Morning Ed: World {2018.02.12.M}

Will Truman

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

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129 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    Wo3: Trump downplayers strike again.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    Wo1: This isn’t going to work. The EU is using the few tools available to itself to force liberalism on the illiberal but the illiberal general don’t give a crap. They are going to go along their merry way until they suffer political defeat.

    Wo2: This seems entirely unrealistic politically. The people who were pushing Brexit wanted full withdrawal with less immigration. What this article proposes is trying to have an illusionary Brexit that will fool nobody.

    Wo4: BDS is awful and doesn’t care. The only thing that they care about is punishing and eventually destroying Israel. They will claim victory anytime that it looks like Israel lost something. Its a cultish and sociopathic organization.

    Wo6: I’m not sure what we are supposed to learn from Venezuela. The real adamant free marketers are using Venezuela as an argument that government is always bad and that even the most well-run Scandinavian social democracy will eventually devolve into Venezuela because of the natural law of the markets. People with a more left bent to their politics are seeing that you shouldn’t base your welfare state on profits from a natural resource alone and that demagoguery is bad. In other words, be more like the Nordics.

    Wo7: I agree.

    Wo9: Somebody always has to clean up after a party and it generally isn’t a guess. One argument that can be made about these big massive celebrations like Mardi Gras, Carnival, and St. Patrick’s Day is that they cause a giant mess.Report

    • J_A in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Wo2: This seems entirely unrealistic politically. The people who were pushing Brexit wanted full withdrawal with less immigration. What this article proposes is trying to have an illusionary Brexit that will fool nobody.

      I agree in general with @leeesq. In particular I agree that the article is rubbish.

      Brexit voters wanted only one thing: less (or zero) Polish plumbers (*). The rest was nebulous mush. The first thing the very Brexiter Cornwall did after the referendum was demand the government to guarantee that the region will continue to receive the same amount of subsidies from the UK that is currently receiving from the EU.

      The Norway option requires freedom of movement (**). It’s out of the table from day one, and even Cameron knew that on day one.

      Likewise, Northern Ireland being inside the customs union and having a border with the UK is a red line the Unionists have said many times they will not accept. They would see it as a giant step towards a United Ireland, and it would unravel Good Friday faster than a hard border with the south would.

      The reality is that the “have cake and eat too” option is impossible, and we knew that from day one. Remainers failed to explain in plain English what Brexit meant, and Theresa May is too afraid to come clean to the voters.

      (*) They also wanted less southeast Asians, but that’s not for any Brexit to deliver.

      (**) Actually, the Norway option is kind of silly, because it imposes most of the EU obligations, including Polish plumbers, but denies Norway a seat in the table where those obligations are decided. If was created to accommodate the reality of an integrated Europe surrounding countries that for historical reasons could not “surrender” their neutralityReport

      • LeeEsq in reply to J_A says:

        I think you mean less South Asians, particularly Muslims. South East Asia consists of Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. Lots of Muslims but also just as many Buddhists and more than a few Christians and secular people.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to J_A says:

        Brexit was an anti-globalization fantasy writ large or small depending on your point of view. Many people believe that if globalization is reversed somehow, the golden days of the mid-20th century can be restored because reasons. The decision to join the EEC and latter the EU was always contentious in the United Kingdom, it famously split both the Conservatives and the Labour Party. The extremes of both parties against it but the centers for it. One reason why Labour’s pro-EU campaign was lukewarm was because Corbyn is from the anti-EU faction of Labour.

        The Right in the United States looks at the European Union with horror. They see it as a type of liberal nanny-state people imposing political decisions on sovereign peoples that sovereign peoples do not like. To them its their world government dystopia in miniature. What the American Right doesn’t realize is that the European Far Left hated the concept of European integration from the get go because they saw it as a giant anti-Communist tool.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to LeeEsq says:

      [Wo2] I think some of the people pushing Brexit wanted full withdrawal with less immigration. Others were motivated by the 300 million pounds a week for the Health Service business. Or any complaint about any regulation promulgated from Brussels captured under the umbrella of “loss of soveriegnty”.

      What the proposal here would have done is drive a wedge between them. Force the anti-immigration types to own their stance, and not hide behind vague “loss of sovereignty” or “money going to Brussels” claims. I don’t think the immigration hardliners hold a majority, just like in the US. But they have found a political niche where they can exercise a lot of power, for the time being.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I do admit that I have been puzzled by why the UK hasn’t asked about an entry to NAFTA. Heck, I figured the whole reason for May’s quick trip over here after Trump was elected was to start that process, given that it was highly unlikely that the EU wasn’t going to require at least some barriers to free flow of goods to/from the UK. Of course, I also read the language in Article 50 to say that the UK holds a really bad hand in negotiations, as the default when the clock chimes two years is the same treatment other countries without a trade agreement get.Report

      • Brent F in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The problem is that they can’t effectively negiotiate a free trade agreement with another party until their trading rules with the EU get settled.

        Plus, the UK government barely has the competence to handle EU negiotiations at all. They don’t have any spare ability to negiotiate with anyone else. Decades of EU membership means their institutional ability to handle one of these has atrophied, so much so that they’ve requested their old Dominions to second them some government officials to show them how to do things.Report

        • J_A in reply to Brent F says:

          Plus as long as they are members of the EU they are legally (by EU law) forbidden to enter into separate agreements.

          Liam Fox, Sec. of International Trade, promised the UK would negotiate tons of trade agreements, starting with the USA, and with Canada and Australia (hey, the White Dominions), to be signed the day after Brexit was done, but apparently even entering into negotiations is legally not possible (and politically stupid until the UK-EU Trade Agreement is settled)Report

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    Wo1: Did everyone in the EU forget to read the part where they surrender some sovereignty for security?

    Wo4: Noses, faces…sigh

    Wo5: It’s not the ignorance, it’s the unwillingness to do 10 seconds of fact checking.

    Wo6: I feel for the people and I hope they catch a break soon. However, I suspect that they won’t until certain chattering classes stop defending the leaders because those leaders espouse the right ideology.

    Wo7: They are ‘romantic’, they were not smart.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Wo6: The Left including the chattering classes think that the Chavez regime was a big mistake. They just don’t think the lesson is capitalism is awesome.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Wo1: I think part of the problem is that some of the folks over there feel like they’re not likely to get security in exchange for their sovereignty.

      If there’s something that makes that trade worthwhile, it’s the “getting security” part.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

        Sounds like that is very much the problem. Seems one should have thought about how the deal could sour before signing on the dotted line.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          I suppose. But if you don’t get the car from the dealership, I could see the argument that you shouldn’t be on the hook for the payments.

          “But you agreed to the deal!” notwithstanding.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

            Did they not enjoy economic security pre-refugee crisis? Have they not benefited at all in any manner that was expected? Have they not been allowed a seat at the table when hammering out EU policy?

            Unless the car never left the dealership lot in your possession, you need to bolster that argument.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Oh, the deal was just about economic security?

              I thought there was more stuff under that umbrella.

              If they made the same mistake that I did, it might explain their confusion now.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Have they not been allowed a seat at the table when hammering out EU policy?

                That’s a pretty big bone of contention and a very serious complaint against how the EU works both in principle and in fact.

                The story of how Brexit might-have-gone-differently starts with Merkel in 2015.

                Merkel thought Brexit was a bluff; so did Cameron… he wanted to fold once his bluff had been called, but that’s not how poker, or statecraft, works.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Merkel thought Brexit was a bluff; so did Cameron… he wanted to fold once his bluff had been called, but that’s not how poker, or statecraft, works.

                As best I can tell, Brexit was a bluff.

                Well, specifically, Brexit was an internal British election theme that was supposed to drum up support for one particular party, but not actually win.

                The pro-Brexit folks were not prepared to win. By all appearances, they did not actually want to win, and have since shown they did not understand what Brexit entails, nor have a plan for handling Brexit, and in fact acted exactly like people who thought “EU sucks, let’s leave” was a great slogan for a UK election but not an actual policy that would need implementation.

                So indeed, Merkel and Cameron were right — Brexit was a bluff. The pro-Brexit politicians, by and large, did not want Brexit. They wanted Brexit as a campaign slogan, not a reality. The only mistake was in not realizing that the UK populace was not fully aware of the fact that Brexit was just supposed to be a cheap distraction to rile up the rubes.

                Which has led to the, of course, the UK’s official position on leaving the EU as “We want all the benefits of an EU membership, but like…not having to do anything we don’t want”.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Morat20 says:

                So indeed, Merkel and Cameron were right — Brexit was a bluff.”

                You and I have very different understandings of how a Bluff is successfully executed.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

                From what I’ve read about the exit negotiations Theresa May *continues* to think it was a bluff.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

                And from what I’ve read of May, only someone of her singular abilities could.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Marchmaine says:

                You and I have very different understandings of how a Bluff is successfully executed.

                Idle threat? Hyperbole?

                The UK politicians pushing for Brexit did so, by and large, under the belief that they’d never have the power to Brexit. Because they didn’t want Brexit either.

                Call it a bluff, call it whatever you want — but Merkel and Cameron believed literally the same thing as all but a few pro-Brexit UK politicians, which was that Brexit was not a thing that was desired.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                I think the term “stupid mistake” is more appropriate than “called bluff” in this case. You can’t bluff with someone else’s cards.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                Except it was a bluff. The people making the bluff didn’t think it was possible for them to fufill. They not only didn’t want to do it, they literally didn’t think they could.

                I’m not sure if there is an English term for “Promising someone a million dollars, secure in the knowledge you’re bankrupt, only to win the lottery and have to give them the money even though you don’t want to”.

                Except there’s also a weird side of “I made the promise to get more popular, except I know fulfilling the promise will make me less popular”.

                Monkey’s Paw? I mean that’s basically what they got. They walked into a creepy store in Maine called “Be Careful What you Wish For” and bought the lot even though they knew it was cursed.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                Indicating that you’ll allow a Brexit vote if your demands aren’t met may be a bluff. Following thru on that is not a bluff since you have no idea what cards the electorate is actually holding.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                Again, I don’t know what to call “Pushing for a proposal solely because you think it’ll be popular in theory to enough voters to boost your turnout, but not so popular you actually have to do it“.

                That literally sounds like someone calling a bluff, only for the bluffer to realize he’s going to be forced to make good even though he doesn’t want to.Report

              • greginak in reply to Morat20 says:

                What to call it? How do you say repeal and replace in german?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:


              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Trump and lots of R really do want to do something about that though. Heck it was like the first thing they did.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                Say what you will about Trump, if the stupid and feckless Republican House had sent up one of the bills they voted through 30ish times and sent to Obama (to have Obama veto it), I imagine that Trump would have signed it with a flourish.

                I also imagine that if Clinton had gotten elected (instead of merely winning the popular vote), the stupid and feckless Republican House would have continued to send up the bills.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Wait did any of those bills actually make it to Obama?

                I thought they all died in the Senate due to not being able to break a filibuster.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to pillsy says:

                One, that defunded everything (but couldn’t change the insurance and some other regulations) made it through the Senate under reconciliation rules and was vetoed by the President.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:


                I honestly thought that the House voted through those “Repeal Obamacare!” bills weekly.

                My bad.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well yeah, no duh, of course. Now just say that in german and Morat has answer.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

                Again, I don’t know what to call “Pushing for a proposal solely because you think it’ll be popular in theory to enough voters to boost your turnout, but not so popular you actually have to do it“.

                Bad politics? A stupid mistake?Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                I don’t want to say that it is unique to the current GOP, but I’m struggling to see any ideology motivating them beyond, “Maintain power.”Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                The above comment was a critique of Cameron’s decisionmaking during the Brexit fiasco, but I hear you. Personally speaking here, tho, I disagree. The GOP is certainly interested in maintaining power (hence all the voter ID laws and so on) but powerful elements in the caucus also have a positive agenda mostly focused around dismantling social programs and various “anti-business” regulations which could – *COULD* – blow up in their faces. But not until the lefties and Dems get their shit together.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                Individual members, sure. But the party as a whole? Doubtful.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                “powerful elements in the caucus”Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                “There are powerful elements in the caucus working on it right now”.


                “Powerful. Elements.”Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Top. People.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Earth, Wind, Fire, Water – you know, the usual suspected elementsReport

              • Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

                In any case, my point is you can’t really blame Merkel for misreading UK politics, when the pro-Brexit UK politicians also misread UK politics, in the same way.

                If the locals are confused, what chance do the outside observers have?Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    Tablet looks at the politics of of African immigration into Israel. The immigration debate is ultimately one of identity politics. The issue is whether a nation-state can or should have a character and whether the people in that nation-state can enforce that character by limiting immigration.

    The pro-immigrant side tends to look at ideas of national character and culture is stupid at best and dangerously evil at worse. To them a county is nothing more than an administrative body providing services to the people there in. A county or province writ large. The anti-immigration side believes that countries are more than a mere administrative body because of the shared history and culture of the people with in its’ borders. To say that a Korean immigrant in Scotland who cares nothing about Scottish culture and history is the same as a Scottish person who deeply loves the history and culture of their homeland is ludicrous. Naturally humans tend to be very hypocritical about this. As the linked article noted, Switzerland has similar policies regarding African migrants as Israel but tends not to get in trouble about them.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      What’s the correct position?

      “Switzerland should be chastised as badly as Israel is! And then they both should change!”?Report

    • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      1. Liel Liebovitz is an egregious fuckhead. Remember when he was talking about how Pharaoh was the hero of Exodus?

      2. Yeah, Swiss history really sets an inspiring example of a country that did everything possible to help people who were fleeing from genocide. Or at least helping the regime persecuting them rob them.

      3. Is it any wonder that Jews both in and out of Israel might want to see a country founded in large measure to ensure “Never Again” is a reality hold itself to a higher standard?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to pillsy says:

        The problem with #3 is that it leads to the question of whether a certain amount of immigration will lead to “Never Again” is not, in fact, being ensured.

        If it ain’t, they’re in “pick one” territory.

        If they had to choose one… which ought they choose?Report

        • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Countries often have to balance competing interests and goals, and Israel is no different. Indeed, given its various competing commitments, it has more than most. Not that I think it’s been doing a conspicuously good job of late.

          But #3 is a fatal problem for Liebovitz’ stupid whining about Switzerland.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

          Israel is a very unique case when it comes to immigration because its’ entire reason for existence is to be a Jewish State and to provide perpetual refuge and protection for the Jewish People by means of control of a state. This requires Jews be the majority demographic in perpetuity.

          Center and Far Left critics of Zionism like the late Tony Judt have argued that Israel was an anachronism from its start because the ethnic nation-state was a thing of the past when Israel was created. This argument seems stupid to Israel’s supporters because there were lots of ethnic nation-states that emerged from the former colonies at the same time or latter after Israel was created. India was partitioned because the biggest religious minority in the sub-continent believed their rights would not be protected in a Hindu run India. Singapore was ejected from Malaysia because Malays did not want that big of a Chinese minority. Then you have the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

          So Israeli Jews and many Jews outside of Israel see massive hypocrisy in this. They see the standard as self-determination for everybody but the Jews and that Jews are required to take a leap of fate despite our history as massive amounts of Jew hatred still exists in the world.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Oh, it’s unique and therefore has a set of rules that only applies to it and shouldn’t be used as justification for anything by any other country?

            And then they’re hoping that people don’t see “hypocrisy” in making this set of rules that only apply to it and shouldn’t be used as justification for anything by any other country?

            Lemme know how that works out.Report

          • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

            “Israel is a special case, so why aren’t you judging it like every other country!” isn’t exactly a winner of an argument.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

              I’m not saying its’ a winning argument. I don’t expect Israel’s critics and haters to buy the argument at all. That doesn’t mean the argument isn’t true though.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Israel’s critics and haters

                (needle moves from green to yellow)

                Dude. I’ll just point out that accusations of “anti-Semitism” aren’t going to work. Certainly not in a discussion of whether Israel is being racist by refusing to help African refugees who just want to not die and want better lives for themselves and their children.Report

              • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Conflating “critics” and “haters” is pretty annoying whatever country we’re talking about. And a lot of the people who are pissed about how Israel is handling its current refugee crisis in particular are hardly Israel haters.Report

          • PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I’m not sure Israel is that unique. Nation states (i.e., ethnic states) are quite common and the International Community frequently sets out to create them. (E.g., Europe after WWI, the Palestinian State project, continuing rumblings about a Kurdish state) Some sense of shared community appears to be essential for formation of institutions and administration capabilities for a modern state.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to PD Shaw says:

              Israel is unique in that involves Jews, always had millions of people who thought it was a bad idea, and more specifically diaspora nationalism. Most nation-states were created by people living in the area at the time. Israel was created by Jews deciding that the modern world was a dangerous place for stateless groups in general and Jews in particular. They set about creating a remedy a Jewish nation-state.

              The Zionists did a lot of work by themselves but also needed substantial help from the International Community to get rid of the Ottoman Empire and create a legal basis for Jewish immigration and political activity in the form of treaties. This is where the problems arise. To Israel’s harshest critics, the necessity for help from the International Community and the fact that Zionism is a diaspora nationalist movement is prima facie evidence that Israel is an imperialist, racist, settler colonial state. It was the indigenous Arabs that possessed the right of self-determination there, not the Jews. Many of the more moderate critics believe that since Israel was created with substantial aid from the International Community, it should be more bound to follow the dictates of the International Community than other nation-states.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

                The Arabs also needed substantial help from the International Community to get rid of the Ottoman Empire. I frankly see history as full of violence, movements of people, foreign interference, and expectations of certain range of norms to be considered a part of the community. As long as other country’s norms do not “shock the conscience” of “hardened sensibilities,” I personally don’t care and think that the UN debating society would be more productive if its stopped formulating hypocritical purity tests.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I daresay you are being a tad unfair to the pro-immigration people.

      Wait… aren’t YOU a pro-immigration person?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        Heh. Is Lee starting to lean into Trump’s immigration policies? Stay tuned!

        BTW, I have no idea what it means to be “pro-immigration” in our current politics. Over the last several decades Dems and liberals have been the anti-immigration party (unions yo!) while the GOP, tho not necessarily the conservative base, has been pro-immigration (cheap(er) labor). Trump blew it all up.

        Add: Bill Clinton played a big role too.Report

    • Brent F in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I think your reflective belief that Isreal is always being unfairly criticized is acting up again. The Swiss get routinely mocked for being such blatant xenophobes. Its one of the most salient features of modern Switzerland that gets international attention.Report

  5. Damon says:

    [Wo1] The EU’s come a long way from it’s origin….way too far it seems for many countries. Not sure it’ll last in it’s current form.

    [Wo3] Like this guy had to write this? If you had half a clue, you knew the clock was BS for the get go. This example is just another reminder that it’s not that important.

    [Wo4] I really need to start following this. I’ll be in Cape Town in July and I am curious as to how this is going to be addressed.

    [Wo7] Could have replaced the entire article with the phrase “tacticool”.Report

  6. Pinky says:

    Will, it is a world of laughter, and a world of tears.

    I’ve decided I’m going to post this under every article you write, and see if I can affect your long-term mental health.Report

  7. Brandon Berg says:

    Wo6: Good news! It’s not really acting as a cautionary tale because the people who most need that cautionary tale refuse to recognize it as such.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. The issue with Venezuela is what is the lesson that must be learned. Its very easy to find all sorts of lessons that we are supposed to learn from Venezuela. To some the lesson is simply that the free market must be allowed to work and that any sort of liberal or social democratic policy making will lead to Venezuela eventually. Their argument really does boil down to the European welfare state is doomed to failure because look what happened in Venezuela. They don’t state this outright generally but it is the clear implication.

      Liberals and leftists tend to see the lesson differently. They see it as you shouldn’t base your entire economy, especially a social democratic one, on a single natural resource and about the dangers of Chavez style demagoguery and inept administration. To liberals and leftists, the lesson learned is that a competent and technocratic civil service and broad economic base is necessary for social democracy to work, not that the entire thing should be ditched in favor of the free market above all.Report

  8. Chip Daniels says:

    States fail all the time.
    Haiti is a failed state. The conclusion of course, is that such misery is the natural and inevitable result of capitalism.

    Less snarkily of course, is to ask why Venezuela turned to Chavez.
    Because its possible to see Chavez as their version of Trump, the visible manifestation of a deeper rot and dysfunction.

    All the things we hear about why we got Trump- the masses of peasants angry at the indifference of the corrupt and self-serving elite- can be said of Venezuela as well.
    And like Trump, Chavez was a big middle finger to the media and controlling families, and like Trump, Chavez was more concerned with grievances than actual policy.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Speaking of failed states

      “The more you complain, the less they try to help you,” said Gary Michael Hunt, 39, a former coal miner who was escorted out of a public meeting last month when he voiced his frustration with the water shortages. “I just want people to have clean, fresh drinking water. This isn’t a Third World country.”

      Yes, Gary, it is.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      States tend to fail because of long term demagoguery and/or corruption. Ideology, whatever it is, is just cover for the underlying pathology, something to distract the citizenry.

      Given Trump, I worry a bit (he’s only been at it for a year, so we aren’t at ‘long term’ yet, but if this goes on for a second term…).Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I’ve come to reject the econometric systems approach to politics, where free markets gets you this, and socialized control gets you that.

        Notice in that article about Kentucky, they have the same system for water we we do here in Los Angeles, that is, a governmental control of the water infrastructure.

        Yet we get fresh clean water at crazy cheap rates, and they get polluted water, and not even at a bargain.

        As with Flint, we can ask why they can’t seem to do the most fundamental task of governance. Its not like they had a disaster, or that some freakish event happened.

        For both of these cases, and (IMO) Venezuela and Haiti, it was decades or more of mismanagement, apathy, and political dysfunction that led to these outcomes.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:


          Look at the Scandinavian nations. Yes, they are Social Democracies, but they work not because they are ideologically rooted, but because when things start going off the rails, they take a hard look at what works, what doesn’t, and they at least try to pivot without a sticky regard to ideology. Hell, even China is willing to pivot on a lot of things when reality kicks over their can.Report

        • Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:


          “Yet we get fresh clean water at crazy cheap rates, and they get polluted water, and not even at a bargain.”

          This is an aside, and I don’t disagree with your thesis, but a lot of that in Los Angeles’ case is completely reliant on the Feds deciding, some decades ago, to pipe y’all’s water in from the deep and seemingly undrainable fount of the Rocky Mountains. And to coerce the necessary agreements from the Rocky Mountain States, and federally fund the dams, etc., that were necessary.

          cf. Cadillac Desert, by Reisner

          The East doesn’t have nearly as many giant mountain ranges to pull from… and their river systems are a lot more crowded with people. Once the Great Lakes were tarnished…Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Maribou says:

            Heh, I just loaned Cadillac Desert to a friend.

            But @maribou is right, there is so much going on with the waters down your way that is reliant on the Colorado river being a huge piece of interstate engineering going way back. Alsotoo, SF’s water is on a whole ‘nuther playing field than much of the rest of CA, what with the Hetch Hetchy and all. Those two issues make this a case of apples vs. oranges.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Maribou says:

            Its almost impossible to build a city the size of Rome, Los Angeles or New York without becoming creative in water sources.

            In the case of Kentucky, though, they had plenty of water once, and still do.
            The problem is that over decades they let the system deteriorate to where it is now catastrophically bad.

            This was a choice they made, and should be viewed the same way we view Venezuela. These people could choose to levy a tax to raise funds to repair and reconstruct if they really wanted to.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              @chip-daniels Generally any time I hear myself say “These people could,” I back the heck up from my argument.


              (For the record, I view both Venezuela and Kentucky as extremely complicated, historically, and not subject to simple generalizations about their people as a whole. But then I feel the same way about Los Angeles.)Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Maribou says:

            …federally fund the dams…

            Granted that the federal government had to be involved, if for no other reason than all of the big dams were built on federal property, but… The big power administrations — the BPA, the Southwestern, and the TVA — are required to cover the dams’ operating and maintenance expenses, plus the amortized capital costs, from water and electricity sales. The amortization period for most of the dams was 40 years. They’ve been paid off by the users. In 2016, the BPA’s payment to the Treasury was $1.9B. Some of that payment was early retirement of debt owed to the federal government, as BPA was able to borrow in the private sector at lower interest rates.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

              @michael-cain Thanks for the clarification. I meant for building them in the first place. It was the interference/help (depending on perspective) rather than the long term costs, that I was getting at.Report

        • J_A in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Yet we get fresh clean water at crazy cheap rates, and they get polluted water, and not even at a bargain.

          I’m sure it has something to do with KY being so different from CA that they need their own special Steve of Kentucky way of delivery.

          Way to show your lack of Kentucky patriotism, wanting to get water pumped to your house the way Californians do!Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to J_A says:

            I suspect some of it is that the local economy in parts of Eastern Kentucky collapsed 40 years ago and the revenue base no longer supported the scale of the infrastructure or upgrades to the treatment facilities. The correct choice (in hindsight) would have been to shrink the serving areas, but that requires admitting that the economy is not going to recover.

            When Detroit’s economy collapsed, they were able to keep the water going because of their suburbs. (Note: Flint’s water crisis was triggered when they decided they couldn’t afford Detroit’s price for treated water.) When Detroit went bankrupt, the water acquisition and treatment function was reorganized and is now owned by those suburbs. Not options in Eastern Kentucky.

            RUS grants might have let Eastern Kentucky keep up. Of course, the people there are now in the habit of voting for the political party that wants to make RUS grants as hard as possible to get, and then to make RUS disappear.Report

            • J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

              If only all 300 million Americans had access to the same water utility model….

              But of course, KY wants their utility model, and KY gets their utility model.

              Is not a good utility model, but what do we know, we are Coastal Elitists (hey I live only 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico), plus, it’s not as if the people who run utilities don’t kniw how to run utilities.

              I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry for Eastern KY. It probably makes me a bad person.Report

  9. trumwill says:

    [Wo6] I’m going to respond to the conversation down here.

    It’s analogous to Trump and the Dow Jones. Presidents do not generally deserve credit or blame for the performance of the Dow. But when Trump and his supporters used it and leaned on it enough, it became fair game to rag him on it whenever it took a tumble. Nobody pointed to Haiti as an exemplar of capitalism. Now, when Chile takes a tumble, it’s a different story. Or when we do.

    Venezuela doesn’t invalidate socialism. But neither did it validate it up until now. In fact, while lefties were pointing to Venezuela as being an exemplar of the socialist spirit, righties were saying “It’s great if you have enough oil.” The better example for the right has always been Cuba. But whenever they tried to use it, people would point to Venezuela.

    So now, of course, it’s the other way around. Righties point to Venezuela as an exemplar of failed socialism, and lefties say it’s actually about the oil market.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to trumwill says:

      Or the other refrain – it’s all America’s fault for not treating Venezuela nicely.Report

      • The Question in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Well that angle doescarry a little bit of water I mean if you form a left wing government in your country odds are more than likely the United States is going to do everything can make your life difficult. if you lead a right-wing government the United States will more than likely do everything you can to prop you up because you’re another “Soldier for capitalism”

        Venezuela gets run down Nicaragua gets propped up.

        It’s not like we don’t have a history of like attempting to destroy every left-wing government that comes to power largely because they’ll expropriate our business holdings. .Report

    • Stillwater in reply to trumwill says:

      The Politics of Overreach: Signaling as a Destructive Force in American Politics.

      That’s the moral of the story. For Team 1 fact A is used to beat Team 2 about the head and shoulders. For Team 2 fact A is used to beat Team 1 about the face and neck. Both agree fact A is bad, but the really compelling thing about A isn’t that it’s bad, but how it can be used signal superiority. (Same with all this nonsense about KJU’s sister!)

      Lost in the mix of all this is that no one in the US *really* cares that Venezuelans are dying in the streets. I mean, we all say we do. But we really don’t.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

        Its part of how most of our political struggles are fought on proxy terms.

        No one anywhere really gives a rip about “free markets” or “fiscal conservatism” any more than anyone cares about “socialism”.

        Usually these are proxies for the larger tribal struggle that tends to be laden with cultural and increasingly, ethnic, affiliation.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Right. But I think the even bigger moral of the story is that signaling is basically a lie, and that our politics is so top-heavy with accumulated signaling-based lies the foundations upon which political culture stands is crumbling. It started with Palin and is only accelerating under Trump. I think we’ve got a long ways to go before it ends, with some likely collateral damage to our institutions along the way. Democrats and liberals need to get hip this continuing collapse right quick. (So does the traditional GOP.)

          Add: I can’t remember that old expression about revolutions happening really slowly right up until they happen real quick, but something like that.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

            To sorta make the point: the rightwing freakout about media coverage of NK and KJUs sister is 100% pure signaling-based nonsense. But it fits perfectly into their broader signaling based attack on (what they circularly view as) signaling from the left – where “the left” is defined as “anyone who’s not on the right” – and because of that it has legs. People eat that shit up.

            None of these attacks have anything to do with stability in the Korean Peninsula, or North Korean threat mitigation, or projecting US power, or anything at all on a first order level of geopolitics and ostensible US goals in the region. Just pure signaling attacking what they view as other people’s signals. Just signaling all the way down.Report

    • North in reply to trumwill says:

      And, for the record, AFAIK you had to go pretty far out into the left wing fruitcake branch (and no imbecile actors count for nothing) before you found people pointing at fishin Venezuela as an exemplar of socialism.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to North says:

        What I remember was less, “look at the socialist paradise of Venezuela!”, and more “it could be a socialist paradise if only $(Something that some other country is doing that is preventing said paradise) wasn’t happening”.

        There were plenty of people to the left who recognized that Pugsly was the actual root of the problem, but as was discussed elsewhere, for a lot of people, the signaling was more important.Report

  10. Oscar Gordon says:

    I know that the topic is ‘World’, but this story:

    Former dominatrix fired from Hudson County Sheriff’s Office

    Showcases our continuing hang-ups with regard to sex along with the reality that Police will protect a violent person long before an embarrassing one.

    Seriously though, the one person who probably actually knows who to maintain control of a tense situation without being a bully and has an encyclopedic knowledge of how to restrain a person, and they fire her.

    ETA: Technically she was fired for lying about her work history, but as the article notes, the likelihood of her being accepted in to the academy had she been honest was probably nil.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      I think Hudson County is technically part of the world, but don’t tell the people who live there.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      At a CLE (continuing legal education) I intended once, the presenters related an anecdote of lawyer getting disbarred because she did some sort of sex work while building her legal career. It wasn’t quite prostitution but the bar association that it demeaned the character of the profession. There are all sorts of professions where that have a weird and troublesome relationship with off-work activities or previous careers. Lawyers and teachers are the most common example but apparently prison guards are like that to.

      IMO firing her for lying on her application is legitimate even if telling the truth would have led to her not getting into the prison guard academy in the first place. There have been other people in her place who have been truthful or been truthful about even more dubious activities. Sometimes it works out for them and sometimes it does not. That doesn’t excuse lying though.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I know the lying is legit grounds for termination, but I am willing to bet that if she had lied about being a prize fighter, or something, no one would have batted an eye.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

        The counter joke is of course that it’s not nearly so clear which profession would be demeaned by association with the other.Report

  11. Stillwater says:


    I’ve been thinking about Rachel Brand’s resignation as #3 in DOJ in conjunction with Congress attempts to discount certain evidence underpinning the Mueller investigation and have arrived at what I think is the most plausible scenario going forward:

    – Rosenstein is forced to recuse from All Things Russia
    – Trump makes an interim appointment to DOJ #3 position who holds that position until Mueller’s investigation is completed
    – interim appointee circumscribes Mueller’s investigation to only electioneering coordination rather than broader collaboration (witting or unwitting) between Trump and/or his campaign and the Rooskies.

    Mueller isn’t fired, constitutional crisis averted, Trump willingly cooperates with Mueller, etc and so on.

    You heard it here first!Report