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July 13, 2020

Comments

I would really like to see a link that supports your understanding of what corporations' duty to shareholders is other than returning money on their investment.

What I'm trying to call out here is whether corps have a responsibility to a broader set of stakeholders than their shareholders.

In addition, I would like to better understand why you think that laws and regulations aren't enough to make this problem go away.

Since corps are a creature of law, laws and regulations are, precisely, an appropriate mechanism for "making this problem go away".

The question is what laws can be passed, or even imagined, in a given society.

Four articles/op eds gleaned from the postings of three of my college friends. One is an editor for Market Watch, one is a certified investment manager for sustainable investing, one is a business school professor:

https://evonomics.com/maximizing-shareholder-value-dumbest-idea/

https://hbr.org/2012/08/hows-that-shareholdery-valuey.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/11/opinion/nocera-down-with-shareholder-value.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2013/06/26/the-origin-of-the-worlds-dumbest-idea-milton-friedman/

...from the postings of three of my college friends.

My friends are not the authors of the pieces; my friends linked to those articles on their own blogs or on their class pages.

What I'm trying to call out here is whether corps have a responsibility to a broader set of stakeholders than their shareholders.

Then pass a law.

The question is what laws can be passed, or even imagined, in a given society.

My answer would be that people need to understand the role of corporations, the role of government, and make the proper legal adjustments. It's a good conversation to have, and I am on your side in it.

I don't think anyone is arguing against laws that keep corporations in line. But it seems they're needed more than ever and it's harder to get them passed because so many people in power buy into the extreme and distilled concept of maximizing shareholder value above all else.

Perhaps, before any new regulations are created, the politicians and bureaucrats should clear out the underbrush of nitpicking micromanaging non-sensical counter-productive existing regulations.

"Considering all federal regulations, all sectors of the U.S. economy, and all firm sizes, federal regulations cost $8,086 per employee per year in 2008," according to a 2010 study from the Small Business Administration (SBA). "For firms with fewer than 20 employees, the cost is $10,585 per employee per year. The cost is $7,454 in medium-sized firms, and $7,755 in large firms."

"Costs per employee thus appear to be at least 36 percent higher in small firms than in medium-sized and large firms," the SBA concluded.

Revisiting the issue in 2016, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation study found "federal regulations alone are estimated to cost the American economy as much as $1.9 trillion a year in direct costs, lost productivity, and higher prices. The costs to smaller businesses with 50 employees or fewer are nearly 20% higher than the average for all firms."
Small Businesses Benefit From Deregulation But Remain Stymied by Trump's Trade Policy: Dump intrusive trade policies to give a real boost to consumers and entrepreneurs.

Never mind all the state and local regulations.

Thanks, nous, for those links. Lynn Stout's article (the late Lynn Stout - she died a couple of years ago from cancer) is intriguing (although her footnotes are mostly Lynn Stout's). Also, some of the other articles rely on her work. I will definitely read more of her work.

That said, I don't know how one understands corporations to be owned by anyone else but shareholders. I mean, they own a share, right? And the corporation's equity is divided into shares, right? So forgive me if I went to law school understanding corporations as they were understood in 1980, but I also read some corporate history, and I don't know how else to think about them, which is why I'll read more, but so far I don't get it.

I do understand that there are other stakeholders. Having mostly, myself, been either an employee or customer, I get how a corporation is there to serve the customers, and needs to have employees to do all the work.

But customers either buy it or don't buy it, and assuming the corporation isn't a monopoly, the customer can go elsewhere.

Worker rights are trickier, and (again) laws should ensure fair employee wages, non-discrimination, benefits, etc.

And, obviously, for enlightened people, there are other business entities, and businesses can create their own organizing structures, so the sky's the limit for people wanting to opt out of public corporations (but most people don't because that's where the money is, am I right?).

So, I still don't get the problem with laws being the answer to all of this.

But I will read more of the work of Lynn Stout. Thanks again.

Then pass a law.

Do the words "begging the question" mean anything to you?

Anyway, enough from me on this. Peace out, have a nice day.

Do the words "begging the question" mean anything to you?

Someone has some persuading to do. I don't think it's me. You've not really articulated a plan for how your [whatever it is you're asking for] happens. I don't oppose it. I just don't get it.

So, yes, please be happy - today and always!

By the way, corporate law is state law. russell, I know you're out, but your very enlightened state could pass some kind of law requiring corporations to "do the right thing" anytime. There's no red state barrier here.

You've not really articulated a plan

Above my pay grade. I write code, and I play music. We should be able to discuss these things without having to present a grand plan to fix them all.

The grand plan, if there were one, would be to change the culture. That's well beyond my abilities.

I'm observing that, in the US, we lack the ethos that would make it possible to create the kind of social infrastructure that Mishra seems to be calling for. The value system that would support that is simply not a part of who we are, at least not in a broad-based way.

It seems a fairly obvious point, to me. We could make other choices, but we don't.

Anyway, enough from me on this. Peace out, have a nice day.

It has not always been thus.

Can states pass laws? They certainly can.

I'm observing that, in the US, we lack the ethos that would make it possible to create the kind of social infrastructure that Mishra seems to be calling for.

I would opine that it's not the ethos. It's that we need a supermajority of Americans to go for it, not the majority that we already have. We are stuck in a difficult situation, but our current failure at addressing the pandemic could be a turning point if we make it so. So let's work together to do that.

By the way, I disagree with nous's channelling Mishra's actual views about Obama. Nous himself thinks that Obama wasn't transformative. I think he was. I think we're experiencing a blowback which might be permanent unless we keep fighting and win.

People resented the hell out of the transformative act of electing an African-American president. That's all they care about - to negate it.

This is about hope and change, not corporate governance.

Can states pass laws?

There's a reason corps like to be registered in DE.

To no small degree, questions about corporations are kind of a side issue. Corporate law reflects the society in which the corporation exists.

Corporate law reflects the society in which the corporation exists.

Do you think there are no foreign shareholders of Delaware companies? Do you think that Delaware companies are only owned by US persons? This isn't about the United States.

Also, you have a vote. Do you have a 401K or other savings plan, and invest in public corporations? Don't, if you don't like them. Take your money out and do something else. Buy a rental property and run it on your own terms. (Or not - there are probably laws.)

Obama was not transformative. His election may have been the awakening of a political consciousness that could become transformative in time, but that is not at all the same thing.

Lincoln was transformative.

FDR was transformative.

Reagan, gods help us all, was transformative.

Clinton was a product of Reagan's transformation.

Meanwhile, if the last 3.5 years have taught us anything, it's that years of policy and international coalition building can be torched to the ground in four years of concerted ratfucking.

Whatever seeds the election of a black man might have planted, we are going to be years trying to rebuild before those seeds bear fruit.

Obama wasn't transformative for you, nous. He was probably transformative for this guy. Time will tell who else.

And if you don't think there wasn't fallout after Lincoln, nous, you're not paying attention to what's happening now.

By the way, nous, I respect you a lot, and I'll read Lynn Stout. But you're not a seer.

"There are no experts of tomorrow, only of yesterday." —Jack Ma

Sad to say, CharlesWT, I agree again.

Obama wasn't transformative for you, nous. He was probably transformative for this guy. Time will tell who else.

Probably, God help us, he was transformative for Trump, too. Not to mention his fanboys. Transformative in that it rocked their world to see a black man, even one as non-threatening as Obama, in the White House.

Probably, God help us, he was transformative for Trump, too. Not to mention his fanboys.

To me, "transformative" doesn't mean that we're all raptured to the better place. So Trump definitely is the depressing, and possibly soul-crushing blowback to the transformative nature of the Obama presidency (for people, not nous). But there were the 2018 Congressional elections, and a lot of people with hope for 2020. Unfortunately, Trump has done a lot of damage, and the pandemic is epic damage on top of horrible damage already. So, yeah. The Civil War was damage, post Reconstruction was damage. Let's deal with the damage as best we can while moving forward.

We just lost two civil rights heroes. Transformative, if we keep it up. If corporations are the problems, sell your stocks. I sold most of mine. Just saying. It may not have been wise, but now I can talk (theoretically at least). I have very little skin in that game.

Speaking of symptoms and diseases, a slightly different take from Dahlia Lithwick via LGM

Taking him on for transactional purposes may seem like not that big a deal at first, but the moment you put him in your pocket, you become his slave. It is impossible to escape his orbit without having to admit a spectacular failure in moral and strategic judgment, which almost no one can stomach. Donald Trump’s emptiness is simply a mirror of the emptiness of everyone who propped him up. It’s that reflection that becomes unendurable. This pattern, as Mary writes, “guaranteed a cascade of increasingly consequential failures that would ultimately render all of us collateral damage.” Nobody, not even Mary, who signed on briefly to ghostwrite one of his books, ends up just a little bit beholden to Donald Trump and that includes his rapturous supporters who still queue up, maskless, to look upon his greatness. As she concludes, his sociopathy “reminds me that Donald isn’t really the problem at all.” That makes hers something other than the 15th book about the fathoms-deep pathologies of Donald Trump: It is the first real reckoning with all those who “caused the darkness.”

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/07/mary-trump-book-psychoanalysis-enablers.html

Obama was a historic president. Obama was an inspirational president. He was more historic and more inspirational than most other presidents.

Yet his accomplishments were slight. Not his fault. Congress was set against him, and the Democratic party was completely anodyne and toothless behind him. Most of what he did, he had to do by executive order. Those orders have largely been swept away in a single term.

He's accomplished a lot more as a public figure than he did as a president. Yes, I separate those two things - the king's two bodies and all that.

FDR, Lincoln, and Reagan (to a lesser, subtractive extent) all transformed the federal government at the structural level to go with their personal accomplishments.

A fascinating thing in the book, to me, was that Trump apparently tried to slip papers for signature to his already dementing father, the effect of which would have been to put Donald himself in sole control of his father's estate after death, such that his siblings would have been entirely dependent on him and he could have effectively disinherited them from the $1 billion dollar estate (I hadn't known it was that big). The scam was only thwarted because his mother happened to be present when the lawyer came with the papers, and also it happened to be one of his father's more lucid days. And so his siblings were told about it. Yet they still all cooperated after the death to bilk Mary and her brother. What an astonishingly rotten family they are. Rotten through and through.

FDR, Lincoln, and Reagan (to a lesser, subtractive extent) all transformed the federal government at the structural level to go with their personal accomplishments.

LBJ should perhaps be added then.

In terms of inspiring people and moving us on, I think Obama will rank highly, assuming we're not ground to dust.

Rotten through and through.

Very much the disease itself.

WRT the events in Portland, Cleveland, and now possibly in Chicago, what think people here of any analogy to the Preußenschlag?

WRT the events in Portland, Cleveland, and now possibly in Chicago, what think people here of any analogy to the Preußenschlag?

Worrisome as hell.

It is not an analogy. It is the thing itself.

We ain't seen nothing yet.

Meanwhile, as Trump's niece and Mishra (his book, Age of Anger, was historically interesting) try to explain to us the root of the problem, Trump jumps ahead straight into mass murder and genocide, followed right along by all of his malignant, sadistic staff and family and his cynical gummint-hating republican operatives busying stealing the fillings out of every decent government mouth:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/07/no-testing-for-you

Meanwhile, Chris Wallace, who is a FOX News grifter, after all, why would a professional journalist remain with that outfit, cancels any effectiveness his interview with trump might have had by now challenging Biden to sit down with him for some hard-hitting bullshit, like maybe Biden could do anything ... eyes rolling up into his head, drooling, masturbating on camera, gargling cologne, god forbid, promising to raise taxes .. that would somehow make this election, should it occur and be observed by the lawfully defeated, anything other than a starkly binary choice between outright murderous EVIL and a ham sandwich who gets us stumbling through four additional years while the conservative movement is wiped off the face of the Earth for good and forever.

What happens after that, liberal, conservative, whatever, is not relevant to this moment.

Kill this monster.

It's either bomb Hiroshima or lose millions of lives in a prolonged savage Civil War.

First things first.

Yes, Obama was a good man.

A time for good men will come again after evil men and women are eliminated by ruthlessly determined men and women.

Drove up to Wyoming yesterday and caught sight of the comet, thru binoculars.

It looked like it was getting the hell away from us as fast as possible.

By November, all of us will wish we had booked seats on the comet and were nuking from space.

As it is, I can't even book a flight to the Bahamas because republicans and conservatives are super-spreading diseased livestock, enlisting the very children on the effort to murder us, and purposefully so.

WRT the events in Portland, Cleveland, and now possibly in Chicago, what think people here of any analogy to the Preußenschlag?

Portland is an unusual place. It seems to be the preferred venue for anarchist vs. white supremacist cage matches, going back decades.

What I'd really like is for the anarchists to stand the hell down and let peaceful folks do their thing.

It would also be good if the state and city got on the same page, and if both of them got on the same page as the local cops.

Trump appears to be determined to sell it as the left run amok, with weak-kneed local (D)'s caving in to anarchist demands. Which, of course, requires him to step in with the feds.

Better the feds, I guess, than the Oath Keepers and the III'ers, but it's a mess nonetheless.

I have no idea how it fits into any kind of master strategy, because I don't think there is one, and I don't think Trump et al are really capable of crafting one. It's just a chance for him to play a tough guy on TV.

WRT the events in Portland, Cleveland, and now possibly in Chicago, what think people here of any analogy to the Preußenschlag?

For a tiny state (Delaware, Rhode Island), or one with a tiny population (Wyoming), it might be possible for Trump to fake a takeover of a state. But to be as effective as Preußenschlag, he would need to take out a major state government. And even if he had people capable of organizing such an effort, he just doesn't have the resources to pull it off. It's a huge step up from having thugs pick up a few dozen random protesters to actually shutting down a state government.

Which isn't to say that he won't try. Mere impossibility doesn't faze him, after all. But it would, I think, blow up in his face big time.

Have been reading these comments with great interest.

I had read the Applebaum piece before it was posted about here. One of the things that struck me led back to a reference by Corey Robin (whom I don't know how many of you know, but is active on Facebook and has written a number of books on conservatism) awhile back on how the shift from left to right proved to be more pivotal in the 20th century than any in the opposite direction (re Sidney Hook, Irving Howe, et al). With Applebaum, it seems that she is an example of a shift in the other direction, though only a partial one - more a shift from the right-of center to center-left.

As for Obama being a transformative president, I would say that he could potentially have been had he had a Congress that was willing to work with him. But mostly he didn't, which is why so much of what he tried to do easily got undone under 45. But it's also instructive to step back and really consider what his core beliefs and locus of policy was independent of a Congress to realize it. Economically he didn't break from the prevailing paradigm, that he was responsible for more deportations than even the second Bush, and that even if he had a Congress that he could really have gotten business done with, would it have been as radical as some hoped and others feared? The ACA at most only went halfway in addressing the insanity of American health care - it needed a public option for it to really do what it could have done, and that got taken off the table early on.

As for 45 - I too am freaking out over Portland, and his new threats to reprise it in NY, Chicago, Detroit, and so on. But I also feel an equal and opposite reaction to step back and level my head to see that so much of this is desperation, that it possibly still represents the end of something more than the beginning of something, that it's creating enough outrage to stop or curtail it.

I don't want to be sanguine or Panglossian. But I also think that freaking out over it gives him exactly what he wants, and we should not be giving him the satisfaction. This is a new civil rights moment that white people never though they would be the objects of. How did blacks react? Run away? No, they didn't. Nor should we.

No insignia, no badge, no nametape: no authority, and no right not to be shot on sight.

It does seem like others in the area should be reporting it to the police as a kidnapping. And the the license plate number of the van. Just like you would if you witnessed any other kidnapping.

Maybe it's my ignorance showing. But I am under the distinct impression that standard protocol, for all police agencies (local, state or Federal) is to announce, loudly, who they are when making an arrest. Precisely to make clear that they have some kind of formal authority and are not engaged in kidnapping, mugging, etc. Because without said authority, resistance (even with deadly force) would be justified.

Surely 2nd Amendment enthusiasts will not let this government tyranny stand unchallenged.

More great and frightening changes to outrage Trump and company:

  • Before last night's exhibition game, several members of the Giants team, and the manager, knelt for the national anthem. Well, they are the San Francisco Giants, so what would you expect?
  • Late in the game, Giants assistant coach Alyssa Nakken became the first woman to coach on the field (at first base) during a major league game. Next they'll be letting women actually play with the guys.**
Surely the end of days is upon us when even baseball isn't sacred.

** Most sports give advantages to certain physical characteristics. For example, basketball favors height. Baseball is unusual in that the characteristics it favors, excellent eyesight and fast reflexes, are not sex-linked.

This is the year kneeling will become mundane, every player, every team in the NBA will be kneeling, most of baseball will be, I suspect we wont have ssb at football games. Protest has become movement, now if anyone can define a goal it might have all been worthwhile.

Getting Kaepernick a 0job wont accomplish much.

Protest has become movement, now if anyone can define a goal it might have all been worthwhile.

Convincing more people that systemic racism exists, particularly in the criminal justice system, and getting them to appreciate how wrong it is?

We are all convinced, now what?

Who is "we"? If something remotely approaching everyone ever is truly convinced and appreciates the wrongness of it, I imagine the political will to correct it will be more than sufficient, and we can have a more just society.

How do suggest people who want to see change go about making that widely known?

Actually I should not be so flip. Can we point to one thing that we can change to solve that problem? What action or law allows that to exist, or encourages it? What is the actual goal of convincing more people? Will we reach a point where it is even a dialogue?

Movements need a goal to maintain momentum, once everyone kneels then it is a meaningless act participated in by all to no purpose, having solved nothing.

We are now in the less community policing cycle, 30 years ago the complaint was the police didnt have enough presence, now it's too much. The problem is there is no desired outcome to measure success against.

The problem is there is no desired outcome to measure success against.

Fewer incidents of police violence, particularly against Black people. See Camden, NJ, the city I am in at this very moment.

And how about not putting so many people in prison?

The problem is there is no desired outcome to measure success against.

People can live their lives without fear. Either of the police or the criminals/gangs.

Sounds like a reasonable goal. At least a good first cut.

Somewhere upthread, or in another thread, HSH asked the same question that comes up all the time. He asks, in so many words, how in the world can rational adults ever support someone like Trump. I'm pretty much out of the conversations here and in my physical neighborhood because this is the same question the die-hard Trumpers keep asking from their side of the void. They are just as sure about their views as everyone here is about their own. They view the Prog Left as incoherent, authoritarian nuts who, among other things, have lost their collective minds in the aftermath of the Floyd George killing. They absolutely deny that they follow a not-very-bright, full blown narcissist who beclowns himself daily. I've concluded both sides are right about the other. Matt Taibbi, once again, lays out the reasons why I--and others--can no more lie in your bed than I can in Trump's. Taibbi is lucid, factual and reasoned. A rare and welcome commodity in these times.


https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-left-is-now-the-right

We can reduce the number of people in prison and the number of people shot by just going back thirty years and reducing community policing, which is afaict what defund the police means. But then we roll back the positive effects community policing has had on safety in those communities.

So we start the cycle again.

Matt Taibbi

Nope. Gross. Disgusting misogynist.

Again, see Camden, NJ.

I mean, you'd think there wasn't a world out there outside the US and that far less intrusive and violent policing never coincides with lower crime rates. No, it's impossible. We can't address our social ills other than by tackling people, beating people, tasing people, shooting people, or throwing people in jail.

Yeah. Screw Taibbi. I'm not giving him the traffic. But a majority of the country disapproves of Trump. Are they all "the left" and out of their minds? What do your Trump-supporting friends say about you, McKinney, for thinking they're just as bad as the loony left? I'm sure some put you in the same basket as they would put me. Ain't subjectivity grand? Both sides! Meh...

sapient, if you're following, I put a comment with a link under wj's "The Fix" post that might interest you.

We can reduce the number of people in prison and the number of people shot by just going back thirty years and reducing community policing, which is afaict what defund the police means.

AFAICT, "defund police" (in my opinion a really terrible gloss on what is actually intended) means putting more resources into having government agencies other than the police do those tasks which do not actually require police expertise. For example, mental health issues and homelessness.**

But it has nothing to do with community policing per se. After all, "community policing" has to do with having the police engage with the people in the community. So as to have established relationships in place when they need members of the community to assist with information, etc. In fact, if the police aren't doing all that non-police stuff, they will have more bandwidth available for building relationships in the community.

** Who knows. We might actually fund and establish the community based mental health efforts which were the rationale for getting rid of the mental health hospitals half a century ago. Better (very) late than never.

"We can't address our social ills other than by tackling people, beating people, tasing people, shooting people, or throwing people in jail."

Maybe we should focus on those social ills and not the consequence of them. What do you propose? See I am not being dense, I have listened to the systemic racism argument for decades and except for what is a very small set of anecdotal data no one can express what systemically we should change.

If the answer systemically is to just not police then ok, just say that.

Maybe we should focus on those social ills and not the consequence of them. What do you propose?

One thing we could do is look at what's worked in other places around the world or in particular places in the US that have had success in given areas. But I don't think I, personally, have to come up with an all-encompassing solution on this blog to prove that there's a possibility for improvement. What do you propose?

If the answer systemically is to just not police then ok, just say that.

No. That's stupid, which is probably the only reason you're suggesting that I would think that. Camden, NJ, the example I've given multiple times, still has a police force. Check it out before assuming inane suggestions coming from me.

Sure hsh, let's talk Camden:

Since the county police department was stood up more than six years ago, the city has experienced unprecedented private and public investment, more than $2.5 billion, from new corporate campuses, academic buildings and park construction. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Census Bureau the poverty rate has decreased by 14 percent since 2013, the job rate growth led the nation in 2017 and the high school dropout rate has been cut in half since 2013. Furthermore, Rutgers-Camden has ushered in its largest student body ever, unemployment is at a 30-year low and more than $53 million is being invested into the city’s infrastructure this fiscal year.


All those things will certainly reduce the crime rate, the incidence of violent police confrontation.

Pretty much none of that investment has occurred in the high-crime neighborhoods. It's been downtown and on the waterfront, with the vast majority of new jobs going to people commuting from out of town. Atlantic City invested tons of money when the casinos opened, but there was no similar change in crime or police violence.

Either way, when I point out an example of improved policing, you simply ignore it and imply that I want to abolish police, until I manage to shame you into paying attention to my example.

Maybe you actually want to discuss what we can do as a nation to improve things. Maybe you don't. I can't tell either way.

Improved policing didn't lower the unemployment rate. In fact, adding a county police force may be a great idea but I'm not sure how you think that addressed the issue of systemic racism.

I point out that there were something north of 50 billion dollars invested in the city and you argue that since it wasn't in the high crime neighborhoods it doesn't count, like they didn't get any of the jobs.

Crime is down, great. How was that an effect of the changes in policing? I see lots of other causes. And I would point out that other than "go look at Camden" you haven't made any assertion about how that addressed systemic racism or improved policing, so my question was valid. I get the answer is no.

Actually I should not be so flip. Can we point to one thing that we can change to solve that problem? What action or law allows that to exist, or encourages it?

I'll make the suggestion I always make about stuff like this.

The Kum-ba-ya stuff is all well and good, I'm sure it will make everyone feel warm and fuzzy if every major league ball player takes a knee.

And it will probably not amount to a warm bucket of spit.

If we want to make people stop treating black people as if they are not full citizens of the society they live in, then we need to kick ass.

If you deny someone a job because they're black (or Hispanic, or whatever) then you lose your job.

If you are a banker and you deny someone a mortgage because they're black (or whatever) you are no longer a banker, forever.

If you are a cop and you treat black people differently than to treat not-black people, you are no longer a cop.

Full stop.

It is a violation of people's fundamental civil rights to deny them equal treatment, under the law, and in any matter that is touched by the law, or any aspect of public life for that matter.

I haven't figured out quite how to go after stuff like all the liberal white suburban folks who can't abide things like allowing affordable housing to be built in their neighborhood, etc., but that'll be phase 2.

That would solve the problem. We won't do any of those things. So, the problem will not be solved, and we'll continue to oscillate back and forth between acting like black people are some kind of second-class human, and engaging in symbolic gestures to make us feel better about the fact that black people are treated like second-class humans.

We've been at this for hundreds of years. "Things are better" means you can no longer grab a random black person off the street and murder and mutilate them with impunity. Which, you could do, during the lifetime of many people reading this.

So, yes, progress. Such as it is.

Kneel, don't kneel, whatever floats your boat.

If we actually want to make a change, we need to put some teeth into it.

Matt Tabibi

Matt Tabibi has found a way to make a very nice living pointing and laughing at the hypocrisy that is the common lot of mankind.

Nice work if you can get it. If reading that stuff is your cup of tea, enjoy.

One more thing. I don not want to have a discussion about how we can "improve things". We have been improving things since I marched in 1969. I want to have a discussion about how we can improve something specific. "Improve things" isn't measurable or accountable, either for those that are looking for the improvement or the system that is supposed to be improved.

Most of what has happened in the last few months is groundless flailing at windmills because everything sucks. 1200 people were shot by cops over a five year period out of 37 million. Do we want to reduce that by 50%, or do we just want the cops not to shoot anybody ever again? Well that won't happen in a country where the criminals have as many guns as the police.

If you start with the fact that we have guns so the police have a lot more worry about getting killed going to work everyday the consequence of that is people will eventually die. And most of those people will not have wanted to give up their guns.

You keep talking about other countries as if we should want to be like them. That somehow that is a given. We, a generic number of people in this country, don't want to be like the UK, Canada, France Germany, etc. It is really a lousy argument.

Marty, the Camden metro area - including Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester counties - is what saw the big improvement in job numbers. The city of Camden is a city of 74K people and covers about 10 square miles within Camden County. The three counties combined have a total population of 1.2 million and cover more than a thousand square miles. The story you're telling is not specific to the city. The poverty rate in the city is still 37.4%. The median household income is still $26K.

If you looked into the policing reforms in Camden, one of the things you would have seen are deescalation techniques. In a city that is about 94% minority, any reduction in police violence can be taken as a reduction in systemic racism. The police do not take an immediate command-and-control posture when interacting with citizens, as is so commonly done elsewhere in poor and minority neighborhoods.

I'm not sure how detailed of an analysis you're expecting from me on the reduction in crime and the policing reforms that occurred. What I can say is that they have correlated with each other.

I don't know what's so problematic about my response to your question in pointing out what is an apparent success story in policing reform. I doubt I can jump through enough hoops to satisfy you, so I'm done.

Nope. Gross. Disgusting misogynist.

Yeah. Screw Taibbi. I'm not giving him the traffic.

Ok, if the question is asked: why do people support Trump? Or, why don't people get on board with our obviously superior program?--one presumes the question is not rhetorical but rather in search of a substantive response.

If the asking party wants an actual answer, it likely will not come from a friendly corner, because that is just confirmation bias. Rather, someone you don't like may have an observation about you that, if you were to become aware of it, you might begin to understand why, even today, no matter how thin you slice the baloney, it still has two sides. I think both sides are rancid, in large part because of a near-categorical refusal to listen to what others say about them (with an equally hilarious and equally bizarre sense of outrage that the other side won't listen to you).

I want to have a discussion about how we can improve something specific.

  • No discernable difference in incarceration rates or sentences attributable to race
  • No discernable difference in rates of killing by cop attributable to race
  • No discernable difference in household income or wealth attributable to race
  • No discernable difference in rates of unemployment attributable to race
  • No discernable difference in quality of health and health outcomes attributable to race

Asked and answered. Anybody here can probably add two or three of their own favorites to the list.

Pick any three, set a goal for ten years from now. We can go to the freaking moon, we can do this.

Or, we can't. And then it's on us, and about us. All of us.

I want to have a discussion about how we can improve something specific.

Like what?

We, a generic number of people in this country, don't want to be like the UK, Canada, France Germany, etc. It is really a lousy argument.

Right. It's also not an argument I've made. Looking at specific things (sound familiar) that other places (not necessarily countries, or even places in other countries) have done successfully to see if they might work in the US or in specific places in the US is different from generically "being like" other countries.

Why don't you make a goddam suggestion, since you're so interested?

I think both sides are rancid, in large part because of a near-categorical refusal to listen to what others say about them (with an equally hilarious and equally bizarre sense of outrage that the other side won't listen to you).

You're so above it all. Golf clap.

Matt Tabibi has found a way to make a very nice living pointing and laughing at the hypocrisy that is the common lot of mankind.

Nice work if you can get it. If reading that stuff is your cup of tea, enjoy.

Taibbi takes it a lot further than pointing out the left's hypocrisy. Again, some variation of "the question" gets asked here over and over. Until the prog left--or Trump's nationalist, nativist right--start taking other's answers seriously, it's going to be the same old shit show, just a different nasty smell. Put differently, the progressive left is pretty awful in a lot of ways too. It looks ridiculous to those who aren't drinking the koolaid.

We, a generic number of people in this country, don't want to be like the UK, Canada, France Germany, etc. It is really a lousy argument.

A generic number of people in this country couldn't name three specific things that are different about life here, as compared to life in the UK, Canada, France Germany etc.

If what makes an argument lousy is the ignorance and lack of interest of the counter-party, I'm not sure the argument can be faulted.

why do people support Trump? Or, why don't people get on board with our obviously superior program?

Two completely different questions.

I can think of 1,000 reasonable answers to the second.

Taibbi takes it a lot further than pointing out the left's hypocrisy.

To be honest, I'm not seeing it.

I read lots of people whose point of view I don't share. Lots. Now, and for years.

I didn't really read Tabibi when he was "on my side", and I don't read him now, and for the same reason in both cases.

I don't find him constructive. There are lots of people like that, left right and middle, and I don't read them or listen to them.

Since he doesn't bring anything constructive to the table, I lose interest after the first couple hundred words. I find him depressing. It's like listening to an angry smart-ass teenager going off on what a bunch of fakes everybody is.

Could be my loss, maybe there are some gems in there. But I doubt it.

The question we were discussing earlier wasn't so much what makes an individual person support Trump, or "why they won't listen to us?" It was about what overall conditions allowed our electoral process result in such an obvious steaming pile of crap become president, or even the Republican nominee for president.

You don't need to involve the "progressive left" (however defined). What about Republicans who can't stand him? Why did enough people diverge from them to nominate a horrible human being to be the GOP's presidential candidate? There were plenty of conservative Republicans on offer. I didn't like them, but they weren't the absurdity that Trump is.

Just to backtrack a bit on this discussion:

I really appreciated the suggestion to read Lynn Stout, so I started with this article: The Problem of Corporate Purpose, by Lynn Stout, in which she answers a lot of the questions I had regarding the foundation of her thinking, and her approach. I also read The Dangers of Denial: The Need for a Clear-Eyed Understanding of the Power and Accountability Structure Established by the Delaware General Corporation Law, by Leo E. Strine, Jr. (a scholar and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware) which is basically an argument against Strout's view. It reflects my understanding of corporate law, and the role of the board and its duties to shareholders, and suggests that the best way to impose social responsibility onto corporations is through external laws and regulations.

It's a very interesting conversation, and well worth reading two eminent scholars on this subject. I admit to preferring the approach by Strine, because it accords with my understanding of how things work, but having read both papers only superficially, I may take the time to look up footnotes, and develop a more thorough understanding of the history. Anyway, thanks, nous.

"We, a generic number of people in this country, don't want to be like the UK, Canada, France Germany, etc."

Well, in regard to law enforcement brutality, the subject at hand, you, a generic number of people in this country, have fully succeeded in NOT being like countries whose law enforcement seems to beat the crap out of and kill fewer of their citizens.

Fewer of their law enforcement personnel get scragged too, but we don't want to tone down our gun ownership fetish among the citizenry, like those countries have either.

McTX: Your Trump friends are free to listen, along with assembled Democrats, to John Kasich speak at the Democratic National Convention.

Maybe he'll drag Annie Applebaum along.

John Kasich, one of Newt Gingrich's henchmen back in the day and with whom I agree on very little, is now, of all people, grade-A RINO persona non grata in the now fully-owned Trump Republican Party.

I don't think he made the speakers list at what even the Republican police chief in Jacksonville is telling us is going to be a logistical sh*tshow in Jacksonville .. the
Republican National Convention.

I nearly posted the Taibbi piece here this morning because I thought he made some well-phrased points about the far Left now beginning to get too big for their britches in the intolerance game ... but the far Left is just now feeling its oats, whereas the Trump Republican catastrophe your other friends have turned to, and way before AOC and company made the front pages, lost their minds permanently decades ago.

Bouncing off sapient, here's the story regarding Taibbi's misogyny.

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

It's Limbaugh-level stuff, with the same Limbaugh excuse that, hey, I'm just an entertainer over here.

Decriminalize marijuana. Release everyone who is in jail for a pot bust. Restore their voting rights. Expunge their record so that it does not prevent them from getting a job.

Get cops out of schools and replace them with actual counselors. End zero tolerance school discipline and convert them to a restorative justice framework. Two free meals a day for all students.

Abolish for-profit prisons and bail imprisonment.

De-militarize the police and put all that money into schools and public health (including mental health).

Get rid of drug testing for welfare. Put the money spent on testing schemes into drug treatment programs.

Make broadband access a civil right.

Make prison labor pay the same as regular labor, Put whatever part of that is pay over and above what a prisoner makes now into savings to be available to the incarcerated person upon release.

Well, in regard to law enforcement brutality, the subject at hand, you, a generic number of people in this country, have fully succeeded in NOT being like countries whose law enforcement seems to beat the crap out of and kill fewer of their citizens.

Fewer of their law enforcement personnel get scragged too, but we don't want to tone down our gun ownership fetish among the citizenry, like those countries have either.

This here is the biggest problem. How to make the police more humane, and less "militaristic," when they are outgunned. Obviously, I would promote gun control, but ...

When we talk about what's broken, I would start there.

nous, I can get behind most of this. I do have one note, however. You say Release everyone who is in jail for a pot bust. Restore their voting rights. Expunge their record so that it does not prevent them from getting a job.

Presumably what we are expunging are just their recorded pot bust(s). Are we also going to expunge any pot dealing busts? Just minor (as opposed to wholesale) ones? How about financial crimes tied to managing funds from pot dealing?

As so often, the devil is in the details.

It's a very interesting conversation, and well worth reading two eminent scholars on this subject. I admit to preferring the approach by Strine, because it accords with my understanding of how things work, but having read both papers only superficially, I may take the time to look up footnotes, and develop a more thorough understanding of the history.

My friend the B-school prof says that he and others are working to change B-school culture by emphasizing long term strategic planning and emphasizing that the goal of a corporation is not to deliver shareholder value, but to produce and sustain customers for their products, which puts slow growth back on the table.

Also, they are talking a lot about benefit corporations and writing values into corporate charters. Of course that approach has begun to run afoul of banking demands for loans, so there is the next target for reform.

Off the top of my head I'd say that if the pot dealer has been convicted of other crimes, then those crimes do not go away. If the courts plea bargained away those other charges for the dealing charge, then that's on the prosecutors.

Money laundering is money laundering. Those charges stick whatever the source of the money.

I can be persuaded otherwise if there is good reason or if my reasoning is flawed, but that is something to work out after we empty out our jails by a significant amount. We are a carceral nightmare.

Oh, and we need to end the police's ability to seize property involved in crimes and sell it for funds.

Thanks nous, your 3:32 is a list we should be discussing. I don't agree with all of it but it does move the discussion in a measurable and actionable direction. I don't have time to walk through it right now but I will try to tonight.

Also, please end the racket across the country of repeatedly jailing citizens for being unable to pay their fines for prior and relatively petty offenses, including charging the individuals ridiculous amounts of money for the pleasure of being jailed, until the debt is so high that there is no chance of getting out from under it, especially for folks who work two jobs just to f*cking exist.

That has got to cause absolute simmering fury among people, which then finds its outlet in even worse behavior.

On the subjects of prisons and observing how things are done in other countries.

"In Norway, fewer than 4,000 of the country's 5 million people were behind bars as of August 2014.

That makes Norway's incarceration rate just 75 per 100,000 people, compared to 707 people for every 100,000 people in the US.

On top of that, when criminals in Norway leave prison, they stay out. It has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world at 20%. The US has one of the highest: 76.6% of prisoners are re-arrested within five years."
Why Norway's prison system is so successful


More in-depth.

"What is the point of sending someone to prison - retribution or rehabilitation? Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive "lock-up" approach and sharply cut reoffending rates. The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby went to see the system in action, and to meet prison officers trained to serve as mentors and role models for prisoners."
How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours

End routine traffic stops. Find a way of enforcing public safety that does not require fraught confrontations.

End stop-and-frisk.

End Broken Windows policing.

I made a comment which went straight into the spam trap because I forgot I had to post as GftNC when I add links. It doesn't need rescuing, because it doesn't really deserve the light of day.

Matt Taibbi, once again, lays out the reasons why I--and others--can no more lie in your [sic] bed than I can in Trump's. Taibbi is lucid, factual and reasoned. A rare and welcome commodity in these times.

Suffice to say that if McKinney insists on making an equivalence between Trump supporters, and "us" (i.e. the majority of the ObWi commentariat), it is, to put it in as understated a way as possible, an illegitimate move. In the past, almost every time McKinney has brought up excessive instances of "woke" PC, none of us have approved of them.

There is a solidly based ethical and moral objection to Trump, his followers, and all his works, on various parts of the political spectrum including here, to almost none of which do Taibbi's objections apply. And as to McKinney's approval of him, above, it made me laugh to read the Taibbi and see how very carefully he was avoiding criticising "woke" ante-sexism, given that this would only have made the conflict of interest behind his general argument only too explicit.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-two-expat-bros-who-terrorized-women-correspondents-in-moscow/2017/12/15/91ff338c-ca3c-11e7-8321-481fd63f174d_story.html

I just heard a radio interview with a psychologist who looked at the much better outcomes in Norwegian prisons as compared to those in the US. It's a bit more expensive per prisoner, but you don't pay anything for the ones who don't come back.

anti-sexism, dammit.

Pretty much all of the Nordic countries use a similar model for prisons and treat their prisoners like citizens who will one day be restored to society rather than as animals who need to be kept out of society.

And since it does not appear that I have ranted here before about how this plays into the whole sheep/sheepdog/wolf paradigm bullshit that Dave Grossman has pedaled to the LEO community, I think that we desperately need to get rid of any training material that encourages police officers to think of themselves as a separate sort of creature from both the people they protect and the people they arrest. Unless we treat both police officers and convicted criminals like ordinary citizens under the law, we are going to end up with some form of moral hazard and some form of dehumanization going on.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/sen-tom-cotton-compares-portland-protesters-are-just-like-confederate-insurrectionists

Presumably, because there are good people on both sides, I propose, in league with Cotton, that Fort Sumter be renamed Fort Trayvon Martin, and let's go with Camp Alger Hiss Army Base in place of Camp Beauregard Army Base in Pineville Louisiana.

One thing that stood out in the interview I heard was the idea that the sole punishment in being incarcerated was loss of liberty. Not being allowed to come and go as you pleased and not being allowed to live in your house or with your family were the penalty you paid. You didn't lose the right to some level of privacy. You weren't subject to brutality by guards. Staff would not look the other way when prisoners were abusive toward one another. The prisons are generally safe and peaceful, short of isolated incidents that the staff addresses appropriately. Solitary confinement is used sparingly and for much short durations than in US prisons. They have communal kitchens with knives. Responsibility is expected. It was really interesting.

we need to end the police's ability to seize property involved in crimes and sell it for funds.

I'm not sure I'd go quite that far. Certainly funds that are seized should not go into the budgets of those doing the seizing. And funds shouldn't be seized just because the police feel like it -- the current practice appears to me to be a flat out violation of the 14th Amendment. But IANAL.

But, on the other hand, I have no problem with seizing someone's "ill gotten gains". If you are convicted of a crime, any money or property that you gained as a result should be forfeit. Including not just the immediate money, but any profits or other gains you got from the immediate money. Rob a bank, buy rental property -- all that rent money, as well as the property, is forfeit too.

An effort at using the Norwegian approach to prisons in the US.

"What sounds like fancy suburban boarding schools are actually North Dakota prisons.

These programs at the prisons are based on findings from a far-away source: Norway. In 2015, a cohort of North Dakota legislators, judicial branch members, and prison officials were among those who took a trip to Norway to learn about the country's incarceration system. Organized by California's Prison Law Office, these trips are part of the nonprofit's efforts to reform prisons in the U.S. by exposing officials to the methods of European prisons."
North Dakota Reforms its Prisons, Norwegian Style: The Nordic country, home to the most humane prison in the world, shares lessons with state officials.

"Certainly funds that are seized should not go into the budgets of those doing the seizing."

Well, ya know, it was fiscally conservative taxpayers and their elected conservatives who got the whole "Defund the Police" ball rolling a long time ago by not adequately raising, in fact, cutting local taxes in order to squeeze the funding of police operations and much else, and so law enforcement would have to ding the public (taxpayers all) they are arresting for every jot and tittle.

The Democratic Party should ask Dr. Fauci to assume the role of Convention Epidemiologist with the goal of testing every individual attending the convention, including John Kasich, and enforcing safe distancing and hygiene, AND he should supply the entire shindig with all the masks, testing kits, swabs, and wipes he can steal from the White House's cache of pandemic swag the republican murderers are hoarding up there.

The Democratic Party would listen to him even though he works for the other side.

Lynn Cheney canceled and silenced.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gaetz-cheney-house-republicans-conference-meeting

LYNN CHENEY!!! RINO!

My God, aren't we are the closed-minded ones.

Get her on the speaker roster at the Democratic Convention too.

Maybe she'll consent to send her father to stand trial at the Hague.

All money/property/ill-gotten gains that are seized by the police go to Public Defenders and Environmental Protection.

There'll be "confiscation", but not as much and not nearly as egregious.

If there's money left over, buy cupcakes for Antifa.

There are 3200 people incarcerated in Norway, there're 2.3 million in the US.

This is more informative. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2020.html

Lynn Cheney canceled and silenced.

Does the term "circular firing squad" leap to your mind, too?

To be expected, I suppose, when it becomes undeniable that the ship is sinking, apparently with all hands.

Trump goes all in on pro-masks.

It must have been a question on his dementia cognitive test that he got to do over.

He even heard masks might be patriotic. Like the Confederate flag.

Also, can you spell "Epiphany", Barney?

God, the poll his dupe slaves shoved in front of his face yesterday must have been appalling, like maybe identical to the last 10 minutes of the 737 Max jet's flight pattern they haven't found yet because it hit the Indian Ocean so hard nose down that there are nothing left but slivers and splinters.

Also admits to being an illegal immigrant and having gone thru a gay phase of his life on account of a bout of boredom right between the Atlantic City casino disaster and his Apprentice show.

I guess this means I'm going to have to rethink my stringent pro-mask stance.

And probably really go after that acquaintance of mine in Denver who defends Trump no matter what and who might show up the next time finally wearing the hated mask without a trace of sheepishness.

Now HE'LL be the mask Nazi. He can just as well goose step with one as he can without one, he'll learn quickly enough, especially now that he can harangue us about the effing patriotism of wearing one.

The rest of us just don't want to die, but that was never good enough for him.

At least he won't be doing his usual bare-faced lying as I cough masklessly into his kisser.

Now I can play the freedom fighter against all constitutional encroachments.

This thing is just the sniffles, right?

Random thought: I wonder what McKinney has been reading that he came across the Taibbi piece. His comment introducing it suggests that he's a long-time fan of Taibbi, so maybe he follows him.

McKinney, if you're around, do tell.

My hunch is that this is a drive-by, just as when he was called out for his rant about the Chinese "criminality". He doesn't really respond to criticism much, which is (of course) his right. I doubt that he'll acknowledge the links exposing Taibbi as a misogynist bully (at minimum).

Not speaking for McK. Could it be possible that Taibbi is a misogynist bully and have reasonable take in this case?

Could it be possible that Taibbi is a misogynist bully and have reasonable take in this case?

Of course. I haven't read it, but I haven't liked Taibbi's opinion on things for a number of reasons, and russell's comment rings true. Considering how much there is to read, I'd prefer not to read the work of a misogynist bully. Just me.

On the other hand, I got huge intellectual gratification from reading the articles by Strout and Strine. So fun! I prefer reading work by people who take ideas (and women) seriously.

The rich and powerful who signed that Harper's letter should be profoundly ashamed of themselves.

A response here.

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