An end of workweek chat locale.
Steven L. Taylor
Friday, January 24, 2020
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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Frequency of intense floods and storms could double in 13 years, says study
I find that last part especially intriguing. A caveat:
Did you join the Left in their criticism of Congress and Obama in 2012 when they extended FISA? Because if you didnt, it’s a little hollow now.
If you did, I can give you credit for it and you may even move up a partial notch for it.
Ah, another day, another open forum!
While I come up with something interesting, I want to share an observation about our resident trolls:
Through some kind fo effort or skill, or none, they’ve become like their savior, El Cheeto. So while not everything they say will be stupid, false or irrelevant, that is the way to bet.
@Guarneri: Ah, yes, it has been obvious for several years that Barr is not acting as Attorney General of the United States but as yet another bagman for Trump.
John Mitchell said that Nixon did nothing wrong in Watergate — maybe you could flag that for us next time…
@Kathy: Kathy, I have a great deal of respect for the wit, knowledge and wisdom of your posts, so it is with great humility I point out that this section of your last comment could not be more incorrect:
Grasp at straws, much?
Page wasn’t even ever indicted.
That’s all you got?
Pretty weak tea.
One must allow for the unlikely probability they may say something smart, correct, or relevant by mistake.
Ignatius at least noted that IG Horowitz said he found no bias in the FBI’s actions, although he did find process errors. He released his report a month ago. We knew then that the errors he found were inconsequential except as a matter of internal discipline. We also knew then that Republicans would try to drive a truck through them.
I have no idea why David Ignatius chose this, of all weeks, to write a column about this sloppiness at the FBI. Although predictable, it’s irritating that Guarn is trying to turn this molehill into a mountain of vindication. It’s also irritating that others, frustrated by this, and Guarn’s history, will go too far in refuting him, and give him some bit of legitimate grievance.
Trump says he’d take ‘take a look’ at changing entitlements such as Medicare
I have spent most of my morning reply to angry posts that “SS isn’t an entitlement!!1! I’ve paid into my whole life!11!!” It’s really disgusting to see just how deep GOP Talking Points sink in and fester in people’s brains. Most of the folks are able to correctly define the word in their rants and yet still hold to the idea that “entitlement” means “free money”. They grasp the proper definition – “the legal fact of having a right to something” – in that they scream about having contributed to a system under stated conditions they now feel is threatened. They’ve internalized the notion that they are owed something under this legal and political agreement and that something is now in question.
What they *don’t* grasp is that the BS they’ve been spoon-fed for decades is the reason it’s in question in the first place. The whole notion of changing language to change the concept and make it more susceptible to attack is completely lost on them. They just parrot back the false definition while mentally holding onto the correct one. They don’t understand conservatives started labeling things “entitlements” as a bad thing so they could kill that bad thing….. and SS and Medicaid/Medicare were ALWAYS the main target. They just soaked up the insidious language change just like Orwell noted, chanted it ad nauseum and are now confronted with what they think is doublespeak but can’t effectively verbalize why they’re angry. They don’t get they’ve accept the logic that will allow this to happen wholeheartedly. All they can do is bleat “SS isn’t entitlement” like that actually means anything and rage.
Social Security is an entitlement. You paid into it, now you’re entitled to get money from it.
@KM: Yes. IIRC I’ve read that Roosevelt’s people called SS an entitlement to distinguish it from some sort of welfare. You put your money in, you’re entitled to take your money out. Then even before Frank Luntz, the GOPs started twisting the meaning.
One of life’s constant irritants is hearing well off white Republicans with a huge sense of entitlement complain about some minority’s supposed sense of entitlement.
ETA -Teve, sorry about the overlapped phrasing.
Any idea what the US federal government does with Social Security money collected through payroll withholding?
Usually there are three options: 1) spend it along with other government revenue. Such expenses include payment to retirees, which means your retirement pay is tied up to there being enough taxpayers to cover it. 2) Invest it in US government debt instruments. This sounds good, although the government would owe a great deal of interest which would have to be covered by other revenue or other debt. 3) Invest it in a diversified portfolio (including treasury bonds). This can create problems, as the government could be seen as favoring companies and/or countries depending on what stocks and other debt it invested.
Mexico switched from Social Security ro individual retirement accounts in 1997. I’ve no idea if that’s working well, and I don’t think many people, yet, depend on their accounts for retirement (there was the option to stay under the old system if you’d paid into it for X number of years). But you get a choice of which company manages your account, matching employer contributions, and a small government contribution. Plus you can add any of your own money to it as well. I do know this kind of switch has been made in other countries, all around that time and later.
@Kathy: 2) They buy government bonds or T bills. Then they cash them as needed. I read somewhere there’s actually a filing cabinet stuffed with paper certificates in some small town in KY. GOPs would like to find some way to not honor those debts.
@gVOR08: i just love that somebody downvoted us. 😀
@Kathy: @gVOR08: is correct.
That’s easy. Simply say “We have no money to pay these,” and default on them. Then China and who knows who else will rush to cash their US Treasury bonds and bankrupt the country. Then get Deutsche Bank to get you some nice Russian mob money and start over.
Greatest deal ever!!
“Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
@Teve: @gVOR08:..somebody downvoted us.
You are in good company. Someone dnvoted John Steinbeck and John Ford…
@wr:..John Mitchell said that Nixon did nothing wrong in Watergate — maybe you could flag that for us next time…
The same John Mitchell that said this:
Pentagon now says as many as 34 Service Members suffered concussions after the Iranian Missile Strikes…many more than the 11 they previously stated…which was many more than the 0 casualties Trump told us about.
8 have been returned Stateside.
9 are still in Germany.
So…at minimum…there were 17 casualties. Not 0.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl: And that’s probably only counting the Americans. There were probably Iraqi troops there, as well, and who knows who else.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl: The administration may have lied about casualties, or given the situation, there may well have been genuine confusion on the subject. If they lied, they lied, for the only time I can think of, to support doing the right thing, not escalating. So I’m not going to beat them up for it. It’s not like there’s a shortage of things to beat them up for. And yes, the press ought to be reporting Iraqi, or other, casualties.
@gVOR08: Indeed there is no end to the lying. I haven’t heard the recording, but according to a friend of mine, after Trump claimed that he never knew Lev Parnas, there is now an audio you can find of Trump and Parnas talking on the phone.
@Kathy: Just to elaborate a little on previous answers:
The money collected by SS is first used to fund current expenses. They write checks on it, like they always have. What’s left over (and there has been something left over since they organized things this way in 1985 or so) is put in the SS Trust Fund. The Trust Fund consists of US Government bonds, but they are bonds of a sort that the general public is not allowed to buy. They accrue interest and so on like any other bond, though. There’s nothing “funny money” about it, the bonds are real. But the special issue nature probably makes a bunch of other accounting headaches go away.
At some point, maybe this year, we won’t have a surplus any more, and those bonds will have to be redeemed. The only place it makes sense to redeem them from is the General Fund, which means 1) higher taxes, or 2) spending cutbacks or 3) bigger deficits or possibly 4) all of the above
@Jay L Gischer:
Thanks. that was very informative.
But: 4) raise the retirement age (more), 5) all of the above.
@gVOR08: Which is why it’s far better to simply either skip over his post altogether or scratch one’s head thinking “I wonder what his point was” before moving on.
I’m sure he had a point, but since he didn’t share it with us, there’s nothing to respond to. It’s sad that he doesn’t have time out of his schedule as MOTU to explain his stuff, but one of the responsibilities of the role is to make the time. Oh well…
I could grudgingly give them a pass on the initial 0 causality count under that theory. Deescalation in tense situations in order to preserve lives is an admirable intention I support even if I was seething about my loved one’s injury being publicly denied. I’d hate their guts for acting like the injured didn’t exist but if it kept anyone else from being injured in stupid pissing matches, I’d…… think before spitting on them, at least. A lie in the service of truth is still a lie, after all but better that then hyping it up for more action.
However, they keep downplaying it. Trump’s own words were a dismissive “They had headaches”. One hell of a headache to be going on weeks later that keeps you in the hospital, huh? I’m still salty they’re acting like this was nothing much and people’s lives haven’t been permanently affected by it. Because let’s face it – if you got sent home over this, you got *hurt* but can hopefully recover. If you’re still in the hospital almost 3 weeks later? There’s a good chance you’re going to suffer a lifelong disability. They deserve to have people understand what happened to them, not have it swept under the rug because it’s politically inconvenient.
@Mister Bluster: I prefer the Woody Guthrie song — condenses the movie down to 6 minutes, and easy to play on the banjo (probably easy on the guitar too, but I got me a banjer).
The novel is good, but so very long.
I very nearly ruined a good friendship in a high school dispute over the pronunciation of the name Rosasharn.
This, Kathy, is the true test of leadership and this is the leadership we have chosen for America now. Unfortunately, this leadership has extended well beyond the bounds of our sandbox here.
And still, Kathy, you are stuck with Ozymandias.
Baron Corbin speaks: “Luck is for losers”. See his interview:
I prefer the book, but I also have a lecture I used to give on the topic of derivative works in copyright (one work of art relying on a predecessor), following the Steinbeck novel to the Ford film to the Guthrie song. While Guthrie could have written the song from reading the book and owed nothing to the movie, the story is that he wrote the song after seeing the movie, making the song derivative of both the book and the movie. Pro tip: If you haven’t listened to Springstein’s Ghost of Tom Joad album, go find it.
According to ABC, there’s a recording of Trump at an “intimate dinner” that Parnas attended saying that he wants Marie Yovanovich “taken out.” Sounds as if he wanted a hit performed.
This just broke a few hours ago. It might be what your friend is referring to. I can’t find anything about a phone call between Parnas and Trump.But it wouldn’t surprise me if there was one.
ETA didn’t see your post CSK. 😛
I’m not much for poetry. Those last lines of Shelley’s convey a powerful image of a great power in decay or collapse.
Is this the locution one uses when one wants an ambassador relieved of her post? “Take her out”? Really?
@Kathy: I’m a bit salty about ideas about reducing benefits or raising the retirement age because
1. I’m close to retirement age, which means,
2. I’ve been paying for both my parents (current expenses) AND myself (Trust Fund) over the last 30 years, and now you want to squeeze two more years out of me?
3. It’s time the income tax payers stepped up, particular the higher brackets. We’ve been giving them an easy ride for 40 years. They are the ones who are supposed to be funding the General Fund.
And he said that to Soviet- born businessman Lev Parnas, not State Department head Mike Pompeo.
Yeah. Why do you tell two rent-a-thugs you want an ambassador “taken out” rather than her boss, the SoS?
@Jay L Gischer:
No arguments from me. But do you think the GOP would pass up an opportunity to steal from the poor if they could get away with it?
This is just confirmation of what we already knew…but bigger picture…this stuff and more is just going to keep coming out. Do you want to be a Republican Senator who gave Trump a pass, and have something nasty come out later? That’s putting a lot of trust in a guy who cannot be trusted.
The reason I keep recognizing your references to this poem is because it was a favorite of mine during my pre-law, college English literature days. Quote all you want, and all of Shelley or Keats or Yeats. Ozymandias is always good with a self-obsessed tyrant, all the better for our current POTUS.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl: It has occurred to me that this Senate is likely to give Trump a walk, but what happens when Trump actually does what the House Managers keeps saying he will do, these things and worse. “I told you so” will be pretty cold comfort for a nation, but it would make a good epitaph for McConnell.
@Joe: I think I listened to The Ghost of Tom Joad when I was too young, and it’s cemented an opinion in my mind that it is a long, boring dirge.
I’m not a huge Springsteen fan — I should be, as he hits all the checkboxes for what I should like, and I love some of his songs, but the whole shebang… nope. My favorite Springsteen album is The Seeger Sessions, which is amazing and fun and joyous, even when depressing.
That might be my problem with a GoTJ — I want to have a good time when I’m being depressed. Phil Ochs is more my scene — listen to “Pretty Smart On My Part” and wallow in a horrifying description of the American right AND a catchy upbeat tune.
(Phil Ochs is interesting because you never know when he’s being sarcastic and when he is just delusional… like really delusional, in a medical sense)
Sigh… I guess it’s time to try to listen to GoTJ again and rediscover how much I think it’s well done and just don’t ever want to listen to it… I do that every few years.
I like Bruce Springsteen doing covers of other people’s songs (his version of Lorne’s “Royals” is fantastic), and other people’s versions of his songs…
I think Star Trek Picard premiered today.
My plan is to wait until there is a full season, then binge it with the one-month free trial of Amazon Prime (the series is available outside the US only on Amazon).
Today also brings, here at least, the next-to-last episode of The Good Place.
I know many have soured on the series, but I like how the finale is shaping up. I’d bet even money we’ll get a last twist at or near the end.
To be sure, some aspects seem to have taken place long after they should have. Like Chidi’s argument that the punishment aspect of the afterlife is cruel and out of proportion to the thing, let’s call them sins, which brings said punishment about. that’s like the easiest argument against religious notions of the afterlife.
I think it will make a damn good political ad against every single one of them.
#2 trend on Twitter right now is #TakeHerOut. Several people pointing out that trump’s catchphrase is you’re fired, but he didn’t say she was fired.
If Trump has the rationality of a brain-damaged mosquito, he’ll wait to do the really outrageous stuff until he wins reelection (perish the thought), or finds himself a lame duck with a big need to enshrine his ego permanently in the nation’s consciousness.
On the other hand, if he doesn’t (almost a given), he may do something like close the border, gather undocumented immigrants in mass, violent raids, or do something else that could possibly cost him the election.
But these days, who the hell can tell? His bases seems not just ready, but eager to accept any excuses he makes, if he bothers to make any, and minimize, or approve, any atrocity he might think of.
Is there anyone with an I.Q. over that of a turnip who doesn’t know what “take her out” means?
Trump Tweeted 54 times today before noon. Is that a record?
@CSK: Trump did 58 tweets in an hour on Dec 12.
and 142 in one day.
You need an IQ higher than a turnip’s to pretend it means anything else.
Hannity is going to interview Trump before the Super Bowl next Sunday.
I bet that will be hard-hitting journalism.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
True, but letting the truth come out now, and still voting for acquittal will make them look worse. And voting to convict will almost certainly get them a tweet attack and a primary. Doing what they’re doing, suppressing evidence to facilitate an acquittal vote is their best play with the hand they’ve got. They’re preserving the option, when X hits the fan a month or nine from now, of saying nobody told them about X. Hell, they’ll deny knowing stuff Schiff just told them.
@CSK: I don’t think there is sufficient time to vet the “take her out” recording for the Democrats to add it to their presentation that ends today.
Too bad for that, but I don’t doubt things like that will continue to make their way to the public square as time goes on, which will be someplace between gVOR08‘s “of saying nobody told them about X” and a basic “I told you so.”
Did any of you guys ever see this back in October? I don’t remember it coming up, but I wasn’t as “attentive” then, I was chasing cows and might’ve missed it.
“The Constitution doesn’t indicate that removal from office requires two-thirds of the Senate. It requires two-thirds of senators present for the proceedings.
The inclusion of this single word in the Constitution’s impeachment clauses shifts the mathematical ledger of how impeachment, however unlikely, could go down. It allows for the all-important two-thirds threshold to exist along a sliding scale—far from the full attendance of the 100-member Senate. In theory, a vote to convict the President (or anyone else) would count as legal with as few as 34 members, not 67, assuming the absolute minimum (51) participated.”
I would be interested in hearing opinions on this, given how some Republican senators seem to be missing parts of the trial.
Here’s the original article.
They’ll deny knowing things they did, said, and abetted. They’ll pull a Kerry and claim “I didn’t know about this even when I knew about this!”
I never trust an article that claims to present what the Constitution says, that does not quote the relevant article.
So, Article I, Section 3 states: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
So, if 100 members are present, you need 66.6666666666666666666666 ok, 67, to vote for conviction. if 99 are present, you only need 66 🙂 Sure, if 70 are present, 47 are enough to convict. But how do you keep out 30 members of the Moscow Mitch Senate?
the purpose of this clause may be to keep senators from derailing an impeachment by boycotting the trial. If they don’t attend and don’t vote, the remainder can still carry out a conviction.
Mary Louise Kelly of NPR interviewed Pompeo.
She asked about Ukraine.
It did not go well.
Dare we hope that some who don’t dare vote to acquit could bring themselves to stay away instead? Then they can truthfully say that they didn’t vote against the President… They might even be able to spin it to the rubes that it was a principled protest against a patently unfair proceeding that was rigged. We already know these people will believe anything.
@Mike in Arlington: holy Forking Shirt.
@DrDaveT: That’s what I was thinking, but then I figured there’s no way Moscow Mitch will let them get away with that.
Can you imagine the Presidential tweetstorm that would occur?!
Oh dear god. You will soon be seeing the new logo for the space force, and it will be compared to the United Federation of Planets logo.
I think it will, as you say, all come out in drips, like a leaky faucet. Cult45 will ignore it, or not hear about it, given that they’ve decided that The Gateway Pundit, The Conservative Treehouse, American Greatness, and Breitbart are the only legit sources of news.
I’m far from knowing all I should about the Senate, but it seems to me current rules give way too much power to the majority leader. When I said “the Moscow Mitch Senate,” I meant it’s his personal rubber stamp, so long as what he wants can’t be stopped by a filibuster.
Perhaps an honest, honorable majority leader can handle the rules in a constructive fashion. but we’ve seen them used to merely obstruct and not do very much.
Perhaps when drafting rules in politics, you have to assume that the worst possible person will have a position of great power. granted this is a reaction to the past few years, specifically to Moscow Mitch and Dennison the Moron, but examples of bad rulers are plentiful in history: Caligula, Nero, Thrax, Elagabalus, Napoleon III, Stalin, hitler, Ceaușescu, Mao, Nixon, etc.
But, what does it mean when someone with the IQ of a turnip uses it?
I can absolutely believe that Trump talks like a tough guy (well, a weak person’s idea of what a tough guy sounds like), but doesn’t intend to ever do anything tough. That seems like his entire character.
Because you manage a large government like a small family business and assume that there are no set roles for anyone.
“Tell the bill collectors to pound sand.” “Take out the ambassador…”
Still no comment from the Trumpers. Must be waiting on Hannity to tell them what to say.
Is the ambassador dead? No? Just fired? I guess he meant fired.
Why not just say so, then? Say: “I want her fired.” And why not ask someone who could fire her, like Pompeo, instead of two rent-a-thugs?
@95 South: You forgot the other important part….fired because she was standing in the way of him attempting to influence the 2020 election. Probably lucky she’s alive, and her saving grace may have been that he does not ACTUALLY “hire the best people”.
A few weeks ago I asked in one of these threads why Senators had to be present. Several people replied that they’re required to be present. That didn’t really answer the question. Around here we’re required to drive 70 or less on I-75. No one does. I’ve seen that twenty GOPs have left the chamber at one time or another. If nothing bad happens to them, they’re not really required to be present.
Apropos the Citizens United thread, I can’t help but suspect some of the senators felt a pressing need to do what they spend all their time doing, fund raising.
I don’t think 1 GOP, much less 30, would have the stones to be absent from the vote, but it is an entertaining thought.
Republican senators are now claiming they can’t vote against Trump because Adam Schiff hurt their widdle Fee-fees. They are lying, but the amazing thing is that they’re lying to claim they are precious snowflakes instead of cowards.
On the next open forum (I don’t have time right now), an old idea of mine that reawakened with the latest episode of the Good Place: Can we ever know everything there is to know about the universe?
@Kathy:..Can we ever know everything there is to know about the universe?
Todays crop of Earthlings and those that are in the womb now?
Or all of humankind and our successors as “we” blaze toward infinity?
Ideally humanity in the abstract, including whichever species we evolve into, or whatever human-built machine replaces us. But also any other sentient species which may exist now, or may have existed in the past, or may exist in the future.
@Kathy:..Can we ever know everything there is to know about the universe?
I’ll get back to you.
No. That would require storage greater than the universe, existing within the universe.
Edge case: nothing in the universe is actually knowable. Here we define away the problem.
Edge case: “we” are the universe. I’m not sure that a hydrogen atom in deep space can know anything, but…
Edge case: we destroy the universe, including ourselves. This is more of a divide 0 by 0, really.
TMZ: Basketball legend Kobe Bryant one of several dead in copter crash
DAMN! RIP Kobe