Thursday Open Thread

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NEXT: My First Flight in 493 Days

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  1. Check out my latest paper: “Betting on Conspiracies”, available here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3876710

    1. Tweet version: The conventional wisdom is that conspiracy theories are dangerous and threaten democracy, and a wide variety of academics and other “experts” have proposed various measures to combat such conspiracy thinking, including direct regulation of social media platforms. What if, however, we allowed people to bet on conspiracy theories instead?

    2. Reason.com has messed up the RSS feed again. For the longest time after VC came to Reason, their RSS feed included VC posts. Then for a brief period they stopped carrying VC posts, and it was necessary to subscribe to VC separately. Recently, the feed was full of dozens of previously-posted articles, and then it went back to duplicating the VC feed inside Reason. It’s not a huge deal, but the Reason feed strips opening parenthetical comments from VC articles. I prefer seeing those, meaning I get doubles of every VC post since I’m subscribed to both feeds. I’ve been meaning to comment about the RSS feed for awhile, and I finally got around to it.

  2. MLK statue gets spray painted. No suspects, but predictable hand wringing by the same crowd who cheered mobs ripping down other statues. Who thinks this is all going to end well again?

    1. “ripping down other statues.”

      Of traitors and slavers?

      1. If you approve of statues of Hitler being removed, you have to approve of a statue of MLK getting vandalised, that’s The Law.

      2. In MLK’s case, of a womanizer and patron of prostitutes.

        1. I always love it when RWN’s equate ‘womanizing’ with slavery when MLK comes up. These people are seriously thinking about ‘freedom,’ amirite?

          1. No, your distortion does not carry the day as I am not equating MLK’s behavior with slavery. My post merely reflects the obvious: vandals ripped down the statute of a womanizer and patron of prostitutes.

            1. Is there something you don’t like about MLK?

              1. maybe his deification?

                  1. Should one unapologetically and unambiguously deify a man who professed to be a man of God and disciple of Jesus all the while being a serial adulterer who favored communist prescriptions?

                    1. What an EXCELLENT question. Serial adultery, for example didn’t stop Trump being elected as a hero of conservative Christians, so it seems to me the thinking on that issue has moved on. As for the communist prescriptions, well, that was the economic system that was not and had not been enslaving and oppressing his entire race, so I can understand why he’d cast about for an alternative.

                    2. The thing about deification is it’s no longer about the man.

                    3. Mike, I take it you did not vote for Trump then?

                    4. This post is in reply to De O Liber –

                      No, I did not.

                    5. Damn, you DO hate womanisers.

            2. And if his statute had been put up in honor of his being a womanizer and patron of prostitutes, you’d have a point. Unlike those Confederate statutes that were put up explicitly because the men being honored fought for slavery.

              1. My point is not invalidated because the reason MLK statutes were erected differed from those underpinning the erection of the confederate monuments. To the contrary, in both cases, the heroic narratives conflict with reality.

                1. But there are specific reasons why those statues went up in the first place. The reasons for MLK’s statue are heroic; those of Confederates, not so much.

                  1. Motivations, myths, and reality.

                    1. “If you remove all the distinctions, they’re basically the same.”

                      -LibertyMike

                    2. “If you remove all the similarities, are they basically different?”

                      – an inquiring mind

              2. Not even close. Those statues were put up to honor men who fought for their State (what we now would think of as fighting for their country) and as part of what Nelson Mandela later called reconciliation. Contrast the treatment of Confederate soldiers and political leaders after the Civil War to the demonization of the losers of World War 1. The lack of respect and reconciliation toward the former foes created new grievances that led inevitably to the far worse horrors of World War 2.

                1. We should have shown scant leniency to the Civil War’s losers and taken their ill-gotten property. Appeasing those bigots, traitors, and losers was a costly, immoral mistake.

                2. Those statues were put up to honor men who fought for their State (what we now would think of as fighting for their country)

                  I don’t think so, Rossami. How do you honor someone for fighting for “their state” when the state they are fighting for enslaves a large portion – a majority in MS and SC – of its population? And no, the state was not equivalent to the country. Those many Confederate officers who had been US Army officers had sworn an oath of loyalty to the US, not Virginia or Tennessee. They broke that, and were guilty of “levying War against” the United States.

                  Plus, your argumernt does not apply at all to those, like Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, who were not soldiers at all.

                  Some of the Nazi generals no doubt thought they were fighting “for Germany.” But that’s unthinking nonsense. They were fighting for Hitler, whether they realized it or not, just as the Confederates were fighting for slavery.

                  1. That is appallingly ignorant thinking. It’s exactly the kind of thinking that Nelson Mandela warned against. It also demonstrates a distressing ignorance of how soldiers think and why they fight. You are wrong on every count (except maybe the motivations of the non-soldier politicians) but I have no idea how to get you past your ignorance.

                    1. You keep siding with the bigots, traitors, and losers, Rossami. It suits you.

                    2. Perhaps you can form an idea how to make your point without the personal insults.

                3. Those statues were put up to honor men who fought for their State (what we now would think of as fighting for their country) and as part of what Nelson Mandela later called reconciliation.

                  This is nonsense on stilts. For one thing, many of these statues were erected in the 20th century to signify opposition to civil rights, not in the 19th century to honor traitors. They were not fighting for their states; this is Dunning school revisionist nonsense. And of course the people who erected them were southerners, not northerners in an effort at reconciliation. Not hanging every last confederate official was the main effort at reconciliation.

      3. Hans Christian Heg was a Norwegian-American abolitionist, journalist, anti-slavery activist, politician, and soldier. He was a leader of Wisconsin’s “Wide-Awakes” (an anti-slave catcher militia) and he provided shelter to a man who was made a federal fugitive after inciting a mob to rescue an escaped slave. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Heg appealed to his fellow Norwegian immigrants: “the government of our adopted country is in danger. It is our duty as brave and intelligent citizens to extend our hands in defense of the cause of our Country and of our homes.” He was appointed by the governor of Wisconsin as colonel of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment, and he led it during the battles of Perryville, Stones River, and the Tullahoma campaign. He died of wounds received during the Battle of Chickamauga, and would ultimately be Wisconsin’s highest ranking officer killed during the Civil War. A statute of Hans Christian Heg by Paul Fjelde was installed at the King Street approach to the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1925.

        On June 23, 2020, BLM rioters — incensed by the arrest of another BLM rioter — used a towing vehicle to pull the Heg statue down. It was then vandalized, decapitated, and thrown into Lake Monona. The words “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL” were spray-painted on the plinth, just above Heg’s name.

        1. Just another reminder that black is not so beautiful.

          1. Thanks for making your motivation for the above argument more clear. Those masks don’t stay on very well.

              1. You are a reprehensible right-wing bigot, Libertymike.

      4. I think he means more like the Massachusetts 54th Regiment Civil War memorial:

        https://www.wcvb.com/article/shaw-54th-regiment-memorial-defaced/32733306

        The first all-black, all-volunteer unit for the union army, which fought to end slavery during the Civil War.

      5. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria?

      6. Of an abolitionist who died fighting against slavery.

    2. The “mostly peaceful” BLM protesters in Boston spray painted the monument to the 54th Massachusetts.

      I don’t know which is worse — that they didn’t know the story of the (all-Black) Massachusetts 54th or that they didn’t care…

      1. These are the same people that believe in hoaxes such as global warming, systemic racism, all white people are racist, and that grandma taking pictures at the capitol was an attempt to overthrow the government. What do you expect?

        1. I have to believe that you are not a serious commenter. Surely there is something more productive you could do with your time other than portray a character here.

  3. Here your occasional reminder of an actual insurrection that occupied Capitol Hill for several weeks forming a lawless area which went unchallenged by local and state politicians. To this date – no one has been arrested or prosecuted despite the fact that this action abridged the civil rights of hundreds of business owners and/or residents of the area.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_Hill_Occupied_Protest

    1. UNPOSSIBLE The Capitol MEGASUPERAPOCALYSE riot insurrection is the only riot in human herstory! They (maybe) killed one guy (probably accidentally judging by the way the media claims it occurred). When has this ever happened before? They should have killed dozens and trashed multiple government buildings like in the ‘mostly peaceful’ BLM protests.

      1. Equivocation is literally the best argument that “conservatives” have these days.

        Remember when “conservative” meant “principled”?

        Sad.

        1. What’s actually sad is how lefties are literally comparing a Mostly Peaceful Protest™ that lasted a handful of hours to the Civil War.

          1. You meanly the mob purposefully incited by the outgoing president in an attempt to prevent the transfer of power under our 233 year old constitution?

            1. What you are describing never happened….

            2. Yawn. Doubling down on the histrionics just reinforces my point.

            3. You meanly the mob purposefully incited by the outgoing president in an attempt to prevent the transfer of power under our 233 year old constitution?

              That’s quite the alternate reality that you’ve carefully constructed for yourself. Be careful, it’s probably fragile.

              1. It’s what happened, factually. The president promoted an event which he said “will be wild”, then told attendees that thye “had to fight now or they would lose their country forever” “the election was stolen”, etc.. Immediately following this speech, the mob began to break into the capitol building, hanging effigies of Mike Pence who was due to certify the election results.

                What coincidental timing, actions, and outcomes! Like the coincidental hacking of the DNC within hours of Trump asking exactly for that from the Russians. So many happenstances around Trump. Amazing.

                1. Immediately following this speech, the mob began walking into public buildings, [and] exercising their First Amendment rights. (You do realize that hanging political leaders in effigy has a long tradition as protected speech, don’t you?)

                  Did some vandalism happen? Yeah. Some trespassing? Yeah. Was it as bad as the average weekend riot during the prior summer? Not really. (Were those riots also egged on by political leaders for partisan gain? Yeah to that, too.) As “insurrections” go, that was pretty laughable.

                  The fact that Trump is still living rent-free in your head says a lot more about you that it does about him.

                  1. “The fact that Trump is still living rent-free in your head says a lot more about you that it does about him.”

                    There must be plenty of room up there if you lack the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze what is an insurrection and what is some tourists taking pictures.

                    Liberal: “hey look at me….I’m soooo smart….I parrot what the media tells me to say and that makes me look like I have a brain….everything is racist and if you try to challenge that it is because you are racist…..there you see how smart I am!!!!”

                2. factually.

                  I do not think that word means what you think it means.

        2. The political aspect is literally the only important part of this so called ‘insurrection’. Its like demanding we only focus on your tire tread conspiracy when it comes to the Kennedy assassination because you brought it up first.

    2. A guy was murdered, and the cops couldn’t access the crime scene to do an investigation.

      “Though detectives and crime scene investigators were unable to enter the CHOP zone to gather evidence, photograph the scene or interview witnesses as they normally would during a homicide investigation, several people either contacted police or were interviewed by detectives in the 72 hours following the fatal shooting, the charges say. One man photographed bloodstains on the pavement and turned shell casings into police, along with notes detailing where they were located.”

      1. I live not far away, so I went to the CHOP one day during daylight hours.

        It was basically a refugee camp. Seemed like most of the city’s homeless had decided it was their summer of love, to quote the mayor. It was not a rebellion, communist or otherwise. It was a mentally ill, drug addicted, and brain dead street kids gathering.

        1. It was not a rebellion, communist or otherwise. It was a mentally ill, drug addicted, and brain dead street kids gathering.

          You say that like there’s no union of those two sets.

          1. I’m just telling you what it was and was not, despite the fox and other “conservative” media’s portrayal.

            1. I’m just telling you what it was and was not

              No, you’re making a claim based on a false dichotomy.

            2. I’m just telling you what it was and was not, despite the fox and other “conservative” media’s portrayal.

              Hang on. Aren’t you the same person who’s been schooling us upthread about how throwing up a handful of random factual confetti you read in inflammatory news articles demonstrates intent to overturn the Republic?

              1. Inflammatory news articles in the Seattle Times? Running law enforcement out of the area for an extended period of time seems rather insurrection-like.

                1. Running out law enforcement was the least of it. Forgot to mention the warlord, the armed gangs going door to door to demand “reparations” from business owners in the lawless area, the people who live and own property there subjected to arbitrary thug rule for almost a month, and the rampant crime (including multiple murders) that was a feature of such an autonomous zone.

                  But, hey, Grandma taking pictures is the worst thing since Hitler9/11CivilWAR!!!!!!

    3. Equivocation.

      Also, it’s interesting that Trumpistas like Jimmy really, really can’t grasp what’s going on with the ‘insurrection’ charge (hint, it had something to do with what his boys were trying to disrupt).

      1. There’s no “insurrection” charge.

        The actual charges are laughable.

        One guy entered the capital, stood against a wall for 15 minutes, then left. And that deserves an FBI manhunt?

        https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/case-multi-defendant/file/1410621/download

        There are actual violent criminals, murderers, rapists and more that deserve the FBI’s attention. This type of political persecution is horrible and a horrible waste of resources.

        1. Chasing the rioters is a good way to up the stats, like when J Edger went heavy after stolen cars.

          1. This silly, impotent whining is entertaining.

          2. Prior to titles, there *was* a lucrative market in interstate stolen cars. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FX2vH0ENms

  4. Why did we waste billions in the Middle East instead of just taking cuba

    1. Afaik the post Cuban missile crisis agreement is still in place.

    2. Because my car doesn’t run on rum and cigars.

      1. We’d be better off if we spend more time with rum and cigars.

      2. It could run off of the ethanol in rum. I believe that was ford’s original idea.

      3. Because my car doesn’t run on rum and cigars.

        Memo to Elon Musk….

  5. Anyone who thinks the typical Star Trek nation would win over a typical Star Wars nation in a straight out fight is an idiot.

    Population: Typical Star Wars polities tend to be way bigger in both territory and population. So they’d crush them in pure numbers and resources alone.

    Martial Tradition: The Star Wars galaxy as the name implies has way more war. The populations have more experience with constant fighting.

    Robotics and Genetic Engineering: The Star Wars powers utilize robotics and genetic engineering to a much greater extent than the Star Wars powers where it is largely absent aside from very limited instances and B canon. Unless you count its sudden appearance in the weird new fanfic shows.

    Spec Ops: Most major Star Wars polities have access to Force Users to some extent. There is really nothing that the Star trek powers have that is comparable or a good counter. On top of the direct military significance of being the best warriors Force powers can also be used in larger more strategic ways not often touched on due to bad writing like clairvoyance, Sith Alchemy etc.

    Doomsday weapons: Star Wars powers have access to more doomsday weapons and a greater inclination to use them. The Star Trek Genesis device is powerful but experimental and very limited in deployment.

    Equipment and Vehicles: Star wars powers simply smash Star Wars powers in terms of variety of military equipment, devices, and vehicles. They have tanks, real armor, and vast fleets of fighters compared to the starship and small teams of phaser armed infantry the characterize star trek militaries. Star Wars generals also appear to have more experience with the logistics and organization of actual armies.

    Species Diversity: Due to the lower budget origins of Star Trek, Star Wars has a heritage of more diverse set of species than the human with facepaint of the week. Able to adapt and excel under a variety of different conditions that would presumably extend to military.

    Star Trek powers do have some advantages such as energy shields which curiously only work with starships, shortrange teleportation, and replicators. But they all are limited in some extent or consistently underutilized in a way that they have no hope of making up the massive disadvantages.

    Also, largely due to bad writing perhaps the biggest advantage Star Trek powers have is they tend to be much less technologically stagnant although again due to bad writing in both franchises they both are way more stagnant than they should be. But this is just a contemporary comparison.

    1. But don’t forget Star Trek has the Borg, which can absorb the knowledge of the Star Wars people and use it against them.

      1. Not helping the federation any unless your goal is two sides stopping fighting and work together.

        Star Wars wins because the bigger the more powerful, where size is proxy.

        Trek could stop the advancement, but not because of the Federation. It would take the lightbulb tranya guys to do it, or something even more powerful.

        1. AmosArch isn’t talking about the Federation specifically though, he’s referring to any power/polity/army of the Star Trek Universe, which would include both the Borg and Species 8472, as well as the much more militant governments of the Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Dominion, and others

          I think it would be a much more even fight, particularly if the Borg can assimilate midichlorians

          1. Oooohhh!!! “…particularly if the Borg can assimilate midichlorians”

            THAT would be a story line.

      2. By typical polity I mean something like a ‘standard nation’ that would be encountered in the popular mainstream franchise entries like the Empire and the Federation. So the Borg don’t really count despite arguably being the dominant species in the Milky Way. As to their chances well I won’t argue that on paper they’d pose a significant threat but like most star trek entities their actual depiction is nowhere near as militaristic as star wars powers. And their assimilation abilities have limits when coming up against really unconventional enemies as the Voyager episodes show. So its not as clear as it might otherwise be how well they’d do against an opponent who happened to have supernatural abilities like raising and talking to dead spirits.

    2. Ah, but if the Q weigh in on the Star Trek side? There’s a whole race of ’em. Seems to me that any one of them makes Yoda or Vader look like a kid with a slingshot. The Continuum would certainly prevail.
      Also, I don’t remember the Stars Wars folk having cloaking technology, which could be used to disrupt supply lines and allow surprise attacks. Maybe those with the force could detect the technology, but that means they would need to be scattered and used defensively as radar instead of concentrated for attacks. So that would be some advantage, but the Q are decisive. It would be over in 5 minutes.

      1. The Jedi might not be as powerful as the Q but the force is omnipotent while the Q are not.

        1. The Q are omnipotent, constrained only by other Q. And the only way the force can be deployed is through the Jedi. It does not simply zap people. Heck, assuming a consistent physics, the Q can be seen as vastly superior masters of the force.

          On the other hand, it occurs to me that while Star Trek uses it more often, both universes seem to have time travel–through the force in Star Wars, and in the Star Trek universe, through Q’s and technology. The loser could potentially go back in time to change the result. (Talk about a “forever war.”) This suggests that they would have to come to an accommodation and that hostilities would devolve into a cold war.

          1. Trek could also retrieve superior technology from the future, while Star Wars tech is basically peaked, meaning there is nothing new on the horizon

          2. The ultimate resolution of the time travel paradox is human perversity (which applies to both the Star Trek and Star Wars universes).

            Briefly, that thesis says that in any universe where time travel is invented, someone will eventually use it to go back in time and do something stupid that disrupts the invention of time travel. Time travel is thus, in the long term, impossible. Though you can get some interesting story lines in the short term as the time loops change history but don’t yet dis-invent time travel.

          3. The Q are certainly by far the most powerful beings shown consistently mainstream trek but they are not typically depicted in lore theoretically or practically as omnipotent or limited only by other Q. The usual characterization is ‘near omnipotent’ which might as well not be omnipotent at all. When it all comes down to it they are merely beings within and subject to the universe/multiverse.

            The Force on the other hand is consistently depicted as the supreme power with universal jurisdiction and d withunderlying/intertwine the rules of the universe itself. Quite a different power level.

      2. Star Wars did have cloaking technology. It was very briefly mentioned in Empire, when Han does the bridge flyby of the Imperial Destroyer and latches the Millennial Falcon to their backside: Captain Needa says

        ‘No ship that small has a cloaking device!’

        But it was never shown.

        1. But we also know that in Star Trek small ships can and do have cloaking devices, so cloaking tech is better in Trek

          1. Your logic is sound, so I won’t disagree with you.

      1. Blasters which are the main firearm technology in the SW galaxy are particle beam based like ST.

        1. Not ship-based.

        2. Ahh, turbo-lasers as particle beams. Worst Techno Babble Ever.

          1. Aside from the throwaway line, “You fought in the Clone Wars?!?!?”

    3. Don’t be silly…

      Warhammer 40K would wipe the floor with both of them.

      1. One of the biggest points of WH40k for those who actually know it is that the Imperium struggles to do anything let alone wipe the floor with someone.

        1. Only because the threats in 40K are so entirely overpowered in comparison.

          Let’s put some of this in comparison.

          The Enterprise D is 0.725 km long, with, ~3000 crew (up to 6,000)
          An Imperial Star Destroyer (SW) is 1.6 km long, with ~30,000 crew
          An Imperium Battleship (40K) is 6-8 km long, with crews of up to 3 million people

          An Imperium Battlefleet will have 50-75 Battleships and Cruisers, with the cruisers being 5-6 km long. It just dwarfs anything else in either of the other two universes. And the Imperium is running at least 12 of these massive fleets.

          Take the Borg Cube…(3 km a side, ~~200,000 drones). Then multiply the size by 2-3. Then have 75 of them attacking, as opposed to one. And you get the impression of what a single Imperium 40K battle fleet is like.

    4. If James Kirk can beat the Kobayashi Maru he can beat any Star Wars beings, weapons, or “Forces.”

      1. He’s whooped godlikes with telekinetic powers.

        But they didn’t have light sabers to deflect phaser rifles!

    5. “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”

      The Star Wars galaxy was destroyed a long time ago because they couldn’t handle the power. So there is nothing for Star Fleet to fight.

    6. You forget that Star Trek people can hit what they aim at.

      1. The heroes in both sides can, while their opponents suck.

        Ironically, even though the Empire “let them go” in the first movie, it’s clear they are no better in real battles.

        1. The heroes in both sides can, while their opponents suck.

          The losses suffered by the Federation at Wolf 359 and in every war fought against the Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians, et al say otherwise.

        2. I never understood why the stormtroopers wore that white armor. It didn’t protect them from blasters, or from club-wielding Ewoks. Hot and cumbersome for no gain.

          1. I always thought the main purpose was to eliminate individuality.

    7. I think the main reason tech in Star Wars is stagnated is because its peaked. They’ve had large-scale interstellar travel for over 100,000 years. There are literally no technological advancements left to be made in that universe

      Also the warp drive, while slower than hyperdrives, allows greater access to territories as its not restricted to hyperlanes or required to make multiple jumps

      1. I think it’s hard for people to understand how much slower Warp Drive is than Hyperdrive.

        Warp 9 has a speed of 1.9 light years in 24 hours.

        Hyperdrive by contrast has a speed of 25,000 light years in 24 hours.

        The differences are staggering.

        1. At the end of Empire, the rebel fleet is clearly wayyyy outside the galactic disc, hiding, several multiples of its width away.

        2. Yeah, in Empire after losing the Falcon the Imperial officer quipped that they “could be halfway across the galaxy” by now, while in Trek it takes a lifetime to travel that far

          Of course the Borg are much faster with their transwarp conduits, on par with hyperdrives if not even faster (although they may suffer from the same “lane” limitation as hyperdrives) so faster technology exists in the Trek universe, the Federation just doesn’t have it

          1. The Hyperdrives didn’t have lane “limitations” per se. Hyperdrive “lanes” are actually safe, established routes.

            To use a sailing analogy, think of hyperdrive lanes as a chart through an area of reefs. If you follow the chart, you won’t run onto the reef. You CAN of course go off on your own, in any direction you want but you risk running onto the reef…

            With hyperspace, you needed to be careful you didn’t run through the mass shadow of a star (or planet). Doing so would be…bad. Knowing a route ahead of time that didn’t do that would save time.

            The Borg systems and (at the very end of Trek, Federation too) were Quantum Slipstream Drives. They would run on the order of 10,000 light years per day (+/-). So, comparable to Hyperdrive. Theoretically though, they would have the same problem as Hyperdrives….you’re going so fast that you can’t see where you’re going.

            1. Despite having hyperdrives for over 100,000 years about 1/3 of the galaxy is still unexplored (even called the Unknown Regions) indicating that travel outside of known hyperlanes is essentially impossible. While it might take a warp ship a lifetime to get from Republic space into the Unknown Regions, they would basically
              have free rein there, inaccessible to most hyperspace ships

              Quantum Slipstream drives is a slightly different technology than the Borg’s Transwarp Conduits. It would also appear from US Voyager’s use of the technology that Quantum Slipstream drives place a ship outside of the effects of normal space, including gravity, allowing them to travel essentially in a straight line wherever they want to go

          2. The Asgard of SG-1 laugh at your snail-like warp drives, hyperdrives and transwarp conduits.

    8. Thank you Amos, for bringing up the truly important stuff.

      Star Wars wins, obviously. Why? Because Lego. QED

    9. Anyone who thinks the typical Star Trek nation would win over a typical Star Wars nation in a straight out fight is an idiot.

      Population: Typical Star Wars polities tend to be way bigger in both territory and population. So they’d crush them in pure numbers and resources alone.

      That’s why when U.S./Coalition armored forces faced Iraqi forces in Gulf War battles where the former were greatly outnumbered they got “crushed”. Oh, wait…

      1. “When U.S./Coalition armored forces faced Iraqi forces”

        Wrong comparison. Larger nations can put bigger and/or better armed armies into the field. The entire support network of the nation supports a smaller army.

        So, you’re not comparing the US forces in Iraq to the Iraqi forces. You’re comparing the US as a NATION and its entire support network to that of just Iraq

        1. Wrong comparison. Larger nations can put bigger and/or better armed armies into the field.

          You seem to have missed the “where the former were greatly outnumbered” part. U.S. armored groups mopped the sand with Iraqi tank groups that severely outnumbered the U.S. ones (like 3:1 or more). The point being that OP’s thesis ignores the advantages of superior technology.

    10. Seriously the Q and the Borg would kick ass.

      1. What about Species 8472?

    11. The Q would probably switch sides to Star Wars. They seem to have a need to develop other species. Humanity and other species in Star Wars have already started that next level ascension. The Star Trek-ians need to have wooden blocks explained to them. You could probably argue that the Q are Force users.

  6. Why is blackmail illegal? (In at least some situations)

    Thought experiment (prompted by the David Letterman extortion case many years ago, when a person found out Dave was having, and had had, multiple affairs with women working for his show, and tried to blackmail and/or extort him. Perp was arrested and convicted.)

    Imagine you are David Letterman (or Jeff Bezos, or Donal Trump or any famous person who is filthy rich. And you are having, or had in the past, an affair. You’re married, so a divorce will cost you tens of millions, or hundreds of millions, or even billions. In addition, you still love your spouse and you affirmatively do not want a divorce.

    Okay, I come to you, with evidence of your affair.
    1. “David/Jeff/Donald/etc; you are having an affair. Give me a million dollars or I’ll tell your wife.” [Verdict? I’ve committed a crime.]
    2. “David; you are having an affair.” David responds, “Please don’t tell my wife. I’ll give you a million dollars to keep quiet.” [Verdict: ??? I assume this is fine. I did not make any extortion threat, and the money offer came sua sponte from David.]
    3. “David; you are having an affair. Give me a million dollars or I’ll take it to the NY Times.” [Verdict? I assume it’s a crime, under the same analysis as #1.]

    But, let’s change it a bit. Remember that David Letterman has/had his own production company: Worldwide Pants.

    4. “David, here is a screenplay I wrote, documenting the affair you had with X. I’m trying to option the rights for a million dollars. I wanted to give Worldwide Pants first crack.” [Verdict? Not sure.]
    5. Same as 4, except now I am talking to David’s agent or manager, and not ever talking directly to Dave. [Verdict? Not sure, but probably less likely that it’s a crime.]
    6. Same as 4, but now I am saying, “David, here is a one-page screenplay proposal, and I’m trying to sell the rights to this prospective movie for a million dollars. Interested?” [Verdict? Seems closer to classic blackmail than if I have an actual factual screenplay in hand, although intellectually I’m struggling to make a meaningful distinction.]

    There are probably a dozen other variations on the above, but you get the drift. Now, if I were David Letterman in this situation, I definitely WANT to be given the chance to buy and bury (catch and kill) this story. I still love my wife. And paying a million dollars is, of course, much much much much cheaper than losing half my assets in a divorce. Not to mention the public shaming, which might also affect my future earning potential.

    Should we carve out some exception to the blackmail and extortion statutes, to allow for deals to be struck in situations where the ‘victim’ definitely wants the choice of making or not making a payoff? I’ll note that, in the real-life case, the extortion (if I recall correctly) was indeed phrased as a potential book or screenplay, but the guy was still convicted. Is the moral: tell the rich guy your information, talk about your future book, and then sit back and wait for the guy to make the offer? That if you never attach a money demand to your announcement of upcoming disclosure of embarrassing truthful facts, it’s okay for the other person to offer to buy your silence.

    I mean, there is no doubt that I can write a screenplay about Letterman’s affairs. If all that is truthful information. And there is no doubt that if I did write such a screenplay at the time, I could have avoided Dave entirely and taken the project to, say, Paramount. Or had my agent shop it to everyone except Worldwide Pants (and maybe Worldwide as well??) If people can (and did!!!) make money writing about OJ murdering his ex wife, then I must presume that those same writing opportunities are available in non-murder cases, yes?

    1. I thought blackmail was professing to have information of a crime and instead of taking it right to the authorities, giving the alleged criminal a chance to buy your silence.

      Which could certainly be seen as an offense against the justice system, which should frown on such attempts to implicitly invoke the system’s authority – unwittingly, I assume – against the victim in order to get money.

      And in NY, I understand that adultery is still a crime even though it’s not prosecuted.

      Is this how it went down with the would-be blackmailer, or is there some other feature of the law?

      1. (For libertarians keeping score, the scenario I described involves threatening government force against someone in order to get a payoff – not really an example of a voluntary transaction)

        1. But thanks for giving me a great idea for the next book I pitch to some publisher – call them Timon and Custer – entitled “EXPOSED: A TRUE STORY OF RAPE ORGIES, COCAINE AND UNTAXED CIGARETTES AT TIMON AND CUSTER.”

          1. I see the blackmailer could also threaten to “Expose a secret or fact, regardless of its veracity, that tends to subject him or her contempt or ridicule”

            https://www.newyorktheftandlarcenylawyers.com/theft-by-extortion-blackmail.html

            So my memoir could be about “The Republican Voters who Work at Naughy Muffin Publishers.”

    2. IIRC this issue came up with Bill Cosby and Autumn Jackson.

    3. I think the simplest explanation is that people in power don’t want to be blackmailed. By outlawing blackmail, they reduce the incentive people might have to look for their dirty deeds.

      1. I suspect libel laws and NDAs and huge legal funds and slush funds do that, more than just anti-blackmail laws.

    4. The illegality is the extortion, not the speech.

      Reminds me of the analysis of the Perry indictment in Texas a few years back. Among other things, illegality is in the agreement for tit for tat (in this case, vetoing a bill, though that accusation came to nought all by itself) but said veto itself was not, and could not be made, illegal, because the legislature may not attach controls, i.e. laws, to the exercise of the executive’s plenary veto power.

      Presumably a veto made for a bribe, you could go to jail for (the agreement for) the bribe (and regardless of whether tit for tat was ultimately executed or not) but the veto itself could not be reversed by a court because it is not illegal and thus void.

      “But I’m not extorting! I’m just giving him first dibs on payment before I shop it to a tabloid!”

      Well, I hope you have a good lawyer.

    5. 4. “David, here is a screenplay I wrote, documenting the affair you had with X. I’m trying to option the rights for a million dollars. I wanted to give Worldwide Pants first crack.” [Verdict? Not sure.]
      5. Same as 4, except now I am talking to David’s agent or manager, and not ever talking directly to Dave. [Verdict? Not sure, but probably less likely that it’s a crime.]
      6. Same as 4, but now I am saying, “David, here is a one-page screenplay proposal, and I’m trying to sell the rights to this prospective movie for a million dollars. Interested?” [Verdict? Seems closer to classic blackmail than if I have an actual factual screenplay in hand, although intellectually I’m struggling to make a meaningful distinction.]

      There are probably a dozen other variations on the above, but you get the drift.

      I think the answer to all of these scenarios is: it’s a fact question for the jury. There are no “magic words” for blackmail any more than there are for other crimes. “Nice place you’ve got here; shame if anything were to happen to it” is either a weird way of complimenting someone’s interior decorating skills or a threat to burn the restaurant down if protection money isn’t paid. Which is it? Context is the only way to know, and a jury will have to sort it out.

    6. “Nice store you got here. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”

      Crime?

  7. Originalism Deep Dive Ep 1/6: The Emergence of Originalism

    As first laid out, there are 3 main arguments for originalism. None complete by themselves, and even taken together have some holes that spurred Baude’s scholarship (and later episodes!0
    But these are what brought all the legal folks to the yard, at least until recently.

    A. Linguistic – you read things in the voice of the author. When you read a recipe from the 1700s, you start with the text and try and figure out ambiguities by thinking of what the author’s understanding at the time was. That is how communication by writing works. [There is some modern linguistic study agreeing with this, but that gets arcane, which locks the debate behind undemocratic academic doors]
    -Except the Constitution seems to include purposeful ambiguities (e.g. ‘the executive power) – it does not have an exact society in mind like a recipe does a dish. The Founders were humble before later generations, and created a broad framework, not a directive one [at least in the parts we care about – not a lot of debate over ‘2 Senators per state.’
    -Does arguing against originalism via the Founders intent give away the game – is that itself originalist? Only in the most trivial way. Originalists tend to stake out a more functional, and therefore restrictive definition than merely ‘Thought about the Founders a bit.’ Is Originalism more is like saying ‘deviating from this amount of salt is unreasonable?’

    B. Instrumentalist – The Constitution was adopted via a really good process – large supermajorities from all the states. And then Amendments passed under similarly good auspices. That process makes it likely to be at least a pretty good final document, so we should follow it. [But see the Japanese Constitution which has never been amended and was passed with no political participation]
    – Except the American founding wasn’t very participatory. Gender, class, race…
    – And allowing Amendments doesn’t cure the issue, because it’s hard to amend, as designed by the dominant cohort to lock in the Constitution they wrote.
    – If no one can agree, doesn’t that mean we shouldn’t change the Constitution? Except so much of the reform ideas are about the structure of our Republic. which may lock people out of that agreement process.
    – Is it hard to Amend, or just easier to get a Justice to agree with you, so no one tries?

    C. Consequentialist/Tyranny of justices – Amendments via broad consensus will be better than 5 justices
    – But it’s not only 9 justices – it’s a whole institution. A common law systems are not strictly worse than civil law systems.
    – Justices being unreviewable means at some point, common law becomes quasi-civil, except none of the flexibility or political participation.

    Other food for thought
    But originalists tend to take normative positions – e.g. all non-originalist ways to interpret the Constitution is *wrong*, even though the above 3 arguments are not really normative.
    – Baude allows that these three arguments do not require a result – reasonable people can differ as to preference. But his more modern interpretation, he may take a harder line…
    – But are philosophical areas of inquiry like jurisprudence amenable to such a right/wrong dichotomy? Someone really angry at your take on the trolley problem is a clown. Why not these ‘originalism or you hate freedom’ people?

    When we pass Amendments, do we want them interpreted in originalist fashion?

    Why do countries other than the US try originalism, and then all not stick to it? Why are the only ones who know the Truth a bunch of conservative white guys in the 1980s?

    We have a Constitution that is clearly not of rules, but of standards. (‘Due Process’ ‘Equal Protection’ is pretty clearly intentionally vague, to allow flexibility in the future). Balls and strikes?! Not with what our text says!

    Originalism is sold as a constraint on judges. But there some evidence that originally judges were allowed more discretion than we allow today in some areas (‘the executive power’)

    Originalism developed in the last half of the 20th century, insisting we hearken back to the 18th century, using modern methods to do so. That’s pretty wobbly…tune in to episode 3 for the rejoinder!

    1. So long as an interpretive school has a way to make Article V the exclusive method of amendment, thus preserving the authority of We the People over the Constitution, then they don’t have to call their method originalism. It can be something else which accomplishes the goal I mentioned.

      1. But the line between interpretation and amendment is itself ambiguous – you just kicked the question down the road a bit.

        1. In short, interpreting the Constitution is difficult.

          But there’s still a distinction between a judge/pres/Congress trying to figure it out according to one’s best lights, and saying heck with it, I’ll just make something up.

          1. Indeed! Though I’d posit no judge who isn’t Posner thinks they’re just making something up.

            1. That is why I am a fan of Posner.

              1. Seems to me by admitting and embracing your worst temptations, you don’t become more honest, just more unbound from principles.

                Don’t underestimate self-image as an internal control.

                1. I don’t see how that applies to Posner. He had a quite principled approach to judging based on pragmatism

                2. Aha ! A Sarcastro comment on judicial philosophy I can wholly agree with. Though strictly it’s psychology not philosophy.

      2. Even if “white” were an accusation rather than a morally-neutral description (as I regard it), then how does one account for Clarence Thomas?

        1. My OP is not my own brain – it is a digest of the Dissenting Opinions podcast.

          Though IMO it’s pretty clearly meant as rhetoric, not as a concrete truth.

          1. I still think it’s unfortunate rhetoric. Being white, in and of itself, neither gives you points nor takes points away from you.

            1. You know what? You’re right. It’s choice does betray a partisan narrative that isn’t required to make the point.

              1. Wait, who’s doing the partisan narrative? I’m confused.

                1. I wasn’t being sarcastic – using white to describe the people doing originalism is baking in a story about how originalism is hostile to a lot of civil rights jurisprudence.

                  Which is true, but also begs the question of originalism’s validity, and does so via a liberal-partisan narrative.

        2. He’s an oreo, obviously! Had his “black guy” card revoked years ago, I’ve been given to understand.

          I think you put this as a reply to the wrong comment?

      3. So long as an interpretive school has a way to make Article V the exclusive method of amendment, thus preserving the authority of We the People over the Constitution, . . .

        Cal Cetín, that right there is an interpretation mistake, as founder James Wilson actually wrote. About an almost identical assertion he wrote something like, “That approaches the truth, but does not reach it.” I am not going to look it up, because he is especially hard to look up, quoted on the internet mostly in unsearchable facsimiles of previously published works.

        Wilson’s problem with your assertion is that Article 5 is not meant at all to limit the People. It is meant to limit government. And so it does nothing about, “. . . preserving the authority of We the People over the Constitution.”

        The People’s authority over the Constitution is simple to describe. It is their sovereign decree, meant to constitute and constrain government. As the nation’s joint sovereigns, the People rule at pleasure, without constraint. Article 5 does not bind them. They can change the government by any process they can manage.

        That is full-strength originalism, courtesy of founder James Wilson, a signer of both the Declaration of Indpendence and the Constitution, and appointed by Washington to the nation’s first Supreme Court.

        1. Without a fuller context, I don’t mind a Founder telling me I’m approaching the truth.

          If we can imagine situations where the people go outside Art. V channels, it doesn’t follow that courts can do it.

          1. Agree with you there.

    2. “Except the Constitution seems to include purposeful ambiguities”

      But what’s “ambiguous” is, to some extent, ambiguous. How much effort do you deploy to resolve the ambiguity? How much weight do you give to such evidence of original meaning as you find? You can to a large extent manipulate how much ambiguity you find.

      And, who’s going to find more ‘ambiguity’? The person for whom ambiguity means that they, infuriatingly, are not certain what a passage means? Or the person for whom ambiguity is a license to substitute their own preferences? Not adopting originalism gives one an incentive to find the Constitution ambiguous, doesn’t it? That could be viewed as something of a conflict of interest.

      Nor is living constitutionalism void of such problems. Exactly HOW do you determine that the meaning of a passage has evolved? What sort of evidence must be presented that the views of society have shifted? It all seems rather vague, sometimes purposefully so; Living constitution claims don’t seem to be particularly falsifiable.

      By contrast, the amendment process formalizes change, allowing you to say, “Here, at this point, the meaning DID change. At these other points, change was considered and rejected.”

      And it allows somebody other than judges to have an input, making it difficult for a small group to drag the nation where the population don’t really want to go. In fact, I’d say that the failure to pursue amendment is evidence that one doesn’t really think public opinion has changed.

      “Originalism developed in the last half of the 20th century”

      If one views originalism as just the normal process one goes through in understanding old documents, and textualism as just the ordinary process of ‘reading’, did they have to be identified by name and systematically defended, prior to an opposing claimant showing up and getting purchase?

      Do you need to call ordinary reading “textualism” prior to people seriously asserting that texts don’t mean what the meanings of the words interpreted according to the rules of grammar would denote? Do you need to call interpreting a document according to understandings at the time it was written “originalism” prior to people asserting these things should no longer be given weight, that laws can change their meanings without formal amendment?

      I think it’s no accident these names arrived when they did. The names, (But not what they name!) were in reaction to an attack upon what they name. Which necessitated having something to call the things under attack by, to organize the defense.

      1. No one seems to disagree with textualism, even going way back everyone starts at the text. The question comes more down to formalism versus functionalism, in my view.

        The discussion is somewhat about nonoriginalist methods, but mostly about originalism. Your take that everything was originalist until the Warren Court is not quite right – there are other cycles as well – but with some tweaks is indeed a main thesis of Baud’s to come later.

        You can’t set boundaries on where ambiguity lies – that needs to be up to judges.

        1. “Your take that everything was originalist until the Warren Court is not quite right ”

          That would not be my take. My take is that non-originalism is an abuse, and it didn’t start with the Warren court. But there’s a difference between an occasional abuse, and the abusers making a claim of legitimacy, and that latter was the Warren court.

          Anyway, off camping. Ta!

          1. Brett, I think your take on constitutional ambiguity is not correct. Much of the ambiguous language in the final text was to paper over disagreements among the framers. So in many cases the fact that there is no single original intent or public meaning is baked into the pie. The founding generation immediately and publicly disagreed about the meaning of the text right away. The search for the original public meaning is chimerical, and too often shoddy or incomplete history is used to reach whatever result one wishes, based on one’s ideology. Thus there really is no difference between originalism and living constitutionalism, in practical terms.

      2. How much weight do you give to such evidence of original meaning as you find?

        Brett, I venture to guess you, like most folks, find almost zero original meaning. In your comments here I have seen little evidence you are anything but present minded.

        I doubt you have any notion what thoughts were impossible in the founding era, because the experiences which enabled those thoughts came afterward. Not noticing that is a major hazard for present-minded would-be originalists. They understand the words well enough, but read today’s modern context into everything.

        Today’s modern context enables giant amounts of interpretative conclusion which were utterly impossible in the founding era. The notion of originalism itself is one of those historical impossibilities. So is libertarianism. Sometimes it is a matter of flatting and sharping the correct notes. Sometimes you are completely off the score. For accuracy, you have to take history as you find it, and before you can do that, you actually do have to find it—by extensive reading among period documents of all kinds. It is plain from your comments that you have not done that.

    3. Why are the only ones who know the Truth a bunch of conservative white guys in the 1980s?

      1980s or 1780s? 🙂

    4. I’m afraid I only managed about a quarter of an hour of this. Baude’s effort at defending the linguistic argument for originalism was so feeble that it was obvious he wasn’t really trying.

      1. I thought it was fine, but to be fair, this is not the formulation of originalism he’s into. It’s weakness provides the motives for adopting his positive turn, so he’s not got the best incentive to be a great defender.

        Later episodes get a bit more spicy in his pushback. But you will probably hate the final ep.

      2. Actually, what am I thinking – this is an opportunity!

        What do you think is the best take on the linguistic argument? Because I thought the framework/recipe distinction was a pretty good point on that front.

        1. The Constitution is statute law, which happens to be superordinate to other laws. It should be interpreted in the same way as other laws.

          As Brett describes, we discern the meaning of all texts, by reading the text, in context. In informal settings we also give weight to our extra-textual inferences about the speaker’s intended meaning – eg has the speaker accidentally jumbled his words, could he really mean something that ridiculous, is he joking, is he trying to mislead, is he concealing his meaning to make it deniable, is he just confused etc ?

          But when trying to interpret legal text, we assume that the legislature isn’t joking etc, but intends what it says in the text. We should only depart from that assumption in extremis – eg if we find something that appears to be an “execute the firstborn” instruction in a statute about navigation in inland waterways.

          So the linguistic argument is simply that the the meaning of a law is expressed by the text itself, just like any other writing, and that because of the formality of the communication, the case by case excuses for prefering our intuition and inferences to the text need to be extraordinarily good.

          Originalism is merely an almost trivial clarification to textualism – that if a word or string of words means something different now – at the time the case is being heard – from what it did then – when the law was enacted, then we should take the original meaning.

          Again, this is exactly what we do with any other text. We don’t ascribe 21st century meanings to Shakespeare, to the extent that Elizabethan meanings are different.

          “Framework” in the podcast seemed to me to represent a completely different conception of the Constitution – a collection of general advice, such as your Dad might give you over the course of your childhood, to set you up for your adult life. A sort of collected edition of The Gods of the Copybook Headings, which you kinda oughta maybe pay a good bit of attention to, so long as it’s not majorly inconvenient to you.

          That’s not my idea of what the Constitution is.

          1. we discern the meaning of all texts, by reading the text, in context.

            Not always. Religious texts are often attributed meanings their authors could not have intended, especially as a social framework functional in the modern day.

            A framework is not general advice – it’s more directive than that, yet less directive than a regulatory or statuary scheme. For another example, look at enabling statutes of administrative agencies. The text is not exacting – context and text both show an intent to include ambiguity to be resolved based on a general purpose, not on a specific directive.

            A constitution is like an enabling statute, but more so. It isn’t a statute at all. It was not passed by a legislative process, and it’s language has nothing like the clarity a statute would have. Even the arguments of the Founders often rely on speculations about how people would function under a general framework of republic, not a specific implementation they all agreed on.

            There are some areas your interpretation works – the President needs to be 35, for instance, is pretty black-letter text. But ‘the executive power’ is not something someone writes down if they have an exacting idea in mind. Sure, you can look at some English precedents, but even that’s not very specific as to the contours.

            And it’s those areas that are the important parts of this debate. Everyone agrees on how to interpret the direct textual bits; they rarely come up. The part at issue are not what you describe, but the other parts.

            1. Religious texts are often attributed meanings their authors could not have intended, especially as a social framework functional in the modern day.

              Sure. Also legal texts. But that simply demonstrates the ubiquity of sin.

              But ‘the executive power’ is not something someone writes down if they have an exacting idea in mind.

              Some words express more precise concepts than others. Your idea of “an intent to include ambiguity” seems to be a curious effort to avoid the concept of precision. The items covered by “executive power” may be many, and they may change over time according to what lawful tasks the federal government has to execute, but though the concept is large, it isn’t particularly ambiguous.

              In context, ie noting that other Articles refer to legislative power and judicial power, an honest judge has a pretty good view of what the “executive power” means, and does not mean. It means the power to execute, in contradistinction to the power to legislate or to judge.

              That is of course not the same question as whether such and such an activity is within the Constitutionally granted powers of the federal government in the first place, but that question is not determined by the words “executive power.”

              1. The items covered by “executive power” may be many, and they may change over time according to what lawful tasks the federal government has to execute, but though the concept is large, it isn’t particularly ambiguous.
                Nondelegation Doctrine is exactly about how this turns out to be a difficult question.

                noting that other Articles refer to legislative power and judicial power, an honest judge has a pretty good view of what the “executive power” means, and does not mean
                I could have as easily talked about the judicial or legislative power.

                These are broad terms, and their interplay and contours are not clear, as decades of Constitutional litigation on the issue of separation of powers makes clear.

                1. Nondelegation Doctrine is exactly about how this turns out to be a difficult question.

                  The Constitution expressly contemplates executive branch Officers, and consequently, in that context, the words “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America” clearly includes the power of the President to delegate the exercise of parts of that power to duly appointed executive branch Officers.

                  Nondelegation is more typically a question to do with Article 1 and the legislative power. Unlike the executive power, there are no Constitutional contemplations of any persons to whom the legislative power might be granted, nor is their any mention of any power to delegate the legislative power, in the enumerated powers listed in Section 8 of Article 1.

                  Nondelegation is not really a difficult question. It has simply been made so, in the Article 1 case, because of the longstanding practice of Congress delegating legislative powers to the Executive branch, despite the lack of any power to do so, and the consequent inconvenience should the Judicial branch take notice of the fact. So the difficulty is really in the Judicial branch – how to sophistrise its way out of embarrassment by trying to work out, extra-constitutionally, how much delegation of the legislative power Congress ought to be allowed to do. This is obviously not a question of Constitutional interpretation but of making it up on the fly.

                  1. It has to do with the interplay between Articles I and II, as decided by Article III. It’s the whole shebang. And not the enumerated powers so much as their fundamental roles. It’s tricky.

                    I agree with you about delegation generally being allowed. Though not everyone does. Later episodes will get into this a bit!

                    What’s an easy question for you may not be an easy question for everyone. Though ‘Congress delegating legislative powers to the Executive branch’ is taking an assumed definition of the legislative power I don’t think is immediately Constitutionally evident.
                    Similarly, your take on what the judicial power is and how it should operate is not Constitutionally explicit. You’re filling in a framework with your take and thinking it’s text.

    5. B is the only real reason. The Constitution is designed to forestall collapse of freedom as much as possible, primarily expressed by learned lessons of tyrannical growth replete in history where the powerful grow their own power at their whim.

      “Reinterpretations” of the text by modern pols is them attempting to work around this, and is inherently dangerous.

      – Wasn’t extended to other races, genders, etc.
      True, but irrelevant. The subsequent 200+ years involved extending these basic, powerful concepts of freedom to everyone. It cannot be an indictment on their validity in concept. You have rights inherent to being you, independent of and preceding formation of a government. Government shall only have the powers The People explicitely grant it, and is forbidden from assuming new ones without the permission of The People.

      – Hard to ammend.

      That’s the point. Did millions of Americans not learn the history lesson about politicians increasing their power at their whim?

      The Constitution sets out the rules of how laws are made. If you can’t get most people to agree on it, the change probably should not be made. Leaping a bare simple majority for major changes is trivial for a charismatic huckster skilled at blowing the winds of political passion. Same problem again!

      If major changes are a good idea, most will think so, and they will think so 5 and 10 years down the road, when heads have cooled down. “Never let an emergency go to waste!”, well, you know the drill. Same problem!

      1. I don’t think many can disagree with your formulation of Constitution as countermajoritarian guardrail.
        But doesn’t your broader, more purposeful reading of the Constitution imply something a lot broader than originalism’s specific 1700s intent to allows?
        Something more like Breyer’s Active Liberty take?

        1. This also sounds a lot like Jack Balkin’s Living Originalism, where subsequent generations buy into the 18th Century constitutional bargain between the government and the people through their own interpretation of the constitutional text. Their interpretation as channeled by that text, of course.

          1. Is that like the meaning of ‘person’ changing, and therefore the meaning of the Constitution changing?

            Because I buy that more than Breyer’s purposivism, actually.

            1. Yes, I think that’s right. At any rate, “Living Originalism” is a book well worth reading, I found it quite persuasive.

  8. Autopsies!

    Trigger Warning: Contain graphic descriptions.

    During my federal agent career, I had the opportunity to attend several autopsies. I don’t know if YouTube or another public media sites have autopsy videos available, but you should watch an autopsy if you can. The human body is amazing and there’s so much people don’t know about their own bodies. For instance, the spine is an engineering miracle. I got to run my fingers along the spine – from the inside of a torso! – and you can feel its stability.

    Additionally, our skin is an amazing organ. While we (kinda) think of it as a semi-flexible solid, that’s only because it’s wrapped tightly around our skeletons. If your remove skin from the skeleton then it’s just wobbly like paper. One example (graphic!). The physician used an electric saw to remove the skull cap (in order to remove the brain). The face skin was no longer taut and the skin simply slid down the head. The physician then pulled a dirty trick on me and even said, “Watch this.” He quickly pulled the skin back up over the skull and when he did the mouth gaped and the eye lids popped open, and it looked the dead person “woke up” in a shock. Scared the living shit out of me.

    One person had committed suicide by drinking poison. We could see how the poison burned/scarred the throat and stomach.

    One time, the physician reached into the empty torso and pulled the testicles out from the inside.

    As most of you know, I think religion is stupid – but I do have to wonder (a little) whether a God exists because of one thing concerning death – which is rigor mortis. I can’t figure out why evolution would want a dead body to become rigid (at least temporarily because the mortis eventually fades). Why would evolution want to have a temporary “record” of how an organism died?

    One good thing about rigor mortis is it’s easy to take fingerprints. Instead of rolling the finger on the fingerprint paper, you insert the paper in a curved tool (sorta like a spoon), and roll the paper around the finger. If the body has been lying in water a long time (graphic), you can slip the skin off the body, insert your own hand into the hand skin (like putting on a glove), and then take the fingerprints.

    1. Not sure why, (Maybe it’s the Asperger’s?) but I’ve never been grossed out by stuff like that. Spent 4 years studying human anatomy and physiology in college, (All A’s, mom was right: I probably should have been a doctor, instead of an engineer.) and never once got grossed out. Before my surgeries I’ve binge watched videos of them, and was rather put out that the Da Vinci system they used for my prostate surgery didn’t have the recording option. (I wanted a movie of that!)

      They kept me awake during my cataract surgery, it was fascinating, especially since I was extremely nearsighted, and could see everything clearly until they removed the old lens.

      “Why would evolution want to have a temporary “record” of how an organism died?”

      Why would you assume everything in an evolved organism was independently selected for? Evolution only drives features that influence reproductive fitness, everything else is just along for the ride.

      Evolution selected for muscle biochemistry that worked, within the constraints of the available mutations. That it went stiff and then soft again after everything shut down was something evolution didn’t ‘care’ about, that organism was already out of the game.

      1. “That it went stiff and then soft again after everything shut down. . . .”

        But why/how was the “stiff” process introduced?

        The organism is soft, it dies, why doesn’t it remain soft?

        Why did evolution say, we need to add a step here?

        Why would evolution need this step (as you say and I agree) since evolution, “only drives features that influence reproductive fitness. . . ?”

        And I can’t see how it’s just some unintended side-affect of chemistry.

        1. But, that’s exactly what it is: First the muscle fibers lock up due to a lack of ATP to complete the contraction cycle. Then eventually the cell organelles that clean up garbage break open, and enzymes start breaking stuff up.

          It’s not a design feature, any more than your car being hard to push if the engine stalls with it in drive.

          1. I think Brett is right here. There is some process that is useful in a live human that, more or less by chance, results in rigor mortis.

        2. Why would evolution need this step (as you say and I agree) since evolution, “only drives features that influence reproductive fitness. . . ?”

          Because some processes involve more than one step – eg a dance might involve one step forward followed by one step back. If the mechanism for the step forward is different from the mechanism for the step back, and the step forward mechanism breaks, then the dancer (if an automaton) will take a series of backward steps.

          Alert observers will wonder – why is that person walking backwards ? Who could have designed such a foolish thing ? And the answer is – the dance was designed as a two step process, and the forward step is broken. We’re just left with the backward step.

          If you then notice that the backward steps have stopped too, and the dancer is lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs, you may then conclude that the backward step mechanism has also broken.

        3. But why/how was the “stiff” process introduced?

          The organism is soft, it dies, why doesn’t it remain soft?

          Why did evolution say, we need to add a step here?

          You’re making a category error here, anthropomorphizing evolution. Evolution never says that. There are no “reasons” why something happens; it’s a random process. The “reasons” only come in when a particular trait is selected for in a particular environment. Since by definition things that happen after death do not affect that, there’s not going to be any selection pressure to get rid of that.

    2. Rigor mortis is probably just a natural effect. I cannot see any evolutionary pressure advantage to it (or getting rid of it for that matter) strong enough to induce genetic shift for changes.

      Similarly, there might be a subtle pressure for dead bodies not to rot so their colleagues could get a resource advantage with cannibalism, but that battle was lost long ago.

    3. What about respect for the deceased?

    4. Your professional description of the autopsy reminds me of some of my experiences watching medical students exploring their cadavers during anatomy lab at UT’s College of Medicine in Memphis. The order and compactness of all those vital organs in the chest cavity impressed me the most, and knowing just what the isles of Langerhans, the adrenals, and the appendix look like. I had a friend with me. She fainted.
      Which reminds me. An old friend’s father was an Asheville, NC medical doctor who was alarmed with my friend as 15-year-old for smoking cigarettes. One day the teenager was at the table eating ravenously and his father walked in with a big brown bag, opened it quickly, and threw onto the table a bloody lung he had just removed from a man who had died of lung cancer… from smoking of course. The teenager quit smoking immediately and never smoked again.

  9. Stainless steel exhaust hoods for your kitchen can have sharp edges, wear gloves while installing them, or have a LOT of damp paper towels handy to clean up the evidence before your wife gets home. (Spoiler: She didn’t think I cleaned up enough of it.)

    I wonder if, at 62, I can still regrow fingertips? Guess I’m going to find out.

    1. Your story reminds me of a video I just watched of a woodworker making a table top. I noticed in the video that the woodworker was missing the tip of one finger. Left me wondering if I should maybe watching something else. This person may be good but he was not safe enough.

      Always remember to use push sticks.

      1. My dad lost his finger tip getting a little too close to a disc sander when he was a pup. He said he always regretted not thinking to look for and take the tip to the hospital with him. He doubted they could have saved it (and it being the 1960s, microsurgery wasn’t a thing yet) but, you know, Wayne Gretsky and “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

  10. The following is no-good crapola, made up in every particular to illustrate a point. Every factual allegation is false, and none of what allegedly happened actually occurred:

    WARNING: INSIDER DISCLOSES FORT DIETRICK SMALLPOX “VACCINE” WAS DEVELOPED AS A DEADLY FORCE MULTIPLIER. The plainly distraught government bioscientist—who still works at the “former,” bioweapons lab—has disclosed that his team developed a fake vaccine to make victims who took it MORE susceptible to smallpox. IT IS A TROJAN HORSE. DO NOT TAKE THE FORT DIETRICK VACCINE.

    Since the escape 5 weeks ago of weaponized smallpox from Fort Dietrick, MD, 41 people in Maryland, 26 in Pennsylvania, 9 in Virginia, and 14 in West Virginia have tested positive. 54 people have already died, and only 6 of the others are expected to survive. Only 1 person is thought to have been directly affected by the escape, which government authorities allege was accidental. All the other cases are attributed to contagion spreading from that first victim, who was also the first to die.

    Now panicked citizens nationwide—almost none of whom were ever vaccinated, because routine vaccination halted decades ago—have fallen victim to this deadly hoax vaccine, taking more than 1.2 million doses already. Federal authorities at the CDC say it ought to be mandatory for everyone.

    But the insider says, “They have duped the CDC. They have cynically turned this catastrophic accidental release into an opportunity to do a real-world test of a fake vaccine meant only to thwart genuine life-saving vaccination efforts. They were always worried that the weakness of smallpox as a weapon was the ease with which people could be vaccinated. The fake vaccine is meant to counter that weakness.”

    The Fort Dietrick insider says that if you take the fake vaccine and then get exposed, you will certainly die. “That is what it was intended to do,” he said, “to make sure no one who got our smallpox survived it.”

    He also said, “I don’t know for sure, but I am betting they are doing a massive blind trial on the public, mixing in real vaccinations among the fakes, to measure how efficient the hoax vaccine strategy can be in defeating a real vaccination response.”

    “Of course there is a real vaccine, and it is nearly 100% effective against our weaponized strain” the insider said, “but that was always meant to be offered only to selected survivors, not to the public at large.”

    Once again, every word of the above nonsense is false, and made up. It did not happen. It was created for one purpose, and one purpose only, to illustrate a point. The point is this:

    If the government can impose common carrier status on social media platforms, that horrific hoax article could get published on Facebook in the midst of a real accidental smallpox release. Only press freedom to practice private editing would supply a chance to suppress such a catastrophic fake news publication. Absent customary private editing, it would likely get published before anyone at Facebook even realized it had arrived.

    In short, press freedom is a right too powerful to put on autopilot. Prior to Section 230, that was recognized almost universally. Now the nation is experimenting recklessly with the dangers of autopilot for publishing. Professor Volokh has been advocating a, “common carrier,” strategy which promises to make the dangers more acute.

    For the third time, all the stuff about smallpox was fake. Do not believe any of it.

      1. aped, if that is a joke, it’s a good one. If not, WTF?

        1. Ooops! I glossed over the opening sentence.

          1. Another joke, I hope.

    1. I admit I haven’t read Prof. Volokh’s article, so I don’t know how he’d respond to this scenario.

      To me, I have what I’d call a strong suspicion (to put it mildly) that the U. S. and other world govts are pressuring the social media platforms, and part of the censorship they’re practicing is probably to appease these governments. It would be a bit of a coincidence if this “private” censorship was all a spontaneous production of “socially-responsible” tech leaders acting independently.

      It may be like the Production Code for the movies back in the Jurassic Era. Part of it was in response to boycott threats, but another part was a desire to avoid harassment by the censors by doing their own “private” censorship.

      1. Cal Cetín, of course some publishers will try to keep governments off their backs by appeasing them. I would argue they ought to be free to do that. Although I would prefer they stand up and resist.

        What makes that problem far more acute is the scarcity of consequential publishers, winnowed to tiny numbers by Section 230 enabled internet giantism. Once again—I seem to write this almost every day now—the only safe harbor for press freedom ever found has been public policy which encourages diversity and profusion among private publishers. Lose that, and you put the nation’s public life at peril.

        1. What does section 230 have to do with gigantism? The Internet enabled gigantism, not section 230.

          (I agree gigantism is a problem, just don’t see how to blame it on section 230… unless your point is that the Internet made something like section 230 inevitable. But then by arguing against section 230 you’re arguing against the Internet, which is probably a loser.)

          1. Randal, no. Publishing giantism was impossible, even on the internet, before Section 230 disconnected publisher liability from contributors’ liability. The previous legal regime held both publishers and contributors alike responsible for libel. That meant that as a practical matter, a publisher had to read every contribution before publishing it, or face lawsuits and damage awards.

            Section 230 took the publishers off the hook. That meant that for the first time you could have a publishing business model based on accepting everything anyone wanted to contribute, and publishing it without reading it first. That, in turn, opened the door to advertising sales orders of magnitude larger than even the biggest edited publications could hope to achieve. What had previously been impossible became inevitable the moment Section 230 passed.

            From there, typical buccaneering capitalistic practices inflicted a harsh winnowing, whittling the number of consequential publishers empowered to compete for the nation’s advertising budget from thousands to only a few giants. And here we are.

          2. Randal, I do not agree that I am arguing against the internet. I am arguing in favor of using the internet with an eye to promoting competition, diversity, profusion, and variety among publishers. I do not think that requires any overall reduction in the amount of internet access would-be contributors might have. Instead, I insist they would have at least as much opportunity as now, but far more choices among publishers to host the full variety of what they want published.

            To be fair, everyone would have to back off the notion of getting a dominant share of giant influence, which only the hope of controlling internet giantism can promise (but probably never deliver, except to the owners of the giants). Given the (sometimes justifiable) complaints we hear now, and widespread calls for government interference with press freedom, I do not see more modest individual expectations as a sacrifice, but as an improvement, and as a return to realism.

            I find it deeply dismaying that under the present legal regime governing publishing, so many internet commenters (and thought leaders, including Eugene Volokh) have become avowed opponents of press freedom.

            1. You are confusing openness with gigantism.

              The VC comment section is open, but not gigantic. Still, it wouldn’t exist without section 230, because even at the scale of VC, they don’t want to read every comment.

              At the same time, gigantism on the Internet predates section 230… by a lot. Usenet is one example of a gigantic, open Internet forum that was around since the 80s at least. (Something like LexisNexis, a singular source for a vast set of material, could be considered gigantic but closed.)

              The reason something like Usenet was ok is that it wasn’t moderated _at_all_, so that gave the hosters an out. They could reasonably claim not to have read _any_ posts, so they could escape liability that way. I don’t think it’s even possible to take a post down on Usenet.

              Section 230 enabled a measure of (much needed) moderation on top of those open, gigantic Internet forums.

              So I may have overstated things when I said that the open Internet would go away entirely without section 230. Instead, it would just revert to the way it was before: totally unmoderated (but still gigantic). Any hoster that wanted open-but-modetrated, whether gigantic or not (e.g. VC comment sections), would vanish.

              I agree with you that the gigantism is becoming a problem. It’s just that fiddling with section 230 isn’t the right tool to address it.

              1. The VC comment section is open, but not gigantic. Still, it wouldn’t exist without section 230, because even at the scale of VC, they don’t want to read every comment.

                I consider the VC blog as something akin to publishing genius. It is a path-breaking creation which demonstrates a way to mix successfully online serious reporting and open discussion—a challenge which relatively few other web sites have met so well. Whether or not the VC is now run to make a profit, I am confident it could be, and could do very well.

                So well in fact, that if, as you suggest, EV and his co-bloggers decided that loss of Section 230 protection meant they would simply close the blog down rather than edit comments, I would do my damndest to organize backers to fill the empty niche. And I would be in a hurry to do it.

                I have little doubt I could make a lot of money doing that, while editing comments—but only if Section 230 were gone. The reason editing comments does not pay now is only because ruinous competition from specially-privileged, government-subsidized social media giants makes it economically impractical. Level the playing field—make the online media do what the others do successfully—and just as you suppose, the online media would fail in the competition, because they lack utterly the skills—and apparently even the inclination—to do what they would have to do to compete at assembling an audience based on content quality instead of brute size.

                Internet fans are what they are, and they are inclined to suppose without much proof that the internet outcompetes other media because of some inherent efficiency with which old media cannot compete. That sorts poorly, of course, with claims that if internet media were compelled to do what old media must do, the internet media would fail in the competition—the claim you just made. In fact, absent the inherently destructive imposition of Section 230, the legacy media had the more efficient business model. I suggest that point is sufficiently obvious that it fuels resistance to Section 230 repeal among right wingers who dislike legacy media, and for that reason have also tended to derogate press freedom as a right.

                I would be delighted to get the opportunity to jump back into publishing with an online business model as successful as the VC has shown itself to be. Who knows, maybe I have just disclosed my “secret,” self-interested reason for demanding Section 230 repeal. Nieporent keeps implying I must have one, so maybe that is it.

                1. This is exactly the “eliminate the Internet” argument I was supposing you would have to fall back to. Restricting the Internet to just “print, but online” takes away the openness that defines the Internet. It’s an option, but not a good one IMO.

                  In this world, even VC comments would turn into a “Letters to the Editor.” To avoid liability, you’d have to decline a whole lot more of the comments than currently get moderated. I submit that doing so would change the flavor of the comment section dramatically, and for the worse. (Some people might like it more, but I for one enjoy the freer back-and-forth.)

                  1. Restricting the Internet to just “print, but online” takes away the openness that defines the Internet It’s an option, but not a good one IMO. . . . To avoid liability, you’d have to decline a whole lot more of the comments than currently get moderated. I submit that doing so would change the flavor of the comment section dramatically, and for the worse.

                    Once again you are likely mistaken. Speaking as someone who has done plenty of it, editing to prevent libel is not a very fraught process. It does require that you read everything before publishing it. That is the most onerous thing about it.

                    But the liability part, at the editorial level, is not complicated. Is the text in question an expression of opinion? Green light. Is the text an assertion of everyday fact, without potentially damaging implications? Green light. About 99% of comments are already through the sieve. Almost all of them are opinions anyway. How much room for radical change of character is left?

                    To sift the residue: Is the assertion of fact in the comment potentially damaging to someone? How big is the issue? Not big? The comment gets put aside, likely never to be seen again. Big issue? Time to expend editorial effort to see if the alleged fact can be confirmed to a level of confidence measured against potential courtroom outcomes. Ambiguities about the answer to that question get resolved on the side of caution. No big deal. It does not happen often, and there is never any shortage of new things to report on.

                    That is the process I used. It protected years of reporting regarded by professional colleagues as unusually aggressive. It got the newspaper threatened with libel suits several times a year. No libel suit was ever filed. The local legal community ended up with a high opinion of the newspaper’s veracity—an opinion which lawyers tended to share with would-be libel clients, just before telling them the lawyers would be happy to check out the prospects. I got that information from a guy who threatened to sue, but who afterwards ended up on good terms.

                    In my opinion, far too much is made of liability risk for publications, except for one thing. There are people, quite a few of them, who long to commit libel on purpose. They want to lie about people they don’t like, in ways that will hurt them. That group greatly enjoys what they take to be their freedom on the internet to commit libel with impunity. They congratulate themselves for that opportunity, and even idealize it, praising it as a virtue, for instance, by calling it, “openness.” Would that be you? Do you count yourself among the pro-libel advocates?

                    1. Um, no. And obviously section 230 was not intended to protect libel.

                      I am not a publisher, so I can’t compete with your anecdotes. But it does sound pretty onerous to me. Are you going to be up 24/7 reading VC comments as they come in? If not, are you going to train and hire people to do it? That seems expensive, plus the risk of something slipping through (which probably translates to insurance costs). So what is that, like, $400,000 a year for VC comments? I’m not sure many sites would keep comments with a price tag like that.

                      That’s what I mean by openness: the economic framework for lots and lots of Internet sites to host lots and lots of speech, because doing so is cheap.

              2. The reason something like Usenet was ok is that it wasn’t moderated _at_all_, so that gave the hosters an out. They could reasonably claim not to have read _any_ posts, so they could escape liability that way.

                That was not ok. A business which assembles an audience by supplying it with expressive content practices publishing. There is no reasonable claim that publishers should not be liable for civil damages when miscarriage of their agency creates tangible harm to others. And of course it was a court decision which recognized that which spurred Congress, under pressure from internet boosters, to make the reckless decision to pass Section 230.

                I think the internet is great, but falls short of being utopian. The dream is utopian of cost-free, no-editing, world-wide, liability free, publishing for everyone with a keyboard. The internet could be adjusted to vastly improve on the publishing possibilities which preceded it, but demand for a perfect outcome will continue as an obstacle until internet boosters give up on utopian dreams. I predict that will happen, because reality will assert itself. But it will likely take way too long, and create fearsome damage along the way.

                1. I don’t think this is right. Section 230 wasn’t passed to support Usenet. Usenet was operating fine, and liability-free, without it, and would do so again if necessary.

                  There’s a difference between a carrier and a publisher. Usenet, by engaging in zero moderation, is effectively a carrier. A carrier is also “a business which assembles an audience by supplying it with expressive content,” but that doesn’t make it a publisher. You can’t sue Comcast for libel.

                  The whole question addressed by section 230 is, can we have something between a carrier and a publisher, i.e. a “moderated carrier.”

                  Anyway, my main point stands: we need to distinguish between gigantism, which carriers, moderated carriers, and publishers can all be, and section 230, which has nothing to do with gigantism and is simply about enabling the “moderated carrier” model.

                  1. Randal, the difference between a carrier and a publisher is all well and good, as long as you are looking at a carrier. When you are looking at a publisher and calling it a carrier, you are in a more equivocal situation.

                    In general, carriers take one thing from one client to someone else. They do not put contents entrusted to them on display to the world at large. The people who do that are publishers. That is part of the explanation for why the, “moderation,” red herring really needs to be avoided. Moderation or its absence is not the distinguisher of publishers. They may moderate or not, just as they please, but if they put content before the public at large, they are publishers. Note that even if they do not moderate—in fact, especially if they do not moderate, or in the more customary parlance, “edit,”—the distinctive publishing activities of assembling an audience, curating it, and putting content before that audience en masse, are the very activities which justify, morally and legally, holding publishers responsible to edit out falsehoods about particular people which damage them. So a publisher which edits nothing is just a particularly negligent publisher—not by magical transformation a package delivery company.

                    Of course I get that Section 230 says otherwise. That is why Section 230 has done such extensive damage to the public life of the nation. It is built around a mistaken belief about consequential facts. They are facts which cannot be made to go away in actual practice, no matter what slippery quasi-legal terms—like the substitution of, “moderation,” for, “editing”—get used to obscure reality. If a business practices publishing activities all day long, the results at the end of the day will be publications, not completed telephone calls.

                    Also, ipse dixits about giantism and the internet don’t stand up. Try somehow to dispose of my account explaining specifically how Section 230 enabled a dramatic expansion of advertising sales by eliminating the need to increase proportionately editorial efforts otherwise legally necessary to support more content. Traditional publishers must make editorial effort and advertising sales march in lockstep, which imposes practical limits. So too would internet publishers, except that Section 230 severed that connection, to usher in an era of no limits on the internet. It discredits your commentary if you try to ignore that.

                    1. Section 230 only applies to user-generated content. As I framed the situation, section 230 enabled a whole new business model on the Internet that I’m calling “moderated carrier.” Of course enabling a whole new business model created the possibility of vast new advertising revenue around user-generated content. That was the goal.

                      I also agreed that “moderated carriers” tend toward gigantism, and that that’s bad.

                      My point is that yes, you can “solve” gigantism in the moderated carrier business by taking away the business model entirely, but that will also hurt the non-gigantic businesses like VC. You are ok with that because you don’t like the business model anyway for other reasons. But just because to don’t like it doesn’t mean that there aren’t non-gigantic businesses that would be hurt.

                      And at the same time, gigantism is a problem in both the traditional publishing (e.g. Sinclair) and carrier (e.g. Comcast) businesses. It has different contours on and off the Internet, but not that different. So my suggestion is to try to solve the actual problem of gigantism on its own terms, across business models, rather than destroy an entire business model just because it also exhibits gigantism. We could make publishing illegal, and then Sinclair would go away, but that’s not really a solution is it.

                      BTW Comcast is an example of a one-to-many carrier, like Usenet. It doesn’t generally carry user-generated content of course, but it is a business that builds an audience by bringing content to the public at large yet isn’t a publisher.

                  2. Also, Randal, please do not try to just glide past the question of libel. Do you, or do you not, think it is a good thing for the nation that contributors to the internet get a practical pass on almost all the libel they want to publish? Do you have any concern that letting that happen may turn out to lower public esteem for speech freedom and press freedom? Is the, “openness,” you say you prize about the internet anything except a more relaxed posture on libel, of which you approve?

                    1. Again, I think this is the bargain that was made with section 230: allow hosters to limit their liability with regard to user posts in order to make user-generated content super-cheap to publish on the Internet.

                      A known and predictable downside of that bargain is that it makes libel (among other things, like misinformation and really low-value content of all kinds) easier to dissiminate. Of course that’s unfortunate.

                      It’s obvious that you think it was a bad bargain. I think it was a good bargain. Not because I like libel, but because I like being able to post on the Internet all over the place, which is only possible because it’s cheap for the moderated-carrier style of content hosters like VC.

    2. The bit about smallpox above was intended to kick off another discussion, about why it matters to identify as publishers businesses which actually practice publishing. The public welfare, and the public life of the nation, can be put in peril if you get the labeling wrong.

      The benefits of applying 1A press freedom to those who practice the activity of publishing are not just benefits for the practitioners, they are also critically necessary for the nation. The most important of those benefits to the national public life has been customary editing prior to publication, which publishers must use as a practical shield against liability.

      That editing provides public service far beyond libel prevention. The fake smallpox example above was meant as a vivid illustration of that point. Giving common carrier status to a publisher would all but guarantee release of the smallpox hoax into the wild. Accurately calling a publisher what it is, and leaving it free to edit before publication, would provide an excellent chance of avoiding the massive harm that the smallpox hoax might otherwise inflict.

      Anti-vaccination hoaxes have been commonplace on social media, and they have plainly done the nation a lot of damage. Benighted public policies made under the political influence of those hoaxes have resulted in avoidable deaths.

      Many here suppose otherwise—that you can simply label actual publishers as something else, and regulate accordingly, maybe as a kind of transactional swap, where publishers get liability immunity as a valuable subsidy. That is meant to clear the way for, “speech freedom,” by which advocates seem to mean, “No editing allowed.”

      Buy into that and what you get is an attempt to establish something which remains a publishing regime, but in which a fanciful government re-classification clears the way to outlaw editing prior to publication. But note the point: nothing about that alters the fact that what is going on is in fact publication, with all its implications for and against the public welfare, and the public life of the nation. Taking the editing out of it is dangerous, as the smallpox hoax above illustrates, however hypothetically. Actual experience has been more than sufficient to show the same kind of harm in action.

    3. The dangers of government censoring are well known, and involve insane numbers of deaths, both through direct action, and indirect by the slowing of progress, a number several magnitudes larger!

    4. Wow. I used to think you had a screw loose. Now I think they’re all loose.

      1. Vinni,
        To which of the prior 10 commentators are you responding? (I always advise my friends to take 6 seconds to to put in a header–as I did, here, with you–to make it crystal-clear.)

        With the crappy Reason nesting commenting system, it’s often difficult or impossible to know…esp when a comment is like yours and gives no context for making an educated guess.

        1. All of them santa, all of them. lol

          It’s pretty clear. Since at this point we are not deep enough into the thread to no longer have the “Reply” option. This comment is a direct reply to the original comment in this thread. Were I intending otherwise, I would have “Reply”d to that commenter or done as you suggest.

          I was, of course, referring to SL with my response.

    5. Once again, Lathrop argues in favor of censorship to “protect” speech. (Once again, he will angrily deny that he has done so. Once again, I will quote his own words proving his deception. Once again, he will run away from the thread and not respond.)

      1. Sorry, Nieporent, private editing is never going to equal, “censorship,” no matter how many times you say otherwise. And as you know, I advocate for policies to encourage profusion and diversity among private publishers, because press freedom works best with the full range of opinion represented, and plenty of outlets to turn to.

        Go ahead and quote my own words. Wear it out. I will put your cherry picked quotes back in context, and remake my points. You will keep calling private editing, “censorship,” over and over again, as if you were a foolish crank. I doubt you can make much headway with any bystanders who don’t already practice your own brand of vulgar libertarianism.

        1. Your own words from a post a couple of days ago:

          3. The ability to publish unlimited material without any requirement to read it beforehand unleashed a flood of swill which went far beyond the damage done by libel. People began losing relatives to QAnon. Big lies about elections accumulated followers. Racist advocacy took off. Made-up outrages became standard clickbait. Prior to Section 230, private editors would have prevented publication of those kinds of damaging falsehoods, and many others.

          The least troublesome way to tamp down all of those malign tendencies would be to repeal Section 230.

          You. Want. Less. Speech.

          You don’t want “the full range of opinion represented.” You. Want. Censorship. You want the government to force websites to appoint gatekeepers to prevent opinions you don’t like from being published.

          1. Nieporent, you profess crap. As everyone who reads this blog knows by now—I have said it again and again—my advocacy is to open up publishing to everyone. No government interference. Let private editing—among a profusion of diverse publishers—do the work to decide what gets published, instead of using government regulation to do it—which is what you call for instead.

            You attempt to obscure that by asserting, falsely, that legal fictions can turn a business which practices publishing as its principal activity, into something anodyne, like a news stand. But the fact is, no matter what we call it, when a business practices publishing activity all day long, what results at the end of the day are publications, not “distributions,” or “common carriage,” or any of the other legal fictions with which today’s opponents of press freedom—especially including you—are trying to cover their tracks.

            You are the one who wants censorship, full strength, by government fiat, to rule that publishers must publish falsehoods and opinions that the publishers oppose. Among those falsehoods will be many which are horrifically damaging, such as deliberate anti-vaccination hoaxes during deadly public health emergencies. Over generations, the public life of the nation had been effectually protected by a screen which private editing enabled—to keep the most destructive falsehoods sufficiently tamped down that they rarely got political salience—as has now happened with Florida’s stupid law against a cruise line requiring vaccination proof from would-be passengers. You want that screen torn down, and you want the tearing to be done by government.

            And of course, as a practical matter, your advocacy is also pro-libel. You know as well as anyone that Section 230 has become a license to libel with impunity, covered by a fig leaf of legal formalism with almost zero substance. Pretty clearly, you prefer it that way.

            Libel has never been protected speech. And, historically, private editing to prevent libel has almost never involved purposeful government censorship of particular ideas or opinions. You cannot show otherwise.

            The notion is ludicrous and unsupportable that laws enabling private civil damages for people injured by libel amount to some kind of government cat’s paw which systematically censors ideas. But you repeat that notion again and again, without even the forthrightness to give readers context to understand that peculiar notion is your actual advocacy.

            As for your concluding falsehood, where you say,

            You don’t want “the full range of opinion represented.” You. Want. Censorship. You want the government to force websites to appoint gatekeepers to prevent opinions you don’t like from being published.

            How would that even work? It is absurd. How would the government know, and why would it care, which opinions I don’t like? It reads like a paranoid delusion. I want diversity and profusion among private publishers. I will take opinions I don’t like in the mix, and count it a plus for the public life of the nation.

            You have let vulgar libertarian ideology run away with your reason, abandoned objectivity, and turned yourself paradoxically into an avowedly libertarian opponent of press freedom.

            1. Once again, he will angrily deny that he has done so. Once again, I will quote his own words proving his deception. Once again, he will run away from the thread and not respond.

              It’s like you’re in his head.

              SL just keeps spitting out this bullshit in hopes that people will have reading comprehension skills even worse than his.

            2. Nieporent, you profess crap. As everyone who reads this blog knows by now—I have said it again and again—my advocacy is to open up publishing to everyone. No government interference.

              Except, of course, the threat of liability, which no matter how much you try to pretend otherwise, is government interference. You don’t want to allow private editing; it’s already allowed. You want the threat by government to impose massive liability on websites to force them to engage in private editing, to screen out all the stuff you think is so terrible and shouldn’t be published.

              You attempt to obscure that by asserting, falsely, that legal fictions can turn a business which practices publishing as its principal activity, into something anodyne, like a news stand. But the fact is, no matter what we call it, when a business practices publishing activity all day long, what results at the end of the day are publications, not “distributions,” or “common carriage,” or any of the other legal fictions with which today’s opponents of press freedom—especially including you—are trying to cover their tracks.

              No, Lathrop. You have made up a fake definition of “publishing,” one which matches neither reality nor legal definitions of the term. What sites like Facebook or Twitter do is nothing like publishing. It’s not recognizable as publishing. Publishers do not create a forum and then say, “Anybody, come here and say anything you want.” The closest non-Internet analogue to these sites is a public bulletin board — e.g., at a supermarket. — where people can post fliers and such. And nobody on the planet would call that publishing, even if someone came along and claimed that three fake criteria that happened to overlap with that activity was what “publishing” was.

              Let private editing—among a profusion of diverse publishers—do the work to decide what gets published, instead of using government regulation to do it—which is what you call for instead.

              Are you on drugs? I have called for no government regulation at all. Of any sort. I have called for the government to take a hands off approach.

              You are the one who wants censorship, full strength, by government fiat, to rule that publishers must publish falsehoods and opinions that the publishers oppose.

              I repeat: are you on drugs? When the hell have I ever said anything like that? I want no such fiat or rule at all. I support the current legal regime, in which websites are free to moderate to their hearts’ content.

              And, historically, private editing to prevent libel has almost never involved purposeful government censorship of particular ideas or opinions. You cannot show otherwise.

              Of course I can. That’s the whole point of NYT v. Sullivan et al.: that (a) civil suits constitute state action; and (b) without immunity, important speech will be censored.

              How would that even work? It is absurd. How would the government know, and why would it care, which opinions I don’t like? It reads like a paranoid delusion. I want diversity and profusion among private publishers. I will take opinions I don’t like in the mix, and count it a plus for the public life of the nation.

              Once more: do you even read what you write? You count it a minus for the public life of the nation:

              “Among those falsehoods will be many which are horrifically damaging, such as deliberate anti-vaccination hoaxes during deadly public health emergencies. Over generations, the public life of the nation had been effectually protected by a screen which private editing enabled—to keep the most destructive falsehoods sufficiently tamped down that they rarely got political salience.”

              1. Okay, Nieporent, you win. You are ready to jump in with support for deliberate lies about factual matters—which you call, “opinion,”—to further deliberate destruction of public confidence in vaccinations with power to save literally millions of lives during a pandemic emergency. You do so not to check government power, as you pretend, but instead to thwart private agency making private judgments, without any government requirement or oversight regarding what those judgements should be. You reach the peculiar and idiosyncratic conclusion that damage awards in civil suits handed down by juries are somehow government censorship policies.

                I have said what my beliefs are in so many words, and with illustrations, which I put in, for want of any other word, to, “confess,” nuance. I have presented all that forthrightly, but you continue to assert my beliefs are otherwise. I am confident that others reading this exchange, if there are any, will not be misled either by my words, or by yours. They will see what you are doing.

  11. Black Lives Matter has apparently come out in favor of the Cuban dictators:

    https://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/2021/07/15/right-on-brand-katie-pavlich-elise-stefanik-and-others-call-out-black-lives-matter-over-its-statement-in-support-of-cubas-dictatorship/

    When an organization blames the US for anything and everything and sides with Communist dictators, is it fair to call them anti-American and pro-Communist?

    1. Turns out you and twitchy were straight-up lying. This isn’t supporting the regime, it’s condemning the sanctions.

      Both these things can be true:
      -Cuba is a bad authoritarian dictatorship.
      -The sanctions on Cuba are inhumane and unproductive.

      1. I’m shocked, shocked to find Ben playing fast and loose with the truth in castigating a black person’s movement!

      2. The statement is shown in it’s entirety in original, unedited form. Anyone can read it. It is friendly to the dictators.

        The absolute need to find a way to blame the US shows us something when we see it.

        1. I don’t think blaming the US for sanctions imposed by the US is much of a stretch, tbh.

          1. Saying they exist isn’t blame.

            1. They didn’t magically appear out of thin air, though.

              1. Are you saying the US sanctions are why Cuba has problems?

                Clearly the US policy of having sanctions is to blame for the fact that the US has sanctions. If that’s your point, then congrats on that.

                1. If they weren’t causing Cuba problems, there’d hardly be much point imposing them, would there?

                  1. If the US refuses to interact with Cuba, wouldn’t that mean that Cuba’s problems can’t be related to the US?

                    1. How could a trade embargo imposed by the wealthiest nation on the planet possibly have any effect on a close island neighbour?

                    2. No trade means no effect

                    3. No trade means no effect

                      This…you’re really dumb.

                    4. Just when dealing with N here.

                    5. You mean, Nige’s arguments make yours look dumb? With that I can agree.

                    6. ‘No trade means no effect’

                      And that’s why the covid lockdowns had no effect on the economy.

                    7. I should probably just block N rather than respond to the trolling.

                    8. But that would have no effect.

                    9. ok. Blocked.

          2. Starving out hostage takers in a large-scale hostsge situation?

            Good for them.

            May I remind all these two-faced flip floppers that, under Reagan and previous administrstions, the policy w.r.t. South Africa was to not have sanctions because they hurt the common man over there, especially the black folk.

            Yet those same leaders came to the US to pressure for a change in policy, saying, yes that will hurt, but it needs to be done to gain freedom. Ultimately that happened.

            But for communism the common man is nigh important again???

            Sigh. An asteroid can’t vaporize the top 10 miles of Earth soon enough.

            1. Treating other sovereign countries as mass hostage situations seems like the dumbest, most retrogade, self-mythologising excuse for a stupid foreign policy that I’ve ever heard. I could hear Donald Trump coming out with it, it’s that bad.

              1. Not treating other sovereign countries as mass hostage situations seems like the dumbest, most retrogade, self-mythologising excuse for a stupid foreign policy that I’ve ever heard. I could hear Donald Trump coming out with it, it’s that bad.

                1. Yes, the binary framing of other sovereign nations as hostage situation/not hostage situation is spectacularly stupid.

        2. The statement is shown in it’s entirety in original, unedited form

          Not in your post, nor in the twitchy headline that lies about what it says.

          Lies that can easily be debunked are still lies.

          1. You’re complaining that the statement is not shown in its entirety in the headline?

            Which specific words are “lies” exactly?

            Why are you engaging in disinformation to defend BLM?

            The statement is only a couple of paragraphs if anyone wants to go read it. It credits the Cuban dictators’ historic actions and complains about the US.

            1. Black Lives Matter has apparently come out in favor of the Cuban dictators

              This is a lie.

              Stop lying.

              1. They credit the historic actions of the dictators and say exactly nothing bad or neutral about the dictators.

                How is that not “apparently” “in favor”? And what is your criteria for deciding something is notapparent to someone else?

                Yours is not even a good attempt at disinformation.

                1. They credit the historic actions of the dictators and say exactly nothing bad or neutral about the dictators.

                  Even that is not what they actually say. And even if it were, not calling out the dictatorship is very much not the same as supporting the Cuban dictatorship.

                  When I search for the statement in text to post it, all I see is right-wing rags and their hot takes. So at least you’re in good company.

                  1. So you have nothing factual to say on this. Got it.

                    Anyone who has any doubts can go and read the statement. It is short.

                    Is it really a “lie” that it appears favorable to the dictators? Judge for yourself.

                    1. Yeah, your attempt to condemn the statement based on what it doesn’t say is ridiculous on it’s face; I don’t need to bring facts other than the actual statement.

                    2. Sure Sarcastr0. Everyone go read it and decide for yourself. It will take you one minute to see how much BLM is against the dictators.

                    3. Seems to me more like you didn’t read the statement, and just liked the headline, because sometimes redbaiting is too good to check.

                    4. Sure Sarcastr0. Everyone: go read it and decide for yourselves.

                      Ask yourselves: How would it read differently if BLM were pro-Communist and anti-American?

                    5. Ben, you keep on losing here! Now you’ve subtly changed your own position to align with Sarcastr0’s: the statement doesn’t say anything in support of the dictators. I would like to read it but like Sarcastr0, I don’t need to in order to know that your original claim is a lie.

                    6. Yep. I read it and nowhere does it say anything remotely resembling “coming out in favor of the Cuban dictators.” You would really have to hate black people to post a lie like that.

                    7. It gives a positive nod to the dictators regarding Angola, etc. it says nothing negative or neutral about the dictators. It’s dictator-friendly.

                      But keep telling people otherwise. They can just look for themselves.

                    8. Well it says a lot of neutral things. I agree it doesn’t say anything negative about the dictators, but does it have to? Its neutrality is keeping with the non-interventionist policy it’s advocating.

                      Is that enough to call it dictator-friendly? I guess you can call something friendly if it’s neutral, like, pet-friendly cleaning products. They’re not actually praising your pets, just indifferent.

                      But “came out in favor of?” Still no.

                    9. One other thing to point out… the statement doesn’t mention the Cuban gov’t at all, dictators or otherwise. Taken in isolation, it would be an odd statement, like, why are they putting out this oddly neutral statement?

                      But, this isn’t an isolated press release. There are actually anti-government protests going on right now in Cuba. My read of this statement’s very explicit support of the Cuban people and their “right to self-determination” at this moment in history (and in contrast to its complete silence on the Cuban gov’t) is as explicit as they could get to supporting the protests while staying true to their stated non-interventionist policy.

                    10. You think Cuba acted in Angola and other places without the involvement of the dictators? You don’t think they’re crediting the dictators’ policies regarding Angola, etc.?

                    11. Is that what this comes down to, the statement on Angola?

                      For the like one person who hasn’t read the statement, this comes at the very end, where BLM (as a civil-rights org) cites approvingly a couple of Cuba’s past civil rights efforts, almost as a statement of interest.

                      Approving of one of a country’s actions doesn’t equate to approving of the country’s government. We play that sort of diplomatic game all the time, pointing out one past action of a regime and saying, do more of that (and less of everything else).

                      Here especially, I’m sure it’s not lost on BLM that they’re asking for the same things that the Cuban gov’t is asking for. Maybe they’re trying to cash in some chits, like, if you do stay in power, you better keep your nose clean regarding civil rights or the politics are going to change. I don’t know. I do know that it doesn’t praise or even mention the government, and I don’t think that was an accidental omission.

                      So I get where you’re coming from, but it’s still not “coming out in favor of” Cuba’s dictatorship.

                    12. So, just to be clear, you are saying:
                      – parroting the dictators’ view on the US at the most convenient time for the dictators, and
                      – crediting the dictators’ historic actions, and
                      – saying nothing else bad or neutral about the dictators in the face of protests against the dictators

                      is not dictator-friendly and does not favor the dictators.

                      I say it very clearly appears to be in favor of the dictators. Others can judge for themselves.

                    13. Exactly. All those things make sense for a statement in favor of non-intervention, but which praises “the people” about a thousand times, while they’re protesting the gov’t.

                      For a press release to be said to be “coming out in favor of” something, it really needs to include a statement of support for that thing. Don’t you think?

                      You don’t go to a party and then afterward think, was that a coming-out party? He didn’t say he was gay, but he didn’t say he wasn’t. And he did say something positive about something the gay community did a long time ago. Yep, he came out as gay, let’s start spreading it all over the Internet! That would rightly be considered lying.

              2. Its not a lie

                “undermining Cuban’s right to choose their own government”

                That is a statement in favor of the Cuban dictators. There are others.

                Its 4 paragraphs, you can’t gaslight this one.

                1. FFS, Bob, by it’s very text it is not.
                  It is actually quite anti-dictatorship. The people don’t choose in a dictatorship.

                  Unless you think the Cuban People have been voting all this time.

                  1. “It is actually quite anti-dictatorship.”

                    I admire your dedication to gaslighting.

                    1. I admire your dedication to reading text as the opposite as what it says.

                2. Never underestimate Sarcastro’s ability to gaslight.

            2. “Why are you engaging in disinformation to defend BLM?”

              Really? You have to ask him? You know.

              1. I would like to better understand the allegiance. Is it intersectional religious observance? Us vs. them blue team boosterism? Denial to maintain some sort of introspective self-image? A reflexive dishonest behavior that leftists don’t even think about any more? Something more organized?

                1. I don’t always agree with BLM. Especially since BLM itself is a pretty widely scattered brand more than an institution.

                  But here you lied about what they said. It’s not defending something to point out you’re lying about them.

                  1. It’s very clearly not a “lie” and you know it.

                    1. No, it’s a lie.

                      The statement did not ‘come out in favor of the Cuban dictators’ as you said.

                      You lied about that. You read a headline that lied about it, and then posted it.

                    2. I’m starting to think that maybe Sarcastro can’t read.

                    3. I’m starting to think Sarcastro’s a saint.

                    4. In the church of intersectional race-grievance worship?

                  2. I had to go and read it.

                    Sarcastro is correct. The statement is in opposition to the embargo. Not praise for a dictatorship. It is pro-dictatorship in only perhaps an indirect fashion by asking for the same thing that, I assume, the dictatorship wants.

                    1. “Not praise for a dictatorship. ”

                      It praised Cuban intervention in Africa and its harboring of a murderer. Its not the Cuban people who did those things, its the government.

                      It also excuses all the government failures by blaming an embargo which has not affected food for 20 years.

                    2. Go ahead and quote where they defend, or even mention harboring a murderer? You are making things up whole cloth, near as I can tell. I’m no Cuba or commie lover, but you simply are not reflecting reality in your posts.

                    3. There’s only one individual mentioned: “Assata Shakur”. So that’s apparently the part being discussed.

                      There’s your quote. Go read it again (takes 1 minute) and find that part and maybe you’ll understand what others are talking about.

                  3. So you’re saying words (and their meanings) matter?

                    1. When have I said they do not?

                    2. Sarcastr0, your posts make it appear that you believe that it’s okay for words to mean what you want them to mean. At least with regard to the Constitution.

                    3. Nope.

                      Not being for orignalism doesn’t mean I think words don’t have meanings.

                      I make it pretty clear I’m all for textualism.

                2. I would like to know what it is about neoconservatives that requires you to lie about anyone who expresses even mild disagreement with US hegemony. Is it because your ideas have failed and are out of steam? Is it because you can see the empire is crumbling? Is that why you cannot engage honestly with the critics of your project, and have to resort to red-baiting instead?

                  1. I’m curious why the modern Leftist brands every statement that they disagree with as a lie. And equally why the modern Rightist brands every statement from the Left that s/he disagreement as a lie.

                    Neither are at all convincing to the folks in the middle.

                    1. Both these things can be true:
                      -Cuba is a bad authoritarian dictatorship.
                      -The sanctions on Cuba are inhumane and unproductive.

                      If you agree with this, then Ben lied. You know I believe reasonable people can differ on all sorts of things, and that nuance matters, and that language is often less clear than it seams.

                      But the language linked factually *cannot* be read as favoring the Cuban regime, no matter how much you want to red-bait BLM.

                    2. Ben_ made no statement on either of those, so none of that has any bearing on Sarcastr0’s contention that Ben_ lied.

                      BLM’s statement gives a positive nod to Cuban regime’s historical policy and pins the blame for Cuba’s problems on the US in usual Communist apologist fashion.

                      “Apparently” BLM is/was at least somewhat “in favor” of the Cuban dictators — at least the past ones. And they said nothing to indicate their favor doesn’t extend to the present dictators.

                      But anyone can spend one minute, read the statement yourself, and judge for yourself what is apparent to you.

                      Be prepared to be called a liar by Sarcast0 unless you read it with pink-colored glasses though.

                    3. S_0 and Ben,
                      I read and reread BLM statement. It claims the underlying cause of misery on the island and the lack of freedom of choice of government for sixty years is US economic policy.

                      It does not mention the malfeasance of the Castro regime including the fact that Castro was willing and even eager to sacrifice the lives of all Cubans for the Communist cause. Thank goodness that Krushchev was wiser than that. Such an omission must be seen by anyone without a political axe to grind as de facto support of the current regime of the Castros and their designated heirs.
                      As for the statement that “sanctions on Cuba are inhumane and unproductive” I’d have to see firm evidence that correcting for the foolishness of the Castro policies that this claim is true. Unfortunately, similar claims are made about every sanction regime. What productive have the sanctions on Iran produced?

                      So I don’t see Ben as lying. And I don’t see you as lying but only of labeling Ben as a liar in an ad hominem attack.

                      You may have noticed that I have had my arguments with Ben in the past. So i redouble my statement that the Left and Right both poison the well of civil discourse by calling liars anyone they may disagree with for any reason.

                      A pox on both your houses.

                    4. Why would BLM make any statement? It’s not what BLM’s (stated) mission is. But they thought they should express [what you read].

                      Not because they’re anti-American or pro-Communist though, right? Then why?

                    5. It claims the underlying cause of misery on the island

                      It claims AN underlying cause of misery on the island. You cannot read that as meaning the Cuban regime is a misery-free system, come one dude.

                      You are also reading it wrong, but at least you’re doing so in good faith.

                    6. Ben asks why BLM would make such a statement if not to be anti-American or pro-Communist.

                      Ben, have YOU actually read the statement? It’s very clear: BLM is against the US embargo of Cuba because if its (alleged but credible) negative impact on the people of Cuba.

                      What is so hard to understand about that? Have you ever disagreed with US policy? I bet you have! Does that make you anti-American and pro-Communist? Not in my opinion.

                      Why do you find it so irresistible to lie about BLM? That does make you anti-American.

                    7. Everyone can just go read it. Takes 1 minute. Decide for yourself.

                    8. Don doesn’t like me because I strongly objected to his making plans for how others must be forced to live their lives.

      3. Both these things can be true:
        -Cuba is a bad authoritarian dictatorship.
        -The sanctions on Cuba are inhumane and unproductive.

        Indeed, both are true.

        1. The people concerned about propping up communism were the ones screamaning for a change in policy with regards to South Africa 35 years ago, “We know it will hurt the common person, but that is needed to effect change, so please do it, United States.” Which the US did.

          You are told convient lies, by people for whom lying is second nature. You only think it’s the other side, because the people who told you that lie to you, as second nature.

          All that matters is the gaining of power so multi million dollar mansions can be purchased.

          1. Except the difference is they were right about the policies to end the regime in South Africa, and also right about the failure of the policies of the US government towards Cuba. That’s not lying, that’s being right about what is approprate to do, and when, and why.

      4. I looked at their post, and noticed some differences between (say) Reason’s critique of the sanctions and BLM’s critique.

        Reason says the sanctions are harmful and give the communist regime an excuse for its own failings.

        The BLM statement says the sanctions are at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis and that the sanctions are meant to stop the Cubans from choosing their own government.

        You can criticize the sanctions without using it as a go-to explanation for Cuba’s problems and saying that it’s the sanctions, not the Cuban regime, which is interfering with the Cubans ability to choose their own government.

        The phrasing suggests at least some sympathy with the Cuban regime, or at least a determination to blame the problems of Communism on the U. S.

        1. The phrasing suggests at least some sympathy with the Cuban regime, or at least a determination to blame the problems of Communism on the U. S.

          I don’t see it. It’s not saying Cuba is a paradise or that Communism is great, it’s saying the US sanctions are screwing up Cuba bad and should be stopped. That’s all.

          1. It’s blaming the sanctions for Cuba’s problems (“at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis”) and saying it’s the sanctions, not the government, which are “undermining Cuban’s right to choose their own government.”

            There’s also a reference to the sanctions hurting Cuba’s wonderful health-care system.

            Reason blames the sanctions for giving the Cuban regime an excuse for its problems, and Reason’s article makes this obvious point:

            “Communism is what broke Cuba. The authoritarianism on display is merely the natural evolution of communist regimes—a pattern of economic and political repression that has been tragically repeated in too many corners of the world during the past century.”

            https://reason.com/2021/07/13/the-trade-embargo-allows-cubas-regime-to-blame-the-u-s-for-communisms-failings/

            The BLM statement would have us believe that the problems which are currently bringing brave protesters into the streets demanding freedom are really the fault of Uncle Sam.

            1. In my view, a treaty of peace and commerce between the U. S. and Cuba would be a good way to normalize relations and get trade flowing again. It wouldn’t be a cure-all for Communism, but it might give some slight improvements.

              And if the concern is the right of Cubans to choose their government, why not have free elections so that the Communists can prove to the world have uber-popular they really are?

            2. Reason hasn’t figured out that if the sanctions didn’t exist, the dictators would just make up some other story about the CIA or whatever to blame the US anyway. That’s what China and Venezuela and the fellow travelers in the US do.

              1. if the sanctions didn’t exist, the dictators would just make up some other story about the CIA or whatever to blame the US anyway

                Maybe they would, but since it would be an obvious lie the Cubans wouldn’t believe it.

                How many Soviet citizens do you think really believed that the country’s economic failings were the fault of the West?

                1. Many are happy to believe and repeat anything the regimes say. Or just repeat it and act as if it were true because they benefit personally from the regime.

                  1. That’s not what’s happening here. The regime isn’t really mentioned at all in this statement.

                    It is a lie to say this statement supports the regime.

                    Stop lying.

                    1. I said “apparently” “in favor”. And then I went back and re-read the statement and it’s still apparent.

                      Very clearly not a lie.

                      I’m the one telling people to go read it themselves. You’re the one spinning. Which of these two behaviors is honest and which is dishonest?

                    2. You might try the same. http://en.granma.cu/cuba/2021-07-12/we-defend-the-revolution-above-all-else
                      Black Lives Matter’s statement mirrors Cuban government statement, and all you can do is reflexively deny. Beyond their parroting of Cuban government talking points, there’s the adolescent gushing over Chesimard being allowed to live in Cuba. I understand that you like to knee-jerk your way through any position, but, you are rarely in a position to tell others to not lie.

                    3. Black Lives Matter’s statement mirrors Cuban government statement, and all you can do is reflexively deny.

                      No, it doesn’t, Hank. That’s not like what the BLM said. What kind of stretch are you making here?

                      And no, Ben you can’t say ‘apparently’ and then lie and have it not be a lie.

                    4. As I wrote above,
                      your claim of “lying” fails objective analysis.

                    5. Everyone can spend 1 minute and go read it and judge for themselves how it appears.

                      It appears communist dictator-friendly and US-unfriendly to me based on the positive nods to the dictators’ historic actions and the negativity toward US actions.

                2. How many Soviet citizens do you think really believed that the country’s economic failings were the fault of the West?

                  In the Soviet Union, you weren’t supposed to notice the economic failings. Every “conscientious citizen” understood that there would be some “temporary hardships” on the road to “the radiant future” (a fully-developed communist society). To point them our or complain about them was a sign of poor character. (You were too concerned about your personal / individual interests, didn’t care enough about “the common good.”)

                3. “since it would be an obvious lie the Cubans wouldn’t believe it.”
                  If only the populace could be so wise.

                4. “How many Soviet citizens do you think really believed that the country’s economic failings were the fault of the West?”
                  Bernard,
                  The fact is that almost all acted as if they did believe. And that was what the regime expected of them, not more.

                  1. Don’t your 12:05 and 12:08 comments contradict one another?

                    1. no

                    2. Not at all.
                      When men with guns come in the night to take you away, you kept your damned mouth shut and go along.

                    3. You seem to say people believe something but the same people also only pretend to believe that same thing.

                    4. I am saying that the behaviors of people transcend what they might know intellectually even to the extent that the automatically respond in support of oppressive regimes. Calling it a mass Stockholm syndrome if you’d like.

                5. Here’s the thing. The Soviet citizens didn’t realize they actually had an economic failing. The Cubans would believe the lie because they didn’t know any better. The sources of information available to them were so firmly under the government’s control, that the people just didn’t know….and the government liked it that way.

                  It even spread up to the leaders. They believed their own lies to an extent.

                  A great example of this is Boris Yeltin’s visit to America in 1989. The Statue of Liberty…didn’t impress him. The Empire State Building…didn’t impress him. NASA….didn’t impress him. These were all big government projects, the Soviet Union had all of these.

                  But a visit to a podunk grocery store in Houston…that amazed him. The shelves were full. The variety..the amounts…the quality. And just an ordinary grocery that anyone could go in. The Soviet Union didn’t have that. They could do the big government projects…but providing basic foodstuffs for the people, keeping the shelves full. That it couldn’t do. And the people just didn’t know. They didn’t think it was possible. Anything the US would say would be a lie. Until Yeltsin saw it for himself….

                  1. “Here’s the thing. The Soviet citizens didn’t realize they actually had an economic failing. ”

                    How can you say that? Didn’t you ever hear the Russian quip, “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work?”

                    Moreover, many Russians work after hours in off-the books plant operations. They knew exactly what was going on.

                    1. I don’t think many of them realized how bad it actually was.

                      It’s one thing to make a joke. It’s another to realize how bad it the differences really are.

              2. ‘That’s what China and Venezuela and the fellow travelers in the US do.’

                To be fair, the US has cheerfully fucked up a lot of countries for its own ends, such that they only need be inventive about the specifics.

            3. That’s true. BLM is implying that the Cubans currently have the right to choose their own government and have chosen their own government.

              Perhaps that’s true for some Cubans nearly 70 years ago. Certainly not for most Cubans alive today.

        2. Cal,
          I think that you state the case correctly.

      5. Turns out you and twitchy were straight-up lying. This isn’t supporting the regime, it’s condemning the sanctions.

        Both these things can be true:
        -Cuba is a bad authoritarian dictatorship.
        -The sanctions on Cuba are inhumane and unproductive

        Yeah, but the BLM statement (read the whole thing, btw, not the partial thing at the top of that Twitchy link) only argues the second one. Indeed, it implicitly endorses the Cuban government.

        1. “Indeed, it implicitly endorses the Cuban government.”
          My reading also.

          1. D.N. & D.N.: That’s simply a bad-faith reading. Sad but not surprising that this crowd would interpret a statement from BLM so nastily.

            The BLM statement largely mirrors this one by the Florida Progressive Caucus, if you want to read something by white(r) people who you might be less afraid of:

            https://myemail.constantcontact.com/DPCF-Calls-for-Lives-over-Politics–End-to-Cuban-Embargo.html?soid=1102092709921&aid=oUJjb2OZPEY

            1. I’m not sure why you think it’s better coming from another left-wing group, but the BLM statement actually goes past where the Florida Progressive Caucus does.

              Both criticize the embargo. Fine. And both absurdly praise the Cuban health care system. Not so fine. But the BLM statement also attacks the embargo for “undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government” and describes the Cuban dictatorship as “maintaining its commitment to sovereignty and self-determination,” demands “respect” for the Cuban dictatorship, and praises the Cuban dictatorship for “demonstrating solidarity with oppressed peoples” and for “giving asylum [sic] to” common criminals like JoAnne Chesimard.

              1. Since a tendency of the US to have no repect whatsoever for other nation’s sovereignity and rights of self-determination has helped shape modern Cuba from long before the embargo, a declaration of respect for that sovereignity, in whatever state it currently is, however you might criticise the current regime, seems like the better option. It’s funny that to even to the non-interventionist right, the slightest suggestion that the Cuban people might actually muddle along on their own leads to whiplashes of outrage and contempt and disgust.

                1. the slightest suggestion that the Cuban people might actually muddle along on their own leads to whiplashes of outrage and contempt and disgust.

                  If this were simply an isolationist screed — “we should end the embargo because it’s none of the U.S.’s business what happens in Cuba” — that would be one thing. But praising the Cuban dictatorship is certainly grounds for outrage, contempt, and disgust.

                  1. Certainly if you’re looking pretty hard for an excuse to express those feelings the old reliable of ‘looks like someone’s being soft on the commies by not condemning them sufficently’ will always do nicely. It’s just that given the US history of involvement with Cuba – shame would always seem like a more appropriate emotion.

              2. David, are you aware that right now, there are protests in Cuba against the government? That is the context in which BLM is saying that “the people of Cuba” and “the country” (NOT the dictatorship) is “maintaining it’s commitment to sovereignty and self-determination.”

                It’s a simple lie that the BLM statement even suggests “respect” for the dictatorship: it asks for “respect” for “the country’s 11 million people.” Come on, we’ve all read it by now, you can’t get away with continuing to make up what it says. Why are you even doing that? Again, your animosity towards the BLM one but tolerance of the Florida Progressives one is mystifying at best.

                I happen to think BLM’s position is totally batshit. The embargo is surely helping “Cubans’ right to chose their own government” vis-a-vis the protests. BLM and the Florida Progressives hold the opposite view, that we should let things play out with less interference, due to the collateral damage of the embargo plus general non-interventionist sentiment. Fine, like, what’s the problem with having differing opinions on policy?

                Are those of us who favored withdrawal from Afghanistan automatically pro-Taliban? Or only if we’re also black?

                1. David, are you aware that right now, there are protests in Cuba against the government?

                  I am aware. I am also aware that leftists are complaining that (a) these are CIA sponsored; (b) trivial events with a few hundred people blown out of proportion by the right wing corporate media; and/or (c) actually protests against vaccine shortages caused by the embargo, not protests against the government.

                  That is the context in which BLM is saying that “the people of Cuba” and “the country” (NOT the dictatorship) is “maintaining it’s commitment to sovereignty and self-determination.”

                  There is no way to support that from the text of the BLM statement. The statement does not say that “the people of Cuba are maintaining their commitment.” It says that the people of Cuba are suffering because the country has maintained its commitment. The country clearly means the government means the dictatorship in that context. The statement whines that the U.S. has “tried to crush this Revolution for decades.” That’s the dictatorship, not the people of Cuba.

                  It’s a simple lie that the BLM statement even suggests “respect” for the dictatorship: it asks for “respect” for “the country’s 11 million people.”

                  Again, you are creatively misreading it. It does not ask for respect for the people. It says that the 11 million people are suffering, and demands “international amity, respect, and goodwill.” That’s about the government, not the people.

                  Again, your animosity towards the BLM one but tolerance of the Florida Progressives one is mystifying at best.

                  I am not happy with the Florida Progressives one. But it does not include any of the language I discussed. Your attempt to insinuate that this is racial is ludicrous and desperate.

                  1. In retrospect I think your reading of the “respect” sentence is better than mine, because of the word “international.” So apologies there.

                    However, I still don’t see how asking for amity, respect, and goodwill in a statement about non-intervention in the context of an anti-gov’t protest can fairly be seen as praising the dictatorship. It’s typical “respect for international norms” pablum. Why so worried?

                    The Florida Progressives one asks “to improve relations with Cuba,” which is a stronger statement than mere “international amity, respect, and goodwill,” yet you don’t seem too concerned about that.

    2. Oh look, another “America First” commenter that supports foreign intervention and aggression. What a surprise.

        1. Lmao what a loser

        2. Pretty snowflakey of you, ben.

      1. Oh look,
        Another person who hasn’t the guts to admit that the only thing that has given women and girls any rights in Afghanistan for the past 20 years is the US Army.

        1. Great argument for permanent occupation.

          There is lots of evil in the world. That we addressed a bit of it with tons of money and blood that could have gone elsewhere is not really a great moral feat.

          Yeah, we did a good thing. But don’t pretend that means we made a good choice.

          1. Unfortunately its is, as long as there is a safe escape route to a supposed US ally, i.e., Pakistan. However, the presence of the number of US troops with the agreement of the Afghan government is hardly an occupation, except for defeatists.
            Unfortunately the US has no idea how to close the Afghan-Pakistani border or to end the complicity of the ISI with the Taliban.

            But hell, its just 50% of the population that will be brought back to the Stone Age. That is not so bad. White men will have their rightful place in Afghan society restored.

            1. Wait, so you do want a permanent occupation?

              That’s world police territory. It’s not sustainable.

              1. What are you thinking?
                There is no occupation and there is no world police force. Afghanistan’s women are f*cked.

        2. Thak you US army for protecting girls and women in Afghanistan from the extremist misogynist Islamists the US funded and armed and empowered.

          1. “extremist misogynist Islamists the US funded and armed”

            Nige,
            I am afraid that you are correct about that. Our presence is an act of restitution.
            But are you actually saying let the Afghani women go to hell again?

            1. I’m saying the well-being of not a single Afghan person was ever a part of what the US did in Afghanistan.

            2. N never actually says much of anything. Just vague hints at things and trolling.

    3. “When an organization blames the US for anything and everything and sides with Communist dictators, is it fair to call them anti-American and pro-Communist?”

      But we’ve always known that.

      1. It’s not like they’re hiding it:

        New York Post, 6/25/20:
        Black Lives Matter co-founder describes herself as ‘trained Marxist’

        1. I blame economic anxiety.

      2. Both these things can be true:
        -Cuba is a bad authoritarian dictatorship.
        -The sanctions on Cuba are inhumane and unproductive.

        1. That wasn’t what “that side” said 35 years ago with respect to South Africa.

          Politicians lie to gain power. But I repeat myself.

          1. Who the crap is talking about South Africa?

  12. I don’t know how to bring business to my firm. I was never a people person.

    1. Aaron, what kind of practice do you have?

  13. Loki is over. Thoughts?

    1. Nuh-uh. No spoilers! Don’t be a poopy-head.

    2. I like an ending of a smaller scale that relies on actors rather than technocolor blasting.

      1. Haven’t seen it, but a flash bang cgi ending to a story of the God of Mischief and Lies seems like a failure of imagination, nay, the very understanding of true power.

        If people are fighting, the manipulators have failed at their task, an odd thing for a god.

    3. I think that all of these superhero movies need to die in a fire. Enough is enough. They suck.

    4. Loki doesnt seem over, just on hiatus.

  14. We have some very thoughtful conservatives/libertarians here (I’m thinking Neirpont, NtoJ, Cal, 12″), but we also attract a ton of right wing conspiracy nut jobs. There really isn’t anything equivalent from our left wing contributors (they may be ‘wrong,’ but they’re not, say, Behar). Why is that? Is this something about ‘the Right’ or something about this site?

    1. The phrase “right wing conspiracy nut jobs” is empty, vacuous, and, ultimately, intellectually lazy. Said otherwise, it is not a paragon of precision.

      Rephrase, please.

      1. You know what I’m talking about. They don’t show up here and say ‘this policy will have this bad effect’ they show up with ‘the election was stolen by a cabal,’ ‘Hunter Biden is eating placentas for Chinese money,’ etc.

        1. “They” (you forgot to add “them / theirs”) should describe how the election was pilfered and by whom. They should also name the Kabbalists.

      2. This is true. There are so many varieties you could be talking about virtually anyone on the right.

    2. Today’s Right is addicted to two things : Victimhood narratives and politics-as-entertainment. The second one is particularly pernicious, having developed from a few houses of talk radio, to the 24/7 world of Fox News paralleling reality, to President Troll himself – when the actual politician provides all the yucks & yee-haws without need of any performer intermediary. Thus Trump.

      Add victimhood narratives to the entertainment industry that is today’s Right and conspiracy gibberish automatically results (like mold growing in a petri dish).

      When the whole point of your “politics” is a cartoon puppet show, the more lurid the better…..

      1. Interesting…is there by any chance any other political grouping to which a similar analysis could apply?

        1. Please apply!

        2. Get back to me when some “other political grouping” nominates a WWE-grade huckster buffoon for president. That’s a pretty big hint the Right’s addiction to politics as consumer viewing entertainment pleasure is a recent, unique & special thing.

          As for their predilection to whiny snowflake butthurt victimhood, you need only look up and down a typical set of VC comments.

          1. “…WWE-grade huckster buffoon for president.”

            And still The Chosen One couldn’t beat him.

            1. LOL, who called Hillary Clinton of all people The Chosen One?

              1. She was clearly chosen by the powers that be in the Democratic Party. Hence the lack of real primary challengers, as opposed to the free for all in 2020.

      2. The victimhood narratives is a reaction to identity politics on the left. The basic theme of identity politics is that certain groups are victims/disadvantaged because of their demographics. Some even say that those characteristics should require us to give certain voices more weight.

        By turning status alone as a way of increasing credibility, it’s only natural for the people on the other side of the aisle to want to play the game too. So the right started playing victim status. Then, when their perceived sleights (no matter how small) are not given credence (because they are not the same as the ones discussed on the left), they cried two fouls – the original sleight and the perceived discrimination against them. It turned into a big feedback loop.

        1. David Bremer,

          “Identity politics” is hardly an invention of the left.

        2. David Bremer : The victimhood narratives is a reaction to identity politics on the left…..it’s only natural for the people on the other side of the aisle to want to play the game too

          1. This is partially true. I long ago decided the Right’s obsessive need to feel victimized was magnified by a kind of perverse envy. Conservatives created a precursor narrative where everyone around them was playing the victim : Blacks, women, gays, Latinos, Native Americans. They rode that shtick hard for decades, usually with curled lip : Look at those people with their whiny vctimhood they’d say with a sneer.

          Then somewhere along the line they decided it was more fun to be the caricature they’d been selling for so long, not criticize it. We suddenly were faced with the spectacle of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male victimhood in all its glory.

          2. “Only natural” how? This seems to be “natural” only on the Right. If I don’t agree with some specific demand or claim of the BLM movement, it doesn’t instill in me a need to feel White victimhood. I have no need to feel victimhood whatsoever. Why is the Right different?

          3. As bernard11 notes, you pretend like “identity politics” is a recent invention. One hundred years of Jim Crow was identity politics. The world women lived in for most of our country’s history was governed by identity politics.

        3. ‘The victimhood narratives is a reaction to identity politics on the left’

          The straw identity politics of the straw left. Rarely do the versions of these things portrayed by the right actually match reality.

      3. Victimhood narratives work. The side that splits people into groups to define their importance that way, all the while screaming the other side shall not divide us, showed it is a massively successful strategy.

        Some group is always defined as the bogeymen, elect me and I will konk them on the head for you and make your life better! Well, mine will be better check out my fat bank account. But not too closely.

        In these strategies, the right plays catch up:

        1. Giant paid think tanks. Government-paid even better.
        2. The long game via better control over education (as opposed to the technical definition of conservatism: preserving the current norms.)

        In these strategies, the left played catch up:

        1. Cancellation. For thousands of years, anyone who supported gay rights, or was gay, was cancelled out of a job. If lucky. Jailed or worse if not.

        I’m sure there are more.

    3. Is Artie still around?

    4. Because the left-wing nut jobs decided to stay back at WaPo? At least judging on the comments to their stories, that appears to be the case.

    5. “anything equivalent from our left wing contributors”

      LOL Has Kirkland stopped posting?

      1. Kirkland’s a dedicated troll for sure but he never, so far as I know, advocates race war or monomaniacally calls for the imprisonment and death sentence for all lawyers and Democrats. Or, y’know, the equivalent.

        1. Exile of all Jews to West Texas is pretty bad.

          He says that “clingers” will be allowed rights only at suffrance of the enlightened. That’s bad too, right?

          1. Yeah, and that bothers me. There are a lot of issues on which I agree with Kirkland (though I’ve told him more than once I wish he would change his tone), but the idea that *anyone* is allowed rights only at someone else’s sufferance rubs me the wrong way.

            1. ” the idea that *anyone* is allowed rights only at someone else’s sufferance rubs me the wrong way ”

              Is there another way modern America — or any modern society — could work? Isn’t that ‘every man is his own lawmaker’ stuff for eighth-graders at the lower end of the grading curve?

              1. Yes. My view is that the people you so charmingly refer to as clingers should not be politically dominant since they are a minority of the actual population, but that is not the same thing as saying that their rights are only what the majority chooses to give them. And that could be accomplished by abolishing anti-democratic institutions while at the same time maintaining a strong bill of rights with a judiciary that vigorously upholds those rights.

                Of course, there will be disagreement as to what is, and is not, a right, and I generally favor individual rights to the extent possible with living in civil society. But that’s why we have the judiciary.

                1. (1) If you have a better (or equally useful) term for clingers, please propose it. Clinger seems accurate, understandable, concise, reasonable . . . even jaunty.

                  (2) Whether it is a majority, someone exercising political power, a constitution, or something else, the authority that identifies (or determines, or establishes, or recognizes, or vindicates) a right is someone (or something) other than the person proposing to exercise the right. How else could it work?

                  1. (1) If you’re talking about Obama’s comment about those who cling to religion and guns (which I also wish he hadn’t said), then you’re really talking about the religious conservatives, which term will do nicely. The problem with using inflammatory language is that it accomplishes nothing except to inflame. And if that’s your agenda, fine, but after four years of Trump I’d think it would be obvious what the consequences are of inflammation for the sake of inflammation.

                    (2) That goes to the difference between what is a substantive right versus who gets to decide what a substantive right is. I agree with you that religious conservatives should not be the deciders of the fate of the rest of us. But, no matter how ridiculous their theology may be, there are some rights that the majority just can’t trample. I don’t think, for example, that even Nazis should lose custody of their children or be denied the right to peaceable assembly, to advocate for their position, to carry weapons for self defense, or even to hold government jobs unrelated to their beliefs. Even if the rest of the country hates them and would be just as happy to send them to their own gas chambers.

                    1. (1) Do you believe a bigot should be called a bigot, with equally plain treatment of misogynists, racists, gay-bashers, Muslim-haters, anti-Semites, xenophobes, etc.? Or, instead, do you believe bigots should be entitled to the benefit of euphemisms — ‘conservative values,’ ‘traditional values,’ ‘colorblind,’ ‘family values,’ ‘heartland’ ‘Christian values.

                      I have lost my taste for political correctness in this context. It is important and just to call a bigot a bigot. I believe doing so accomplishes plenty. Do you agree — or, instead, consider that practice too inflammatory?

                      Thank you.

                      (2) I agree with most of what you have written. As I often observe: Bigots have rights, too. Poorly educated jerks have rights, too. Superstitious losers have rights, too.

                      Nonetheless, I contend the ‘every man can determine the rights he may exercise’ approach is low-grade, childish nonsense. Societal institutions, agents, and authority identify and vindicate rights, in my judgment.

                    2. Arthur, suppose your mother was a whore. And suppose I mentioned it every time we spoke. And suppose, when you reacted as you would, that I said “but it’s the truth”. The response to that is that not every truth needs to be told, and not every truth needs to be repeated 24/7.

                      Suppose your view of the “clingers” is dead on accurate. Suppose I agree with you that it is the truth. The issue isn’t whether it’s true; the issue is whether it’s helpful. Calling people names simply isn’t helpful. “You’re an idiotic, vile, detestable no-good freak” may well be true, but it contributes nothing to anything of substance. I’d rather talk about the substance.

                      So yeah, I’ll tell Daivd that he’s an idiot. I’ll respond in kind when Wuz shows up to hurl poo. If someone fires on me, I’ll return fire. But what is the value of just dismissing entire groups of people?

                    3. ” after four years of Trump I’d think it would be obvious what the consequences are of inflammation for the sake of inflammation.”
                      Artie and pals still don’t realize that.

                    4. ” I don’t think, for example, that even Nazis should lose custody of their children ”
                      Yet that happens frequently in custody battles when one parent is identified as practicing BDSM.

                    5. ” But what is the value of just dismissing entire groups of people? ”

                      Which of these groups, in your judgment, should not be dismissed:

                      1) QAnon enthusiasts

                      2) White supremacists

                      3) Birthers

                      4) Strident homophobes

                      5) ‘Stolen election’ advocates

                      6) Immigrant-bashing xenophobes

                      7) These people

                      8) White nationalists

                      9) Young Earthers

                      10) Greene-Boebert-Gosar-Gaetz-Cawthorn fans

                      11) ‘Teach creationism, not evolution’ advocates

                      12) January 6 insurrectionists

                      13) ‘Jews will not replace us’ chanters

                      14) Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, and Three Percenters

                      Thank you.

              2. Yes. America killed off and drove away their overlords who granted rights. Then realized those rights were inherent to them as people. Then created a government with a supermajority decision, gave it certain powers, and only those.

                Thanks for that insightful question.

          2. “Exile of all Jews to West Texas is pretty bad.”

            That I proposed (or would propose ‘exile of all Jews to West Texas’ is a lie.

            You are a reprehensible, downscale, lying bigot, Bob from Ohio. I devote many hours to advancing the liberal-libertarian mainstream’s political position to ensure that you and the other movement conservatives continue to be our society’s losers.

            Isn’t there a deed to a $36,000 residential property in Can’t-Keep-Up, Ohio that requires your professional attention?

            1. That I proposed (or would propose ‘exile of all Jews to West Texas’ is a lie.

              True. You said West Texas or West Virginia.

              1. Also a lie. You know better. That you guys must lie about me explains why guys like me stomp guys like you in the culture war.

                Open wider, clingers..

          3. Yes, fair enough, forcible relocation and legalised land theft based on ethnicity is incredibly bad, I’ll grant you that.

    6. I suspect this has something to do with who is aggrieved at the moment. The supporters of the former President feel aggrieved because their candidate did not win. This is not greatly different from left wingers feeling that Bernie was cheated or that the Russians stole the election from Clinton. Ask yourself this, how many on the right completely disagree with Bernie and yet peddled conspiracies that the Democrats robbed him of the nomination. Grievance, sadly, is more powerful than good sense. It tends to occupy our attention even in the face of more important matters.

      1. There’s a difference between being pissed off and a victimhood narrative. Sure a lot of us were mystified and angry that Trump won, and we certainly never trusted him, especially with Putin (still don’t). But nobody ever claimed that he didn’t actually win. Nobody sat around whining that their “voices are being silenced” (I mean seriously WTF, your voices are all over the place) like our own Josh Blackman continues to do daily. It’s just gross and sad.

        There is plenty of victimhood whining on the left (“privilege” blech yuck) don’t get me wrong, but that’s not about a candidate not winning.

        It’s fine to be angry when your candidate loses. It’s not fine to spin it as oppression. That is 110% anti-democratic and something very new. (And I agree, fueled by the politics-as-entertainment-as-sport-as-good-vs-evil mentality that has been developing on the right for decades and is now in full bloom.)

          1. Yes, a lot of Dems are dumb too. But that poll doesn’t say they thought Hillary should have won, only that Russia interfered on behalf of Trump to some extent, even if negligible.

            And more importantly to this thread, a poll is not a narrative. “Hillary Actually Won” is not the story that was being pushed by Dem pols. “Trump’s in Bed with Putin” was that narrative, which is not a victimhood narrative. I can accept calling it a conspiracy theory, as long as we also point out that a) there was some factual evidence unlike with Trump’s claims and b) Dems were quick to abandon it (and move on to obstruction) once the extent of the collusion was clear (which again was non-zero and worrisome, just not enough to make Trump a traitor).

            Speaking of obstruction, it has more victimhood overtones than Russiagate does, in that it was getting a little divorced from any original wrongdoing and more like “the process isn’t working the way I want it to boo hoo.” But I still wouldn’t call it a victimhood narrative because the grievances weren’t personal. It was simply an attack on a perceived weakness of a loathed President, no more, no less.

    7. Q.A.,

      P.T. Barnum (allegedly) said, “I don’t care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right.”

    8. CRT is a conspiracy theory that is more or less canon among left wing media. So was Pee-gate. What more do the Reason leftists need when the mainstream already embraces their conspiracy theories?

      1. Read what CRT says, not what the right says it says.

        It’s not a conspiracy theory. It may or may not be accurate, but it’s not a conspiracy theory – most of what it talks about is not about specific intent, which a conspiracy needs.

    9. You want Left-Wing conspiracy nuts? Read the comments on any story in the Washington Post that allows them.

  15. This is why people hate government bureaucrats. The Orange County, Florida Clerk of Court just kicked back a filing because in one place it says “any person claiming . . . as an heir, devisee, grantee, assignee, lienor, creditor, trustee or other claimant,” and in another place it says “who may claim as heirs, devisees, grantees, assignees, lienors, creditors, trustees or other claimants.” Since one list is written in the singular and the other in the plural, they do not precisely match, and therefore the document is rejected.

    What pedantic assholes.

    1. We see it over and over: government doesn’t even try to serve the public.

      1. Some government bureaucrats suck. Some do not.
        There are also private bureaucrats who suck just as much.

        1. Oh I agree that a bureaucrat is a bureaucrat is a bureaucrat, and private enterprise is no better. But, when a government bureaucrat does something hamfisted, it contributes to the meme that government is stupid and inefficient.

          1. I’m going to depart from my assigned “team” and say that some public employees are hard-working and efficient and knowledgeable. I’ve met them.

            But there are public and private bureaucrats who are the other kind.

            1. Cal Cetín : I’m going to depart from my assigned “team”

              Damn it; you had to go there, didn’t you? Now I feel an ethical obligation to depart from my assigned “team” (at least once).

            2. Which team says there are not “some” hard-working and efficient and knowledgeable public employees?

              Are “most” described as such?

              1. That’s why it’s a meme, not a truism.

              2. Okay, the closest I could get on these forums is the “no good cops” argument. Which the left stole from the libertarians.

                1. Presumably the libertarians stole it from the hippies.

            3. Bringing an extra $200 down to the DMV or be prepared to wait years for your driver’s license is standard operating procedure in much of the world, including economically struggling nominal democracies.

              The corruption just must be hid better here.

        2. When someone encounters this in the private sector they can walk away from the transaction. And if enough people walk away it becomes a strong incentive for better behavior.

          When it’s the government there’s usually no such option and no incentive for government workers not to be terrible.

          1. If the private sector is a mom and pop convenience store with lots of competition, you’re right. If it’s a major corporation that turns lots of business away because they offer a high demand service with little competition, then not so much. You think the flying public would put up with the major aggravation air travel has become if they had any real choices?

            1. Bitching about air travel is largely because others react positively to bitching about air travel. Yes, most people would put up with it if the alternative was to pay even 10% more.

              The actual poor experience and lack of air travel alternatives is largely a government phenomenon. The TSA is government and government airports let big carriers more-or-less monopolize gates and routes. Small startup air carriers at small airports are hamstrung by the ridiculous need to have a few TSA agents present for the boarding of their 12-passenger-seat planes.

              1. A privately owned airport would allow the big carriers to monopolize gates and routes. That’s a function of the big carriers being more important to the bottom line. And whenever I hear about something bad that the government does, I usually ask if the private sector would do it any differently, and the answer is frequently no.

                Same with the TSA. Suppose Congress shut down the TSA tomorrow. You really think the carriers would allow people to board planes without screening them for guns and bombs? I don’t. I have no idea how the private sector would replace the TSA, but I’m quite certain that you would still not be permitted to board a flight without a security screening of some kind, and my bet is that before too long it would look a lot like the TSA.

                1. Airline security could be held more accountable for their bad performance if it were organized in any fashion other than as a Federal agency. If it were a local airport function, you could complain to your local politicians who each serve a comparatively small number of voters. Or fly out of the next nearest airport. If it were by airline, you could fly another airline.

                  Federal is worst case.

                  But go ahead and make up a story about how teh bad private sector guys will always successfully counteract any reforms so everything is utterly, utterly hopeless.

                  1. Airport security and screening was handled by private contractors before 9/11, in accordance with FAA requirements. After 9/11 as a nod to the Democrats voracious desire for more government employees the private contractors were replaced by government employees and new rules were put in place.

                    There was as far as any one can show no lapse in airport security screening, according to the rules in place which already prohibited guns and other things. The existing rules could have been updated and the existing employees either retrained or replaced where necessary.

                    The Democrats promised that the new TSA employees would not be allowed to unionize. One of the first things Obama did was break that promise.

                    1. That’s a bizarro alternative history. Bush was president and Republicans controlled the House. The neo-cons had a hard-on for a whole new defense agency to exploit: “Homeland Security.” They had to have something to actually do, so the TSA was born.

                2. “my bet is that before too long it would look a lot like the TSA”
                  Maybe “yes” and maybe “no.”
                  And maybe the new TSAprime would not subject travelers to a Deliverance screening such as I experienced in Knoxville TN.

            2. You think the flying public would put up with the major aggravation air travel has become if they had any real choices?

              Other than the aggravation imposed by the government (e.g., TSA security theater), we do have real choices. We just mostly choose money over service.

            3. You think the flying public would put up with the major aggravation air travel has become if they had any real choices?

              You should visit any one of the many travel booking websites that are available (and have been so for many years now), at which time you will discover that in the vast majority of cases, we DO have real choices. Well, that is…except when it comes to the governmental entities who create most of the aggravation experienced when traveling by air.

          2. There’s this whole debate about private social media companies going on that ‘walking away from’ does not seem sufficent remedy.

          3. “When it’s the government there’s usually no such option and no incentive for government workers not to be terrible.”

            Any no way for government workers to know how not to be terrible. People working to hard at doing the wrong thing probably causes more waste than working too little.

            1. Professionalism: not a thing that exists. In fact, people can be motivated by more than money.

              Any no way for government workers to know how not to be terrible. People working to hard at doing the wrong thing probably causes more waste than working too little.
              This is just childish.

              1. Yeah, government workers tend toward professionalism. That’s why the Soviet system was such a success.

                1. We’re talking about individuals, not trends.

                  And we’re talking about America, not the USSR.

              2. “Professionalism: not a thing that exists. In fact, people can be motivated by more than money.”

                You’re missing the point. Government workers might think they’re doing a good job and work very hard, but unless customers have the option of going elsewhere, you don’t know if you’re really doing the right thing.

                “This is just childish.”

                No it’s not. People who create processes or regulations or whatever are often motivated, by things other than money, to be very exhaustive and thorough, causing a lot of wasted effort for people who have to follow said processes and regulations.

                1. What things other than money?

                  If you don’t think government workers think about the burden of their regs on the regulated, you don’t know a thing about the rulemaking process.

    2. Its a poor writer who blames the reader for their failure.

      1. Failure at what? The two lists are identical except for one being singular and the other being plural.

        1. Then they are not “identical”.

          1. No, it’s the same group of people, as would be obvious to the average reader who hadn’t been turned into a pedantic asshole by three years of law school. Is there any confusion in the mind of you, the reader, as to whether they are the same group of people?

            1. I am not the intended audience.

              Is the clerk who rejected it a lawyer? Because otherwise the “pedantic asshole by three years of law school” crack makes no sense.

              1. OK, who is the intended audience? Whether or not the clerk is a lawyer (I don’t know the answer to that), the intended audience is a judge, who almost certainly has a law degree. Kicking it back accomplished nothing except making more work for both me and the clerk, since the clerk is now going to have to review it a second time when it gets refiled. The average reader, JD or not, will understand that both groups of people are the same.

                One can always find stuff to quibble about. That’s true in a legal document, and its true about comments on a blog. The question is whether it’s such a minor point that it distracts from the substance and takes us off on a tangent. So I suppose the question is where does one draw the line as to what is important enough to make an issue of. I don’t think this was; you are welcome to your contrary opinion.

                1. “clerk is now going to have to review it a second time when it gets refiled.”

                  The job must be justified.

                  FYI, all my responses were tongue in cheek. Bazinga!

              2. Formalism without value is bunk.

      2. “Its a poor writer who blames the reader for their failure.”

        It’s a poor attempt to write a sentence.

  16. Just so you understand the Biden admins immigration priorities:
    * Immigrants from Central America ok. We airlift them to midwestern cities.
    * Refugees from communism in Cuba not ok. We are sending those boats back!

    It’s all about human rights, except that one of these groups votes republican, one doesn’t.

    1. Don’t pretend this is the Biden admin’s policy. Wet foot/dry foot re: Cuba has been around for like 30 years.

      Obama was working to normalize relations, including immigration. Trump blew that up.

      1. Obama unilaterally eliminated wet foot/dry foot. Good negotiator!

        1. You think that’s wrong?

          Take it up with dwb68.

      2. Venezuela blew it up, Trump had little to do with it. Administration anger and distrust over Cuban support for the Maduro administration throughout the crisis upset the process.

        1. I should clarify, the Obama administration was angry.

    2. DHS secretary’s parents were Cuban refugees.

      Guess he is a pull up the ladder after you get on board type. Sad.

    3. Please don’t cry to me about laws which are selectively enforced. Biden opened the border to everyone else, why not Cuba.

      Oh wait, Cubans in FL vote republican.

      1. Are you really this dumb about our relations with Cuba??

        1. Are you really this dumb about Bidens open border immigration policy?

          1. There is no open border immigration policy.

            Plenty of folks still getting deported, chief.

            1. Ask anyone who lives close to the border what they think. You can deport 1 person, but doesn’t really matter if another 1000 just walk in to take their place. Stop being a disingenuous gaslighter.

              1. Asking me to replace the statistics with anecdotes you’ve made up? Naw, I’ll stick with the facts. They are not hard to find. https://www.ice.gov/remove/statistics

                The border isn’t open. USCIS is still doing their job. You have no evidence otherwise, and a *very* extreme thesis to try and prove – not a decrease, but a complete cessation.

                Didn’t you ask some months ago why Dems weren’t more pissed that immigrant kids are still in cages? Did the border open sometime after that? Or are you just fully a bad faith actor at this point?

            2. Sarcastr0, that is laughable. The US Military is flying illegal alien border crossers out of Loveland AFB to points all over the country AS WE SPEAK! What policy could [possibly be driving that?

              When Trump left office the net crossing was negative when deportations were accounted for. Now we are at historic levels, approx. 6000 PER DAY. (Some small fraction are turned back.)

              1. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/biden-admin-again-flying-migrants-who-cross-border-one-place-n1271211

                It’s actually a pretty cruel anti-immigrant policy, to prevent reentry

                Do some research before you believe right-wing conspiracies.

                The thesis is that Biden has an open borders policy. Nothing you said comes anywhere near proving that extreme and ridiculous claim.

                1. I see you prefer to distort your position with numbers that only seem to back up your claim. We can’t count everyone coming across our porous border, but we do have models that show crossing are through the roof since Biden effectively opened the borders. There is still the theater of this going on, but the Dems are trying their hardest to end that as well.

                  1. do have models that show crossing are through the roof since Biden effectively opened the borders.

                    Sure we do, Jimmy. You got any of those models handy?

              2. Before anyone bothers to talk about policy, maybe you should cite some sources.

                Reliable ones, mind you. Not Tucker f-ing Carlson.

                1. How about Rachel F-ing Maddow?

                  What if the mainstream media gives it a good leaving alone, and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et.al., censor it? If it’s not in the NY Times it didn’t happen?

                  1. I’m still waiting for an actual source. Sounds to me like you don’t have any.

                    If you can’t find a reputable source to link to, then no – it clearly did not happen the way you’re describing.

  17. Question for the lawyers:

    What will/should happen to Sydney Powell, Lin Wood, and other Krakenites?

    1. They should work for Trump. Forever.

      1. Cruel and unusual.

      2. You know, it is a conundrum. Does Trump corrupt everyone he comes in contact with (sort of like Midas, except his touch turns the thing into excrement instead of gold), or does Trump just attract the corrupt?

        It’s kind of like the chicken/egg dilemma.

    2. It would not surprise me if Guiliani and Powell end up disbarred; Wood not so sure about.

      As for what should happen to them, did you ever see the play No Exit?

    3. ” What will/should happen to Sydney Powell, Lin Wood, and other Krakenites? ”

      Enough to dissuade the next group thinking of following those unprofessional, harmful, clownish footsteps would be worthy of consideration.

    4. They will eventually be vindicated, at least among people who can process evidence and analysis objectively (i.e., not extremely partisan people.) The data are accumulating, now that it can’t change the result. See what’s going on in Minneapolis, in Pennsylvania, and now this:

      VoterGA, a group organizing a lawsuit seeking a rescan of ballots and a review of absentee ballots, alleged double-counted ballots, fabricated tally sheets and creaseless mail-in ballots.

      1. No, they will not, as the 60+ lawsuits they failed with have already demonstrated.

        You people are goddamn nuts with your inability to recognize when you’ve been fed bullshit, despite the courts, Secretaries of State, Governors, and even GOP representatives telling you so.

        How many people have to tell you that you’re full of shit before you figure it out? Are you a flat-Earther too? Is the moon made of cheese?

        One would think that when even the lawyers in question have to tell the court that their case was bullshit to begin with, that you might actually wake up and realize the truth.

          1. Such compelling video evidence. Filenames are different but the ballot is the same.

            Try this.

            Copy a file. Paste the copy somewhere. Right click -> Rename.

            Now you have two copies of the same file, but with different filenames so you can upload it to twitter for twits to get excited about.

            Magic!

            How many people do you think were involved in this conspiracy? How is it that nobody who would rat them out heard about it?
            How did the courts miss this?
            How do you believe the closet nutjob corner of the internet over everything else which rejects the nutjob’s assertion?

          2. None of those ballots were counted, chief.

            Keep trying! Actually, don’t.

    5. Will? Probably nothing. The only thing that typically happens to attorneys is nothing unless they misappropriate funds. If they did that they will get a minimum 1 year suspension. Its generally the #1 reason for disbarment. Filing shitty lawsuits is… normal. Frankly their filings are commendable compared to what I’ve seen in your average state courtroom.

      Should? I’d like the profession to have higher standards. But three are still easily in the top 50%, so disbarring them in an objective way would also disbar most of the profession. Not a bad thing for my salary I suppose.

  18. The best thing about the 1970s: The inflation pandemic brought on the 80s.

    Who thinks spending so much when inflation is 5% is a good idea? Oh wait, Bernie Sanders is in charge. btw, have you seen Venezuelan or Argentinian inflation lately? These are the governments the left praise.

    Even the normally woke CEOs are crying about the inflation.

    The 4.x trillion reconciliation package will be the best thing for Republicans since Jimmy Carter.

    1. You do know inflation is measured against the same month in the previous year, yes?

      What was going on last year that might make the number this year bunk?

      Hoping for massive economic pain in your countrymen so you can come into power without winning policy arguments is also a helluva take.

      1. Hoping for massive economic pain in your countrymen so you can come into power without winning policy arguments is also a helluva take.

        What he said: “X will happen.”

        What he did NOT say: “I hope X happens.”

        But you knew that.

        1. The 4.x trillion reconciliation package will be the best thing for Republicans since Jimmy Carter.

          Yeah, no hope there. Extremely nonpartisan.

          1. Yeah, no hope there.

            There was no hope expressed in what you quoted and responded to. Only an assertion about who would benefit.

            Extremely nonpartisan.

            Nobody said anything about it being non-partisan, which is a completely different issue. Usually your bullshit straw men are at least a little focused. You can’t even seem to manage that this time around.

            1. Sorry if you can’t follow conversational threads beyond one level.

    2. People at the ballot box rejecting the inflationary consequences of too much government spending combined with perverse work incentives, *IS* winning a policy argument. Literally, the definition of winning.

      Of course, I would rather win the argument before there is too much spending and people suffered the consequences. But, Dems seem determined to write their own epitaph. Lots of people, sadly, need to learn the hard way. I wish it were not so, but I am a realist.

      1. Thing is, the right turning to becoming deficit hawks after Trump is not actually going to play as a good faith argument.

        It’s also not at all clear there is an inflation problem yet.

        1. I put “It’s also not at all clear there is an inflation problem yet.” in the same category as people who told me not to buy masks at the end of Feb 2020. I probably bought the last masks off Amazon on Feb 23.

          I bought masks, and I think its time to buy gold.

          And yes, the Republicans spent to much. So what? Like I tell my teenager once a week, two wrongs don’t make a right.

          1. Inflation rates are not high, normalized for last year’s contraction, and they don’t seem to be rising.

            We don’t really have very good predictive models of much in economics. So we’re like in a modified Hayekian regime:
            Stimulus? Can predict effects.
            Predicting Inflation? We cannot yet do so reliably.

            1. Sure, and COVID is just like the flu.

              1. 1) You’re mixing up a predictive claim with a descriptive claim.

                2) Medical science is more predictive than economics.

                1. “Inflation rates are not high” and “COVID is just like the flu” are both descriptive.

                  Also, those descriptions are widely ignored by people actually experiencing the flu, COVID, or inflation.

                  1. OK, fair on the predictive/descriptive.

                    But inflation rates *are not* high, unlike COVID death rates as compared with the flu…

        2. The Biden administration thinks there’s an inflation problem, as does Janet Yellen. But I suppose we’re supposed to believe Sarcastr0 when he says “there’s nothing here to see, move along now….”

          https://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2021/07/16/white-house-lets-it-slip-that-temporary-inflation-could-last-years-n1462097

    3. Incidentally, I know intimately how inflation is calculated, I went to grad school for it.

      The lesson of the 1980s is that real people know care, they vote their pocketbook.

      Right now the supply chain will be bottle-necked for at least a year. Chip makers wont catch up with production until the end of the year. Most cars now are more like computers with a V-6. Most home builders have stopped building. Go ahead, TRY to get a house built before march 2022. I dare you.

      All this government spending will hit the economy the following year, just in time for the 2022 elections. Just in time to further bottleneck the supply chain, pushing prices up even more.

      People always vote their pocketbook, they feel inflation more than they see government numbers. And, the experience will be fresh in their minds.

      1. You sure are making cocksure predictions about the economy as though your models are predictive like a trained economist!

        1. Another clinger predicting a reversal of the culture war’s half-century tide . . . and a red wave reinstating conservatives’ 1950s-era preferences in America.

          This resembles betting both ends of an Orioles-Diamondbacks (or Pirates-Rangers) World Series this year. It could happen, but reasoning adults don’t spend much time thinking about it, let alone relying on it.

          1. Not sure what arguments from authority about economics have to do with losing a culture war abut abortion, gay rights, minority rights, and marijuana.

    4. P.P.S, for what its worth, I never thought that the stimulus after the financial crisis after the 2009 crisis would cause inflation. If anything, there was too little, and the Federal Reserve took it away too quickly.

      Now we have a Fed that is much more dovish than in 2011, real supply chain bottlenecks and signs of wage inflation due to perverse incentives. Combines that with a lot of denialism and more bigger spending, you have a recipe for a clobbering in 2022.

      1. To be fair, wages have been due for an increase for some time. And I say that as an employer whose highest expense is payroll. Pretty criminal what I’m able to hire a MS in Chem for, let alone “unskilled labor”.

        1. You can hire a MS in Chem for the same wage as any unskilled labor, and if you go poking around McDonalds or Taco Bell, you might find a few. Should there be a different law for minimum wage based on time spent in college?

          Will an increase in minimum wage change the “criminal” wages that you can hire a MS in Chem for?

          Do you have a coherent point?

          1. I do, but you seem unable to comprehend it. Or at least not trying very hard.

            And where did I mention minimum wage laws, or did anyone mention them?

        2. Chem is oversaturated. There are just too many chemists out there, for a lot of reasons. Most other STEM disciplines don’t see the same problem.

    5. Inflation is actually easy to predict: Too much money chasing too few goods.

      After the financial crisis, we never saw the kind of supply chain bottlenecks we see in 2021. The spending is not the only issue. The perverse incentives not to work and rejoin the labor force are an additional problem.

      But sure I get it, wait until the inflation train is clearly in view, by which time its too late to move out of the way!

      1. Inflation is actually easy to predict: Too much money chasing too few goods.

        I think the Fed would beg to differ, at least as applied to money and goods in the real world.

        1. I am familiar with Fed models. They use calibrate them to historical data. How may pandemics are in the historical data, followed by extreme deficit spending, with perverse work incentives and clear and present supply chain bottlenecks?

          To be clear, inflation is not a foregone conclusion at this point. Depends whats in the reconciliation/infrastructure package, package and how perversely we incentivize people not to work.

          But its ok to ignore me. Its not as though a left wing economist like Larry Summers agrees with me. Oh wait, he does.

          1. I actually didn’t know that about the Fed. But a purely phenomenological model like that is a tell you don’t understand the underlying mechanisms at work, at least as applied to the real world.

            Maybe you’re right. But I don’t think you or anyone else right now knows enough to predict anything clearly about economics in the next year or so.

            1. *dwb demonstrates a greater understanding than Sarcastr0.*

              Sarcastr0: “you don’t understand”

              1. I’m taking the Hayekian humility view.

                If you think that’s a misunderstanding of economics, you’re not…well, I guess you’re a modern conservative. Congrats.

                1. Swing and a miss.

                  1. That’s twice in a row you just declared me wrong and didn’t bother to engage further.

                    That’s the point of that?

        2. Inflation is actually easy to predict: Too much money chasing too few goods.

          I think the Fed would beg to differ, at least as applied to money and goods in the real world.

          I think that was the Fed’s view back during the time of Alan Greenspan:

          What causes inflation, and what can the central bank do about it?

          MR. GREENSPAN: Well, the very simplest explanation of a price level is, it’s the ratio of money available in the society—that is, claims to goods and services—relative to those goods and services. …So, obviously, inflation exists when the amount of money growth exceeds the increase in the supply of goods over a period of time. … If you look at the data over a 50-year period, lo and behold, the increase in the amount of money supplied divided by the physical quantity of production—or, more sophisticatedly, the capacity to produce—that moves very closely with the actual recorded change in prices.

          1. Noted economy predictor – Alan ‘irrational exuberance’ Greenspan.
            Quite a guy to appeal to authority for there.

            And I also can’t parse the quote, which is pretty vintage Greenspan. He quotes the textbook definition, but then does he mean he could predict inflation over the past 50 years, or does he mean if you average over 50 years, or is he talking about focusing on a particular sector?

            1. Noted economy predictor

              Well, economy prediction involves people prediction, a difficult thing to do. But an economist can know what causes inflation without being able to predict whether those conditions will exist in the future. But he says that whether there will be inflation is determined by the ratio of the money available in the society to the physical quantity of goods and services. He says that number is reliably related to how rapidly prices rise, if looked at over 50 years. So an increase in money supply without an increase in goods and services will increase inflation.

              It was apparently economist W. A. L. Coulborn who first used the phrase “too much money chasing too few goods.”

              1. 2009 pretty much proved Greenspan was not very good at his job.

                Well, economy prediction involves people prediction, a difficult thing to do. But an economist can know what causes inflation without being able to predict whether those conditions will exist in the future.

                We agree! (Though honestly I worry about some of the economic fundamental predictions since they haven’t been cabined by experiment, only retroactive descriptions)

                My whole issue with dwb68’s post is that he is making predictions about upcoming inflation.

                1. My whole issue with dwb68’s post is that he is making predictions about upcoming inflation.

                  dwb predicts that we could have a bumpy future due to many variables that point to rising inflation. Sarcastr0 misconstrues argument. Hilarity ensues.

                  Jeez, dwb isn’t even predicting anything specific. Just noting signs of inflation and observing that those signs point to “bad”.

                  1. He says inflation is easy to predict, dude. His OP also explicitly predicts inflation, and associated political calamity for Dems.

                    Don’t pretend he’s the one making modest claims when it’s written right above you.

                    1. What he said is not what you pretend he said. But, that is your modus operandi.

                    2. https://reason.com/volokh/2021/07/15/thursday-open-thread-45/#comment-8996328
                      Inflation is actually easy to predict: Too much money chasing too few goods.

                      And I presume you can find his OP.
                      The best thing about the 1970s: The inflation pandemic brought on the 80s.

                      Who thinks spending so much when inflation is 5% is a good idea? Oh wait, Bernie Sanders is in charge. btw, have you seen Venezuelan or Argentinian inflation lately? These are the governments the left praise.

                      Even the normally woke CEOs are crying about the inflation.

                      The 4.x trillion reconciliation package will be the best thing for Republicans since Jimmy Carter.

                      What do you think I got wrong when I *quoted what he said*

  19. Seeking Knowledge –
    I recently turned 65. I am now Medicare eligible and so expected the mail and email about health care plans. What I did not expect was all the solicitations for on-line college courses. I get several everyday. Is this normal for when you turn 65? Are all the college looking to sign you up for tuition?

    Anyone familiar with this scam?

    1. See if you can get Uncle Sam to pay for a playing video games while streaming-for-profit course. Say it falls under vocational training.

    2. Anyone familiar with this scam?

      Why do you assume it is a scam?

  20. Here’s part of the Texas bill that was intended to ban Critical Race Theory:

    …a teacher, administrator, or other employee of a state agency, school district, or open-enrollment charter school may not…require or make part of a course the concept that…an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;

    Does this law have the effect of prohibiting the discussion of current events in school, particularly those surrounding the CRT controversy, or does it merely prohibit courses that affirm the stated proposition? Is it important that it be up for debate in schools whether or not certain races are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive? Would it be appropriate for the state to mandate that schools teach that the stated proposition is false?

    1. “Is it important that it be up for debate in schools whether or not certain races are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive?”

      Hold that debate right after the debates over whether the Holocaust happened and whether the moon landing was fake.

      Teach the controversy!

    2. Oh come now, the specifics hardly matter. There are no courses that teach those things. This bans whatever conservatives want it to ban.

      1. So you say that banning teaching that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, is inherently racist or oppressive, results in banning whatever conservatives want to ban? How does that work, exactly?

        1. Because you don’t actually give a shit about whether it’s true or not?

          1. Let me rephrase – the enactors of this legislation and its supporters don’t actually give a shit whether that is what is being actually taught or not.

        2. swood1000 : So you say that banning teaching that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, is inherently racist or oppressive, results in banning whatever conservatives want to ban? How does that work, exactly?

          Duh. It happens the same way the Right took an arcane university-level tool for social/historical analysis and transmogrified it into an object of mass hysteria, frenzied panic and wild-eyed fear.

          If that can happen – as it has – then Conservatives can certainly use the Texas law with equal impunity. It might take (say) another 5K mentions on Fox News until the rubes are properly programed, but I’m sure they’re both up to the task (programmers & programmees) . Last I heard, Fox was averaging over 100 mentions of CRT a day.

          1. To your point:

            Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️
            @realchrisrufo
            ·
            Mar 15
            We have successfully frozen their brand—”critical race theory”—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.

            https://twitter.com/realchrisrufo/status/1371540368714428416?lang=en

            1. I don’t know why people say liberals have won the culture war. When conservatives can take a concept or idea, twist it into its opposite, then get people to replace the original with the orpposite, then use this as a basis to enact politial change – that’s a powerful iron grip they have on the culture right there.

            2. We have successfully frozen their brand—”critical race theory”—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions.

              I don’t see the relevance of this.

              1. “Conservatives” are defining what CRT is, not the actual proponents of CRT.

                Sort of like saying republicans are fascists, or that deregulation means trampling poor people 100% of the time. It is the opposition defining a term, then trying to force, or at least force the perception that the other side is defending their definition, rather than the original definition of the term.

              2. The post is telling you they are lying to you about what CRT is.

                1. force the perception that the other side is defending their definition, rather than the original definition of the term.

                  The post is telling you they are lying to you about what CRT is.

                  As I see it, Rufo has been representing CRT pretty much as synonymous with the teachings banned by the Texas law. Even if it is true that CRT, correctly understood, is a benign belief system being unjustly slandered, Rufo’s goal has been to get legislatures to ban the specific teachings. Either CRT is associated with the specific teachings or it is not. If it is not, then no harm is done to CRT by banning the teachings. Its defenders can continue with their benign teachings, which will not have been banned, and I denounce the wrongful association of them with the banned teachings and the sullying of their good name.

                  Perhaps the point is that the banned teachings are not actually being taught anywhere. A rule “don’t do X” cannot be of any concern to people who have no intention of doing X. But if they are engaging in conduct that is very similar to X they should have some concerns.

                  1. I completely agree with this. Who cares about the “CRT” brand anyway? It’s a bad brand to start with. Good riddance.

                    What’s funny-sad is how far the leftward the right had to lurch in order to win this pyrrhic victory. Banning a lot of stuff is never a good look, especially for a party that whines so much about “conservative voices being silenced.” The things they banned are gonna catch a lot more right-wing speech than left-wing in the end. No teaching about racial disparities in welfare, that’s for sure! I think the left was given a gift here.

                    1. Funny how you define an explicitly right-wing act as ‘leftward.’

                    2. No teaching about racial disparities in welfare, that’s for sure!

                      The legislation is not intended to ban teaching facts. It is intended to ban teaching that any race is inherently racist or oppressive.

                    3. Oh it’s DEFINITELY intended to ban the teaching of facts.

                    4. Oh it’s DEFINITELY intended to ban the teaching of facts.

                      Could you list some of those facts?

                  2. ‘is a benign belief system’

                    It’s not a belief system. It’s historcal analysis with a particular focus.

                    ‘A rule “don’t do X” cannot be of any concern to people who have no intention of doing X.’

                    But if you’ve already showing a willingness to redefine what people are doing as X, then it doesn’t matter what people are actually doing, so long as they are the target, they will be banned, or threatened with banning.

                    1. When people start attributing negative characteristics to races they should start getting nervous.

                    2. Bit difficult to talk about the history of slavery and racism in America without talking about the role of white people. You can’t be unfamliar with the common conservative response to the idea that white people playing a role in slavery and racism is the same as saying all white people are racist. Ergo, this is pure bad faith bullshit.

          2. It happens the same way the Right took an arcane university-level tool for social/historical analysis and transmogrified it into an object of mass hysteria, frenzied panic and wild-eyed fear.

            You say that the right is demonizing CRT. OK, but if Texas bans teaching that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, is inherently racist or oppressive, are you saying that actually something unrelated to that will be banned? That was what you were commenting on. Could you address it specifically? I don’t see how it is relevant that the right is getting worked up about CRT generally.

            1. Right below this you posted something that isn’t teaching anything about white peoples’ inherent racism and claimed it was.

              See how you did that?

              That’s the issue.

              Pretty cool to be an object lesson that answers your own question.

            2. swood1000 : Could you address it specifically?

              What I said was both obvious & specific, but lets break it down further:

              (1) The Right transformed an esoteric university tool known only by professors and graduate students into country-wide panic and hysteria.

              (2) They did so with crude dishonest propaganda, relentlessly drilled into people by drumbeat repetitions through the Right’s whore media

              (3) They did so with no regard for the truth of what they targeted, or any policy objectives except reaping gain from irrational groundless fear.

              Yet you claim this Texas law will be fairly & thoughtfully applied. It’s application will be judicious – free of partisan contamination. it’s use will be unaffected by the bizarre fever swamp of bullshit that spawned it.

              Are you disingenuous, hopelessly naïve, or just plain stupid? Here’s a further hint from history: Laws written in response to mass insanity rarely leave a positive history over time. That alone suggests your Texas law will be a disaster.

              1. I think you are saying that the prohibitions of the Texas law are not really being taught anywhere and that the concern over its being taught to our children is therefore just a fear of phantoms that don’t exist. You refer to “Laws written in response to mass insanity.” Can you suggest how the particular provision I cited could result in a disaster for Texas?

                1. swood1000 : “a fear of phantoms that don’t exist”

                  From someone peddling the danger of CRT ?!?!?
                  Lord’amercy, but you are a piece of work!

                  1. You are the master of the inscrutable comment.

                2. swood1000 : “a fear of phantoms that don’t exist”

                  My apologies; the above is far too inadequate a response to your wonder of a reply. Instead, let’s do a timely analogy:

                  1. Trump loses. Being a petulant child leading a cult of petulant children, he can’t take responsibility for his loss. He must have excuses.

                  2. So he claims voting fraud. His party is full of toady bootlickers, so they immediately pass “voting integrity” legislation in states across the country. Never mind they’ve spent decades unable to find more voting fraud than can be tallied on fingers & toes. Never mind their “voting fraud commission” proved an embarrassing failure. Never mind they frantically sought evidence of fraud in the most recent election, but their kraken proved an anemic minnow. In a spasm of irrational rage they pass their bills. It helps that they like harassing voters. They’re terrified of people voting.

                  3. Now, being a petulant child, Trump rages against GOP election officials who wouldn’t corrupt their office to serve his ends. Being good zombies, his cult follow suit. Being toadies, the GOP lawmakers of “voting integrity” bills strip election authority from executive officials, handing it over to the state legislatures.

                  4. In 2020, GOP election officials acted with honor and integrity, but that won’t happen again, will it? If any Republican candidate loses – much less Trump – the same cowards who crafted these bills against non-existent “fraud” will launch a dozen Arizona-grade freakshow carnivals long before vote certification. Do you honestly think a Georgia or Arizona state legislature would have had the guts to call out Trump’s lies after the last election?

                  The result will be a humiliating mess, striking at the very core of our nation’s democracy. But that’s what happens when your laws service agitprop lies and premanufactured hysteria. Your CRT bullshit is no different than the voting fraud bullshit. It’s just another con from your huckster conman party. Will the Right ever grow up?

                  1. According to your view what the laws say doesn’t matter because they’re all putty in the hands of malignant politicians. So why the objection to this law?

              2. ” The Right transformed an esoteric university tool known only by professors and graduate students into country-wide panic and hysteria.”

                The Sokal Squared folks wrote a book about how critical theory, including critical race theory, was being used outside of law school.

                From the Wikipeda CRT article: “In addition to law, critical race theory is taught and applied in the fields of education, political science, women’s studies, ethnic studies, communication, sociology, and American studies. A variety of spin-off movements developed that apply critical race theory to specific groups. These include the Latino-critical (LatCrit), queer-critical, and Asian-critical movements. These other groups continued to engage with the main body of critical theory research, over time developing independent priorities and research methods”

                This matches my understanding, I’ve heard about CRT being applied in lots of fields. Where do people get the idea that it’s only taught in law school?

      2. There are no courses that teach those things.

        The Buffalo public schools teach in middle and high school that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism.”

        1. Systemic racism is not inherent racism. (The system may be inherently racist, I suppose, oh wait, so THAT’S what they want to ban!)

          1. Systemic racism is not inherent racism.

            What is being banned is teaching that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”

            When the Buffalo schools teach that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism,” aren’t they teaching that every individual white person, by virtue of his or her race is inherently racist or oppressive? If a certain characteristic exists in all people of a certain race then we are talking about something that is inherent in them by virtue of their race. If a person perpetuates systemic racism then isn’t the person racist and/or oppressive, even if unconsciously? What other explanation would there be for someone who perpetuates systemic racism?

            1. “all white people” = inherent attribute based solely on race

              “perpetuating systemic racism” = oppression

              So, yes, exactly. And it’s why I wholeheartedly support the legislation.

            2. Perpetuating systemic racism requires no intent, and requires no bias, conscious or unconscious. It is, in fact, not an individual act.

              Thus you needn’t be racist the perpetuate it; that is *fundamental* to the concept.

              1. Not sure why you used the word “racism”. The teaching, distilled, is that all white people are inherently oppressive due to their perpetuation of systemic racism. And yes, there’s no reliance on consciousness.

                Beyond that, I have serious problems with the State teaching anyone that Systemic Racism is a fact. I have no issue with High Schoolers discussing the concept of Systemic Racism. But that’s world’s away from stating as a fact that they perpetuate it.

              2. The teaching, distilled, is that all white people are inherently oppressive

                No, the system is oppressive. No individual is doing oppressing. That’s why it’s *systemic*

                In my view, saying white is an error – it’s not just white people who perpetuate our system, warts and all. Got plenty of black bureaucrat coworkers where I work working to reform some aspects of the system, but perpetuating it nonetheless.

                But regardless of accuracy, it is not calling whites inherently racist.

                1. You keep saying “racist”. So I’ll keep pushing back. It’s saying that whites are inherently oppressive. Yes, they’re statement is unnecessarily racialized with the word “white”. But they said it, not me.

                  And again, Systemic Racism isn’t a fact. So even if you remove the racialization of the guilty parties (the general claim is everyone is guilty), you’re stating as a fact that your mere existence is perpetuating Systemic Racism.

                  Do you, Sarcastr0, believe that Systemic Racism should be taught as a fact by the State?

                  1. You are a bigot, MP. That is a large part of the reason your preferences are increasingly disregarded in America. You deserve everything that is coming.

                  2. Was slavery not a system, racist. and a fact? Was Jim Crow not a system, racist and a fact? Should these thing be banned from school curriculums because of that? Effectively, of course, they have been banned! Because teaching about racism in the US offends some white people! Yay!

                    1. What law or proposed law bans teaching about slavery or Jim Crow?

                    2. Not sure how you can teach about slavery or Jim Crow without teaching that white people were uniformly in responsible for, charge of and profiting from them, therefore provoking the conservative response that this is teaching that all white people are opressive and profiting from systemic racism, which means this is attributing characterstics based on race, and therefore must be banned.

                    3. therefore provoking the conservative response

                      It doesn’t matter how people are provoked. This law only applies when children are being taught that a certain race is inherently racist. An accurate description would be that slave owners were uniformly white but some were black, some were native American, and many whites were not slave owners. This does not attribute racism to any particular race.

                  3. What law or proposed law bans teaching about slavery or Jim Crow?

                    Unless by “teaching about” you mean teaching that people of a certain race are inherently racist or oppressive.

                    1. I believe that is the current predominant conservative view on the teaching of the history of racism.

                    2. I believe that is the current predominant conservative view on the teaching of the history of racism.

                      I don’t understand. You think that conservatives believe that teaching that there was racism against Chinese, Italians, Irish, Blacks, native Americans, Catholics and Jews at various times in our history automatically teaches that people of a certain race are inherently racist or oppressive?

                2. But regardless of accuracy, it is not calling whites inherently racist.

                  Racism oppresses people. Any person who plays a part in perpetuating any kind of racism, oppresses people, though his or her actions may be done unconsciously. How can it be claimed that a person who plays a part in racism does not oppress people? If this is true, the teaching that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism” teaches that all white people inherently oppress, perhaps unconsciously.

                  1. So it would be ok to teach that “all people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism?” That seems fine with me.

                  2. I love how you’ve come from, ‘if you don’t teach these things, what do you have to worry about?’ to ‘sorry, teaching about racism is now banned.’

                    1. to ‘sorry, teaching about racism is now banned.’

                      If you believe that all white people are racist, then yes, teaching your view of racism is banned.

                    2. “If you believe that all white people are racist, then yes, teaching your view of racism is banned.”

                      Again, no. If you believe that _only_ white people are racist, it’s banned. If you believe that all white people are racist along with everyone else, it’s fine.

                    3. Again, no. If you believe that _only_ white people are racist, it’s banned. If you believe that all white people are racist along with everyone else, it’s fine.

                      I agree with this. The section I cited prohibits teaching that racism or oppression are inherent attributes of a particular race. It does not prohibit attributing racism or oppression to everyone, regardless of race.

                    4. But that is what conservatives believe is unavoidably part of the teaching of racism.

                    5. But that is what conservatives believe is unavoidably part of the teaching of racism.

                      This is not coherent.

            3. ‘When the Buffalo schools teach that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism,” aren’t they teaching that every individual white person, by virtue of his or her race is inherently racist or oppressive? ‘

              So, with that interpretation, the teaching of historical and present-day systemic racism in the US is, indeed, effectively banned.

              1. I see the nature of your disagreement. You think that it is true that all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racist, and that children should be taught that in school. Well, people are free to teach your views outside the classroom but they will not be taught to the children in the classroom. The problem with your view is that it is a political position that has not been demonstrated to be true (do you have a link to such a demonstration?) and that it teaches children to discriminate against others on the basis of race, which is not a political position that most people hold.

                1. No, I think conservatives claim to think that teaching the history of racism and teaching that all white people are racist are indistinguishable. This is, of course, a bad faith argument. Any attempt to treat these laws as being passed in good faith is faux-naive.

        2. During one all-hands training session, the details of which I have obtained through a whistleblower, Morrell claimed that America “is built on racism” and that all Americans are guilty of “implicit racial bias.” She argued that “America’s sickness” leads some whites to believe that blacks are “not human,” which makes it “easier to shoot someone in the back seven times if you feel like it.” Morrell, who earned her Ed.D. from the University of Buffalo, said that the solution is to “be woke, which is basically critically conscious,” citing a pedagogical concept developed by Marxist theoretician Paolo Freire holding that students must be trained to identify and eventually overthrow their oppressors.

          In middle and high school, schools must teach about “systemic racism,” instructing students that American society was designed for the “impoverishment of people of color and enrichment of white people,” that the United States “created a social system that had racist economic inequality built into its foundation,” and that “the [current] wealth gap is the result of black slavery, which created unjust wealth for white people,” who are “unfairly rich.” Students then learn that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism” and that “often unconsciously, white elites work to perpetuate racism through politics, law, education, and the media.”

          Looks like it teaches everyone has implicit bias, not just whites. And if you think perpetrating systemic racism makes you racist, you don’t understand the concept.

          And if this kind of breathless partisan unsourced reporting is the best you got, you may want to keep trying.

          1. partisan unsourced reporting

            Rufo’s article reporting this was fact-checked by television station WGRZ in Buffalo, which reported that 7th and 8th graders, as a part of a lesson called “Learn to be an Anti-racist,” are assigned to read an essay titled “Definition of Systemic Racism in Sociology,” which was where this statement was made. This lesson is a part of the “Emancipation Curriculum,” the architect of which replied:

            “We give them the research, and we allow them to have the discussion, and then to problematize and question anything they are learning,” she said. “Then we allow our students to make up their own minds about positions that they will take.”

            Maybe we should take her at her word and believe that a lesson titled “Learn to be an Anti-racist” really does present both sides of this issue and that there is other assigned reading in this course arguing that systemic racism is not a reality, and that no such thing is embedded in all the institutions of society giving “an unjust amount of resources, rights, and power to White people while denying them to people of color.” My guess is that this other side is not presented, but rather that this essay is intended to teach the students how to be an Anti-racist.

            1. Do you see how much of a different, more anodyne story you just posted than the one you linked first?

              Requiring actual reporting makes things boring, eh?

              1. My original post was: “The Buffalo public schools teach in middle and high school that ‘all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism.’” The above post explains how they supply the students with required reading saying that all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism. Please explain how the above post is a “different, more anodyne story.”

            2. Well, that’s where things get complicated. Take the low hanging fruit example. Students are assigned to write a book report on White Fragility. Is that what the anti-CRT bills are trying to root out? No. It kinda seems like they are, but they aren’t.

              I don’t much care for how this Emancipation Curriculum is defined. It smells funky to me. But I can’t argue for banning it…at least on the surface. The problem is when these materials move from theory to fact. There’s a huge difference between “this is what Systemic Racism is” and “the US is Systemically Racist”.

    3. Texas is also saying teachers cannot

      require or make part of a course the concept
      that:

      (x) with respect to their relationship to
      American values, slavery and racism are anything other than
      deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the
      authentic founding principles of the United States, which include
      liberty and equality;

      Nor may a teacher:

      require an understanding of The 1619 Project.

      Open-minded as hell.

      This is the same state that recently cancelled an appearance at a State History Museum of an author who wrote a book challenging the accepted view of the Alamo.

      Cancel culture?

      1. States get to set the K-12 curriculum, and this is a perfectly reasonable choice. A good one, even.

        1. But it’s a lie. Racism was explicit in the original Constitution. Does that mean it’s illegal to teach the Constitution in Texas?

          How could you teach the Constitution without running afoul of “racism being anything other than a deviation from … the founding principles of the United States?”

          1. “Racism was explicit in the original Constitution.”

            No it wasn’t.

            1. Ignorant right-wing racists are among my favorite culture war casualties.

              Mostly because they make it so easy for better people to continue to win the culture war in America.

            2. So the fugitive slave clause, 3/5 compromise, etc. were . . . what exactly, if not racist?

              1. “So the fugitive slave clause, 3/5 compromise, etc. were . . . what exactly, if not racist?”

                The fugitive slave clause applied equally to white indentured servants. And how is it racist to count slaves differently for purposes of representation? Do you think slaves were meaningfully represented?

                The Constitution tolerated slavery. It didn’t even use the word. But eventually the southern states abandoned the constitution because they believed that it would be used to abolish slavery.

                1. Literally systemic racism.

            3. “No it wasn’t.” Hahaha if this was by anyone but tiny pianist, it would be the joke post of the day.

              (The joke being, in Texas classrooms, this is how the discussion is now legally mandated to go. Simple flat denials of fact.)

              1. Perhaps you would like school children to be taught that the revolutionary war was fought, and the country was founded, in order to preserve slavery, since the British were going to abolish it. Therefore the founding principles of the United States were disreputable and shameful. But major historians in the field, including James McPherson, Gordon Wood, Victoria Bynum, and James Oakes disagree with that assessment, so this particular political ideology is not going to be taught to the students, at least in Texas.

          2. Anyone with even a basic understanding of history would know that the founders were by and large hostile the interests of blacks and natives, and that these values were reflected in the original constitution. To teach otherwise is indoctrination, not education.

            1. It sounds like your brain has been addled by the 1619 propaganda. The founders, like everybody else, had a broad range of views.

              The K-12 curriculum is government speech, and Texas has a right to teach students its own, correct, opinion.

              1. Really? Please tell us which founder wrote that blacks and natives were equal to whites, legally or otherwise. They certainly had a “broad range of views,” but they were men of their time. A very very racist time.

      2. That’s not what “cancel culture” is.

        Cancel culture is when someone says something socially undesirable, and then the resulting social backlash and ostracism is designed to destroy them and their life. IE, someone in the 1980s says “I support gay rights”…and as a result they’re fired from their job, and cut off from future job prospects.

        Controlling the school curriculum isn’t that. Many things that are perfectly acceptable to say, aren’t allowed to be taught. Public schools can’t teach, for example, that Jesus is the messiah (in general, there may be very specific exceptions). Others have limits on teaching divine creation.

        It’s not that you can’t say these things as an individual. It’s not that you can’t teach your own children these things. It’s that they have been deemed to not be proper for the school curriculum. Which is very different.

    4. In Illinois they’re teaching that Whiteness is a deal with the devil.

      1. According to the complaint filed against the Evanston/Skokie School District (the superintendent of which declared: “If you’re not antiracist, we can’t have you in front of our students”):

        8. In the so-called antiracist programming, District 65 requires its teachers:

        a. To accept that white individuals are “loud, authoritative . . . [and] controlling.”
        b. To understand, “To be less white is to be less racially oppressive.”
        c. To acknowledge that “White identity is inherently racist[.]”
        d. To denounce “white privilege.”
        e. To participate in exercises with individuals of only the same color called “affinity groups”—that is, to racially segregate themselves.
        f. To participate in so-called “privilege walks,” a group exercise whereby teachers standing in a line separate from each other in response to the prompt, “[b]ecause of my race or color . . . .”
        . . . .
        11. For example, District 65’s curriculum for Pre-K through eighth grade students teaches:

        a. “Whiteness is a bad deal. It always was.”
        b. “Racism is a white person’s problem and we are all caught up in it.”
        c. Students should consider what it means “to be white but not be a part of ‘whiteness[.]’”
        d. “White people have a very, very serious problem and they should start thinking about what they should do about it.”
        e. “In the same way that the systems and the government are controlled by White people and racism being a result of it, so is it with men controlling systems and government and messages about women being dumb, weak, and inferior being a result.”
        f. “It [is] important to disrupt the Western nuclear family dynamics as the best/proper way to have a family[.]”
        g. “Racial injustice” means “an act/occurrence motivated by anti-blackness or racism.”
        h. “White people play a big role in the problems of racism today and throughout world history.”
        i. To “treat everybody equally” is a colorblind message, and “color blindness helps racism.”
        j. “[B]urying the truth . . . is something many White people do to ignore racism.”
        k. “Because of the overt and subliminal messages about Black people being bad, ugly, and inferior to White people, Black people feel pressure to assimilate, or throw away their culture in order to become more like White people in the hopes to be more accepted by society.”
        l. Students should sign a pledge to be anti-racist.
        m. Students should gather in affinity groups segregated by skin color.
        n. Students should participate in privilege walks.
        o. White students should understand “white privilege, internalized dominance, [and] microaggressions.”

    5. Is it important that it be up for debate in schools whether or not certain races are inherently racist, sexist or oppressive?

      Nobody has addressed this question.

      1. Should students in grade and high schools be taught that this question is open for debate because no definitive answer to it has been reached?
      2. Should they be allowed to debate it and then told that society has reached a definitive answer? What would that answer be?
  21. From the American Booksellers Association:

    “An anti-trans book was included in our July mailing to members. This is a serious, violent incident that goes against ABA’s ends policies, values, and everything we believe and support. It is inexcusable.

    We apologize to our trans members and to the trans community for this terrible incident and the pain we caused them. We also apologize to the LGBTQIA+ community at large, and to our bookselling community.

    Apologies are not enough. We’ve begun addressing this today and are committed to engaging in the critical dialogue needed to inform concrete steps to address the harm we caused. Those steps will be shared in the next three weeks.”

    1. I prefer freedom of speech, but I certainly understand the reaction once cancel power shifted away from the group that’s held it for thousands of years.

      1. Scotty: Sir, [the Klingons] are dying!

        Kirk: Then let them die!

      2. I’m not sure anybody’s claimed that selling books is an act of violence before.

  22. The highest expense is always payroll.

  23. https://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2021/07/cleveland-fed-key-measures-show.html?m=1

    Pay no attention to the increase in Core CPI. The fact that the supply chain, esp homes and autos is bottlenecked is irrelevant. Spend more trillions now!

    signed,
    Bernie for President
    aka The NRCC 2022 election committee
    brought to you by the Cuba is the most equal bi racial place in the Carribean Committee.

    1. Not a Bernie fan.

      I can also quote blogs! https://jabberwocking.com/theres-still-no-real-sign-of-inflation-in-the-future/

      Other measures of inflation expectations, based on daily movements of Treasury rates, showed almost no movement today after the latest inflation figures were announced. Whatever the pundits are saying, the market doesn’t seem to think today’s figures meant much of anything at all. The 5/5 forward rate, for example, has been rising all year but dropped slightly today from 2.38% to 2.36%.
      Temporary price increases are not worrisome, especially if limited to some sectors.

      Or maybe they’re the harbingers of big inflation – we aren’t yet good at modeling enough to know!

      1. “Yellen on CNBC: “I think we will have several more months of rapid inflation.”

        No biggie, prices always go back down.

        1. Months of inflation? Yeah, because you compare each month to a year ago.

          Don’t pretend the OP was talking about a few months of inflation.

          Though BTW I also think Yellen’s predictions aren’t backed up by much. Economics is a really difficult science; we don’t have the models yet.

    2. A good place to look for serious future inflation, as I’m sure you know, is the bond market – Treasuries in particular.

      What is it telling you?

      1. Except that the Fed is buying and selling long Treasuries to lower rates or flatten the curve.

        Over two years (since 2019), autos are up more than 40% and home prices more than 20%. Two years, which is a big leap over pre-pandemic prices.

        Autos and homes/rent are a significant portion of household budgets.

        The most informed argument, which no one here made, is not “inflation does not exist” its that the Fed will raise rates sooner than expected, causing a recession, to tamp it out. Bond yields could also be low because they expect the Fed to be aggressive.

        If that does happen, the 4.x trillion spending will look even dumber. Then people will blame a run-up in prices, deficits, and the recession on Biden, just in time for 2024.

        1. Another prediction concerning “2024: The Clinger Revival” is noted.

  24. If national elections ceased and there was no more Congress, could the federal government in Washington D.C. continue operating pretty much exactly as it does now?

    I think so. Congress, national elections, and what people consume on cable television news, is like an elaborate reality TV show. Its function is one of entertainment and promoting a false perception among the people that they have political power.

    1. It could, of course, continue operating the same. But it wouldn’t. The incentive structure would change dramatically without elections. (Some say for the better, but they’re fascists.) Corruption would creep in, followed by authoritarianism.

      (I agree with you that the TV show aspect of politics is problematic, but I don’t think the answer is to eliminate politics. But I don’t know what the answer is. I used to think that a national crisis would bring us together, but COVID came and things got worse! Politicized masks, what a joke! So yeah, things are dire.)

      1. “Corruption would creep in, followed by authoritarianism.”

        My gosh, wouldn’t that be horrible! *reviews 200 years of history* Um, sir, I have some bad news . . .

        Kidding aside, I believe the nature of the problem becomes obvious. Nobody is happy with Congress (see their approval ratings), and nobody gets the government they want, except for those people for whom its exactly like rooting for a certain color sports team. The reason for this is that you can’t really have self-government on too large of a scale.

        Suppose we set up a world government. Whoever gets the most votes is now the world President. Who would like this? Almost no real people would. Cultures and communities are local and diverse, each has a (slightly or majorly) different set of values and needs. There is no “one size fits all.”

        The idea of a “one size fits all” solution in human politics and government is an authoritarian idea. It’s like an obsession with “unity.” Sure, unity sounds nice. But it entails conformity of thought and action. Ponder for a moment- what do you mean by unity, and why do we need it or want it?

        I think unity sounds nice because precisely because it implies the lack of so much conflict. People want that. But that is more particularly called peace, not unity. In the state of human nature, a semblance of peace is achieved through tolerance, rather than unity.

        Forced unity is the opposite of tolerance. A truly voluntary unity could be different, but that’s venturing far from the realm of grounded history and into pie in the sky philosophy.

        Yet there does seem to be a natural human desire for unity. Dwelling on this a bit more, it seems related to the desire for truth, and the sense that truth exists. The truth, if it exists, is righteous and moral. Adherence to righteous and moral truth seems to be what unity consists of.

        But unfortunately, there always seems to be fundamental problems with mankind’s claims to righteousness and attempts to unify people under common authority. They’re always corrupt and tainted with hypocrisy, not to mention extremely bloody and violent. Government itself is the monopoly of the legitimate use of force and violence. Nothing more, nothing less. An obsession with unity in the political context of government is probably the essence of authoritarianism.

    2. If voting doesn’t matter, why are so many Republicans trying to take it away?

      And to say Congress’ function is vestigial is extremely ignorant of how administrative agencies operate. Yearly appropriations.

    3. “I think so. Congress, national elections, and what people consume on cable television news, is like an elaborate reality TV show. Its function is one of entertainment and promoting a false perception among the people that they have political power.”

      Then apparently that’s all you see/know about Congress because in there’s a real world where real work is being accomplished.

  25. If the Biden admin is “consulting” with Facebook to censor posts, how is that not a direct First amendment problem?

    1. In terms of actions, Alex, that we have taken — or we’re working to take, I should say — from the federal government: We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office. We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical professionals to connect — to connect medical experts with popular — with popular — who are popular with their audiences with — with accurate information and boost trusted content. So we’re helping get trusted content out there.

      Providing info to Facebook is not authoritarian; they are not forcing Facebook to act, nor is Facebook acting as an agent of the government.

      1. I do have a real problem with this statement, “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. . . with accurate information and boost trusted content”

        That’s coming REAL close to content discrimination.

        I’m 100% on Facebook’s side as far their actions so this isn’t about Facebook.

        And yes, the govt can have its message and publish it widely.

        But when there’s a formal process to identify and flag “disinformation” – OUCH.

        I can’t get on board with that.

        1. You agree the government can publish their own speech. Here, that government speech is a comment about someone else’s speech.
          Are you suggesting

          1. The government shouldn’t comment on other people’s speech, or
          2. The government can comment but only if their comments don’t depend on the content of the other speech, or
          3. The government can comment but only if they do it haphazardly without internal policies and organization
          1. The government in not commenting, they are flagging posts for deletion based on viewpoints they disagree with, which is the definition of censorship.

            1. You take Facebook for an agent of the government when they very much are not.

              1. They are probably getting pretty close. All of the big tech companies hand over ALL of their data to the government, who uses it to track and kill people, among whatever other purposes they have.

                Now the government is becoming more and more involved in the censorship decisions on those platforms, as well as determining the counter-speech that is pushed in response to the wrongthink.

          2. None of the above as I’m not addressing “comments.”

            What I’m saying is it looks like the govt is going in the wrong direction towards creating a “formal process” where it gets to pick and choose what is the Truth and what is Disinformation.

            It’s the “process” part that I disagree with.

            A President/agency can say I disagree with (person) because (reason), and it wasn’t a (constitutional) problem when Trump yelled “Fake Media!”

            But we can’t have a govt agency making an official decision about what is the Truth and what is Disinformation.

            Because – as we all know – then it’s a slippery slope into criminalizing Disinformation.

            1. If as you seem to suggest Facebook and the government have an under-the-table agreement where Facebook has ceded control over information suppression then I’d agree there is a problem.
              What was reported though sounds more like the government is evaluating medical claims on Facebook and telling Facebook whether they think they are true or not, maybe using the same content flagging tools available to anyone. That would just be “comments”, and protected.
              As for your objection to them using a formal process I don’t see how that would affect its constitutionality. It’s reliability for sure, I certainly prefer fact checkers who take the job seriously and put effort and organization into it over someone who constantly shoots from the hip.

      2. Providing info to Facebook is not authoritarian; they are not forcing Facebook to act, nor is Facebook acting as an agent of the government.

        Nice store you’ve got there.

        1. You think the government is *extorting* Facebook?

          1. The loud screaming hysteria for the last 5-6 years can’t really be any more explicit. They’ve been calling for forcing tech companies to censor and remove any speech they consider to be “misleading” or “dangerous,” the term “fake news” originated from this, not to mention cutting the speakers off from banking, hosting and other services.

            Now, I’m not sure Facebook is particularly worried, or being extorted by this. Rather, they likely see that it’s likely profitable and convenient to work hand in hand with the government. Crony capitalism is very lucrative for the cronies.

    2. Providing info to Facebook is not authoritarian; they are not forcing Facebook to act, nor is Facebook acting as an agent of the government.

      Because the government always asks nicely. “Can i see ID,” “What’s in your pocket,” “Where were you going at 2am,”

      I am sure it was just a suggestion, totally. Because the .gov can’t bring a metric shit ton of pressure through the FTC, DOJ…

      I mean how naive are people on this blog?

      1. All the things you talked about are explicitly Constitutional and have been for decades.

        Unless you think we’ve been living in an authoritarian hell since like the 1980s, you may be overstating your case.

        Until the government does bring that pressure, all you’ve got is melodrama searching for a crisis.

      2. “I mean how naive are people on this blog?”

        Sarcastro is a special case. Very very special.

      3. Facebook seems happy to oblige, as is their choice. This would be a more interesting case if Facebook were resisting.

        In general, it creeps me out to see businesses working hand-in-hand with the government. “If you see something, say something” creeps me out in the same way. But my healthy distrust of government doesn’t mean that it’s somehow wrong to cooperate with the government if you want to.

  26. As a matter of pure science, who has offered the best evidence regarding CoViD-19: Lil’ Fauci or Lil’ Wayne? And what was the cost per speaking engagement?

    Really — I want to see evidence that could be admitted in any court, what? ohkayy?

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