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October 29, 2021

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I feel faint! Did Charles really just advocate for a tax?!?!? (Which, since the roads are not privately owned, it would be.)

Congestion pricing is market-oriented. When the demand for something increases and the supply doesn't, the price increases. Doesn't matter who owns the something.

Congestion pricing is market-oriented.

So, anything market oriented is not a tax. A tax is only operable if someone owning something gets screwed.

Open it up here for the name of the revival band. My suggestion Louis XVI and the Ancien Regime.

"My suggestion Louis XVI and the Ancien Regime."

Electric harpsichords are a thing, I hear.

Armageddon Toll Road has a nice industrial postmetal vibe to it and harpsichord isn't much of a flex for postmetal.

Electric harpsichords are a thing, I hear.

Ever since Switched On Bach and The Well-Tempered Synthesizer. Really takes me back.

Back to another touchstone here

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/nov/11/she-made-music-jump-into-3d-wendy-carlos-the-reclusive-synth-genius

Europe is more dependent on trucks to move freight than the US due to their limitations on moving freight by rail.

and yet, stuff gets delivered, somehow.

I mostly took surface roads to my appointments even though that route was 20-30 minutes longer on average because it was consistently slow.

story of my 30-year-long commuting life.

I'd rather move slowly and consistently, than go 60 miles an hour for two miles and then sit at a dead stop for the next five minutes.

Congestion pricing is market-oriented.

and is therefore virtuous, full stop.

Do you know what would be "market oriented"? A carbon tax, that's what.

Tax every atom of fossil carbon entering The Economy, whether by domestic extraction or by importation. Levy the tax on the extractor/importer. Let the Invisible Hand distribute the incidence of the tax per Free Market principles.

BTW, rebate the tax money to every American "person" who actually ... you know ... breathes air, every month, on a per-capita basis. No "means testing", no regulatory mumbo-jumbo; just "You're a breathing person who lives in the US? Here's your equal share of the carbon tax we collected last month."

I suspect Libertarians(TM) would object to such a scheme. I imagine that True Conservatives and even godless libruls might have reservations. Can't predict those. But I'd bet my house that Joe Manchin would bleat and squawk about it.

--TP

Is driving productive? Did the market or government put us in these rolly, burny things? Also, too, judging by my near-constant desire to throw 2/3 of the stuff in my house out on the curb, I think these supply-chain bottlenecks are a matter of people buying dumb sh*t they don’t need from faraway places. I don’t get wtf humanity is up to.

Europe is more dependent on trucks to move freight than the US due to their limitations on moving freight by rail.
and yet, stuff gets delivered, somehow.

At greater expense, infrastructure, and environmental impact.

Congestion pricing is market-oriented.
and is therefore virtuous, full stop.

Or because it works.

At greater expense, infrastructure, and environmental impact.

Can you demonstrate this?

And how is any of that offset by the lesser expense, infrastructure, and environmental impact required to move *people* around?

Or because it works

Does it? Always and everywhere? Who does it work for?

https://www.jstor.org/stable/43618724

full paper here
sci-hub.se/10.2307/43618724

Singapore, not really my image of a 'let's keep our hands out of this' government. It works because there is a central government calling the shots. While I'm sure there is a Reason article squaring the circle, let's don't and say we did...

At greater expense, infrastructure, and environmental impact.
Can you demonstrate this?

Loaded semi-trucks have about five magnitudes greater impact on road surfaces than do cars. Trucks use a lot more fuel to transport a given amount of freight than do trains. The only surface vehicle more energy efficient at transporting mass than a train is a bicycle.

As you point out, that's offset by rail passengers who might otherwise be using the roads.

Or because it works
Does it? Always and everywhere? Who does it work for?

Some examples.

"Congestion pricing is gathering some inertia [momentum?] in cities worldwide for a few reasons; safety, money, and public desire are among the main ones. Unlike traditional mechanisms to deal with more cars such as, well, building new roads, congestion pricing has had a profound effect on the cities it has come to. Pricing schemes operate on the same general platform – charge a car if it passes into a certain zone of a city – but each country has generated an architecture that is influenced as much by culture as it is by need. Below is a list of cities (and in one case, a city-state) that have designed and deployed congestion pricing systems:"
5 Cities with Congestion Pricing

In Orange County there are a few toll roads that ensure fast transit times. They are mostly empty and the trucks are mostly routed to the freeways, which are still packed and crawling.

Suggests to me that they should be lowering the cost of the toll roads to bleed off some traffic, but that's not the way these things ever work. Instead it's just one more controlled access for the gated communities that the toll roads mostly serve or a perq for management to charge to their company. About the only blue collar traffic belongs to the landscapers that work the communities.

Yeah, the San Diego example seems dubious to me. The flex lanes don't really relieve congestion for either freight or regular commuters, and the traffic options are pretty limited because Camp Pendleton forces everything going between SD and LA onto two freeways.

They really are Lexus lanes.

Funny thing is, some of them used to be HOV lanes that actually did do a bit for traffic flow. Turning them into pay lanes took away most of that benefit for all but the few drivers who pay.

I'd want to see data from an independent study for any measure of benefit.

Around here, we have lanes which are a combination of HOV and pay. If you have (2 or 3, depending on which freeway) people in the car, it's free. Otherwise, there's a charge -- which varies, depending on traffic loads. Off hours, the charge drops to zero.

The fact that struck me what that Charles' article lists cities with congestion pricing in chronological order, oldest first. It has me wonder why some place with libertarian bona fides didn't come up with the idea first if it was so good.

Who knew you could throw an election by telling parents who want a say in their kids' education that they should sit down and STFU?...

i'm going guess there's a large overlap between people who want to tell VA teachers what to teach and people who want to tell VA doctors what medicines are effective.

and so, no - they really don't have any business telling teachers what to teach.

it was a dumb thing to say, though.

Forty years of anti-teacher lies and propaganda are hard to overcome.

The fact that the guy who won promised to unilaterally ban subjects from schools suggests the real issue wasn't actually parental control.

True that. On the one hand, he said parents should have school choice. On the other, he said the state should ban subjects it doesn't like.

Who knew you could win an election by appealing to the lowest, racist, nationalist, anti-pandemic protocol elements in a society on the brink of utter dissolution and deservedly violent chaos?

I did.

The predecessers to Pol Pot, Hitler, the Bolsheviks, Mao, Mussolini, Bolsanaro, Idi Amin, Andrew Johnson (the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettyburgh Address were political suicide), Trump, Castro, any number of tinpot murderous dictators in Central America, and Tucker Carlson all said a lot of hapless, clueless, politically suicidal things too.

And then all was lost. And is.

See ya, kids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXjzOpz4Cyw

You would think saying something like "I love the poorly educated!" would be politically suicidal. Instead, it's more or less the theme of an entire movement.

Purely depends on how people understand the word 'education'. I could find quite a number of saints (incuding fathers of the church) who would fully agree that for the common people 'education' is highly dangerous and have no qualms saying that in public. St.Jerome had literal nightmares about his classical education condemning him to hell: "You're no Christian but a Ciceronian".
That higher education is a potential poison for the soul (not only in the religious sense) has been a common topos in European thought (e.g. Rousseau's 'back to nature').
And once politicians had to actually appeal to the masses, they had to pretend to be less learned than they actually were (like they still use to brag about their alleged humble origins). With n-words it is 'uppity'-ness, with whites 'snobbery' that's dangerous, and to be more learned than the voters and showing it (e.g. by using 'Big' words) triggers the inferiority complex and causes revulsion.
That's one reason why the founders did not actually want what they understood as 'democracy'. They would not have used 'education' as a dirty word though since I presume they included basic skills like reading and writing. The 'poorly educated' of today probably would not but see it as English for 'academia'.

I guess 'education' is seen as an opposite to 'common sense'. The educated can't think straight.

The theme of the movement is that anyone, regardless of education/experience/expertise, can decide things like what kids should learn school or what kind of medical treatments should be administered.

Do your own research, even if you completely lack the ability to evaluate the information! Don't be a sheep!

Yeah, that's what 'common sense' has become to mean.
If you scratch the surface, you're also likely to find the old claims about 'Jewish science' (like quantum physics or general relativity) created specifically to undermine common sense (which Jews [and their father, Satan] can't stand by nature).

I have family members who have been on the operation-rescue-homeschool-anti-vax bandwagon since the '80s. They see the hand of providence and the invisible hand both urging them ever forward into our bright future once they stamp out all the child-killing-anti-market-monkey-cousin-wannabe-vax-sheeple. With love. Guns can be love, too.

God is on the move.

Would it be helpful to suggest that if the Ds had managed to nominate a candidate for President who wasn't plainly too old for the job, ridiculous arguments about education policy probably wouldn't have swayed anything?

No, I thought not.

On the one hand, he said parents should have school choice. On the other, he said the state should ban subjects it doesn't like.

Actually, no. He wants to ban subjects the he doesn't like. But he definitely doesn't want the state able to ban stuff other people don't like when the other party is in office.

Unless Pro Bono can tell me who "the Democrats" should have nominated to take down the too orange youngster who wasn't too fascist or too crooked for Republicans to nominate, then Pro Bono can kiss my ass.

--TP

Unless Pro Bono can tell me who "the Democrats" should have nominated to take down the too orange youngster

It's always easier to say "You should have done it differently" if you don't bother with specifics of what (or who) "different" should be.

I disagree. I can tell the Republicans that they had no business nominating Trump (or Dubya) without making my own nomination for them. And the same applies to the Democrats with Biden. Start by ruling out candidates who are too fascist/stupid/old for the job, then pick the one you like best from what I'd expect to be a sizeable field remaining.

I can tell the Republicans that they had no business nominating Trump (or Dubya) without making my own nomination for them.

Absolutely, you can. But you can also count of readers to dismiss your critique if you decline to offer a) examples of who might have been better, b) how said alternative would be better, and c) why you think said alternative could still have won.

Just saying "Biden is too old" doesn't cut it, unless you can offer up some evidence for how his age has had a negative impacted. Like, what did it cause him to do one way, which a younger alternative would have done differently and/or more effectively. For example, if you've got a convincing case for how any alternative amongst the candidates in 2020 could have dealt better with Manchin and Sinema, I'd love to hear it.

Despite his weight and verbal incoherence, Rump comes off as robust and passionate. He doesn't have the same "old man" persona that Biden does, so the (presumably) sarcastic "youngster" usage doesn't really work. No problem with the un-sarcastic use of "fascist" and "crooked."

The question remains for the 2024 nomination - for both parties.

Biden got the nod in part *because* he was old and people were seeing that as familiarity and continuity. No one else in the running was seen as a steadying return to normalcy, which is what people voted for.

But these are not normal times and now people are upset that things continue to go to crap, and Biden is in the scapegoat chair and accepting the responsibility that comes with that, rather than doing his best to scapegoat anyone and everyone else that his base hates.

I’ve actually been disappointed to see how many of the news headlines focus on how our problems affect Biden’s ratings/image and the D’s election prospects, rather than on trying to focus on the problems and what actually needs to be done to fix things. I’m by no means a Biden cheerleader, but the mania for blame narratives seems really odd and shortsighted.

True, hsh. He, Trump does appear as robust and passionate as several toddlers I have known.

What pisses me off about Pro Bono's "too old for the job" pronouncement is the here-we-go-again sameness of the Democrats-are-to-blame motif.

Biden, too old. Hillary, too divisive. Obama, too uppity. Kerry, too pompous. Gore, too wooden. Name a Democrat who isn't too something for the Democrats-are-doing-it-wrong crowd, and I'll show you a Republican. Which is how that crowd is always itching to vote.

--TP

Biden wasn't actually on the ballot yesterday, desperation for a compelling narrative notwithstanding.

I guess 'education' is seen as an opposite to 'common sense'. The educated can't think straight.

the average American reads at a 7th grade level. [that's ~12 years old, for you non-Americans.]

The average American went to a public(government) school.

And those who went to private schools (or were home schooled) do not demonstrate dramatically better reasoning ability. If anything, the contrary -- one of the common motivations for such schools being to avoid children's minds being "contaminated" by information which the parents don't believe.

The statistics for private schools (that are not faked by the schools themselves) do not look much better, unless you go for the hyper-expensive ones.

Half of all Americans will always be below average, which may come as news to Libertarians(TM).

CharlesWT presumably favors private (free-market) schools, where the parents who pay for the schooling can tell the teachers what to teach and what not to. Science, history, even math (like counting, as in ballots) would be mere products tailored to the tastes of The Free Market, in Libertopia. Private schools would pop up in every urban neighborhood and rural hamlet. Schooling would be cheap and efficient, because kids could take their business across the street if they didn't like their grades. And lo, we would all be living in Lake Wobegon.

--TP

The average American went to a public(government) school.

"go to private schools!" presupposes ability to pay, and that private schooling would be better for average students of average backgrounds.

libertarianism is a solution in search of a reality in which it works.

What was the average reading level of Americans before public schools were the norm?

Private schools would pop up in every urban neighborhood and rural hamlet.

Historically, when schools popped up for the first time in new communities along the frontier, the community came together to create them. That is, they were some form of government run. (The private schools, funded by the elite for their own benefit, in the 1700s were a different story.)

One has to wonder why, given total freedom to do as they wished, people freely chose to set up government-run schools. It seems so . . . non-Libertarian.

At some point, the government must have forced people to form governments.

I have been reviewing some of Heinlein's Future History stories. The good news: "Trump" is easier to spell than "Scudder." But otherwise, it looks all too familiar.

Here's hoping our pending theocracy doesn't last as long as projected.

I had some points to make on the whole "government bad" tip, but cleek just made my whole day a lot simpler.

libertarianism is a solution in search of a reality in which it works.

'nuff said.

Despite his weight and verbal incoherence, Rump comes off as robust and passionate. He doesn't have the same "old man" persona that Biden does

Trump mainlines about 15 Diet Cokes a day. Brought to him on a silver platter, no less.

Get them both to run a quarter mile and see who looks good then.

In any case, his supporters appear to be impervious to facts and reality, so it's kind of moot.

JFK Jr. didn't appear at Dealey Plaza, so now they're hoping he'll show up at a Stones concert. Unclear if they think he never really died, or if he's dead but is going to be resurrected by the magic power of Trump. But somehow he is supposed to restore Trump to the presidency.

It's like the Bonnie Prince Charlie legend as told by the National Inquirer.

Somebody please explain to me how these people are not certifiable. They are, clearly and vividly, delusional. I'm not sure there's a way back for them. I'm even less sure that, even if there was one, they'd take it.

It's the weirdest freaking thing I've seen in my lifetime. And that is not a low bar, believe me.

“ I’ve actually been disappointed to see how many of the news headlines focus on how our problems affect Biden’s ratings/image and the D’s election prospects, rather than on trying to focus on the problems and what actually needs to be done to fix things.”

With a few exceptions, most of the press does horse race journalism. It’s easy and it’s gossipy and you don’t have to delve into policy or know things.

With a few exceptions, most of the press does horse race journalism. It’s easy and it’s gossipy and you don’t have to delve into policy or know things.

But I expect more from The Guardian, who have been taking potshots at Biden and echoing everyone else ever since the Afghanistan withdrawal. It feels like a collective giving up and giving in and anticipating the next step in the march towards the Great Divorce.

Sometimes the horserace is news unto itself as it appears to be in my district.

https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/truck-driver-leads-nj-senate-president-after-spending-153-on-campaign/3030225/?amp

The most powerful legislator in the state, the longest-standing president of the state senate, very likely ousted by a truck driver with no political experience.

The most powerful legislator in the state, the longest-standing president of the state senate, very likely ousted by a truck driver with no political experience.

What the heck did he or his party do? "Anyone but that guy" situations usually require some sort of trigger.

But I expect more from The Guardian, who have been taking potshots at Biden and echoing everyone else ever since the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Let's try this on for size: Biden and the Democrats have been a crushing disappointment to the Guardian. The big infrastructure bill sits unvoted on by the House. The social change bill has yet to be voted on by either chamber. There has been no voting rights bill. Covid rages on. SCOTUS appears poised to gut the regulatory state, and today, sounds like they are prepared to release the hounds of war, or at least an unfettered right to concealed carry. Conceding Afghanistan to the Taliban was just another in the series.

Anyone who's "disappointed" with "Biden and the Democrats" and is not incandescently furious with McConnell and the Republicans is trying too hard to be clever.

--TP

The Guardian is usually better at identifying the actual sources of the lack of progress. If, as the center-left media, you are disappointed with results, your job should be to find the thing that is keeping things bottled up and point the biggest, brightest arrow that you can at it. Putting a target circle on Biden doesn't change any of the things you want to change.

Write stories that point to the overlap between teacher's concerns and workers concerns. Focus on the labor groundswell that the pandemic has occasioned. Show people the lines across which solidarity can be drawn and give them reasons to draw them.

Don't like Biden? Make the risk aversion that makes him seem safe go away by finding a fight worth having that crosscuts the divides that are eating the left's lunch.

Biden, too old. Hillary, too divisive. Obama, too uppity. Kerry, too pompous. Gore, too wooden.

Biden is too old. So are Sanders and Trump. I don't understand why anyone would question that.

Obama is the best candidate either party has nominated for decades, in terms of having the qualifications for the job. Yes, the Rs went batshit insane when he was elected, but I can live with that.

I'm a huge Guardian fan, but I admit that there is a big hulking lump of ethnocentricity at the heart of the British soul that is magnified when shrunk down to the English heart, which, because "everyone" speaks English, makes it seem like everything from an English point of view seems reasonable and other perspectives can be a little touch of seasoning. That can be intensified when it crosses the Atlantic unfortunately.

I'm assuming that the stories the Guardian is getting upset about is because of the dripping faucet, i.e. the background they are writing from. The stuff they choose to focus on seems to suggest that they feel that if only the US could get its shit together, the problems they are having would not be so bad. A list of those problems is left as an exercise to the reader.

+1 Tony P at 6:55.

Biden and the Democrats have been a crushing disappointment to the Guardian.

Biden is the POTUS. He's the head of the executive. He doesn't get a vote on the infrastructure bill, or any other bill.

In order to become law, a bill has to pass both the House and the Senate. The Senate is currently at a 50-50 split, with (R)s guaranteed to vote as a block against anything whatsoever proposed by the (D) side. And as a practical matter it takes a supermajority, also known as unobtainium, to even bring most things to a vote at all.

The Guardian's complaint is not with Biden and the (D)'s, but with the US Constitution and Senate rules.

I have my own issues there, so it's hard for me to be critical of the Guardian.

But the US is not a Parliamentary republic.

Biden is too old. ... I don't understand why anyone would question that.

Biden is 78. He appears to have the physical fitness and general energy level of a 60 year old.

What is it that he is too old for?

He ran. He won. He's the POTUS. Our Constitutional process doesn't provide for do-overs, so barring medical emergencies or assassinations we are not likely to have another one until January 2025.

It's too late to worry about whether he's "too old" or not. He's there.

In other words: the question of whether Biden is "too old" or not is kind of moot. He's the POTUS we have. We aren't getting another one for about 2 1/2 years.

We made it, for some approximation of "made it", through four years of Trump and eight of Bush. Biden as POTUS, per se, is a cakewalk.

More than that, it's a gift.

If all the headlines (Guardian and otherwise) ask what X loss/setback "means for Biden," then it sends the message that Biden is what matters most.

What does X loss/setback mean for our need to decarbonize?

What does X loss/setback mean for the Supreme Court?

What does X loss/setback mean for getting family leave/medical coverage?

What does X loss/setback mean for getting a living wage as billionaires earn record profits while we are told they can't afford to pay anyone any more because pandemic.

Stop hiding the part that actually matters behind simplistic drama.

Stop hiding the part that actually matters behind simplistic drama.

Seriously, you talking to me?

Stop hiding the part that actually matters behind simplistic drama.

Let's reframe this.

Somewhere between 1/4 to 1/3 of the people in this country are, in the realm of political discourse, straight up delusional. Like, clinically delusional. They believe, fervently, things that are plainly not true.

Pretty damned close to 1/2 the voters in this country were happy, given the choice of Biden vs Trump, to pull the lever for Trump.

To become law, any and every bill presented in Congress has to get either a majority or a super-majority approval from both houses of Congress. Both the House and, especially, the Senate, are profoundly unrepresentative and non-democratic institutions.

The power of the POTUS to change any of that is minimal. All of that stuff is baked in, via the Constitution and centuries of precedent.

The focus on Biden - is he popular today? will he be popular tomorrow? what does it all mean? - is utter bullshit.

The problem is the people who live in this country, who are willing to see the world fucking burn if it means they can pay less than $3 a gallon for gas and not have their lives perturbed in any way shape or form.

Biden has the bully pulpit, as it were. What he has is a channel to attempt to persuade.

And with that, he is being asked to counter the mythological bullshit of American entitlement and exceptionalism that the populace of this country has feasted on for years, for decades, for centuries.

There's only so much you expect the guy to do. A lot of people are assholes, and behave as such.

Seriously, you talking to me?

Nope, we cross posted. I'm aimed square at the lazy media or mendacious editors or whoever is driving the bad framing.

I spend most of my time in student conferences hammering this sort of thing out of my first year students with questions, pushing them to get past the lazy frame to the actual conflict.

If all the headlines (Guardian and otherwise) ask what X loss/setback "means for Biden," then it sends the message that Biden is what matters most.

To people who think what the Guardian says is what matters most.

All respect to the Guardian. I'm regular reader and a fan.

They are one voice among thousands. They are not the arbiters of reality.

back to semi-lurking for me. all of this crap is getting way to real for my taste.

all of the bullshit about Biden's popularity is beside the point. what is not beside the point is that the (R) part is, at this point, approximately a crew of insurgent Falangists.

that is the problem. Biden is not the problem.

I love the Guardian, to the point where I have been known to send them money. If their focus is "Is Joe Biden too old?" they lack an understanding of the dynamics of the American polity.

good night all. I'm off to play the piano, with simplistic drama.

Nope, we cross posted. I'm aimed square at the lazy media or mendacious editors or whoever is driving the bad framing.

My apologies. My mis-reading, in case you haven't noticed, set me off.

Sorry about that.

It's been a weird year, and an even weirder five years. For some reason, on top of four years of Trump and a year and a half of Covid, an unusual number of friends of mine are either getting horrifying diagnoses, or simply up and dying.

I guess it's that time of life, but it's wearing me the hell out.

Back to semi-lurking, I don't appear to be in a place for civil conversation. All the best to all y'all.

Pro Bono: Yes, the Rs went batshit insane when he was elected, but I can live with that.

Spoken like a man who doesn't have to live here with the results.

The GOP was damn reactionary during the Bush II years. But not batshit crazy like they are now. I personally think Obama did a decent job as President.** But there's no real question that his permanent suntan was what finally drove the GOP nationally over the edge.

** Not perfect, by any means. (Although my critique probably differs from the rest of you.) But head and shoulders above anyone else since Bush I at least -- with Biden still to be determined. Admittedly, a low bar.

The GOP was damn reactionary during the Bush II years. But not batshit crazy like they are now.

Terri Schaivo begs to differ.

Terri Schaivo begs to differ.

Quite a feat for someone with no cerebral cortex! (I probably shouldn't make light of something so sad, but the politics around it was maddening.)

Terri Schaivo begs to differ.

"A single swallow does not make a summer."

Sure, they had some serious nutjobs. And they were extreme on some issues. But not across the board insanity like we see now.

A little something for those somehow convinced that Biden is "too old".

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/11/03/vito-perillo-mayor-nj-tinton/

"too old" is yet another bit of GOP agitprop, invented to keep Dems defensive.

"too old" is yet another bit of GOP agitprop

And yet, we've got people here saying exactly that. And not the most conservative people here either.

It's true, at least IMO, that arguing that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube shouldn't be removed isn't nearly as crazy as believing that JFK, Jr. was coming to reinstate Rump. Probably not even as bad as believing the 2020 election was stolen, particularly after the amount of time that's passed since the election - without any evidence surfacing.

JFK, Jr. is having too much fun hanging out with Elvis to show up at any Qtard event.

You could read all about it in the Weekly World News, but it got cancel-cultured for telling too much truth.

But not across the board insanity like we see now.

I was going to mention something about lighting the Middle East on fire for no discernable reason could qualify, but I'll give it a rest.

Russell,
I'm with you. But all we can do is what we can do.
I feel this little squib might reflect where you are at (via LGM):

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/11/virginia-election-glenn-youngkin-win-analysis-trump.html

Take care. Be safe.


>> "too old" is yet another bit of GOP agitprop <<

And yet, we've got people here saying exactly that. And not the most conservative people here either.

That would be me. I was triggered by seeing Biden "resting his eyes" at the climate summit. AGW is an issue I care a lot about.

I freely admit that I wouldn't have been able to keep my eyes open either. That's one of the many ways in which I'm not qualified to be president.

Republican agitprop, ok. Back in February 2020 I wrote:

...bookies' favourites to win the presidential election are Trump (who's odds on), Sanders, Biden, and Bloomberg.

Ages 73, 78, 77, 77.

Political platforms aside, this is madness.

I was triggered by seeing Biden "resting his eyes" at the climate summit.

Perhaps your experience is different. But I routinely close my eyes when I'm trying to concentrate of what is being said. Without being distracted by unrelated activity going on in front of me. Have done so since college. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does so.

Ages 73, 78, 77, 77.

Political platforms aside, this is madness.

Just out of curiosity, what do you consider the maximum sane age for a president?

Also, based on what? I know people who were sinking into senility in their early 60s. And others who were sharp as a tack, and energetic, into their 90s. (In Trump's case, age seems irrelevant. Since he never made it to teenager, let alone adult. Makes it hard to spot senile dementia when it starts.)

The anonymous NYT editorial board basically sides with “ the moderates” without making a single substantive argument on any issue. The entire piece is about the word “ moderate”.

It’s a good thing that the laws of physics always defer to the political views of self-described moderates or we might be in real trouble on climate change.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/04/opinion/democrats-election-results.html

Climate change policy is the closest thing I’ve seen to a proof of Zeno’s Paradox. Scientists tell us what we need to do to avoid disaster and the people who mistrust change argue that we need to start by moving halfway to a solution because doing it all will be too disruptive. Rinse and repeat to our collective demise.

Depends on how you do the paradox. If you go halfway, and then halfway of the remaining distance and then half of that remaining distance the limit of the series gets you to the goal.

With BBB we start out saying we will go halfway, then cut in in half, and then cut it in half— Manchin takes out one piece and then goes after another. In the limit you approach doing nothing at all. In reality you do very little, it isn’t nearly enough and Greta rightly yells at you.

This is called political realism.

we are not going to do anything about climate change. no government is going to do what's required, let alone all of them. humans are not capable of it.

everybody should just accept it prepare themselves for what that means.

Global warming is going to do more about us than we are going to do about it (well, maybe other than causing it).

We aren’t going to do enough but there are gradations of badness and nobody knows if there are tipping points where things get dramatically worse at, for instance, 3 degrees Celsius vs 2, so politically you try to do as much as possible..

Right now that doesn’t like much is possible.

Anyway, I found the NYT editorial deeply unhelpful. I agree about the need to be realistic and figure out what is possible, but that doesn’t mean simply surrendering to whatever self described moderates say is realistic.

Defund the police got shot down in Minneapolis and Eric Adams is a moderate in NYC so fine— I accept that. But government negotiating for lower drug prices is popular and a lot of things in the BBB are popular, so I don’t think we need to bow down to anything a moderate says is possible or desirable just because he or she is moderate,

what's realistic is that we aren't going to do enough. which is the same as not doing anything, but slower.

doesn't take a moderate to know which way the wind blows.

Was Rump being moderate when he said there were fine people on both sides? Only an extremist would see just one side to the story, right?

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/christopherm51/unite-the-right-witness-violent-plans-testimony

The more I read about these a**holes, the more I'm just fine with ANTIFA.

“See Kyle” meant "Sieg heil," she explained, and was usually followed by a subtle Nazi salute toward someone in the distance was “a way to 'Sieg heil' in plain day.” The common “OK” hand gesture was a way of covertly identifying a fellow white nationalist.

A successful tactic for luring people into Identity Evropa and fascism more generally was using offensive humor, Froelich said.

“They say, 'It’s just a joke' … [but] they are not jokes. It’s a cover. It’s how you get away with saying what you actually think by using a light tone,” she explained, adding that it created “plausible deniability” about the group’s racist and antisemitic views.

Inside the group, Identity Evropa members were more explicit about what they believed and wanted, Froelich said. She testified that Kline, who worked at a pest control company at the time they lived together, liked to call himself an “unironic exterminationist” and a “Judenator,” as in Jew hunter.

“He wished he was killing Jews instead of cockroaches,” Froelich said. “We once went to my hometown, and he was upset that he couldn’t oven all the Jews… He was excited about killing Jewish people.”

With the Identity Evropa people the irony serves a double purpose. It give the radicalized a code in which they can spread their views with a degree of plausible deniability. For the people being recruited, though, it creates a thrilling sense of transgression that is its own reward for being in the group. Being an edgelord is entertaining. Triggering the libs is entertaining. And when the edgelord gets blasted by someone for the offensive things they are doing, the radicalized are there to use that moment to provide the edgelord with a new tribe ready to welcome and support them. So the irony is often also a gateway to indoctrination.

I've seen a lot of this over the last few years with my more edgy male students. Some figure it out and drift away from danger. Some get swallowed by the beast.

The original Nazis (after coming to power) tried to claim that they did it this way before they came to power. Hitler himself (pre-1933) found it despicable and demanded that real Nazis should never hide. He even kicked some SA thugs out because they hid their party insignia before going into violent action at one occasion (which David Irving later tried to construe as Hitler being opposed to violence).

Global warming is going to do more about us than we are going to do about it (well, maybe other than causing it).

If you're a hurricane, right about now you're living your best life ever.

Nazis

There is no freaking excuse for any person of remotely good will to be a Nazi or embrace any Nazi ideology.

Assume anyone you encounter who thinks acting like a Nazi is cool or funny or acceptable is actually a flaming asshole, and quite possibly a dangerous one.

And act accordingly.

After the Charlottesville crapshow, I engaged with some of the folks who were putting together the attempted Boston version via social media. The guy who was the public face of that project made a point of behaving like a reasonable person - "It's all about free speech, we don't hate anyone!" - but he was more or less a jerk. He was into the Kekistan stuff, which is basically a bunch of knuckleheads who run around with faux-Nazi regalia, except instead of black and red everything is green and white.

Get it? It's ironic! It's all a joke! We're not Nazis, the joke is on you for getting all offended!

Just a pack of flaming puerile idiots.

One guy I chatted with claimed that the guy who ran over and killed Heather Heyer couldn't have been guilty. He would never intentionally run anyone over, because he had a pretty nice car and he wouldn't want to damage it.

Then he informed me that I had a smart mouth. Which, depending on company, is not infrequently true. But at least I'm not an utter moral idiot.

I hate to think of anyone being utterly lost to humanity, but I don't know how else to explain these people. They're on the freaking dark side.

Maybe they're redeemable, but if so somebody else is gonna have to make it happen. It's way above my pay grade.

I know there are a lot of folks who are into the whole "Southern Heritage" thing, but it's extraordinarily hard for me not to have the same reaction to the Confederate flag crew.

The Confederacy was, explicitly, a nation founded on the principle that white people were superior to black people, and that they were therefore entitled to hold black people in chattel bondage. Not just entitled, it was the way god meant it to be.

That was its purpose. Its raison d'etre. Don't believe me, read the words of the folks who began it.

The daylight between that and Nazism is vanishingly small, as far as I can tell.

We tolerate this stuff because we believe in free speech etc etc etc. But it's poison, and it's killing us.

The Confederacy was, explicitly, a nation founded on the principle that white people were superior to black people, and that they were therefore entitled to hold black people in chattel bondage.

The joy of alternate facts is that you can insist that the Confederacy was about states rights, not slavery. Even though the South Carolina legislature's resolution seceding from the Union, for example, explicitly said it was about slavery. But hey, why let reality get in the way?

If I seem to be taking a dark turn these days, it's because I am losing faith in this nation's ability to contain its worst impulses.

We are utterly divided. The absence of anything remotely approaching consensus makes it impossible for self-governance to function effectively.

In the absence of effective self-governance, people check out. In the absence of effective self-governance, opportunists and self-dealers have free rein.

And our commitment to rule of law is laudable, but it is offering a blizzard of opportunities for people of ill will to shred it from the inside out.

If we get through the next few years without descending into profound disruption - without compromising the legitimacy of our famous Great National Experiment - it will be by the skin of our teeth. We're already kind of there.

A constructive path forward requires people to act out of good will and a basic level of common feeling. I believe that has been lost, and I don't know how we retrieve it, given where we are.

We're broken, and we don't know how to fix ourselves.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Oh look. Voter fraud.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/glenn-youngkin-son-vote-election/2021/11/05/f5eb7ce0-3e62-11ec-8ee9-4f14a26749d1_story.html

Don't believe me, read the words of the folks who began it.

That's why in Texas schools it's a firing offense for a teacher to give the students access to the Texas declaration of secession.

The daylight between that and Nazism is vanishingly small, as far as I can tell.

It was a direct inspiration to Hitler according to Mein Kampf. But even he thought that it went a bit too far as far as racial purity went. So, no one-drop rule, just 4 generations of no Jewish German ancestry necessary to count as 100% Aryan. Otherwise it would have been difficult to find anyone qualifying.

Oh look. Voter fraud.

OMG, Trump was right! The victor in Virginia won due to voter fraud!

Just out of curiosity, what do you consider the maximum sane age for a president?

60 when they're first elected.

It's not (usually) about senility, it's flagging energy and powers of concentration. The oldest player to win or retain a world chess championship in the last 100 years was 46.

It's not (usually) about senility, it's flagging energy and powers of concentration.

You can make a case for that for some people after age 60. Possibly even for most -- although I'm skeptical. But the thing is, were not electing an age group to office, we're electing an individual.

Individual aging occurs over a range of ages. Some people are arguably elderly by the time they hit their 50s. Others show no sign of slowing down for decades longer. I've known people in both groups. In the case of a particular presidential candidate, we might well be looking at an individual who is way out on the end of the curve.

So just picking a blanket number really isn't realistic. You need to look at the specific individual.

If I seem to be taking a dark turn these days, it's because I am losing faith in this nation's ability to contain its worst impulses.

The Plot Against America: 2021

The only positive is that the left has not so far decided that preventing people on the right from voting is a goal to embrace. We still believe in representation. We still want to accept everyone who is willing to reciprocate that acceptance.

But you can feel that wearing thin the more entrenched in their bunkers the opposition becomes and the more violent their rhetoric gets. We are getting danger close to the dynamics that create sectarian violence, and I think we are all beginning to see the potential for Northern Ireland/Yugoslavia levels of ideological partition and conflict where once my worries were discounted out of hand.

I do not ever want to be proven right on this.

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