Morning Ed: United States {2017.04.13.Th}

Mara Casey Tieken points out that while we may think of rural America as being white, we probably shouldn’t.

Can we please not?

The US maybe on the verge of getting its first black saint.

The quick case for moving back to New Jersey.

A look back at The Turner Diaries, and its role in the white supremacy movement.

It’s increasingly said that disability is become the new safety net for the unemployed.

JM Opal argues that really, America shouldn’t be great again.

A look at the life of WEB DuBois. I was not aware he’d had his citizenship effectively revoked.

It seems like eventually we’re going to have to figure out where Asians fit in to the “whiteness” of tech.


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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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127 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2017.04.13.Th}

  1. Disability: SSDI has seemingly become the income of last resort in many communities. As far as I can tell, the only other options would be a permanent federal jobs program for these communities like the WPA and CCC) or just vast swathes of uninhabited areas that can’t be supported in a global and more centralized economy. The reason these areas once thrived is because bad communication and transportation networks made regional economies important.

    What the right often fails to understand is that amenities are important to attracting a educated workforce. I’ve heard conservatives complain about tech companies preferring Silicon Valley to North Dakota since 1997. They don’t seem to
    understand that tech employees like and demand big metro amenities and those are harder to build up.

    North New Jersey: I think NYC benefits from effectively being located for commuters from three states. This allows for a wide range of housing options. Also NYC Metro has always been more business friendly and had less hippy environmentalism as an impact. There is still NIMBYism but no real pseudo anti-Capitalism to hide behind.

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    • I know for me those Urban amenities are important, as are the employment options an urban setting offers. And I am very much a country boy (it’ll be a cold day in hell before I live in downtown Seattle or Bellevue), I like being right up against the urban growth boundary).

      I’ve had lots of offers for jobs in the middle of nowhere and the only way they would have been attractive is if I was young, probably single, and merely as a stepping stone. Keeping me long term would require some very nice golden handcuffs.

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      • My wife and I have found that the idea of large cities (for us) was very appealing in our 20’s, small cities appealed in our 30’s, and in our 40’s we find small towns so much more interesting. Part of it is that I grew up in a college town, which is basically my wife’s industry (university HR.) But outside of a very few wants, there is nothing in a city that appeals on a day to day basis. The cost of housing that would be amenable to our hobbies is idiotically stupid, and the 5 minute commute that my wife enjoys is quite nice. Outside of going to a bar on a daily basis (which I don’t do) what does a city offer that I need to live in one now? We do like the cultural offerings, but don’t need them on a daily basis, rather making special trips enhances the experience. YMMV

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        • Exactly. So I enjoy living in Issaquah, right at the edge of the boundary (it’s quite literally a half mile to wilderness). Bellevue is 15 minutes away, Seattle is 30. It’s our sweet spot. High walkability, direct access to urban amenities, excellent public schools, multiple and varied career opportunities, etc.

          However, if someone were to offer me a job in, say, Ellensburg, I’d decline. Too far away from the things we need.

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        • I think it is very much YMMV. I don’t think I could bear to live in a big city again (I am nearly 50).

          My biggest complaint about the small town where I live is the lack of a non-wal-mart supermarket (there is a small grocery I patronize but they don’t have everything I need) and the fact that I need to drive an hour’s round-trip for most shopping. However, that’s balanced by a five-minute commute (yeah, me too), the chance to go home for lunch on days when I don’t have a 1 pm class, lower crime rate*, less noise, and a lower cost of living (I own a home, probably could not say that in most metropolitan areas)

          I will say for retirement, if I have the bucks? I might move to more of an artists-colony or travelers-destination type area, because it would be nice to be in an area with a vibrant small downtown (we used to have some v. nice shops but they have almost all closed – the 2008 recession hit us about five years late).

          (*We do have quite a lot of rather alarming crimes going on, but it seems if you’re not part of the local drug culture you can mostly avoid involvement)

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    • New Jersey: I figured out long ago that there are three New Jerseys: the part that is a suburb of New York City, the smaller part that is a suburb of Philadelphia, and everything else. New Jersey’s reputation stems in part from its genuinely appalling politics, partly because its major transportation corridors don’t present the state attractively, and partly because most of its residents live in a suburb for someplace else.

      That being said, much of the “everything else” part of the state is very attractive. Its nickname of the “Garden State” was not originally intended as irony. And Jersey tomatoes really are all that.

      The writer of the linked piece lives in Bergen County. This is solidly in the “suburb of New York City” portion of the state. Seriously. Pull up the satellite view of the county on Google. All but the far northwestern corner of the county is suburbs. If you have reason to live near to NYC but can’t or don’t want to pay NYC housing prices, Bergen County is a perfectly reasonable compromise. But this is hardly a stirring marketing slogan.

      My family spends a week at the Jersey shore every year with my extended family. It is right up there for my kids with Christmas as the highlight of the year and future beloved childhood memory. So I have warm a fuzzy feelings about the state. But live there? Did I mention the truly appalling politics?

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        • Google Maps claims that Altoona to NYC is a four-and-a-half hour drive. I suspect that this is optimistic. I doubt that anyone is making that a daily commute. My guess is that the wife and kids live in Altoona and Dad visits them on weekends.

          In any case, I consider “suburb” to be a development pattern. It doesn’t mean “everything within the furthermost radius of what someone somewhere is willing to drive every day.” If a region is predominantly agricultural or woodland, it isn’t a suburb. If someone wants to live in the pine barrens and drive into New York every day, that doesn’t make the pine barrens a suburb. It just makes that guy crazy.

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            • I have heard of people making that commute, but I suspect that the numbers are pretty low. That is about half the distance of the Altoona commute, with a straight shot on an interstate. It is a barely plausible commute, though I wonder how it works when it snows. As a bus commute? Sure, I guess. You still will barely see the wife and kids except on the weekends, assuming your job gives you weekends. Of course some people consider that a virtue. I expect their wife and kids would agree.

              In related news, I have known married couples where one works in NYC and the other in Philly. They split the difference and live in Princeton. Of course that gives both a straight shot on commuter rail, making the idea more sustainable.

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              • That’s too funny. I actually grew up going to long beach island as a child. My family had moved down to virginia and both my fathers and mothers family were from the hudson valley so we’d all meet in the summer at long beach island. Memories of the light house and drying out star fish on the jetties immediately spring to mind.

                Thing is, until you just said it, I’d never considered that to be part of the Jersey Shore. So it turns out all the time i was joshing my buddies, I was making fun of myself too.

                My wife, for the last few years, has gone to seaside heights for a weekend with some girlfriends who have a house there. That was the home of the jersey shore. And its not all like the TV show, but a lot of it is a lot like the TV show.

                And It is really interesting how all the different beaches have such a different feel to them. Cape May, Wildwood, Avalon/Stone Harbor and Sea Isle (the four or five i know best) all feel like entirely different worlds to me, similar only because they are all on the ocean.

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      • Growing up in Va, we beached in hilton head, mrytle beach, and the outer banks. When i got to college and made a few friends from philly, I started to hear about hte jersey shore, particularly, sea isle, avalon, and stone harbor. Before ever having touched the sand, and really only having seen jersey from the turnpike, I would tease them mercilessly about the fact that they like the “jersey shore”. That was until i went there for the first time in 1999. A summer hasn’t gone by since that i don’t head to Avalon as often as i can, and for the last 6 years its been with a wife and kids. Everyone drives slow. You don’t have to lock your bikes. You can bike anywhere on the island. Other than having to pay for beach tags/access, and the stupid swimming rules, I love it. And without a doubt, its the 7 days a year my kids look forward too more than any others.

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        • We go to Long Beach Island, about fifty miles up the coast from Sea Isle. There is absolutely none of the MTV “Jersey Shore” stereotype about it. I suppose that it is possible that if you keep going up the coast toward New York at some point you hit that, but I suspect that it is greatly exaggerated on the show, if not entirely bullshit.

          Traditionally, down toward Cape May the clientele were rich Philadelphians, south to rich Virginians, summering at the shore. Once you hit Ocean City, and especially Atlantic City, the clientele were working class and middle class Philadelphians. This was once the railroad was put in, at least. Before that it was fishermen and sand flies. Cape May was a developed resort much earlier, being easily accessible by boat. Long Beach Island, were I vacation, was developed a bit later, but is an extension of the Atlantic City portion. At some point going further north there has to be a boundary between where Philadelphians vacation and where New Yorkers and Jerseyites from the NYC suburb part of the state vacation, but I don’t know exactly where that is. That would be where you would find the MTV stereotype, if such a thing actually exists.

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    • “The reason these areas once thrived is because bad communication and transportation networks made regional economies important.”

      So why wouldn’t miraculous communication and amazing transportation networks redistribute work to the Regions again?

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      • I don’t know but the work doesn’t seem to be redistributed. Brain drain is a real thing because of the amenities issue I mentioned above.

        “How can you keep the boy on the farm once he has seen Paree…” is an age old problem.

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        • You attribute to cultural affectation what is often (though definitely not always) jobs and economics. Most of those people will move into staid suburbs. Most have cultural needs that could probably be met in a place like Fargo. The median American lives in the suburbs of a metropolitan area the size of Oklahoma City.

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          • Will,
            Beg pardon, but if jobs and economics are what’s keeping you in New York City, you’re working for idiots, I’m pretty sure. Tech companies go to places where there’s culture, sure — Austin, Pittsburgh, Seattle do just as well as San Francisco.

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      • Marchmaine,
        Why doesn’t IKEA put a store in every city?
        Because logistics.
        If you put your tech company in Pittsburgh, or Austin, or SV, you get a LOT more happy tech workers (and better tech workers) than if you put it in Oklahoma City or Nebraska.

        Also too: Suburbs cost a LOT of money (particularly as they age). Americans grow ever poorer. Something will give.

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        • Nebraska does surprisingly well in, call it region-appropriate tech. SV and the rest of the coastal areas aren’t interested in farm-efficiency stuff. Omaha and Lincoln have a rapidly growing startup subculture. The products aren’t going to turn people into billionaires, but they’re doing well. Talent tends to be home-grown — for someone from a rural area, the jump to Omaha is enough of a shock, they’re not going to jump to California or Massachusetts.

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          • There are still people from rural areas? (Alright, I kid).
            But yeah, I can see Omaha doing well (a rather facetious friend claims Nebraska doesn’t exist, but Omaha does — because he never hears anything out of the rest of the state).

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  2. It seems like eventually we’re going to have to figure out where Asians fit in to the “whiteness” of tech.

    I don’t know if that’s true. That doesn’t really serve the purpose of the conversation around diversity, so I don’t expect it to ever be the case. When you get into the numbers, what you see is a significant under-representation of blacks and an even more significant over-representation of East and South Asians. It’s harder to say what’s going on with Hispanics, because if the whole “white Hispanic/non-white Hispanic thing.” What you don’t see is an over-representation of whites, who make up anywhere from 60-something to 70-something percent of the population, depending on definitions. But it’s better for culture war to leave the Asians out of the conversation.

    It’s like affirmative action, where both proponents and opponents tend to ignore the fact that whites get admitted to schools at pretty much the same rates whether a school practices or doesn’t practice affirmative action.

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    • The other thing that surprises me about all these reports is how little emphasis is placed on the relevant education. The Census Bureau report does discuss it and provide data to show who is overrepresented correcting for education, but the articles discussing it all like to work in raw percentages without bothering to correct for specialty and training.

      Those numbers are interesting if the question is, “How do we get more underrepresented folks to go into these fields in the long run?” We can talk about early education and outreach and all sorts of great stuff. But that’s not usually how these articles phrase it. The gap still exists if you correct for education, but it shrinks enough for your article to lose some of its impact.

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      • And those sorts of controls are very important if you want to figure out how to solve the problem. If the real problem is that black people are less likely to get an education in computer-relevant fields then nothing you do to Silicon Valley is going to help.

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  3. gets it right about Asians in tech. Asians and Jews are in an ambiguous place in the American/Western racial grouping for the Right and the Left. White nationalists exclude both of us from being white naturally. People on the Left have a much more ambiguous attitude. We are of color for them when it suits their purposes, say going against Neo-Nazi scum or Hollywood for white-washing, and white enough for them when they need us not to be people of color, like discussing diversity in tech or whether Jews have a communal right to self-determination. Tablet had an article on the need for intersectionality to include the Jews recently. You can write a similar article about Asian-Americans.

    I’d argue that the racial/religious hierarchy in America goes like this White Christians, Jews, East Asians, South Asians, Hispanics, Muslims, and Blacks. Jews and various Asians are seen as in between Whites and Blacks by both the right and the left and benefit and suffer for it.

    New Jersey: I think New Jersey’s reputation suffers because the New Jersey suburbs of both New York City and Philadelphia never developed a reputation for being particularly desirable unlike the suburbs of West Chester, north shore of Nassau County, and the Mainline in Philadelphia, generally seen as havens for the wealthy since the Gilded Age. New Jersey always had a more plebeian reputation even though parts are very charming.

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    • I think you are somewhat wrong on New Jersey. Some of the wealthiest suburbs of NYC (Apline and Short Hills) are in New Jersey. So are some of the wealthiest suburbs of Philadelphia (Cherry Hill). Plus all the people moving to Jersey City and Hoboken.

      But there is some of an “Oh New Jersey” after thought at times.

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  4. Saints – the Vatican was really slow with US born saints for a long time; when I was in CCD, there was literally just one (Seton) who had only been canonized a few years before.

    There’s been an acceleration on canonization overall (see e.g., Theresa and JPII), which if I still cared, would bother me more than a little bit.

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    • The Catholic Church has always been slow with canonizations. John Paul II prioritized canonizations (482, about as many as had been canonized for the previous 500 years). I’m not sure if the pace has slowed down since his pontificate.

      That Daily Beast article was gibberish. There’s no “whitewashing” of saints in any meaningful way. Historically, most of Christianity has been European, so most of the saints are. That’s not a statement against the quality of non-Europeans or people of non-European heritage.

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      • Just in case I need to unpack that a little: the process takes time and effort. A very holy person could never become canonized (recognized as a saint) unless he left behind eyewitnesses who would pursue the process. If you’re a missionary and you go out and never return, the Church doesn’t have anything to go on. If you’re a sister in a cell who doesn’t leave behind writings, there’s not much to work with. We can hope that a lot of people attain Heaven, but canonization is about being able to make the case.

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        • My understanding though is that the process has less to do with whatever a person did in their lifetime, whether it was documented or not, but rather for effects witnessed and documented in that person’s name after they died.

          (my niece is getting confirmed soon, and I went through some saint stuff just this past weekend, and there was a body of literature re-affirming the early (i.e. pre-Constantine) Catholic saints whose life stories were admittedly even by the authors as much myth & legend as historical fact. It’s the communion of the saints that’s more important than what any of them did or did not do while alive on Earth)

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          • Well, yeah. Step one is dying. Step two is having someone petition Rome to consider the claim. Then they review your life, call witnesses, and study any writing. That last one is going to be interesting when our contemporaries become considered for canonization. BTW, good and holy writing don’t qualify you for sainthood – this step is only for crossing people off the list. After all that, if the church approves, the person is declared “venerable” and it becomes permissible to invoke him in prayer. The next step involves investigation of claims of miracles granted on behalf of those petitions.

            This system has evolved over the past thousand years or so. It’s tough to tell how individuals in the early church were determined to be saints. We don’t have enough material for a George to become St. George now, but we don’t have any reason to believe that they didn’t have good reason at the time. I’m a formal guy, and I like the more formal approach we use now, but I’m not going to dispute the list of saints.

            I wouldn’t say there’s been a drop off of quality among the recent saints, but I think there’s been a tendency to canonize groups more often in recent centuries. A good chunk of JPII’s canonizations were a group of Chinese martyrs. It inflates the rate of canonization.

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      • Right, that’s what I was saying. The Catholic church was always slow with canonizations – until about AD 1980. Dramatically increasing throughput in a pipeline almost invariably leads to a reduction in quality of the output.

        As noted theologian Maximilian of Florin noted, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles”

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      • Historically, most of Christianity has been European

        I wonder if this is true, taking the full two thousand years and the non-Chalcedonian churches into account? I don’t know.

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        • I think it depends on complicated historical data. Europe represented the biggest geographic and population concentration of Christians for a good part of Christianity’s history. There were non-European Christian states like Ethiopia, Armenia, and the Georgian kingdoms and Christian communities stretching from the Levant to China but we don’t know what percentage of Christians lived in those communities.

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          • You have inadvertently stumbled onto a pet peeve of mine: using “Christian” to refer exclusively to some subset of Christians. White American Evangelical Protestants do this routinely. As a White American non-Evangelical Protestant, I have a reflexive “fuck you too” response, even as a understand that it is more often due to cluelessness than it is intentional offensiveness.

            But crossing back over the Tiber, if we mean persons who actively attend mass on at least a semi-regular basis, I would be astonished if it is true today that most Catholics are Europeans. I doubt that it has been the case since the French Revolution.

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            • I was making an assumption based on the article that we were only talking about the Roman Catholic Church. “Eastern” churches, whether Catholic, Orthodox, or some older ones, have their own canonization processes. Non-evangelical Protestants have saints, but I’ve rarely seen them emphasized; they don’t have a body that maintains the list. Evangelical Protestants use the term “saint” in a more general sense (which all of the other churches would understand), but definitely don’t have a body that maintains a list of dead saints. Mormonism has their own read on it.

              Historically, most of the people who are likely to have been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church have been of European or nearby Mediterranean ancestry. (You wouldn’t believe how bad my first few attempts at spelling “Mediterranean” were.) These days, the center of mass of Catholicism is a lot closer to Brasilia than Bologna. But since canonization necessarily looks backwards, it’s still reasonable that most saints are geographically European.

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    • A certain LGM poster believes the same thing. Before deregulation flying was very expensive and most people simply drove to their vacation destinations if they could. Flights are much cheaper now but that came at the cost of luxury previously allowed.

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    • Hogwash*. There’s absolutely no reason an airline can’t be a) 100% committed to low prices and b) have clearly stated procedures for dealing with removing passengers from over-booked flights. In the United situation the fiasco arose precisely because they forcibly removed a paying customer from a flight after he boarded and took his seat. So the easy solution is: don’t do that! Find a price at which people will voluntarily agree to deplane.

      *This article strikes me as part of a wider cottage-industry in the “analysis” community where a mistake/failing/random event is viewed as the entry point into a critique of what’s systemically wrong with an institution. But it’s a bait and switch, really, since the argument should flow the other way: how a particular institutional culture or set of practices entails the event in question. That’s not how the argument goes, tho, in this type of writing generally but certainly in this article in particular. Instead, writer(s) offer(s) a strangled, tortured (other violent imagery…) interpretation of an event to make it look like evidence supporting the broader critique, an analytical practice which in simpler times was called “bullshit”.

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        • I admit I kind of boggle at the whole situation, given that we have things called “computers” that can figure this kind of stuff out. It seems to me to have been a clusterfish where some idiot somewhere in United realized “Oh hells, we need to get these four employees to Louisville ASAP” and the only way they could think of to do that was booting four paying passengers, and they went about it in almost the worst possible way.

          You’d think they could have at least figured out which passengers didn’t board before the flight, you know, *boarded*.

          But eh, stupid should hurt and it looks like it’s gonna hurt United – even beyond whatever Dr. Dao is going to get from them in terms of compensation, it looks like they are pre-emptively reimbursing everyone that was on that flight.

          I can’t help but think $1000 cash, a hotel room over night, room vouchers, and an absolute promise to be on the next flight out for four people would have been a LOT cheaper. Hell, at this point, it probably would have been cheaper for them to charter a plane to Louisville for their employees….

          Though I will say I’ve seen people writing about how this is more evidence the “middle” has been squeezed out: there’s first-class service for the v. rich, and then for everyone else, there’s terrible service – for example, there’s gonna be Nordstrom’s and then there’s gonna be Wal-Mart, and places like Penney’s and Sears and even Macy’s that were in the middle are kind of dead.

          And….I don’t disagree with that, and it makes me sad, as someone who doesn’t quite have a Nordstrom’s budget but who finds the wal-mart-i-zation of the world profoundly depressing.

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        • Airlines have been generally better at preventing overbooking but I believe that they still overbook because they assume that at least a certain percentage of people aren’t going to show up and be unable to cancel their ticket early enough to get a full refund. They might even not cancel at all. Its a way to make money easily.

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          • Its a way to make money easily.

            I agree it’s a way to make money, but not as easily as you might think. My understanding is that each instance of an involuntary denial of boarding requires compensation of 400% of the ticket price capped at $1350 (whichever is lower but they CAN go higher if they want to). Which means that for every person denied boarding they need some number of fully paid no-shows to break even. If we’re talking about a $450 flight overbooked by one, an airline would need three fully paid no-shows to break even.

            Given the variables in play I’m sure it gets very complicated very quickly.

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            • Given the variables in play I’m sure it gets very complicated very quickly.

              And I’m betting that there’s nobody better than the airlines to make the judgment. For all the complaints, they’re probably extremely good at this and their overbooking percentages are probably pretty close to optimal. The main problem with the beat downs comes from getting people off the plane after they board. Bumping people is trivial if all you have to do is keep them from boarding.

              My guess is that there will be a new policy either preventing the situation from happening at all (probably not as it requires keeping some people off the plane until the very last minute) or just authorizing much more generous payouts to people who are already on the plane. They’ll have a model for the typical amount it takes to get somebody to deplane and add it to the mix and be done with it.

              I’m betting you’d find a hard time finding a plane where nobody would accept a small delay and take a different flight if you offered to put three crisp $100 bills in their hands. Given that, it’s just a matter of combining the probability of an overbooking event combined with the probability that the higher priority traveler arrives after the plane is full.

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              • Yah, agreed. Two takeaways from all this:

                1. Airlines have a vested interest in maximizing overbooking-derived revenue, and given that the downside cost of bumping is (roughly) three times greater than not filling an empty-but-paid-for seat, they most certainly err on the lean side wrt overbooking.

                2. If they are going to continue to overbook flights they should simply dispense with involuntary denial of boarding altogether – whether based on ticket price or random selection or whatever (it’s not the passengers’ fault the airline oversold the flight…) – and move exclusively to cash payouts/vouchers to get passengers to voluntarily give up their seat.

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      • Airlines see themselves as in a stronger position to their customers and generally try to fight hard when they have to boot a customer to get the best deal for themselves in many instances.

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  5. The NRA just released this video, and, well, holy shit.

    It’s interesting that the NRA sees a bunch of people getting together to #Resist a government that they believe threatens their liberty because it’s run by fascists… and decides, “These people are scary!” instead of, “These people sound like a great audience for RKBA advocacy!”

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    • Makes since if you keep in mind that the NRA has ceased being solely about RKBA\hunting and has instead become a defacto arm of the GOP.

      It’s not surprising, but it’s also not smart, since it risks alienating the blue dogs who help move a lot of the NRA agenda pieces.

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      • Yeah, I know. I also know that in addition to Blue Dogs (who are likely to exist in Congress again in less than two years), there are a lot of liberals and leftists who would be newly receptive to a pro-gun message.

        I mean, I’m biased because I’m a liberal and I think gun control is bad, but still.

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      • The NRA or at least a plurality of its members and leaders has also been attracted to rightist populism since the Clinton administration so its not really not surprising that leftist political movements are unattractive to them. I imagine that many NRA members see themselves as patriotic Americans even if they hate a love-hate relationship to the federal government and aren’t that pleased with movements they see as anti-American.

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      • Makes since if you keep in mind that the NRA has ceased being solely about RKBA\hunting and has instead become a defacto arm of the GOP.

        Not that. A de facto arm of the gun industry.

        For civilian sales, the US is where it’s at. And it’s pretty obvious that the best way to goose civilian sales is to terrify people. Gun owners will buy MORE guns, and anyone even willing to consider purchasing a firearm will be more likely to.

        The mechanism for achieving that fear differs, although “Democratic Politician Is Gonna Take All Your Guns” is a popular one.

        If you view the NRA’s primary goal as “increasing gun sales” everything they do makes a great deal of internal sense. Even minor restrictions on their agenda (for instance, alienating those Blue Dogs and bottling up a few items they’d like passed) translates into more gun sales as it’s turned into ads about “Gun rights under attack” and “Democrats taking your guns and/or rights away”.

        I’m pretty sure they’d trade a lot of their agenda in return for a six month, 10% spike in sales.

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        • I still don’t buy that the NRA is overly interested, per se, in the sales of the gun industry. I do think they are interested in increasing firearm ownership, especially of arms that are regular topics of restrictions, because the more people who have paid money for a firearm, the more people who will be likely to call and write letters to politicians if that is threatened.

          Perhaps it’s not much of a difference, as such, but it is a distinction.

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          • There are many markets that are just a trickle of sales due to restrictions. The NRA doesn’t really appear to be interested in opening those markets as much as holding the status quo.

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            • Yeah, there’s a pretty entrenched, “Guns for Red States (and VT), no guns for Blue States,” thing going on.

              This isn’t a great situation for guns as a Constitutional right.

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    • A while ago there was a liberal meme of pointing to then Governor Reagan’s advocacy for Gun Control but the liberal meme always seemed to forget that then Governor Reagan advocated for Gun Control because of the Black Panthers in Oakland and his voting base was scared to death by the Black Panthers and Angela Davis.

      But the move by the NRA as described by Oscar happened long ago and I don’t see it coming back which is another reason why I look at Americas deep divisions as being driven hugely by race.

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      • Well, if the early 90’s count as ‘long ago’. I see Wayne’s seating at the top as the beginning of the move toward being a GOP lobby arm. It’s not surprising, given how hostile a large swath of the DNC has been to guns & hunting, but it’s unfortunate that the NRA has felt like it should align so tightly to the GOP, rather than remaining non-partisan and focusing on the handful of issues in it’s orbit.

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        • It really isn’t any different than Planned Parenthood. As they (and the message the support) has become so loathed by one political party, but supported overall by the other, it is natural to fall into such a state. And one shouldn’t forget that Wayne came up in response to the Clinton AWB and the complete silliness surrounding that cluster fish. But, as a former Blue Dog, my support still lies with both groups (and the ACLU but that is getting shakey.)

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        • Yeah. They’ve done pretty well because the GOP has been strong since then, but they also got a boost from the declining crime rate making gun control a lower-salience issue. Highly publicized mass shootings started shifting that a bit, and I don’t think they have a particularly reliable advocate in Trump (to put it mildly).

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          • Somewhat tangential, Over the past few years, I’ve been hearing a lot of very interesting Social Science work regarding gun violence and social network effects. Researchers have found that certain social networks suffer an exhorbitantly high rate of gun violence (like, the vast bulk of gun related injury & death, including suicides), so they are trying to build statistical tools that allow them to identify high risk individuals and their social networks, and develop plans for intervention in order to mitigate that risk.

            It’s fascinating, although also a bit scary, since it involves a whole lot of big data in order to work up a reasonably accurate profile.

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            • Yeah, I’ve seen that too.

              Also, kinda tangential but maybe not, it really looks like a lot of the rot in the Chicago PD was driven and/or justified by an attempt to “get guns off the street”. There’s no silver bullet (sorry) for dealing with gun violence, but one thing that does seem to help a lot is law enforcement that has a decent relationship with the community it’s policing (which overlaps somewhat with the idea that violence spreads through social networks).

              This has, all in all, reinforced my belief that gun control is at best barking up the wrong tree, and at worst seriously counterproductive.

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  6. Trying to reduce tobacco use among Da Troops has been a thing for at least 15 years now, probably longer. It’s really the least objectionable form of nanny statism.

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    • Especially given how much money the nanny state has to directly spend on the effects.

      I’ve always wondered why the DOD didn’t just outright ban tobacco usage among officers?& enlisted.

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      • Never make a rule you’re not willing and able to enforce. The contempt you’ll breed for the rules and norms will be worse for the instituional culture that whatever vice you were trying to stamp out.

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        • Like for instance, the zero tolerance for ‘real’ drugs more or less works. You can drug test, and adsep anyone that fails the whiz quiz. No real need to rely on narcs and snitches.

          You try to extend that to tobacco or alcohol though, which are readily available in the normal commericial market, and pretty much leave no biological trace (if I understand correctly) after 24 hours – and there’s no way of telling of what someone did over the weekend, unless they did something else wrong (e.g. DUI), or someone rats them out.

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      • Because it’s one of the few pleasures left for the average PVT. We don’t get beer like the Germans and you can’t engage the local working girls so it’s all that is left. I heard so many complaints from friends that were over in bosnia. Our chow hall would be right next to the Germans and they would have bottles of beer stuck outside in the snow. All they could do was walk past and cry.

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        • No idea if they still do it, but when I was still enlisted, if a ship had been at sea for more than 45 days without a port call, the captain, at his discretion, could get enough cans of beer delivered during the next UnRep so each crewmember could have two cans of beer. Trading and hoarding were not allowed (if you didn’t want your beer, it was tossed over the side), nor was shotgunning. And it wasn’t good stuff, we’re talking Old Milwaukee quality here.

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          • OPNAVINST1700.16B (pdf)

            g. Numbered fleet commanders of naval and Military Sealift
            Command vessels participating in high-tempo, arduous operations
            are authorized to permit consumption of up to two 12-ounce cans
            or bottles of beer by each member of the crew or embarked unit
            during an appropriate 1-day stand down at sea. Consumption is
            to occur in conjunction with appropriate morale enhancing
            activities such as flight deck or fantail cookouts where non-
            alcoholic beverages must also be available. One-day stand downs

            are authorized subject to operational commitments and local
            threat assessments, for vessels which have attained 45
            consecutive days at sea and will not arrive in a liberty port
            within 5 days of the day scheduled for consumption. Consumption
            is permitted on a one-time basis following each 45-day period
            and is not a daily ration. Any voyage repair, upkeep period, or
            in-port period where any liberty is granted, and any at sea
            stand down under this exception constitutes termination of a
            continuous at sea period.

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  7. So, now that Trump is embracing the GOP establishment 80 days into his Presidency, I think we can look forward to these future pivots:

    August 2017: Approval rating 31%, Trump converts to Islam, proclaims himself Caliph
    November 2017: Approval rating 24%. Trump declares religion is poison, joins Revolutionary Communist Party. Bob Avakian is his new Chief of Staff.
    March 2018: Approval rating 17%. Trump joins the Democratic Party. Replaces Rex Tillerson with Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
    September 2019: Approval rating 12%. Trump rejoins the GOP. Fires Bob Avakian and re-hires Reince Priebus.
    November 2020: Approval rating 7%. Trump wins reelection running on the Connecticut for Lieberman ticket.

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        • Rick Perlstein has an interesting essay in the Times Magazine now where he touches on this and that there was always a connection between plutocratic politics and right-wing populism.

          Or as LBJ said, if you give the lowest white man someone to look down upon, he will empty his pockets for you.

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            • Modern conservatism, with its anti-statist bent on everything but cultural issues

              And this tiny, insignificant part of the state called the military.

              The movement largely pushed the most extreme voices on racial issues out of the conservative mainstream, preferring coded language, and at least nominally color blind policies.

              This, directly between discussions of Strom Thurmond and George Wallace.

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          • The connection between plutocratic politics and right-wing populism is not limited to the United States. White politicians in South Africa from the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 to the end of apartheid in 1994 struggled with how to combine white supremacy with free market capitalism or a more protectionist form of capitalism but not too much what we could call direct social democracy for anybody in South Africa. Its just that the South Africa’s demographics allowed for the politicians to provide a relatively good lifestyle for all white South Africans indirectly after World War II so they lucked out.

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