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October 21, 2021

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In other lost culture news, apparently some in Texas are still fighting a battle lost half a century ago.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/10/21/texas-students-long-hair-lawsuit/

Boys with long hair? Oh, the horror! Civilization is ending!

Washington and Jefferson are clearly not welcome in Texas schools.

Which may cause the "original intent" folks on the Supreme Court to find it unconstitutional. Or not.

That is what happens when you only have round holes available for all the variously shaped pegs.

Or even the Trisolarans

Tralfamadorians.

the Tanstaaflans knew what was up.

"original intent's" just another word for nothin' left to lose

Oops! From the Dallas Morning News:
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has paid his first voter fraud bounty. It went to an unexpected recipient

Nearly a year after offering up a hefty bounty for evidence of voter fraud in the wake of Donald Trump’s loss, [Texas] Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has handed out his first reward.

But instead of going to an informant who smoked out fraud by Democrats, Patrick’s five-figure payout went to a progressive poll worker in Pennsylvania whose tip led to a single conviction of illegal voting by a registered Republican.

The only surprise here is that anyone is surprised -- Trump, and now his fans, are routinely quick to accuse others of whatever misdeeds they have committed. (And note that there are several more voter fraud cases pending in Pennsylvania. All against Republicans.)

sounds like we need a bunch of needless laws that affect Democrats just a little bit more than they affect Republicans!

More where that came from:

https://mynews4.com/news/local/las-vegas-man-charged-with-voting-twice-after-casting-ballot-for-dead-wife

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas businessman is facing criminal charges of voting twice in the November 2020 election, including with his dead wife’s ballot, Nevada state Attorney General Aaron Ford announced Thursday.

(...)

Hartle is an executive at Ahern Rentals Inc., a company that was fined $3,000 for violations of COVID-19 mask and crowd-size restrictions while hosting a Trump campaign event in September 2020. The rally drew thousands of people to a sprawling indoor facility in suburban Henderson.

Company owner Donald Ahern also owns a Las Vegas hotel at which a national group espousing fringe QAnon conspiracy theories planned a gathering this weekend billed as a “Great Awakening Weekend.” The event promised speakers featured on Fox TV, News Max, The Victory Channel, One America Network and other sites favored by Trump.

Hartle’s wife, Rosemarie Hartle, died in 2017 at age 52 from breast cancer, he told KLAS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, last November.

Trump told them to. what choice did they have?

This is depressing, but then most political news is.

https://slate.com/business/2021/10/democrats-obamacare-subsidies-expand-stupid.html

Btw, based on the article the progressives who are screwing up. Or to be fair, it is the “ moderates” with their conservative ideology who have created the problem by cutting the level of spending far below what is needed, but since they have clearly won that battle, progressives are unable to face it and according to the piece are trying to fund a lot of things in an inadequate fashion, giving us programs that won’t do much and are likely to be axed in a few years instead of focusing on a few ideas, funding them and probably making them so popular the Republicans won’t dare cut them.

And the Republican advantage is also clearly explained— they are all united in giving corporations and rich people tax cuts and then they play the culture war game. They also have an internal religious conflict over whether Trump is a divine being, with most outwardly convinced that he is.

Donald, that article has some good insights, but I really didn't like this:

Meanwhile, progressive members have refused to prioritize issues, and are instead trying to partially cover as many of their bases as possible. Part of the reason may boil down to magical thinking about their chances of fixing temporary programs down the line.

I'm not sure what the agreement consisted of, but if you have Manchin and Sinema constantly reducing the amount, it really doesn't make sense to try and toss out some of the bases on the slender hope that those two dipshits will be favorably inclined to the bases you have left...

Manchin and Sinema are huge problems, but it might make sense to fully fund a few programs that are almost certain to be popular. But either of those two cretins have the power to blow things up. Manchin apparently told Sanders the other day that he could live with no reconciliation bill at all.

Some far left people I normally agree with on most things blame Biden, apparently on the grounds that Biden isn’t acting like LBJ would and really twisting arms, cutting funding for programs in West Virginia or having the DOJ look into Manchin’s sleazy family. I don’t think we live in that world anymore, apart from the fact that I don’t think the DOJ should be used that way— if Manchin and his family are corrupt in illegal ways that should be investigated but not as a political weapon. . Abuse of power aside, would it be politically possible for Biden to play hardball with funding? These days I suspect it would backfire.

Biden has been living in some sort of dreamworld though in being reluctant to dump the filibuster, though he seems to be changing on that point.

...Biden isn’t acting like LBJ would and really twisting arms, cutting funding for programs in West Virginia...

Possibly worth noting, for those who forget, that after abuses by Nixon, Congress took away almost all of the President's ability to withhold funds.

This is part of the bind that Obama was in. The tax and fee rates determining revenue were set by Congress; he was required to spend every penny Congress appropriated in the ways they appropriated it (with very small exceptions for emergencies); the amount that could be borrowed was set in law in the form of the debt ceiling; and there are statutory limits on the amount of paper currency the Treasury can keep in circulation. It's why there's an on-again off-again trillion-dollar platinum coin proposal.

Manchin and Sinema are huge problems, but it might make sense to fully fund a few programs that are almost certain to be popular.

Gotta go with Donald on this one. A couple of hugely popular programs up and running (smoothly!) would be big political winners. Giving more opportunities going forward. On the other hand, a bunch of programs funded with too little to really get going leave the voters with the impression that you're doing nothing to help them.

Sure, it would be nice to be able to do everything you want. But that's not the real world at the moment. So the Democrats'chances of getting anything depend on prioritizing. And refraining from venting their (justified) irritation at Manchin and Sinema until the primaries roll around.

Doesn't matter that "it's not fair" or "it's not right" or even that "it's bad for the country". For the moment, you have to play the hand you have.

or having the DOJ look into Manchin’s sleazy family. I don’t think we live in that world anymore, apart from the fact that I don’t think the DOJ should be used that way— if Manchin and his family are corrupt in illegal ways that should be investigated but not as a political weapon

For those enthused about attacking Manchin and his family, consider this. So far, he's what stands between you and the appointment of executive branch leaders and of judges being totally frozen by McConnell. Also, if you succeed in driving him out of office now, his replacement gets appointed by the Republican Governor of West Virginia. This would improve things how, exactly?

I don’t think it is practical or desirable to stop people from venting at Manchin or Sinema. The natural inclination of much of the press ( which is devoted to horse race coverage) would be to fawn over them because they used their power and won— also, they are “ moderates” and therefore by definition good, pragmatic and so forth. The left, thankfully, isn’t rolling over and playing dead when people push that narrative. Unfortunately the left or some parts of it is in denial that we have lost yet again, unless there is some brilliant plan out there I haven read about. We have lost and lost badly and need to focus on the way to salvage some programs that will demonstrably make people’s lives better.

I agree that attempting to eject Manchin right now would backfire.

Chiming in briefly to note that LBJ had (D) super-majorities in both houses of Congress.

It ain’t 1964 anymore.

I don’t think it is practical or desirable to stop people from venting at Manchin or Sinema.

Let me be more precise. I think it's counterproductive for other members of Congress, or members of the administration, to vent at them. After all, they are trying to get to some kind deal.

But beyond that limited population, go for it.

Chiming in briefly to note that LBJ had (D) super-majorities in both houses of Congress.

LBJ also had several years as Majority Leader behind him. That is, a lot of Senators had built up habit patterns of following his lead. Ah, reflexes. Every little bit helps.

and there are statutory limits on the amount of paper currency the Treasury can keep in circulation. It's why there's an on-again off-again trillion-dollar platinum coin proposal.

as I understand it, the magic coin would not be "in circulation".

Just to be clear, this is not a matter of choosing between getting a few programs now that do good (and preventing McConnell from becoming majority leader) and squandering it all on some half-ass programs from the perspective of those who are not already at retirement age. For a lot of us who are facing retirement in another decade this is another round of kick the can that is going to wreck the whole system, but not until after the current generation behind the wheel is safely dead and immune to the difficulties.

I'm sick of watching my students future get sold for the comfort of a bunch of unimaginative cowards' comfort.

It's all going to fall apart unless we make changes now, and the longer we wait, the worse it will be. By all means, kick the can again and damn us all. A decade of relative comfort is totally worth it.

I now await the usual dismissal from the people who will never have to live in the world they are forcing us to build with their inaction.

Enjoy your retirement. At least you get one.

On the other hand, a bunch of programs funded with too little to really get going leave the voters with the impression that you're doing nothing to help them.

Makes sense....but: Just about every one of the lefty priorities is in danger of being either stopped in its tracks (climate initiative, negotiated drug prices), or turned into itty bitty means tested kludges (child care tax credit, expanded Medicare coverage for dental, free college, etc.).

So basically it is the same old, same old: Message to the left: shut up, shut up, shut up.

Maybe it is time for the Defense Appropriations Bill to die in a House Committee.

It ain’t 1964 anymore.

True that. The New Deal was effectively over by 1938 as the southern Dems aligned with the GOP to block any further expansion of the New Deal. LBJ's supermajority hinged on getting some "liberal" GOP critters on board. With people watching dogs being unleashed on people just trying to get the right to vote on TV, well, the public pressure was simply too overwhelming. And LBJ, super arm twister? He was humiliated with the Abe Fortas fiasco, giving Nixon two Supreme Court seats and the conservative court that has been eviscerating progressive public policy ever since that time.

It could have been a lot different. Pick up a copy of Supreme Inequality by Adam Cohen.

I'm sick of watching my students future get sold for the comfort of a bunch of unimaginative cowards' comfort.

Well, nous, you simply have to understand that the concept of 'unintended consequences' only applies to lefty policy prescriptions.

Word is there is some kind of compromise in the works, but like most compromises, it won't be pretty.

So basically it is the same old, same old: Message to the left: shut up, shut up, shut up.

No, it isn't. At least, not from me. What I'm saying is: Pick a subset of the things that urgently need to get done. Do those first. Then leverage that success to become able to do more.

Sure, there are a lot of things that urgently need to get done. But since it isn't actually possible to get all of them done right now, pick the ones you feel are most urgent. Either because they will do more good, or because they will do more for the prospects of getting the political position to do more sooner, or for whatever other reason you please.

Just do not, in the interests of getting anything really done, insist that everything is equally important. And that therefore waiting on anything is so totally unacceptable that it is better to go down in flames on all of them.

Personally (as someone who is not on the left being told to shut up), I would start with the Voting Rights legislation. Because without that, I worry that there won't be the opportunity in the future to do anything else. Beyond that, I'd incline to various items to improve child welfare. Whether medical care or pre-K or whatever would have the biggest impact, I don't know. But that's where I would start looking.

And climate change doesn’t even make wj’s list…

And climate change doesn’t even make wj’s list…

It's on my list of things that need to get done. It merely isn't on my list of things which need to get done first.

Because I think that some other things require more urgent action. At this point, the climate is going to change; it's too late to do anything about that. Action is needed to keep the amount of change down, but any impact of such action is going to be decades down the road. That doesn't make it not urgent, but it does mean that waiting an additional year at this point is not as critical.

Ask yourself this: Suppose you have two options. You can do something about climate change, or you can do something about voting rights. Which do you do first? To me, it seems obvious that you tackle voting rights first. Not least because, if you don't, whatever you did about climate change is going to get reversed after the next election.

Do you disagree?

Voting rights won't get taken care of.

Climate change won't get taken care of.

Those two things are off the table of "small achievements we can get." Those two things are what we must give up on to get anything else.

Stop pretending that either of those will be achieved by moderation. Those are the things that "moderates" are killing.

Ask yourself this: Suppose you have two options. You can do something about climate change, or you can do something about voting rights. Which do you do first? To me, it seems obvious that you tackle voting rights first. Not least because, if you don't, whatever you did about climate change is going to get reversed after the next election.

It's not clear to me that you can get anywhere tackling voting rights with Manchin and Sinema where they are.

https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/voting-rights-manchin/

America isn’t a democracy right now; it’s a hostage scenario. Manchin is just toying with the Democrats who insist on negotiating with him.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/freedom-to-vote-act-voting-rights-fails-senate/

If Manchin and Sinema were to give in on voting rights, they would be signing away their leverage and their personal veto power and be rendered irrelevant in a year. No way they give that up. Their leverage is all they have to secure all that attention and sweet, sweet donor cash.

You can have any two things off of the B list, but nothing from the existential threat list.

Not least because, if you don't, whatever you did about climate change is going to get reversed after the next election.

Not likely. We would still have the mighty weapon of the filibuster to make sure that did not happen. /snark.

It's not clear to me that you can get anywhere tackling voting rights with Manchin and Sinema where they are.

I'm a bit more optimistic. Manchin has already been pushing for much of what's in the Voting Right proposal. Not all of it, but enough to make a real difference. Pushing hard enough that, when he still can't get any (let alone 10) Republicans to sign on, he might well decide that carving out an exemption from the filibuster is acceptable. However reluctantly.

That leaves Sinema. Since the Big Pharma and ultrarich donors she is all in for don't especially care about the issue, I suspect that, if she was the lone holdout, she would cave.

Neither is anything like a sure thing. But I'd say it's far from a lost cause either.

We would still have the mighty weapon of the filibuster to make sure that did not happen.

Totally true. IF it were a matter of repealing it. Unfortunately, merely failing to fund it isn't amenable to prevention by filibuster.

You can have any two things off of the B list, but nothing from the existential threat list.

So what do you propose doing? What that a) will do any good in addresing any (never mind all) of the existential threats you see, and b) might actually succeed in getting passed.

Or do you just write off anything useful, and sign on for JDT's "arm up and kill them all" approach? (Or, to stop short of "all", just eliminate McConnell, and get his replacement appointed by Kentucky's Democratic governor.)

So what do you propose doing? What that a) will do any good in addresing any (never mind all) of the existential threats you see, and b) might actually succeed in getting passed.

Take what you can, but do not let up on either of them in public as their colleagues on the hill. Once you get their votes, take them out of their committees. Freeze them out.

They deserve nothing more.

So what do you propose doing?

Stop calling them moderates. Make sure that everyone knows they reneged on their word.

As the Nation article points out, Manchin is pushing but refuses to do what is necessary to get it thru. He can count, he knows that there has to be a carve out to the filibuster. But he just wants to the the Democratic Susan Collins.

he [Manchin] just wants to the the Democratic Susan Collins he just wants to the the Democratic Susan Collins.

That would be the Susan Collins who talked an independent game. But when it came down to it, pretty much voted the straight party line, no? Democrats should be willing to take that.

Once you get their votes, take them out of their committees. Freeze them out.

They deserve nothing more.

They may deserve nothing more. But is that kind of revenge worth giving McConnell a majority? Probably better to let them feel like they won. Temporarily.

And then primary Sinema. Assuming she doesn't just "retire" to whatever overpaid job her donors have been promising her. (As a practical matter, probably better to leave Manchin be. Not just, perhaps, but expedient.)

That would be the Susan Collins who talked an independent game.

That would be the Susan Collins who wanted to portray herself as a moderate. Which she was not. Same thinking and if Manchin would not be feted as a moderate, he _might_ reconsider. Similar with Collins, if the press would ask why her words didn't match her actions, it might have made a difference.

FWIW, chiming in briefly again to say that there is probably nothing on the table at the moment that is, remotely, as critical as climate change.

It’s not going to happen at some point, it is happening now. The time to act is not now, it was 40 years ago.

Any benefits to whatever changes we can make now will not be felt for decades or longer, that’s true. The consequences of those changes dwarf, by orders of magnitude, the consequences of anything else under consideration.

It’s not going to happen at some point, it is happening now. The time to act is not now, it was 40 years ago.

Any benefits to whatever changes we can make now will not be felt for decades or longer, that’s true. The consequences of those changes dwarf, by orders of magnitude, the consequences of anything else under consideration.

Completely agree. However. There are somethings which, if not done now, will make doing anything effective about climate change impossible for the foreseeable future. To my mind, that makes them a higher priority. And, since they will also enable additional positive impacts, more consequential.

That would be the Susan Collins who talked an independent game. But when it came down to it, pretty much voted the straight party line, no?

the Susan Collins who keeps getting re-elected.

no climate change action will happen.

the GOP is in thrall of people who have decided that they know more than doctors about medicine, and that they know more about climate than climate scientists. and they effectively control the Senate.

and they love plastic.

cleek, I think one should add 'or pretend to because they see an advantage in it'.
I think quite some GOP leaders know very well what the facts are but think it unwise to say so (pure cynicism is part of the job description too, see the vaccinated anti-vaxxers). Them being usually quite old too makes it even easier because they will not have to face the most serious consequences and are so selfish that they don't care in the least about even their own families in the long term.
Of course there are lots of actual walking embodiments of Dunning-Krüger but with the likes of McTurtle stupidity and ignorance are pure camouflage for utter cynicism and will-to-power.

the GOP is in thrall of people...

Who do things like this.

It's a small slice of today's America, but a very disturbing one. The gap I see is the liars and the conned are well organized, highly motivated by ideological priors, and have money. Those who have not fallen for this shit? Not much. It's time to right that balance. We need a well funded organization that would pour support for the good people in places like this so they have a fighting chance against the lying liars.

The lying liars, and the fascists behind them are turning this into an existential conflict. We need to get a whole lot more serious about it.

One point on Manchin that progressives here seem to routinely ignore. H/T Matthew Yglesias

Manchin, in his summer letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressing doubts about Democrats’ expansive budget reconciliation package, clearly embraced higher taxes on the rich. He called for increasing the corporate tax rate and the top individual income tax rate, imposing a higher levy on capital gains, and closing the carried interest loophole.
Those are all things you like, so why not forgo demonizing and give credit where credit is due? If you want to demonize someone, go after Sinema, who has no progressive virtues that I can see.

the Susan Collins who keeps getting re-elected.

Collins ran a smart campaign. Her opponent? Not so much. But in fairness, beating a more or less well liked incumbent is not easy.

wj, Manchin also originally said that 3.5 T$ were too little. Now it's allegedly beyond the pale.
I will take his word for the tax increases the moment he actually votes for a passing* bill containing it.
Btw, I also find it a wee bit suspicious that the no-no lists of Sinema and Manchin have very little overlap. If I was Dem leadership, I'd take a close look, whether the two of them have an agreement there in order to kill more parts while seemingly staying 'moderate'.

* a non-passing bill someone else takes the fall for does not count as far as I am concerned.

WJ—

I rarely think that any politician is 100 percent wrong on every single issue. Manchin is on the wrong side on climate change— Sinema is allegedly on the right side. They are both scum.

Hartmut might be right on coordination, though if we go down that speculative route it is also possible that other “ moderates” in corporate pockets are letting Manchin and Sinema be the bad guys. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Where we agree is that unless there is some strategy I haven’t seen, the scum have won the battle and Democrats ( the ones with genuinely good intentions) need to figure out how to get the least bad result from this defeat. I think “ do some things really well so it is clear government programs can make people’s lives better” is the way to go. I don’t know which programs to pick.

And if the power worshippers in the media start glorifying the scum. push back hard.

Also, people should stop thinking. being “ moderate” is inherently good. In politics it should be used to describe political inclinations and not as a term of praise. It sometimes boils down to making fun of liberals and siding with corporations and/ or conservatives and portraying all this as pragmatic.

Btw, I also find it a wee bit suspicious that the no-no lists of Sinema and Manchin have very little overlap. If I was Dem leadership, I'd take a close look, whether the two of them have an agreement there in order to kill more parts

It's possible. But as with any conspiracy theory, I'd want to see some actual evidence before entertaining it seriously. (Also, even if there is one, I'm not sure what you think the Democratic leadership is likely to find in the way of evidence.)

Manchin is on the wrong side on climate change

Manchin is on the wrong side of coal --hardly a surprise for a West Virginia politician. On the other hand, he seems open to a variety of subsidies for clean energy infrastructure, carbon sequestration, etc. So, in the interest of getting more done on climate change sooner, it might be worth concentrating on those pieces of the project.

Coal will need to go, of course. But it's already a dying industry, even without any action on climate change. Subsidizing clean energy, to get it moving faster, will speed coal's existing decline. Take out the demand, rather than trying to force a shutdown of the supply.

Coal will need to go, of course. But it's already a dying industry, even without any action on climate change.

The worldwide demand for coal is likely to continue to increase for at least some decades.

At the moment, it's near a record high price.

But that rising demand is outside the US. And transport costs don't make it economic for us to export it to where the demand is.

So not really an issue for us. Except in so far as improving clean energy capabilities here leads to reduced costs, and so attacks coal's price advantage elsewhere.

wj, I agree that it us unlikely that Manchin and Sinema are doing an actual conspiracy in the classical sense. An unspoken mutual understanding or some 'hints' from their donors may be all there is. But I also agree with Donald that there are some other Dems hiding behind the two that also would like to see part of the programs killed (in particular the tax issue). And only one fall guy or girl is needed.
Manchin personally profits from coal and would not from clean energy programs, so his position makes sense from his own selfish POV. Sinema seems to be 'clean' on that, so she has no direct reason to openly oppose.

The only bet still open is imo, whether the two of them will shift the goal posts again, when a 50% bill takes actual shape and demand another 50% cut.

But that rising demand is outside the US. And transport costs don't make it economic for us to export it to where the demand is.

Germany used to import coal from far abroad because that was cheaper than production at home (plus conservative politicians preferred to burn other peoples' coal first in order to keep the German coal in reserve). If we import coal from South Africa and Australia why can't the US export economically. I assume that e.g. Australian coal miners are better paid than the US ones, and brutal methods like mountain top removal as practiced in the US reduce the number of necessary workers even more.

Sinema seems to be 'clean' on that, so she has no direct reason to openly oppose.

Sinema's personal benefit comes from donors fighting against letting Medicare negotiate drug prices.

But that rising demand is outside the US. And transport costs don't make it economic for us to export it to where the demand is.

WVA recent coal output was about 90million/short ton per year. One third of that was exported. I think (surmise on my part) they also get a good price due to the higher quality of their coal.

so why not forgo demonizing and give credit where credit is due?

nope. He has flip flopped all over the place on just about every aspect of this whole shit show. The only things he has been consistently adamant about are preserving the filibuster and opposing any policies that would accelerate the decline in coal consumption.

If lefty criticizing, praising, or ignoring him makes not one whit of difference regarding the eventual outcome, then wtf? why not pick door #1: ceaseless withering criticism.

In our entitlement society, he is entitled to nothing less.

Manchin is on the wrong side of coal --hardly a surprise for a West Virginia politician.

Please do review his voting record on climate issues and get back to us.

PS: The fact that Joe Lieberman voted for the ACA never stopped my criticizing the fucking asshole. He did the right thing there, but only after exacting a terrible public policy price, and I really do not see any reason to speak well of him ever.

WVA recent coal output was about 90million/short ton per year. One third of that was exported.

Thanks for the info. Learn something new every day.

The only things he has been consistently adamant about are preserving the filibuster and opposing any policies that would accelerate the decline in coal consumption.

Although having had his very own version of the Voting Rights Act (far short of what you would like, I acknowledge; short of what I think is needed, too) rejected unanimously may well bring him around on at least another filibuster carveout.** After all, Biden was pretty darn solid for the filibuster, and he has now come around. Change is possible.

** I'm picturing a death of 1000 cuts for the horrible thing. Not as good as just dumping it, but better than nothing.

I think (surmise on my part) they also get a good price due to the higher quality of their coal.

I believe WV is mostly producing coal for metallurgical purposes, for which there is a reasonable export market.

Manchin is also going to fight for natural gas. WV has become a top-five state in dry gas production.

If lefty criticizing, praising, or ignoring him makes not one whit of difference regarding the eventual outcome, then wtf? why not pick door #1: ceaseless withering criticism.

I'm wondering something. What, in your experience, is the most effective way to get someone to change their mind on something? Or, to put it the other way around, what is most successful in getting you to change your mind on something? (Or do you just believe that everybody's views are set in stone?)

My experience is that, even if I disagree with someone on lots and lots of points, I have more success getting them to change on one of those if I manage to find some point of agreement, acknowledge that, and then work on a single issue where I think I can make progress.** Is it uniformly successful? No. Is it more successful that other approaches? Yes.

I can see a place for unremitting withering criticism. When you are trying to get someone booted out of office and replaced by someone better. But do you honestly see any realistic prospect of someone better out of West Virginia in the foreseeable future? But I can sure see how there could be someone worse.

** Sometimes that requires leaving aside the bigger ideological picture. For example, not talking about "lefty criticism" and just arguing the stand-alone merits of your case. I realize you will find this a big ask. But allow me to suggest that it might be more successful.

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no climate change action will happen.

correct.

Or, not "no climate change action", but at most very limited mostly performative climate action. At least here, and probably other places.

The interests of people 50 or 100 or 500 years from now are dwarfed by the dollar value of the fossil resources that are in the ground, and which cannot be monetized unless they are extracted and burned.

And the scope and scale of social and economic changes that would have to happen in (at this point) a fairly short time would require a concerted public effort that we are no longer capable of, at least in this country.

Briefly, too many people in general don't give a sh*t, and too many people whose extraordinary fortunes depend on extracting and burning that stuff have the ear of the folks who are in a position to make significant changes happen.

We're capable of doing what needs to be done. We don't have the imagination and will to make it happen.

What's already baked in to the atmosphere is going to create profound changes. And we're on track to make things a lot worse.

I don't think people really have a concrete understanding of what it is going to mean.

We'll mostly all be dead, folks a few generations from now are going to pay the price. That doesn't seem to be a sufficient motivation for us to change our behavior.

Sometimes I think about things in terms of what circle of Dante's hell people would end up in, were he writing now.

He'd need to create some new circles.

That’s meaningless advice, wj. Lefties aren’t going to say nice things to Manchin. There are millions of us and it is a fantasy to think we are going to be nice to him. Do you imagine all of us getting together and deciding “ Let’s be nice to Joe Manchin, a guy we all loathe. Maybe he will change his mind.”

I think a sizable bribe with a guarantee he wouldn’t be caught taking it would change his mind. Maybe unctuous praise for his obvious wisdom, plus a bribe, would do even better. Or maybe threats, but there are no plausible ones.

It is demoralizing to lefties when they play the game and somehow, almost by magic, the corporate donors still wield more power. I know young people who say they want to burn it all down. Hard to blame them.

Also, regarding “ conspiracy theories”, I take for granted that corporate lobbyists are making phone calls to their pet politicians and maybe sometimes— yes, I know, it’s crazy—they conspire. Some Exxon lobbyist said something to that effect.

https://www.npr.org/2021/07/01/1012138741/exxon-lobbyist-caught-on-video-talks-about-undermining-bidens-climate-push

Personally I think, the calculation would have to be how to deal with someone who is willing without hesitation to renege on any deal, i.e. someone who cannot be trusted. Can he be bribed, coerced, or be put into a position where his love for his position is greater than his ego? Shaming obviously does not work, neither do threats since he is not up for re-election soon and he could retire any day without much or any loss. From his POV he must keep the dead man switch or he is toast (if he loses it, few will still want to have anything to do with him after was is currently happening). So, he has to be kept capable of not going 'I'll take you all with me' while also being made extremly uncomfortable. Difficult needle to thread.
The worst thing to do would be what I think someone above said: giving him the impression that once he voted on the most important agenda items, he'll be dropped as he deserves because he isn't needed anymore.

That’s meaningless advice, wj. Lefties aren’t going to say nice things to Manchin. There are millions of us and it is a fantasy to think we are going to be nice to him. Do you imagine all of us getting together and deciding “Let’s be nice to Joe Manchin, a guy we all loathe. Maybe he will change his mind.”

OK, Donald, riddle me this. What are you hoping/expecting to accomplish by blasting Manchin?

The only possible benefit I can see is venting to make yourself feel better. Considering that you could, instead, be putting your energy into something constructive, why bother? Get out and register voters in states where there's a prospect of winning more seats (in Congress, or in the state legislature). Spend time, effort, or money (whichever you prefer) on arranging to get your voters to turn out.

Granted some states are probably a lost cause. But others can be moved. Note that it wasn't that long ago when Georgia was safe for the other side. For the moment, you've got 2 Democrats in the Senate from there. Which suggests that, even with enthusiastic voter suppression, state-wide offices (which can't be gerrymandered) aren't out of reach there. And it's not the only case.

Perhaps you will find this advice will more meaningful.

Twenty years ago the radicals on the left were suggesting that perhaps society should do the things that the moderates today are coming around to as a non-radical attempt to "do something" about climate change. Had they been listened to then we would not need more radical action now. But doing it now rather than the more "radical" action that is now necessary is still going to necessitate that radical action in the future - only for less benefit.

On climate change, again and again, "radicals" have been, in hindsight, just moderates from the future who are given the Cassandra treatment.

And in the "moderates'" view, their twenty years of insisting that their way is the pragmatic one lets them continue to insist that everyone else give way to them when it comes to compromise.

Moderates are the common sense approach twenty years too late.

This is what happens when the people most likely to worry about what the world will be like in 20-30 years are kept away from power and talked down to for 20-30 years before anyone starts to listen.

It always reminds me of the inevitable scene in every '80s teen movie where the teenage protagonist has to tuck in their well-meaning but overworked/drunk/sick parent and go off to parent themselves.

But, as most of us are saying, we are never going to get our shit together to fix things. We are going to screw around and let it all crumble.

Why don't the youth get more involved? They don't think anything being done will be around when they finally get their chance. It'll all have been used up and trashed before they get a turn.

I'm wondering something. What, in your experience, is the most effective way to get someone to change their mind on something?

From what I observe, the most effective way to change somebody's mind is something that is well beyond my own, or any individual's, control...in terms of the big picture it is usually via exogenous events (war, depression, famine, you know, the usual good things in life). Blacks switching from the GOP to the Dems after the onset of the Great Depression is a classic example. The aftershock of WWI is another (we still living with them). On a one to one level, it really helps to be part of the same close social group (church, club, job) where there is a personal connection.

I give you our exchanges over the years on this very blog as a counterexample (neither of us has changed our minds about much of anything).

But hope remains. You might still come around.

I don't think people really have a concrete understanding of what it is going to mean.

Absolutely. The technical term is "don't have an 'effing clue". But when their property values evaporate, you can be damned sure they will change their minds about something. We can only hope we set them up to make the wise choice.

The only way to get past the Prisoners Dilemma is to freeze out the non-solidarity prisoners from one iteration of the dilemma to the next. No broken cycle, no change.

If you cannot win the game ever in the future unless change happens in the metagame, then you have to risk the short term for the long.

Sometimes you have to fight the battle you know you will lose because the winners need to see that you will fight and do them lasting damage rather than give up.

Isn't this what we've always seen as the only way to deal with a bully?

Isn't this what we've always seen as the only way to deal with a bully?

And sometimes, unfortunately, in order to deal effectively with a bully, you have to ally with someone pretty unsavory. See the WW II alliance with Stalin's Russia. (And Chiang Kai-shek wasn't a prince of a fellow either.) For the moment, Manchin is in a similar position, is he not?

wj,
The US and the Soviet Union shared a common overriding goal: The utter defeat of the Axis powers. There does not appear to be any such a commonality of interests with our good Senator Manchin. Finding that overriding commonality (there is a little) is the problem at hand.

So big difference.

Boy, I don't think any lefty has made the connection between Manchin and Stalin. If you have to go there, that pretty much suggests that you acknowledge nothing is going to get done while he's there. If that's the case, (unless you include Stalin is your circle of moderates), maybe stop the paeans to moderation? At least until after Manchin is out?

I think one obvious thing is accomplished by blasting Manchin— in the past the “ moderates” are generally praised as the pragmatic types and now, finally, we have two who are correctly described as people who are only in this for themselves. That actually matters, because it might effect who gets support in those other elections you mention. We don’t want any more Manchin types in Congress and we don’t want that sort of moderation given any praise. People need to be motivated to elect Democrats who are concerned about climate change.

Biden, it seems to me, is already the type who was supposed to be able to reach people like Manchin and even Republicans, but the old days when the slightly left of center politicians made deals with slightly right of center politicians are gone. Being nice doesn’t seem to work. The “ nice” Republicans all vote with the Trumpers on most things.

Also, what Nous said. The past few decades show how useless moderate politics is when something truly momentous like climate change is involved.

maybe stop the paeans to moderation? At least until after Manchin is out?

To the best of my recollection (feel free to correct me), I haven't called Manchin a "moderate". I'd say he's more conservative than most Democrats. And less reactionary than most Republicans. Which could describe a moderate also, but clearly doesn't have to do so. Unless someone wants to redefine "moderate".

As for "until Manchin is out" I'm all for increasing the number of Democratic Senators so the Manchin is out of his current position of power. But out of the Senate? Not unless someone finds another Democrat who can win in West Virginia. Even a bad Democrat is, to my mind, better than Trumpy Republican.

We don’t want any more Manchin types in Congress and we don’t want that sort of moderation given any praise. People need to be motivated to elect Democrats who are concerned about climate change.

Agreed about the need to elect people who are concerned about climate change. But help me out here. How does blasting Manchin provide said motivation to voters? Assume I'm just exceptionally dense, and lay it out for me. Thanks.

wj - you have to change the lens through which voters view the positions on the issues and then get charismatic candidates to give voice to those new frameworks and show the old one for what it is.

Reagan worked for the OWI during WWII. His message has persisted in large part because it was effective propaganda.

This is all about everyone doing their part for the war effort. Manchin isn't doing his part.

If we are ever to do a damn thing against environmental self-destruction, we need to frame this as a collective effort like The Good War. It's the only sort of collective cause that has ever appealed in the US.

Manchin is Benny the Bungler.

Someone talked...

you have to change the lens through which voters view the positions on the issues and then get charismatic candidates to give voice to those new frameworks and show the old one for what it is.

Makes perfect sense to me. What I'm missing is how blasting away at Manchin gets the lens changed.

It seems to me that shifting the voters viewpoint needs to come first. Once you've got that, you can give the guy the boot and have some chance of a better replacement. But without doing that view change first, you boot Manchin and likely get a Trump fanboy in his place. NOT a step forward on any front at all.

What I'm missing is how blasting away at Manchin gets the lens changed.

This presumes that other avenues have not be tried and found wanting. Yelling intemperately about this (I would aver that what Sanders said would strike home to a great many) rallies the troops, stiffens the spine, AND GETS THE MESSAGE OUT THAT WHAT MANCHIN IS IN FAVOR OF IS SIMPLY NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

So, there's that.

I am getting tired of talking about this, but Manchin is in the needs constantly as a central figure, so people are either going to see him as a moderate in the good sense holding the line against profligate spending or as a selfish jerk who is standing in the way of progress in climate change when we are out of time to mess around. The second picture is the accurate one and yeah, I think having a villain who actually is a villain might motivate young people in other states to participate and elect Democrats who won’t betray them. Otherwise, without the pushback, the natural tendency of much of the press will be to fall back into horse race coverage and portray Manchin as an important figure who deserve to be taken seriously, as opposed to an asshole who used his power to screw us.

In the news constantly, not in the needs.

Both have to happen together. Blasting Manchin is part of changing minds. You need both the message and the concrete examples to tie the messages to.

It's not a personal attack, though. You attack him for what he does and how his lack of participation in the war effort undermine our victory. You make his ties to polluters unpatriotic.

Looks like we need more bold words...

Leaving an open tag was a bold move...

To the best of my recollection (feel free to correct me), I haven't called Manchin a "moderate".

No, but every time the topic of Manchin comes up, you bring up arguments about moderation and how 'we' (for varying values of that pronoun) need to follow a path of moderation to make things work out. Yet in explaining all this, you put off climate change, you put off voting rights, all in pursuit of a will o' wisp of 'moderation'.

I pointed out that Manchin was the mirror image of Collins. It is this constant elevation of moderation as a good in and of itself that leaves them (and you) convinced that being a 'moderate' is a good thing. Rather than try and make moderation into something good (similar with your forays in discussing the Republican party), it seems to me that we would be better served by junking the concept, at least in discussions like these.

wrote a bit too quickly.

Rather than try and make moderation into something good

This suggests I think moderation is 'bad'. I don't, but I think, in our current circumstances, we need to put it on the back of the shelf and pull it out when things calm down a bit.

Leaving an open tag was a bold move...

But the real horror was the unintended consequences.

:)

Moderate means different things. In my personal life I want people to be moderate as opposed to being aggressive, loud, hot tempered, etc. I think the word acquires much of its positive glow because of this type of association. People don’t like to be yelled at. Or at least a lot of us don’t. Consciously or subconsciously, people then transfer their preferences about the kind of personality types they want to be around to the political spectrum. A moderate is supposed to be this calm person who listens to all sides and makes a rational decision.

I don’t think that political moderates in practice are as rational as they perceive themselves to be. In extreme cases ( yes, moderates can be extreme) it’s just a form of posturing with no factual basis or rational argument behind it at all. Of course people on all parts of the political spectrum can be irrational, but self described moderates make a fetish of how pragmatic they are. I see this in some of the comments under NYT articles— people who clearly have no clue how the 3.5 trillion compares to either the likely level of military spending or the predicted GDP in that same ten year period. And they assume it is the Sanders AOC types causing the problem. I even see people calling the BBB bill a manifestation of “ woke” extremism. For this type of moderate their moderation is a form of identity politics for affluent ( probably white) normies. It’s about posturing and buzzwords and political cliches.

I don’t think that political moderates in practice are as rational as they perceive themselves to be.

Perhaps not. On the other hand, I think I'm moderately conservative. (Which, to my mind, is a variant of moderate.) Said moderation is why this life-long Republican hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate in a general election since 1996. All the moderates (or as close an approximation as is on offer) are currently on that side of the fence.

The only irrational bit I see on my part is some persistent (albeit declining) optimism, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that it is still possible to haul the GOP back to sanity. But then, I may well be too close the see other irrational stuff clearly.

I'm sure no one believes you have a line to Manchin (or, god forbid, Sinema) and I certainly don't want to bust you. But Donald's explanation synchs with my general observations. I've also found, in the course of dealing with labor issues here in Japan, that people who are personally 'moderate' can often be really strongly supportive of essentially radical things (unfortunately, labor unions and such are pretty rad here) So making a clear difference between the personal moderation and the political "moderation" is, in my book, A Good Thing.

Manchin is not a moderate - he's extremely awkward.

I'm not following the US news cycle, but I would say that:

- Climate change is the single most important issue
- It's not at all surprising a Senator for West Virginia won't support measures which would reduce coal use
- It's disappointing, but not surprising, that no Republican, from whatever state, is willing to support a sensible package of measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
- the second most important issue is fair elections. The Republican strategy is minority rule by them forever. If they achieve that, you can forget about anything good coming our of Washington, ever.
- Manchin should be seen as a fluke 50th vote for D control of the Senate, not a D in any other sense. A scorpion is a scorpion, however much you blame it for it.

Manchin should be seen as a fluke 50th vote for D control of the Senate, not a D in any other sense.

Other than that he's won assorted statewide offices in WV as a Democrat for the last 20 years and has been a pretty reliable vote on policy in the Senate. There are other Dems in the Senate -- Hickenlooper and Bennett from here in Colorado come to mind -- that favor a much slower pace on climate change. Slower than many of their constituents would like, in fact. And both have said that the filibuster might need changes, but have hedged about how and when.

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