Morning Ed: Politics {2017.10.23.M}

[Po1] The establishment of government regulations… when things are working really well?

[Po2] As with many issues, on guns the loud minority defeats the apathetic majority. If you’re trying to get caught yup on the gun debate, here’s what you need to know.

[Po3] Before they were shills for Trump, the Russians were allegedly helping Bernie. Here are some of the people who got duped. It turns out, there’s a long history there.

[Po4] Perhaps it’s revealing that while Brussels and aspiring democracy looks at American politics through the optimism of The West Wing, Russians are looking at
something else entirely.

[Po5] This Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry piece on navigating the unsettling state of political affairs is recommended.

[Po6] This is a pretty interesting way to try to fund a campaign to unseat Ted Cruz.

[Po7] Elizabeth Bruenig writes of the deal with nationalism. I tend to think of nationalism as mostly a compact, but she’s right such can’t really do all the heavy lifting.

[Po8] If we want to reduce inequality, a new report says without an ounce of counterintuition… redistribute wealth.

[Po9] What happens to all that old campaign merchandise? George W Bush had some great swag. Sometimes I still regret not getting that leather jacket.


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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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28 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Politics {2017.10.23.M}

  1. [Po2] Here’s how you solve this problem: “Really annoying people on your Twitter and Facebook feeds”–log off. Problem solved.

    [Po5] Been happening for a while now.

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    • Well, with everyone reminding us that his election meant we were post-racial and therefore all racial issues were instantly done away with, it’s reasonable that they didn’t think to ask.

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  2. Po7 – is Bruening saying any of that here? It seems to be she’s just saying that ‘nationalism’ is yet another effin con by Donald effin Trump.

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    • I guess she doesn’t say it as much as she cites Herder and Fichte as saying it. What Bruenig says seems to me less to that nationalism is a con, but that Trump is offering an inferior – transactional – form of nationalism. And if it’s about being a “deal” for Trump, it probably is an effin con to whoever he’s selling it to.

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      • Well, everything about Trump is always transactional. That’s what makes him awful, but also so slippery that he’s gotten to where he is now.

        You don’t necesarily have to go to Continental Philosophy to see the strains of nationalism Trump has been tapping into. It was present in Jacksonian Democrats as well as post-Whig No Nothings. There’s also an element of turn of the 19th century nationalism that was awakened by the American and French revolutions – i.e. the kind that says “why do we have random Hapsburgs telling us what to do?”

        There is underneath a lot of bull (and a lot of very very Bad Things), a valid critique of international institutions – for instance, on one scale leads to stuff like Robert Mugabe being named a WHO Goodwill Ambassador. On a different scale, leads to things like a woman who spent her life in Chicago and Arkansas being able to walk into a senior elected official of the State of New York.

        But this skepticism should also be directed towards the US having special forces and drone strikes in a gazillion differerent countries, not to mention a continued presence of thousands of soldiers in some out of the way place in South West Asia.

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  3. dragonfrog:
    Um.Imma guess Poe’s law and walk away.

    If you think that’s it is racist to point out white people only give a damn when someone who looks like them and is in the same demographic, it is. It’s spelled out every time one of the MDA shills goes on TV and yells about semiautos that don’t have wood when the real killer is handguns killing minorities in their neighborhoods but the gentile folk get inflamed once it happens to them when it’s been happening in drove in the inner city due to poverty and lack of opportunity. That would require time and foresight to fix but the people in the suburbs don’t give a damn, it’s not happening to them.

    I may have been inflammatory in saying the deleted comment but it’s accurate. The abstract of killing someone is harder to relate to than someone who looks like you. Closeted Muslim lights up a gay nightclub, not enough like them to care about their deaths but they totally could go to an outdoor concert where someone could shoot a semi auto at them.

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    • You weren’t just inflammatory, you were impossible to distinguish from the people you are mad at, except for accidentally suggesting that you were worse than they were. That’s what Poe’s law is about.

      The argument that GCA folks are mostly tied to self-interest / restricted empathy reactions is a valid one (not one I agree with, but an entirely valid one), but if you’re going to talk about “real killers” you’re going to need to specifically address the fact that most gun deaths are actually suicide, ie, stick to the *actual facts* in making your argument, rather than running with something that’s clearly biased. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States just for starters, but really this is a common knowledge issue.).

      And/or you could dial the inflammatory down another 3 or 4 notches and make a reasonable argument.

      I say all this as the moderator of the site, in case you’re new here, so I do need you to listen.

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    • As points out, Poe’s law has nothing to do with whether something is racist or not. It’s that it’s effectively impossible to write a parody of an extremist view, that can’t be mistaken for sincere extremism.

      The thing is that you apparently tried to point out the racism by taking on the “voice” of someone holding the racist view – and I wasn’t able to tell which you were doing. I don’t believe I’ve seen you posting here before (which, if you’re new around here, welcome!) – which means I also didn’t have a context for how you usually write, or whether that racist view would be more in character for you to be expressing sincerely or as bitter parody.

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  4. PO8 – It’ll never fly[1], because someone will challenge it in court, and SCOTUS doesn’t do hard math, so it’ll get shot down.

    [1] Assuming enough politicians suffered brain damage of a type that specifically removes their desire to hold control of money as a means to exert power.

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  5. po8-

    Bar-Yam’s institute uses historical data, computer modeling, and big data to figure out solutions and explanations to the world’s most complex problems (hence the name of the institute). For instance, he was able to predict the Arab Spring before it happened by tying global food prices to riots and violence (and was then able to tie the increase in food prices to two seemingly minor policy decisions that had happened years before). In this case, he has turned his research to the economy.

    This is bad science

    Prior to 1980 there was an imbalance of wealth in the worker cycle (roughly speaking: too much money, not enough products) which led to rampant inflation. After Reagan took office in 1980 and implemented trickle down theory by giving tax cuts to the richest members of society, the imbalance swung the other way. Now, workers didn’t have enough money to buy products, which resulted in a three recessions and the 2008 financial crisis over the past 37 years.

    This is bad history.

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    • I mean, in the big picture, there’s the no doubt correct notion that the Fed pushing on a string can’t do much and goverment fiscal efforts are long overdue (and themselves lost their potency due to ill timed tax cuts and war spending) – but to me there’s a lot of “epicycles trying to make the geo-centric orbits fit” in the details of the “Math”.

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    • FTFA It’s not an uncommon grudge for old-school cyclists, who often seem to resent the e-bikes more for the minimal effort of their riders than for their high speeds.

      For “old-school cyclists” read “fit able-bodied relatively young cyclists.” This stupid anti-e-bike thing really bugs me. e-bikes help the elderly, the injured, the disabled, and parents with small children, to remain physically active and connected to community, employment, healthcare. It’s just a bike that your grandparents can still use when they start getting arthritis.

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      • I’m an old school cyclist and I am thinking real hard about getting an electric assist kit for my bike, because my house sits on a ridge, which means getting there involves a ride up a really big effing hill! At the end of my workout, plowing up 200 feet of elevation is more effort than I want to put in.

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        • Yeah, an e-bike keeps sounding nicer and nicer to me too. I take my kid to school by bike close to half the school year (she’s got a seat over the back wheel of the bike) and then ride from the school to work. When the roads are icy I put my bike on the rack on the city bus to her school, then ride to work.

          I live and work on the north side of the river, her school is on the south side. As she gets heavier and my knees get older, the climbs out of the river valley keep getting steeper…

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            • She’s 7. We’ve got one of these and it’s fantastic.

              Feels solidly built, not at all wobbly, easy to put on and remove, easy to feel confident you secured it properly each time, folds down so you can transport it through the rest of the day without it being a giant drag chute, fits over a rack and panniers so you can carry not only a kid and yourself but your respective backpacks.

              In every one of the above respects, it is different from the dreadful plastic Schwinn seat she had before.

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      • Speaking as an old, overweight, and somewhat out-of-shape cyclist — certainly out-of-shape by the standards of a younger me — I have no problem with any sort of e-bike out on the streets, or pedal-assist e-bikes on the trails. I believe that current law in most jurisdictions already bans the high-end 25-mph-for-long-distances e-bikes from any trail posted “No Motorized Vehicles”, and from sidewalks.

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