Morning Ed: World Politics {2017.02.06.M}

I’m not saying that Le Pen is going to win. I am saying that for Le Pen wins, something like this exact thing would need to happen.

A protest success in Romania.

Elizabeth Picciuto writes about the value of refugees, and how wrong liberals and border doves are to emphasize economic contribution.

One of the protections of a multiparty system is that the mainstream parties can isolate the fringy parties… but it only works if everybody cooperates.

On the other hand, Canadian politicians want to keep things FPTP because (allegedly) they fear that a multiparty system will make fringies too powerful.

I think, at this point, we can just about say they got away with it.

If you want to go to a Nazi-themed cafe in Indonesia, you’re out of luck.

The Nigerian president’s health problems look like they might be worrisome. Allegedly, God has already chosen a successor (though perhaps not the immediate one..


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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120 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World Politics {2017.02.06.M}

  1. I read the refugee piece expecting to disagree with it. However, I didn’t. And I think that is because the piece is less about why emphasizing economic contribution is wrong and more about offering an alternate view.

    That said, bringing in eugenics is a bit of base stealing.

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  2. Re Refugees: I am not seeing much emphasis on the economic stuff except in some “trolling” signs on Trump’s wives. Though at this point, I think anyone who has been convinced is convinced. Though Derek Thompson had a similar argument at the Atlantic recently. My guess is that focusing on economics is because economics uber allies is seemingly the name of the game over the past few years.

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  3. If the Indonesian Nazi bar article is correct, they didn’t go out of business because they were Nazis, they went out of business because they had a poor commercial real estate broker, and are now looking for a better, more central location. (I guess sprawl is even a problem for Nazis)

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    • The sprawl is a problem for them? Too much living space, I guess. (I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t make any lebensraum references this week, and I didn’t make it through Monday. There’s always next week.)

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  4. Value of Refugees: Yeah, eugenics? Really. And, to me the point was rather vague, other than we should value people for people rather than for the economic contribution they bring. That and “everyone should be let in” which is completely unsustainable. Seemed to a long winded way of saying that, but then again, I disagree completely with the premise.

    Nigerian Pres: I think one of his family members sent me an email about a fortune hidden away in a bank safety deposit box and a lost key. If only I’d send some money I could get my hands on it……

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  5. Two party systems lead to more stable governments because you don’t need to cobble together a governing coalition from people that might disagree on many issues or pander to fringe parties with questionable ideas. Multi-party systems allow for a bigger range of political opinion and generally ensures that there is a political party for nearly everybody. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

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    • Isn’t the real question what happens when a “fringe” party gathers more support and then is no longer a “fringe” party? At that point it seems that the other parties may have to deal with them no matter their views.

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    • Multiparty systems lead to less stable government only when the electoral system is one that tends to produce wide swings in power on the basis of very small swings in voter preference (i.e. FPTP systems, mostly).

      The reason minority governments in Canada have a bad history is that everyone is hoping to get a commanding majority position, which can be had when your party’s support goes from 35% to 39%. In practice those four percentage points have been worth about 40 seats, the difference between opposition or tenuous opposition status, and a commanding majority.

      So everyone’s looking for the right moment to flip the table and trigger an election. But triggering an early election is a popularity-killer so they’re trying to goad the other parties into being the ones who actually put their names on the election action, which is done mostly by being impossible to work with.

      In a PR system, the motivations would be different – if your party goes from 35% to 39% support, you gain 4% * 338 = 13 or so seats. The motivation to undermine the governance of the country based on tiny pendulum swings mostly evaporates.

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      • The incentive to tip things over when advantageous still exists in a PR system, because what matters for most parties is the exact number of seats they have, what matters is whether they have a situation where they are able to form a governing coaltion or not. This is the dishonesty behind PR claims that they give power proportionate to votes. In parliaments, seat totals don’t confer power by pure number, but by the way they give you a path to form a government.

        The big obstacle to changing the federal electoral system is each of the parties are only interested in changing it if it benefits them. The Conservatives generally are favoured by the existing system (they generally get efficient vote to seats in FPTP) so are looking to sabotage a change by insisting on a referendum that would probably not produce a consensus new system, plus create rancour that would hurt the governing party. The NDP want PR which is good for them, but to have a high percentage threshold to get seats, which permanently beneifts them as a third party, but shuts the door against new parties looking to replace them as the third party. Plus most of the PR systems they favour are probably unconstitutional. Liberals want STV system which favours them as a centrist party, and probably is consitutional, but don’t want the headache of a national referendum.

        The fringe party thing was just a convient line to make post Quebec shooting to abandon a process that had proven unworkable.

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        • I agree with everything you wrote above, except I disagree with you on the unconstitutionality of PR – in almost any reasonable form, whether the NDP favour it or not.

          The Canadian “constitution” (and I use the term loosely, as any country with a “largely unwritten constitution” can only be very loosely said to have a “constitution” at all IMO) specifies very little as far as elections – only that the number of seats per province be allocated according to a given formula, and that the election be held every four years.

          The NDP proposal for MMPR has the proportionality achieved per province, with each province having a mix of riding-based and at-large seats. That would keep the number of seats per province unchanged.

          Unless there are other requirements I’m not aware of?

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          • Sorry, I was using STV when I meant AV. Brainfart.

            The NDP proposal can pass constitutional muster. It is however quite a bit different than what PR is sold to be in general as every party gets sets due to amount of total votes in the country. It would be PR within a province, rather than PR as commonly understood. There has been talk about national at-large seats, and I don’t think those would pass legal scrutiny with how broadly the current SCC tends to interpret constitutional provisions in this area.

            The NDP has also hasn’t laid out the exact form that their proposal for MMPR would work, including whether the votes entirely remain within the provinces or if their would be national at large seats like MMP systems in Germany and New Zeeland have. Nobody has laid out an actual concrete proposed system so far (this is politically sensible, a proposal will probably lose support from the moment its introduced as people find reasons to dislike it. It makes discussions on the matter hard to move beyond abstract philosophy though).

            What the NDP proposal won’t be though is a system where parties get seats according to what their number of national votes are. Which takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of the rhetoric they use to sell their position.

            So MMPR can work. Elizabeth May’s ideas probably can’t.

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            • Yeah, a PR system that could be readily implemented without altering the constitution would probably come close to matching seat count to vote count, but a few percentage points short of what would be achieved with national at-large seats.

              Outside of the Territories, PEI, and to some extent Newfoundland, it probably would be pretty satisfactory though.

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  6. Ah yes, Elizabeth Picciuto and her disability shtick. I’m hard pressed to see a convincing argument about why we should import folks that will be a burden on public services more than the average uneducated immigrant that doesn’t speak our language or have any skills..

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        • This thread is why we can’t have nice things.

          Anyway, the article does lead to an unanswered question regarding what criteria *are* valid to restrict immigration, if any.

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          • It’s true that it’s hard these days for the left to articulate what our immigration policy ought to look like beyond “let more people in.” All I seem to see is paeans to open borders and the wonderfullness of refugees. No engagement at all with national security or any other concern beyond the inalienable right of people to show up in the US, paperwork, vetting or not.

            The distinction between legal and illegal has collapsed within the left. I just don’t see how you can win a majority on this issue (and let’s be clear, the right has that) without articulating a better system that has at least some regulation of who can come here.

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            • This pretty much sums up my dismay at the left’s handling of immigration issues. I’m very pro-immigration and I think that the people freaking out about illegal immigration from Mexico are generally off base, but people on my side pretty much seem like they’re on another planet on the topic. As usual, a bunch of things can be true all at the same time:

              * Immigration on the whole is good for the US.
              * Bringing in refugees from war is a moral thing to do with negligible downsides.
              * Our resources to import people who can’t take care of themselves are limited, all moral questions aside.
              * Ignoring laws we don’t like en masse while a large government apparatus tries to enforce them is no way to run a civilization.
              * We can absorb a lot more people than we allow in currently.

              I’m pretty sure all of those things are true, but a lot of people who agree with me on the key philosophical issues above seem to ignore the practical ones entirely. I’m not sure if they don’t believe those practical issues are real or if they just think that the moral issues outweigh them so they’re best pretending the practical issues don’t exist and hope nobody notices.

              People notice.

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              • Our resources to import people who can’t take care of themselves are limited

                This needs a bit more examination.
                How many immigrants “can’t take care of themselves”, and for how long?

                And as with all things financial, our response largely depends on moral priorities. We choose to spend billions on this thing, while crying about limited resources for that thing.
                Which just means that we prefer this to that.

                Ignoring laws we don’t like en masse while a large government apparatus tries to enforce them is no way to run a civilization.

                When this was applied to the national 55 MPH speed limit, the argument that prevailed was that massive disobedience to a law indicated a revealed preference against the law, and its unjustness.
                Because when there is massive disobedience, any enforcement becomes almost by definition arbitrary and selective, or, in the case of the drug war, the attempt to enforce the law requires a monstrous application of state force.

                I agree with the premise of the comment, that it is time to have a national re-examination of immigration and our posture towards it.

                There are two broad conflicting worldviews that I see in action. One exemplified by the Trump base, sees immigration as culture, where American culture must remain dominant, so immigration must be limited to that which the dominant culture can absorb and assimilate.

                The other view I think is more widespread among young post-Boomers. This is the age born and raised in a global society that worked very hard to erase or minimize boundaries.

                I’m old enough to remember when “imported” meant fancy, a luxury good. Now Budweiser is owned by a Brazilian/ Belgian company, and BMWs are made in America.

                The same minimization of national identity caused by the global economy also causes people to have lower sense of cultural boundaries, I believe.

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                • This needs a bit more examination.
                  How many immigrants “can’t take care of themselves”, and for how long?

                  Of course it does. My complaint is that neither side does much in the way of examining it. The left often seems to want open borders combined with an unlimited welfare state, which doesn’t really work in reality. The right often seems to assume that everybody who comes over here immediately goes on the dole and remains there until death (or until they blow themselves up in a suicide bombing).

                  The reality is that there’s a roughly knowable number of immigrants we can absorb in the various labor / need classes. It’s just arithmetic and deciding what kinds of expenditures we’re OK with. But there seems to be a general aversion that arithmetic–on the right because it explodes a lot myths about immigrants being a net drag and on the left because it seems to reduce people to dollars and cents. The first is not something I have any sympathy for. I can understand the gut reaction to the second, but as long as arithmetic is real and resources are limited, we simply need to run the numbers.

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                  • But “how many we can absorb” and “how many can’t support themselves” are two very different questions.

                    Its like the old joke about how Mexicans are bad because they are too lazy to work and underbid Americans by working 16 hours a day for peanuts.

                    How many immigrants don’t work/ can’t work/ won’t work?

                    How many will work so effing hard they drive down the price of labor?

                    I agree, lets run the numbers.

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                    • But “how many we can absorb” and “how many can’t support themselves” are two very different questions.

                      I can see how some people think that, but I don’t agree with their reasons. As I see it, there are a few reasons why people want to limit immigration:

                      1) They’re worried that immigrants will be a net drain on the system.
                      2) They’re worried that immigrants will compete with them for jobs.
                      3) They’re worried that immigrants will bring their non-American cultures over in such mass that they change the balance of American culture in favor of their old culture.

                      The first is compelling if you can make the argument that the median immigrant is a net drain on government resources. I don’t think the data supports this, but if it were true, it would be a hard limiting factor that you can’t really ignore. The limit wouldn’t be zero, but it would be a number somewhere between zero and infinity.

                      The second is only compelling from a protectionist point of view that I don’t subscribe to. People who come here, live here, work here, and spend here are not different economically from natives, and there are good reasons to want a lot of them here rather than back home.

                      The third is pretty silly from a historical perspective. We’ve absorbed a lot of cultures over the centuries, most of them “weird” at the time and it hasn’t turned us into anything terrible. Yes, if we absorbed 800 million Muslims next year, we’d become a Muslim majority country and things would probably change a lot. But we’re not talking about anything like that. The number of immigrants is tiny and our way of life has historically proved pretty attractive.

                      So the only limiting factor I can see being reasonable and compelling is the first, and the data to support it seems pretty weak. Even then, adjusting how we handle immigrants and our welfare state would allow us to seriously loosen that constraint and let more people in.

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              • @ltl-ftc

                The arguments currently going on about immigration are nothing new. They have been going on for almost all of American history.

                My great-grandparents were immigrants during they heyday of Ellis Island and the migration of Eastern and Southern Europeans to the United States. We were just as feared/disliked as people from South America and the Middle East are today. I think one reason I have trouble giving head to anti-immigration concerns is that it reads like “FYIGM” to me.

                The other issue is that the fears of terrorism and not social services being crushed are way overstated and seem to be more about starting with a position (fewer immigrants is better) and working backward to find evidence in support of the position.

                But Xenophobia also has a long history in the United States. There are pro-immigrants with strange messages. Thomas Nast was famously pro-Chinese (he saw them as hard-working and industrious) and anti-Irish (drunken agents of the Roman Devil!)

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                • My family also came through Ellis Island. They were processed, checked for communicable diseases (a concern as big then as terrorism is now, and much more valid), and registered in documents I can still read now.

                  There is something about going through official channels that shows people that the government is at least in control of the situation. Similarly, even a free trade regime, the fact that we have customs inspectors, container seal control and the like grants legitimacy to the system as a whole.

                  Nobody wants to believe there’s a free-for-all open flaunting of rules that the government turns a blind eye to because Congressmen want cheap lawn care.

                  This should be the left’s argument: the system is so restrictive and byzantine now that it rewards bad actors who don’t follow the rules. Talented individuals are now more likely to end up in Canada because of all the red tape. Streamline the process, greatly increase the number of people who can go through official channels, but get back control and don’t treat immigration like Venezuelans have to treat currency exchange.

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                  • From what I’ve read, there were a fair amount of Eastern and Southern Europeans who sneaked through Canada to get into the United States. But I don’t know how they got naturalized later or their children got naturalized.

                    As to going through the system, I think that it depends on the situation in the home country. I can’t blame people for just trying to get out of Syria or Honduras.

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                  • I’ll tell this story again:

                    Maribou is from Canada and getting her here was a *HUGE* ordeal. She and I were/are English Speakers, Educated, with a lot of Social Capital to draw from. I called my congressperson’s office and got help from the INS Liaison and it was *STILL* overwhelming.

                    And that was a fiancée visa. The easiest, simplest, fastest process.

                    That we expect semi-literate non-native speakers to engage in an even more onerous process than the one that damn near defeated a couple of educated English-speakers is absurd on its face. Of course they’re just going to walk here if just walking here is an option.

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                    • And yet there are plenty of folks who obey the law, follow the rules no matter how cumbersome and get here. Given that, it’s hard for me to have too much sympathy for those that don’t follow the rules.

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                        • Sometimes getting rid of regulations and bureaucrats is a good thing, sometimes not. However that is a different argument than we should let everyone that wants to come here in. Sometimes the pro immigration seem to confuse the two or use cumbersome regulations as a means to excuse the illegals.

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                        • As one of the resident liberals here, I will confess that in our secret meetings we chant:

                          What do we want?
                          Reasonable regulation!
                          When do we want it?
                          To be phased in on a non-disruptive schedule!

                          The entire CFPB is seen as an unnecessary burden, to the financial services industry.
                          The Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act are loathed by power and heavy manufacturing industries.

                          etc. etc.

                          It actually takes a fair amount of effort to figure out which statutes (which are, after all, the source of both regulations and government hiring) cause burdens disproportionate to their benefits. OIRA is probably a good place to start.

                          I look forward to your analyses.

                          (In a moment that Kevin Drum noted at his blog, Mnuchin pointed out that the IRS is actually grossly understaffed, in terms of achieving its statutory goals.)

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                      • And yet there are plenty of folks who obey the law, follow the rules no matter how cumbersome and get here.

                        And a small fraction of those people, immediately after they get here, get put on airplanes back out because Trump decided to make an executive order about it and revolved their visas.

                        Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s just kinda funny to see people who repeated the ‘followed all the rules’ like it’s a mantra being perfectly okay with us changing the rules on people after they have, indeed, followed all our rules and finally been invited to the country.

                        To be clear, I don’t know how *you* feel about that, it just struck me as a bit funny.

                        You think all these ‘we love people who follow the rules’ people would be like, ‘Uh, those guys appear to have followed every possible rule. You want to change the rules, fine, but changing the admission rules suddenly, after weeks or years of them following the rules, as they are literally trying to walk through the door at the end, is just being an asshole.’.

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                    • Jay,
                      Ya. People don’t understand it when I say that I had “plans” to leave America for Canada, in the event of a Palin Presidency.

                      Most people don’t understand that getting into another country requires planning, and furthermore don’t understand what’s most likely to get closed off quickest in the event that the curtain comes down.

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                    • Agreed, emphatically. Per what I wrote previously – streamline the process. Make it more like it was when my family immigrated here, but get a process in place that works.

                      But before proposing a palatable alternative that serves the needs of more people, you need to acknowledge that a) borders are real and they exist for a reason and b) governments enforce borders because that’s a legitimate government function, not just an expression of xenophobia. Reading what’s coming out of the left re: immigration lately doesn’t give me confidence that either of those acknowledgements are considered legitimate by the people driving the discussion. This dooms the left to policy irrelevance.

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                      • But a rule needs to reflect a reality of what can be enforced and what can’t, don’t you think?

                        That is, the number of people we allow in has to acknowledge the demand for labor, the supply of immigrants and their respective levels.

                        Any rule that doesn’t allow for a dramatic increase in labor from Mexico is doomed to fail.

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                        • Yes, and?

                          I’m not sure exactly what you think I’m arguing. I’ve said all the way up and down this thread that a big obstacle to the left winning the immigration debate it is currently losing handily is to admit that borders are legitimate and the state has a role to play in determining who should come into the country.

                          The number of Mexicans (or Salvadorans or Syrians or what have you) is not as important from a policy or PR perspective as dropping the idea that borders are ipso facto illegitimate, which is an argument that I see a lot.

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                          • It’s something I see in a weird passive form. “Its not true that I want to let everybody in. It’s just that I have a moral problem keeping them out and/or not letting those who get here stay.”

                            Sort of like the smoking thing for some people. “It’s not that I think it should be banned everyehere. It’s just that the answer to every question about whether they should be able to smoke in any specific place is ‘no.'”

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                          • I agree, actually, that clearly stating that borders and their enforcement are legitimate would be a big help to the opponents of the current immigration laws.

                            The number of Mexicans IS, in my opinion, a major stumbling block for the other side.

                            The idea of a future America in which the average guy is named Juan Nguyen terrifies and enrages them.

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                            • Well, Juan Nguyen terrifies and enrages people who don’t know whether the “g” is silent.

                              Given the net migration numbers from recent years, the number of Mexicans is probably less than you think.

                              Part of me wants the wall to be built as the massive Keynesian stimulus we didn’t get in 2008-9, only for the quotas to be greatly increased in the next administration so nearly everyone can come through airports and highways. Win-win(sorta)!

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                • Much of my own family has a multi-century history in the US and were probably among the people keeping folks out most of the time, but my wife’s parents paid in jewelry to escape a communist country and got separated going through the refugee/immigration system. My wife was born in Canada, lived with her mother and wasn’t reunited with her father in the US until elementary school. It took years to work through a system that could easily have absorbed them all to get a nuclear family reunited–a family that had lost everything in a civil war that we participated in and was fleeing an oppressive government. Eating Thanksgiving dinner at their table is a meaningful experience.

                  The debates and the attitudes are nothing new, and neither is the fact that the debates are rarely data driven. Every generation is sure that this wave of immigrants will be the first whose kids don’t learn English even though every wave before them has. Every generation is sure that we don’t have the resources even though they never run the numbers. My point is that the pro-immigration side can easily win the debate with data and concrete examples instead of hand-waving away reasonable practical concerns. Can we afford these new people? The answer probably shouldn’t be, “You’re just a xenophobe,” when the answer, “Yes, here’s the data,” would suffice.

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              • Alsotoo, my great-grandparents never learned to speak English (at least on my mom’s side). They were seen as weirdoes who dressed funny and refused to Americanize and why did they practice the old ways of religion. A lot of more assimilated Jews (especially German Jews who came in the 1840s) were embarrassed by the Eastern European yokels.

                My grandparents were very Americans and determined to raise their kids as more American.

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                • For whatever reason, we seem to do a really good job of assimilating immigrants compared to a lot of other countries. Fears of weird cities that look like foreign countries don’t actually come to pass here.

                  I personally don’t even think that it’s a big deal if the original immigrants never learn English. If they’re in a community that will enable them to live a productive life in their native language, that’s great. Their kids will learn and they probably won’t even recognize their grandkids. That’s how it always plays out. People who want to argue that this time is different have to bring some sort of data to support that contention.

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                  • My great grandparents came from Eastern Europe and when my mother was little, it was the grandparents who provided daycare while the parents worked int eh field.
                    Some of my uncles began school not speaking a word of English due to their grandparents influence, but by the time they graduated, spoke nothing but English.
                    Today my ancestral culture is wholly foreign to me.

                    I love that Barry Levinson Movie “Avalon” where the family immigrates as isolated outsiders, then over succeeding generations assimilates. It shows how poignant and conflicted that process is.

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                    • My wife didn’t learn English until elementary school and now her native language is fading from memory. She’ll always speak it, but she stands out as odd now. Her sister, just a few years younger but born in the US, speaks only English.

                      I’ve put some effort into learning in hopes of preserving a little bit, but I see the linguistic part of the culture fading away faster than anything we can do to put a floor under it, just like my mother’s side of the family lost Portuguese completely with my generation even though my immigrant great-grandparents lived with them and kept it a live. A second language is a lot to carry around if it’s not strictly necessary.

                      Food, religion, and more uplifting traditions tend to be the only things that hang around for long, and even religion seems to get attenuated pretty quickly. I think that in the end, we pretty much keep what’s fun and what’s useful, and that may not be an entirely terrible thing. The concentration of fun and useful the US has been left with thus far is pretty nice from my perspective.

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                  • Large segments of the population doubt whether America does a good job or will argue that we could assimilate the 1880-1914 wave because of creating a giant pause between 1924 and 1965.

                    America does do a much better job of assimilating immigrants than European countries though. A big part of this is that the Further Left is more politically impotent in the United States than in Europe. There is less guilt about imperialism in the United States and this allows for more sticks when it comes to assimilating immigrants. We are also more dispersed geographically, so creating concentrations are hard.

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        • Gentlemen and ladies, i give you conservatives.

          This is why i stopped being a conservative. I realised that, at root, its basically about justifying being a bad person.

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    • Canada gets a lot of praise recently for their nice open armed immigration policy.

      The main reason their is an open-armed attitude for immigrants is the immigration policy is explicitly for the benefit of the people already living here, not the immigrants themselves. Its not based on compasionate grounds for foriegn unfortunates. Hence the government approaches allowing standard immigrants in like a sports team selecting draft picks. You get let in if you seem like a good addition to the “team.” Its not just economic concerns, it turns out people with education and qualifications are much better equipped and inclined to integrate into their new society than unskilled labourers.

      If you want in on compasionate grounds for the unfortunates of the world, that the refugee asylum process. Which is a different door than normal immigration.

      If I was advicing on how to make the American system work better, I’d say you’d both need to make the system to get in legally much less onorous and allow more people while at the same time curbing illegal immigration (that’s probably done more by cracking down on employers of illegals rather than the idea that border security can fix the issue). Unfortunately, you political system has developed to the point that meaningful reform appears to be effectively impossible.

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      • I’d probably be in favor of a reformed system that gives more consideration to folks that help the team, as long as it is combined with a robust system to punish employers that employ illegals/abuse H1B visas and strengthens border security.

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        • There are many sensible conpromises that could be made that would reduce the clusterfuck that is American immigration policy that won’t be put on the table due to how toxic the politics are the matter.

          At this point, I think both parties would rather have the issue to moblize their supporters with rather than take actions to solve it.

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      • This isn’t true. Canada has an asylum system just like the United States does. In fact, the two countries have a treated that states that if your an asylum seeker and you land in Canada on the way to the United States than you need to apply for asylum in Canada.

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        • I’m not sure what you are objecting too. Of course the asylum system is like the American one, its also the part of the immigration system set up for humanitarian purposes. There are so many people fleeing violence somewhere that they can’t all come in, which puts a real damper on calls to allow people in for other humanitarian grounds.

          The rest of the system isn;t set up for humanitarian purposes, its designed for the social and economic benefits of existing society to bring new people in, not for the benefit of the people outside of society to come.

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    • Well, for the most obvious one, Russia, or someone working for Russia, committed a crime on American soil by hacking the DNC and releasing the documents.

      The Ukraine, OTOH, just seems to have…said some stuff trying to sway opinion. This is, indeed, a violation of diplomatic protocol, but isn’t really *illegal* in any sense.

      They also appeared to be trying to feed the Clinton campaign some information, but I don’t quite see how that is illegal either, assuming it was legally obtained. And the Clinton campaign did not appear to try to publish that information. (Which is good because it possibly was forged.)

      Edit: And they’re also the ones who pointed out that Manafort had previously worked for pro-Putin government in the Ukraine, which is what got him removed from Trump’s campaign…but that was, as far as I know, entirely public knowledge that just no one had noticed yet.

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  7. Eugenics still exists in America.
    I find it a pretty stupid idea to bring people into this country with certain diseases, when their American counterparts are costing American parents tens of thousands of dollars to have their children murdered.

    But, hey, it’s not all about the economics, right?

    Everyone’s a special little snowflake, and if the very best way for them to make money is by participating in snuff porns, well, we ought to let them do it in America, right?

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    • There’s no indication in the article that the database was released in order to help hunt down remaining Nazi guards. If it does result in a few arrests, that’s a good thing. But it’s decreasingly likely. An 18-year-old in 1945 would be 90 now. I doubt that many 18-year-old guards in 1945 would have been volunteers or perceived many other options. If they were that young they probably would have been sent to battle anyway. Anyone who can reasonably be held responsible for the Holocaust is likely over 100.

      It would be right to put such a person behind bars, and it’s a moral good that we’d still look for them. But how many resources should be expended on it? Poland has a lot more uncharged criminals against humanity (if that’s the proper term) from the post-war period. But that’s a heated political issue in the country.

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  8. I’m pretty disgusted at Trudeau right now. I was willing to extend him the benefit of the doubt before, now I’m done.

    Electoral reform was one of the Liberals’ key campaign promises. It was part of the platforms of all but one of the major parties, such that platforms including electoral reform got more of popular vote than any government in Canada’s history since Confederation has ever received. And he has the gall to claim there’s “no consensus”.

    What he means and isn’t willing to come out and say, is that the electoral form he favours, the one that tips the scale even more in favour of Liberal majorities until the end of time, is one that approximately 0% of Canadians want.

    The self-declared “feminist” prime minister throws two young female MPs under the bus, putting them in charge of the promise he was busily undermining, forcing them to debase themselves and say transparently disingenuous things in parliament, acting like disrespectful clowns and destroying their political futures.

    At least we know Trudeau probably means it about legalizing marijuana, or he wouldn’t have put a 63 year old white man who was a major prize when he joined the Liberals instead of the Conservatives on the case.

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    • There is no consensus about electoral reform. There is, as you said widespread support for changing the system, but not any kind of consensus about what that change is supposed to be. There has been something of an absurd rhetorical trick being pulled recently by the PR supporters that people voted for parties looking for a change, PR is a change, thus the people want PR.

      The puplic polling on the matter shows that the electorate is roughly divided into thirds, one third prefering the current system, one third prefering a PR style system, one third supporting a STV (like the PM likes, support for that isn’t the zero you claim). PR seems to have the most public support, but is also the most complicated and legally problematic system to enact (our constitutional system is very clear about regional representation in Parliament and workable pR systems don’t play well with regional representation).

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      • STV is not what the PM favours; STV is a form of PR. There may well be roughly equal support for MMP and STV, but both of those are PR systems so the supporters of either one would likely be about 95% satisfied with the other one.

        My impression has been that almost nobody is in favour if what Trudeau likes, which is adding the minor tweak of IRV to the current single-seat-per-riding format. Which is why Trudeau is taking his ball and going home.

        If it’s true that public opinion is so evenly shared, it’s apparently not the case among the subset of Canadians who actually care enough about the issue to communicate in any way with their government – by way of showing up at town halls, responding the the ERRE’s poll, writing the ERRE or the minister. Those came out to 87% or so in favour of PR.

        As far as regional representation as defined in Canada vs PR systems, I think that’s much less of an issue than you make it out to be, per my comment above.

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        • Yes, people really invested in changing the system are not likely to be in favor of the status quo.

          OTOH, most of the population says, “hey, seems to be working all right. We don’t have wacky Nazi’s or Commies getting into Parliament like they do in Europe. What’s the problem?”

          That’s the people you have to care about, since any kind of referendum or election on the issue isn’t going to only ride on the people really invested and upset on the Internet about it. No leader in the world has lost an election due to electoral reform.

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        • The people who really, really care about electoral reform are the ones that like PR. That’s largely an opinion carried by political junkies that don’t like the current system and minor party supporters whose views who would benefit from a change.

          When people are polled on the matter rather than self-selecting by appearing at town hall events, opinion comes out about even. Particularly with more information on how the systems work, PR tends to get less favour than it did before.

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  9. Interesting data point:
    Trump’s Obamacare Executive Order intends to allow health insurers to charge older people more
    What makes it interesting is that this targets Trump voters, particularly the self-employed 50-somethings who earn too much for Medicaid, but are too young for Medicare.

    I think this means one of two things:
    A. Trump is too stupid to realize his base will be outraged at this;
    B. The base is too stupid to realize who is screwing them;

    Since I am a patriot with generally good feelings towards my fellow citizens, I will go with option A.

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  10. Brit:  

    Threading makes this unclear. I am responding to the comments above attacking an author’s “disability schtick”. Put simply, it does not do to complain about bring labelled as, eg, ableist, when you have just explicitly demonstrated that you are precisely that.

    I feel Trump’s election has shown that while many conservatives may not be actively racist or sexist, for the overwhelming majority of them, those are not things they consider important. It shows that the number of people actually committed to supposed conservative ideals (which ideals do not require racism/sexism) is insignificant.

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