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June 25, 2021 09:55 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”

–George MacDonald


27 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. American Railway Union boycott in support of the Pullman strike (the super rich have been screwing with American workers since there has been an America)

    UN Charter  (same problems)

    Ich bin ein Berliner (US commits to Europe)

    Pine Ridge (pointless death)


    or annoying blue cartoon characters.

    1. Residents of Berlin don’t call themselves Berliners.  That refers to a jelly doughnut.

      So JFK’s ringing phrase translates as “I am a jelly doughnut.”

       Thank God he wasn’t speaking in Hamburg!

      Or Frankfurt.

      Anyway, they knew what he was trying to say.

  2. This is an inevitable end to unchecked capitalism.  The question will be: can capitalists accept a system with some checks and balances (ala democratic socialism, which built, in part, rural America),  or will this shift in public option persist?  When will main stream journalist stop being lazy and start defining the distinctions between a democratic socialist construct and socialism?

    America’s continued move toward socialism 

    Just half of younger Americans now hold a positive view of capitalism — and socialism’s appeal in the U.S. continues to grow, driven by Black Americans and women, according to a new Axios/Momentive poll.

    Why it matters: The pandemic has caused millions of Americans — including many younger Republicans — to re-evaluate their political and economic worldview. That’s likely because of two factors: a renewed focus on deep societal inequalities and the tangible upsides of unprecedented levels of government intervention.

    1. It is extremely difficult to assess an individual’s “worldview.” Add on trying to assess the worldview of a much, much larger group.  Add the difficulty of doing that work in the midst of an event unique in the experience of ALL of us.  The result is an opening for projecting extremes on the ambiguities of a survey. this one, an Axios/Momentive effort.  And here it is: “The pandemic is sure to have lasting impact for decades to come,” said Jon Cohen, the chief research officer for Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey).

      In 2016, Jon Cohen explained SurveyMonkey’s polling:

      “Our polls have shown Clinton’s lead in the national popular vote to be remarkably stable despite the many apparent twists and turns in the campaign,” said Jon Cohen, SurveyMonkey’s Chief Research Officer. “All fall, Clinton has maintained a lead over Trump, with her margin hovering in a narrow band between 4 and 6 percentage points.”

      More recently, he and another Momentive pollster wrote:

      Small business owners are rightfully overwhelmed by the degree to which they have already had to adapt to this new business environment, and their skepticism of additional government restrictions is understandable. But certain regulations will become necessary in order to reopen the economy, no matter how onerous they are for businesses to implement. The ability to reopen the economy depends on our collective responsibility to safeguard public health, and small businesses represent a core piece of that in their local communities.

      Anyone sense there are new requirements coming down on small businesses? I’ve not seen them yet, even in socialist Denver

      1. JiD, what is your intent with this comment? Are you trying to say that “worldview” is too imprecise a descriptor? Are you arguing that because the effects of the pandemic are ongoing, that it’s too early to assess its effects on attitudes about economic systems? 

        Are you saying that Momentive shouldn’t be trusted because they were wrong about the 2016 election? ( like most political news/ blogsites were in 2016).

        Because the Axios article on changing attitudes towards socialism and capitalism,  citing the Axios /Momentive poll of 2,309 young adults,  is quite specific about their questions and responses, and does in fact show a “ change in worldview” ( i.e. attitudes)  towards socialism and away from capitalism. 

        You might dislike or disagree with the poll results. But quibbling about the use of “worldview” as opposed to “attitudes” or “opinions” doesn’t invalidate those results.

        A 2019 Pew Research poll of a wider demographic sample population found similar approval of socialism among younger, Democratic, non-white, and more educated people, while older, Republican, white, and less educated people rejected socialism and favored capitalism. 

        1. Axios/Momentive/Cohen are able to get a still shot of the respondents to a single poll.  They then begin to interpret and assign meanings to what they see. Yep, they are specific.  Statistically, they are much more sophisticated than I am.  But like EVERY poll, there are limitations. 

          My comment means:  I’m skeptical.  Lots of different reasons:

           * basic values are set in people by the time they are 6 or 7 years old.  Substantial movement away from those is possible, but rare. Generational predictions don’t hold up well — As a Boomer, I’m part of the “Peace and Love” generation:  how did that hold up after 2001?  We also were supposed to have an Environmental consciousness (Earth Day, EPA, anti-nuke, eco-products). 

           * My parents were born in 1923, and grew up during the Depression.  My Dad, in particular, benefited from FDR’s New Deal and the benefits of being a WWII veteran.  It isn’t difficult to find predictions of that generation being generous to charities and supporting federal government action in the domestic economy.  There also were generational expectations of preferring self-reliance, hard work, and skepticism of “make-work” social programs.  To some degree, all of those (contradictory) descriptions are accurate generalizations.

           * historical events are difficult to grasp while in the midst of them.  For example, at the end of the 1914-1918 war, there was a sense that warfare had become so bloody and so balanced, that Europe had learned its futility — remember the War to End all War?  America had learned it was futile to be engaged, hence the unwillingness to join the League of Nations, the new isolationism, the vast extent of pacifism in Christian Churches during the 1920s and 1930s. Events triggered a turn: Churches blessed participation in WWII, the US became a world leader and again a “shining city on the hill;” and a founding member and major funder of the United Nations.

           * political trends are, to say the least, challenging to understand.  Kevin Phillips was a “strategist on voting patterns for Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign, which was the basis for a book, The Emerging Republican Majority.” His long, detailed book was, in essence, the starting position for the Southern Strategy.  “The book was not and is not a ‘strategy,’—Northern, Southern or Western,” [Phillips] noted in the preface to the 1970 paperback edition. “The book is a projection—and one with a high batting average to date. Read it as such.”   Phillips celebrated the success of his projection in the 1972 election — Nixon winning by one of the largest majorities in US history.  While some themes of the book ring true, Carter, Clinton, and Obama certainly defied the thesis in different ways.  In 2003, some Republicans were planning a “permanent Republican majority” — and since then, the Republicans have won one Presidential popular vote.

          1. Somewhat in the vein of your good thoughts, JiD, makes the point of the poll: it’s built into our current belief system that capitalism, and capitalism only, built this nation (at least how the capitalists define the construct). Particularly in today’s younger generations, that belief is not only suspect, but increasingly rejected. It is the inevitable fruit of the unchecked-capitalism tree. Only raw political power could possibly maintain this system.

            Just as we changed our minds between WWI and WWII on a number of ideas, so, too, will our beliefs about unfettered capitalism continue to morph into something new if we continue this great slide: the transfer of wealth of the many to the few. I’m not an anti-capitalist, but I think it would be a good idea if capitalism grew a conscience.  They shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. 

            1. The conversation I just consumed is a solid example of why the "intrawebs" ( or is it "intertubes?") have been bringing me here for so long. Thanks to the three of you for sharing your experienced insight with us.


              1. Josh Svaty (past Kansas Ag Commissioner) had one of the best editorials on mandates I’ve yet to read.  We collectively speak through our representatives.  In the good ol’ days the capitalists created their reality through policy that privatized the profits and socialized their negative externalities.  Coal.  Chemical industry.  Nationwide retail establishments. As we evolve we better understand the high cost of low prices.  Sugar subsidies?  We know the negative externalities of consumption and the associated health costs.  Aromatics in our gasoline?  Health costs are a multiple of what it would take to replace with advanced biofuels. 

                I’m preaching to the choir here – but enjoy this column that is almost eight years old now, written during the time Tri-State was trying to ram a billion-dollar-plus Kansas coal plant on it’s (non-Kansas) members.  

                Joshua Svaty: Free market has spoken on renewable energy

                Isn’t that our right, in a self-governing society? What sort of a society would these opponents have us live in? An “econocracy,” in which we can’t do anything that isn’t supported by Americans for Prosperity’s bizarre definition of the free market?


                1. The rich and mega rich pay little to no taxes.



                  And see their wealth as a just and fair outcome


                  and see taxes as foolish and just for the little people


                  The emerging plutonomy
                  is and has been well known among the elite and or aware for a long time.

                    1. I tend to fall in CHB’s camp re: using a transaction tax on stock trades to backfill the deficits. I’d give up the fight on some of Biden’s tax proposals for that one. As the old joke goes: Why do you rob banks tax Wall Street? Because that’s where the money is.

        2. "Because the Axios article on changing attitudes towards socialism and capitalism,  citing the Axios /Momentive poll of 2,309 young adults,  is quite specific about their questions and responses, and does in fact show a “ change in worldview” ( i.e. attitudes)  towards socialism and away from capitalism."

          You do realize that those young people will eventually age out and turn into cynical, middle and upper-middle class suburbanites in another 20 years.

          If you took a poll of the young people who were protesting against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights protections in the late '60's, most of those folk would have identified as socialists. But 15 years later, most of them voted to re-elect Ronald Reagan because he cut their taxes.

          It's easy to be in favor of the government providing everything for everyone as long as it isn't costing those young adults anything. But once they have skin the game, their attitudes, for the most, change.


          1. I voted for Reagan (twice) – wouidn’t do it again.

            For me, the larger point is that lazy journalism conflates socialism and democratic socialism as if it’s all one, big, USSR-era communist construct and writes in terms as if they’re all the same thing (with maroons like MTG to perpetuate the willful ignorance)

            High tax rates didn’t prevent the Rockefeller’s from amassing obscene wealth while we simultaneously built a middle class and world-class infrastructure. Trickle Down is a joke and we’ve been robbed, literally and figuratively.  There’s a growing realization that party should be over. 

            We’ve managed to unmask one lie: Prohibition. Unmasking the Reagan lie should be next on the menu.

          2. Not correct, R&R:

            If you took a poll of the young people who were protesting against the Vietnam War and in favor of civil rights protections in the late '60's, most of those folk would have identified as socialists. But 15 years later, most of them voted to re-elect Ronald Reagan because he cut their taxes.

            It is easy to see the 60s generation as one big Woodstock against the Vietnam War. In fact the radicals from the 60s were highly concentrated only in a small segment of the boomers: (mostly) White, college educated. The greater part of the generation was not engaged with politics: the rural, non-college, with typical 50s generation aspirations.

            Remember also that the Labor Movement totally endorsed the anti-commie, invade Vietnam, Democratic Party conseratism.

            Ronald Reagan won the governorship of California on a Trumpian shoot the hippies in Berkeley schtick that went over fine, because the hippies were a very small number of people. The strategy was to whip up fear about the violence in the cities, those dark-people coming to marry your daughters.

            Hmmm. Has anything really changed? The 1960s generation has aged into their 60s, 70s and 80s years of age, and the Republicans continue with the same-old rhetoric pushed by Ronald Reagan, the cheerful actor Fascist.

              1. As Governor of California, Reagan established the California Air Resources Board to deal with the southern California smog problem. The national waiver that allows California to have more stringent air pollution regulations than any national, or other state, regs originated with Reagan. Given these and other environmental accomplishments (yes, he appointed James Watt to head DOI, but no politician is perfect), Reagan stands head and shoulders above Trump. 

          3. Idealistic young people don’t always become crusty, cynical old “ I got mine-screw you” conservatives. 

            As evidence, checkout the 5th graphic on this Pew poll that tracked political leanings for 4 generations, across time. The poll notes these are generational “cohorts”, which tells me that these are the sameindividuals tracked over 23 years.

            Most Boomers became consistently more liberal over time. The younger Millenials and Xes started and stayed more liberal- the only ones who stayed conservative were the “Silents” – over 70s.

            This fits with my lived experience- my circle of friends includes boomers as well as other generations, and our 60s idealism is more pragmatic now, but if anything deeper, wider, more inclusive.

            Even in your case, your environmental activism must include many people your  age or older, who still practice their ideals. 



  3. Johnson and Johnson will stop selling opioids in the US, as part of a $230 million settlement to New York State, Attorney General Letitia James announced.

    The Former Guy is likely quaking in his lift shoes and man-corset at the prospect of Attorney James investigating Trump Organization finances and bringing criminal charges against it. 

  4. Just read that Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK. 1968-1981) died at age 91.

    An iconoclastic Democrat, to say the least.  Anti-imperialist, opposed to the military-industrial complex, anti-draft.  Read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, and pushed a publisher to put them out as a book.   Backer of the Alaska Pipeline – and insisted the builders should have absolute responsibility for any leaks.  Proposed closing the Bureau of Indian Affairs along with legislating to allow Native corporations to accumulate capital and invest it for the long-term good of members of the tribes.  Backed renaming Mt. McKinley and the national park around it to Denali.  Proposed a land development near the entrance to Denali that would have been a tourist town under a dome.  There were quixotic campaigns for President in 2008 (as a Democrat, then as a Libertarian — and he endorsed a Green candidate, too) and 2020.

    One of the few Senators I've heard of who did NOT find a way to make money.  His first wife got his pension payments in their divorce settlement.  He wound up declaring personal bankruptcy. 


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