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U.S. Politics: 22 Trillion Problems But An Unsecured Border Ain’t One

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

Oh, sorry @Mlle. Zabzie, I misunderstood your question.  Yes, it has a trigger warning.  And it should.

 

10 minutes ago, The Mance said:

You probably don't want to click the link.  There's a brief trigger warning under the article heading, and I'll go ahead and give one here:  Article includes graphic descriptions of sexual assault, ensuing grief/trauma/depression, unwanted pregnancy/delivery, major birth defects and infant death.

Thank you both.  I won't click the link then.  These are important discussions to have, and I want folks to have them, and write about them, but definitely need to know what one is getting into!

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1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

Hey - I had 30 week premies.  Does this need a trigger warning?  Because having been in a bunch of support groups, including some parents who lost their kids/had stillbirths, I don't want to open this unless I know what I'm getting into.

Trigger warning for sure for any parent: especially a trigger warning for rape (that caused pregnancy for the seventeen year old victim).

But it isn’t about premies. Extremely hard story to read. Summary in spoiler box 

Spoiler

she then Discovered her fetus basically had no brain at the 8 month ultrasound and would be blind and deaf and unable to even  produce sleep hormones but nothing could be done because late term abortions are illegal in Alabama. After birth, her daughter lived a life of constant pain and misery for a year before succumbing to one of the many health issues she suffered from

.

Edited by lokisnow

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Omar pointed out that Abrams once referred to the Reagan administration’s policy on El Salvador as “one of fabulous achievement” ― something he said in 1993.

“Yes or no: Do you still think so?” Omar asked.

“From the day that President Duarte was elected in a free election to this day, El Salvador has been a democracy. That’s a fabulous achievement,” Abrams replied, referring to former President José Napoleón Duarte who was elected in 1984. 

Omar then narrowed her question: “Yes or no: Do you think that massacre was a ‘fabulous achievement’ that happened under our watch?”

Offended by what he called a “ridiculous question,” Abrams refused to answer it. “I’m sorry, Mr. Chairman, I am not going to respond to that kind of personal attack,” he said. 

Abrams continued to criticize Omar as she prodded him with more critical questions. At one point, she asked him if he would support an “armed faction within Venezuela” committing crimes against humanity or genocide “if you believed they were serving U.S. interests, as you did in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua?”

 

Rep. Ilhan Omar Spars With Elliott Abrams Over His Links To War Crimes
The Minnesota Democrat’s tangle with Trump’s new special envoy to Venezuela shed light on Abrams’ controversial career.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ilhan-omar-elliot-abrams-clash-war-crimes_n_5c6480e6e4b0018ed01b5501

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A weak and desperate President once again leads to more pandering to the far right. 

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That passion also conveniently dovetails with what they call a concerted recent effort to energize white evangelicals who might otherwise be turned off by the concessions Trump appears poised to make to Democrats who have refused to meet his demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding. In need of a boost with his base, Trump is turning increasingly to social and religious issues.

Four officials inside and close to the White House said Trump has sought to connect in new ways with his evangelical supporters during the prolonged immigration battle and has been previewing issues that could play a key role in his 2020 re-election bid.

 


'He was in his face': Trump fumes over abortion, courts evangelicals
A White House confrontation shows how the president has ramped up his interest in issues dear to his hard-core religious supporters.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/13/trump-evangelicals-1169394

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22 minutes ago, Martell Spy said:

'He was in his face': Trump fumes over abortion, courts evangelicals

I like how random it is that he decided to direct his fury at Chris Coons of all people.  This is like when my dad screamed at all three of us children for not properly rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and I realized his anger wasn't about me at all.

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1 hour ago, Martell Spy said:

A weak and desperate President once again leads to more pandering to the far right. 


'He was in his face': Trump fumes over abortion, courts evangelicals
A White House confrontation shows how the president has ramped up his interest in issues dear to his hard-core religious supporters.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/13/trump-evangelicals-1169394

If any group is motivated to vote in 2020 for the republican candidate, whether Trump or otherwise, it's the white evangelical base. And it doesn't matter what kind of failures the Republican president has had in terms of keeping out immigrants or rights for the LGBT community. They will do their duty, because they have no real alternative and to not vote and risk letting a Democrat into the White House is far worse that any socially liberal thing a Republican might do, or fail to prevent being done.

So the only question really is whether Trump is afraid of being primaried if he loses on the issues he's most loudly campaigned on. Even if Evangelicals were keen on primarying him, the more politically savvy potential candidates will realise that primarying a sitting president is almost giving the keys to the White House over to the Democrats. So that's not going to happen.

Either someone who is in the ear of Trump is talking up and playing on his fears. Or Trump just doesn't get that the religious conservatives are a very stable and reliable voting bloc for Republicans.

Who should Trump fear losing? The 100K or so who got him into office, which are mostly the economically disaffected, who did get sucked in by the immigration thing, but also got sucked in by the bringing jobs homes, and opening up coalmines all over the coal belt, and other economic populist promises. If Trump starts banging on about abortion  and other socially conservative issues that have no relevance to the economic prospect of the middle and lower-middle class, that's going to do bugger all for holding on to those 100K voters.

Edited by The Anti-Targ

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

I like how random it is that he decided to direct his fury at Chris Coons of all people.  This is like when my dad screamed at all three of us children for not properly rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and I realized his anger wasn't about me at all.

/siderant

I had a roommate who would put dishes in the dishwasher without rinsing a damn thing off of them, and the end result was foodstuff cooked onto the plates in a hardened fashion.   You gotta rinse that shit, yo.

/endsiderant

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1 hour ago, DMC said:

Is it offensive to say Trump works so well for the evangelicals because their version of Christianity is just as transactional as Trump operates?

Well they are also bound by a hatred of women, although in different ways.

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So last thread (or jeebus maybe two, you junkies) I threw out the "maybe Bernie could have the Trump primary model of always getting a solid 25-30% of the state's vote while everyone else splits it" idea.

Does Beto not possibly have this potential if he gets in?  In some ways it makes even more sense.  He is something of a blank slate but has the rock star factor.  Media will cover him like crazy and he'll raise money like crazy.  And I feel like many of the people that vote for other candidates for more pointed reasons while many Beto voters will vote for a more "Beto, duh" reason.  Anyone else see that potential?  

I do have to say though that Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina do not sound like his best states.  

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41 minutes ago, Triskele said:

/siderant

I have no idea what that means.  Feels like I'm so out of the loop on this one.

16 minutes ago, Triskele said:

So last thread (or jeebus maybe two, you junkies) I threw out the "maybe Bernie could have the Trump primary model of always getting a solid 25-30% of the state's vote while everyone else splits it" idea.

Does Beto not possibly have this potential if he gets in? 

I will say the same thing I said the last time you brought this up - no one is getting to that 30% level other than Biden.  And despite his numbers, Biden has gotten some bad press lately. 

Beto, we'll see.  It's hard to analyze someone who isn't running yet.  OTOH, I think it's quite clear that Harris has had the best rollout of actual candidates thus far.  Objectively, she's the only one that showed competitiveness with Sanders in the few polls we've seen in the past couple weeks.  Is that a huge deal?  No.  Other candidates can recover.  But it will take something special for other candidates to grab hold of the spotlight due to horserace journalism.

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24 minutes ago, DMC said:

I have no idea what that means.  Feels like I'm so out of the loop on this one.

I will say the same thing I said the last time you brought this up - no one is getting to that 30% level other than Biden.  And despite his numbers, Biden has gotten some bad press lately. 

Beto, we'll see.  It's hard to analyze someone who isn't running yet.  OTOH, I think it's quite clear that Harris has had the best rollout of actual candidates thus far.  Objectively, she's the only one that showed competitiveness with Sanders in the few polls we've seen in the past couple weeks.  Is that a huge deal?  No.  Other candidates can recover.  But it will take something special for other candidates to grab hold of the spotlight due to horserace journalism.

I think that there's a potential paradox with Beto where a lot of relatively unsophisticated voters might be attracted to voting for him which might make the smart money see him as a viable favorite.  

FYI, the siderant thing isn't really a thing.  Just a loose variation of something I've seen on the board in the past.  Point being LET ME TAKE THIS MOMENT AWAY FROM US POLITICS TO SAY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GIVE THOSE DISHES A MINIMAL SCRUB BEFORE COOKING THEM IN THE WASHER.

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32 minutes ago, Triskele said:

I think that there's a potential paradox with Beto where a lot of relatively unsophisticated voters might be attracted to voting for him which might make the smart money see him as a viable favorite.  

 

I think you may be right that Beto's target is uneducated white voters.  But that's not much in the Dem primary.  He could get Latinos too, but I'm not as sure about that nationwide.  What sucks is it's hard to handicap this without knowing what Biden is doing.

34 minutes ago, Triskele said:

FYI, the siderant thing isn't really a thing.  Just a loose variation of something I've seen on the board in the past.

Ok.  I still don't know what it means.  Tell me what it means!  And stop yelling at me dad!

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

I think you may be right that Beto's target is uneducated white voters.  But that's not much in the Dem primary.  He could get Latinos too, but I'm not as sure about that nationwide.  What sucks is it's hard to handicap this without knowing what Biden is doing.

Just to clarify, I definitely did not mean to suggest that "unsophisticated = uneducated white voters." 

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Contra Sgt. Shultz:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/12/18219607/howard-schultz-presidential-campaign-cnn-independent-third-party-2020-starbucks

Quote

On Tuesday night, CNN hosted a live town hall with former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz. It didn’t go particularly well. Schultz’s answers were largely vague, with occasional lapses into absurdity (“I didn’t see color as a young boy and I honestly don’t see color now,” Schultz said when asked about race).

 

Quote

To say the speech laid out an agenda for anything, really, is to oversell it. But it did lay out Schultz’s basic diagnosis of America’s political problems. “Two-thirds of American voters agree that our two-party system is broken,” he says, “and it’s time for a centrist candidate not affiliated with either party to be president.”

Perhaps then Schultz should be advocating that we change how we do elections in the US. What Schultz is proposing here is something akin to the "Great Man" theory of history.

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The rest of the speech is a litany of policy issues in which Schultz names a problem (immigration, health care), lays out a caricatured version of the “far left” and “far right” solutions, as if that actually represents the debate, and then offers a few sentences on what he would do instead.

Its more like the so called "far left" being right about a lot of things, likely wrong about some things, and the "far right", as it in the US, being wrong well just about everything.

Sgt. Shultz is just doing simple averages here. That really doesn't work.

I'll say it again, once more, because it is worth repeating. The "far left" is right that global climate change is a bigger threat than the national deficit, even if Sgt. Shultz doesn't think so.  In time nations can recover from sovereign debt defaults. But, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to recover from the disastrous effects of global warming. Why this is isn't an obvious proposition, beats the hell out of me.

Conservative nitwits like Ben Shapiro, who is a knucklehead's version of a smart man, can run around saying that his two year old could have come up with the New Green Deal, but if that is true, then the question is why haven't conservatives and the Republican party come up with their own plans on the issue of global climate change? Perhaps we ought to think about electing two year olds, rather than Republicans to Congress.

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But the other way it’s wrong is conceptually. Schultz is a successful CEO, and as businesspeople often do, he is looking at politics as if the president is the government’s CEO. His pitch to the American people is the same as it would be if he was pitching to run a company: “What it will take is something sorely missed in Washington D.C. these days: that’s where I started, and that’s leadership.” His view is he’ll come in, get some smart people in the room, propose the kind of moderate ideas currently being drowned out by the ideologues, and solve all the problems.

For whatever reason, it would seem that Americans are highly receptive to the old "I'll run government like a business" shtick. Unfortunately, just looking at recent history over the last 100 years or so, it has about no basis in reality. Since the beginning of the 21st century we have had the "MBA President", one orange clown running around selling his business bonafides, and one former community organizer. Of the three guess which one was the better president?

Over the Twentieth if you were to make a list of effective presidents, whether you agree with their policies or ideologies or not, you'd come up with names like FDR, Reagan, Clinton, and Eisenhower. 

Neither Herbert Hoover or Jimmy Carter are noted as being extremely effective presidents, even though they were businessmen turned politicians. GASP!

.....................................................................................................................................................................

Speaking of the far left being wrong about an issue, here is one: MMT.

Taken too far, it can end up being the left's version of Supply Side Economics.

Krugman shows that he just doesn't mindlessly play team Democrat.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/opinion/whats-wrong-with-functional-finance-wonkish.html

Quote

Well, it looks as if policy debates over the next couple of years will be at least somewhat affected by the doctrine of Modern Monetary Theory, which some progressives appear to believe means that they don’t need to worry about how to pay for their initiatives. That’s actually wrong even if you set aside concerns about MMT analysis, which is something I’ll write about in a companion piece. But first it seems to me that I need to set out what’s right and what’s wrong about MMT.

 

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OK, Lerner: His argument was that countries that (a) rely on fiat money they control and (b) don’t borrow in someone else’s currency don’t face any debt constraints, because they can always print money to service their debt. What they face, instead, is an inflation constraint: too much fiscal stimulus will cause an overheating economy. So their budget policies should be entirely focused on getting the level of aggregate demand right: the budget deficit should be big enough to produce full employment, but no so big as to produce inflationary overheating.

This is a smart take, and at the time he wrote – coming off the 1930s, with a reasonable expectation that the economy would lapse back into chronic weakness once the war was over – was a much better guide to policy than conventional fiscal thinking.

I'll put this way. If the New Deal had paid for programs by simply printing money and spending it, instead of authorizing the Treasury to issue more bonds and letting the FED decide whether to buy those treasuries,the Great Recession would have ended much more quickly, and it wouldn't have taken until about the summer of 1941 to reach full employment. But full employment did occur and there were binding constraints on the availability of resources.

You see certain sorts of conservative knuckleheads, like Ann Coulter, for instance, who said that the FDR didn't end the Great Depression, but World War 2 did. While that is kind of true as noted by people like E Cary Brown in the early 1950s, people like Coulter don't grapple, with how exactly WW2 ended it. The answer is more government spending or perhaps more precisely the expectation of more government spending. But the point here is by the summer of 1941, we were back to full employment and additional government spending, made necessary by a looming war, created inflationary pressures. And this the whole reason during WW2, you had price controls and rationing.

The point is this: There is a lot to agree with MMT. But, when we get into this whole thing about MMT is the solution about how to finance everything the left would like to pay for, we are getting into some shady territory.

The United States has a very fucked up healthcare system. MMTer's would say don't worry about the supply side issues of the healthcare market. Just print money and pay for it. I think that is very wrong as there are issues on the supply side of the market that need to be fixed. Or I'll put it this way: one of the reasons for single payer is that single payer systems tend to be good at managing cost. But, if MMT were true, then why worry about managing cost? Just print dollars and spend the money.

So how should the left think about debt and deficits?

Well it certainly shouldn't be like Dick "Reagan Proved Deficits don't matter" Cheney, which shows that conservative views about deficits and debt are highly contingent on who is sitting in the White House, and which I think is the basic upshot of MMT analysis, otherwise their would be little to disagree with the MMTers.

One the other hand, there is no reason to freak out about sufficiently high level of debt, particularly where the G > R condition is likely to hold. Government seemingly have an advantage in issuing safe and liquid debt over the private sector, which is seemingly limited in it's ability to create informationally insensitive debt, which is debt where the underlying assets backing the debt don't have don't have to be verified or checked, as the debt is taken at face  value. And these kind of instruments play a critical role in the economy and people want to hold them for various reasons. But demand for these assets is not unlimited.

The point is I'm not too freaked out about reaching a debt/GDP ratio of 150% by the 2040s (depending on the G>R condition of course). Nor would I'd be freaked out about reaching a debt/GPD ratio over 200% to pay for something like the New Green Deal because the risk of Global Climate change are far greater then the risk of the US government having a sovereign debt default with a GDP ratio around or above 200%. That said, I think it is pretty pie-in- the-sky thinking to believe that all this stuff can be paid for by simply printing money and paying for them, without raising anyone's taxes.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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7 hours ago, DMC said:

I have no idea what that means.  Feels like I'm so out of the loop on this one.

I will say the same thing I said the last time you brought this up - no one is getting to that 30% level other than Biden.  And despite his numbers, Biden has gotten some bad press lately. 

Beto, we'll see.  It's hard to analyze someone who isn't running yet.  OTOH, I think it's quite clear that Harris has had the best rollout of actual candidates thus far.  Objectively, she's the only one that showed competitiveness with Sanders in the few polls we've seen in the past couple weeks.  Is that a huge deal?  No.  Other candidates can recover.  But it will take something special for other candidates to grab hold of the spotlight due to horserace journalism.

Interesting article. It does(for the most part) put up a solid argument for why Biden can be a weaker candidate than Hillary. Many of the criticisms that many on the left had of her could be easily(and perhaps in some cases more justifiably), said of Biden. I think it’s reasonable to expect if/when he announces a large amount of enthusiasm  (like Hillary), for him to be president will largely dissipate over time. 

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I think Biden is in the John Kerry mold, no one really particularly wants him as president but he is boring enough that he doesn’t scare anyone so he could get far enough for a narrow loss as the “not Trump” candidate. The only people waiting wih bated breath for him to announce his candidacy are Democratic party insiders and donors. 

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Biden's time has gone, same as Clinton and Sanders. They all need to get off the stage. 

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