Morning Ed: Politics {2016.08.30.W}


Will Truman

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

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59 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Nitpick: The New York Times Magazine and New York Magazine are two distinct entireties. The NYT Magazine is sometimes known as the Sunday Magazine because it comes with the Sunday Party.

    The MoJO article was illuminating. As Chip Daniels would say, feeling secure and safe matters. Now I suppose you could take a super pessimistic view on the nature of security and say it is a complete illusion. Interestingly my mom takes this view. When I’ve complained about the how freelancing is insecure, she says that normal jobs are insecure as well. This also seems to be the libertarian view, insecurity is good.

    My own lay off in March was unexpected and out of the blue. I’ve had sudden stops in employment in freelance projects too. The Facebook writers were caught off guard too.

    Yet while it is possible that the Koch Brothers or Zuckerberg could lose every cent they own tomorrow, it is unlikely.

    But this doesn’t mean that feeling secure is not psychologically important. I find it odd that all we have a hard time talking about security. We talk about pride easily but not security.

    Yet there seem to be a lot of people who think that insecurity is good. It makes people scramble!! Many of these people are as secure as you are going to get.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      It isn’t that insecurity is good or bad, just that security can not be guaranteed, certainly not by a third party, & it is better for people to recognize that & work towards securing themselves, rather than trusting largely to others.

      This is the lie told to our parents, and it’s been exposed as one. People should be given the tools to help secure themselves, rather than trusting to others who have no compelling incentives to.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Security might not be able to guaranteed but the biggest advocates of insecurity seem to be the most secure people on the planet. Its very easy to argue for different forms of insecurity when you are at self at peace. This isn’t necessarily even limited to economic matters. American hawks can cause a lot of insecurity through military adventurism even though the United States is extraordinarily unlikely to be on the receiving end of a military adventure by another country.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


          Perhaps we should be clear what kind of security we are talking about. I’m talking about economic security, and it seems like you are thinking about national security.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            I think this is true for all types of security. The most secure are usually the most blasé about the insecurity of others. The Koch brothers and Zuckerberg are wealthy beyond belief and really don’t care about the effects of disrupting the economic security of others. America is one of the most military secure places on the planet so most Americans can be oblivious to the damage caused by our military adventurism.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


              That’s more clear, thank you.

              I’ll agree that the most secure, by dint of being secure, have something of an attitude of “I secured myself, why can’t you do the same?”. Ideally, there would be a lot of truth in this, but the reality is that most people haven’t a clue how to secure themselves in any real way[1], which is why I said:

              People should be given the tools to help secure themselves, rather than trusting to others who have no compelling incentives to.

              One way we could do this is e.g. by requiring anyone who advertises themselves as a financial advisor for individuals/families to be an actual fiduciary, rather than just some schmuck in a suit and a buzzword thesaurus.


              I don’t think big corporations with massive profits should be able to keep low paid workers on call and on edge in ways that make it hard for them to do other jobs. It is horrible to go to work and be told you are actually not needed. It is also wrong to have someone need to wait around to find out whether they are needed that day

              I agree, although I think we can have some long discussions as to where to draw the line for “big corporations”. Seattle is looking at rules about that, and in general, I have no issue with it (although the devil is in the details).

              [1] Think about physical security and how many people just buy a gun and call it done.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @oscar-gordon @aaron-david

        I somewhat agree. Though I think we could have an interesting debate about whether security was a “lie told to our parents.” Security largely seemed to be a reality to them. Maybe not to the extent of the Old Economy Steve meme but it did seem true enough in many ways. But enough Boomer’s I know seem to have had fewer employers in decades than I have had in the past five years. Gotta say that is kind of demoralizing.

        Now if someone’s idea of security is living in a Pacific Heights Mansion with hundreds of millions in the bank, I gotta say that is delusional. If someone’s idea of security is knowing how much and when they will work next week, I am highly sympathetic.

        A lot of our fights in politics are about burdens and where burdens shall lie. I don’t think big corporations with massive profits should be able to keep low paid workers on call and on edge in ways that make it hard for them to do other jobs. It is horrible to go to work and be told you are actually not needed. It is also wrong to have someone need to wait around to find out whether they are needed that day.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David says:

      I think a huge part of it @saul-degraw is that everyone’s need for security sits at a different level. My in law’s, and to an extent my father, really felt the need for security and took it upon themselves to always, always, always work toward that. My mother, on the other hand, seems to not really care. She has been going on a wild international adventure for close to a decade now. She is also one who at the age of 40 started a very successful small business, throwing everything she had into and sacrificing any health insurance, retirement etc. that came from my fathers job.

      Only you can make you feel secure, as there is always the chance that whatever can go away.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        There’s different kinds of security.

        For some people, security is knowing that they aren’t tied down to a specific job, specific house, specific city, specific life; that they wouldn’t find themselves in a position where they had to accept the unacceptable to avoid the consequences of losing something.Report

  2. Avatar notme says:

    White House defends Obama evading Senate on Paris climate deal. May ratify it in China as he meets with their dictator.

    Bush was criticized for abusing his executive powers but here liberals are silent as usual.Report

    • Avatar Gaelen says:

      Obama has been criticized by liberals for abusing executive authority, most notably in his use of the drone program and domestic surveillance.

      This article lays out a much better case that the agreement was specifically negotiated so that it fell within the presidents existing statutory and constitutional powers, and thus didn’t need to be ratified by the senate.

      • Avatar notme says:

        Others disagree and think that it’s a treaty. Yes, some parts are voluntary but others are mandatory. However, just saying stuff is voluntary doesn’t mean that it’s not a treaty. Other treaties have contained voluntary things we would do. This sounds like Obamacare where a tax really isn’t a tax b/c we called it a penalty.

        • Avatar Gaelen says:

          Whether or not the Paris agreement requires ratification is a legal question. The link I posted discussed the relevant legal standard and their application to these facts. The link you posted hand-waves at the legal issues without ever explicitly telling the reader what the applicable standards are, then says even if the emission reduction commitments are not binding “Americans expect their government to keep all solemn promises, whether or not those are deemed legally binding.” Which is something of a non-sequitur.

          So, the question is not whether other treaties have had voluntary elements, or even if other treaties had voluntary emission reporting requirements, it is whether there are any binding elements that the president does not have the power to enact under existing statutory, ratified treaty, or constitutional grounds. So, as mentioned in your article, even if the UNFCCC had non-binding emission reduction commitments, it did have binding elements for financial commitments and reporting requirements that likely meant it required ratification to go into effect. The Paris agreement did not.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    Conservative woman: Yah, this rings true.

    Bad Feelings: Just goes to show you how much a lot of people don’t like the current “choices” our “democracy” has deigned to provide them.

    CBM: Actually a more correct analogy is, some guy who threw rocks from at top the mountain, and you’re down at the bottom throwing rocks at the guy half way up, cause the guy on top is long dead. I didn’t throw the rocks, I see no need to let people throw them at me.

    “We are all individuals who would like to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin, as Martin Luther King Jr. once said.” Really, ’cause that’s not the impression I get from a lot of news reports and interviews. I will say that he’s on point when he writes “You can only understand someone once you get to know that person. “Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      Why use such passive voice, in assigning blame to “democracy”?
      It reminds me of the old liberal cliche about “the system” producing injustice.

      Millions of American are enthusiastically supporting the idea of rounding up 12 million people into cattle cars and shipping them across the border.

      Is the problem here that these people are allowed input into our governance, or that they are making an awful evil choice?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        You’re shifting the parameters; outputs of a system are distinct from inputs to a system.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          I don’t understand; can you clarify that a bit?Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            The system of selecting a nominee for President of one major US party is broken, because those that advcoated that course of action, “the cattle car option”, are a minority within that party, yet they got their way.

            The system of selecting a US President is not broken, because those same people are not going to get their way.

            The system, though, does allow Obama to deport a record number of people, without credit or blame, because of who likes Obama and who doesn’t.Report

  4. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Facebook Newsroom: it’s hard to argue that the media isn’t engaging in coordinated activity that results in minimization and denial of conservative viewpoints when the most heavily-used media channel in the world actually is engaging in coordinated activity that results in minimization, etc.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      Did you read the article? It has nothing to do with the “Trending News” division, it’s about individual pages like Occupy Democrats and Make America Great Today vying for clicks. I’m guessing the “Facebook manipulation” has already settled in as a fact of life for you and now minimizes or denies any alternative viewpoints.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        That one is on me. I screwed up the item blurb.Report

        • Avatar trizzlor says:

          The dissolution of Trending News is interesting in and of itself. Just in the first few days they’ve already promoted a far-right smear against Megyn Kelly to millions of readers. Facebook’s response is that they’re working on a hoax/satire detection algorithm, which made me laugh a lot until I realized that the media reports were taking this seriously. Removing the article summaries also seems like a misstep; there’s maybe a non-zero chance that I would have clicked on a story about Kim Jong-un using an anti-aircraft gun in an execution, but I’m definitely not going to click on a story that just says “South Korea” (which is how Trending News is currently linking that story). It’s another example of Facebook looking at something that other web-sites have, saying “We want that too”, and then putting zero thought into how it fits into their eco-system. I installed Social Fixer recently, which removes all the clutter, sponsored content, clickbait, etc. and it’s amazing how little is actually happening on Facebook.Report

  5. Avatar greginak says:

    One thing that struck me from the Louisiana story was the guys complaining about, essentially, not being cool. Liberals didn’t invite them to parties or conservatives weren’t considered the smart fancy set. But they lived in an overwhelmingly conservative area so those were things they had almost certainly never experiences and its far more likely the liberals in the area didn’t speak up because they would be sneered down at. Even in Washington conservatives have all their own parties and social events, its not like every conservative there is sitting home alone and isolated.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I can actually understand resentment about not feeling or being cool. Its an emotion that I’m very familiar with but I do not let effect my politics. People can be superficial at times and many people have the social experience of being allowed to get this close in a personal relationship but not any closer for no discernable reason. It feels like your banging outside the door of the inner sanctum but not allowed in. You really can’t do anything about this. Nobody is obligated to get any closer to you than you want but it is extraordinary frustrating and causes a lot of bitterness and resentment.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Why do they feel they are uncool? For their religion? For their hobbies? Because they told a really racist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic joke and liberals gave them a scornful look?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Rather, why do these guys feel uncool?Report

  6. Avatar DensityDuck says:


    Bottom Guy: Throwing rocks is really bad. It’s the worst thing you can do to someone. It really hurts, and it makes it obvious what you think of the other person. (throws a rock.)
    Top Guy: Wait, you just threw a rock! Didn’t you just tell me that was bad?
    Bottom Guy: You have to understand how angry I am about all this. (throws a rock.)
    Top Guy: Okay, look, I haven’t thrown rocks at you, or at anyone at all!
    Bottom Guy: Yeah, but you would if you could. (throws a rock). And if other people threw rocks at me you wouldn’t tell them to stop, I bet.
    Top Guy: Okay, if you’re gonna keep throwing rocks then maybe I will too!

    • Avatar mark boggs says:

      Is it possible that the top guy represents the historical and institutional nature of the racism that CBM is asking you, not to agree with, but simply to understand? Yeah, I’m a white guy who has no ancestry associated with slavery or anything akin to it. But is it too far afield to ask that I at least acknowledge the fact that there are still rocks, not thrown by me, that are coming from above?

      I guess I don’t really think so.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “Is it possible that the top guy represents the historical and institutional nature of the racism that CBM is asking you, not to agree with, but simply to understand? ”

        (throws a rock at mark) You have to understand the historical and institutional nature of rock-throwing that’s led to it being OK for me to throw rocks at you.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      What’s your goal in changing a thoughtful metaphor into a meaningless one? Why not also make the guy at the top throw food and water and college tuition instead of rocks? That would fit your narrative even better, no?Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “What’s your goal in changing a thoughtful metaphor into a meaningless one?”

        You’re begging the question of whether it’s a thoughtful metaphor.

        “Why not also make the guy at the top throw food and water and college tuition instead of rocks?”

        Interesting how you miss the fact that my Top Guy hasn’t thrown anything at all.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          “What I am asking you to do is imagine yourself as the man at the bottom of the mountain having rocks thrown at you.”

          @densityduck ‘s response: “No. I won’t imagine that.”

          Which is cool and all, but at that point you’ve disengaged with CBM’s exercise so it is kind of hard to see your comment as part of that conversation as opposed to a new conversation you are starting absent any useful context.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck says:

            Kazzy, why won’t you imagine that you’re a complete asshole?

            Oh, what, you don’t want to do that? You’re disengaging with my exercise? I guess there’s no point in considering you part of the conversation, then.


            See, I can imagine just fine. See, here’s me imagining. Yeah, it sucks. Now I’m further imagining that I don’t assume everyone I meet has a rock hidden behind their back that they’re just itching to throw at me. I’m also imagining that if I get hit by something, I don’t assume that A) it was a rock, B) that was thrown, C) at me, D) on purpose, E) with the intent that it hurt as much as possible.Report

            • Avatar trizzlor says:

              >>Now I’m further imagining that I don’t assume everyone I meet has a rock hidden behind their back that they’re just itching to throw at me.

              Except that’s not what you did. You didn’t change the metaphor to get rid of rocks or mountains. You changed it to one where the black person was throwing rocks at a defenseless white person. Your imagination had no trouble with that scenario.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:


              I’d be totally willing to do that if you made the request in good faith and with an aim towards promoting understanding. Especially if there was like centuries of evidence that I had a tendency to be an ass.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              And maybe you can imagine all that because you’ve never been a black person in America. He’s offering you perspective on his experiences and perceptions. You are rejecting that, implying you are necessarily right and he necessarily wrong. Are you willing to consider being wrong?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                “Are you willing to consider being wrong?”

                Are you willing to consider that he is?

                If he wants to give a perspective, fine; consider it given.

                When the people who claim that they’ve had rocks thrown at them their whole lives start to throw rocks themselves it makes me wonder exactly how bad throwing rocks is after all.

                And I’m sure there’s all sorts of rules about size and color and pointiness of rock and how fast you can throw it, but I’m one of those old-fashioned doofuses who grew up in a time when they taught us that throwing rocks was bad. No matter who threw what sort of rock at whom, for whatever reason.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                You didn’t answer the question.

                How old are you? If you’re my age (33) or older, it means most of the people teaching you grew up and lived before the passage of the CRA. Do you think they uniformly supported and celebrated that? If not, guess what: they didn’t really teach you that.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                Obviously I can’t speak to your experience, but every person I’ve ever had as a teacher or a role model has taught me that racism is bad and shouldn’t be done, and that making decisions about a person based on racial stereotypes–even good ones!–was morally questionable and intellectually unsupportable.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                And they all uniformly derided red lining? And fought for desegregated schools? And none of them ever went wide-eyed upon learning that a friend or loved one was dating someone outside their race? We learn through many means beyond what people tell us.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                But, hey, maybe you’re the one in a billion who had a truly anti-racist upbringing.

                None of which changes the author’s point. He and many others have been hit by rocks by people who think it is okay to throw those rocks and he is asking you to believe him when he says this has happened. You seem to be saying that you won’t believe him. Why?Report

  7. Avatar Guy says:

    It’s below Lizardman’s Constant, but I really appreciate the 2% of people who expressed positive feelings for both Clinton and Trump.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Has Hillary been invited to Mexico recently?Report

    • Avatar North says:

      No they want her to win. I’d not be surprised if Trump walked into el’Presidente’s office and fell right into a pit of scorpions.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The optics of this are weird to me. They seem to benefit Trump.

        Someone explain to me that I’m looking at this incorrectly.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          Seems like a no-op to meReport

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Present indications are that it was a success.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          When in doubt reach for cynicism. EPN gets easy points within Mexico for “standing up to” Trump in an adult sober way. In the black swan event that Trump somehow gets elected having met with him would do some good and likely little harm.
          Also it’s hard to say whether snubbing Trump when he visited would help or hurt him at home with the Trumpkins.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            The only person I’ve heard say this was good for EPN is Laura Ingraham.

            So it probably want good got him.

            But he is apparently already really unpopular and can’t be reelected anyway. Vincente Fox seems to be having a field day.

            So good for PAN, bad for PRI.

            And good for Trump, pending further updates, but not in a way that really matters.Report

            • Avatar North says:

              Yeah they met probably for the exact same reasons. This politician is enormously unpopular and looks to be likely to lose their next election and are trying unorthodox things to see if something catches fire in a good way. It seems likely that sentence is equally applicable to Trump and EPN.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          You’re not looking at incorrectly, other than there was probably a not insignificant chance that Trump would have used his public remarks to complement Mexico on its great Taco Bell tacos, made out of Doritos even.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          I think that both intended to benefit: Trump rallies his base by wagging his finger in the face of the President of Mexico and EPN throws some red meat to the 100% of Mexican voters who hate Trump by either embarrassing him or treating him with disdain. This felt like the beginning of a pro wrestling match the moment it was announced.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          The optics of this are weird to me. They seem to benefit Trump.

          Someone explain to me that I’m looking at this incorrectly.

          Well, it is a bit weird that the Mexican President would invite Trump – given his current polling numbers – to private meeting. He’s apparently also extended an invitation to Hillary (perhaps that’s something he came up with on the fly since the optics of his Trump meeting look so bad*…) but even the optics of THAT seem to tilt in favor of Trump since Nieto would ostensibly have no bone to pick with Hillary (she is was a big NAFTA fan!).

          It’s a puzzling move on both levels tho: why Nieto invited Trump, and why Trump – after all his racist, anti-Mexican claims – would agree to it. It puts him directly in line to backtrack on the platform which got him the nomination. And sure enough, after the meeting he’s backtracked.

          Weird election.

          *Maybe he didn’t invite her initially outa respect for her health problems….Report