Morning Report: Home Prices within 1% of peak 11/28/16

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2206.0 -58.0
Eurostoxx Index 340.9 -1.6
Oil (WTI) 47.0 0.9
US dollar index 91.7 -0.1
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.33%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 103
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 104
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.14

Investors return to the markets after the Thanksgiving holiday contemplating a re-litigation of the 2016 Presidential election. Bonds and MBS are up.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein is requesting a recount in PA, MI, and WI. Donald Trump took to Twitter to condemn the effort and alleged that “millions” of votes were fraudulent. The Clinton campaign is keeping its distance but will watch to make sure outside players aren’t interfering with the process. If she manages to turn all 3 states, then she could win. One question that has come up has been whether Russia could have hacked the voting machines. That possibility looks unlikely.

Since the election, bank stocks have increased their market caps by $300 billion. The bet is that a roll-back of regulation will increase profits.

The highlight of the week will be the jobs report on Friday. The Street is looking for 170k jobs added, an unemployment rate of 4.9% and an increase in average hourly earnings of 0.2%.

The FOMC minutes from the early November meeting were a non-event, and the FOMC is definitely setting the stage for a December hike: “Most participants expressed a view that it could well become appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate relatively soon, so long as incoming data provided some further evidence of continued progress toward the Committee’s objectives.” In fact, a “few” participants wanted a hike at the November meeting. The December FOMC meeting is in two weeks.

The FHFA raised the conforming limit from 417k to $424k. This was the first increase in 10 years. They also increased the high balance conforming limit to $636k.

Home Prices rose 0.1% in September and are up 5.4% YOY. Home prices are now within a percent of their peaks from June 2006.

Black Friday saw more shoppers, but less spending than in the past. About 154 million bought something in a store or online over the weekend, but they only spent about $289 as opposed to $300 a year ago. The National Retail Federation attributed the drop in spending to deep discounts offered by retailers. Black Friday online purchases were up 22% YOY.

250 Responses

  1. Frist

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    • Sheesh. You gonna bust my chops here, too?

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      • With that picture? How could I?

        Liked by 1 person

        • It worked! …

          But puppies always work!

          Liked by 1 person

        • I do find the Bannon apologia maddening, though.

          I don’t blame you, individually, but all of you guys here have participated in it.

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        • I love Bannon! I make no apologies for him, I laud him!

          Do you believe he is a Nazi and/or White Supremacist or has sympathies towards them?

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        • Mich:

          I do find the Bannon apologia maddening, though.

          What exactly do you find objectionable about Bannon? I have genuinely tried to find the substance behind the standard media narrative of him as a “white nationalist”, but have been unable to find any.

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        • *facepalm*

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        • I’ve just asked what evidence there was that Bannon was a white supremacist (which, for the record, I consider different than being a racist). I don’t personally consider it apologia, but sometimes that’s in the eye of the beholder.

          Beyond that, the Julia Jones stuff strikes me a singularly odd, because, whether or not it makes me a bad person, I don’t have an emotional investment in Bannon being or not being a racist, or having said or done racist things. Thus, the tone and nature of the revelations strikes me as difficult to digest as pure news (by which I mean, she was giving an interview where it just occurred to her to say these things, and then also qualify them with Bannon not being a racist and using the fringes of the alt-right to build political power).

          It strikes me as odd. It does not mean I think it is an intentional manipulation of the media, but it means I have not completely ruled that out as a possibility, whether or not Bannon did or did not say those specific things.

          That being said, I’m about done taking quotes from people referring to events that occurred months or years ago as remotely accurate. Given the recent innovations in video and audio fakery (videos can now be made of people saying things that they never said, with their lips and expressions all matching, and it will be very difficult for the non-professional to be able to distinguish) I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to trust audio or video clips.

          Which is all not say that I think Bannon is a great guy, or not a racist. I don’t actually know. He may merely be too tolerant of racists or neo-Nazis (this is also bad, to be clear) or he might be a virulent racist smart enough to keep it concealed when audio or video is actually running. Or I may just not have personally encountered the undeniable smoking gun yet.

          I just have a strong suspicion that even with the latest revelations, the media and the liberals are being played. It is loose enough, and unverified enough, and weird enough that it doesn’t quite sound right yet fits the opposition narrative well enough to get broad play. I may just be too paranoid.

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        • KW:

          He may merely be too tolerant of racists…

          You mean kind of like Obama’s tolerance of Reverend Wright?

          Liked by 1 person

        • “I do find the Bannon apologia maddening, though.

          I don’t blame you, individually, but all of you guys here have participated in it. ”

          And I still think you are wrong, but I also think it’s a waste of time to discuss it.

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        • Scott, Michi finds this quote from the NYT piece this morning to be the definitive statement on the issue:

          “Ms. Jones, the film colleague, said that in their years working together, Mr. Bannon occasionally talked about the genetic superiority of some people and once mused about the desirability of limiting the vote to property owners.

          “I said, ‘That would exclude a lot of African-Americans,’” Ms. Jones recalled. “He said, ‘Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.’ I said, ‘But what about Wendy?’” referring to Mr. Bannon’s executive assistant. “He said, ‘She’s different. She’s family.’””

          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/27/us/politics/steve-bannon-white-house.html

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        • Doesn’t the fact that he hired a black person as an executive assistant run counter to the narrative being pushed?

          (BTW, I think that limiting the vote to tax payers is desirable. Does that make me a detestable person?)

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        • Apologia. All of it.

          But, hey! The Clinton Foundation accepted donations!!

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        • @scottc1: “You mean kind of like Obama’s tolerance of Reverend Wright?”

          Obama may have been too tolerant of guys who thought America deserved 9/11. Although I was never convinced Obama went to Wright’s church more than a handful of times. Based on observable Obama behavior and speeches, etc. (the same standard I would use for Bannon) there are a lot of “mays”, but I saw no evidence that Obama felt or believes that 9/11 was deserved justice for America’s sins.

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        • And you are wrong, jnc. I’ve thought he’s a racist for much longer than that.

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        • Mich:

          I’ve thought he’s a racist for much longer than that.

          Why?

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        • “Apologia. All of it.”

          I don’t feel like I know enough about Bannon, ultimately, to act as either serious critic or apologist. I’ve seen hearsay evidence that would indicate he is a racist, and no direct evidence that he’s a white supremacist, but some that he might cynically make use of fringe groups to achieve political power, which is morally objectionable for its own reasons.

          I may be mistaken on any or all of these conclusions. More data, which I will likely encounter over time, will better inform me.

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  2. Here we go:

    “I’m not going to predict a future Kanye West presidency. But if you think it is unlikely, you don’t understand the power of talent stacks.”

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/153775344216/the-trump-talent-stack

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  3. If the democrats want a recount, I want an examination of all the paper ballots in Madison, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Philly to weed out illegal votes.

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    • Trump should demand recounts in every state where Hillary’s margin of victory was 70k or less. Equality.

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    • The recount is just political grifting from Stein. Hence why her call for donations keeps going as each threshold is reached.

      Using politics as a scam to make money isn’t just limited to the right any more (not that it ever really was, but they did do an impressive job of it). Congrats progressives.

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      • I will again assert that this is the new normal. Each side will attack the other for doing it, but nothing will actually stop them anymore. So they will continue to do it.

        Each time a threshold is reached, donations ostensibly meant for one thing, at one amount, will be extended. The message will be: “If you want to beat [politician you don’t like], then we need more money!”

        It’s a great cash grab exercise, and everyone will be doing it.

        http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/11/jill-stein-now-says-money-raised-recount-may-go-elsewhere/

        Before you donate to Green Party candidate Jill Stein‘s effort to demand a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, you may want to read the fine print on her website. So far, she has raised $4.8 million, but take a look at this little clause at the end of donation form:

        We cannot guarantee a recount will happen in any of these states we are targeting. We can only pledge we will demand recounts in those states.

        If we raise more than what’s needed, the surplus will also go toward election integrity efforts and to promote voting system reform.

        And interestingly, as more donations started pouring in over the holiday, Stein moved her total fundraising goal to $7 million.

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      • Another theory I heard is that the goal is to delay Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan from certifying before 12/13 which would result in Trump being under 260 EV’s, thereby throwing it to the House. They’ll elect him of course but it allegedly would further delegitimize him.

        I say “allegedly” because I don’t see how the left could make Trump’s Presidency any less legitimate than “Bush, selected not elected”

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, please

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      • It’s just as much of a joke as a recount due to “Russian hacking” is.

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        • I find all of the recount calls foolish. But the Democrats have a better basis than Trump does.

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        • My brother in law is convinced Putin hacked the election in order to rebuild the Iron Curtain.

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        • “I find all of the recount calls foolish. But the Democrats have a better basis than Trump does.”

          Without a doubt. My argument is, from a pure strategy position, it would be smart for Trump to call for recounts in states with similar margins of victory for Clinton, and then self-fund it and make a point of that. It would all be branding and misdirection, but that’s apparently how it’s done these days.

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      • having seen how things are handled in the East Village (the voting machine is “broken” here, take this sheet of copier paper and write your vote on it and we’ll stick it in this box for you, says the volunteer worker with a Hillary button.”)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I expect that, like the protests, most measurable voter fraud takes place in areas where there is no chance in hell that candidate would lose, anyway. I.e., pro-Republican fraud takes place in areas where the Republicans will inevitably win, anyway, and most pro-Democrat fraud takes place in solidly blue states. For a national office, such as the presidency, none of it is enough to make a difference. Might help with the popular vote, but . . .

          It is my opinion that Trump’s tweets about Hillary’s 2 million vote popular vote victory is entirely him playing the media. And they just go along like they’re on his payroll. It’s really something to see.

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        • I don’t believe that for one instant. Sorry.

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        • Hillary Senate race 2000

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        • Replying to an earlier comment of yours – total recount is required to support a certification by a SoS of a state and there is no time for that under the Constitution.
          Your recount of paper ballots as well is not “optional” to change a result.

          Technically, if an electronic ballot has been tampered with it will be impossible to tell whether the voter changed her mind or Putin’s hackers did. The evidence on the whole may be overwhelming but no individual vote could be redetermined. Or so it seems to me.

          Thus there is no thought of overturning the result. As JNC suggested, other motives might include “delegitimizing” DJT, or perhaps Stein trying to raise money, or perhaps Stein replying to her supporters that she Naderized the election.

          But the only usefulness that can come from this is either showing tampering or none, and either showing foreign or domestic tampering, if any.

          FBI has said Russia tried to screw with online registration. So there is life in the Russian story.

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        • Mark:

          But the only usefulness that can come from this is either showing tampering or none, and either showing foreign or domestic tampering, if any.

          How would a recount show the existence of foreign tampering with electronic ballots?

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        • I don’t know, but I have read that computer experts can “read” the “fingerprints” of certain known hackers, especially from China, Russia, UK, and Israel. Repeat offenders, I guess.

          I’ll bet Kev actually knows something about the technical aspect.

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        • Social proof makes me prone to believe anything a Brent or Michigoose tells me was their personal experience, based on the fact I have no reason to doubt their assessments of their personal experience.

          Based on my experience in a wide range of bureaucracies, I find Brent’s story entirely credible. Whether it’s evidence of intentional fraud rather than simple incompetence, I don’t know. Based on experience, my guess would be incompetence.

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        • I know and like Brent. I’m still calling BS on that story.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I believe Brent. But I don’t take the East Village observation as typical or representative of voting conditions for the entire country.

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        • @markinaustin: “I don’t know, but I have read that computer experts can “read” the “fingerprints” of certain known hackers, especially from China, Russia, UK, and Israel. Repeat offenders, I guess.”

          This depends on the nature of the hack. If the hack is a trojan horse or leaves a resident bot that can be isolated and the code examined, then you *may* see fingerprints. If there is software in a hacked device that “phones home” and you can catch it phoning home (which you can do by monitoring the network, if you know to do it) then you can definitely get a good idea of the likely culprit (assuming they aren’t calling home through onion routing or some other way of masking the ultimate destination). However, say the Russian’s have a solid hack that we have determined with a great degree of accuracy is actually a Russian hack. Well, once we disassemble that software, we have that same hack. If the hack is an exploit, once the exploit goes public, everybody has it. So it’s a lot more difficult to say this is really a given countries fingerprints than you might think. Well-constructed hacks can be completely invisible, and only leaks and detective work that looks at capability, motivation, and opportunity can determine the source (such as the hack that ended up infecting all the uranium centrifuges in Iran, although I think someone found a copy of the package that didn’t deploy on a laptop, as well).

          But when it comes to state actors, our ability to determine is not strong. Our willingness to disclose what we know very small. So, the government may confirm that Sony was hacked by North Korea but this may not, in fact, be true, and there’s a good possibility the government knows it’s not true, but chooses to share a narrative that acts as cover, or lays blame on someone they want to be guilty, anyway.

          But the biggest problem with state actors is Russia is filled with hackers for hire, and organized crime with no direct affiliation to the Russian state (that is, Putin is not giving them their marching orders, they are independent business people). Assuming there are “Russian” fingerprints on certain hacks. So anything with Russian fingerprints could just as easily be a contract worker for another group or state actor.

          And some things, like Podesta’s email, are social engineering. Not computer “hacks” at all. And can be done anywhere, by anyone in the world, but generally tend to be done best by native language speakers. Given that sometimes they involve phone calls, email exchanges, and making extremely believable phishing pages with credible URLs.

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        • mark/KW:

          I don’t doubt there are ways to discover a hack that corrupted the voting process. I am just doubtful that a recount is one of those ways.

          Mark suggested that the only usefulness that could come out of the recount effort would be if it showed some kind of foreign or domestic tampering. I don’t understand how a mere recount could do this, especially with electronic ballots. For example, if a Russian hack had managed to transform every other electronic vote for Hillary into a vote for Trump, that might be discoverable if one went looking for evidence of it. But if it wasn’t discovered on the first counting, why would it suddenly be discovered on a recount?

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        • @scottc1: Discovering a hack would be an entirely different process than recounting. You are correct, a recount alone will not reveal a hack, but forensic analysis of voting machines might . . . but that would be a great deal of work to investigate something that is highly unlikely. And, if discovered, is unlikely to be Russian. Not because Russians wouldn’t do such a think or didn’t want Trump to be president, but because of level of time, investment, and high-risk involved. For example, you’d need people deployed in a variety of manufacturers of voting machines, or in polling places or their storage areas, and it would not be a good idea if those people had heavy Slavic accents. Melania can only have so many cousins.

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  4. If electronic ballots were tampered with that will not change the election results, for reasons both technical and legal.

    But it would be good to know for two reasons – no tampering found would be calming, but Russian tampering found would profoundly change how we vote in the future. No internet access to ballots and no internet early voting, for a start. Further, it might restart the Cold War.

    Repeated local tampering in one direction I find too improbable to address.

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    • “No internet access to ballots and no internet early voting, for a start. ”

      Is there such a thing now?

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      • I’m not sure that this is what Mark means, but I downloaded and filled out my ballot online, then printed it and mailed it in. I wouldn’t consider that “internet voting”

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        • Neither would I. The definition given in the linked article seems to fit it though:

          “Thirty-two states have some form of electronic transmission of ballots over the Internet, compared with no states with online voting in 2000. In Alaska, for example, all voters can submit an absentee elections ballot online from computers in their own homes.”

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      • Yup, and there will be more. And it’s more secure than you might think. As secure as sending a ballot through the mail or early voting, really. And it can be made more secure over time.

        I don’t know how these systems work, but I could easily conceive of something secure with multi factor authentication that covers anybody with a fixed address and a drivers license or utility bill.

        What’s more, any electronic voting is just as vulnerable to hacking as online voting. So voting machines are just as hackable as online voting. In some ways, they are more hackable, as there are potentially more points of failure.

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        • Kev, I agree that machines can be hacked, but to hack off line machines in three states would take a massive and unbelievable conspiracy.

          I do not believe that internet voting can be made safe from the next hacker, if she has the resources of a nation behind her.

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        • “So voting machines are just as hackable as online voting.”

          Not if they aren’t connected to the Internet.

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        • @markinaustin: “I do not believe that internet voting can be made safe from the next hacker, if she has the resources of a nation behind her.”

          Confidence could be the big killer of online voting. But it could be reasonably safe, with multi-factor identification. If you can then later verify in some neutral way that the ballot you submitted reflects your vote (this would be difficult, but not impossible, such as creating a hash or taking a screenshot that is saved in your cookies, and then verifying against the contents on the computer recording the voting results) … but there should be a way for the voter to verify their ballot without making it possible for anyone to login and see your votes.

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    • I still find it funny that the left explains the difference between the machine versus paper ballot voting as Putin hacking the voting machines (therefore lifting Trump) and not the much more plausible (and technologically achievable possibility) of Hillary surrogates stuffing the ballot box with bogus votes..

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      • Possibly because ballot stuffing is completely improbable?

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        • perhaps

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        • Ballot stuffing is a lot easier to do than Russians hacking voting machine. Or anyone hacking voting machines. More likely than either scenario is the voting machines glitching. But to hack most voting machines you will have operatives on the ground in key positions, probably someone with proprietary knowledge of the software and hardware and security used on the voting machines, but access to them in storage or at the polling places. This is doable to some degree, because of the multiple points of failure available.

          However, it becomes more difficult still to make a significant different in the results (stuffing ballots or hacking machines) and not overshoot—either have an unusually large number of people voting this time that did not last time, or more people voting in a district than are registered, or more voters registered than are possible with the adult population of the district. Rigging the election successfully is an extremely non-trivial task. I believe it’s impossible at the national level (although in cases like this, there are enough close states where it’s theoretically possible).

          Stuffing ballot boxes is as easier solution that requires no technical skills, but is more likely to potentially make a difference at the local and district level than state or national levels.

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  5. The case for Bannon’s racism:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/stephen-bannon-facebook-group-racist-material-obama-death-threats

    http://www.snopes.com/2016/11/14/steve-bannon-accused-of-having-white-supremacist-views/

    Ben Shapiro (very conservative NeverTrumper) says he’s not a racist, he’s just vindictive and hostile to anyone who gets in his way:

    http://www.dailywire.com/news/10770/3-thoughts-steve-bannon-white-house-chief-ben-shapiro

    Here’s how Media Matters tries to construct the case. The argument is basically that Brietbart’s inflammatory and offensive headlines prove Bannon’s racism, anti-Semitism, and misogyny. And if you accept your yardstick, then it’s inarguably true. I find it difficult to concur with their metrics:

    https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/11/13/white-nationalist-who-hates-jews-will-be-trumps-right-hand-man-white-house/214419

    Straight from the horses mouth:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/steve-bannon-on-politics-as-war-1479513161

    I gotta say. I’m getting mixed messages.

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    • Why not just accept what none of you want to. The GOP candidate, who is now the president elect, has a racist as his top advisor. You were all so eager to embrace the fact that Jeremiah Wright was a close, personal friend of Mr Obama.

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      • Certainly Huffpo has published feminist articles that could be interpreted as misandrist.

        Does that make Arianna a misandrist by extension?

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      • Mich:

        Why not just accept what none of you want to.

        For one reason, you seem reluctant to explain why you accept it.

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      • Michigoose: “You were all so eager to embrace the fact that Jeremiah Wright was a close, personal friend of Mr Obama.”

        I was not. I did not see the evidence for that then, and don’t see it now. Also, I tend to be suspicious of “reportage” that tries too hard to craft a narrative, and that’s what I saw from the conservative press regarding Jeremiah Wright. As I recall, Obama repudiated Wright’s more inflammatory statement.s

        As noted before, the only other person here who regards Obama as positively as I do is Mark. I’m not saying that Bannon isn’t a racist, I just happen to think being a racist, or a Neo-Nazi, is a non-trivial thing. I’d like to see an unbroken chain of evidence that indicates that conclusively that, beyond hearsay and questionable acquaintances that he’s a racist guy.

        But, assuming he’s no doubt a 100% racist, do we think that’s going to mean actively racist policies coming from the Trump admin? Racist executive orders? Or just the typical “getting government out of people’s way” stuff that always hits women and minorities the hardest?

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      • I’ve read Bannon’s own statements and a variety of pieces on him. I don’t buy the “racist” argument.

        I also don’t concede their definition (and authority to define) of racism.

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      • Is Jeremiah Wright a racist?

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        • Honestly, I’m not sure. I recall hearing a lot of clips of things he said that suggested he was not a big fan of white people. But I’d want to go back and review before I said he was truly racist or anti-American. Although my recollection is that both labels could probably be accurately applied.

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  6. You guys are all arguing awfully hard that something didn’t happen (voter fraud) that I agree with. All to avoid admitting that the Republican nominee has a racist as his top advisor.

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    • All right, jeeze, I admit it. He’s totally a racist. Just look at him:

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    • “All to avoid admitting that the Republican nominee has a racist as his top advisor.”

      You can call him a racist all day long. The word has been stripped of meaning from overuse.

      This is worth remembering though:

      “You Are Still Crying Wolf
      Posted on November 16, 2016
      by Scott Alexander

      Stop crying wolf. God forbid, one day we might have somebody who doesn’t give speeches about how diversity makes this country great and how he wants to fight for minorities, who doesn’t pose holding a rainbow flag and state that he proudly supports transgender people, who doesn’t outperform his party among minority voters, who wasn’t the leader of the Salute to Israel Parade, and who doesn’t offer minorities major cabinet positions. And we won’t be able to call that guy an “openly white supremacist Nazi homophobe”, because we already wasted all those terms this year.”

      http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/11/16/you-are-still-crying-wolf/

      Liked by 1 person

      • To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never accused someone of racism before (if I have, I have no doubt that Scott will dredge it up).

        This administration is going to roll back civil rights.

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        • “This administration is going to roll back civil rights.”

          I sure hope not. What makes you say that? Is there specific legislation being floated or under consideration? What civil rights will be rolled back, do you think?

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        • Mich:

          This administration is going to roll back civil rights.

          Which currently existing civil rights do you think will no longer exist in 4/8 years?

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        • BTW, Mich….does it bother you at all that a single person, the president, might be in a position to “roll back civil rights”? Do you think maybe the constitution had a good idea in making a representative congress rather than the single person of the president the law making body of the nation? Do you think perhaps it was a bad idea for the constitution to be so twisted over time as to vest so much power in the least representative/democratic institutions in the nation, the executive and the judicial branch?

          You and I don’t agree on much, but perhaps we can agree that a President Trump ought not have the power to unilaterally make or void laws, or that the people a President Trump might appoint to the Supreme Court ought not have the power to impose their politics on the nation at large. And if we agree on that much, perhaps we can also agree that, if a President Trump ought not have that power, neither should a President Obama. And if we can agree on that, perhaps we can go further and agree, especially in the wake of an election in which a person such as Donald Trump can get elected president, that the best way of avoiding all of the nefarious outcomes that you are so concerned about is to return to the federalist system that the Constitution was originally written to preserve, and devolve power to individual states, so that a guy like DJT cannot pose such grave danger to the entire nation.

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        • Given that the anachronistic leftover of the vaunted federalist system known as the electoral college gave us Trump, no

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        • Mich:

          Given that the anachronistic leftover of the vaunted federalist system known as the electoral college gave us Trump, no

          So just to clarify, even though Trump is now the president and you think he is going to “roll back civil rights”, you still think it is a good idea to vest the kind of powers in the presidency that would allow a single person to do such thing?

          BTW, I remain sincerely curious about which currently existing civil rights you expect to be rolled back by the time Trump leaves office.

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        • “Given that the anachronistic leftover of the vaunted federalist system known as the electoral college gave us Trump, no”

          Blame Biden! He voted to keep it in 1979. And so did most of the Republicans and Southern Democrats. But Biden’s “small state” concern hasn’t gone away, ultimately, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever get enough states to go along with ending the electoral college for it to actually happen.

          http://library.cqpress.com/cqalmanac/document.php?id=cqal79-1183818

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        • Mich:

          To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never accused someone of racism before (if I have, I have no doubt that Scott will dredge it up).

          I hate to disappoint.

          And I have to say, one of the biggest surprises that I got during my trip to MI was when my (extremely racist and right-leaning) Dad told me he’d voted for Obama…

          https://all-things-in-moderation.com/2012/01/21/pieces-bits-saturday-morning-ramblings/#comment-14207

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        • @scottc1: “I hate to disappoint.”

          You’re a baaaad puddy tat.

          That being said, I am impressed, dude. You’ve got mad skillz.

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        • KW:

          You’ve got mad skillz.

          It was more luck than skillz. A search for the term “racist” results in 33 pages of comments to work through, which is a lot of work, but I knew there was one epic “racist” thread from a long time ago (remember mcurtis?), and figured if anything did exist, it probably existed there, so I went straight to that one. And I lucked out.

          Liked by 1 person

        • You both remembered the thread to pick and picked it. That’s skillz, bro. Unless you are saying it’s lucky that you have skillz.

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        • So sorry, but he was a racist.

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    • Why should the accusation bother anybody? Name a R POTUS that has not been labeled a racist?

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  7. I also find it hilarious that, even though none of you voted for him (to the best of my knowledge) you’ve all turned into Trump defenders. Just because.

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    • No, because the attacks from progressives are so unhinged and lacking in a factual basis.

      But you are right in that it has made me more sympathetic to Trump (or more precisely, despise progressives more than I dislike Trump).

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      • And Obama was the end of civilization.

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        • Clearly that’s why I voted for him in 2009.

          Promise Broken!

          Like

        • Yeah, I knew you were going to throw that in my face. That hasn’t stopped you from blaming him for everything since 2010 or so.

          Like

        • @jnc4p: You voted for HRC too, didn’t you?

          I voted for McCain, but Tennessee was going to go McCain, anyway. Thus why I have voted libertarian since. Just a vote for the concept of 3rd parties. Also, I didn’t like Romney. Could not vote for Trump, my political-scientific curiosity about a Trump presidency not withstanding.

          Like

        • “That hasn’t stopped you from blaming him for everything since 2010 or so.”

          Correct. I wrote him off around June of 2009. But I don’t blame him for everything. Merely for the results of his own policies.

          And yes I voted for HRC because I judged Trump to be too big of a risk, both as president and in terms of likelihood of winning.

          Like

        • You can blame Mr Obama for your retirement benefits, as well.

          Like

        • @jnc4p: “Correct. I wrote him off around June of 2009. ”

          Why did you write him off? One of the reasons I voted for McCain because I was concerned both by his dismissal of the Joe the Plumber situation and his assertion (previously) that the constitution was flawed because it did not contain positive rights, but rather limited what the government could do to its citizens, but did not dictate what the government must do for its citizens.

          As it turns out, I didn’t like the ACA but compared to No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and the Iraq war, Obama comes out looking pretty good. And I voted for Dubya twice.

          Like

        • “Why did you write him off?”

          His first budget showed that his campaign promise to go through federal spending and remove what wasn’t working was a joke, he basically caved to the Democrats in Congress regarding the earmarks and then the stimulus bill, and his decision to oppose bankruptcy cramdown of mortgage debt so as to support “pretend and extend” as a method addressing the financial crisis.

          Like

    • Mich:

      I also find it hilarious that, even though none of you voted for him (to the best of my knowledge) you’ve all turned into Trump defenders. Just because.

      Seeking the truth is not the same as defending Trump. For the ends-justifies-the-means left, it may seem perfectly reasonable that, once one has decided that a person is objectionable for one reason, it is then acceptable to accuse that person with any and all objectionable acts, in an effort to smear him. But for those of us who reject such an ends-justifies-the-means mentality, just because someone works for a person we find objectionable does mean we should believe all accusations against him, not does it make him fair game for false accusations.

      (BTW, I’ll bet that you don’t really find it “hilarious” at all.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • No. It’s not hilarious. It’s appalling.

        Like

        • I feel like I’m trying to argue about accuracy, perspective, and the problems we all suffer with things like confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance. I would not want to be friends with Trump unless there was money in it for me. I would not want to be in business with Trump because history suggests there would be no money in it for me.

          … But, I want to be optimistic. I would have been optimistic had HRC won, and want to be optimistic that Trump won. In this case, the optimism consists of hoping that, for the most part, he intuitively or accidentally does good or at least not-awful things. But hope springs eternal.

          Like

    • I did not vote for Trump. I am not a Trump defender. I don’t know if I’d vote for him for re-election, but I do know the MSM and a whole lot of liberals really want me to.

      I think criticism should be fact-based and bear some remote relationship with reality. I also find the confidence of people who, with a great deal of certitude, predicted a Hillary victory are now predicting the direction of the Trump administration is ill-considered. I don’t think this something anybody can do with much certainty—and certainly they don’t have the track-record.

      I also predicted an HRC victory, and, as usual, my predictive abilities were way off track. This does not give me a lot of confidence to predict how a Trump admin is going to go, or how its going to govern.

      I also don’t think Trump is the coming of the apocalypse or the end of the world. So, when people argue that he is, I will probably dispute that assessment. I actually did the same thing with Obama, and will again, I’m sure.

      That being said, if you are concerned then I am concerned, and will attempt to be more vigilant in looking for confirming evidence that Bannon is what you say and that I’m not being naive. I am often naive.

      Also, to be clear, I think Trump is an awful person and would never in a million years go into business with him. I’m pretty sure, on the whole, I’d rather have had HRC as president.

      But I also believe that he’s operating, intuitively, on a whole other level, something that many people fail to grasp and that I can barely grasp, and I find that fascinating. Might end up being awful, and he will get ousted in four years, and that’s that. But it might not end up being awful.

      And, I admit, some things that people hate about Trump are things that I do like. Yes, I like some things about Trump, even though, on the whole, I find him an awful person. I like some things about Hillary, too.

      Vanity Fair on Trump’s promising breaking (which I predicted, and was right about, and I gotta admit I kind of like it):

      http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/donald-trump-new-york-times-interview-broken-promises

      I also admit to a lot of curiosity about a Trump presidency, given we have never had a president like him before. Not even close, I don’t believe.

      I find the lack of curiosity from the side of the aisle that used to bemoan George W. Bush’s “lack of curiosity” and has even said the same of Trump a little irksome. Jeeze, I know you (royal you; a large cross-section of liberals and the MSM) think he’s a dooshbag, and he is, but still: isn’t at least intriguing that someone so different from everyone who has come before has become president of the United States? Can this unprecedented event meaning something other (or more) than just a confirmation that half-the-country is a bunch of racist-sexist-bigot-homophobes?

      Like

      • No. I’m sure that the U.S. will survive, but a whole lot of people are going to be hurt in the meantime. This is not an abstract experiment to me.

        Like

        • I’m hoping that a whole lot of people don’t get hurt. I hope things actually improve. I think maybe the central point is that I believe that is possible, while I gather that you don’t.

          In this case, I totally hope I’m right about it. But humanity’s ability to predict the future is notoriously bad.

          Like

        • I find it impossible to believe that a man, and the party backing him, wanting to go back to 1950 will do anything good.

          That’s why I say you guys are awash in identity politics, and you don’t even realize it. You’ll be fine.

          Like

        • Just to pre Wickard v Filburn

          Like

        • McWing:

          Just to pre Wickard v Filburn

          By progressive logic, this makes you in favor of lynchings.

          McWing wants to return to pre-1942 SCOTUS precedent, which means you want to roll back Brown V Board of Ed, which means you are in favor or segregation, which means you hate blacks, which means you want them lynched.

          This, it seems, is how Bannon gets labelled a white nationalist.

          Like

        • Milo is exactly right on that point:

          “I’d prefer we had no identity politics at all and that we judged people, as someone once said, not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. But if you’re going to have identity politics, you have to have them for everybody.

          You might not like the result.”

          But to the extent that you view believing in limited government and the various philosophical arguments that are the basis for the Constitution and before that the Enlightenment as a function of identity, then you’ve just conceded the entire argument of the Alt-Right.

          Like

        • maybe it’s time they learned that, at its core, government is a weapon.

          Like

        • Eh, don’t worry. You’ll be fine.

          Like

        • “wanting to go back to 1950”

          I don’t think they really want go back to 1950.

          They might like a manufacturing base like 1950 (amplified to match today’s standards) but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Brent kind of covered why the 1950s was a good period for America economically and is not duplicable in the present day, by either the left or the right.

          “That’s why I say you guys are awash in identity politics, and you don’t even realize it. You’ll be fine.”

          I’m just not sure how many people are going to be explicitly hurt by a Trump admin, in reality, that aren’t kind of doing it to themselves based on fear of the unknown. But you may be right. Possible that I’m just not seeing it because of my own blind spots (it’s always good to keep in mind that we all have them! I could well be Bernard on Westworld asking: “What door?”)

          Still, given the grimness and, if accurate, difficult to avoid future you anticipate, I kind of feel obligated to really, really hope you are wrong.

          Like

        • probably. unless the left gets power. then its me up against the wall.

          Liked by 1 person

        • @jnc4p: “then you’ve just conceded the entire argument of the Alt-Right.”

          Eh, I feel like the Alt-Right as a term has already been poisoned (or hijacked). It’s getting too many appendices. “It means a belief in limited government . . . and purity of European blood!”

          Like

        • No, it’s buying into this definition of them:

          “Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity”

          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/gist/2016/11/ben_shapiro_on_steve_bannon_the_alt_right_and_why_the_left_needs_to_turn.html

          If it’s all a function of identity, then that’s exactly what has been conceded.

          Like

  8. I think I said this already, but what really gets me is that YOU GUYS ARE DEFENDING THIS BUFFOON.

    I know you don’t like liberals, but seriously?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is he more buffoonish than Obama or HRC?

      Like

      • Is that even a question? He’s totally more buffoonish than either. By wide, wide margins. Yuuuuugely.

        The only more buffoonish candidate I’m aware of in this election cycle was Vermin Supreme. But, by comparison, I kind of liked Vermin.

        Like

        • I just don’t see that.

          Like

        • I suppose it’s a subjective but I don’t think it’s even remotely a contest. Trump wins again, hands down!

          Like

        • What actions of his do you find buffoonish?

          Like

        • KW:

          Is that even a question? He’s totally more buffoonish than either.

          Buffoon is not a word I would automatically associate with Obama, although I think he has said and done several buffoonish things. But I don’t see how HRC deserves the term any less than does Trump.

          Like

        • @Scottc1: “But I don’t see how HRC deserves the term any less than does Trump.”

          Like I say, I suppose it’s subjective, but I think Trump wins that one by a mile. Style, vocabulary, choice of words, what he says, the degree of self-contradiction, denying he said what he just said, repetitiveness . . . the hair.

          For me, personally, he totally wins the buffoon contest. Hillary had lots of issues, I don’t deny, but I don’t think unmitigated buffoonery was one of them.

          Like

        • “What actions of his do you find buffoonish?”

          Lock her up. Claiming before the election that he was going to dispute the results (who does that?). Claiming not to know who David Duke was (after having previously denounced David Duke . . . is his memory that bad? Or does he pay that little attention?) His off-the-cuff speeches where he rambles far off topic to the point that even enthusiastic supporters are confused.

          One example:

          http://www.vox.com/2016/7/25/12278744/donald-trump-virginia-speech-off-script

          Another:

          http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/trump-third-debate-230073

          “So I just want to tell you she wants open borders. Now we can talk about Putin,” Trump digressed. It was a public demonstration of a flaw already familiar to his senior aides: his refusal to let any slight pass by unanswered. “I don’t know Putin. He said nice things about me. If we got along well, that would be good.”

          “Putin from everything I see has no respect for this person,” Trump said as he pointed at Clinton.

          “Well, that’s because he would rather have a puppet as president of the United States,” she snapped back.

          “No puppet. No puppet. You’re the puppet. No, you’re the puppet,” Trump catcalled back as she took charge, laying out the case of Russia’s cyberattacks that Trump had encouraged.

          He reached down for a drink of water. He glared again. He readjusted his microphone again. The topic was now Putin. The words “open borders” would not be uttered again all night.

          Instead, Wallace would push Trump to condemn Russian interference in American elections. “Of course, I condemn, of course,” Trump said. He went off on another long Putin tangent. “I never met Putin. This is not my best friend.”

          Another example:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-win-primaries_us_56e02ce2e4b0860f99d742e4

          Also the time he bragged about the size of his penis at a debate.

          There’s more.

          But there I go again, defending Trump.

          Like

        • KW:

          Claiming before the election that he was going to dispute the results

          Did he actually say that? I thought he was asked about whether he would accept the results, and he demurred, saying that he would have to assess the situation at the time. Which doesn’t sound particularly buffoonish to me.

          Like

        • Scott, he did demur, the promised to accept the election results, if he won. He promised to contest “questionable” election results. He also refused to say he would accept election results during the debate, which Hillary called “horrifying” (betting she wish she hadn’t said that now).

          And, frankly, I think Trump would be in a better position now if he hadn’t gone off (repeatedly) on how the election was rigged in a way that corresponded so well with his mild decline in the polls:

          http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/donald-trump-rigged-election-guide-230302

          Like

      • Troll is just trolling

        Like

    • I’m not defending Trump. I don’t think he needs my defense, frankly, he’s got Twitter.

      I’m not all in on Bannon being an unreconstructed racist, but I’m open to it. I just want more substantial evidence. I’m very dubious of hearsay or guilt by association (i.e., the strategy taken up so enthusiastically regarding Obama and Bill Ayers).

      There may be some disconnect regarding everybody’s relative definition of what constitutes “defending” somebody.

      Like

      • Sure you are. You’re trying to make him normal. “Well, you know, he’s got this guy advising him, but the guy has never said ‘n****r’ [as far as we know], and he’s assaulted women [but none of them were brave enough to press charges, because they might get fired], and the liberals are all hyperventilating [but they always do], so it’s all good. Let’s just pretend he’s OK.”

        I’m not playing that game.

        Like

        • Heard eat eats puppies too.

          Wait, that was Obama.

          Like

        • I haven’t said any of those things, I don’t think. Can you find somewhere where I said any of that’s stuff? Things I’ve said recently: “Trump is a buffoon” and “Trump is clearly awful” and “Trump is an awful person”.

          Something I’ll add now is that, from all appearances, mildly-racist or super-racist, Steve Bannon sounds like a huge dooshbag.

          At what point will I not be trying to normalize Bannon (or Trump, for that matter)? I think Trump is anything but normal. I think he is unique in American electoral history. I don’t think we’ve ever had a president like him.

          Where else do I have to go to (a) not be defending him and (b) not be trying to normalize him?

          Also–Jeeze, the n-word? WTF?

          Like

        • Why wont you sufficiently emote?

          Like

        • Sorry, edited out the original use of the “n” word. I know it’s a enthusiastic conversation in a largely private (but publicly visible) forum but . . . I just think it’s a bad idea to let it stand, even though the intention is clearly to be critical of the use of the word. Will take the hit if other members want to nail me for being too prissy. Or overly sensitive.

          Like

        • Mich:

          I’m not playing that game.

          No, you are playing an entirely different one.

          Like

    • Scott at least had the guts to renounce the Republican party.

      Like

    • Mich:

      I think I said this already, but what really gets me is that YOU GUYS ARE DEFENDING THIS BUFFOON.

      What do you construe as being “defending” Trump? Is a refusal to accept on faith that Bannon is a racist considered to be “defending” Trump?

      What really gets me is that you call Bannon a racist, but you can’t cite anything he has said or done that makes you think he is.

      You also claim to be worried about Trump rolling back “civil rights”, but you can’t name any specific right that you expect him to roll back. That gets me too.

      Like

    • “YOU GUYS ARE DEFENDING THIS BUFFOON.”

      More like rejecting the bad arguments being made about him.

      I suspect that our reasons for disliking Trump have zero to do with progressive reasons for disliking him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jnc:

        I suspect that our reasons for disliking Trump have zero to do with progressive reasons for disliking him.

        Very true. In fact, ironically enough, some of the reasons I have for disliking Trump are actually the same reasons I have for disliking progressives.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No; you guys are defending him. Sometimes it’s a feeble attempt, but you are always defending him.

        Like

        • Which I think goes back to the part where I said we don’t agree on the meaning of the word “defend”, which makes it difficult to make progress in the conversation.

          I neither think nor feel that I’m defending Trump. But again, could be that I’m not seeing my own behaviors objectively.

          Like

        • If you aren’t calling him a racist & misogynist in every post, then you are defending him.

          Saying that some of Trump’s tactics may work is defending him.

          Like

    • well, i can’t think of a single policy of his that i support. outside of the tax cut.
      but i also don’t buy the spin that he’s some sort of monster. mainly because it’s progressives making the case. these same progressives tripping over themselves to praise Castro, who, unlike Trump, actually has a body count to his name and did all the things that Trump is going to do.

      I also appreciate that politics is tribal. and the progressive left hate—utterly despises—my family in western PA. and even though i don’t have much in common with them, i also know they are the only group (less than college, middle to low income with funny accents) that it’s socially acceptable to disdain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. Again, that Castro gets a pass for active persecution (like, prison camps and executions) of homosexuals amazes me. A little oppression and execution of dissidents is forgivable in pursuit of a socialist utopia, but arresting homosexual for being gay?

        Like

  9. This is hilarious:

    “”The first edition [of The World Is Flat] came out in 2005. I wrote an updated 2.0 edition in 2006 and a 3.0 edition in 2007. And then I stopped, thinking I had built a pretty solid framework that could last me as a columnist for a while.

    “I was very wrong! It turned out 2007 was a really bad year to stop thinking!”

    It was! And so Friedman’s decision to stop thinking in 2007 formed the basis for a chapter in his new book that is, no kidding, entitled, “What the Hell Happened in 2007?” “

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/official-thomas-friedman-make-a-meaningless-graph-contest-w452465

    Like

  10. BTW…haven’t had a thread with this comment count in years.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. @scottc1: “BTW…haven’t had a thread with this comment count in years.”

    Because Michigoose proved herself (unsurprisingly) more valorous than me, and continued the conversation here when I bailed on Plum Line. I was detecting hostility possibly directed at me and I’m very sensitive, so I vamoosed.

    Like

  12. Low thread counts are in part what happens when everybody falls in the center of the Venn diagram. When you get people outside the crossover bubble on an issue, you get more enthusiastic conversations.

    Like

  13. Also, QB abandoned us for good. So it’s his fault as well.

    Like

  14. On the strange journeys of language:

    The “thagomizer”, a referenced to the collection of spiky plates on the end of the tails of certain dinosaurs, came from a Far Side cartoon.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/watch-out-for-that-thagomizer-98891562/

    Like

  15. I’m cynical about the media, and even I’m surprised at this one:

    “The ‘Washington Post’ ‘Blacklist’ Story Is Shameful and Disgusting
    The capital’s paper of record crashes legacy media on an iceberg
    By Matt Taibbi

    Last week, a technology reporter for the Washington Post named Craig Timberg ran an incredible story. It has no analog that I can think of in modern times. Headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” the piece promotes the work of a shadowy group that smears some 200 alternative news outlets as either knowing or unwitting agents of a foreign power, including popular sites like Truthdig and Naked Capitalism.

    The thrust of Timberg’s astonishingly lazy report is that a Russian intelligence operation of some kind was behind the publication of a “hurricane” of false news reports during the election season, in particular stories harmful to Hillary Clinton. The piece referenced those 200 websites as “routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.”

    The piece relied on what it claimed were “two teams of independent researchers,” but the citing of a report by the longtime anticommunist Foreign Policy Research Institute was really window dressing.

    The meat of the story relied on a report by unnamed analysts from a single mysterious “organization” called PropOrNot – we don’t know if it’s one person or, as it claims, over 30 – a “group” that seems to have been in existence for just a few months.”

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/washington-post-blacklist-story-is-shameful-disgusting-w452543

    Like

    • WaPo is just on it’s journey from being a wannabe New York Times to a wannabe Huffington Post to something more Vox/Slate like, until it finally ends up at is ultimate destination: The Daily Kos.

      Like

    • “Awww, wook at all the angwy Putinists, trying to change the subject – they’re so vewwy angwy!!” it wrote on Saturday.
      “Fascists. Straight up muthafuckin’ fascists. That’s what we’re up against,” it wrote last Tuesday, two days before Timberg’s report.

      That’s the reputable collection of technology, government and military experts that the WaPo used as the sole source for their article.

      Like

    • And now it’s in the PBS NewsHour.

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/russian-propaganda-effort-behind-flood-fake-news-preceded-election/

      Race to the bottom on credibility. What happens when the report about fake news sites comes from a fake research group? Is that the ultimate example of trolling the MSM?

      Like

      • More evidence that despite reporting on “fake news”, they don’t understand—at all—what’s going on or what it means. Which means they also don’t understand how bad it’s about to get. Which is very bad.

        http://www.sciencealert.com/adobe-s-new-photoshop-for-voice-app-lets-you-put-words-in-people-s-mouths

        http://www.graphics.stanford.edu/~niessner/thies2016face.html

        Like

      • Literally, the clock is ticking until the day a dozen major outlets pick up and play a video stream of a politician saying something outrageous—probably Trump—that they never said. Then Trump’s team will start tweeting a deconstruction of the video against the original video, and what was originally said, explaining how such videos are faked (probably) and . . . where does the MSM go from there? It will have become obviously what it’s already well on the way to becoming: a purveyor of fake news.

        Clicks and ratings and deadlines and inadequate resources will be blamed.

        Like

      • The Intercept goes into more detail with the debunking:

        https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/

        Edit: This is spot on as to why the media lack credibility

        “As is so often the case, journalists — who constantly demand transparency from everyone else — refuse to provide even the most basic levels for themselves. When subjected to scrutiny, they reflexively adopt the language of the most secrecy-happy national security agencies: We do not comment on what we do.”

        Like

        • WHO EXACTLY IS behind PropOrNot, where it gets its funding, and whether or not it is tied to any governments is a complete mystery. The Intercept also sent inquiries to the Post’s Craig Timberg asking these questions, and asking whether he thinks it is fair to label left-wing news sites like Truthout “Russian propaganda outlets.” Timberg replied: “I’m sorry, I can’t comment about stories I’ve written for the Post.”

          And the media wonders why the public doesn’t like them and doesn’t trust them.

          just as was true in the 1950s when stories of how the Russians were poisoning the U.S. water supply or infiltrating American institutions were commonplace.

          The Intercept omits here that the Russian’s did have plans to poison water supplies (unexecuted) and that they were infiltrating, often through the American Communist Party, American institutions, especially the government but also defense contractors, etc.

          Admittedly, the likelihood of that being true at present is a lot smaller.

          Like

    • By any means necessary…

      Like

  16. Also, I think Taibbi is confusing a growing awareness (thanks to obvious examples like this) with something that is completely new:

    Yet the Post thought otherwise, and its report was uncritically picked up by other outlets like USA Today and the Daily Beast. The “Russians did it” story was greedily devoured by a growing segment of blue-state America that is beginning to fall victim to the same conspiracist tendencies that became epidemic on the political right in the last few years.

    It isn’t just the last few years. And I’ve loved the recent narrative spin about how “fake news” purveyors “tried” to make fake liberal stories but liberals were “too smart” to take the bait.

    All I gotta say to that is: my Facebook feed says otherwise.

    Also, this:

    A lot of reporters over the summer were so scared by the prospect of a Trump presidency that they talked – in some cases publicly – about abandoning traditional ideas about journalistic “distance” from politicians, in favor of open advocacy for the Clinton campaign. “Trump is testing the norms of objectivity in journalism,” is how The Times put it.

    He goes on to say what a devil’s bargain that is, but doesn’t mention the most obvious thing: there is no reason for the media to think becoming open advocates for a candidate will help that candidate. Only in their deluded self-importance would they believe that openly advocating for HRC would actually improve her electoral chances.

    Like

  17. You guys sure love an echo chamber. I poke you, and let you pound on me, and you wonder what QB would think.

    *snort*

    Like

    • Goose, seriously, if you thought I was pounding on you (in a bad way) I apologize. There’s gotta be a way to disagree without verbally punching each other. But it seems very difficult. But if I was in any way rude or inconsiderate, I apologize profusely.

      I am always interested in what you think and I should have said it earlier, and it’s been a long time since I’ve said it: I’m really glad you participated, and I know it’s become an echo chamber (I don’t like that part, and I pointed out that it was your participation that led to it being such a fecund discussion today).

      But yeah (don’t hit me!) I would like QB to stop by now and again. Especially post Trump. I’m guessing he supported and voted for Trump but I don’t know for sure and would like to find out what his take is.

      But I always wonder what you would think. And when you don’t stop by, I don’t know. And that makes me sad.

      BTW, I hope you have a wonderful evening! And thanks for coming by. Hope this discussion hasn’t put you off forever. That is how discussion groups become echo chambers, after all!

      Like

      • I’m fine. We’re fine. But, yes, this site became an echo chamber long ago.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know. Was not the goal but I have observed this happen on more than one occasion now. Unless there is some outside compulsion to attract a broad range of thought, eventually one strain becomes dominant and the others don’t see the point in bothering.

          Eventually there are contentious issues, personal offense happens, or someone flips out (I recall flipping out very early on in the process, actually) and the self-deportation begins.

          Which is disappointing but I don’t know a good way to keep it from happening.

          Like

        • You didn’t need to attract a broad range of thought; you needed to not alienate the people who were here already. I can’t count the number of times I (and other women, specifically) said that.

          Like

        • As opposed to PL?

          Like

        • You know, I’m pretty sure that I’ve mocked PL too. That doesn’t make this any less of a rightwing echo chamber.

          Like

        • Less spam here though.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Should we agree with you?

      Like

    • Mich:

      You guys sure love an echo chamber.

      It’s hard to understand how anyone familiar with this place, or even just observing today’s thread, could possibly conclude such a thing. Anyone who wanted an echo chamber would have either ignored you entirely or harassed you with insults to make you go away.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The only reason that it wasn’t an echo chamber today was me. And I’m used to your harassment.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No one here voted for Trump but it’s an echo chamber?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Mich:

          The only reason that it wasn’t an echo chamber today was me.

          You think our apparently shared opinion that there doesn’t seem to be any substance to the “racist” narrative about Bannon defines the totality of opinion here? Like I said no one who pays any attention to what we say here can reasonably claim this is an echo chamber, much less that we prefer an echo chamber.

          It seems to me that those on the left who abandoned ATiM for the more ideologically friendly climes of PL are far more susceptible to the charge of preferring an echo chamber than those of us still here.

          And I’m used to your harassment.

          I am genuinely curious what you considered to be harassment today.

          Like

        • At some point, labeling all Republicans as The Most Racist Ever ceases to have any meaning regardless of one’s political orientation.

          Like

        • McWing:

          At some point, labeling all Republicans as The Most Racist Ever ceases to have any meaning regardless of one’s political orientation.

          I agree.

          Like

    • Clearly. That’s why I post on PL and read Jacobin.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Scott, I think Roger Cohen gets at what you didn’t like about Obama’s statement on Castro:

    “I admire President Obama’s restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba that took him to Havana earlier this year to meet with Fidel’s brother, President Raul Castro, who took over in 2006. Frozen U.S.-Cuban relations had become an anachronism. I deplore, however, Obama’s feeble statement on Fidel’s death. It is not enough for an American president to say, “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure.” There has been plenty of history in Castro’s Cuba since 1959, much of it deplorable.

    Obama’s reluctance to stand firmly for the idea of liberty and lead the free world against autocracy, as well as his tendency to assume a regretful or skeptical tone about the exercise of American power, has angered many Americans. It explains some of Donald Trump’s support; it has made the world more dangerous. Declining to allude to Fidel’s predations is of a piece with this Obama doctrine.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/28/opinion/fidel-in-all-his-facets.html

    Like

  19. No one here voted for Trump but it’s an echo chamber?

    Your hatred of liberals is universal, so yeah. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    Like

    • I have no illusions. I consider myself as a Liberal.

      Like

      • We have 2 people who voted for HRC, 3 people who voted for Johnson, one person who voted for a dead guy, and one person whose vote is unknown. But because we don’t all buy into the narrative that a Trump aide is a racist, this is an echo chamber and that’s the way we want it.

        Mark and I routinely butt heads over issues relating to the Constitution and the Supreme Court. But this is an echo chamber, and that is the way we want it.

        Kevin and I routinely go at it over whether political tactics used by he left are driven by their ideology or by human nature. But this is an echo chamber, and that is the way we want it.

        jnc and I totally disagree over the degree to which financial institutions should be regulated. He routinely praises Taibbi columns, while I routinely trash them. But this is an echo chamber, and that is the way we want it.

        Even McWing and I have had an extended disagreements over the meaning and nature of morality, and whether or not the state should regulate abortion. But this is an echo chamber, and that is the way we want it.

        Someone totally unfamiliar with the term “echo chamber” could be forgiven for concluding, after today’s thread and the accusations that followed it, that the term “echo chamber” means nothing more that “not blindly agreeing with the latest progressive narrative.” Which is kind of ironic, if you think about it.

        Like

        • Mark and I routinely butt heads over issues relating to the Constitution and the Supreme Court. But this is an echo chamber, and that is the way we want it.

          Constantly.

          Kevin and I routinely go at it over whether political tactics used by he left are driven by their ideology or by human nature. But this is an echo chamber, and that is the way we want it.

          Indeed. But I think it’s the matter of degree. If you mapped our disagreements on a spectrum, our positions rarely veer into taking the generally accepted liberal Democrat view on things. I also have spent a lot of energy attacking Trump, and I know you don’t like him, but we are “defending Trump” . . . because we’re not all in on the narrative being given to us, ultimately, by pundits, politicians, and folks in the press with clear challenges regarding their objectivity and lack of bias. But then it seems clear to me that it is clear and obviously true to Michigoose that Bannon is an unreconstructed racist and anything that begins to normalize him is a way to normalize (or at least risks normalizing) racism, misogyny and and anti-Semitism generally.

          Put another way: there is some reason that we don’t see ourselves as defending Trump and she sees us a obviously, clearly, without a doubt, doing nothing but defending Trump. And it’s not because (a) we are defending Trump and don’t know it or (b) she is intentionally missing that, obfuscating, or whatever other negative or non-good-faith reason you could come up with. Clearly, she (and we) see the situation in entirely different ways, and I think everybody involved in this disagreement is smart, thoughtful, reasonable, capable of objectivity, informed, well-meaning, etc. I wish there was an easy way to harness that for real cross-communication . . . but clearly, there is no easy way.

          If I had more time, I would argue this is also human nature, and a built-in problem with communication between political of ideological tribes. In a lot of ways, we’re speaking a different language, so what we are saying is not what they are hearing, and vice-versa. There’s a translation problem, but it’s hard to get anybody to agree there is a translation problem because it *sounds* like we’re speaking the same language. But that’s an extended tangent.

          Like

        • I’m fascinated by the rock solid faith in the racist/misogynist/anitsemite/homophobe narrative. Complete, unquestioning acceptance based on, as far as I can tell, innuendo.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I think it has something to do with (a) it’s a Republican administration that has promised to roll back much of Obama’s policies, and it’s a Republican administration, and Bannon was in charge of Brietbart, a site they hate, and so on and so forth. That right there is evidence. (b) People for whom evidence is an impediment have been writing blog posts, making comments as pundits, creating memes and so on that support a narrative where Bannon is a white supremacist, America’s top white nationalist (I didn’t know there was such a position), a proven anti-Semite, and so on. If so many people that you like or feel a kinship with are saying it, it becomes a closed loop of proof. We say he’s a racist because they said he’s a racist, and they say he’s a racist because we say he’s a racist. (c) It doesn’t have to be technically true to be morally true. He won’t support Affirmative Action, he won’t support enforced diversity, he won’t support any item on the laundry list of racial grievances that conservatives have historically not supported. He may say he’s doing it from some conservative principle, but it’s really racism. Ergo: he’s a racist. (d) He’s white. (e) Ends justify the means. Whatever it takes to hobble a Trump administration, to get Bannon out of power, to avenge Hillary . . . sometimes to make a progressive omelet you have to break a few eggs. (f) emotionally dominant thinking, the same kind that gives us birthers, 9/11 truthers, Obama-is-the-antichrist, Dubya is Hitler (no, seriously, he is!), yada yada.

          It is emotionally true because of course it is. The facts on the ground just get in the way.

          Like

        • KW:

          Clearly, she (and we) see the situation in entirely different ways…

          What situation, exactly? Neither you nor I was taking a firm stand on whether or not Bannon is a racist. I for one was simply trying to investigate what led to her certainty that he is.

          …and I think everybody involved in this disagreement is smart, thoughtful, reasonable, capable of objectivity, informed, well-meaning, etc.

          Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that, at any given time or in any given discussion, everyone involved is being smart, thoughtful, reasonable, objective, informed, or well-meaning. And it seems to me that when someone is asked “Why do you think X?” and they simply refuse to respond in any substantive way, telling you to basically figure it out yourself (as if that were even possible), that person is not displaying any of the characteristics you list.

          Sometimes people are simply being unreasonable, even if you think it may be undiplomatic to say so.

          In a lot of ways, we’re speaking a different language, so what we are saying is not what they are hearing, and vice-versa.

          I agree that the corruption language can pose a real problem to communication, and that is definitely true as regards the word “racist”. But a primary focus of my attempted discussion yesterday was to get around that problem, by focusing on actual examples of what constituted racism in Mich’s mind. But my attempt to get around that particular problem was thoroughly rebuffed.

          Like

        • @scottc1:

          Sometimes people are simply being unreasonable, even if you think it may be undiplomatic to say so.

          Ssshhhh!

          Let’s just say, based on life experience, I’ve decided to make an assumption that others are being unreasonable (rather than assuming there is a communication problem) has become my last stop, rather than my first.

          For my own benefit, rather than for others, if I am going to be completely bunt.

          What situation, exactly? Neither you nor I was taking a firm stand on whether or not Bannon is a racist. I for one was simply trying to investigate what led to her certainty that he is.

          I’m actually trying to prove that he’s a racist, and, so far, I can’t. Not even close, at least not to my standards of evidence. But then I hate hearsay, quotes without audio or video, quotes taken from divorce testimony (which, in my opinion, cannot be considered remotely objective or accurate). I can settle, to my satisfaction, that he’s been a serious jerk to people he hasn’t been happy with, wasn’t a good steward of the Biosphere project, and doesn’t blast the Richard Spencer types with the energy I’d personally like to see. That’s it, so far.

          Pointing to something concrete and visible and saying “That is what I mean”, is actually a pretty good way to keep language issues from blocking effective communication.

          And what am I saying? That blue means “up above us”? That blue means “very big”? That blue means “dark”, because I’m saying it at night? That blue means “variegated”, because it’s patchy with clouds? Sometimes I suspect when we discuss these things, the problem is that we think we are pointing to a concrete thing, but I know I’m talking about the color of the sky, and it’s not clear to you what characteristic I’m referring to at all.

          This is not a perfect analogy. I am aware.

          But my attempt to get around that particular problem was thoroughly rebuffed.

          I felt the same way. But I have found that when something is just obviously true to someone, it can be very difficult to get them to provide evidence for it. Again, sort of like (to the person who sees the obvious truth) demanding proof that the sky is blue. It just is!

          Like

        • KW:

          But I have found that when something is just obviously true to someone, it can be very difficult to get them to provide evidence for it.

          Try me some time.

          Like

        • @scottc1: “Try me some time.”

          I don’t really feel like you qualify. You don’t ever strike me as feeling something is obviously true, but find yourself unable to articulate why. In fact, I think you’d have to find something you know you believe absolutely but have found yourself having difficulty getting anybody else to understand why you believe it. You are nothing if not fully capable of articulating your reasons for holding any position you espouse. 😉

          Like

    • I like everybody who isn’t mean to me! I don’t necessarily agree with them all. Could go deeper into alienation, though–it’s hard for folks with diverse ideas and opinions to realize
      When they are alienating others (or see it as a problem). I don’t want to alienate anybody and will drop a topic if it’s getting too antagonistic. And I can tell that’s happening. I didn’t want to alienate anybody! It’s just harder to do than it looks, apparently.

      Like

      • KW:

        I didn’t want to alienate anybody! It’s just harder to do than it looks, apparently.

        With some people it is impossible. Some people get offended/alienated simply by disagreement with particularly cherished opinions.

        Like

        • While true, I try (sometimes!) to make an effort to find different strategies and was of communicating, of seeking to understand, to restate arguments, to be open to whatever point they are making. To, following the example of Stephen Covey, seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

          Which is good advice, but difficult when you ask for clarification and the other person thinks you are being an asshole, because, though not obvious to you, how all the dots connect are obvious to them, and they cannot help but feel you are being purposely obtuse.

          I miss a broader range of voices. But it is what it is. I’ve participated in groups like this elsewhere, and it tends to be inevitable that one “side” dominates, whatever it is. No side, politically, is immune from alienating other voices until what they are left with is, at best, a mild “echo chamber”. I’ve left a group or two for the same reasons our liberal friends largely deserted us.

          Ah, well. Same hostility when you start a group to discuss a popular television show, pop culture, movies, cars or about anything else. People organize into sides and begin disagreeing with each other. 😉

          Like

        • KW:

          I miss a broader range of voices.

          I do too. Although I definitely prefer voices that don’t take offense at mere disagreement or simply being challenged.

          Like

        • @scottc1: “I do too. Although I definitely prefer voices that don’t take offense at mere disagreement or simply being challenged.”

          I get that, although I think it’s often as much frustration (or entirely frustration) at the inability to cross the streams and communicate. And, since I understand clearly what I’m saying, if you don’t understand what I’m saying and that I’m right then it’s obviously your fault. Because I know exactly what I mean. And it’s, like, obvious!

          There is also the human tendency to escalation in conversation, which I think is exacerbated online.

          Conversations start with disagreement, but then escalate to more personal barbs as it becomes clear to each party that the problem in the conversation is the other person. So they try to point it out, directly or obliquely, that the other person needs to do a better job at listening and that they are not only misunderstanding, but seem to be purposely misunderstanding or maybe just pretending to misunderstand, because they are trolling you, or . . .

          We are hardwired to take disagreements personally (and, I think, for good survival reasons).

          And we have a ton of social proof that it’s not only acceptable but desirable to let opinion debates quickly move to exasperation, disbelief the other could hold such views, reductive comparisons to other bad situations or people, absolute proclamations that the other person’s opinions are wrong or unacceptable . . . watch almost any talking head news show. If there’s a round table or a point/counter-point the exchanges become heated usually right away. These ultimately provide a template that gives everyone permission to pursue emotional catharsis rather than dialog. After all, that’s what the professionals do!

          My own experience has been, in the past, intuitive clarity is worthless in conversations. But commonly deployed. What it means is that I have, I believe (or I feel) a complete and total understanding of the truth in a situation, but this understanding is really more intuitive. It’s something I feel clearly, but when asked to articulate in detail I find it very difficult to do. This is frustrating, and when pressed to provide more detail, it would feel like being pressed to better describe the color blue. My answer might be something like: “You know, it’s . . . blue. Like the sky! Blue. It’s a color! Come on, you know what I mean! Why are you disagreeing with me about the color blue?!?

          Or shorter: I don’t think taking offense in such environments is always (or even usually) a product of party A being thin-skinned and a special snowflake and too easily offended, or party B being offensive and intentionally antagonistic. So that I stop talking, I’ll just call it a trick of perspective.

          Like

        • KW:

          You know, it’s . . . blue. Like the sky!

          Pointing to something concrete and visible and saying “That is what I mean”, is actually a pretty good way to keep language issues from blocking effective communication.

          I don’t think taking offense in such environments is always (or even usually) a product of party A being thin-skinned and a special snowflake and too easily offended,

          Agree, not always. But I suspect we disagree on how usual it is.

          Like

  20. This is a positive sign.

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/business/banking/article117516948.html

    A North Carolina banker who was meeting with President-elect Donald Trump on Monday has emerged as a possible candidate for U.S. Treasury secretary.

    John Allison, 68, is the former longtime CEO of Winston-Salem-based BB&T who is known for his strong free market views and for criticism of regulation and the Federal Reserve. It’s not known if Monday’s meeting was a job interview or just a chance to share advice during the Republican’s transition.

    He also ran the Cato Institute for a while. You may recall that I recommended Allison’s book about the 2008 financial crisis several years ago.

    https://all-things-in-moderation.com/2012/11/08/taxlawchanges/#comment-33566

    Like

  21. Interesting story, from a couple of weeks ago:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/us/political-divide-splits-relationships-and-thanksgiving-too.html

    Matthew Horn, a software engineer from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christmas plans with his family in Texas. Nancy Sundin, a social worker in Spokane, Wash., has called off Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, a software designer in Chicago, decided to move her wedding so that her fiancé’s grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not attend.

    The election is over, but the repercussions in people’s lives may be just beginning as families across the United States contemplate uncomfortable holidays — or decide to bypass them — and relationships among friends, relatives and spouses are tested across the political divide.

    I’d like to see a scientific comparison between the reaction of conservatives in 2008 or 2012 and that of progressives in 2016. I’d wager that cutting people off for having voted the “wrong” way and having the ‘wrong” ideas is largely a progressive phenomenon.

    Like

    • No doubt…

      Like

    • I would guess that’s the case—certainly, the self-reportage on it is. I cannot recall stories like this, post-Obama. But I would not be surprised to find it becomes more typical across the spectrum.

      But it might be if the Democrats elected Michael Moore president, which is sort of what, from the liberal side of the table, what happened. Despite Trump’s obvious lack of ideology compared to Moore’s domination by it. I think the reaction level would be in the same category.

      Like

      • KW:

        But I would not be surprised to find it becomes more typical across the spectrum.

        I would.

        I think certain political ideologies are more prone to produce that kind of reaction, because they tend to make politics the centerpiece of existence, in much the same way that certain ideologies make religion the centerpiece of existence, and tend not to want to associate with other people who do not share their religious values.

        Like

        • It’s one of those cases where we will have to agree to disagree. I believe (as we’ve been over before) that these things tend to be unrelated. If you are willing to abandon family members over politics or religion, that says something about you as a person unrelated to your politics.

          In the same way, I believe the capability or compulsion to do so is non-political, or not tied to ideology. There may be some correlation regarding the sort of personality that would make a practice of such a thing, but on the whole I think it would be, at best, be a matter of percentages. 5% of conservatives doing it over the Michael Moore presidency versus 10% of liberals doing it over a Trump presidency.

          I would readily concede there are other factors that might make liberalism more attractive to people who want to cut contact with their heathen family and friends in the present culture. For example, I would guess that most of these people live in a world populated mostly with like-minded people, making their conservative or Trump-supporting friends or relatives stark outliers in their sphere. In either case, it’s easy to cut-off or alienate the outliers than it would be if half your friends and co-workers were Trump supporters and half Hillary supporters. This isn’t an effect inherent in the ideology so much as it is a part of how weird that one Trump supporting friend is in their narrow world, and how little difficulty it presents in their life to cut them off.

          Which is not to say I completely disagree (echo chamber!) . . . anybody who takes their ideology as a religion and makes it a huge part of their identity will take any dissent as offense (as people who take a religion as their religion, or scientology as their religion) and follow the age-old advice of getting “bad people out of their lives”. Although bad, in this case, is defined as “disagreeing with me about my religious beliefs”.

          But I would be very interested in seeing the numbers. In our present culture, I would suspect that you are ultimately correct: more liberals are ostracizing conservative friends and family than vice-versa. It is more socially acceptable (see the articles on the topic) and, for most of them, there is a easy and cost-free way to disconnect from those who rub them the wrong way, and surround themselves with likeminded true-believers.

          However, I don’t think that’s a trait that is connected at the hip to a belief in higher taxes and great government entitlements. I just think it something that for social, pop culture, and geographic reasons there’s a much higher incentive for liberals to do, presently.

          There was a time when it was the long-haired, peace-preaching anti-war hippy was the one that would get disowned and excommunicated from the family. Because it was “easy”, and perhaps the socially expected thing to do.

          Like

        • KW:

          If you are willing to abandon family members over politics or religion, that says something about you as a person unrelated to your politics.

          That is why I would like to see a study done on such a thing. I’d bet you would find a meaningful correlation. Did you ever read Jonathon Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind? I recommended it here a year or so ago. If you haven’t read it, you should.

          Let’s make a wager, in the event that such a study is ever done, shall we?

          There was a time when it was the long-haired, peace-preaching anti-war hippy was the one that would get disowned and excommunicated from the family.

          I wonder how true that is. Again, I’d bet that the peace-preaching anti-war hippies of the ’60s were far more likely to disown their staid, conservative parents/families than vice-versa.

          Like

        • Oh, they got disowned. White fella/gal dating a black fella/gal? Disowned. Gay? Disowned. I know people it happened to, and there are certainly plenty of stories. It was possible and even expected because of the standards and norms of the time.

          Now, disowning a gay child would be a hate crime. Disowning a Trump-supporting child would not be (although kicking them out of the house when they are 7 and making a video of it and posting it to the Internet is still probably a bad idea).

          But back to disowning the gay child. Or the interracial dating child . . . none of that’s seriously a problem any more. Nothing like it once was.

          But there always has to be unforgivable sins. In the contemporary era, lack of political purity can still be an unforgivable sin. Being a Trump supporter (or racist, sexist, bigoted homophobe . . . which is basically the same thing) is not only a unforgivable sin on the left, it’s accepted and expected that you would alienate and disown such people.

          But I’ve known people to essentially get kicked out of the family for having missed a Christmas or gone to work for the wrong company or not stayed in the family business or not visited often enough or . . . eh, people are complex creatures.

          But, like you, I would like to see the results. I expect you are ultimately correct, and that—certainly in the present day—you’d find more liberals ostracizing conservative relatives than vice-versa. But to be sure, we’d have to see a Michael Moore elected, and I’m not sure I want that.

          Like

        • KW:

          But to be sure, we’d have to see a Michael Moore elected, and I’m not sure I want that.

          I’m not sure why you discount the election of Obama as a good test case. As a conservative/liberatarian I found Obama’s presidency to be just as objectionable as I would find Michael Moore’s. Their difference lies mostly in presentation, not in substance of ideas.

          Like

  22. Trump’s pick to head CMS: http://www.svcinc.org/our-team.html?view=employee&id=1

    Medicaid background.

    Like

    • Wait, I thought that Congressional Republicans didn’t actually have a plan for repeal and replace?

      “By picking Tom Price to lead HHS, Trump shows he’s absolutely serious about dismantling Obamacare
      Updated by Sarah Kliff
      Nov 28, 2016, 11:35pm EST

      Most Republican replacement plans are still white papers rather than actual legislative language. This means they leave out a lot of key details, like who, for example, would qualify for a high-risk pool or how big tax credits would be. But Price’s plan is detailed. It is 242-pages long and lays bare exactly how he would repeal Obamacare — a program Trump is now putting him in charge of.”

      http://www.vox.com/2016/11/28/13772342/trump-tom-price-obamacare

      And he’s back. Guess they have heard of him again:

      ““If you replace a 60-year-old with a 20-year-old, that doesn’t change the number of people covered, but it changes the value of the coverage and of the program,” says Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped the White House model the economic effects of Obamacare.”

      Like

      • Are you sitting down? It might be that was a “fake news” story pushed out by the MSM.

        And re: the CMS pick. She has extensive experience in redesigning Medicaid. if i wanted to block grant the program, she’s on the short list

        Liked by 1 person

      • Watch Trump do that, but also lower Medicare to age 60.

        Like

      • If only they had been previously reporting that the Republicans were actually serious about repealing Obamacare as opposed to “LOL another failed repeal vote!” maybe it would have served them better.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-price-hhs-obamacare_us_583d0444e4b06539a78a3d45

        Liked by 1 person

        • What’s up with this?

          “Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood

          Why single out Planned Parenthood? Why not say “abortion rights” or “reproductive health” or “women’s health?” It’s not like he said this isn’t what American’s want when it comes to Medicare, or the AARP”?

          Since he’s the money man, I imagine it has something to do with raising money.

          Like

  23. It’s terrible, I know, but I kind of want Trump to push a lot of progressive and liberal policies just to hear the left complain about them and continue to try and paint him as a Nazi.

    Like

  24. Not all on the left have bought into the BS. I rarely say this, but kudos to Katrina vanden Heuvel.

    “Putin didn’t undermine the election. We did.
    By Katrina vanden Heuvel
    November 29 at 8:02 AM”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/putin-didnt-undermine-the-election-we-did/2016/11/28/b7cd6984-b594-11e6-959c-172c82123976_story.html

    Liked by 1 person

    • Concur. I think she’s dead on. The media’s performance during this election cycle was universally awful, no matter what your political leanings may be. And continues to be awful, with a few bright spots.

      Which will allow them to continue to be played by Trump, even while a few lone voices cry: stop! The press is not good at listening to cautionary voices that advise them to look at their own behaviors.

      Like

  25. Trigger warning: About to defend a known racist.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bannon-landowners-voting_us_583c7e19e4b09b6056017ffc

    My question about this and the other articles with the hearsay evidence of Bannon’s racism and openness to oppressing black voters . . .

    Where is the “Bannon complete denies the allegations” or “We tried to reach Bannon for a comment on this story, but he did not return our calls”. I remember that being, at one time, a common practice in this sort of story where inflammatory accusations are made about a person. You at least made some effort to get a comment on the story from the person who was the subject of the inflammatory accusation. Has any of the MSM reporting on the story attempted to get a response from Bannon?

    Qualifier: this is not meant to be exculpatory of Bannon, whom I am unfamiliar with ultimately and don’t know except for coverage over the past few months, which I deem insufficient and highly biased in one direction or another. It’s a question about the media. Huffpo may not be the best example but even they could at least put in a call to ask for a comment.

    Like

    • KW:

      Where is the “Bannon complete denies the allegations” or “We tried to reach Bannon for a comment on this story, but he did not return our calls”.

      On the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

      http://www.wsj.com/articles/steve-bannon-on-politics-as-war-1479513161

      At first Mr. Bannon insists that he has no interest in “wasting time” addressing the accusations against him. Yet he’s soon ticking off the reasons they are “just nonsense.”

      Anti-Semitic? “Breitbart is the most pro-Israel site in the United States of America. I have Breitbart Jerusalem, which I have Aaron Klein run with about 10 reporters there. We’ve been leaders in stopping this BDS movement”—meaning boycott, divestment and sanctions—“in the United States; we’re a leader in the reporting of young Jewish students being harassed on American campuses; we’ve been a leader on reporting on the terrible plight of the Jews in Europe.” He adds that given his many Jewish partners and writers, “guys like Joel Pollak, these claims of anti-Semitism just aren’t serious. It’s a joke…

      …What about the charge of white supremacism? “I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy. And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors. I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”

      Mr. Bannon says the accusations miss that “the black working and middle class and the Hispanic working and middle class, just like whites, have been severely hurt by the policies of globalism.” He adds that he urged candidate Trump to reach out in his campaigning. “I was the one who said we are going to Flint, Michigan, we are going to black churches in Cleveland, because the thrust of this movement is that we are going to bring capitalism to the inner cities.”…

      …“Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.”

      But he says Breitbart is also a platform for “libertarians,” Zionists, “the conservative gay community,” “proponents of restrictions on gay marriage,” “economic nationalism” and “populism” and “the anti-establishment.” In other words, the site hosts many views. “We provide an outlet for 10 or 12 or 15 lines of thought—we set it up that way” and the alt-right is “a tiny part of that.” Yes, he concedes, the alt-right has “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones.” He makes clear he has zero tolerance for such views.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @scottc1: Thanks for that. I have seen that, and so we have one paper still practicing actual journalism. That’s good news!

        Anybody ask for a response from Bannon on Julia Jones saying he thought it would be a good thing if black people who didn’t vote? That’s the one I was thinking about specifically, as it seems especially inflammatory (plus the “oh, she’s one of the good ones” statement), and it’s being circulated through much of the MSM as if these are direct quotes he gave a reporter. And they are not. And maybe it makes me a defender of the indefensible, but I don’t trust third party quotes from events years back in the past as being 100% true. I don’t trust quotes direct from the source if there isn’t a backing video or audio clip!

        In my opinion, every source that ran with the story should have attempted to contact Bannon for his response, and reported what that response was (or the lack of it).

        Also, reading all of the above, I have to wonder how he became America’s leading white supremacist (or, white nationalist, depending on which liberal news outlet or pundit was reporting on him).

        Like

    • “Where is the “Bannon complete denies the allegations” or “We tried to reach Bannon for a comment on this story, but he did not return our calls”. I remember that being, at one time, a common practice in this sort of story where inflammatory accusations are made about a person.”

      The Rolling Stone UVA story methodology is now the standard practice.

      Like

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