Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Will Trump “veer to Center?”…and… Al Franken For 'Designated Trump!'

I'll offer some crit on the democrats at the end.  But first...

Following up on the Republican convention, were you puzzled by… or even cynically dismissive of… The Donald's LGBT remark and Ivanka's feminist riff? I take a less jaundiced view, deeming those to be much more than just perfunctory toss-offs. Indeed, they were likely significant moments, testing the waters for how big a “veer to the center” the Trumps can get away with in the general election campaign.

Both of them know that their confederate followers love to wrap themselves in virtue and to shout: "we're not the bigots, liberals are!" Remember, there’s almost no evidence in Donald Trump’s past suggesting that this cynical, Svengali-manipulator actually believes any of the racist stuff he’s been spouting. (Sexism, sure. But even that may be complicated.)

I’ve long held it plausible that he might backtrack from any polemical device that no longer suits his purpose. He’s done it before.  (Remember the ‘birther” stuff?)

Recall how last year – before any pundit took a Trump nomination seriously - I predicted that primary-season candidate Trump would evolve, after nomination, into something else. A protean opportunist, DT will fine-tune the message and narrative. Indeed, he could shift a number of standard right wing positions -- e.g. toward gays -- and his followers will lap it up!  

With the perfect Tea Partier Mike Pence guarding Trump's right flank, you can expect him to veer toward center in carefully chosen ways. 

In fact, there'd be a silver lining for the entire nation to his candidacy, if Donald - in the debates - suddenly announced "I've studied harder" and that he ‘now understands’ the deep-rooted flaws in climate denialism and anti-science campaigns and supply side 'voodoo economics.’ Shrugging aside any inconsistency with his patented insouciance, he’d simply say “that’s behind us now…” just like all his old birther obsessions and both calamitous Bush presidencies. (Bush who?)

Any other candidate who flipped like that would suffer, but not DT. And millions of his followers would imitate his blithe shrug. “Denying climate change? Oh, we’re not doing that anymore. Move on. And anyone mentioning the word “Bush” is just digging up the past.”

Heck, do not be shocked if he suddenly, at a debate, declared support for legalizing pot! Even though only blue or bluish states have done it so far, and no other GOP officeholder has done anything but oppose, I doubt his evangelical base would raise a peep. And he could grab another 2% of the vote at a swoop, unless HC is ready.

Sidestep the Obamacare issue by suddenly supporting Medicare for everybody? I am telling you, he can reach out with grabs like that and barely shake his base. They are not Trump supporters because of past-failed GOP policies. He is their caudillo - that is enough.

When this happens at a debate, Hillary Clinton must not stare in shock, or leap to accuse him of flopping. The dems would be fools not to practice and carefully advance-calibrate HC's reaction to such zinger surprises. (And Donald loves surprises!) Indeed, it might make sense to congratulate him on shifting the GOP permanently from one or two insanities.

Anyway what has he got to lose, by dropping fact-disproved manias like denialism and Supply Side?  Making Kochs, Saudis and Murdochians mad at him? This is Trump’s party. For now. Screw em.

== Will he really do that? ==

Now, let me admit that I have been forced to backtrack a bit. Ever since I made my prediction -- that DT would perform some sudden, surprise veers to center. I first offered that prediction when it seemed that his core trait was fiercely intelligent, manipulative self-control.

Ah well. That was then. In the months since, we have witnessed that Donald Trump’s primary personality trait is emotional, mercurial impulsiveness and utter lack of discipline. Sure, he’s still a feral genius at polemics! But for that reason, I have backed off somewhat from betting for a center-veer. I’m no longer offering even-odds. 

Despite his and Ivanka’s testing the waters in Cleveland, a genuine center-veer would require laser-like focus, which we now can see DT lacks.  Still, I do offer 1:2 odds that some such judo surprises are in the offing.

That is why I am hoping Hillary Clinton chooses as her debate-prep surrogate opponent...

== Tagliani to the rescue ==

... Minnesota Senator Al Franken, a man of supreme, caustic wit, a trained actor-comedian and someone who could channel the Donald role with ferocity, even having fun with it during the many rehearsals.

Which means he will have to jar and insult and rattle HC, teaching her to answer judo with judo. As Designated Trump, Franken will have the role of a lifetime, and it will test HC’s vaunted ability to shrug off almost anything. Which is why it may take guts on her part (but tons of brains) to give him this job that he was born for.

My own message to Senator Franken... or whomever HC chooses for Designated Donald ... include some surprising center-veers in your repertoire! 

Trump has shown he has no firm principles, at all. So 'channel' an opponent with the agility of a mercurial psychopath. (I’ve stored up some great zingers… but no one will be asking me.)

Al Franken (AKA Pete Tagliani*) can do this. 

== The missing word ==

Did anyone else notice the absence of a particular word, at the GOP convention?  It was missing, almost the entire time, avoided like some horrible, infection.  Which of course it was, for almost half of the last 26 years. 

A word that was synonymous with Republicanism and deserves to remain so, since it says so much about their style and outcomes of governance. A word that every single speaker strove feverishly to distract us from remembering.

Bush.

And make no mistake. Though he avoids mentioning the two worst presidents of our lifetime (and I include Nixon), Donald Trump would appoint thousands of Bush factotums back into positions of power, going back to that noxiously corrupt and poisonous well. When a party is deeply ashamed of its last two presidents, shall we deem it likely they need some time away from power, to think things out?

Oh, but thinking is no longer what it's about.

== Ah, the Donald ==

Who knows a person better than the ghostwriter of his/her autobiography?

Your spouse is biased - either positive or negative (in a decent marriage- both! ;-) - as are business partners and siblings. But a skilled biographer who spent weeks and months with you, attempting to channel your 'voice', your philosophy, the crises you overcame and your sense of self? That's intimate and deeply knowing. Most biographers wind up identifying with their subjects, conveying empathy/sympathy for them. Especially biographers who do a great job making you look and sound like a billion bucks.

Ah. But now see how Donald Trump's ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal - the best-seller that helped make DT a major public figure - speaks out.

Trump seems to have forgotten that he didn't really write the book. Moreover, the actual (ghost) writer, Tony Schwartz, now says that he would gladly rename it The Sociopath. (Bear in mind that by breaking his silence clause, the author exposes himself to a HUGE Trump-patented lawsuit. So this takes some guts.)

== Calling on a gifted artist! ==

Remember the Disney musical Mary Poppins? Well, the following excerpt from one of the songs has only one word altered.

“Come feed the little birds,
         Show them you care
                  And you’ll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
         Their nests are so bare
                  All it takes is trumppence from you.

“Feed the birds, trumppence a bag
Trumppence, trumppence, trumppence a bag
Feed the birds, that’s what she cries
While overhead, her birds fill the skies.”


So, might a satirical cartoonist show that the “little birds” are billionaire coal and oil and Wall street barons? And the skies filling with pollution? Just sayin’.

And finally…

== The Democrats' turn ==

Bernie’s terrific DNC speech had one chief flaw. He did not zero in hard on Congress.  For 20 of the last 22 years, under Ryan, Boehner and McConnell, the GOP-led Congress has been the laziest, most worthless legislature in US history, especially since their beloved (now a convicted child molester) Dennis Hastert declared a rule to “never negotiate!” even (especially) when legislation might benefit the American people.

Bernites need to recognize that their campaign for a friend in the White House will only be 75% successful with HC elected. Tough. So? That also means maybe 80% satisfaction with the Supreme Court picks. Aw, poor babies.

What this means is the right place to shift their radical energy - especially in non-battleground states - is state and local and congressional races, where the liars who have hijacked the GOP must be ejected, finally reviving our legislative branch of government and transforming many states from dens of cheating into islands of progress for their citizens. (Thus enabling our conservative neighbors to re-evaluate and return to a saner version of their movement.)

The presidency is just one piece.  If you got Bernie in the White House, and no change in Congress, all you'd have won is four years of whining-kvetching. I know.  Bernie is an almost perfect clone of my dad.

Stop whining. Stop kvetching.  Listen to Bernie. Go down ticket, where politics is really done.

84 comments:

raito said...

One the one hand, Sander brought in a lot of people who never cared about politics before. On the other, he brought in a lot of people who do not understand politics.

They better learn fast.

Someone is going to be elected regardless of what you do (I don't see bloody revolution coming from the Sanderites). And it isn't going to be the candidate you supported. That happens in politics.

I wasn't going to put any money on the 'Trump to center' bet. It's a sucker bet, because presidential candidates have been doing that as long as I've been around, one way or another.

Darrell E said...

I agree with most of what you have been saying about Trump recently, but I think your read on Trump's qualities is optimistic. In particular that he is especially smart in some way. I don't think he has any particular genius for anything, even talking smack or any aspect of business. He is, though, a perfect example of the type of liars, cheaters and stealers that can ruin a society if given too free reign.

I hope you are correct that he is smart and that he will turn towards the center, just in case he does end up in the White House. But I don't put any stock in that hope. If he does I predict interesting times, as in the Chinese proverb sense of that phrase. It could turn out to be a good thing in the long run, disaster sparking significant change, but I worry about the disaster part of that scenario. I'd rather take a slower, no disaster path towards that better future.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that there could be two October surprises this Fall:

1. Russians leak something real nasty about the Clintons from their recent hacking.
2. The full amount of monetary debt that Drumpf directly owes to the Bank of Putin

If the Clinton's do not have access to Drumpf's financials, then they need to do so soon, and by any means necessary.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB and Duncan: Okay. I bow to your experiences with management teams trained to be jerks and undermine the companies that employ them. I’ve seen that on occasion, but I left those places or they failed or the people involved got sacked eventually. I recall enough of it to know that if you treat an employee like a potential thief, they have little reason not to be one. It’s all about dignity at that point. By and large, you get what you ask for.

Don’t fall for the line about the economy not being good enough, though. Fear of change is hard to beat even when there is little need for it. Many years ago when I was studying what little I learned about human migrations across the world, I encountered a disturbing fact. Even in the face of imminent death, many people will hunker down and try to survive it. It takes something large and deadly to get large numbers of us to move like wars pushing bow shocks of refugees, but even then, many people don’t move. They hide.

I remember this every time I see someone putting up with a jerk of a boss. I say $%@# them. Don’t hide. Find a way to leave and save your own soul.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: Please consider the possibilities that the roads you advocate won’t fix anything. They WILL keep a number of people employed building them, but so will toll roads. If the choice is between toll and free roads, I’d rather avoid political support for tolls, but I think it is important to remember the option not to build them at all.

Widening already wide highways must be considered in a set of options that includes specialized lanes for automated vehicles. Many of our problems here in southern CA would remain with more lanes, but might succumb to automation.

No doubt I’m one of the 9,999 people way in the back from your earlier story. If you want to point me to a place where I can read about what is going on up front, I’d be happy to do so.

Alfred Differ said...

If Tony Schwartz comes under legal attack, I will contribute to his legal defense fund.

David Brin said...

Alfred, I made clear that I deem Trump's "genius" to be "feral" meaning below a fully sapient or civilized level. And while I would deem a center-veer during the debates to offer a silver lining, as he "of course" shrugs aside several longstanding GOP insanities, that does not mean I lack fear if he were to actually (GF!) occupy the Trump House. His mercurial, emotional effervescence could slay us all.

Indeed, that is my main reason for preferring Hill, Bill and Tim. So much adult solidity that I would feel very safe to sleep at night.

Matt G said...

I had heard an explanation for the absence of Bush support comes from Trump's treatment of Jeb, and the family's longer lasting reaction to it.

David Brin said...

Matt G with respect, baloney. The Bush name is mud because of the outcomes of their presidencies. That is the reason for Jeb torching. Trump merely stomped on the ashes.

Anonymous said...

Bernie campaigend for a year like a politcal child, what with hyperbole in every sentence and a "revolution" in every paragraph. Children buy into that kind of blather, always have, but to what end? Hopefully nothing signficant, but there is little doubt that Bernie has ironically helped the Trump campaign in their incessant effort to prove all politics are "crooked", "rigged", "worse than ever" and other thoughts that are typically found in the mind of children without a sense of history.

Unfortunately, Bernie's super-sized ego was simply incapable of letting him speak in favor of Hillary until he flirted and slow-danced with his radical wing for a full 15 minutes. I admit to being fidgity, frustrated, and furious by his speech, because I prefer that no stone go unturned by democrats in their efforts to defeat an unprecidentedly ignoble candidate.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - this is just inaccurate. "Remember, there’s almost no evidence in Donald Trump’s past suggesting that this cynical, Svengali-manipulator actually believes any of the racist stuff he’s been spouting."

There's a MOUNTAIN of evidence that he believes the racist stuff he's spouting.

Start with this: United States of America v. Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump and Trump Management, Inc. (1973), a case recently revived by press parsing Trump's record.

Trump's tactics target any minority, whether Polish crews working to build Trump Tower (a case that lasted 20 years and resulted in a settlement), or other professionals in rent controlled areas.

He was called out for persistent racial slurs in "Trumped!" - and then suggested that most of the allegations were "true" in an interview in 1999, including claims that he slurred African American accountants (and Jewish accountants as well).

Ken Burns called out Trump repeatedly for his grandstanding on the Central Park 5 in 1989. Trump is unapologetic for calling for the death penalty for a group of African-American children who proved to be innocent.

Many other cases have been brought, during which large reams of evidence have been deployed by lawyers - and most of them resulted in settlements AFTER Trump already paid millions in legal fees (so there's no argument that he was just avoiding costly litigation; he actually claims to enjoy the "fight" - and the 20 year saga of the Polish demolition crew suggests as much).

occam's comic said...

I think that trump has a good chance to win in the fall.
he has got:
the gun voters
the the racists
the hard core republicans
and the Hilary haters
Now there is a fair amount of overlap in the groups but it adds up to more than 40% of the voters.

How can he get the rest of the way?

Energy independence for the US (He can say I don't know about global warming, but this will help make america great again.)

end the federal criminalization of marijuana (if Hilary doesn't do the same he can get a couple of percent more votes )

Come out in favor of Medicare for all (doesn't have to deliver on the promise but it is popular)

donzelion said...

@Alfred - "Please consider the possibilities that the roads you advocate won’t fix anything."

A pothole, closed bridge, or a freeway closure will make a problem worse, so reducing those roadblocks necessarily makes it better. Building a new freeway seldom eliminates traffic, but it does reallocate it, and may shorten a total commute. I hate the 210 in the mornings, BUT can tell you what the region looked like in 1995, before it existed - what is now a 2 hour commute was then 3+ hours (unless you left at 5:30 am).

The real issue with infrastructure is funding structure: when the Fed puts in funds for major projects, they typically are allotted after the State puts in a certain amount of funding (and/or private donors cough up the rest through bonds).

If the Fed puts in funds for long-term payment, then infrastructure projects can be implemented based on the most likely effects on traffic. Difficult, long-term projects can be started this way (from initial feasibility/environmental studies through implementation). If the Fed puts in short-term funds, or merely reauthorizes existing funds for release, then only "shovel ready" projects will be implemented - things that are relatively easy to do, and don't require large arrangements at the State and local level.

Since 2013, the Fed has only arranged short-term funding. The major bill to change that is the "Grow America Act" - which has been sitting in committee since July 2015.

I cannot find any nonpartisan sources on the bill, but here is a right-leaningtake and here is the Democratic take on it.

Alfred Differ said...

@David: I suspect Trump believes in himself enough to have quite an elaborate self-delusion. My mother used to help care for feral cats, so I’m with you on your description of Trump, but knowing her long-term lesson that she never accepted, I’m at a loss as to why I shouldn’t just shoot them. I’m not advocating violence of a physical form, but a feral animal should not be president and anyone disagrees should must be smacked with a clue bat. I wouldn’t call it genius, though. It’s just aggression in a world of civilized people who back away from the potential of rabies.

I’m quite opposed to a Trump presidency, but as a California resident, I’m not overly worried about needing to vote for Clinton. I’ll likely vote for Johnson and encourage many other GOP’ers to do so as a signal to the party. If California is ever at risk of becoming a swing state, I’ll reconsider, but I suspect Hell would freeze over first. A large third party showing matters now and later to people of BOTH major parties. 8)

donzelion said...

@Alfred (re discussion with Paul SB and Duncan on leaving a job) - The earlier discussion about Donald Trump is telling: in most cases, a landlord benefits from maintaining a property's fitness, but in certain cases, a landlord benefits from slumming his own property in order to oust the residents and tear it down to rebuild it.

Variations on that story abound.
-in the 1990s/2000s in Cairo, landlords flooded their own apartment buildings to undermine the foundations, forcing the building to be condemned
-in China, schools were built with minimal earthquake specs
-in India, roads are routinely constructed that will wash out every year, in order to get a cozy contract for repair. Some engineers often point out that with a little more budget, they could build a 'permanent road' - but budgets...priorities...

When one migrates, one leaves a world of "known threats" which one has built up a social network and other tools to challenge - and moves to a world where the threats are unknown, and the networks and resources to challenge them are uncertain. Nobody with common sense does this lightly, not merely out of fear, but often, out of a rational understanding of the risks - and an inability to tolerate the consequences should they misjudge the risks. For some people, it's a paycut. For others, it's far worse.

donzelion said...

@Occam - Can Trump get the rest of the way? Not by any of the approaches you're arguing.

"Energy independence for the US (He can say I don't know about global warming, but this will help make america great again.)"

Obama's been pushing energy independence for 7 years - Trump may try to usurp the mantra, but Obama's got the results, and HRC can simply follow on his footsteps.

"end the federal criminalization of marijuana?"
There may be some right-leaning voters who would flip on such a turn of events from a no-show to an actual voter. I don't know any of them, but cannot exclude the possibility of their existence. Again, Obama has been quietly pushing this through sentencing reform and by stand-down orders for the Fed in states that have legalized marijuana. Republican-dominated states tend to be far less comfortable with that idea.

"Come out in favor of Medicare for all (doesn't have to deliver on the promise but it is popular)"
Not with Republicans.

No, Trump has no "positive" strategy to gain votes - never has, never will. His strategy is "all attack, all the time." It's like Godzilla 1998 - attack, have babies, attack again - keep attacking until Matthew Broderick brings you down (prompting decades of rants at the stupidity of the whole affair - and laughing all the way to the bank at all the suckers out there).

occam's comic said...


donzelion

Republicans have an irrational hatred for Clinton, so Trump has a lot more latitude to do unconventional proposals (for republicans)

I live in the midwest and republicans here love to get medicare, and expanding it is way more popular than obamacare.

Going for legal pot could get him maybe 5 more percentage points in Ohio and Pennsylvania if Clinton doesn't do the same.

Tony Fisk said...

"All attack, all the time" reminds me of another ex-leader (Trump in budgie smugglers...IAAA!!!)

David's a keen observer, and comes up with interesting (if not necessarily right) theories for a living. At this stage and at this remove, my fuzzy vibe is that Trump's unlikely to resist the allure of the personality cult. He will see just how far he can go down the rabbid hole, and how many followers he can take with him. The Kool-Aid served in October will be orange. Place no bets here.

@alfred re: unpleasant bosses. Based on two data points, I would advise that anyone encountering a situation where the HR is married to the boss should back away *very* quickly (*especially* if everything looks rosy otherwise!!). I have had one other encounter with someone I'd now rate a psychopath, and was continually amazed at the lengths he went to ensure that, never mind project status, *you* were the problem. Easy to say with benefit of hindsight, but the stress isn't worth it. You disengage, take notes, complain to higher management, and leave if nothing comes of it.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

I’ve long held it plausible that he might backtrack from any polemical device that no longer suits his purpose. He’s done it before. (Remember the ‘birther” stuff?)


Well, yeah, he's no longer running against Barack Obama, so he doesn't mention the birther stuff any more. But it's not like he's admitted he was wrong about it. That guy on the John Oliver show you linked to yesterday who believes that Obama is a foreign-born Muslim--Trump would not (as McCain did) tell that guy that he's mistaken.

(In fact, Trump even did pull out the birther issue against Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada, even though he (Trump) always put it that "The Democrats" might raise a stink about it if Cruz were the nominee.)

The LGBTQ thing is very interesting. He didn't tell the Republican convention that it was wrong to persecute gays--just that he's against the Muslims who persecute gays.

David Brin said...

Alfred & donzel… having the Fed bypass Congress to create jobs and high-velocity, high multiplier money with infrastructure is an idea being bandied by some conservative economists like John Mauldin, who know that (1) their side had better find something quasi-Keynsian to do, and quick…. And (2) the current arrows in the Fed’s stimulation quiver are all SLOW money solutions that benefit owners of capital.

But HOW can the Fed create money and allocate it to specific needs? No wonder they’ve veered away from this idea, even though it would simply work.

Alfred… vote for Johnson! Fine! Unless HC will need the popular vote margin in dealing with another Gore mess like 2000. In which case I’ll be going after Jill Stein supporters, not libertarians. OTOH, look for a nearby down ticket race. If there’s a close one where you can help get rid of a right wing jerk like “my” Rep Darrell Issa… then do that.

Hey, I kinda liked the Broderick Godzilla!

LarryHart said...

Darrel E:

It could turn out to be a good thing in the long run, disaster sparking significant change, but I worry about the disaster part of that scenario.


Well, yeah, WWII ultimately led good things in Germany, but do we really want to go through all the steps it took to get there?

LarryHart said...

AtomicZeppelinMan:

I have a feeling that there could be two October surprises this Fall:

1. Russians leak something real nasty about the Clintons from their recent hacking


I hope that Trump and Putin's Russia get so linked in the public consciousness that no amount of propaganda they spread on his behalf will be heeded, and even the stuff that isn't theirs will be presumed to be theirs.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Unless HC will need the popular vote margin in dealing with another Gore mess like 2000. In which case I’ll be going after Jill Stein supporters, not libertarians


My sense is that the disaffected Democrats who vote Green to deny their vote to Hillary will quickly rue the day if either Trump or Gary Johnson is our next president. OTOH, the disaffected Republicans who vote Libertarian to deny their vote to Donald Trump really don't want Trump anywhere near the nuclear codes, and are actually hoping they can send the election to the House of Representatives. In that case, the GOP congress might very well pick ex-Republican Johnson over Trump.

Erin Schram said...

This weekend was my wife's family reunion in northern lower Michigan. Curious about why rural Americans favor Republicans, I asked a few of my relatives about their political views. They have a broad spectrum of political views: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and Don't Care Yet.

The Republican counterattack mention in earlier discussions, declaring Democrats as bad as Republicans, will resonate well with them. Lots of my relatives believe that all politicians are corrupt, especially career policians. Throw them all out of office and elect fresh ones was a common desire, regardless of the politician's record.

The conversations were not long enough for me to learn why they thought politicians were corrupt. (Food, volleyball, swimming, and learning names of new children were more important.) But my cultural roots are the same as theirs, so I need only to look inside myself for the seeds that grow into that conclusion.

We believe we have a duty to our country. Many serve in the military, government, or schools. Becoming an elected official can be a public service. But some people run for office not out of duty but out of self interest. If they are not public minded, then they are corrupt and do not belong in public office.

Thus, selecting a candidate to vote into office is a search for signs of public spirit rather than self interest. Military heroism and a reform agenda are good signs. Corporate campaign contributions and running for re-election are bad signs. Hillary Clinton is a career politician, a Washington insider, which means that she would almost certainly be corrupt, and any little story of corruption, such as the private email server, is seen as a smoking gun. Donald Trump is new to politics and pays little attention to the Republican leadership, so he is as far from an insider. My mathematician's eye sees this as confirmation bias.

My relatives are not necessarily representative of Michigan. If they were, Governor Rick Snyder, who took over city governments with his emergency managers and covered up those managers' mistakes, would be recalled already. And their dislike for career politicians does not extend to a similar dislike of career soldiers, career civil engineers, or career schoolteachers.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alfred

Re-Infrastructure
It is NOT about widening roads,
What we (and you) have is a HUGE amount of infrastructure from roads to sewers which all has limited lifespan - nothing lasts forever!

The NZ government has actually been quite sensible about this - the local councils who own most of that infrastructure have to report on the condition of the assets and their ages
This is used to project forwards the repair/replacement requirements
It's quite complex but can be simply understood as
Maintaining the average age of the infrastructure assets
Replacing enough that the system does not "become older"

When central government required this type of accounting it caused a huge rise in rates - we took 20 years to implement the change
As far as I can see from your Civil Engineering "report card" most of the USA is still where we were in the 80,s
The result is that there is a huge amount of infrastructure work that is not being done and would absorb (usefully) a large Keynesian input for a very long time

dennisd said...

@Alfred
Trump sued Schwartz a few days ago. Jane Mayer's July 20 New Yorker article has the details including the cease and desist letter from Trump and Schwartz's response. I haven't heard if Schwartz has a defense fund set up.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/donald-trump-threatens-the-ghostwriter-of-the-art-of-the-deal

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alfred

Re-Management Training
The "Cover your Arse" training I received was mainstream -
As far as I can see almost all management training has this horrible destructive mindset

So fleeing the monsters to go to a better place is actually nearly impossible

LarryHart said...

Eric Schram:

Thus, selecting a candidate to vote into office is a search for signs of public spirit rather than self interest.
...
Donald Trump is new to politics and pays little attention to the Republican leadership, so he is as far from an insider. My mathematician's eye sees this as confirmation bias.


While I don't doubt your evaluation (I have relatives and co-workers who think the same way), it is an extremely ironic view they espouse. Despite what the actor whose name I forget said in Cleveland, if Hillary tries to hard for office, it really does seem to be because she thinks she can do a good job in the office, whereas Donald Trump is obviously after personal aggrandizement.


My relatives are not necessarily representative of Michigan. If they were, Governor Rick Snyder, who took over city governments with his emergency managers and covered up those managers' mistakes, would be recalled already.


I can't speak to the feasibility of recall, but the fact that rural Americans overwhelmingly elected Republicans to State Houses in 2010 in spite of their own socio-economic interests is sadly par for the course. We in Illinois barely avoided that fate, only to fall victim four years later. In fact, Illinois's recent race for governor eerily foreshadows the rise of Trump, with the Democrats and labor union members who stayed home rather than vote for then-Governor Quinn in the role of the Bernie Bros. If you like Governor Bruce Rauner, you'll love President Trump.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: I get that some landlords are abusive monsters, but I’m disinclined to side with renters and lease signers when the property owners wants to terminate a relationship, tear the place down, and rebuild it as something else. I’m not going to go full propertarian here, but I’m unconvinced that cities should supporter voter restrictions that go so far as to strip property owners of their rights. When I see examples of someone slumming their property (or damaging it), I suspect they are fighting against rules biased against them in extra-legal ways. I have to wonder if the rules aren’t the problem instead of the landlords.

The question is a tricky one with so many local variations, but it boils down to who owns which rights to a piece of property. I currently rent the house I live in, thus I purchase the right to occupy it every month. A 12 month lease gives me the option to purchase that right and block the landlord from changing his mind without some kind of discussion and buy-out of my option. They work in reverse too, but everyone gets that. When voters have their cities write rules that govern leases and rental arrangements, I start sniffing for the foul odor of coercion. I don’t assume it, but I DO get suspicious. My old-school liberal preference is for local government to stay out of these transactions as much as possible. Each intrusion must be justified by past vice-like behaviors.

As for China, this says enough. India isn’t much better.
https://www.transparency.org/country/#CHN
https://www.transparency.org/country/#IND

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

As far as I can see from your Civil Engineering "report card" most of the USA is still where we were in the 80,s
The result is that there is a huge amount of infrastructure work that is not being done and would absorb (usefully) a large Keynesian input for a very long time.


It's a crime that Republicans won't make use of the army of unemployed people to perform the reams of needed infrastructure repair, especially with borrowing costs at near or below zero. It would be a win-win-win.

Failure to do so evokes memories of "The Grapes of Wrath" where the landowners poured kerosene on piles of excess fruit and burned it because it didn't make economic sense to feed the millions of starving people with the surplus food. I expect Alfred to chime in saying that that doesn't happen because people expect more than Prudence in their economy. Unfortunately, I doubt Steinbeck was just making stuff up out of whole cloth. Things like that really did happen in the 30s, and it's still going on.

Alfred Differ said...

My down ticket races are pretty much buttoned up already. My job in the primary was to vote for the sanest libertarians I could find in the lists to help deal with our solipsists.

California US House District 26 – Julia Brownley (D)
California Assembly District 44 – Jacqui Irwin (D)
California Senate District 19 – Hanna-Beth Jackson (D)

Take note… all women. If you have a choice between two libertarians, one female and one male, the odds in Vegas suggest your saner, sight-unseen choice is the woman. None of our local representatives are Libertarians, but our local party is a mix thankfully.

Jumper said...

Check out this character Paul Manafort running the Trump campaign:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Manafort

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: I get that we have a lot of under-maintained infrastructure. I can see local instances all around me. Roads with potholes catch my notice, but I can chose to push (and contribute!) to proper funding, or I can substitute other behaviors and bypass the potholes that annoy me most. I do a bit of both since these are substitutes for each other.

Obviously that won’t work well when bridges fall down. People getting killed and the risk of it must be prioritized correctly. However, there are still substitutes. One can condemn a bridge and remove the risk.

I’m with you regarding budgeting for repairs. If we did that honestly over here, the numbers would probably scare us into halting a lot of construction. I’m as okay with that as I am in spending the money. As long as people do it with eyes open, I’ll live with their demands for my taxes. If they try to slip a new lane into a highway plan that will expand those repair budgets and do so without talking about that expansion, though, I’ll be annoyed and inclined to call that taxation theft.

I have to smile at your Keynesian story, but it is a sad kind of smile. It sounds good for people who need work. High velocity money is part of a beautiful incantation that mesmerizes many. Not me. I look at what else those people would be doing who would be drawn to fix the potholes and bridges. I’d love to have our infrastructure repaired, but there are always opportunity costs and hidden costs.

There is a long core road running through town where I live that has a number of potholes. Fixing them would be great. Unfortunately, my city tends to get investigated by the FBI when they let out contracts for these kinds of projects. I have to wonder why. Are they well-intentioned but incompetent? Are they corrupt? Maybe both? Hidden costs are insidious because someone has to pay the lawyers who defend my neighbors every time. They are impressively bad at this and that's not just my libertarian perspective.

Alfred Differ said...

@dennisd: Thank you. Sounds like Schwartz has his defense in order for now. He is engaging in political speech and should be well covered by precedent, but it might get expensive. Hopefully he can write is own book about it afterward. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@jumper: Be careful. That wiki page is less than a month old. I'm not saying it isn't truthful, but it might need some time to mellow. 8)

Still... is it any wonder the Russians think the US was involved in what happened in Ukraine? I know of someone who was there advising the other side though he would argue he as teaching people about democracy. Heh. 8)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I have to smile at your Keynesian story, but it is a sad kind of smile. It sounds good for people who need work. High velocity money is part of a beautiful incantation that mesmerizes many. Not me. I look at what else those people would be doing who would be drawn to fix the potholes and bridges


There are plenty of unemployed people looking for any kind of decently-paying work. There is work that needs to be done. There is money to be had for almost no interest. Exactly what opportunity cost are you worried about?

David Brin said...

Jumper that wiki page on Manafort is amazing! And thanks Alfred for reminding us of the habit to look at things like pub dates. Still... The amazing thing is that no one who knows Trump would be surprised by any of this and hence it won’t be the scandal that it would be if anyone else hired a guy like this who… if Trump wins… will be almost as powerful as Donald Trump Jr.

David Brin said...

I am glad Alfred is here to remind us to use keynsianism as what it is. The best economic theory around... which means about 60% right, about 60% of the time.

The area where we do know it's right is that when money velocity is low and the economy languishes, you want to goose up money velocity. Infrastructure jobs do it perfectly and you get something out of it. And the workers know their jobs are temporary, no sinecures.

Alfred Differ said...

@Larry: The Bureau of Labor folks have the US employment rate down just below 5% right now. If one includes people who have given up, it would be higher, but most of us get that. If you think that number should be driven toward 0% through government action, though, I’m going to have a cow. Keynes argued something like that during the Depression and his followers took him too literally. It is a really terrible idea to force the number too low. I argue it is also inhumane.

I work for a small company doing IT support on contract. I’ve been in the industry for about 20 years and can wear a number of hats ranging from the guy you call on the help desk to the guy hiring them. I’m a software engineer according to my résumé, but I tend to think like an owning partner since I’ve done that elsewhere too. That’s context information, though, for what comes next. Our ability to compete as an organization, thus make payroll, depends on the skill sets we can hire at a price we can afford. Our contract prices must remain competitive, thus our wages must too facing both upward and downward pressures. When unemployment was high, we could get pretty much anyone we wanted relatively cheap, including experts. When unemployment is low, we can’t. Boo hoo for us, right? Not so fast! If we fail to compete, a competitor will outbid us and threaten EVERY job we offer on the contract I support. If that happens, most likely we will pink slip everyone knowing full well the competitor will hire them on the spot. No harm to the employee, right? Not so fast! Each hiring event involves salary and benefits negotiations. It might work out better for some we hired during the meltdown a few years ago, but most of our people are relatively new here. IT jobs have a half-life of about 4 years. New hires will be bargaining from a weak position with the new employer and I assure you the new employer knows it. My employer has been that new employer on other contracts.

The hidden cost you impose upon my co-workers if you drive unemployment down to near 0% is more frequent salary negotiations. If you care about stagnant real wages, that is an unwise thing to do to them. Unionizing them won’t help because then the union becomes the effective employer. We get our contracts from places that have no choice but to unionize their other workers and then suffer the ensuing stagnation.

As for opportunity costs, do you want to hire a guy to fix potholes when I might be perfectly willing to hire him instead and train him for IT work? When the unemployment rate gets low, I really don’t have much choice. The lower it gets, the lower we dredge. I’m a former teacher and have no qualms taking people with few skills. I know I can teach them something. Is temporary work better for them? Do you think YOU know what is better for them? Why? 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Mmm… this might be too theoretical, but I should mention there is a correlation between job stability and the accumulation of human capital. Build your knowledge of a particular job with a particular employer and you become more productive, thus more valuable. Whether the employer pays for it properly is a different matter. Unintentionally forcing a higher frequency for job changes undermines the accumulation of human capital. Bad idea. Unions can’t help fix that in an industry not known for strong standards because things change rapidly.

Duncan Cairncross said...


"Infrastructure jobs do it perfectly and you get something out of it. And the workers know their jobs are temporary, no sinecures."

Hi Dr Brin
I'm not sure about this one
The problem is that maintenance is a permanent task - the old Forth Road Bridge - as soon as the painters had reached the end it was time to paint the beginning again
Roads are the obvious part but even there the visible part in only 10% of the structure and the roadbed ages and "wears out" as well
There are pipes everywhere! - water supply, sewage, stormwater - and they all age and need to be replaced
Your infrastructure needs a LOT of TLC - but it will take decades for you to catch up to where you should be and then a continual effort that is probably four or five times (WAG) the current spend/effort
So while the "catch up surge" may be ideal as a Keynesian stimulus you should not expect to go back to the current levels afterwards
Unless you want to deliberately under resource to save up another stimulus for the future

Alfred Differ said...

@David: Goose that money supply and everyone feels good for a while. Unfortunately, the goose bites you later when your attention is elsewhere. 8)

If we are going to get bitten, I’d rather support high velocity money expenditures. It makes no sense to give money away stolen through taxes to the very people who don’t need it and might use it to corrupt the rules even further. I’d rather not get bitten at all, but political emotions run high every few years convincing us to chase these geese, so I don’t expect to avoid the pain.

I’m sure there is a good cartoon in this too. Something about the definition of insanity where we do the same thing expecting different behavior every time. Poke a goose. It bites back. Poke it again. Amazing!

Yes… I know I’m mangling the metaphor. 8)

David Brin said...

Look I know all that Alfred. I am a libertarian(!) after my own fashion! I would want guys like you at the table. And every govt program should have a "reset or revise or end-it" date.

Still, I'd rather give a basic welfare income... and demand 20 hours a week for it, cleaning streets and neighborhoods and filling potholes and repainting... than see kids hanging around moping. And they would spend their pay at local stores that then hire people.

Yes, stimuli can tip into inflationary madness and into entitlement madness. I make liberals mad when I praise Clinton's 1996 welfare reform. (It was supposed to be followed by a jobs bill.) STill, I think we've learned one thing from the last 80 years.... Roosevelt saved civilization and the programs was working very well in the 50s and 60s etc... till guns n butter and Vietnam eviscerated it all.

The "fixes" to the rooseveltean social contract have now been proved to be feudal oligarchy ripoffs.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re 5% unemployment

On the one side we have some degree of inconvenience – businesses may have to pay more

On the other side we have actual life shortening hardship, no job, no medical, no food for the kids
Even in countries (like Sweden) that have a superb safety net the unemployed suffer more sickness and a higher suicide rate

So which side should we help??

To me it is obvious – we should have government policies that aim at having everybody who wants to work employed

As long as there are streets to clean and things to put right there is no need for “make work”

Looking into my Chrystal ball – A combination of a UBI and something like an E-Bay for “tasks”
How much difference have sites like EBay made to “re-use”?
How much “stuff” that would have been left sitting or even thrown out has been re-used ??

How could we do the same thing for “Tasks that need to be done”?

Deuxglass said...

I will vote for Clinton because I don’t have a choice but I will not be happy about it. Nevertheless, since I am an incurable optimist, I will try to find a silver lining. Since my expectations for Clinton are very low, she has the opportunity to surprise me by being better than I had originally thought.

My secret hope is that would be like Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s Henry IV where he cultivates the image of being flawed with bad friends, under their influence and untrustworthy but who throws off the carefully constructed appearance, kills his rival in battle and rejects his false friends thereby becoming a shining star in the eyes of the others because no one thought him capable of changing. Trump is Clinton’s Hotspur and her Falstaff would be the big corporations and banks. If true, then I wonder what would be her field of Agincourt?

Dr. Brin, since you supported Clinton from the very beginning, you would have the privilege of being in her "band of brothers" while we, who doubted her, shall think ourselves accurs’d we were not there, and hold our manhoods cheap.

Hey, I can dream can't I?

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@Larry: The Bureau of Labor folks have the US employment rate down just below 5% right now. If one includes people who have given up, it would be higher, but most of us get that. If you think that number should be driven toward 0% through government action, though, I’m going to have a cow.


We do live in interesting times, don't we? Officially, unemployment is down and getting lower, yet inflation is tame and interest rates are practically negative. So people are employed, but don't have enough disposable income to drive the economy. Apparently, we don't need more employment, but we do desperately need more high-velocity money. I don't have the answer, but I'm guessing it's not simple. I'm also guessing it's not Supply-Side economics (pardon the redundancy).

Tim H. said...

Unfortunately, the folks who were scarred by inflation really don't want high velocity money, even though it would give their customers more discretionary income. The other problem is 1%ers telling each other "Americans can't", in contradiction of historical evidence.
In brighter news Simon & Schuster's children's division has published "HillaryClinton: American Woman of the World (A Real-Life Story)" Cheryl Harness, author.
Written for 8 to 12 year old readers, and presumably adults with little time.

Darrell E said...

LarryHart:

"Well, yeah, WWII ultimately led good things in Germany, but do we really want to go through all the steps it took to get there?"

I certainly wouldn't and I'd suggest anyone who thinks it was/would be worth it is either very naive, intellectually challenged, ethically challenged or some combination thereof. That's why I also said, "I'd rather take a slower, no disaster path towards that better future."


Duncan Cairncross:

"Re-Management Training
The "Cover your Arse" training I received was mainstream -"


That has been my experience too. Not just at the level of management of employees within the same company but also management of subcontractors and even partners. I would characterize it as rampant.

Jumper said...

Everybody thinks they know how to skeptically take Wikipedia with a grain of salt, but they worry that the other guy doesn't. This is universal as far as I can see. ;>]

Jumper said...

"to deliberately under resource to save up another stimulus for the future"

One factor to consider is that in economic downturns bids tend to be lower. My city put in its first major light rail section during the peak of the construction boom, and I suspect bids were higher than otherwise. And rather than accelerate the next section immediately after the crash, they seemed to wait until two years ago (although granted, the necessary acquisitions had a slow timetable of necessity).

But you see my point: some civic expenditures might actually be a better deal for the citizens if delayed until tough times of recessions.

Jumper said...

Ike in '60 at the convention:
"Whoever misleads by calculated use of some but not all the facts, whoever distorts the truth to serve selfish ambition, whoever asserts weakness where strength exists--makes a mockery of the democratic process and misrepresents our beloved country in the eyes of a watching world. "

Berial said...

How far does the guy have to go before Republican supporters figure out this man is NOT GOOD for the country?

His latest: Donald Trump Challenges Russia to Find Hillary Clinton’s Missing Emails

David Brin said...

Deuxglass you forget that I pushed for a potentially viral mock opera to be staged for the web, mocking the Clinton-Bush dynastic nonsense. It wasn’t needed against Jeb and I am glad not to have harmed HC… but seriously, the dems have a wealth of talent on their bench and I would have preferred several others. (I also wish she’d go back to wearing dull black, white and primary dark colors!) STill, with 2 clintons and Kaine up there, we’ll get solid appointments down the line, solid governance, solid Pax Americana and pushes in the right general directions for legislation.

If we provide a decent Congress, then fine.

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

Your mock opera would have great but I wasn't mocking her. I was deadly serious and I used Henry IV as an example that once in office, a politician can change focus in some things. It takes a dose of Machiavelli but I think she has that. With the right balance it is an asset for a leader. If I believe the latest PEW poll, 90% of Sander supporters will be behind Clinton in the general election. With the Republican-leaning voters who hate Trump for her too, then I see her winning. She does have to change her wardrobe though. Trump would have a field day in a debate with some of the stuff she has been wearing. There is a lot of talent in the Dems. Let's hope she chooses wisely and above all, listens to them.

occam's comic said...

Berial,
The Russian connection might have some legs to it, especially when combined with his unwillingness to do a standard financial disclosure.
Who will be the first to ask Is Donald Trump a traitor to the US?
Will he sell out the American people to enrich himself?
Is there anything more important to Donald Trump than Donald Trump?

David Brin said...

I was stunned. That trump would deliberately give credence to the Russian hacker story means his followers must take it as de facto that our rival nuclear power has it in against Clinton. Oh mama.

Please understand. My biggest complaint about HC is that she'll draw nothing but Hastert-hate from confederates, from zero-hour. If they keep Congress, then we'll have 4 more years of tolerable executive branch management and better court decisions... using creaky 20th century laws that we designed by Supply Side fanatics, with annual budget crises and starved science.

What her election means is that we have no choice. The republicans in Congress and the statehouse must be torched. The confeds must be shown that they should send Adults next time. Conservative or libertarian adults. But adults.

Alfred Differ said...

@David: If my choice is between a UBI and kids moping around, I’ll choose as you do. If I get a seat at the table, though, I’m going to urge that the kids be organized into contract shops who bid for the work. Make the contracts small enough to award too many to too few or encourage them to use subcontractors.

I’ve got a friend who does exactly this kind of volunteer work. He focuses upon boys whose fathers are sitting in jail or who left the single mother hanging in some other way. He tries to teach them to be entrepreneurs before they learn to be something else that they might never unlearn. It’s always about building teams, though, because not everyone is cut out to be a singleton go-getter.

As for FDR, I agree he helped to save the nation, but I disagree that his fiscal policies did the work. There are decent reasons to believe that the Depression era was a mangled mess of stupid policy. From my own father’s comments, though, people loved FDR and made it all work anyway. If we could apply then some of what we know now (I know how silly that sounds), the Depression would have been shorter. I argue it is our love of nation and of FDR (yes… Eleanor too) that likely saved us.

I’m no fan of trickle down or trickle up economics, so I don’t think much of fixes to FDR policies or even the original FDR policies. What FDR proposed was obviously better than the corruption of a previous era, but I’m pretty sure the best emerges from us when we take ownership of our failures and successes. I would argue that anything we did right in the 50’s and 60’s was probably the result of our father’s generation’s courage and hope. FDR helped with his contribution, but what he did best was inspire everyone else to those two virtues. His policy could have been a bumbling mess (it wasn’t) and it still would have worked. Ideas are that powerful. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that either. You know their power. All I’m doing is encouraging you to look past FDR a bit. Look just beyond his aura. The real culprits are there.

David Brin said...

To be clear. We TRIED a less confrontational president trying to negotiate with the Hastert-Gingrich-McConnel-DeLay-Ryan pack of shills for Rupert Murdoch. His name was No Drama Obama. And he tried everything. Inviting every republican rep to white house lunch or dinner, offering compromises, their OWN health care plan...

...if they could turn him into a cartoon muslim terrorist then what have we to lose by putting a fierce warrior in his place? That's why I shifted over to be with her.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: On the one side we have some degree of inconvenience – businesses may have to pay more

No. It’s not that simple. You are ignoring hidden costs that impact a person’s accumulation of human capital. I see this every day in my field and there is strong evidence of it during the early industrial revolution before standards took hold in the textile mills.

If you ignore the hidden costs, the choice IS obvious. I can’t ignore them, though.

David Brin said...

Alfred there are components where we agree much. I love the idea of youths forming contract groups to bid for those cleanup jobs. Indeed, I favor getting neighborhoods to compete, by self organizing. The neighborhood that organizes best and cleans up best gets the new playground equipment. The one that fixes its own potholes gets the new sports field.

A.F. Rey said...

It just occurred to me that Al Franken wouldn't be the Designated Trump, but the Designated Donald Trump. Which, of course, would make him the DDT.

A more apropos acronym in my humble opinion. :)

Alfred Differ said...

Meh. Obama comes across as arrogant to many of his opponents and they become quite angry. It happened to a number of my friends. To them, an Obama led negotiation is an oxymoron.

I have a soft spot for earned arrogance, though, and just smile at them and say “Okay. How about Clinton instead?”

They wouldn’t like Johnson either. Mr Veto.

As for the Russians, I think I’ll go check what the Stratfor people are saying. This should catch their interest.
DNC Hack: http://phys.org/news/2016-07-cybersecurity-experts-merit-russian-hacking.html

Alfred Differ said...

@jumper: My apologies. I’m still too used to other community sites where it is unsafe to assume our members understand the value of skepticism. ContraryBrin really is an unusual place. The day I get used to it here is the day I’ll probably have to stop contributing at other sites. 8)

When I was first thinking about coming out of lurker mode, I was comparing David’s response communities here, on FB, and on Google+. I chose to remain a watcher (mostly) on FB since a comment there gets consumed rapidly in the blizzard of other one-line responses. I prefer a three paragraph response style, but that ain’t FB. It only works here.

David Brin said...

I truly am amazed and rather proud of this community. Heck even our resident pro-feudalist romantics are... well... amusing from time to time. I do miss Tacitus, but I expect we'll see him again. I do not blame him for feeling miffed at recent trends and our tendency to belabor them. STill a great community of people who write actual paragraphs.

Jumper said...

"Give us a Republican president or we'll hold our breath until we turn blue" would be one way to look at that blackmail, which it is. Just say no to blackmail, and don't negotiate with terrorists either.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Alfred
I didn't "ignore the hidden costs"
I acknowledge that some businesses will have to pay more

BUT compared to the human cost of increased sickness, despair and suicide effecting literally millions of people the choice is OBVIOUS

Dr Brin
Youth groups doing cleanup - OK - as long as they stay off the roads

Potholes??
One of my "hats" is as an STMS - Site Traffic Management Supervisor -
(lets me supervise the road closure for our annual Drag Race)
Doing work on the roadway needs to be very well controlled - it can be very dangerous
Some road jobs will take tens times as long to do the traffic signage as doing the job
And that is before we get into exactly how you fill the "pothole" - doing it wrong can and will make matters worse

LarryHart said...

Darrel E:

"Well, yeah, WWII ultimately led good things in Germany, but do we really want to go through all the steps it took to get there?"

I certainly wouldn't and I'd suggest anyone who thinks it was/would be worth it is either very naive, intellectually challenged, ethically challenged or some combination thereof. That's why I also said, "I'd rather take a slower, no disaster path towards that better future."


In case this isn't clear, I wasn't arguing with you. I was adding emphasis to your point.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: I’ll show you that you are missing it.

Ignore the fact that companies will have to pay more for labor. Pretend that cost was zero. There is a cost to the employees in my field as they get jerked around from employer to employer. It’s not so bad if they go willingly, but it still isn’t rosy.

Hidden costs are hard to see, but they still occur and tend to be shifted to the people least like to sense them. That often means potential employees.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

To be clear. We TRIED a less confrontational president trying to negotiate with the Hastert-Gingrich-McConnel-DeLay-Ryan pack of shills for Rupert Murdoch. His name was No Drama Obama...

...if they could turn him into a cartoon muslim terrorist then what have we to lose by putting a fierce warrior in his place? That's why I shifted over to be with her.


The ridiculous Jonah Goldberg had a column in today's Chicago Tribune where he blames liberals and the mainstream media (completely conflating the two) for not taking down Trump during the primaries before it was too late. Now, he says, when the liberal MSM calls Trump a racist, people will just say "They always call Republicans racist. So what else is new?" He says that liberals have a "boy who cried wolf" problem.

I'd retort that it's the same from the other side. When they call Hillary a socialist and "the most liberal senator ever", what else is new? They say that about every Democratic candidate for president.

I'd go a little further than you and say that Hillary is payback for their treatment of Obama. We could have nominated Hillary in 2008, and she would have won, but Obama indicated a willingness to drop the partisan politics and get the work of government done. You (Republicans) won't deal fairly with him? Well, look what you get instead. Likewise, you (Republicans) refuse to consider Merick Garland for the Supreme Court? The next president will nominate justices who make Garland look like Antonin Scalia!

And if the Democrats get the Senate back, the filibuster will be gone on day 1. What do we have to lose by fighting to win? You (Republicans) complain just as shrilly if we don't.

Alfred Differ said...

The Stratfor people haven't said anything about the DNC leak yet. Maybe they will later, but for now they are treating it as politics which is usually out-of-bounds for them.

So Science Time-out:

MAP technique for subcellular brain details AND long range connections

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-07-technique-reveal-subcellular-brain-long-range.html

Jumper said...

Duncan, you took the words out of my mouth. One of my hats is asphalt R&D and certified inspector. (Granted, I never used the inspector cert. They only gave it to me because I passed the test, which I passed pretty much incidentally on a broad spectrum exam because of the R&D job in the previous life.)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Obama comes across as arrogant to many of his opponents and they become quite angry. It happened to a number of my friends. To them, an Obama led negotiation is an oxymoron.

I have a soft spot for earned arrogance, though, and just smile at them and say “Okay. How about Clinton instead?”


On that point, we are in perfect agreement.

LarryHart said...

...but as to Obama coming off as arrogant, you'd have to work hard to convince me that they're not reacting to the n***** being "uppity". I've seen no other way to explain the fact that Republicans seem to really believe Obama is driving the partisan divide that they themselves are instigating.

I don't want to be one of "those" liberals who blames racism for everything. But these people make it impossible to ignore. How else does one explain the belief that Obamacare and Medicaid are reparations for slavery? How else does one explain the belief that President Obama is on the side of terrorists? How else does one explain birtherism?

Berial said...

@LarryHart
And don't forget he's a Muslim to them too. Gotta say he must be the worst Muslim EVER.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "there’s almost no evidence in Donald Trump’s past suggesting that this cynical, Svengali-manipulator actually believes any of the racist stuff he’s been spouting"
Then
* "There's a MOUNTAIN of evidence that he believes the racist stuff he's spouting."

You people are still making the beginner mistake when it comes to racism: racism is Not a belief system: it's an intent: racism is the resolve to do harm: the pseudo-ideological bullshit ("Whites invented everything! Blacks are lazy moochers! Arabs secretly want to rape every white little girl on Earth! Jews secretly enslaved Christians! etc, etc, etc ad nauseam") is seldom genuinely believed: it's a convenient way to make the perverse look principled, because racists know that "I want to protect my family from thugs" won't generate the same degree of animosity than candidly saying "I wish we were back in the good old days, when I could have raped with impunity my black housemaid then given the bastard daughter born from it to my legitimate son as his first fuck-toy" or "That Arab chick has better diplomas, a fancier car, bigger home and sexier wife than me despite her grandads being illiterate wage slaves: bring back the times when people like ME were guaranteed to be on top of the food chain"

***

* "Give us a Republican president or we'll hold our breath until we turn blue"

Hint: suicide blackmail works only on people who like you

***

* "I didn't "ignore the hidden costs" 
I acknowledge that some businesses will have to pay more

BUT compared to the human cost of increased sickness, despair and suicide effecting literally millions of people the choice is OBVIOUS "

Then there's also the not-so-hidden political cost of making underpaid, undercovered people more receptive to demagogic, or worse, revanchist rhetoric.
Most businesses don't work well when caudillos are reorganizing the economy along nepotistic lines or when self-styled revolutionaries are busy genociding everyone who might have belonged to or associated with the upper-class.

donzelion said...
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donzelion said...
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donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - re "slow money," e.g., spending on infrastructure - It's not just "what you do" - it's how you do it that matters. A lot. And most people can't/won't follow the story along.

To a wealthy investor, the great advantage of toll roads v. freeway expansion/extension/repair is that toll roads offer the ability to muster private capital, guarantee private capital, and enrich private capital - with public investment frequently going to the private investors (in the form of guarantees and bond coverage).

IF Congress passes a long-term freeway bill for public roads, then private toll roads lose their preferential arrangements in the financing tranches.

Some conservative economists "get it" (yes, infrastructure is occasionally good, and sometimes benefits many people). But the paid pundits also get that delays to public finance from backing mega-projects by putting multi-year funding in place (at which point, even the public freeway projects will ultimately serve a different end of the private bankers).

And hence, crumbling infrastructure: if it does not enrich oligarchs, it does not get fixed. Perhaps HRC can finish what Obama's started and get that through - but it's not her highest priority, and it's way off the radar for Reps, most Dems, and most Americans. Alas.

LarryHart said...

Laurent Weppe:

You people are still making the beginner mistake when it comes to racism: racism is Not a belief system: it's an intent: racism is the resolve to do harm.


We're conflating too many things in this conversation under the umbrella term "racist".

At first blush, I'd say racists really do believe in the superiority of one race over another, sometimes to the point where only the superior race is considered human, with all of the rights and privileges that label entails. A racist may not even truly "hate" the other races, let alone intend to do them harm, and more than you or I hate molusks or squirrels.

Then there are the harm-intenders such as the KKK or the Nazis. Those ideologies may begin with racism, but don't end there. They use racism as an excuse to produce an "other" to bash because they don't deserve human rights or dignity. If they didn't have an "inferior race" filling this role, they'd make one up (insisting that "communist" is a separate race or some such).

Donald Trump is something else again. Whether he really is a racist himself is as immaterial as whether he's an evangelical Christian himself. He's made it clear to these elements that he's their guy--that once in office, he'll fight for their positions.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"Then there's also the not-so-hidden political cost of making underpaid, undercovered people more receptive to demagogic, or worse, revanchist rhetoric."

Which is the root cause of Trump and BREXIT

The government decisions to move from an aim of zero unemployment to a
"suitable level to increase industrial efficiency"
Has had the effect of saving a few dollars
(not very many if you compare performance before and after Thatcher/Reagan)

While massively INJURING a lot of people - millions in total

The 0.01% have made out like gangsters - most of us have lost a bit of ground
But the poor and those who have not been able to find work - they have suffered

Tom Crowl said...

RE: Trump would appoint many Bush people.

As a guy who voted for Bernie... let me explain why.

Because it wasn't about being "Left" or "Right"...

Nor was it because I believe all his suggestions were workable.

It's because of the mindset and 'expert class' that BOTH Parties have accepted and carried through regimes of either.

I.e. in foreign policy, while there are differences between individuals in the Parties, both have accepted the Kissinger model which underlies our relations with other countries. I believe this policy has been catastrophic and will continue to be. And isolation is NOT the only alternative to the "Project for a New American Century"

in domestic policy its been a bi-partisan embrace of the Greenspan/Rubin/Geithner model which has been and remains a road to wealth concentration.

(very low interest rates and low borrowing standards was very satisfying to both Parties... and the financial sector. Easy consumer debt and those college loans...

not only allowed the political pressure to be deferred which might have come for higher wages, higher taxes on the rich, infrastructure, education, etc...

But created a vast expansion of the financial sector as a share of the economy (a non-productive share in any real sense)... and ultimately the transfer of vast amounts of wealth to the top.

It is what the two Parties AGREE on that forms much of the problem we face... the same people and same ideas which have dominated Both Parties.

Until the misuse of the fiat currency system is addressed (and I support a fiat currency system but recognize the delicacy needed to maintain one) there is no prospect for serious change.

Neither Party has even in the vaguest way recognized and shown any interest in addressing this bi-partisan groupthink.

How Washington's "Pragmatism" is Killing Good Government
http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2016/02/why-washingtons-pragmatism-is-killing.html

The dependence of both Parties on large donors both in elections and the lobbying process has much to do with how this situation developed.

Tom Crowl said...

Now let me touch on the BIG Bank vs SMALL Bank issue which neither Party wants to seriously address.

In brief:

Economists make what seems an obvious assumption.

i.e. "Banks want to make good loans and derive no benefit from making bad loans."

I have a little point here worth considering.

Banks don't have wants. Only the people in them do. And those people may have different interests.

The Larger the institution and the greater the distance of the 'loan decider' from the impact of that loan...

And the greater the likelihood of there being interest in NOT necessarily making a good/productive loan... nor in following good practices in administering that loan.

And this has all been made workable by the two very accommodating Parties.

Over time this became... and will become again... a political nightmare.



Ioan said...

Interesting chart, although they seemed to not bother explaining why terrorist death tolls were so much higher in the 1970s and 1980s. Or if they tried explaining it, I couldn't understand what they were saying

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/28/there-is-less-of-a-terrorism-threat-now-experts-put-europes-summer-of-violence-in-context

David Brin said...

onward


onward