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January 19, 2023 08:04 AM UTC

Thursday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“He who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.”

–William Blake


35 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. Happy Debt Ceiling Day.

    The measure repeals all existing income taxes, payroll taxes, and estate and gift taxes, replacing them with a flat national sales tax of 30% on all purchased goods, rents, and services

    1. That's how it was supposed to work in Canada with the G.S.T. But somehow, the government never quite got around to abolishing all those other taxes. Now Canadians just pay the G.S.T. on top of provincial and municipal taxes. 

  2. On Russian Disintegration via Kamil Galeev @kamilkazani on Twitter.

    Galeev does not believe that Russian elites in Moscow and St Petersburg are likely to change the nationalist Russia Empire. Swapping in a new "czar" for Putin doesn't change the structure and logic.

    7. A plausible scenario of Russian disintegration is not some "regime fighters" taking power. It is moneyed regional interest groups successfully integrated into the previous regime deciding that:

    a) the center grew too weak
    b) costs >>> benefits

    Neither a) nor b) happened yet

    8. Therefore, the key predictors of potential disintegration would be:

    a) growing weakness of the center
    b) increasing costs to benefits ratio

    9. The key predictor of *where* it could happen (or start) is the existence of highly influential moneyed interest group that had already resisted the will of the center in the recent past. Which is:

    a) Far East
    b) Urals

    10. The key reason why interest groups tend to be very compliant is that Moscow will "send the doctors" in case of disobedience. A protracted war in Ukraine makes a scenario where no doctors will come more and more plausible. Which changes the costs to benefits ratio dramatically

    1. The head of the infamous Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is starting to gain power and is now very openly critical of Putin. He is one of a handful that Russia watchers believe may take the reigns from Puty Poot. 

      Prigozhin is obligated to pay money to the families of Russian conscripts who are fighting and are killed in battle under Wagner Group on Russia’s behalf.  As a workaround, he either just leaves the Russian dead bodies in the field or buries them after battle and claims them as “missing” so he doesn’t have to pay. And this could be the next guy heading Russia. What a piece of shit.

      1. "and is now very openly critical of Putin"

        Until circumstances stabilize, this POS should avoid standing near open windows when he is above the ground floor.

  3. With all due respect to Wm. Blake, it tends to be bacteria and viruses that breed pestilence, though the human species' many flaws allows it to become pandemic

  4. The Most Important Thing You Read Today

    That brings me to the most important thing you’ll read today. It’s not by me. It’s by Jesse Singal, an incredibly sharp writer and podcaster who’s written a number of invaluable pieces (and a book) that take aim at received conventional wisdom and shoddy science. And in his piece today, he takes on diversity training. His thesis is simple—not only does most of it not really work, it sometimes does more harm than good. Here’s Singal:

    1. Definitely not the most important thing anyone will read today. It's behind a paywall. If you feel it's that important, then "gift" the link so people can read it.

      But to me, it looks likely to be a rationalization for white fragility ( Learning about racism, cis privilege, etc, makes me uncomfortable, and being uncomfortable is bad).

      I actually have gone through some diversity trainings. When they are done well, they encourage reflection and thoughtfulness, brainstorming about policy, and dialogue between people of various cultures/ genders, etc, rather than the feared "PC punishment for using wrong words".

      1. I'm not sure the "most important thing you'll read today" is actually what you might find most interesting anyway. Here's a link to the NYT opinion from Jesse Singal that the paywalled "Dispatch" writer referenced. (not sure if you'll also hit a paywall with NYT…)

        The headline posed the question "what if" diversity training does more harm than good, but in my opinion didn't conclusively answer the question. The NYT opinion included some links to studies and some isolated examples of possible pitfalls, along with some statements that didn't go quite as far as the title – saying diversity training might be ineffective. And as far as I could tell, it was quite one-sided because there seemed to be no attempt whatsoever to show positive effects.

        But read it yourselves, y'all.

    2. The topic of diversity efforts won't be the most important thing I've read.  it falls behind (at least)

       * climate change impacts — especially on Greenland and Antarctica, glaciers, and California starting off the year of environmental catastrophes with a $1 Billion bang.

       * RWNJ ideas going to Republican governors and state legislatures, and the common sources providing the ideas. 

       * Dysfunction in the US House, and how it could well throw the USofA into debt default.

  5. Well, the kerfuffle over McCarthy as Speaker might seem like child's play compared to stuff that's coming over the next two years. Taking a hard line over raising the debt ceiling might be Exhibit A, and depending on how it plays out it could have serious economic consequences. The Washington Post recalled a forecast from 2021 for illustration:

    Such a scenario could immediately plunge the United States into a recession, The Post’s Jeff Stein reported at the time: “Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, found that a prolonged impasse over the debt ceiling would cost the U.S. economy up to 6 million jobs, wipe out as much as $15 trillion in household wealth, and send the unemployment rate surging to roughly 9 percent from around 5 percent.”

    1. It is clear that the Republican Party wants to cause a debt default.

      If so… Do it now rather than the month before the 2024 election. 

      Alternatively, string them along until you pop the Trillion Dollar Platinum coin into the treasury.

    2. I'm guessing most of the far right crazies have most of their wealth in the stock market. When they tank their wealth, they'll likely pass the debt ceiling bill.

      So yeah, it'll be a mess. But just for a short period.

      1. Unless they're working the arbitrage…. 

        Buy 1 month puts and 2 month calls. Collapse the stock market at 1 month and exercise your puts. Fix the stock market at month 2 and exercise your calls.

  6. Other people can be the New Zealand Prime Minister. Only Jacinda Ardern can be Jacinda Ardern. I think it's admirable that she's stepping down from her position.

  7. Rifle’s Noble Loriette has spoken. Her command of comparative mathematical theory is impressive.  As soon as Moddy is done summating his Ttumpy tax windfall maybe he can help BoBo with the differences between a plus and minus sign?

  8. “Fake News”. Essential Reading today from Josh Marshall at TPM

    To connect misinformation and aggression, we should probably go back to an older word: propaganda. This is where you get to the connection between “fake news” and authoritarianism.

    Do people really believe Hillary Clinton runs a pedophilia ring or that Joe Biden – the guy who didn’t control the federal government – rigged the 2020 election? Some do certainly. But for many we should think more of belief as a form of aggression or as a system of permissioning. I chose to believe or say I believe X because it demeans you, because it justifies my hurting you. This is a key: belief or pretending to belief as a form of aggression. This makes fact-checking sites or building more media trust basically irrelevant to the phenomenon. We know this to be the case. If you really want a critical view of Trump’s Big Lie claims they’re not hard to find. You have an appetite for myths that justify aggression and people are pop up to provide them. The issue is one of demand rather than supply.

    The second is more conventional. Fox News and the cinematic universe it propagates completely dominates the news consumption of a big chunk of the American population. In big swathes of the country, Sinclair Broadcasting (a Fox or worse type operation which runs local affiliates) dominates the local news airwaves. Mix in various online operations and you have big chunks of the population that can reasonably be seen as siloed off into wholly alternate news realities. This becomes a question of the broader political economy. What is the effect if an erratic billionaire, suddenly besotted by the far right, can just buy one of the country’s major communications platforms? The creation of the these siloed news ecosystems is part of the story of the oligarchification of the US economy. But just how they are is complicated to explain. It’s part of media concentration and the breakdown of an elite consensus on basic political questions. It’s also, perversely, part of the breakdown of trust in institutions which is fueled by income and wealth inequality.

  9. Quick update on Denver's Mayor race. Today was the deadline for candidates to submit their petitions and/or any cure period they might have needed, to get on the municipal ballot in April. Prior to today there were 25 people running for Mayor.

    As it stand after the close of business today:

    Sean Gallegos did not submit petitions.

    Terrence Robert: insufficient 

    Abass Yaya Bamba: insufficient

    On the ballot (ballot order not determined yet)

    Ean Tafoya

    Andre Rougeot

    Kelly Brough

    Debbie Ortega

    Thomas Wolf

    Leslie Herod

    Lisa Calderon

    Trinidad Rodriguez

    Mike Johnston

    Pending (DED still checking signatures):

    Marcus Giavanni

    Ken Simpson

    Alex Cowans

    Aurelio Martinez

    Chris Hansen

    James Walsh

    Paul Fiorino

    Sylvia Herring

    Al Gardner

    Robert Treta


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