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The Republican Party

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I am pretty much cut from the same exact cloth as Michael Steele in terms of where I stand as a Conservative. I heard Ian's speech in real time and was almost shaking with anger. This is the bigoted Petri Dish that Populism and Trumpism incubate.

 

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/02/24/michael_steele_vs_cpacs_matt_schlapp_on_comment_he_was_picked_rnc_chair_because_he_was_black.html

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https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/boycott-the-gop/550907/

 

The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it’s the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates. We’re thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself, is to do as Toren Beasley did: vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former).

Very Stable Genius

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I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC

By MONA CHARENFEB. 25, 2018

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/25/opinion/im-glad-i-got-booed-at-cpac.html?smid=tw-share

 

Mona Charen is one of the good ones.  She still writes fairly frequently for NR (or her columns elsewhere get republished there with permission).  I've never been to CPAC, but it's fallen a long way.  The DC conservative powwow that I have been to in the past was considerably more intellectual: The Federalist Society Lawyers Convention.  I hope that one hasn't been similarly corrupted by Trumpist ethno-nationalism and willful blindness to Trump's own character flaws.

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When you look at a lot of the EPA's recent rollbacks, especially outside the carbon-regulation sphere, they're not going back to the pre-EPA days, they're going back to the pre-Obama days.  The GOP simply stands against the progressive presumption that regulation should be a one-way ratchet: ever tighter.

 

Why do Republicans act like Democrats like regulations for the sake of regulations? Regulations are put in place when the free market fails us. This is how we balance the needs of the people with the needs of corporations to make money. Regulations placed on private companies are almost always a response to a specific bad thing that private companies have done.

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Regulations are put in place when the free market fails us.

 

We actually agree on that to a large extent; we just disagree on how quick we should be to judge the free market a failure.

 

This is how we balance the needs of the people with the needs of corporations to make money. Regulations placed on private companies are almost always a response to a specific bad thing that private companies have done.

 

Exactly.  Regulation is therefore a form of collective punishment and should be viewed with a similarly jaundiced eye to any other kind of collective punishment.

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Collective punishment for corporations, collective benefit for citizens. Corporate are "punished" and not allowed to pollute the water and air, citizens benefit from drinking cleaner water and breathing cleaner air. Regulations and protections are two sides of the same coin.

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And the air and water were already clean in 2008.  As I said above, most of the regulatory rollbacks we're talking about here don't involve going back to the days when the EPA didn't exist and you couldn't see the mountains from Los Angeles because of the smog.  We're talking only about the high-water marks of regulatory overzealousness reached under the Obama administration.  Substantively, the Trump EPA won't look all that different from the [bill] Clinton EPA.

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^ So you're saying that environmental regulations that were put in place nearly 5 decades ago are still sufficient for today?

 

While it may appear that "the air and water were already clean in 2008" and therefore it's Mission Accomplished, no more regulations needed, I'm sure a lot of scientists would disagree with you. (Putting aside the fact that there are places in America that do not have clean water today.) As science gets better over time, we learn more about how even tiny amounts of certain pollutants can have major health impacts. So regulations need to evolve. As corporations change their manufacturing processes and start polluting the environment in different ways, new regulations will need to be introduced to respond to that.

 

I don't quite understand why you think that environment regulations should be frozen in time...

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And the air and water were already clean in 2008.  As I said above, most of the regulatory rollbacks we're talking about here don't involve going back to the days when the EPA didn't exist and you couldn't see the mountains from Los Angeles because of the smog.  We're talking only about the high-water marks of regulatory overzealousness reached under the Obama administration.  Substantively, the Trump EPA won't look all that different from the [bill] Clinton EPA.

 

Speaking strictly EPA, I think I agree with you.

 

However, the Trump Administration has been overt in using other agencies to roll back environmental regulations and policies. I am a "drill baby drill" Conservative, but I thought removing Bears' Ears designation was merely to spite Obama - as Utah is not an oil hotbed that needs to be tapped. The Department of the Interior was engaged to do a rollback in that situation.

 

I tend to lean liberal re: the environment, but I think your Clinton characterization is probably correct

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^ So you're saying that environmental regulations that were put in place nearly 5 decades ago are still sufficient for today?

 

For the most part, yes.  Though I should say four decades ago; the EPA didn't exist five decades ago.

 

While it may appear that "the air and water were already clean in 2008" and therefore it's Mission Accomplished, no more regulations needed, I'm sure a lot of scientists would disagree with you. (Putting aside the fact that there are places in America that do not have clean water today.) As science gets better over time, we learn more about how even tiny amounts of certain pollutants can have major health impacts. So regulations need to evolve. As corporations change their manufacturing processes and start polluting the environment in different ways, new regulations will need to be introduced to respond to that.

 

Because by and large, that's not how it works.  It has very little to do with advancing science and more to do with increasing risk aversion, even at the cost of economic dynamism and fundamental liberty.  The law of diminishing returns has not suddenly been scientifically discovered to have been a fiction for the last twenty or thirty years.  Ever-tighter environmental regulations (and regulations in most other fields) increasingly cost more and more and help fewer and fewer people.

 

At what point do you say enough is enough, if there is no actual endpoint, just a constant ability to repeat that the regulations of yesteryear didn't go far enough, no matter how far they actually went?  Is there some objective standard?  Is that standard a literal zero-marginal-gain standard with total price insensitivity, i.e., a trillion-dollar regulation that statistically saves 1 person-year of life is worth it?

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And the air and water were already clean in 2008.  As I said above, most of the regulatory rollbacks we're talking about here don't involve going back to the days when the EPA didn't exist and you couldn't see the mountains from Los Angeles because of the smog.  We're talking only about the high-water marks of regulatory overzealousness reached under the Obama administration.  Substantively, the Trump EPA won't look all that different from the [bill] Clinton EPA.

 

Speaking strictly EPA, I think I agree with you.

 

However, the Trump Administration has been overt in using other agencies to roll back environmental regulations and policies. I am a "drill baby drill" Conservative, but I thought removing Bears' Ears designation was merely to spite Obama - as Utah is not an oil hotbed that needs to be tapped. The Department of the Interior was engaged to do a rollback in that situation.

 

I tend to lean liberal re: the environment, but I think your Clinton characterization is probably correct

 

Residents of states east of the Mississippi or west of the Sierra Nevadas can have a difficult time with just how serious federal land use laws are in Western states, because the sheer quantity of the land of those states that is under direct federal ownership is so vastly different.  We're not used to the federal government being a major landowner here.  Utah and Nevada, by contrast, are overwhelmingly owned by the federal government.  There was a lot of federal-state interplay in that decision (both the original Obama one and the one undoing it) that was independent of the interests of any natural resource company that might have wanted access to that land.  It was bigger than that.  (The worst example, though, might be in one of the bluest states in the Union ... Hawai'i.  Federal land ownership there dramatically affects the private real estate market.)

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^ So you're saying that environmental regulations that were put in place nearly 5 decades ago are still sufficient for today?

 

For the most part, yes.  Though I should say four decades ago; the EPA didn't exist five decades ago.

 

Well, the organization started in 1970, so 48 years ago, although not all of the relevant regulations are quite that old.

 

At what point do you say enough is enough, if there is no actual endpoint, just a constant ability to repeat that the regulations of yesteryear didn't go far enough, no matter how far they actually went?  Is there some objective standard?  Is that standard a literal zero-marginal-gain standard with total price insensitivity, i.e., a trillion-dollar regulation that statistically saves 1 person-year of life is worth it?

 

A quick Google search brought up this study which claims that air pollution in the United States causes 200,000 early deaths per year, and that 52,000 of those can be traced to emissions from power plants. Now, I don't really want to get into a deep debate about that particular study because I don't want to derail this thread more than I already have. But hypothetically, let's assume that the study is accurate, and that there is some new regulation that can be put into place that might cost $1 trillion to implement but could prevent 1,000 of those early deaths per year. Of course, we know that when we say a regulation would "cost" $1 trillion to implement, it's not actually coming out of the profits of the corporations that build and operate power plants. Those companies will just raise their rates and pass the cost on to consumers. So each American household might see their electricity bill go up by $1 per year (or 9¢ per electricity bill), but in the end, 1,000 early deaths are prevented. I would say that's worth the cost.

 

Now, in your hypothetical case where we have to spend $1 trillion and only one early death is only delayed by one year (one person-year of life is saved, as you put it), I would say no, that's not worth the cost.

 

Where do we draw the line? Obviously that is up for debate. But, I would say, the fact that life expectancy in the US is flat while it's rising in other countries is a good sign that we need to be doing more to improve the average citizen's health and reduce the number of deaths from pollutants.

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The state of Lake Erie is proof positive that in some instances the clean water act hasn’t gone far enough. Check out the fish consumption advisories. We still have a long way to go.

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Residents of states east of the Mississippi and not west of the Sierra Nevadas can have a difficult time with just how serious federal land use laws are in Western states, because the sheer quantity of the land of those states that is under direct federal ownership is so vastly different.  We're not used to the federal government being a major landowner here.  Utah and Nevada, by contrast, are overwhelmingly owned by the federal government.  There was a lot of federal-state interplay in that decision (both the original Obama one and the one undoing it) that was independent of the interests of any natural resource company that might have wanted access to that land.  It was bigger than that.  (The worst example, though, might be in one of the bluest states in the Union ... Hawai'i.  Federal land ownership there dramatically affects the private real estate market.)

 

States rights... that's why Trump did it.

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Now, I don't really want to get into a deep debate about that particular study because I don't want to derail this thread more than I already have. But hypothetically, let's assume that the study is accurate, and that there is some new regulation that can be put into place that might cost $1 trillion to implement but could prevent 1,000 of those early deaths per year. Of course, we know that when we say a regulation would "cost" $1 trillion to implement, it's not actually coming out of the profits of the corporations that build and operate power plants. Those companies will just raise their rates and pass the cost on to consumers. So each American household might see their electricity bill go up by $1 per year (or 9¢ per electricity bill), but in the end, 1,000 early deaths are prevented. I would say that's worth the cost.

 

Check your math.  A trillion dollars divided by 320 million Americans is not $1 per year per person, let alone per utility account.  Of course, we're playing with hypothetical numbers here anyway.  But the real numbers are not so hypothetical, and people have their breaking point.  Why do you think school levies fail so often when they're "just" asking for maybe the "price of a pizza" or "two coffees" each month?  At some point, people have been so frequently bureaucratically bludgeoned that they in some sense just curl into a defensive crouch and say "no, no, no, no."  They don't have the patience for multi-page debates with opposing viewpoints like this, particularly when they've gotten to the point when the opposing viewpoint is just an ever-increasing list of demands at bureaucratic gunpoint.  They just want the constant dunning to stop.  And the Party of No is there to answer them.

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Check your math.  A trillion dollars divided by 320 million Americans is not $1 per year per person, let alone per utility account.  Of course, we're playing with hypothetical numbers here anyway.  But the real numbers are not so hypothetical, and people have their breaking point.  Why do you think school levies fail so often when they're "just" asking for maybe the "price of a pizza" or "two coffees" each month?

 

In the hypothetical scenario I just laid out, I was not claiming that the power industry would spend a trillion dollars in a single year, but would be something like a 8 to 10 year rollout. There are currently 126 million households in America, so assuming each household saw their bill increase by $1 year year, that would raise over a trillion dollars which the power industry could spend on making the modifications mandated by this hypothetical new law. That's not even close to "two cups of coffee a month" .. we're talking about 9¢ per month.

 

At some point, people have been so frequently bureaucratically bludgeoned that they in some sense just curl into a defensive crouch and say "no, no, no, no."

 

Right... at some point people turn off their brains and let the anti-government, anti-regulation fervor take over.

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Check your math.  A trillion dollars divided by 320 million Americans is not $1 per year per person, let alone per utility account.  Of course, we're playing with hypothetical numbers here anyway.  But the real numbers are not so hypothetical, and people have their breaking point.  Why do you think school levies fail so often when they're "just" asking for maybe the "price of a pizza" or "two coffees" each month?

 

In the hypothetical scenario I just laid out, I was not claiming that the power industry would spend a trillion dollars in a single year, but would be something like a 8 to 10 year rollout. There are currently 126 million households in America, so assuming each household saw their bill increase by $1 year year, that would raise over a trillion dollars which the power industry could spend on making the modifications mandated by this hypothetical new law. That's not even close to "two cups of coffee a month" .. we're talking about 9¢ per month.

 

126M x $1/yr x 10 years = $1.26 billion aggregate over 10 years, not $1 trillion.  $1 trillion over 10 years from 126M households would be about $794/yr.  Many of those households will be making less than $30,000/yr.  If you insist on subsidizing those, you'll just be increasing the burden on others.

 

At some point, people have been so frequently bureaucratically bludgeoned that they in some sense just curl into a defensive crouch and say "no, no, no, no."

 

Right... at some point people turn off their brains and let the anti-government, anti-regulation fervor take over.

 

No more than the gun-grabbers, environmental zealots, and other avatars of the unrestrained regulatory state have turned off their brains and let their pro-government, pro-regulation fervor take over.  It's the inverse of the "do something!" impulse.

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My bad, mental math fail -- substitute $1 billion for $1 trillion in my original post. The number was purely hypothetical. My point is, there is a line that must be drawn somewhere. We both agree that some new regulation that costs enormous sums of money to prevent 1 death is not a good idea. And that regulation that saves tens of thousands of lives is probably a good idea. But where the line is drawn between those two extremes is something that can and should be debated and should change over time, not be set in stone. The EPA did not have everything figured out in the GWB administration and to claim that any new EPA regulation enacted during the Obama administration is unnecessary, is incorrect.

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But I'm not claiming that.  The statements "most of the actions the Pruitt EPA is undoing are Obama-era actions" and "most Obama-era EPA actions are being undone by the Pruitt EPA" are not the same.

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That’s true. I tried to find a specific list of Obama era regulations which are now being repealed and couldn’t find any such thing from a reasonably credible source.

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DXOAdQvXUAAEaS7.jpg:large

It's been determined that Republicans in the HPSCI (Nunes specifically) leaked the Warner test to Fox News.  Paul Ryan's response: "I don't run that committee."  I'm old enough to remember when Paul Ryan was against mishandling of classified information.

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https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/1/17066702/identity-politics-trump-gop-conservatives

 

Political scientists have found data to support an idea that became a truism of the 2016 elections: Conservatives and Republicans have embraced so-called “identity politics” just as much as the liberals they chide for it.

 

The finding was part of a wide-ranging paper on American political identities called “One Tribe to Bind Them All: How Our Social Group Attachments Strengthen Partisanship,” published in the journal Advances in Political Psychology in February.

 

The researchers, Lilliana Mason of the University of Maryland and Julie Wronski of the University of Mississippi, found that Americans have sorted themselves into political parties increasingly based on their own social identities, defined as “a sense of shared identity with a particular group.” Means by which Americans previously defined themselves culturally — race, class, religion — are increasingly how Americans define themselves politically as well.

 

And Republicans were even more likely than Democrats to identify with their chosen political party on the basis of their own identities.

 

Whoops!


Very Stable Genius

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Whoops?  It's quite intentional.  Identity politics favors them.  "You wanna split people into groups?  OK, we'll claim the biggest one.  Your move."

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Whoops?  It's quite intentional.  Identity politics favors them.  "You wanna split people into groups?  OK, we'll claim the biggest one.  Your move."

 

You cannot cry "IDENTITY POLITICS" (as an insult) while simultaneously engaging it more often that the folks you criticize.


Very Stable Genius

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I contend that all politics has always been identify politics.  It's a fake outrage talking point like complaining about political correctness.

 

Agreed, people have always been this way.  Perhaps some of those groups/definitions are not quite as broad as they used to be, but this is just an animalistic part of human beings.  That said, if there's been real movement into more narrowly-defined groups, it's pretty clear who's been peddling the division.

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I love the social contract argument from people for whom sexual assault, pedophilia and genocide are not a red line for a candidate.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Whoops?  It's quite intentional.  Identity politics favors them.  "You wanna split people into groups?  OK, we'll claim the biggest one.  Your move."

 

You cannot cry "IDENTITY POLITICS" (as an insult) while simultaneously engaging it more often that the folks you criticize.

 

That's exactly what they're doing though.  So it helps them when they do it, and it helps them when we do it.  It's a winning issue for them but not for us.

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