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April 20, 2020

Comments

We. The States, signed a contract. You dont get change the contract AND require me to go along. If you want to change the contract I get to opt out.

Certainly that's true of some contracts. Other contracts can only be dissolved by mutual consent. And if they include provision for modifications, those do not necessarily void the contract.

One thing the Civil War established is that the US is the latter kind of contract. Once you are in, you don't get to just walk away. No matter how much you dislike the way things have developed.

Forgive my each-plural grammar.

if the popular vote majority want to change the basic contract, which is what we are discussing not some rules tweaking, then each state should get the opportunity to opt out.

If that's the only way to sort it out, I have no problem with it.

As a practical matter, it would be very complicated. But other than that I'd find it perhaps regrettable, but not an impediment.

It's worth noting that in almost all cases, the folks who "signed the contract" are long dead. You didn't sign it, I didn't sign it. Nobody alie in the states of TX or MA "signed it". AK and HI were '59, before that the most recent examples are from '12.

When things stop working, it's time for new things.

The lack of trust you keep talking about works both ways.

No doubt.

"My side" gave "your side" Bill Clinton and Obama. I get that you don't like either guy, but they were, minimally, sensible, competent executives.

"Your side" coughs up W and Trump.

You tell me who is going the extra mile.

I'm still curious what the hell it is that all of the people in NYC, LA, and Boston are gonna make people in TX do.

bc makes some sensible points about land management etc. I get those concerns. They're reasonable and not based on some weird phobia about population density, or whatever else is hiding under Marty's bed. I don't mean to be dismissive, you (Marty) just gone on at length here about somebody somewhere "making people in TX" do something or other.

It's vague, and impossible to discuss because it's vague. If you want to talk about actual issues of concern, have at it. If it's all bogeymen, there's no conversation to be had.

I get that "you don't want it". I have no idea what it is you don't want.

"My side" gave "your side" Bill Clinton and Obama. I get that you don't like either guy, but they were, minimally, sensible, competent executives.

And Clinton left office leaving a budget surplus (which Republicans claim to care about, until it suits them not to) and Obama left office leaving an economy on an upward trajectory (despite systemic problems) which continued unchanged until the pandemic, even though Trump and the Republicans chose to ignore or deny this. So Marty's fear that the evil Dems want to damage his family's future prospects looks incomprehensible, unless you look at the rightwing propaganda machine which is solely concerned to keep the money flowing into their and their backers' coffers, and the only way to do that is to lie about the Dems to stop them gaining power and trying to equalise things a bit, to the benefit of e.g. Marty and his family.

I know I haven't kept up with all the facts, as you US types do, and I know nothing about economics, but is any of this (about Clinton and Obama principally) wrong?

I'm still curious what the hell it is that all of the people in NYC, LA, and Boston are gonna make people in TX do.

Short answer:
1) force them not to force rape victims to bear the results of their rape.
2) force them to allow immigrants to become citizens and vote.

No doubt there are more indignities in prospect. (And people in Texas forcing those in NYC, etc. to do things their way don't count as coercion, of course.)

Sorry, I'm not sure what this means?

lj: By "less grand," I meant: 1) The election of the first African American president was grand period regardless of political persuasion, IMHO; 2) Obama had a very decent EC victory (I think anything over 300 is a good win and he got 332); and (for the "would have been less grand") 3) he actually would have lost to Romney under Main and Nebraska's system (274/264) or under a congressional district majority system (2 for overall popular vote in a state and PR for the other CD's) by 286/252. His 332/206 victory was that big due to the current rules.

His 332/206 victory was that big due to the current rules.

IIRC, his campaign strategy was geared toward those rules. So it's a little circular.

W was as good as Clinton, Obama was bad in a bunch of ways but was a competent politician Trump is certainly an outlier but now you are offering Biden. Trend is bad overall.

russell, I dont want to live in a country that rewards doing nothing, that pays for everything and requires no responsibility from its citizens. That's telling me how to live. The Democratic party wantscgauranteed everything, down to an income and childcare. No person is responsible for themself.

I dont know what you are for either in any detail. Nor are there specific policies we are discussing at this point.

I do know what is being tossed into the pot by Democratic candidates, which is the government pays for everything and it leaves you a little pocket change out of your check. That's barely an exaggeration.

That model exerts a tremendous amount of control over your life. Not my view of the Ameriijcan dream.

W was as good as Clinton

There's really no point in further discussion after this.

No doubt there are more indignities in prospect. (And people in Texas forcing those in NYC, etc. to do things their way don't count as coercion, of course.)

This, a thousand times.

For the record, I'm pretty sure that regardless of Marty's own self-certified lack of homophobia, the full acceptance of gay and trans people in civic life is one of the things people in places like TX don't want those hobgoblins from MA, CA, and NY forcing them into.

And that the converse doesn't count as coercion is tots justified by the fact that a bunch of straight white males, a lot of them slaveowners, made a deal 200+ years ago, that can only be changed....well, when?

By amending the Constitution, for one thing. And states that don't like amendments don't get to "opt out." Talk about rewriting the contract.....

I dont want to live in a country....

Bon voyage.

It is, uniquely, a national office, representing every person in every part of the country . .

"My issues" here being that I'm not sure state boundaries are the best proxy for a given set of interests.

You know, the best argument IMHO for moving beyond the EC and the indirect election of the President is that we have moved on and overcome the differences we had at the founding. Undoubtedly we have moved in a common direction in many ways. Slavery is abolished, language and accent are much more unified, the economy is much more nationally based, people routinely move to other states, etc. I could comfortably live almost anywhere in the country.

But your premise, if I understand it correctly, is not doing away with the rules for that reason but for a purely political one. It is the negative not the positive. That is why I think it is dangerous.

Also, I think states still mean something and have something to contribute. The differences in systems still exist and frankly should be encouraged to see what works best. Federalism's monolithic sway limits creativity.

I've lived only out west, California, Utah, Washington, Alaska. There are definitely differences going on there.

There's really no point in further discussion after this.

When was there ever a point? ;-)

Though I should take my own advice more often....

No person is responsible for themself.

LOL. the GOP is just fine with handouts and supports.

unless... do you think they're gonna run on killing Medicare, Medicaid, SS, the VA ? are they going to run on killing farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, oil subsidies?

no?

face it, you just don't like it when the wrong people get support.

IIRC, his campaign strategy was geared toward those rules. So it's a little circular.

Yes, and the website actually notes that

Playing by the Rules
It is important to note that the actual results of a real-world election might be significantly different than how the numbers look applying new methodologies after-the-fact. Campaigns make strategic and tactical decisions based on the rules in place. For example, the Obama campaign expended resources in an ultimately successful bid to win one of Nebraska's electoral votes in 2008. They would not have made the effort except for the allocation method used there. Additionally, voter turnout could shift in response to where battlegrounds might be with new rules.

I would add to cleek's list the robust support, one way or another, for lifelong education.

In GOP world, the vast majority of people are supposed to be "responsible for themself" by holding three part-time minimum-wage jobs with no health insurance. And the minimum wage should be eliminated at the earliest possible opportunity, because things are too damned cushy at the moment.

"which is the government pays for everything and it leaves you a little pocket change out of your check. That's barely an exaggeration."

It's barely sentient is what it is.

I'm nostalgic for Dwight Eisenhower. 93% top marginal tax rate, twenty-some or more personal tax brackets, the golden age of high and stable American growth.

True, John Boehner wept nostalgically at the part where we return to pre-Civil Rights, but he's from Cincinnati.

True, Jonas Salk said "fuck it, I'm not going to develop a polio vaccine. It's not worth my time. I quit."

But we limped along inside our iron lungs and became somebody.

i'm nostalgic for the days when a headline like "Special Report: Former Labradoodle breeder was tapped to lead U.S. pandemic task force" would have only been found in The Onion's reject pile.

but, delusions of tyranny rule us all.

I dont want to live in a country that rewards doing nothing, that pays for everything and requires no responsibility from its citizens.

What I take away from this is that you are opposed to expanding the welfare state. That's a reasonable objection, thank you for answering.

My own position on this, as always, is that the solution to the welfare state in an economy organized on the capitalist model is (a) increased distribution of ownership, and (b) increased engagement of labor in corporate governance.

In general, neither of the above are palatable to conservatives. So, a problem.

If we want to put the capitalist model on the table, I'm fine with that also, but I doubt it's on offer.

the best argument IMHO for moving beyond the EC and the indirect election of the President is that we have moved on and overcome the differences we had at the founding

That is, as far as I can tell, exactly the position I've expressed.

Also, I think states still mean something and have something to contribute.

Yes, I do as well.

I'm not arguing for the abolition of the states, or for eliminating state and local government.

As far as specifics, in this thread, I've advocated for direct election of the POTUS and VPOTUS, and I've questioned whether the Senate is actually an effective vehicle for ensuring that minority interests and points of view have an effective voice.

People in upstate NY probably have more in common with people in downstate OH, or central PA, than they do with people in the NYC metro area. Common areas of interest seem, to me, to be more strongly associated with particular Congressional districts - which may or may not be geographically contiguous - than they are with state borders.

At least, at this point in time. At the founding, that was arguably less so, but it is so now.

What would make more sense to me would be some way of building on the existing practice of coalitions of interest in the House to create a way of giving those kinds of minority positions greater agency.

I have no idea what the implementation of that would look like, it just seems more sensible than pretending that Two People From Iowa represent the interests of The People Of Iowa, because not everybody in IA is a farmer. Like not everyone in NY lives in NYC.

I don't disagree that there is value in making sure that the interests of people who represent smaller populations within the country as a whole are not overrun. I just don't think the Senate is a particularly good way to do it.

In general, I'm in favor of the federal government representing the people of the United States, rather than the states per se.

Another view on what to reset.

Stand back, he may be asymptomatic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLcNStHTDjM

Republicans, or conservatives, in general support things that create business opportunity because when the economy is supported then people have opportunity to achieve.

Democrats, in general, support paying individual people because when everybody has money then the economy will take care of itself.

Both of those things in balance are good.

Either by itself creates negative incentives that make things worse over time.

I'm for and against lots of things.

Socially I'm pretty liberal. A child of the sixties, I think Roe v Wade got it about right, but I dont get too upset over more access, late third term abortions seem problematic but dont happen a lot. I couldnt care less who you are in a relationship with as long as you are happy with them. I am for broader drug legalization than most people on either side. I think laws protecting me from myself are wrong but have learned to live with it. I dont think Affirmative action helps much but ok. I prefer programs based on economic status, including needs based access to Medicare plus, medicare leaves something to be desired in some areas. The safety net should be just that, if you dont needs base it it isnt a safety net.

I believe in voter id but dont understand the fuss either way. I know poor people, they all have ids, mostly to buy cigarettes or alcohol, or drive. I just dont understand the argument either way. If you want to require it you have to provide the option of a free id for people who dont. It wont be expensive, most people have one.

Economically I'm pretty conservative. Get a job, work, support yourself, use the safety net as little as possible. Keep the government out of the economy except in crisis or transition as much as possible.

Make the government make a budget and explain what money is spent on , use it for that until the next budget cycle.

Dont go to war. Like thou shalt not kill it should take an imminent threat to break that one.

I dont think most business owners are bad nor do I believe most workers are lazy.

I dont hate Democrats, I intensely dislike some Democratic politicians, and quite a few Republican politicians. In fact, I'm in general not find of people who lie and self aggrandize for a living. The definition of a politician.


That was mostly for cleek so you can actually know what I believe. As far as the right people getting stuff, I believe in most government programs being color blind, if they truly are then the benefits get allocated across racial lines in the same percentages as the problem it's meant to solve exist.

bc,

Correct me if I'm wrong. When places like Alaska or Nevada or Colorado were granted statehood by the rest of "us", they accepted it on the terms "we" offered -- including such provisions as the federal government ("us") reserving ownership of certain territory within their borders.

A clear example of "us" telling them "how to live", no doubt. But part of the original "contract", right? We (which includes "them", now) can reason together about whether or how to amend those "contracts", if we can get die-hard originalists like Marty to agree.

--TP

I know poor people, they all have ids, mostly to buy cigarettes or alcohol, or drive.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/getting-a-photo-id-so-you-can-vote-is-easy-unless-youre-poor-black-latino-or-elderly/2016/05/23/8d5474ec-20f0-11e6-8690-f14ca9de2972_story.html

Mostly, I think voter ID addresses a non-problem. But I don't really have a philosophical problem with it.

What I do have is a practical implementation problem. Let's say you wish to register to vote. How do you prove you are eligible? Maybe you have a birth certificate, to demonstrate that you are a citizen. But is it yours? There's no photo (and it would be useless if there was). There are no fingerprints. There's no DNA record.

So, is it really you? And how do you prove it? Because if you can't, what is that ID actually accomplishing? At most, once you have it, it might make it hard to vote twice . . . assuming you vote in person both times. But beyond that? Not seeing much.

I'm for and against lots of things.

That's all good.

As things stand now, the senior Senator from KY, which has 1.35% of the population of the United States, was able to prevent an overwhelmingly popular POTUS from nominating a SCOTUS justice, bottle up any legislation that is unpalatable to his sponsors, jam a generation of numbskull legal ideologues to the federal bench, and in general skew the operation of the federal government in directions that *are not* supported by the majority of the people who live here.

That is not acceptable. Period. Full stop.

You're basically a good guy, Marty, I think most people here would agree with that. That's not enough.

"He breeds LABrodoodle's"

Trump: "So, experience in a laboratory. Sign him up and put him in charge. A regula Dr. Frankenstein is exactly what we need."

"Give the part-time Jiffy Lube guy, who was second in line for the job, the EPA portfolio. He knows where all the storm drains are."

I have to say that Merrick Garland is pretty weak tea. Schumer would have done the same thing in reverse, any reference to the past is knowingly ignoring the decay of how things work in the Senate. Each step in lessening the rules begets the next.

And a Senate majority allowed that, which represents a lot more than 1.35% of the people in the country. He just happened to be in the chair.

the problem with voter ID laws is that a) everybody knows what they're for and b) the people who write them are on record telling us we were right about the first point.

they're sold as a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist but their fundamental purpose is to disenfranchise people who might vote for Dems.

it deserves to be opposed on those grounds.

--

but, Marty, i have very little problem with anything you wrote. and i agree with essentially all of it.

our big disagreements are really about the shape and elasticity of the safety net. i want it to be a big wider and a little more forgiving. and i don't think that really affects anyone's liberties.

most won't, but yes, there are people who will abuse the system and will choose it over working. but i think we need to accept that some of those people aren't really the job-holding type. and, lest i come off sounding like some Calvinist hard-ass here: i'm thinking about people in my own extended family - people who aren't dumb, but are just constitutionally not up for the rigors of showing up on time, sober and ready to be productive. i'd rather give them enough to get by on, and help them so that maybe someday they can find a way to support themselves. no hard deadlines, no threats of impending starvation, etc.. the alternative is to toss them on the street with a stern lecture about bootstraps or whatever. and that sounds like a terrible way to run a country.

that's an extreme example, yes.

Schumer would have done the same thing in reverse

Evidence? Seriously, what leads you to think that (prior to McConnell's stunt) Schumer would have done the same thing?

bc,

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Not exactly. Several things stand out: 1) the older states have much less restriction in terms of national lands. Frex, I can't fly straight south out of my home town in Alaska to hunt without going through a military MOA that is the size of a small state or go a LOT of places without going on federal land. And Alaskans typically use the land more (are more outdoorsy) than the rest of us. 2) Alaska's contract included 2 senators, so yes "us" telling them "how to live" included input from those two; and 3) Alaska's contract included the right to 90% of the royalties off of federal lands. So can Alaska force the feds to open up ANWR? I think the answer is yes, yet "us" have told "them" no for a long time.

There are obviously benefits too. Alaska as I know it couldn't exist without federal funds. But part of the deal was input via the system we have in exchange for taking over much of the aspects of governance.

cleek, The problem with voter id at this point is there are a growing number of people essentially going wtf, why shouldnt you have to prove who you are?

Despite the I'll intention of the politicians it is an issue that lots of people will support because if you dont want to prove who you are then something tricky musty be going on.

I'm as confident as you that it's not solving a meaningful problem, I also dont see why it is a bad thing. The hardest problems to solve are the ones simply based on distrusting the motives of the other group.

bc: 1) the older states have much less restriction in terms of national lands.

So what? I mean, maybe it's unfair, but what's "unfair" got to do with contracts? Two Senators per state seems "unfair" to me, but I hear that's part of the "contract" also too.

--TP

Marty: Schumer would have done the same thing in reverse

Hypothetical much, Marty?

--TP

That's not a hypothetical, it's an opinion based on how the Dems bypassed rules to pass the ACA and stopped requiring cloture for judges. But is an opinion.

I have to say that Merrick Garland is pretty weak tea.

I have to say that I don't think you have any idea how wrong you are about this. The measure of how "weak" the tea is, is how it was received by people who object to it.

It was fncking outrageous.

And "references to the past" in this case are what you have been calling "the rules".

And for the record, the "Senate majority" represents less than half the population of the country.

I don't think you're getting what we're saying here. Minority interests deserve a voice. Minority interests do not deserve to consistently and deliberately thwart majority interests at any opportunity they can grab.

That's not sustainable. And, therefore, one way or another, it won't be sustained.

You can only keep pissing people off for so long. That was the big Tea Party thing, right? We're mad as hell and we're not gonna put up with it anymore?

Well, we're mad as hell and we're not gonna put up with it anymore. And there are a lot of us.

The problem with voter id at this point

The problem with voter ID at this point is that the (R) party is plainly and transparently using it as a way to keep people who would not vote for them from voting.

By "plainly and transparently" I mean that representatives of the (R) party have stated this publicly.

Quit freaking doing that and maybe people will take the concerns about "voter fraud" more seriously. Right now it's laughable.

the older states have much less restriction in terms of national lands

Not for nothing, but a hell of a lot of people in MA make a living from fishing. It's something like $4.4B and 83,000 jobs, just in MA.

The feds regularly tell fishermen what they can catch, how much of it they can catch, and when they can catch it.

It sucks, and everybody bitches about it. It's as deep a tradition here as ranching or farming or whatever else is in other parts of the country.
People have been fishing the North Atlantic from this area for about 500 years. But nobody gets all "F this, we're gonna leave the country or start shooting people" about it.

We just freaking deal.

So while I appreciate the issues with federal land in Western states, my sympathy is tempered by the fact that we all put with stuff like that.

if you dont want to prove who you are then something tricky musty be going on

ASSUMING that there is some reasonable criteria for what constitutes "proof". But if, for example, a hunting license does, but a student ID doesn't? What are your (objective!) criteria for which kinds of IDs count and which ones don't work?

Take an obvious case. I could use my driver's license. But what did I have to do to get one of those? What proof of identity does the DMV accept for issuing a license? And what was required to get that proof? How is that different from the proofs required for other kinds of ID, which may or may not be acceptable?

Schumer would have done the same thing in reverse...

Utter rot, IMO.

Russell: The feds regularly tell fishermen what they can catch, how much of it they can catch, and when they can catch it.

I would add: the feds do that mainly to protect the fishermen from themselves. Left to their own capitalist, entrepreneurial "initiative", fishermen would soon catch ALL the fish, and next generation be damned. Left strictly to state regulation, MA fishermen could easily end up shooting at NH and ME fishermen (or more likely vice versa).

Protecting people from themselves is of course anathema to True Scotsmen, and conserving the fishery anathema to "conservatives".

--TP

bc: 1) the older states have much less restriction in terms of national lands.

Well, duh. At the time of the founding there was a lot less 'federal' land (like-virtually none in the original 13), and most had been sold off to private interests (cf NW Ordinance) as the nation grew westward by the genocidal elimination of the original inhabitants. One might say the primary industry in places like settler Tennessee was land speculation.

The western states were carved out of vast tracts of uninhabited land the BELONGED to the federal government (and most of it nobody wanted initially).

So yes, there were restrictions. The states agreed to them as a condition of joining the Union.

Alaska statehood proclamation here.

The political and regional rivalries surrounding new states entering the Union during the first half of the 19th century are well known. It took a bloody civil war to settle the question about "opting out". The south was reincorporated into the Union at the point of a gun. Look as you may, that principle is not expressly stated in the Constitution anywhere that I am aware of....but there is that clause at the beginning: WE THE PEOPLE.

Less known are the ongoing political issues that were involved with the admittance of the western states after the civil war. They were often quite bitter. Interesting reading.

You have to prove who you are to register to vote. You have to be registered to vote ... to vote. You have to show up at the right polling place to vote. The fact that you showed up and voted is on record, so you and someone pretending to be you can't both vote without raising a red flag. Someone pretending to be you doesn't necessarily know if you voted or not, so they'd be taking a pretty big chance showing up to vote illegally. The penalties are pretty stiff, especially when weighed against the benefit gained from a single vote.

I don't really have a philosophical problem with voter IDs, either. It's a practical one about how and why they've been attempted to be introduces, which others have covered already.

What I would add is that the onus should be on anyone trying introduce a voter-ID law to prove that doing so is worth the cost (i.e. it solves an actual problem, presumably significant voter fraud, commensurate with the cost of solving it) and that it does not unduly disenfranchise voters, especially that it doesn't disenfranchise specific classes of voters more so than voters in general. It seems that voter-ID proposals thus far have largely if not universally failed on both counts.

Well, duh.

I'm not sure why this response. I've read the Act several times (I did a paper in law school on why Alaska could sue to open ANWR). Pointing out that the West has more federal lands was in response to the argument that there was "not one single reason" in favor of less populous states having two senators. I just gave one.

And point taken, russell, re the fisheries.

What I would add is that the onus should be on anyone trying introduce a voter-ID law to prove that doing so is worth the cost

There should be an additional onus or two. (Is the plural onuses, oni, onim, what?)

1. Make it free and extremely easy to get an ID. This means neighborhood storefronts open early and late and on weekends. You can get a passport photo at CVS or Walgreen's - not sure if that's universal - but something like that should be.

2. Have enough damn polling places and enough machines. Do we really have to have voters standing in line for hours?

3. Early voting, starting no later than the Saturday ten days before election day, so there are two weekends available.

4. Mail-in ballots for those who want them.

5. Security. I don't know much about this but I bet it could be a lot better. Require paper trails, for one thing.

Do that, and I'll listen to talk about making voting more accurate.

I'll add that a new voting rights act, including anti-gerrymandering provisions, should be a high Democratic priority.

I'm not sure why this response.

It was in response to your point 1) which just stated the obvious without going into the context of how such a situation came to be--a point I find germaine.

Not sure what you are getting at with 2) us, them, who, what, where, why?

Point 3) Courts seem to have disagreed. But granted, courts sometime rule against what one feels is right or correct.

And point taken, russell, re the fisheries.

Yes, thank you.

To me, it demonstrates a cultural difference. The West has a tradition of, for lack of a better term, the rugged individual. The traditions are more communitarian where I live. Rooted, I think, in the English traditions of commonwealth.

Just a different set of assumptions.

As far as the voting stuff, it strikes me that the preference should be to enable as many people to vote as possible, rather than restrict the franchise. We can worry about preventing people from voting fraudulently in numbers sufficient to actually make a difference when and if that actually ever happens.

As of yet, to my knowledge, it has not.

Good lord. George Packer has come unhinged.

Never thought I'd live to see that day.

You have to prove who you are to register to vote.

Ah, but do you? Consider how trivial it is to get a fake driver's license -- which is considered "proof". And even having "proved" that you are Person X, do you have to prove (how?) that Person X is really a citizen and legally entitled to vote?

It seems to me that all you generally have to do to "prove" these things is be willing to take an oath (and risk perjury charges) to say they are true. And when was the last time that anyone was penalized for falsely registering to vote? Even in places which get exercised about voter IDs?

And when was the last time that anyone was penalized for falsely registering to vote? Even in places which get exercised about voter IDs?

Well, maybe not exactly what you're asking, but close enough.

Five years.

Consider how trivial it is to get a fake driver's license -- which is considered "proof”.

It’s a f**king PIA to get one where I live, assuming that, by fake, you mean real but fraudulently obtained under someone else’s name. Not that I’ve done that, but it must be at least as much of a PIA as getting a completely legitimate one.

Either way, the standards for proving who you are generally are the standards that that define what “proving who you are” means. Lax or stringent, they are still the standards “we” have adopted. If it’s that easy to get a form of ID that would count for voting or registering to vote, it doesn’t matter much if you present that easily-obtained ID at the time of registration or the time of voting.

What happens when the real person shows up to do either one?

Pointing out that the West has more federal lands was in response to the argument that there was "not one single reason" in favor of less populous states having two senators. I just gave one.

Well, let me say this.

First, the land is federally owned. So while that no doubt presents problems worth addressing, it also means that those of us who don't live in the west have some sayso about it as well. I always thought westerners were big on property rights.

Second, for all the rugged individualism my impression is that the West sucks on the federal teat quite a bit. Mining rights, grazing rights, water projects, agricultural subsidies, who knows what.

Am I wrong about that?

I always thought westerners were big on property rights.

Actually, no. Just private property rights. Rights regarding public (e.g. Federal) property are a whole different question. Mostly the traditional tendency is to regard them as "commons". And get outraged if the Feds actually try to enforce the law (pretty much any law) on them. See the Bundys nonsense -- they're nut cases, but not so far out of the usual as one living elsewhere in the country might assume.

The Feds may have to sell some land to pay for the COVID-19 response bill Trump and the Congress is running up.

It may not end up mattering what us old geezers think:

The semiannual poll of the nation’s 18-to-29-year-olds by the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics found that just 8 percent of likely voters say the “government is working as it should be,” while 90 percent said the existing system should be reformed or replaced.

For a generation that has grown up with the impacts of a historic recession, rising gun violence, and now a pandemic, the results were “unsurprising,” according to Justin Tseng, a sophomore at the Cambridge university and member of the Harvard Public Opinion Project, which conducted the poll. Tseng said the results were reflective of the student group’s anecdotal experiences interacting with friends and classmates on campus — even at an elite university.

“There’s a general anxiety that government isn’t addressing our problems,” Tseng said during a conference call Thursday, ticking off other stress-inducing issues like the costs of health care and housing.

We just need to make sure they get to the polls:

Interestingly, despite the enthusiasm generated by the Sanders campaign among young voters, the Harvard poll found that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s advantage over President Donald Trump was similar to the general election advantage that the Vermont senator would have if he had won the primary race.

The poll — taken before Sanders suspended his campaign — found that 62 percent of likely voters from age 18 to 29 would vote for Sanders in a hypothetical race against Trump, while 31 percent said they would vote for the Republican president; 6 percent said they would be undecided.

In the now-likely race between Biden and Trump, 60 percent said they would vote for Biden, 30 percent said they would vote for Trump, and 10 percent said they were undecided. While Democrats and Republicans mostly fell in line behind their presumptive nominees, young independents broke towards Biden over Trump at a more than two-to-one rate, 56 percent to 25 percent.

Cue the canned platitudes from the usual suspect about how the young get older and change their minds...

The young who are young now will still be young this November.

..., rising gun violence, ...

Perhaps "the perception of rising gun violence" would be more accurate. While not a precise measure of overall gun violence, gun homicides are near record lows.

the GOP is 93% behind a President who is suggesting maybe we could inject ourselves with bleach.

but... tyranny.

https://twitter.com/joshtpm/status/1253451487415619586

While not a precise measure of overall gun violence, gun homicides are near record lows.

Got a cite? Here's one to be going on with.

Here's another set of factoids, not directly apropos of the "rising" assertion but certainly pertinent to the topic in general:

Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related homicide rate is 25 times higher.[17] Although it has half the population of the other 22 nations combined, the U.S. had 82 percent of all gun deaths, 90 percent of all women killed with guns, 91 percent of children under 14 and 92 percent of young people between ages 15 and 24 killed with guns.[17]

But quibble away, Charles. I'm sure the young people who have been made to do active shooter drills at school for most of their young lives will be deeply comforted to hear your news.

Graphs in the OP updated for 4/23.

Janie, what Charles is saying (whether he admits it or not) is that things here used to be even more appalling. Nothing else.

Here's another one.

Doesn't look like gun homicides are at record lows to me, unless maybe you mean over the highly atypical time period since a lot of us started staying home all the time.

From the linked site:

At least 15,292 people were fatally shot in The United States in 2019, excluding suicides, according to data gathered by Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings. That’s a roughly 3 percent increase over 2018.

In 2018, gun injuries and deaths had declined for the first time since GVA began collecting data in 2014. The numbers crept higher this past year, but still fell below the peak recorded by the organization in 2017.

Doesn't sound like record lows to me.

Why exclude suicide? People shooting themselves seems like it would be about as traumatic as murder, to whoever was connected to the deceased.

Death by firearm of all sorts is about 40k a year. A little over 100 people a day.

Why exclude suicide?

I hope you're asking Charles, and not me, because I don't see the point of that either.

But my point in responding was to question his context- and evidence-free (not to mention condescending to the people in that survey) assertion on its face. Which leads me to wj's comment: I'm still waiting for a cite even on the bare "fact" that Charles asserted. I mean, he didn't even say gun homicides were down, he said they were at "near record lows." Nothing I can find comes close to supporting that claim.

Can't tell you what numbers Charles was looking at. But according to Pew, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/16/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/

"the number of gun murders [14,542 in 2017] remained far below the peak in 1993, when there were 18,253 gun homicides"

But the increase in gun suicides has driven the total gun deaths to rates not seen for half a century.

The evidence-free assertion that a quibbly little detail is wrong, as if it somehow invalidates the big picture and how people are feeling about it, is...tiresome, to put it politely.

People are scared and fed up. The notion that it's important to correct (without evidence) one factoid in the face of the sea of disaster young people are facing suggests a profound inability to see the forest for the trees.

wj -- every site I can find has a different set of numbers. My first link shows 2006-2017, with 2017 having the highest raw number of gun homicides, and the second highest rate per capita (my own calcs, from population data from somewhere else) in that set.

And with that I'm going to drop it, because I have let Charles suck me into a sidetrack that is deeply beside the point, both of my comment and of the OP.

Lies, damned lies......

Well, I suppose the alternative to looking at gun stats is looking at poll stats. Where Trump appears to be leveraging his position as the only national leader, worldwide, to fail to get a significant and sustained popularity bump from covid-19 into a path to defeat in November.

The only two questions, on current appearances, seem to be:
- how massive a loss can he achieve?
- how many down-ballot Republicans can he take down with him?

Homicide rates in the US peaked in 1980 and then again in 1991. The rate reached it's lowest since 1957 in 2014. While there's been an uptick in recent years, it's still a long way from previous highs. Gun homicides should be a close match to overall homicides.

Homicides in the US Fall for Second Year as Murder Rate Drops in 38 States (Chart)

"In other words, gun homicides have dropped substantially over the past 25 years — but most Americans believe the opposite to be true. Why? Perhaps in part because of the media focus on multiple-victim shooting incidents in recent years. Perhaps, too, because of the number and deadliness of those incidents. We’ve noted before that the number of fatalities in major mass-shooting incidents has increased dramatically in recent years; it’s possible that people are conflating increases in frequency and deadliness of mass shootings with the United States getting more dangerous generally."
Most Americans incorrectly think gun-murder rates have gotten worse, not better

And with that I'm going to drop it, because I have let Charles suck me into a sidetrack that is deeply beside the point, both of my comment and of the OP.

Yes, I should have left it alone saved us both some time.

"That things here used to be even more appalling" (to use wj's phrasing) is cold comfort given the level of appalling that we still manage to achieve. And as russell said, why cherry-pick to leave out gun suicides?

So thanks for providing the cite, but I still think it's beside the point, and destructively so. Knowing that there are fewer gun homicides than there used to be isn't going to reduce my support for "March for our Lives" by one cent, or make me vote any differently in relation to gun-related policies. And I doubt I'm alone in that sentiment.

One feature that I think matters is this. When the homocide rate was substantially higher, in the early 1990s, murder tended to be related to other kinds of crime. If you weren't around when one was being committed, and didn't associate (perhaps involuntarily, due to where you lived) with criminals, you weren't at major risk.

But now, we have (or at least seem to have) noticably more murder for its own sake. The kind of thing that results in mass shootings, where the salient characteristic of the victims is that they are a) unlikely to be able to fight back, and b) conveniently clustered together. In a 1990s murder, a school (especially a grammer school) was unlikely to be the scene of the crime. (And if it was, a love affair gone wrong was likely involved somehow.) Now, kids have shelter-in-place drills because schools are prime locations for mass shooters.

In short, people** feel more vulnerable now, even though the number of homocides is down. Because for most of us and our families, the chances of being involved have actually increased. And it isn't obvious what, absent serious gun controls, we can do about it.

** Specifically the kind of people who vote, and donate to campaigns, and write Letters to the Editor and blogs.

Also a lot of single homicides could have taken place without a gun present (in particular domestic ones). Shooting is (in the moment) just more convenient than stabbing, strangling, clobbering, drowning in the bathtub, suffocating with a pillow, rat poison, running over with a car etc. etc.
Something like Las Vegas would be nigh impossible without rapid fire guns or explosives (even the traditional arson has lost a bit of effecticveness). And mass murder tends to be more headline grabbing than the same number of victims in a more individual context (cf. also landmines vs 9/11). On the other hand, 'minor' mass shootings have become so 'normal' that they rarely become national news anymore (like 'our daily carbomb' in Iraq).

Because for most of us and our families, the chances of being involved have actually increased.

While they are horrific and get a lot of attention, the lifetime odds of dying in a mass shooting are about 1 in 11,125 or 0.009%.

How likely is gun violence to kill the average American? The odds may surprise you

CharlesWT: I suspect you don't know what those odds look like to inhabitants of other first world democracies.

GftNC,

The word "other" is probably redundant in your 7:16 to CharlesWT. In first world democracies full stop, it is not necessary for disinfectant manufacturers to warn the public against Dear Leader's word salad about injecting or ingesting Lysol.

--TP

TP: ;-)

Here's the bit that set off the gun thing:

For a generation that has grown up with the impacts of a historic recession, rising gun violence, and now a pandemic, the results were “unsurprising,”

As of the time this was written, something like 187,000 American kids had experienced a shooting on their school campus since Columbine in 1999.

The article is dated March 31, 2018, so it's higher now. Let's just round it up to 200K.

I don't recall any school shootings, at all, when I was a kid. Maybe they happened, they weren't "a thing". Now they are a thing.

Kids have to go to school. Homeschool is option, but not for everyone, and if you don't homeschool, your kids have to go to school. And all of those kids are reminded, typically a few times a year, that some random pissed off disaffected dude - always a dude - can walk into school one day and kill them.

IMO Janie's point stands.

The Feds may have to sell some land to pay for the COVID-19 response bill Trump and the Congress is running up.

Gun deaths may be at some wonderful low, but the economic and policy stupidity expressed above appears to continue unabated. Getting gun deaths to near zero (now ask yourself-wouldn't that be better?) would be a trivial social exercise, but economic stupidity appears to be intractable.

Thanks for all the additional context, everyone.

I would add one more contextual feature: the survey I cited that started this topic going was about young people's attitudes toward government that mentioned that the people surveyed were concerned about "rising gun violence."

Charles came back with a context-free assertion that gun murders are at "historic lows" in this country. When pressed for evidence, he cited a 2018 article that said that the peak for gun violence was in IIRC 1994.

Most of the people in the Harvard survey weren't even born then. Columbine was in 1999.

Injection of bleach is likely to have some immediate unpleasant (some even say violent) side effects, so use of a restrainibg chair or couch is advised. Once you do not feel any of them anymore* (it won't take long) let some third person apply liberal amounts of quicklime. This should guarantee that the virus can no longer harm you and is very unlikely to infect others coming in contact with you.
Warning: homoeopathic bleach will not do.
Please consult your doctor, minister and executor in advance, whether this treatment suits your condition!

*the almost inevitable exitus fatalis insipidi is (in the opinion of leading medical personnel) not painful per se, although some religious scholars postulate a very intense feeling of warmth of undeterminate length afterwards.

..., but economic stupidity appears to be intractable.

This certainly seems to be the case with politicians and bureaucrats who are now spending money the government doesn't and won't have any time soon.

And, due to a black swan event, Trump gets to spend the impossible amounts of money that the Democrats wanted to spend on single-payer health care and green new deals.

I don't know why everyone is being so hard on the president. He just suggested looking into putting intense light and disinfectants into the body to kill the virus. It might work in one minute, but we won't know unless we look into it.

It's very promising, and I'm glad he's so open minded about all the possibilities for a cure. It gives me a lot of hope, and I appreciate his bold leadership in this time of crisis.

Let's all come together and get behind him for the sake of our great nation.

" who are now spending money the government doesn't and won't have any time soon."

And once AGAIN we see the persistent pre-modern belief that the government has a big pile of shiny metal that has to be replenished before it's gone or DISASTER!

It's bits. On a computer.

Let me know when you have to take a wheelbarrow full of terabyte drives to the store to buy a loaf of bread, m'kay?

I would add one more contextual feature: the survey I cited that started this topic going was about young people's attitudes toward government that mentioned that the people surveyed were concerned about "rising gun violence."

In the survey, people weren't asked about gun violence. The "rising gun violence" was an assertion made by the author while linking to an article about the increase in gun violence over a period of two years, not a generation. During the lifetimes of the people surveyed, gun violence has increased some in recent years after declining all their lives to a 65 year low.

It's bits. On a computer.

So is the Bitcoin I have. And, unlike the Dollar, it can't be inflated.

due to a black swan event

What is this black swan event, kemosabe? Presumably you don't mean the virus, since we have been hearing for years it was likely to happen, and some countries were reasonably prepared for it. If you mean that the election of Jackass was a black swan event, you may have a point, although personally I was delighted to have my historic characterisation (on this very site) of Sarah Palin as Jackass's John the Baptist recently validated (as an expression, it was already validated in fact) in that Atlantic piece linked by me and bobbyp, which means even that was foreseeable to the wise (among whom I do not count myself).

So is the Bitcoin I have. And, unlike the Dollar, it can't be inflated.

If you don't think the price of Bitcoin can go up, why do you have it? ;^)

the Bitcoin I have. And, unlike the Dollar, it can't be inflated.

Yup, we've all noticed what a marvelous store of value Bitcoins are. Oh, wait....

Bitcoin is currently about $7,500. It started out at about $0.06.

everyone knows injecting disinfectant only works on windmill-related cancers.

(not mine, sadly)

"And, unlike the Dollar, it can't be inflated."

That, and a dollar, will get you a cup of coffee.

Bleach is extra, although MAGA Covid preppers are OPEC-ING the crap out of bleach with their inflated Bitcoins.

Some of em got hold of some bad bleach in the black market for bleach, which takes only Bitcoin as a unit of exchange (There's nothing in the Constitution ... full stop. Well ... there isn't, besides vague generalizations, and it was written purposely like that because the Framers, being in a hurry to stop at the wet market in downtown Boston to pick up some animal innards for supper, knew jacktards in 2020 would kvetch about lugging around the 5 million page Constitution, let alone reading the details, the ifins, the ands, and the buts, let alone being forced to buy muscle shirts with bigger breast pockets in them to hold the durned thing; cut to the chase, they say), which is to say what they got hold of only put them into permanent comas, instead of outright killing them in horrific, writhing deaths throes, though the upside is the bleach sweetened their breath and prevented them from contracting Covid-19, cancer, black heart disease, diphshittheria, and every other disease your normal live, still kicking human is prone to.

Understandable, the hoarding that is, as Bleach is a healthy stand-in for Blood Mary mix in a Pinch, which starts with P, which rhymes with T, which stands for Trouble.

I prefer a little dill pickle juice but freedom is a ringing in my ears, but I can't seem to answer it.

I know this, after all, I'm ...

The stores were already having trouble keeping bleach in stock. And now Trump wants people to inject it???

I'm guessing the lines outside the store are going to get longer.... Well, at least until his fans start exhibiting the results of evolution in action.

Random notes on federal land ownership in the West. Yes, I have a bias...

At the time the western states were being admitted, federal practice was to move federally-owned land into state or private hands as quickly as possible. Western states assumed that was the deal they were getting. This changed informally over the period 1895-1905, when eastern representatives in Congress decided that the public lands should be held as resource reserves (eg, we might need that crappy timber that grows in Colorado). Of course, only western states were affected (cartogram of the 48 contiguous states, scaled by federal land holdings), and voted against it. The policy that public lands would be held by the federal government forever was formalized in 1976, and essentially every member of Congress from a western state voted against it.

The response to "the states won't be able to afford to manage the lands" is to point at the very long list of federal mismanagement. There are reasons that, according to a friend, the informal slogan at the Western Governors Association is "Do you know what those d*ckheads at BLM have done now?" There's a plausible case that can be made that a more correct statement is "the states won't be able to afford as many mistakes."

Western states do derive some benefits from federal ownership. OTOH, eastern states have derived enormous benefits from the feds giving them federally owned land. From time to time Congress has considered ceding the public lands to the states. They only do this during serious economic downturns, and with conditions that would require the states to immddediately fix problems created by the feds.

This is not a case of all happening long ago. Ask California about Trump and his appointees overruling California's water plans. Multiple western states are unable to manage the power grid to maximize use of renewable sources because the quasi-feds control key parts of the transmission system and don't want to play nice.

The explanations for the light-and-disinfectant comments I just now heard on the radio are that the comments were taken out of context (from WH staffers) and that El Naranja was being sarcastic and only saying those things to see how reporters would react (from El Naranja, himself).

In what conceivable context would those comments not be idiotic?

Why, during a global pandemic, would the President of the United States of America, on camera, be playing games like that with reporters?

Rod Serling couldn't make this sh*t up.

the GOP is 93% behind a President who is suggesting maybe we could inject ourselves with bleach.

The fact that anyone not on the staff of the Onion would even think to name the concept of injecting ourselves with bleach (or of putting sunlight inside our bodies to disinfect them) is mind-boggling. The fact that a person who would name that concept as if it were a serious proposal for doctors to test became the president of the United States is beyond the realm of anything my meager imagination could ever have concocted. The fact that a bloc comprising 93% of one of the two major political parties in this country still supports him makes me pretty sure going to live in the deepest north woods might have been the best idea after all.

I blew it.

Oh, and let me add one other incredulity, which is the fact that we have a significant section of the population that is so fucking stupid that experts have to be found to warn people that actually, injecting bleach is a really really really bad idea.

And Michael gives me an opening... :)

"The federal government owns 640 million acres of land—mainly in the West—which is 28 percent of land in the United States. For more than a century after the nation’s founding, the federal government aimed to sell or give away western lands to individuals, businesses, and state governments. But by the turn of the 20th century, federal policy came under the sway of progressives, who favored increased federal control.

Progressives had a misguided notion that federal ownership would be efficient and environmentally sound. Broadly speaking, they were wrong. Experience has shown that federal agencies mismanage land from both economic and environmental perspectives, as discussed here and here. The solution is to devolve ownership of most federal land to the states and private sector. "
Privatizing Federal Grazing Lands

"Protected public lands in the United States — including national forests, national parks, and similar areas — cover nearly 500,000 square miles, or 14 percent of the land area of the United States. The existence of these government-controlled lands gives the federal government immense power over much of the United States, and in some US states, the federal government controls a majority of the land area."
Privatizing Public Lands Doesn't Mean Turning Them Into Shopping Centers


"Federal entities account for 7 percent of U.S. power generation, and they own about 14 percent of the nation’s transmission lines. Most of the power carried by the PMAs is hydroelectric, but an exception is that BPA buys power from the Columbia Nuclear Generating Station, owned by the state of Washington."
Privatizing Federal Electricity Infrastructure

I suppose I should say something since I'm the resident lunatic on the subject of a partition of the states. Although russell is coming along :^)

It's not a ripe issue yet. Maybe in 40 years. I think there are several trends that lead to it in combination. The most important ones, IMO, are climate change and things driven by any meaningful responses to it. And of course, if the trends don't come out the way I think they will, the issue may never be ripe.

Lots of the comments to this point reflect that unripeness. Uncountable trillions in wealth will be destroyed? Not if people who want a partition are handling the accounting. Who gets the nukes? If the US has already become just a regional military power, it doesn't matter who gets the nukes. Common culture? The current pandemic has raised an interesting example. In the 13-state west, most states have ballot initiatives. A very large majority of all ballots cast are already cast by mail. Almost all of the big population states redistrict by commission (either nonpartisan or bipartisan), not the legislature, and much of that has happened because of initiative. Outside of the West, not so much. I claim those are important cultural differences already.

Partition isn't going to happen today. It's going to happen in 25-40 years. Any sort of meaningful analysis has to be based on a projection of things to that time period.

hairshirt.... Great minds. ;-)

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