Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trump and Carrier: Buying Jobs with Taxpayer Money. Hmm...Isn't That Socialism?

Mike Pence -- still technically the governor of Indiana, where the Carrier plant is located -- apparently offered tax incentives to keep jobs and make Trump look good. Very conservative!

When the Dear Leader does from on high, it's okay?

The reality-TV hits just keep coming -- did Trump give Romney a red rose, perhaps, at dinner last night? -- with the latest being Trump's Pence-induced entreaty to pweeze-pwetty-pweeze keep your jobs in Indiana, pwetty-pweeze, Carrier.

The art of the deal is apparently enhanced when you can throw in tax breaks and such. And yet, as Paul Krugman points out, not much bang for your buck, Dear Leader.

Other Tweeters point out the inherent contradictions:

Then the inevitable conclusion:

I'm beginning to figure this out: Dear Leader threatens (looking TOUGH) -> Company makes offer (gimme MONEY) -> Dear Leader takes deal (stupid deal, but ME LOOK GOOD) -> People screwed (Hey, look, A PONY).

Heckuva jop, Trumpie. (And he's not even president.) Art of the deal my ass.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Good News (Reversable?): We've Grown Rich Since 1970 While Seriously Cleaning Our Air

While some cities in the U.S. remain threatened by air pollution, we've made great strides over the decades. Do we want to reverse our progress?

The Central Valley's Bakersfield, CA worst in the nation. Who knew?

The above picture shows we're not finished yet with cleaning our air, but since 1970 we've made tremendous overall progress as a country. That prompts one to ask: If we can become an even wealthier, more successful economy while drastically reducing air pollution, what's the argument that further cleaning the air of greenhouse gases will damage our economy? Our history says different.

Check out this blog post on the subject to find some great graphs that are very illuminating. (Thanks to Paul Krugman for pointing to this.)

Speaking of Paul Krugman, one of the arguments for deregulation is that it hurts manufacturing. Paul finds a graph that puts the lie to that:

The point here is that while we have lost manufacturing jobs, we haven't reduced manufacturing's share of the economy. And that's more a function of productivity gains than shipping jobs overseas.

Would we like more and better paying jobs in this country? Sure. But saying so isn't the same as having them. There is a way, however. It's called serious infrastructure spending and encouraging and investing, as a nation, in the whole gamut of alternative energy sources.

I bring this up in the context of the threat from the new Trump administration to trim the EPA, reduce funding at NASA for global warming research, and encourage more fossil fuel production, partly by expanding leases on federal lands, not to mention the rolling back of regulations on coal-burning power plants while chanting "clean coal, clean coal..." And don't get me started on Trump's phony infrastructure plan. It's more like a textbook example of crony capitalism at the public's expense.

Moral? We're making progress. Let's don't stop. And by the way, there is no such thing as clean coal, but we knew that.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Accept It: Socialism Is Simply a Word That Describes How to Provide a Public Good.

Capitalism is very much the opposite. It describes a process for skimming money off the top of providing goods or services. Like it was a good thing! (Sometimes yes, as an incentive! But often corrupting...)

Single-payer healthcare doesn't mean Trotsky is coming for our children.

I taught Economics on the high-school level, so many of my economic principles are pretty lean. But one thing that's struck me as true, not just from studying economics but from observing human nature and history: We're better when we use a mix of systems. For example, a command economy, which is dictated from the top, falls prey to fascism and authoritarianism. A laissez-faire, capitalist economy is open to corruption in unregulated "free" markets, where capital gets hoarded and inequality is rampant. Econ texts generally point students to mixed economies that seem to function well in democracies.

Fine. So what's a mixed economy supposed to look like? Ideally, we'd have a mix of public and private commerce, in which public goods -- like roads, bridges, water systems, transit, ports, etc. -- are built to remain part of the public sector because it's meant to benefit all of the people on some level. Sure, importers and exporters gain more from the ports and transportation systems then, say, teachers do, but in general citizens gain from the availability of goods not produced in their neighborhood, like food, for instance.

So the state creates and maintains the public systems so that private enterprise prospers. A robust private sector can do many of the things government isn't good at, like manufacturing the myriad of goods and providing the many services that a top-heavy government would only get bogged down in trying to handle.

So far, so good. Where we get in trouble is not knowing where to draw the line. It should be pretty clear, but it's not. Here, I think, are some clear examples: police and fire services should be public because a profit motive would distort that. What if you had to subscribe to get police protection? What if your house burnt down because you let your subscription to the fire department lapse?

We actually do subscribe to get police and fire services. It's called paying taxes. Simple enough? Yep. Governments collect taxes to provide for the public good. That goes for roads, bridges, water systems, as well. Taxes and fees take care of it.

Back to drawing the line. The U.S. and western Europe, in fact much of the world, have benefited by codifying how all this works. It's called the rule of law. There's also an element of culture or general practice. We don't have a law that says the police should be provided by cities and counties and states, but it's just become common practice.

The point of all of this is to simply point out that citizens counting on their government, trusting their government, agreeing that their government provide for the common good is called socialism. Sure, some people have a problem with that word because alarmists and fantasists conflated the word with communism during the Great Red Scare in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. By now we should just be grown ups and work together for the common good.

Sorry, but a lot of damage has been done in our ability to trust the government to do these things. And that wasn't an accident. Those who wish capitalism and unregulated free markets to operate freely -- in order to build wealth, in some cases to frightening proportions -- have sown the seeds of mistrust of government in order to frighten people into voting against their own self-interests. In fact, these same forces have brought people to doubt the media as somehow distorting information against the citizens' own interests. Funny, though, how this distrust of media tends to reinforce the wonder of free markets versus government-provided public goods.

So as a way to judge what's what, I suggest you look at places that the capitalistic-oriented search for profit expands the availability and affordability of a needed good or service, and places where the search for profit inhibits or reduces availability and affordability. This is especially a good test for goods and services that are vital for living a good, safe, and healthy life.

The U.S. has gotten stuck with health care on the wrong side of this mix. Insert profit motive into health care, and people die if they don't have the money. It's pure and simple. It's not complicated. So, yes, we should socialize medicine. Don't let charged words obscure what's best for a society.

Socialism. A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Capitalism. An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Either political and economic system would run afoul of citizens' interests alone because of a tendency toward corruption and/or stagnation. A mix works. Celebrate that, and work hard to know what works best with what and where.

This isn't rocket science, but it easily falls prey to bamboozlement.

Bamboozlement. a state of deception or mystification.

Don't fall for it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

I Used to Teach School. I'd Hate to Be Doing It Now Under Donald Trump's Gang.

It doesn't hit you in the face, but our nation's schools have just become the battleground of battlegrounds.

In public schools, we're not in Kansas anymore.
Hell, Kansas isn't even in Kansas anymore.

Teaching in public schools, a career I came to late in life, was a great gift and quite a proving ground. It's not for the faint of heart, even in the best of times.

One of the gifts I received was an appreciation of diversity. Schools I taught in were incredibly diverse, with whites, blacks, Hispanics, Filipinos, Pakistanis, and more. In fact, towards the end, my school district's kids were over half Hispanic. Wine country draws a lot of field workers.

I grew to appreciate Hispanics. They have a rich family life. All the immigrant families seem to have that, possibly because not perfectly fitting in means needing each other more. I'm guessing there, but it fits with what I saw. Anyway, I didn't "get" Hispanics growing up. Teaching them ended that. They're people, fine people.

(Believe me, I know how dumb that sounds, but I'm aware of implicit bias. It's real, and it's me, not somebody else.)

But holy hell, I'd hate to be in those classrooms now. A lot of those kids are either relocated from Mexico or Guatemala, or U.S. citizens with undocumented parents. They must be terrified now, absolutely terrified. Barack Obama, with his support of the so-called Dreamers, made these people safe and hopeful toward the future. That's wiped out now.

But there's more than just the renewed tension that your parents, or even yourself, might get deported at any minute. It's also that those whites you've been studying with are suddenly emboldened, have been listening to the TV or their parents droning on about how they hope Trump builds the wall and sends the Mexicans packing. This is not their country, even if it actually is or should be (we stole a lot of land from Mexico in a couple wars).

Now those kids are saying "Go back to Mexico" or "Take that dumb scarf off, raghead!" And the kids answer back "I was born in Sacramento" or "I was born in Fremont, I'm a Sikh." Next, there's a swastika or two scrawled on the wall along with "Go Home!" and nobody knows who did it, but the damage is done.

Maybe I'm wrong -- hard to say after hearing the chants of "Build that wall!" -- and maybe things will quiet down and maybe Donald Trump will stop with all the anti-Mexican rhetoric, and even decide the Dreamer thing was okay and who wants to bust up families anyway? We can hope for that.

But his White House staff choices say different, and his cabinet picks say different, so we're right to be worried.

To all my teacher friends still in the business, stay strong, reassure the kids, keep everybody's hopes up. You've got some choppy seas ahead. I'm hoping the best for you, and here's a hearty thanks in advance.

Medicare Is Vital for the Middle Class, and Not Just for Seniors

People think, I suppose rightly, that Medicare is for those aged 65 and above. But its benefits accrue to people of all ages (and not just the disabled).

A family home. It can be yours, if mom and pop don't go broke first.

You're only as good as your latest catastrophe. I think I just made that up, but truer words were never spoken.

So let's imagine a USA without Medicare. Instead of healthy parents and grandparents fully covered against medical bankruptcy, yours are flat broke, with medical bills still piling up. What's your own future like?

You were doing fine, or at least okay. You got married last year, and starting a family sounded nice. Living on one income would be a stretch for a while but worth it to have that family both of you want. Better, though, that you bought a house now, big enough for a couple of kids.

Then dad got pretty sick, needed heart surgery, then relapsed, needed another operation. He's pulled through all right, but his medication is pretty expensive and he needs continuing care. Mom called and said they were worried about losing their house.

You're a good son (or daughter), and you couldn't just let their lives fall apart. Where would they go? So you rent their place out, and your folks move in. Everybody fits, but just barely. You still think about buying a house, but you can't afford one that's big enough for kids and mom and dad. So why bother?

You decide it's a bad time to start a family. You certainly need two incomes right now, what with having to maintain your parents' health insurance. Can't let that lapse. Medicare was great until the Ryan Plan turned it into a voucher system and rising costs blasted right through the voucher value. The medigap plan that cost a pittance before now runs $1500 a month. And what with dad's shaky health, that insurance is all that's keeping him alive. And mom's meds aren't cheap either.

Okay, enough of the fantasy, but that's in fact what the reality will be if the Republicans blow a hole through Medicare as they plan to now that Trump's in charge.

Medicare is not just about keeping mom and pops alive longer. It's about the older generation not being a burden weighing down the dreams of the younger ones. It means freedom from worry for the middle class, so you can even be middle class.

Josh Marshall makes the reality pretty clear in this post:
[...] Medicare is a hugely important and hugely successful social insurance program for tens of millions of Americans and Republicans aim to repeal it in about six to eight months using a mix of bamboozlement, word play and lies. When I say tens of millions I am speaking of current beneficiaries. But assuming the program is not abolished the overwhelming majority of us will be beneficiaries in the future. Less appreciated is the way Medicare protects money that goes to buying homes and raising children from being spent on the health care of indigent, bankrupted parents. These intergenerational benefits are under-appreciated but profound. If Medicare is abolished in 2017 it will be a calamity.
[...] The final point should be the most obvious. Donald Trump won the presidency promising to defend the economic interests of ordinary people from the 'crooked' elite on Wall Street and in Washington. Whether or not he believes or believed that he has rapidly allied himself with the Paul Ryan privatizers who want to eviscerate the federal programs which are the bedrock of the American middle class. Social Security and Medicare are at the top of that list. If you look at the faces in the crowds at Trump's most poisonous speeches I guarantee that you that very few of those people thought they were voting to lose their Medicare.
So as we move into the next administration, watch out for that bamboozlement Josh is talking about. Ryan has already laid the foundation last week, declaring that Obamacare weakened Medicare -- when it actually strengthened it and extended it -- so he's got to fix it. No he doesn't, and, no, he doesn't intend to. He wants to privatize it, meaning adding a profit stream that will stop it from being affordable.

Don't let it happen, and fight tooth and nail. And let your congresspeople know where you stand.

Don't worry, Medicare's got dad's surgery covered -- for now.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Just Asking: Why Wouldn't the Richest Nation on Earth Expand Affordable Health Care? (Answer Below.)

Answer: The Republicans don't want us to have universal, affordable health care. That's, er, socialist!

People waiting for flu shots in Petaluma, CA, before the ACA came into effect.

I don't have any story to link to or any list of statistics. Just know that if you let the Democrats design a health-care program without interference, it would look like a socialist European/Canadian-style single-payer system, at about half the cost of what we pay now. If you gave the Republicans a chance to design a health-care program without interference, they would slowly take away your health care, make it completely insurance-based, and shrink Medicare and Medicaid as much as they could.

Where am I wrong? We don't need Google to know the answer.

Should White, Straight Men Be Put Through "Extreme Vetting?" History Says Yes.

Donald Trump was probably just blowing smoke when he threatened to clamp down on Muslims. But now the damage is done. Yet the real threat has always been white, straight men. Do we need a registry?

Not a very Muslim bunch.

(Of course, I'm being facetious about needing a registry, and yet...)

This is not merely the face of American hate. It's the face of American danger from hate. There should be a registry for them. They're called American white males.

Fact: There are vastly more terrorism episodes perpetrated by Americans on Americans than by anyone else. And, yes, they're called white-wing extremists, and, yes, they're quite nearly all males.

Those of foreign, often Muslim, ancestry who have perpetrated attacks were very much in the minority and almost without exception American citizens.

All in all:
"Empirically, domestic terrorism is carried out by citizens -- not immigrants -- with right-wing terrorism, racial hate crimes, and the sovereign-citizen movement making up a majority of domestic terrorist incidents," said Joel Day, assistant professor of security and global studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. "Other domestic incidents have indeed been carried out by those who came here through legal channels.’’
Now, in the aftermath of the Trump election, hate crimes are on the rise. Who'd like to bet that in the next four years more violence will rain down on Muslims -- and by Christians -- than the other way around? I'd be happy to be wrong, especially if violence of all forms instead dropped. I'm not holding my breath. (Actually, maybe I am...)

Update. Digby gives us a reminder of what I'm talking about. (just yesterday, in Brooklyn...)

How Can I Put This Delicately: My, What a Piece of Crap Mike Pence Is.

I just gleefully ran a post on how Mike Pence deserved getting schooled at the "Hamilton" performance. Then I read the whole article I linked to. What a monster you are, Mr. Pence.

Sorry, but the dude seriously gives me the creeps.

Sometimes it's not about politics. We can sort out policies. I like this one, you like that one, this other one not so much. But out-and-out inhumane actions and attitudes, they're a different matter. And Mike Pence has walked in those shadows. From the Mark Joseph Stern article I didn't read well enough:
But when Pence ran for Congress in 2000, he ran on a platform of reversing these life-saving advances. As his “Guide to Renewing the American Dream” explained, Pence had serious concerns about the Ryan White CARE Act, a vital federal program that helped provide medication and treatment to low-income and uninsured AIDS patients. “Congress,” Pence wrote, “should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars [are] no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”
Pence, in other words, insisted that no federal funds should go to AIDS organizations that accept homosexuality. Instead, he argued: “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Put simply, Pence wanted to redirect critical HIV funding from AIDS treatment programs to ex-gay conversion therapy—i.e., torture.
The way I read this is pretty simple. Mike Pence was saying lose the gay, or lose your life. Where am I wrong? I can't imagine that I am, and I can't imagine anyone not being repulsed by that. If you aren't, then you are situating yourself in well-fuck-you-then territory, as in fuck you. Go hang with Mike Pence. You deserve each other.

Ashley Feinberg has some advice worth following on this.

"Hamilton" Cast Schools Mike Pence on American Values. Hey, Pence, You Had It Coming.

Incoming VP Mike Pence thought he'd go seen "Hamilton." He didn't expect to get booed, much less read the riot act by the cast.

Calling out hate can be an act of love, of hope. The Hamilton cast got it right.

Pardon me if I'm not as incensed as Donald Trump that one of his cast of bigots got called out by the cast of "Hamilton." Mike Pence is a bigot, and it won't stop here. There are a lot of us who thought America was embracing love and tolerance (most of us still do). Boy, were we wrong, and naturally we're pissed.

Here are some reports worth perusing:
At Deadspin, Ashley Feinberg has a simple, bracing rejoinder to this hand-wringing: Pence is a viciously anti-gay politician who supports ex-gay conversion “therapy,” opposes LGBTQ rights across the board, and signed sadistic anti-abortion laws. “Mike Pence,” Feinberg concludes, “deserves every single bit of disrespect thrown at him, and to be booed absolutely everywhere he goes.”
One place to come from is they started all this, they asked for it. Remember Donald Trump's announcement that he was running?


A real cheery shout-out to minorities and immigrants. So, yes, call them out for their hate and intolerance, early and often. And don't stop. They started this. Here's Trump about "hitting back":
One of the things you should do in terms of success: If somebody hits you, you've got to hit 'em back five times harder than they ever thought possible. You've got to get even. Get even. And the reason, the reason you do, is so important…The reason you do, you have to do it, because if they do that to you, you have to leave a telltale sign that they just can't take advantage of you. It's not so much for the person, which does make you feel good, to be honest with you, I've done it many times. But other people watch and you know they say, "Well, let's leave Trump alone," or "Let's leave this one," or "Doris, let's leave her alone. They fight too hard."  I say it, and it's so important. You have to, you have to hit back. You have to hit back.
Okay, we will. Early and often.

The Anatomy of a Failed Policy: Open Up Federal Land to New Oil, Coal, and Gas Leases!

Okay, Trump isn't even president yet. But all signs are there that he'll open up vast tracts of federal land to new mineral leases. What will happen? He'll crash the markets.

Who needs wilderness when you can have oil and coal?

Even if you aren't a "believer" in global warming, you might have noticed that oil and coal aren't good for you and in fact are a major pain in the ass. Just google "beijing pollution" and check out the pictures. (Here, I'll do it for you.) Or, for good measure, try "new delhi pollution."

Now look at the Alaska wilderness picture above. Which direction should the world be moving in, regardless of the threat of climate change? Now just for fun, google "climate change flooding." Okay, I'll stop proselytizing by digital image now.

But to the point: What's been happening the last few years but a total crash in oil, coal, and natural gas prices? What do producers do when a market goes south, price-wise? You stop producing. So even if you love fossil fuels, you don't get anywhere by expanding production. You'll just further exacerbate the difficulties brought on by over-production in recent years.

And what will you have to show for it? A greater reliance on fossil fuels at a time when we should be pulling away from them? See-saw markets heading from peaks to valleys and back when the new investments should be in wind, wave, solar, and hydro?

Here's my hope -- call it my bet -- for the future: The coming Trump administration opens up vast stretches of federal land for more oil, coal, and mineral leases -- expecting to get the cash for infrastructure spending that won't be there anymore because he lowered corporate taxes, abolished the estate tax, and dropped taxes on the rich to stunningly low levels -- and nobody comes. Or those who do come find themselves, as early adopters of peak fossil-fuel production that begins to crater the markets, needing either to back out or simply shut down, but only after the whole energy scene has been roiled by job cuts and huge populations of dislocated people wondering what to do next.

Do we do this so America can have more gas guzzling monster trucks and SUVs? By the way, you can expect Trump to roll back the new higher fuel economy standards Obama put in place, as well. It's all part of the nightmare. If he's really the new Reagan, he'll also cut subsidies that encourage alternative energy R&D and production.

Hope I'm wrong about this. But it is econ 101, right?

America: You Wanted to Be a White Nation. You Are Again. Congrats.

We hear a lot of talk about white nationalism, and there's a reason. America voted to return to the 50s. The 1850s is more like it.

Donald Trump might find a minority, even a woman, to fill his cabinet.
But with the early picks, the damage is done and the message sent.

Republicans have spent the past few years suppressing minority voting. The fight against that suppression -- except during the George W. Bush years when the Civil Rights division of the DOJ was a hotbed of voter suppression -- has been led by the Department of Justice. The appointment of Jeff Sessions is meant to signal a return to disenfranchisement. But there's more.

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III -- hell, his name is a message in and of itself* -- is also an enemy of immigration, which for Donald Trump is a feature, not a bug. It's going to be a strange trip, watching what happens in the coming years. It's hard to anticipate just what the level of antipathy toward minorities and immigrants will be, but chances are it won't be pretty.

It won't be pretty especially because the devil, if you will, sitting on Donald Trump's shoulder in the White House will be Stephen Bannon, whose reputation for white nationalism and antisemitism is well-documented. Bannon is set to be Trump's chief strategist and counselor, and it's unlikely he's going to be whispering, "Hey, Donald, lighten up on minorities and immigrants. Hell, they're people, too."

Add Mike Pompeo at the C.I.A. and General Mike Flynn and you've got the beginnings of a clusterfuck of Trumpists indeed.

And just to ruin your day if civil rights is your cup of tea, don't forget that Mike Pence is the new Joe Biden and not the same as the old one. Pence is the outright enemy of all things LBGTQ and has well proved that in his home state of Indiana.

And we're just getting started. There are a lot of people worried across America, and they've got a right to be. And we're just getting started. Let's finish with a bit of realism from Charles P. Pierce of Esquire:
It's a sad moment for this country when the best hope you have for an incoming administration is that it will be able to jettison the racism and xenophobia that was its primary fuel while fulfilling the impossible economic promises that it has made. If that doesn't happen, and the impossible economic promises do not come to pass, only the racism and xenophobia will be all that's left and over the weekend, we learned that they will have a friend at the apex of our government [Stephen Bannon] to keep them warm.
Yikes. I'm white, and I don't want to live here anymore, and Canada is way cold. I'm screwed.

*Sessions was named after Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, and P.G.T. Beauregard, the general who led the attack of Fort Sumter that started the Civil War and who was also responsible for the creation of the Confederate battle flag, yes, that flag. And notice the III at the end. His family liked the name so much there are three generations of them.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump Loves Living in a Post-Truth World (He Practically Invented It).

The Oxford Dictionaries named "post-truth" the word of the year. Holy crap, are they right.

I didn't tell the truth during the campaign. Why start now?

Ford said months ago it was shifting the production of one model to Mexico to lower costs. It also said that it wasn't closing any plants or cutting any jobs because of the move, since it would simply increase production of another model. Sounds good.

Now Ford has decided not to make the move. Again, no change in the number of plants or jobs.

Trump tweets that it was his idea, that he pressured Ford to stay (remember, they were never leaving, but...).

So, not true, but some news outlets just published stories about it as if it were. Here's the real story from Josh Marshall:
“Just got a call from my friend Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford, who advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky - no Mexico,” Trump tweeted. “I worked hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky. I owed it to the great State of Kentucky for their confidence in me!”
Not so: Ford Motor Company operates two plants in the state, neither of which had planned on moving to Mexico. On Thursday night, Ford announced that one of its plants in the Bluegrass State, the Louisville Assembly Plant, would continue manufacturing the Lincoln MKC, the production of which they had previously considered moving to Mexico.
Even if production of that one model had moved to Mexico, the Louisville plant would not have lost any jobs, according to a statement from the company last November. Employees at the Louisville plant would have simply shifted to producing more Ford Escapes.
Many news outlets reprinted Trump’s claim Thursday night, and some continued to propagate it Friday morning.
Post-truth, what a concept. What a reality.

Paul Ryan's Dream to Scuttle Medicare Is Within His Grasp.

The closest to guaranteed healthcare regardless of wealth -- and reserved only for seniors -- has rankled Republicans for decades. Now they're coming after it.

Yes, it says right on the card "IS ENTITLED TO," and that makes it
an entitlement, as in "entitled to live, regardless of how rich you are."

Paul Ryan has had the destruction of Medicare in his sights for several years now, so ignore how he'll dissemble and call it something else. He'll call it:
  • Medicare modernization
  • premium support
  • fixing Medicare
  • won't happen to people over 55 (or some such age)
  • saving Medicare from Obamacare
  • entitlement reform
But none of that is true or, if true, necessary. Let's be clear: Paul Ryan wants to turn Medicare into private insurance that the government will then support with vouchers that seniors then use to pay for said private insurance. Get that? He adds a layer of costs that add nothing to coverage. What?

We all lose, that's what. Paul Krugman explains it well:
It has been obvious for a long time that Medicare is actually more efficient than private insurance, mainly because it doesn’t spend large sums on overhead and marketing, and, of course, it needn’t make room for profits.
What’s not widely known is that the cost-saving measures included in the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, have been remarkably successful in their efforts to “bend the curve” — to rein in the long-term rise in Medicare expenses. In fact, since 2010 Medicare outlays per beneficiary have risen only 1.4 percent a year, less than the inflation rate. This success is one main reason long-term budget projections have dramatically improved.
So why try to destroy this successful program, which is in important respects doing better than ever? The main answer, from the point of view of people like Mr. Ryan, is probably that Medicare is in the cross hairs precisely because of its success: It would be very helpful for opponents of government to do away with a program that clearly demonstrates the power of government to improve people’s lives.
Josh Marshall flagged the lie at the heart of Paul Ryan's new push:
PAUL RYAN: Well, you have to remember, when Obamacare became Obamacare, Obamacare rewrote medicare, rewrote medicaid. If you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. What a lot of folks don't realize is this 21-person board called the ipap is about to kick in with price controls on Medicare. What people don't realize is because of Obamacare, medicare is going broke, medicare is going to have price controls because of Obamacare, medicaid is in fiscal straits. You have to deal with those issues if you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has serious problems [because of] Obamacare. Those are part of our plan.
There are a couple key points to note here.
First, Ryan claims that Obamacare has put Medicare under deeper financial stress. Precisely the opposite is true. And it's so straightforward Ryan unquestionably knows this. The Affordable Care Act actually extended Medicare's solvency by more than a decade. Ryan's claim is flat out false.
Second, I've heard a few people say that it's not 100% clear here that Ryan is calling for Medicare Phase Out. It is 100% clear. Ryan has a standard, openly enunciated position in favor of Medicare Phase Out. It's on his website. It's explained explicitly right there.
Barack Obama was all there was between the Republican plan to gut Medicare and their actually doing it. Though Trump stated explicitly that "I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” during his campaign, Ryan is going whole hog on his Medicare destruction plan. What are the odds Trump will veto it? For seniors who depend on affordable healthcare for their very survival, it's a frightening prospect to see it weakened.

Remember, folks: If Republicans succeed in privatizing Medicare (and raising the eligibility age) as well as repealing or gutting Obamacare, people will have less or no insurance and people will die, and that will be measurable. When we start to see the deaths rack up, it'll be too late. Stop it now. Completely. Make Donald Trump keep his campaign promises.

Read this line:
You only deserve the healthcare you can afford.
Does that sound American? Unfortunately, maybe yes.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

What a Chinese Climate-Change Hoax Looks Like When It's Actually Not a Hoax

When it comes to climate change, the truth is not kind to Republican climate-change deniers. That's, er, why they deny.

"Holy inconvenience, Batman, that red line is 2016!

Climate change is one of those "if it looks like a duck" realizations. No amount of snowballs in the Senate can make light of what's happening. It also quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, so we're in fucking hot water. I suppose we could always deny the statistics...oh wait.

Um, where did all of the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice just go? Into the ocean, is seems. New satellite data show the total area of global sea ice dipping wayyy below the National Snow and Ice Data Center's record for this time of year.
In fact, Arctic sea ice has dropped well below the next-lowest seasonal extent ever observed (which was in 2012). That year’s all-time record low was narrowly avoided in September, the month when Arctic sea ice levels typically are at their lowest. But the fact that ice levels are lower now than they were this same time in 2012 is part of what makes this latest data so alarming.
Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice is also much lower than usual at the end of the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.
That won't stop Donald Trump continuing his line that the Chinese have the vast majority of scientists hoodwinked.

That hasn't stopped the Chinese from giving Trump the what-for. In fact, China is ready to go all-in with fighting climate change. They realize it's in their people's best interest to have a livable planet. I wonder why Republicans -- and their followers, gulp! -- are so against our species' survival? Oh, I forgot. The Rapture. Holy crap...

Note. Reality bites: After Ronald Reagan rejected alternative energy sources -- he famously removed Jimmy Carter's solar panels from the White House roof -- other countries profited by the U.S. refusal to embrace the various alternative-energy industries. China easily outproduces the U.S on solar panels, Germany far outpaces the world in solar energy production, Denmark rules in wind power production, and diminutive Portugal has a decent head start in wave power.

Now, here's the real question for the Party Who Hates Climate Change and Loves Oil and Coal: ISN'T THIS BAD FOR BUSINESS? (answer is yes)

Tesla/Solar City's Elon Musk, among others, are betting that new and better batteries will transform solar into something yu-u-uge. Hopefully, they're right and we make strides back in the USA to revitalize alt-energy businesses. Of course, Elon Musk is from South Africa...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Brexit and Trump Nearly Identical? Yes, Neither Expected to Win, Neither Ready at All

The Tories drove the Brexit vote as a way to quell a populist revolt, and Donald Trump created one for a free ride to the White House. Now, it's WTFDWDN...

Former London mayor Boris Johnson may yet
get what's coming to him.

Tories Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, along with UKIP leader Nigel Farage, pushed Brexit with false claims, then admitted it sheepishly after it won. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, Gove abandoned Johnson for May, and incoming Prime Minister Theresa May appointed Johnson Foreign Secretary, as if to tell him, "You explain this to foreign leaders, I'm sure as bloody hell out of it!"

Then, of course, to shelter the Conservative Party, May declared "Brexit now, Brexit forever." As for Farage, he resigned from the xenophobic UKIP, saying, "My work is done," as if mischief on such a gargantuan scale could be called work rather than a catastrophe.

The stalwart PM May might be making a decent impression among the hoy polloi she's attempting to con, but, apparently, her plan to move forward on Brexit has hit a snag: The Tories have no plan, nothing:
Britain has no overall strategy for leaving the European Union and splits in Prime Minister Theresa May's cabinet could delay a clear negotiating position for six months, according to a memo for the government that was leaked to The Times newspaper.
The document, prepared by consultancy firm Deloitte for the government department that supports the prime minister and her cabinet, casts Britain's top team in a chaotic light: May is trying to control key Brexit questions herself while her senior ministers are divided and the civil service is in turmoil.
Alrighty then! Now, on this side of the pond, Donald Trump crowed during his campaign that he was Brexit, mostly meaning that the polls had it wrong on him as they did on Brexit while also making the connection that he, like the Brexiters, stood up to the immigrants and free traders, promising never to give up even a sliver of sovereignty.

So where does Trump, who didn't expect to win either, find himself? In similar chaos:
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition operation plunged into disarray on Tuesday with the abrupt resignation of Mike Rogers, who had handled national security matters, the second shake-up in a week on a team that has not yet begun to execute the daunting task of taking over the government.
I got a tickle out of this Tweet from Eliot Cohen, formerly of W.'s admin:

Then Tweets on Trump and Brexit:

British and American leadership in disarray as hate, mistrust, and fear swoop in. It used to be said we're ruled by idiots. Now we fear we're ruled by demagogues. Turns out we're ruled by idiots AND demagogues. Holy crap.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Why Progressives Shouldn't Despair: Political Power Can Turn on a Dime.

In 2006, the electorate turned on Bush and the Republicans. After 2008, Obama and a heavily Democratic Congress took over. By 2010 the Tea Party was born and smashed that "permanent Democratic majority" to bits.

The Tea Party came on like a plague. Now we barely remember them.

I read this Josh Marshall post over at his blog with great interest. He's right: We're down but not out, and there's a reason:
It is very true that the Democrats hold power almost nowhere. They run some blue states. But even in the blue states they run they often don't have full control of the state governments. At least on the face of it Republicans have unified control of the federal government. If you're a Democrat, that's a pretty rough picture.
But the most consistent dynamic of the last generation of American politics is its sharp reversals. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying a Democratic wave election in two years is a done deal or likely. I'm not saying things are awesome, don't worry. But I think it's worth reminding ourselves that rapid turnabouts are the most consistent dynamic of contemporary politics, for better or worse. While it does not matter for who won this election, Democrats should also not forget that they did win a majority of the popular vote. Republicans claimed the electoral college by having the right voters in the critical states. But that is brittle hold as a governing coalition.
Josh goes on to point out that a lot of damage can be done in two years -- as many Republicans feel about Obamacare, which is still basically with us -- and with the GOP holding all three branches, they can do a lot. But it's not a forever thing. So hang on tight and fight for every issue. We might be back in the driver's seat before we know it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

And So It Begins: Arkansas' Tom Cotton Says Waterboarding Is Not Torture.

I don't know who we as America intend to waterboard, but the world -- and all international accords and our own national laws -- say it's torture. Hell, even McCain thinks so. And yet, here we go again...

Tom Cotton served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Violating the rules of war invites
the other side to do so as well. He doesn't see how that puts our troops in danger?

A bigger mystery might be why Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) even feels, two days after Donald Trump's victory, that he should take a stand on waterboarding. We know that Trump went all in, saying something like "I'd waterboard the shit out of them!"

Cotton equivocated on CNN, choosing not to say adamantly that waterboarding is a permissible form of interrogation. Instead, he seemed like he was opening the door for Donald Trump because Trump was "tough:"
Blitzer then asked Cotton if he accepts waterboarding. Cotton said that Trump would have to make that "tough call" as president.
"If experienced intelligence professionals come to the president of the United States and say, ‘We think this terrorist has critical information and we need to obtain it, and this is the only way we can obtain it,’ that’s a tough call,” Cotton replied. “But the presidency is a tough job, and if you’re not willing to make those tough calls then you shouldn’t seek the office. Donald Trump’s a pretty tough guy, and I think he’s ready to make those tough calls."
Just for the record, all international accords and our own national law make clear that waterboarding is torture and that torture is prohibited. We as signatories are obligated to follow them. What Tom Cotton suggests is a bridge to legality for waterboarding that doesn't exist. But, hey, let's get ready to rumble!

The Story of 2016: The White Tribe Reverted to the Mean

The progressive pipe dream -- that the U.S. was ready for tolerance and diversity -- collapsed under the weight of nostalgia for a country that no longer exists.

Main St. USA: Without jobs, saving old America might not be possible.
But the white tribe that embodies this decaying land will demand we try.

I was taken by an article about the movement of polls during this year's election. It spoke of response rates and reversion to the mean. The gist was that whichever side was down in the dumps at a given time didn't respond when asked who they supported, and that over time the swings caused by that tendency disappeared as data quieted down and reverted to the mean.

Those characteristics of polling might explain a lot about what happened this election year: Disgruntled, frustrated white America made their voices heard and, in doing so, America reverted to the mean.

It's likely this swing from progressivism, centered in the cities and university towns, to regressivism, decentralized across rural America, might carry us beyond the mean and into unknown territory. And yet it's important to realize that this territory is not really unknown so much as forgotten.

Middle America is forgotten no more. Through their vote, ignited by the promise they saw in Donald Trump's simplistic yet resonant "Make America Great Again," the members of the white tribe have reclaimed their place in the American dialogue. What that might actually lead to is anyone's guess.

But one thing is clear: That progressive country those on the left thought we were building, one that embraced diversity and a far-reaching equality, is not the country Barack Obama spoke of when he said, "It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

The trouble is, that white tribe wants an America that existed long ago when their values were forged, and those values don't embrace diversity and a proffered equality to "the other." They want their country back and are willing to go back as far in time as it takes. What the educated, successful, and confident residents of the American coasts thought was their progressive America has been profoundly rejected by an America who wants to go home again.

It will be some time before this white America realizes that they can't go home again. It simply isn't there anymore. Who knows how much the country regresses before this becomes apparent.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Picture of the Campaign, Bar None

If you look at this picture and grasp the totality of its meaning, then no one needs to say another thing.

Khizr Khan and his wife, immigrants, were larger,
in their grief, than all of us.

A father of a slain Muslim-American soldier, a hero by all accounts, told Donald Trump, “Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy."

Then Donald Trump asked why the soldier's mother was silent, implying that maybe her religion forbade her from speaking, when only her overwhelming grief prevented her. In that moment we saw Trump's utter lack of empathy or understanding, the sheer absence of his humanity.

Trump's instincts were to attack instead of soothe; to bellow instead grow quiet; to chatter away when he should be still, waiting to gain insight. He was so obviously empty of what he needed to be a leader in desperate times, or any times.

In that moment, we as a nation didn't, shouldn't want him. He, Trump, should not be elevated, but shunned. He is not for us.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Tweet for the Ages: North Carolina Ended Sunday Voting Because Blacks Were Voting Too Much

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion ending the key section of the Voting Rights Act, saying it wasn't needed in the South because no more racism! He's not that stupid.

LBJ gave away the South for generations. Worth it for the
black vote? Yeah, if we can keep it. And that's not a given.

The Tweet says it all, 2016:

Even with Scalia gone, the Supremes can't be counted on to restore the franchise.

Comey Slams Door on Clinton Email Investigation that He Reopened. It's an Outrage.

Nine days ago, James Comey breathed new life into a non-existent email scandal. Today, he said oops, my bad! It's a travesty.

Had a decent career going there for a while, Comey. Now it's
 trashed. Who done it? You done it... History will not be kind.

You cannot put this FBI clusterfuck back in the bottle. Comey may have been put in a corner by rouge agents, but losing control of your department is still losing control. Can he get it back?

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo as usual takes a clear-eyed, sober look at the ramifications of James Comey's clear breach of Justice Dept. policy:
It is certainly welcome news for the Clinton campaign that James Comey has now stated publicly that nothing in Huma Abedin's emails has changed the FBI's and his original judgment from July. This is not an interim report; it's final. The Clinton campaign will undoubtedly use it for everything it's worth in the remaining 48 hours-plus before voting ends Tuesday night. But while welcome, this new development doesn't remotely undo the original error or its consequences.
...This should never have happened. It was inexcusable. It was driven by politics. It never should have happened.
Yes, because you can never unring that bell. What's worse is that the Republicans and Donald Trump, never letting the truth get in the way when it's inconvenient, will pound on this scandal right to the end. Paul Ryan, of all people, is already saying that the scandal is never over. Comey says "we got nothin," but that just proves to Ryan what a criminal Clinton is.

And Donald Trump? He says that "You have to understand, it's a rigged system and she's protected." His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said, "He's mishandled this investigation from the very beginning." So that means that Trump has to stop calling this "worse than Watergate," right? Right...

Of course, the Twitterverse just went Super-Nova. Here's some comic relief at least:


Women Make Up 53% of Voters. The GOP Is the Party of White Men. Why?

Republicans are primarily white Christian conservatives. There's a reason the party's politicians are men. It's not a mystery.

An American? Yes. A Trump voter? No.

The picture I chose, that of a Muslim-American voter, doesn't prove my general view. But it does prove it sideways: American Muslims, who are by any measure conservative and patriarchal, should be an easy reach for the Republican Party. That they are, as a voting bloc, almost permanently alienated from the GOP says volumes about the demographic lockout by the party.

My main point, that there's a reason why the Republicans are the party of white men, does take a little unpacking, but not much. In fact, I can make it with one sentence: White Christian conservatives, in large part, believe in authoritarian paternalism.

You remember that old TV show, "Father Knows Best," don't you? Well, you can bet your parents and grandparents do, which is why the elderly trend conservative Republican. They like the good ole days, when men were men and women were pregnant.

Liberals, on the other hand, endorse the nurturing parent model. The dichotomy, well explained and documented by George Lakoff, professor of cognitive science at UC Berkeley, between these two models helps explain the politics -- and the sociology -- of the two parties.

(A modest aside: Of course one generalizes when making larger points. I know some seniors are liberals and some gays and atheists are conservatives, but, as they say, the exception proves the rule.)

Lakoff contrasts the two models, that he calls strict father and nurturant parent. First, look at the strict father model:
 The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don’t have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.
Then look at the nurturant parent model:
Children are taught self-discipline in the service of nurturance: to take care of themselves, to deal with existing hardships, to be responsible to others, and to realize their potential. Children are also taught self-nurturance: the intrinsic value of emotional connection with others, of health, of education, of art, of communion with the natural world, and of being able to take care of oneself. In addition to learning the discipline required for responsibility and self-nurturance, it is important that children have a childhood, that they learn to develop their imaginations, and that they just plain have fun.
Through empathizing and interacting positively with their children, parents develop close bonds with children and teach them empathy and responsibility towards others and toward society. Nurturant parents view the family as a community in which children have commitments and responsibilities that grow out of empathy for others. The obedience of children comes out of love and respect for parents, not out of fear of punishment. When children do wrong, nurturant parents choose restitution over retribution whenever possible as a form of justice. Retribution is reserved for those who harm their children.
A key difference is that women are included as equals in the nurturant parent model. This explains why the Republican Party has so few women in elective office. And that number is shrinking while diversity is expanding among Democrats. In fact, according to the Pew Center, the younger, more highly educated, and more in favor of Hillary Clinton you are, the more you appreciate diversity in the U.S.

For a complete set of George Lakoff's views, read this group of essays. Also, I'm not surprised to find that Lakoff has a mouthful to say about Donald Trump, which he does here, here, here, and here.

Lakoff explains why we tend to nation-alize our family concepts:
The answer came from a realization that we tend to understand the nation metaphorically in family terms: We have founding fathers. We send our sons and daughters to war. We have homeland security. The conservative and progressive worldviews dividing our country can most readily be understood in terms of moral worldviews that are encapsulated in two very different common forms of family life: The Nurturant Parent family (progressive) and the Strict Father family (conservative).
What do social issues and the politics have to do with the family? We are first governed in our families, and so we grow up understanding governing institutions in terms of the governing systems of families.
That's way more than I meant to say, but if you explore what George Lakoff says about parenting, politics, and, by extension, Donald Trump, you will learn an awful lot of useful stuff, much of it expressive of my view. Conservatives want to dominate and punish -- the purview of the strict father -- while liberals want to nurture the nation and spread the wealth around and trust that the kids are alright. We're not called bleeding hearts for nothing.

Are Elections Rigged? Yes, They're Decided in Bottled-Water-Filled Rooms.

Rigged is an archaic term. "Set up to conclude in an optimal way for my side" makes more sense. And it's not nefarious.

Party "bosses" do decide stuff. Holy rigged system, Batman!

Between "the DNC is in the can for Hillary!" to Donald Trump's "the whole system is rigged, friends!" this year has been more hysterical than Susan Sarandon's decision to vote for Jill Stein. (Oh, Susan, we hardly knew ya!) But the truth of the matter is that political party organizations are supposed to lean this way or that. They're filled with people who take this shit seriously. So don't be surprised when the DNC had its sights set on supporting Hillary Clinton. It's the Committee's job to get to work helping the expected candidate.

Then Bernie Sanders -- not even a member of the Democratic Party -- comes along and looks like the perfect progressive candidate. He was! I favored him! The DNC didn't! The people voted! And Hillary won! By a lot!

Then, and only then, did some leaked emails come out and show that in the recesses of the DNC some Hillary backers said, "How can we fuck up Bernie?" and then a few people discussed that and then some people above them said, "That's stupid." But, like so many irrelevant judgments this year, people said, "That's horrible!" Folks, it isn't.

Without the leaked emails nobody would have known about a few conversations that didn't lead to any action that, naturally, didn't affect the Democratic primary. End of story. (We wish.)

So that's my quick take on rigged elections, Democratic side of the story. As for the Republicans, they are, in fact, actually trying to rig elections and have been for quite a while. They even admit it. But that's for another post.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Clinton Email "Scandal" Was Always Nonsense. A Bit of Homework Reveals That.

Matthew Yglesias of Vox shows, that with the smallest effort, you can realize how badly the 2016 campaign has been covered by the media. It's the policy, people!

One Blackberry instead of two. Is that too much to ask?

I've known most of the bits of this story and long ago concluded that the whole Clinton email thing is bullshit. Contrast that with Donald Trump's recorded remark, "...grab them by the pussy" and twelve accusations that he, essentially, did just that, and you realize how mistreated Hillary Clinton has been by the media.

So it's with great appreciation that I read Matthew Yglesias' in-depth breakdown of the phony email scandal. Thanks, Matt! Key graph:
But none of this is true. Clinton broke no laws according to the FBI itself. Her setup gave her no power to evade federal transparency laws beyond what anyone who has a personal email account of any kind has. Her stated explanation for her conduct is entirely believable, fits the facts perfectly, and is entirely plausible to anyone who doesn't simply start with the assumption that she's guilty of something.
Read the whole piece to understand why the above is true. It was always bullshit and always will be bullshit. If Donald Trump becomes president, history will record -- just like with the phony weapons-of-mass-destruction claims of the Bush era -- that lies, deceit, media ineptitude, and the behavior of crowds led to a disaster.

The New America: Trumpsters Fear It, Clintonites Embrace It

Hey, Straight Whitey: While you were drinking your Coors Light, America got more diverse, less religious, and more tolerant. Oh, and started drinking real beer.

If you build it, they will come. Well, we built it.

Sorry about the crack about the beer. Few bars where I live look like a Budweiser ad. It takes five minutes to figure out which of the twenty-three craft beers you want to drink.

Yet it's one of the many ways a nation can change. And, boy, has America changed.

Mostly, I've liked it, even though as an aging baby boomer I've been brought along kicking and screaming, but I got over it. Enough about me, though I feel representative of liberal America, the part that encourages tolerance and thrives under it.

Then there's the other part, those who have looked around and hated the gay, the brown, the black, the Asian, those who aren't of the Real America. They also have problems with the new role women wish to assume, you know, the role where women participate in our society with equity, respect, and dignity, where a woman with ambitions is not a bitch worthy of suspicion.

Sorry old America, but it's not the province of white male authoritarians anymore. As Dylan said -- all too early, I'm afraid -- "Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command." That famous Dylan lyric, from "The Times They Are a-Changin'," was first sung fifty-two years ago, but finally it's not an aspiration, it's a reality.

Yet it's a reality that those who have gathered around Donald Trump and the Republican Party reject out of hand. If there's one thing that has grown particularly obvious in 2016, it's that the so-called conservative side of America is not going to go quietly into that good night of tolerance, acceptance, and inevitability. No, it will fight to the last ditch.

And here's where the division is the most stark. Now, Hillary Clinton embraces more that the liberal left. No doubt she's more centrist than those on the left would want, and she finds a home in the center, too, where many have not made up their minds about which direction America should go.

But don't be confused: Hillary Clinton wants to lead us towards a new America, one more tolerant, more embracing, more modern. This new America is ready for true, tolerant equality, with no more lip service and wink-wink, nudge-nudge. America is changing and for the better.

White nationalist America is resisting with every fiber of their being. But here's the bad news for them: It's beyond their control, it's over. Humanity is moving the way it could have been predicted centuries ago. Europeans would have their time, then everyone else was going to sweep them aside, or at least take their places as equals. It's happening, and all the DNA in the white world is not going to stop it.

And this is not a good or a bad thing. It's just a thing.

So that's where we are. To get political -- and real -- for a second: A vote for Trump is a vote to make the death throes of white America and the Republican Party a little longer, a little messier, a little deadlier. A vote for Clinton, while not revolutionary, will move America forward toward the new reality.

Of course, since this suspicious, anti-intellectual, anti-science, white, politically conservative side of America has resisted fighting climate change long enough that we're doomed as a species anyway, in a few decades it won't mean a damned thing. But for now, wouldn't it feel nice to fight the good fight, to embrace the new world, that isn't the same as the old one? So we can party like it isn't four degrees Celsius hotter?