Morning Ed: Resources {2016.08.04.Th}

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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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  1. Avatar j r
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    From the oil article:

    The initiative is a reaction to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ aggressive oil-pumping policies since mid-2014, which have helped drive global oil prices to ten-year lows and thrust domestic U.S. production into crisis.

    Last month, June 2016, OPEC countries produced a total of 32.85 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil, up from a 2014 average of 29.7 mbpd. In 2016, the U.S. has produced an average of 13.35 mbpd, up from an average of 12.25.

    I guess if you use 2014 as the starting point, OPEC production increases might look relatively “aggressive.” However, it’s worth pointing out that the OPEC number was a decrease from the 31.15 mbpd that they were pumping in 2012, while U.S. production has been steadily increasing from an average of ~10 in 2012.

    Just a reminder that the idea of “energy independence” is mostly a canard. Oil is globally produced, globally traded and globally priced commodity. We can have all the independence we want to the extent that domestic producers are willing or forced by law to forgo the opportunity cost of selling to the highest international bidder. This is about companies advocating on behalf of their bottom line, not looking out for patriotic interests.Report

  2. Avatar J_A
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    With respect to the UK and plastic bags, bear in mid that Europeans mostly shop daily or almost daily for food (*). Therefore the amount of shopping you would carry with you is quite small. The amounts a USA family buys in a grocery trip are unheard of. Keeping a bag in the car, or stuffing your coat pockets (everyone carries coats 10 months a year) takes care of most of your food shopping.

    (*) It’s quite normal that a house regular’s fridge would be the size of a USA minibar. A similar sized freezer would be normal.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to J_A
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      From my understanding, Britidh food shopping habits are more like American ones than continental habits. I think their fridges are American sized to.Report

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to J_A
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      Yes, this. I hate grocery shopping and I try to do it at most once a week – carrying enough reusable bags, even for me as a single, live-alone, could be difficult.

      Also having to be sure to have some easily-washable ones for carrying stuff like meat, and separate ones for the things that will be eaten raw and the things that are cleaning products and and and…..I try to do it with “little” shopping, also when I shop at the “hippie store” but not if I’m spending over $100 and getting multiple canned and jarred items.Report

  3. Avatar J_A
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    Tangential to the Tim Kaine article

    The USA produces more gas that what it can consume, yet, every winter, the N.E. Has to burn massive amounts of heating oil and LPG because there are not enough pipelines to bring the needed gas into the region. While all dusting LNG importing terminals in the USA are being retrofitted as export terminals, an LNG winter only import facility has been developed in New England,

    The excess cost for the consumer, as well as the environmental impact, is mind boggling. Pipelines Rule!!!Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to J_A
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      Some of the New England problem is the people’s own fault, of course. A friend who lives near the Massachusetts/New York border was ecstatic when the efforts she helped lead got Kinder Morgan to abandon the idea of running another gas pipeline into the New England market area.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Michael Cain
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        *cough* “bloody fumes and smog” *cough*

        The *cough* is literally coughReport

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Michael Cain
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        People want to ban gas and oil pipelines for the same reason that other people want to ban abortions; they imagine that folks get in trouble without thinking or planning because there’s a quick and easy solution available, so if the easy solution is made illegal then the underlying problems will go away without further effort.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck
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          IIRC, the biggest opponents of the Keystone pipeline were people who didn’t want it in their backyard.

          NIMBY, not ideology.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
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            Those were the ones that had the standing to sue. It was a touchstone for the environmentalists, though. (In a way that Dakota Access isn’t.)Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman
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              I think the environmentalists only got involved after people in the path of it got really, really unhappy. But I could be remembering wrong, but I recall a lot of state and local level opposition — even from Republicans.

              It seemed a lot more popular to people who weren’t in the path of it.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
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                I thought eminent domain was the strongest argument against it, but the most amplified arguments ran like this and not the governor of Nebraska’s argument:

                http://www.vox.com/2015/11/8/9690654/keystone-climate-activismReport

              • Avatar Brent F in reply to Morat20
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                The locals started the opposition, but I very much doubt that the Obama administration does what it did to kill it if the pipeline hadn’t become an enviromentalist cause celeb for a movement looking for a win. Hence the cottage industry of American enviromental NGOs out to make Albertan oil public enemy no 1. The state department ruling basically said they were killing it for symbolism rather than the actual merits of the project.

                The biggest winner of said campaign wasn’t the enviroment (the oil moves by other means anyway), it was American oil refiners who maintained their lucrative arbitrage between world and local oil prices.

                Am I annoyed that American liberals decided the best thing to do with their energy was to put the hurt on my region of the world for symbolic gains, because it was easier to mess with foreigners than do something productive? You might infer that.Report

  4. Avatar Damon
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    Desal: So where’s the power going to come from? Coal/gas fired plants?

    Plastic bags: Hah, no consideration for the costs to the consumers. No consideration to the admin hardship for small companies. No choice. Next up: coffee cups–they are coming for you Starbucks.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Damon
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      The power cost of desalinization has dropped dramatically in the last two decades. It used to be extremely high. Not anymore. The article gives you some numbers. Israel uses mostly natural gas for power generation.

      Today, it’s cheaper for a seaside steam power plant to take seawater to make up the steam (*) than to dig up wells for it.

      (*) which requires pure demineralized water, not just fresh drinking quality water – remember battery water bottles?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to J_A
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        Good for NYC.
        Still doesn’t fix the shitstorm that is Miami.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to J_A
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        Excellent info. So where are the environmentalists screaming about all the carbon pollution to make fresh water?Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to Damon
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          They are still recovering from the hangover celebrating the drying up of the Aral Sea, and were busy preparing the party to celebrate the permanent salinization of the Sea of Galilee (bummer about that being cancelled). They’ll get onto it eventually.

          The best thing about being a purist is that, if perfection is not immediately achievable, you don’t have to do a fishing thing to improve things a bit. Why bother with stopping desertification and depleting aquifers (hello, American Prairie) if there will be CO2 emissions associated? I might as well just keep pumping the wells until they are completely dry.

          #BernieorBustReport

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A
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        I have a post slotted for next week that features desal tech that could bring the power requirements even lower.Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon
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          When I was younger, or so much younger than today, but already a power engineer, how to supply water to the Netherlands Antilles and other Caribbean islands was a massive challenge. How could you support a tourist industry if tourists could not get a shower? (*). There was no certainty it could be solved. Bringing icebergs from the Antarctica was deemed a possible solution

          Last year, I was one-on-one discussing power requirements in Aruba with the Energy and Infrastructure Minister. The power requirements for the desal plants were not deemed to be relevant compared to those of air conditioning new hotels

          (*) Up to the early XX century, the only water available was rain water collected in cisterns. In dry years, women and children would decamp to the mainland leaving only the men in the islands, so as to save water.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Damon
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      Plastic bags. The consumers pay the cost of disposal in landfills, and the environmental cost of the bags floating everywhere, Sam Mendes movie-like. There no such thing as a free plastic bag.

      Starbucks cups. I hate those. They taste horribly and can’t be recycled. I ask for ceramic cups, and get a 10 cents discountReport

      • Avatar Damon in reply to J_A
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        “the environmental cost of the bags floating everywhere,”

        You want to specific how a consumer pays for enviro cost of the bags floating everywhere? Let’s assume they aren’t cleaned up. What cost is there for the consumer to bear?Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask in reply to Damon
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      Plastic water bottles will be next. There’re even more common and public opinion is already turning on them.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Damon
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      A little cellphone-calculator math tells me that the equivalent of the three Israeli desal plants described in the article would water the city of Los Angeles and its western suburbs from Long Beach up to San Fernando — about 4,000,000 people. But after those folks got their water, Burbank, Pasadena, Santa Clarita, and anything to the east of the Harbor Corridor would either need more desal plants or would need to continue importing their water.

      In practice, it all goes into the various reservoirs and gets distributed from there, of course. And that’s not to diminish the impressive technological and engineering achievement realized in Israel and the great public good it will do there (and for Israel’s neighbors).

      But I’m less worried about the power for the desal plants than I am about the huge up-front cost of the physical plants themselves. That would be several metric shit tons of bonds to float, and we’re already building high speed rail on credit.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Damon
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      The power for desal will come from solar, wind and liberal fantasies.Report

  5. Avatar Mo
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    Saudi Arabia isn’t targeting US production, KSA is targeting Iran.Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain
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    Re no nukes in the Rockies. By 2025, and perhaps somewhat before, when the Diablo Canyon nukes are retired, there will be a substantial violet/purple stretch extending down into California as well. At that point, San Francisco will be a hundred miles farther from its nearest nuke than Denver is currently.Report

  7. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
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    New state polls just hit:

    NH: Clinton 47, Trump 32
    MI: Clinton 41, Trump 32
    PA: Clinton 49, Trump 38

    She’s up by 10 in a Fox News poll nationally. I think jaybird and aaron david bet’s aren’t going well.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      Sean Hannity is already trying to square the blame.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      So much the better for us all, I’m sure.

      Though I still think that Notable News Events will decide the election a lot more than speeches/gaffes will.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird
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        If the Notable News event everyday is Trump saying something insane, then there ya’ go. For instance, there was another attack in France yesterday, but nobody heard abut it, because every hour, Trump was saying or doing something else crazy.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird
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        I think that could play a big role, but a lot of people seem to be forgetting that all of the crazy stuff Trump says is recorded, not just a fart in the wind. By October, Clinton’s campaign will have negative add spots for every demographic Trump has offended with probably a 60-second supercut of him saying offensive things about just that one group. I have a feeling those are going to be some of the ugliest, most effective ads in recent political history.

        I’m also going to guess that the primary reason for running those ads will be to insulate Clinton’s lead against a Trump bounce from a terrorist attack (or a series of small attacks by “crazy people”).Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Troublesome Frog
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          And generally, Trump has not demonstrated a clear ability to capitalize on current events as they unfold.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman
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            Trump’s problem is he seems totally unable to let an attack slide. Period.

            He’s thin-skinned, easily provoked, and responds disproportionately. I’d say he’s a troll’s wet dream, except even trolls like the occasional challenge.

            There’s a reason that I keep thinking he’s going to rage-quit the campaign.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Troublesome Frog
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          I guess it depends on how big the whole “sure, (terrible event) happened, but Trump said (horrible thing)!” phenomenon will play out in practice.

          Because, I’m guessing, if one of the ads talks about the horrible thing that Trump said about a group that some of the actors behind (terrible event) happen, coincidentally, to be part of, it’ll retroactively be an ad *FOR* him.

          Seriously: I’m hoping that I will be as certain about Hillary’s inevitability as Saul is come Halloween.

          I’m not yet.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird
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            If I were in the Clinton camp, I don’t know how hard I’d push the “Trump said an anti-Muslim thing” clips. Or at least, I’d be very careful about where I played them. Muslims are a very small group of voters and people who think it’s good to say terrible things about Muslims probably outnumber them.

            But Latino voters in certain southern and border states? They’re going to have a “greatest hits” catalog so big they’ll have to cut it down to fit in a commercial spot. At some point, the obvious “This guy really doesn’t like me and mine,” conclusion is going to push back pretty hard against any instinct to vote for a daddy who will protect us from terrorists.

            It has to be targeted. Even more effective if they can do a good job of prompting/goading him over the next month or two to really dump on key voting constituencies. Given how easy it seems to be to prompt him, I’m a little bit surprised we don’t see more of it. I’d expect Clinton to have a writer’s room coming up with things that might set him off and shipping those sound bytes to friendly surrogates all over the place.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      Yeah the polls are devastating for Trump this week. Slate had an article on how Utah might go Democratic (unlikely IMO) and 538 now has her chances at winning at 75 percent.

      Looks like a lot of R Senate campaigns are taking hits because of Trump.

      Who knew that a plurality of the Republican Party did not decide Presidential elections? Besides most people?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
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        To sound a note of caution, we’re basically at a half a week out from the arrival of the Hillary Convention bounce right now so it’s entirely possible these numbers could moderate going forward. Complacency is the enemy. HRC seems to be doing it right, though really how hard would that be? Keep out of the way as Trump shoots at his own side and keep rolling out the advertising while staying positive and optimistic personally? It’s a catbird seat to be in. I’m struggling not to be pleased.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North
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          Fight for every inch, but I’ve never been more optimistic than I am now. I’ve got HRC down for +6 at the moment. Which seems conservative right now, though I do suspect things will stabilize.

          I’m hoping that by mid-September, Republican congressional candidates are doing the “Divided We Stand” thing and campaigning on keeping Clinton in check.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman
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            Agreed, I’m feeling quite optimistic no matter how hard I try to tamp it down.

            Personally I’m hoping that by mid September the GOP is suffering waves of defections and Trump is spending most of his time pouring vitriol on the defecting Senators and Congresscritters instead of attacking Hillary while the various GOP officials blame each other for the disaster and the House majority seems endangered. But I’d also like a pony.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos in reply to North
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          I expect next week’s polls will show some narrowing back towards the status quo ante convention, but that was still a very favorable position for HRC.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      Sweet agnostic Jebus! Mi isn’t surprising but that’s brutal news out of PA, Trump NEEDS PA; especially considering he spend his entire convention crapping on a relatively popular governor of Ohio who controls most of the party apparatus there.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North
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        People look at PA and see that vast expanse in the middle and forget a large bulk of the population is in Philly and its suburbs and in and around Pittsburgh and all the steel workers already moved out or died off.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to North
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        Also, people forget that Pittsburgh is a lot more liberal than it used to be. It’s much more health care and tech focused and less manufacturing based.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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          For anyone genuinely interested in why Republicans look towards Pennsylvania, Brandon Finnegan is the go-to guy. Here he was last year, and here’s a more (pre-collapse) Trump-specific one from last month. Obviously, that was pre-collapse, but a lot of the arguments hold for a Trumpian party lead with competence.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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            @will-truman

            What is interesting here is that Bouie came to a similar conclusion about how Trump (or Republicans in general could win) and then concluded that the Rs have a real uphill battle.

            I will generally concede that Brandon Finnegan’s conclusions on Pennsylvania’s demographics and perhaps the demographics of other areas are correct but the key word here is “older”. How older are these voters and what happens when they die?

            This seems like they are going for a short term victory and not a long term gain.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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              I think counting on the Blue Wall and demographic change are both folly. Whether I like the folly or not depends on what the Republican Party looks like whenever in late October they’re down four points in the polls and convincing themselves that they can lose by four points and still with the election because Blue Wall.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                @will-truman

                I am not saying we should be complacement about the blue wall but there are facts in the articles that the author is not dealing with.

                1. He acknowledges that younger voters swing left.

                2. He acknowledges that his plan rests on older people.

                3. People die.

                Isn’t this basically saying that they are going short-term? How are the GOP going to work if their plan is based on older voters?

                I also don’t understand your post. Do you mean that you think the Ds will be down by 4 points in late October? Please provide a timeline on how this happens.

                Trump has massively turned off many people this week and proven himself dangerous. Yet we still have people here who think he can turn this around instead of revealing his true self and the American people are decent and smart.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw
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                The one thing working against the “younger voters swing left” inevitability is that younger voters slowly become older voters, and it’s not necessarily a good bet that they maintain their political affiliations as they do. I think that as a younger leftist voter gets older, two things happen. First, they move to the right on fiscal matters. Second, if they stay more or less where they are on social matters and the definition of “left” moves to their left.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Troublesome Frog
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                People don’t actually get more conservative as they age (fiscally or otherwise).

                What happens is that society keeps changing and after awhile you don’t (or not as much).

                We’ve distorted “conservatism” to mean “low taxes and less regulation and guns and whatever” when really it’s about change and the rate thereof.

                The older you get, the more likely you are to like the status quo, the more likely you are to want your change smaller, more manageable, more predictable.

                When you’re 18, upsetting the applecart or letting the chips fall where they may is a lot more appealing than when you’re 50 and have a lot invested in that cart and a lot more chips to lose.

                Party platforms and ideologies will change to suit voters as they get older (or to try to lure in the new young ones) but by and large people don’t change their ideologies much without a good sharp shock to the old worldview.

                And I really don’t think “fiscal matters” is some weird exception.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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                The “down by the 4” is in reference to some future election.

                The age thing is encouraging, from a Democratic perspective (and it’s something that gives me hope for the future of the GOP past the short term), but that’s not a safeguard. For voters coming up, Trumpism will seem normal if it persists. And things happen.

                Republicans saw 2008 coming a year or two in advance. I’m less sure Democrats will. Especially if, God forbid, it’s at the hands of a Trumpist Party.

                Doesn’t look like 2016 is that year, and Trump isn’t the guy to do it, but kinda concerned and really hoping that the GOP rights its ship between now and then. I’m not at all sure it’s going to have to.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will Truman
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                I’m having trouble envisioning a Trumpist candidate building a winning coalition. A candidate that could build such a coalition would likely lack some of the most dangerous aspects of Trumpism.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to pillsy
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                You have more faith in 2/3 of white voters than I do. The successful candidate would need a different style, but not necessarily a different platform.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Will Truman
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                Trump is like a classic tragic hero. His style is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. There are two things that would stop Trump 2.0. If a younger Pat Buchanan ran, in both politics and demeanor, he wouldn’t have won the primary. Part of how Trump won was that his ridiculousness allowed his opponents to let their guards down and some elevated him because they wanted to be the sane one left standing against him. YPB gets attacked by all flanks in earnest. Much like 9/11 changed the way we respond to hijackings, because the old worst case scenario was spending a weekend in Havana, 2016 changes the way candidates will handle ridiculous populist candidates.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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                In my more optimistic moments, I believe that last part is right. I believe the party will be ready next time, the voters will see through it, or it just won’t work without Trump.

                In my more pessimistic moments, I believe the path has been cleared and Trump’s successor won’t face the same headwinds he did.

                I’m not sure why, but I express my optimism more on Twitter, and my pessimism here. (At least as it pertains to post-2016)Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Will Truman
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                I don’t necessarily have faith that the voters will see through it. I have faith that Trump 2.0’s opponents and conservative media will see through it and begin the attacks right off the bat rather than playing footsie or laughing him off in the short term.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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                Huelskamp went down. That’s a start. (Though conservatives are pissed.)Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                @will-truman

                What I am worried about is Trump unleashing some really horrible unreconstructed racism and the GOP learning to harness this.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will Truman
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                I’m not sure “faith” is the right word. The ~40% of white voters that Trump is alienating are [1] being alienated for actual reasons, and not all of those reasons boil down to Trump’s crudeness.

                I also think a big part of Trumpism really has to be put down as his lack of a platform. It’s all gestures and affect with him.

                [1] If the various “Why is Trump so popular with the white working class?” think pieces are to be believed.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to pillsy
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                Trump has a way of making his own positions less popular. That’s a secondary effect of his crudeness.

                He doesn’t have a very specific platform, but the themes are there. For the sake of this discussion, what I call Trumpism is: Trust the Cops, Fear the criminals, Fear the Immigrants, Fear The Muslims More, Fear the Bankers, Fear the International Order.

                Basically, the American variant of what’s going on in Europe.

                And even as far as “tone” goes, I don’t even entirely mean toning it down entirely. Just using extreme language in more strategically, and working on the woman vote.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will Truman
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                Right. And those messages are, I think, pretty self-limiting. Consider, for instance, “fear the criminals”. No matter what people may tell you about their perceptions, when you boil it down, a lot fewer people are being victimized by criminals than they were 20 years ago.

                The idea that the forces of chaos are out control appeals to a subset of the white electorate, but a lot of white folks don’t find that reflective of their experience. A future Trumpista would have to find a way to expand his appeal to the people who don’t share in that vision, one way or another. Doing so, I expect, will lead to something less toxic, possibly way less toxic.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to pillsy
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                Everybody (well, 60-70%) thinks crime is worse and that we are on the wrong track. These numbers predated Trump.

                Now imagine what happens if things actually do get worse, and the Harbinger of Doom isn’t a buffoon.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Will Truman
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                Sure, I’m considering what happens in the absence of such a change. If we actually see crime getting worse, and if people are responding to direct experiences, or experiences of folks in their own social networks–we’ll have a different situation.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Will Truman
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                @Will-Truman

                I agree with you that the Trumpist voter is there.

                I have more problems imagining a Trumpist candidate that can be successful without the backing of at least some heavy donors. The cost of a USA campaign is orders of magnitude the cost in Europe.

                Trump is a special case, because he started the campaign already as a household name, saving him millions. Plus he had the (alleged) ability to self finance his primary campaign. He did let the press run and BE his campaign, but the only reason the press played along is that the public already knew who Trump was and wanted more of him. Candidates like Huckabe, Carson, Gingrich, Buchanan, that have gone for slightly similar demographics, have not succeeded anywhere like Trump because no one in Real ‘Mureeca knew who they were, and they could not buy their way into the spotlight.

                Literally, there are very few people in the position Trump was the day he went down the escalator, on both name recognition and resources. Oprah comes to mind. Bill Gates. Not many more.

                Any other Trumpist candidate will have to jump for the donors for his money. And the donors will limit him. Citizens United’s Silver Lining.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                What is Trump doing to get these votes out? Do you know the size of his GOTV operation in PA vs. HRCs?

                I keep on pointing out that GOTV is much more than people think it is and HRC knows this stuff and her people do as well. They are actual political operatives with decades of experience. Yet this always gets handwaved away because of feels and guts? Am I a Cassandra?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw
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                We’re too far away for people to really talk about GOTV efforts (even though it’s the sort of thing that needs to be ramping up right now).

                But you’re quite right. Trump has less ground game than the local dogcatcher’s election. I don’t know about the RNC as a whole, however.

                I do know they’re stressing about people turning out to vote Trump, then ignoring the rest of the ballot.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
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                The ground game is not something you want to rely on, but I think Saul is right about that cutting in HRC’s favor (as if any more advantages were needed).Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                @will-truman

                What should pols rely on if not for the tools of their trade?Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Morat20
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                Part of GOTV is identifying people and that needs to be largely done now so you can appropriately put boots on the ground. Also, we’re not as far out from voting as you think. The first ballots will be cast in about 30 days.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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      He’s got hard-core Republicans running away now, looks like.

      I admit, I suspected there was a problem when my father and one of my friends starting talking about Gary Johnson. (Admittedly, neither would actually agree with the LP platform, at all. They’d furiously vote against like 95% of it. But that doesn’t matter when GJ ain’t going to win, so they don’t care.)

      More topically, I wonder how late-deciders are going to break this year? No challenger, but Clinton’s pretty well known so she could probably fit into the incumbent mold. On the other hand, Trump’s selling crazy like it’s going out of style.Report

  8. Avatar notme
    Ignored
    says:

    Wearing “Don’t Tread on Me” insignia could be punishable racial harassment

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/08/03/wearing-dont-tread-on-me-insignia-could-be-punishable-racial-harassment/

    It must be nice to be able to run to the gov’t and have them label such silly things as racial harassment. I wonder how long it will be before simply being a white person will be racial harassment.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
      Ignored
      says:

      “In light of the ambiguity in the current meaning of this symbol, we find that Complainant’s claim must be investigated to determine the specific context in which C1 displayed the symbol in the workplace. In so finding, we are not prejudging the merits of Complainant’s complaint. Instead, we are precluding a procedural dismissal that would deprive us of evidence that would illuminate the meaning conveyed by C1’s display of the symbol.”

      Aren’t you all about fully investigating things? Or is that only officer-involved shootings that look really bad at first glance?Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Sure investigate all you want but don’t some to some BS conclusion regardless of the facts. The Freddie Gray prosecutor tried it in that case and fell on her face.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
          Ignored
          says:

          So will you walk back the claim that people “running the government” are “label[ing] silly things as racial harassment”? Because that isn’t happening. What is happening is that a governmental body charged with investigating claims of workplace harassment is investigating a claim of workplace harassment.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            The harassment complaint is not based upon actual harassment, such as abusive language or conduct, but personal offense taken at an item of clothing with a symbol the complainant erroneously claimed to be an “historical indicator of white resentment against blacks stemming largely from the Tea Party.”

            The EEOC disagreed with his claim: historically the Gadsden flag is traced back to the American Revolution in a non-racial context, and is “used to express various non-racial sentiments, such as when it is used in the modern Tea Party political movement.” The EEOC doesn’t agree with the premise that the Tea Party is a racial hate group. Part of finding a complaint has merit is to find that the claims have a basis in fact, and the EEOC didn’t agree, but ordered an investigation anyway.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to PD Shaw
              Ignored
              says:

              @pd-shaw

              Couldn’t an investigation that finds against the claim set a precedent about future claims of this type? In ehich case an investigation can prove beneficial to folks who abhor these sorts of claims?Report

  9. Avatar notme
    Ignored
    says:

    Lawmakers Demand Action After CBS2 Exposes Deceased Voters Somehow Casting Ballots Across LA County

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/06/02/lawmakers-demand-action-after-cbs2-exposes-deceased-voters-casting-ballots-across-la-county/

    Nope, no voter fraud to worry about.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme
      Ignored
      says:

      “The move comes a week after David Goldstein, investigative reporter for CBS2 and KCAL9, uncovered 265 dead voters in Southern California, of which 215 were in LA County; people like Julita Abutin, who died in 2006.

      But after the investigation, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder now confirms someone fraudulently used a mail-in ballot to cast a vote in Abutin’s name in 2014 and 2012.”

      “Part of the problem is that California is the only state that is non-compliant with a 14-year-old federal law that was supposed to standardize voting records statewide and prevent so-called “dead voters.”

      “I have no doubt that part of the problem that you’re running into in your story has to do with this lack of, with the fact that we’ve been out of compliance and that our computer system has been lousy,” Allen said.”

      The issue is with absentee ballots wrongly sent out due to a failure to comply with existing state law. How would the many proposed “voter fraud” laws have addressed this? Why would they be necessary if existing law — when followed — is sufficient?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I bring it up whenever we talk about going entirely mail-in and people tell me I’m wrong!

        (I realize that’s tangential to the point you’re making here.)Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        @kazzy beats me to it. The rap against voter ID laws has always been that in-person voter fraud is a fake problem, and that other ways of voting (that benefit republican-friendly demographics) are ignored. This story confirms that argument handily.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        So we had 215 dead voters in Los Angeles County in 2012. According to the official returns, 3,236,704 votes total were cast here in one of the nation’s most populous counties, of which 975,828 were mail ballots. Which means that dead voters sending in absentee ballots are .0066% of the total vote, and a whopping .022% of the absentee vote.

        .022%! Why, if that happened only 146 more times than it did, the dead voters would have more power than the number of people who voted for Gary Johnson!

        Our democracy is clearly tainted beyond all hope of legitimacy.

        N.b., Roseanne Barr got 14,649 votes in Los Angeles County, more than 68 times the number of dead voters submitting absentee ballots.

        Anti-voter-fraud bills, if taken at face value, are a solution in search of a problem.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          “If it saves one vote…”Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          I was thumbing through a Heritage Foundation presentation listing a variety of successfully prosecuted voter fraud cases. Many involved absentee ballots. What really jumped out at me was the number of cases where rural counties in Southern states had fraudulent ballots of the same order of magnitude (100-200) identified here. In all of those cases, the fraud was wholesale, rather than retail, with elected officials involved in creating the fraudulent votes.

          Still, California really needs to get its shit together on software systems. Back when I worked for the Colorado General Assembly, Colorado was fairly bad at software procurement (fortunately, from a voting perspective, the SoS’s office was probably the best of the lot — they worked much harder at it, and it showed). On more than one occasion, though, I was known to smile and tell someone, “Could be worse. We could be as bad as California.”Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michael Cain
            Ignored
            says:

            Wholesale fraud is exactly what I’m worried about, and why I’m less-than-sanguine about doing it by mail. Even though mail-in ballots exist now, it’s harder to hide fraud for the same reason it’s harder to hide a tennis ball in recently-mowed lawn. And if everything is mail-in, it provides incentives for innovation. It’s one thing when it’s just Oregon and/or a few other states. It’s another when you can do it nationally.

            I know, I know, the paranoia runs deep with me on this.Report

            • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Will Truman
              Ignored
              says:

              Oh, just stop with the worrying!
              We’ve already sent people to jail because of election fraud.
              (tampering with the voting machines).

              Mail ins won’t be any worse than how easy some of these have been to hack.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
              Ignored
              says:

              Every year, it seems, we read stories about boxes of ballots going missing somewhere between the precinct and the counting location. Chain-of-custody appears to be flawed in many places. My mail-in ballot has the advantage of being tracked all the way to the counting location — I can literally check to see that it was received. If someone “disappears” it between the drop-off point and the counting location, I know (and yes, I vote early enough that I can check, and I do check).

              Breaking things at that point is harder — central location, lots of workers monitoring each other, official observers. The mail-in process also provides a variety of straightforward count checks. In my county, there are dozens of ballot types due to overlapping state and federal districts, municipal ballot measures, special districts, etc. One simple check (certainly one that I would run if I were designing things) is “Does the number of type Y ballots run through the counting machines match the number of envelopes processed that should have contained type Y ballots?”

              Put it this way — I trust the mail-in system a whole lot more than I trust thousands of electronic voting machines with black-box software.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Michael Cain
            Ignored
            says:

            Just another case of important projects that lack sizzle. Nobody gets to crow about rebuilding a system that everybody thought was working. It’s like redoing the electrical panel in a house. It’s expensive and most people don’t appreciate why they did it. They only care when it fails and the lights go out.

            Better to spend the money on new counter tops or high speed rail.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to notme
      Ignored
      says:

      That’s why we need Voter ID!

      Oh wait.

      But after the investigation, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder now confirms someone fraudulently used a mail-in ballot to cast a vote in Abutin’s name in 2014 and 2012.

      Report

  10. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    Remember the kerfuffle over the gay wedding cake? I’m pretty sure that the idea of forcing Muslim grocers to sell pork and alcohol came up as an an ad absurdum. As I have observed before, the argumentum ad absurdum is losing its power.Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Saul Degraw:
    Despite the fact I think that engaging with you substantively is a Sisyphean task…

    You are partially right. The Philly suburbs used to be Republican and might be still in someways but they are filled with Rockefeller Republicans and not Teahardis. These are the GOP voters that the GOP lost by going really far to the right.

    Except all counties in Pennsylvania went for Trump

    I’m coming around to Will’s point of view (I think it’s his) that the ‘moderate’ Republican isn’t someone with soft religious convictions and wants good government, but is much more aligned with Trump believes.

    The old ‘moderate’ Republicans (I still think the Rockefeller Republican is mostly a myth) – at least the suburban white collar Republicans from the 80s – are casting their lot with the Democrats a lot more these days. Those that remain, remain for the same overt racial grievances that Trump airs. (because in the 80s, they were sub rosa, hidden in concerns about crime and good schools)Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      @kolohe

      Noted. This map does not tell us about the general though. The Ds still win by getting Philly, Pittsburgh, and their surrounding suburbs. Doesn’t this imply that in a general Montgomery and Bucks, et al are more blue than red?

      My point is that Montgomery is more blue than red right now and that is a recent(ish) change.Report

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