Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Problems, Progress & Progressive Edition


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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176 Responses

  1. Avatar CJColucci says:

    I’ve wondered why sober insurance companies have been commissioning so many funny or weird (or both) ads. I’ve long thought that the files of the insurance companies contain rich comic material and Farmers has been using it. GEICO. Progressive, it keeps going. I like the trend, but wonder how and why it got started.Report

    • There is a psychology of brand loyalty that advertisers have when planning such things. Similar to how folks adhere to a TV or movie character they will the right spokesperson, and thus endear the brand along with it. Now with the need to get things to go “viral” it plays right into it having funny spots.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        My recollection (could be wildly wrong, of course) is that GEICO started the shticky/funny ads, and I always assumed the reason was to overcome cultural resistance to purchasing insurance over the phone/internet rather than at a traditional brick and mortar insurance agent’s office.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

          Yeah, GEICO led the way on that, and they were phenomenally successful. Advertising is like a lot of artistic industries, where the award-winners aren’t the big money-makers. The GEICO ads were like Avatar: ground-breaking, award-winning, and lucrative. They turned one of the smaller insurance companies into a household name. Success like that gets copied.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Pinky says:

            I’m a GEICO customer, from before funny commercials (hell, almost before cars), and I once sent them a commercial idea, complete with explicit permission to use it for free (though I said I would enjoy being there for the filming). It featured the GEICO cave men spelunking and finding marvelous cave art. The lead caveman goes deeper into the chamber and screams. When the second caveman rushes to see what is wrong, the camera pans to a GEICO gecko painting among the mammoths and stick figures. I don’t know why they didn’t use it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to CJColucci says:

      At best, people find insurance very boring. At worse, people hate insurance companies and think adjusters exist to deny coverage as often as possible and why bother.*

      Hence, comedy to make feel people feel nice towards insurance companies.

      *FWIW as an insurance defense lawyer, I have heard arguments on denying coverage that I call “only an insurance adjuster can make these arguments. Not even a lawyer can” reasoning. Also FWIW, I think almost everyone is underinsured but I would probably cause premium payments to skyrocket. Actually not if we used regulation but the r-word causes too many Americans to shit the pants.Report

  2. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    I have no use for Flo. Jamie, on the other hand… Whoever decided to give him a “most interesting man in the world” skill set for his life outside of Progressive is a genius. I’ve been known to find the Youtube copy of some of the commercials to go through and pick up the little things the writers put in that I missed the first time.Report

  3. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Two hours IS lightning fast. Here, the ONLY place that does pick up currently (the wal-mart), you gotta get super lucky to get a slot. It’s kind of like an old-skool eBay auction for a hot commodity.

    They HAVE started opening more days further in advance. At the start of this they’d open the current day and the next day at some nebulous “first thing in the morning” time. Once, I got a spot going on at 7 am, but that was before the virus showed up here, and I think people weren’t worried yet. Then, after that….no spots, forever. I tried at 5 am when I got up. None. I assume they release them at midnight and people wrote crawler programs to grab them up, or set their alarms (or stayed up until midnight).

    I just recently got one in the evening for this week. I’m praying the stuff I ordered isn’t out of stock but I am planning on that being the case. I have been going to a small local grocery, masked and gloved (and I am the only one, but I guess I’m socially awkward to the death), but they don’t have some of the things I use and I keep forgetting things because I’m low-level panicked running through the store.

    I think new groceries should be built with drive-thru windows like fast food places. Or build small ones in every neighborhood, with just basic stocks, like the “beer barns” of my youth, where you drive through and tell the person what you need and they run and pick it off the shelves in your sight, and then you pay and get your stuff through your car window and scram. Probably doesn’t work for big families or extended shipping trips, but it would be nice to be able to get milk and eggs and maybe some kind of fresh fruit without having to either suit up like you’re going on a quest or jockey for one of a very limited number of pick up spots. (This is the only wal-mart in a county of 25,000 people, you can do the math)

    Yes, I know I’m being spoiled and peevish about this but there HAS to be a better way for low-contact grocery shopping. (Delivery is not a thing here, I spent a long fruitless time searching for a milk or meat delivery company, there are none. I do Imperfect Foods now but that’s a crapshoot, you have to take what they have available and I’ve learned that no delicate fruits or vegetables survive a trip via FedEx)Report

    • My primary grocery store, as I mention in the piece, is newer and was built to service curbside pickup so they are handling it better than most. I’ve heard absolute horror stories about the 3 Walmarts closest to me and the flood of pickups and various levels of success folks are having with it. Walmart’s model is horrendous for trying to do that, and they are spending billions on trying to mesh their online/delivery/store pickup with their heavy duty infrastructure that was built for a different era.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        There’s a huge difference between a retail outlet where shoppers pick the product and a good storage and distribution system, which would look more like an Amazon warehouse where totes move on a conveyor system through a vast warehouse of shelves, with each operator performing picks for their zone instead of following a complete order all through a store.

        For small retail products, one of the most automated systems I’ve worked with was called an A-Frame. It was two long racks of products in vertical feed slots with a conveyor running between them, forming a long aisle. At the bottom of each feed slot was a little rubber track (almost like a Tonka toy bulldozer tread) with a motor, which when cycled would rapidly flip the bottom product in the feed slot onto the conveyor belt. A computer took an order and assigned it a zone on the conveyor belt, and as that zone moved past all the products, the computer would trigger a product to “fire” onto the zone if the customer had ordered that particular product. At the end of the conveyor the products dumped into a box which got shipped to the customer.

        The manpower was all in reloading the vertical slots, which were a bit like magazine cartridges for a rifle, and having maintenance clearing the occasional jam. To make the system truly efficient on a mass scale, the manufacturers would have to ship their products in a range of standardized “magazines” to make restocking the machines quick and easy. Since the customer is no longer wandering down the aisle selecting between similar brands, the products could be grouped by manufacturer instead of type, so bigger companies could ship an entire rack of pre-loaded magazines, with individual capacities based on relative sales volume.

        That’s the kind of shipping and distribution system that Amazon aims for, trying to reduce the total cost in getting products from the manufacturer to the customer in the most profitable way possible. In such a system, the retail outlet is bypassed, but the current distribution centers are set up to feed those retail stores instead of the customer directly, so a shipment would typically be pallets of cereal to be reshelved in the cereal aisle, based on the store’s sales numbers, instead of putting together an individual customer order.

        However, the two shipping methods (to stores or direct to customer) have very different requirements in how products are shelved and moved, and the two types of systems don’t intermix (share space and equipment) all that well.

        Current retail outlets can put individual orders together, but they just can’t do it very efficiently, so they’re just swapping a customer minute (which was being provided free by the customer) with employee labor minutes.Report

        • …with each operator performing picks for their zone instead of following a complete order all through a store.

          One of the Amazon fulfillment centers here in Colorado is supposed to be using the arrangement where low flat robots each carry a four-sided rack of shelves around. Humans stand at work positions where they are packing multiple orders at a time. Robots go to the work position, rotate to present a proper shelf, and the human picks the product and puts it in the bin for the proper order. When the order is complete, the bin goes off somewhere for the products to be packaged for shipping. From time-to-time the robot takes its shelves someplace where they can be restocked.

          I’ve seen videos. It’s the damnedest thing, with tall racks being shifted around continuously so that the proper ones go to the proper places. Somewhere is a computer doing all of the route optimization for all those moving parts.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to fillyjonk says:

      “Two hours IS lightning fast. Here, the ONLY place that does pick up currently (the wal-mart), you gotta get super lucky to get a slot. It’s kind of like an old-skool eBay auction for a hot commodity.”

      Yeah. Recognize your privilege, Andrew.

    • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to fillyjonk says:

      I had a pickup today. I waited a full hour to get my stuff.

      Then some jerk pulled out fast in front of me (the pick up area is around a blind corner). I had eggs.

      Fortunately none of them broke but I was shaking and crying after slamming on my brakes and hearing all the groceries shift, I envisioned a mess of broken eggs – wasted money, wasted effort. I had to pull into a parking space to check on them before driving on. It just feels like too much any more.

      Those of you who have access to Instacart and similar, count yourselves lucky and tip your delivery person well. This is really an effort for those of us in small rural areas. And I’m all alone, I don’t have to worry about kids/spouse/older parents – so sitting for an hour in the wal-mart parking lot is more an annoyance than anything, but still.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to fillyjonk says:

        (Full hour from the time I arrived there. I was told 6 pm, got my groceries around 7. I guess next time I bring grading or a book with me)

        Also, less than 10% of the customers I saw walking into the wal-mart had masks on. Some families had their kids masked up but not the adults? All the employees had masks but I think wal-mart has mandated it. But since masks protect other people more than they protect you – the customers should be wearing masks for the good of the other customers AND the workers.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I think curbside pick up is fine for smaller stores where navigation can be hard or take-out restaurants but a grocery store can easily institute social distancing and let people inside. I do admit that it feels very strange to wait outside a grocery store to get in. Rather it did at first and now I am weirded out by how normal it feels.

    Interestingly, there is a huge alcohol chain in California called BevMo (bless California’s lovingly liberal booze laws) and they are not letting people in, you need to pre-order. These are big stores.

    2. On Holocaust comparisons, my guess is that people are looking for a “what is something that almost everyone in the world agrees is horrible” analogy to compare their plight too and they go to things like the Holocaust and Apartheid. Which is somewhat good because it shows that a lot of people think the Nazi persecution and murder of Jews was evil and wrong or the oppression of black South Africans was evil and wrong. But it is also bad because it shows that a lot of people are still thinking about their own desires over the common good. I admit there are times I get batty. I miss being able to get out of my place and take a walk or go browsing for books on a whim at the local bookstore. The pandemic has taken away a lot of what is wonderful about city life but I hope it will return and saving tens of thousands of lives is more important that getting lost in the stacks at a book store.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The Babylon Bee is a weird thing. Usually they manage to have just enough self-deprecation towards their own in-group and gentle mocking towards outside groups that everybody can enjoy them regardless of whether you a liberal city dweller or Evangelical Christian. There are times when their true beliefs manifest themselves in ways that seem incredibly harsh and unfair though. This is one of them. Their treatment of AOC when she started to become big in the news cycle seemed way too mean spirited for my tastes too. I’m not even that big of an AOC supporter but reducing her beliefs to “free stuff” seemed very wrong to me.Report

  6. Avatar J_A says:

    Re the Yellow Crosses

    Though I find the mention to the Yellow Crosses obnoxious and disgusting, I was actually thinking about Tony Spell’s Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge the other day

    I would be a six-pack of good IPA that the members of Life Tabernacle Church are mostly working class and lower middle class (I know it is a mixed race with a substantial black membership).

    Working and lower middle class people makes the bulk of those actually working,in supermarkets, in Amazon warehouses, in non stop delivery of almost everything, in maintaining the parks and bike trails, in maintaining and expanding the infrastructure. You know, those people who are actually risking their health day in/day out because they are in continues contact with others. They are risking their health and that of their families by showing up every morning at their place of work in exchange for enough money to make it to the end of the month.

    Should they have a right to expect from their colleagues that every single one of them makes their best effort to also stay virus free in their spare time?

    Should they have a right to know that the person they are working with for hours, just 6 ft away, has spent they Sunday in a packed up church, or in an equally packed demonstration in front of City Hall?

    Yes, I know the symbolism of the yellow crosses, but if you believe, because of faith in God or faith in Trump that social distancing is a hoax, shouldn’t you be required to make that belief clear to your coworkers, so they can react according to their beliefs, too? So they can embrace you, or stay the hell away of you?

    As an aside Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, the Council of Senior Scholars, urged Muslims worldwide to pray at home during Ramadan if their countries require social distancing, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday.

    “Muslims shall avoid gatherings, because they are the main cause of the spread of infection and shall remember that preserving the lives of people is a great act that brings them closer to God,”

    I wish the Tony Spells of America would agree with that sentiment, that preserving the lives of others is indeed WJWDReport

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    In which I have to admit that the Hermit Kingdom is probably being more truthful than our own government: https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/north-korea-denies-kim-sent-trump-a-new-letter/Report

  8. Avatar George Turner says:

    Won’t someone think of the brewpubs?

    The existential crisis in the Colorado beer world is palpable right now as an industry built on social gathering comes to realize that social distance is the new normal.

    As much as 15% of craft breweries expect to close by the end of the month if social distancing remains in place, according to a national survey from the Boulder-based Brewers Association, and more than 60% don’t expect to survive beyond June.

    If applied to Colorado — which now counts about 420 breweries — the projections suggest 250 would close by summer. That would represent a huge dent for an industry woven into the state’s identity and one that contributes more than $3 billion a year to the state’s economy.

    West Virginia has 5 craft breweries and Kentucky has 12. If a state hit 420 brewpubs it’s just a marketing gimmick for bars, one that adds quite a lot of capital expenses. For several years the industry has said that they’re do for a massive shakeup because the market simply can’t support all the craft breweries, and that a major winnowing was inevitable as soon as market conditions changed. Well, the conditions have changed, and in states where craft breweries have become as common as the old Blockbusters or frozen yogurt shops, down comes the ax.Report

    • It will be a temporary drop-off. Every craft brewery that closes will leave behind a nice set of stainless steel fermenting tanks and the other equipment. When things return to more-or-less normal, there will be enough people willing to pull a Hickenlooper (out of work geologist starts brewpub rather than leave Colorado) to put them back to use.

      I have to admit that personally, I enjoy living in a state where you go to a non-chain restaurant, look at the beer list, and Coors and Budweiser are down at the end in a “we’ll serve it if you really insist” sort of position.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to George Turner says:


      Republicans: “small businesses are the backbone of the nation, we need to do everything possible to keep them going, the cost load imposed by regulatory compliance is death to small businesses, the large number of small businesses shows how important they are to the economy!”

      also Republicans: “lol if there’s 400 foo-foo-beer places then it’s obviously just some bullshit for queer-ass libs, they deserve to fail”Report

  9. Avatar aaron david says:

    I am of Jewish decent. I have even written about it here, talking about the famous Rabbi in my family. We, though not directly in my case, lost a ton of family during Shoah, in fact, all of them as we are Prussian and Bohemia Jews. But, there is nothing wrong with Holocaust humor per se. Many, though obviously not all, believe that if you cannot make fun of this massive tragedy then the Nazi’s won. That they have so infected us with fear that they own us. Mel Brooks has made jokes about it, one of my favorite children’s books made fun of the gold stars (The Avocado of Death) and so on.

    Comparing the fascist actions of the Kentucky gov’t to actions by other fascists is ripe for humor. It helps show how the actions of certain politicians can be seen as a step toward other, more destructive behavior. This is the point of satire, to show human foolishness by exaggerating its effects. And much like the humor of Blazing Saddles, we don’t gain anything by walling off sections so that only certain, approved people can tell jokes. What matters is if the humor is good and shows us a kernel of truth.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to aaron david says:

      The humor in blazing saddles was always, to use the modern phrase, punching up. Brooks has said as much. They didn’t make fun of everybody.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to aaron david says:

      There’s also the Seinfeld “Soup NAZI” piece, which makes fun of the soup vendor for being an inflexible jerk, while at the same time Jerry and friends for elevating petty annoyances to extremes.

      I almost made a joke to my wife about the star sticker she lines up every morning to get in order to enter her work place. They wand her to check for a fever; she can’t get there early like she prefers in order to prepare for her day; she has to stand in a shuffling line six feet apart for inspection. I didn’t make the crack because her work situation sucks and the joke would kind of suggest that she needs to get some perspective (which would not be my intention), at least they’re not hauling you off to the gas chamber.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    This is a story of states trying to make sure that PPE that paid for and ordered is not commandered by Donald. It reads like a thriller/crime novel:


  11. Speaking of analogies:

    The unmasked, un-distanced protesters, who are happy to risk their health and the health of others to bring attention to their cause, are basically suicide bombers.Report

    • I watched part of the helicopter video feed from the protest site at our state Capitol yesterday. There were clearly two categories of people. There were the ones in their masks, maintaining six-foot spacing, and glaring at anyone who infringed on that space. Then there were the ones crowded together on the sidewalk, no masks and shoulder-to-shoulder. In the latter group, red caps and pro-Trump signs were much more common.Report

      • Avatar Swami in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Yeah, I am interested in protesting the re-opening of beaches to solitary exercise and water sports, but really wish the Trump supporters would stay out if it. They basically ensure the politicians of the state will not budge. I would actually suggest the smart thing to do would be to convince Trumpers to fight the re-opening, so we could get public support behind the re-opening.Report

  12. U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday the coronavirus sweeping across the United States has peaked.

    Did he really say this?

    * It’s not true.
    * It’s a dangerous and irresponsible thing to assert.
    * Even when it becomes true, we won’t know it for sure because of the lack of testing.

    There’s no excuse for this.Report

  13. Avatar George Turner says:

    This is an interesting look at state-by-state R0 numbers since March 15, made by two of the founders of Instagram, based on estimated secondary infections.


    You can see the steep drop in R0 from 3 to below 1 in about half the states.Report

    • Avatar Swami in reply to George Turner says:

      Yeah, I am getting tired of this black and white “open completely” vs “stay at home” paradigm.

      The prudent course IMO is to strengthen social separation practices and protocols while re-opening businesses and activities which can be performed with reasonably prudent behaviors.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Swami says:

        But the situation we’re in right now isn’t black or white. It’s a mix. The sector which took the biggest hit in employment terms was hotel/restaurant/leisure, and those jobs ain’t coming back just because gummint lifts a shutdown order.Report

        • Avatar Swami in reply to Stillwater says:

          I think we are in agreement. If those sectors can’t re-open safely, then they should not re-open until they figure out how to do so. That is not the same as a stay at home order for non essential businesses.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Swami says:

            Right, but what businesses grabbed in the shutdown aren’t in the leisure and hospitality sector? My chiropractor is shutdown (booo) but my other body work guy shutdown before he was designated non-essential.

            Golf courses? I’d be in favor of opening those up with responsible distancing.

            I mean, I’m not gonna start a list here, and I think there are arguments to be made in any case, but the marginal gains of relaxing distancing/shutdown protocols doesn’t strike me as impacting the economy very much.

            On the other hand, if we had a responsible Congress, which prioritized short-pockets over deep ones in the CARES act, a bunch of the tension around opening things up wouldn’t exist.Report

            • Avatar Swami in reply to Stillwater says:

              Good question.

              In Ca. they have shut down many (in some cases most) manufacturing, construction, retail, technology*, finance, and service industries. They even closed the DMV to many services.

              And I am not suggest loosening social distancing protocols, I am suggesting tightening them. I also would suggest either closing or revamping the way mass transit is working (crowded subways are borderline suicidal).

              So, no, I do not believe we are primarily talking about restaurants (which are pretty much adapting to take our and drive through) and leisure.

              We are shutting down a huge fraction of our productive capacity with stay at home orders. I recommend replacing industry wide shut downs with responsible social safety protocols.

              *as an example, my brother works in Silicon Valley (in computers) and has been confined to the house for almost a month now.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Swami says:

                One difference between your state and mine is the construction trades, which in CO are still rocking along while CA has shut them down completely. Realizing that (one!) difference makes me understand where you’re coming from a bit better. All I can say to you and Gavin Newsome is to Follow Our Lead!

                {{Honestly, I won’t say that since I have no idea what the correct balance is here. Each state seems like they’re doing their own thing, for their own reasons….}}Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Our construction site here in LA is still going strong.

                The Mayor required them to present safety and social distancing protocols, but otherwise they are still open.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Hmmm. I read that SF and surrounding had shut it down.

                So it’s not a state-wide order then?Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Stillwater says:

                They are still doing a lot of construction in Oakland. The lack of people seems to have sped things up quite a bit. There is also a lot of street and road repair being done at this time because no people.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to LeeEsq says:

                A lot of construction has been shut down, not all. My brother in law is constructing dorm rooms and has continued to work for some reason. The home builders are no longer working near me.

                By the way, with stay at home orders differing so dramatically by state, it is easy to talk past each other due to differing bases.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Hmmm again. So construction is rocking along. Is manufacturing as well, or is that shutdown?Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Stillwater says:

                Both. Some manufacturing is shut down if it is considered non essential. Same for construction and retail.

                Marijuana dispensaries are supposedly essential. Sporting goods and kitchen remodeling are not.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Swami says:

                I read an interesting tidbit about New York City, which if nothing else serves as an example of doing everything wrong every time. I was aware they’d kept their subways running, which of course is likely a major spreader of infection, but the did something even more nonsensical from a disease containment standpoint.

                Their ridership dropped to about a fourth of what it normally is, due to so many people not going to work. That would have left the subway cars only a fourth as packed, but to keep people from riding on nearly empty cars, they cut the service by a factor of four so that each subway car would be efficiently utilized. They can’t run nearly empty subway cars or the infection might not spread.

                All I can say is that De Blasio is a walking disaster.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to George Turner says:

                They might as well have been trying to cull the herd. So on one coast they are criminally crowding disgusting subways. On the other coast they are fining people for watching sunsets in their car.Report

              • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

                DeBlasio doesn’t actually run the subway system.Report

  14. Avatar North says:

    Grocery stores.
    I mean, seriously, grocery stores. When you think about them the economics is really amazing. We’re talking about large centralized locations of goods where your customers come and pay you so they can fulfill that expensive last mile of product delivery using their own labor and cars.
    I don’t know if any business site more epitomized modernity than grocery stores. If you could bring a person from a past era into the present I am very confident that grocery stores are one of the things that would most profoundly blow their minds. Sure skyscrapers or i-pods or airplanes but those would be so detached from their understanding as to be incomprehensible; but the vast quantities of food laid out like that? Yeah.
    But anyhow, grocery stores. When we talk curbside pickup or delivery we’re talking about the heart of the grocery store model. You take the customer final mile (or even final 100 feet) element out of the equation and it makes no sense at all. It can’t work. Not on the margins grocery stores operate on. Prices would have to go up. Like, a lot.Report

  15. Avatar Kolohe says:

    If anything, Dennis Haysbert should retire from Allstate, because they have started to break the fourth wall with him. (And now have Tina Fey to accompany Dean Winters)Report

  16. Avatar James K says:

    Here in New Zealand, I think things are looking up. We’re going to dropping down an alert level next week (this means non-essential business can open so long as they don’t have customers in-store), and our cases have dropped off sharply – the government has started doing random community testing and this testing isn’t finding any cases – all our new cases are coming from clusters we already know about.

    Supermarkets have adjusted too – the queues have shrunk rapidly and the supply of nearly all goods have rebounded (not all brands are available, but you can find alternates for sale).

    We have a ways to go yet, and things could yet go bad, but so far we’re weathering this reasonably well. The economic consequences are not going to be good, but that wasn’t something we had any real control over.Report

  17. Avatar Aaron David says:

    My people make me proud.


  18. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Related to our previous discussions of milk:

    Hundreds of National Guard personnel are being activated in Iowa as coronavirus sweeps through meat-processing plants in a state that accounts for about a third of U.S. pork supply.

    Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said 250 National Guard members have been moved to full-time federal duty status and could help with testing and contact tracing for workers at plants operated by Tyson Foods Inc. and National Beef Packing Co.

    Activating guard soldiers is the latest attempt to contain the disease, which has forced a growing number of slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants to slow or halt operations.

    The disruptions are stoking concerns for eventual fresh-meat shortages in grocery stores as well leaving some farmers without a market for their animals. That’s pushing down prices for hogs and cattle, while making meat more expensive. Wholesale pork posted its biggest three-day gain in six years.

    “At some point we’re going to have to be talking about euthanizing hogs, and we’re not that far from it,” Reynolds told reporters. “And that would be devastating, not only for the food supply but for the cost of food going forward.”Report

  19. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Trump is apparently using this opportunity to issue an executive order that will temporarily ban all immigration into the United States. I can’t just anymore. I feel broken-hearted about all of this. Just fuck Trump and all of his supporters to hell.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Why would we want anyone going anywhere, much less transporting Covid across national boundaries? Pretty much every country has suddenly rediscovered how important borders are, and they’ll become increasingly important as countries take different approaches to getting the epidemic under control. There will likely be pretty severe travel restrictions between states, so states that have almost cleared the disease don’t get reinfected by people from states where it’s still rampant.

      And of course the infection is likely to run unchecked for a year or two south of the border. Even countries in Central America have been screaming that Mexico is going to become a disaster area.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        Well for one thing the pandemic is already here and well rooted, so its not going to be excluded by further border restrictions.

        And last I checked states can’t close their own borders to people from other states. Last time we tried that down south we got our keesters handed to us by the Union.Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H says:

          I’m curious what your inverse of the argument is: “Allowing in MORE sick people to areas with already strained healthcare systems is a “good” thing?

          “Things are already bad, so making them worse instead of better is fine”?

          Seriously, what policy are you arguing for here and why?Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Urusigh says:

            I’m arguing that further closing of the national border doesn’t do anything for us. We have all the checks in place we need on immigration so adding closures makes no practical sense or impact.

            I’m arguing that as a federated republic individual states can’t go excluding folks from other states that try to cross state lines. Thats what the whole interstate commerce clause of the constitution is all about.

            I’m also arguing that until we have widespread and repetitive testing and tracing we have to assume the disease is everywhere.Report

            • Avatar Urusigh in reply to Philip H says:

              “I’m arguing that further closing of the national border doesn’t do anything for us.”

              “We have all the checks in place we need on immigration”

              Do tell. Until we have a complete wall, with sufficient surveillance and manning to detect and immediately respond to attempted illegal crossings, (and things like full visa overstay databases, mandatory e-verify, sufficient holding space for all illegals awaiting court dates, and sufficient judges and officers to provide timely hearings and deportations) I’m not going to agree with you on that point. In fact, so long as the total number of illegals in the US is above 0, I’d say that you are by definition wrong on that point.

              “I’m arguing that as a federated republic individual states can’t go excluding folks from other states that try to cross state lines. ”

              Perhaps not, but more than a few states seem to have ordered stay at home, preventing residents from leaving the state, which when executed by neighboring states has the same end result (I find the Constitutionality of these orders dubious, but that point is moot in regards to voluntary compliance).

              “I’m also arguing that until we have widespread and repetitive testing and tracing we have to assume the disease is everywhere.”

              This does not change the substantive question of how we should act to minimize the actual degree of spread. We could assume that literally everyone is infected, but actually having i.e. 100 cases will still be more of a strain on responders than having only i.e. 50. Reducing the actual number of cases remains the ultimate goal, even if we currently lack the testing to accurately measure our degree of success.

              So, counter-argument: The entire point of “stay at home” was to limit the movement of people (and therefore contagion) in support of reducing overall case numbers requiring treatment in order to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system (e.g. “flatten the curve”). As such, immigration is utterly counter toward those goals: it by definition involves the movement of people, thereby increasing probability of contagion spread; it directly and indirectly increases the number of cases in any given area; and therefor it directly increases the risk of exceeding available medical capacity, thereby resulting in increased casualties. Allowing any immigration at this time (with the possible exception of additional healthcare workers), is thus a direct threat to the lives and health of US citizens. The degree of the impact cannot be estimated, but the direction of that impact is certainly negative. AT BEST, they constitute an added strain on medical resources merely to treat those of them who are infected (costing us money that can ill be afforded under current economic circumstances), under anything less than that best case the additional spread of disease kills US citizens who would otherwise have survived this pandemic. Allowing ANY of them in is to sacrifice the lives of our own citizens for that of foreigners. Perhaps you consider that trade-off worthwhile, but I suspect that a majority of your fellow citizens will not agree.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Urusigh says:

                I thought the logic Trump was using was that immigration made no sense with twenty plus percent unemployment and stay at home orders.

                By the way, does anyone want me to take a picture of the daily line-up of immigrants awaiting contractors at the corner near Rancho Santa Fe (the richest neighborhood in San Diego).? It is the one consistent crowd that refuses to practice so much as a hint of social distancing.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                “I thought the logic Trump was using…”

                There’s yer problem right there, mister!

                From WaPo:
                The order, which could come as early as Tuesday evening’s coronavirus briefing, is expected to exempt some categories of nonimmigrant visas, including health care professionals and agricultural workers, according to officials with knowledge of the draft.
                The suspension of immigrant visas would not affect agricultural workers who come to the United States for the harvest season, or doctors who plan to do their residencies in U.S. hospitals before returning home. Both arrive on nonimmigrant visas.

                So, sure, lets bring plenty of poor Mexican immigrants here to pick the crops! No harm in that!

                It’s only the Mexicans who want to immigrate here permanently who carry the virus!Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Here is Bloomberg.

                Start snippet

                The order does come with some notable exceptions.

                Individuals seeking work in “food production and directly helping to protect the supply chain,” would be exempt, according to Bloomberg. Additionally, health care or medical research professionals would not be affected by the ban. Asylum seekers, refugees and the spouses of U.S. citizens and permanent residents would also not be affected.

                “I have determined that we cannot jump start the domestic economy if Americans are forced to compete against an artificially enlarged labor pool caused by the introduction of foreign workers,” the president said in the draft. “I have determined that the entry of most aliens as permanent or temporary workers in the immediate term would have adverse impacts on the national interest.”

                End snippet

                The argument is clearly in part due to the logic of protecting jobs, and he clearly is making a compromise on medical professionals and migrant laborers who have no replacement. I am not trying to defend anything the Orange Idiot says or does, but clearly it makes sense, even if we happen to disagree.

                I am normally extremely pro immigration (it should be both legal and frequent), but I am certainly not gonna get my panties in a wad because he did a calculated decrease in immigration during a period of 25% unemployment.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                What is the logic here?

                That when Juan says, “I want to pick grapes for a season then go back home”, that’s not a health risk, but when he says “Wait, I changed my mind I want to live here and pick grapes” suddenly he is a health risk?Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Try harder and reread what I wrote.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                So we can dispense with this having anything to do with disease, right?

                Who is the order keeping out, and why?
                Not temporary agricultural or medical workers.

                So the intent is to constrict the supply of labor. How many workers are we talking about, and what effect will this have on wage rates?

                Would I be wrong in suggesting “very few”, and “zero”?

                So again, what is the logic here?Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I am pro legal immigration, and this reduces legal immigration, thus I disagree with this in general principle. But if asked (Turing test) to justify what his logic is it would be the following…

                1. His base is anti-immigration
                2. The effects of legal immigration (though small) on employment are plausibly greater than zero in the mind of the average voter
                3. Doctors and migrant farmers are two categories which would be “problematic” to restrict, thus they are excluded from the prohibition.
                4. The current pandemic and economic catastrophe provide cover and opportunity for him to play to his base by doing what they wanted to do all along
                5. Thus from his political standpoint this makes total sense. It would be silly of him not to take the opportunity considering the politics of the situation and the biases of his electorate.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                So, the logic is pandering to the nativist base.

                See, a lot of self-described “moderate” Republicans get very offended when we describe the fundamental ethos of the Republican Party as being rooted in racism.

                But this executive order and conversation only demonstrates why that is correct. “Moderate” Republicans see the pandering and don’t necessarily agree with it, but they are perfectly comfortable with it.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Of course the Republican base is nativist. But then again, nativist is not synonymous with racist is it?

                And yes, tribalistic political people act like tribalistic political agents. Have you not noticed this 24\7 of people in both parties?

                Politics takes a giant shit on people’s minds. For some reason most people enjoy it.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                The Venn diagram of American nativists and American racists is almost perfectly a circle.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Are there any racist policies in big Dem controlled cities Chip?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Racism is endemic to America, part of the warp and woof of the national fabric.

                One party struggles to fight it, the other celebrates it.

                But you really shouldn’t take the word of a middle aged white guy, feel free to consult with real live people of color about their point of view.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’ll take that as a “yes, but”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                No “but”;
                Just, Yes.

                We can’t flinch from this fact. We also can’t let it blind us to our choices.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s a *NON-NATIVIST* racism, though.

                You know, needing Mexicans to clean toilets, act as nannies, and so on. It’s one that celebrates immigrants as domestic help! Not deplores them!Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

                Revised and reposted. The greatest trick neoliberalism ever pulled was turning apologia for exploitation of illegal labor into a core tenet of anti-racism.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                There is a lot of literature and commentary written on white liberal racism over the past few decades.

                Some by people who want to end it, and some by those who are bitter they can’t partake of it.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And all written to profit from it.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                On this so called Venn diagram. Could you please show me this data. Or are you just winging it?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                See, this is the point we keep making, is that for “moderate” or “reasonable” Republicans, and even many liberals, their biggest concern is not the presence of racism, but those who point it out.

                There is this desperate campaign to minimize its existence, to litigate its every detail, to distract and deflect.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Whatever dude. I guess that means “winging it.” What I am taking from this conversation is that you are using nativist as a synonym for racist. Got it.Report

    • Avatar Swami in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I can’t stand the man either, but why the animosity on this issue? 25 million unemployed, pensions for tens of millions of others sure to be at risk, thirty thousand deaths, and the final straw for you is a temporary restriction on switching countries?

      Honestly, it is like me saying “fuck it all, I can’t even surf!” IOW, it might be true, but it seems slightly unhinged.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Swami says:

        I still can’t get over how quickly the Democratic party switched from being restrictionists on immigration to the (sometimes radical) opposition party.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

          It polls well with donors.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

            The greatest trick neoliberalism ever pulled was turning apologia for corporate exploitation of illegal labor into a core tenet of anti-racism.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

                I probably shouldn’t have included ‘corporate’ in my comment as it’s under inclusive.

                But yes, who would dare question Kelly O’s need for a cut rate maid to clean her toilet, but a dirty white nationalist racist?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to InMD says:

              Neoliberal is a very funny word. No one seems to be able to settle on a definition for it.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

                It’s like pornography North. I know it when I see it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                I think it means something like “Woke Embubbled Pro-Capitalist Liberal.”

                Like, an old-school lefty would be complaining about stuff that the old-school lefties were complaining about in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

                Neoliberals complain about stuff that wasn’t even close to being on the radar until This Season.

                Have you heard the latest? “Why Won’t Woke Boys Pay for Sex?

                And, in 5 years, Neoliberals will be agitating for something that isn’t even on our radars today.

                And the old-school liberals will still be stuck in the 60’s.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah I get what the current definition is. It is just the fact that the definition changes that I find interesting. Which, I guess, is appropriate considering the word itself. I just find it interesting. Neoconservative’s definition, meanwhile, hasn’t budged an inch.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Now, “Neoconservative” meant a *LOT* of things in the early oughts. (There was a point at which it was considered an anti-Semitic dogwhistle, for example.)

                Since those turbulent times, it seems to have settled down to mean “Republican, but one who thinks that a vigorous kinetic foreign policy is good”.

                Wanting to pull out of Afghanistan asking “what in the hell are we doing there?” is “Conservative”.

                Wanting to stay in Afghanistan saying “We’re keeping the peace!” is “Neoconservative”.

                Neoliberal used to mean something like “Liberals who realized that socialism can’t pay for the social programs they want, but Capitalism totally can pay for the social programs they want!” and so they were the ones who were enthusiastic about Capitalism, they just wanted a bigger piece of the pie to pay for stuff.

                Since then it has evolved, though. Now, it mostly means prisons hiring more female guards and Private Equity Firms having floats in the Pride parade.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yup, Neoliberal has always had a rorschach quality to it. It’s a pretty malleable word which makes it pretty complicated. Neocon’s meaning has mostly stayed the same. The neocons who were cheer-leading the wars in the aughts are still defending them to this day.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                The fact that it meant something around the time of Occupy Wall Street doesn’t mean that it can’t mean something different today.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh no! I didn’t say I disapprove of or am outraged by the fact that the term neoliberal shape-shifts and changes so rapidly in meaning. It’s just one of a relatively small family of political words that seems to have such a squirelly definition and I find that quite interesting.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

                Admittedly I was being a bit facetious when I used it. I do think there’s a core meaning though related to prioritization of the interests of the supply side/big business/high finance and individuals benefiting from it.

                My suspicion is that the confusion stems from the fact that what would be called ‘economic liberalism’ in much of the world has been so strongly associated with Reagan/Thatcherite political and social conservatism in the Anglosphere, and with the GOP in America in particular.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

                Here’s what’s fascinating to me:

                Your very insightful observation/criticism of the Democratic party gets litigated away because people (and I’m not picking on North here) *claim* they don’t know what the word “neoliberal” means. It’s a classic blunder, where insistence in exacting precision of technical term use obscures an otherwise obvious fact about the world.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                It’s a classic blunder, the most famous of which is “Don’t get involved in a land war in Afghanistan” which was also brought to us by neoliberals.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’m gonna be sorry I asked, but what point are you making Chip?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                That Chip is a fan of the Princess Bride and uses any occasion to reference it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Was the quote “Never get involved in a land war in Asia and never play a game of chance with a Sicillian when your life is on the line!”?Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

                I think this is a good way to put it… Let’s call it “Economic” Neo-Liberalism. Now to connect JB’s other point about “Cultural” Neo-Liberalism I’d land in the camp that sees the Cultural Neo-Liberalism as mostly service to the Economic Neo-Liberalism… which means it isn’t really principled or durable. Or perhaps better, its exactly as durable as it is useful in securing the Economic goals.

                Pivoting back to Economic Neo-Liberalism, I think its worth pondering the arguments of the Aughts/Teens about the rising economic fortunes of people “over there” (where, also, we can’t see the off-loaded costs in pollution and Labor regression) was the key cover for stepping away from the workers “over here” which lands us in this weird pickle where the Democratic Party “imagines” itself as the popular workers party… but increasing isn’t.

                There’s an elegant mental flip where one can see oneself as an Anti-colonial fighting oppression via a rising GDP in far away places… and profit off the fact that rather than being Neo-Colonial we shift the blame to the people left behind who are the real racist colonials who refuse to give up their power and privilege. Laid bare especially in the Autor study

                Not entirely a hill I’d die on, but its one I’m scouting and so far the defensive prospects are trending up.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

                This is exactly what I mean. I suspect it’s the root of increasing overlaps in cultural criticism from old school socialists and lefties, classical leaning liberals, conservative populists, up to and including reactionary elements. From that vantage point Cultural Neoliberalism is another front for the economic variety they all oppose albeit for different reasons.Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

                I mean, economically conservative, socially liberal would fit the bill, right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

                Popular as hell among around 40% of the Educated Elite.

                I mean, everybody who is a member of that group knows somebody like that!Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

                How do you think that group votes, party wise?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

                According to polls or according to election results?Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

                I know both of those…was more interested in your opinionReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

                Depending on the type of clout they chase, they either make a big production about how they don’t vote at all (and you shouldn’t either… it’s immoral to vote for someone unwilling to at least discuss the issues faced by the Belaruskaya Satsyialistychna-Spartywnaya Partyia), they make a big production about how they vote Libertarian and actually vote Libertarian, make a big production about how they vote Libertarian and actually vote Democrat, make a big production about how they don’t like that they have to vote for a Democrat but it’s effectively a two party system so they’re pretty much forced to and they privately vote Democrat, or they make a big production about how they don’t like that they have to vote for a Democrat but it’s effectively a two party system so they’re pretty much forced to and they privately vote Republican.

                The important constant: The making the big production.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Yeah, that article is almost enough to convince me that Trump will lose in November.

                Well, that and the Pandemic.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

                Neoliberals are whoever socialists hate most right now.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

                This entire thread proves your point.

                I’ve heard people describe the last 4 decades of governance in the West as neo- liberal. That seems to be a somewhat, just slightly, wide brush.

                I’ve heard neo-liberal used to slam, it was meant as an insult, at R’s, centrist D’s and liberals.

                It’s a nothing word that is easier to use then describing the actual policies people have an issue with.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to greginak says:

                Yeah, I mean we’ve gotten like 4 or so definitions in the last couple hours*. My cup runneth over!

                *This is not a criticism. Neoliberal is a really squirelly word.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

                What if we all agreed it’s whatever economic policies are favored by the Economist magazine and people who read the Economist magazine uncritically?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to InMD says:

                We could, but then we’d be leaving out all the libertarians who use “Neoliberal” as a pejorative.

                To be clear, I’m not looking for a universal definition of the word.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                The fact that some people use it as a pejorative should not be automatically seen as evidence that the term is necessarily inaccurate.

                I have seen no shortage of traits that are seen as good by this person, bad that this other one, and yet both people would accurately describe the trait.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

                True, and I agree it’s a tough term to get to a perfect definition.

                Still in an American context at least, I think you could boil it down to something of a post-Reagan consensus. During the Clinton years the elite Overton window seems to have shifted from whether we should outsource, open our borders, minimize trade regulation, take the safety rails off high finance, avoid protectionism, and favor tax cuts above all other forms of stimulus/aid to how much should we do it and how fast, with the arrow going only in one direction. That’s what I mean when I talk about it anyway.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to InMD says:

                But doesn’t that just mean standard issue Republican policy with a bit of overlap to centrist D’s who are willing to compromise. We can already just call that Republican.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                See also: Obama, Barack

                See also: Biden, Joe

                See also: Clinton, HillaryReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Don’t forget Bill Clinton, who really set that ball rollingReport

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Huh. In general no, not really. I’m sure you could find a couple examples. Still down thread notes trade policy which is a decent example. There are plenty of counter examples and this all still far more descriptive of R’s.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to greginak says:

                That was totally true in 1992. It was partially, maybe even mostly, still true in 1999. It was a wash in 2008. Since 2016 it’s become a source of tension within both major parties and maybe even a force for political realignment.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to greginak says:

                Hell, we could be so lucky as to have that be defining modern republicanism.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                greg, it was the dominant trade policy adopted by Clinton and Obama and endorsed by the lions share of elected Ds.

                The fact that you think the policy is bog-standard Republican (rather than bog standard Dem) should indicate to you why people like me, InMD, Jaybird, Marchmaine, etc *all* think adopting those policies created problems for the Democratic party.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

                Hell it’s snowballed over time into problems for the R’s too, just different kinds.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to InMD says:

                Republican voters took steps to reverse the trend by electing Trump. Dem voters are reluctant to recognize that there’s a problem there at all. (Well, Bernie supporters do, but most Dems view those folks as not-Dem.)Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                The hard core bernie supporters dont’ see themselves as D’s. The will very clearly and loudly tell you how the D’s are only party that exists and is the cause of all the problems in the US and the world.

                D voters have wanted change for a long time. Obama got elected on that but didn’t, for at least three reasons, didn’t follow through on that. The bulk of the D’s want more then we are getting from the party. How to get that change is the big question with varying answers which sets everybody to arguing.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

                Neo-whatever is the post Reagan* paradigm of international engagement; through trade, diplomacy or other means. The neo’s (most notably Max Boot, but also Megan McArdle among others) can go back and forth seemingly on conservative or liberal, as that axis is not the one that is actually applicable to this paradigm. It is quintessentially boomer, and to a lesser extent Gen-X. And that is why it is so often misunderstood.

                Trump, whatever warts or roses someone might find with him, calls back to the previous levels of engagement globally. And this is a primary complaint/praise of him. It really boils down to how one feels about his level of engagement with the world. In many ways he mirrors Clinton, being a sign of a change in one parties demeanor, while the other party often struggles to find themselves

                *Clinton, Bush II, Obama.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Trade is decent example. These policies are bog standard R. True.

                I do think the centrist urge of D’s to work with R’s and forego more liberal polices has been bad for D’s. Never denied that. There are plenty of us who disliked Clinton’s centrist stuff at the time and think it was bad in the long term. That really isn’t a new to me or a lot of us.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                There are plenty of us who disliked Clinton’s centrist stuff at the time and think it was bad in the long term. That really isn’t a new to me or a lot of us.

                The comments made at the top of the thread should strike you as not only plausible, then, but largely accurate. What me and InMD – March too – are pointing out is that the neoliberal trade policy chickens advanced by Bill Clinton and furthered by Barack Obama have come home to roost.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Clinton triangulated away from older D policies by adapting more market/big bus/R policies. It drove R’s crazy he took some of their ideas and used them with success. As much as you keep pointing at D’s, and on trade that seems fair, this is all still exactly what R’s have been selling. It can be both things.

                If Clinton and Obama are to blame for this batch of chickens then certainly the R’s are also. Right. Trump has deployed a lot of hot air, but not much else. There has also been push back and unhappiness with complicated things like the TPP from liberals and the left. Certainly the the only push back on enviro issues is from the left side.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:


                If Clinton and Obama are to blame for this batch of chickens then certainly the R’s are also.

                The criticisms/observations being made are internal to the Dem party. And insofar as the Rs bear responsibility for those policies, conservative voters *did* blame them. They elected Trump.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                You can only look at the internals of one party so much before it becomes useless. Each party and the factions with each dance around with each other looking for what works and what sells. The D’s adopted some R econ policies in the 90’s which worked to some degree but had negatives. There have been continuing struggles within the D’s about that. it was one reason Clinton lost to Obama.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to greginak says:

                I sometimes wonder what would happen if a moderate republican presidential candidate “triangulated” by becoming an extremist on global warming.

                By doing so, every leftist, sure that the climate apocalypse is the most important topic, would logically vote for the Republican. After all, only Nixon can go to China, and only a Republican could go full Monte on climate change. And climate change is existential, not mere politics.

                Then I wake up.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Swami says:

                If he were truly monstrous, this Republican could aggressively promote racial justice, and a social safety net, and trade unions.

                My God, us liberals’ heads would assplode!

                Please, please, don’t throw us into that briar patch!Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Swami says:

                Only nixon could go to china is one of those bromides people throw out as if its The Truth when it’s , at most, a notion.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Trade is decent example. These policies are bog standard R. True.

                A bit nitpicky here, but no. What I said is that they’re bog-standard D.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                What’s the bog standard D position on legalizing pot?Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Evolving, but sidling toward legalization.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to North says:

                We could, but then we’d be leaving out all the libertarians who use “Neoliberal” as a pejorative.

                I have no recollection of ever seeing a libertarian use “neoliberal” as a pejorative. In my experience it’s a shibboleth of the pseudointellectual left. That said, I don’t see how this is a problem for defining “neoliberalism” as the policies endorsed by the Economist, which is well left of the average libertarian.Report

              • Avatar Swami in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                “shibboleth of the pseudointellectual left”

                Nice phrasing.Report

        • Avatar Swami in reply to Stillwater says:


          Sometimes I think that if Trump changed course and said he was now adamantly against “pussy grabbing”, the media and hard core progressives would find some Convoluted way to support it.Report

  20. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Along with avoiding comparison to the holocaust, we should also avoid calling the pandemic a ‘war’, given that we pretty much have a complete failure rate whenever we declare war on anything that is not some other nation state. Declaring war just lets the government claim more power for itself.Report

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