku Kux Klan was able to commit many acts of terrorism that went totally under the radar. Even after people outside of the South became aware (with incidents like the Birmingham Church bombing), most people did not know anyone in the KKK and and didn’t really know much about its ideology or beliefs. Same for fringe leftist groups and radical Puerto Ricans. It wasn’t until the 90’s, with the emergence of the Internet and talk radio that regular people started seeing fringe group messaging. I used to read Usenet back in the 90’s – you should have seen some of the weird fringe groups that hung out there. Muslim jihadists, militant men’s rights groups, far-right conspiracy theorists – they were all there. As the Internet, and social media, crept further and further into everyday consciousness, people became more and more exposed to fringe beliefs – I think leading to today’s contentiousness.

  21. My main memories from being a preschooler were my sister being born, playing with the little kids next door (hazy memories only), and a vague memory of the nursery school I attended. It is hard to say how much of this is real and how much is from looking at family photos. I have zero memory of anything outside my little preschooler world until the later 60’s.

  22. and a vague memory of the nursery school I attended.

    I have tons of nursery school memories. The ones that stick out are the ones related to me being little. I remember they had an indoor jungle gym that must have been 40′ high. I remember walking down these steps from the entrance to where the classrooms were. The steps must have been 3′ high each as I had to hold onto the railing to let myself down from step to step. Obviously I’m remembering it as a 3′ tall 4 year old.

  23. “No, just that we should put things in perspective and not get all hysterical.”

    Yes, this.

    In the era before metal detector screening, there were more than 130 airline hijackings during a four-year period in the US. https://www.vox.com/2016/3/29/11326472/hijacking-airplanes-egyptair
    It seems astounding now that the government hesitated to take the low-cost and common-sense measures of screening because they didn’t want to inconvenience passengers. One proposal actually considered was building a fake Havana airport in Florida to which pilots could take hijackers who requested a detour to Cuba.

  24. We should be asking ourselves “what can we do today to mitigate these bombings and terrorist acts?”

    YES. And that isn’t “getting all hysterical”.

  25. Here is an example of how writers in a respectable, mainstream newspaper are letting TDS overcome their ability to respond to horrific events like the Pittsburgh massacre. The current top 5 most-read opinion pieces on the Washington Post website:

    Opinion
    Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media can’t escape responsibility
    2
    Opinion
    Trump’s America is not a safe place for Jews
    3
    Perspective
    How much responsibility does Trump bear for the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh?
    4
    Opinion
    Don’t blame politicians for violence they don’t encourage
    5
    Opinion
    Let’s stop asking Trump for comfort after tragedies

    Four of those five are examples of hysteria.

  26. Scarlett,

    ‘I’ve spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.'”

    – Ronald W. Reagan.

    I assume you agree Trump didn’t get to where he is with that kind of positive inclusive rhetoric.

  27. Although, now that you think of it, Reagan’s “other” was the Soviet Union. Absent that kind of ominous threat politicians have needed to find something else to demagogue.

    I’m really buying into the theory that whatever’s happening now is due to America not having a clear external enemy.

  28. I was actually surprised to discover that the Pittsburgh massacre was somewhat unique in the history of anti-Semitism in the US. Most of it has been very matter of fact, or genteel, or institutional/cultural, or bundled with opposition either to labor/left political movements or to non north-west European immigration or in the 21st century to Zionism. There were awful consequences, of course, most notably in shutting the border to refugees in the run up to WWII or in scapegoat prosecutions, blacklisting, and violence directed at individuals.

    I am, with PTM (I miss him) and Old Mom, probably one of the few regulars who remember the JFK assassination clearly (I was 12) and therefore experienced the shock of public violence on US soil that rattled the post war ever increasing pie idyll that has been elevated to a norm rather than an episode in US history. It started with the violent clashes of the civil rights movement, the assassinations, then Chicago Dem convention and other police/protest conflicts, Kent State, urban riots, underground movement bombings and robberies. Scarlett is right that we felt unsafe back then, and Reagan’s Morning in America marked a new era in which those fears subsided, we were again not usually at war, and we had another episode of general prosperity until 9/11 when we had another culture shifting shock.

  29. Scarlett, you honestly believe Trump has done nothing to stir things up? That he has done nothing to embolden racists and bigots? That he he has done nothing to encourage violence?

    And of course Steve King has openly admitted that the Republican party shares the neo-Nazi agenda.

    He said the groups he’s associated with that are criticized as having neo-Nazi views were more accurately “far right” groups. He specifically cited Austria’s Freedom Party, which was founded by a former Nazi SS officer and is led by Heinz-Christian Strache, who was active in neo-Nazi circles as a youth. The group has emphasized a hard-line anti-immigration stance even as it seeks to distance itself from the Nazi connections.

    “If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” King said.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-the-wake-of-the-pittsburgh-attack-rep-steve-kings-iowa-supporters-brush-aside-concern-about-his-white-nationalist-views/2018/10/28/a16b7044-dabf-11e8-b732-3c72cbf131f2_story.html?utm_term=.4d7007f017b5

  30. “I assume you agree Trump didn’t get to where he is with that kind of positive inclusive rhetoric.”

    Take a walk down memory lane and see what the mainstream press was saying about the positive, inclusive Reagan during and after his presidency. Here are two samples:

    “All of us who covered the Reagans agreed that President Reagan was personable and charming, but I’m not so certain he was nice. It’s hard for me to think of anyone as nice when I hear him say ‘The homeless are homeless because they want to be homeless.’ To my mind, a President should care about all people, and he didn’t, which is why I will always feel Reagan lacked soul.”
    — UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas in the July 1993 Good Housekeeping.

    “At the same time, some experts said, years in which the Reagan administration questioned the value of racial quotas and affirmative action made speaking out against such programs acceptable. This, they contend, made it easier for racists to openly express their attitudes. Groups like the Klan and the Skinheads have both begun targeting the young for recruitment.”
    — Kirk Johnson in The New York Times, August 27, 1989.

    https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/geoffrey-dickens/2014/06/03/what-they-said-then-how-liberal-media-savaged-reagan

  31. Denver Dad,
    Do you hold Bernie Sanders responsible for the Congressional baseball shooting? The Sanders supporter shouted “this is for healthcare!” as he mowed them down.

    I don’t understand why the losers who commit these criminal acts are WRONG when they perceive that Jews or Democrats are bad, but RIGHT when they perceive that Trump is sending out dog whistles in encouragement.

    And I don’t believe that Steve King speaks for all Republicans any more than Maxine Waters speaks for all Democrats.

  32. I’m really buying into the theory that whatever’s happening now is due to America not having a clear external enemy.

    Yes. This. Exactly. That’s why this horrible political situation will never end until there is a big, external war, and thousands and thousands of young Americans die in it. I’m not happy about this. I’m not saying it cheerfully. It’s just true.

  33. Scarlett,

    Are you really comparing Reagan to Trump? Even the quotes you chose support my point more than they support yours.

  34. “If they were in America pushing the platform that they push, they would be Republicans,” King said.

    I think someone like Scarlett identifies more with the H. W. Bush/Romney/Kasich wing of the party. Trumpism is a new thing that’s taken over the party.

  35. “Are you really comparing Reagan to Trump?”

    No, I’m comparing the liberal/Democratic/media responses to both.
    The most thoroughly offensive trend in recent years has been to start the blame game and make political points after horrific tragedies, even before the victims have been identified, let alone mourned. A crazy guy yells “all Jews must die” and massacres elderly Jews in shul, and it’s obviously because Trump. It works the other way too, as in the murder of police officers in Dallas was because Obama. But

  36. “Did Bernie say he’d pay the legal bills of those beat up protesters?”

    He did claim that thousands would die because of the GOP budget plan, a claim that earned him a rare Four Pinocchios from the WaPo fact checker. Trump’s comment on legal bills was along the lines of Eric Holder saying “when they go low, we kick them.” Hyperbole. Not that the President should be engaged in such rhetoric, but he didn’t actually pay any legal bills, did he?

  37. But

    But what?

    Reagan used fear of communism (justified IMHO) to win votes and that was fine. Joe McCarthy used fear of communists but tried to make a name for himself by directing that fear inward. Which is very dangerous. Would you agree that Trump is using fear of “the other” and turning inward toward internal enemies.

  38. All politicians rely on fear of “the other” to a greater or lesser extent, with different groups serving as the other. Biden famously told blacks that Mitt Romney “would put you all back in chains.” Obama told blacks that the racist criminal justice system was stacked against them.

  39. “Obama told blacks that the racist criminal justice system was stacked against them.”
    Um, I think that is pretty well accepted across the board, even by a number of Republicans. That is why there is a lot of interest in criminal justice reform.
    Read David French’s article on this
    “Racism still plagues our land, and race too often plays a pernicious role in American policing. It is not “open season” on black men, yet too many bad cops go free, and too many black men die at the hands of the state.”
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/police-shootings-david-french-changed-writing/

  40. “Obama told blacks that the racist criminal justice system was stacked against them.”

    Was he wrong?

  41. Just throwing this out there – I don’t know that whataboutism moves the conversation forward. Do we want to not use it going forward?

  42. “Did Bernie say he’d pay the legal bills of those beat up protesters?”

    Did Trump say he’d pay the legal bills of the anti-Semitic shooter? Did I miss something?

  43. Did Trump say he’d pay the legal bills of the anti-Semitic shooter?

    No, but he did say he’d pay the legal bills of those physically assaulting his enemies.

  44. What does that have to do with this?

    Regardless, I’ve stopped listening to NPR again and focusing on podcasts until after the election.

    Not sure we can do anything to make things better. There have always been these types of people, even when Obama was president.

  45. Rhett,
    The most consistently tiresome criticism of Trump is that he represents something Different and Awful and Unprecedented in our polity. So, if we can avoid going down that road, sure.
    Otherwise, whataboutism is fair game and often the only appropriate response.

  46. The most consistently tiresome criticism of Trump is that he represents something Different and Awful and Unprecedented in our polity.

    It’s not unprecedented if you include Andrew Jackson. But compared to Reagan or HW or Ike it sure as hell is.

  47. What does that have to do with this?

    He’s condoning the physical beating of his enemies. It’s escalating the rhetoric.

  48. I hear a lot of “I hate Trump, but I’m glad that someone is finally doing something about….”

    illegal immigration
    China
    unfair trade
    loss of manufacturing jobs
    H1B visas
    other countries taking advantage of us (NATO)

    I know there are a lot of people who disagree with his politics, but some people still feel that he is addressing things they care about. Of course, they don’t say this publicly.

  49. “He’s condoning the physical beating of his enemies. It’s escalating the rhetoric.”

    Not really. This sounds like grasping. France has a ton of anti-semitic activity and they don’t have Trump. People are awful. That’s the reason for this tragedy.

  50. Not really. This sounds like grasping.

    Huh? How is offering to pay the legal bills of those who physically beat your enemies not inciting violence?

  51. It’s not inciting people to kill Jews, which is what I thought we were talking about. Trump does not hate Jews. At all. Not even a little bit.

  52. Of course, they don’t say this publicly.

    I’ll say it.

    Of course the argument for the trade and defense policy from 1945 to 2016 was that it was in our interest to prevent the spread of communism and promote stability. With the fall of communism our new foe is China. You’ll note that the TPP didn’t include China but did include China’s erstwhile enemy Vietnam (you’ll recall the Sino-Vietnamese war of 1979.) Other parties interested in joining were the Republic of China, Indonesia, Cambodia, South Korea and others that China is trying to pull into its orbit. History tells us that when a new global power rises it always goes to war with the old power. So how much of all this is in our long term interest, I don’t know enough to know.

  53. And it detracts from the unique evil of anti Semitism to blame it on Trump. As though anti Semitism sprang into being with his election and will vanish when he retires.
    Evil exists and people do terrible things and it has been ever thus. And, for better or for worse, we aren’t going to attract statesmen or women to politics in the future.

  54. anti Semitism to blame it on Trump.

    No one is blaming Trump for antisemitism* they are blaming him for inciting (clearly and unequivocally) political violence.

    * Well, maybe a few. Right or wrong, many also feel that Trump’s antipathy toward the urban elite is antisemitic. I don’t think he means it that way but historically, at least in Western Europe, the urban elite has been synonymous with Jews. So some folks think the’s using an antisemitic dog whistle.

    * Trump’s claim that we were “stabbed in the back” by a globalist elite (aka antisemetic dog whistle) when the reality is every America had a choice to buy the item made in America for $19.95 or the one made in China for $9.99 and they almost unanimously chose $9.99.

    You can understand, I assume, how some people get a little scared when they start talking in terms that were once reserved for the jews.

  55. other countries taking advantage of us (NATO)

    But if we are the country paying the bills, then we are the country that can jerk all the other countries around. And we like that. Hell, I like that. I don’t want those other countries building up their own military powers again. Look how well that went in the 30s.

  56. Rocky, I agree that that was the reasoning. I think US citizens don’t want that anymore.

    I’d rather take some of that money and use it for other things. We have made some stupid military decision in the past several decades and need to take a break from this pattern.

  57. We have made some stupid military decision in the past several decades and need to take a break from this pattern.

    While true, a lot of that was us fighting proxy wars with the Soviets in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. We can all agree that as bad as that was we successfully avoided a land war in Europe WWIII scenario.

    What do you think the chances are that the American public is being lulled into a false sense of security by the recent absence of large scale war between industrial powers?

  58. Rhett: I agree that we avoided a large European war. We moved to the Middle East and are now involved with multiple countries there. That’s not better. We are not improving.

  59. Houston,

    You didn’t mention the middle east in your original post you mentioned China and “other countries taking advantage of us (NATO).” That’s a separate issue from us guaranteeing the security of the House of Saud.

  60. Houston,

    But I will agree that there is a fair chance that this is mostly our elite wanting to play King of the World. That said, Xi Jinping is totally playing that game…

  61. Let others play the game. Just not with our kids and our money.

    How well has that worked out historically?

  62. “How well has that worked out historically?”

    I don’t really care. We’ve tried one way. We can try this way for a while and see what happens. To say that America is the savior of the world is a bit much, IMO.

  63. What about (still) constantly declaring the press to be the Enemy of the People, and whipping people into a frenzy about the caravan, which is apparently what finally set off the synagogue shooter?

  64. 1. The President should stop declaring that the press is the enemy of the people.
    2. The press should stop insisting that Trump is the enemy of the people.

    As for the caravan, I agree with Obama:

    “Those who enter the country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law and they are showing disregard for those who are following the law. We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.”

    As for the synagogue shooter, let’s hold him — and only him — responsible for his actions.

  65. I don’t really care. We’ve tried one way. We can try this way for a while and see what happens.

    You don’t really care that the last few times your plan was tried it blew up catastrophically in our face? How many times will it take to convince you? Will WWIII do the trick?

    From what I can see history teaches us a lesson. Then we forget that lesson. Then history repeats itself. Like the financial crisis, once everyone thinks it can’t happen again. Bang, it happens again.

  66. On the caravan, the difference is that Obama didn’t turn ordinary levels of migration into cause for mass hysteria, or insist that the opposing political party or wealthy Jewish financiers were responsible for their efforts to “invade” of our country. He just did his job and deported people who tried to cross.

    I am amazed that concern about a mass shooting at a synagogue, a racially motivated shooting at a super-market, and a politically-motivated rash of package bombs in the course of less than a week is deemed “hysterical”, but the president is not deemed hysterical when he calls a group of destitute people traveling here on foot from Honduras a “National Emergency.” And when I hear that we should put the recent spate of hate crimes “into perspective” and not get “hysterical,” I am reminded of the hysteria from some people on this board who were convinced that Christine Blasey Ford was making up her accusations against Brett Kavanaugh, and that mendacious women like her were just lying in wait to bring down decent men everywhere. My goodness, no man is safe from the epidemic of false accusations! It is a mob, I tell you!

  67. “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA,” McCarthy wrote in the tweet that was posted Tuesday and deleted a day later. McCarthy being the House Majority Leader.

    I assume you can see why that might raise an eyebrow among those who share a religion with Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg.

  68. Until this week, I didn’t know that Soros or Steyer were Jewish. I was aware that they liked to throw their money around to influence elections. I think it’s ok to call out individuals who are trying to buy elections.

  69. Rhett, you seem to be suggesting that it is not possible to criticize those guys unless one throws a non-Jew into the list.

  70. Rhett, you seem to be suggesting that it is not possible to criticize those guys unless one throws a non-Jew into the list.

    No. I’m saying that when people start taking about a conspiracy of globalist Jewish financiers to sell out the American Volk – it makes certain people nervous. I’m sure you can understand them being a little gun shy about the whole thing.

  71. ‘The homeless are homeless because they want to be homeless.’

    That seems to be true about a subset of our homeless population.

  72. He did claim that thousands would die because of the GOP budget plan, a claim that earned him a rare Four Pinocchios from the WaPo fact checker. Trump’s comment on legal bills was along the lines of Eric Holder saying “when they go low, we kick them.” Hyperbole. Not that the President should be engaged in such rhetoric, but he didn’t actually pay any legal bills, did he?

    In response to Greg Gianforte assaulting a reporter, Trump said “Any guy that can do a body-slam, he’s my guy,”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-criticized-praising-congressman-body-slammed-reporter-182221832.html

    I’m not sure how you can continue to argue with a straight face that Trump hasn’t advocated violence.

  73. That seems to be true about a subset of our homeless population.

    Admittedly, it’s easier to argue that there are no non-addict mentally health people who want to be homeless in Boston in February. Waikiki may be different. But even there, I bet the number of non-addict mentally healthy homeless people is still very low.

  74. “I’m not sure how you can continue to argue with a straight face that Trump hasn’t advocated violence.”

    In the same way one would argue that Eric Holder didn’t *really* mean that Democrats should kick Republicans when they go low.
    When Trump actually says, “Go out and send some bombs to Democrats and shoot some Jews in a synagogue,” then we can talk about whether Trump is advocating violence.

  75. Interesting news from Germany. Voters are moving from Merkel’s Center right Christian Democrat and the center left SPD to the far right AfD and the far left Greens. It’s intereting to think how our voting patterns would change if we had more parties.

  76. So Trump claims he is going to end birthright citizenship by executive order, which you know is going to turn into a terrible divisive legal battle. Do we really think that it is a good idea for a President to try to overturn something which is a longstanding tradition, a practice that dates to the founding of the country and which is codified in the 14th Amendment, by an executive order? To me, that is the gambit of a wannabe dictator. And it is an incredibly divisive move. I hope saner heads convince him not to try this.

  77. “In the same way one would argue that Eric Holder didn’t *really* mean that Democrats should kick Republicans when they go low.”

    1. Holder’s comment has been much criticized in Democratic circles.
    2. Maybe if Republicans didn’t spend all their time in low mode…

  78. But he’s going to “sign an order” ending birthright citizenship, so WCE will be partying today.

  79. I’m curious if Obama’s executive overreach ever included anything so blatantly unconstitutional.

  80. The comments on the WSJ article about it (my go-to for “what are the conservatives saying?”) are not uniformly pleased.

  81. Some of them are muttering about how a Dem could write an exec order about the Second Amendment. Some are grumbling about how the Constitution is supposed to mean something and some even seem to see that after years of bitching about Obama’s exec orders, it’s hypocritical to say it’s fine for Trump to do it. Hm. They’re usually more inclined to froth about things.

  82. From the comments:

    Gee…sounds great! How about next we limit ownership of guns only to members of verified “well regulated militias”. Then I’m sure there’s a bunch of other pesky Constitutional provions that Trump could unilaterally eliminate. Welcome to the United States of Idiocracy.

    Usually the commenters are unable to see parallels.

  83. “I’m curious if Obama’s executive overreach ever included anything so blatantly unconstitutional.”

    DACA?

  84. Rhett, it is just unconstitutional. It is a deep rooted tradition that goes back to the founding of the country. The 14th Amendment was written in order to codify what was already a practice.
    I like this opinion piece which is posted on the Cato Institute site, but appeared originally in the American Conservative
    https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/birthright-citizenship-american-idea-works

    We had a discussion a while back about whether progressives feel that America is an exceptional country, and we all said we did and try to explain why. To me, one of the things that makes America exceptional and special is our approach to citizenship – and birthright citizenship is a key part of that.

  85. See, the thing is, it doesn’t MATTER to trump whether he has the authority to unilaterally repeal the 14th amendment. It will rile up his uneducated base and convince him that he is trying to get rid of those nasty freeloading immigrants and their evil spawn. When the order is blocked by the courts, he will tell his people that the Demon Rats are to blame and they will believe him. And hey, there’s always the slim chance his fight to put Kavanaugh on the court will pay off.

    I think the next democratic president should abolish the electoral college by executive order. And equal representation in the senate too. If trump can do this, then why not?

  86. “Do we really think that it is a good idea for a President to try to overturn something which is a longstanding tradition, a practice that dates to the founding of the country and which is codified in the 14th Amendment, by an executive order? ”

    Emancipation proclamation?

  87. I also just need to say that all of these Republican/Trumpian attacks on immigrants deeply offend me as the mom of an immigrant. They aren’t just attacking illegal immigration. They have gone after legal immigration as well, and are trying to upend our citizenship traditions. OK, they haven’t gone after the citizenship status of internationally adopted children – YET. But the profound anti-immigrant stance of many Republicans is very upsetting to me.

  88. Houston, we were in a WAR to decide the very question of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation, in some sense, was just saying the obvious. I very much hope we never end up that divided again, but I am starting to wonder…

  89. And I should reiterate the obvious – I am not pro-illegal immigration. I think we need to do everything we can to keep illegal immigrants out of the country, including employer sanctions. But we don’t have to hate on immigrants in order to accomplish that.

  90. I agree with you Mooshi regarding illegal v legal immigration. However, many Democrats do not make such a distinction. This is weakening them politically, I think.

  91. Houston, we were in a WAR to decide the very question of the Emancipation Proclamation.

    I’m not sure what the legal status of that was. Lincoln also suspended the writ of habeas corpus. I think his right to do both had to do with his duty to put down rebellions.

  92. Houston, the majority of Democrats in the house and senate have said repeatedly that they believe in securing the border and keeping out illegal crossers (and, for that matter, visa overstayers). Republicans continue to insist the the Dems are for “open borders” because it benefits them politically, and their base believes whatever they say. In reality, there are very few advocates of open borders, and they are more likely to be libertarians than democrats. Remember, Obama deported more border crossers than any previous president, and even Scarlett uses him as an example of the tough on borders philosophy. The difference is that he tried to enforce the law humanely, and didn’t base his entire political brand on fear and hatred of immigrants.

    If you ask me, trumps entire immigrant-bashing campaign is pure political theater. 5500 hundred troops to stop 3000 migrants over a thousand miles away and traveling on foot? Please. And still no push for E-verify. He doesn’t want to solve the problem, he just wants to continue milking this as a wedge issue.

  93. City Mom, I think that E Verify should be #1 on everyone’s immigration agenda. I agree with most of what you said. I still can’t shake the feeling that most Democrats would like to invite all the people in the migrant caravan to stay in the US. Perhaps I’m falling under the Trump spell on this?

  94. How do Democrats suggest approaching the migrant caravan without encouraging more caravans? The Republican approach is to force them to apply for asylum in Mexico or prevent them from coming in (physically, it seems). I am unsure what Democrats want to do.

  95. I still can’t shake the feeling that most Democrats would like to invite all the people in the migrant caravan to stay in the US.

    I think most Democrats feel bad that we have to turn away “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” to quote Emma Lazarus. I think most Republicans feel good about having to turn them away.

  96. How do Democrats suggest approaching the migrant caravan without encouraging more caravans?

    Follow the law for asylum seekers. Republicans control all branches of government now, so if the law needs to be changed then change it.

  97. if the law needs to be changed then change it.

    They won’t of course because their donor base likes immigration in that it keeps a lid on wages.

  98. Trump has a pen and a phone, but it is unlikely that the birthright citizen EO will go very far, because Twitter tells me that it would be clearly unconstitutional. Maybe this is one of those things that Trump said in an interview because it popped into his head, and also because it’s something that many ordinary people in the country actually think when they learn that the children born to illegal immigrants automatically become citizens.

    And it’s interesting to note that, although Trump was wrong to claim that the US is alone in this regard, no country in Europe or Asia offers such citizenship — the US and Canada are apparently the only “developed” nations to do so. Obviously, there is a connection to our origins as nations of immigrants, but Australia abolished birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens in 1986.

  99. Maybe this is one of those things that Trump said in an interview because it popped into his head,

    And to your mind that makes it no big deal? If Obama did something similar about one of his pet issue you’d have a conniption, correct?

  100. The Democrats have been strangely silent on the caravan — IMO, it’s because they cannot bring themselves to agree with Trump that the caravan should turn back.

    It is possible to feel great compassion for people who have apparently been misled into thinking that, if they can just walk 1000 miles together, they can escape the misery at home and will be allowed to enter and live in the United States, without concluding that the United States is therefore compelled to admit them.

  101. There was a caravan last March. No “invasion” occurred. The way to deal with caravans is to follow existing immigration laws. Immigrants show up at an authorized port of entry and apply. That is the process. Nothing illegal about it. This caravan hype is just that – hype Talk about hysteria.

  102. “And to your mind that makes it no big deal? If Obama did something similar about one of his pet issue you’d have a conniption, correct?”

    Like other conservatives I know, my reaction to Trump is to approve almost everything he has DONE and to disapprove almost everything he has SAID.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-only-good-thing-about-donald-trump-is-all-his-policies-1519689494

    Living in a state of constant outrage is exhausting, and essentially a waste of time.
    Would I prefer a more statesmanlike President? Of course. But I’m living in the world as it is, not in the world as I would like it to be.

  103. that the caravan should turn back.

    I assume you agree we should deal with them in accordance with the law as currently written? My understanding is once they are here they have to be processed to weed out the legitimate asylum seekers. My understanding is also that Trump sending troops to the border is equally nonsensical due to posse comitatus. The army is forbidden from performing domestic law enforcement.

  104. “So, how do the Democrats advocate turning the caravan away?”

    In the short term, we have to follow the law for those claiming asylum. Admit those who meet the standard and deport those who do not. All of this should be handled expeditiously and humanely. These are human beings in desperate circumstances, not vermin who are here to “infest” us.

    In the longer term, we need to work with the governments of Central America, to stabilize their countries and rid them of the violence and poverty that are causing the exodus. Ironically, Trump has proposed the very opposite — threatening to cut off all aid unless these countries stop the caravan. As if any country can legitimately stop its people from leaving! I have also heard proposals to allow people to apply for asylum from their home countries. I think that is a good idea that would limit the incentive to migrate for those who get rejected.

    And yes, I agree with Rhett that most Democrats, while realizing that the caravan must be turned away, have sympathy for them as human beings. Listening to Trump and the Fox News crew, the Republican view seems to be that they should strike fear into the hearts of us all. The are, alternately, Middle-Eastern terrorists in disguise, MS-13 thugs, and carriers of small pox (which was eradicated in 1980). This is the kind of rhetoric that solves nothing but encourages violent extremism.

  105. My understanding is that birthright citizenship dates to English common law. That is why you don’t see it in countries in the rest of Europe and Asia. The UK does have a form of it, though it is more convoluted than our interpretation. A child born in the UK is a citizen if the parents are citizens or legal immigrants OR if the child has lived in the UK through the 10th birthday. So a kid born to an illegal immigrant in the UK, becomes a citizen upon reaching 10

  106. “The Democrats have been strangely silent on the caravan”

    Maybe because it is a manufactured “issue” being used to stoke resentment, and the smarter political play is not to give it more oxygen than it deserves. Border patrol can handle this. It is no big deal really.

  107. We might need to change the law to allow families to be detained together pending asylum proceedings. Releasing adults with children into the general population will only incentivize future caravans, which I’m sure you agree is not a good thing.

    But Trump is not wrong to urge them to turn back, because the reality is that most of them will not qualify for asylum. And it’s my understanding that the troops at the border are there for auxiliary purposes, not law enforcement. And that both Bush and Obama have also sent troops to the border in the past.

  108. Australia uses the same system as the UK – if you stay through your 10th birthday, you are a citizen regardless of your parents status

  109. I think the Democrats hope that the caravan dissipates before it reaches the border, as they have in the past.

  110. “The Democrats have been strangely silent on the caravan”

    I assume this is a test to see if the best option is just to not engage with Trump.

  111. And it’s my understanding that the troops at the border are there for auxiliary purposes,

    Is that how Trump’s selling it?

  112. But why aren’t the Democrats willing to speak up and say what Obama did in the past? “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.”

    It’s not that hard. And they can even quote Obama, to make it clear that they’re not actually agreeing with Trump. Even the (liberal) media is calling them on it.

  113. “I assume this is a test to see if the best option is just to not engage with Trump.”

    But that’s the point — they don’t have to engage. They can agree! Wouldn’t that take the issue away entirely? “President Trump is right to quote Obama — the caravan should turn away and those who are seeking asylum should follow the law and apply in Mexico. You are endangering your lives and especially the lives of the children among you by continuing this journey.” Trump can’t use this issue against Democrats if they speak the truth, but cowering in silence allows him to exploit it.

  114. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/30/honoring-pittsburgh-synagogue-victims-mike-pence-appears-with-rabbi-who-preaches-jesus-is-messiah/?utm_term=.34ab689ef676

    “But the man who shared a stage with Pence, Loren Jacobs, preaches Messianic Judaism, a tradition central to Jews for Jesus, a group condemned by Jewish leaders as faux Judaism that seeks to promote Christian evangelism. The major Jewish denominations join the state of Israel in viewing followers of Messianic Judaism as Christian, not Jewish.”

    WTAF

  115. They can agree!

    With what specifically? Trump seems to be saying, as far as I can parse what he’s saying, that the caravan should be turned away extrajudicially.

  116. But Trump is not wrong to urge them to turn back,

    No he’s not. But this is where he’s wrong:

    Listening to Trump and the Fox News crew, the Republican view seems to be that they should strike fear into the hearts of us all. The are, alternately, Middle-Eastern terrorists in disguise, MS-13 thugs, and carriers of small pox

    I know Trump’s base loves it when he whips everything up with his inflammatory comments, but it still amazes me how many Republics refuse to admit that this is contributing to the recent violent acts. Not to mention his outright lies.

    Say what you want about Obama’s “arrogance”, but he made sure everything he said was fact-checked, and he never made approving comments of people committing acts of violence or referred to neo-Nazis as “fine people.”

  117. Trump can’t use this issue against Democrats if they speak the truth

    Do you honestly think Democrats agreeing with cause Trump to drop the issue and stop claiming Democrats are in favor of open boarders?

  118. Say what you want about Obama’s “arrogance”,

    I think he must say to himself 100 times a day, “Can you imagine if I had said that?”

  119. They can agree, and state openly, that the people in the caravan should turn around and go back. Of their own accord, because it is in their best interest to do so. As many have already done, and as MM claims Democrats expect most of the rest to do.

  120. “Do you honestly think Democrats agreeing with cause Trump to drop the issue and stop claiming Democrats are in favor of open boarders?”

    It would certainly take away a talking point, and it’s the truth (that the Hondurans should turn back). And it might save some lives. Who knows what the migrants actually believe about their chances of staying in the US — maybe there is nothing that any American politician can say to dissuade them at this point. But it might dissuade those who are watching from home.

  121. I head an interesting thing about the mainstream media meme among conservatives. Is it the mainstream media because it appeals to the mainstream?

    Is 0 is far left and 100 is far right 0-25 is liberal democrats the middle 50% are moderates and 75 to 100 is conservative republicans. If the media represented the view of the exact middle i.e. 50 then the median conservative who is at 87.5 would view them as having a very liberal slant when in fact they don’t.

  122. OK, OK, so I am a Democrat. “You people in that caravan down there in Mexico: Just go home already! Scoot! You’ll be happier at home!”

    Happy?

  123. It would certainly take away a talking point,

    How do you figure? Trump constantly repeats Democrats favor open boarders when they don’t so why do you think this specific truth is going to stop him when truth has never stopped him from saying anything ever.

  124. Anon, that’s more evidence why as much as I despise Trump, the thought of Pence as president scares the crap out of me with his ultra-conservative Christian agenda.

  125. Like other conservatives I know, my reaction to Trump is to approve almost everything he has DONE and to disapprove almost everything he has SAID.

    This is super offensive to me. Words matter. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will hurt me” is wrong. Words do inflict pain and damage. It is from a position of privilege for you to say that his words don’t matter as long as you approve the outcome. He is a giant bully with his words and has the biggest bully pulpit. He spreads divisiveness, but that’s great that it doesn’t bother you at all.

    You’ll probably say that he isn’t a racist, and to that I say, “I’m not calling him a racist. I’m saying that racists think he is a racist.”

    And if a caravan of white immigrants going through Canada were trying to get in to our country, I highly doubt that people would be in an uproar.

  126. Living in a state of constant outrage is exhausting, and essentially a waste of time.

    Will you take that to heart under President Warren?

  127. Will you take that to heart under President Warren?

    She doesn’t have a prayer.

  128. Some people thought that Obama was divisive, so those charges go both ways. (Even HRC called Obama divisive.) It’s really a matter of opinion. Constant insinuations and downright accusations that Republicans are racist or just evil for wanting to maintain a strong border are considered divisive by some people.

    Claire McCaskill, in a struggle to keep her seat, came out in support of Trump on the caravan.
    “I think the president has to use every tool he has at his disposal,” she said. “And I –100 percent — back him up on that. Whether it is turning them back because we are not equipped to handle that many asylum claims into our system — and by the way that’s one of the issues here. … When somebody comes across the border and they ask us for asylum. The law says we need to hear him, but we’re waiting way too long to hear it. We need to hear him right away. So I do not want our borders overrun. And I support the president’s efforts to make sure they’re not.”

  129. I don’t think most people would consider Trump or any other Republican racist merely for stepping up border enforcement. Heck, Obama stepped up deportations quite a bit. It is the nasty words and insinuations that are the problem. Just enforce the laws and stop with the mean language.

  130. If you’re looking for a chuckle read The NY Times comments on the article about Hillary’s potential 20/20 run.

    My favorite:

    There is probably no major Democrat politician more unqualified to run against Donald Trump in 2020, as we know with certainty that Donald can beat Hilary. It’s an historical fact. As to anyone else. it’s just a supposition. Indeed, I could pull the most objectionable creature out of a swamp and yet can only presume that Donald can beat it; with Hilary, I KNOW that Donald can beat her.

  131. I don’t especially like Warren. I think she is too far left to be electable and I find her divisive.

  132. I don’t want to see anyone from the old guard running. No Biden, no HRC, no Warren, and god please, no Bernie.

  133. Poor Hillary. I agree that she’s divisive, and I didn’t like her hawkishness, but I hate all the hate she’s getting.

  134. She doesn’t have a prayer.

    I agree on this. I liked her books but somewhere along the way things got derailed. I wasn’t following her political career closely, so can’t point to where things changed.

  135. I don’t want to see anyone from the old guard running. No Biden, no HRC, no Warren, and god please, no Bernie.

    +1 . Isn’t there anyone under age 80 in the Democratic party?

  136. Its quite different to live in a swing state. There is no guarantee on being elected or re-elected. If the voters decide they don’t like you for some reason, off you go.

  137. Houston, how do you characterize your political leanings? I always follow your comments, and sometimes you seem conservative and sometimes pretty leftist. Just curious – most people’s leanings are pretty clear

  138. Under 80:
    Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, that Hickenlooper guy, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Mitch Landrieu, and let’s not forget Beto…

  139. Isn’t there anyone under age 80 in the Democratic party?

    Corey Booker, Kamala Harris. I don’t think either of them can win. I think Biden has the best shot.

  140. Also, I agree Warren has good ideas and is smart as hell. I don’t think she can win because she doesn’t pass the “beer test” — a problem for virtually all female politicians. My mother, who adores Trump, said she doesn’t like Warren because “she sounds irrational.” The sexism is breathtaking.

    I really think we are going to have to wait for more boomers to die before woman has a chance at winning.

  141. And there’s my Massachusetts district’s Democratic (of course) congressman, Seth Moulton (age 40), who could potentially appeal to both elites/Totebaggers (multiple Harvard degrees!) and more conservative folks (four tours of duty in Iraq with the Marines!)

  142. Bloomberg is making noises about running. I like Bloomberg, I really do, but he would lose because black people and many young people would not turn out for him. I would prefer that he stay in the ranks of rich donors.

  143. Houston seems like a somewhat right leaning swing voter. She leans conservative economically but also has a healthy sense that corporate American is not our friend.

  144. that Hickenlooper guy

    My esteemed governor. Actually he’s been a good governor, although too friendly to the oil and gas industry. And then he and Kasich were floating a test balloon to see if they could run together, and when Hick said that reproductive rights issues wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, I abandoned him completely. I’ll just vote for the Republican in that case. At least I’d get tax breaks.

  145. “Houston, how do you characterize your political leanings?”

    I swing very hard based on issues.

    I hate our meddling in other countries, and so really dislike hawkish politicians. I am pro-draft and admire Israel’s system where everyone must serve.

    I am very pro-restricting immigration to people that we want, not simply people who want to live here (I admire the Canadian system).

    I don’t mind higher taxes. I think that we need to raise taxes on everyone, by a lot, to pay for what we want. I have little patience for people whining about taxes.

    I hate the system of economic segregation that we have, and hate the hypocrisy of UMC kids having resources that other kids do not. I really enjoy the fact that inner Houston is racially and economically diverse.

    I agree with Trump that the US has been played the fool WRT international trade, and like the idea of renegotiating the agreements to benefit our economy–even if we have to pay higher prices. I think that we have sold out our manufacturing sector for a bunch of cheap toys and clothes and that makes me mad. Yeah, don’t talk to me about automation–that’s a fig leaf. Just look at all the manufacturing plants on the Mexico side of the Texas-Mexico border.

    I am pro-gun control, and pro-gun. I am pro-regulation (like REAL regulation) of health care. I am pro-YIMBY.

    I am ambivalent about Trump. He is a horrid person, but I can see the appeal.

  146. “Houston seems like a somewhat right leaning swing voter. She leans conservative economically but also has a healthy sense that corporate American is not our friend.”

    Perfect description, Rhett. I wish I had seen this before I started typing an essay. : )

  147. The two women I think might get elected- Condoleeza Rice and Nikki Haley- probably couldn’t get through the primaries and probably wouldn’t want to run. One of my techs surprised me with his regard for Condoleeza Rice. I don’t know how typical he is of the working class voters she would need to get elected.

    I suspect almost everyone I know would vote for either of the above over Trump.

  148. Like other conservatives I know, my reaction to Trump is to approve almost everything he has DONE and to disapprove almost everything he has SAID.

    This is where you completely lose me.

    With the exception of certain social/civil rights, I really am a Republican at heart. I believe that more power should be reserved to the states, rather than the federal government. I think the strongest military in the world should be one of our top priorities. I think we should give markets the chance to solve problems first, before the government steps in. I think our borders should be strongly enforced and we need a complete overhaul of our immigration system. I agreed with much of the tax cut in principle (though I query its positive effect on the economy – I think it has not established itself there). The one newspaper I read without fail every day is the WSJ.

    But time and time again what has me clicking “D” at the polls is the cruelty and lack of compassion/empathy shown by Republican politicians to those with less power. I cannot abide it, and I cannot reward it with my vote.

  149. LOL I think Houston and could write the same essay.

    I’m a gun owner, and a good shot, and wholly support strong gun laws. I think churches and schools and hospitals should be taxed. I don’t think state taxes should be deductible from federal taxes.

  150. You know who would make an amazing president? My only republican vote of the year, MA governor Charlie Baker. Although it’s important to note he’s a MA Republican. His position on the trans rights ballot question is not only pro trans rights, he’s personally donated $500 to the pro trans rights campaign.

  151. RMS – what was the reproductive rights issues that became a deal breaker? Was it that Hickenlooper would have to be anti-abortion himself, or merely tolerate and collaborate with people who were anti-abortion?

    One thing where I think you may strongly disagree with me is that I think Democrats need to be more tolerant of people who are against abortion rights. It is a legitimate and deeply held point of view. And Democrats lose so many people who would be with them on almost every other issue. I see it in my own town where we have many religious Catholics.

    OK, start throwing things at me!

  152. Charlie Baker is the Mitt Romney of today. He could never survive a Republican primary.

  153. I liked Houston’s little essay. I disagree on trade issues, and I think you see the Canadian system as less like ours than it really is, but I respect your eclectic opinions.

  154. If I were voting for a pastor, or choosing a friend, compassion and empathy would matter. With politicians, not so much if at all. Much of what passes for compassion and empathy is just a performance.
    And FWIW, neither Hillary nor Obama really exude compassion. They were both vicious to those deplorable who disagreed with them.
    Again, Trump’s flaws are obvious and he wasn’t my choice in the primaries. But he is now running the country and IMO it is self-destructive to root for his failure. Find someone solid to oppose him in 2020.

  155. “One thing where I think you may strongly disagree with me is that I think Democrats need to be more tolerant of people who are against abortion rights. It is a legitimate and deeply held point of view. And Democrats lose so many people who would be with them on almost every other issue. I see it in my own town where we have many religious Catholics.”

    @MM – I completely agree with you. While I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose, I find abortion to be an absolutely horrific choice to have to make, and I respect the grey area. Abortion itself is not my #1 issue, probably not even top 10. I would vote for a moderately pro-life politician that I agreed with on lots of other issues.

  156. It is certainly possible to be an anti abortion Democrat. But since i think that both parties have outlived their mandate, I favor a party that does not draw of hypocrtical lines in the sand on moral and religious issues

  157. I would vote for a lot of the candidates mentioned here. I just hope the Dems get their act together for the next Presidential election. My least liked potential candidates are Booker and Harris for some reason. They seem a little boring to me.

  158. Scarlett, I agree that compassion was not Hillary’s strength. But Obama? He was incredible during Sandy, and after multiple mass shootings. I actually spoke once to one of the SH parents at a fundraiser, and he said Obama’s presence with the parents profoundly affected him.

  159. If I were voting for a pastor, or choosing a friend, compassion and empathy would matter. With politicians, not so much if at all. Much of what passes for compassion and empathy is just a performance.

    I couldn’t disagree with you more. The #1 job of a politician is to govern. Not to campaign, not to win, but to govern. And governing means understanding the problems of your constituents, and putting solutions in place that address those problems. You cannot govern and you cannot lead if you cannot understand.

  160. I like Cory Booker but then I have followed him for years because he was the mayor of Newark, a city that I still feel a lot of connection to, so many years after I actually worked there.

  161. But he is now running the country and IMO it is self-destructive to root for his failure.

    I don’t recall conservatives extending the same courtesy to Obama.

  162. They were both vicious to those deplorable who disagreed with them.

    When was Obama viscous? Cling to their guns and religion wasn’t vicious.

  163. If I were voting for a pastor, or choosing a friend, compassion and empathy would matter. With politicians, not so much if at all.

    You seemed to agree with the other day that low cognitive ability explains the majority of poor school performance. I was over at Reason a while back and some very earnest commenter asked why the poor didn’t just teach themselves to code as there are so many great online resources. I assume you would oppose a political that said rip up the safety net if the poor are hungry they can teach themselves to code?

  164. And FWIW, neither Hillary nor Obama really exude compassion

    Disagree here as well, at least WRT to Obama. I think he had his blind spots regarding the economic recovery, but I think of him as an incredibly empathetic leader. Same with George W Bush. I know people knock his post-Katrina reactions, but it always seemed to me he really felt the emotions of the people around him.

  165. “Much of what passes for compassion and empathy is just a performance”

    I agree. How do their policies affect people’s wellbeing? Politicians can be eloquent about supporting education policies that are “for the children”, but at the same time don’t actually help the children. Black unemployment rates hit a record low under Trump. (I know I know, it started under Obama.)

    “I assume you would oppose a political that said rip up the safety net if the poor are hungry they can teach themselves to code?”

    Whoever said that? Strawman much?

  166. Democrats need to be more tolerant of people who are against abortion rights.

    You may be astonished to learn that I have not shot and killed a single solitary person who is against abortion. Not one. Nor have I imprisoned one. Nor deported one. So how exactly am I supposed to be more “tolerant” of them?

    There are many people who will support anyone, even Trump, if he supports the rollback of Roe v Wade, or the outright criminalization of abortion in the entire U.S.

    Why don’t you go urge those people to be more tolerant?

  167. LOL RMS, but I think MM was referring to allowing them to run as Democrats within the party and supporting them from a political infrastructure standpoint. Not in interpersonal relationships. :)

  168. I feel strongly that women’s reproductive freedoms should not be abridged by government. In principle, I am with RMS 100%, and I bristle at the thought of any government intervention in women’s family planning decisions. However, MM’s pragmatic concern about losing single-issue pro-life voters who would otherwise vote Democrat resonates with me. If Roe were overturned, I really think a huge portion of he Republican base would evaporate, as their primary reason for voting Republican would cease to exist as a federal issue And the actual impact on women in much of the country would be nil, because most states would likely preserve reproductive freedoms. As usual, the burden would fall on the poorest of poor women in conservative rural states, who would become even poorer and more isolated as they are forced to bear children that they don’t want and can’t afford. The question is whether the Democratic party should abandon these women to further their own viability as a national party. No easy answers.

  169. LOL RMS, but I think MM was referring to allowing them to run as Democrats within the party and supporting them from a political infrastructure standpoint. Not in interpersonal relationships. :)

    Nope. I will vote Libertarian.

    However, MM’s pragmatic concern about losing single-issue pro-life voters who would otherwise vote Democrat resonates with me.

    I think you may be underestimating the number of current Democrats who would go either Green or Libertarian. I don’t think you’d gain in the long run.

  170. I was wondering where he was going with his initial observation that he had hoped that Ford’s allegations were true, but then he explained it:

    “So I hoped the allegations were true, because the alternative was much worse, namely that senior members of the Senate were complicit in a false accusation against a federal judge for political gain. The damage to the political culture caused by the discovery that a federal judge had skeletons in his teenage closet would be less severe than the willingness of senior senators to fabricate those skeletons as a deceitful means to a political end.”

    It’s an interesting take. If/when we ever learn the truth about how Feinstein & co handled the matter, I would probably agree.

  171. “It is certainly possible to be an anti abortion Democrat. “

    It is possible to be anti-abortion without supporting the abolition of abortion.

  172. “I am pro-draft and admire Israel’s system where everyone must serve”

    So do you support the inclusion of all sexes and genders in the draft?

    Or were you discussing beer? Or both?

  173. Houston – I was doing an example in my database class in which we had a column for gender which accepted M and F values only. I was duly informed (by a Pakistani grad student, of all people) that there are currently 32 recognized genders and I needed to account for that. So will your draft take all 32?

  174. 32?? Why don’t we just not use gender to describe people? We will have unisex overalls for the uniform. We can get Ralph Lauren to design them, like he designs the Team USA uniforms for the Olympics.

  175. Rocky, the problem is that monokinis are for skinny people. Wouldn’t you prefer seeing your American co-citizens in overalls?

  176. “there are currently 32 recognized genders and I needed to account for that.”

    How convenient that it is a power of 2.

  177. The other problem with Rudi Gernreich designing your uniforms is that he’s been dead for a long time.

  178. The other problem with Rudi Gernreich designing your uniforms is that he’s been dead for a long time.

    Picky picky. And just because he’s respiration-challenged doesn’t mean you should discriminate.

  179. NoB, I like Seth Moulton a lot, but IMO he needs a lot of speech/acting coaching to be effective. I saw him speak at some law dinner last year, and he was not very compelling. By contrast, there is a guy in CA who I met at one of my conferences, and I saw him speak ONCE for about 20 minutes and immediately wanted to follow him everywhere and give him lots of money if he would only run for office. Moulton needs some more of that spark.

  180. July – just remember that all those Italians and Russians of yore were as hated as the Mexicans and Central Americans of today.
    I also wonder if the way they show those stats – top country of origin by state – obscures more than it should. Remember that the states have very different overall numbers of immigrants, and the number two group in a state may be large. My understanding is that Asian immigrants have outnumbered Hispanic immigrants for a number of years, but the chart does not really show that.
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2018/09/asian-immigrants-latin-americans-united-states-study-news/

  181. OK, here is some more info. According to Pew Research
    “By race and ethnicity, more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants have arrived in the U.S. each year since 2010. Immigration from Latin America slowed following the Great Recession, particularly from Mexico, which has seen net decreases in U.S. immigration over the past few years.
    Asians are projected to become the largest immigrant group in the U.S. by 2055, surpassing Hispanics.”
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/09/14/key-findings-about-u-s-immigrants/

  182. Although I don’t think you can really teach the kind of charisma that L said the guy she met in California had. You either have that or you don’t.

  183. Rhett, I would submit that the NYT has even less of a clue what Americans want.

    The data says they have a far better idea than your average republican congressional staffer.

  184. “The data says they have a far better idea than your average republican congressional staffer.”

    Never argue with the data.
    However, without having read the article (behind the paywall), I don’t know that the average democratic staffer is any better informed on what Regular People want. Regular people don’t become members of Congress or congressional staffers, and they certainly don’t write for the NYT. A lot of regular people don’t even vote, it turns out.

    My guess is that USA Today has a better handle on these things.

  185. Congress Has No Clue What Americans Want
    People in the U.S. House and Senate have wildly inaccurate perceptions of our opinions and preferences.

    By Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Matto Mildenberger and Leah C. Stokes
    Mr. Hertel-Fernandez is an assistant professor of public affairs at Columbia University. Mr. Mildenberger and Ms. Stokes are assistant professors of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
    Oct. 31, 2018

    People on Capitol Hill are often in the dark as to what policies Americans support.CreditCreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
    Whether the Democrats or the Republicans seize control of Congress after the midterms, you can be sure of one thing: They will have very little idea what laws the public actually wants them to act on.

    The current Republican-controlled Congress is a good example. Its signature accomplishment is a tax-cut bill that hardly anyone likes or asked for and that is estimated to add about $2 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

    Only about 30 percent of Americans supported it — unlike the well over 70 percent of Americans who consistently support raising the minimum wage, background checks for gun sales and taking action on the climate crisis. Bills were actually proposed on these issues, but you would hardly know it; they were barely considered, and it goes without saying that none passed.

    Congress doesn’t know what policies Americans support. We know that because we asked the most senior staff members in Congress — the people who help their bosses decide what bills to pursue and support — what they believed public opinion was in their district or state on a range of issues.

    In a research paper, we compared their responses with our best guesses of what the public in their districts or states actually wanted using large-scale public opinion surveys and standard models. Across the board, we found that congressional aides are wildly inaccurate in their perceptions of their constituents’ opinions and preferences.

    For instance, if we took a group of people who reflected the makeup of America and asked them whether they supported background checks for gun sales, nine out of 10 would say yes. But congressional aides guessed as few as one in 10 citizens in their district or state favored the policy. Shockingly, 92 percent of the staff members we surveyed underestimated support in their district or state for background checks, including all Republican aides and over 85 percent of Democratic aides.

    The same is true for the four other issues we looked at: regulating carbon emissions to address the climate crisis, repealing the Affordable Care Act, raising the federal minimum wage and investing in infrastructure. On climate change, the average aide thought only a minority of his or her district wanted action, when in truth a majority supported regulating carbon.

    Across the five issues, Democratic staff members tended to be more accurate than Republicans. Democrats guessed about 13 points closer to the truth on average than Republicans.

    Out of Touch on the Hill
    Both Republican and Democratic congressional staffers underestimated — in some cases, wildly underestimated — their constituents’ support for action on several prominent domestic issues. Differences in percentage points.

    A large majority in most districts supported gun background checks. However, Republican staffers believed that their constituents were 49 points less likely to support background checks than they really were. Even Democrats underestimated support by 11 points.

    Americans were divided on Affordable Care Act repeal. Still, Republicans assumed that their constituents were more favorable to A.C.A. repeal than was actually the case. By contrast, Democrats underestimated their constituents’ support for A.C.A. repeal.

    Our research isn’t unique: As a similar study showed, state politicians also do a poor job guessing public opinion of their constituents. We found two key factors that explain why members of Congress are so ignorant of public preferences: their staffs’ own beliefs and congressional offices’ relationships with interest groups.

    Aides usually assumed that the public agreed with their own policy views. If an aide did not personally support acting on climate change, he or she was less likely to think that constituents wanted action. This self-centered bias is common in other areas of life — we all tend to think that other people share our preferences. But we aren’t all charged with understanding what the public wants to ensure democratic representation.

    Interest groups also played an important role in explaining congressional staffs’ errors. Aides who reported meeting with groups representing big business — like the United States Chamber of Commerce or the American Petroleum Institute — were more likely to get their constituents’ opinions wrong compared with staffers who reported meeting with mass membership groups that represented ordinary Americans, like the Sierra Club or labor unions. The same pattern holds for campaign contributions: The more that offices get support from fossil fuel companies over environmental groups, the more they underestimate state- or district-level support for climate action.

    Since most congressional offices cannot regularly field public opinion surveys of their constituents, staff members depend heavily on meetings and relationships with interest groups to piece together a picture of what their constituents want. And if offices hear from only deep-pocketed interest groups, they are likely to miss out on the opinions of ordinary Americans.

    We should not place all the blame on Congress. The public contributes to the problem by not taking the time to express its opinions to politicians or vote. For example, recent polling shows that supporters of tighter gun regulations are much less likely to contact Congress than those who oppose gun control. Without citizen participation, it’s hard to imagine how political staffs can accurately gauge public attitudes in their districts and states.

    The forthcoming midterm elections are an important opportunity for the public to make its policy choices clear to Congress. But political action can’t end on Election Day. Citizens need to keep writing, calling and meeting with elected officials and their staffs long after the midterms. Otherwise, Congress will continue to misunderstand the public’s preferences. And if Congress doesn’t know what the public wants, it’s hard to imagine it will do a good job representing all Americans.

  186. In a research paper, we compared their responses with our best guesses of what the public in their districts or states actually wanted using large-scale public opinion surveys and standard models. Across the board, we found that congressional aides are wildly inaccurate in their perceptions of their constituents’ opinions and preferences.

    Hm. Best guesses based on surveys and “standard models”. Hm.

  187. @ Rhett – I wonder, though, if they accurately understand what their primary voters want. Because that’s really who Congressional members work for.

  188. I wonder, though, if they accurately understand what their primary voters want.

    I think it’s the squeaky wheel gets the grease type issue. If 2% of your primary voters are calling and e-mailing and donating money and going to town hall type meetings it can skew your perceptions of what people care about. Not to mention the major donors who you are always courting.

  189. Exactly

    There background check numbers look correct. Also, the fact that the libertarianism favored by the republican donor class isn’t shared by republican voters has been a known issue for a while.

  190. Fred,

    I don’t have much of one other than opposition. Generally the animal welfare propositions are well intentioned and ill informed. This one seems to move up the time frame of the previous prop, which will make it harder for the producers to comply. I am not convinced that these measures increase animal welfare and this one seems little different.

    It will likely result in more operations closing down. Whether this is the general intent of the prop is opaque to me.

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