Tuesday’s Forum

Welcome to December.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
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). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    The latest from the ineffable Sidney Powell:
    1. She told Lou Dobbs that the FBI and the DOJ “need to be hosed out with Clorox and fire hoses.”
    2. She told Sean Hannity that a witness to “election irregularities” had been hospitalized after being beaten.

    This happened last night. She had quite an evening.

    Side note: The Trump Fan Club has decided it loathes Sean Hannity. I have not yet ascertained why.

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  2. CSK says:

    The answer to the question of why the Trump Fan Club has decided it hates Sean Hannity is…that Hannity suggested last night that Trump pardon himself and his family for any crimes they’ve committed during the past 4 years.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Say hello to the Freedom Farce. GOP messaging is little more than a very bad joke now.

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  4. wr says:

    @CSK: “She told Lou Dobbs that the FBI and the DOJ “need to be hosed out with Clorox and fire hoses.””

    My God, I find I actually agree with Sidney Powell on something!

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  5. wr says:

    And not to be going all De Stijl on y’all, but I have to say I’m really enjoying the Smashing Pumpkins’ new album Cyr. I’ve always loved their poppier side and been less than excited about the hardcore stuff — if they’d ever put out a whole album of stuff like 1979, Tonight Tonight and Disarm I would have been a huge fan. And Cyr is all melodic pop, great songwriting.

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  6. CSK says:

    @wr:
    I think your reasons might be different from hers.
    Quite different.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump lawyer: ex-election security chief Krebs should be ‘taken out and shot’

    Condemnation of Joe DiGenova’s remark about Chris Krebs was swift, including calls for his disbarment and the charge that he was behaving like a “mob attorney”.

    Krebs was fired as head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Cisa) on 17 November, not long after he said the election, contrary to Trump’s claims, “was the most secure in American history”.

    Krebs also used Twitter to publicly debunk Trump’s conspiracy theories.

    DiGenova defended the president in the Russia investigation and is now involved in attempts to overturn results in battleground states. The Trump campaign has won one lawsuit – and lost 39.

    DiGenova made the remark about Krebs on The Howie Carr Show, a podcast shown on YouTube and the Trump-allied Newsmax TV, on Monday.

    “Anybody who thinks the election went well,” he said, “like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity, that guy is a class A moron. He should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.”

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  8. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Oh, please. Adults know that Barr cooties are just a childish insult.

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  9. Kylopod says:

    @wr: What do you think of “Rhinoceros”? That was always one of my favorite songs by them.

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  10. Slugger says:

    I am just finishing up my reading of Ron Chernow’s biography of U.S. Grant, Grant. I’m amazed by the turmoil, violence, and outright murderous terrorism that marked the turning back of Reconstruction and the rise of the Democratic Solid South. Nightriders in Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and other states killed many blacks and some whites to suppress the vote in 1876. Republicans of the northern states largely turned a blind eye to this due to war fatigue and antipathy to blacks. Grant saw what was going on but was hampered in efforts to stop it by political considerations and lack of concern by high ranking people in his administration. Several hundred murders were committed in the southern states during that era. The terrorism was very effective in establishing the political structures of white supremacy that are still predominant. The Dixiecrats did change their name to Republicans, of course.
    I was educated in the North. I was not taught any of this.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: American history, no matter where it is taught, doesn’t often focus on the dark side. Much easier to pretend these things never happened.

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  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Freedom Force versus The Squad? What? Yikes, when did the country become a badly written comic book from the late 1950s? Yow!

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  13. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Just goes to show that no one is wrong 100% of the time–even if they don’t realize why they are right.

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  14. Kathy says:

    @Slugger:

    You may want to check out “Lies My teacher Told Me” By James W. Loewen, or “A People’s History of the United Sates” by Howard Zinn. For a shorter take, try “These Truths: A History of the United States” by Jill Lepore.

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  15. KM says:

    Why is everyone so surpised a nurse is bragging on TikTok she’s not taking COVID precautions at work or in private?

    Maskholes and idiots are EVERYWHERE, people. To use the parlance of the last couple of threads, they’re our neighbors after all.

    People mistakenly think because someone works with science they must understand or accept science. I don’t need to know how my car was designed in order to drive it, nor do I need to understand cybersecurity or coding to use a computer. Doctors and nurses are notorious for being into woo when their field suggests they really should know better. I cannot tell you how many anti-vax nurses I know and I’m related to a COVID floor nurse who doesn’t think it’s real (junk food ruined their immune systems and the flu got ’em!!). For God’s sake, we had an esteemed neurosurgeon still pushing oleander extract after he himself got really sick!

    This woman is caring for cancer patients and other immunocompromised people. She *will* kill someone eventually with these actions. The truly frightening thing is she’s not the only one out there and you’ll never know who’s caring for you if you or a loved one needs help. She was just dumb enough or a big enough attention whore to make it public. As a society, we trust doctors and nurse; we think they’re the representatives of medicine and instruments of healing. Always remember – they’re just people. They can be your Trump-loving, science-denying, COVID’s-a-hoax neighbors….. just in scrubs, ready to care for you when you need them most.

    Take no chances over the next few weeks, my friends. It’s gonna get *bad* and this lady could have been at your bedside.

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  16. Joe says:

    @Slugger:
    I read the Grant biography a few years ago and read Douglass last year. These really brought home to me the extent to which white supremacy has been an organized political effort and not just a confluence of bad behaviors.

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  17. Kylopod says:

    @KM:

    People mistakenly think because someone works with science they must understand or accept science.

    Dr. Ben Carson is a creationist.

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  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Kristofferson had it right and Janis drove it into our heads, I’ve begun humming the tune when someone starts about their freedumb.

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  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    @KM:

    Saw this morning that she’s been suspended.

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  20. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    As the release of vaccines nears, it’s becoming clear that the Trump Administration has no real plan to distribute them…leaving it mostly up to the States.
    Who could have possibly predicted this?

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  21. CSK says:

    According to ABC News, although the monolith has vanished from Utah, another was has appeared in…Romania.

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Want something else to worry about?

    Both Pfizer and Moderna are a bit misleading in how the describe their estimated near-ter production. Keep in mind both vaccines require two doses, some weeks apart. So, if they say “we can have 20 million doses by the end of the year,” they mean 20 million single doses, not double ones.

    This means if you get a shot on Dec. 15th, there may or may not be the second shot by early January.

    Now, considering the short shelf life at ultra low temperatures, and the fact they both plan to ramp up production, it seems more efficient to dispense all the early doses in single shots, and to acquire the second dose over the following weeks. But this may not work out well if whoever is in charge of distribution doesn’t get it that the 20 million doses given in December require another 20 million doses in January.

    I guess one dose has some effect, but we know not nearly enough.

    BTW, all the successful vaccines as yet use the more modern genetic engineering route to elicit immune response, rather than the older dead or weakened virus route (or fragments of virus). Moderna and Pfizer use mRNA to induce cells to make SARS-CoV-2 spikes. The Oxford/AstraZeneca uses a chimp adenovirus to do the same thing.

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  23. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    According to ABC News, although the monolith has vanished from Utah, another was has appeared in…Romania.

    It marks the next stage in troll evolution.

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  24. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    The logistics of production and distribution were always going to be a greater barrier to inoculation the populous, than the development of an effective vaccine. That the vaccine was developed so quickly is what the companies should be lauded for, not that it is simply effective. Early estimates for the approval of a vaccine was March, 2021.

    Early production should go well at Pfizer’s own facilities, but there will be inevitable problems at the manufacturers who have been contracted to ramp up production. Plus Moderna doesn’t have much production capacity at all so virtually all that production will be outsourced. Distribution and application will introduce thousands of people into the process and nearly as many potential points of failure. Get ready for the news stories of tractor trailers filled with vaccine being forgotten in parking lots or lost to the inevitable traffic accidents.

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  25. Kingdaddy says:

    @Slugger: You’re absolutely right. As a country, we need to prioritize better education about Reconstruction, with an emphasis on the fact that the US federal government had to fight a counterinsurgency and counterterrorism campaign after the Civil War. Here’s a prime example:

    https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/militia-wars-of-1868-1869-7904/

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  26. MarkedMan says:

    Yesterday, I posted an excerpt from a TPM post about why the tenets of modern conservatism made a tragically flawed response to the coronavirus inevitable, as long as Republicans retained power of any sort. I should make it clear that FWIW, my personal belief is that he modern tenets of conservatism are just so much gum flapping and that those in power who self-identify as conservative don’t base any of their calculation or actions based on those tenets. To me, Conservativism (capitol “C” conservatism, anyway) is about one thing and one thing only – maintaining the current social order and power structure. Everything else is just nonsense they pay people at right wing thing tanks to talk about as a cover for their actual plan.

    So – On one side, conservatives follow their principles, or at least attempt to. On the other, conservatives don’t care anything about those principles except for how they can be used as cover to promote their real agenda – keeping the po’s in place and keeping the wealthy unperturbed. But both of these result in the same outcomes for a wide variety of instances. To determine which side actually dominates we must look for a case where the two propositions would result in strikingly different outcomes and see what happens in reality.

    For this, I propose unions. Unions are a private sector method for a group of people to advance themselves economically and socially and as such, according to the self described tenets of conservatives they should be celebrated. But if the real end game of conservatives, consciously or (for some) unconsciously, is to keep the po’s in their place and the wealthy untroubled, then unions should be anathema, because the small and weak can use it to advance, taking dollars out of the pocket of the wealthy.

    How does this experiment play out in the real world? I can’t think of a single conservative that doesn’t absolutely despise unions. They hate unions, viscerally, even when they don’t have to interact with them. No better example of this is the celebration of Reagan crushing the Air Traffic Controllers Union, and the conservatives later renaming National Airport after him, probably jerking off to the thought of making the airport workers drive past that name everyday, and seeing it on every document they process. Because to a “true” conservative it’s not enough to crush the weak, but they must be humiliated and spat upon.

    All in all, the outcome of this thought experiment is pretty clear.

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  27. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan: Indeed.

    Once again, for your reading pleasure, we have that Demigod of Conservatism Adam Smith. This is from Chapter 8 of Book 1 of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations:

    [11] What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little as possible. The former are disposed to combine in order to raise, the latter in order to lower the wages of labour.

    [12] It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms. The masters, being fewer in number, can combine much more easily; and the law, besides, authorizes, or at least does not prohibit their combinations, while it prohibits those of the workmen. We have no acts of parliament against combining to lower the price of work; but many against combining to raise it. In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, a merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year without employment. In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.

    [13] We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of. Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen; who sometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions; sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of.

    “Right to work” is an even more offensive euphemism, to my ear, than “right to life”.

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  28. Loviatar says:

    @KM:

    Maskholes and idiots are EVERYWHERE, people. To use the parlance of the last couple of threads, they’re our neighbors after all.

    Yes they are, and because we’re only human ourselves, sometimes we’re get tired of having our health and our families health put at risk by these Maskholes as we try to help them. Eventually we get to a point where we lose our compassion and just don’t care about them any longer.

    —–
    Taylor Nichols, MD

    He came in by ambulance short of breath. Already on CPAP by EMS. Still, he was clearly working hard to breathe. He looked sick. Uncomfortable. Scared.

    As we got him over to the gurney and his shirt off to switch a a hospital gown, we all noticed the number of Nazi tattoos. 1/

    Pandemic patient with swastika tattoo leaves Nor Cal doctor questioning his compassion

    As Nichols stood outside the patient’s room, checking his protective gear, he paused. He never paused. He swore by the emergency medicine mantra, “Anyone, anytime, anything.” Whenever the job got hard, he had simply told himself, “They came here needing a doctor, and dammit, Taylor, you’re a doctor.” This time, it didn’t work. He stood outside the room of a man who, in a different decade, in a different country, would have sent his doctor to a death camp.

    .

    I feel for this doctor, I have a high level of empathy, but I’m not a very sympathetic person, I would have a very very hard time treating this patient.

    As I said in those threads, sometimes we just get tired and stop caring. ENOUGH

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  29. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT:

    “Right to work” is an even more offensive euphemism, to my ear, than “right to life”.

    Whenever something mentions “Right to Work” to me, I just complete the phrase for them: Right to Work for Less.

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  30. KM says:

    @Loviatar :
    One of the topics that kept coming up during my counseling days were caretakers who felt bad because they couldn’t care anymore. They felt like bad people because they had discovered an unpleasant truth about life: compassion is a limited (albeit regenerating) commodity and you can run of out f*cks to give quicker than you think. Caretaker burnout is very real and it’s not a personal or moral failing. Not having boundless compassion and willingness to help everyone means your name’s not Christ, that’s all. People get tired and people get frustrated at having to do thankless tasks for the ungrateful.

    We’re about to see a national caretaker burnout of our medical field and it’s not going to be pretty.

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  31. sam says:
  32. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “What do you think of “Rhinoceros”?”

    Don’t know it, but I’ll check it out!

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  33. KM says:

    @sam:
    I’m really curious at to where the “total loser” image kicks in for the average Repub. Seriously, Trump sold himself as the guy who can get things done, the Boss who out-Alpha’s his way to flawless victory. He makes the Deals, right? But he can’t seem to close this one. Can’t win with votes, can’t win in court, can’t win in recounts, can’t win by stopping certification, etc.

    Now this nonsense. Just can’t see to stop the Biden train. Weeks later, he’s still the loser. No matter what, he can’t spin the fact that he’s not POTUS in 50 days. Even screaming CHEATING!!11!! means he wasn’t able to overcome the cheaters like the weakling he is – he’s not able to retain power. When does it start to get embarrassing to watch this man keep losing over and over? When does he go from Alpha to cuck who can’t get things done in Average Joe’s eyes? Don’t they get second-hand embarrassment from watching them all fail so badly?

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  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan:

    To me, Conservativism (capitol “C” conservatism, anyway) is about one thing and one thing only – maintaining the current social order and power structure.

    Well, that certainly is what I always thought Conservatism was about when I was younger. It took deciding that the current social order wasn’t worth maintaining to cause me to look for a way out of the labyrinth.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott:

    … Right to Work for Less.

    The ones who trouble me the most reply to your response with “Exactly!” Of course, everyone around these parts knows that the people who end up working for less are pathetic losers who deserve what happens to them.

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  36. Loviatar says:

    @KM:

    People get tired and people get frustrated at having to do thankless tasks for the ungrateful.

    Building off of this comment, I think we’re going to see a national burnout, not one limited primarily to caregivers. I for one am tired and frustrated at having to do thankless tasks (wearing a mask, socially distance, etc.) for these ungrateful Maskholes. And while I more than most tend to verbalize my feelings, I believe there are many others who silently no longer care if these Maskholes kill themselves. ENOUGH

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  37. Kathy says:

    @Loviatar:

    Wearing a mask and keeping your distance protects you as well.

    Make sure you don’t get yourself killed while having enough. it would make you feel silly.

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  38. Scott says:

    @Loviatar: Just finished this article from Pro-Publica:

    I think too many people fall into the trap “It won’t happen to me”

    States With Few Coronavirus Restrictions Are Spreading the Virus Beyond Their Borders

    For months after Washington state imposed one of the earliest and strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in March, Jim Gilliard didn’t stray far from his modular home near Waitts Lake, 45 miles north of Spokane.

    The retiree was at high risk from the coronavirus, both because of his age, 70, and his medical condition. Several years ago, he had a defibrillator implanted. So he mainly ventured out during the pandemic to shop for food.

    There wasn’t much else to do anyway. Gatherings in his county were limited to no more than 10 people, there was a mask mandate, movie theaters were closed and many nightclubs and concert venues were shuttered because of a state ban on all live entertainment, indoors and out.

    An hour away in Idaho, life was more normal. The state left key COVID-19 regulations up to localities, many of which made masks optional.

    Weary of Washington’s restrictions, thousands of residents made the easy drive over the border to vacation, shop and dine in Idaho. Gilliard resisted temptation until he learned that the annual Panhandle Bluesfest would go on as scheduled near Priest River, Idaho, on Sept. 12

    After the Idaho concert, Gilliard started feeling ill and was diagnosed with the coronavirus. For about a week, he stayed in bed. As his condition worsened, he was admitted to a Spokane hospital and placed on a ventilator. He died on Oct. 15. His death certificate lists COVID-19 as the underlying cause.

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  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    that certainly is what I always thought Conservatism was about when I was younger

    So what do you think it’s about now? Or am I misunderstanding your comment?

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  40. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    And right there is the driving force of the history of the Labour Party; against the complacency of the Liberals and the entrenched privilege of the Tories.

    (P.S. Demigod of liberalism, dammit.)

    My favourite Adam Smith quotes:

    “Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”

    “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

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  41. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    There was supposed to a smiley after the “dammit”
    My kingdom for a consistent edit function.
    🙂

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  42. CSK says:

    Oh, this is rich. According to Jonathan Chait at http://www.nymag.com, Trump thinks the term “western liberalism” refers to California.

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  43. Mister Bluster says:

    Apparently Outer Space Aliens have taken over the AG’s brain.

    Barr says DOJ hasn’t uncovered widespread voter fraud in 2020 election
    The Hill

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  44. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    fro,m the mind who thought Article II lets him do whatever he wants? I find that hard to believe (not to Mr. DiGenova: this is how you do sarcasm, not by suggesting some lawyer with an Italian name be neutered with a rusty knife).

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  45. KM says:

    @JohnSF:
    Smith understood very well the invisible hand of the market could hold a pitchfork as well as the wallet. One of the way the free market supposedly naturally corrects itself is the mob gathering to rid swindlers and those whose bad product kill by riding them out of town on a rail… or worse. Therefore, the recommendation is made for the rich to not be too stingy or they’ll pay with more than money. Too bad few read the source material and try to recreate feudalism every generation.

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  46. Teve says:
  47. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    Eric Metaxis: the losing of the evangelical mind

    The title was promising, but the article itself was extremely weak tea. He entirely failed, for example, to note that Jesus himself never said anything at all that could be construed as supporting any “conservative principle”, while saying many things that are well to the left of “liberal”.

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  48. JohnSF says:

    @KM:
    The thing is, in Smith’s time “free market liberalism”, what Smith called commercial society, was a weapon against the dominance of the landed interest.
    Hence the scepticism of Smith and some other early liberals about the state. They saw the state as the creature of the aristocracy, both inept and corrupt, oppressive and rent-seeking.
    The commercial class were not necessarily more moral than the gentry; just less entrenched in power and property.
    Interestingly, while Smith was a sceptic about the active role for the state, he was open to taxes being used to discourage unproductive use of wealth.

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  49. Mikey says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Barr says DOJ hasn’t uncovered widespread voter fraud in 2020 election

    Within minutes of publication of that information, Barr was seen arriving at the White House.

    I wonder who the AG will be between today and January 20?

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  50. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnSF:

    Interestingly, while Smith was a sceptic about the active role for the state, he was open to taxes being used to discourage unproductive use of wealth.

    What makes you say that Smith was a sceptic about an active role for the state? He didn’t want the state to meddle in prices, but he was pretty adamant that the state plays an essential role in providing and enabling markets, in part by actively opposing monopolies and in part by providing transportation infrastructure.

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  51. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    Good question. Perhaps Sidney Powell will replace Barr. It would thrill the Trumpkins.

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  52. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I love planning out technology, engineering, and logistics solutions to interesting problems–specifically, small overlooked dependencies that turn out to be single points of failure.

    I thought the supply of cold freezers for one of the vaccines was one of those little details that could derail the best of plans. The other one I think that could be a major stumble for the rollout of all these vaccines are the actual glass vials they are stored in. With the scale we are talking about for a nationwide rollout–the logistics team running this better be sure the vial manufacturer are churning the shit out of those widgets day and night to have enough to package enough vaccine.

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  53. CSK says:

    If Trump is so proficient at hiring “the best people,” why does he end up firing most of them?

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  54. Joe says:

    @Mikey: Does DiGenova know about this yet?

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  55. flat earth luddite says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    While reading this, I kept hearing their theme song playing in my head…

    Team America, F*** Yeah!

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  56. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    I was thinking about it as a direct economic actor in marketable activity.
    Certainly he viewed the state (or, at least, the judicial system) as crucial in enforcing contracts, regulating the currency, determining weights and measures etc.
    And being a sensible means to fund vital infrastucture, with a neat demolition of the favoured policy of toll-levying turnpike trusts for roads.
    And even that dogmatic absolutism about property rights was folly.
    And his other major concern seems to have been counter-productive tax policy; the main example being the entrenched tax farming systems of France

    Smith was far to sensible to be the laissez faire fundamentalist some later “followers” have proclaimed him to be.
    But he seems to nonetheless been sceptical about trusting the self interest of monopolists, chartered companies, politicians and administrators not to skew things toward their self interest.

    Or the example of France in enacting policies that either failed or had disastrous side-effects.

    This state of discouragement and depression was felt more or less in every different part of the country, and many different inquiries were set on foot concerning the causes of it. One of those causes appeared to be the preference given, by the institutions of Mr. Colbert, to the industry of the towns above that of the country.

    Of the early liberals more generally, their rather negative view of the role of the state was a product of their time.
    They could hardly anticipate the success of the Victorian liberal reformers in equipping the state for a more positive role in welfare, sanitation, safety, policing etc by combating its inefficiency, corruption, and use as a patronage system by the gentry.

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  57. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    At the time it was the monopolies and chartered companies that were seen as the epitome of state economic activity.
    (In France even more than in Britain IIRC)

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  58. Loviatar says:

    @Kathy: / @Scott:

    Wearing a mask and keeping your distance protects you as well.

    I should have been clearer; from the moment I leave my home I wear a mask and gloves at all times. I socially distance at all times and will not enter a building if I feel it does not give the peace of mind that I can keep my distance from others. I do not gather in groups indoors and if I must gather in a group it will be outdoors and with no more than three other people. I’ve been following these healthcare recommendations since the CDC came out with them in early spring.

    I do this for my personal protection and the protection of people like my elderly parents and in-laws. I do this for the protection of people like my son who has asthma and others with underlying conditions. Finally, I do this for the healthcare workers who are stretched thin and do not need me or others like me contributing to their workload. As they’ve said “They’re our last line of defense” and if we don’t protect them they won’t be there to protect us.

    —–

    Make sure you don’t get yourself killed while having enough. it would make you feel silly.

    When I say ENOUGH, I am referring to enough of the coddling of the Maskholes.

    During this deadly pandemic:
    – I believe, they should be liable under civil and criminal codes for their behavior.
    – I believe, healthcare should be rationed in favor of regulation abiding citizens.

    I no longer care if these people live or die. What I do care about is that they don’t harm me and others I care about.

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  59. flat earth luddite says:

    @JohnSF:
    It’s very sad that those of the GOP persuasion who argue for Smith can’t actually read (or comprehend) what he wrote, isn’t it?

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  60. JohnSF says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Or can, but decide to ignore the it anyway.

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  61. JohnSF says:

    “…ignore the it…”!
    Aaargh.

    I must learn to proofread, I must learn to proofread…

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  62. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnSF:

    At the time it was the monopolies and chartered companies that were seen as the epitome of state economic activity.

    OK, I see what you were saying now — “the State” in the form of the British East India Company. Fair enough.

    And his other major concern seems to have been counter-productive tax policy

    Well, the thing that he spent the most pages railing against was mercantilism and an obsession with hoarding precious metals, but that is less of a hot topic these days.

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  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I probably should have said “Conservatism has always been about maintaining the current social order and power structure.” As I got older, I came to believe that Conservatives are simply latter-day aristocrats/oligarchs (depending on how much they professed to care about society at all.) And as I noted, coming to believe that the existing social structure is not worth saving was a sea change for me. (Now if someone came up with a social model worth replacing for the one we have… Alas, it keeps coming back to needing to change people, not systems. [sigh])

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  64. JohnSF says:

    @DrDaveT:
    You might think so.
    But I’ve lost count of the number of Brexiteers whose response to arguments about the damage of leaving a continental economic union of mutual beneficial exchange eventually comes down to: “…we import more from them, so they depend on us, so there!”

    I’ve not yet heard one come out with “..where would they be without our precious, precious gold!”
    But give them time.

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  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Jim Brown 32: You missed your calling. I saw an article several months back about exactly that – the vials. I think it was in reference to the work on vaccines Bill Gates was sponsoring, and it was used as an example of something unexpected they had come across that could derail vaccine distribution and production

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  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I keep suggesting to people that Adam Smith wasn’t actually conservative (either small or capital “c”) but almost no one believes me. I also stand continually amazed at the number of people that I know who, being aware of both aspects, don’t seem to get that his economic philosophy should always be understood within the context of his moral philosophy.

    On the other hand, if people at large DID make that contextualization, how would anybody ever become an aristo or an oligarch to begin with?

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  67. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    A counter-argument:
    Rational conservatism can be about being careful about abandoning the current social order and constitutional structures.

    Change can be a good thing; it can also be a bad thing.
    Sometimes a very bad thing.
    And the existing power-structure may not be the worst one you might get.

    Don’t attempt to preserve things unchanged; change is inevitable and necessary.
    But when you need to reform: try for a consensus that you do, think it over, consider the consequences, ameliorate side-effects.
    Reliance on authoritarian “power of command” either to resist change or to force it is perilous.
    Political will should be the servant of peoples good, not the master of it.
    Neither majorities nor minorities are always virtuous.
    History is not always directional towards a good outcome.

    Be careful.
    European History 101.

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  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve:

    When a reputed evangelical public intellectual exhibits this behavior, it’s worth asking…

    First mistake: using “evangelical” and “intellectual” as in the preceding statement creates a contradiction in terms. Calling Eric Metaxas a “reputed evangelical public intellectual” is only accurate in a Warholian sense. We can hope his 15 minutes are up shortly.

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  69. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Concur. Adam Smith was a non-dogmatic liberal, in the sense of the time.
    And his Theory of Moral Sentiments is probably as important as The Wealth of Nations (Which would come better from me if I ever finish reading it; got little beyond merely skimming many years back)

    The problem is that his liberalism has become an integral, and generally horribly simplified, component of contemporary conservatism.
    (See my oft-repeated half-joke teasing of Republicans: “you are a liberal”.)

    That isn’t necessarily bad in itself; but it tends to toxicity when you mix in Herbert Spencer and William Sumner’s late Victorian nostalgia for primitive liberalism, and dogmatic “flourishing of the fittest” doctrine.

    And gets worse still when you blend it with oligarchical “pro-business” attitudes, and add in populist religiosity and the temptations of racism.

    Oh dear.

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  70. Jen says:

    This seems kinda swampy (and illegal):

    Justice Department investigating potential presidential pardon bribery scheme, court records reveal

    The Justice Department is investigating a potential crime related to funneling money to the White House or related political committee in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court records unsealed Tuesday in federal court.
    The case is the latest legal twist in the waning days of President Donald Trump’s administration after several of his top advisers have been convicted of federal criminal charges and as the possibility rises of Trump giving pardons to those who’ve been loyal to him.
    The disclosure is in 20 pages of partially redacted documents made public by the DC District Court on Tuesday afternoon. The records show Chief Judge Beryl Howell’s review in August of a request from prosecutors to access documents obtained in a search as part of a bribery-for-pardon investigation.

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  71. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF:

    Rational conservatism can be about being careful about abandoning the current social order and constitutional structures.

    You may be looking at this through a British perspective, which is fine. The reason we Yanks are so negative on conservatism is that there really isn’t much of a positive history of it in the states. Even those renegade conservatives who decry the direction their movement has taken in recent years often end up romanticizing figures from the past, such as Ronald Reagan or Bill Buckley, and ignoring how much those folks laid the groundwork for what we see today. (Even many liberals get sucked into giving unwarranted praise to those figures, I’m afraid to say.) A couple weeks ago I described American conservatism as essentially a scam. It’s very hard to come up with tenets of the US variety of conservatism that don’t circle back to provably false beliefs such as the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves. People who claim to be conservative and truly reject all the nonsense–which goes back more than a half-century, and which is pervasive even among the conservative intelligentsia–end up standing outside the movement in a profound way. If you actually examine the history of the movement going back to the mid-20th century, you soon find that the disinformation isn’t just an excess but goes to the movement’s very core. It is a movement built almost squarely on distorting reality in the service of protecting the country’s power structures.

    That doesn’t mean that all forms of “conservatism” in all times and places are bad.

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  72. Teve says:

    @CSK: i’m literally seeing, on the far right wing blogs, people saying, “you believe Barr? Why, you can’t trust a thing the man says!” Because they’re too clueless to understand how that indicts Trump.

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  73. Kathy says:

    It looks as though the first COVID vaccines will be given to healthcare workers (including, presumably, orderlies and technicians, not just nurses and doctors), as well as residents and workers at nursing homes.

    This makes sense, as the first group are by far the most exposed, and the second among the most vulnerable.

    But I have to wonder: how will this vaccination schedule affect the spread of the virus?

    I assume people who work in hospitals go home every day and, if exposed, may pass it to their families, who may then spread it among the community through work, school, or even essential shopping (not to mention all other activities), and the same goes for nursing home workers.

    Keep in mind it takes weeks for the vaccines to take effect. Both due to the dual dose weeks apart, and the time the immune system takes to react. So between 4 and six weeks at a guess. By then, hopefully, more doses will be available for the general population.

    My other concern can give me nightmares. So read with care.

    A new flu vaccine is required each year, because the dominant flu viruses change over time. Both which viruses are dominant, and what surface markers need to be attacked with a vaccine. The worry with COVID 19 is not that the virus may change (inevitably it will at some point), but that immunity will wane on its own.

    What happens then?

    I’m no expert, but I’m reasonably sure another dose of, say Moderna’s vaccine, won’t elicit the same response a year or two later. Perhaps a different delivery vector, like a virus vector or a weakened or dead virus vaccine, might work. Or not.

    Now, antibodies are not the whole adaptive immune response, nor are they exclusive for one part of the virus. So there may be other alternatives for follow on vaccines. Treatments may also help. if the virus doesn’t change enough, then cloned antibodies would still work against it, whether your body produces its own or not.

    The bottom line is that if we hit SARS-CoV-2 hard with massive vaccination first, we may decrease its reservoir to the point that it flares up now and then, but doesn’t go pandemic. Like it has happened with less contagious viruses like SARS or MERS, for example. Therefore every measure must be taken to get as large a portion of the population to take the vaccine.

    At this point I don’t care if governments resort to incentives, like paying everyone $100 to get the shot 8payble only after the second dose, or if they have to lock people up for 4 weeks and administer the twin doses by force.

    Those are the extremes. You can also fine people for every week they don’t get vaccinated, or not be able to enter any business or order anything online without a vaccination proof, or something.

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  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: @flat earth luddite: I’m inclined to go more toward “b” than “a,” but more than either on is that most conservatives probably know as much about Adam Smith from their own reading as most Christians do about Jesus from their own reading.

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  75. Teve says:

    @adamparkhomemko

    I don’t know how democracy works when reporters want to be buddies with Republican senators.

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  76. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Yeah, I know. It’s hilarious.

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  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I reject the notion of “rational conservatism” as an article of faith. I suppose that it could exist in theory, but that’s not what I be seeing.

    In fairness and in much the same way as with Nessie, the Yeti, and Sasquatch, I have stopped looking for rational conservatism, too. Maybe that’s why I’m missing it.

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  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I’m glad that you can go into the fever swamps of far right-wing pseudo news for me. The apartment I live in has gunite walls, so I can’t beat my head against the walls after reading such stuff–not safe.

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  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I was reading of this just yesterday. I forget where the manufacturer is (not the US) but they ramped up production in anticipation of this bottle neck months ago. We’ll see if it was enough.

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  80. Jax says:

    Man, I really wish Doug was here to #facepalm and #headdesk all these stupid Trump lawsuits.

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  81. Teve says:
  82. Teve says:

    Based on that article, conservative media is about to get worse.

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  83. Michael Cain says:

    @Jax: Fun one up next. A variety of plaintiffs have filed an emergency application with Justice Alito asking him to find Pennsylvania’s vote by mail arrangement unconstitutional and toss 2.5M votes. Prediction: Alito doesn’t. Speculative prediction: Should this find its way to the full Court, neither Roberts nor Gorsuch will support it. Roberts because he doesn’t want to go into history as the Chief Justice who scuttled the Constitution, and Gorsuch because he wants to be able to visit family in Colorado and not have people literally spit at him.

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  84. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @JohnSF:
    Like many (most?) Of us, I do my bestest proofreading immediately after I hit “send”

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  85. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: That’s the one I was thinking of when I wrote it. Also the Wisconsin one….and probably all what, 30 other Trump losses so far?! This election is like Groundhog Day, man, Biden just keeps winning, and winning and winning….

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  86. Jen says:

    This is one very, very angry state official in Georgia. Good for him.

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  87. Teve says:

    @Mollyjongfast

    So Bill Barr absolutely ruined himself for trump and his reward is having everyone in Maga world turn on him?

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  88. Jax says:

    @Teve: I hope Billy Barr is just telling himself “It is what it is” tonight as he rocks himself to sleep after MAGA death threats. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

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  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve:

    So Bill Barr absolutely ruined himself for trump…

    True, but that’s sooooooooo last week. THIS WEEK is a whole nutha story. What’s Barr doing to embarrass himself for the sake of Trump right now? That’s the issue.

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