a thoughtful web.
Good ideas and conversation. No ads, no tracking.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by mk
mk  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 26, 2023

If it's Biden vs. Trump part II, God help us all.

I use AI almost every day now. I would not have guessed that two years ago.

cgod  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Please Please Please not DeSantis, I can't listen to his nasal whine for four years...

b_b  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I've always been sensitive to the argument that choosing the lesser of two evils means you're choosing less evil. However, I think I'm going to put myself down for "abstain" given the likely choice in 2024. Maybe hope that an independent can peel off a single state, and that can deny the EC to either guy, forcing a compromise solution. I fully realize the unlikelihood of that outcome.

kleinbl00  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

1) Be exhausting

2) Create exhaustion

3) Point to the exhaustion, say "aren't you exhausted"

4) Use the low voter turnout caused by exhaustion to win

It's extremely fashionable to shit on Biden because nobody cool endorses politics of any kind, right? Giant Meteor 2024? But at this point a vote for the Democrats is a vote for "government" and a lack-of-vote is a vote for "yeah fukkit the anarchy of 2016-2020 was actually the right direction, drink bleach, this is fine".

This is Ralph Nader Jill Stein Strom Thurmond bullshit and you know it.

b_b  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You're correct that a vote between government and anarchy maybe could still convince me to vote democratic. But my central issue with Biden is that he's decided that the the far left side of the spectrum is the only part that matters, because fuckit, everyone else is going to continue to vote for "government" over chaos, and the extreme leftys are the ones who might get pissed and take their ball and go home. So while there's no chance of ever enacting a leftist agenda via legislating, the administration has decided that they just get to dictate the law. This is the logical conclusion of the abuse of executive orders that has been accelerating since the Iraq War. Each president keeps pushing the limits of what he can get away until the point where we're just executive ordering hundreds of billions of dollars worth of policy changes at the stroke of a pen. It's getting damn hard to support, and I think it's very destructive in the long run. The most unsexy thing one can say these days is that separation of powers matters. But it does.

kleinbl00  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Tell me more about this "far left side of the spectrum." What's on it?

- legalizing weed?

- reproductive rights?

- gun control?

- Student loan forgiveness?

- Medicare for all?

- Climate action?

- transgender rights?

- critical race theory?

There's exactly one issue there that isn't 60% or more favored by the entire mutherfucking country. That one issue? definitely favored by those it affects (people with student loans) who are (a) young (b) democratic. Your whole "extreme leftys" viewpoint could be rewritten as "anyone under 30" who, due to Biden's "extreme left" agenda, actually turned out and voted.

I hate to break this to you but abortion is legal in fight-the-real-enemy Ireland while here in the land of the free, home of the brave, the Republicans are going after no-fault divorce so I'm going to have to ask you to give me that Overton Window back, you've yanked it clear over to "whatever the Republicans do is conservative" rather than "conservative means 'let's not change things'".

"Executive orders" is pure whataboutism and you're better than that. You know it. One party is firmly at "we'll crash the economy to prevent veterans from getting healthcare" while the other is at "let's roll back the AUMF" except no movement on that, we're too busy playing brinksmanship over Judy Blume books. The Judicial is busy going "I am the law", The Legislative is busy going "no money for woke Marines" and the Executive just announced re-election and you're at "the real problem these days, lemme tell ya, executive orders, maaaaan" like you live in some other country or something.

You're gonna vote. You're not gonna vote Trump. And I get that this is all displeasingly lolbrooks academic to you but some of us are already underground railroading misoprostil so get your cranking out of your system and rejoin the human race. You wanna bitch about executive orders? Work towards functional legislative and judicial branches.

b_b  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I won’t debate the merits of any of those policies, because you and I agree on policy more often than not. Where I will continue to be the scold is in the what’s-good-for-the-goose side of the coin. I can guarantee you that if you can create an albatross of a program with an executive order that the next Republican president will take us to places we’ve never dreamed of being. Trump took the example of Obama’s dreamers executive action and gave us the travel ban. President desantis will take the percent of the student loan forgiveness and give us the abortion gestapo or something. This isn’t academic chin stroking to me. It’s about imagining all the deranged shit that deranged people can dream up and put into action by executive fiat. It isn’t a good place.

kleinbl00  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My point is not "these are good policies" it's "these are centrist policies." They enjoy a plurality of support across the political spectrum. Just click one - nine out of ten Americans support some form of legal weed. By way of comparison, Trump selected Jeff "marijuana is the devil's lettuce" Sessions as his Attorney General before firing him for not being culture-warriory enough. Crazy executive orders? Eight days in, yo! The horse, as they say, has left the barn. By your logic, the correct move for the Biden administration is to come up with the most objectionably batshit executive orders they can think of just so they can provoke bipartisan legislation to limit executive orders for the good of the country.

I can't believe you really think the Trump administration showed restraint when it came to executive orders. I can't believe you really think the Biden administration will somehow trod fresh ground that hasn't already been trampled to mud by Bush, Obama and Trump. I can fully believe that some part of you resists being painted by friends and relatives as some crazy Green New Deal liberal moonbat so you've gotta triangulate to "biden bad tho" despite any evidence to the contrary.

You're in Michigan, yeah? Where the Republicans figured on kidnapping the governor to get their way? There's no "both sides" here. There's "government" and "fascist crazytown" and anyone who thinks the Republican Party is somehow going to do something reasonable between now and 2026 has not been paying attention.

am_Unition  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Your argument is that, because the executive has grown too powerful, and the Biden admin has done nothing to blunt its own power, that'll cost them your vote, despite not necessarily disagreeing with the policies they've implemented?

OK... in a world where Trump and the GOP were nothing like Trump and the GOP, I guess I could see how that might be a logical deal breaker. I'm not a fan of executive overreach, but we've sure as hell got "overreach" in the judicial as well. And overwhelmingly towards one side, to boot.

But we live in a world where e.g. Trump and his lawyers just implored the House to change the laws to legalize his classified documents hoarding and obstruction of justice. And the House GOP will probably try to appease him, performatively, at least, despite the dem(-ish) Senate and the presidential veto.

Does GOP vs. Democrat profusely affect your household income or taxation? Is your father-in-law Wormtongue and you're King Theoden in the first half of The Two Towers? Are you David Brooks Jr.? Because I can't think of anything else that explains your apparent confusion.

I will hold my nose and vote Biden. He's been OK, considering the times we live in. I'll hope for better options in the future, and try to figure out what else I can do outside of voting to expedite that future.

kleinbl00  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The biggest shift in my perception of the world, as I have decided to go "you know what, I'll bet there's a reason things are so stupid," is changing my attitude from "things are stupid" to "why are things so stupid."

It's extremely bad for democracy that the leadership of the United States since 2016 has been older than the leadership of the Soviet Union in 1984. That's not a consequence of Mitch McConnell bathing in the blood of virgins, though, it's a consequence of the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, a consequence of Citizens United and a consequence of the Permanent Apportionment Act. LIkewise, it's extremely bad for democracy that the principle method for political action has become the executive order. But ever since Newt Gingrich determined that the Republican Party would never again act in a bipartisan manner, it's the only real game in town.

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is American democracy depends on a bunch of customs that one party has decided no longer apply to them so for 60 years, they've been attempting to pen-test the system into fascism. And for those 60 years, schools have been painting unicorns and rainbows and eliding bullshit like the Electoral College, Reconstruction and the Dred Scott decision. Americans have grown up thinking our government is this highly-polished, refined mechanism that rewards excellence and truth, rather than an archaic and outdated parliamentary nightmare with massive in-born advantages for oligarchy. And it doesn't matter to one side, because oligarchy is their whole goal... but the other side sees one punch that might not be according to Marquess of Queensbury rule and goes "that's it, I'm officially too cynical to participate in democracy and anyone who disagrees is a patsy."

It fundamentally comes down to loyalty: one side demands that it be earned, the other side can bank on it through anything. It's not even a Republican-vs.-Democrat thing: the Kennedys had no problems with racism and prejudice but LBJ figured there were more Black votes than Southern votes so he cut the Democratic Party off at the roots. It could have gone the other way. If LBJ had been happy to stick with the old guard, Henry Cabot Lodge might have won in '64 rather than the guy who moved to Arizona so the racists had a place to live. But since it's "earn my loyalty" vs. "it's gonna take a lot to lose my loyalty" Republicans became the party of racism in about half an electoral cycle.

alpha0  ·  220 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Some argue that the actual issue is the creation of the national security state, which created (effectively mandated) a disconnect between overt governance and secret control. For example note that some of the "bullshit" you cite did not prove an impediment to progress made prior to '64. In fact, one could argue that this focus on the political theatre is somewhat irrational given the implicit acknowledgement that the parties are disconnected from quaint notions of "American democracy".

It is reasonable to challenge that with the reality of actual political conflict in the socio-political arena. As for this cynic, I see the partisan jostling as internal dynamics of an elite that compete for available social, economic, and (petty) political advantages and resources, (ab)using demographic characteristics to marshall support.

tldr: I think the game of baseball perfectly captures the architecture of the american system. (hint: site sections can also be informative..)

b_b  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No, my argument is that executive fiat shouldn't be used to remake the huge sectors of the economy, and that being allowed to do so will be economically ruinous in the long run. The student loan debacle and now the beyond moronic EV mandates are both multi hundred billion dollar follies that Congress hasn't even rubber stamped let alone debated. I have no confusion on any of this--I have very carefully considered opinions that are based on learning and reason and a lifetime of trying to create products that help people, which is hard and requires tradeoffs. But basing opinions on Twitter soundbites is viable option too, I guess.

kleinbl00  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm legitimately curious about your opinion on Cash for Clunkers.

b_b  ·  221 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't have a strong opinion either way, to be honest. I thought at the time that if you want to give a backdoor bailout to auto companies, then fine. It juiced some sales at a time when they were at historic lows. But positioning it as a climate action was laughably stupid, given that the most efficient car (in terms of life cycle) is one that already exists. There's no world in which a brand new Prius beats a 10-15 year old car of almost any fuel efficiency on total carbon footprint. But the total appropriation was small and it was duly enacted by Congress, so I didn't find it offensive to anything but my sense of science. I think it's impact was minimal, it helped some people get a new car, and probably bought some goodwill from people who took advantage of it. So sure, whatever. It's been 14 years though, so my memory of all the details has faded somewhat, I'm sure.

user-inactivated  ·  223 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The shirts look dope though.