A thought for Sunday: of heartlessness, confidence and conviction
by New Deal democrat
A thought for Sunday: of heartlessness, confidence and conviction
First of all, let me join in full in the following from Calculated Risk:
These are not normal times, and I can’t just post economic data and remain silent on other issues.
Mr. Trump’s executive order is un-American, not Christian, and hopefully unconstitutional. This is a shameful act and no good person can remain silent.
I believe that the sheer heartlessness of Trump’s Order is a feature, not a bug. It is designed for maximum media coverage in order to show his supporters that he is delivering on his promises.
It is likely that in a longer timeframe this will backfire, as the cruelty of separating families, turning away children, and refusing entry to people who already had legal permission to live here via visas and even green cards, turns people against Trump and his enablers.
Once upon a time, for academic reasons I read the same book that Trump was rumored to have by his bedside in NYC: the english translation of the full text of Adolf Hitler’s speeches. Hitler’s argument for getting ordinary Germans to go along with his extreme anti-Semitic agenda was masterful. It went in essence like this: “I know that there are a very few good Jews, and you may know a few of them. But the vast majority of Jews, who you don’t know, are evil. In order to get rid of the vast majority of evil Jews, we have to sweep up a few of the good ones. So don’t worry, we will take care of it.” By getting people to overlook their own experience with Jews they knew, he prevailed.
In contrast – for example – gay rights triumphed when enough people knew gays in their ordinary lives, and realized that they were no different from anybody else. So they were unable to see any valid reason to discriminate against them.
This ban is much more like the second situation than the first. Hitler argued that he might have to inflict hardship on a few good people in order (allegedly) to get to the mass of bad apples. Trump is inflicting a lot of harm on a mass of good people in order (allegedly) to get to a few bad apples
And we haven’t even gotten to the point yet when the same heartlessness is going to be inflicted on DREAMers.
Second, a few days ago I pointed out that economic confidence has actually spiked again in the week after Trump’s inauguration. But that does not appear to be translating into actual spending so far. In fact it is possible that the opposite is happening.
Here is a look at Gallup’s economic confidence measure since its inception:
See that big downward spike in 2011? That’s the debt ceiling debacle, where Congress threatened to default on debts the US had already incurred. Lots of economic data headed south at the same time, leading to ECRI saying (incorrectly) that a recession was imminent.
But consumer spending by Gallup held up throughout. Notice the *absence* of any observable movement in 2011 in that measure:
That consumers told Gallup they were still spending as before was my first sign that ECRI was wrong.
Now here is that same consumer spending graph over the last two years:
If you don’t see any substantial upward movement particularly at the end, you would be correct. Consumer spending is very seasonal, with a big peak in the Christmas season, and a smaller bounce for back-to-school sales.
While December spending by consumers was up YoY, so far January is flat.
So while there has been a big spike in confidence (very partisan, as GOP confidence has risen more sharply than the decline shown by Democrats), so far it appears not to have translated into conviction via actual spending.
One big difference from the 1930s to today … let’s call it Naderism. No one must ever take, or be allowed to take, even the most immeasurably small risk for any reason whatsoever. Whence the “Skittles” argument.
As the old cliché has it: you can’t have it both ways.
A thought experiment. One fine day I realize that there is a huge tract of land owned by Warren Buffett in Montana. I study Buffett’s public schedule and conclude he probably never goes there. So naturally I move into a cottage on a remote section of the grounds. I teach my son to hunt and fish and we live an idyllic existence off the land and at least partly off the grid.
Another fine day, this one twelve years later, the cops show up. Putting me and my wife in jail (for B & E, theft, etc) would, of course, deprive my son of contact with his parents. And booting the family from the grounds would also be taking my son out of the only environment in which he is familiar. It is doubtful that my son can, in such a scenario, smoothly and quickly transition from being a hunter and gatherer into being earning a legitimate living and keeping himself fed and clothed.
Is the above scenario heartless? What should society do in such circumstances? Should Warren Buffett find it in his heart to let my son (and his parents!) stay on? Note that a brief Census would inform Mr. Buffett that the number of people living on his land is much larger than originally thought.
I am going to jump ahead of you on this. The US is not your land as the owner. You do not have the right to block anyone from coming here regardless of whether they are legal or illegal. Your premise is the premise of Trump and his followers, one of which blames the false ills of a population upon people who did not cause them. Facism.
He should not be talked to, nor should be allowed to post his continued racist arguments that he takes pain to insure are not racist.
You don’t own the sidewalk in front of your house, but if someone takes up residence on that sidewalk you will do everything you can to stop it. And you would be insane not to do so.
I don’t own anyone else’s bank account but I have strong opinions about what the tax system should look like. It’s been the topic of most my posts over the years. In addition, I have strong opinions about how my tax dollars are spent.
I also have opinions about a lot of public owned assets including how much and how little pollution someone should be permitted to emit into the air and water. I know you do as well.
As to not having the right to stop someone from coming from here if they are illegal… the definition of illegal is that yes, we collectively have that right. I have the right to call the cops if my neighbor is breaking the law. I even have the right to make a citizen’s arrest.
Finally, the law says people must follow a process to become citizens. And they cannot be a public charge. And enforcement of immigration law lies with the executive branch.
You are using scare tactics to blame minorities for things which are conceivably not their fault. Hitler did the same, IIDuce did so also, and DT is doing it now. I have no sympathy for you stance or argument and all you are doing is fomenting anger against people who do no deserve such from us. Obama deported more illegal aliens with half the anger or finger pointing. There was no argument about their being terrorists or using up resources (which they can not legally do).
Go after the immigrants and the minorities as they are the cause of all of our issues in the US
What am I blaming immigrants for? There are rules for immigration and I believe we should follow those rules. I have stated in the past that like Canada we should have an immigration policy geared toward trying to ensure that the immigrants we do take in are as productive as possible in this country. Those who are productive should be welcome, and those who won’t be productive shouldn’t be welcome. (And yes, since this keeps coming up, of course this is racist and only favors Northwest Europeans like people from Japan, South Korea, the Baltics, etc.). I have stated before I would be happy if we had Canada!s system. I don’t see why that should be controversial. If two thirds of the immigrants from a given country are on food stamps despite our rules against immigrants being a public charge, the system is not working as designed.
Do immigrants have a negative effect on our society? Some do, some don’t. What is wrong with weeding out those who do have a negative impact on the economy? How about just enforcing the public charge rules? Canada does a lot more than that. Is Canada a model of a fascist genocidal dictatorship now? If Canada is a model of a genocidal dictatorship then we need to start mobilizing against the threat on our Northern border. If not then this Hitler talk is silly and trivializes the discussion. It sounds like the libertarians explaining why any attempt to keep someone from dumping toxic waste into a stream is taking away their rights and akin to marching them into a death camp.
“The US is not your land as the owner. You do not have the right to block anyone from coming here regardless of whether they are legal or illegal.”
The U.S. is OUR land, and WE, through our representatives, pass laws that say who can come here. Do we not have that right?
One reply and that is it. Laws which discriminate are not a right which the constitution endorses and is why many of the state laws in the South were struck down. Mike’s proposal is just another example of these laws and just applied in a different manner. The Republicans have used this type of discrimination since the eighties since they could not longer be so blatant.
Mike, Warren, can you imagine how your assertions sound to Native Americans?
I was born here, so I am a “native American.”
But I would assume that aboriginal Americans might think that we have learned from their mistakes.
I am guessing there is a reason why scientists aren’t allowed to study pre Colombian human remains in this country any more. When those rules came into place there was probably tribal lore but now we have genomics.
To copy and paste one of my recent comments:
So my answer to you is: there are a handful of Andamanese like people left in the Americas. There are about 10,000 San left in South Africa and 100,000 in all of Africa. (At one point the San and Khoi Khoi together may have been the most populous people on earth.) How do you the remaining Andamanese, and the San would feel about the indignant tone of your comment?
As to how the group we call Native Americans think about it, if you are young and live long enough perhaps you can ask your great-great children.
“Laws which discriminate are not a right which the constitution endorses….”
Nonsense. Article I, Section 8 says, “The Congress shall have Power… To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization….”
We have had immigration laws that limit immigration by country for many, many years.
As I keep noting, if you really think the Canadians are fascists you should be sounding the alarm. Otherwise, the fact that are immigration laws are so much more lax than Canada’s and we are demonstrably less likely to enforce the laws we do have than the Canadians are should give you pause. Going back to immigration policies supported by most Democrats in the 1990s does not equal Nazi.
Completely different political environment has evolved since then. I am thinking of the US as we are supposedly the beacon although I doubt it with the anti-immigrant, race, and gender climate today.
We are many things, and so are the Canadians. The Canadians are the nice guys, and more to the left of us. It’s the place Americans flee or threaten to flee when they don’t like US government policy. But they provide a demonstration that a country can be diverse, take in a lot of immigrants, and still ensure that the new immigrants will be just as nice, polite, employable and able to run a business or otherwise make a living as the average Canadian.
We aren’t Canada. We have our own character. Historically we in the US have not been a country of “nice and polite.” But we have been a country that views itself as being infused with a can do and pioneer spirit. What is wrong with selecting immigrants based on those traits. Again, why not start following the public charge laws again?
If it’s a matter of a completely different political viewpoint having evolved, then the support would be there to change the laws. That support doesn’t seem to be present in polls.
I guess it must be nice to be able to sway back and forth between “unproductive immigrants” and “illegal immigrants”.
I don’t know anyone who is in favor of illegal immigrants. I do know a lot of people who are in favor of humane treatment of illegals based on their individual situations, including things like being the parents of US citizens, etc.
“Other than an alignment with the wealthy, an interventionist foreign policy and an embrace of ignorance, the Trump administration has reached back to the modern-day incarnation of the Republican Party with a restructuring of their Southern Strategy from the Nixon years. Embracing a playbook from those days, he is promising to be the “law and order president” based on fear-mongering that has been expanded beyond African Americans to include immigrants of color and Muslims.”
What ties these elements together is something at the heart of who Donald Trump is, as well as an underlying assumption that runs through the policies of the Republican party. It comes down to a belief that certain people are meant to dominate and others are destined to be dominated.”
Something I have been saying for a long time.
“like being the parents”
You want to allocate rights to people based on whether they are parents? You are clearly a willing tool of the heteronormative homophobic transphobic gender fluid phobic islamophobic racist misogynistic patriarchy. I bet you practice lookism too.
Does a burglar get to stay out of prison because he has children? No.
Illegal immigrants can take their children with them when they are deported. Ordinary criminals do not get to take their children to prison with them.
I find it hard to comprehend how American citizens losing their parents is somehow a good idea.
“A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
Your thoughts and mine are the same on the GOP. You should read this:
Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class Reprint Edition
by Ian Haney López
Incredible insight into how the GOP has gotten to this point.
Any reason you used “burglar” instead of “rapist”?
If Trump is stupid enough to get caught doing something that would otherwise get him impeached or even jailed, would you support keeping him in office because anything else would be traumatic to young Barron? Because that is what it sounds like you are arguing.
I’ll build my own thoughts, thank you.
Of course you are welcome to build your own thoughts. Nobody is stopping you. But if you are making an arguments that are silly and not internally consistent, don’t be shocked if other people point out that your arguments are silly and not internally consistent.
Do you understand that an immigrant who is in this country illegally has not committed a crime? That it is a civil matter, not a criminal matter?
Continue to use you dog whistle politics. Goldwater would be proud. Wallace would be proud.
Culture, my ass.
I am no lawyer but I believe you are conflating an act with a person.
Bank robbery is illegal. Being a bank robber, though, is not illegal. We don’t arrest people for being robbers, we arrest them for a specific act of robbery.
Improper entry is a crime.
People are not sent to prison for civil offences.
I did not say anything about the entry part. Illegal presence is a civil matter.
Now, go ahead and assume that all of those illegally present entered in an improper manner. .
The civil penalty is deportation. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that these people have been here for decades; they have worked; paid taxes(many of them payroll taxes with no chance of SS or Medicare; committed no crime; and have families, most of whom are American citizens.
As the post says: “heartlessness”.
So the longer one is here illegally, the lower his penalty should be?
Should Bernie Madoff have gotten a lighter sentence because he had been defrauding people for so long?
Furthermore, if that person has been working, either he or his employer has broken the law. (Contrary to popular opinion, it is not illegal for an person to work without a work permit, but it is illegal to hire such a person. However, a defense is written into the law. For that defense to be valid, the employee would have had to commit fraud. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1324a)
As for their families, they can go too.