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July 03, 2021

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wonder who's up in Maine waiting for them.

Not me. I wish I could say no one. But I've just driven the 60 miles from my house to my daughter's, and I went through plenty of Clickbait country, special flag country, blech.

Cripes, russell, [email protected] sh*t indeed.

a group that considers themselves not bound by US law due to an 1787 treaty between the US and Morocco.

The only thing I've ever heard of which reminds me of this is the crazy ultra-orthodox jewish sect (many of whom live in Israel) which refuses to accept the existence of the state of Israel because of some religious nutjobbery which I had forgotten, but which for the sake of ObWi I have now checked:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neturei_Karta

Other than that, the only other thing your two stories remind me of is the famous Hunter Thompson remark:

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

"wonder who's up in Maine waiting for them."

A pro weird one:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/let-the-shtshow-commence-gov-lepage-reemerges-with-bid-to-take-back-old-seat

What's going on is the US, and possibly the rest of the industrialized world, is unravelling.

For various reasons, from wipopo who have gone nut because they/we are no longer assured of a place at the top of the food chain, to people who refuse to "believe in" global climate change belatedly coming to the realization that global climate change doesn't care if they "believe in" it or not.

Also - my theory, from seeing what happened with the 9/11 Commission and Iraq War - is that the GQP, in order to avoid thinking about its complicity in enabling those two unconscionable clusterfucks, has simply gone completely insane and has decided destroying everything is better than coming to terms with their guilt.

... small clarification: The 9/11 Commission wasn't a clusterfuck; the malign indifference of the Bush II Admin it uncovered was.

has decided destroying everything is better than coming to terms with their guilt

Well, if that's what they've decided, they've made an impressive start.

has decided destroying everything is better than coming to terms with their guilt

If so, not IMHO a conscious decision. They simply aren't capable of abstract thought on that level.

wj - I'm not sure they're capable of any abstract thought at all. Neither, apparently, are their defenders, who keep insisting that GQP atrocities are anyone's fault but theirs.

GQPs are apparently no more sapient than protozoa, have no agency, and are incapable of any response beyond tropism.

who keep insisting that GQP atrocities are anyone's fault but theirs.

In short, they are, and want to be, children. Because the essence of adulthood is responsibility. And they reject it.

That sounds about right. Knocking over a sandcastle someone else built.

it's the natural outcome of generations raised on the message, promulgated by Fox and talk radio, that Democrats are the cause of literally everything that has ever troubled the US. they're educated in a mythology that holds that Republicans are the only true Americans - proud, pure and strong - who are cruelly held back by evil Democrats and their foreign allies.

that's all Fox tells them. it's all the countless mini-Hannities on radio tell them. all the hear, day in and day out, are variations on The Dems Did It. they don't learn responsibility, they learn victimhood.

KCL has an interesting piece of research out on attitudes to culture wars the the UK:
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/culture-wars-in-the-uk.pdf

A pleasing amount of indifference compared to the US.
The tables at the end, with international comparisons, make interesting reading. South Korea… !

Still waiting to see which conservative politician or pundit is first to weigh in on the 2nd A rights and freedoms of a bunch of wacky black people from Rhode Island.

"they don't learn responsibility, they learn victimhood."

This defines a huge cross-section of our society. Across any political lines, all of our politics is the politics of victimized.

As far as Dems being responsible for everything, the opposite is also true. Bad faith on both sides continuously proclaiming the other side is evil is just how its done.

My point being that it does no good to keep repeating the mantra and constantly bashing everyone else.

But of course neither side is guilty because the other side did it first, and we're right anyway.

Happy 4th! A day to remember our beginnings were born from a bold and courageous people setting aside their differences to create a country that embraced an aspirational set of values. We should celebrate the values, and the progress we have made, while never losing sight of those aspirations that unite us all.

The others are not the enemy.

The others are not the enemy.

Amen, brother. There are some few individuals who are, unquestionably, the enemy. But they are a miniscule fraction of those we disagree with.

the Hannitys and Carlsons and Ingrahams are the enemies. they're the people who chose to make a living by dividing America.

Don't forget the archetype divider: Limbaugh.

The others are not the enemy.

What we celebrate on July 4 is American colonies deciding to sever their political ties to England and establish themselves as an independent nation. England’s governance had become increasingly exploitative and, according to their lights, not in the best interests of the people living in what became the US.

The principle behind this action was that government derives its legitimacy from the consent of the governed. What they established for themselves was a self-governing polity, in the republican form. No king, instead governance by representatives elected by the people. Aspirationally, no difference under the law at all between people, although that took a vicious war and a couple of hundred years to make it more or less real. It’s still a work in progress.

I personally don’t feel like I have any real enemies. I’m a straight white married householder with a good white collar job working in an industry that provides more than average rewards to the people who work in it. Lucky, lucky me.

If I was black, I’d probably see the white supremacists who make no secret of their desire to eliminate my presence in this country as an enemy. If I were Hispanic, likewise.

If I was a Jew, I’d probably see the anti-semites who spread slanderous lies about people of my faith, and who every now and then kill some of them, as my enemy. If I were a Muslim, likewise

If I were a woman, I might see the people who, still, want to limit what I could or could not do with my life as an enemy. If I were gay, I’d probably see the people who view me as some kind of deviant freak and want to deny me the basic privileges that are available to every straight person as an enemy.

If I were very poor, I might see all of the people who have basically no regard for my life or welfare, who assume that I must be lazy or incompetent or stupid or irresponsible or otherwise just generally undeserving of basic respect or consideration, as my enemy.

Some people actually do have enemies. Some people have to deal with other people that actually do want to deny them the basic rights and privileges that ought to be the birthright of any person living in this country.

As far as victims, some people actually are harmed by other people’s words and actions. Harmed in tangible and material ways, not just having their feelings hurt.

I’m basically at the top of the food chain, and mostly due to the pure good fortune of being born a middle class white male. All I had to do to maintain that privileged position was not fuck up too badly. It was not a high bar, and in spite of a variety of glaring gaps in my mastery of basic life skills and a handful of notable character flaws, I managed to meet it. I’m an extraordinarily lucky person.

Other folks have to work their asses off to get their toehold, to receive the level of respect and acceptance that I get basically for free.

I don’t really have any enemies, but this country does. People who want to deny other people the rights and privileges that they enjoy, because of their skin color, or gender, or who they love, or how much money they have, are in my opinion enemies of this country. People who will not accept the fundamental contract of abiding by the outcome of lawful political processes, and who instead choose to threaten others with violence, are enemies of this country. To be quite specific, people who riot and attempt to thwart the peaceable transfer of political power, are enemies of this country.

Some people actually do have enemies. This country actually does have enemies, and many of them walk among us. It’s great to celebrate the ideals, but we mustn’t be naive.

Oh russell, that is unfortunately all true, and perfectly expressed. I would only add that, when you say the following, it is important for anyone reading it to remember that those "other people" may deny that intent, but that only the wilfully naive believe them. By their actions shall ye know them.

Some people actually do have enemies. Some people have to deal with other people that actually do want to deny them the basic rights and privileges that ought to be the birthright of any person living in this country.

Italiexo!

Excellently put, Russell. Thank you!

I, too, am a straight white married householder with a good white collar job working in an industry that provides more than average rewards to the people who work in it. Lucky to be near the top of the national food chain.

But as I see it, those who persist in being the enemies of some of my fellow Americans are my enemies. Perhaps not personally -- that is, they don't see me as their enemy. But as I see it, if you** are the enemies of members of my family, of my friends and coworkers, of my fellow citizens, not for what they have done but just for who they are -- then you have acquired me as an enemy. I refuse to be divided off from them for your convenience and the convenience of your prejudices.

** the generic "you", not anyone here.

The founders apparently got some things right even though most of them thought the country was doomed in spite of their efforts. The odds are that we will continue to muddle through.

"For those who predict that the American experiment can't last, and who worry the social fabric is disintegrating at a time of rising political division, it's worth remembering that back when the ink had barely dried on the Constitution, the Founding Fathers were deeply pessimistic about the future of the country they had created.

Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a "frail and worthless fabric." George Washington lamented the growth of political factions. John Adams thought a lack of civic virtue doomed the republic. Jefferson watched sectional divisions between North and South with horror, and said that the "sacrifice" made "by the generation of '76" was "useless" because it would be "thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons."

"My only consolation," he wrote, "is to be that I live not to weep over it."

"Their pronouncements may seem overly dramatic to the modern ear," says Syracuse University Professor Dennis C. Rasmussen. In his new book, Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders, Rasmussen wrestles with the Founding Founders dour outlook on the future of the country."
The Founding Fathers Thought America Was Doomed: “The fact that it hasn't ended in the past 230 years suggests that maybe [it will] last a good deal longer,” says historian Dennis C. Rasmussen, author of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders

Completely agree with Russell about being lucky. Family, education, transfer of generational wealth. Not making as much dough, but that’s due to my lack of ambition and living with the knowledge of a safety net. But enough of not a screw up to have held my job with a certain internationally known media company for over 23 years. Lucky in my universe of friends and friendly acquaintances, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, cooks, bartenders, artists, musicians (some of those folks more than one of the above). Software/web based developers too, as a nod to several folks here. Lucky to be alive after being brought in to this world almost 3 months early in one of then-few hospitals that could keep a 2 lbs. 4 oz. preemie alive. Playing with house money for almost 57 years.

Meant to add, today my grandmother O’Meara Minter Wurst would be 116. She made it to 96.

Well said, wj.

Priest: my beloved twin goddaughters (now 22) weighed a few ounces over 4 lbs apiece, and they were absolutely tiny! I can't imagine how minute you must have been - and 57 years ago! Lucky indeed.

The following seems weird in total, at least to me...

It appears that last Wednesday President Biden and VP Harris crashed the first day of the Western Governors Association long-scheduled annual virtual meeting so the President could make remarks about how terrible wildfires are. The eastern press has billed this as "Biden convened a meeting with western governors and Cabinet officials." The list of Cabinet-level departments and agencies involved is a perfect match to the departments and agencies that were already scheduled to discuss a variety of western matters as part of the WGA meeting. Republican western governors from Arizona, Idaho, and Montana have complained publicly that they weren't invited to the President's meeting. Transcripts of the "meeting" indicate that Gov. Brown of Oregon (current chair of the WGA) and Gov. Newsom of California were allowed to speak, but neither of them got to ask any questions, and the whole thing lasted maybe ten minutes.

My working assumption is that someone -- probably Harris -- has gotten the message through that the 11 core states represented in the WGA were responsible for 105 of Biden's EC votes, 15 of the 50 Democratic seats in the Senate, and 67 of the 220 Democrats in the House. So fire and water need to be very important issues to the Democratic Party nationally.

know what doesn't seem weird?

‘The survey finds that 86 percent of Democrats have received at least one shot of a vaccine, compared with 45 percent of Republicans. Another 7 percent of Democrats say they are likely to do so, compared with 4 percent of Republicans.’

the death cult continues to promote death

Also from cleek's source:

Most independents (54 percent) say they have received at least one shot and another 11 percent say they are likely to do so. Among independents, 22 percent say they will definitely not get vaccinated.
The 2/3 likely to end up vaccinated (eventually) lags Democrats, but is well ahead of Republicans.

I’d be fine with people getting vaxed or not, whatever they feel like doing. Except it doesn’t just affect them, it keeps the virus alive and mutating.

That doesn’t seem to factor into their personal calculus.

That doesn’t seem to factor into their personal calculus.

empathy is for soyboys.

That doesn’t seem to factor into their personal calculus.

And they would be disdainful if anyone suggested that it should.

Snickers and zingers combined.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/06/drive-all-new-toyota-paranoia-official-car-jan-6-insurrection/

I’d be fine with people getting vaxed or not, whatever they feel like doing. Except it doesn’t just affect them, it keeps the virus alive and mutating.

That doesn’t seem to factor into their personal calculus.

WWJD

WWJD

Use his divine powers to protect his flock from COVID-19?

Use his divine powers to protect his flock from COVID-19?

How's that working out? Only infidels dying from it?

And it doesn't seem to factor into your personal calculus that they have right to decide if the risk to them is greater if they take the vaccine.

Unlike the flu shot or MMR, these vaccines have no long term studies to understand their effects. Lots of people, me included, were more concerned about the short term risk, that doesn't mean we were correct.

The suggestion that they should accept increased long term risk to benefit society is problematic. We got vaccinated to protect us, they have every right to not get vaccinated to protect them.

Unlike the flu shot or MMR, these vaccines have no long term studies to understand their effects.

Does anyone happen to know of data on what vaccines have turned out to have significant long-term negative effects? I know the anti-vaxxers claim there are such -- but most of those claims turn out to be like the one about causing autism: totally false. So it would be good to have some actual data on what the risk actually is.

Also, I'm a bit mystified how any particular flu shot can have its long-term effects known. Each one is, necessarily, different. Otherwise it would be unnecessary. So nobody knows, when it is being given, what those might be.

The suggestion that they should accept increased long term risk to benefit society is problematic. We got vaccinated to protect us, they have every right to not get vaccinated to protect them.

Our getting vaccinated also had a positive externality - it reduced the Covid danger to others. Their not getting vaccinated has a negative externality - it increases the danger to others.

That matters, especially considering mutation possibilities.

Besides, let's be blunt here. For a fair number of these people it's not about prudence at all. It's a political statement. Yeah. That's rude, but probably true nonetheless. Just look at the relationship between Trump's vote percentage and vaccination rates.

Unlike the flu shot or MMR, these vaccines have no long term studies to understand their effects.

you will never find a clinical trial as large or as watched as the C19 vaccines are getting right now.

nothing gets a study like this. multiple billions of doses and over a year of close monitoring for side-effects and efficacy? common sizes of clinical trials for vaccines are in the low tens of thousands of patients.

Besides, let's be blunt here. For a fair number of these people it's not about prudence at all.

that's it exactly.

all this "it's unapproved!" wailing is just excuse-making. most people have no idea what 'approval' even means.

If you don't want to get vaccinated, avoid being around other people, and wear a mask anytime you can't avoid being around other people. Better still, let people know you haven't been vaxed, so that they can make their own choices about the risk *you* pose to *them*.

If you want to minimize risks to yourself, take the burden upon yourself to make your choice safe for other people.

If that's just a bridge too far, then get the freaking vaccination.

my wife works at a company that produces gene therapy for critically-ill people - so, you'd expect people there to be smart about medical science. but there are people in that facility who won't get vaccinated. in response, mgmt has told them to wear masks when in the building. and they've complained, using the GOP-approved whine, "making me wear a mask is like making Jews wear the yellow star".

thanks GOP, you're the best.

"making me wear a mask is like making Jews wear the yellow star".

It is impossible to describe how utterly ignorant, offensive and idiotic this is. Just amazing that anyone could say this.

The smallpox vaccination is/was among the most risky. The original anti-vaxxers had a point there (at least those that did not argue along the lines of it being blasphemy to meddle with G#d's murderous but ineffably still benevolent plans to cull the human herd). The developers would be in jail, if they acted to-day as they did then. Still smallpox is to my knowledge the only disease we got rid of (and should it return, we would know that it was by the work of humans). Measles and polio would be goners too by now by way of vaccination were it not for some religious fanatics (of several different religions) that told people in Africa and Asia deliberate lies (about a racist Western conspiracy aiming for genocide by induced infertility disguised as a vaccine).
So, the current situation is anything but new and not as simple as most descriptions.

I had my doubts too because there was not enough time for longterm studies (and I got some side effects I never had with any other vaccine before). It was a decision weighing the risks without sufficient information but I took it. I would not have volunteered as a test candidate though.
There are valid (medical) reasons for some persons to not get one of the current vaccines but I personally do not believe that this is true for the majority of refusers. Imo the major reasons are ideology and misinformation. I guess the number of people that refuses after a rational weighing of risks is dwindling and far behind the political refuseniks.

It is impossible to describe how utterly ignorant, offensive and idiotic this is. Just amazing that anyone could say this.

Is there ANYTHING not compared to the holocaust (mainly but not exclusively by RWers) these days?

Is there ANYTHING not compared to the holocaust (mainly but not exclusively by RWers) these days?

Slavery

We got vaccinated to protect us

I definitely got vaxed to avoid getting sick, but I also got vaxed to help contain COVID for everyone’s benefit.

It’s a mindset.

It is impossible to describe how utterly ignorant, offensive and idiotic this is. Just amazing that anyone could say this.

Hard agree. "Amazing" is an understatement. And what is even more offensive and incredible is that it continues to be said, by different people, none of whom seem to suffer any really serious longlasting consequences to their careers or reputations. What has happened to the GOP and the rightwing generally is truly beyond belief.

It’s a mindset.

Acting for the benefit of other (unknown) people seems to be almost unimaginable for a sizeable proportion of the American public.

Acting for the benefit of other (unknown) people seems to be almost unimaginable for a sizeable proportion of the American public.

Not unimaginable, heretical.

Certainly heretical to the followers of Ayn Rand. I just didn't realise how many of them there were.

But actually, nous, I think you're on to something. They have to see it as sinister, because actual altruism understood for what it is makes them, and people like them, look bad. And might even give them a squirmy feeling of inadequacy, if they looked it straight in the eyes.

In the US, self-described conservatives give more of their time and money to charities than do self-described liberals. But if you're making a distention between the people you're alluding to and conservatives...

But if you're making a distention between the people you're alluding to and conservatives..

Well, no real conservative could support Trump. Even if one intensely dislikes Clinton personally, there's no real question but that she's more of a conservative than he is.

In the US, self-described conservatives give more of their time and money to charities than do self-described liberals.

Every time I look at those report summaries, I keep thinking that this framing of the data doesn't really touch on the important and varied factors that produce that particular snapshot:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/03/your-money/republicans-democrats-charity-philanthropy.html

When counties are split evenly between the political parties, both donations and the tax burden go down.

Or in the study’s terms: Political competition decreases giving.

Dr. Nesbit said the findings called to mind the research by the social scientist Robert D. Putnam on racial diversity. Exposure to different people — especially in a homogeneous community that became more diverse — caused people to keep more to themselves, she said.

“That argument can be extended to philanthropy as well,” she said. “This high level of political competition decreases trust. That’s tied to all kinds of possible outcomes. And in these counties, people are keeping to themselves more.”

At the heart of the vaccination question, though, is a problem of compassion and sympathetic identification. The people who are more risk tolerant with the vaccine are those who tend to think more broadly about the matter and to imagine reasons why others might need protection. The people who are less risk tolerant are much more focused on smaller, more local communities with fewer crosscutting relationships - more micro than macro.

Herd immunity is a macro thing.

CharlesWT: In the US, self-described conservatives give more of their time and money to charities than do self-described liberals.

Could be, maybe. But which charities?

Surely(?) the Heritage Foundation is not a "charity", but how about "Operation Rescue"? I suppose the source for CharlesWT's factoid gives some sort of tabulation that would answer my question, so I'd appreciate a pointer to it.

__TP

TP - it's a long standing pattern and it usually comes from tax records for charitable deductions, broken out by county and by county vote results. A lot of those deductions are associated with congregational giving.

As such, there is no real way to look at what sorts of organizations are receiving the charitable donations.

A lot of those deductions are associated with congregational giving.

That's part of it but contributions in time and money extend beyond that. This article is 13 years old but things are unlikely to have changed greatly in the interim.

This is about group characteristics and not a reflection, good or bad, on individuals in either group. I'm sure that there are many thousands of self-described liberals who contribute a great deal more to charities than conservatives with similar financial circumstances.

"Q. But aren’t they just giving to religious charities and houses of worship?

A. These enormous differences are not a simple artifact of religious people giving to their churches. Religious people are more charitable with secular causes, too. For example, in 2000, religious people were 10 percentage points more likely than secularists to give money to explicitly nonreligious charities, and 21 points more likely to volunteer. The value of the average religious household’s gifts to nonreligious charities was 14 percent higher than that of the average secular household, even after correcting for income differences.

Religious people were also far more likely than secularists to give in informal, nonreligious ways. For example, in 2000, people belonging to religious congregations gave 46 percent more money to family and friends than people who did not belong. In 2002, religious people were far more likely to donate blood than secularists, to give food or money to a homeless person, and even to return change mistakenly given them by a cashier."
A Nation of Givers (March 11, 2008)

Unlike the flu shot or MMR, these vaccines have no long term studies to understand their effects. Lots of people, me included, were more concerned about the short term risk, that doesn't mean we were correct.

What “long term risks”?
I’m puzzled as to the mechanism by which any long term effects of the vaccine. ishtar emerge, given that they are rapidly eliminated from the body.
Please explain.

“…might emerge..”

Weird autocorrect.

"self-described" also carries a bit of weight there. USians in general tend to describe themselves as 'conservative' even if their policy (not identical with party) preferences are liberal (in a US context). And, as wj would probably agree, many self-described 'conservatives' subscribe to political views that have nothing to do with the actual meaning of that word but are radical and/or reactionary. Btw, the Nazis were (before 1933) explicitly NOT conservative and aimed lots of bile at the 'Ewiggestrige' (literal translation: 'eternal yesterdayers'). That changed a bit when they used a tactical alliance with the traditionalists to get into power (while those allies had the illusion that these plebeian ruffians would help them to stay in power and saw Hitler as a mere hireling and/or useful idiot). I can see certain parallels in the US with the main difference that (fortunately) Jabbabonk is just a cheap imitation with no actual 'vision' beyond "I wanna be (seen as) the #1".

A Nation of Givers

Some people see unmet human needs as a social problem, and see society as a whole as an appropriate way to address them. Those people are generally willing to provide society as a whole - the public sphere - with the means and authority to do that.

Other folks see unmet human needs as a personal problem, and see individual personal efforts as the best way to address them. They are relatively less willing to give society as a whole the means and authority to address them, and are relatively more likely to give 'their' money and time to address them.

I put 'their' in quotes because folks who are willing to, for instance, pay more in taxes are also giving their money.

Some folks, of course, are willing to contribute to both. And some, to neither.

The advantage in the first case is that assistance is provided broadly, more or less to everyone. The disadvantage is that governments are bureaucratic and to some degree inefficient. For some people, an additional disadvantage is that they may not agree with or support the places where some of the money goes.

The advantage in the second case is that givers get to direct their contributions specifically to those situations they see as worthy. They also get to feel a sense of personal virtue, which I am not disparaging. The disadvantage is that situations that are not seen as worthy can go begging.

It's not surprising to me that people with strong religious affiliations are relatively more likely to contribute to charities, however construed. Religious affiliation is *one* way in which people may come to an understanding of their obligations to others, and to the world in general.

This isn't particular to religious affiliation, folks who have a strong ethical or moral instinct or background are, in my experience, equally likely to be generous with their time and resources.

All of this is, of course, prompted by the question of whether people who refuse to be vaccinated are more or less selfish than folks who are willing. I'd say folks who refuse to be vaccinated are motivated by any of a number of reasons, including lack of trust in the organizations and institutions that are providing the vaccinations and advocating that people get them.

That lack of trust - the suspicion of public institutions - is a serious problem. Because some things - including pandemics - require broad public action to address them.

As far as I can see, we don't currently have an open thread, so I'm putting this here.

I have dismissed in the past claims made by Marty, and maybe McKinney, that the Dems have in recent years moved much further left that the Rs have moved right. It seemed to me self-evidently untrue, and in the same mad category as RWNJ claims that, for example, Obama and other Dems were communists. And obviously, my view seemed to be confirmed by the megaphone of Fox News, and was also more persuasive because I (a person of non-extreme political opinions by almost any modern metric) agreed with almost all Dem positions and policies.

So I was very interested to read the following piece by Kevin Drum. As usual, I know very little about his intellectual history. But I see that he is regularly described as a liberal, and that he self-identifies as such in the piece. Not that this matters, if his argument holds true. (By the way, I enjoyed his tacit acknowledgement of cleek's law in the first sentence I quote below.)

Almost by definition, liberals are the ones pushing for change while conservatives are merely responding to whatever liberals do. More specifically, progressives have been bragging publicly about pushing the Democratic Party leftward since at least 2004—and they've succeeded.

Now, I'm personally happy about most of this. But that doesn't blind me to the fact that "personally happy" means nothing in politics.

https://jabberwocking.com/if-you-hate-the-culture-wars-blame-liberals/

In for a penny, in for a pound!

Whether one agrees with the writer's views or not, this is a very interesting piece (not nearly as long as the slider makes you think - most of the length is comments).

America’s future is godless not because the God-fearing were convinced of the errors of their faith, but because their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren never adopted their faith to start out with. Cultures do not change when people replace old ideas with new ones; cultures change when people with new ideas replace the people with old ones.

***

Cultural insurgents win few converts in their own cohort. They can, however, build up a system of ideas and institutions which will preserve and refine the ideals they hope their community will adopt in the future. The real target of these ideas are not their contemporaries, but their contemporaries’ children and grandchildren. Culture wars are fought for the hearts of the unborn. Future generations will be open to values the current generation rejects outright.

https://scholars-stage.org/culture-wars-are-long-wars/

WRT Drum's analysis, I'm having a bit of trouble understanding how that data defines and demarcates the political center. I get that by the measure illustrated, there is a shift in distribution towards the left going on. But it's one thing if the ten point scale on the x axis is fixed WRT some objective scale of conservative/liberal values or practices, and another if the figures just grab the distribution and calculate the center based on finding the middle. If it is the latter, then it could be simultaneously true that the partisanship has grown more pronounced on the left and that the center has been moving toward the right due to the effects of the Overton Window and of the structural effects of electoral engineering (gerrymandering, voter restrictions, and whatnot). Otherwise the left could be "getting more liberal" relative to the right just by virtue of moving to the right more slowly.

So I want to know more about how that center gets defined before haring off after Drum's analysis.

So I want to know more about how that center gets defined before haring off after Drum's analysis.

It would also be useful to know if the "center" is being defined by

  • Some objective measure.
  • The views of the total (voting age?) population.
  • The views of actual voters.
  • The views displayed by our elected representatives (national? state?).
  • The views personally held by those elected representatives, regardless of what they say publicly or how they vote on legislation.
Because those will give different nominal centers.

And then there's the detail that the various centers move differently from issue to issue. Just too keep things interesting.

Without knowing all that, it's difficult to impossible to say whether any given analysis is spot on or wildly off base.

The other thing I think would be really helpful for evaluating Drum's analysis would be a further breakdown of those figures by age cohort. If there is a strong indication that the movement to the left is coming from the younger cohort, then that's not necessarily an indication that a shift rightward is warranted because it could just mark a tipping point that will define a new political center as age and mortality thins the older, more conservative cohort. The closer one gets to that tipping point, the more profound and extreme that shift will seem, but it will look inevitable in hindsight.

Yes, I have to say I wondered about "the center" too. And nous, when you say that's not necessarily an indication that a shift rightward is warranted I assume that by "warranted" you don't mean "justified", but instead something more like "confirmed" or "indicated"?

So I was very interested to read the following piece by Kevin Drum

Drum’s baseline is 1994.

How would all of that look if his baseline was 1974? Or 1954?

How would all of that look if his baseline was 1974? Or 1954?

Very different, that's for sure. One need only look at e.g. the sainted Ronnie Reagan to see how R attitudes have changed. I was also very interested by the following comment after the Drum piece, by a commenter called enyman78 (and I hope I am not transgressing some unwritten blog law by reproducing it here - if so, I apologise):

I think the best way to determine how the parties have changed on these issues is to look at what they actually do when they are in power and how their members vote on legislation rather than looking at poll results. Let's start with immigration.

In 1986, with Republicans controlling the Senate and the Presidency, a bipartisan compromise bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants who had been in the country for longer than 4 years, while enhancing border security and increasing penalties for hiring illegal immigrants passed with over 60 votes and was signed into law.

When Democrats had 60 seats in the Senate in 2009-2010 as well as a large House majority and the Presidency, no major immigration legislation was passed, or even proposed.

In 2013, with Democrats controlling the Senate and the Presidency, an essentially modern day equivalent was passed with over 60 votes in the Senate (though unlike the 1986 bill, most Republicans voted against it), but John Boehner refused to put it up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

Today, it's inconceivable that any such bill would receive more than a handful of votes from Republicans, and certainly would not be brought up for a vote by Mitch McConnell (who voted for the 1986 bill) if Republicans controlled the Senate and absolutely would not be signed by any Republican President.

So it's crystal clear GOP politicians have moved far to the right on immigration. There were some Democrats who voted against the 1986 bill, but not many--clearly the Dems have not moved left in practice as much as the GOP has moved right on this issue, and Democrats did not care to emphasize the issue when they had their best chance to implement change.

Regarding guns, same story. A bipartisan compromise passed and was signed into law by Reagan in 1986 (strengthening some gun control laws but weakening others). In 1993 and 1994 when Dems have control, the Brady bill and 1994 crime bill including the assault weapons ban pass with bipartisan support overcoming a filibuster. Even with Democrats holding 60 seats in the Senate in 2009-2010, gun control legislation was unable to pass (and not even proposed). In 2013, even with Dems controlling the Senate with only a couple fewer seats than they held in 1993-1994, the Toomey-Manchin bill fails to overcome a filibuster (with several Democrats opposing it). Today, no chance of any gun control bill getting more than a couple Republican votes and would absolutely not be brought up for a vote by Mitch McConnell.

On abortion, neither party has really passed much significant at the national level, and almost all the laws passed at the state level have been moving policy in a rightward direction. It's all about the Courts and the GOP of course has been much more ruthless than Democrats in getting justices approved and in blocking Democratic appointees. In 1975 (John Paul Stevens), 1981 (Sandra Day O'Connor), 1986 (Anthony Kennedy) and 1990 (David Souter), Republican Presidents nominated pro-choice justices. But then the rightward shift starts in 1991--Clarence Thomas was approved with 52 votes by a Democratically controlled Senate to replace Thurgood Marshall, shifting the court significantly to the right--the Democrats could have filibustered who even just denied the nominee a vote outright but they do not. Samuel Alito is confirmed to replace Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005 with Democrats unable to muster the votes to sustain a filibuster, shifting the court significantly to the right. Republicans abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees to confirm Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett all with fewer than 60 votes--Kavanaugh replacing Kennedy and especially Barrett replacing Ginsburg representing significant rightward shifts. Now McConnell is openly saying he will block any Biden Supreme Court nominee in 2023 if he's back in power. So again, GOP politicians have moved well to the right, far more than Democrats have moved left, with the result that the Court is now poised to overturn Roe Vs. Wade.

Regarding racial issues, again all of the action is basically in the Courts. Democrats have never enacted or even proposed any radical legislation on this issue, and the Supreme Court keeps gutting voting rights and paring back affirmative action laws.

"Defunding the police" is completely a local issue, which has not been implemented in anything more than a few small areas. Joe Biden does not support it. Even if Democrats by some miracle got 60 Senate seats again, it's not going to be implemented on a national level given how many Dem politicians oppose it. So yes, it is completely a Fox News constructed boogeyman.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. Actions, not words, are what matter in politics, so when determining how a party has changed, look to what the party leaders do, not what the voters say they support. These poll results do confirm that both party's leadership is generally to the right of where the party's base voters are--seems like a pretty good argument to me to keep pushing the party leadership to the left!

And nous, when you say "that's not necessarily an indication that a shift rightward is warranted" I assume that by "warranted" you don't mean "justified", but instead something more like "confirmed" or "indicated"?

I was noting that Drum's argument is that the left's building partisanship (mostly on SSM and immigration) are pushing out moderate minorities - which we have been hearing as a refrain pretty much all of the 2000s. He was arguing that the Democrats need to moderate their position on those issues in order to tone down the culture war and bring back a centrist consensus.

But if what is happening is a generational divide, and the center defined by the younger cohorts is farther left than that of the older cohorts, then trying to build a consensus today is going to damage the younger cohort's view of the Democrat's political identity in the long run.

So whether or not that approach is warranted depends a lot on whether one is seeking to pander to the moment because of the danger of another four years like under the Umber Menace, or one is trying to build towards a movement that will mark a sea change for our most pressing issues for the future.

The right has been building their revolution since the 1970s and the DNC started yielding center ground in the 1990s. If the culture war changes are largely generational, then starting to build towards that tipping point now will put the left in the position that the right was in during Reagan's moment.

But all of this speculation rests on whether or not the partisan nature of those two big issues (SSM and immigration) are generationally marked or not.

if what is happening is a generational divide, and the center defined by the younger cohorts is farther left than that of the older cohorts, then trying to build a consensus today is going to damage the younger cohort's view of the Democrat's political identity in the long run.

Does that apply if the Republicans' position is even further right than the Democrats' views? (Which, no question, they are.) Or are you assuming that, if the Democrats are not sufficiently liberal, the younger cohort will simply decide not to participate? Do you really think they are that incapable of noticing that, even if they don't love one side's views, the alternative is far, far worse from their perspective?

Do you really think they are that incapable of noticing that, even if they don't love one side's views, the alternative is far, far worse from their perspective?

we get that view here every few years.

the partisan nature of those two big issues (SSM and immigration) are generationally marked or not

Add marijuana legalization to the mix of issues, perhaps.

Like SSM, when the tsunami comes, it rolls over everything in its path.

Or are you assuming that, if the Democrats are not sufficiently liberal, the younger cohort will simply decide not to participate? Do you really think they are that incapable of noticing that, even if they don't love one side's views, the alternative is far, far worse from their perspective?

No. I'm just noting that those issues have the potential both to generate and to kill momentum for change, and the political rhetoric and grand narratives of shared values need to line up with the new center rather than the old one if you want to change the paradigm.

Reagan's "revolution" didn't happen during Reagan's time in office. It was built during the Carter years as an alternative paradigm and became the de facto vision of American politics after Clinton used it to shore up his control over the Democratic Party in the 90s and Gingrich leaned into that concession to fix that view of free markets and deregulation as the way to go.

Democrats would need something similar to lean into on civil rights and immigration if we are approaching a generational shift there, to articulate the new paradigm, and that message needs time to do its work to speed the tipping point along.

Hi everyone, got my jab yesterday (Moderna) and am only suffering from a heavy arm. Apologies for being AWOL, but we've gone f2f and it's been a bit challenging getting back to the classroom and retooling all of the online work back to that.

I won't mention any names, but a former regular here would get really angry when talking about Carter. I don't think they would deny they were a good post pres, just they won't hold any brief for him as president. I, on the other hand, think he should be ranked a lot higher. Almost all of the deregulation ideas that Reagan 'had' (for various values of had) were initiated by Carter, and it's just that Reagan did them in that typical Republican way of ripping out all oversight and disempowering the workers (can anyone say flight traffic control?)

About the Drum piece, I wasn't too impressed, though I don't dislike Drum so much. Given the medical problems he has had, I would have thought that just looking at the Dems thru the lens of National Health would have him be a bit more cautious about 'it's the Dems fault'. He's got a desire that seems to crop up a lot to be a 'radical centrist', which makes standing apart from everything a value signalling proposition.

Anyway, hope you are doing well, Will look for something frivolous and toss up an open thread now

got totally screwed up here with the open thread stuff. thanks wj

Republican way of ripping out all oversight and disempowering the workers (can anyone say flight traffic control?)

The problem with air traffic control is that it should have been privatized decades ago.

Add marijuana legalization to the mix of issues, perhaps.

actually, I think everybody's down with weed at this point.

The problem with air traffic control is that it should have been privatized decades ago.

I'm trying, without success, to come up with a business model for air traffic control which will adequately prioritize public safety while still providing a return on investment. Not too dissimilar to the challenge of privatizing the police.

Or the fire department. We started out with private fire companies, after all. There's a reason, practical not political, why we abandoned that model.

actually, I think everybody's down with weed at this point.

If that were true, it wouldn't still be illegal at the federal level. But I'm not even seeing signs of a serious effort to change the law on that. Lots of people may think it should be changed. But no sign of that in Congress.

The problem with air traffic control is that it should have been privatized decades ago.

Like wj, I too am gawping at this. It's almost like a knee reflex exam. Is there anything you don't want privatized Charles?

I'm trying, without success, to come up with a business model for air traffic control which will adequately prioritize public safety while still providing a return on investment.

There are a few air traffic control systems that are private in some form or another. For years Canada's ATC has been rated as the best or one of the best air traffic control systems in the world.

"Privatization
...
The Canadian system is the one most often used as a model by proponents of privatization. Air traffic control privatization has been successful in Canada with the creation of Nav Canada, a private nonprofit organization that has reduced costs and has allowed new technologies to be deployed faster due to the elimination of much of the bureaucratic red tape. This has resulted in shorter flights and less fuel usage. It has also resulted in flights being safer due to new technology. Nav Canada is funded from fees that are collected from the airlines based on the weight of the aircraft and the distance flown.

ATC is still run by national governments with few exceptions: in the European Union, only Britain and Italy have private shareholders. Nav Canada is an independent company allowed to borrow and can invest to boost productivity and in 2017 its cost was a third less than in America where the FAA is exposed to budget cuts and cannot borrow..."
Air Traffic Control - Privatization

If that were true, it wouldn't still be illegal at the federal level.

I was thinking more in terms of liberal vs conservative divides. By far most people's feeling about weed is somewhere between "who cares?" and "who's rolling?".

Congress is lagging indicator, in this case and in most cases.

Nave Canada is a privately run, not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation system

Seems like an important caveat.

Sorry, from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nav_Canada

Nave Canada is a privately run, not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation system.

Which sounds remarkably like a public utility. Which generally operate far more like a government agency than a private business. But I suppose that, if the "non-government" label is what's important to you....

Which sounds remarkably like a public utility.

Nav Canada doesn't get any government funding. It's make or break on the fees it charges and the money it can borrow from private sources. The federal government has 3 seats on the 14 seat board of directors.

What would happen if Nav Canada "breaks"?
Would the Canadian government step in and take over ATC, or just let pilots take their chances, or what?

CharlesWT, can you figure out what turned you into such an exuberant privatizer? Was it something you ate?

--TP

My local public utilities don't get any government funding either. AND the government has zero seats on their boards of directors.

Wj, see! Privatization works!!

Wj, see! Privatization works!!

Sure. But it's highly regulated privatization. ;-)

I'm guessing that little detail wasn't part of Charles' image.

If you're referring to Nav Canada, how is it regulated beyond the regulation faced by any other corporation in Canada?

Air traffic control privatization has been successful in Canada with the creation of Nav Canada, a private nonprofit organization that has reduced costs and has allowed new technologies to be deployed faster due to the elimination of much of the bureaucratic red tape.


This has resulted in shorter flights and less fuel usage. It has also resulted in flights being safer due to new technology. Nav Canada is funded from fees that are collected from the airlines based on the weight of the aircraft and the distance flown.

This is really begging the question. Essentially all it says is that being private has reduced bureaucracy and "allowed new technologies...."
But how and why does its private status enable this? And how are those fees set?

Assuming NavCanada really is better than other ATC organizations I'm going to guess that the secret is in the funding. It sounds like they have a dedicated stream from the fees, and aren't competing for budget allocations, which is fine, but can easily be duplicated by a government ATC system.

In the US ATC is one of several functions of the FAA, which does have its own funding.

as the old saying goes, "yadayadayada, socialize the losses."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/nav-canada-air-traffic-control-cuts-1.5924461

Air traffic controllers say Nav Canada is mulling layoffs even if it receives a possible bailout from Ottawa, jeopardizing passenger safety.

More cuts would axe critically needed workers and make for a more hazardous airspace in corridors across the country, according to the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association.

About 60 jobs are at stake in seven control towers from Whitehorse to Windsor, Ont., as the non-profit body that runs the country's civil air navigation service reviews whether to pare down its payroll — already thinned by nearly 1,000 positions over the past year.

nice airspace you get there, eh? shame if something happened it, ya hoser.

If you're referring to Nav Canada, how is it regulated beyond the regulation faced by any other corporation in Canada?

Actually, I was referring to public utilities in the US. Since it's our ATC you were advocating privatizing. You can say you'd simultaneously slash regulation. But you've been advocating that for decades, and it mostly ain't happening.

One other point: Canada's air traffic is far lower than in the US. Just within 40 miles of me there are three (count 'em, 3!) international airports. (Plus several local airports.) You'll find similar situations in the LA basin, around NYC, etc. But you won't see that traffic density anywhere in Canada. So, not entirely comparable environments.

how is it regulated beyond the regulation faced by any other corporation in Canada?

Bit cheeky, eh? You toss up the example and then you want us to do your research? Or did you just hear the word privatize and start salivating like Pavlov's dog?

One other point: Canada's air traffic is far lower than in the US. Just within 40 miles of me there are three (count 'em, 3!) international airports.

Nav Canada is the second-largest ATC in the world after the US. It handles a lot of traffic that doesn't originate or terminate in Canada. Such as transpolar flights to and from Asia.

"Flying over the U.S.-Canadian border is like time travel for pilots. Going north to south, you leave a modern air-traffic control system run by a company and enter one run by the government struggling to catch up.

Airlines, the air-traffic controllers’ union, and key congressional leaders all support turning over U.S. air-traffic control services to a newly created nonprofit company and leaving the Federal Aviation Administration as a safety regulator. It’s an idea that still faces strong opposition in Congress, but has gained traction this year.

The model is Nav Canada, the world’s second-largest air-traffic control agency, after the U.S. Canada handles a huge volume of traffic between the U.S. and both Asia and Europe. Airlines praise its advanced technology that results in shorter and smoother flights with less fuel burn."
The Air-Traffic System U.S. Airlines Wish They Had: As Congress debates splitting up the Federal Aviation Administration, some see a model in Nav Canada (April 27, 2016)
(Complete article without subscription requirment.)

How many airports are there in Canada? How many routes begin and end there, or travel through there? How many flights per day begin and end in Canada, or travel through Canadian airspace?

How many air traffic control regions and centers are there in Canada? How often do planes cross regions?

How does all of that compare to US airspace? Does the difference, if any, introduce requirements that would make either private or public management of air traffic control a better or worse idea?

I don't have answers to any of these questions, they just seem like the most obvious things to consider.

Horses for courses.

According to this article, The US has nine times more air traffic than does Canada.

U.S., Canadian Air-Traffic Control Compared: Canada already has controller-pilot digital messaging, which the FAA hopes to have in service next decade. (June 29, 2016)

there are a ton of issues to sort out here, I think.

there are sensor systems, ground to air comms, flight management software. there are issues around international and domestic standards for, basically, how to operate an aircraft.

there is legacy infrastructure of all sorts, which may or may not be older in the US than in Canada or other places.

there are weather and other notification types that come from a wide variety of sources, all of which play into who can fly where and when.

aviation is a very, very complex operating environment.

I have no idea, and really no opinion, about whether air traffic control should be a government responsibility, or delegated to a private partner. whatever works best, and the answer to 'whatever works best' probably depends more on who - which is to say, what people - is running the show and what resources are available to them than it does on whether they work for the government or a private entity.

most likely either government or a private entity could be effective at air traffic control, it's a matter of which government and which private entity.

and the government is going to be intimately and pervasively involved in aviation, no matter who employs the individual air traffic controllers. I'm sure that's as true in CA as it is in the US. and that is a good thing, because government has the scope and continuity to manage it in an effective way, and the authority to require compliance. which is actually important.

"who employs the air traffic controllers" is not a hill I'm really gonna die on, but it does strike me that the answer to who would do it best depends on factors that go well beyond "should it be privatized or not".

it depends.

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