Post-NH Forum

It's time for some over-reaction Wednesday.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. 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). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I read this piece this AM (NYT): Meet the Unlikely Hero Saving California’s Oldest Weekly Paper
    High in the Sierra, Downieville, Calif., was about to become the latest American community to lose its newspaper. In stepped Carl Butz, a 71-year-old retiree.

    As always when reading about a place, I felt the need to place it on a map. I googled it and has become my habit clicked on both the google map and the Wikipage for Downieville CA. I have learned to expect no more than 2 or 3 paragraphs about such small towns, but every now and again I am pleasantly surprised by a colorful history or engaging present. Such is the case with Downieville, including one particular character from it’s gold rush days, Josefa Segovia, “known to be the first woman to be executed by hanging in California.”

    Josefa was probably not married to José, but she did live with him. Therefore, she received a bad reputation.[4] According to one account, Juanita (read Josefa) was slender and barely five feet (1.5 m) tall.[5] The same account states that Josefa was beautiful, vivacious and intelligent. Some say that she was not at all disliked in the mining camp in Downieville.[5]

    Downie relates the story in the following fashion. Juanita had accompanied her partner to Downieville from Mexico and both lived in an adobe house. Downie states, “Whether she was his wife or not makes no difference in this story.” He further describes her figure as “richly developed and in strict proportions.” Only her temper was “not well balanced.” Celebrating the Fourth of July, Cannon and companions were returning from the dram shop at a late hour, with Cannon staggering from the influence of liquor. Along the way, he stumbled through the door of the adobe hut. His friends quickly pulled him back outside and they proceeded home. Mortified the next morning of his embarrassing blunder, he proceeded to the hut to offer an apology in Spanish. This did not go well with the Mexican couple, and Juanita grew angry. In a rage, she drew a knife and stabbed Cannon. Soon a “mob of infuriated men” gathered, ready to invoke the “miner’s law” of a “Life for Life”. Only a Mr. Thayer came to her defense, but to no avail as she was quickly tried and found guilty.
    ……………………
    For the lynching, a scaffold was constructed on the bridge over the Yuba River.[9] The town came to stand on the banks of the river and watch her execution. It was an important event to lessen the anger of the townspeople over Cannon’s death. Josefa was hanged immediately following the trial, and some accounts say that her last words before she was executed were “Adiós Señores”.[17] She is widely known to be the first woman to be executed by hanging in California [9] Mr. Manly wrote, “Juanita went calmly to her death. She wore a Panama hat, and after mounting the platform she removed it, tossed it to a friend in the crowd, whose nickname was ‘Oregon,’ with the remark, ‘Adios, amigo.’ Then she adjusted the noose to her own neck, raising her long, loose tresses carefully in order to fix the rope firmly in its place; and then, with a smile and wave of her hand to the bloodthirsty crowd present, she stepped calmly from the plank into eternity. Singularly enough, her body rests side by side, in the cemetery on the hill, with that of the man whose life she had taken.” Mr. Manly’s book is generally a first person account of his experiences migrating to California to mine for gold. Although he did mine for gold near Downieville in 1851, he, by his own account, was not in Downieville on the dates in question. He does not cite the source for his version of the events though it seems conceivable he heard eye-witness accounts.

    Some witnesses recalled Juanita saying before she died: “‘I would do the same again if I was so provoked.'”

    She must have been one hell of a woman.

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  2. drj says:

    This is genuinely bad:

    In an extraordinary decision overruling career lawyers, the Justice Department recommended an unspecified term of incarceration for Mr. Stone instead of the prosecutors’ request of a punishment of seven to nine years. The move coincided with Mr. Trump’s declaration on Twitter early Tuesday that the government was treating Mr. Stone too harshly.

    Icing on the cake:

    The line prosecutors were even more upset because they were told that they would be reversed only after Fox News had reported it late Tuesday morning, according to people familiar with the situation.

    This is how authoritarian regimes start: every day another small step until the rule of law and democracy are completely hollowed out.

    While Trump’s character may not have changed, what he can get away with has; and that is what ultimately determines how bad things are going to get.

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  3. Hal_10000 says:

    I don’t want to get my hopes up. But Klobuchar has had a great week or two. Excellent debate. Survived Iowa. Now a very close third in NH. I still don’t see a path to the nomination for her (she’s below 5% in national polls). But she’s one of the few I think could beat Trump. And watching her speak lately she’s seemed almost Presidential.

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @drj:
    A counter-intuitive take on this…
    We are much better off with Trump behaving like this.
    Everything crazy thing he does, like this, loses him votes.
    And everyday the Republican party loses members.
    His base is shrinking, incrementally, every day…thru his own radical behavior, and thru attrition.
    The Democratic turnout in NH last night surpassed the previous 2008 turnout record…and 10% of Republicans actually voted against Trump.
    Just keep doing what you are doing Donnie.
    And if the world is just, the SDNY will be waiting for you, with hand-cuffs, when you leave the WH next January.

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  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:
  6. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    To paraphrase Solon: Count no one better off until Trump is out of office.

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  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Hal_10000:
    In general…I like Klobachar…but the fact remains that she votes for every one of Trumps un-qualified judges.
    And she should have done better in IA, which borders her home state.
    Just the same…this election cycle…no matter who, I’ll still vote Blue.

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  8. Mr. Prosser says:

    Although I’ll vote for any Democrat in November I don’t see anyone in the NH results who can beat the present occupant. I’ll probably PO everyone here but Bloomberg is looking to me much more viable.

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  9. Kathy says:

    Today on Aviation news, Air Italy calls it quits.

    The notable aspect is that Qatar Airways owned 49% of it, which led the US big three to complain it effectively worked as a fifth freedom carrier for Qatar. In fact, it was nothing of the sort.

    But it had ambitions to displace Alitalia as Italy’s national carrier. not unreasonable, seeing as Alitalia is perpetually underwater. But there it is.

    BTW, Air Italy was known as Meridiana until 2016, when Qatar made its investment.

    I often think if I had a dollar for every airline that failed, I’d be able to buy an airline 😉

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  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    I’ll probably PO everyone here but Bloomberg is looking to me much more viable.

    I’m leaning in that direction. But I wonder if it’s because I see him running the ads that I wish everyone else would be running? And they probably would if they had his $$$.
    I hate to think that someone can simply buy the election.
    As much as I hate Chris Matthews…I think he was right when he said;

    …right now we just need a designated driver, someone sober who can get us back home safely.

    I am in near-constant fear that Democrats are going to blow this, while fighting over policies that has no chance of ever getting enacted.

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  11. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Bloomberg may have a problem with the audio recording of his defense of stop and frisk. I’m not so sure that he’s going to stay strong.

    That said, I’m right there with you about the dems blowing it. They have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s enough to drive one to drink.

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  12. EddieInCA says:
  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I suspect stop and frisk doesn’t matter to 90% of Democratic voters. It’s too far in the weeds. We talk about it here but out in the 2 Broke Girls world I think it’s just background noise

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  14. @EddieInCA: The electorate is so sufficiently sorted and polarized that no matter who is nominated, it is going to be close.

    Don’t forget this: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

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  15. wr says:

    @Mike in Arlington: “That said, I’m right there with you about the dems blowing it. They have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s enough to drive one to drink.”

    Oh, for God’s sake — enough! If you want to spend your life wallowing in self-pity, just go ahead and become a Republican Evangelical. If you want to make some change in the world, then stop whining about how terrible the Democrats always are, and how they’re blowing it — no matter what they do or what happens, they’re blowing it.

    Yes, everyone is tense, everyone is scared, and everyone is convinced that the ONLY POSSIBLE CANDIDATE WHO CAN BEAT TRUMP is the one they happen to support at the moment.

    The fact is, no one knows who can beat Trump. So all of you, stop whining about trying to figure out who your neighbor’s sister’s aunt might vote for and just support the candidate you believe is best for the job.

    And if someone else wins, then rally around him or her. Even if that person turns out to be an icky socialist or a disgusting billionaire.

    Make a positive case, and when you’re done, sit down and shut up.

    And sorry that this fire hose is aimed at you, Mike in Arlington. It’s meant for the constant stream of posters here echoing your message… including a lot of people I happen to like a lot, when they’re not whining about how awful their party is.

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  16. @wr: Let me amplify your critique of “I’m right there with you about the dems blowing it. They have a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”

    Recently, the Democrats won back the House in 2018.

    Over time, the Democrats have won all but one popular vote for president since 1992 (losing only 2004).

    So, the notion that the Dems always muck it up seems more than a bit overhyped.

    The EC had caused a Dem loss twice (and yes, maybe, a smarter HRC campaign could have averted that in 2016).

    The structure of the Senate itself really makes it difficult for Ds to control the place.

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  17. reid says:

    @drj: Yes, this should be huge news. It’s not just an out-of-control president; it’s a group of like-minded corrupt people at the top, particularly at AG. Where will they draw the line? Now that anything goes, thanks to the Senate, will they push the limits? You know there are Republicans that have no qualms about messing with elections. You know Russians and others are going to interfere. You know Trump will do whatever it takes to win. How does this end?

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  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Everything crazy thing he does, like this, loses him votes.

    Not automatically, no. It should — but America is sufficiently ignorant and brainwashed at the moment that it will take effective positive action by the Democrats to make America aware of the cancer, explain why it’s fatal if untreated, and offer a cure. Until then, as much as certain issues are very important to me, [edited] focusing exclusively on wealth inequality or climate change or unequal justice or even health care is unhelpful.

    I’m not really seeing that from any Dem candidate at the moment. The fact that Bloomberg is coming closest of all of them scares me.

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  19. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @wr: You know, there’s some truth in what you and Steven say. Yes, sometimes the dems look like keystone cops, but they won back the house in 2018, something I didn’t think would happen after the 2016 election. I also grew up watching the republicans run rings around the democrats in the 70s and 80s, and the democratic party of today is vastly improved over those times, so maybe I should chill the f*** out.

    However, what really concerns me and is the root of my pessimism is that it seems to me that the democrats don’t get crafting and broadcasting a simple, unified message.

    Trump is bad, like comically bad. I don’t mean “evil”, although he’s that too, but incompetent, dim, and a buffoon. To the point that he shouldn’t be given anything more complicated than a short piece of string, but we don’t really see that message being hammered home every day by the democrats.
    He’s also incredibly, comically weak, and overcompensates in the most clumsy and foolish way. But I don’t see that being exploited by the democrats either.

    Good god, look at his budget. He’s cutting CDC while the coronavirus is still an unknown threat. How is this even remotely a good idea? Does trump really think that the coronavirus is going away with the heat like he said? Does he think that there won’t be another potential pandemic? Yes, I saw Schumer (I think) discuss this within the past day or two, but this is something that has to be hammered home each and every single day, and it should be framed as “trump is incompetent, if he’s doing this right now, what else is he fumbling?” And I just don’t see it. Instead they describe him as “dangerous”, which feeds into the opposite image of him, because if he’s dangerous, then he’s a threat because he’s strong and competent.

    I realize it’s not this simple because nothing ever is (and if it were, the democrats would already be doing it). There’s a ton of other things going on and there could have been times that the democrats have tried this issue and it got drowned out. But it seems to me that this sort of message would play better than the “he’s racist!” “he’s dangerous!” message, which is something I have heard since 2015.

    I have another bit to go on about the evolution of the democratic party, but I’ve gone on too long as it is.

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  20. wr says:

    @Mike in Arlington: “I also grew up watching the republicans run rings around the democrats in the 70s and 80s, and the democratic party of today is vastly improved over those times, so maybe I should chill the f*** out.”

    The fear of McGovern, and the fear of being called hippies, crippled the Democratic party for two decades. It wasn’t until Clinton came along they pulled themselves out of their defensive crouch. But even now there are people on this forum screaming that it’s McGovern all over again — as if the 1972 election wasn’t a product of a specific time in our history.

    For two decades the Democrats would not run an ideologically left candidate for fear of being accused of being McGovern. And so we lost and lost and lost with a stream of boring technocrats. Even Mondale, a fine man and a real lib, ran that way. And boy, did he lose.

    People assume it’s impossible for a candidate to win with a strong left message. But that’s all based on McGovern. No one has tried — that is, no one has had the chance in a general election. All the pundits who tell you that Bernie can’t win but Bloomberg can — they’re still replaying 1972. And who knows, maybe they’re right. But if so it’s not because of any evidence or history that tells them so — because Dukakis and Gore and Kerry all ran not as lefties but as fixit guys and they all flamed out.

    The crazy thing is that Gore’s polling went up when he started talking like the real liberal he was — I believe it was “the people versus the powerful.” But his professional consultants told him he had to cut that out, and he listened to them. And what America was left with was a man who refused to stand up for what he believed in — a surefire disaster every time.

    Maybe what these times demand is a cranky old Bronx Jew who will yell at clouds for us. I have absolutely no idea. And the only difference between me and all those people who tell us exactly who is and who is not electable is that I’m willing to admit it…

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  21. Mike in Arlington says:

    @wr: I’m actually in full agreement with you. I’d love to see an actual liberal stand up and run like he or she means it. And Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (along with some of the newer democrats in the house) seem like they’re ready to, which is incredibly heartening to me.

    But you’ll notice I don’t mention ideology, just tactics (I know that there are “moderates” and never trumpers that try to equate tactics/strategy with ideology, but that’s not what I’m talking about). It seems to me that the democrats don’t know how to fight when they could have a winning message, and it’s infuriating. And a lot of it comes down to message crafting and message discipline. They don’t need to repeat the same exact quotes, but everybody should be on roughly the same page when facing the media.

    None of this is to say that they haven’t gotten better. They have. The bit that I think encapsulates the democratic party in the 80s is an SNL skit of a Dukakis and Bush debate. Bush spewed forth with his standard verbal salad a couple of times and Jon Lovitz as Dukakis said “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy.”

    But getting back to my core thought, I believe that Trump is beatable in a way that his supporters don’t expect, and I worry that we are giving up this opportunity.

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  22. wr says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I agree he’s beatable — I just think it’s a little early to worry we’re giving up the opportunity. All the Dems are running against each other now, and there’s no electoral logic to spending all their time bashing Trump — because they all agree and they need to differentiate themselves. (Plus, let’s not forget all the months that pundits both employed and self-styled, preached that Dems can’t just run on how terrible Trump is — they need to offer a positive vision of themselves…)

    I understand the fear, panic, anger, depression and horror. I feel it myself every day. My way of dealing with it is to decide the primary is over for me, especially since by the time New York votes, it will be. The only candidate I’m passionate about is Warren, and now that she seems to be fading, my preferred candidate is anyone who gets the nomination. Takes a little of the stress out of life…

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  23. Kathy says:

    It’s time to stop pondering economic theories, and to measure what the application of such theories has actually accomplished.

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  24. Matt says:

    @EddieInCA:I wasn’t around to see that election first hand. Based on what I’ve seen though Nixon was a sharp politician and was definitely a “tricky dick”. He was quite liberal and didn’t like the “far right” as he called them which included Buckley jr. He signed the tax reform act of 1969 and created the EPA among other liberal policies. His healthcare plan was arguably more liberal than the ACA or “hillarycare”. You don’t have to look far to find articles written by prominent right wingers decrying Nixon as a secret liberal.

    Other than the racist tendencies I see no connection between Nixon and Trump.

    Could you help me see it?

    I know far less about George McGovern other than he honorably served in the military and was against the Vietnam war (which probably did him no favors). I imagine the guaranteed minimum income thing went over like an anvil. That SOUNDS LIKE COMMUNISM!!!! and all that cold war crap.

    I dunno the whole election is kind of weird. A republican from California wrecked the Democratic candidate from South Dakota..

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  25. Teve says:

    @EamonJavers

    Per pool reporter, President Trump was just asked in the Oval if he would pardon Roger Stone. He replied:
    “I don’t want to say that yet.”

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  26. Kathy says:

    The first time I read “1984,” I felt like throwing the book at the wall when I reached the end. I didn’t, because a friend had lent me their book.

    I just finished rereading it for the first time since, and I felt pretty much the same. this time I didn’t throw it against the wall, because I read it on my phone, and I didn’t feel like breaking it.

    From this we can learn that book-throwing has gotten no easier since 1985.

    What is remarkable, aside from realizing I can remember decades back now (yikes!), is how much of it I did recall rather well. Not just the politics, the propaganda tactics, the party ideology, the history, Goldstein’s explanation, and so on, but much of the story and characters as well. about the only part I misremembered was when Julia first approaches Winston. I remembered it as having happened rather early, not about one third in.

    I should reread Animal Farm next.

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  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieInCA:..1972 Nixon v. McGovern.

    Thanks for the memories…I think…
    That was my first President USA election.
    I couldn’t vote in 1968 as I was 20 and the voting age then was 21.
    Just before the ’72 election I moved from Jackson County, the only county in Illinois that George McGovern carried, to the tiny village of Colp (next door to the notorious
    No. 9, Illinois) in neighboring Williamson County.
    Moved into the new place in time to register at the Old Courthouse. I didn’t even have a street address. The streets in Colp did not have names and I picked up my mail General Delivery at the Colp Post Office.
    I don’t remember what building the polling place was in just that it was near the Glass Pitcher. A roadhouse run by Junior Hatchett, “Ma” Hatchett’s son.
    They had the old clunky voting machines that you walked into and pulled a handle that closed a privacy curtain behind you. Just as I was about to pull the lever to vote a straight Democratic ticket (abolished in Illinois in 1997) one of the election workers, a black woman who had been siting at the table where I had signed in, stuck her head inside the curtain and said: “If you need help I can show you how to vote a straight Republican ticket.”
    YES! SHE SAID THAT!
    “No thank you.”
    To this day I wonder if my vote was ever counted.

    *Every now and then when I was driving the Sleepytown Yellow Cab in the early ’70s some old guy would get off the train from Chicago or Saint Louis or New Orleans and ask me if Ma Hatchett’s was still in business. I’m pretty sure that they knew it wasn’t.
    “No. But I’ve heard of the place.”
    They would then tell me their tales about how they met people from all over the world at Ma Hatchett’s in No. 9 in Bloody Williamson County, Illinois.

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  28. DrDaveT says:

    @wr:

    People assume it’s impossible for a candidate to win with a strong left message. But that’s all based on McGovern. No one has tried — that is, no one has had the chance in a general election. All the pundits who tell you that Bernie can’t win but Bloomberg can — they’re still replaying 1972.

    I think you are filtering some of this conversation through your personal lens that assumes voters only respond to policy issues.

    At present, the reason I think Bloomberg might beat Trump and Bernie won’t is because Bloomberg might actually be willing to campaign on how corrupt and self-serving the Trump administration is, and Bernie is too busy railing about systemic problems that have nothing to do with Trump. It’s not that his message is too far to the left; it’s that it’s too disconnected from the current GOP reality. He’s not wrong; he’s Crazy Eddie.

    You said in another thread that yeah, when you’re bleeding a band-aid looks attractive. The US is not ‘bleeding’ at the moment — it’s going into full-on sepsis. Emergency response is required, and Bernie is still talking about improving diet and exercise.

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  29. Kurtz says:

    @Matt:

    I know far less about George McGovern other than he honorably served in the military and was against the Vietnam war (which probably did him no favors). I imagine the guaranteed minimum income thing went over like an anvil.

    This may surprise you. Until the villain’s hero is identified.

    The next year, Richard Nixon was on the verge of making these economists’ dream a reality by enacting an unconditional income for all poor families. It would have been a massive step forward in the War on Poverty, guaranteeing a family of four $1,600 a year, equivalent to roughly $10,000 in 2016.

    […]

    The next year, Richard Nixon was on the verge of making these economists’ dream a reality by enacting an unconditional income for all poor families. It would have been a massive step forward in the War on Poverty, guaranteeing a family of four $1,600 a year, equivalent to roughly $10,000 in 2016.
    But not everyone was pleased with the findings. Martin Anderson, a Nixon adviser and great admirer of libertarian philosopher Ayn Rand, vehemently opposed the plan, fearing a future where money was considered a basic right. The concept of a basic income ran counter to everything he (and his idol) believed in: the smallest possible government with the greatest possible individual responsibility.

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  30. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You’re assuming that Sanders won’t pivot in the general. He is a better politician than his reputation.

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: You make a good point. Bernie never gives more than a cursory answer to any question and then he pivots to what he wants to talk about. And the thing is, Bernie only ever talks about one thing. He talks about the rich screwing the poor. Fine. That’s good, as far as it goes. But he never talks about schools or health care (in any meaningful way – it’s only about how the current system screws the poor). He never talks about his personal experiences or his family. No faith or values. Never his love of his hometown or state. He never talks about other people. Never. He never talks about how he and his allies accomplished some great victory – he has no allies. None. And he has never accomplished anything by himself other than get a whole bunch of people to donate to his campaign, and so yes, he talks about that constantly. But in a months long election campaign he’s eventually gotta talk about something else. And I don’t think he has anything.

    I’m willing to concede that my dislike of the man is coloring my judgement. Can anyone point me to things he’s talked about for more than a sentence or two that is outside his one issue or his 2016 campaign?

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  32. Kurtz says:

    @Kathy:

    On economic theory:

    Yes. Here you go, Kathy.

    A little different from your post, but worth reading. Actually, Aeon is super interesting in general. But the economics essays are almodt universally interesting.

    I was posting about the unconditional stipend considered by Nixon before I got to your post. A Randian advisor got the best of him.

    The current dominant practices in Economics are deeply flawed.

    Too much math.

    The basic assumptions–homo economicus, no arbitrage, perfect information–are to some extent fine, if dubious. I suspect that those assumptions get swept aside as more complex theories with their own potentially dubious assumptions get built upon the foundation.

    The late 19th century push to rename political economy to economics, which led to…

    Treating it as a science alongside Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. No matter the structure of a society, the laws of physics, biology, and chemistry cannot be changed. But change the structure of a society, and economics change. In short: there is no such thing as a natural market.

    The most fundamental skill in the hard sciences is measurement. Without precise and accurate measurements, results are in error. e.g. value is approximate and relative to an individual and a society; utility cannot be quantified except approximately.

    Also related to the divorce of economics from politics: treating it like a science leads to a veneer of objectivity that hides the ideological nature of schools of economics. The scientific method is aimed at science as a value-neutral discipline. Ideology is an imposition of values. This is similar to universities that require faculty and students to sign a statement of faith that includes the belief in young earth creationism. Yes, they have biology departments.

    Example: Koch funded economics departments that teach a particular ideology as a science. Rather than an inquiry into social behaviors and their relationship to political systems, it seeks to measure and evaluate behavior against an arbitrary standard that is considered objective. In this way, it turns an individual from an autonomous subject into an object to be evaluated and judged–coercion and social control by other means. Hardly liberating.

    One more: despite Nozick being highly influential in political theory, you don’t hear much about him in American (right-wing) libertarian circles, which takes economics as the fourth science governed solely by math. Why is he ignored? Because he acknowledges that government isn’t inherently immoral, because it can be formed with consent.

    RW Libertarians see economics as descriotive of objective markets–spontaneous ordering of society without a hierarchical structure as opposed to inorganic government which interferes with this process and as a result, violates natural rights. They see economics as a replacement for politics, seeinf the accumulation of wealth as earned power rather than the arbitrary power bestowed upon the rulers of the path by an imaginary god.

    Economics is the new theism. The mysterious, never completely knowable invisible hand of market forces is God, Economists and financial gurus the clergy, and John Galt the Pope.

    On 1984:

    I prefer Brave New World. But they are linked. H/T Neil Postman. Given enough cultural and chemical Soma, endless pleasure replaces thought, analysis, and social interactions with the most shallow of human experience–cheap, unearned hits of dopamine and seratonin. While everyone is in the pleasurable haze, knowledge a mere bore, a Trump (Galt) rises to power, and reorders society as a tribute to himself. We end up in 1984.

    It pisses me off that the right uses Orwell’s novels to indict socialism, given that Orwell considered himself a Democratic Socialist.

    It pisses me off that the Alt-Right uses Fight Club and The Matrix. The former is a criticism of masculinity. The latter is a exegesis of modern techniques of power that impose arbitrary, articficial constraints on the individual; given that the creators of the series are transgender, it seems at odds with alt-right ideology.

    Oh shit, full circle.

    Good night, Kathy and the rest of you scoundrels, ne’er do wells, and lovely people.

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  33. Kurtz says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Well, that’s the thing. When human experience is reduced to production that is evaluated and priced by the market, individuals are reduced to a value in currency.

    When natural rights become mediated by money, the system is no longer subject to the consent of the people, but the few who have the most currency. Meaning, an individual’s biological needs–food; water; clothing; shelter; security; inevitably in everyone’s lifespan, healthcare–are contingent upon participation in the economy, and said participation is subject to the consent of the owners of capital, liberty only exists for the owner(s). Sounds a little like feudalism, no?

    If those things are true, there really is only one relevant topic of conversation.

    Now really, good night, fine people and Guarneri.

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  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    You’re assuming that Sanders won’t pivot in the general. He is a better politician than his reputation.

    Do you have any evidence for that? I haven’t seen any evidence at all that Bernie is even aware of the problem. And, frankly, my default opinion of people his age is that they are not… adaptable.

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  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Kurtz: For the sake of argument, I’ll concede your point that Bernie is talking about the most important thing. But if talking about the most important thing was what people were looking for we wouldn’t have had a President Reagan or a President Bush Jr or a President Trump.

    If Bernie wins I’ll support him but only because he will be a “normal” disaster compared to the existential threat we currently have in the white house

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  36. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Guns, immigration, an ideologically inflexible person would have rejected ACA

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  37. Kurtz says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I agree with you. But i think he matches up with the feeling of the electorate–a mistake both parties made in ’16.

    If you can’t tell, I’m not a Bernie Bro. I think a lot of people’s arguments against him–electability, inflexibility, socialist–are fine, but not nearly as conclusive as they are portrayed.

    I am very much to the Left, but pretending that he’s a card carrying socialist is simply not true.

    I’ve outlined my basic view of this election several times. It’s unconventional, and I expect most people not to agree. But it isn’t unfounded. Anyway, ill give you the brief version.

    1.) both parties failed to recognize the non-ideological, non-partisan, primal anger in the electorate in 2016.

    2.) That anger still exists

    3.) change voters dislike people who come across as politicians.

    4.) this is a unique opprtunity for Dems to elect someone on the Left.

    That’s it. Well, that, and electibility is an issue, but one that can’t truly be determined until after the fact. See Obama, Trump

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  38. Kathy says:

    @Kurtz:

    Thanks for the link. I’ll read it as time permits.

    The thing about economic theories is they are largely example-driven narratives, mostly using hypothetical examples. if you read the communist narrative, then communism makes perfect sense. It should lead to prosperity, freedom, and not require a totalitarian dictatorship at all.

    But when you implement an economic theory through policy, you often get Something else. See what communism begot. And yet, when faced with concrete proof of the theories outcome, people persist in holding on to the narrative.

    This is complicated because some theories do work either temporarily, or under certain conditions. So if taxes are so high they prevent the accumulation of investment capital, then cutting them produces more investment, larger growth, and even more fiscal revenue. But once they are at lower level, then cutting them produces no new investment, no more growth, and no more revenue.

    We have seen this, yet people persist int he narrative that it’s ok to cut taxes because they pay for themselves.

    Therefore it’s time to stop pondering such theories, and see what their application actually does.

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  39. Kathy says:

    @Kurtz:

    On 1984:

    I recently re-read Brave New World and posted a bit about it here.

    Anyway, I think the type of society in BNW is far more plausible from a sociological standpoint than that in 1984. But a 1984 type society is far more likely given human nature. Tellingly, Orwell sates the Inner Party, those who hold all power, makes 2% of the population (so it’s 100% larger than it needs to be!). Does that not sound familiar right now?

    BTW, I think BNW could be rewritten as a Utopia, even for the likes of Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson, though perhaps not for John the Savage.

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  40. Kurtz says:

    @Kathy:

    given human nature

    What is your stance on human nature?

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  41. Matt says:

    @Kurtz: Thank you so much for that link. As automation spreads a basic income is basically inevitable. The findings mentioned in the article are in line with what happened in the Stockton experiment.

    Nixon was such an odd character.

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