Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.10.T}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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185 Responses

  1. Avatar Kolohe says:

    If people want to pay real Tubmans for mineral leases and not use them, they should be able to do that. It’s the Nature Conservancy’s model, the best vis a vis property rights & economics.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    1, “Libertarians will choose their candidate at their convention in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend. Two of the highest polling candidates have been Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate, and John McAfee, a computer programmer and entrepreneur who was also a person of interest in a murder in Belize.”

    Don’t change Libertarians, don’t change. Keep letting that freak flag fly high and you will be a legitimate political party before you know it. More seriously, I still don’t get how anyone can consider Cruz and then go libertarian. This is like when allegedly libertarian Conor F crushes on allegedly libertarian Justin Amash who is actually really socially conservative.

    2. Torture poll: I hope a lot of this is talking tough. I also disagree with your assessment on tactics. I think we need politicians to speak their ideals and beliefs even if they are not popular. This is how minds get changed. Telling someone not to do so is concern trolling,

    3. I went and read the Hicks wiki page. She was born in South Boston but her dad eventually became one of the richest men in the area through his law practice and real estate holdings. She kept her Democratic Party membership and lobbied hard for the Equal Rights Amendment. Yet she was hardcore against busing and desegregation. Matt Y had a piece on Vox about how Trump was going to win the Northeast easily and cited racial resentment as being rather high but Ted Cruz evangelical style conservatism as being rather low. This is pretty true. The evangelicals in the Northeast tend to be African-American and Latino(a) and those groups vote Democratic. Luckily I don’t think Trump can carry the general in the Northeast.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      While I understand why normies might snicker at John McAfee, why snicker at Gary Johnson?Report

    • It’s not concern trolling if I want Hillary to win. It’s concern!

      I’m certainly not saying that HRC shouldn’t try to sell people on her anti-torture views, but you have to know that’s what you’re doing. Instead, most of the way I see it discussed assumes that the anti-torture view* is the dominant one, rather than the minority one. That’s… not good. Even if you’re not budging, you should know what your vulnerabilities are.

      * – FWIW, my views on torture are somewhat odd. I don’t believe it’s always wrong, but do believe it should always be illegal. If the situation isn’t so clear that you can rely on the equivalent of jury nullification and/or a pardon, then it’s likely not justified. Nobody is sending Jack Bauer to prison, regardless of what the laws say.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        well, except for the PRC.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Will Truman says:

        This is my view on torture as well. If some extraordinary circumstance arises that calls for torture, then let the torturer bare the bueorden of proving why.

        The level of accountability in our foreign and defense policy is atrociously low. It too often falls to others to bear the burden of our mistakes.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Will Truman says:

        my views on torture are somewhat odd. I don’t believe it’s always wrong, but do believe it should always be illegal. If the situation isn’t so clear that you can rely on the equivalent of jury nullification and/or a pardon, then it’s likely not justified. Nobody is sending Jack Bauer to prison, regardless of what the laws say.

        I actually think that’s the opinion of *most* people here who don’t think it’s always wrong. There is basically no justifiable way to have a system of torture, without accountability and conducted in the dark. No on can justify that.

        I say the same thing as an argument against allowing secret torture…but only to undercut pro-torture people. Basically, ‘If you are convinced of the rightness of your cause, break the damn law and justify it afterwards.’

        But I actually completely oppose torture, because here is the actual dirty secret: Torture is not a system for getting information out of people. Torture is, 99% of the time, a system for getting them to say what you want them to say. I don’t mean that’s what it ends up being, although it is…I mean that is what is it is *starting* as.

        Torture has always been, from the very start, a tool of forced confessions, not information. That was why it was *invented*, and how it has always been used.

        The ‘theory’ of getting information seems to be ‘We hurt this person until they tell us what we want to know, and then stop’. The problem is…that is complete nonsense. Sure, it works when the information is ‘The combination to this safe right here’….when there is a very clear goal that the tortured person sees, (and thus a reasonable chance the torture will stop when the goal is reached) *and* when the information can be immediately verified. If those two things are true, torture *can*, possibly, work.

        And, you’ll notice, this is *always* the circumstances where torture works on TV. ‘Tell us the disarm code or we will break your fingers’. *And* you’ll notice it’s the ‘ticking time bomb’ gibberish example given by all torture justifiers.

        The problem is…this is absolutely unlike any governmental torture done. Those tortures have no obvious endgame, no point where the government says ‘Okay, you told the truth enough, we will stop having torture sessions now’, so there’s no incentive to cooperate in the long term…and those tortures have no way to confirm the information, so there’s no *immediate* penalty for lying or *immediate* reward for telling the truth, so there’s no incentive to tell the truth in the short term either!

        In fact, it is fairly obvious that even being slightly cooperative will result in *more* torture later, because it was clear you were holding back to start with. It’s a *negative* incentive, vs. just keeping quiet and hope that they conclude you know nothing/already told them everything without torture.

        The entire *concept* of this is complete bullshit, clearly only invented because *someone really wanted to torture people*.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

          Torture is, 99% of the time, a system for getting them to say what you want them to say.

          Quoted for truth.

          And as with many things, for people here in America and the rest of the first world, it is an abstraction, something none of us have direct experience with, so it is easy to reject when we feel comfortable and safe, and eagerly embrace when we feel angry.

          The fact that every apologist for torture feels compelled to establish at the outset that the victim is a) known to be a Bad Guy and b) known to have useful information shows the real motive here;
          It is about punishment, not information.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Chip,
            “something none of us have direct experience with”
            I’d advise you not to make assumptions.

            It’s fairly easy to know when someone’s a bad guy, oftentimes — they often don’t go out of their way to hide it all that well.

            The theory that someone cant or won’t lie because of pain? It’s empirically testable and doesn’t test out so good.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to DavidTC says:

          Agreed that torture doesn’t work.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to North says:

            Agreed that torture doesn’t work.

            Well, no.

            It’s always easy to come up with a situation where torture works…hell, taking someone hostage and demanding they tell you their PIN, and sending someone to empty their bank account is, functionally, the same concept as ‘torture’. No one’s running around asserting *that* doesn’t work.

            Threatening harm in order to get people to do what you want them to do is a well-proven method of control of human beings.

            And thus people saying ‘torture doesn’t work’ are over-simplifying and easy to prove ‘wrong’.

            The problem is that torture requires very specific two things to work:
            1) You must be able to immediately check compliance. When you’re waving a gun at them and telling them to empty their wallet, it’s easy to see if they’re behaving.

            Or, for an information example, when you send your partner to punch in their PIN at the ATM, it’s easy to see if they’re telling the truth. They *know* you can tell if they’re lying, and they *know* you’ll hurt them if they lie, so they won’t lie.

            This is…not how US government torture works. There is almost no way to check compliance at all. ‘Well, we were going to torture you today, but that information you gave us five months ago was finally confirmed, so…no torture today. Back to the schedule tomorrow.’

            How the hell is that even supposed to work?

            This can be migrated *somewhat* by confirming known information, and punishing or rewarding *that* before moving on…but only if the people being tortured *know that information*. And even then, it’s not a very workable setup.

            2) The person being threatened sees an *end*. ‘Your money or your life’ is premised on the idea that the person being threatened with harm can comply and *it’s over*.

            Oddly, this can even work when ‘over’ is *death*. ‘We will keep hurting you until you comply, at which point we will kill you’ seems, logically, like it shouldn’t work, but it does, eventually.

            But that’s not how the US government works. There is no endgame, at all, for those prisoners. They aren’t accruing ‘truth points’ or whatever that they can use to buy their way out, and the US government is not going to deliberately kill them when it’s done with them. (It has a record of *accidentally* killing people and pretending it didn’t, but that happens regardless of compliance.) The only future is…more torture.

            In summary: Of the two traits that have to be true for torture to work…US government torture has *neither*.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

        The ol’ Better to beg forgiveness than ask permission tactic.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        Torture is always wrong, pretty much by definition. However, there are plenty of wrong things done in the service of good…
        I honestly consider torture worse than murdering innocents. At least the latter is quickly over and done.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

        This is my view on torture except that I consider it an anti-torture position.Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    From the Civis Analytics article, I don’t know what all the bellyaching about Trump from y’all is all about… you finally got that Moderate Northeastern Republican we were all told we needed.

    In fact, Will’s earlier thesis that the Blue states are the key states for winning the republican nomination turned out to be exactly right.

    While conventional wisdom suggested he would do worse in highly Democratic areas, our estimates showed the opposite. Because these “Blue Zones” represent a disproportionate share of delegates, strong performance allowed him to rack up a substantial, and ultimately insurmountable, delegate lead.

    Report

    • I almost made specific reference to that. Civas saw the northeastern problem really early on, when a lot of us thought that they would be our savior. It actually ties in to the torture thing in a way. Views that most of us consider extreme are, if not popular with the public at large, are not unpopular and therefore held by (some) moderates and/or people that hold views that are treated as markers for moderation.

      So in retrospect it makes sense that pro-choice Republicans (moderates!) would have anti-immigration views, or pro-torture ones. Indeed, of the early Trump Republicans I know, they’re almost all pro-choice and if any of them are against abortion, it’s not an important issue for them. A couple of them are pro-choice with rather… Sangerian motivations.

      As Douthat says: If you hate the religious right, what until you meet the irreligious right.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yes, I’m tipping my hat… the initial Blue State observation was very enlightening to me as a sort of (almost) invisible thumb on the scale for the establishment. The irony is poignant.

        Your points about popular and populist are also well taken; my consistent theory is that Trump has stumbled upon these things and can’t really connect all the dots. I’m mostly curious about what brighter folks will do with those dots after Trump.

        Where I differ with (it seems) almost everyone is that even if elected I don’t think Trump will be anything other than an ineffective embarrassment. There’s no proto-fascism here (I suspect rather the opposite… post-modern Identityism, perhaps), the american institutions (such as they are) won’t crumble at the touch of Trump’s stubby little fingers, and the folks suggesting such look more than a little preposterous to me. Won’t I look silly in the re-education camps!

        As Douthat says: If you hate the religious right, what until you meet the irreligious right.

        Pass me the water bowl, I’m washing my hands of this mess.Report

        • In all seriousness, I don’t believe that Trump is any sort of Hitler-in-waiting. I don’t think we’re all going to end up huddled in Alaska. What I do believe, however, is that he is someone that does not believe in systems and processes in ways that are genuinely dangerous. Bush, Obama, Clinton… these are all people who seem to use the process to suit their own ends. Sometimes pushing the bounds, when it suits them. Mostly knowing the rules.

          Trump, though, is genuinely different in at least two significant ways and this is one of them. Reminding me of the old Andrew Jackson saying: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” I see no reason to believe that Donald Trump will be inclined to abide by the rulings of the Supreme Court. People act like congress will be able to stop him from doing Really Bad Things, but they won’t (even if they were so inclined). It’ll be up to the courts and the bureaucracy, and the courts have no formal power in this regard. Which means that it will be up to the bureaucracy.

          This… is some genuinely scary stuff.

          With governors, there is at least a federal government looking over them. There are higher authorities. Is there a higher authority than the president?

          The other is that he has a devoted fanbase that is willing to do some bad stuff and he himself is completely unwilling to do anything about it because they’re His People. This isn’t most of his followers, or a significant minority, but it’s enough to be genuinely scary. He can change the culture of this country in a very dark, and dangerous, way. Though inaction, even.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

            And this might be where we see the world differently; at heart I’m a rational devolutionist… so having built the imperial presidency, the fear of the imperial presidency should move us to dismantle it, not continue the slow evolution of greater imperial presidencies.

            My (fantasy) gamble is that the Imperial presidency is insufficiently robust to sustain Trump, and that Trump will expose the danger, and possibly embolden states, congress and the courts to redress some of the unbalance. So, I don’t specifically share your concern that Trump will steamroll those institutions.

            What makes this a fantasy is that I don’t think any sort of these lessons will be learned… rather, we’ll just go back to a slower incremental growth a’la [insert preferred starting point here], Bush, Obama, Clinton, or any other Democrat/Republican. The present course with Clinton and the Republican others is just the ongoing building of the Imperium.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

              The last time I felt like this was before Obamacare went through.

              I have no idea who is going to win this particular election and everybody on both sides of the debate seems to be cocksure that it’s going to be their side that will be able to pull it off.

              One of the two sides is in a bubble.

              If it maps perfectly to O-care, it’s the Trumpkins (again). Perhaps that should make us all feel better.

              Yay. Conservatism for the Conservatism God. Stasis for the Stasis Throne.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

            Why should Trump abide by court rulings?Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to Will Truman says:

            Which means that it will be up to the bureaucracy.

            Lucky for you, the bureaucracy is up to the task.

            Seriously, it is hard enough for a Washington insider to carry out an agenda within and through the federal bureacracy.

            On domestic policy, the President is always constrained by the fact that we have a program budget and nothing can be done without specific appropriations and authorization from congress. Even on foreign policy, it is difficult for the president to act unilaterally. He or she can give an order, but it’s up to the bureaucracy to operationalize that order and how that is done makes all the difference.Report

  4. Avatar RTod says:

    Man, libertarians really have a blind spot in regards to their followers. Every few years they see some kind of surge (google hits, the word “libertarian” be g used in NYT stories, etc) and come away with the conclusion that the country has finally embraced them. And then later they always seem confused that all of their new juice was from decidedly non-libertarian-ish figures on talk radio and Fox using the word “libertarian” incorrectly.

    The big give away here for Reason should have been that they saw their google hits spike *when Ted Cruz dropped out.*Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to RTod says:

      I’d be just about as worried by the conservatives coming in and hijacking the party than I would happy to have them. The party officials are (and Reason reported on it, I believe), where basically the LP folks were working on their convention rules to prevent a hostile takeover.

      Be that as it may, if they can use discontent to get a lot of attention without sacrificing their nomination process, that would be a big win for them. Sure, a lot of the people who might vote for Johnson are not true believers, but if a libertarian could get 10% of the vote, that would be huge. Which would make this less “Look! People are coming around on Libertarianism!” and more “Look! We may have a real chance to try to sell people on libertarianism!”Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’d be just about as worried by the conservatives coming in and hijacking the party than I would happy to have them. The party officials are (and Reason reported on it, I believe), where basically the LP folks were working on their convention rules to prevent a hostile takeover.

        Though this arguably happened in 2008, when Barbar and WAR (uh? what was he good for?) crashed the convention and won the ticket.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

          Isn’t Barr currently the go-to example of why the Libertarians are so feckless?Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

            reason has scrubbed a lot of its H&R archives (rip salty ham tears thread) but I’m probably on record there as being in favor of Barr at the time. Certainly more than than Mary Ruwart, whose views can be spun too easily, fairly or unfairly, as advocating pedophilia. So I was like ‘why not let the adults in and run stuff this year’. That was a mistake. (even though I do think Barr has had a genuine change of heart in his views)

            Since then, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that 3rd parties are a confidence game for itinerant failed and/or wannabe politicians (as are main party candidates in sour districts), because of the dynamics Will T says. Even, though he is a decent man, Gary Johnson. (and for that matter RON PAUL! was always a more of a grift than a movement, and I regret throwing some money at him back in ’08.)Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

              The unfortunate thing is that I am expecting Johnson to get passed over.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

                For whom, McAfee? is he even going to be there? (is he ever going to set foot in the USA again?) If Johnson can’t beat the rest of these folks I have no idea how he became a gov in the first place.

                The Libertarian Party recognizes 2016 Presidential candidates who have campaign websites, are dues-paying members of the LP, have met all U.S. Constitutional requirements to serve in office as president, and are not running for the nomination of any other political party. They have also filed with the FEC, with the exception of Darryl Perry, who has chosen not to file, as a protest against the FEC, claiming that it lacks constitutional authority.

                Well, isn’t that special.

                edit to add – though I don’t know who Starchild is supporting.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

                Johnson would probably win a primary, I think it’s going to go to Austin Peterson. From what I’ve read, he’s organized and in it to win it.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Kolohe says:

                The Libertarian Party recognizes 2016 Presidential candidates who have campaign websites

                That is a *lot* of presidential candidates.

                Or possibly just really bad grammar.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Will Truman says:

        If shallow support from disgruntled conservatives gets Gary Johnson into the debates, I think most LP types would consider it a win.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman That, too, is so very Libertarian and so very Reason.

        “What’s important isn’t growing the tent big enough to have even a minor degree of political influence. It’s being small and inconsequential enough that we never need worry about purity.”Report

        • Avatar Autolukos in reply to RTod says:

          I know you’ve spent enough time talking to libertarians to know that worrying about purity is one of the primary activities of libertarian politics.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Autolukos says:

            Libertarianism is a weird tent. Sometimes it’s VERY wide — “See that guy? See what he’s saying? That’s totally libertarian!”. And sometimes it’s very narrow “he’s not a real libertarian!”.

            I think it’s because “Libertarian” isn’t a single thing. It’s like grouping a bunch of anarchists together and expecting a coherent, unifying ideology. They’re anarchists. They don’t DO agreement.

            So when someone says “I’m Libertarian” my first thought is “Which kind of the ten or so major types I’ve encountered, or are you an 11th type, or one of the myriad sub-types” and when someone says “Libertarian Party” my first thought is “Besides legalizing weed, that taxes suck and government sucks, do you guys agree on anything else. Also, have you been taken over by a random politician this year so he can make a vanity Presidential run?”.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

              In fairness you could apply that exact same comment to conservatives and liberals too.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

                True, but they are generally forced to actually do some work and thus are more open to that fact.

                One of the benefits of being out-of-power is one never has to compromise to get things done. You can maintain a lot more illusions that way — like the one that your ‘group’ is unified more than it is.

                Not that people don’t forget. The liberal griping about the ACA from people who SHOULD recall that the ACA was dictated by the most conservative member of the Democratic Senate, because they had exactly 60 votes (and not for too long, given the problems seating Franken and later whats-his-faces illness and death) and the GOP was filibustering anyways, so that 60th vote (Lieberman, often) was the deciding factor more than the President was.

                Which is, admittedly, one reason I eyeroll a lot of Sanders stuff is because he acts like he won’t have to make deals. Even best case, he’ll be stuck making deals with the most conservative Democratic senator or two.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to RTod says:

      @rtod

      A libertarian I know (not an OTer) posts stuff like this every now and then.

      “Disappointed that Sanders is not going to be the Democratic nominee and dislike the Republicans? There is another party…..”

      I don’t think he quite gets that a Sanders supporter is going to be suspicious of an ur-Free Market party or he doesn’t care and is downplaying.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Or, wants to convert them during the period of discontent.

        Kinda like a rebound relationship, with benefits…Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The other possibility is that Sanders supporters are not monolithic.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Seems like a good fit, both Team Bern and the LP are primarily filled with relatively well-off white dudes.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I don’t think Saul quite gets the Sanders supporter (and campaign worker) who’s going to vote for Trump in the general.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Is it so bad to actually want a viable 3rd party in our political system?Report

        • A viable one would be fine, but I think that guy was talking about the Libertarian Party.Report

        • Yes! It is democratically inefficient with FPTP elections with an independent executive!Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman says:

            Explain?Report

            • The short version is that plurality victors are something to be avoided. You can design a system that incorporates more than two parties efficiently, but we don’t have that system.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              A system run on the Westminster/Parliamentary lines is designed or accidentally allows coalition governments because there are spoils that can be split.

              Our system does not really have that because the Presidency is always going to belong to one party along with all the cabinet posts. The result of a Senate or House without a clear majority would not be a coalition but lots of things going nowhere.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Don’t EVER give them Environment and Public Policy. Their “policy” is “God Will Provide!”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Got it. Thanks.

                The result of a Senate or House without a clear majority would not be a coalition but lots of things going nowhere.

                You say that like it’s a bad thing…Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon

                You are a libertarian. I am not and never will be. I believe in active government solving problems and positive liberties and the welfare state.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I believe in lots of that stuff too, I just don’t think the political machines we have in DC believe in any of it, beyond it’s ability to keep them churning.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                The irony @oscar-gordon is that I firmly believe there are more “true believers” in Congress that at any point in history. The argument that all Congressmen just want to find a way to graft some cash for themselves made a lot more sense in say, 1975 when budgets were made in the backrooms of bars after a bottle of various alcohol was finished between staffers with various favors being traded to get things done.

                I mean, I don’t like the modern Republican Party, but I believe for instance that Paul Ryan believes in Medicare voucherization because it’ll be good policy, not because he gets money from companies that’ll benefit from that.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                @jesse-ewiak

                Oh, I know that there are some true believers in elected office in DC, but if I learned anything from Obama, it’s that the elected players aren’t the only parts of the machine, nor are they necessarily the most effective. Lobbyists, party apparatus, the bureaucracy all have their own interests to defend, and are far less accountable than our even barely accountable elected officials.Report

              • Avatar KenB in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Saul Degraw: You are a libertarian. I am not and never will be.

                This is refreshingly candid. Though it’s not usually difficult to infer it from people’s comments, it would be great if everyone whose mind was closed could announce it up-front so that the rest of us know not to waste our time. “I am delusionally confident in the rightness of my own current beliefs, and there’s no set of arguments and facts you can present that would ever change my mind.”Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to KenB says:

                Yeah, Saul doesn’t exactly hide his contempt for those who bend libertarian. Of course, I’m also pretty sure Saul couldn’t pass a libertarian ideological turing test, so his contempt often misses.

                Which does make it easy to spin him up.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                “Saul, and a lot of others who post on this site, don’t exactly hide his contempt for those who bend libertarian.”

                Fixed that for you.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon @kenb

                I don’t see how it is contempt. Ideology and worldview exist. There are seven billion people on this planet. I don’t expect that everyone, maybe even most will not agree with me. But I have a viewpoint that the world requires government to counteract the whims, fancies, slings, and arrows of the free market and big business. Also that middle class prosperity has largely been created via government action.

                This is not to say that government is always benign. Over zealous prosecution and police brutality. But these abuses do not negate the needs and arguments for good government. I do not think that everything is going to be a shiny, happy utopia if we got rid of most government and government benefits/programs. I also don’t think that the problems of the fiancial sector playing chaotic are to be solved with more deregulation.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                @saul-degraw

                I don’t think anyone is criticizing you for having a viewpoint. I think the issue is that it seems — based on your own comments — that your viewpoint is largely unexamined and remains static in the face of new data.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy, if we’re going to start making judgments about peoples opinions not changing enough in the view of arguments and data on this site, well…

                I mean, I’m not speaking for the Saul. I’ve listed to the arguments. I’ve thought about them. I just think they’re still mostly wrong (even though for instance, I have moved a bit on things like free trade.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                @jesse-ewiak

                I’m not really sure what is meant by the first part of your comment, but I’ll say that my critique here was very specific to Saul and based on things he has said (not the opinions themselves).

                This isn’t a liberal/conservative/libertarian thing. If you say, “Nothing will ever make me change my mind,” I think it fair to label that closed minded.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m just saying, there’s plenty of people on this site who’d I say were closed to new ideas to the same degree as Saul . They just word it more obliquely or are better at hiding it.

                Which is fine. People have certain principles. I just think the idea people should be open minded to all ideas at all times or they’re not serious thinkers is kind of silly.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Sure. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still call a spade a spade.

                I find it particularly troubling given that liberalism in general — and Saul specifically — often decries such closed-mindedness so there is something hypocritical at play as well.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

                And condescending.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                @saul-degraw

                And herein lies the issue. You equate the generalized libertarian distrust of government with what I can only think of as some kind of neo-anarchist/minarchist attitude. Through the multitude of comments you’ve made over the years, it has become clear that you have firmly fixed in your mind the equivalence of Libertarian == Anarchist at worst, and maybe, if you are feeling generous on a given day, as == Extreme Night Watchman.

                As numerous non-libertarians here have said, libertarian thought is pretty wide open and runs a gamut of opinion. It’s disingenuous to pigeonhole it to one extreme.

                Your attitude has pretty consistently been about as honest & generous toward libertarians as a conservative who thinks anyone left of Saint Reagan is a hardcore communist eager to put non-conformists on the bus to the re-education camps, or up against the wall.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Oscar:

                You forgot how libertarianism is just a cover for racists as well.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          @oscar-gordon

          What Will said.

          More seriously, I suppose it depends on who the party was and why. I would not want a viable third party of the Beltway “No Labels/Bloombergism” variety or of a far-right wing attitude that would make Uncle Steve proud. I would most likely want a viable third-party that was further to the left than the DLC but not quite the Greens. I’ll settle for the liberal wing having more power within the Democratic Party.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          @oscar-gordon Yes.

          Or at least, it is until such time that there is a third party that takes itself seriously enough to be treated as viable.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to RTod says:

            Certainly. Of course, given that our political system has structured itself such that allowing a third party to actually grow to the point of viability approaches a sisyphean task, at least for the national stage, it’s a touch unfair to laugh at the fledgling parties.Report

            • Oh, to be clear, I’m not talking about the ability to win elections. Just the ability to behave in a way that deserves my attention.

              Whenever I hear about why I should take the Libertarian Party seriously, for example, I always come back to two words: Bruce Majors.

              You put up candidates like Bruce Majors, even for small offices with no chance of winning, and you deserve exactly zero of my attention on all further matters.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to RTod says:

      Some of this is, I think, a product of being young, or at least new to politics. When I was 18, everything that I hadn’t seen before looked like a turning point. I thought that if we just got the word out, people would get it. To be fair, this was slightly more plausible before widespread Internet use, when the mainstream media had a pretty solid lock on information dissemination. Now I’ve seen it all enough times to know better. I’ve also given up on the LP, since I’ve figured out that third parties aren’t viable in first-past-the-post elections.

      This election cycle is new to me, though. I don’t expect any major catastrophe, but it’s just different enough that I’m not entirely sure.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The powers that be are playing like this is the last election that means anything.
        Worrisome, that.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Third parties can be viable in first-past-the-post elections – somewhere else. There simply is not much of a social or cultural base for a 3d party in this country other than odd boutique parties. (That having been said, fist-past-the-post is the worst method of running election, especially if it is combined with multi-member constituencies). The Libertarian Party, of course, suffers from being the Arrested Development Party.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to RTod says:

      juice was from decidedly non-libertarian-ish figures on talk radio and Fox using the word “libertarian” incorrectly. The big give away here for Reason should have been that they saw their google hits spike *when Ted Cruz dropped out.*

      Actually, Tod, your remarks are a big giveaway that the understanding of ‘libertarianism’ among types such as yourself is something along the lines of ‘admirer of puerile hedonistic pursuits’, something Cruz is not, as opposed to ‘advocate of the minimal state’, something Cruz is not either but with regard to which he comes closer than any other candidate who has declared this year other than Rand Paul.Report

  5. Avatar notme says:

    Emails From Hillary Clinton’s IT Director at State Department Appear to Be Missing

    https://gma.yahoo.com/emails-hillary-clinton-director-state-department-appear-missing-205506182.html

    How convenient that State can’t find them.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to notme says:

      She shares a man-sized safe with Obama, wherein is kept the long form birth certificate, the Whitey tape and the still-smoking gun from the execution of Vince Foster.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        Your pathetic snark doesn’t change the fact that the State Dept has been lying about and hiding emails this whole time. So much for the self proclaimed most transparent administration ever.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to notme says:

          Honestly, I’ve lost the plot by now.

          What exactly is this thing all about, what is it that Hilary did?Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I’ll remind you what Hillary Clinton did. she sat atop an organization that routinely over-classifies documents, mostly because of bureacratic inertia, but with the result of keeping more and more information outside of the purview if FOIA requests. And as the head of that organization, devised a scheme that allowed her to work around those classification rules. If anyone other than the Secretary had done that, they’d at the very least been fired.

            But, as the above exchange points out, the governance and privacy issues get completely swamped by the desire for partisan bickering. The end result being that the government will continue to hide more and more of its activity from public view, while at the same time demanding to know more and more about what it’s citizens do.Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    “Money is blamed above all this year for Donald Trump, although Citizens United doesn’t apply to him if, as is widely supposed, he is a human being and not a legal fiction.”

    😀Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Also you are wrong @will-truman, Kim the Waitress is the only thing that can save us:

    Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Joe Sal says:

      Of course it is. Examples all over the place of this crap happening.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Joe Sal says:

      Breaking News: Man admits to destroying property. Is arrested.

      Legal experts baffled.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to greginak says:

        Civil disobedience involves intentionally breaking what you consider to be an unjust law in order to draw attention to your prosecution for violation that same unjust law. Violations of e.g. segregation laws go here.

        Breaking an unrelated law in order to protest something is not the same thing, and in particular it doesn’t inherently inherit the moral high ground. It can be a net positive if it’s used tactically, or if the publicity outweighs the consequences in the end. Occupy and most sit-ins go here (it’s not actual civil disobedience unless you’re protesting trespassing laws).

        Vandalizing a traffic camera is neither of these things – although an organized campaign to do all of them in your town at the same time, using silly string, done by a group called the “License Plate Liberation Front”, who anonymously e-mails their five-page manifesto to Cracked and other serious news sources might very well be an example of #2…Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to El Muneco says:

          Sometimes it takes a nut to shine the light on injustice.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Will Truman says:

            Filling the camera’s case with pennies then sealing it with Saran Wrap so that when the workers come to fix it, the whole thing bursts and sprays money over a ten-foot circle – that both deactivates the camera and makes it very clear that it was a staged protest. That’s my point.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to El Muneco says:

          Not sure of your point. If you engage in Civil Disobedience than accepting the consequences of breaking the law is part of the deal. That he has been arrested is entirely unsurprising and not a problem in itself.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to greginak says:

            I was giving you a +1 and adding some extra bits for flavor.

            Especially with Kim Davis and BLM all over the news in the recent past, the term “civil disobedience” gets thrown around a lot, in particular for a number of things that are in no way actual civil disobedience. I don’t think this qualifies because he’s not breaking the same law he’s protesting. He’s breaking a completely different law in order to draw attention to something, and at least to me that changes the moral calculus very strongly.

            Basically, if you break an unjust law in the process of demonstrating that same law was unjust all along, you were clearly in the right. If you break a just law to get people to investigate whether a completely different law was unjust, I don’t think the rightness is clear at all.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to El Muneco says:

              Yup. In fact if he really wants to instigate change he actually needs the publicity from being arrested to get people to notice. If he just breaks a few cameras they will be fixed and nothing will have been changed.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Joe Sal says:

      Are you in disbelief because a guy cut the camera cord, or because cities mess with yellow light timing in order to generate revenue?Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I don’t know what threshold that parses:

        “yeah we killed those people by trying to screw the general public out of some extra greenbacks by modifying equipment that was paid for by the general public to serve the general public needs…..keep calm and carry on, or die or whatever”Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Joe Sal says:

          Yep, you got it. Shenanigans like that have been going on in various towns & cities for years now. Right up there with civil asset forfeiture.

          Some places seem to have no limit on what minor legal transgressions, provable or otherwise, can be mined for revenue.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Joe Sal says:

      FWIW i took a quick look at their “proof” link. It leads to a Suffolk County PDF report on the Red Light program. A quick scan shows that they claim accidents are down overall. Rear enders are up but others are down. I didn’t find the smoking red light that the jiggering with the yellow lights have increased accidents and caused deaths. No i didn’t look at some dudes facebook page for videos because that actually sounds like a waste of life. Maybe Robin Red Light is right or i missed the evidence but i didn’t find proof of his claim.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak says:

        IIRC, the issue is not the cameras, and that red light cameras, coupled with signage/public knowledge/etc does a real good job improving intersection safety.

        The issue is when cities reduce the time the yellow light is displayed. Yellow light timing is carefully studied and calculated by traffic engineers so that a vehicle traveling at a safe speed (at or near the posted speed limit) will have sufficient time for both human reaction and the time needed to safely stop a given vehicle. Reduce that time by even as little as a quarter of a second, and you eat up the normal reaction time and force drivers to either brake hard, or blow the light. If they are braking hard, the risk a rear end collision goes up.

        The protest linked by Joe is not about cameras, but about tweaking the timing.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Oh that is certainly possible. I just didn’t’ see the proof that yellow light jiggering was killing people thereby making Red Light Hood a life saver. Is it possible? Sure, but i’d want to see some real proof.

          The web link seemed to be one those that had cases of real injustice mixed in with a giant heaping load of outrage, likely overblown claims and paranoia.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to greginak says:

            Killing people? Yeah, unlikely.

            Unnecessary auto accidents and the associated injury & property damage, however…

            It’s what happens when a safety innovation is marketed as a revenue source. Like if a city levied a $100 tax on every airbag replaced by local auto shops in the name of discouraging accidents (because replacing airbags just got more expensive – it’s a stretch, I know).Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to greginak says:

            It’s not clear how they are accounting fatal pedestrian strikes. The youth (John L.) they reference was hit late in the evening about 11:30p.m. If they are monkeying around with lights at that time of day, it’s not good.

            (Rear ending is up by 42% right angles are down by 21.6%)Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Joe Sal says:

              Overall was down a few percent though.
              Given it was suffolk county i’m sure creative vulgarity was up well over 500%.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Joe Sal says:

              That fits completely with yellow light timing. Cameras as safety equipment are good things – cameras as revenue sources always cause the implementing agency to fsck with the timing.

              (I never said the guy wasn’t going to end up being justified, just that, per Woody Allen, if you don’t actually use Western Union, you have to be careful about message discipline).Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Joe Sal says:

              @joe-sal
              It’s not clear how they are accounting fatal pedestrian strikes. The youth (John L.) they reference was hit late in the evening about 11:30p.m. If they are monkeying around with lights at that time of day, it’s not good.

              I don’t think the idea is that they monkey around with the lights at any particular time, it’s that they set the amount of time lower than it should be, which presumably always applies.

              I’m halfway towards proposing that localities should not be allowed to keep *any* revenue from tickets and fines they collect. At all. Instead, it all goes to the state, which distributes it back based on need. (Which sounds really collectivist when stated that way…but local governments *do not actually exist* in the first place. They have no sovereignty.)

              Because otherwise the incentive becomes for localities to set it up where *people break the law*. This a) breeds disrespect for the law by having stupid laws, and b) discourages the police from stopping crime.

              It’s not only crap like this, it’s Ferguson and all places like it.

              Localities must *not* be allowed to fill in their revenue from issuing tickets, and the only way that *I* can think of to stop that is to not allow them to keep that revenue. (If anyone else has a different solution I’m all for it.) Something like 75% of the ‘local government bullshit’ in this country is from allowing that nonsense.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to DavidTC says:

                It is a concern to have reduced times at night, as most people are sleep deprived late at night. Reaction times suffer.

                Cameras aren’t much of a problem down here. Most of them outside the central cities fall prey to the .308 boring beetles. Destructive lil’ buggers seem to be everywhere.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Joe Sal says:

                It is a concern to have reduced times at night, as most people are sleep deprived late at night. Reaction times suffer.

                Yeah, I was just saying I don’t think there’s a difference in day vs. night timing. So if they reduce it during the day, they reduce it at night.

                In fact, as there is usually much less traffic at night, it would make sense to actually increase the yellow time, or even add a delay between one light turning red and the other turning green. Leave them both red for two or three seconds, all that’s going to do is delay is some cars a few seconds.

                Unlike during heavy traffic, where a few seconds adds up. In fact, that’s the *supposed* reason to shorten the timing the yellow light, to reduce traffic. But oddly I never see anyone arguing the other direction, that the timing should be lengthened at night, when traffic doesn’t matter.

                Now I’m wondering if traffic lights even know what time it is….but I guess they do, don’t they all operate remotely at this point? (TV seems to think they’re on the internet, but I doubt that.) Heck, perhaps all this is silly and lights already do this.Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to greginak says:

            It’s always the yellow light timing. This type of activity has happened in my area. One guy, proved that the timing was lowered, found the minimum recommended time for a yellow, and I think even found some local law about the timing, and got it fixed to the old timing, and got off from his traffic fines. But that guy was a engineer.Report

  8. Avatar pillsy says:

    The Kinsley argument in favor of Citizens United shares a common infirmity with many other defenses of that decision: it proceeds from the assumption that campaign finance laws are there to keep rich people from wielding disproportionate influence over elections. If that were the only thing at stake, then I think CU would be an obvious slam dunk. The problem, however, has less to do with buying elections, and more to do with buying politicians.

    This, in my mind, significantly shifts the calculus. Just because money is speech doesn’t mean it stops being money, and CU makes it all too easy to make quid pro quo arrangements with the politicians you’re supporting with gobs of cash.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

      So it would be different if political donations had to be anonymous?Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        It is not actually possible to ‘require’ something to be anonymous between two people who both wish to know what happened. (Even pretending that such rules *themselves* wouldn’t be a speech violation.)

        Moreover, note that even if it *was* anonymous, it doesn’t change much.

        If a *completely anonymous* organization, and I mean literally no one had any idea who was behind it, ran millions of dollars each year attacking politicians who did X, and promoting ones who did Y…

        …it’s actually hard to see how that doesn’t have most of the existing problems of the current system, even with can’t-actually-happen anonymity. It’s still the rich essentially buying a political position, sorta-kinda extorting pols into that position.

        Even if we don’t know who ‘the rich’ are here.

        Granted, they would have to do it *publicly* due to the anonymity, which makes it harder, I guess. But that’s really the ‘public’ aspect, not the ‘anonymous’ aspect. But this entire thing falls apart because private communication exists in the first place…if we could somehow require no private communication of politicians, we’d have already *solved* this entire problem.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I don’t think they could be anonymous in the sense required to ensure the integrity of elected officials, i.e., they could effectively prevent the official from being told the secret of who is behind the donations.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

          You guys are really positing some Rube Goldberg-ian mechanisms to explain something for which much simpler explanations exist. And at the same time, the empirical research on campaign financing generally fails to find any of these supposedly I’ll effects.

          So, when in doubt, maybe we should default to the widest possible allowance for the individual expression of political speech, even wheb those individuals are acting as part of an organization, because that is how a liberal democracy is supposed to work.

          At the very least, we should wait for some actual proof that running TV commercials presents an existential threat to our democracy.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to j r says:

            The problem in their mind is that someone has the wherewithal to counteract the media which favors their causes. You mustn’t assume there are any decent impulses behind the President’s complaints or any other partisan Democrat’s.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r says:

            What I find interesting is that CU has sort of become a left-right issue when I think it is much more complicated than that. Or maybe simpler? It just doesn’t strike me as an issue with an OBVIOUSLY left-right dividing line.

            I understand the arguments pro and against. I am actually sympathetic to both arguments though (perhaps surprisingly) actually land in favor of the CU decision largely based on the idea that the government telling people how/when/where they can spend their money while engaging in the political process just doesn’t sit well with me.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy says:

              It fits perfectly with my own belief that the left-right divide is reflective of legitimate policy disagreements, but has mostly come to function as a an overarching political-media narrative that serves to unnecessarily divide people for the benefit of those already in authority.

              Democracy is an ideal. The nature of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs means that politics will always be rife with special interests. The narrative tells us that this manifests itself in the form of public interest v private/commercial interests, so the left tends to reflexively support the former and the right the latter.

              As I said, some group of people is going to have an outsized level of interest and participation in the political process. If we restrict the ability of those representing private interests, then we necessarily provide a boon to those who claim to represent the public interest (the media is the most obvious example). I get why the left wants that, but I don’t share that prejudice for the so-called public interest or against private/commercial interests. Both are inherently self-interested and both are capable of getting it right or getting it wrong, so I say let them fight it out. Mostly my support for the Citizens United ruling stems from my preference for not letting the government prohibit things unless they can first demonstrate that they are acting to reduce actual harm.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r says:

                “Mostly my support for the Citizens United ruling stems from my preference for not letting the government prohibit things unless they can first demonstrate that they are acting to reduce actual harm.”

                This tends to be where I land though, big picture, I may have a different definition of harm than you (or other people… maybe even most…).

                And while I do think there exists the potential — and perhaps realized — harm as a result of the CU decision, I think freedom of speech is a REALLY compelling interest.

                To the broader, left/right divide on this particular issue, I used to play a game where I’d like at a certain news item and before I got ANY sense of how the sides “felt” about it, I tried to determine which side was for and which side was against. It was remarkable how many issues I could find rationales for both sides to be in favor of.

                I guess what stands out to me is that most of the conversation — on both sides — seems to hinge on “money = speech” which seems like a really facile analysis of the issues at play.

                I’m also very sure I’m not explaining myself well here in part because my own thinking is so muddled. It makes sense in the ol’ brain case but I can’t seem to figure out the words.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                I guess what stands out to me is that most of the conversation — on both sides — seems to hinge on “money = speech” which seems like a really facile analysis of the issues at play.

                That’s what it really comes down to for me, though. I think money in politics is a huge problem. It is demonstrable to me that a significant portion of the money being put in the system is indeed to influence politicians (rather than express views).

                But none of that matters, because you can’t suppress money without suppressing speech. And as big of a problem as I see with money in politics, I see that one as a greater one.

                (And actually it’s the *Facebook* story that informs my views here to a large degree. Moreso than the Kinsey one.)Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

                Even if I disagree with you on the money equaling speech @will-truman (and even then, of those of us who believe in public financing, nobody I know wants to stop say, Rupert Murdoch from owning Fox News. We’re just saying, every serious candidate is on equal ground. Then let who is the best putting for their ideas win when it comes to advertising), but I’ll make a deal.

                Remove all caps on contributions. Want to give your candidate a million bucks? Fine. But, PAC’s are eliminated, and every candidate has to have a page on their website with a link as large as their issues page listing all of their donations over a certain amount (I think the FEC rule is $250 for disclosure – maybe we can bump that up to $2500 for privacy reasons) along with that persons employer.

                If the AFL-CIO or Exxon or George Soros or Sheldon Adelson wants to donate money – fine. But, people will know Exxon or the AFL-CIO gave you money, not Americans for Prosperity or Priorities USA or whatever.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                We’re just saying, every serious candidate is on equal ground.

                Who gets to decide who the “serious candidates” are? When you restrict money, the answer invariably becomes the media and incumbent political interests. I don’t trust money, but I don’t trust the media and political parties even more.

                I’m not necessarily opposed to the sort of clear labeling laws you propose, though.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to j r says:

                I mean, I would say any party that got 5% of the vote in the previous election _or_ can get the signatures of some reasonable percentage of the popular vote.

                I’d also pass IRV or proportional representation along with this if we’re giving me temporary dictatorial powers though.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                And when the dominant party in Congress sees an emerging third party that might siphon votes, how soon before they up the thresholds?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazz – I mean that’d why I’d also institute IRV and/or proportional voting at the same time in my perfect world.

                If we’re not going to do that, I actually think the best thing somebody can do is try to change the DNC or GOP within. After all, it’s how the Right got things done.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                How do you get to that threshold though? You need awareness, publicity. And if you restrict the ability of individuals and organizations to contribute money and help raise awareness about candidates and issues, then you have effectively left the media and existing political parties as the gatekeepers to the political process.

                I can see why some people like that, but I’m not sure why I ought to trust them more than I trust random rich people.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to j r says:

                That last sentence is probably why I’m a social democrat and you’re libertarian leaning, but to your larger point, I’d also be open to some sort of bond to deter candidates who just want the taxpayer cash who then don’t actually campaign as a 3rd option – ie. you put up $x,000 (based on the level of office) to get public financing and as long as you get some meager percentage of the vote (let’s say 1.0, but I can get talked into another amount), you get your bond back.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

                And if you restrict the ability of individuals and organizations to contribute money and help raise awareness about candidates and issues, then you have effectively left the media and existing political parties as the gatekeepers to the political process.

                So start your own media outlets to spread your views. This is a thing people do now, and have done for ages, and the costs of entry certainly don’t seem higher now than they did a century ago.

                I can see why some people like that, but I’m not sure why I ought to trust them more than I trust random rich people.

                Random rich people have a long and storied history of starting their own newspapers and magazines, or buying up existing ones.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                @jesse-ewiak

                Where do we draw the line?

                Which of the following would be allowable?
                1.) A billionaire buying a commercial endorsing Candidate A?
                2.) A billionaire buying a commercial criticizing Candidate A’s opponent?
                3.) A billionaire buying a commercial supporting an issue that is core to Candidate A’s campaign?
                4.) A group of middle classes citizens pooling their money and doing any of 1-3?
                5.) A billionaire self-publishing and promoting a book supporting Candidate A?
                6.) A billionaire self-financing a documentary criticizing Candidate A’s opponent?
                7.) An independent film making using KickStarter to finance a documentary criticizing Candidate A’s opponent?
                8.) The NYT Editorial Page endorsing Candidate A’s opponent?
                9.) A billionaire buying a newspaper and penning its Editorial Page’s endorsement of Candidate A?

                Should I keep going? Is money speech? No. Money is money and speech is speech. But money can amplify a voice. And I’m not sure we want to stop that.

                If anything, I’d take the opposite approach. Only let the candidates themselves spend public finance money but then let private citizens do whatever they F they want with their money and voices.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

                1-4) Send your money to a candidate. That’s your money being used as speech. Everybody can “hear” you support them via the candidate webpage.

                5-7). Unlike advertisements, books and documentaries are both products that have a use beyond just saying, “vote for this candidate or this candidate.” Plus, you have to choose to buy the book or watch the documentary. In swing states, you literally can’t avoid advertisements if you want to watch TV or listen to the radio.

                8-9) Standard freedom of the press – in other countries with restrictive campaign financing, there are still “liberal” and “conservative” papers.

                But even then, I can be convinced as a middle ground to let “people do whatever the F they want” as long as it’s obvious who it is spending their money and putting their voice out there. After all, when I speak, people know who I am. I can’t say I’m the Foundation for a Better America as I stand on a street corner.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                @jesse-ewiak

                FWIW, the original Citizen’s United case was over a film and advertising for it. It would probably fall into categories 4(1) and 7.Report

              • I’m down with requiring Exxon to disclose that they donate to Futurions For A Better America, and for FFABA to have to disclose who their donors are. But that’s more or less what’s supposed to happen now.

                I don’t think Exxon should be limited to speak through the candidate. If they want people to vote for A Better America, they should be allowed to say that, too. I actually kind of prefer it, with the more separation the better to whatever extent its feasible. I have criticisms, but I think a lot of what we do with regard to CFR is along the right track.

                It fails, but just about any plan I would find acceptable would fail.

                I’m not sure what is meant by “Every serious candidate on equal ground” and how it pertains to Fox News. Would Fox be prevented from (for instance) having Donald Trump on Hannity the night before every primary? Or are you speaking more abstractly where Fox can do what they want and MSNBC can do what they want and it all kind of evens out?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

                501 (c) Super PAC’s don’t have to disclose money – guess where all the money is?

                I think the thing is, I’m not actually that worried about money in Presidential races. Hell, I’m not even that worried about Senatorial or Congressional races, even though that’s where my issues come in.

                I’m more worried about state legislatures and local races where in a low turnout election, a $50,000 ad buy via the Koch Brothers or the AFL-CIO can actually swing a race.

                By an even playing field, I mean that. Each candidate gets x dollars – let’s see who has the better message. Not whose message is most attractive to unions or rich people in other states or areas of the country.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                By an even playing field, I mean that. Each candidate gets x dollars – let’s see who has the better message.

                But that’s not an even playing field, because financing is only one determinant of the playing field.

                Party affiliation, incumbent status, name recognition, media attention are all things that influence how and how much a candidates message will be heard.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                By an even playing field, I mean that. Each candidate gets x dollars – let’s see who has the better message.

                What does that have to do with winning elections?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                I guess what I mean is that one side just wants to shout, “Can you believe they think that money is speech?” and the other side just shouts, “Can you believe they want to restrict speech?” And both sides are sorta right and sorta wrong but neither seems willing to actually get into it beyond what they’re shouting.

                And maybe that is normal? But, I dunno, it feels different this time.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

                I guess what it comes down to is that we already restrict speech a lot if we’re going by purity grounds.

                I just don’t see the big difference between telling RJ Reynolds they don’t have the “freedom” to adverise their wares in certain media and telling Americans for Prosperity they can’t advertise their wares in certain media.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                @jesse-ewiak

                So what happens when 1000 poor Black and Hispanic folks from the South Bronx want to make their voices heard — their voices and not amplify the voice of a candidate who may or may not really represent them? Can they pool their money and buy an ad? Or host a rally? Will rallies still be permitted? What about billboards? I mean, if I went and bought a billboard on the Cross Bronx that said, “I’m Kazzy and I #feelthebern,” would you have someone come and arrest me? Agents of the state tear it down?

                And why does it necessarily matter who is speaking? You said you want the election to be based on which candidates best convey their messages. So why does it matter if a particular ad was made by one of the Koch brothers or Elizabeth Warren? If the information in it — if the message — is accurate and compelling, who cares who said it?

                And if it is inaccurate, counter it.

                And if it is libelous or slanderous, I assume the courts have mechanisms of getting at who is behind it without requiring that information be made public in every case.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kazzy says:

                I’m all for media where people have a choice in that media. Rallies, streamed on the Internet? Cool. Books, fine? Movies? Sure. (After all, I think Citizen’s United would’ve been fine as a decision if it would’ve been on limited “yes, Sinclair can air their BS film about the Clinton’s) Newspapers? Buy all you want!

                But, to your actual example – I’d be the boring establishment figure and tell them that they’d be better off actually working within their local party – if they truly have a 1,000 people in the South Bronx, they could take over most of the local Democratic Party precients in a few meetings. Not as sexy as a rally in the park, but probably more effective in the long run.

                But., that’s why I’m not an anarchist. So yeah, they wouldn’t be able to put up the billboard. But, hey, if they hate the system and want to spray paint something, go hog wild.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy: So what happens when 1000 poor Black and Hispanic folks from the South Bronx want to make their voices heard — their voices and not amplify the voice of a candidate who may or may not really represent them?

                Then they can just do that? It would only be an issue if they were supporting or opposing a specific candidate right before an election, in which case the “make their voices heard” objection doesn’t seem relevant.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy

                So their voice can say, “Black lives matter!” but not, “We support Clinton and here’s why?”

                @jesse-ewiak

                Your position here shows a real lack of respect for indicidual agency. Oh no! If someone sees a commercial or bill oard against their will, they’re doomed!

                What about canvassing and ringing doorbells?

                You are suggesting a pretty severe curtailing of rights. Whic can be justified. But you haven’t justified it beyond saying the current exercising of those rights is offputting. What rights are at threat? What compelling public interest exists? We just don’t know that money in politics does what you say it does.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy

                So their voice can say, “Black lives matter!” but not, “We support Clinton and here’s why?”

                Then there’s no problem that I see.

                And of course it should go without saying that the argument would be identical if they wanted to say, “Unborn lives matter!” but not, “We support Ted Cruz and here’s why!” but it probably won’t.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to pillsy says:

                How is that not a pretty fierce restriction on speech?

                What if they support a candidate for reasons other than why most do? What if their support is begrudging? If they are just one of millions of donors, their voice disappears in a way it might not when actually getting to, ya know, speak.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                What if they are responding to something a candidate just said about their cause?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Is this question to me, Will, or others? I thought I’ve been clear that I’m all for letting anyone speak or spend as they see fit.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Okay, I thought so but I wasn’t sure!

                ETA: Who says bipartisanship is dead?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kazzy says:

                How is that not a pretty fierce restriction on speech?

                I’d make my argument in two parts.

                The first is that it’s because of the relatively narrow, viewpoint-neutral scope of the restriction (electioneering communications right before an election) in service of a compelling state interest (avoiding soft corruption and the appearance of same).

                The second is that there were many alternatives left open for groups and people like the one you’re speculating about. “We want to band together to say this thing, without directly contributing to a candidate, or starting a newspaper or magazine of our own, or writing letters to the editor of an existing newspaper, or getting an editorial published in that newspaper, or….”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy

                But is there evidence of corruption? Isn’t that pretty important?

                Your second point is unclear to me. What alternatives do you propose?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Kazzy says:

                But is there evidence of corruption? Isn’t that pretty important?

                Good question, and the weakest aspect of my line of argument is that I don’t know the answer to it.

                Your second point is unclear to me. What alternatives do you propose?

                The traditional alternative is to start (or buy) a newspaper, and then when you want to praise or criticize a candidate for whatever reason, you publish an editorial that does just that. That was a perfectly viable solution before Citizens United.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy

                So those 1000 poor Black and Hispanic people from the South Bronx who cobbled together $100 each to buy a TV ad should instead cobble together thousands of dollars each to buy a newspaper?Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy:

                So their voice can say, “Black lives matter!” but not, “We support Clinton and here’s why?”

                This was the distinction before the CU ruling. One benefit of the CU ruling is that it’s moved the Overton window so that the argument is between the status quo and going back to this standard.

                The argument is not longer, as it was before the ruling, between this standard and trying to restrict soft money and people making ads “We Want This Thing paid for by People for This ThingReport

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kolohe says:

                @kolohe

                Another benefit, it would seem, to the CU ruling. It strikes me that MORE PEOPLE have GREATER OPPORTUNITY to make their voices known and without all the silly nonsense and subterfuge.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                “If we prevent tobacco companies from advertising cigarettes on TV, what’s to stop us from preventing people from airing political opinions on television?”

                “Will, that’s the dumbest slippery slope argument I’ve ever heard.”Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

                I never said I’m against airing political opinions on television. I’m against short form commercials being aired in between ads for the next Disney movie and Tide.

                I’m also for all over their air networks being required to air 30 minute programs during prime time x days before the election putting forth the policies of each party that is created by the parties, ala the conventions and what other countries do on their public broadcasting.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                At the risk of being hypocritical, I wouldn’t object to tobacco-product commercials airing but with restrictions when it comes to programming for children/minors.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

            And at the same time, the empirical research on campaign financing generally fails to find any of these supposedly I’ll effects.

            I’ve seen summaries of research indicating that campaign spending doesn’t really work for buying elections. I haven’t seen similar research indicating that it doesn’t work for buying politicians.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to pillsy says:

              There is a relevant Linkage tomorrow. Stay tuned.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to pillsy says:

              I think I know what link Will has in mind, so I won’t use it here.

              But the obvious question is: what does it mean to buy a politician? Are we talking about quid pro quo exchanges or are we talking about fuzzy “reflects the interests of” stuff?

              Also, to the extent that politicians sell themselves, it is to lobbyists and not to campaign donors.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to j r says:

                But the obvious question is: what does it mean to buy a politician? Are we talking about quid pro quo exchanges or are we talking about fuzzy “reflects the interests of” stuff?

                We’re talking about quid pro quo exchanges, and being able to have anything like reasonable certainty that they aren’t happening.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I don’t have anything substantive to add to this thread, except to say that I’m enjoying the hell out of following it.

        Also, @jesse-ewiak, I know we don’t agree on much, but I have to say you are in fine form today. Seriously, you are a big part of what is making this discussion enjoyable.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

      It’s almost enough to make you wish that they didn’t censor a PPV movie in order to make that point (and then go on to argue that the law could also be used to ban books).Report

  9. Avatar Art Deco says:

    OK, let’s see.

    1. Zach Burdyk is incompetent at making analogies. Trump isn’t concerned with issues which animated Mrs. Hicks and bears no resemblance to her in character, personality, or manner of living. The only thing they have in common is that they manifest the interests of social sectors Zach Burdyk despises.

    2. Arthur Garrity manhandled the Boston School system for nine years, making a complete dog’s breakfast of every aspect of the social problem in question, ergo it is Mrs Hicks that was the problem.

    3. The foregoing lend credence to two theses: (1) Liberals have no interest in any project other than defining in-groups and out groups and manifesting cultural aggression against the latter and (2) they’re incapable of taking responsibility for the damage they do.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Art Deco says:

      (1) Liberals have no interest in any project other than defining in-groups and out groups and manifesting cultural aggression against the latter and (2) they’re incapable of taking responsibility for the damage they do.

      Serious question: do you recognize the irony in that statement?Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to j r says:

        There is no irony. Neither you nor I ‘recognize’ any irony. You’re playing games, and I’m not.Report

        • Avatar Francis in reply to Art Deco says:

          Of course you’re playing a game; you’re commenting on a little-read website. You could just as easily play the same character on Dreher’s blog to see what kind of reaction you get from that crowd.

          If you’re not playing a game, what are you doing, affecting public policy? Shaping the national discourse? Protecting the brand of the American Southerner Reactionary? When you write: “Why should Trump abide by court rulings?” do you really expect to be taken seriously?Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Francis says:

            Of course you’re playing a game; you’re commenting on a little-read website.

            You’re projecting Francis.

            I’m stating my view, not pretending to anything, which is what he’s up to.

            You could just as easily play the same character on Dreher’s blog to see what kind of reaction you get from that crowd.

            I’m not ‘playing a character’, I’m just me. What’s your problem? You’re a poseur and you assume everyone else is?

            I did used to participate in Dreher’s threads. If you’ve noticed, Dreher frequently fondles his portside commenters. He has those and the usual palaeotrash types. What he does not have many of would be the conventional starboard. There were only a couple of us, down to one when The American Conservative banned me (after he’d taken to deleting most of my remarks on spurious grounds). The American Conservative does not appreciate criticism from people and perspectives they fancy they’re superior to. His acolytes merely argued with me and snarled from time to time, which is familiar.

            It’s amusing how some of you misconstrue Dreher, who’s been a known quantity for a dozen years or more in the Catholic blogosphere.Report

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