Linky Friday: Planet Justice

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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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93 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    F1: This might be just me but the word culture is over used. Just because Iceland has a lot of single mothers does not mean that those mothers form a distinct culture. They don’t have customs and rituals different than other Icelanders.

    F2: It turns out that humans have a lot of natural sexual restraint. The proponents of Free Love believed that once we got rid of all the cultural and religious baggage surrounding sex than we would be some sort of kinky, sexual utopia. They forgot that even with STD protections and contraceptives, there are also biological reasons that people are reluctant to have a lot of casual sex. There are also social reasons why people don’t have a lot of casual sex. Most people are bad at seduction and really don’t have the skills for it. Since “Your Hot, I’m Hot, Let’s Fish” rarely works, you have a bunch of people with average or bellow average social skills trying to do things that require a lot of social skills.

    F4: Chinese people get married younger than expected. Portugal is also a surprising outlier.

    L1: Judicial term limits are a big on the liberal wish list for Constitutional Amendments. They also have the advantage of depoliticizing the judiciary because every President gets a reasonable chance of appointing at least one Justice.

    C3: Yep.

    C4: Why not? The woman committed an act of sexual assault. She deserves prison has much as any man that does it.

    C5: A truly Kafkaesque experience.

    C7: I think its fairer to say that ordinary theft doesn’t pay. Other crimes like drug dealing or white collar crimes can pay a lot.Report

    • F2: My take is that humans tend to pair up (or, much less often, form similar matches with more than two people). This need not be related to sex, but it usually is. The sex act serves various purposes: the continuation of the species, of course, but also straight up recreation and/or release of tension. And here’s a fourth: strengthening the ties of people who have matched up. The problem with “I’m horny: Who else is horny, and we’ll solve each other’s problem” when people in other relationships are involved is that the ensuing sex act either served no “relationship ties” function, or it did. Even if the “But honey, it was meaningless!” defense is true, this just means the individual has separated sex from relationship building. Can he restore that connection at will with having sex with his partner? I am skeptical. I expect some people can, but I couldn’t. If I tried, it would weaken my relationship, even apart from any possible sturm und drang. This is why I don’t think open relationships work for most people.

      On the other hand, in my footloose and fancy free youth I was happy to plow various fields, at those times I wasn’t in a relationship.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        A lot of people don’t have the option of a footloose and fancy free youth even if they want one. I’d wish that society remembers this rather than assume all young people can get easy NSA sex.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          I wonder how many people are forced into goatsex?Report

        • I was right at the cusp of involuntary celibacy, based on physical appearance and social skills. To some extent the second part is a skill set that can be learned, as is the act itself such that one might get repeat encounters. Once I tentatively figured out the first, I happily fell into an extended training session for the second. Hooray for older women! But it could easily have gone the other way, had I chosen a different social path. Hooray for the SCA!Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

            I often speculate that with regard to sex, humans are becoming more like bonobos. It’s things like this description that seem to confirm this hypothesis. Really, there’s something quite remarkable going on here.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              Some humans at least. We seem to have a situation where certain and rather small and select groups of humans have sex as a fun recreation activity with multiple partners, others might have a decent amount of premarital and marital sex but only as part of an established monogamous relationship. I think that’s the largest group. They might have some one night stands but not enough for it to be considered part of their life. Others just have no love lives at all.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    There is a new theory that the author of the Voynich Manuscript was a a Jewish herbalist for Italy.Report

  3. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    F5: That’s the opposite of what the AEI author is saying, isn’t it? She says that an expanded child tax credit wouldn’t be enough, and that paid family leave and child care subsidies would do more to increase labor force participation.

    S2: Not necessarily water. That far out, it could be methane or some other substance that’s gas at Earth temperatures.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    [F1]: This is one of the reasons a beer cost me 15 usd in Iceland. But I did think it was cool for the cops to escort the drunken 16 year old high schoolers, celebrating their last year, around the town during the celebration, while it being technically illegal for them to drink.

    [F2] Yeah, but those red staters only do it “missionary style”. Everyone knows the feaky deekys live in the blue states.

    [F6]: I found some of this to be BS and some true. In part, because I lived some of it. I’m not sure how kids growing up in ANY hollywood family are vs “normal” kids, but I’d assume a higher level of “fucked up”. I’m not sure a divorce does much to add to that either way. Now, let’s address some of the other stuff, particularly the “take a bullet” comment. My ex and I had a amicable divorce. After a year of trying to work things out (she wanted the divorce), we started the process. We had no kids and we refused to pay lawyers 10K of our money to write separation agreements and draft divorce complaints. We did it ourselves. She would come over and we’d draft the documents. We worked together on cleaning up the house, painting, yard work, to prep the house for sale. We divided up the house hold stuff fairly straight forward. This is a woman I spent my entire 20s-mid 40s with. We share secrets NO ONE else knows about-not her family, not mine. Stuff I won’t even tell my next wife if I get married. Yeah, I’d probably take a bullet for her. In fact, I’d do more that that.

    [L3] As the article said, these are “according to a series of negotiating documents under discussion by the EU’s 27 remaining member states.” The UK is free to negotiation them away or not. Or tell the EU to stuff it.

    [C4] I’m still trying to understand how a woman doesn’t know the different between a “prosthetic penis” and a real one. Was this woman a virgin and had no experience? I’m assuming we’re talking a dildo her, not some 1000 dollar “real flesh” contraption that is heated.

    P2] You know in some parts of the US, landowners don’t “own” the water that falls from the sky onto their property. You are legally prevented from capturing that water and using it. Of course, I don’t see any reason why you’d want to sell back your solar power.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Re F2 IIRC there are articlearly every four years interviewing sex workers at the two national political conventions. The punchline is always when the ones who do both get asked to compare, and they say thefe are more requests for weird stuff at GOP convention.

      Maybe that’s just the party honchos, though.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        That’s something I would expect. You’ve already asked your wife for X and she’s said “no you pervert” so you’re going to see if you can get that from a sex worker.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Burt,
        Oh, yeah, that’s totally not surprising.
        But, um, one hopes that they’re interviewing sex workers over the age of consent.
        This may skew results…
        (considering how many people in power are coprophilliacs and into stuff involving babies).Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Damon,
      You’re obviously not familiar with enough redstaters to have a sufficiently large sample.
      Doing it with goats is for Yalemen, doing it with sheep is for redstaters.
      (Yes, there’s enough people who are stupid enough to take photos and post them on the internet. Rule34, after all.)Report

    • Avatar veronica d says:

      @damon — On [F2], sexual repression can lead to some very curious results.Report

  5. Avatar Road Scholar says:

    F3: I can’t speak to the study in the article other than to note that this is a highly politicized subject with all that implies. However, I wholeheartedly agree with Will that compliance absolutely needs to be factored into comparisons of contraceptive efficacy. Because what you’re really doing should be comparing the decision to use a particular method. In that framework, choosing abstinence and then subsequently falling to temptation, having unprotected sex (due to not choosing some other method), and getting pregnant is just as much a failure of the chosen method as a leaky condom or ineffective pill. Abstinence is most certainly NOT 100% effective.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      That’s not what the study is measuring and reporting on. There’s no argument about the “best” form of contraception. Assume all forms of contraception are promoted.

      It is reporting that there as statistically relevant connection between spending on programs to make access to contraception to U18 teens and teen birth rates… but not in the way one team assumes, but in a way the other team argues. That makes it a man-bites-dog study.

      That said, the results here are consistent with previous work suggesting that changes to service access can induce behaviour change amongst at least some teens. To the extent that more difficult access to contraception caused a reduction in sexual risk taking, this may have alleviated any adverse effects of spending cuts.

      It falls in the category of, what’s the goal here? Is the goal to reduce teen pregnancies? Because if it is, we might not be spending our money very well. Are there other, better ways? Are our assumptions about x –> y correct?

      Possibly the goal is to do something not related to teen pregnancies… fine, then possibly preventing teen pregnancies shouldn’t be part of the rationale for funding those programs… does that change the political calculus for getting funding? Yes, no, maybe?Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I’m with @leeesq and (I think @damon too) wondering why we ought to be alarmed at the prosecution in C4. It’s not really consent if it’s obtained by deception. “Deception” must be material, and a jury gets to decide what materiality is. And the defense was exactly what we would expect it to be: “She knew the reality of the situation and went ahead with it anyway.” A jury said, “Nope.”

    I think your platonic same-sex friend posing as an opposite-sex romantic interest crosses the line into “material deception.” While we may be amazed at how the victim could have been fooled that way, the jury found that she was indeed fooled.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Yeah, I’m kinda there too Burt, but I’m also trying to understand how a woman could have trouble telling a fake from a real penis. I’d think that it would be fairly easy to tell the difference.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        A few thoughts:
        1) How quick was the sex? (if it’s less than 30 seconds well…)
        2) How good are the best dildos? I can certainly imagine one that could at least get the temperature right…Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          Well, I just don’t know. I’ve never seen a self heating dildo. Sure, they can be heated externally, say submerging in water, but one that has a battery pack and is heated, I don’t know. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it or shopping for them. But I’d think that surly, even if heated, a women who’s had any amount of contact with a real penis would be able to tell the difference.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The victims inability to tell a real penis from a fake penis is irrelevant.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          From a criminal perspective, I agree.

          But I’m arguing that the penetratee would say “wait, that’s not your real penis” not soon after said fake penis entered her. I’m relating the situation to, say, if I was going to have sex with a woman and instead of inserting my penis, I try and use a dildo. I’d expect, at least, a comment indicating some awareness that I wan’t using my penis.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          From the link to the Guardian piece below, it sounds like it was relevant. The jury was ordered to take the penis into deliberations.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        If there was a condom on it, I imagine it’d make it more confusing.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      People lie to get sex and some sort of white/light lying in bars is to be expected even if we don’t like it. What the defendant did in this case goes beyond the white/light lying that happens in bars, like saying your a Doctor rather than a Med School student, and into something much more dangerous. It is irrelevant how obvious the deception is or should have been to the ordinary person.

      Another thing that I find interesting is that the defendant uses typical Sexual Assaulter/Nice Guy logic in justifying her conduct even though she is a lesbian woman. This leads me to believe that there might be a common thought pattern that Sexual Assaulters have and the gender or orientation of the Sexual Assaulter is irrelevant.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      I think the article is confusing about what happened: “she only realised she was having sex with her when she finally took [the blindfold] off.”

      Without really understanding what happened, I’m not comfortable construing the notion of “unwanted touching” to include conditions a participant may have imposed (and may never have spoken) that later turn out not to have been met. I think there is a difference between drugging someone so that the ability to decide is precluded, and someone deciding they want to be touched by this person, only to find out later that the person is not who they thought he/she was.

      This case appears to be English, and there is court precedent close to these facts discussed in this article: The McNally Decision Does Not Criminalise Trans People. The reason for the title is that the author is concerned that it does, but ultimately because trans issues are overlooked, the holding cannot be construed as applying to a situation undisclosed. Still the author is concerned that the courts don’t understand transgender.

      The court apparently said gender is important to know to have consented to sex, but other deceptions like about one’s wealth “obviously” do not vitiate consent. Why not? It appears that we are operating in the realm of social judgments and possibly the “ick factor.” I would prefer such societal norms be set to statute, not explored through common law discovery.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        PD Shaw,
        I think that there’s a proximity effect here.
        Wealth isn’t about “have sex now”… it’s about “have relationship future”
        I’d be a LOT more tempted to buy that person has been ripped off about a promised dinner, than about something 10 months in the future (assuming there’s been no rings passed around).

        Drawing on a comic I read — I think that simply because one gives consent to be penetrated with one thing, doesn’t mean one gives consent to be penetrated in another orifice by something else. (yes, the comic was hilarious.)Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          I don’t have a problem with drawing some lines here; I just wish the lines would be written in statute, otherwise I fear people’s judgments will primarily based upon their own idea of what is sexually appropriate. I think it is obvious that “wealth” would not be a consideration that would pass into law as an important factor in sex, most people are not wealthy.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine says:

        I thought the article was more than confusing; it was positively obfuscatory. The humbledy jumbledy arrangement of “facts” from the trial without any resolution of how x could have happened without y left me saying… wha?

        Then I just lost interest and didn’t care to try to find transcripts from the trial to make sense of 100+ encounters, blindfolds, car rides, dinner dates, etc.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    L5: bad headline, first read had me thinking the story was about a tax judge, who was also a husband, and I was wondering why it was important to note that in the headline. Like is it uncommon for tax judges to be husbands?Report

  8. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    P4: Syngas produced by the coal gasifier — when the gasifier was working — was much more expensive than current natural gas prices. CO2 capture was from the combined cycle combustion stream. I haven’t seen anything that says the plant won’t still capture and sell CO2, since that’s a proven process. The CO2 economics work in this case because someone is willing to pay for that CO2 for enhanced oil recovery. Not all power plants are within easy distance of old oil fields suitable for CO2 use.

    P5: What investors? The ITER/DEMO project will produce — around 2040, perhaps later — intellectual property necessary for a commercial fusion reactor. The IP has already been promised to be freely available, so there’s no revenue stream associated with it directly. There are engineering and/or economic possibilities that would make an ITER/DEMO-based fusion design impractical. Would you invest in a project with zero returns, that might make it possible for you to invest more money in 20+ years that might have a positive return? You want my advice? Buy a wind farm in Wyoming or Montana, or build the HVDC power line to move that power from Wyoming/Montana to Southern California.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      The whole fusion thing is one of those interesting economic & technological quandaries. I am sure I can dream up a set of scenarios where business and investors manage to make fusion power a reality (actually, I don’t have to, there are businesses working on fusion power that are not associated with ITER/DEMO/NIF), but at the same time, this is the kind of project where governmental resources are a good thing to focus at the problem.

      On the one hand, investors will expect a return on the investment, so business needs to protect IP and all that, as well as make steady progress (technical discipline), which means the investors need to be able to take a very long view, and be appropriately patient (not a common feature of investors these days), so whatever comes of it, it won’t be open source tech.

      On the other hand, governments can be good at taking the long view, and can open the results up to the world, but they have the downside of encouraging a certain technical disorganization and slipshodiness, especially when it comes to deadlines and cost over-runs.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        The Supercollider in Texas was encouraging.
        Most of the time, it’s just not managing effectively.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Almost all of the time, it’s poor project management, because if a big government tech program does get a masterful project manager running things, there will be a constant threat of someone coming along and making them a better offer in the private sector.

          One of the reasons you don’t have this issue with military research programs as often is because often the project manager is in uniform, and either a true believer, and/or under contract and unable to just casually be lured away with the promise of a bigger payday.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            Oscar,
            sure, sure. And my friend that does military research (darpa) does it for the sheer fun of it. (No, this isn’t the one with the muppets. That project got canned when Rumsfeld got fired).Report

  9. Avatar Hoosegow Flask says:

    [F3] Perhaps something else is going on. The US has had a similar, but sharper, decline:

    https://cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/images/2016/05/articles/body/20160528_BRC501.pngReport

  10. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    [F5] oh my god, that article. I’m actually not seeing any arguments in favor of “cash versus subsidies”, other than the standard free-market-dogma of “no subsidies and no regulations”.

    *****

    Look bro I know it’s cool that you know about “cost disease” but let’s be real here it’s obvious you only heard about it like a month ago and you’re just trying to work it into everything now. It’s like a few years ago when it got trendy to call everything a “trope”, or more recently when everyone was talking about “white supremacy”.

    ****

    “in a cost-diseased sector like child care, there are natural (and often even legal) limits to how productive a child care worker can become, such as caps on the number of children a single worker can oversee at a time. ”

    Caps that exist for damn good reasons! Reasons like “kids who aren’t watched closely have a nasty tendency to swallow things that block their windpipes or to garrote themselves with their own clothing”.

    ****

    “Supply is also made less responsive through barriers to entry, from restrictive licensing requirements to quotas on low skill immigration.”

    Ah yes, there it is. The reason prices are so damn high is that we can’t hire cheap Filipinas to do all the work for us! (I’m surprised Hammond didn’t take a dig at the minimum wage in there, too.)

    ****

    “Over time, cost-disease in education has caused thousands of community schools to consolidate into larger, regional schools that take advantage of economies of scale.”

    That’s not cost disease, you dumb turd, that’s basic economics, and the way you fix it is by countering the economic incentives that drive consolidation. And the way you do that is by subsidies.

    The thing that the free-market purists (and those who argue against pure-market strawmen) don’t seem to get is that the market doesn’t always give you what you want. It gives you the most efficient thing for the existing conditions. If that’s not what you want, then you have to pay more.

    ****

    “Seventy-two percent of low-income parents express great concern about the possibility of neglect or lack of supervision of children, compared with 51% of high-income parents.”

    Welp

    That’s because low-income parents can only afford low-cost facilities, where caregivers are right up at the legal limits for “number of children that one person can watch”, and this results in that “neglect or lack of supervision”. Presumably if these low-income parents would prefer facilities with a lower caregiver-to-child ratio, but since that lower ratio necessitates a higher per-child fee to get the same level of revenue, those parents can’t afford it.

    ***

    “This is why it is virtually always preferable to simply provide low income parents with cash, giving them the choice over different care arrangements based on market prices.”

    And this is stated without support other than a link to another opinion column.

    And see, I’m on board with arguments of “we shouldn’t be using government funding as surreptitious social engineering”, but A) that’s not what’s going on here and B) while it’s certainly true that more cash makes everything better, Hammond doesn’t seem to have an idea that parents might spend all that money intended for child care on other things…but still need child care and still ask society to provide assistance for it.

    See, what I’d have liked was a column along the lines of “child care has a cost, and that cost often goes unrecognized because so many families choose in-home care by relatives over out-of-home options, some people say the answer is subsidies but I think the answer is just straight cash, here’s why I think that cash will in fact offset the cost of child care and won’t just be frittered away leaving the child care need umet”. But that’s not what we got; it’s just a lot of hurfdurfing about subsidies.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      the market doesn’t always give you what you want. It gives you the most efficient thing for the existing conditions.

      +1 Just think of it like evolution. I want Wolverine claws, but evolution did not provide me with them because there was no condition where they would make sense, so if I want them, I’ll have to pay for them.

      ETA: Wait, he’s talking about cost disease, then wants to give people cash so they can pay for higher quality childcare? I don’t think he understands how cost disease works.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        Yeah; cost disease is not “things are more expensive than I think they ought to be”. Cost disease is also not “perverse incentives create undesired outcomes”. Cost disease, as it’s used, means a situation where putting more money into a system does not appreciably increase system performance (and may even lead to a reduction in performance by some measures).

        ****

        And his contention that cash is preferable to subsidies makes sense once you recognize he’s coming at this from the position of “citizens do not want out-of-home childcare, but the government wants us to want it, and the provision of subsidies rather than cash represents social engineering”. He has no expectation that the cash will get paid into the out-of-home childcare system.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          citizens do not want out-of-home childcare, but the government wants us to want it

          Yeah, he’s gonna have to do a lot of work to show that this isn’t exactly backwards.Report

  11. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    C4 is kind of a perfect “shoe on the other foot” moment for a case I read about a few years back where an old man had sexual encounters with a woman in France (Paris?) demanding that she wear a blindfold. But when she took the blindfold off, she found that she had been deceived. Probably by photographs and Facebook, or something like that. He was prosecuted for sexual assault.

    The whole thing makes me sad, both that case and this one. But I don’t know that it’s wrongly decided.

    One note on C4. The text say the encounters began when both were age 15, so yeah, she probably was a virgin, and couldn’t tell the difference.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      No, the convicted woman started an alter-ego male identity on social media when she was 15, and initiated the encounter with the victim when she was 25 with a fellow University student, whom the jury was told was sexually experienced. I do wonder at what point an alter-ego goes from being a crutch to a diagnosable mental illness.

      EDIT: The victim met the boy identity first, who somehow introduced her to the girl identity and they became best friends as girl and girl.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        At the point where the alter-ego becomes transphobic, obviously.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          On further reading, the case sounds more like one of those stories where one’s life is revealed to be a lie, like the Truman Show, or Scream or the Matrix.Report

          • Avatar Kimmi says:

            PD Shaw,
            Only this time (the Not In Boston time), the reveal wasn’t given with a red rose, on Valentine’s Day, saying “I’m filing for divorce.”
            (… and by the way, I’m really a woman.)

            … yes, no shitting, this really happened.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

        Not reading as carefully as I should, evidently. Thanks for the correction.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

        As long as the alternative personalities are aware of each other, it isn’t mental illness. Despite Kimmi’s protestations, the male persona here could easily be trans-phobic, and that wouldn’t be mental illness if the female persona knew about it.

        I Am Not A Clinical Psychologist (IANACP), but I’ve had a lot of dealings with these issues, particularly with dissociative disorder in general, and dissociative identity disorder in particular. There’s nothing in the article that suggests DID.

        There’s plenty to suggest that there’s a trans man who is having trouble coping with his situation and doing things he shouldn’t be doing. But that’s a guess. Maybe it’s something else.Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          Doctor Jay,
          I… believe you misunderstood my sarcasm.
          I’m referring to the idea that someone might consider transphobia as a mental illness.
          And that certain internet personas have been labeled as that (by certain humorless people who have seen fit to label themselves ‘trans’).Report

        • Avatar Kimmi says:

          Doctor Jay,
          What if the alternative personalities are working together to create a coherent entity?
          (AIs, right? Whatcha gonna do?)Report

  12. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    David Brooks on the golden age of bailing:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/07/opinion/the-golden-age-of-bailing.html

    I normally find him a bit pompous but this one hits it out of the ballpark.Report

  13. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I found this Vox essay intriguing especially the bit about how elite Dems see themselves as stewarts of the Economy and this might be bad:

    https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/7/7/15930996/stock-market-democrats-wilderness-strategy-economics

    Stewardship conveys ideas of looking after and keeping order. Democrats now see their role as serving as a fair broker among the competing parts of the economy. They insist they can come up with an arrangement in which capital and labor are simultaneously better off, and that they are the ones who will make the hard decisions, in contrast with the feckless Republicans.
    Think of the number of times Democrats have emphasized that they balance the budget while Republicans run giant deficits. Think of the balancing acts required to promote reform without naming business as an enemy — as we saw in both the financial and health care arenas. Think of how President Obama tried to achieve a Grand Bargain with Republicans in 2011 that would have cut Social Security under the mantra of responsibility, only to be stopped by the fact that conservatives wouldn’t budge an inch in raising taxes.
    This approach hit two serious walls in 2016. The first was that people weren’t happy with the economy. Nearly three-fourths of people said the country was on the wrong track, with similar numbers describing the economy as rigged. Median household incomes in 2016 had finally inched back to 2007 levels. This lead to a year of awkward juxtapositions, with “America is Already Great” headlines running next to reports on how much life expectancy is falling for white workers. Democrats attacked Trump as a poor steward, someone too unstable and chaotic to run the economy as it was. But that message doesn’t motivate voters when they believe the economy isn’t working for them.
    The second wall Democrats hit was the inclination of the business community, with its eye on deregulation and tax cuts, to side with the Republicans regardless of how responsible the Democrats are or whether someone like Trump is at the helm of the GOP. The stock market rally shows concretely how happy the capital markets are to have anyone who will boost corporate profits, even Trump.

    But there were also strategic miscalculations. There was a sense, for example, that the insurance companies would help defend the ACA from reckless repeal efforts like the ones we’re seeing. Yet, as Vox’s Dylan Scott reports, the insurance companies are on the sidelines: “Health industry groups generally don’t love Obamacare enough to jeopardize their ability to shape the rest of the Republican agenda — including big corporate tax cuts,” he writes.
    The Obama administration avoided calling out the predations of Wall Street after the financial crisis and didn’t take strong actions to prevent foreclosures that would upset the capital markets. Yet finance still hates the Democrats and is waging war on the sensible, necessary reforms Dodd-Frank put in place to prevent Wall Street from creating another crisis. There’s no middle ground to be had there. (Fittingly, the current Treasury secretary, busily rolling back financial reform and soon to lead an assault on progressive taxation, ran a foreclosure mill that the Democrats refused to investigate or prosecute aggressively.)
    One key question for Democrats is the old labor one: “Which side are you on?” The Democratic Party used to give the answer, as Harry Truman did in 1948, that it “is pledged to work for labor.” In recent decades they’ve given an answer that was essentially “all sides, for the common good.” After 2016, Democrats should pick a side again.

    Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Going in a more populist direction might not necessarily save the Democratic Party from the stewardship problems. The educated, middle class professionals that found themselves attracted to Social Democracy or Modern Liberalism in the mid-20th century also saw themselves as stewards of the economy that could certainly do a better job than money grubbing business people. Orthodox Marxists in the Soviet Union and Eastern European Communist countries believed the same. The entire idea behind a lot of socialist economics is that well-educated civil servants and technicians are great stewards of the economy.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      elite Dems see themselves as stewarts of the Economy

      They should know that it does not end well for them.

      The real question then is whether Trump is Cromwell or William of…[wait for it]…Orange?Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      This is a very interesting essay, to my mind illustrating the two central mistakes of the Left in America as it pertains to management of the economy, specifically relating to the relationship between labor and capital.

      Historically, the Left has always wanted to disparage capital as subsidiary to labor, on the theory that compensation to labor directly satisfies human needs whereas compensation to capital doesn’t. This is what the Marxists thought, and it was certainly the attitude of the Democratic Party from say, 1950-2005, and is still prevalent today even, though it is obscured by the second corruption.

      That is, the prevalence of technology and other things have created a world where the heart of the Democratic Party is the white upper-middle class in the major cities and near ring suburbs, allied to the ideologically friendly rich. This cultural alliance combines to provide the financial and executive resources for the Left cultural agenda. More concretely, the Left needs Soros to fund Black Lives Matter and his other front groups, it needs Tom Steyer to fund the global warming Establishment. This further corrupts the Democratic Party from its previous intent to satisfy human economic needs in weird ways, in fact Steve Sailer describes one today.

      This piece by Konczal suffers the opposite problem: it frames the Left agenda in terms of what will return it to political power instead of what will work in the real world. In any case, the cause is the same, a misunderstanding of the relationship between capital and labor.

      There is a tremendous amount of monetary wealth held by various parties in the world today, more so than ever before in fact. But it’s not held in such a way to be politcally controllable. Over say, the last 20 years, it’s become increasingly evident that capital is mobile but labor isn’t. That’s why capital gains tax is always less than ordinary income. The Left likes to think this is about the workers getting the short straw again (and they are), but it’s not about getting beaten by those Republican and/or capitalist bastards, it’s a fundamental aspect of the economy today.

      That means we have to take a careful look at what our resources really are. We obviously have some capabilities to levy and collect taxes, but quite a bit less than the Left thinks. Our real asset, to the extent that it exists, is the communitarian mentality of a people living wherever, the real solidarity felt from one person towards the others.

      This is exactly what Demo/Left cultural politics corrodes. The libs ought to get this house in order above all else.Report

  14. Avatar Kazzy says:

    F6: Put simply… fuck that shit. As a child of divorced parents and someone in the process of his own divorce with children, it is undoubtedly possible for divorce to be the right path for a family. Much of the studies that show harm done to children as a result of divorce make the mistake of comparing their situations to homes with happily married couples. You can’t compare my upbringing with my neighbors because it was never going to be that I had happily married parents. I was going to have unhappily, embittered, increasingly hostile parents. Maybe that would have been better than divorce, but we don’t and can’t know.

    Zazzy and I have a very positive co-parenting relationship thus far in part because we aren’t saddled with the issues and tensions that ultimately cleaved us. We can sit down for pizza and ice cream on the boys’ birthday and have a good time because we aren’t dreading returning to a homelife that makes one or both of us unhappy.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I have seen a vision of the future:

      Hate Speech isn’t Free Speech. You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater. They’re not trying to suppress free speech, but incitement to violence. Look at Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire!

      Report

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