Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Post-election Intramurals 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 Yonder and Home. Andrew is the host of Heard Tell podcast.

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102 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    Some possibly disjointed thoughts on the Democratic results especially in the House:

    1. 2018 was a wave election and wave elections are decided on the margins. So it is not unsurprising that some of the gains in 2018 went back to the GOP. Still, many of the Republican gains or regains are on very slim margins, just like the 2018 gains for Democrats. Just around 100 votes separates the two candidates in CA-25. Young Kim’s margin of victory in CA-39 is a few thousand votes. Michelle Steele received 51 percent of the vote in CA-48 but has a margin of just under 8000 votes. IA-2 has the Republican candidate leading by a mere 47 votes!

    2. I think Trump being on the ballot helped down ballot Republicans because something about Trump animates the GOP base.

    2a. One of the things that always struck me is about how many GOPers stick with Trump even though he is will throw them under the bus if expedient. Trump’s complaints are all about him. Notice he is not going to bat the McSally or stating that the Democratic retention of the House is also illegitimate. I think the GOP is partially and passively going along with Trump’s temper tantrum in hope of retaining seats for the Georgia Special elections.

    3. The reasons for the Republican regains in the House are myriad. Young Kim and Michelle Stelle probably benefited from older Asian voters who saw Trump as more anti-Communist/anti-China because of his tariffs and trade ways. In other districts, I wonder if pandemic fatigue from quasi-lockdown helped GOP candidates even though the virus is surging out of control again. BLM/Defund the Police might have hurt Democrats in other districts. The anti-Communist thing probably also helped Trump in Southern Florida.

    4. Democrats flipped a suburban Atlanta district and two districts in North Carolina’s research circle. They did this by good margin. This represents a good thing for the Democrats (educated professionals are slipping away from the GOP) and a danger (we are easy to pack into districts and gerrymander).

    5. Democratic House candidates received 74.5 million votes. Republican house candidates received just under 71.4 million votes. In 2018, the Democratic candidates received 10 million more votes than the Republican votes than the Republican candidates. This shows you how bad gerrymandering is and what is needed to overcome gerrymandering.

    6. The problem for Democrats is asymmetrical nationalization and being a big tent party. Spanberger and Lamb complained that progressive activism nearly cost them their seats. I will take this as true. The problem is that Omar is perfectly within her rights to see the MPD as being uncontrollable, acting with impunity, and that reform will not help change these problems, only defundng and dissolving will reform the MPD. I don’t think she is incorrect either but these are not local issues anymore and I don’t see why progressive Democrats should shut up about issues that effect their constituents.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Bill Maher has a rant. His rant confirmed my priors. Maybe it’ll confirm yours!


  3. Jaybird says:

    While I suppose that a potluck is socialism, there remains the problem of the people who go to the potluck without bringing anything.

    Those of you familiar with the Southern Babtist Church enough to have gone to a couple of their potlucks have seen, first hand, how social pressure works against families who show up without having brought something. Heck, you’ve seen how it works against the bachelor who brings a bucket of KFC (he’s impervious to it, and the bucket is empty at the end of the potluck so impervious to it he will remain… but it’s not for lack of comments).

    Socialism, in practice, seems to have a problem with The Official Commissars having attitudes toward either dress codes (if not behavior codes in general) at the nice extreme and a “if you do not bring a hot dish, you do not get access to hot dishes, unless you are a deacon” problem at the middle extreme.

    We don’t need to talk about the bad extreme.

    I love the idea of Christian Socialism in theory… but, as someone who has participated in variants personally, there are downsides.

    And ignorance of the failure modes communicates little to make me think “okay, maybe we can make it work if we try it this time, now that we have good Christian women in charge.”Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

      I don’t think it’s ignorance of the failure modes, it’s willful blindness.Report

    • James K in reply to Jaybird says:

      The incentive problem is a problem with socialism, but not the biggest problem.

      The biggest problem is the calculation problem. A socialist economy becomes like a potluck where everyone brings side dishes. This is a problem you can solve at the size of a community potluck, but there is no known mechanism besides prices for handling this at the size of a country’s economy.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to James K says:

        I was going to say, it’s a potluck where everyone brings desserts. Given a nice variety of side dishes, I can make a good dinner, but if it’s all desserts, it’s not gonna be healthy no matter how you assemble the ‘meal’.

        Then I thought, desserts are yummy! It needs to not be so attractive. Then I thought, it’s when it is all sides and all the side dishes are just variants of mashed potatoes. Hits the right mood, and IIRC, has some historical context!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to James K says:

        There are a thousand problems with socialism-as-practiced. At this point, my problem is that every single person explaining to me that The Sky Is The Limit! sees a huge problem with talking about what went wrong last time.

        And, good lord, when you discuss some of the other policies held by the countries that are “doing it right”? Oh, my gosh. You’d think that we had asked them to make the FDA have a risk model much more like the one enjoyed by the European Medicines Agency. “Oh, we can’t do that! That goes against a handful of assumptions that I’m making!”

        As if my criticisms of their Sky’s The Limit Socialism were “that’s immoral!” rather than “that’s going to fail because it won’t work”.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to James K says:

        Or it’s a potluck where three people cook, and everyone else brings plates, or utensils, or wants to wash dishes or set the tables.

        Coordination is a necessary element, and at some point, it becomes too much to coordinate.Report

        • InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          As someone who (probably) is mostly in agreement with you and Jay on the substance, let me propose why this answer is viewed as non-responsive. The would-be 21st century socialist looks at modern America and sees that any time high finance or big business needs a huge bail out they get it. Sometimes not only do they get the bail out, but they then immediately proceed to pay out a bunch of bonuses to people at the top or fire half of the work force or something similar. But requests for help from working people, including when facing some pretty dire straights? Well there’s always some reason that the wealth just can’t flow so freely.

          A principled critic of socialism says ‘that’s wrong too.’ But a lot of other people see that and say ‘we’re already socialists, we just make the people who need it least the beneficiaries.’ So it’s the behavior of the state itself that makes questions about nuts and bolts look like cynical defenses of the status quo. Now wrong is not an excuse for stupid, but until the wrong is addressed, we can expect a lot more of the stupid.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

            Ignoring the politics or old money networks at play, and simply count how many top leadership is at play when a bank is getting bailed out versus when the population needs a bail out. Easier to hand out money to a handful that a whole population.

            Coordination is a hard task.

            This is why I’m a big fan of UBI, because it involves no complex coordination. Hell, almost every failed or effed-up social welfare problem failed or is effed-up because folks kept mucking about with it until the coordination problem became intractable.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

            Oh, yeah. We should have had a *NUMBER* of people end up in jail for the weirdnesses that happened in 2007. (How in the heck did no one end up in jail?)

            And looking at that and asking “why can’t the little guy get bailed out once in a while?” is a perfectly understandable question that will not be answered by a “well, you have to understand” answer that is followed by yet another bank bailout.

            That leads places that include Trump.Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

              In an ideal world, politicians would prop up the banks, hand every citizen who is not a bank executive a check for $10K, and then have a meeting with the bank execs where they ask, “Because of your malfeasance, we just had to hand out trillions of dollars to keep the little guy afloat. Where do you think we should get the money to pay for that?”

              Sadly, those are not the politicians we elect.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

              How in the heck did no one end up in jail?

              I assume this is a rhetorical question?

              And looking at that and asking “why can’t the little guy get bailed out once in a while?” is a perfectly understandable question that will not be answered by a “well, you have to understand” answer that is followed by yet another bank bailout.

              That leads places that include Trump.

              Truth you and I agree on, and which is one of my major critiques of the potential Biden Administration’s economic policies, in as much as it was a feature of the Obama ARRA.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

                It is indeed. I was listening to Marketplace on NPR a few months back where whatshisnuts was interviewing whatshisnuts2 and whatshisnuts3 about the bailouts and mentioned that he had a bunch of questions that he’d like them to answer that included why nobody went to jail.

                Well, the interview happened and the “nobody went to jail?” question went unasked and the interviewer, after playing the clip, said that, yes, he has already been reprimanded *PLENTY* for not asking the question about jail.

                He wasn’t reprimanded enough, if you ask me. I listened to that entire interview holding my breath, waiting for that question.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

                Remember when Wells Fargo was creating fraudulent accounts and nom one went to jail? Remember when banks were literally forging property titles and no one went to jail?

                So why would merely being reckless, irresponsible, and fast and loose lead to jail?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                It’s eventually going to lead someplace worse than jail, if history is any guide.Report

              • Slade the Leveller in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Nothing pisses me off more than the left lionizing Preet “It’s too hard to prosecute financial crime so we’re not going to do it” Bharara. Absolute horseshite.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                IIRC, for Wells, it’s because the people doing the bad thing were corporate peons just trying to stay employed, but no one TOLD them to do that, hence the only guilty parties were too sympathetic.

                For the mortgage stuff, I can’t recall if anyone went to jail, but as often as not, any time the bank was made to put up or shut up, the bank lost a house. Smells like fraud to me, but I’m not sure why no one prosecuted.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                “Remember when Wells Fargo was creating fraudulent accounts and nom one went to jail? ”

                I’ve said this before, but if you insist on putting The Perpetrators Of White-Collar Financial Crimes in jail, that means you’ll be sending a great many non-white non-male single-breadwinners to jail for following a “do this or you’re fired” instruction.Report

              • Philip H in reply to DensityDuck says:

                As opposed to right now when we send them to jail for small amounts of marijuana and crack that white people stay out of jail for.

                That aside the people who should have gone to jail for Wells Fargo were several layers up the food chain. The frontline folks need some cover.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Philip H says:

                Problem is you can not prosecute someone for setting up crap incentives. If we could, half of government would be on trial.Report

              • You don’t jail them; you give them immunity for rolling over on their bosses.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                You still haven’t answered the question, what was the crime the WF execs or managers committed?

                The employees were the ones committing fraud, and IIRC, the worst that could be said of the managers was that they set impossible goals and were not as diligent as they should have been. Being incompetent in financial sales management is not, AFAIK, a criminal offense yet.Report

              • And all the fraudsters came up with the same solution independently, and WF’s internal audits never found it? I’m dubious.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                As am I, but calling BS and proving BS sufficient to convince a jury are two different things.Report

              • That’s the answer I’ve mostly seen for why they didn’t go to jail, that it’s hard to trace culpability upwards to the actual bad actorsReport

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                What crime did the managers commit, when it was the underlings who did the actual crime?

                We have laws specifically drafted to cover just this sort of Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization.

                RICO statutes, and the asset forfeiture laws were designed with this sort of organization in mind, and were sold to the public on those grounds.

                We could have easily seized the entire corrupt assets of Well Fargo Bank (before even going to trial) and allowed individuals harmed by their practices to sue to recover treble damages.

                This is where people lose faith in the judicial system.

                For street level dealers, prosecutors are willing and eager to use almost unlimited power, yet for corporate criminals, they cringe and pretend to be powerless.

                The Wells Fargo criminals, like the Epstein perpetrators, walked free by the conscious choice of the prosecutors. Not through any systemic flaw or structural problem, but the willful choices made by individuals.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Not being a lawyer, I can’t speak to whether or not RICO applies. I’ll fall back on Popehat and echo is statement that if you think RICO is the answer, it probably isn’t.


                My guess is that RICO was specifically designed to NOT allow prosecutors to go after legitimate businesses with it.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                There’s a reason why Fat Tony on the Simpsons calls his hangout the “Legitimate Businessman’s Club”.

                By definition, if a RICO case can be brought against your business, it probably isn’t a legitimate business.

                But this is yet another example of how treating Wells Fargo as if it were a normal company is, in 2020 America something unthinkable, a bizarre dog-riding-a-bicycle sort of thing that we can’t even imagine.

                Its like we’ve inculcated in ourselves a peasant mentality where we just view the Wells Fargo executives the way 17th century peasants viewed the aristocracy.
                They hated the aristocrats, but were also unable to actually view them as flesh and blood humans, and the idea of jailing them as if they were ordinary people was impossible for most peasants to wrap their heads around.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                With the greatest respect to Ken White, how does anyone look at a massive organization comitting thousands of crimes, and yet some become persuaded that ackshually, there is simply nothing that can be done, shit happens, this is Gods will, its not for us to know the workings of things.

                Well of course, Ken isn’t saying that. And maybe this wasn’t a case where RICO would apply for reasons argle bargle.

                But to jump from “RICO doesn’t apply” to “Therefore no one at the upper echelons should go to jail” is absurd.

                As we’ve seen in countless examples, whether something gets prosecuted or not is very much a discretionary decision that prosecutors can make. And whether their decisions withstand court challenges is also very much a discretionary choice that judges make.

                If the prosecutors really wanted to see some Wells Fargo executives in jail, they could have easily done so legally.

                If there was a single Jeffrey Epstein we could shrug and say well, sometimes the law leaves a loophole.
                And if there was a few isolated cases of asset forfeiture of low level drug users, we could say that sometimes the law errs too harshly.

                But when there is a pattern over and over again of high level wealthy and well connected people walking away scot free, a reasonable person stop listening to the blandishments of lawsplaining.

                Not prosecuting the bankers was a conscious choice.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Actually, that wasn’t the choice.

                Did you know banks need special charters from the fed, and those charters lay out very specific duties a bank has to follow (something I just learned today)?

                The question should be, was WF told to make things right or lose their charter?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Not prosecuting the bankers was a conscious choice.

                NPR wrote about this, eventually. The answers aren’t particularly satisfying.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

                I guess Chip is right.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Just try not to notice who was in charge of making those decisions.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird says:

                He organized a community of bank execs.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                “You don’t jail them; you give them immunity for rolling over on their bosses.”


                sic transit putting all the white-collar financial criminals in jail, it seemsReport

          • Brandon Berg in reply to InMD says:

            The would-be 21st century socialist looks at modern America and sees that any time high finance or big business needs a huge bail out they get it. Sometimes not only do they get the bail out, but they then immediately proceed to pay out a bunch of bonuses to people at the top or fire half of the work force or something similar. But requests for help from working people, including when facing some pretty dire straights? Well there’s always some reason that the wealth just can’t flow so freely.

            When I was a kid, I complained about having to do some minor chores around the house, as kids will do. My parents pointed out that I was getting thousands of dollars per yean in free room and board, and all they asked in return was an that I spend a couple of hours a week doing chores.

            I’m reminded of this when I see the talking point above. Lower- and middle-income households are constantly being bailed out all the time, to the tune of trillions of dollars per year, and people take it so much for granted that they don’t even realize it’s happening.

            First of all, we have a progressive income tax. If you don’t make much money, you have to pay little if any in taxes. You can get all of the services provided by government, both public goods and private goods, for free. This is huge, huge giveaway to middle- and lower-income households.

            Think of just K-12 education. If you went to public school you have to pay several thousand dollars per year in state taxes alone, for your entire career, just for the government to break even on your primary and secondary education. This is like one TARP per year, that never has to be paid back. If you don’t pay enough in taxes to cover your education (most people don’t), no problem, we’ll force someone richer to pick up the slack.

            Then at the other end of your life, there’s Medicare. “But I pay for that!” I don’t know how much money you make, so that may or may not be true, but the median Medicare recipient does not. Medicare is funded by a 2.9% payroll tax, with no cap. You pay $30,000 in Medicare taxes over your working life, you get Medicare coverage. You pay $3,000,000 in Medicare taxes over your working life, you get exactly the same Medicare coverage. This is a huge bailout to the lower and middle lifetime earners.

            Then there’s over a trillion dollars a year in means-tested spending. Not everyone benefits from this, but those who do are pretty much exclusively in low-income households. Another huge bailout, bigger than TARP, every year, that doesn’t have to be paid back.

            Then there are the public goods and services. If you aren’t paying enough in taxes to cover your education and retirement benefits (most people aren’t), then you aren’t contributing a dime to these. You get free parks, free libraries, free roads, free police and military protection, free fire protection, and more. Bailout.

            TARP, by comparison, was about $700 billion in collateralized loans, one time, that were paid back with interest. This is fairly typical of business bailouts: The government is trying to prevent widespread economic disruption from a temporary problem, not save fundamentally insolvent businesses. Much of the TARP money wasn’t even wanted—financially sound banks were ordered to take it so that people wouldn’t know which banks were in trouble.

            People complaining that regular folks never get a bailout are like kids with 90 minutes of weekly chores complaining that they have to do all the work around the house.Report

            • InMD in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Ah the ol’ comparison to household finances, last refuge of the political ostrich. I like how the part about the bonuses and layoffs magically disappeared from your figuring of the issues. And it isn’t a single instance in 2008, it just happened again under the CARES Act for covid relief. Big businesses bailed out supposedly so that they keep their workers who they then layoff anyway. And that isn’t getting into the numerous subsidies in the tax code all while Congress fails to address increasing gaps in our creaky, outdated benefits structure. It’s obvious who they serve.

              Now, you might have a point if we didn’t also live in a country with medical bankruptcies, minimal savings, constant downward wage pressure, loss of benefits in an insecure service sector, and required consumer financing of literally everything, including the basics of a middle class life. An unfortunate result of a generational crisis might be something we could look passed if all else was well but it isn’t.

              And yes, I pay my taxes. I’m one of the lucky upper middle class who gets taxed to hell on my income for entitlements that may not exist when I retire. They definitely won’t if the Republicans get their way. And if the progressive wing of the Dems do I expect I’ll at some point be asked to hand it all over to a differently abled queer indigenous LatinX identifying person with a degree in self-care from Harvard to atone for my privilege or something. But yes, I get all the privileges of being an American citizen. Paved roads! A public school so overwhelmed by illegal immigration it no longer caters to kids like mine!

              Now that last paragraph is mostly joking. I am extremely lucky and I try to spend time thinking about that every day. But if you can’t wrap your head around the way economic insecurity and rampant inequality propped up by elite bipartisan consensus are screwing up our politics… well. Trump was just the appetizer. Maybe the next will come from the left, maybe the right, but wherever it is I can guarantee they don’t care about your economic theories or a spat you had with your parents when you were 12.Report

            • Swami in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              Great comment, BB. This is one of the most interesting things I’ve read all week. It deserves promotion to a stand alone post.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Brandon Berg says:

              “Lower- and middle-income households are constantly being bailed out all the time, to the tune of trillions of dollars per year, and people take it so much for granted that they don’t even realize it’s happening.

              First of all, we have a progressive income tax.”


              I think it’s a bold take to suggest that a progressive income tax is a middle-class bailoutReport

      • Mike Schilling in reply to James K says:

        The biggest problem is the calculation problem.

        Yeah, what are those tranches of securitized NINJA loans worth?Report

      • Swami in reply to James K says:

        I would agree that both are insurmountable problems, and would even add a third. The Benevolence problem. When the economy is managed from the top down there is no reason at all to expect those doing the management to prioritize the concerns of those they manage.

        Thus they don’t know what to do, don’t know how to do it well, and don’t care whether it works to anyone’s advantage other than themselves.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to James K says:

        If socialism still meant the government controls the means of production, this would be a big issue. However, I think at this point nearly everyone uses socialism as short-hand for social democracy welfare state policies and regulation for social and environmental reasons. No one quite realizes this is what is being done though. This includes supporters and detractors. The number of people who sincerely want old school Clause IV socialism is negligible and largely dying. Though there still seem to be a non-negligible of pundit types who get their underwear in a twist at the word socialism because they are the only remaining souls who hear the word and imagine the ghost of Anuerin Bevan standing on a soapbox.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Well, when one analogies socialism as a pot luck and no one goes hungry but everyone contributes in some way, that hearkens back to the old communism kind of definition of socialism.

          When others then talk about how socialism is really just publicly controlled monopolies of certain services, that’s a step away from the potluck analogy.

          Which all starts seeming motte & bailey-ish to me.Report

    • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      99+% of sentences with the words socialism or capitalism in them are meaningless tripe. Way to vague or undefined to mean anything. It’s all projection of what ever evil or good thing someone wants to assert.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Greg, I would like to ask you to scroll up to the original post, check out HM3, and enjoy her lovely sentiment. I’m sure you’ll feel like you just finished eating a hot buttered biscuit!Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

        I reject the entire framing of “socialism” vs “capitalism” since neither one exists in their pure forms anywhere in the world.
        But as I’ve mentioned before, “socialize” as a verb is a lot more productive to study and learn from than a hypothetical metaphor of a potluck.

        For example, most cities have socialized their utilities. How do the customary critiques of “socialism” work when applied to public utilities?
        Los Angeles DWP is a public entity, while Southern California Edison is a publicly regulated privately owned entity. How do they compare?

        Or for that matter, the quasi-socialized sectors like banking, where the government plays a very large hand in how it is run. Or airports, harbors, telecommunications, insurance, medicine- all these things are quasi-socialized.

        As it turns out, there are plenty of areas where varying degrees of public control and ownership can be a very effective thing.Report

        • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Well yeah, that is one of the big reasons the words are typically pointless and useless.Report

        • Swami in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I would certainly agree with your last sentence. And I think most economists would as well. Every successful modern economy, from Sweden to Canada to Singapore to the US is a mix of free enterprise and public control. Indeed there are no examples ever of success at the extreme, though extreme socialism certainly hasn’t failed due to lack of trying.

          The interesting discussion is how much of each we get in each industry, and in that discussion, the framing of free enterprise vs socialism as extremes within a continuum seems very useful to me.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Swami says:

            Yeah. I’m sure everybody is using a government socialist smart-phone…

            Have you seen many advances in your city water delivery in the last fifty years? Are you able to get ten times more water than you used to?

            With utilities, the debate isn’t so much between “socialist” and “capitalist” but between “socialist monopoly” and “capitalist monopoly”. Nobody is going to run three independent waters or electric systems all the way to your house. Even when phone systems were either Bell or GTE, you couldn’t choose between them. They had regional monopolies, similar to California with SoCalEdison, PG&E, and a few others.

            Socialism is essentially a controlled and regulated monopoly. Graham, of Graham Cracker fame, once proposed moving the entire population of the planet to Texas and running humanity as one vast, monolithic corporation. How is that different from socialism other than branding?Report

            • Swami in reply to George Turner says:

              Not sure how to respond, George. Certainly I would agree that successful modern states have discovered that smartphones are best handled by free enterprise. Utilities, police, fire protection, health care and retirement security are tougher calls, but successful modern states seem to have landed on a more centralized top down control model of some type. If you are arguing for more Free Enterprsie here, I support you on the margin.

              My point was that full on Socialism has been a complete disaster wherever tried. Libertarian Anarchy hasn’t failed yet, because it has never even been tried. But things that have never been tried probably won’t work either. The successes have all been somewhere between the two and people can argue and disagree on where on the spectrum is optimal.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I reject the notions of “north” and “south”. After all, nobody lives on the North or South Poles, and it’s even hard to say exactly where they’re located. Everything in between is essentially indistinguishable. So let’s throw out all our maps and GPS, and schedule our upcoming vacations without regard to those antiquated notions. If you’re looking for me, I’m sitting by the pool.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

            Your analogy holds, if we imagine that the poles of the political compass are fixed and universal as the geographic ones are.

            Imagine trying to explain your political map to an Englishman in 1760.
            Or a Chinese person in 1400. Or a Sioux in 1840.

            They all had a variation of a mixed economy, where some things were socialized, and other things privatized.

            Yet could any of them locate themselves on your map? Were the poles and directions even the same?Report

            • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Not every aspect of politics, no. But I think the continuum between private ownership/control versus government ownership/control would still make sense, and I was addressing your comment about capitalism and socialism. We can look at a proposed law or policy and see if it moves more toward the socialist or capitalist direction. It can be hard comparing a different country to your own, just like it might be hard telling whether it’s were more to the north or south, depending on how you traveled there.Report

              • Swami in reply to Pinky says:

                I concur strongly with Pinky.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

                Yes, in any society, we could map where they are with respect to those two poles.
                But we could also map them between any other set of variables like “Rule of Law” versus “Rule of Men” or “Tolerance” versus “Intolerance”.

                What I’m saying is that the outcome of a society, whether it is free or not, prosperous or not, happy and harmonious or not, depends a lot less on the Capitalism/ Socialism scale than most of these debates allow.

                For example, China, Norway and Venezuela all fall very far to the “Socialism” end of the scale, and Haiti, U.S., and Russia fall very more to the “capitalism” end of the scale.

                There are obviously huge differences between the outcomes here, which aren’t easily explained by the binary scale of Capitalism/ Socialism.

                This makes it a lot more difficult to mount an argument that “This proposed policy is more towards the socialism end so it is therefore undesirable”.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Um, Norway is more capitalist than the US. Their minimum wage is zero. Their highest tax rate is not much different from their lowest, and that tax rate kicks in on people making around $500.00 a year.

                Norway also makes a fortune on North Sea oil. You could regard the country as basically an oil company where the average employee is worth over $150K just from what they have invested in the New York stock exchange. They stay rich by selling oil to the rest of Europe at inflated prices.Report

  4. Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to be the GOP nominee in 2024.Report

  5. North says:

    It’s a mess on the left, but I’m much happier having our problems than the ones on the right.Report

  6. LeeEsq says:

    Americans who call themselves socialists are really just New Deal/Great Society liberals looking for something edgier to call themselves. Liberal sounds too establishment or too comfortable with the established order for them. Socialist sounds more radical even though none of them want government ownership of the means of production for everything. What most want is greater government regulation of private business to protect the little people and the environment in addition to the welfare state so the vagaries of life hurt less bad.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      And as usual, what they get is usually bad for the little people, because the little people are far too trusting of their elected officials.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        The little people in most countries with a welfare state seem to like that more than the vagaries of the pure unregulated market.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

          It’s not the welfare part that gets them, it’s the regulated markets that are captured that do.

          I’ll also note that the nations with robust welfare are a lot smaller and restrictive than we are. There is a lot of give and take with that kind of socialism that your late stage New Dealers seem unwilling to even try to grapple with. It’s all, we are so rich, why can’t we just give everything to everyone?! What’s a couple decimal places in the zeroes of the estimated cost anyway, big numbers are confusing.

          Even I, the UBI SuperFan, acknowledge that finding a way to pay for a UBI would be a helluva lift.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            The problem in the United States though is that a good chunk of right-wing politics has refused to concede on the welfare state. They will not trade in fewer regulations for a welfare state. Their stance seems to be a total no. They want no welfare state, no safety net, and no regulations. Even UBI is done in a way to be miserly and get rid of all other forms of the safety net at the same time.

            I’m not feeling a lot of good faith except from a small cadre of people who don’t have much influence and can probably hit into a mid-sized conference room at a Courtyard Marriot in Spokane, Washington and still practice social distancing.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              ” can probably hit into a mid-sized conference room at a Courtyard Marriot ”

              Judges would also have accepted “can probably hit into a mid-sized backyard gazebo at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping.”Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              “Even UBI is done in a way to be miserly and get rid of all other forms of the safety net at the same time.”

              No, that is to try and make it affordable, not to be miserly.

              There are about 129 M households in the US, and around 30% of those have incomes at or below $35K.

              129M x 30% = 38.7 M households.
              If we give every household in that 30% $35000, that’s a max welfare annual budget of $1.35 Trillion dollars, or about 28% of the federal budget.

              Obviously, that’s not actually how much would be paid out, since the whole idea is that as you made more, you’d get paid less until you are making over $35K, but if you start applying additions for dependents, or regional cost of living increments, you could be looking at something close to that number. I’d want to zero out as much federal welfare as I could, and see if I could make the states pay for any regional increments, because that is a big chunk of change, and people still expect the federal government to do other things as well.Report

            • Swami in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              “They want no welfare state, no safety net, and no regulations. Even UBI is done in a way to be miserly and get rid of all other forms of the safety net at the same time.”


              You’ve just described the anarchist fringe of the libertarian party, which makes up like 0.001% of the Republican Party and holds zero power. I do not know any mainstream Republicans that want to kill social security and Medicare, want to eliminate all safety nets and that want to do away with all regulations.

              This is just such a distorted view of reality. You have taken a lunatic fringe with no influence within the party and presented them as the mainstream.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Swami says:

                Hey, I want to replace humans with genetically engineered super-soldiers who will be better at fighting the robots and cyborgs that will be fielded by the Chinese A.I.’s.

                Now, needless to say, we can engineer the soldier’s lifespans so that Social Security is redundant, and most of them will die in epic battles anyway, but there won’t be any great need to eliminate it. And we’ll still need a safety net for the soldiers that are injured but recoverable, and we’ll still need regulations because unlike our cyborg opponents, we won’t have rule sets hard-coded in at the factory. Not only won’t we do away with UBI, all the super-soldiers will have standard food rations and basic ammunition allotments.

                So yes, he’s describing a viewpoint that is definitely extreme fringe, unlike my far more mainstream views where we completely replace humanity, but retain many of those basic programs.Report

  7. greginak says:

    Great news. The Wayne Co, Mich election board won’t certify the election results. This was on a party line vote with the GOP saying no. Now to be clear, this is petulant toddler tantruming that will go no where. On the other hand this is sort of coup kind of stuff. Refusing to do their jobs because they don’t like the results. Not exactly a Senator trying to get votes he didn’t like thrown out, but it’s in the same corrupt ballpark.Report

    • George Turner in reply to greginak says:

      How can they certify the results when the process and results show evidence of massive fraud?

      Their job, is certifiers, is to not certify invalid results, otherwise we wouldn’t have created that step in the process. It’s the same as professional engineers refusing to sign off on flawed bridge plans.

      That critical step is supposed to make everyone pour over everything to identify what is wrong, what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to possibly fix the problem.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

      I am not concerned about this in the short-run but it is potentially concerning in the long run and in ways that show a fraying union.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to greginak says:

      Reading a few of the local articles, it appears that this is not an unusual occurrence. The discrepancy in question — which pertains to in-person voting, not the absentee ballots — was slightly more common in 2016 (71% of precincts), when a state audit found no evidence of fraud. The most likely outcome would seem to be that the state board will look at things then certify the result, as they did in 2016.

      I have to admit that after reading a couple of descriptions of the process, my opinion is that Michigan’s in-person system is designed to fail the first set of audits.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:

        It is looking like racism is playing a part here: https://twitter.com/nancykaffer/status/1328836317137022976?s=20Report

      • greginak in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Yeah it doesn’t look like it’s going to add up to anything in reality. But doesn’t mean it isn’t corrupt and an attempt to discredit/smear the election. It’s an incompetent coupish kind of deal.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The raw vote totals (with timestamps) in many states is such a pile of garbage that it’s hard to know where to start. For example, the running vote count in Pennsylvania, from 1:14 AM on election night to 11/10/2020, has 533 updates. Summing the negative updates (shifts in the total count) shows Trump getting -408,527 votes (negative) and Biden getting -637,879 votes (negative). There are all kinds of statistically screwy and improbable patterns in the data, but how do you pulls those out while ignoring the negative one million-plus votes? It’s like looking at garbage from an accountant who was taking LSD.

        Whatever system we’re using, if it produces data like what I’m looking at, we need to abandon it wholesale, because I have no more faith in the outcome than asking random fifth graders to make up numbers representing the two candidates totals.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to greginak says:

      Apparently, the state fulfills the county’s function, so not a huge logistical deal. From a whacko right wing standpoint, perhaps a bigger deal.Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    Wayne County Commissioners reversed themselves and certified after after outcry and carefully worded fuck you from Michigan Secretary of State.Report

  9. More great news: Trump fired the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for not lying about the election.Report

    • And more. The glee with which the Trump brigade pictures ignoring a state’s voters and hijacking its electoral votes.


      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        See above.

        1. They reversed after outcry.

        2. She is wrong. The state board wound certify and then give Wayne County a bill for services rendered.Report

        • Yes and yes. Neither makes Ellis less vile.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Democrat Abraham Aiyash from Wayne County just threatened and doxxed his fellow board member Monica Palmer’s children, announcing names of their schools after calling their mother racist.

          She changed her decision shortly thereafter.

          The State AG also threatened to force them to sign. Documents signed under duress are legally invalid.

          As always, Democrats are shameless criminal thugs, from top to bottom.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          And now they’ve redecertified Wayne County, saying they only certified it because they were threatened. By now they probably got teams of spec ops volunteer bodyguards.Report

          • Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

            No George, they haven’t. the Two republican members of the county board have filed affidavits saying they want to have the election decertified, but the county has no more process control as it has moved to the state – which will most likely certify and move on. Frankly, if you are being publicly derided for your work as a public official and you can’t take the heat you need a new job.Report