Open Thread 2

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This topic contains 61 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  mary guercio 7 months ago.

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  • #863

    Chris Ladd
    Keymaster

    Here’s a second iteration of the open thread. I’ll probably do this every few weeks or months just to keep size manageable.

  • #864

    Flypusher
    Moderator

    I clinked your Twitter link on Harry Reid’s statement. I completely agree, but, I’d be much more impressed if this wasn’t coming from someone who is retiring and therefore not risking his neck in any way.

    Also in that feed, some comments on Judge Curiel. I hope that trial proceeds. I’m not pinning any hopes on this preventing Trump from taking office, but it could damage him, and I want him damaged. Since Curiel has stood up to the Mexican drug cartels (with rival ISIS in sheer scumbaggery) in the past, I would hope that he’s not intimidated by the likes of Trump.

  • #869

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Ladies, focus on the real threat here – it is the Republican Party with total control. Donald Trump is going to be mincemeat for this machine. Even if Trump were impeached, that would elevate Mike Pence to POTUS. Pence who promoted laws in his state that made it a 6 year jail sentence for two same sex people to even apply for a marriage license! Pence who shifted funds for HIV patients to fund sex conversion therapy. This man? He is more dangerous than Trump. But the real danger is unbridled raw power when one party holds all branches of federal government and the great majority of state legislatures and governorships. Staggeringly so.

  • #878

    Rose Q
    Participant

    I have a question, if someone would like to answer it. I see “identity politics” criticized a lot, and I’ve never quite been sure what exactly that is and how it differs from groups having particular interests that one party would address while the other doesn’t. Blacks are naturally going to be more concerned about police violence, for example. Does talking about that issue mean you’re appealing to identity politics? I am truly confused by this. Could someone answer these questions:

    What does “identity politics” mean?

    Is this strictly a racial issue? Or would appealing to conservative evangelical Christians also be identity politics?

    I see people saying we need to move away from it, what is the alternative to that?

  • #879

    Fred
    Participant

    One thing I have been struggling with is this idea (seen most recently in some posts on the Atlantic) that white voters were reluctantly ‘forced’ into voting Trump because they were so sick of being labeled racists, so tired of PC, so frustrated with minorities stoking racial tensions, etc.

    It was expressed as something like “if you want identity politics, you’re going to get identity politics.”

    I think this probably does reflect the feelings of a decent fraction of Trump voters, but it’s hard for me to reconcile with.

    For one thing, I’ve been going back to school at a major state university for several years, and as part of that I TA and lecture, as well as take classes. Yes there is a liberal bent among the faculty. Yes, we all tend to make sure we refer to people in the ways they are more comfortable with. There is an element of conformity in that, but mostly it feels like common courtesy. I don’t see people getting mad, running to safe spaces, complaining about triggers, etc. I’ve never altered what I’m teaching according to any PC criteria. I occasionally see these outraged articles about how campus PC has run amok and it seems really quite foreign to me.

    (In truth, the absolute fixation on maximizing the ‘commercial value’ of the university education to the exclusion of all else seems like a much bigger issue to me)

    Then, too, I can see how minority protests can seem over the top sometimes. There have been student protests at my campus that we don’t have enough faculty of color, etc., much of which is probably correct, but accompanied by huge demands for immediate action that no administration or regents could ever meet. OK, yes, that does seem juvenile to me.

    So, I should get defensive and mad about it? So mad I vote in a tin-pot con man to blow it all up? You know, the administration says, “well we hear you and we’ll do what we can” and that’s it

    I honestly have never felt tagged as racist for being white by the non-whites around me at school. That is simply not the level of discussion that goes on. What is discussed, and what is easy to acknowledge in oneself with just a smidgen of self-awareness and humility, is subtle forms of implicit racism. I don’t see anyone being condemned for that, it’s about raising awareness. And one only has to see a couple of these brutal police videos, or look at studies like the ones of blind resume responses based on name, to know that the issues of prejudice and racial discrimination have not yet been entirely resolved, even if great progress has been made.

    So if the threat is: “if you push minority issues, we will push white supremacy,” does that leave minorities a realistic path forward to advance their legitimate grievances. Is there really a “nicer tone” they could operate with and still get anything done? I think minorities often feel that nothing moves unless they make a lot of noise, and I’m not sure I can disagree with that…

    • #980

      DS
      Participant

      I’ve been working at/attending a major state university for the past several years as well, and while I agree that PC doesn’t usually run amok, it does have its moments. Sometimes its in small ways, such as demands that I use gender neutral language in my writing. Other times, the problem is larger; in the wake of the election, campus has become a difficult place for some openly Republican students, particularly those who identify with groups that would not be considered part of that coalition.

      Honestly, though, I don’t think the PC environment on campus is something that really motivates these folks. From their perspective, the migration of PC into policy is a bigger concern. Take General Flynn, for instance; almost every Republican I know has taken up his mantra that the Obama Administration refuses to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” because Democrats are effete Liberals who are scared to offend anybody. They then go on to assign all kinds of nasty motives for avoiding that language.

      In reality, I think its safe to say that the consensus view on COIN will tell you that tarring and feathering an entire subset of the population with a label that carries that sort of stigma is not a recipe for success. For those folks who take Mike Flynn’s position, however, this is an example of the sinister effects of PC. As far as they’re concerned, it represents a failure to grapple with a serious problem in an effort to avoid hurting feelings.

  • #891

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Chis, I’m hoping you’ll have time to write a piece on what you got right and what you got wrong….about the election and looking at the near and long term. I’ve stated that with total majority control of all branches of government that this is of greater concern to me than even a Donald Trump. Am I wrong about this? You were an insider and were honest enough to articulate the weaknesses of the party. Yet now the GOP will be in a position of strength and the DNC, weakness….Hope you’ll put some thoughts together about this.

  • #892

    tmerritt15
    Participant

    This post will be a bit of a rant, so please forgive me.

    There was an article in the Seattle Times of November 13 regarding the election of Trump based on some local personalities. Let me explain a little. Sawant is a Seattle City Council member and calls herself a socialist. She represents my district – I did not vote for her. In general she makes a lot of noise and comes up with some uber-liberal (socialist) ideas, that are completely off the wall and even far to the left of Sanders. She does very little actual legislating and gets very little actually accomplished. Rather she travels all over the nation and gets involved in all sorts of feel good, high profile causes and gets a lot of publicity. For example, she was arrested at the North Dakota pipeline demonstrations.

    Danny Westneat is a local columnist. He is a strong progressive as many Seattleites are. He generally writes about local issues, hence the local slant of this article. It is located at:
    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/kshama-sawant-shouldve-blasted-trump-when-it-mattered/.

    In this article he states that Sawant conducted a demonstration in Philadelphia urging people not to vote. She did that during the convention. She has remained an anti-Clinton person and wrote a column in the Nation following the convention urging people to vote for Stein. Now she is going to Washington DC to lead demonstrations against Trump.

    My rant is that with the low turnout facilitated by the uber-progressives, Clinton’s lack of support from these same people and the general anti-Clinton message propagated by them, they bear a significant part of the responsibility if not the major part of the responsibility for Trump’s victory. We’ll wait and see how the actual numbers turn-out, but it sure appears as if that may be the case. That will be the second time in two decades that the uber-progressive wing of the Democratic party will have been responsible for electing a terrible president, if Trump actually governs as he promised during the campaign. The first time was 2000 during the Bush-Gore election. Of course, they will never accept that responsibility and will rationalize the resulting defeat away.

    I am extremely irritated with the uber-progressive wing. They are idealists and live in a fantasy land. They refuse to compromise. They have threatened to blow up the party because they did not get their way. They may have done that by electing Trump. I have no problem with someone who fervently supports a given candidate during the primaries, but then gets behind the actual nominee following the convention. Sanders did that, Warren did that and others as well, but the self-righteous uber-progressives refused to do that. That is self destructive behavior at the extreme. That is the way the TEA Partiers and others in the Republican Party have acted. Of course their obstructionism facilitated the stagnant economy and encouraged the rise of Trump, so it might have worked for the Republicans. I doubt that the same approach would work for the Dems.

    Maybe Chris is right and the Democrats are having their own problem with the “Politics of Crazy”. Regardless, let me add the uber-progressive wing to my list of things wrong with the Democratic Party.

    • #893

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      In speaking with a good (and very politically savy) friend about this very topic, she was of the opinion that the Dem Party needs younger leadership. I welcome younger leadership involvement and if there are any who are qualified beyond single issues, would want their participation. However, there is something to be said about a balance between experience and passion. I want smart. I want “break the mold” thinking. I want passion, but I mostly want clear, disciplined thinking about what our country needs and how our party can represent those interests.

      Hillary Clinton ran a perfect campaign “on the books”, but failed in areas she could have avoided. I am a fan but I thought she reacted to Trump too much at the expense of selling her own plan. She relied on a GOTV instead of being more attentive to what was happening on the ground. The campaign spent time and resources in states that were dubious (AZ, GA) and not enough time in her “must have” states. Her effort to clearly communicate her agenda through policies that were detailed made it hard for people to hear her message. In an election where her opponent grossly verbally abused women, she got only 51% of their vote. Why? Yet, she won the popular vote and if she had shored up her blue wall, she would be President-elect today. It was shocking, it is concerning, and it gave all branches of government to one party. Democrats have no firewall. We have to build from the ground up. That’s going to require new blood but it will also require steady hands. For all the criticism of the Tea Party methods, they are in charge of the House which holds the purse strings of government. Am I sad? Incredibly because I happen to believe that HRC is a fine person, vilified far beyond truth and decency. But, she lost, we have to move on and that is going to require strong people who are willing to play hardball.

    • #898

      tmerritt15
      Participant

      Mary,

      I think that HRC would have been OK, if Comey had not put his thumb on the scale just 1 1/2 weeks before the election. She was putting resources into AZ and GA to build up the EV margin. She may have been overconfident. But that relates to your point of being prepared to play hardball. The Republicans certainly did play hardball, to the point of breaking the norms of government and breaking long standing ethical rules. The Democrats certainly have to be prepared to reciprocate. I am somewhat disturbed that some Democrats are discussing cooperating with Trump. We must be prepared to obstruct his agenda wherever possible. Possibly a little accommodation might be in order in minor areas to prevent really bad things from happening or to improve the lot of the working and middle classes. That is a little better than the Republican position in regard to Obama. Nevertheless, in general I think the Democrats must be prepared to play hardball, obstruct and make life as miserable as possible for the
      Republicans.

  • #910

    Griff
    Moderator

    “Joking” aside Lifer this is tough question but when do you think it would become acceptable to use actual violence against people like Bannon? Where do you think the line should be?

    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by  Griff.
    • This reply was modified 10 months, 1 week ago by  Griff.
  • #954

    Griff
    Moderator

    The end of our racial detente: http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/14/election-marks-end-americas-racial-detente/

    I think Marcus makes a a lot of good points here but he misses one important factor that helped end our “racial detente”; the election of our first black president that freaked out the cultural right through no fault of Obama’s. Basically if you think of the cultural right and cultural left as having been in an uneasy ceasefire with each other on racial issues, the election of Obama caused many on the cultural right to gain new recruits and become more on edge.

    Had the cultural left been at the old powerful barracks provided by “colorblind theory” and having access to powerful weapons like the word “racism” as traditionally defined they very well could have held the wall in such a way that the cultural right would have quickly become exhausted and in retreat. Instead they decided to implement a messy preemptive shock attack by embracing newer models based on “privilege theory”, causing them to be overstretched at the worst time possible and for the cultural right to gain further recruits from the backlash to this. Now both their cities are damaged, though the cultural left is discovering they are in a much weaker position than they originally thought they were and the cultural right has the advantage. It’s possible now that the cultural right will overplay their hand, which the left may be able to take advantage of if they find new tactics. Either way both sides are about to discover that open conflict between the two is not really a zero-sum game where one side loses and the other wins but instead, more likely, a negative-sum game.

    Also yes I’m a strategy nerd, sorry for the extended metaphor.

  • #957

    Rich724
    Participant

    Check out AC360 (Anderson Cooper) on Twitter. Megyn Kelly and Glenn Beck. Very disturbing.

  • #987

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    More analysis of self-immolation by Dems. Maybe once we all get past our grief over the outcome of this election (it’s time, Obama says), we’ll be able to look more objectively at what went wrong.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/11/19/neoliberalisms-epic-fail-the-reaction-to-hillary-clintons-loss-exposed-the-impotent-elitism-of-liberalism/?source=newsletter

  • #988

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Ms. Tea Party herself, Jenny Beth Martin, claims the Tea Party’s success is directly due to doing what the Dems didn’t: grassroots organizing. She wasn’t surprised about Trump….

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/11/the-tea-party-movement-is-alive-and-well-and-we-saw-trump-coming-214469

    • #990

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      BTW, Ms. Martin is drawing down some serious compensation for her leadership with the Tea Party. “As of 2014, Martin was receiving two salaries from the Tea Party Patriots: a $15,000 per month fee for “strategic consulting” and a $272,000 salary as President, with total annual compensation over $450,000.” Wiki.

      How do you like your tea?

  • #992

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Great piece that analyzes Trump’s mind. Like all its writing, The Atlantic does a terrific job exploring different aspects of Trump’s mind through historical reference and psychological analysis. There are some interesting comparisons to other presidents that help put things into perspective. Finally, the analysis is instructive about how a Pres. Trump may govern.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/

  • #1006

    Aaron Dow
    Participant

    Okay, so, I’ve moved away from theory and moved toward activism.

    What I would like from this group, if they have it, is some sort of background of useful Republicans to reach out to for specific types of resistances against Trump. For instance, Rand Paul is not a very big fan of John Bolton and is useful to reach out to in order to block that nomination for Secretary of State; he does not, however, give a shit about the environment, so he’s not so useful to reach out to about blocking Myron Ebell for EPA.

    I don’t necessarily need this information listed here, though others may be interested in it. I’m aggregating my own information and designing an infrastructure for activism from my own side. If people could respond here or PM me, that would be great.

    It’s frustrating to me that most of the speaking out against potential Trump policies from the GOP has largely focused on his intention to build infrastructure. I need more information about which Republicans are likely to stand up for Civil Rights. By the time Trump’s administration is built, I guess we’ll have some idea.

    • #1071

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Here are some ramblings but give them a look to see if any of them make sense or work within your construct. Do they have to be Republicans or simply influential? If influential qualifies, what about people like Mark Cuban who is insulated by wealth, reputation and ego but has an in with the tech sector? He also has a blog that he periodically writes that reaches a fairly large audience.

      I’m trying to think outside the box…..Gary Trudeau who through his Doonesbury series has pissed off Trump before….I know you are trying to work constructively within the system, but it might be useful to use whatever vehicles are out there. There was a lot of criticism for Clinton’s use of media to draw crowds, but there has to be a way to get the message out to the masses, once the message is defined.

      The “Never Trump” group and those former GOP bureaucrats who endorsed Clinton are another avenue to explore. Former members of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who are respected but retired and secure from retaliation. James Clapper types…Mayor Bloomberg?

      Problem is that the GOP recognizes there are some weak links due to principle and flat disagreement, but the establishment has been pretty lock-step. IMO, there aren’t too many principled Republicans who are currently serving who would take part in anything they thought would thwart their larger conservative agenda. What about Senator Susan Collins or former senator Olympia Snowe or some of the Republicans who didn’t support Trump and lost elections and might be interested in participating in something that gave them leverage in the future….

      It’s good to start digging now but the list may self-populate once Trump and the GOPe start messing with things that matter to key people or groups. The environment is a big one as you noted…rabid in their loyalty to their beliefs and typically younger and unaffiliated.

      Let me know if I am totally off the mark and I’ll think on it some more. Great that you’ve got a plan….Run for office yourself!

    • #1074

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      To your point about GOP resistance to T’s infrastructure plan, anything that gets in the way of their tax cuts for the wealthy, tax reform generally, and entitlement reform specifically, is going to be hammered. Just wait until Ivanka starts in with her paid family/maternity leave thingy. I keep saying it because it is true: the Republicans have a plan they intend to legislate. It is called “A Better Way”. It has already been voted on, and enabling legislation written and committee assignments made. Frankly, I think the GOPe is willing to let Trump go as far as he can as long as he lets them do the major initiatives they want. that’s why I started the post on “what’s next for DJT”.

    • #1086

      tmerritt15
      Participant

      I didn’t see the post “what’s next for DJT”. But anyway I totally second your thought that the Repubs in Congress are hell bent on enacting Ryan’s “A Better Way”. DJT is just being used as a vehicle to get the program enacted into law. They think he will be willing to sign the legislation and to hell with the public or their thoughts. Wait until AARP starts mobilizing their members regarding the plan to voucherize Medicare and then subsequently to convert Social Security into a 401K type plan. On Social Security, the public needs some serious education. Many of the people in the younger working cohorts are half convinced that social security is not going to be available when they retire, anyway. Regarding Medicare they are also half convinced that it is going to go bust at any time. So their reaction will be to just let the programs die. The right wing noise machine has been actively working for this point for decades.

    • #1114

      Creigh Gordon
      Moderator

      Yes, and the easiest way for the Republicans to get the youngs to throw the olds to the wolves is to first get the olds to screw the youngs by agreeing to cuts to SS and Medicare that go into effect for future generations. Divide and conquer.

    • #1151

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Divide and conquer, right? This article by Brookings that analyzes how millennials voted in the general election is interesting as a template for trying to predict what will motivate this group in years to come. They broke for Clinton but enough split off for Trump that it hurt her in tight states. They are just one part of the demographic that deserves study which I am certain will occupy statisticians for years to come.

      How Millennials voted this election

    • #1632

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Ah, the Mellennials…..Here’s an interesting piece on this generation. Those of you who are age-qualified Mellenneals, tell us what you think of this?

      http://www.cracked.com/blog/that-anti-millennial-rant-bs-cracked-destroys-meme/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter-weekly-20170118

    • #1099

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Aaron, Saw these two pieces today and thought they might give you some leads to pursue for your activism.

      http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/which-republican-senators-are-most-likely-to-fight-trump/

      And this response to Silver’s piece: https://medium.com/@BenSasse/constitutional-duties-precede-party-loyalties-and-policy-goals-1e2afd66afbc#.ua82e5ogb

  • #1007

    Griff
    Moderator
  • #1027

    DS
    Participant
  • #1054

    DS
    Participant

    Another interesting article from the Economist calling out the failure of economics to investigate questions regarding the effects of crises on institutions.

  • #1118

    Griff
    Moderator

    Here’s a crazy one, a couple in Alabama tried to set off a bomb in a school to start a “race war”: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/11/pair_charged_in_explosive_devi.html

    More crazy people appointed to Trump’s cabinet. Wilbur Ross is the pick for Commerce Secretary: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/us/politics/wilbur-ross-commerce-trump.html

    Hate crime reports are still up but the FBI can’t do much apparently due to inefficiencies in data collection: https://psmag.com/hate-crimes-are-way-up-and-the-fbi-has-no-way-of-tracking-them-properly-a6a31d3ac067#.pp7duuhn8

  • #1152

    Creigh Gordon
    Moderator

    One of the best articles I’ve read in years, about what I consider to be the most important economic problem today, the future of employment: “This winter, I traveled to Ohio to consider what would happen if technology permanently replaced a great deal of human work. I wasn’t seeking a tour of our automated future. I went because Youngstown has become a national metaphor for the decline of labor, a place where the middle class of the 20th century has become a museum exhibit.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/07/world-without-work/395294/

    • #1153

      tmerritt15
      Participant

      I agree. I read the article when it first was published in July and thought it was intriguing. However, our society is not at this time prepared to consider the ramifications of an economy that is heavily automated with limited work. With the present orientation towards maximizing the accumulation of wealth, making that transition is going to be extremely difficult.

  • #1155

    hoonteo
    Moderator

    Communities might also end up finding their own solutions. I’ve been following ( and felt inspired by ) these folks for some time

    http://www.citylab.com/navigator/2016/08/detroit-urban-farmers-growing/497027/

  • #1168

    mary guercio
    Moderator
  • #1169

    Fred
    Participant

    The whole “post work” thing seems a little off base to me–I feel it is far too optimistic about the future trajectory of automation and robotics, and for that reason misrepresents the nature of the challenge we face.

    Clearly automation will continue to disrupt many particular professions/occupations–often well-paid ones, and in a highly unpredictable way.

    But it seems to me that there will continue to be lots of work that needs to be done. The issue is that more and more of it will be low-paid and considered less skilled–and more important, also seen as low-status.

    The essential problem is that our current system of industrial/post-industrial capitalism and our social and cultural systems are ill-suited to deal with the challenges we now face.

    At the same time, it seems to me that we lack good alternatives for the market, not only in setting production and determining values, but also in allocating resources and incentivizing personal productivity and accountability.

    I think we know most of the elements that make up this stew of economic discontent, but it may be worth reviewing them:

    – the activities deemed “highly productive in economic terms” by the current market system fall to an ever-narrowing set of professions, and a shrinking pool of workers within those professions

    – most people are not prepared for a life of reinventing themselves, in the face of massive unpredictability, growing educational expectations and all-consuming individualism. The government safety net is badly flawed and under attack, but people are also not socially and psychologically prepared for what the modern market is asking of them. Nor are people in this individualistic era so willing to sublimate all other aspects of their life to the needs of employment as in times past.

    – likewise, the safety-net and our economic and social systems more generally are ill-adapted to the flexible work arrangements necessary to deal with a more fluid and unpredictable reality

    – the personal service work that will become ever more important in the future is badly, and I think unnecessarily, stigmatized in social terms, as well as being poorly compensated

    – we don’t really know how to value creativity in an age of information-overload and highly fragmented audiences

    – all that laid on top of deep structural problems, which tend toward disempowering individuals and increasing inequities: ever increasing concentrations of capital, more and more emphasis on rent-seeking, growing predominance of large corporate monopolies and oligopolies

    – likewise, global competition for labor, intertwined with the disengagement of governments worldwide in supporting labor

    These aren’t all new, but the confluence of them, and their growing intensity, does seem to mark a qualitatively different social and economic environment from those of decades past. In that sense I think the “post-work” idea does at least suggest the magnitude of the changes we face, just not quite their nature.

    I found Chris’ article about “White Welfare” really echoed with regard to these issues. I don’t think there is any return to that old system, but the social/economic morass we face definitely was a part of the Trump phenomenon.

    Unfortunately the way forward seems quite unclear to me. I appreciate that the Dems have at least been more willing to recognize these issues and propose programs to address them. But my perception is that we are looking at systemic challenges that go far beyond more worker retraining or insurance subsidies, or even a 10,000/yr basic income.

    As I said, we still need the market, but it really needs a radical overhaul. I don’t think it’s something we can successfully patch and mend our way out of. Unfortunately there is no political will to even acknowledge the depth of the issues we face, let alone try to address them. Nor is it clear that political solutions alone can do much without corresponding social and cultural changes.

    My guess is that these issues will reach a boiling point, and things will change in a radical way, probably with deep pain and disruption associated. But probably not for several decades. Best case, something along the lines of the Depression/New Deal, worst case, 1917 in St. Petersburg?

    • #1170

      Creigh Gordon
      Moderator

      Fred, you’re absolutely right that there’s no end to useful things for human beings to do for each other, and for the planet. But “post-work” isn’t talking about that, it’s talking about the collapse of work as paid employment. And I’d argue that the middle class of the recent past wasn’t built on “market-based solutions” it was built on unions and New Deal policies that were anything but “market-based”

    • #1208

      Fred
      Participant

      [[Fred, you’re absolutely right that there’s no end to useful things for human beings to do for each other, and for the planet. But “post-work” isn’t talking about that, it’s talking about the collapse of work as paid employment.]]

      Probably we’re talking past each other

      What I can’t really see as practical is a world in which a large proportion of the population gets a fixed subsidy and follows their bliss regardless of whether what their doing has any value for anyone. I feel that would just be too large a waste of potential productivity.

      If there is still useful work to be done, and we, as a society, want to motivate people to it, and need to find ways to effectively value it, and to direct people toward things that are more useful, then I think there will need to an economy of some kind, with “incomes” generated by productive activity, and “benefits/consequences” associated with earning or not earning.

      Ok, so perhaps the “payment” will not be to “stay alive,” maybe it won’t even be in money but in “likes”. People have always worked for a combination of material and non-material incentives. But it still seems to me we’ll probably need a system in which almost everyone will still be “working” in some way toward achieving “economic” rewards.

      Maybe that just reflects a cramped imagination 🙂 But then Marx thought big and that didn’t work out too well…

      [[And I’d argue that the middle class of the recent past wasn’t built on “market-based solutions” it was built on unions and New Deal policies that were anything but “market-based”]]

      I agree with that. Labor has never had any intrinsic power, it only had sway when delegated power by the government in the 1930s-1960s. Between unions and tax structure, there were powerful leveling forces at work.

      But there was also a significant social component to all that I think–including acceptable modes of behavior and limits to excess for the affluent, collective expectations for “spreading the dividends” of winning WW2, and the cultivation of a shared conviction that screwing the tops onto toothpaste tubes in a factory was a manly, honorable blue-collar profession–akin to farming or being a cowboy, and nothing like serving people food or cutting hair or unclogging a drain.

      And of course none of that happened outside the market; rather social and political forces had redrawn the rules under which that market operated.

    • #1221

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      Fred, some thoughts on your post…belatedly. First, your premise is that for work to be meaningful, there has to be economic rewards…that subsistence doesn’t add value for the individual nor to the society of which they are part. I agree with that. What I think you may possibly be overlooking in the UBI is that the real benefit of this stable income is to put a floor under people rather than become their sole source of income. There could be examples of people doing this – with disability, aging, and temporary unemployment, but as I understand the concept, its purpose is to ensure people have a roof over their heads and adequate food. It is in no way meant to replace individual productivity whereby those who strive and succeed, are still economically rewarded for their efforts. It’s to replace the denigration of those who need help. It is not a free pass to a successful, financially and personally rewarding life.

      One of the benefits of the aging process is that it helps us distill what is most important in life. Assuming you reach retirement with decent health (far from assured) and having savings, most people can muddle their way through their seventies and eighties without catastrophy. Throw in a major illness or accident and the savings of a lifetime are endangered. Accidents and illnesses can happen at any age. It may seem as though I’m “fixated” on this subject, but let me simply say, it’s for good reason. If anything, my fear of the UBI is that personal and family crises do occur and the present safety net no longer be there to help out. After all, there is only so much $$ to fund retirement, etc, and the top 10% have structured their net gains in such a manner that they shelter not share through equitable taxes. Wealth gets passed down to succeeding generations and insulates the heirs. For the poor and middle class, it may take all one’s savings (if there is any) to live out one’s life and deal with the challenges that most assuredly will happen.

      Fundamentally, in my view, a UBI that is structured without a companion universal health plan is just more smoke and mirrors on the part of conservatives who want to dismantle the safety net. Put the two together and then you have something worth getting behind.

      Sorry for the cynicism but all I see from conservatives is more attacks on re-distribution. I happen to believe that a just society cares for its people before it builds walls or lowers personal tax rates. I also believe that this was the most legitimate issue of this election, and look what is happening.

  • #1193

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Most of us (as well as the media) have focused on “who” voted for Trump and against Hillary. There is, of course, truth in this information. However, this article caught my attention and speaks to a different element of Trump’s campaign that was very successful for him. It’s a new way of campaigning. Welcome to the digitization of campaigns!

    View story at Medium.com

  • #1227

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Very quietly, the state of TX is passing regulations that will make life more difficult for women whose pregnancies end….including those who have miscarriages. Read and weep, then call your representative.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/11/30/texas-will-now-require-funeral-services-whenever-a-woman-has-an-abortion/?source=newsletter

  • #1321

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    This WaPo piece on the impact of America’s generational divide caught my eye. I couldn’t help but think about those who are toying with the idea of a Joe Biden for POTUS in 2020…and how the math and psychology revealed in the election might inform that decision. Surely age is relevant in the lessons learned in 2016.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/10/an-under-appreciated-fact-about-the-2016-election-the-massive-generation-gap/?utm_term=.dc0c2606fbb1&wpisrc=nl_cage&wpmm=1

    “(The) leftward evolution of American culture in the realms of race, gender, religion and sexuality, these developments have left many conservatives — including the current president-elect — warning darkly of the imminent destruction of the United States as we know it, which in turn justifies increasingly aggressive challenges from the right to established political norms and institutions.”

  • #1391

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Great post-mortem on the Clinton/Dem campaign from some very smart, very high level people in Democratic ranks. The focus? How to rebuild the Dem Party. There were so many smart observations that you’ll simply have to read it but here are two I strongly agree with:

    INVEST at the Local Level: “the purpose of the Democratic National Committee should be to decentralize our efforts and to empower local parties and local activists and state parties with the tools that they need to build robust digital operations, to give people the tools they need to organize their own areas, to speak in their own voices. Part of the way you address these challenges in a place like Ohio is not only by poll-testing a bunch of language to place on top of Ohio to run a race, but rather to empower activists to develop their own organizations to do some of that important work and to invest in the resources locally.”

    SUPPORT Union Membership: “… get people to join unions again. Think about it. Unions turn people into Democrats. People get in touch with their economic interests. It’s a way of pushing back against the culture wars. It’s the exact demographic that we’re talking about. It not only turns people into Democrats when they join a union, but the more union members you have, it obviously changes the nature of the Democratic Party itself, as they have a greater voice. It’s going to change the way the party works. And they also do something about inequality. And they don’t do it from the top down.”

    Want to get rid of elitism? Support unions. Want to involve working class people directly and locally? Support unions. Want to distill issues that are relevant to average working people? Support unions.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/how-democrats-rebuild-2016-214533

  • #1433

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    With the decision by President Obama to abstain from vetoing the NATO decision to sanction Israel for further encroachment on the West Bank, PEOTUS Trump has inferred that “after Jan. 20th, things will be different”….

    NATO has its detractors but at present it is the only world organization that exists that serves as a center of global discussion. What and who will arbitrate world disputes if NATO is ended?

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/russia-nato-war-richard-shirreff-214539

  • #1514

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Just in case you need more incentive to oppose this man…

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/president-trump/

  • #1521

    mary guercio
    Moderator
  • #1524

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Great article with warnings about nuclear threats from someone who knows what he talks about. He suggests that there is a lack of comprehension about the horror of nuclear power use not only in the public at large but in Congress.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/william-perry-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-214604

  • #1527

    mary guercio
    Moderator
  • #1531

    mary guercio
    Moderator
  • #1538

    tmerritt15
    Participant

    This will be a fairly lengthy comment, but I’ve become quite unhappy with some of the trends in the commentary on Political Orphans and specifically some of the caustic comments made by a very limited number of the participants towards some of the posts, which were made in good faith. Some of them have been essentially insulting and verged on being “flames”. Primarily for that reason I will stop posting in Political Orphans. This post explains those reasons in more detail.

    I understand that many of the participants in Political Orphans are severely disappointed by the election. I am as well. I am very disturbed by the fact that the Republicans won a full sweep and now control the House, Senate, Presidency and will probably soon have a new conservative justice on SCOTUS. I am very concerned regarding the direction the country is likely to take. I feel that the Republican policies are likely to lead to a severe crisis. That crisis could include severe economic dislocations, possibly even a depression. It could also include a severe geopolitical challenge up to and including great power conflict with Russia and possibly China. The crisis could be existential in nature and will be if it includes as strong a climatological component as I think is very probable with Republican policies. A CLIMATOLOGICAL CRISIS COULD THREATEN OUR CIVILIZATION.

    There are multiple reasons for Hillary’s loss. The analyses are still ongoing. However, I am beginning to feel that the Democratic Party selected the wrong nominee despite that she is extraordinarily well qualified. She was too war-worn, had too much baggage, was subject to too much visceral hatred, Putin had an active dislike, possibly even hatred, and she created too great a misogynistic reaction in many men. The FBI interfered in the election with both the original email investigation and the investigation just before the election. It also opposed the release of information linking Russia to the hacking of the DNC prior to the election. Putin no doubt felt that she would certainly obstruct his dreams of re-establishing the Russian Empire, whereas Trump would be less likely to interfere with those efforts, so he ordered the hacking and interference in the US electoral process. The Republican Party was very scared of a potential HRC presidency, much more so than of a Sanders’ presidency, so they used every weapon in their arsenal to defeat HRC, unfortunately for the nation, successfully.

    As an afterthought, I suspect that the presidential loss was one of the strongest components of the failure to take the Senate.

    Since the election, a very dark and pessimistic mood seems to have developed in the political commentary on Political Orphans. I do not think this is justified, largely because I have great faith in America and its people. The US is probably the most geopolitically advantaged nation in the world. It has the largest economy and the largest capitol stocks. The US Constitution does allow for change, but slowly and deliberately. Its people are very innovative, can seize the initiative, are basically optimistic, resourceful and can accomplish great things, as we’ve shown many times before. In my opinion, the critical element lacking is leadership at this time. I do not think the Republican Party can provide that leadership, because their basic objectives really consist more of obtaining power and further enriching the wealthy. There are some young leaders in the Democratic Party who could provide that leadership. Now there is a vacancy at the top, so they can rise to the occasion. All this being said, we still need to fight the agenda of the Republicans, every way possible. I already do and will continue to do so.

    I do not feel that the Democratic Party is in as dire a condition as the consensus in Political Orphans or much of the media commentary seems to indicate. The Party’s ideas are supported by most of the people and it won the popular vote for the presidency by almost three million votes. I’ve not yet seen the vote totals for the House, but most likely the Democrats had the majority of votes for the House as well. This is not a sign of a party on the verge of death. It does however indicate some serious problems in the U.S. electoral methodology and the Democrats approach. The electoral deficiencies give the rural areas a considerable preference over urban areas where the majority reside. Other electoral difficulties include voter suppression and gerrymandering. Gerrymandering affects the presidential vote as well because it depresses the vote. These need to be addressed systemically.

    Nevertheless, the Democratic Party does have some severe problems, in that it has overemphasized identity politics, not that that is wrong but it does turn-off some voters, it has continued with the neo-liberal agenda past its prime and has focused on DC politics and the national party to the exclusion of the state and local parties. It also has not focused on the considerable problems associated with the financial sector and the associated inequity. The Democratic Party does need to refocus and reorient itself. A period out of power gives it the opportunity to do so.

    The combination of the Democrats being out of power with the hubris of the Republican Party, its ignorance of the real priorities of the American people and its certainty of overreaching, will create opportunities for the Democratic Party in 2018. That thought is based on historical research and observation of the U.S.’ political system for over five decades. I have been through too many of these political cycles, not to realize the tables can turn very quickly.

    Yet when I have discussed these thoughts in this blog, there have been some very caustic comments by a very limited minority of the commenters. Some of these comments have verged on being insults and “flames”. Some aspects of a circular firing squad have developed. Maybe the reason is that my comments might not concur with the seemingly pessimistic consensus. I do know however that most of the participants seem to concur with many of my thoughts. I want to emphasize that the vast majority of the comments conform to very high standards and the commenters very respectfully mention areas of disagreement. Nevertheless, because of the negativity, I have decided TO NO LONGER POST IN POLITICAL ORPHANS.

    I have better things to do with my time than to make a significant effort preparing a comment, only to be insulted. I have just started an ornithology course with Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, am preparing to apply for the Master Birder course with Seattle Audubon, actively volunteer and participate in field trips and various classes in addition to practicing engineering on an occasional part time basis. All that is far more satisfying than being insulted after posting a comment.

    Nevertheless, I will continue reading Chris Ladd’s postings. He has some very valuable commentary and thoughtful outlook on the current political situation in the US; I just will not participate in the discussion.

    Tom Merritt, P.E. (tmerritt15)
    Seattle, WA
    January 7, 2017
    Seattle, WA

    P.S. BTW, Mary I did resend the PM from 12/11 with some additional comments. I hope you received it.

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 2 weeks ago by  tmerritt15.
    • #1540

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      TMerritt, I shall miss your sage comments and participation. I will endeavor to be more positive. I am reading Michael Lewis’ new book, “The Undoing Project”, which explores the lives and friendship between two great Israeli psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Together, they pioneered work that shows how the mind errs systematically, when forced to make judgments in uncertain situations. Amos said this which I think applies to the mood we are in: “When you are a pessimist, and a bad thing happens, you live it twice. Once when you worry about it, and the second time when it happens.” We have to change that.

      I believe many in our group are still grieving and it is harder to be positive which can become a trap. You are right to caution us about negativity because it saps courage, energy, and effectiveness. If we believe there is nothing that can be done to fight back, we will defeat ourselves. We can’t let that happen.

      Love the birds – enjoy life. I am going to take your advice to heart.

  • #1584

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Per the FEC, the Trump campaign is cited for $19 million in campaign funds that it failed to document. Failure to do so requires the candidate to refund the alleged illegal contributions.

    FEC fingers Donald Trump for $19 million in illegal fundraising

  • #1585

    mary guercio
    Moderator
  • #1587

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    I don’t recall seeing any posts regarding Obama’s action to end the “wet feet, dry feet” doctrine specific to Cuban migrants. It seems that regardless whether Cubans come by sea or by land, they are automatically granted the right to gain legal status (green card) within one year of arrival.

    Here’s something I didn’t know until I discussed it with a Hispanic friend. Texas has loads of Cubans living here. They, btw, are called “migrants” even if they enter the US via Mexico. Mexicans or those from other South American countries who enter the US are called “illegal immigrants”. The difference in how they are viewed harkens back to 1966 law, updated in 1995. Not only are Cuban “migrants” treated differently in terms of their legal status, but they qualify for benefits – food stamps, health care, housing…to be exact, $680 million dollars per year.

    To his credit, Sen. Marco Rubio has called out abuses in this system, noting many Cubans are not refugees but come over, register for benefits, then go back to Cuba! Needless to say, the other “illegal” immigrants who are brown-skinned, feel there is a double standard.

    Indeed there is. Good move, O!

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/02/22/cubans_fear_changes_in_us_benefits_for_immigrants__129725.html

  • #1588

    tmerritt15
    Participant

    My understanding is that Cubans will henceforth be treated the same as other migrants. A link to the NY Times article I below:

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/13/world/americas/ap-lt-panama-stranded-cubans.html?_r=0

    Recently most cubans have been going to Central America or Mexico and then working their way North via the railroad that terminates near the Rio Grande River and crossing into TX. That is the same route that Central America migrants have been taking. That is the reason that there is so much immigration pressure in TX and specifically the Rio Grande Valley. The net migration from Mexico proper has been negative for several years now, but the major hispanic migration has been from Central America. That is largely due to the gang activity there. For this reason the illegal migration pressure has been less in CA, AZ and NM. The hype does not cover that, however. Unfortunately, this will have significant impacts on TX and maybe the terminology will begin to change.

    I have been aware of this differentiation for some time, and felt that the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy needed to change.

    • #1589

      mary guercio
      Moderator

      The Hispanic gentleman I talked to about this said it is an issue within their community….He’s the one who alerted me to the fact that Cuban “migrants” receive benefits from the federal government…and, they are not detained and held in centers regardless how they enter the country.

  • #1615

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Small victories. In Texas. The Hispanic residents fought hard for this. Note that the judge not only ruled in their favor but places the county under judicial watch for 6.5 years….

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Judge-tosses-Pasadena-s-unconstitutional-10860992.php

  • #1641

    Aaron Dow
    Participant

    Cameron Harris is the name of the person who convinced millions of people that Hillary was cheating. It took him 15 minutes and earned him $5000.

    Sometimes I feel like I need to become an archivist of these sorts of things so that, four years from now, when this stupid shit cycles right back around, I can have it at the ready.

  • #1644

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    President Obama accelerated his plan to deploy troops to eastern European countries who have appealed to the U.S. out of concern for Russian aggression. This move was achieved very quickly as Obama feared the plans would be stopped in a Trump administration. There has not been much news about this (saw it on the Maddow show) but it is one more action Pres. Obama has taken along with many others, to safeguard our nation and the world.

    Thank you, President Obama.

    • #1646

      tmerritt15
      Participant

      Good post, Mary. I was aware of it and consider the deployment very important. IMO, I think the Baltic States and Poland will be very important in what I consider a probable confrontation with Russia. The deployment is planned to be a continuous deployment rotating among the various heavy armored units from CONUS and has been in planning for several months.

      On a different subject, but somewhat related. I have been able to obtain access to the three Financial Times articles that you mentioned several days ago. A link will be sent via PM. Again, I believe this information will become quite important down the road, even the mainstream press is largely ignoring it for now.

  • #1794

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Creigh,

    Are you familiar with this site? I find it very helpful.

    Time for a Post-Financial Crisis Review

  • #1815

    mary guercio
    Moderator
  • #1831

    mary guercio
    Moderator

    Something to make you smile………

    “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it looks like Trump is actually making America great again. Just look at the progress made since the election:
    1. Unprecedented levels of ongoing civic engagement.
    2. Millions of Americans now know who their state and federal representatives are without having to google.
    3. Millions of Americans are exercising more. They’re holding signs and marching every week.
    4. Alec Baldwin is great again. Everyone’s forgotten he’s kind of a jerk.
    5. The Postal Service is enjoying the influx cash due to stamps purchased by millions of people for letter and postcard campaigns.
    6. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry is enjoying record growth in sales of anti-depressants.
    7. Millions of Americans now know how to call their elected officials and know exactly what to say to be effective.
    8. Footage of town hall meetings is now entertaining.
    9. Tens of millions of people are now correctly spelling words like emoluments, narcissist, fascist, misogynist, holocaust and cognitive dissonance.
    10. Everyone knows more about the rise of Hitler than they did last year.
    11. Everyone knows more about legislation, branches of power and how checks and balances work.
    12. Marginalized groups are experiencing a surge in white allies.
    13. White people in record numbers have just learned that racism is not dead. (See #6)
    14. White people in record numbers also finally understand that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act.
    15. Stephen Colbert’s “Late Night” finally gained the elusive #1 spot in late night talk shows, and Seth Meyers is finding his footing as today’s Jon Stewart.
    16. “Mike Pence” has donated millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood since Nov. 9th.
    17. Melissa FREAKING McCarthy.
    18. Travel ban protesters put $24 million into ACLU coffers in just 48 hours, enabling them to hire 200 more attorneys. Lawyers are now heroes.
    19. As people seek veracity in their news sources, respected news outlets are happily reporting a substantial increase in subscriptions, a boon to a struggling industry vital to our democracy.
    20. Live streaming court cases and congressional sessions are now as popular as the Kardashians.
    21. Massive cleanup of facebook friend lists.
    22. People are reading classic literature again. Sales of George Orwell’s “1984” increased by 10,000% after the inauguration. (Yes, that is true. 10,000%. 9th grade Lit teachers all over the country are now rock stars.)
    23. More than ever before, Americans are aware that education is important. Like, super important.
    24. Now, more than anytime in history, everyone believes that anyone can be President. Seriously, anyone.” – Susan Keller

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