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November 18, 2020

Comments

“ I fully expect for all of this Democrat-hating and -blaming by the "left" to recur immediately. ”

You are damn right it will. A lot of us are not happy with the national security picks. But I will judge the policies on a case by case basis. I expect some policy choices will be good and some probably not so good. Based on past experience, a few may be awful.,

Anyway, that was the selling point for Biden. We lefties didn’t like him, but we might be able to pressure him. All that whining about Yemen seems to have had an effect. It went from being an issue only fucking nutcases ever talked about to becoming a priority. Trump wouldn’t budge because Trump is a total sociopath. Blinken went from supporting the war in 2015 to opposing it now.

Blinken in 2015

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/u-s-expedites-arms-shipments-to-coalition-bombing-yemen-idUSKBN0MY1TL20150407

And hopefully he won’t pick Michael Morell for CIA chief.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/biden-weighs-mike-morell-as-his-cia-chief-a-key-dem-senator-says-dont-bother

While this is from 2007, I think this is appropriate when discussing all the things that Obama should have done or not done.

https://www.latimes.com/la-oe-ehrenstein19mar19-story.html

When the magical negro intersects with the green lantern theory of the presidency,

https://www.vox.com/2014/5/20/5732208/the-green-lantern-theory-of-the-presidency-explained

all kinds of interesting things happen.

The interview with the wonderful (and let's remember, extremely effective) Stacey Abrams in yesterday's NYT is very relevant to so much we have been discussing (the slogan "defund the police", the presence of different strands of thought in the Dem big tent), that I think it deserves a place here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/24/us/politics/stacey-abrams-georgia.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Politics

There are divisions among Democrats, especially moderate and progressive on some of the down ballot results. You have respect in both those camps. Do you think messages like “defund the police” hurt the party in House and Senate races?

I think you run the campaign for the place where you live. And I’ve always held to the reality that we exist on a spectrum of progress. There are those who have made it further along that spectrum. There are other communities that are struggling to find our way. And the responsibility of every election in every campaign is to identify where you are, but also where you can go.

But it’s up to those local communities to calibrate how broad and how far the vision can reach.

I think it is not helpful to try to force every single person into the same mold. I talk about the work I do here as translating “progressive” into “Southern,” because I know that there are conversations that are absolutely necessary, but you can’t get to that if you haven’t built the language to describe it. And we’ve got to do the work of building the language before we can get to the slogans.

But is it zero sum? The word we hear from some of the moderate members of the House is that too much space is given to some of these progressive members and those slogans and that hurts them.

For the Democratic Party, it is our burden and our benefit that we are faced with diversity. Republicans rarely have to engage because of the homogeneous nature of their belief system. When you are against most things, it is not necessary to articulate what you are for.

And this is a broad generalization and I know it, but Democrats have always had to recognize that the big tent that we built in, we’re going to have robust conversations inside it. And those conversations always spill out into the atmosphere. Republicans are going to weaponize those conversations. And it can be whispers or it can be shouts, but they’re going to find a way to leverage them.

Our responsibility is to make certain we built a base understanding of who we are.

They grumbled. Those bastards.

I guess hoping for more and saying so is a deep betrayal. At least that is what every DNC centrist I know has said repeatedly.

This fake victimhood language is silly and inaccurate.

I don't know what "DNC centrist" you know, so I can't speak to what they say, but all Democrats I know hope for more and say so. Did you read the NYT article about the stimulus I posted? You seem to have changed the subject, which was "Obama didn't stand up for a more aggressive stimulus."

The conversation wasn't about "hope". It was about criticizing Obama for achieving too little with his stimulus. When evidence was presented about what happened (and this was in the January of his inauguration) everyone starts talking about something else.

The point regarding Obama and his "failures" is well illustrated by lj's articles.

GftNC's article about Stacey Abrams is a lesson in what we face, and how to do it. Somehow, Stacey Abrams works for "more" in a way that doesn't threaten what we currently have. That is the most constructive strategy, rather than a rolling 24/7 news feed of Democrats' inadequacies.

Ms Abrams laid out a fundamental and inclusive political vision. You will also notice that she did not bother to carp about how "bad" the slogan "defund the police" is, and effectively moved the conversation on.

There's a lesson there.

because she's a better communicator than that - when asked about it, she sidesteps how bad it is and gets to the message she want's to communicate.

anyone here think Abrams would have come up with that particular slogan?

What activists do.

What activists do.

preen?

Just to be clear, the op-ed about Obama as a magical negro and the link to the Green Lantern theory of presidential power wasn't aimed at any particular comment, it just lined up with my take, which is if Obama had not been a moderate conservative centrist, he wouldn't have gotten elected.

From bobbyp's link:

Erik Loomis: "That this narrative has legs with the moderate wing of the Democratic Party as well, particularly people who simply don’t care cops slaughtering Black people such as Abigail Spanberger, really does require a step back to discuss some basic realities of our politics."

This is bullshit. I live near her district, a gerrymandered Virginia Trump-heavy district that she barely could win. (I pay attention, because no Democrat has won in my district since the gerrymandering happened.) I know the Democrats who vote and run in these districts. Erik is POS.

AOC wins handily in her district because people agree with her take on things. Yay! I agree with a lot of what she says as well.

Spanberger runs in a district where she wins by the skin of her teeth because there are Trump signs in yard after yard after yard. To say that she "simply doesn't care [blah]" is as ugly as it comes. Without Spanberger and people like her, we would not have a Congressional majority. And, yes, I didn't like seeing Spanberger's argument with the leftier Democrats on the front page of the Washington Post, so I wrote her a note to tell her so. But she was worried about the Trump turnout, and our lost seats, and her take on why is important for her to be discussing privately with colleagues.

Always glad to welcome another moderate conservative out of the closet. ;-)

LOL.

It strikes me now and then that I’m more conservative than the typical American “conservative”, but it’s a hard sell.

A self-governing commonwealth, operating under the rule of law, in small-r republican form. How far back does that go? It’s not like we invented it.

I think you run the campaign for the place where you live.

Everything I hear from Abrams increases my respect for her. We’re lucky to have her leading the charge in GA. I hope she gets a national platform, if she wants one.

She might not.

Spanberger runs in a district where she wins by the skin of her teeth

That is the reality. Further, Spanberger is not obliged to represent my point of view, or the point of view of anyone to the left of her constituents.

AOC is a millennial Latina from the Bronx. She is responsible to the people who elected her to office. Her point of view reflects that.

Spanberger is a 40-something former CIA ops officer from Richmond VA who ousted Tea Party drone Dave Brat from his seat in the House by a margin of about 6,000 votes. She is responsible to the people who elected her to office. Her point of view reflects that.

As an aside, Spanberger has also worked with universities to diversify their student bodies, and worked to increase the availability of affordable housing in the commonwealth of VA. So “defund the cops” or not, she’s done way more at a hands-on, boots-on-the-ground level to further progressive values than most folks have, including for example me.

The (R) party at the national level is pretty monolithic. That is their strength, and their weakness. The (D) is not. That is their strength, and their weakness.

The (D)’s with all their flaws are about 1,000 times more likely to further values that are important to me than the (R)’s are. So I’ll pretty much take any available (D) over any available (R), any time that’s possible.

I’m happy to have people like AOC in the House, and I’m happy to have people like Spanberger in the House. Let’s do our best to make sure they all get to stay there.

And as a total aside, capital-R Russell is the same as lower-case-r russell. I have a new tablet and it will not by god allow me to lower-case the first letter of my name.

I feel judged. :)

"Yay! I agree with a lot of what she says as well."

Then why not just leave it at that? Why all the hippie punching? Two can play the "shut up, shut up, shut up" game. It is not very productive.

That you took the time to read the Loomis post is appreciated. On to Georgia. Thanks.

The (D)’s with all their flaws are about 1,000 times more likely to further values that are important to me than the (R)’s are. So I’ll pretty much take any available (D) over any available (R), any time that’s possible.

I’m happy to have people like AOC in the House, and I’m happy to have people like Spanberger in the House. Let’s do our best to make sure they all get to stay there.

Amen, amen, and thrice amen. (Four times is not right out.)

I don't understand why moderate Democrats continue to attack progressives for wanting a better future than we can manage right now and trying to convince people that their way is better

Perhaps you know different moderate Democrats than I do. Because the ones I know don't do that.

They do, however, argue that sometimes the things that progressives say cause them to lose elections that they believe they (the moderate Democrats) would have won. Instead, those elections get won by conservatives, or worse. Who then do things that neither the moderates nor the progressives like.

To say that she "simply doesn't care [blah]" is as ugly as it comes.

yup. none are as pure as Loomis.

LOL.

It strikes me now and then that I’m more conservative than the typical American “conservative”, but it’s a hard sell.

Glad I succeeded in brightening your day, russell (I can take a hint). Any win's a good win.

Certainly the label "conservative" has gotten pretty toxic. But you're correct, you're far closer to what the term traditionally meant than the crazies currently making it their own.

Everything I hear from Abrams increases my respect for her. We’re lucky to have her leading the charge in GA. I hope she gets a national platform, if she wants one.

Amen. She's the only reason that Democrats have a prayer of winning those Senate seats. Even with how aweful the Republican candidates are. Without which seats, Moscow Mitch probably stonewalls pretty much everything. See the rest of the discussion on the impact of high-profile progressives on races elsewhere.

Even with how aweful the Republican candidates are.

I'm in awe of them, too. ;^)

They do, however, argue that sometimes the things that progressives say cause them to lose elections that they believe they (the moderate Democrats) would have won.

it's strange... The Left™ is very sensitive to phrasing when "corporate", "centrist", "neo-liberal" Dems speak. they're ready to point out any impure nuance and to tell us how it doesn't help the cause, etc.. but when they say things? nah. doesn't matter. everyone knows the self-evidently-correct true meaning behind the slogans.

sapient,

'd like to have a quote about "just the right size"

How's this?

Off by a bit - the package that passed was a bit under $800 billion, but I'm sure he said stuff like this later. I remember criticizing him for it on the grounds that it was bad politics.

You know...I live in Orange County. It's purple. When I got here it was red. There are a ton of Trump signs around. We probably have more actual white supremacists around than in most places. It's not as if I live in some progressive utopia.

In 2018 we narrowly elected Katie Porter with hard work and a lot of support from progressive Democrats. No hippies were punched. No progressives were criticized in an effort to look more centrist. She ran on winning issues and positions. You've all seen the videos of her questioning execs and making them uncomfortable.

We re-elected her by a wider margin in 2020 and flipped a seat in the state senate in favor of her primary challenger from 2018, Dave Min.

Again, no hippies were punched. And again, I personally knew Sanders supporters who went out in masks to canvas their neighborhoods for both Katie and Dave.

It's possible to win in a reddish-purple district as an unapologetic Democrat. It's possible to do so without aiming fire at The Squad and Bernie. And doing so can actually improve the odds for those who follow. But you have to run on issues that crosscut and you have to run against Republicans, not against the Democrats to your left.

Progressive Democrats don't have to live in the closet and it doesn't have to be "Democrats versus Progressives." It can be a winning coalition even in purple districts.

I remember criticizing him for it on the grounds that it was bad politics.

We can agree to disagree about that. What he seems to be saying (the way I translate it) is "Let's pass it already! It's good and needs to be done without further bickering." Seemed right to me.

Progressive Democrats don't have to live in the closet and it doesn't have to be "Democrats versus Progressives." It can be a winning coalition even in purple districts.

certainly.

but always remember: it goes both ways. if people want to use "moderate" and "centrist" as insults, they don't have much to complain about if they get accused of aiming fire at people who could be their allies.

An interesting thought piece, in a comment on Leonard Pitts' latest column. Consider if Stacy Abrams had won her election to be Georgia's Governor. That would leave Brian Kemp as Georgia's Secretary of State. Can you picture him standing up to Trump's BS the way Brad Raffensperger did?

What nous said - and in any two party system, you absolutely have to be a coalition to win.

This very interesting insider account of Democrat congressional losses makes it very clear what they thought the problems were, and it was zip to do with left/right issues
https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/11/25/democrats-campaigns-lost-house-seats-dccc-439676
... Every election cycle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, along with the Democratic National Committee and their biggest and most influential allies, wield disproportionate influence through the weight of their endorsements and their power of the purse. Often operating in concert, and inspiring big donors to follow, they decide which candidates are “viable,” who is worthy of full financial support, how their campaigns should operate and which consultants they can hire. And this year, the direction set by D.C. Democrats proved to be a very big part of why House Democrats fell far short of a hoped-for 2020 blue wave, instead diminishing their hard-fought majority won in 2018...

"be conservative in what you send, and liberal in what you accept"

That's been in RFC's for a looooong time; when translated into personal guidelines, one can live one's own life with 'conservative' principles, while being 'liberal' in how one treats others.

Nigel, that take is interesting, and some of it is helpful (although the failure of polling is a problem that surprised everyone - not sure the authors have a decent idea to address that better than anyone else).

As to the pandemic, well f' it. Democrats were more careful than Republicans, and if that's what lost us seats, we'll do better next time. Putting people at risk was not our brand, and I'm proud of that.

Thanks for the link, Nigel. The story is both disheartening and unsurprising.

Democrats seem to have a long-standing problem with inept consultants.

As I'm sure others here did, I gave a fair amount of money to a number of candidates, especially in Senate races. Bad day at the track - I didn't pick a single winner, though Ossoff and Warnock still give me some hope.

I'm not happy about this, and really would like to hear from the DNC, DSCC, Masto, Schumer, whoever about what happened, along with some acceptance of responsibility.

Oh, and I wouldn't mind a refund from that idiot Cal Cunningham.

I just want to wish all of you a happy and safe thanksgiving. I don't know if this sentiment fits with the tradition, but at least now giving thanks seems appropriate, despite the horrific pandemic death toll, because there is hope that things will be improving soon - a vaccine (or 3), a new and sane administration, and (DV) a successful runoff in Georgia.

Pedantic perhaps, but if Abrams had beaten Kemp then Kemp would have returned to being a private citizen, as his term as Secretary of State was expiring. He was not on the ballot (nor could have been) for re-election to Secretary of State.

Any win's a good win.

Maybe that's why you are a conservative? (I keed, I keeeed!!)

I'm the one who keeps beating this dead horse, but (unless someone can point me to something saying I'm wrong), I don't think that the defund the police phrase came out of focus groups and a Don Draper like pitch. This is not to say that bad ideas don't come out in that way like this frex (I'm actually a connoisseur of such ads and the recent ones by the Tories was quite fun in that regard
https://www.dazeddigital.com/politics/article/50747/1/a-brief-explainer-on-the-government-dystopian-fatima-cyber-ad

https://www.bustle.com/life/government-fatima-cyber-advert-is-part-of-2019-campaign

I especially like the redone ad in the second link that points to all the jobs that the ad requires, jobs that the government suggests need to retrain.

But I feel like the phrase in question (and again, if someone can point me to something that suggests I'm wrong, please do) is a anguished scream, not the product of a focus group.

I can't speak for others, but the hardest lesson for me to learn, and one that I'm still having to teach myself, is that sometimes, and a lot more often than I think, offering well-meaning criticism is not always the best thing. It's made tougher by the fact that people on the left tend to enjoy poking and prodding at meanings (that's why the academy is full of marxists, amirite?) It's made almost impossible by people on the right who gin up other problems and claim that the left is hypocritical by not focussing on the problems they want them to focus on.

I also think that focussing on the optics of the defund the police is actually a way that the consultants mentioned by bernie above try and justify their own existence. Obviously, you can't have the hoi polloi come up with their own slogans, look what happens! while failing to acknowledge that they are simply protecting their revenue stream. (I'm assuming that none of you are in that category)

Having tossed yet another turd in the punchbowl, I'll finish by echoing GftNC's comment. Take care y'all.

Priest, thanks for the clarification.

For all of those here (to be fair, I include myself) who are self-styled slogan experts, I recommend this link.

My add-fee invoice shall be forwarded under separate cover.

Go, turkees.

That looks fun, bobbyp!

Happy Thanksgiving, folks, and thanks to those who wish us that, and know that we have a lot of dodged bullets to be thankful for.

Fun stuff, bobbyp!

And interesting to see that Trump's "America First" slogan was first a theme of Warren G. Harding -- until Trump, easily our most corrupt President.

"Make your wet dreams come true." (not what You think, dirty old reader!)
"They can't lick our Dick"
"Don't change Dicks in the midst of a screw, vote for Nixon in '72"

Ouch!

Not sure if this is reform or defund. Looks like the involved unions are worried that this is defund and want to make sure that any reform have to be put through the existing system first.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-11-25/la-county-could-dismantle-juvenile-justice-system-for-care-first-model

The plan calls for children and young adults who have committed crimes to be served in home-like settings, and includes 24/7 youth centers and support teams that establish relationships with young people who might otherwise be locked in facilities far from home.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday took the first steps to transition juvenile probation to a proposed new Department of Youth Development, in a three-phase approach that will take at least five years. Similar approaches have been tried in San Francisco; Houston; New York City; King County, Wash.; and Oregon.

I don't care what it is called so long as we give plans like this our best shot.

Off topic but current events again show that reforming (i.e. curtailing) presidential pardon power should be on the to-do list.
With a Dem in office this could even draw some (shortsighted) GOP votes. Not enough though for the necessary constitutional amendment.

Main points (I am repeating myself):
1. No pardons for crimes committed by or on behalf of the executive branch or members thereof*.
2. Only specifically named crimes can be pardoned.
3. No preemptive pardons (You have to be formally judged guilty by appropriate legal authority before.).
4. Promising a pardon to further illegal activities is a felony (also covered by 1.) that legal authorities HAVE to prosecute at the latest when the person doing so is leaving office.
5. Exceptions shall require approval by Congress with a significant majority to be determined (to avoid pure partisanship).
6. Commuting of sentences as a pardon-in-all-but-name are to be treated the same way with the exception of the death penalty (which can still be commuted to life without parole).

*that should cover 'private' illegal acts while being a member of the branch.

Promising a pardon to further illegal activities is a felony (also covered by 1.) that legal authorities HAVE to prosecute at the latest when the person doing so is leaving office.

Might need to have some detail about how eleptical said promise can be to warrant prosecution. Because individuals with enough experience with, or just long proximity to, oeganized crime (e.g. our current President) can be quite good at circumlocutions.

I don't care what it is called so long as we give plans like this our best shot.

Completely with you.

Let me add to Hartmut’s list.

Assisting in genocide and/ or war crimes is a felony. For both parties.
Torture is a felony.
No preemptive pardons.
No looking forward, not back.

The rule of law is about more than lying to the FBI and process crimes and it should also include what we do to people overseas. Separating children at the border is one of the worst things his Administration did, but killing them in Yemen is worse.

On the moderate- liberal divide, I don’t agree that both sides want the same thing except in the very broad sense that most people want prosperity, rainbows and ponies for everyone who wants one. It is an ideological divide on some issues. Not necessarily all issues, but some. On foreign policy it is often a divide. On health care it is a divide.

The Green Lantern meme only works as a rebuttal,for lefties who really think Obama could have done whatever he wanted. I don’t think he could, but I don’t think he wanted what the far left wanted. He pivotedmto the austerity language very quickly, language which is poisonous to the left. You don’t talk about austerity and about the Federal,government living within its means when you are still,pulling out of a recession. And the ACA could be the best thing attainable at the time, but the Andre mic shows the idiocy of a complex Rube Goldberg system based on having insurance supplied by your employer.

I think the closing paragraph of this piece about the pandemic has broader application. A politician might not be able to so what is best, but if so, tell the public why you can’t achieve it. Maybe you lose your job, but I think that kind of honesty might be refreshing.

Leftists and moderates are stuck with each other, but the mere fact that moderates say that Biden was a better candidate than Sanders was based on the idea that many moderates were scared of Sanders, as scared as they were of Trump. They reject the goals. What holds the Democrats together is lesser evilism. That’s politics. Some far lefties threaten to go third party or not vote if a moderate is at the head of the ticket and some moderates threaten the same thing if it is a leftist, because they don’t have the same goals.

While I am ranting, on the subject of slogans in this particular case I am on the moderate side. Slogans are a means to an end. That’s all. If you aren’t sure a slogan will achieve what you want, it seems a bit silly to be caught up in defending it. The principle or policy goal you want to achieve is what you should defend.

“ Andre mic ”

It took a minute to remember what I meant before the spellcheck gremlins got hold of it. That was “pandemic”. Why would the gremlins go for Andre mic?

Between my fat fingers and spell check I expect at some point I will end up typing an impassioned defense of a Mitt Romney-AOC 2024 presidential ticket.

the mere fact that moderates say that Biden was a better candidate than Sanders was based on the idea that many moderates were scared of Sanders,

i am not in the least scared of Sanders.

i was afraid he'd get utterly crushed by Trump, however. his history, his present, his self-description, his style all work against him. and yes, his policies: a lot of other people just don't want them. all that adds up to 4 more years of Trump. decline.

I forgot to supply the link to the piece I referenced

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/11/pandemic-restrictions-no-logic/617204/

“ i am not in the least scared of Sanders.”

People often don’t fit neatly into nice little boxes, especially if there are only two boxes supplied. Some moderates wouldn’t vote for Sanders on the most extreme moderate end. And yeah, despite what they think, centrists can be extremists.

Cleek,

i am not in the least scared of Sanders.

i was afraid he'd get utterly crushed by Trump, however.

Me too.

Donald,

On health care it is a divide.

I'm not sure it's as big a divide as all that. I think there is general agreement that the goal is universal health coverage. The disagreement seems to be about the best way to accomplish that.

Some far lefties threaten to go third party or not vote if a moderate is at the head of the ticket and some moderates threaten the same thing if it is a leftist, because they don’t have the same goals.

The lefties do more than threaten. Ralph Nader, Jill Stein? These things still smart, especially Nader, and account for some of the intra-party hostility.

i was afraid he'd get utterly crushed by Trump, however.

It seems to me, from here, that this was by far the most common (and absolutely correct to my way of thinking) reason for Dems of any stripe to oppose Sanders. Pace McKinney, he really doesn't look like that much of a socialist from a European perspective (like AOC), and getting rid of Trump was the number one priority for a) the US, and b) the world. Everything else was (and had to be) subordinated to that. That is why, in that cause alone, my enemy's enemy (Lincoln Project et al) was my friend.

FWIW, although I thought Corbyn was a) stupid, and b) suspect in many attitudes (e.g. anti-semitism enabling, at the very least), my reasons for opposing him (going as far as joining the Labour party for the first time ever) were fairly and squarely because I thought he was unelectable, and would therefore condemn the UK to many more years of Tory rule - and so it turned out, although even people like me did not foresee quite how ruinous that Tory rule would turn out to be, nor that Brexit would be at least partly the consequence.

there's no way i would've voted 3rd party if any of the dozens of people in the Dem primary made it. some i wouldn't have been crazy enthusiastic about. but not a chance, at all, ever, that even the least of them would cause me to throwing away a chance to get Trump out.

And in other news, regarding Amy Coney Barret's debut on the SCOTUS decision enabling churches and synagogues to hold superspreader events, Greg Gonsalves (as retweeted by hilzoy) tweets:

This pandemic has piled sadness upon sadness, bodies upon bodies, grief upon grief. I cannot see how @SCOTUS, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the synagogues who made this happen see this as a victory for anything but a god who demands human sacrifice in the most gruesome terms.

and

Conservatives are crowing over this as an own the libs moment, denying that many who support public health restrictions are people of faith. This broke long standing precedent, so don't at me with your calls for originalism etc. This is just know-nothing politics by other means.

This is just know-nothing politics by other means.

they don't know anything. and they want to stay that way.

that's going to be my default assumption any time any 'conservative' opens her/his mouth, ever, forever.

Apparently, the only safe place for crowds to gather is protest marches against the man...

It seems to me, from here, that this was by far the most common (and absolutely correct to my way of thinking) reason for Dems of any stripe to oppose Sanders. Pace McKinney, he really doesn't look like that much of a socialist from a European perspective (like AOC), and getting rid of Trump was the number one priority for a) the US, and b) the world. Everything else was (and had to be) subordinated to that. That is why, in that cause alone, my enemy's enemy (Lincoln Project et al) was my friend.

I think the Dems missed a bunch of big opportunities where Sanders is concerned. It's clear that Sanders' rhetoric a) appealed to a lot of people in focus and values, but b) turned others off for being too radical and unrealistic. What the Dems should have taken from this is a) a more combative stance and a focus on prosperity for the working class but b) more substance and less messianic hand waving about the path there.

Pretty much what Fetterman said.

This broke long standing precedent

The whole thrust of "originalism" is to break long standing precedent. Essentially, it is radical reactionism.

The lefties do more than threaten. Ralph Nader, Jill Stein? These things still smart

Hell's bells. I am still smarting from 1972. Nader's vanity campaign was a special case. Jill Stein is a joke. And the whole thing about opposing Sanders "because he couldn't win" is essentially conceding that moderate Dems would decamp in droves.

So....both ways.

Pardon Power: A power that is so easily abused should not exist (Ford, Bush I, Clinton-WTF were you thinking, Bill?, and now Trump).

Perhaps our intrepid Founders were envisioning the intolerable circumstances of something like the Dreyfus Affair, but when they threw Gene Debs in jail it was pretty obvious that the great "American character" was simply not up to that task.

Slogans are a means to an end. That’s all. If you aren’t sure a slogan will achieve what you want, it seems a bit silly to be caught up in defending it. The principle or policy goal you want to achieve is what you should defend.

Very well put, Donald. It's kind of depressing how many people seem to regard slogans as more important than policies.

This pandemic has piled sadness upon sadness, bodies upon bodies, grief upon grief. I cannot see how @SCOTUS, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the synagogues who made this happen see this as a victory

The moral superiority of doing things which will injure or kill your supporters is not obvious to me. But an astonishing number of those who claim to be motivated by morality seem to see things that way.

And the whole thing about opposing Sanders "because he couldn't win" is essentially conceding that moderate Dems would decamp in droves

I don't think so. Look at how narrow the margins were in the critical last few states. All it would have taken would be a fairly small number of conservative but anti-Trump Republicans deciding that Sanders was a bridge too far. And staying home. And you've got 4 more years of Trump, aided and abetted by McConnell. From which the country might well not recover.

Just jumping in for a (US-holiday-centric) minute to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. Hope that everyone has something good to eat and someone they love to share it with, even if only remotely.

Fingers crossed for better times in 2021.

Stay safe y’all.

I think the moderates for decades have hippy punched. The idea is that leftists have nowhere to go, so they should shut up, support the moderate, and vote. Lefties say nasty things about moderates and if we had power we’d tell them Sanders is the candidate so vote for him and shut up. It’s how politics works. But the policy differences are real.

I don’t support third party voting, but I understand the temptation. The compromise for me is that I will vote for the Democrat and maybe even shut. up for a few months before November, but for the rest of the time issues take precedence over pragmatic political calculations. You say what you think. You make weird alliances. In that sense you are pragmatic, but it is about the issue and not about what makes Democrats look good.

Bernard— On health care there are as usual a wide range of views, but I think that if we have private health insurance we need to regulate the hell out of them and anyone who loses his or her job is automatically covered by a public option. And the public option has to be good.

I am skeptical this will happen. A public option will get the sort of treatment that any welfare program tends to get— it will be seen as a target for cuts.
A genuinely desirable public option could become a stepping stone towards single payer, which is why I am guessing any such public option that passes will probably be something nobody would want unless they had no alternative.

Any good plan should bring down costs, which suggests that any good plan will be opposed by all the people profiting from the current setup. These people make political donations.

Any good plan should bring down costs, which suggests that any good plan will be opposed by all the people profiting from the current setup.

For starters, let Medicare negotiate on drug prices. Yes indeed, it is exactly the camel's nose under the edge of the tent.

Critical question: can progressives resist trumpeting that detail long enough to get it passed? I'm guessing not.

For starters, let Medicare negotiate on drug prices.

Sure. Some other possibly low hanging fruit that does not involve radical "government takeover" of the health care system:'
(1.) Make it easier for foreign doctors to practice medicine in the US.
(2.)Stop letting the medical profession, through their control of med school populations, restrict the supply of doctors.
(3.) Allow well trained nurses to expand their legally permitted health care responsibilities.
(4.) Reform our patent law.

See Dean Baker's writings on this.

My thought about health care is that we have to start from the premise that it’s not something that lends itself to an efficient market.

If we don’t start with that, everything else that follows will be done poorly.

Horses for courses, as folks in the UK say.

On health care there are as usual a wide range of views, but I think that if we have private health insurance we need to regulate the hell out of them and anyone who loses his or her job is automatically covered by a public option. And the public option has to be good.

They are already regulated. If that's inadequate, and I have no idea if it is, then make it stricter.

Would the public option be taxpayer-funded, or just the opportunity to buy into Medicare?

Stuff of that nature makes sense to me.

Any good plan should bring down costs, which suggests that any good plan will be opposed by all the people profiting from the current setup.

I suspect that the best way to bring down costs is to do things that reduce administrative cost. Health care economics is pretty complex, and I don't know everything that drives the costs up. I do know that the cost of capital doesn't disappear because you pretend not to see it, which is not to say there's no profiteering.

All it would have taken would be a fairly small number of conservative but anti-Trump Republicans deciding that Sanders was a bridge too far. And staying home. And you've got 4 more years of Trump, aided and abetted by McConnell. From which the country might well not recover.

Well, speaking for the independents I know in WI, there was also a danger they could decide that Biden was a shill and he was one gaffe away from a third party protest vote. The pandemic may have saved him in WI just by keeping him from having a more public profile.

The candidate they most were interested in early on was Gabbard because she was a cranky iconoclast non-interventionist with libertarian leanings. Thank goodness that went nowhere.

Those WI independents would absolutely love Fetterman, BTW.

Which gets back to what I was saying about Sanders' appeal. They loved his attitude and parts of his platform; they loved his fire and fight, they just thought he was a bit too pink and idealistic.

Biden, though, seemed status quo and milquetoast and over groomed and they never expressed anything but cynicism about the idea of voting for him. They probably would have voted third party instead were it anyone but Trump that he was running against.

It's a small focus group, but it covers a lot of the people I grew up with who stayed in rural WI, and I think that there were a similar number of people who voted for Trump that were FB friends of theirs who would also vote for a Fetterman type Dem over Trump if that were on offer.

I don't think the moderate/liberal divide amongst the political junkies like us maps well onto the independents who are cynical about politics.

nous, didn't realize you were from WI? While every state is own strange bits, Wisconsin has its own flavor, but it is a flavor that contains a lot of notes that other states have. Strange bits, the history of progressive politics there
https://www.jstor.org/stable/27788006?seq=1

The higher education system creating islands of left supporters
https://solidarity-us.org/p3545/

The rise of a Trumpist candidate
https://www.wpr.org/derailed/political-winds-change-walker-uses-train-seize-moment

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/blogs/wisconsin-voter/2019/01/07/scott-walkers-shock-and-awe-politics-worked-until-didnt/2484838002/

and the problematic racism of the main city
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/30/minneapolis-racial-inequality/

I miss (r)ussell

(m)e too

Pretty much all of my primary and secondary school years were in WI. It was the creamy filling that was sandwiched by pre-school/post secondary years in CO before I landed in CA for grad school.

WI has a very specific and deep sort of racism and urban/rural divide that runs through its politics, and a paranoid anti-government streak that crosses over into white power territory in some strange ways.

wj: It's kind of depressing how many people seem to regard slogans as more important than policies.

"Make America Great Again!" Slogan, or policy?

"Black Lives Matter!" Slogan, or policy?

Slogans do motivate voters, I think. On both sides, if you'll pardon the expression.

--TP

"a very specific and deep sort of racism"

Yes, it's quite interesting. My dad chose to go to uni there from Hawai'i, and he was part of a diaspora of Japanese-Americans who went to Big Ten schools. I was at Ohio State in the nataorium which had the swim team pictures and in the post war years, you had names like Oyakawa, Konno and Nakama. I was at UW for a summer session studying Thai and there were several trips to Buddhist gatherings run by the Southeast Asians who had settled there. There is also Clint Eastwood's film Gran Torino, which has Eastwood befriending a Hmong family, all of which suggests that the Midwest doesn't have too many problems with Asians, but I agree, it does have a lot of problems with African Americans.

On August 27, 1967, the local NAACP, led by Father James Groppi, held a march of about a hundred into a white neighborhood in protest of the city's housing laws. They came up against a crowd of 5,000 who retaliated with racial epithets, stones, and garbage. The following day Groppi addressed a meeting of supporters at St. Boniface Church, and prepared them for what was likely to come:

If there is any man or woman here who is afraid of going to jail for his freedom, is afraid of getting tear gassed, or is afraid of dying, you should not have come to this meeting tonight.

On August 29, the curfew was lifted and Groppi led 200 members of the Milwaukee NAACP on a march out of the ghetto and toward Kosciuszko Park, in an area predominately inhabited by white residents.[11][15] The mob they met had grown to 13,000 and the protesters came under sniper fire as they returned to their headquarters. It was burned down later that night or early the next morning. The Mayor issued an order banning such demonstrations, and both Groppi and Phillips were arrested.

Midwest doesn't have too many problems with Asians, but I agree, it does have a lot of problems with African Americans.

Problems with Asians tended to be mostly on the West Coast. Specifically California. Especially in the first half of the last century. But by the 1960s it had fallen off amazingly. I have no clear idea why; but I observed it.

I suspect that, until a few decades ago, the rest of the country simply didn't see enough Asians to generate serious prejudices. (Negative feeling about Japanese, thanks to WW II, being balanced by the Chinese being our allies then.)

A couple of my WI friends were hapa Korean-Americans. Their fathers were veterans who had married Korean women.

Both of them faced a bit of anti-Asian bigotry in HS, but still ended up with anti-black racial animus. They treat every known person as an individual but their collective narratives are thoroughly racist.

I'm only FB friends with one of them and I've had to hide his feed in order to remain cordial. Don't even know where to begin.

Also, he's convinced that Biden has cognitive issues and that Harris is angling to replace Biden and go Full Socialist on everyone.

Meanwhile, most of CA isn't even sure that Harris is actually progressive.

States are weird.

There is certainly a question of numbers and a tipping point phenomenon. Also, you had war brides from post WW2 and Korea. Women as immigrants are less threatening than men, so it is much easier for them to function as a bridge. Also, the notion about being a concentrator of anti-black racial animus is interesting and sadly true. I have a couple of aunts who have said some pretty horrific things (they've all passed pre or during Obama's admin). But it's not simply saying it, the impression I got was that they felt physically threatened by the presence of black people. My uncles seemed to not have those problems, so sorry to hear that isn't universally the case.

Slogans are not just a way to focus people on a goal, it's also a tool of authoritarian governments to distract the population (from the usually rather questionable governing).

The Nazis had quite some talent in that regard.

https://www.akg-images.de/Docs/AKG/Media/TR5/f/5/7/0/AKG74216.jpg
(an iconic election poster: Our Last Hope - Hitler)

https://weimar.bundesarchiv.de/WEIMAR/DE/Content/Bilder/Wahlmarathon/014-nsdap-reichstagswahl-1933.jpg?__blob=poster
(rather blatant: "We are tired of voting" the other bold text is: "an extraordinary will, an extraordinary skill (and last but not least) an honest desire")
The complete text could be right out of Jabbabonk's campaign (man of the people, against all odds, help him achieve his great goals...)

A major slogan of Hitler's campaigns was also: German Poeple - Give me four years!

From Politico this morning. It would be nice if one could blame hydroxychloroquine for Trump's recent insane behaviour, but unfortunately the record shows that the POTUS has been this unhinged for years.

Chloroquine and a related compound, hydroxychloroquine, have been associated with cases of psychiatric disturbances and suicidal behavior after being given to COVID-19 patients, warned the EU's drug regulator today.

The two medicines were some of the first drugs put forward as possible treatments for the coronavirus, and were famously promoted by controversial French doctor Didier Raoult and U.S. President Donald Trump. However, since then, they haven't shown to be effective in clinical studies.

The European Medicines Agency said that it had initiated a review of the drugs after receiving a notification from Spain's medicines authority, AEMPS, of six cases of mental disturbances linked to coronavirus patients who were given higher than authorized doses of the medicines.

People go bankrupt or alternatively put off care and die under the current system., and I don’t think that kind of thing happens in other Western countries to anything like the extent it happens here. So that suggests that if we insist in having a private system, it needs some drastic improvement. We also spend far more than other counties per capital, so clearly there is tremendous waste.

I like single payer, but we could in theory accomplish the same goal with private insurance. We are nowhere close and given the amount of wasted money involved, there is going to be ferocious resistance to any plan which actually deals with the problems of both inadequate coverage ( people have insurance and still go broke) and excessive cost. I don’t buy the notion that there is some easy politically pragmatic path forward. No matter which path you pick, if it does the job people will fight like hell to stop it.

Now that the endless recriminations have begun....from today's Times, an interesting take on the election and political polarization.

People go bankrupt or alternatively put off care and die under the current system., and I don’t think that kind of thing happens in other Western countries to anything like the extent it happens here.

Just curious: do other Western countries have anything like our anti-vaxxers? Any of you folks in Europe shed some light on that?

Seriously. Because if not, we're looking at significantly different environments.

Yes, there are anti-vaxxers in Germany too. We might even have come up with that in the first place in the 19th century. It used to be adventists and Jehovah's witnesses. And a few hippies (or our equivalent thereof) that believe that childhood diseases are a necessary rite of passage that is prevented by vaccinations. But now it is growing beyond that and with very active support from the US. The RW evangelicals (we have those too) are at the core but the movement gets infused with secular antisemitic conspiracy theories made-in-the-USA about a campaign decades in the making by Soros, Bill Gates and Fauci to implant mind control chips into our bodies via fake vaccination.

I'm clear that it's traditional for Democrats to agonize over the divisions within their party. While displaying some envy for Republicans' putative unanimity.

But then there's this
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-fraud-claims-georgia-republicans-run-offs-perdue-loeffler/2020/11/26/0c4d6b3a-2f30-11eb-bae0-50bb17126614_story.html

One prominent Trump ally, Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, who unsuccessfully sued Georgia election officials to stop the certification of the vote, has urged Republican voters not to vote in elections with Dominion machines.

Wood has attacked Perdue and Loeffler for not doing enough to help, and he told his 631,000 Twitter followers last weekend that if the senators don’t step up their support, he would take a pass on Jan. 5.

“If not fixed, I will NOT vote in GA runoff,” he tweeted.

If Democrats pull off a double win in Georgia, people like Wood will be part of why.

It is interesting that the other obvious side trail to the discussion is schools, as I believe that both schools and police have many of the same problems--both have too strong public sector unions that create a situation where bad actors are essentially unaccountable. This leads to counter moves where people who see deep institutional rot try to drain funds from the currently existing institutions to fund what they see as better ones.

In any case I'd suggest that the fact that 'abolish the police' cannnot get majority approval even among black people suggests that it isn't a good way forward (at least rhetorically).

"Defund The Police" combined with a summer of riots and looting, even if all were said/performed with the best of intentions had an effect - people really aren't interested in worrying about having their shit burned down and they want their police departments funded so that someone can stop their house from getting burned down.


We have plenty (citation needed) of anti-vaxxers here. I first became aware of them when a corrupt doctor here claimed that the MMR (for measles, mumps and rubella) caused autism. Since thoroughly debunked, I believe this fake controversy injected oxygen into an already explosive international tendency.

It is interesting that the other obvious side trail to the discussion is schools, as I believe that both schools and police have many of the same problems--both have too strong public sector unions that create a situation where bad actors are essentially unaccountable.

Who is it that the teachers unions are making essentially unaccountable? What is the harm that teachers unions are perpetuating by preventing this accountability?

Do you have some equivalent to The Thin Blue Line to point to among teachers that has them defending other teachers in the face of visible harm to a portion of their students?

re "And in other news, regarding Amy Coney Barret's debut on the SCOTUS decision enabling churches and synagogues to hold superspreader events"

This isn't the ruling. I'm not at all sure that the Supreme Court decision is wrong. California has done much better by treating churches as the same as other large venues. NY really did have insane rules where churches were being treated worse than say restaurants. As far as I can tell the Supreme Court is saying you can't restrict churches more than other venues.

(As an example, NY said that no matter how large the church, you can't have more than 10 people in it, at a time when other interior venues were pegged to a percentage of occupancy.)

If they attack rules where they treat churches the same as other venues THEN it is bad.

nous: well, if you follow the RWNJ game plan, and ARM the teachers, then they certainly will need more unaccountability for when they decide to shoot Billy, because he was mouthing off.

NY really did have insane rules where churches were being treated worse than say restaurants.
...
If they attack rules where they treat churches the same as other venues THEN it is bad.

Perhaps I was reading a story about somewhere else. But the version I saw said that limitations on churches were looser when it came to how many people they could have gathered inside at an event. Indeed, if memory serves, other events with audiences (like concerts) were totally banned.

So, admittedly not being treated the same -- but being given more freedom. And still not enough, apparently.

P.S. What I'm waiting for is someone who is charged with child abuse appealing on the grounds that his (Christian**) religion believes "spare the rod and spoil the child."

** And with this Court, it will pretty well have to be Christian to get a favorable ruling on this.

(As an example, NY said that no matter how large the church, you can't have more than 10 people in it, at a time when other interior venues were pegged to a percentage of occupancy.)

That seems to be the case.

"Under Cuomo's rules, "houses of worship" in state-designated "red" zones were not allowed to admit more than 10 people; the cap in "orange" zones was 25. Those restrictions applied regardless of a building's capacity. A 1,000-seat church, for example, would be limited to 1 percent of its capacity in a red zone and 2.5 percent of its capacity in an orange zone.

Cuomo's restrictions on religious gatherings were much more onerous than the rules for myriad secular activities that pose similar risks of virus transmission. That point was crucial because the Court has held that laws are presumptively unconstitutional when they discriminate against religion. At the same time, it has said the Free Exercise Clause does not require religious exemptions from neutral, generally applicable laws, which obviously would include statutes that prohibit mass poisoning or murder.

It is undisputed that both the Brooklyn diocese and Agudath Israel, which sued Cuomo on behalf of the Orthodox synagogues it represents, were following strict COVID-19 safety protocols, including face masks and physical distancing. It is also undisputed that no disease clusters have been tied to their institutions since they reopened. The plaintiffs were not asking to carry on as if COVID-19 did not exist. They were instead arguing that Cuomo's policy singled out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment and was not "narrowly tailored" to serve the "compelling state interest" of curtailing the epidemic."
Paul Krugman Thinks Holding Religious Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Like 'Dumping Neurotoxins Into Public Reservoirs': The New York Times columnist misconstrues the issues at stake in the challenge to New York's restrictions on houses of worship.

This isn't the ruling. I'm not at all sure that the Supreme Court decision is wrong. California has done much better by treating churches as the same as other large venues. NY really did have insane rules where churches were being treated worse than say restaurants. As far as I can tell the Supreme Court is saying you can't restrict churches more than other venues.

This is a salutary correction, and I was lazily skimming headlines. Obviously, orthodox Jewish celebrations of crowded weddings etc leading to widespread transmission were very worrying, and it is clear that religious types of various stripes (particularly orthodox Jews, and evangelical Christians) have been particularly defiant of public health regulations (God is on their side, after all), but they should not be singled out for particularly harsh rules. If Sebastian is right here, then I agree.

It is interesting that the other obvious side trail to the discussion is schools, as I believe that both schools and police have many of the same problems

Hi Sebastian, nice to see you. While I don't agree completely with your take, I earlier pointed out to wj that the charter school movement was basically a defund movement. The big difference is that it is within the realm of possibilities to privatize your kid's education, but privatizing your own police protection is a little tougher.

I also think that "defund the police" is a lot harder to monetize than "charter schools for all".

Perhaps I was reading a story about somewhere else. But the version I saw said that limitations on churches were looser when it came to how many people they could have gathered inside at an event. Indeed, if memory serves, other events with audiences (like concerts) were totally banned.

No, wj. You are correct. Sebastian is wrong.

A church is not the same as a liquor store. This should not be hard.

More here.

...and here.

Bobbyp, your link is to an LGM post where they don't like the (non-controlling) Gorsuch concurrence. The factual record is that NYC was holding houses of worship to MUCH stricter standards than other facilities (such as malls and casinos which were allowed to be open in an orange zone while churches *no matter how large* were limited to a total of 25 people). That is text book discrimination against religion. The NYT article headline is wrong. This takes THE SAME approach as previous cases, because it insists that houses of worship be dealt with under the same rules as other facilities.

I understand that Barrett is not set up to be a well liked justice of the Supreme Court, and I even agree that McConnell ramming her through while *still* ignoring Covid is terrible for our country. But in this specific case, it seems completely correct.

To clarify further malls such as the Queens Center and the Queens Palace mall are allowed to operate at 50% capacity under orange rating while houses of worship are limited to 25 people total no matter what the capacity. So for example St. Patrick's Cathedral (capacity 3000 people) could have a maximum of 25 people, which is less than 1% of its rated capacity. Even if you want to say that church services are more dangerous than mall shopping or casino gaming, the disparity is too huge to justify.

I'm not sure how orthodox Jewish church ceremonies work, but Christian ceremonies with choral singing and group recitations of creeds seem to be something that is different from walking around in a mall or even in a casino.

https://academic.oup.com/cid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/cid/ciaa1241/5908276

"ceremonies with choral singing and group recitations of creeds seem to be something that is different from walking around in a mall or even in a casino."

Using 'pre-lockdown' actual *experience* with Covid super-spreader events, how many were from malls, casinos, or church services?
(yes, pre-lockdown had more dire results, but certainly shows the potential for transmission in different venues)

But I guess it's discriminatory to use actual data.

Still, opening up the churches is just FINE with me: those fools SHOULD die gasping for air; too bad about the collateral deaths, but omelette/eggs.

Here is a summary of NY's red / orange / yellow zone COVID restrictions.

I'm sure there is more detail than what is shown here, but based on this summary it strikes me that the restrictions on houses of worship are more lenient than on any other category shown here.

In a red zone, a religious gathering is limited to ten people. Non-religious gatherings are prohibited, full stop. Restaurants are take-out only, no seating inside or outside. Schools are closed, classes are remote only. Non-essential businesses are closed.

Ten is more than zero.

Malls are not discussed in the summary, but I'm not sure malls and churches are equivalent cases.

As a personal aside, it strikes me that many religious communities in this country are persistently on the lookout for examples of how they are being persecuted and discriminated against. To the point where the free exercise of religion is now considered to encompass the baking of wedding cakes and the provision of health insurance to one's secular employees.

All communities of common interest - religious or otherwise - are all trying to figure out how to carry on in the face of COVID. Some meet online, some meet outside, some meet in small groups. Some don't meet at all and instead look forward to better times.

Religious communities are not begin picked on, and it's unseemly for them to act as if they are. There are places where people pay a price, sometimes a very high price, for their faith and/or conscience. This is not one of them. It's especially unseemly for them to insist on carrying on as if their actions present no risk to others, including people within their communities and without them.

I don't see anything in the NY state regs that tells me that houses of worship are being singled out for adverse treatment. if anything, the opposite.

I don't see the merit in the ruling.

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