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US Politics: Show Trials & Tribulations

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On 1/22/2020 at 8:15 PM, Rippounet said:

It gets even more complicated if you factor in the generational gap(s), since the "left" has evolved tremendously throughout the West in the last few decades. Depending on your definitions, "leftist" and "liberal" are not necessarily synonymous.

I would posit there about three strands of leftism right now. There is the liberal left, the marxist/socialist left, and the identitarian left.
While often allied on a variety of policy issues, the three strands of leftism in operation start from different epistemological premises. The liberal left more or less believes in the Enlightenment project, but is willing to concede that in some respects the Enlightenment and Classical liberalism over reached. For instance, the Enlightenment in several respects short changed the influence of cultural factors. And of course the liberal left certainly has challenged many of the economic premises of classical liberalism. The Marxist left rejects the ahistoricism of the Enlightenment. The identitarian left, heavily influenced by post modernism and critical theory, largely reject the Enlightenment and Marxism. They largely see facts as socially constructed for instance.

Edited by OldGimletEye

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On reports of the impeachment trial being boring...

Senators are human and McConnell designed it this way for exactly this effect.

It's boring (or repetitive, or nothing new despite that also being by Republican design) is a favorite Republican tactic to get their base to not pay attention to something. That's why Trump's largely defending himself with Fox News- and talk radio-friendly soundbites.

The paper airplane and other antics are actually shows of disrespect which appeal to the base and reinforce the boring-don't-watch message. However, it's also spectacularly stupid given the disrespect is also shown for Roberts who *hates* politicizing the Court and until like yesterday, was somehow still under the impression that the (Republican-led) Senate was still the greatest deliberative body in the world. Republicans are asking some big favors from the SC lately.

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Why did Sanders publicly apologize to Biden for one of his surrogates (Zephyr Teachout) implying that Biden has corruption issues (of the nature that represents the transactional, business as usual political swamp), but not issued one to Warren for the sexist treatment unleashed on her by the toxic segment of his fan base in the wake of the sexism spat?  Or acknowledged the curious correlation of a surge in donations to his campaign with the #Warren is a Snake vitriol they flooded her with?  

(Or has he issued one and I missed it? Though that in itself would be strange in the extremely divergent coverage of the Biden apology versus the Warren one.)

ETA:  here’s a link to Teachout’s piece that got Biden an apology.  I mean, Biden kind of does have this problem- it’s not really far out there.

Edited by butterbumps!

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5 hours ago, Altherion said:

I merely started reading DMC's post about bureaucracy influencing policymaking and thought that this thread needs something lighthearted.

Heh, good burn.  I thought Fez might be interested and tried to be as brief as possible.

4 hours ago, mcbigski said:

That or the thumb of the media on the scale.  Sending pallets of cash to Iran isn't regular business nor is sending guns to Mexican drug lords.  Siccing IRS on political opponents might be standard for Dems but the media wouldn't have let Reagan or Bush or Bush get away with it.  

Or telling the Russians you ll scratch there back after the election...far bigger quid pro quo but the media is largely Democrat auxiliaries.

Yeah!  All Reagan did was illegally sell arms to Iran, and then use those illegal funds to illegally fund the Contras.  That pales in comparison to Obama making a very public agreement with Iran that tried to ensure they won't make nuclear weapons, or the ATF's gunwalking operations that started under Dubya.  As for scratching the Russians' back, JFC.

3 minutes ago, butterbumps! said:

Why did Sanders publicly apologize to Biden for one of his surrogates (Zephyr Teachout)

Is Zephyr Teachout a real name?  Like, someone has lived their whole life being like "hey, I'm Zephyr, I know that sounds weird, but don't worry, my last name is Teachout?"  That just made my morning.

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2 minutes ago, DMC said:

Heh, good burn.  I thought Fez might be interested and tried to be as brief as possible.

Yeah!  All Reagan did was illegally sell arms to Iran, and then use those illegal funds to illegally fund the Contras.  That pales in comparison to Obama making a very public agreement with Iran that tried to ensure they won't make nuclear weapons, or the ATF's gunwalking operations that started under Dubya.  As for scratching the Russians' back, JFC.

Is Zephyr Teachout a real name?  Like, someone has lived their whole life being like "hey, I'm Zephyr, I know that sounds weird, but don't worry, my last name is Teachout?"  That just made my morning.

Yea, I know, super confusing.  She ran for AG of NY.  I actually voted for her, because her campaign was “Corruption is my speciality and I’m going to go after the Trump family until one of us dies” (paraphrase).

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Whan Zephyrus eek with his sweete breeth inspired hath in every holt and heeth.

No, I am not going to do the Clintonbury tales now merely on the base of a first name.

 

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2 hours ago, OldGimletEye said:

The identitarian left, heavily influenced by post modernism and critical theory, largely reject the Enlightenment and Marxism. They largely see facts as socially constructed for instance.

Interesting.  In this epistemological construct, does truth exist or if it does exist, does it matter in their point of view?

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8 hours ago, Triskele said:

I am more open to going with Sanders as the choice than I've ever been at this moment, and recent polling suggests that a Sanders v. Biden drawn-out primary is quite possible.  I know that Bernie ought to smoke Biden in terms of youth vote and general energy.  But then I see in our dear threads here how there's a solid subset of consistent Dem voters who really don't like the guy. 

The solution is clearly to run a progressive candidate other than Sanders. But the problem is that many Sanders supporters refuse to recognise any candidate other than Sanders as progressive. 

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1 hour ago, butterbumps! said:

Why did Sanders publicly apologize to Biden for one of his surrogates (Zephyr Teachout) implying that Biden has corruption issues (of the nature that represents the transactional, business as usual political swamp), but not issued one to Warren for the sexist treatment unleashed on her by the toxic segment of his fan base in the wake of the sexism spat?  Or acknowledged the curious correlation of a surge in donations to his campaign with the #Warren is a Snake vitriol they flooded her with?  

(Or has he issued one and I missed it? Though that in itself would be strange in the extremely divergent coverage of the Biden apology versus the Warren one.)

ETA:  here’s a link to Teachout’s piece that got Biden an apology.  I mean, Biden kind of does have this problem- it’s not really far out there.

The two situations aren't exactly equivalent. There's a difference between a specific act by a specific individual who is a part of Sanders' organisation, and an amorphous social media trend of indeterminate size and representation. You might still think the latter merits an apology or some other restitution, and fair enough, but it's not a case that if one scenario merits it, then the other must necessarily also merit it.

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1 hour ago, butterbumps! said:

Why did Sanders publicly apologize to Biden for one of his surrogates (Zephyr Teachout) implying that Biden has corruption issues (of the nature that represents the transactional, business as usual political swamp), but not issued one to Warren for the sexist treatment unleashed on her by the toxic segment of his fan base in the wake of the sexism spat?  Or acknowledged the curious correlation of a surge in donations to his campaign with the #Warren is a Snake vitriol they flooded her with?  

(Or has he issued one and I missed it? Though that in itself would be strange in the extremely divergent coverage of the Biden apology versus the Warren one.)

ETA:  here’s a link to Teachout’s piece that got Biden an apology.  I mean, Biden kind of does have this problem- it’s not really far out there.

Yeah, it drove me nuts that Sanders apologized for Teachout's oped, but not a couple other things.  He did ask his followers to keep discourse civil after the debate nonsense, and I'm not sure that a few asshole supporters acting shittily deserves a disavowal from candidate, but it seems inconsistent with apologizing for the Teachout piece.

I also think Sanders should have apologized (maybe he has? ) for the Biden video where they say he supported Ryan's social security cuts that were quoting a speech where he was most decidedly not doing that and was actually criticizing them.  Especially when there's so much you can hammer Biden on, on entitlement spending, without resorting to lying.

The op-ed wasn't making shit up, and it wasn't a misogynistic attack on anyone.  Boggles the mind that it got the apology out of those three things.

That said I am still supporting Sanders.

And @DMC, her full name is Zephyr Teachout.  She ran for Congress in my district in 2016.  

 

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12 minutes ago, Liffguard said:

The two situations aren't exactly equivalent. There's a difference between a specific act by a specific individual who is a part of Sanders' organisation, and an amorphous social media trend of indeterminate size and representation. You might still think the latter merits an apology or some other restitution, and fair enough, but it's not a case that if one scenario merits it, then the other must necessarily also merit it.

Teachout is not part of his campaign.   He endorsed her during her run for AG, I believe.  But she doesn’t work for the campaign.   

This is part of a pattern with Sanders, and his toxic following.   He never seems to dissuade them from hurling sexist vitriol at his opponents head-on.  He’s super proud of the fact he doesn’t accept tainted corporate money, yet he’s content to take money driven by toxic sentiments.  He either is unable to see it, or just doesn’t care so long as it’s politically expedient for him.    

But yet that fairly mild and actually pretty accurate piece detailing Biden’s liability as someone easily smeared by “corruption” memes got an apology?

ETA: @larrytheimp

He did say to keep it “civil,” but I think that kind of vague direction is part of the big problem with him when it comes to reining in the worst impulses of his fans.  The fact that he draws such vehement support from such a toxic group is a huge problem for me, especially because his reproaches are so mild and don’t address what makes them so toxic.

 

Edited by butterbumps!

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23 minutes ago, mormont said:

The solution is clearly to run a progressive candidate other than Sanders. But the problem is that many Sanders supporters refuse to recognise any candidate other than Sanders as progressive. 

Well, that's the problem - Sanders makes sense strategically because he has a following that others don't.  I think there are some hypothetical candidates they'd support (the Squad, Ro Khanna maybe) but of those running only Warren would have a chance at them, but the issues seem to be (a) Warren's handling of her ancestral claims (b) Warren / Sanders "can a woman be president" fiasco (c) her past history as a conservative

I'm not going to get into those concerns or whether or not they're valid.  But right now Sanders is the only candidate running who is going to get those voters out there.

@butterbumps! I agree.  And I think if Sanders had done better on this in general since 2016 he'd be doing better with moderates and liberals and be leading all other candidates by 5-10%.  

Edited by larrytheimp

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Quote

 

Sending pallets of cash to Iran isn't regular business nor is sending guns to Mexican drug lords Siccing IRS on political opponents might be standard for Dems but the media wouldn't have let Reagan or Bush or Bush get away with it.  

Or telling the Russians you ll scratch there back after the election...far bigger quid pro quo but the media is largely Democrat auxiliaries.

 

are these serious comments? what evidence could warrant belief in either the dissociated conspiracist frame or in any of the underlying blinkered allegations?

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53 minutes ago, sologdin said:



are these serious comments? what evidence could warrant belief in either the dissociated conspiracist frame or in any of the underlying blinkered allegations?

Obviously you don't keep up with your Alex Jones Newsletter.

Just here to add:

  • Hillary Clinton has not gone away. That ensures another Trump victory. We can all go home; it's over.
  • Impeachment without the votes to win is a sure path to failure. Nancy Pelosi has made useless the Democratic Party for the next half decade.
  • Trump remains a racist troglodyte, but will be re-elected by a landslide.
  • Your recreational outrage on Twitter has NOT changed the world. 

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16 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That man has resting asshole face.

... and now Scot is cussing online and practically saying that someone has a punchable face. Dear gods has the world changed in the past few years.

Edited by Paladin of Ice

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14 hours ago, DMC said:

The dissertation I just (finally!) finished is on how the bureaucracy influences policymaking in three facets (and papers):  (1) Unilateral action, or executive orders; (2) Delegation models or specifically the interbranch budgetary process; and (3) the president's legislative agenda.  My approach is largely based on the structural characteristics of agencies, relying upon Selin's (2015; 2013 working paper) two dimensions of politicization - limits on the appointment of key decision makers - and centralization - limits on political (i.e. presidential) review of agency policy decisions.

In terms of this dichotomy, one of the main takeaways from my findings across all three papers is that agencies that are more politicized have significantly more influence or "success"* compared to agencies that are more centralized.  (And there is an identifiable tradeoff between the two.)  While this is not the same thing as agency "effectiveness" or positive policy outcomes, which is what you're getting at, it is highly correlated. 

So what you want to do with agencies is actually "politicize" them in terms of the president staffing the higher levels of the agency with people she feels comfortable with and will have aligned preferences.  Basically the "fulcrum" model Resh (2015) develops where the president builds trust with expert careerists through high-level political appointees to solve vertical coordination dilemmas.  This is the optimal way in which an agency's expertise can be realized through policy outcomes.  Agencies are decidedly less "successful" when their structure is centralized, or when the president and the WHO take a more active role in overseeing the agency's policy implementation.  While Selin's measures are constant (i.e. not time-varying), the problem is that across the past three (now four, but Trump ain't in my dataset) administrations, presidents have an increased tendency to try and centralize most agencies that don't have strong statutory independence.  

The other systemic problem I emphasize in papers 2 and 3 is the decreased level of congressional committee staff since the 1994 Republican takeover (see here for the House in terms of raw numbers**).  This leads to horizontal coordination problems with any legislation - the breakdown of the classic "Iron Triangle" between agencies, Congress, and interest groups.  That "Iron Triangle" construct often has negative connotations, but it is essential for bureaucratic expertise to impact policy, or "learning while governing" (Gailmard & Patty 2013).  Instead of Congress accounting for their inherent information asymmetry problems vis-a-vis the bureaucracy through cultivating institutional expertise, in its place we now have to rely upon revolving door lobbying thanks to polarization.  So while agencies are still going to perpetuate themselves at least in terms of funding in the way Weber, and hell even Balzac, criticize the bureaucracy, their expertise is both not being put to good use and no longer shares institutional memory in interbranch coordination with Congress.  Thanks polarization..I mean Obama.

*Success is operationalized as the agencies role in an EO's "policy significance" for paper 1; "budgetary discretion" for paper 2 (see here for details); and whether a bill an agency advocated for via SAPs (statements of administrative policy) is successfully passed in paper 3.

**The equivalent CRS report for the Senate no longer works, which is..concerning for me professionally.  I'm glad I have the data on an excel file, but that's quite weird.  If that paper ever does get out of R&R and published, I'm probably gonna have to inquire with CRS.  Also, I have a graph that really hammers home the drop in average standing committee staff upon the 94 takeover, but I can't figure out how to link or copy and paste it here, sorry.

Interesting. Thanks. That matches my experiences; where the agencies that are hidden out of sight with no accountability are generally the absolute worst at actually serving people effectively. However, I don't agree that more politicization is the solution. Yes, having more political appointees with more power will lead to agencies more easily making changes and being involved in centralized (West Wing, Governor's Mansion, etc.) policymaking. But the problem is that when you get people like Trump in office, it means the rail guards against destructive decisionmaking aren't there.

Now if you think elections should have consequences and that agencies should be responsive to changes that elected leaders want, then I can see how all that would be a good thing. But, if you subscribe to the belief that "Everyone is fucking dumb" it's a bad thing. Most elected officials, and the voters who brought them to power, don't have any clue about what effective policymaking actually entails or what kinds of activities will maximize the public good. 

Agencies absolutely need oversight to prevent abuses; and, as I've said, most of them need major reforms to become effective again. But handing them over to the whims of politicians is not a recipe for success either. And the idea of executives developing trust with career experts would be great, but it seems to rarely happen.

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7 minutes ago, Paladin of Ice said:

... and now Scot is cussing online and practically saying that someone has a punchable face. Dear gods has the world changed in the past few worlds.

He really does.  I’ve rarely seen anyone who looks quite as smarmy and self-satisfied as that man.  

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2 hours ago, mormont said:

The solution is clearly to run a progressive candidate other than Sanders. But the problem is that many Sanders supporters refuse to recognise any candidate other than Sanders as progressive. 

Except that Sanders happens to be the best-liked candidate in the entire Democratic field, so he's actually the candidate most likely to unite the party: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-ups-and-downs-of-candidate-popularity-in-4-charts/

Edit: Turns out even Tom Steyer is a fan

Edited by Gorn

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Yeah, I think among Democrat or Democrat leaning voters the top three candidates are in pretty good shape when it comes to favorable/unfavorable ratings. The story among the general voting public is a bit different, I think Biden leads there compared to both Sanders and Warren (I thought I saw Sanders was ~ 8 points underwater and Biden was +16). The reason is probably that a lot of R's cant stand him because socialism and in general have an ok perception of Biden, Ukraine notwithstanding. Need to dig into it a bit deeper though.

Edit: The Biden polling was old data. He is underwater too, I think.

Edited by IheartIheartTesla

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8 hours ago, mcbigski said:

That or the thumb of the media on the scale.  Sending pallets of cash to Iran isn't regular business nor is sending guns to Mexican drug lords.  Siccing IRS on political opponents might be standard for Dems but the media wouldn't have let Reagan or Bush or Bush get away with it.  

Or telling the Russians you ll scratch there back after the election...far bigger quid pro quo but the media is largely Democrat auxiliaries.

Do you enjoy being horrifically wrong?

FYI the IRS thing is the biggest joke of them all. They went after parties of all political affiliations who were abusing the tax code, as they should.  

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