Monday Open Thread

“Glory, built on selfish principles, is shame and guilt.”

–William Cowper

36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    Wonky WOTD: The Page Which All Discussion Of The Trumpublican Tax… "Reform"? "Cut"? "Giveway"? Should Start From

    This is an academic, but reasonably accessible (if you skip over the math), discussion of the economic consequences of the Republican tax cut by an actual economist, not a PR flack/political flunky.

    First, there is no short run argument that the bigger government deficits produced by Trumpublican plan will boost the economy. In order for a plan that increases deficits to boost the economy, three things would have to all be true:

    1. The larger deficits must either generate more purchases of goods and services directly—by the government buying more stuff—or get more purchasing power into the hands of people who have a high propensity to spend extra cash because they feel short of cash. The Trumpublican plan gets many into the hands of the rich, who do not feel short of cash.

    2. Production in the economy must be low relative to sustainable potential, so that extra spending actually does put workers without jobs to work in factories currency standing idle. Right now it looks as though the economy is close to if not at its sustainable potential—but there is an ongoing debate about that.

    3. The Federal Reserve must believe that production in the economy is low relative to sustainable potential. It must, then, be willing to cry "Havoc!", and let slip the dogs of a higher-pressure economy. Right now the Federal Reserve is certain that the economy is very near to if not at "full employment", and will respond quickly and thoroughly by raising interest rates in order to keep spending on the path it currently envisions.

    One of the big problems with the tax cut for corporate profits is that the US is substantially integrated with the world economy. Foreign money flowing into the US will drive up the dollar, causing the trade deficit to explode. Foreign ownership in the stock market means a big chunk of the tax break goes out of the US economy.

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Charles Manson is dead.  The world is a little better place this morning.

  3. itlduso says:

    I'm thinking this is going to be an ugly Thanksgiving at my house this year.  We have a brother and sister in law coming over who are Trump fans and are too stupid to be quiet.  I'm not of a mind to be silent this year.  I basically think their ilk are traitors to the US and am prepared to issue a half hour long tirade to explain why.  I won't start the discussion, but feel fine in finishing it.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      We had Thanksgiving dinner Sunday with friends and family in Denver since we'll be with my son in Connecticut for the actual holiday.  Yes, it included one Trumper but we never mentioned politics.  Thanksgiving is about the only holiday I love and I won't let anyone rob me of it.

      • itlduso says:

        Your Trumper was smart enough to be quiet.  Mine aren't.

        • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

          My advice is to keep asking them questions. They can defend nothing and they sound like ignorant teenagers when they try. Let them do the talking and maybe they will see how ugly and ridiculous they sound.

          Trump supporters all have one thing in common…they hate someone. The secret to his success was to be the focus of hatred by anyone, for anyone. People voted for Trump because he was a big orange middle finger to whomever you resent and think has done you wrong. Since the GOP is the Party of Hate®, it is natural that he hooked up with them. 

          His hatred for Obama almost rivals Vladdies' loathing of Hillary.

        • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

          I've got one of those, too, itlduso; my idiot oldest brother. He's totally outnumbered, but that doesn't stop him from spouting Rushbo's latest screed. Is yours one of the high-school graduate, lower-middle-class types who votes against his own economic interests? Mine is.

          Maybe there'll be a football game to occupy their attention and save us all the right-wing tirade.

    • ParkHill says:

      I don't know anything about your guests, but Trump supporters don't all fit into a neat box. 

      Polling shows that Republican support for Trump has been solid at 80%, but the actual number of Republican-acknowledged respondents has gone from 32% down to 24%. That is a big shift away from Trump and a sign that Republican is becoming a toxic brand – for some, anyway.

      Another big split in conservatives that probably resonates down to the family level is that women are more strongly turning against Trump. Sexual mis-conduct is particularly offensive to women; How many women, conservatives included, have had to deal with a creepy boss?

      Trump personally is a flash point, but pointing out that he is a sociopath doesn't get you anywhere. I would keep diverting the conversation away from Trump specifically. A debating technique is to acknowledge something that was said, and then turn the discussion to something else related (or not). Maybe acknowledge Trump’s promises to boost employment in the coal industry and bring back lots of good union jobs, and not permit any cuts to medicare. 

      I think basic pocket book issues are easier to talk about. That is where working class Conservatives might be more receptive, and where the Republicans will be most vulnerable in the next few years: 

      "I don't get insurance through my work, therefore I have to get insurance in the individual market. Fortunately, I have a lot of choices on the Colorado Health insurance exchange. Yeah, I'd like free health insurance, but I have a pre-existing condition (it's called getting older), so I'd be screwed without the exchange."

      "The Colorado economy is booming and the immigration to the State is running almost 100,000 per year. This growth has pros and cons, traffic congestion sucks but my house value is going up."

      "Sexual harassment is a problem in all work-places. The boss should not be able to hit on the female employees, and the "casting couch" is a disgusting relic of the old days where women were screwed literally and figuratively."

      "Have you seen all the Cajun-Vietnamese restaurants that opened on South Federal after Katrina and the big oil spill wrecked Louisiana? Our favorite is xxx".

      Maybe it is hopeless, but diversion works really good on young kids, especially if the shiny object is really bright.

    • Republican 36 says:

      itlduso I don't know you and if I'm intruding, please look at my comment in the best light. Like you, I don't like Trump one bit and I will be with family members this Thursday that voted for him and support him, but I think it is best if we look at them as wrong about their support rather than traitors. The debate in this country has descended into tribal notions of who is and who isn't really an American. Discussion at that level frays our national fabric and leaves us in what overtime becomes irreconcilable positions. I do fear the long term results if it continues. This Thursday, I will stand up for my views but I plan to do so with facts, logic and as much compassion as I can muster.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Lock the doors.  Shutter the windows.

      Wrap some “crime scene” tape around the yard . . . or steal a realtors “Sold” sign out of one of your neighbors yards. 

      Thanksgiving should be a time to be give thanks — you don’t need that crap regardless of whatever accidents your parents made raising your siblings. 

  4. Pseudonymous says:

    ‘He put his hand full-fledged on my rear’: Why Al Franken could be in a lot more trouble now

    He “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear,” Lindsay Menz told CNN's MJ Lee, who broke the story Monday. “It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.”

    Menz is the second woman in less than a week to go on the record that Franken touched her inappropriately. On Thursday, Los Angeles radio host Leann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her while overseas in 2006, then grabbing her breasts while she slept on the flight home. She offered photographic proof of the latter accusation.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      I am not surprised. More often than not, these are not one-time occurrences.

      He really needs to go. The sooner, the better. I hope Governor Mark Dayton has a list of potential appointees on his desk. First question during the interviews must be about ANY sexual improprieties, no matter how slight the candidate may think it was.

      • The realistThe realist says:

        Agree.

        Which of course raises the question, why aren't perpetrators in the Colorado Legislature being asked to resign? In other words, is someone like Baumgardner going to be rewarded for his years-long behavior by being allowed to serve until early 2021?

         

        • ParkHill says:

          The sexual harassment issue is being weaponized by the right wing. Note the  the lack of guilt or remorse on the part of Trump or Moore, and the golden treasure is stacking the judiciary with extreme Conservatives.

          Here is a particularly interesting discussion about Al Franken from Mahablog:

          First, whether anyone should be disqualified from serving in public office for moral (as opposed to criminal) shortcomings should be left to the voters. I would argue that if that odious Roy Moore is elected to the Senate next month, he should be seated. See Josh Marshall for an argument about not setting precedents based on political expediency.

          Regarding Franken — this may be jaded, but it’s how I see it — the United States Congress is mostly a collection of older alpha males.  It’s highly unlikely any of those alpha males are innocent as far as “inappropriate behavior” is concerned. Some of their offenses may be minor, some of their offenses may be in the distant past, and I’m sure some of their offenses are pretty damn hideous and ongoing, and they are still getting away with it. This is how the world is. Singling just one out of the herd for punishment is pretty close to the textbook definition of scapegoating, even if he is guilty as charged.

          Let's see which legislators are willing to put forward actual efforts to address or prevent harassment in the State legislature or Congress, not to mention the workplace.  

          • The realistThe realist says:

            "This is how the world is." ????

            And this is why women are speaking up, and are not going to tolerate the "alpha male" behavior any longer. Sorry, "alpha male" is a giant excuse-making descriptor. The message seems to be, come on, girls and women, just take it like you've done for thousands of years. 

            No more, men, no more.

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            Smart comment, but I disagree. Yes, there is scapegoating, and you can best believe Franken's sins are not unique to him. (#itsthepatriarchystupid)

            vent

            There is indeed an atmosphere of pervasive permission for men to grab, grope, or otherwise disturb female bodies without consent. From liberal leftie men, the justification used to be "free love" and "Don't be hung up", or "Don't be a square", (yes, I am that old), or "You have no sense of humor", or "Why aren't you more sensitive to my needs?"

            From the right wing, fundamentalist men, I hear, “You’re tempting me. Why are you wearing those clothes if you don’t want >>>?” or “Women are corrupt, evil vessels….so I’ll just corrupt this one some more,” or even, “Because I am a godly man, my touch purifies this weak and sinful woman.” (Wanna bet Judge Moore is in that latter camp?)

             

            /vent

            OK, got that out of my system for the moment.  Your statement:

            Let's see which legislators are willing to put forward actual efforts to address or prevent harassment in the State legislature or Congress, not to mention the workplace. 

            echoes up and down the chorus of "me-toos". I would much rather hear about proposals for changing the culture of workplaces, including legislatures, than one more "me too" story.

            I would like to see a culture of "positive consent" (OUTSIDE of the workplace, though) where women or pursued males or other genders take the responsibility of saying "Yes! – I want that!" or "No – I don't want that", or "Not right now", or "Are you f$%#in out your mind?" or ……(you get the idea).

            No I am NOT blaming the victim, or taking responsibility off the aggressor, so don't jump on me. I am saying that men, women, all others have to break old habits and learn "flirting 2.0". Otherwise, single people can give up all hope of ever having sex again. And I'm not too sure about you married folks.

            • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

              Mama, I grew up in the south, and like many young men from the south, I was entrusted with womens' honor and dignity. I don't think I am the only man who has never sexually harrassed a woman. I would never think of forcing myself upon a woman.

              In college I read a book I have mentioned here before called, "Seduction is a Four Letter Word" by Germaine Greer. It is an act of violence to intimidate, deceive, or by any means violate another persons dignity and invade their body space. I was molested by a gay uncle at age 12. 

              I could never imagine making any other human being feel the way that felt. Not every man is a sexual predator. Many of us are revolted by such behavior.

               

              • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                I understand that you are speaking your truth, Duke, and I don't doubt it. I am also speaking my truth.

                I've been trying to say in different ways that this isn't just a group of exceptionally bad men who happened to get caught, although that is one way to look at it.

                I'm saying that there is a cultural, religious, economic, and political system which encourages and allows such behavior. It's called patriarchy, sexism, male supremacy, gender discrimination,and various other labels.

                So it isn't enough just to punish and ostracize the "exceptionally bad" criminals like Moore and Trump, etc. The entire system in all of its aspects needs to be examined and remade.

                At the societal level, it means putting policies and laws in place that encourage and allow gender fairness. At the personal level, it means being aware of gender bias and how it manifests in one’s own life, and doing the “little things” that create more equality. In my work as a teacher, for example, I call on girls as often as boys, don’t allow shaming or harassment, foster an atmosphere of respect in my classroom. It has meant volunteering in a battered women’s shelter. It’s meant many things.

                Starting with pointing out its ridiculous contradictions.  Moore is also from the south. Whatever happened to "protecting white womanhood" in his ethos?

                • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

                  Roy Moore is a sick, perverted man. 

                  But you are right. It is a result of that patriarchal culture that has existed for millenia. We must not relent in working to change it.

                • Diogenesdemar says:

                  My thinking is that much of what we’re hearing about also results from a level of “entitlement” that we as a society have tolerated among the rich, the powerful, and the celebrated . . . 

                  I’m not arguing that there isn’t some level of age-old residual patriarchal “entitlement,” by the way. Just that the level that has been tolerated, and even seen as “acceptable”  and can be “gotten away with” is different for the famous and powerful than it is for the “average” person (man).  (We’re also going to hear some women-in-top revelations before all this is over, not nearly anywhere to the same extent however – proportional to the problem.)

                  On a personal note, just being a single, middle-aged “nice” guy (a “non-offender” of any type my entire life) these past couple of years is no great shakes.  I often get the feeling that I’m sometimes viewed with suspicion as some kind of deviant or perv or worse, simply by virtue of my age and unattachment.  Ain’t no proving the negative!

                  “May you live in interesting times” — we certainly do!

                   

                   

                   

  5. Pseudonymous says:

    Root and branch, folks.

    Glenn Thrush, New York Times Reporter, Accused of Sexual Misconduct

    The New York Times said on Monday that it was suspending Glenn Thrush, one of its most prominent reporters, after he was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior.

    The move came after the website Vox published a report containing allegations that Mr. Thrush, who joined The Times to cover the Trump administration in January, had acted inappropriately toward women. Mr. Thrush was a reporter at Politico before coming to The Times

  6. ParkHill says:

    WOTD2: "If the GOP tax plan is so good, why do they lie so much about it?"

    In politics pretty much everyone shades the truth and engages in some convenient spin now and again. But if you saw a candidate standing on a dais pointing at his pet dog and telling you it was a cat, you’d think something pretty odd was going on. 

    There’s a lot that’s controversial about tax policy, after all, but not everything is controversial. It’s obvious that if you cut a tax that’s only paid by married couples who’ve amassed at least $11 million that you are helping rich people. It’s obvious that if you enact a special discount tax rate for people who own LLCs then you are helping Donald Trump, who owns a ton of them. And it’s obvious that if part of your plan is permanent and part of it is temporary, and the part you made temporary is the part that helps the middle class, then helping the middle class wasn’t your priority.

    • DavieDavie says:

      More experts from both sides of the aisle are calling this bill a complete folly:

      The American tax system is indeed deeply dysfunctional. But the consensus among tax-policy economists from both sides of the political aisle is that the proposals under consideration are not the reforms we need. Rate cuts for top earners would greatly increase budget deficits and do little or nothing to spur growth. Others have objected that they would make a skewed income distribution even more unequal. Fair points all.

      But elections have consequences, and Republicans have never hidden their desire to cut taxes. They now have the power to do so.

      But it would be a mistake to exercise that power. Tax cuts for the wealthy would not alter the supply of special things to be had. And by increasing government deficits substantially, they would degrade our infrastructure in ways that would harm even the ostensible beneficiaries of those cuts.

      In short, cutting taxes for the wealthy is a losing proposition — even for the wealthy.

      But will the GOP listen to reason?  Not on your life.

  7. Pseudonymous says:

    Another candidate for the predator hall of fame?

    Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them — with nudity, groping and lewd calls

    Eight women have told The Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.

    The women were employees or aspired to work for Rose at the “Charlie Rose” show from the late 1990s to as recently as 2011. They ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged encounters.

  8. Diogenesdemar says:

    Aye carumba . . . 

    Charlie Rose Made Crude Sexual Advances, Several Women Say

    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/us/charlie-rose-women.html

    . . . Charlie Rose, too??!!??

    Seems like it won’t be long now before all we have to watch on television is reruns of the old test pattern??  (I wonder if Fred Rogers isn’t glad he’s not alive today??)

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Any guesses on who will be tomorrow's alleged perv of the day?

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        Do we need to start an At Least He's Not Your Boss feature of the day?

        • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

          Hear, hear! And it will probably be a "he". Occasionally, one hears of a  female teacher taking advantage of a young male teen.  It's still ewww-worthy, gross, and exploitive.

          I don't know that I ever hear of a female being exploitive sexually outside of education. It's more of a male fantasy.

           

      • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

        One of the people who brags about being an "alpha male": Steve Bannon, Seb Gorka, Eric Trump. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Oh, wait, that's old news. President Donald Trump. Ditto.

        In Hollywood, look for the most homophobic people to be outed as looking for same-sex action: Kid Rock, Mel Gibson, Isaiah Washington, Phil Robertson, Kirk Cameron

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Charlie!…you moron…I guess being smart doesn't keep you from being a creep.. 

      • ParkHill says:

        There are different kinds of untouchables (or virtually untouchable): You are the boss or maybe you own the company, OR you are a "rock-star", a highly skilled or critical individual with unique skills so that the company can't fire you. Top athletes, literal rock stars, movie actors, etc.

        Maybe Roy Moore is a kind of politically-loaded untouchable, at least to his evangelical base. Is he untouchable to the Republican Party establishment? I guess not because they can see how damaging he is to the GOP Party brand.

        I keep coming back to the idea that power corrupts, and power comes in many forms. 

        I guess corruption also comes in many forms. Seeking wealth and sex for example. 

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