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February 10, 2020

Comments

https://digbysblog.net/2020/02/the-enemies-list/

America is in grave danger.

Is Trump making America great again, or just taking us back to the old days?

The thing is, states have a very limited ability to save people from themselves. (See Prohibition)

People will gamble -- including the poor gambling money that they cannot afford to lose. All a state lottery does is redirect some of the profits from that gambling into the state treasury, rather than into the pockets of bookmakers.

It does more than that.

It goes way beyond allowing gambling to actually encourage it.

Within a few blocks of where I live there are at least three places - convenience stores - where I can go buy lottery tickets, and they all have signs in the window advertising the jackpots. While I can drive a few miles to a casino, there aren't a lot of walk-in bookmakers around.

So the lottery is both heavily advertised and widely available. I'd say that's more than just shifting gambling away from bookmakers and casinos, who by the way offer a lot better deal.

Do you favor states promoting drinking and smoking, in order to increase tax revenues? Selling liquor at the DMV?

End all Lotteries.

Raise taxes like a decent civilization.

But it’s pigfucker Republican America, so the options are closed.

I would go along with a Shirley Jackson-style lottery to stone Republican politicians and their operatives and base to Death.

At $50 per stone, we could pay for a lot of solutions.

I’m in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.

Back to lurking.

In Germany it used to be that locals were not allowed at the casino, i.e. one had to travel quite far (or what we would consider far) to legally gamble. And casinos were(are?) heavily taxed.

Is Trump making America great again, or just taking us back to the old days?

I see this difference from the soi-disant "good old days": the abuse of police powers and vote suppression were generally more narrowly focused then. Even where (as in parts of the South) voter suppression encompassed half the population, it did so in just a fraction of the country. Today, we are seeing the attacks much more widely.

We aren't back to the old days. Yet. But that's just because of how far we've come. The supertanker which is American society doesn't turn on a dime. That said, the current captain and his crew have the helm over as far as it will go. The longer that's the case, the longer our recovery will take.

Ships don’t only turn.

They sink.

Especially if they try to turn too fast. But momentum is one of those elitist, reality-based things, I suppose.

The conservative elites drown last, after those in steerage, but they will goddamned drown.


He does; it’s just a very short one

The metric is simple. Doesn’t mean the list is short.

Not that this matters much except to me, but I’m starting to suspect Larison, my favorite foreign policy columnist, is becoming or has become a leftist, at least on some issues. I am almost disappointed. I want to see principled conservatives who oppose our idiotic self righteous blood soaked interventionist policies. Bipartisanship could be a good thing instead of something that fills one with dread. But if he is leftist on economics, fine. Or maybe he is just a very empathic analyst of the Democratic left.

Anyway, he has said some very complimentary things about both Warren and Sanders in foreign policy, but now he seems to be applauding Sanders victory in Nevada, which had little to do with foreign policy afaik.

But he was critical of Trump’s lack of aid to Puerto Rico, so maybe this has been a long time coming.

Larison, my favorite foreign policy columnist, is becoming or has become a leftist

Categories are shifting. Hard to say where they're gonna end up.

What is clear to me is that Trump is a crook, and needs to go. We can figure the rest out later.

He really doesn’t like Bloomberg.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/bloombergs-dictatorship-double-standard/

I’d vote for him in November if I had to, but it would be lesser evilism as a geometric series converging to Trump—

Vote for us because we are only half as bad.

Or vote for us because we are only three fourths as bad ,

No, vote for us because we are only seven eights as bad....

Has to go to infinity to actually be as bad, but I hate convergence in politics as much as I hated epsilon delta proofs in calculus.

And yes, I would still shut up after the nomination until November. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

Ships don't only turn.

They sink.

Tanks burn you know, Colonel.

And yes, I would still shut up after the nomination until November. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

I think pretty much everybody here feels the same. Not that our preferences in policy and politics are not wildly different. And we all have quite different politicians we would prefer as a result. Certainly there are some possible Democratic candidates that it would be painful to vote for. But sometimes even a lesser evil is vastly more upright than the alternative.

And yes, I would still shut up after the nomination until November. Hope it doesn’t come to that.

I wouldn't let it weigh too heavily on you until after the nominating convention.

The query about Larison and economics is interesting. Your standard issue marxist critique sees imperialism (and/or interventions) as an outgrowth of or otherwise attributable to capitalism.

I should think Larison got there by a different road.

Bobbyp—

Read this where he defends Sanders against Bloomberg on the issue of socialism.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/foreign-policy-whats-that/

Of course it could just be that Larison is an exceptionally honest conservative. He might not agree with Sanders’s social democracy but find comparisons of that to totalitarian communism to be stupid and offensive.

Not sure what Bloomberg’s chances are. Electability is a total mystery to me.

He also says admiring things about him in the post about Nevada, but it might just be a sense of fairness.

“ He also says admiring things about him in the post about Nevada, but it might just be a sense of fairness.”

My post got garbled. I was talking about Larison’s post on Nevada.

Larison observed the following about a Bloomberg-Sanders exchange:

Probably the most important exchange was between Sanders and Bloomberg. Sanders defended his democratic socialist label by pointing to the use of government funds to subsidize and assist corporations, and his point is that the government is already intervening in the economy for the few rather than the many. This was, as he put it, “socialism for the rich.” Bloomberg’s counter to this was as lame and unimaginative as everything else the former mayor had to say: he attacked Sanders for owning three homes and being a millionaire, and he tried to scare people by mentioning communism. The exchange was important because it shows how easily Sanders can turn the attack on his “socialism” around on the attacker in an appealing way, and it also shows that the biggest critics of this “socialism” evidently don’t have much of an argument against what Sanders is actually proposing. Like Bloomberg, they have to engage in tired red-baiting or they try to accuse Sanders of hypocrisy because he doesn’t live in a hovel.

Bernie needs to pound this point relentlessly. It has power.

Larison also wrote the following about foreign policy:

Right now, I would argue that presidents wield far too much power in this area because they keep bypassing and ignoring Congress.

This seems to be a fairly straightforward small "c" conservative appeal to balance of power small government principles and some kind of imagined Congressional supremacy in the foreign relations realm.

In reality, the Presidency has not seized foreign relations supremacy from the Congress, it is something the office has alway had (Thomas Jefferson Louisiana Purchase which see). Lately Congress has gone overboard to grant the president even more power in this arena because the Prez. takes the heat, and the congresscritters get re-elected....which is the Prime Directive.

some kind of imagined Congressional supremacy in the foreign relations realm.

Congress has explicit supremacy in foreign relations in two ways:

  1. Only Congress can declare war. (Article 1, Section 8) Currently that gets finessed in multiple ways, but Congress could reassert itself.
  2. Congress, specifically the Senate, has veto power over any treaties. (Article 2, Section 2)
Plus, only Congress (pre-Trump anyway) can decide whether, how, and on what, money gets spent pursuing foreign affairs.

Nothing particularly imaginary. Unless you believe Trump's "I can do anything I want" view of the Presidency.

Granted, Presidents have been grabbing additional powers from very early on. But one can be a small-c conservative without necessarily endorsing even Jefferson's power grab.

The arguments against Sanders are primarily electoral.

On 'socialism', it's a label Sanders has claimed, and irrespective of the economic arguments, the evidence tends to show that while it's not going to be a liability in seeking the Democratic nomination, it may well be so in the general election:
https://news.gallup.com/poll/285563/socialism-atheism-political-liabilities.aspx

Similarly, on foreign policy, while thinkers like Larison will see much to approve, the gut reaction from many will be quite different:
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/24/florida-dems-uproar-sanders-cuba-comments-117213

There is a reasonable economic critique to be made (though in the age of Trump deficits that too is arguable), but Sanders does not help himself here:
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/24/politics/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-2020/index.html

I'd vote for him in a heartbeat against Trump, and given the failure of any of his opponents to establish themselves as serious contenders that is probably going to be the choice before the electorate, but I fear that he will prove a far stronger candidate for the nomination than for the presidency.

What Nigel said.

I think someone needs to tie Sanders down on what happens with the insurance companies, and who picks up the MFA volume for the government. It seems that is a clear case of nationalizing an industry, taking over and controlling the means of production. Likely doing that by nationalizing the insurance companies themselves.

It's a stretch not to define that as socialism. Also now pre K and daycare, does he control we provide government controlled daycare disguised as "a public option"?

Any pretense that Sanders isnt a classic communist by nature ignores a life time of his acts and words. The movement he describes is a classic description of how socialism, at least, is sold to the masses.

If you like his policies, fine, but its intent is socialism in the classic sense.

It's a stretch not to define that as socialism.

IMO this is a very fair point.

TBH the argument that it's socialism doesn't bother me, personally. There are lots of examples of goods and services that began as privately efforts, and which were subsequently taken over by the public sector.

There are factors that make that more or less sensible - scale, general necessity of the good or service, whether the good or service can be considered a public good, whether the good or service is naturally monopolistic or otherwise not a good fit for a market solution. I don't know if any or all of that applies to health insurance, there are arguments both ways.

But in general I'm fine with the public sector stepping in, whether through regulation or simply by assuming ownership, if the provision of something that is actually necessary is impeded because it is being provided by private actors.

So the idea of M4A does not bug me in the least.

The practical reality of it has two really significant obstacles, IMO.

First, it's not clear to me that the Constitution - our Constitution - allows for outright government ownership of an entire industry. Again, the idea of that doesn't bother me all that much, but as a simple reality it's not clear that the language of the document actually makes room for it.

Second, I don't know how we get there from where we are now in any kind of practical timeframe without truly enormous disruption. Truly enormous. And by "practical timeframe" I mean a timeframe short enough to let us get it done before the political will to do it erodes due to changes in the composition of Congress and the Executive.

We are not a nation that does planning on generational time-frames all that well.

There is also the issue of an enormous number of people who don't trust the government to, for example, deliver their mail, and who don't want the feds anywhere near their health insurance.

Not until they're 65, anyway. :)

It would be an enormous undertaking, I'm not sure we could pull it off without overwhelming public support.

In any case, if we're going to discuss it honestly, we have to acknowledge that it's public ownership of a significant sector of the financial industry. Which actually is socialism as far as I can tell.

Also: this bit:

Any pretense that Sanders isnt a classic communist by nature ignores a life time of his acts and words.

Is simply not accurate. What Sanders is about is not what communism is.

Any pretense that Sanders isnt a classic communist by nature ignores a life time of his acts and words.

Is simply not accurate. What Sanders is about is not what communism is.

It is a Republican habit to elide the distinction between socialism and communism. No doubt Marty has picked it up.

The Supreme Court could criminalize immigration advice and advocacy
https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/484439-the-supreme-court-could-criminalize-immigration-advice-and-advocacy

The golf carts at Mar-a-Lago have been nationalized using my hard-earned tax dollars.

My Lockheed Martin stock has done just fine producing inferior product as a wholly-subsidized subsidiary of the stinking fucking Republican gummint.

Here’s how we balance the fucking budget and bring Medicare and Social Security into balance: throw conservative Republican diseased asses off the programs, while still collecting the taxes they pay into the programs. Don’t like it? Get violent ..... please. Or move to Cuba, if you love sanctions and embargos so much, because America is too fucking incompetent, republican corrupt and constitutionally predatory to run anything at reasonable cost that benefits everyone.

The arguments against Sanders are primarily electoral.

The 'electability' argument against Sanders is primarily um, not very good.

If folks can glibly call MFA "socialism" or "communism" then I should think calling any and all Republicans "fascist pieces of shit" has just as much validity....which is to say none.

Any pretense that Sanders isnt a classic communist by nature ignores a life time of his acts and words.

also, both birds and helicopters can fly, therefore bats are Saturn 5 rockets.

First, it's not clear to me that the Constitution - our Constitution - allows for outright government ownership of an entire industry.

MFA, as currently proposed, does not call for "ownership of an entire industry." It essentially calls for a single buyer of privately provided goods and services. Admittedly, that buyer would have a good deal of market power, but we are just fine with market power in just about any economic sector you can name.

MFA, as currently proposed, does not call for "ownership of an entire industry."

If I understand the proposals correctly - which I may not - private health insurance will be replaced by a public buyer. Health insurance is a fairly big industry.

The most likely scenario would be a public insurance provider for some basic level of coverage, with private insurers offering plans to supplement that. Like we do now for Medicare. So, most likely not the total erasure of private health insurance, but a profound change to how the industry is structured.

Perhaps for the better.

Bullshit like this is why the idea is even on the table. h/t Atrios.

There would be no argument of any strength for M4A if the private insurance system was functional. It is not.

I'm not against M4A. I think there is a very, very strong argument for it. I also think putting it in place would be a pretty large logistical challenge, and highly disruptive, which is not to say it shouldn't happen.

And I also think it will face Constitutional challenges, some in good faith, some not.

But hell yeah, do I think it is a perfectly fine thing for We The People to decide to provide universal basic health care coverage as a public good? Damned right I do.

BS is a lot closer to being a "small c" communist than he is to being anything even close to a free market traditional liberal. We can go on all day from there, and I'm sure this horse will be beaten into subatomic particles by November.

That said, the Marty/Russell exchange hits the economic nail on the head and underscores BS' ultimate weakness as a candidate. It wasn't me who, on this site, criticized BS' "innumeracy". And that was a gross understatement.

At least one significant point not made explicit in the M/R exchange is that MFA would require a substantial stifling and coercing of a substantial minority of Americans even if it had 60-70% support otherwise and even if there weren't 5th and 14th Amendment issues along with the lack of a constitutional grant for nationalizing how Dr. X in Kingsville TX charges for treating the flu.

Telling doctors and others, on pain of imprisonment (it comes down to that if you think it through), that they can only work for prices and practice medicine as decided by the national government is going to produce what socialism always produces, true scarcity and resulting widespread harm (historically, it has been famine, going forward, probably something like the coronavirus left unchecked because no one feels like working under those circumstances). Like the Kulaks, many doctors and nurses will find other work or simply refuse to play ball.
The follow-on effect will be how to deal with revanchist pigs who won't buckle under to the new order. It is said we have a doctor shortage. That won't get better under MFA. We could, of course, dumb down the concept of doctor (thank you, Fidel Castro), and make RN's into MD's and immunize them from malpractice suits; which is also a byproduct of socialism (and communism)--which is people get less of lesser goods and services--what's not to like?!?! My guess is that saboteurs of this nature will find themselves behind bars and the ideological successors of today's Progressive concerns about over-crowded prisons will fall silent.

In other news, an interesting observation from a person of the left: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/russia-sanders-campaign-taibbi-957377/

russell: First, it's not clear to me that the Constitution - our Constitution - allows for outright government ownership of an entire industry.

Our Constitution does not "allow for" an Air Force, never mind a Space-Cadet Force. I know that sounds snarky, but it's meant to illustrate a serious point -- or more accurately to pre-butt a predictable argument from "originalists".

Nowhere does The Constitution forbid The Government to engage in commerce, AFAIK. "Originalists" will rely on the principle that, while everything not explicitly forbidden is permitted to The People, it's the other way for The Government: everything not explicitly permitted is forbidden. Okay, so how is the Air Force constitutional?

As for how M4A would affect the insurance business, I don't know. I do believe that when The Government built the Interstate Highway System, it drastically affected the railroad business. You don't hear much about "railroad tycoons" any more. But railroads are still around and making a living from supplementing (rather than dominating) the rest of the transportation system. Did The People complain that they "like their railroad, and they should be able to keep it" outside of Petticoat Junction?

Could The Government buy out the health insurance companies under Eminent Domain? It's been known to buy other sorts of property that way.

--TP

from a person of the left

he's of a particular version of 'the left': the anti-anti-Trump left.

and his shtick has not gone unnoticed.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2017/04/04/matt-taibbis-skepticism-of-the-russian-hacking-coverage-is-all-wrong/

and he's kindof an asshole scumbag.

https://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2017/10/27/twenty-years-ago-in-moscow-matt-taibbi-was-a-misogynist-asshole-and-possibly-worse

The word "explicitly" (as in, "explicitly permitted") does not appear in the Tenth Amendment. There was a proposal to include the word "expressly" during the Congressional debates on the Bill of Rights, which was shot down by none other than James Madison. (Source: Akhil Amar, _America's Constitution: A Biography_, Ch. 9)

All fair points russell. As a young man I listened with great interest and some head nodding to the firebrand communist party leaders who were an integral part of the community I was in. I lived in as commune, we attended protests. We talked about creating a better world.

Sanders speeches over the yearszdx his defense of communist dictators, his rationalization of their actions because a few good things were done, all could be straight from those speeches.

He has, over the years, tempered some of his language but he is talking about rebuilding the US in that model. His movement is based on those same fiery indictments of capitalism. This is his moment to fill a void in the vision of America with an old vision, buffed up a little, espoused by Castro and Chavex in unequal parts.


So I think he is intellectually a communist, dedicated to replacing our capitalist economy with at least a socialist one.

As a young man I listened with great interest and some head nodding to the firebrand communist party leaders who were an integral part of the community I was in. I lived in as commune, we attended protests. We talked about creating a better world.

Sanders speeches over the yearszdx his defense of communist dictators, his rationalization of their actions because a few good things were done, all could be straight from those speeches.

So you're a communist, too.

I’m disgusted with the Democratic Party and Bernie is a shit sandwich, hold the ham.

But Trump is going to win, and the conservatives here will own him.

And this:
https://www.dallasnews.com/business/health-care/2019/09/10/here-s-how-many-texans-don-t-have-health-insurance-according-to-new-census-data/

I could have been. Perhaps was. Certainly was not a capitalist. I'm just not nodding my head anymore. His speeches though, havent changed.

There are lots of examples of goods and services that began as privately efforts, and which were subsequently taken over by the public sector.

The obvious example being roads. In the 1700s and early 1800s, roads were frequently privately created and charged tolls to use them. These days, of course, they are almost universally done by the government. (And us libertarian westerners get really outraged when we travel to the East Coast and are expected to pay tolls to drive them!)

I'm not against M4A. I think there is a very, very strong argument for it. I also think putting it in place would be a pretty large logistical challenge, and highly disruptive, which is not to say it shouldn't happen.

That is, as I see it, the biggest argument for the "public option": it's a way to move gradually in the direction of M4A, and thus reduce the disruption. If the public option is attractive, we will end up at essentially M4A -- OK maybe only 95% of the population, but essentially. While giving the industry time to wind down without crashing markets and throwing hundreds of thousands out of work at once.

Our Constitution does not "allow for"...

I definitely get that. All I'm saying is that M4A is going to face Constitutional challenges. There are traditions of interpreting our Constitution, of long standing, that would make a public payer to the exclusion of others problematic.

I'm not advocating those points of view, just noting that they exist. They will be an impediment that will need to be gotten past in order for M4A to be a realistic option.

many doctors and nurses will find other work or simply refuse to play ball.

FWIW, I can introduce you to physicians who want to leave the practice because of many of the effects you describe, except the cause is consolidation.

Medicine has been commodified, and not by the government.

His movement is based on those same fiery indictments of capitalism.

I am happy to supply as many fiery indictments of capitalism as will fit on this blog. I'm not a communist. I'm not even particularly a socialist.

I'm pragmatic. Which is why I'm *also* not a capital-C capitalist.

If we want to try to discuss this stuff, it would be useful to recognize that terms like capitalism, free-market, socialism, communism, etc., actually have meanings. Denotative meanings, often but not always fairly specific ones.

People who are critical of capitalism are not automatically against markets. They are not automatically socialist. They are surely not automatically communist.

Capitalism != free markets.
Socialism != communism.

Socialism -> public, i.e. government, ownership of the means of production.

Communism -> common, i.e. common popular, ownership of the means of production, elimination of social classes, and ultimately of the state itself.

Bernie is about lots of things, but I don't think his agenda includes the eventual elimination of the state.

:)

People who are critical of capitalism are not automatically against markets.

And that's before you get to the group (and I think it's a fairly large one) who are just fine with capitalism. They just have issues with its implementation these past few decades. After all, we definitely had capitalism in the US in the 1950s. But had very different income and wealth distributions than we do now.

Well, in any practical sense, I think saying capitalism does not equal markets is splitting hairs.

Not sure you can pretend otherwise.

Is a monopoly a free market?

McKinney,

If or when you have to choose between:

1. a would-be communist POTUS who respects the separation of powers and the rule of law, even if he can't get Congress to pass his proposals; and

2. a would-be dictator POTUS who shits on the separation of powers, thinks the law doesn't apply to him, and has the balls of many Congresscritters in his pocket,

what do you see yourself doing?

--TP

I think saying capitalism does not equal markets is splitting hairs.

There's actually a fairly body of thought and robust discussion that splits those hairs.

The gist:

capitalism is about private ownership of the means of production. it assumes that capital owners and labor are distinct parties, and it assumes that profit goes to owners. the primary goal of capitalism is the creation of wealth.

free markets are about price setting by negotiation and agreement between willing actors. it makes no assumptions about who owns the means of production, or about the relationship between capital and labor as factors of production. the primary goal of free markets is the mutually beneficial exchange of value.

both involve price setting by private actors, i.e. not by government.

Most capitalist economies are also more or less free market economies, but the two are separable.

I'm not making this up, you can look it up if you wish.

"fairly large body of thought"

Just some stuff to keep in mind as this COVID-19 thing continues to unfold.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/obamas-ebola-victory-lap/442554/

russell: capitalism is about private ownership of the means of production

Which does not REQUIRE that "capital" be concentrated into as few hands as possible, as some Cato-and-Heritage-besotted defenders of "capitalism" sometimes seem to argue.

"Private ownership of the means of production", by itself, is not remotely incompatible with oligopoly or even monopoly. If oligopoly and monopoly happen to be the inevitable consequence of modern "capitalism", well ... some people are fine with that.

--TP

If folks can glibly call MFA "socialism" or "communism" then I should think calling any and all Republicans "fascist pieces of shit" has just as much validity....which is to say none.

I should have mentioned before that this is, not surprisingly, something with which I am in total agreement.

Now I need to check bobbyp's link debunking (I hope) the arguments about Sanders's unelectability. Obviously, the Corbyn comparison terrifies me. Here's hoping it's totally wrong.

but essentially. While giving the industry time to wind down without crashing markets and throwing hundreds of thousands out of work at once.

When I see this kind of stuff and the old "how are you going to pay for it?" chestnut, it's almost enough to make me lose my faith in the goodness of human nature.

U.S. trade deficits were directly responsible for the loss of millions of factory jobs during the first decade of this century. Now one can argue if these deficits were directly attributable to US public policy or "currency manipulation" by foreign actors, but that is irrelevant as doing nothing is also a policy choice.

Touting the benefits of "free trade", and egged on by the pundit class our two political parties engaged in the mutually assured hollowing out of a good deal of our factory infrastructure over a relatively brief span of time.

Some of those chickens came home to roost in November, 2016.

So crocodile tears for displaced health insurance employees does not faze me in the slightest.

Bernie is about lots of things, but I don't think his agenda includes the eventual elimination of the state.

If only. :)

An interesting analysis of a couple of elements of US healthcare costs ... something absent from pretty well every candidate’s plans.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292120300337
Consistent with prior work, we find direct costs of malpractice fines and insurance explain little of the high cost of healthcare in the US. However, the high private cost of medical education interacts with high malpractice risk in an interesting way: It leads doctors to (i) demand high wages and (ii) use excessive diagnostics to mitigate risk (“defensive medicine”). The agency problem that arises because patients cannot judge the efficacy of tests allows them to be over-prescribed. Together, these factors increase costs far more than direct malpractice costs. Specifically, physician salaries plus diagnostic tests comprise 4.04% of GDP in the US, compared to only 2.3% in the UK. The mechanisms emphasized in our model can largely explain the difference.

4% of GDP is a lot.

It is true, as far as it goes, that Sanders’s use of the “socialist” label for his New Deal left-liberalism is, all things being equal, suboptimal.

A piece of understatement which is positively British, and none the more convincing for that.

On his "compared to what" paragraph, his analysis of the other candidates' flaws (particularly Biden's) is certainly rather hard to argue with. But what you really cannot argue with is his final two sentences:

And he’ll be running against someone with more liabilities than any Democrat. Don’t panic, just fight.

For context, that’s nearly a quarter of healthcare spending.
In comparison, drugs costs (a hot political issue) are around 10%.

crocodile tears for displaced health insurance employees does not faze me in the slightest.

If the concerns are being raised by people who were touting the other public policies you object to, that's one thing. But some of us have real concerns on this point.

I would also point out that the lost jobs in manufacturing that you refer to happened far more like the gradual losses that would (probably) result from the public option. As opposed to the abrupt losses that would result (in the unlikely event that it happens) from M4A going in straight off.

We can probably find new jobs for everybody displaced. With time. But if we just nationalize all the health insurance companies (or otherwise abruptly bounce them out of business)? Which, after all, is what M4A would require.

The 'electability' argument against Sanders is primarily um, not very good.
Which article doesn’t actually address my points, other than the ‘socialism’ one with which it partly agrees.
Debunking a comparison with Corbyn, which I never made, doesn’t add much. And I agree entirely that Sanders isn’t Corbyn; for a start he shows some evidence of being a competent administrator, and learning from his past mistakes.

My point was that he’s a great deal more palatable to a plurality of the Democratic selectorate than he is likely to be to the national electorate.

So crocodile tears for displaced health insurance employees does not faze me in the slightest.

health insurance employees vote.

Karma:
Trump loves to talk about the stock market rising.
Monday, the Dow lost 1,000 points.
Today, it lost another 900 points.
The reason, concern about the impact of the coronavirus.

Note that the folks charged with dealing with this would be the CDC and NIH -- both of whose budgets Trump keeps trying to cut. Not to mention shrinking or eliminating various programs designed to evaluate possible disease problems, including pandemics like the coronavirus looks like becoming. If the markets keep diving, and especially if the rest of the economy gets hit hard as well, Trump is in big trouble.

But if we just nationalize all the health insurance companies (or otherwise abruptly bounce them out of business)? Which, after all, is what M4A would require.

Unless I am mistaken, MFA and various versions thereof do not call for "nationalizing" health insurance companies. They could still have a place in the health care markets (see Medicare supplemental plans), they might also be still around serving niche markets or just be highly regulated. Or eliminated alltogether. `

"Nationalization" is a total misnomer.

Thanks.

health insurance employees vote.

So do underemployed ex-factory workers trying to live on shit wages. Maybe you have not noticed.

nigel,

The LGM article addressed some of the chicken little "electability" arguments, not all of them.

Yes, "socialism" is a scare word. And?
Yes, Cuban Americans will most likely not vote for Bernie. But then again, they are reliable GOP voters to begin with.
"How much will it cost"? That is essentially a non-serious "gotcha' question. You know how much our health care costs will be over the next ten years? North of 30 trillion.

1. Bernie is not yet even the candidate of the Democratic Party for the presidency in 2020. So perhaps chilling out a bit is in order.
2. Last I looked, he still beats Trump in head to head polls, but I guess a young gay mayor with practically no experience will be much better, eh? Or is it "more electable"? Hard to keep track at times.

Thanks.

My point was that he’s a great deal more palatable to a plurality of the Democratic selectorate than he is likely to be to the national electorate.

Well sure. But you can say the same thing about any of the current crop of those vying for the Dem nomination. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are making a classic "electability" argument, and I would counter that Lemieux pretty much shows such arguments to be not so good.

It is what it is. FIGHT.

Sanders' strategy may well be a pipe dream.

But this?. No way.

Pretty sure the claims about Taibbi’s alleged scumminess in Russia have been discredited by women who worked with him then, but I am not sure I want to spend time googling it.

I share some of his views on Russiagate— I think it is a way for the intelligence community to “ meddle” in our elections. Of course with Trump I think he would be happy to take help from anyone, but that is a separate issue from saying the Russians actually colluded with him. They didn’t need to if they wanted to steal emails and post some absurd Facebook memes. The main effect in 2016 would have been the wikileaks revelations.

And now of course the Russians are meddling in some unspecified manner to help Bernie and cast doubt on our institutions. Yeah, whatever. I am sure I have nothing but trust in our intelligence community. If people want to blame Russians for everything, fine. Bernie got in the act, suggesting that the worst Berniebros were really Russian bots. That’s the spirit.

Sanders' strategy may well be a pipe dream.

But this?. No way.

bobby, both those links are the same.

but that is a separate issue from saying the Russians actually colluded with him.

This is hardcore denialism. Whatever. Not sure why it's so important to you to prop up Russia and Trump. Russia is not to blame for "everything". The intelligence community, working for the US, is not perfect. You seem to think the Russian intelligence community, and Vladimir Putin, as a KGB standard bearer, is just fine. I can't dissuade you of that apparent belief.

Putin is a bad guy, a bad intelligence actor from a bad country with a bad past. You may think he's the same as John Brennan, but Russian. I disagree, but even if that's the case, John Brennan isn't all-powerful for life in this country. Putin is the tsar of Russia, and he's not a benevolent one. He's messing with us, and the results haven't been good. Sure, he's had a lot of useful idiots. They shall remain nameless.

“ My point was that he’s a great deal more palatable to a plurality of the Democratic selectorate than he is likely to be to the national electorate.”

I don’t think that is clear. I am also not denying it. It depends on whether the classic redbaiting tactics which will be used in tonight’s debate still have force.

I was just telling an over confident Sanders supporting friend of mine in real life that I think this is happening too fast. I am supporting Sanders all the way and you can’t plan history I suppose, but what should have happened is that Nader ran a leftist Democratic primary campaign in 2000. He loses, like Jesse Jackson in the 80’s, but a leftist movement is born that begins to take over the Party similar to what happened in the Republican Party between Goldwater and Reagan.

This Sanders thing was waiting to happen, but I think it needed more preparation, more lower level campaigns like AOC, though of course she was inspired by Sanders.

Anyway, here we are. My friend is naturally and IMO absurdly optimistic, but I think it is a coin toss between a Sanders victory and McGovern.

“ They shall remain nameless.”

They are named “ Donald”.

My position is that whatever Putin did is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the utter drivel that American spread. It is several orders of magnitude different. Hell, you should agree with me on this. Dud Russians spend massive amounts of money over the past several decades convincing Americans that government is always inefficient compared to the glories of the market? Did Russia plunge us into several stupid unending wars? Did Russia persuade the fossil fuel companies and Republicans to deny global warming, blame poor brown people for all our problems, put Rush Limbaugh on the air, create Fox News, etc... I haven’t even touched Democratic failures where we might clash. Well, actually I did, but the bulk of the above is mor Republican failings. Putin is a pimple compared to a giant cancerous tumor. I sound like Thullen here. And I am understating it. I think 99.9999 percent of our problems in America have nothing to do with Putin.

And if you want to talk about foreign influence, I can think of a couple countries that have a lot more than Russia. But even with them homegrown Americans influence is vastly greater.

I am allergic to the foreign witch hunt mentality. It is mostly bull and leads nowhere good and in the end will be used against the left. Though I guess it depends on what one considers left.

bobby, both those links are the same.

oops....

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/02/the-case-for-sanders-electability-appears-to-turn-on-unprecedented-levels-of-turnout-by-young-left-leaning-voters

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/02/the-democrat-no-one-needs

bobbyp, fathead with fat fingers.

My friend is naturally and IMO absurdly optimistic, but I think it is a coin toss between a Sanders victory and McGovern.

I think the way I'd phrase it is that it's too early to tell which way the odds lean. But they could end up leaning either way. Eventually.

With the caveat for those who aren't inclined to worry that, unlike with McGovern, what happens at the is likely to have a stronger impact on the Senate and other races down the ballot. For good or ill.

I agree with this message.

his defense of communist dictators, his rationalization of their actions because a few good things were done, all could be straight from those speeches.

i'm not going to go too far in defending Sanders' remarks, but i'll just note that pointing out the few good things an overall terrible person has done shouldn't be too unfamiliar to modern day Republicans. so maybe they should dial their selective outrage back a notch or two.

Donald- my angle on the Putin issue is that Fox and Sinclair and Clear Channel have certainly done their bit to destroy bipartisanship and radicalize the right. On this we are agreed.

What Putin and the IRA have done is to take a very accurate measure of that outrage and direct it at the maximally effective systempunkts in our dysfunctional electoral system. Without them and Cambridge Analytica I think a lot of that outrage remains unrealized.

They weren't the magnitude, but they aimed the vector.

That seems pretty reasonable to me, nous (except I don't know who the IRA are in this context). And similar with Brexit, and other anti-EU developments in Europe.

IRA = Internet Research Agency, aka Russia' troll factory

Obama said the pretty much the same thing about Castro.

I despise Putin, but some Democrats are not doing themselves any favours by going on and on about Russia, while apparently being unable to learn from the defeat in 2016.

Regarding the "free market", it is quite obvious that the US has drifted towards oligopoly for a long time now. And let's not even get started on lobbying of politicians.

Thanks, cleek.

some Democrats are not doing themselves any favours by going on and on about Russia, while apparently being unable to learn from the defeat in 2016.

One thing to learn is that we (and "we" means Democrats and people who are sympathetic to ousting Republicans) have to fight an international cyberwar instead of just an election battle. Why not go "on and on" about that since people apparently still don't get it?

Emptywheel puts it well.

https://www.emptywheel.net/2020/02/24/the-kinds-and-significance-of-russian-interference-2016-and-2020/
That said, as with 2016, there are far more urgent concerns, and those concerns are entirely American.

Republicans continue to seek out new ways to suppress the vote, including by throwing large swaths of voters off the rolls without adequate vetting. There are real concerns about voting machines, particularly in Georgia (and there are credible concerns about the reliability of GA’s tally in past elections). Republicans have continued to make polling locations less accessible in Democratic precincts than in Republican ones.

Facebook refuses to police the accuracy of political ads, and Trump has flooded Facebook with disinformation.

And Bloomberg’s efforts this year — which include a good deal of trolling and disinformation — are unprecedented in recent memory. His ad spending has undercut the ability to weigh candidates. And his personnel spending is increasing the costs for other candidates.

Russian efforts to sway the vote are real. Denying them — as some of Bernie’s supporters are doing in ways that hurt the candidate — does not help. But, assuming DHS continues to work with localities to ensure the integrity of voting infrastructure, neither does overplaying them. Between now and November there’s far more reason to be concerned about American-funded disinformation and American money distorting our democratic process.

Paper ballots hand counted in public would take care of all concerns about literal hacking from any direction. So we get election results more slowly. Seems like a small price to pay.

I started typing a long response last night about the Russia obsession and everything I think is wrong about it but may or may not get to it today.. plus I am not sure I am in the mood to get into a long argument.

Between now and November there’s far more reason to be concerned about American-funded disinformation and American money distorting our democratic process.

I'm not sure where she gets the stats on who is funding what. The NRA has been a pernicious, seemingly domestic threat for a long time. But we found out it was actually a Russian money laundering operation. How much of the Republican Party operates similarly? I think would be useful to know that, and pretending that it doesn't matter is foolish.

Whenever anyone utters the word "Republican" one should also ask who that really means. Republicans are suppressing the vote, yes, and they always have. But they have a lot more help now.

Sure, we have other problems that are home grown, but if domestic money in our politics was all we had to worry about, we'd have a better focus on fixing it because presumably American oligarchs have some interest in a strong and vibrant America. Foreign oligarchs have no interest in that.

Paper ballots hand counted in public would take care of all concerns about literal hacking from any direction. So we get election results more slowly. Seems like a small price to pay.

Virginia has paper ballots, and sound election day practices, but voting rolls can still be hacked. Obviously, Republicans have relied on voter suppression throughout my lifetime (Rehnquist got his start by doing it on the ground, and Roberts is his acolyte.) Republicans are now bankrolled by an international mob syndicate, and they are unwilling to enforce laws that prohibit their misconduct, so the problem is now way worse. Please quit waving it away. Thanks.

Nigel, as to the emptywheel link (again), thanks for that. I was interested to read the article, and some constructive criticism in the comments by Monica J Jerbi. The defensive and nasty way she was treated there is one reason that, even though emptywheel does a lot of good work, I have trouble taking her seriously. She and her followers have way too high a stake in her ego.

Whenever anyone utters the word "Republican" one should also ask who that really means. Republicans are suppressing the vote, yes, and they always have. But they have a lot more help now.

Can't argue with this either. It's perfectly possible to blame both domestic and foreign subversion of the democratic process, and none of us (as far as I can tell) is really in a position to apportion percentages thereof. Each of us gets to decide how to weight it, and (as far as I can tell) no one of us gets to dictate that to any other.

Between now and November there’s far more reason to be concerned about American-funded disinformation and American money distorting our democratic process.

"far more" isn't quite "only"

and people can multitask.

so let's do that.

Donald: Paper ballots hand counted in public would take care of all concerns about literal hacking from any direction.

Meddling with ballots is for amateur ratfuckers. Professional ratfuckers understand the difference between "votes" and "ballots".

Meddling with votes by means of disinformation and propaganda avoids the dangerous business of meddling with the ballots which are merely records of people's votes.

Disinformation and propaganda are also more effective: if you convince people to change their "vote", they are (duh) convinced. They don't feel cheated when you win; they feel vindicated.

Cynics will point out that disinformation and propaganda are hard to distinguish from "electioneering" or "campaigning". What's the 1st Amendment for, if not to protect disinformation and propaganda around elections?

Putin is a cynic. His American collaborators may, I grant you, be mere dupes.

--TP

They weren't the magnitude, but they aimed the vector.

This. Russia is exploiting our dysfunction, even if they didn't create it. They are heaping division and doubt upon division and doubt, not for the purposes of helping a particular side as an end unto itself, but as a means of weakening us generally and undermining democracy.

Yes, some people in this country are making it much easier for them to do that, unwittingly or otherwise.

Our media ecology (broadcast/print/digital) and concentrations of wealth make it hard to fix anything wherever we focus our attention. Paper ballots fixes falsification of votes, but doesn't fix the way that our social systems are making people more susceptible to propaganda. What we have is a 20 year crater in education of the sort that leads to better critical media literacy.

Fixing that will take generations, assuming that we can do it.

Depressingly, what nous said.

Also hsh.

Speaking of critical media literacy, our propagandist-in-chief is blaming the media for falling stock prices over COVID-19.

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-us-stock-market-commentary-furious-coronavirus-fake-news-media-2020-2-1028941762

I will refer you to my comment yesterday with the Atlantic link from 2015. An excerpt from that link:

Donald Trump objected to aid workers being allowed into the country and tweeted, "Ebola has been confirmed in NYC with officials frantically trying to find all of the people and things he had contact with. Obama's fault." He added in another tweet, "A TOTAL incompetent."

Republicans are suppressing the vote, yes, and they always have.

Sorry to be persnickety, but no. Pre-Nixon and his "Southern strategy" (and even for some time thereafter) it was Democrats doing the voter suppression. It may well have been the same people doing it, but they were definitely not Republicans.

I realize that may all have been before your lifetime. But I grew up seeing it, so it rankles.

They are heaping division and doubt upon division and doubt, not for the purposes of helping a particular side as an end unto itself, but as a means of weakening us generally and undermining democracy. [emphasis added]

Putin was as surprised as anyone when Trump actually won. He'd been aiming for four (or more) years of Trump-fueled division and complaints about voter fraud. What he got was that plus a huge bonus of Trump's actions in office. As investments got, it was the kind of ROI that venture capitalists dream of.

That's also why he's investing in Sanders as well this time. That way, whoever loses he'll get enormous amounts of division and doubt. Actually, he can probably count on it if Sanders just loses the nomination. Sanders' enthusiasts (the rabid enthusiasts, not those who merely support him) look to have the same mindset there as the Trump fanatics.

And there were poll taxes. Texas enacted a poll tax in 1902 that was $1.50 to $1.75. A lot of money at the time. And still not an inconsequential sum of money when I was a kid.

There were poll taxes everywhere. California's agency which administers the state income tax is still called the Franchise Tax Board. I suppose that we should get credit for not sweeping history under the rug, but ouch!

"California's agency which administers the state income tax is still called the Franchise Tax Board."

Wait, they weren't taxing McDonald's franchises?

Now I haz a sad.

the Russia obsession

To me, the Russia thing is less about Putin and more about Trump.

Russia, and probably every other country on the planet, is probably going to make some effort to influence US elections. Through defensible means or not.

What was unique in 2016 was the presence of a candidate who welcomed that, embrace it, and co-ordinated the actions of his campaign with theirs.

Putin is a thug, but that should not be all the relevant for US electoral politics. It becomes relevant when his attempts at interference are welcomed.

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