Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

Sports:

New Orleans Saints photo

Image by Tom Pumphret Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

[Sp1] Eggheads.

[Sp2] I’m with Newt. Teams should be owned by cities or players and not millionaire middlemen.

[Sp3] Of course, I actually go back and forth on player unions… except football. I mean, seriously

[Sp4] Why does home field advantage occur? Incidentally, in conference games (which gives us a control for scheduling) the home team in college football wins about 55% of the time.

[Sp5] Being a high school football coach in Texas is a well-paying gig, though increasingly job security is looking more and more like college football.

[Sp6] So now we’re publicly financing rugby stadiums. Better yet, a 43-year lease for a team in a league that didn’t exist two years ago and only played exhibitions last year.

[Sp7] Hey, look, it’s the Puppy Bowl! Uh, oh… controversy!

Transportation:

freeway photo

Image by Ian Sane Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

[Tr1] According to Devin Leonard Penn Station is bad and it’s about to get worse.

[Tr2] Ford’s CEO wants us to move beyond cars.

[Tr3] Honestly, I’m surprised the judge so freely admits to driving a Toyota.

[Tr4] Good luck and godspeed.

[Tr5] A look at how Sweden is rethinking the safety of automobile travel.

Family:

pig photo

Image by Karl Stiler Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

[Fa1] I am genuinely surprised that these women were told that ten eggs would be enough. Even with IVF and the like, the hit rate can vary a great deal.

[Fa2] Alice Bradley argues that parents should stop asking kids about their day. We’ve been pressing kind of hard on the how-was-your-day and what-did-you-do-today things, largely because we’re trying to get our girl to communicate more.

[Fa3] Are women surpassing men in the infidelity department?

[Fa4] Should it be taboo to criticize parents with “too many kids“? Or any?

[Fa5] Are fertility rates going down due to high rents? It… certainly makes sense. There are a lot of things that make cities favorable or unfavorable to having kids, and cost and space are #1 and #2.

[Fa6] There are multiple reasons not to post pictures of your kids on the Internet. Killjoys are one.

Housing:

Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

Image by glasseyes view Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

[Ho1] This is crazy for many reasons, the least of which is that open garaged doors are themselves usually ugly.

[Ho2] A look at the sausage-production of trying to regulate AirBnB.

[Ho3] California SB 827 strikes me as either a really good way to encourage increased density where it might be the most useful, discourage transit expansion, or both.

[Ho4] What’s up with the dearth of mobile homes in Iowa? I would have guessed something to do with tornadoes, but that immediately made no sense as there is no shortage in Oklahoma.

[Ho5] I’m sympathetic to the landlords here right up until they start demanding city-wide weed smoking bans in apartments. Somewhere in between preventing landlords from banning weed and a city-wide ban is a pretty straightforward solution. (In the meantime and until leases are renewed, apartments should have the option of extending their cigarette smoking bans to weed.)

[Ho6] This is probably right. Likewise, if you burn a $100 bill in front of a homeless person, you’re not making that person poor. It’s still gonna create problems, though, and it’s important to understand why.

[Ho7] Our cities need to build up, but so do our suburbs. An argument for these decisions not to be made at the local level.

Labor:

UPS photo

Image by RTMUP Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

[Lb1] With contracts of adhesion, is there a difference between this and just doing away with the state minimum wage?

[Lb2] Workplace wellness programs may work… as screening mechanisms.

[Lb3] This will end badly.

[Lb4] The case for letting employees call the shots.

[Lb5] Behold, the dangers of collective bargaining.


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330 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Inside/Outside

  1. Fa6: it’s an ironclad rule of the internet: any time someone posts something fun and lighthearted, there is someone there to point out all the things they have done that are wrong, dangerous, fattening, or “problematic.”

    LB2: our workplace wellness thing is about 50% joke, 50% proto-big-brother. They have a “health assessment program” that someone less-paranoid than I am did, and they told me “it was extremely intrusive” (apparently asked detailed questions about current mood and attitudes, sexual history, and past drug use, in with the usual waist measurements and bloodwork). The “joke” 50% is that they send out e-mails about “stress reduction” suggesting things like “take an extra hour a day to go for a walk” and I am like “GIVE ME A 25 HOUR DAY AND I WILL CONSIDER IT.” Those “stress-reduction” programs always put the burden on the stressed person, and never look at the potential causes of the stress…..it’s always “Add these six things to your day and you’ll magically become less stressed.”

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    • Re: FA6… did you see the woman who got publicly shamed because a stranger snapped a woman of her in an airport, looking at her phone, while he baby played on the ground at her feet? The woman finally spoke out and explained she’d been stuck in the airport all day and was trying to coordinate with her husband and the baby was happily playing. Didn’t matter. She was a #worstmomever.

      This is one reason why I keep all my social media private and only accept requests from people I trust know me well enough to properly contextualize what I put up there (like my sons listening/dancing to the Golden Girls theme song… over and over and over again…).

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      • I have watched the spectacle of someone I follow on Twitter get endlessly mansplained over the rescue birds she has, telling her things like she can Google to find the “right” diets for them. This is someone who has been raising/keeping birds for a long time so apparently she knows stuff better than 99% of the ‘splainers.

        i’m just glad it didn’t drive her off Twitter but it reminds me that’s why I have my account set to “you can follow me by request only,” I don’t need randos coming in and telling me how to do my job.

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      • like my sons listening/dancing to the Golden Girls theme song… over and over and over again…

        This is bad why? Have you heard some of the saccharine crap that passes for kids music that I have to endure over, and over, and over…?

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  2. Sp2: Large swathes of the European far right had their origins in football fan clubs. Having sports teams own by millionaire middle men and corporations might have prevented this in the United States.

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  3. Ho3: Good for Scott Weiner for fighting this fight. It is necessary in California.

    Lb1: I will never get why a certain kind of libertarian is absolutely obsessed with ending the minimum wage.

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    • Because it messes with the price of labor by setting an artificial floor, which skews the market. For some, that is enough of a reason by itself. For others, it’s less about the artificial floor & more about the Pollyannish attitudes of advocates that there won’t be any meaningful 2nd & 3rd order effects of the policy that need to be carefully considered & not handwaved away.

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        • Depends on who you are. For some, any market interference is gonna be a non-starter. But you can take those people about as seriously as you take animal-rights activists who don’t believe in domesticated animals. i.e. That ship has sailed, stop insisting on living in fantasy land; that or go start a SeaStead or space colony.

          As for the other folks critical of minimum wage, they are the ones who just want people to take secondary and tertiary effects seriously and maybe have a plan for investigating those effects and dealing with them should they manifest.

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          • Possibly the most fundamental place where libertarians and I part ways is my statement, “Any society that wants to be acceptably stable in the long run must worry about outcomes, not just opportunities.” Where stable is loosely defined to mean avoiding the pitchforks and torches and the whole thing tumbling down.

            Given agreement on that, it’s just details. Should people die from cancers that can be effectively treated if they don’t have sufficient cash on hand? Should the banksters be allowed to torch several trillion dollars of people’s retirement savings? Is minimum wage a good policy for meeting the outcome floor?

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          • Part of the reason I asked, is that often discussions about markets are premised on radically different ideas of what our ideal outcome would be.

            If the ideal outcome is maximizing human happiness, flourishing, and dignity, then it would be easy to see minimum wage as merely one tool to use, insignificant by itself, or the workings of the market as another tool, insignificant in itself.

            But often there is, frankly, what I sense to be a theological aspect, where the ideal outcome is fidelity to a theory like a pure market, which is itself the goal.

            Like others, I can imagine human happiness and flourishing to occur without a minimum wage. For instance a robust social safety net, or public ownership of wealth or some combination.

            But in that scenario, “skewing the marketplace” would be an irrelevancy.

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            • The reason I’m so against skewing the market (excepting a properly-targeted intervention to correct a market failure) is that doing so will tend to reduce allocative efficiency, which is a very important part of human happiness and flourishing. Helping those who are in a bad situation is important, too but this is why I advocate for alternatives to the minimum wage rather than simply calling for its removal.

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    • This isn’t necessarily the answer I think most libertarians would give, but here’s why the minimum wage bothers me:

      1) It fundamentally misunderstands the problem at hand. Wages are a product of an economic calculation, if some people can’t earn enough to attain a minimum acceptable standard of living then that’s a problem but its not a problem caused by evil employers screwing noble workers. Victim-villain narratives are not a useful way to diagnose economic problems.

      2) It is wilfully blind to the side effects. Increasing the price of low-productivity labour will simultaneously discourage its use while incentivising more people to try and get into it – I hope I don’t have to explain why that’s a problem. Not only that but the oversupply of labour gives space for employers to discriminate so the negative effects are felt disproportionately by the young, women and ethic minorities. In fact, this was the main justification for minimum wages in the first place.

      3) It underlies the rank hypocrisy of so much legislation – people being unable to sustain a sufficient standard of living is a valid problem, but the way to deal with that is to provide financial support to people in need. But that would cost money, so instead lets stick an arbitrary third party with the bill and congratulate ourselves on how moral we are. That is my 5 second summary of what’s wrong with your healthcare system too BTW.

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        • Inflation adjustment is effectively holding the minimum wage constant, so its a neutral decision as far as I’m concerned. Ultimately my preference is removing it entirely and replacing it with a better from of assistance, such as a UBI or some kind of working poor income support,

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          • I’d love to see a reasonably executed UBI.

            I’d double-plus love it if we built in some super tax penalty on the executives of companies who both
            – receive or award themselves huge salaries, bonuses, stock options, etc., and
            – employ a disproportionate percentage of people whose income needs topping up with UBI payments.

            … said tax penalty possibly at some point to include literal pounds of flesh surgically removed or something.

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            • I can think of no better way to create a permanent underclass of unemployable people. And you’re still not understanding that wages are not arbitrary – poor people aren’t poor because rich people are big meanies who pick on them. Anyone’s labour has a finite value to a prospective employer and you won’t be able to get the employer to pay them more than that no matter what you do.

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              • Personally, when I see someone quite peaceful talking about literal pounds of flesh, I assume it’s a clue that they are not being literal, but rather expressing wrath through humorous exaggeration.

                And while it’s true that you can’t get an employer to pay more than someone’s finite value to them as a laborer, it is also true that there are plenty of unscrupulous employers who are more than willing to exploit someone’s lack of understanding of their actual value to their employer and keep paying them far less than what their value would suggest that they ought to be paid. And plenty of bass-ackward ignorant CEOs whose game is loud and flashy but whose effect on the company’s value is actually deeply negative, who still get paid a bajillion dollars for their non-efforts.

                If every employee understood their own worth-as-labor and negotiating position with any degree of accuracy, and if there weren’t plenty of employers who are very happy to manipulate and bully their employees in small and large ways into not knowing their own worth, I’d be a lot more comfortable with labor as a market, in general.

                (Small example of said bullying that everyone likes to present as “just cultural” and “so that people get along better”: employees being required by employers not to disclose their salaries to each other. Which is Extremely Common Practice here in the states, for almost all private companies… and generally not something anyone would ever think of as evil corporations doing evil things. I mean, non-profits do it! There are social benefits to the employees for doing it because it does make it less likely that people will resent and judge each other (slightly less anyway)! But the *reason* for it, why the employers *require* it, is really that it artificially distorts the labor market in the employer’s favor and gives them a huge negotiating advantage over their already-employed-there workers, because they can see the spread and the employees cannot. Thank goodness there are equivalent jobs to my own that the state pays for, over at the state school, which are therefore transparent, or we’d have zero leverage with HR in getting raises commensurate to our value whatsoever….)

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                  • FWIW I’m not talking “norms” but “it’s actually in my employee handbook as a fireable offense”. I realize that’s backed by the norm, but I thought I should mention it in case this is another one of those “the US does WHAT?” moments…

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                      • I wonder (but don’t know) if it’s actually legal, in the sense that someone terminated for sharing salary information could claim the employer was dealing in antiunion-organizing behavior. As I understand, while most of the US is an at-will regime, some forms of retaliation for union-organizing are theoretically illegal.

                        Theoretically. I suppose that in order to invoke that defense as a wrongful termination, one would have to prove that they were indeed doing it for union-organizing purposes, and then would have to hire legal representation and hope that eventually, at some late date, the courts might decide the employee was wrongfully terminated.

                        But I’m not a lawyer.

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                        • I have wondered this myself, but have never wanted to leave my job to the point where I wanted to test it. (That would definitely be cutting off my nose to spite my face, I love my job.) It’s also exceptionally easy to work around when you know and trust your coworkers, or so I have hypothetically heard, so it’s an objection on principle / for other people, rather than something that harms me personally. It’d be different if we didn’t have an external source to point to for salary imbalance, though, for sure. Because we couldn’t exactly go to the employer and say “so I heard that…”

                          Given how strong this particular norm is (and as James says, for reasons that go back to the Middle Ages), I’d be surprised if getting fired as a test case worked out legally as it should.

                          But it’s exceptionally common, I’ve seen it all over in mine and friends’ experiences in this state in the last 20 years. (In PEI, the norm was so strong no one needed to write it down – and in Montreal, interestingly enough, it really wasn’t much of a norm except in certain Anglo subcommunities… McGill employees (who have strong unions) not being one of them.)

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                          • FWIW, although I love my job and am generally fond of my employer, they have often done things that made me think, “Hoo, one of these days people are going to make a union and y’all are going to be sorry.” It’s just that *my* job is pretty darn sweet, and would be far less pleasant if unionized, so I have no selfish incentive to do so.

                            And it turns out that if I’m doing a job I love, that I think has a lot of meaning, at a pay rate that is lower than my market value for the position, but also my immediate supervisors recognize that, and allow me compensating non-financial perks that I might not have elsewhere….

                            I’m way too selfish to look out for all the other employees who aren’t in that situation, when it would be to my own detriment. Both my parents were heavily involved with (good) unions. I can see what could be done and I know how to do it… I just won’t.

                            But if they ever decide to start a union, I’ll back them.

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              • , I question the idea that employers, in most cases, can actually assign a number to the abstract concept of “marginal product of labor”, such that an employer can point to a laborer and say, “you’re worth $X and not a penny more.”

                You may be able to do such with certain front-line production workers (such as myself) but what about the accountant, the secretary, or the janitor?

                A wage is just another price after all, no different than the price of materials, utilities, or interest and as such is determined by the forces of supply and demand in the labor market. It should be noted that the price of any input to a production process logically has a floor of whatever it costs to produce that particular input. The logical stance of the firm is to minimize the prices it pays for the inputs to the production process but they can’t sustainably demand that their suppliers provide those inputs — electricity, steel, etc. — at less than the supplier’s cost + reasonable profit, no?

                This is where the concept of a minimum, or better, living wage comes in. A unit of labor has a finite cost of production which must be met somehow. It must be fed, clothed, and housed. It’s health must be attended to. It must be raised from infancy and educated until it’s ready to contribute to production. It (morally) needs to be supported upon retirement.

                So if you assume a working lifetime of, say 40 years, and expect the worker to be self-sufficient (sans welfare redistribution) then that worker needs to earn sufficient income over that 40 years to cover the immediate needs, save for retirement, and pay-it-forward by covering the cost of raising their replacement. Or we can have some socialism. Your call.

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                  • , Right you are. And my final couple of sentences there came off more… strident?… than I intended. I favor a certain amount of socialist wage support. My point really is that you need one or the other; having neither, which is the orthodox libertarian position, is a cruel stance. James has always struck me as a liberalish libertarian type so I don’t want to attribute the orthodox position to him. I really just wanted to explicate my thinking on the matter.

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      • I mean, we can go ahead and shift towards a UBI or a more generous EITC or any number of any things.

        And we can also get rid of or reduce the minimum wage. It might be tenable from a humanitarian perspective to do that along with sufficiently large transfer payments to low wage earners.

        All of this might well be a good idea.

        But it also seems an awful lot like subsidizing employers that need a lot of cheap labor. This isn’t a totally idle thought, since at least in the US we frequently see low wage workers also needing public assistance (food stamps, Medicaid, et c.) to keep their heads above water.

        I’m not sure this is a bad thing, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a “just leaving the labor market alone” thing.

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        • It depends on whether you start from a premise that basic subsistence-by-the-standards-of-the-place-you’re-in-living ought to be dependent on you being “willing to work” (and don’t start me on the context of that phrase) or not, versus whether basic subsistence is just something that everybody wants everyone to have even if it costs the collective us a chunk of change, and not something that people who hire other people should be saddled with extra, that the rest of us should not. (Note that in countries where the latter view predominates, corporations are not generally anywhere near as powerful or massive as they are here.)

          Not everyone sees subsistence-level (or even a bit nicer) living as something that should be part of the labor market. If you don’t start by assuming it is, that people “should work for a living” as the Protestant work ethic goes, you end up in different places.

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          • Just to be clear, I’m open to the idea of having a UBI and eliminating or drastically reducing the minimum wage.[1] In past conversations on the topic, I’ve usually been finding myself in the role of arguing that it’s time to move past, “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.”[2]

            I’m mainly just poking and prodding at some of the libertarian assumptions about what counts as skewing the market. At the end of the day, I’m one of Will’s “libertarian-friendly liberals”, and I probably don’t disagree all that strenuously with about what we should do, or even why we should do it.

            [1] As to why you’d want any minimum wage at all, one reason is that in some situations a minimum wage can increase employment.

            [2] Lenin’s favorite verse of the Bible, so it’s not just Protestants.

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            • My point was not that you should agree with so much as that libertarians from socialist countries think differently than libertarians from capitalist ones. (and don’t get me started on the ways in which Marx/Engels and their awful enactors were just as descended from Weber intellectually as any Protestant you care to name. “Protestant work ethic,” doesn’t, really, refer to religious belief. as I suspect you might know already :D.)

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            • @maribou

              I remain a skeptic that UBI is on the horizon anytime soon in the United States. I think Erik Loomis is right here, work and labour are so intertwined with how Americans set their self-worth that it makes UBI nearly impossible. My general experience with people who support UBI is that they come in two categories:

              1. Left leaning artists and/or academics with graduate educations who are shut out of academics and/or the art world and need to do boring desk jobs for a living. These people believe that UBI will allow them to quit their boring corporate jobs and do what they really want; or

              2. Libertarians who think UBI will allow them to gut all other aspects of the Welfare State.

              I’m doubtful on the premise to #2 because it would need to be a rather high UBI for this to be true.

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              • I vastly prefer my desk job to anything I ever saw when I was in academia [1] and am not a libertarian.

                But I do think UBI is a promising idea for a couple reasons.

                One is that its basic universality leaves the people receiving it much freer than they are under current welfare state programs here in the US, which are frequently linked to obnoxious, intrusive, and degrading requirements that can often add up to trapping people in poverty longer.

                The second is that they provide a good hedge on a lot of the risks individuals face that can send them on a temporary or even permanent spiral into disaster. A lot of the biggest risks of financial ruin in modern life, like divorce or moving to a new city far from your existing support network [2,3], will be substantially mitigated, and a lot of the biggest societal risks will be the same.

                What do we do if robot drivers put everyone who drives a truck or a cab or an Uber out of work?

                That will still be bad, but at least the immediate crisis is handled and the people put out of work will, themselves, have more resources to get them back on their feet and figure something else out, while we as a broader society figure out just what to do with the mess made by the latest technological advancement.

                [1] I was pretty miserable in grad school and ridiculously miserable as a post-doc.

                [2] The last being really fucking useful if you need a job and there aren’t any jobs where you are.

                [3] I exclude medical bankruptcy, because while I could see UBI easily replacing TANF and housing assistance, it isn’t enough to make the US healthcare system other than a Category 5 Garbage Vortex.

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              • I mentioned this over at LGM, but I a UBI composed of a suite of different programs and cultural shifts seems very likely to me.

                For instance, we already have a large number of Americans who receive direct support; everything from veterans benefits to Social Security and Medicare to TANF and the EITC.
                Then there is indirect support such as subsidized transportation, subsidized health insurance exchanges, subsidized food production.

                I can envision greatly expanded EITC and Medicare-for-all, combined with expanded subsidies for food, clothing, rent and housing production, to the point where the reliance upon a wage becomes very minimal.

                I can also see a shift in culture from “Work til you drop” to that culture that we see in retirement account advertisements, where people work part time at a job to pay some bills, but spend most of their time pursuing avocations they love.

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                • …but spend most of their time pursuing avocations they love.

                  This is where I get really pessimistic. I’d be willing to bet real money that a majority of the population, perhaps a large majority, would be unable to find things to fill up the hours of the day for year after year after year. And a UBI sort of budget makes it worse. (As I say regularly about myself, “The good thing about retirement is that I can research questions that interest me. The bad thing is that funding the research adequately is a lot harder.”)

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                • “But spend most of their time in avocations they love.”

                  I am skeptical about this for a variety of reasons:

                  1. My inner skeptic always thinks the left vastly overestimates how much people hate their office jobs. I did mention knowing people who would rather be doing anything than an office job but I don’t think this is an overwhelming majority. A lot of people like their office corporate capitalist jobs because they want to make lots of money. These people will still be needed to support any feasible UBI.

                  2. I think it is still a minority of people they have avocations rather than jobs. Will UBI change this? Maybe. But it seems like a Protestant Work Ethic ideal of UBI. UBI will allow people to reach their full potential. Suppose a good plurality of peopke use their UBI to do fuck-all. Then what?

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                  • I doubt most people have avocations that would fill up all their free time. Lots of retired people seem bored by being retired or don’t have near enough money to fill up their time.

                    But work fills a need for being part of something, socialization and purpose. Even the something isn’t grand and purpose is not deep that is something people like and want.

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          • My view of the Protestant work ethic is more a result of my economics training than anything else (the Protestant Work Ethic is actually partly responsible for economics being called the Dismal Science). There is plenty of “work or starve” attitude in New Zealand.

            As an aside, our economy is probably less “mixed” than the US’s is. Our welfare state is more generous (though its more that it is more focused on giving to the poor, and less on giving to the old), but our regulatory structure is, in general, more permissive the the US’s. I like to surprise my colleagues by describing regulations that are common in the US but seem utterly strange to us, like business licenses or the taxi medallion system.

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        • But it also seems an awful lot like subsidizing employers that need a lot of cheap labor.

          Do they need cheap labor, or is it simply low value labor? Also, how much of the cost of a specific type of labor is baked into the populations assumptions about what things should cost? Picking tomatoes is tough work, but it doesn’t require special skills or extensive knowledge, and the general population won’t appreciate the cost of tomatoes spiking just so people can have a living wage.

          There is this idea that if wages are raised, prices will remain flat and the ‘wealthy’ people in the middle of the supply chain will quietly eat the added cost.

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          • I mean there is that general idea that prices will remain flat, but in a lot of instances that general idea looks true, or at least truish, because of those various second and third order effects.

            And it may be that you’re subsidizing tomato consumers instead of tomato producers or tomato transporters, which may matter if you’re worried precisely who is stuck with the bill, but in terms of interfering with the market, well, someone is being subsidized, and it’s… to-may-to, to-mah-to.

            (Sorry. I am so, so, sorry.)

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            • Seriously though, if a UBI isn’t politically feasible (a state I’m not entirely convinced will persist), is it more efficient to subsidize employers directly as opposed to maintaining a complex welfare system?

              ?

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                • This. Who’s the “employer of last resort” when unemployment is running 10% or higher?

                  One of the things we’ve seen over the last 50 years in the US is that following each recession, it takes longer for employment levels to rebound. It has become standard for Congress to answer that question with “We are,” but in the form of extended unemployment benefits. Of course, it is — by definition of the benefit levels — a crappy-paying job compared to what the worker had before, and doesn’t make them eligible for any other employment-linked benefits.

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      • On #1, what are you thoughts about power differentials in setting the price of labor?

        An unemployed person doesn’t have money to eat. He’s willing to work for the equivalent of three meals a day. Evil employer offers him enough money to buy one meal a day. Should the guuy accept the proposal?

        The cost to the evil employer of not hiring the guy is the marginal contribution one more cleaner, or line cook, or janitor will make to his business. Even if evil employer has no other employees and is currently the only person working in the company, His “loss” is capped at 100% of the current value of his output. If he already has other employees, the marginal contribution of the new employee is reduced. Microeconomics and libertarianism tell us that the unemployed guy should receive a salary equivalent to that marginal contribution.

        So why is the evil employer able to offer one meal a day?

        Because for the unemployed dude, the alternative to this job offer is starvation, whereas accepting the job will at least move him to the malnutrition column. That’s a net positive for him, but it’s likely far from the value he’s contributing. He knows if he doesn’t take the job, he’s dead, and some other poor sod will. And evil employer will keep the valu difference for himself. Hey, Porterhouse steaks don’t grow in trees.

        Ideal market conditions break out here (and everywhere, btw). Employers are a monopsony. The real life alternatives of walking away from a job are not the same for employers and employees. History is full of examples of this (see, enclosures, vagrant laws, company towns, etc.)

        So what’s the libertarian solution?

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        • @j_a

          Let’s start by considering the scenario – as you lay it out the unemployed person must choose between this one employer’s offer or starvation, so why is that? Is this labour market a monopsony? Because outside of government-exclusive jobs or really small towns that’s actually quite rare. And if there are multiple employers they have to bid against each other for workers then each one won’t be simply able to dictate terms.

          If there is a monopsony, then we’re in the territory of market failure, and I’m a lot more tolerant of intervention. I’m not sure minimum wages are the way I would go there, honestly collective bargaining is a good option for uncompetitive labour markets, and I think the decline of unions is in large part driven by increases in competition. If there is collusion between employers to suppress wages then that’s cartel behaviour and I am 100% in favour of shutting it down.

          In either case though, a UBI would at least give the unemployed an option besides starvation.

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    • I will never get why a certain kind of libertarian is absolutely obsessed with ending the minimum wage.

      1) I’m opposed to anything that gets in the way of job creation. I want job creation to be a right, not a privilege. I want job creation to be the first solution to any problem, not the last. I want bad jobs to be destroyed by good jobs. I want employers to be fighting to get employees rather than the other way around.

      2) I don’t see why my minimum wage kid deserves (or needs) a “living wage”. A terrible job teaches her she doesn’t want a terrible job. A “living wage” suggests the opposite.

      3) The WSJ claims 90% of min wage earners live in a household where there’s a higher level breadwinner.

      4) When people get priced out of the market because their productivity is less than the min wage, it’s unlikely to be my kid. Having her keep her job while someone who needs it gets thrown out of work seems like a problem.

      5) Insisting McDonalds jobs be “good” will result in one human with a degree in robotics running a crew of robots. This seems unlikely to be good for the people working there now.

      6) I got paid crap by idiots to learn skills that would pay better from other people. Long term it was very good for me.

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    • Lb1: I will never get why a certain kind of libertarian is absolutely obsessed with ending the minimum wage.

      I’m kind of a libertarian and I don’t think about the minimum wage much at all. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it’s just another example of how our political conversations tend to focus on things that are almost completely symbolic. The current minimum wage is close enough to the reserve wage that it doesn’t cause much actual distortion. There just aren’t a whole lot of native born Americans willing to work for >$7 an hour. And the ones who would probably aren’t worth what they’re willing to take (i.e. they are people with serious issues that make them unemployable for reasons having nothing to do with the wage rate.)

      Start cranking up the minimum wage and then you start to change the outcomes and two things start happening: (1) higher minimum wages start to do more distortion to the labor market, increasing unemployment as employers make due with less labor by simply producing less or raising prices in the short term and investing more in capital in the long term; and (2) higher wages start to induce a whole different class of worker into the labor market, which means that the dis-employment effects will be concentrated in the pool of workers with the least amount of human capital.

      So, this is where I have to ask all the supporters of a higher minimum wage, “why are you so convinced that it’s a good thing?” Or to put it another way, “what evidence would convince you that higher minimum wages are a bad thing?” I tend to believe that if you can’t explain what proof would make you change your mind on an issue, then you don’t have a very well thought-out position.

      Here’s mine: evidence that demonstrated that the move to higher minimum wages or “living wages” were primarily accompanied by a transfer of wealth from wealthy employers to the worst-off employees, I would change my position and support higher minimum wages. So far, I’ve seen no such evidence, but I’m watching what happens in places that have adopted the $15 minimum wage.

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      • It’s reasonably easy for me, and kind of the converse: if I saw good evidence that a high minimum wage would significantly drive down employment among less skilled workers (small drops in employment may be more than offset by the wage gain themselves), or lead to the a lot of growth of a pool of never-employed workers, it would be enough to make me drop my support for it.

        Most folks on the left don’t think a minimum wage increase will harm employment, and they may be wrong, but they aren’t crazily wrong based on what I know of the observed real-world effects.

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    • I’ll never get why so many lefties are so obsessed with increasing it. At best it’s a poorly-targeted policy that very modestly increases incomes for low-income workers. In more extreme cases, it can render people unemployable.

      My theory is that this is coming from a need to believe that the reason low-income workers have low wages is that their employers are cheating them. That even if nobody is actually willing to pay more than $8/hour for a particular person’s work, that person’s work is actually worth at least $15/hour. They see someone whose life isn’t going so well, and they desperately need to find a richer person to blame. And according to the Copenhagen interpretation of ethics, that’s the worker’s employer.

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        • What is your proof? What is the proof that the Overton Window moved far to the right on immigration as opposed to electoral gerrymandering and other things keeping a minority view in charge? Doesn’t polling indicate that most Americans support something for the Dreamers?

          Democrats have won 35 special elections since Trump took office including many in deep-red districts that Trump won bigly in 2016. Republican congress people and Senators are deciding not to run for reelection in record numbers.

          What is your proof? Cite please. Or is this just your Jay Jaying?

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          • What is your proof?

            I don’t have any.

            What is the proof that the Overton Window moved far to the right on immigration as opposed to electoral gerrymandering and other things keeping a minority view in charge?

            Well, this kind of assumes where “far to the right” is and I’m not sure that you have your finger on the pulse of where “the right” is and where “the left” is here.

            Doesn’t polling indicate that most Americans support something for the Dreamers?

            Yep. It certainly does.

            Democrats have won 35 special elections since Trump took office including many in deep-red districts that Trump won bigly in 2016. Republican congress people and Senators are deciding not to run for reelection in record numbers.

            Yep. They certainly have. My marker is on them needing to win 150 to indicate something more than regression to the mean. 115 to go!

            What is your proof? Cite please. Or is this just your Jay Jaying?

            I have no proof. This might just be my Jay Jaying.

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        • The overton window has shifted away from “but read the poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty!” in the last year. Have you noticed?

          The assumption that we wouldn’t want immigrants who are likely to become “public charges” is not even questioned.

          How much more will the window shift in the next week or so, before we start arguing about DACA legislation?

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          • Republicans seem to keep losing a lot of elections if the Overton window shifted. The anti-immigrant forces are very happy and can’t contain their glee but from what I can tell, most Americans are horrified at Trump’s harsh war against immigrants even if they voted for them. Its a sort of “I can’t believe leopards would eat my face says woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.”

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          • Of course the public charge issue has been in the law for a long time. But during the time of Ellis Island there were jobs that all they demanded was some physical strength. Such jobs no longer exist. Or to go back a bit further there was always subsistence farming in the west, which mainly demanded a strong back and a good spouse. But those days are now gone, and if the metric is to be able to hold down a minimum wage job then you get at least requirements to understand english, and the like (Yes I have ancestors on 3 of 4 sides that spoke German in the home until WWI). Or if you say a job that will pay enough to handle health insurance (no medicaid) you are leading to a merit based system.
            In any case the requirement to not become a public charge has changing requirements as the skills required increase over time.

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          • Virtually everyone at some point receives some form of public assistance.
            People fixate on food stamps for some reason while ignoring all other forms.

            You the taxpayers gave me assistance to pay my college tuition (Thanks!)

            You the taxpayers gave me cash to fix my house after the 1994 earthquake (Thanks again!)

            And yet now, I pay more in federal tax in any given year than I ever received in benefits. Giving people temporary help when they need it is how we construct a community.

            In the immortal words of Craig T. Nelson: “I been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No.”

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              • It’s worth noting that immigrants that come here to find a better life for themselves and their children are more likely to work hard to get out of the welfare trap than most 3rd, 4th, 5th+ generation Americans.

                But even those who can’t rise above themselves may have offspring or grandchildren who more than pay off because they don’t grow up the attitude that they are somehow owed for being ‘Murican.

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      • Yes I think so. More specifically, I think this is another form of putting pressure on for “self-deportation.” The immigrants might not be citizens but they are here legally and not all of them are here on temporary visas. They might also have children who are American citizens and need access to public benefits. So are the immigrants going to be labeled “public charges” because their children need CHIP? I imagine in Miller and Trump land, the answer is yes.

        There is also this:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/02/06/trump-immigration-plan-could-keep-whites-in-u-s-majority-for-up-to-five-more-years/?utm_term=.164411d34c21

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        • Supporting Dreamers against people that want to deport them are how you get support for immigration. They’re a super sympathetic bunch.

          Trying to declare economic contribution as white supremacy is how you get people to shrug off being called white supremacists. It’s the “Refusing to sleep with a trans person is trans phobic” of the immigration debate.

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            • If the kids are born here, they are citizens even if their parents are not. As citizens they have the same rights as US citizen kids born to US citizen or LPR parents. Trying to penalize the US citizen kids of legal immigrants is unnecessarily cruel and vicious.

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            • To refine my objection, it seems like people who are opposed to horribly nasty immigration policy are laboring under a norm that requires them to impute the best possible motivations to their opponents, while their opponents are not expected to do anything to avoid looking racist.

              Why should they get the benefit of the doubt anymore?

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              • Oh, I think the administration is definitely acting on a racist wave. It’s just that I also think locking immigration views to racism in this manner is a good way to get people to shrug off the accusation.

                I think this policy is cold and heartless and cruel. But I remember when I wasn’t on the “correct” side of one of these discussions (the kids from Central America), and while I was sorting through the issue I cannot emphasize enough how unconvincing I found the notion that my being a racist or not depended on which side of the issue I fell. Which, even though my views here are relatively unconflicted, I suspect is true of people here who are conflicted, or are on the other side.

                So when I see the issue framed as Saul frames it – as *fundamentally* and transparently one of not just racism but white supremacy – I respond by more-or-less tuning out that person’s assessment of what is and isn’t white supremacy.

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          • I gotta agree with Pillsy below. This whole thing proves Murc’s law. Democrats or left of center voters are the only ones with agency in American politics, everyone else gets permanent absolution.

            Trump is cruel and he is racist. He has a paper and action trail of racism going back for decades. His dad was racist. But we are never allowed to suggest that there is white supremacist intent in any of his actions and policies especially those against immigrants.

            At what point can you call a policy white supremacy?

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            • Also, the thing about seeing charges too often robbing them of their power?

              It absolutely cuts both ways.

              Sure, maybe if you’re conflicted or one of those people who is on the other side of an issue for legitimate non-racist reasons, it’s unconvincing or offense to see these things as described as flatly racist, but when you’re on our side, you will see, time and again, really grossly racist stuff defended as not racist.

              Eventually, you start disregarding the defenses, because from your perspective they really don’t mean anything at all any more.

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              • There are quite a few people I’ve tuned out on the subjects of race and bigotry due to their need to constantly play defense. Nearly everyone associated with The Federalist, for example.

                “It’s not racism unless there is a cross burning on someone’s lawn” is definitely a thing.

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                • But again this is a prisoner’s dilemma and/or collective action problem. Democrats (and the left) have been concerned trolled and/or had the worst possible intentions given to them for decades by the conservative side.

                  So lots of people just aren’t in a good mood anymore and are tired of being charitable.

                  I try setting aside my assumptions a lot and I’ve defended libertarian sincerity on LGM. I can’t say that I’ve had it returned very often.

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                  • Yeah. And especially on immigration, the antis have, time and again, said they actually care about one thing and then proven that they care about another.

                    Remember the whole line about how they weren’t anti-immigration, just anti-illegal immigration? If that’s the case, why is the Trump WH trying to make huge cuts to legal immigration rates, and why aren’t haven’t more of its supporters become former supporters over this obvious betrayal?

                    Why is there such immense resistance to normalizing the status of DREAMers?

                    And so on and so forth. At a certain point, the fact that the movement as a whole doesn’t make the concessions that should be extremely easy to make if their own descriptions of their motivations are true makes it very tempting to conclude their stated motives are pretexts, and there’s really no point in talking to them anyway.

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                    • “Remember the whole line about how they weren’t anti-immigration, just anti-illegal immigration? If that’s the case, why is the Trump WH trying to make huge cuts to legal immigration rates”

                      Isn’t that a logical balancing of the books?

                      Rather than deporting *all* the illegal immigrants and then letting them back in at the current rates, there’s going to be a certain amount of allowing some (or maybe all) remain … so reducing future immigration allows for the concession of not deporting all.

                      Might even be a necessary compromise to get the anti-‘s on-board unless you want to concede the deport everyone and start fresh argument.

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                      • It may be a logical balancing of books, but it’s a logical balancing of books that quite a few people who were advocating for tighter border security had (it seemed) suggested we did not, in fact, need to be balance.

                        Even if we’re talking about deportations, the reason articulated for the deportations has pretty much always been framed in terms of the illegality of their presence in the country.

                        Maybe the brute political reality is that we need to compromise with people who want reduced levels of legal immigration. But that’s not, it seems, what we were told.

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                        • Well, you were told that the Border has to be secured to prevent all illegal entry; and that all the illegals were illegal and therefore had to go.

                          If you say that’s unacceptable, and they say, well, maybe some can stay, some go, and we reduce future immigration… I’d call that progress.

                          Now you’re on the way to possibly banging out a deal.

                          Nobody lied to you (yet) because you never granted their initial premise of closed border and deportations. If somehow you were out negotiated into a Wall and Massive deportations, and then they came back and said, yeah, they also wanted to reduce the number of legal entries… well, then you’ve got a beef.

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                          • “and Massive deportations”

                            Is there where someone points out that pro- and anti-immigration is not a clearly or simply left/right thing (except by Trump’s hijacking of nativist rhetoric to become the “anti-immigration” candidate), historically was less so than it is now, and that by my way of thinking, Obama was already engaged in massive deportations?

                            About half-a-million people a year for multiple years running seems rather massive.

                            (I’m not saying pillsy or Marchmaine is right or wrong about this particular point, just that I can see how a person might feel like “massive deportations” was ALREADY conceded, in practice if not in theory, long ago. Maybe if you have 360,000,000 citizens, half a million people IS a drop in the bucket, I don’t know. Half a million people, or 414 thousand, or however precise you want to get, is more than the entire population of the entire province where I grew up by a factor of ~3, so you’re not going to convince ME that’s not a massive number of people, but it’s not like I have a vote anyway :D.)

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                            • More massiver deportations.

                              Mostly I’m objecting to the notion that a side changing its position in response to changing its position elsewhere shouldn’t be morally castigated. You want to encourage their moral failings.

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                            • Yeah, this is definitely part of it.

                              Rates of illegal immigration in particular have fallen. Rates of immigration across our southern border are negative, and have been for quite some time.

                              So a lot of the time it really feels like there’s a refusal to take yes for an answer, which certainly isn’t helped by the extremely disingenuous games that the GOP leadership have been playing with the DREAMers in particular, who they assure us they really, truly feel for and yet they also keep saying they need a lot of concessions in order to help them.

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                    • Why is there such immense resistance to normalizing the status of DREAMers?

                      Because it’s a club to use against the Dems to get what they actually want.

                      The Dems have to make a deal, even a bad deal. If they stand on the sidelines and chant “no”, the hostages get shot.

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                        • The “Dreamers” are a bargaining chip. That’s why nothing has happened so far. Sure there is a bunch of R’s who don’t want them but they are likely to be sidelined. They are the chip to get the symbolic wall and whatever the R’s really want. Ending chain immigration i guess.

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                          • But the mere fact that the majority of the Republican party representatives are willing to treat them as bargaining chips, that is, to be so indifferent to their plight and so willing to let them be deported is what I mean.

                            The posture of the Republican Party ranges from an active rabid hostility to the Dreamers, to a depraved indifference that is willing to refrain from inflicting horrific cruelty, in exchange for a trifling bribe of a tax cut.

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                        • Thank you for proving my point.

                          About… bad intentions?

                          Assume the anti-immigration people have good intentions, or think they do. What are they supposed to think the Dems will do about immigration if Trump lets the Dreams go without a deal?

                          And on a side note, keep in mind my preferred solution for this mess is to hand out Green cards emmass. We need these people. The bulk of the problems illegal immigration brings is because it’s illegal, wave a magic “you are legal” wand and most issues go away.

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                          • Regardless of whether their intentions are good or bad, I have to make assumptions about them, and very unreliable ones, because their own actions are inconsistent with their stated intentions. So we have this thing, where they simultaneously want to do something and refuse to do it because they want leverage over the Democrats.

                            Except they have control over the government. They surely have any number of issues that they could trade off for other immigration reforms that they want, not just the DREAMers.

                            Add to that the fact that quite a few of the people calling the shots on this, like Miller and Kelly, as well as some of the House members who seem to be pushing Ryan around, really do seem to be awful,[1] and there’s very little basis for trust. Or respect, for that matter.

                            [1] Awful even compared to Trump, who seems to be inattentive and indifferent, mostly wanting to do whatever the last person he talked to wants to do with the DREAMers.

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                            • Except they have control over the government.

                              They don’t have 60 votes and they need exactly that. They probably don’t even have 52.

                              They surely have any number of issues that they could trade off for other immigration reforms that they want, not just the DREAMers.

                              Name a few.

                              It takes tremendous amounts of political pain to make something like this happen. The Dreamers are a rare opportunity. Without them I can’t think of anything which makes the Dems trade off on a bunch of bad ideas.

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                                • It seems poor coalition management to sacrifice one of your sub-groups when their interests aren’t in play or opposed to any other member of your coalition. It’s a lot cleaner to trade immigration for immigration, that’s how compromises are made.

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                              • It takes tremendous amounts of political pain to make something like this happen. The Dreamers are a rare opportunity.

                                Not really. Except for a handful of far right extremists the majority of conservatives and GOPers in Congress want the same thing Democrats do – a pathway to citizenship for dreamers. The reason it’s leveraged isn’t because it’s a uniquely Democratic policy goal but because far right extremists have captured leadership positions in the House and White House.

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                                • You realize he’s saying that it’s a rare opportunity to do something the Repubs want nearly as much (dreamers) AND get a whole bunch of bad ideas (@Dark’s actual words, bad ideas!!) passed by putting the Dems over a barrel for the sake of the dreamers, right?

                                  Like, that isn’t really in *any* way an endorsement of the Republicans or their choices. It’s just delineating what he thinks their effective strategy is, and saying that parties rarely have the opportunity to get this many bad ideas past their opponents.

                                  I don’t think you guys even particularly disagree with each other about this particular piece of things, you’re just looking at different parts of the elephant.

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                                  • Ahh. Got it. Yes, I agree with him about that. For most of the GOP CCers trading a path to citizenship for Dreamers for something else isn’t a concession at all. My point, and maybe Dark agrees with this, is that the leverage on DACA isn’t being exerted by the GOP caucus but from the far right-wing of the party and WH, and those folks actually *don’t* want to grant a path to citizenship or even legal status. They’re perfectly fine with deportation. So for them a path to citizenship actually is a major concession.

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                                    • Which also explains the basic dilemma we have with immigration policy. We have powerful blocks/constituencies that are too far apart, so far, to come to any mutually acceptable agreement. We don’t appear to be getting any closer to an agreement and do not have any master negotiators leading the process.

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                                      • I bet you dollars to donuts that John Kelly is orchestrating these high-profile deportations as part of a campaign to soften objections to the WH immigration proposal. He’s basically signaling, by actual example, that the executive can and will deport everyone without papers, including DACA recipients, unless Congress gets off the pot.

                                        It’s a ballsy gambit but he didn’t get those four stars for being a decent guy.

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                          • I’m not on the anti-immigration camp, but from my perspective it depends on what they’re offered. If Democrats walk away because Republicans want to cut legal immigration by 50%, as is the current proposal, then I have a hard time faulting them for rolling the dice for 2021 and hoping for the best. If, on the other hand, they hold out for a path to citizenship or because they insist legal status not be limited to dreamers, then I feel differently.

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                                • Hmm. I’m still a bit confused. The current WH proposal includes a 12 year path to citizenship for DACA recipients (and 1.2 million folks who didn’t get off their asses to sign up), and lower levels of legal immigration. Do you think Dems should take that offer even tho it contains a DACA fix?

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                                  • No, I don’t. I would be more open to negotiation than Democrats have, but I would probably not accept any dramatic reduction in legal immigration levels.

                                    However, if they left immigration levels where they are and wanted to take citizenship off the table, that I would take.

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                                    • Ahh, got it. Trade maintaining current legal immigration levels for no (current) path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

                                      Just as a side note, I get the feeling that negotiation won’t be on the table. Dems won’t go for less on DACA. Part of that will be due to short term political necessity, part will be due to lack of long term Democratic strategery. Dems are horrible at the long game. (They’re pretty awful at the short game too.)

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                                  • (and 1.2 million folks who didn’t get off their asses to sign up)

                                    I could see a reason, besides laziness, that someone otherwise qualified to sign up for DACA might rationally not want to. By signing up, that person is making themselves and his or her illegal status visible to the government, and that visibility might be used against the DACA participant.

                                    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe DACA came with/comes with an ironclad, enforceable guarantee that those who sign up won’t be in danger by virtue of having signed up. But even if I am wrong, I can see how a low-information DACA-eligible person might be legitimately worried that signing up could be used against him/her.

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                                    • You’re quite right, actually. There’s no guarantee, especially with a bunch of people in charge who’ve already demonstrated that they don’t really care about keeping former administration’s promises and they particularly don’t care about treating non-Americans reasonably.

                                      The #1 fear of the DACA recipients I’ve met is that they will end up getting deported *because of DACA*.

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          • I don’t really see why the burden is on the left here though. I get that there are people who aren’t racists or who don’t see themselves as racist but they might support policies that are also favored by racists and white supremacists. Maybe they have non-racist reasons for supporting these policies or think they do.

            But the record of Trump, Miller, Bannon, and the Breitbart crew is crystal clear and in Trump’s case decades old. So the burden isn’t on the left because there are some voters who want to vote for Trump or who support some Trump policies and they don’t like having to hitch their wagon to a racist (but they hitch their wagon anyway).

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            • @pillsy

              (Note: I don’t know if this is me talking as a moderator or not. I’m certainly not THREATENING anybody with this line of reasoning, I promise. If anything it’s me talking not as a moderator, but as a senior editor who reads every single comment, is very invested in this place as a community, and is also quite aware of the decisions the main moderator (who happens to be me) makes?? It’s a puzzle.)

              I hear this question from y’all a lot – partly because Koz keeps bringing it up in the context of the larger culture, where the situation is different.

              But the website is not the larger culture.

              I think the burden *is* on the left *here* as in, on this website, because the general consensus here is centrist-left, or more accurately, as Will put it the other day “libertarians who are liberal-friendly and liberals who are libertarian-friendly”. (I’d say there’s also a substantial cohort of foreign nationals – self included – with significant ties to the US, and disaffected Republicans… but we’re not quite so much of a majority as we are “people who tend to blend in to liberal-libertarian blends in such a way that we get lumped in.”)

              Trump supporters and very conservative folks who want to hang out with us and hear what we have to say about things, and have the patience to be in such a huge minority, and also aren’t so darned oppositional-by-nature that they end up getting *heavily* censored, even banned, are VERY rare in these comments. They are definitely here – PD Shaw is someone I would count among them without even thinking about it, though I’m not even sure at the moment what he thinks about Trump – but they are rare.

              Because we far outnumber those rare birds, *here*, and have a lot more power than they do, here, we have a duty to civil, interested Trump supporters who are community members here. Even more of a duty to the folks who are quite conservative, agree with Trump on a lot of things, but have chosen not to support him for whatever principled reasons of their own. And those people are *in the vast minority* among our commentariat. By at least one order of magnitude, if not two or three? Not a duty to agree with them, or to be gentle with the ideas they put forward, but a duty to not assume they are just like all those other guys who form a lumpen mass of offensive xenophobic jerks in our heads (whether they ought to or not, but that’s a separate moral dilemma and one that I myself am conflicted on).

              Y’all – or really we all – are hardly EVER a voice crying out in the wilderness when you point out, *here*, that Trump et al are racists. Or some Trumpian policy is being promoted for scurrilous and shameful reasons. almost every commenter here thinks Trump is awful and would rather someone else was president, if they had their druthers. almost every commenter here didn’t even come CLOSE to voting for the guy. you are *in the majority* on all that stuff.

              It’s when you want to throw everybody who ever kind of sort of maybe agreed with Trump on some issue once, regardless of who they voted for, what they’ll decide about that particular issue, etc., into the same pond he swims in, that you get a lot of pushback, and stop being in such a comfortable majority. I’m not saying people are even right to sort of maybe agree with him on whatever issue! As Will says, this policy is cruel. I also find the Head Start / CHIP part particularly disgusting, unAmerican, etc. “How can that be LEGAL???” says my brain and wants an immediate court challenge, even as I can see the argument that parents are responsible for their children’s financial well-being sitting right there – it’s just not, IMO, a good enough argument, one that gets far outstripped by the arguments against it… sorry got off on a bit of a tangent.

              Point being, when you go from “this policy is seriously messed up YET again, big surprise, can you believe this racist ##(*@$ is using the cover of American ignorance and how systematically racist the country still is to punish american citizens who are freaking CHILDREN” to “well it’s white supremacist by definition because a white supremacist did it and if you disagree with me about that you might just as well be a white supremacist” … or even when you indulge in much smaller shifts along that line… that’s wall-building. Here, you’re the one putting up a wall if you do that. Here, in the context of a site that generally mostly attracts writers and commenters who see support for the current President as basically a curiosity to be dissected and/or a shameful choice to be shamed and/or a major problem they don’t know how to solve and are deeply worried about the consequences of? Well, here, reacting as though one is NOT in that context, but rather in a context where we are beleaguered by the worst kind of deplorable at every turn is, well, kinda unpleasant and even xenophobic (even though I can relate to the impulse given, well, President Trump; also given that we’re still trying to straighten out after things got pretty darn fished-up in this here comment section for the last 3-ish years).

              It’s particularly difficult and frustrating, because particularly unnecessary. I *promise* the general consensus of this site is not going to somehow shift to the point where that pigfisher and his ridiculous actions are seen as admirable or normative. There’s just NO WAY that would ever happen because … as previously noted… the vast majority of the community sees him, the party’s support of him, the policies he rolls out, etcetcetcetc as appalling.

              So when you/we/lefties/whomever acts beleaguered about these things, it doesn’t come across as “we’re terrified that the culture is going freaking insane and how can this even happen here did all the progress i thought the country was making mean nothing but also i should’ve known better than to hope that” (uh, that’s what’s actually going on in my brain when i act beleaguered anyway)…. it comes across as “Sit down and shut up if you don’t want to get shouted down.” To pick one example, it actually makes it *harder* for moderator-Maribou to convince people on the right, and those who worry about keeping our conversations relatively wide-ranging and not echo-chambery (including not-moderating Maribou at times, frankly) – that what she is asking for – all she wants, really – is for people to not act like a**holes-according-to-my-own-definitions-that-aren’t-based-on-their-politics – and that she very much does not want our few conservative voices to fall in line with her own politics, or else go away and never come back, except she just won’t admit it out loud.

              Which in turn makes them feel beleaguered (I presume to empathize), which makes them act more oppositional (for the same reasons that us feeling beleaguered makes us act more oppositional), which in turn makes the folks who aren’t all THAT far away from them politically (or even on some other axis like class, regardless of politics) feel protective, which means we spend even more time arguing about exactly how racist – to what DEGREE – Trump is racist, instead of talking about stuff that might actually improve our lives if we understood it better. Including the abysmal issues with this proposal and, perhaps, even whether Trump is floating it specifically so that when his more insidious, less shockingly cruel, version comes out, people think “oh, that’s not so bad after all,” rather than, “we really need to rethink how ICE assesses this whole ‘public charge’ thing from the getgo”. ( The latter proposal being something that several people on this thread have suggested, without much response or encouragement, because the conversation is getting drowned out by arguing about who is or isn’t a white supremacist. again.)

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              • Again there is an agency issue here and politics is not always a polite tea party. Trump’s record as a human dumpster fire is not a hidden-conspiracy but something that has been out and about for decades. He also got a warm showing from a lot of people who were open racists.

                At some point even the reluctant Trump voter becomes morally culpable because they voted for the man despite their better instincts and feelings. I think what we are arguing about is when that happens.

                I think Trump’s decision here is clearly marked by racial animus. I think many of his supporters would see it the same way and say it is a good thing. Maybe there is a non-racist argument for the proposals we are discussing above. But I think people in the later category should look at who is making the proposed changes and think about the motivations and hearts of Trump and Miller and company and then decide if their non-racist reasons are worth it if the person proposing the desired change has racist animus.

                This isn’t on the left here.

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                • At some point even the reluctant Trump voter becomes morally culpable because they voted for the man despite their better instincts and feelings.

                  I think there’s another lesson to learn from all this: that American politics is so broken 45% of voters thought wart-covered Trump was a better choice than the alternative.

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                  • “Broken” assumes this is somehow a weird deviation from American history, like everything was humming along until there was a clattering gear broken loose.

                    I mean, given that within my parent’s lifetimes, there was a lynching once a week for a period of a few years, tens of thousands of robed Klansmen marched openly in the streets and twenty thousand Nazis filled Madison Square Garden on the eve of WWII;
                    And within my lifetime it was illegal for me to marry a black woman, or sell a house to a black person.

                    And even now, we have videos of white cops gunning down unarmed black men, and a plurality of Americans will staunchly defend them.

                    So yeah, maybe Trump isn’t so much evidence of something newly broken, as a resurgent malignancy that we thought had been successfully excised.

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                • Can you see why I think what you just said in this comment is about infinity times more effective and more likely to keep more people in that shiftable category *coming* here to the website, as well as making the discussion a lot more interesting and worthwhile for readers, particularly the readers of *all* political stripes who stopped commenting or reading comments because they couldn’t deal with how toxic the comments had gotten, than how you reacted before?

                  (FWIW, I know Jaybird can be very hard to parse, but he’s pretty easy for me to parse, and that’s pretty much what he meant too. he’s just …. oblique about it, because oblique is how he *thinks*, so he doesn’t see why it can be hard to parse him.)

                  “This isn’t on the left here.”

                  I didn’t parse what you mean by this sentence. Perhaps I was unclear – when I say “we lefties” I mean that most of the site is vaguely pro-left in the current political climate, even if despite themselves, in that they are fairly strongly opposed to Trump and his way of doing things, and he’s the leader of the right right now.

                  So if it’s your sentiments expressed in the paragraph just above it, that those are not on the left for the site, I would agree. I think most people here mostly feel that way (unless they start to feel protective of our extremely rare pro-Trumpians). Someone took issue with you saying “This is what a White Supremacist Presidency looks like,” about the link you brought to the conversation – assuming that you meant anyone who was pro-“public charge” was white supremacist – and instead of simply, calmly responding with something like this very comment I am now responding to – or addressing why you think the public charge requirement is and always has been racist (there’s def. a strong case there) – you got mad, and a few people started talking about how leftward people get picked on here, it’s not fair to put it all on the left to be reasonable, etc.

                  That’s the part that bugs me – again, more as someone who wants a comments section I want to read and participate in, that reflects the abilities of the commentariat here, you very much included, to say interesting and thoughtful things, not as the comment police – not the rest of it.

                  It’s not your opinions, at all, that are a problem. It’s your style, and how that style doesn’t always reflect that you’re pretty comfortably seated somewhere in the majority here most of the time. And it’s not your style in particular, but a general tendency that’s been contributing to writer and commenter loss for years, and which I’ve been trying, in my quirky and non-neurotypical way, to steer us well away from.

                  Part of steering away is realizing, in this context of these particular conversations on the site, where the consensus actually lies and who is actually vastly outnumbered.

                  To be clear, I don’t think that is *always* or even *almost* always “people on the right of some position”. We have some other pretty-darn-strong-consensus perspectives around here too, the perspective of being male, for example. (There’s lots more.) And we (self-included) are not especially open to those other non-consensus perspectives either, *even if we are trying hard to be*.

                  But because this particularly huge disproportionate balance, the anti-Trump-stronger-than-pro-or-passively-acquiescent-to-Trump one, is *inverted* to who has power in national politics right now, it seems to be the hardest one to get people to see if they’re in the more powerful side of the split here.

                  Which, on this issue, you are.

                  Which, on the broader issue of whether or not President Trump is a (many expletives deleted) you enormously, by multiple orders of magnitude are.

                  That’s what I want people to be conscientious about, when we’re commenting. Not who is on the left or the right or whatever, or start roll-calling ourselves, but just – if you’re expressing an opinion that is widely shared, in contrast to one that is not widely shared, you do have, IMO, a burden/duty/whatever you want to call it, to be that extra step kinder and more thoughtful. To be the one who blinks first, if you want a more visceral way of thinking about it.

                  That isn’t an excuse to let actual way-out-of-bounds stuff slide, no way. But it is a reason to not meet frustration and even unfair readings with even greater frustration and claims of being unfairly expected to be the better person.

                  Here, that expectation is fair.

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              • I for one appreciate the fact that OT is a place where I can grab a seat in the back and listen to what smart liberals have to say about things.

                I’ve learned a lot over the years… haven’t changed too many of my opinions…but I think I have a better idea of why ya’ll are crazy where we disagree and why. For that I’m grateful.

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                • What are you going to think tomorrow? Come here and find out!

                  What arguments are going to succeed? What arguments are going to crash and burn? Come here and see what happens in the petri dish!

                  Most of my priors are confirmed by being here. I suppose I should see that as a red flag…

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              • I read all that, and am thinking about it. I don’t know if I have a detailed response, or if one is desired, but for now I will say that my perception of how distinct the comment-section culture here is from the broader US political culture differs substantially from yours.

                And on the last point, I’m very much not saying that I think your perception is less accurate than mine. Among other things, my priors are still catching up with the various shifts in board culture that have taken place since you took over moderation.

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            • I get that there are people who aren’t racists or who don’t see themselves as racist but they might support policies that are also favored by racists and white supremacists. Maybe they have non-racist reasons for supporting these policies or think they do.

              I don’t really see why the burden is on the left here though.

              Because the moment you say “there are non-racist reasons for doing this” you’re also admitting screaming “racist” may also be screaming “wolf”.

              If you want accusations of “racism” to carry weight, then you can’t use them lightly. If everyone is a racist then no one is. Thus the problem there are no accusations against Trump which weren’t earlier made against Romney, and if it was screaming wolf against Romney then maybe it still is.

              We’ve probably hit the point where this isn’t useful any more. Charges of Racism were used as a political club for a long time, but convincing people who voted for Obama that they’re racists because they support Trump is probably a non-starter.

              More generally, this country had problems with the Irish, the Polish, and various other immigrants. We forget that they weren’t considered “White” for the first generation or two. We may need to seperate “Racism” from “Xenophobia”.

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              • There’s quite a bit I agree with here, but quite a bit I don’t. The part that really bugged me (personally, not moderator-ly) is this part:

                “If everyone is a racist then no one is. “

                This isn’t actually true. At all.

                I mean, 80-90 percent of people *could* be racist against the other 10-20 percent, and they’d still all be racist in a way that was a serious problem for everybody in the 10-20 percent. And, stepping away from math and into history, everybody, literally everybody, *could* be racist and it could kind of sort of work out to be fair, because the racist power imbalances sort of balance themselves out, but it could also be really potentially dangerous and have caused massive deaths in recent history / be a motive for murder and other miseries / etc (or so I have told by friends from Malaysia and from Trinidad – where, they say, the racism is rampant and has the potential, based on fairly recent history, of being super dangerous, but also nobody is really all *that* ahead of anyone else anymore…. the racisms balance out (and are mitigated by the steady presence of mixed-race people )… but they are still very present and very flammable.)

                I mean, if everybody is racist, everybody is racist. it doesn’t magically go away or cancel out like a ledger would.

                And if the way for a group to get out of experiencing xenophobia is to start being considered White … um… isn’t that particular type of xenophobia, precisely, a racist form of xenophobia? (there are lots of other kinds, of course. there are still plenty of people who have PLENTY of xenophobic problems, ftr, with eastern european immigrants and with Roma peoples, even though they / their kids are parsed as white by most people. I’ve actually even come across people who resent me for being Canadian and sincerely think I should go the hell home and get out of their country, although they are relatively rare, given the cultural similarities. And again, that whole thing where non-racist xenophobes are rarer than racist ones.)

                That said, there are certainly a vast spectrum of racist behaviors and beliefs, and “ugh, there’s racism behind this immigration policy that you like” is not at all the same thing as someone who wants to line all us immigrants up and shoot the ones who refuse to only speak English. (Another thing I, in my delightful world of the wild west, have been told face to face.) I would argue that the liker in the first case is a lot less bad than the latter, even though the latter is quite plainly more xenophobic than racist.

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                • I mean, if everybody is racist, everybody is racist. it doesn’t magically go away.

                  You’re assuming “racist” has some meaning beyond “not a Democrat”. I’m pointing out it’s been over used to the point where it doesn’t.

                  If we’re interested in salvaging “racism” then the bar needs to be raised, maybe even to the point where Trump could pass. Maybe it should be reserved for the likes of Dylann Roof and his supporters.

                  And if the way for a group to get out of experiencing xenophobia is to start being considered White … um… isn’t that particular type of xenophobia, precisely, a racist form of xenophobia?

                  I see no reason we can’t consider the Indians (from India) White, or the Asians, or the Hispanics, etc.

                  I think long term that’s exactly what will happen.

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                  • I’m not so much “assuming” as I am pointing out that I literally know people in this country and others whose family members were killed due to explicitly racist violence, and that that racist violence is not somehow imaginary, nor is the continuing racism those people themselves continue to experience in ALL kindsa contexts from all kindsa people somehow rendered moot, just because the word racist gets thrown around a lot by some ctrl-alt-leftians (mostly American), to the point where you think it’s a flattened out word. It’s a darned useful word and I admit to feeling some resentment-of-the-culturally-colonized that because you think it’s kind of useless in the US, you think it should be retooled to be less complex. The rest of the globe has uses for that word, man.

                    Maybe it’s a matter of where you live, and you’re surrounded by different people than I am, but out here most people – and not just people who work at liberal arts colleges, but military folks, blue-collar people, and honest-to-God evangelicals – are perfectly capable of both making fun of the dramatic and stupid cries of things being racist (easier to do without invoking Poe’s Law in person than online), acknowledging the weird middle ground of ways in which nearly everybody has weird prejudices about nearly everybody (often ones you wouldn’t expect), seeing systematic racism as a real problem that goes far beyond conscious decision making, AND recognizing an actual dyed-in-the-wool racist when they are confronted with one. Whether or not we’ve watched them actually hurt people with their own hands.

                    It’s hardly the only word in the English language with a complex set of meanings.

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              • I’m pretty sure that, for example, Paul Ryan never accused Romney of making racist comments about a judge.

                It’s one thing to extend the benefit of the doubt, in some form or another, to everyday people who support/tactitly accept/whatever Trump, but there is absolutely no reason to extend Trump himself the benefit of the doubt, and I really don’t see why I should pretend otherwise.

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                • never accused Romney of making racist comments about a judge.

                  Trump is so awful, to everyone, that being a racist might be an improvement.

                  It’s one thing to extend the benefit of the doubt, in some form or another, to everyday people who support/tactitly accept/whatever Trump, but there is absolutely no reason to extend Trump himself the benefit of the doubt, and I really don’t see why I should pretend otherwise.

                  If you make an exception for Trump, then the assumption is you’ll make an exception for whatever politician comes after him, and the next, etc.

                  And at the end of the day you’ll still be trying to claim Sessions is a racist for his comments about the KKK… which he made in the context of having them put to death for killing a black man.

                  The big reason for ignoring Trump’s “racism” is he’s Trolling you, and feeding this Troll sucks all the oxygen out of the debate.

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                  • Me, earlier:

                    As it is, it looks like this is another round of the old game where left-of-center posters get scolded for daring to using even slightly intemperate rhetoric, without any parallel suggestion that the right has any responsibility at all for the much worse rhetoric coming from its highest levels.

                    now:

                    The big reason for ignoring Trump’s “racism” is he’s Trolling you, and feeding this Troll sucks all the oxygen out of the debate.

                    ¯\_(?)_/¯

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                    • Yeah, see, he’s just one guy though. And a guy whose particular desire in this particular situation is to give just about every single undocumented immigrant a green card.

                      That hardly makes for much of a yet another round of the same old game, as scolding goes.

                      You’re being chided, fairly politely, by someone who is more than willing to play by the rules and to learn things. And someone whose opinions about how to react to Trump are in opposition to nearly every piece about him that we publish (even though he also finds him extremely objectionable in certain ways).

                      That’s …

                      he’s not a serious problem?

                      I mean, neither are you, that’s not at all what I mean.

                      But I know I find myself getting mad at people who are around me who are well to the right of me, these days, sometimes, for no real reason when I don’t really want to and they’re not really hurting me, simply because they’re *there* and they’re safer targets for my anger than the people I’m truly mad at and afraid of.

                      It’s truly not easy for me to separate out when that’s what’s wrong, and when I am reasonably mad at them for some reasonable reason that has to do with them not being reasonable at all…

                      I think people online are even easier to see in that target-on-each-other’s-backs way, because they don’t, like, buy me dinner or feed my pets, and I don’t see them going out of their way to take care of people – all people that they come across, not just “their” people – in small, mammalian and very important gestures that the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, poor-people-hating, terrifying assholes who are apparently in charge of the country’s executive branch now would never dream of doing.

                      But most of the frequent commenters who are still here, when the rubber hits the road, are far more that kind of person, the taking-care-of-people kind of person, than the other kind. Even a couple of the ones that couldn’t be allowed to stick around because they were just too glitchy and mean to other people for their own weird reasons sometimes, are that kind of person.

                      It’s just… hard to see that sometimes.

                      The thick haze of Cheeto dust in the air can really get in the way.

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                      • Yeah, see, he’s just one guy though.

                        When you get right down to it, I don’t. He’s the fourth or fifth person who’s presented an argument to the effect of, “Hey, you, stop calling this thing associated with Trump racist.”[1]

                        And it’s happened in the way it often happens, where we start off with a pretty broad or hasty claim about what is racist (from all the way up thread), and it gets refined and the active participants on that side of the argument (me and here) refine things and are careful about who and what we’re describing as racist. There’s a strong, and in some places explicit implication that this is important to be fair to people on the right.

                        We end up making it narrower and narrower (or at least I do) until we’re literally just talking about Trump himself.

                        And that’s still not good enough. Even calling Trump himself a racist, I’m told here at the end, is painting with too wide a brush, and the left has a responsibility not to do it for the sake of debate.

                        Again, no one did anything wrong from a rules standard or even a politeness standard. Everything is clearly well-intentioned. Equally clear is all the people pushing at us view themselves more or less on our side of this particular issue.

                        But the net effect is still a strong pressure to back (IMO) undeniably truthful statements: Trump is a despicable, racist authoritarian, and his anti-immigration agenda is, in sum, despicable, racist, and authoritarian. The culture you perceive as obviously anti-Trump to me looks much more ambivalent.

                        For all you say the culture here is distinct from the culture out in the broader world, the two cultures have that pressure in common. It’s been a constant of OT culture for as long as I’ve been here [2], and the cumulative effect is one of scolding, even if no individual does worse than fairly polite chiding.

                        Do I expect it will change at this late date? Not really.

                        So I’ll probably get frustrated and complain about it from time to time.

                        [1] Just to be clear none of the people have done anything out-of-bounds in terms of rudeness or broken the rules.

                        [2] My first comments were at the very end of 2015.

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                        • When I think about “the site and the community” I think about the whole site, including articles, comments by everyone expressing their attitudes in other contexts, etc. Even 4 or 5 guys is still *not a lot of guys*. In that context, 15 guys would not be a lot of guys. (Sorry, guys being described, I’m really not *trying* to give you stereotype threat and I know that’s exactly what insisting on a minority number does.) And in that big picture it’s really clear to me (and to a lot of folks) where the consensus of the site is, and it’s enormously against Trump on nearly any measure I can think of.

                          For me it seems like you’re disproportionately bothered by our loyal (and tiny) opposition loyal-oppositioning, and see that as them being the consensus of the community. Maybe it’s because I come from a parliamentary country where I have a model for a loyal opposition? Like, of course they’re the ones making noise during question period!

                          If you want to hear less from the loyal opposition, don’t respond by oppositioning back, or be less pissed off about it than Saul originally was (and often is), so as to defuse their prickliness. That isn’t me speaking as a moderator, it’s just advice.

                          No one else says much when this comes up, not because they aren’t here and they are secretly on the side of the 4 or 5 guys, but because they take, frex, Trump being a racist as a given, or they don’t think he’s primarily a racist but they think he’s even worse than that and they have no issue with you thinking he is one, and they have better things to talk about.

                          And in case it wasn’t clear, I have zero moderator OR editor OR commenter problems with people calling Trump a racist – which should be obvious since I do it myself fairly regularly – I just get fatigued on the latter two counts by people engaging with people objecting that we shouldn’t call him one, if they’re doing it politely (which everyone was, as you acknowledge). Like, these folks have their opinions, they’re gonna express them just like the rest of us. Engage with them to clarify what you meant or learn something from them, or ignore them.

                          And if they take offense at the original hastily expressed overgeneralizations, try to see that they really are a tiny loyal opposition in the larger context of this site, and be kind when you clarify rather than indignant and resentful of the burden that places on you.

                          Again, in this case I’m really not requiring anything of anybody, it’s just…. tiring. And I would love it if y’all could see that you really aren’t *beleaguered* and outnumbered here, you’re mostly among folks who mostly are so very tired of hearing and participating in all the arguments (in the larger culture) about why Trump is or isn’t, in fact, the obvious racist that he is, why he is or isn’t, in fact, the obvious terrible person that he is, and don’t *really* want to engage in trying to convince our few holdouts (many of whom aren’t even holding out because they like Trump!) that they’re still wrong, just like the people out there are still wrong…. yet again.

                          They’re pretty cool guys, our holdouts. You could just … not come in with drama and respond with indignation (which, again, is mostly NOT you most of the time, but other folks – it’s just that you mentioned it being a “burden” in this particular conversation, that’s why I @’d you – and you’ve been really working hard to not do that). And they’d be less oppositional in response. And then people wouldn’t get to the place (that hurray, no one got to on this thread! thank you people) where I have to step in as a moderator and start yelling at people to behave.

                          Which is what used to happen all the darn time. Since even before I started doing any moderating to speak of, when other folks were doing it.

                          It’s an awful lot more fun to do things for this site when moderating is something that almost never needs to happen.

                          (And kudos to everyone for being as polite and respectful as they have been here, and as they generally are!)

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                  • In general, I think it’s easier to ignore a troll when that troll has no actual power over you and yours, and when you’re not in his sights.

                    Scary idiots attempting to amass military parades tie into more family trauma for some of us than for others, trauma that is directly racialized for many.

                    Screaming and out of control men who can do whatever they want and get rewarded for it are connected to more personal trauma for some of us than others.

                    Personally, when I’m faced with a situation where something is easier for me than for other people, I do *generally* try not to explain to them how they need to stop feeding the troll and act more like I do. I *generally* try to give them the benefit of the doubt instead. They can do them and I can listen from the back (as Marchmaine said elsethread), or see what I can do to help without putting my back up totally.

                    Or if it isn’t easier for me, and they’re mistaking my coping strategy for ease, I try to be vulnerable enough with them to let them see it’s a coping strategy, too, rather than telling them their coping strategy is wrong because it isn’t mine.

                    Nobody needs to be piling on to anyone else here, but armchair quarterbacking the way other people react to what feels to them like a major disaster isn’t super-kind either.

                    I can tell you that every single US president since Reagan is someone I’ve viewed with varying degrees of innate suspicion – not because they necessarily deserved it but because Canadians are trained pretty much from birth to react to US presidents that way. (Heck, in my neck of the woods, we react to British prime ministers that way, our own PMs that way, random provincial representative that we’ve known since kindergarten that way … it’s a good thing to be suspicious of politicians, IMO, but then I would think that.)

                    Trump really is *categorically* different. Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio or even jeezly Mike Pence or a ridiculous candidate like Kid Fishing Rock (okay, maybe Kid Rock… but I don’t think so) would not be generating this level of anxiety and dismay. Not because Trump is a master troll. But because they have some … filter, or balance, in their brain, that he just doesn’t have. Some sense of judgment. Some sense of a line past which one does not go. It really is *different*. Who the fish put 4chan/b/ in charge of A GIANT COUNTRY??? It’s shocking and terrifying.

                    Given that, any kind of freakouts about Trump (not every-single-person-who-ever-said-any-republican-goal-was-not-awful, of course) – but about HIM – are actually reasonable responses to a ridiculous situation.

                    And if you think it’s counterproductive, why can’t you just give people some space to be freaked out, anyway, as long as they quit lumping people who are *seeking out other perspectives with which to balance their own* in with our ridiculous troll of a president?

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                    • Trump really is *categorically* different.

                      Reagan was going to launch nukes the second he was President. Bush2 was President and Thief. Obama was a Muslim and not actually born in America. Clinton had more than his share of this sort of thing as well.

                      We see hysteria every time the levers of power change hands. What makes Trump different is he encourages it. Ignore his twitter account and he’s governed reasonably close to a mainstream conservative.

                      And if you think it’s counterproductive, why can’t you just give people some space to be freaked out, anyway, as long as they quit lumping people who are *seeking out other perspectives with which to balance their own* in with our ridiculous troll of a president?

                      Because I’d like there to be an effective opposition. Energy and efforts spent stopping him from setting up Death camps is energy and efforts not spent getting a sane immigration policy. A sane immigration policy is something worth fighting for, stopping death camp creation is a bull uselessly charging a red flag.

                      Not because Trump is a master troll. But because they have some … filter, or balance, in their brain, that he just doesn’t have. Some sense of judgment. Some sense of a line past which one does not go.

                      The number of corpses in the street is zero, and expected to remain so. The number of judicial orders ignored is zero, even if we include the hysterical judges saying although normal Presidents have ability “X”, Trump does not. The judicial picks align with standard mainstream conservatism.

                      Many of Trump’s most controversial moves have been proclaiming the law of the United States is the law of the United States. After that we have… blowing up a Syrian airfield, proclaiming Israel’s capital is Israel’s capital, a botched immigration order in his early days, and a suggestion of a parade.

                      It seems to me the “master troll” part is the only real difference.

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                      • Ignore his twitter account and he’s governed reasonably close to a mainstream conservative.

                        His administration is comprised of criminals and folks who can’t qualify for security clearances, he’s dismantling the State Department, gutting the EPA, is anti-free trade, is anti-NATO and pro-Russia, is obstructing an active investigation into his campaign by tearing down and willfully politicizing the FBI and DOJ, has refused to impose almost unanimously passed sanctions on Russia for election meddling, and is fundamentally dishonest, amoral and corrupt.

                        Oh, and he’s been accused by something like 18 women of sexual harassment, paid a porn star hush money, and raped his own wife.

                        He also single-handedly destroyed the USFL.

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                        • …gutting the EPA…

                          This is pretty normal. There’s a balance between prioritizing growth/jobs and signalling your green-ness. The GOP tends to like the former and the Dems the later.

                          …anti-NATO…

                          Translation: He wants our allies to pay more for their militaries. This is hardly a new thing.

                          …pro-Russia…

                          Ignoring Twitter, this isn’t true. The big reason to expand the military is to keep Russia in check. We bomb their allies more than we did under Obama.

                          …is fundamentally dishonest, amoral and corrupt…

                          Next he’ll be starting a Billion dollar “charity” and selling pardons.

                          …willfully politicizing the FBI and DOJ…

                          Next he’ll be using the IRS to suppress speech he doesn’t like.

                          Very clearly there are scandals and problems. However the standard isn’t “no problems” because none of our previous Presidents have managed that. I’m not happy about the economic insanity, i.e. anti-free-trade and anti-immigrant, but (unfortunately) both of those are also well within the mainstream.

                          The big out-of-mainstream thing in the administration is Trump’s mouth, not his actions.

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                          • This is pretty normal. There’s a balance between prioritizing growth/jobs and signalling your green-ness. The GOP tends to like the former and the Dems the later.

                            This assumes a static situation, and ignores regional effects. Outside of Montana, Zinke talks like it’s 1980. Inside, I am told, where he has aspirations to be governor, the stump speech is much greener.

                            My score-keeping assigns a point for flipping a Congressional seat, a governor’s office, or a legislative chamber (minus one for losing). In 2016, the GOP in the West was -6, none of that in CA, OR, or WA. For 2018, I anticipate at least -6. For 2020, more of the same. By then, the western GOP is going to be pleading with the national party to take a much greener approach to public lands and renewable power.

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                      • “Because I’d like there to be an effective opposition. Energy and efforts spent stopping him from setting up Death camps is energy and efforts not spent getting a sane immigration policy. A sane immigration policy is something worth fighting for, stopping death camp creation is a bull uselessly charging a red flag.”

                        If those are your assumptions and motives, I am not sure your method is likely to work. To embrace your own metaphor, has stubborn and repetitive criticism *ever* soothed a raging bull?

                        Like, in the history of bulls?

                        Personally I fear you’re wrong and I hope that you end up being right, that 10 years from now we can look back and you can say “I told you he was a big nothingburger,” and I can say, “I still think he was the most dangerous gamble the country ever gambled, thank God he didn’t set off a nuclear bomb,” but secretly wonder if you were right all along, given how well things eventually worked out. That’d be nice. I don’t have a lot of faith in it, though, obviously.

                        As I said, I remember all those other worries about all those other presidents, and this really *does* feel like something different. Given how much he resembles the person who did his best to ruin my life (when he could be bothered) for several decades, that’s unlikely to change on my part.

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                  • The big reason for ignoring Trump’s “racism” is he’s Trolling you, and feeding this Troll sucks all the oxygen out of the debate.

                    Trump can be a racist while also trolling anti-racist liberals. He’s often very clearly trolling the left, but there’s also very little doubt he’s an actual racist as well. The bigger issue is the whether his racism motivates his policies and on that the courts keep concluding that it does.

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            • The left and the right both have a burden of being conscientious of how they come across.

              The left is free to associate as many positions with white supremacy if they want to. I am free to ignore their definitions of white supremacy (and often do). The right is free to argue that their racist views aren’t racist. I am free to ignore their definitions of not-racist (and often do).

              Your position here appears to be one (or more) of the three following things:

              (1) Considering economic contribution as a determining factor of immigration/residence status is white supremacist.
              (2) Any policy that is perceived (by you) as excessively harsh on immigrants is white supremacist.
              (3) Any anti-immigration policy by this racist administration can be assumed to be white supremacist by default because of who they are.

              All three of these have problems. The first paints such a broad definition of white supremacy that most of the world is on the wrong side of it. The second is vague and subjective, though it’s certainly possible to be more specific and perhaps the line is clearer to you than you articulated. I think #3 is basically accurate if we want to equate “being racist while white” with “white supremacy” (which is another argument), but even so it’s sufficiently circular as to be a useless argument.

              Is there a fourth that I missed?

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              • It’s the combined effect of (2) and (3).

                The best defense to a charge rooted in (2) would be that, yes, this policy proposal is cold, heartless, and cruel, but cold, heartless cruelty is not necessarily rooted in racial animus, so we should hold back from calling it racist.

                And the best defense to a charge rooted in (3) would be, yes, the White House is full of racists, especially the ones with the strongest commitment to an anti-immigration position, and Trump himself is racist, but this policy is benign enough that we shouldn’t assume the police is racist.

                While (2) and (3) on their own are not conclusive, taken together I believe they are, because each one dispels the doubt for the other.

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                • I think my issue with that is any reliance on #3 presupposes its own truth. Which is to say that it’s hard to use this as a demonstration of Trump’s white supremacy (or as a “can be no mistake” example of a white supremacist presidency) if Trump’s white supremacy is part of the proof that this in particular is white supremacy.

                  It does serve as a brick on the wall. A piece of supporting evidence, maybe. But not as especially demonstrative in the way that, say, the Muslim Ban is singularly demonstrative of religious bigotry or, for that matter, the Curiel criticism is demonstrative of racial bigotry.

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                • @will-truman

                  I call Trump a racist because there is a long history of him doing racist things.

                  1. He first came into the spotlight when the Nixon admin sued him and his father for discriminatory housing practices.

                  2. He called for the lynching of the Central Park 5.

                  3. He has had numerous lawsuits against him for discriminatory employment practices in his casinos.

                  4. He has made comments that are both racist and anti-Semitic on how he didn’t want black people touching his money.

                  5. He jumped on the Birther train early and hard and longer than many.

                  This is just a small sample.

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              • 1. I believe that structural racism is a very real thing and the big problem with American history and our current policies is that they have so much structural racism built into them, that we unfortunately might all become complicit*. There might be legitimately non-racist reasons to be against legalizing narcotics but the laws against narcotics abuse are much harsher on people of color that it makes it hard for these non-racist reasons to hold much light. There is also a really long history of racist and white supremacist anti-immigration laws in the United States like the Chinese Exclusion Act.

                White Supremacy can’t just be reserved for people who put on KKK robes or Nazi Uniforms.

                2. I don’t think you can doubt Trump’s racism in good faith. As I said above, the paper and action trail is too long and too deep for Trump. The same goes for Miller, Bannon, and others who are or were in the Trump White House. In my mind, this means that every action the Trump White House does is tainted by racial animus and the burden of proof and persuasion is on people who support the policy to prove that it doesn’t have racial animus. There might be non-racial animus reasons for supporting the policy but you also have to look at who is putting it forward and decide whether being associated with Trump and Company is worth it.**

                FWIW I am more on the open boarders side than anything else.

                *This includes me.

                **Trying to associate and get something from Trump while keeping clean is a fool’s errand. Everything the man touches turns to shit.

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        • Note that apparently a significant number of Southern Europeans who came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries self deported back when they found the myth of an America where the streets where paved with gold was not real.

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        • So are the immigrants going to be labeled “public charges” because their children need CHIP?

          Uh…yeah? How is that even a question? What reasonable definition of “public charge” could exclude people who are receiving means-tested benefits at taxpayer expense because they can’t properly provide for their children?

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          • See, this is why I think the whole idea of “public charge” is the problem in the first place.

            But putting my socialist priors aside, do you know anyone with kids who doesn’t make a whole lot of money? ANY person in that group could end up needing CHIP, no matter how reasonably good a provider they are and how much they contribute to the system overall, because almost every insurance program has maximum payouts. (I think? I don’t think Obamacare changed that? paging , our local CHIP expert, to the courtesy phone…) No one chooses for their kid to get leukemia, regardless of whether they’re here on an H1B or already a citizen themselves. No one could be expected to reasonably *plan* for running out of insurance money for that kind of illness for their kid. That’s a bug in the system, a system that has developed over decades to provide healthcare through insurance companies (and Medicaid) rather than providing it directly and letting insurance be about making it more pleasant. And someone in that situation who ended up being helped by CHIP is not a public charge in the sense we generally mean it, that the state will have to look after *that person*. Their kid, now healthy, and already a US citizen, could go on to pour millions into the economy for all the state knows. By the time the decision is being made, the kid could already be in an economic position to look after the immigrant themselves! But none of that would matter.

            Because the requirement is not just that it be considered as one factor among many, balanced out by, for example, a sponsor, but that it be *heavily weighted* by the people making the decision. And there’s no balancing requirement to treat being sponsored by someone making enough money in the same heavily weighted way – that’s totally optional, whether that even gets taken into consideration or not.

            That’s what makes it a punishment, an unfair way of treating people based on past needs and NOT a balanced overall prediction, rather than a policy decision about who is or isn’t too expensive.

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      • Let’s change the article with a minor modification (swiped from LGM):

        The Trump administration is working on new rules that would allow the government to keep Jews* from settling in the US, or even force them to leave, if their families had used a broad swath of local, state, or federal social services to which they’re legally entitled — even enrolling their US-born children in Head Start or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

        How does it sound now?

        *Originally immigrants.

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        • I’m not sure why you think you’re making any kind of valid point here. The problem with the hypothetical policy you’re suggesting is that it specifically applies a different standard to Jews. Gentiles are free to come and mooch; only Jews have to pull their own weight.

          The original version has one standard that serves a compelling public interest: Not increasing load on the welfare system by importing people who are likely to take more than they contribute. By all means, let’s open the doors wide for people who are going to pull their own weight, but we’re already stuck with our homegrown dependents; why would we want more?

          I get that it’s not fair that natives aren’t subject to the same rules, but that’s not actually something we can do anything about, and legal distinctions between citizens and noncitizens are pretty much unavoidable, unless you want to go full open borders.

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      • To be blunt, if the anti-immigration movement didn’t want us to think they’re a bunch of white supremacists, they shouldn’t have hitched their wagon to the likes of Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions.

        As it is, it looks like this is another round of the old game where left-of-center posters get scolded for daring to using even slightly intemperate rhetoric, without any parallel suggestion that the right has any responsibility at all for the much worse rhetoric coming from its highest levels.

        And it’s tiresome as hell.

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    • This is what a White Supremacist Presidency looks like. There is no mistake.

      Every presidency in the history of the United States of America has been a “White Supremacist Presidency.” But some folks only find reason to object when the letter after the name is wrong.

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    • #confessmyunpopularopinion – there’s a case to be made for bringing ICE and/or CBP into the IC 17 member constellation (it would be one activity to service both organizations)

      there’s also a case to be made for culling/consolidating the IC constellation down to 4 or 5 activities (and moreover, making sure the ODNI is really in charge of things this time)

      (there’s also a strong case to be made for disbanding ICE entirely)

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              • I don’t want to abolish the ICE union.

                I don’t want to rehash what we talked about before, but yet … I’m continually perplexed by your reflexive defense of unions. Seems to me unions have a burden to justify their own existence, one which goes beyond the mere right to collectively bargain. And if they can’t meet it, then what? Reform or disband, right?

                ICE agents have an extraordinary amount of power, and according them even *more* power under cover of a protective union structure seems like something everyone ought to be skeptical of.

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                • Seems to me unions have a burden to justify their own existence, one which goes beyond the mere right to collectively bargain.

                  To their members. Not to third parties.

                  ICE agents have an extraordinary amount of power, and according them even *more* power under cover of a protective union structure seems like something everyone ought to be skeptical of.

                  They won’t have any power at all once ICE is abolished, regardless of whether they have a union.

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                  • To their members. Not to third parties.

                    We obviously disagree but it seems to me they have a burden of justification to the institution paying them as well. And in the case of public unions, to the public at large. Eg., the purpose of a union isn’t to engage in legalized extortion just because union members say it is.

                    {Edited to take the edge off the first sentence.}

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                      • Good question. I think the concession I’d like you to make, and other liberals as well, is that unions do in fact have to meet a burden of justification within the context of unionization’s intended purpose. Think of it like a performance review. And if they fail that review we should be willing to reconsider our commitment to not only unions as a fully general concept, but specifically whether according CB rights to that sector of public employees provides positive social utility.

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                        • Yeah, giving their responsibilities to the FBI, which rather reduces them being a free floating bunch of agents out there doing awful harassment, is where my sympathies tend to lie.

                          And I legit believe that the vast majority the people ICE exists to deport don’t need to be deported.

                          They’d also only be the first on the list. Next would be the DEA or the BATFE, both of which have some legitimate function but are still horrible.

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                          • “which rather reduces them being a free floating bunch of agents out there doing awful harassment”

                            Hm, I dunno.
                            “a free floating bunch of agents out there doing awful harassment” pretty much describes exactly the picture of the FBI during the 60s I’ve been given by friends who were harassed by them (librarians, man, buncha activists and hippies).

                            I worry that the corruption runs so deep and so wide that it’s just moving pieces around on a board. It’s not that there aren’t good people in the FBI, it’s that I fear giving them immigration responsibilities would just lead to an influx of awful people who would otherwise be working for ICE (and DEA etc). It’d make the FBI worser (and it’s already a very mixed bag!) until we once again reached equilibrium.

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                            • It’s not that there aren’t good people in the FBI, it’s that I fear giving them immigration responsibilities would just lead to an influx of awful people who would otherwise be working for ICE (and DEA etc).

                              This is a reasonable concern, but they don’t actually need to hire a ton of people afterwards. It really seems like a big part of the problem with agencies like the ICE and BATFE is if they don’t have serious problems to deal with, they end up finding much less serious problems or creating them out of whole cloth, which is kind of a problem when “dealing with them” involves bringing the boot of the state down on people.

                              It’s certainly not the case that the FBI never does this, even now [1], but at least they have a wider range of serious problems to focus on instead.

                              [1] I’m at best ambivalent about the FBI’s ongoing program of sweeping marginal twerps up in anti-terrorism stings.

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                              • It really seems like a big part of the problem with agencies like the ICE and BATFE is if they don’t have serious problems to deal with, they end up finding much less serious problems or creating them out of whole cloth

                                I have been assured by a great many people that this is something that very, rarely, if ever, happens, and that any action by a government regulatory or enforcement agency is for the betterment of the public in some manner.

                                Mission creep only exists in the military.

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                              • For starters, if you got all those union ICE workers, you can’t just fire them. You’re gonna to have to give them a job somewhere, and the logical place is within a division of the FBI, if that’s who you want enforcing the law on the books. (as long as you have a law on the books, you’re gonna have to pay a least the minimum bureaucratic lip service to an enforcement mechanism)

                                Now, it’s possible that folding everyone into the FBI may cause a cultural change that makes them behave better. Similar to how Roland Pryzbylewski went from the biggest a**hole around to someone solid once provided with decent adult supervision and a job that better suited his talents.

                                On the other hand, it could still be a low priority backwater that the bigwigs would prefer not exist at all. Similar to how you got Abu Ghraib, which was under the umbrella of ‘the Army’ but actually staffed by second tier personnel (at best) and the subject of institutional neglect (and mixed messages), which then allowed the most toxic elements of their unit to flourish.

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  4. Lb5: The article seems pretty equivocal on whether the systemic problem with police is unions or the culture that protects them from reform.

    I tend to think its the latter; If the problem was unions, we would see a marked difference between unionized and nonunionized police.

    But we don’t really.

    Further, there is a remarkable difference between American police and their counterparts in other countries.

    After every police shooting, the efforts to litigate away the officer’s guilt are constructed around the preposterous logic that people in the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia never “make a furtive movement”, never “lunge towards the officer” and that the officers in these nations never, for some strange reasons, “feel afraid for their life”.

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      • That assertion needs some supporting claims because as the article points out, even when they are in settings stripped of union influence, abusive cops are routinely exonerated.

        What is ironic, is the political affiliation of those most likely to exonerate cops is very nearly an overlap with the political affiliations of those who are hostile to unions.

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        • Just look at any case where an officer is accused of misbehavior and how the union acts. Or any case where the public is demanding accountability, and how the union responds to it.

          The union is not necessary to shield police from public action or policy that seeks greater accountability, but when there is a union, they are almost always complicit in that shielding. To wit, I would put the onus on you to show me an American police union that refuses to get involved in matters of public accountability for police.

          Yes, we know the unions around the world manage to not get into it, which is how I know that a union is not a necessary component of the problem, but that doesn’t mean that in America, they are not an active part of the problem.

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          • Agreed. As long as liberals defend police unions I won’t believe they are serious about reforming criminal justice practices. As you say, conceptually unions aren’t necessarily part of the problem, but in practice cop corruption is protected and fostered by union power. Ie., the purpose of the cop union at this time is *not* to ensure fair compensation for services rendered. It’s clearly something else.

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            • As one of those liberals who defend unions i’m not sure which one of us defends police unions. Police unions are almost cartoonishly stupid in supporting cops at times.

              Practically, cop and fireman unions will be the last unions left after anti-union forces keep going after unions ( see Scott Walker). In fact they will gut every public employee unions for teachers, admin workers, janitors, etc and cop unions will be untouched by the anti union peeps.

              Cop unions are a second order problem in regards to crim justice reform. Why will cop unions be around after teachers lose theirs? Because of the hard core support of Law and Order and Blue Lives Matter folks. They will give cops whatever they want whether it is APC’s, lock step support for onerous laws and forgive almost every indiscretion. Get rid of cop unions and all those Law and Order types will still want to give cops all the same support they give them now.

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              • I defend police unions because I think the only thing that will happen with the end of police unions is Martha, the admin assistant who answers the phones gets a cut in vacation and her pension in ruined while Jimmy the racist cop still gets a pass because a majority of the population wants racist cops to do racist things.

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            • Imagine police unions disbanded tomorrow.

              Who would lead the charge to “reform the police” of their abuses?

              Scott Walker? Joe Arpaio? Jeff Sessions? Fox News? Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, Powerline?

              The very same people who hate unions, act like police unions, in fierce defense of their every abuse.

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            • It sort of leaves you in a bind if you support collective bargaining [1], and doubly so if you think that getting rid of police unions will do little to actually address the problem of police abuses. I get wanting a signal that resolving issues with police abuses are a high priority, but can’t help but bristle a bit about being asked to do something that I think is pointless, but subverts other policy interests.

              And sure, the unions do protect any sort of horribleness and they probably shouldn’t, but even if they didn’t, we’d still have a culture and a lot of court precedent that makes it pretty much impossible to convict cops for killing anybody under all but the most insanely egregious circumstances.

              [1] And for all people try to separate out public sector unions on the grounds that there’s some sort of conflict of interest because they can vote, on the other hand, private sector unions are negotiating with private corporations, not a government that is both a monopsony on their labor and, you know, generally much more powerful.

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                • Nonsense. There are many parts of crim justice reform that can be done w/o anything related to unions. ( ending civil forfeiture, bail reform, more rehab, more MH care, more money for public defenders, legalizing some drugs, more civil oversight of cops, prosecutors doing more to prosecute cops, more cameras on cops, less military grade weapons for cops, more training on deescalation, federal oversight of troubled PD’s and i’m sure there are things i haven’t thought of)

                  How do we get rid of cop unions exactly? Sure we could go with the union hater argument that all public employee unions should be eliminated. I think that is wrong on it’s merits since public employees should be able to have unions but leave that aside. The public employee unions that will be eliminated are the teachers and janitors and the cop unions survive. That is what we have seen. How, in this real world, do we get rid of cop unions.

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                  • I don’t want to get rid of police unions. I’d rather constrain them such that they can only act against workplace, and/or employer/employee issues. Investigations into criminal, or potentially criminal behavior is outside of their purvey and they are prohibited from dedicating resources towards it.

                    However, I also understand that such constraints would potentially run up against certain constitutional protections. How that gets resolved is beyond me.

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                    • Well, one thing that happens in practice which absolutely bamfoozles me is that a lot of times criminal investigations into police shootings (et c.) are constrained by collective bargaining agreements.

                      Generally speaking, and I remain Not a Lawyer, it seems kinda nuts that an employment contract can interfere with a criminal investigation. Since it’s possible for legislatures to get rid of police unions altogether, I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible to legally bar collective bargaining agreements from constraining investigations into shootings and the like.

                      I don’t know how much this would help, but it wouldn’t hurt, and hardly seems to undermine any valuable general principle I can think of.

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                      • To me, that falls square into the whole “not a workplace issue” kind of thing that a union should be prohibited from getting involved in. Imagine if the SEIU forced agreements with employers that corporate HR could not investigate claims of sexual harassment that involved union members. Pretty sure that wouldn’t fly (or maybe it already has and no one blinked?).

                        Or things like Officers get 48 hours before they can be interviewed (if that isn’t already part of those ridiculous Officers Bill Of Rights so many states have).

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                    • I’d be fine with that, but like you said i dont’ know how we do that. I think without unions cops and their supporters still push for all the same things they want. Cops can have PACs that push pols for the same sweet/corrupt deals they get now. It’s the support of Law and Order types that seems like the key problem. Nobody watches Dirty Harry and cheers for a union to come in to protect harry. They cheer for the violent cop exacting justice in spite of the system. As long as people are cheering for the punisher cop we’ll have all, or most of, the same problems.

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                      • I’d be fine with that, but like you said i dont’ know how we do that.

                        You’re basically saying that reforming cop unions isn’t possible. Ergo, my initial comment on this subthread: If a liberal isn’t anti-cop union they aren’t taking criminal justice reform seriously.

                        Add: I think an important question to ask is how cop unions attained the level of institutional corruption they currently “enjoy”.

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                        • I listed a bunch of things regarding crim justice reform that can be done that have nothing to do with unions.

                          Tell me how we reform cop unions. Please. The only way i’ve seen people go about it is the Scott Walker attempt at gutting all public unions. He got push back for cop supporters so he laid off cop unions and just went after teachers and such. That is the only way i’m seeing people go after cop unions. It’s part of getting rid of all public unions and weakening unions in general and they really don’t want to go after cop unions much in general.

                          Fix the cop unions: great! Really. I’m just not seeing how it’s the primary issue with the crim justice system nor am i seeing how we actually do it. And while we’re waiting for cop unions to be fixed lets do the umpteen other things we can do that directly effect the CJ system.

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                            • How exactly do we disband them? Do the cop supporters put tons of pressure to keep giving cops what they want? How does the pro-cop pressure affect the effort to disband them?

                              Really and truly, how do we just “disband them”?

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                              • Chip away at their power until they’re accountable to the public they serve. If that ultimately means changing the laws applying to public sector unions, so be it. That won’t happen if people (like yourself, greg :) continue to say “nothing can be done”.

                                Btw, I admit to lacking the robust pro-union enthusiasm most self-identified liberals appear to possess. I find myself in the strange position (articulated quite nicely by Mark T long ago) of being pro union in principle but anti-union in practice, precisely because most unions are so shitty.

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                                • I listed many things that can be done to reform the crim justice system. I’m all for electing good ol “soft on crime” pols who will do things that piss off cops and the law and order types. Always have been. So we agree there. If we elect criminal justice reformers there are many things they can do while they are chipping away at the cop unions. Lots of things. So we want the same kind of elected officials who will push a whole range of CJ reforms.

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                                  • greg,

                                    Sure. But the issue we’re talking about is unions, not the other stuff we’d like to see happen in the best of all possible worlds. I mean, you don’t reach number one in incarceration rate solely because of cop unions.

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                                    • But the issue we’re talking about is unions, not the other stuff we’d like to see happen

                                      Why are we only talking about unions?
                                      Why not talk about white racism which is the most proximate cause of police violence?

                                      Right now, its like the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlight.
                                      People want to focus on police unions because its the easiest target, not the most correct one.

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                                    • But if there’s a ton of other stuff that can be done, it seems weird to argue liberals aren’t sufficiently serious about CJ reform on the basis that we don’t want to do this one thing.[1]

                                      If we’d tried everything else and it hadn’t worked, that would be a different story. But at this point it seems closer to the truth to say we’ve tried very little else.

                                      [1] And even here, there’s room between “abolish police unions” and “limit police unions’ powers to protect violent cops”.

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                                      • Well, just to be clear then, I agree that changing cop culture by dismantling union power won’t change sentencing guidelines or what constitutes a crime. I think the bigger issue is being honest about what the real problems in our system are, and recognizing that the culture of immunity and corrupt entitlement felt by cops is fostered and protected by their unions. {{Not to mention their pay rates!}}

                                        Or here’s another way to approach the issue: why are liberals so reluctant to view cop unions as corrupt and corrupting institutions when the evidence strongly suggests they are?

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                                        • Because liberals are inclined to see collective bargaining as an important right that underpins essential labor protections, so even if police unions fucking suck (and they fucking do) we’re extremely wary of things that undermine that broader principle.

                                          I think had a decent point when he drew the analogy with conservative media. Conservative media [1] does a ton to promote the culture or impunity for police, but liberals aren’t demonstrating unseriousness when they aren’t calling for the New York Post to be banned.

                                          Indeed, there are a lot of other constraints like this: we probably wouldn’t see so many cops walk after blatantly murdering people if they didn’t have the right to a jury trial. But I’m not skeptical that this means we should just toss out the Sixth Amendment.

                                          [1] And a lot of mainstream media sources as well, to be sure.

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                                        • why are liberals so reluctant to view cop unions as corrupt

                                          Because they aren’t.

                                          That is, the corruption isn’t a feature of the union, its a feature of the culture that encompasses the union.

                                          Its like saying that bus drivers in Jim Crow south were racist, so the solution to Rosa Park’s problem was to dismiss all the bus drivers.

                                          And to be more pointed, we have to note that the corruption and abuse isn’t inflicted upon society evenly.
                                          No one here has been shot or beaten by cops for trivial offenses.
                                          The abuse of power we are talking about is inflicted primarily on minorities, by white cops, as part of the larger culture of racism.

                                          With or without a union, Tamir Rice and Philando Castile and Michael Brown and Walter Scott and all the rest would still have been shot, and their killers would still have walked free.

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                                          • That is, the corruption isn’t a feature of the union, its a feature of the culture that encompasses the union.

                                            Doesn’t this imply that union power will be used to … {{where’s that line I wrote earlier …. }} foster and protect cop corruption?

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                                          • Given that cops make up the union leadership it seems that there is at least some crossover between cop corruption and cop unions. Some of the stuff cop unions ask for is sure as heck aimed at protecting cops from oversight and prosecution.

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                                    • So catching back up to the convo it seems we are far more in agreement than not. You and Oscar think cop unions are more of a primary issue than others of us. But it seems like we all want the same goal and could agree on a dozen various reforms. So it seems like the strident “if you don’t agree with exactly this means you aren’t for reform” seems, well, overboard and shedding more heat than light.

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                                        • Fine. We all most likely agree on 95% of reforms with a different order of what is most important.

                                          If we could get the support for pols that would do the things you want to cop unions we would also have the support for doing all the things i think are primary. We would also have the same people working against us and calling us soft on crime .

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                                            • Yeah, sadly various bits of police corruption and profiling leads to criminals getting away with crimes. The Baltimore PD has probably helped more bad guys get away with crimes by being so corrupt then they have solved. When people, very logically, think the cops are the worse option criminals have free reign. When citizens are afraid to call the cops they can’t do their jobs.

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                                              • The Baltimore PD has probably helped more bad guys get away with crimes by being so corrupt then they have solved framed by planting evidence.

                                                “Oh, and one last question, officer. Why do you carry a bag of plastic guns in the trunk of your cruiser?”

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                              • See my comment down thread about how it isn’t the Unions so much as the governments who afford them special rights. Yes, the unions lobby for such things, but every union wants every shiny thing they can dream up. It’s up to the employers to manage expectations about what is in the realm of the possible.

                                Of course, it would be a lot easier for employers to manage such expectations if there was oh, I don’t know, a High Court or something that would come down decisively on demanding equal protection under the law and gutting out legislative or contractual exceptions to the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

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                • I didn’t say nothing can be done!

                  I just said that I don’t believe eliminating police unions is something useful that can be done. I could probably be persuaded otherwise, but have yet to be persuaded otherwise.

                  Nonetheless, rejecting one avenue for reform, and thinking that avenue is unlikely to be effective, is not remotely the same thing as rejecting every avenue reform, or thinking they’re all unlikely to be effective.

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          • Lets try it this way:

            The [conservative media] is not necessary to shield police from public action or policy that seeks greater accountability, but when there is a [conservative media], they are almost always complicit in that shielding.

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            • Sure. I mean, I think there are some folks at NRO that have been coming out a lot more strongly against the lack of police accountability than I would have expected, and I am sure there are other exceptions to prove the rule (the more libertarian leaning the outlet is, the more likely they will be an exception), but largely I think that is a fair statement.

              Let me put it this way:

              Conceptually, the idea of a police union is not part and parcel to the problem of police accountability. Functionally, the police unions in America have, almost completely, been captured by interests who wish to shield police from accountability.

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              • One possible problem [1] is that there’s actually a real constituency (outside the police) that favors police violence and abuse under the rubric of “law and order”, which is going to mean that police unions have little to gain by being more willing to be less supportive of abusive cops.

                [1] I know I’m probably coming off like I’m arguing about 17 different sides of this issue, but that’s because it’s so thorny.

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                • Well, sure there is. A lot of those folks are liberals!

                  I’ve argued here before (on a post by Trumwill, back in the day) that lots of liberals are AOK with our current criminal justice practices *even tho* they pay lipservice to things like BLM. The politics of Real Reform in the US is heavily tilted against it happening. Land of the Free and Highest Incarceration Rate in the world notwithstanding.

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