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November 09, 2020

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Balls and strikes...
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/11/cheri-beasley-paul-newby-north-carolina-supreme-court-recount-racism.html

maybe it isn't the awesome Dem policies that flipped GA. maybe it was Trump's awesome electoral strategy.

I've been more or less out of action for several days, so may have missed if somebody else linked this, but I think it's an interesting analysis and goes to whether Trump is pursued for criminal activity after his presidency, whether by the US, or in this case, by us:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/11/we-asked-finance-experts-to-explain-trumps-odd-business-methods-in-scotland-they-were-mystified/

Partisan courts are a horrible idea in the first place (one which the Republican legislature in North Carolina voted for).

A 6-1 liberal majority in North Carolina is as bad, in a smaller way, as a 6-3 Federalist Society majority on the Supreme Court.

Depending on what 'liberal' means in that context. These days judges that Republicans could have nominated not that long ago (or even did) now are considered liberal because the 'conservatives' moved to the right in ways that the above-mentioned GOPistas would have seen as beyond the pale.
But judicial activism (in its original sense, not just 'decisions I don't like') is indeed bad whether it is from the left or right.

As Hartmut notes, lots of quite conservative judges get labeled (denounced) as "liberal" these days. Just like the extremely conservative Georgia Secretary of State. For some people, actually following the letter of the law is unacceptable (=liberal).

I note that in the article, what the so-called conservative NC Supreme Court judge was objecting to was the other justices following the law as written. And then, when it was changed, declining to apply it ex post facto to cases already in progress. Either he doesn't care about the law (not good in a judge at any level) or he should have flunked out of law school.

Back to the original topic here.

I think this NYT piece does a surprisingly fair minded job presenting the problems Democrats have in uniting. This is the discussion people should have been having four years ago.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/opinion/biden-democrats-moderate-progressive.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Fun!
https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1328796478924611588

Their honesty and sincerity in publicly supporting Trump's tantrums is most impressive.

Some of the people in the comment section of my NYT link are really depressing to me.

I have been critical of Defund the police as a slogan and even of the Green New Deal as a slogan because I think that in the majority of cases, including these two, bumper sticker slogans do not advance substantive debate and also, they often do more harm for the cause than they help, I could go on, but am not especially interested in arguing it further.

But I am really tired of the centrist assumption that their views are automatically the epitome of both practical politics and sound common sense on policy. Something like the Green New Deal is necessary to confront climate change and police really do need drastic reform. We can’t keep screwing around on this. ( Both issues.) One can maybe think about better ways to argue the point, and that’s where I think one think carefully before printing bumper stickers, but IMHO the centrist attitude is not fact based in the way they imagine. At most they are experts on their own knee jerk reactions to poorly chosen slogans, but they have no deep insights into correct policy merely because they are moderates and can recite the standard moderate sounding slogans.

But I am really tired of the centrist assumption that their views are automatically the epitome of both practical politics and sound common sense on policy.

not many pundits think their preferred solutions are impossible or illogical.

"Something like the Green New Deal is necessary to confront climate change and police really do need drastic reform."

Actually neither is true. Both are issues that need to be addressed with practical long term solutions. There is no evidence that frantic, overreactive solutions are required.

So it's really not the slogan that's the problem. It's the overreaction the slogan represents that is the problem. The slogan, in both cases, accurately reflects a poor policy. I think they should be used as a means to force discussions on the merits, and they are.

Voting blocks are becoming more fragmented.

Growing numbers of minorities are deciding that they don't want their race or ethnicity to be their identification. Much less their primary one.

Political power is becoming easier to get and harder to keep. Just ask Donald Trump.

There is no evidence that frantic, overreactive solutions are required.

imma listen to scientists on this. the anti-science, anti-expertise party has no place at the table.

It's the overreaction

what does an appropriate long term solution to climate change look like?

same question for police reform.

DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY is a common motif in the media. So common that you can hardly call it news. Know what WOULD be major news? Headlines like:

GOP SPLIT OVER TRUMP TANTRUMS
McConnell's Leadership Threatened

REPUBLICAN IDENTITY CRISIS
Populist or Authoritarian?

PARTY OF LINCOLN SECEDES FROM GOP
Marty Faces Tough Choice

--TP

I don’t really know if I should be talking about all of this. It makes me worried for my safety. I’ve had strange cars driving back and forth past my house. I get threatening messages from people saying they’re watching me. They followed my family to the park and took pictures of my kids. How insane is that? I know it’s my job to be out front talking about the importance of public health — educating people, keeping them safe. Now it kind of scares me.

...

The hospital is already at capacity. They’ve basically run out of staff. We can’t keep up. It’s an uncontrolled spread. I have these moments when it feels like I’m a nurse at the bedside, and my patient is dying, and I’m trying every possible intervention to save them. More social distancing. More masks. More contact tracing. Warnings and more warnings. What else can we try? But in the end, it doesn’t matter how much you do. Nothing will work, because it almost seems like the patient is resisting your help.

I get the same comments all the time over Facebook or email. “Oh, she’s blowing it out of proportion.” “She’s a communist.” “She’s a bitch.” “She’s pushing her agenda.”

Okay, fine. I do have an agenda. I want disease transmission to go down. I want to keep this community safe. I want fewer people to die. Why is that controversial?

...

We held a public meeting in the auditorium. I knew it was going to be a circus. I gave my kids an extra hug that night and said the things you never want to have to think about. I asked the city: “Are you requiring masks in this building? Because this is a public health meeting, and that’s important.” They said yes. But, of course, the first person that walks in the door says: “I go to church here in this same building, and they don’t make me wear a mask.” So that ended up being an ordeal, and they decided to allow him in. I asked him: “Can you please, please, please social distance?” He told me no. It wasn’t: “I can’t.” It was: “Hell, no. I won’t.” It went downhill from there.

We had more than 100 people show up, and most of them spoke in opposition. ... Our medical providers were at the meeting in their white coats, and three of them stood up to speak on behalf of masks. These are doctors and nurses who risk their lives to treat this virus. They are shouldering the burden of this, but the crowd wouldn’t even let them talk. They booed. They yelled. Some of them had come in with guns. They were so disrespectful. I was trying to take notes for our board, and my hands started shaking. Why aren’t you listening? Why do you refuse to hear from the people who actually know about this disease and how it spreads?

the GOP is literally killing people with their anti-science, anti-expertise bullshit.

so, no, fuck no, they get no seat at the table.

the GOP is literally killing people with their anti-science, anti-expertise bullshit.

It feels really horrible to be thinking, "Well, with any luck they are killing more of themselves than they are of everybody else." yet I am. Except, of course, there's no guarantee that things will work out that way.

There is no evidence that frantic, overreactive solutions are required.

OK, point taken, let's all oppose frantic overreaction.

Now, what are we going to do about climate change. Just to remind you, the problem so far is that the Republican Party has refused to doing anything about it, denying the science on the grounds that, er, well the actual grounds are that there are votes in telling people there's no need to do anything inconvenient.

And they're enabled by people like Marty who believe, and reproduce here, ridiculous Republican talking points which he could disprove for himself if he could be bothered to look up the facts.

Still, never mind. We can always get a new planet.

the free market will sort it out. it has humankind's best interests at heart.

If you want to have a climate change discussion I am good with that. But bring facts, not the Dem fear mongering to get votes. And I will engage when things like potential outcomes are presented with probabilities and confidence levels over multiple studies.

It is not denying science to discuss policy in terms of mist likely outcomes that have high confidence levels while recognizing that the worst case could happen and having a plan for that.

We, just the US, are constantly being asked to set our public policy using worst case pretty unlikely outcomes.

I believe what I read in the studies, that was about three years ago.

And no, I dont have a link to disprove your Dem talking point that was presented with no evidence.

I could get on board with this.

I will engage when things like potential outcomes are presented with probabilities and confidence levels over multiple studies.

I'll take that with a grain or two of salt, but here you go.....

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2943/study-confirms-climate-models-are-getting-future-warming-projections-right/

Does that at least mean Marty doesn't think climate change (anthropogenic global warming, really) isn't a Chinese hoax or just a way for grifting climate scientists to get all that grant lucre? Does that at least mean Marty can imagine that you don't have to ruin the economy by employing people to build the infrastructure for renewable energy (instead of, say, to dig for coal and drill for oil)? Which studies does Marty believe from 3 years ago? The credible ones, or the fossil-fuel industry-funded ones?

is, not isn't, a Chinese hoax, et cetera and so forth.

Interesting Politico article on Florida.
From what I can understand, the left/right argument amongst Democrats there is pretty well irrelevant to their defeat (though it still seems to be in full flow).
The real problem seems to be a dire lack of leadership and organisation on the ground.
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/18/florida-democrats-meltdown-437113

... This year, the lack of embedded community organizing hampered the party’s ability to push back at Republican branding that proved brutally effective, even after Michael Bloomberg dumped $100 million in the state to defeat Trump.

“Given the fact every Hispanic voter is either directly or indirectly gone through their own experience as a victim of a socialist or communist regime, the potency around the branding of a political party as the second coming of socialism or communism in the United States is very effective,” Miami-based pollster Fernand Amandi said....

The Republican line, even if you’re talking the left of the party, is pretty well 100% bullshit, but it seems to have dominated the election.

I don’t know how the Democrats remedy this, but arguing about whom to blame isn’t it.
And in any event, they should all zip it until the Georgia runoffs are done.

Well bobbyp, I found the studies credibke, and I didn't question their relative accuracy. I had to smile at this line in the article:

"Moreover, after accounting for differences between modeled and actual changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other factors that drive climate, the number increased to 14. "

The models aren't really the question, the inputs and outcomes are. Several years ago there was a big to do about climate scientists agreeing on a study of studies and 90% of 2500 of them agreed or some such number.

So I spent a day going through all the numbers and notes, etc. And learned three things.

The headline outcome had a very low probability with a lower confidence level. The 2509 authors that supposedly all agreed with this were really the 125 they had been able to contact. And third, no one gave a shit what the studies really said.

I never have doubted there is climate change. It would be ridiculous to imagine humans aren't contributing to it. It is not realistic or rational to set public policy based in the worst case potential outcome, but if we had a realistic discussion the ultimate outcome, which we are seeing today, is that the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

Fine with me. As long as it gets done, I don't really care who does it.

So far what you've brought to the discussion are:

  1. Democrats are fear mongering the issue to get votes
  2. Frantic, overreactive solutions are not desirable
  3. Private sector will get it done better than government

Which all seem, to me, to be assertions about people who you disagree with politically, but which don't really put much on the table as far as an actionable plan.

You'll "engage when things like potential outcomes are presented with probabilities and confidence levels over multiple studies", but you offer nothing along those lines.

So, we are left with:

Democrats suck. Private sector better.

Which is not really a conversation about climate change.

Are there specific policies that the (D)'s are advocating that you think are not well-taken? What are they? What would be a better alternative?

Marty: It would be ridiculous to imagine humans aren't contributing to it.

Lots of Republican politicians, not to mention right-wing bloviators, must have ridiculous imaginations, then.

... the ultimate outcome, which we are seeing today ...

"Today" and "ultimate" might be compatible under some End Times theology, but otherwise I do not understand Marty's grammar here.

... the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

This could be a simple ideological premise, or it could be an empirical truth supported by evidence available to everybody. So, what's Marty's evidence? Serious question, not rhetorical.

I've asked this question before: will American GDP in 2120 be higher, or lower, if "the government" leaves global warming mitigation entirely to "the private sector"? I'm asking it of Marty specifically this time.

--TP

the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

it's not either / or. government can help get the technology moving. because the fossil fuel industry has little incentive to transition as long as fossil fuels make them money. they can dabble in renewables because it gives them good PR. but there's no way they're going to leave cheap oil in the ground as long as someone is willing to buy it. are we supposed to wait for the supply to get low enough that oil can no longer compete with renewables?

if we had a realistic discussion the ultimate outcome, which we are seeing today, is that the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

Why will it? What mechanism will operate to accomplish this? You can't just assert this out of some sort of blind faith in "the market."

Where the market works it is possible to identify what makes it work - the various incentives faced by participants. Here?

Right now the incentives look perverse. Why not keep on using fossil fuels if you don't bear all the costs? One thing government needs to do is rationalize that. Carbon tax, Marty?

the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

The private sector does a far better job of transporting goods around the country than the government would. Which doesn't change the fact that they use the government-built Interstate Highway System to do it.

Or, to go back another century, private companies built the railroads which tied the country together. But they could do it because the government not only gave them the land for the right-of-way, but half of the square miles adjacent to the track on either side. Free gift, which they could sell for whatever they could get for it.

"accelerating the transition" from fossil fuels is going to require the same kinds of government interventions in the private sector as those bits of infrastructure did.

the fossil fuel industry has little incentive to transition as long as fossil fuels make them money

Hansen first spoke to Congress about climate change in 1988. 32 years ago.

The book value of the fossil fuel companies mostly represents oil that is in the ground, and which they have the right to pump out of the ground. They have zero incentive to leave it there. More accurately, they have an incentive, measurable in many billions of dollars, to NOT leave it there.

How long do we wait for market forces to stop incentivizing the extraction and burning of fossil fuels?

Marty—

What Bernard and others have said.

I would be happy to listen to free market solutions, but the incentives have to be there and environmental pollution is an economics textbook example of a negative externality that the free market ignores unless one imposes ( via government) the incentive to deal with it. It can be a carbon tax. I was reading about carbon taxes recently, There are several problems in deciding how big they need to be and one of them is in trying to calculate the probability of a truly catastrophic event. What sort of tax do you impose to prevent a ten percent chance of the collapse of civilization, for instance?

And no debate is occurring because there is a worthless political party that has decided climate change is part of the culture war, so it is their duty to deny it is happening.

there is a worthless political party that has decided climate change is part of the culture war, so it is their duty to deny it is happening.

if only there was some other analogous situation that we could point to to reinforce this point!

https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/

How long do we wait for market forces to stop incentivizing the extraction and burning of fossil fuels?

75%-seriously: when there are too few customers for oil that the oil companies can't stay in business. and the easiest way to get there is to kill everyone who drives. GCC will do that.

the private sector will accelerate the transition from fossil fuels better than the government.

What Donald said.

The private sector is (absent market power and monopoly-topic for another day) for the most part just fine responding to price signals.

But in this case, the price signals are wrong. As long as all cost externalities are not incorporated into that industry's cost structure, it will not happen "faster" or "better".

The result is a supply curve for coal, oil, and natural gas that shows "too much" supply at any given market price, cetirus paribus. The true "equilibrium price" should be much higher, but that would result in less demand, less output and lower profits to the industry...hence the incentive to resist all attempts to correct what is essentially, as the science shows, a market failure.

Market failure is something that cannot be solved by the free interaction of buyers and sellers when huge cost implications can simply be ignored by market participants.

This also points to the obvious fact that effectively addressing climate change is essentially a political problem, not an economic problem.

Anthropogenic climate change: The mother of all collective action problems.

Note the absence in the above of the following terms: "free", "prices", "markets", or "capitalism"

also "rights", "freedom", "tyranny" and "Dmes are poopyheads"

if you want a mournful laugh, go read about libertarians and negative exernalities.

hint: ME > you

"mordant chuckle" would have been better, for those of you who remember the wayback times when bob somerby [his capitalization] was essential.

And no, I dont have a link to disprove your Dem talking point that was presented with no evidence.

Marty, if you're referring to the same exchange as I was, you said:

The climate accords required levels of sacrifice from us demanded of literally no one else in the world

To which I replied:

The US pledged in the Paris accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025 compared with 2005 (which would be about a 9% reduction from 1990). The EU pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared with 1990.

This in the context that US per capita emissions are currently about double EU per capita emissions.

I didn't provide a link because these are plain facts which are easy to look up. But this site is a registry of each country's (and the EU's) Nationally Determined Contribution.

I wouldn't know if that's a Dem talking point - I'm English. But if it is, the Dem talking point is factual.

And no, I dont have a link to disprove your Dem talking point

Personally, I'm not really all that interested in links.

You say the climate change rhetoric is too frantic and overly reactive. Police reform rhetoric, likewise.

Ok, fine.

So, with or without links, what do non-frantic and non-overly-reactive approaches to climate change and police reform look like?

Just, you know, in your own words.

It might be useful to offer cites for specific points of fact, but all I'm looking for at the moment are the high points.

Something with more detail than "the private sector will do it" would be good. The private sector will do *what*, exactly?

Regarding climate change, at the moment I see very large and highly capitalized private companies that are gonna lose a great big pile of money if they don't pull fossil fuels out of the ground. They, and their investors, probably including me. What will persuade them to leave that stuff in the ground? Should they be persuaded to leave that stuff in the ground? If they aren't persuaded to leave it in the ground, where does that leave us in terms of greenhouse gases?

The US subsidizes the extraction of fossil fuels to the tune of many billions of dollars a year. Should we stop doing that?

Trump wants to sell rights to extract fossil fuels from areas that have so far not been exploited, notably in the Arctic. Should we do that? Or not?

What is going to motivate all of the people who currently make their living from the extraction, distribution, and consumption of fossil fuels to do something else instead?

Relying exclusively on the private sector to make all of that happen seems, to me, to rely on somebody somehow discovering or inventing some kind of magic bean. Some remarkable innovation that provides all of the benefits we get from fossil fuels - energy density, portability, convenience - but at a sufficiently better cost to somehow make the idea of retiring all of the infrastructure and other investments we've currently sunk into fossil fuels seem like a very very good and profitable one.

Where's the magic bean?

Absent the magic bean, what is going to persuade folks to walk away from all of that money?

All good questions russell. I hope to have time to get back to this today.

But it is simple. As technology drives the cost of various types of energy down so they are a realistic option, those options are being leveraged to compete in the marketplace at an accelerated rate.

New coal plants are being cancelled, the percentage of companies working to be carbon neutral is accelerating and the race for a fleet of zero carbon vehicles is well underway.

Perhaps one of the more telling market indicators is the difference in how various oil companies are valued. Exxon is the one large oil company that is almost entirely committed to ride out its oil reserves with little investment in alternative energy businesses. Its stock lags almost everyone in the industry as investors look to companies that are investing in a growing business model rather than running out clock. This is accelerating investment in broader energy alternatives in lots of related industries.

I will try to find a link that discusses this, too.

I'd say there's no opposition here to purely private-sector solutions to climate change. What people are expressing is skepticism, or so it seems to me. I, personally, would love to be wrong in being skeptical of the idea that the market will work this out all by itself. I'd run through the streets naked, alternately chugging champagne and singing "Hallelujah!" if that were to happen.

Also, too, Marty, you're commie for admitting that climate change is real. ;^)

a!

As technology drives the cost of various types of energy down

and the government can, and should (must!), do what it can to help those technologies.

we simply can't wait for 'the market', which literally has no goal beyond increasing profits, to end up in the right place.

As technology drives the cost of various types of energy down

and the government can, and should (must!), do what it can to help those technologies.

Technology is *a* factor in the cost equation. But it's not the only one; perhaps not even the main one. Think "oil depletion allowance," for example.

To level the playing field, I can see two choices. 1) We can eliminate all the subsidies (both direct and in the tax code) for coal, oil, gas, etc. But that's a bit hard on those who, in good faith, made investment decisions based on what the law currently is. Or,

2) We can add some kind of new subsidies for the new technologies, just to get them a fair shake. That's tricky, in that it can miss new technologies that the government hasn't thought of yet. And I'd hope that they'd include sunset provisions (and clauses sunsetting the subsidies for traditional energy sources in parallel) -- just to back government out of the whole arena.

I'd say there's no opposition here to purely private-sector solutions to climate change. What people are expressing is skepticism, or so it seems to me.

This is pretty much where I'm at. Including the part about running around naked and chugging champagne.

This is sort of optimistic. But this makes me skeptical.

Long story short, I don't see an either/or.

Most of the innovation is probably going to come from the private sector. The feds will probably make some contributions in terms of basic science, but actually applying that to create practical solutions tends to happen in the private sector.

But we're not really close to replacing fossil fuels at this point, especially for transportation and industrial applications. As far as I can see. And there is a really huge amount of money that will be left on the table if we don't pull all of that stuff out of the ground - I don't see purely market forces providing a sufficient disincentive there.

The path of least resistance, across many dimensions, is to extract oil and gas out of the ground and burn it up. Some motivation is needed to make basically everybody do the harder thing. That isn't something markets are particularly good at, as far as I can tell.

Both AOC and you miss the point.

The Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) is not incompetent, it is corrupt and malicious.

For every dollar spent on media buys, the consultants get a percentage.

Every time you use the DCCC mailing list, NGP-VAN gets a fee.

If you run a grass roots campaign, and you work smart, the CD consultants, and their friends in the DCCC, DSCC, and DNC make less money.

Their perfect candidate is Gil Cisneros, whose only qualification was that he literally won the lottery, and won in 2018, but lost this year.

The consultants don't care, they get their vigorish.

Go back to Dean's 50 state strategy, which devolved money and other resources to away from DC, because even if the locals are incompetent (Florida) they are not thieves.

US Electricity Generation by Energy Source (%), 1949 to 2019: Source: Energy Information Administration

what an exciting graph ! :)

sucks that 60+% of our electricity is still non-renewable. and most importantly, nobody changed to gas because coal was bad for the environment, gas is just cheaper right now.

The Paris Agreement's long-term temperature goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, and to try to keep limit it to 1.5 degrees above.

To achieve this, each country or group of countries commits (in a non-binding way) to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which it decides for itself (its Nationally Determined Contribution).

According to all plausible projections, the combined NDCs are inadequate to meet the 2 degree target.

The USA's NDC is particularly feeble, and has not been kept to - one promise Trump did keep was to ratchet up the damage the USA causes to the environment.

This is the context in which Marty wrote in another thread of the "levels of sacrifice from us demanded of literally no one else in the world". And wrote in this thread of "frantic overreactive solutions".

Marty speaks of free markets: personally I have no problem at all with governments regulating and taxing externalities, then standing clear and letting a free market find the best solutions. I do have a big problem with the Republican version of "free markets", which means the government giving money to their rich friends.

I do have a big problem with the Republican version of "free markets", which means the government giving money to their rich friends.

Well stated.

@russell: Yeah, the electric grid is actually the low-hanging fruit. The follow-on step of electrifying everything is going to be painful.

@cleek: Keep in mind that the US has three almost entirely independent power grids, each with its own fuel mix and distribution problems. Nuclear is an eastern thing. Texas has been more than 50% natural gas for a long time. Hydro has as big a share in the West, or some years bigger, as nuclear has in the East.

...I have no problem at all with governments regulating and taxing [negative] externalities, ...

Does that include renewable energy negative externalities? It certainly has some.

levels of sacrifice from us demanded of literally no one else in the world

The most popular vehicles in the US are, in order:

  1. Ford F-series pickup
  2. Dodge RAM pickup
  3. Chevy Silverado pickup

Climate change is on track for putting some parts of the world underwater. Literally.

I'm not sure that we're measuring "levels of sacrifice" with the same yardstick in all places.

Does that include renewable energy negative externalities? It certainly has some.

I'd be interested in what you think those are. I mean specifically the ones within an order of magnitude or two of those of non-renewable ones. (Always up for learning something new.)

Tax fossil carbon at source. A flat tax of $X/kilomole of carbon atoms mined, pumped, or imported, to be collected from the extractor or importer.

Distribute the proceeds, monthly, to all breathing humans in the US on a per-capita basis. No means testing, or sliding scale, or any of that "socialist tyranny" stuff.

Let The Free Market decide how to distribute the "incidence" of the tax; let individual humans decide how to spend their own personal dividend.

Set the tax rate at whatever $X is predicted to reduce CO2 emissions by whatever Y% you want to target. The prediction will be wrong. So, raise or lower the tax rate (and therefore the per-capita dividend) next year -- after the MAGAts and sane people both have become accustomed to the monthly dividend.

Pop some corn, and watch the fun as McConnell and his ilk argue to their "base" that its dividends must be cut because poor Exxon can't afford to pay the $X tax and Y% is not important anyway because it's snowing in December so where is that so-called global warming now, huh? At least some of the "base" will only hear the part about McConnell wanting to cut their dividends. Like I say, fun.

--TP

Depending on what renewable energy source we talk of, there are some negative externalities, some more problematic than others. Biofuel needs land to grow the plants which either comes out of the land used for food production or as of yet unused nature (e.g. rain forests). In Africa there have been cases were land with good soil got diverted to oil plants (profitable) from subsistance agriculture (not profitable) forcing the poor to ever poorer soil.
The production of batteries and high yield solar cells needs raw materials mined in environmentally unfriendly ways and employs lots of hazardous chemicals. This is externalised by mining and producing elsewhere where the standards are lower (it's usually not our own backyard where rare earths are mined and not the local river poisoned by the runoff of both the mines and the factories.).
No comparision to the moonscape* left by e.g. tar sand surface mining or mountain top removal for coal but not to be ignored either.
So, yes, there are negative externalities that have to be dealt with but, as of yet, a significantly lower scale.
I am not talking about people not liking the sight of wind turbines or solar farms (the latter at least can be put into deserts where it offends few people aesthetically).

*actually the moon looks more friendly and probably smells less bad.

All forms of energy use have negative externalities,which is why some urge “ degrowth”

If people dislike the Green New Deal even when explained, they will absolutely hate this. Unfortunately if the degrowth people are right, facts don’t care about our feelings or political pragmatism in any of its essentially narcissistic manifestations. I hope the degrowth people are wrong. ( And yes, I know about Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon. But exponential growth is what it is.)


https://cepr.net/stability-without-growth-keynes-in-an-age-of-climate-breakdown/

Nickel’s concluding argument

https://cepr.net/hickel-response-on-degrowth/

I think if one believes in exponential growth continuing indefinitely, you end up with some sort of SF scenario like dismantling planets to construct Dyson spheres or Matrioshka brains or alternatively, you have faster than light travel and computer gods running things as in the Cukture series. And even they either stagnate or transcend to a higher plane of existence. I guess that is what capitalism is all about. Or socialism, in the case of the Culture series.

bah. the market will never lead us to dystopia, for it is good and kind and wants only what's best for all humanity. rest your cheek in its warm and loving hands, citizen. fear not.

rest your cheek in its warm and loving hands

Where? Where?

kind citizen, please allow me to sell you these Invisibility Detecting Glasses! only $19.95, plus $8 S/H.

If the world's prevailing macroeconomic mindset was to seek to minimize the use of real resources needed to meet a sufficient quality of life (as opposed to standard of living) rather than simply measuring how much money gets pushed around and seeking for that to be ever greater, things would be ... um, different.

As far as I can tell, the "free market" (scare quotes as a nod to Pro Bono) is incredibly wasteful. So are wars.

Looks like Jabbabonk cost himself Georgia by his scare tactics against absentee voting.

https://mikethemadbiologist.com/2020/11/20/some-friday-schadenfreude-the-voter-suppression-edition/

I think if one believes in exponential growth continuing indefinitely, you end up with some sort of SF scenario....

The problem we have is that, in the early phases, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between an exponential curve and the beginning of an S curve. And that's before the detail that actual growth isn't really a smooth curve anyway.

Just wanted to note in passing that the POTUS is openly trying to steal the election he just lost.

To my knowledge, no (R) at the national level has called him out on it.

It really is kind of astounding.

To my knowledge, no (R) at the national level has called him out on it.

I believe Romney and Sasse both have. Which is a pathetically small number, certainly.

https://mobile.twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1329595108078063619

When Tucker Carlson isn't buying your crazy conspiracy delusion any more, it's time to admit you've lost.

it truly is.

not a peep. not a sideways glace. they just enable him.

i'm sure some would like to stand up and tell him to STFU, but they're too terrified of the lunatic GOP base. sucks to be everybody.

i know people think i'm being hyperbolic when i say the GOP is a cult; but every day they find a new way to demonstrate that it's true.

say, what's the GOP-controlled Senate doing these days?

they're pushing hydroxychloroquine?

i'm sure they also have tons of great ideas about climate change, too. i can't wait to hear them.

When Tucker Carlson isn't buying your crazy conspiracy delusion any more, it's time to admit you've lost.

sounds like he's still on-board with the idea that there were problems in Detroit and Philly - he mentions them at the very end of that clip. he just doesn't buy the computerized vote switching stuff.

he's an odd duck, though.

It really is kind of astounding.

Yup. And I wonder whether any of the people shouting about what a threat the Dems/Biden are to the American way of life have stopped to consider how this unprecedented behaviour after the election is an unprecedented threat to the American way of life (which after all has always included plenty of racism etc, but demonisation of the press and refusing to accept the results of an election are new).

Actually, I don't wonder. Anybody who was capable of voting for DJT after the last three years, and who believes this crap, is clearly incompetent to look at anything at all within a historical context.

I believe Romney and Sasse both have.

Noted.

That leaves 51 (R) Senators and whatever number of House Reps. Also governors, state legislators, etc.

It's despicable.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has gone at least as far as saying the Trump administration should be working with the Biden people “to ensure a smooth transition.”

not even close to good enough.

It's despicable.

not even close to good enough.

Both true. But unlike the Trumpists, we aspire to accuracy.

i know people think i'm being hyperbolic when i say the GOP is a cult

I'd say the (R) at the national level and probably most levels at this point meets the dictionary definition of a cult of personality.

The national party didn't even have a platform in this election cycle. I don't mean they had a bad platform, I mean they literally had no platform. What they had was "we support Trump" and oh yeah, whatever we said in 2016.

No analysis, non policy statements, no discussion of issues, no programs, no proposals. Their platform was DJT should be POTUS again.

Cult is accurate.

It's despicable.

It's a crime.

Lock him up.

Cult is accurate.

At the national level (with a couple possible exceptions as noted), yes. And for a huge chunk of their voting base (although exactly how much is unclear, at least to me), also yes.

But the behavior of actually quite a large number of Republican local (and in some cases state) officials suggests that there are also a lot of Republicans, specifically Republican office holders, who still have values which trump Trump. You may intensely dislike their political/ideological views. But they clearly draw the line at violating the law, or their oaths of office, for Trump. Unlike the vast majority of Republican members of Congress.

It's a crime.

legality is moot when nobody will enforce the law.

there are also a lot of Republicans, specifically Republican office holders, who still have values which trump Trump

i invite them to rise up and smack Trump down.

The people in this piece are definitely cultists. One calls Trump the greatest patriot who ever lived and can’t conceive of him being a con man.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-republican-voters-no-way-120755031.html

i invite them to rise up and smack Trump down.

The 10% (at most) who will do that are to be commended. Too bad that I can't vote for any of them because I don't like what they want for the country.

As to the Trumpies, we actually need to figure out what to do. I saw this thing from a commenter on LGM. Time is of the essence.

It's hard for me to take the initiative to get motivated without others to help me along. What do you all think? Sitting around shouldn't actually be an option right now, but getting off my butt is quite difficult. Depression, lack of faith in an outcome, COVID. All of these things are working against mobilizing. I need a jolt.

i invite them to rise up and smack Trump down.

They're doing exactly that. Saying that there was NO election fraud. And that anyone who claims there was (i.e. Trump and his toadies) is not just wrong but doing harm to the nation.

As to the Trumpies, we actually need to figure out what to do.

And, from Donald's cite:

Now, Fryar says he would go to war for Trump. He has joined the newly formed South Plains Patriots, a group of a few hundred members that includes a “reactionary” force of about three dozen - including Fryar and his son, Caleb - who conduct firearms training.

Nothing will convince Fryar and many others here in Sundown - including the town’s mayor, another Patriots member - that Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election fairly. They believe Trump’s stream of election-fraud allegations and say they’re preparing for the possibility of a “civil war” with the American political left.

"If President Trump comes out and says: 'Guys, I have irrefutable proof of fraud, the courts won't listen, and I'm now calling on Americans to take up arms,' we would go," said Fryar

And:

"There's millions and millions of Trump votes that were just thrown out,” said Hedrick, 70, a retired teacher and librarian. “That computer was throwing them out.”

And

Rory Wells, 51, a New Jersey lawyer who attended a pro-Trump “stop the steal” election protest in Trenton last week, said he now watches Newsmax because Fox isn’t sufficiently conservative.

“I like that I get to hear from Rudy Giuliani and others who are not immediately discounted as being crazy,” he said of Trump’s lead election lawyer.

You know what? Rudy Giuliani *is* crazy. He is out of his freaking mind.

I'm not going to spend any more time figuring out what to do about Trump supporters. They live in their own world. If the first guy wants to come to where I live and try to shoot me, then I guess I'll get a gun and shoot him first.

Other than that, I got nothing.

I'm tired of talking about Trump supporters and what it will take to get them to change their minds. Nothing will make them change their minds. If reality doesn't do it, nothing I have to say is going to make a dent.

Out-vote them until they die off. That's all I got.

I'm tired of the public discourse being dominated by people who live in a fucking fantasy land. Enough already with the interviews with "salt of the earth" folks who get their reality from vendors of insane tin foil hat propaganda machines and who couldn't pass a 7th grade civics exam if their lives depended on it. Enough expeditions to quaint diners where "the waitress remembers your order".

The waitresses remember your order where I live, too. Big fucking deal.

These people need to educate themselves. They need to get their heads the hell out of whatever QAnon puke funnel they're hooked up to, and maybe expose themselves to a bigger world. They need to get over their freaking pathological fear of people in the "big cities", who are just trying to get through their lives just like they are.

Or, not. Whatever.

In any case, I can't do any of that for them. It's up to them.

I should probably have explained the link I offered.

It's a playbook on what we should actually do. It's divided into parts, and the first part is obsolete - it's about the election, and that's over.

The second part is what to do when the election results are rejected by Trump & Co.

Please give it a look through (and, yeah, I haven't actually read the whole thing either). I would suggest looking at Part II, Strategies to Respond.

I am going to be looking at that, maybe doing a summary for friends, and sending it on.

(There was a twitter thread related to this, and possibly a New Yorker article. If I happen to find those things, I will put them up in a comment.)

Thanks.

As to the Trumpies, we actually need to figure out what to do.

I have the unsettling feeling that I'm on a roll for long time horizons here. Sigh.

But the real answer is: we wait for Trump to die. Just that, nothing more. Certainly his kids don't have his deft hand for scamming the marks. And I'm not sure I've seen anyone among the Republican Senators and Governors (i.e. the obvious possible future candidates) who does either.

Without their Dear Leader, the Trumpies fragment and become much less of a threat.

I think there are a range of Trump voters and not all of them seriously believe that crackpot stuff, though many will say they think Trump was cheated because it is what they are supposed to think. Fred Clark ( the slacktivist blogger who writes about the bad side of white evangelical culture) says they embrace all kinds of things, but don’t seriously believe it. Back when I was evangelical, the Abortion = Holocaust claim bugged me. We couldn’t possibly really believe it. A tiny handful do— they bomb clinics or at the very least devote their lives to protest. Or alternatively you could say that most of us ( now looking at myself) are too comfortable to act on our alleged beliefs. Clark and others have also described how evangelicals became hardline anti abortion— this only happened a few decades ago and was not as you might think simply a reaction to Roe.

Which is tangential, but my point is that most people say they believe something extreme, but it has zero effect on how they behave. Except for a handful, some of whom are dangerous.

Most Trump voters are just Romney voters with absolutely no standards. I don’t think they can be reached except maybe many will gradually admit Biden won. And a few of them might become never Trumpers, though at this stage that should have happened by now.

The subset that could conceivably be reached would be the white working class who feel betrayed by the loss of manufacturing. Maybe you reach them with centrist blue dog Democrats or maybe you reach them with people like Sanders ( who I think gets respect from a lot of working class people) or maybe Fetterman. ( Not that Sanders will run again.). You might reach a few. But mainly I think people in that category should be helped because it is the right thing to do, even if they won’t vote for you.

There are also the Hispanic Trump voters. Personally I don’t care about the Miami Cubans but if some conservative Democrat can win them over in local elections, fine, But Democrats should be able to win back working class Hispanic voters in Texas. Something went wrong there.

This isn't about reaching Trump voters. We're in a cold war with Trump voters. This is about doing something now to get Biden in office without Trump further sabotaging whatever it is he might be able to do, given that he probably won't be able to get his own legislation passed unless we get GA's senators.

This is about getting him to STFU right now, and making him stop. It's about mitigating whatever damage he's going to do in the next two months.

It's urgent that we stop this now, that we get what's happening, and rise to the challenge. The Republicans want us dead.

“ Personally I don’t care about the Miami Cubans”

Fleshing that out, I wish I could remember who wrote the recent nyt opinion piece I mentioned recently, where the writer explained that Miami Cubans remembered all the authoritarian regimes imposed on Central America and so they respected Reagan. Reagan, whose Administration defended the humans rights record of the death squad givernment in El Salvador and who personally gave his approval to the genocidal evangelical Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt. If that was an accurate representation of the opposition to authoritarianism to be found in Miami among people who hate Sanders, I would just as soon go after the votes of the white nutcases in the article I linked.


I don’t know how you would get Trump to shut up. He is President for two more months. I don’t have any good ideas on that.

I just looked for the nyt opinion piece I think I remember and found others, but not that one. The ones I found were warning before the election that Trump was stronger with Hispanics than many realized.

I don’t know how you would get Trump to shut up. He is President for two more months. I don’t have any good ideas on that.

Me neither. In point of fact, I don't think there is anything that can be done to shut him up. Or to mitigate the damage he is going to do on this way out. About the most we can do is work out the quickest ways, after 20 January, to repair the damage. In so far as possible.

many will say they think Trump was cheated because it is what they are supposed to think.

Right.

And there is not one damned thing I can do about that.

The subset that could conceivably be reached would be the white working class who feel betrayed by the loss of manufacturing.

Or, wage labor in general.

The reason people like Bernie and Fetterman get traction with those people is that they address the concrete issues faced by those people.

Work, health care, basic financial security. Quality of life if you don't have a lot of money.

That used to be the (D)'s territory, they've given too much of it up to the (R)'s.

The (R) solution is trickle down. It's been 40 years, it ain't trickling down

But the real answer is: we wait for Trump to die.

That's probably about right. He has a perverse charisma that some folks respond to, and a lot of that will die with him.

If it happens before 2024, I will not complain.

I should probably have explained the link I offered.

It's a playbook on what we should actually do.

If Trump or anything like Trump returns and manages to push things any further than Trump did this time around, I vote for shutting stuff down.

General strike, whatever. Just get in the damned way and shut it down. Turn the lights off.

My two cents.

In the meantime my suggestion is spending the next four years making sure everybody can vote.

In the meantime my suggestion is spending the next four years making sure everybody can vote.

This is going to be a difficult strategy given that R's just won a bunch of statehouses, even overturned some, which translates into gerrymandered for R's.

I'm for it, with whatever gas we have.

However, I suggest that we start studying alternatives right now. I'm 90% confident that Biden will take office, but similarly confident that any agenda we voted for is screwed because of R bs. Maybe there's an alternative to me just sitting back on my couch and crying.

Time to attack, and make people pay. Somebody has put together a plan? I'm going to study it, and sign up, by Thanksgiving.

This is going to be a difficult strategy given that R's just won a bunch of statehouses, even overturned some, which translates into gerrymandered for R's.... I'm for it, with whatever gas we have.... However, I suggest that we start studying alternatives right now.

I have no idea about other parts of the country. I live in the land of ballot initiatives, vote by mail, and independent redistricting commissions. Regionally -- the 13-state Census Bureau West -- there are two states with (R) legislatures and no redistricting commission with a total of four Representatives (one with one if you include Utah's commission, which can be overridden). Three states with an (R) legislature and vote by mail below 75% usage with four Representatives. Vote by mail and redistricting commissions are popular here on a bipartisan basis. Legislatures that ignore that face having the voters implement them by initiative.

Interesting weekend. I just did an entrance exam interview in Okinawa, and, in order to avoid Covid, I’ll be at the airport for the next three hours. Oh well.

Just wanted to say that one thing that could be done is to develop a national standard for voting That would ensure every state follow the same regulations and procedures. That would be a nice way to flush out any people who are arguing in bad faith.

...one thing that could be done is to develop a national standard for voting...

Developing a standard may be possible but legally implementing it is imo out of the question for the time being. And not just because it would require a constitutional amendment. Unless it would be a pure disenfranchisment and gerrymandering manual it would get a near 100% 'No' from the GOP, and a significant part of the Dem side of the political class would also not be willing to give up so much power. It's an iron principle that first the politicians choose their voters before the latter can be allowed to choose (within limits) their representatives.

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