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Discussion: Agreed

in: Cristina; Cristina > 2016-11-09

Nov 9, 2016 10:14 AM # 
Nov 9, 2016 11:46 AM # 
There are worse places than Norway (or Switzerland) to ride out the next four (hopefully it's only four) years.
Nov 9, 2016 12:02 PM # 
Sure, I don't have to fear increased discrimination or hate crimes or anything dramatic right now living over here, but it's not just about me. And the impact on the SCOTUS will likely last much longer than four years. I'm worried things that will change before we move back -- parental rights (I'm not a legal parent of Lukas in the US yet, SCOTUS could make it harder), Melissa's access to health care (there's a real path to Obamacare repeal now), and of course less likely issues like being able to be fired for being gay (as Mike Pence would like it). Not to mention the complete unknowns regarding the economy (how will the job market be?) and, you know, war, nuclear or otherwise.
Nov 9, 2016 12:04 PM # 
But yes, Norway's not a bad place to be right now.
Nov 9, 2016 2:25 PM # 
As climate scientists, are you not more worried about there not being a safe planet for Lukas et al? Norway perhaps being one of the better places to ride out the next hundred years...

Or maybe
Nov 9, 2016 2:30 PM # 
I wouldn't worry quite so much - Living in a very conservative district, I get the sense that your civil marital, parental, and health rights are pretty safe. Among all but a very few, attitudes here have really undergone an incredible sea change over the last few years; I just don't see any significant roll-back of your basic rights. On the other hand, I do see some changes coming that allow religious-based organizations (and perhaps businesses) more latitude to refuse service based on moral grounds. The impression I get is that the views that drove this revolution are not about taking away anybody's rights, they're much more about reducing government regulation and control. To put it another way, the attitude that I'm seeing so strongly expressed by "conservatives" here is "you can live whatever lifestyle you like, but don't require me to endorse or pay for it".
Nov 9, 2016 2:50 PM # 
I just hope that whatever illness is affecting Americans at the moment that it ain't contagious. Oh and our PM is awesome.
Nov 9, 2016 5:23 PM # 
I hope for you and my Canadian family too, Hammer. I need a delusion this morning to keep moving on. Grant me that Canada (and science in the Great White North) had to suffer through Harper to get to the snazzy new PM so maybe something good will happen to those that persevere. I know the logic in this argument will be defeated if the level of suffering is too high but, really, I am just grasping for anything...
Nov 9, 2016 7:37 PM # 
I woke early this morning ready to greet the day and asked Roger who won. I thought he was joking, but I decided that I would go to the definitive source - your log. Your one word post was enough to make me hide back under the covers for three more hours.
Nov 9, 2016 8:01 PM # 
Kelly Leitch could be Canada's Trump in waiting.
Nov 9, 2016 8:23 PM # 
Oh dear... this Leitch person is disturbing. People seem to forget, that far more than other continents - the countries are built on (relatively recent) immigration.
Nov 9, 2016 8:36 PM # 
Both last year's Canadian general election and yesterday's US presidential election were about change. Canada's was for the better.
Nov 9, 2016 10:23 PM # 
how about a trade. Leitch and family for Luis and family.
Nov 10, 2016 2:21 AM # 
In addition to all the points above (including businesses refusing services on "moral" grounds), I am worried about the way he has fanned the flames of hatred. The KKK love him. Millions of men and women accepted his "locker room talk" excuse for glorifying sexual assault. His supporters chanted, "Jew-S-A!" His final ad was seen as anti-Semitic. He didn't object to "Trump That Bitch" T-shirts being sold at his rallies - and much worse. (Can you imagine what Obama would have said?) And that's just scratching the surface. People are saying things they never would have said in public before because he has made it OK.
Nov 10, 2016 5:30 AM # 
+1000 Bash.

And, for mikeminium, here's some context for Cristina's very valid concerns:

Trump: I Would ‘Strongly Consider’ Appointing Judges To Overturn Same-Sex Marriage
Nov 10, 2016 9:38 AM # 
Absolutely what Bash said. And bbroke's link is important because it demonstrates their intentions. *My* marriage certainly isn't going to go away, and it's quite unlikely that they'd be successful in a quest to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, but these guys aren't promising anything good.

mikeminium, I feel that telling me not to worry is a bit dismissive of the struggles faced by LGBT folks in the US. We made a lot of progress over the past 8 years but we don't yet have all the rights and protections we need (parental rights, ENDA, etc.). There's absolutely zero reason to believe that we'll continue making progress with this new administration (and current Congress), and based on the promises they've made we can expect some reversals. Undoing President Obama's executive orders, for example, doesn't even take any help from Congress and has been promised for Day 1.

I don't know what they'll really do -- usually politicians actually do try to do all of the things they promise, but clearly Mr. Trump is not a usual politician, and his anti-gay stances are rather new and pandering. Maybe we'll luck out a bit. Unfortunately, Mr. Pence may have a lot of influence and he essentially hates my family's very existence. Additionally, his support for businesses or organizations to be allowed to discriminate based on religious or moral grounds is horrifying.

Ugh, there's so much more to be worried about -- the very real threats to women's reproductive rights and absolutely the upcoming clusterfuck with regards to climate science in particular and research funding in general. And, of course, the fact that the US now seems to be joining the rise of xenophobic white nationalist parties in Europe. Yay.
Nov 10, 2016 10:04 AM # 
Good post, Cristina.

I would have been happier not knowing who was on his epa/energy transition team, but better to know...

You had a word that summed up things pretty well.
Nov 10, 2016 10:27 AM # 
c*********k indeed and perhaps the first time that term has been used on AP....and used so well. I mean WTF. The UN needs a war crimes equivalent for the environment.

MAGA - Make Atmosphere Great Again
Nov 10, 2016 10:47 AM # 
Can any/everyone please explain to me what's considered to have been so bad about Obamacare? I'd naiively thought it was a good thing...(healthcare and education being my personal soapboxes).
Nov 10, 2016 10:55 AM # 
Looking at things purely from the climate perspective, on the subject of emissions I'm not quite as pessimistic as some. There's clearly enough international commitment to climate action now that I'm confident that the Paris agreement will survive the US (hopefully temporarily) not implementing it, and even without a price or regulation on carbon emissions, the economics of renewable energy versus fossil fuels are shifting quickly enough that the change in US policy settings probably won't make a huge difference in a long-term sense (as long as it's for 4 years and not 40).

It's clear that climate research and monitoring are in big trouble in the US under the new administration. (Somewhat ironically, something which might save at least some of it is that seasonal climate prediction is of great importance to energy interests, who will have a lot of political influence). As I said on my own log, a lot of people I know and respect are likely to be losing their jobs (and a few would be amongst those people who the wilder fringe of the Trump supporters would fantasise about putting in jail). If that comes to pass, I wonder if another country will take the opportunity to set up (or expand) a big climate centre of its own and take advantage of all the talent suddenly on the market - when we were trying to cheer each other up in the office today we mused about the possibility of Justin Trudeau announcing in the near future that Canada would do exactly that. (I could also imagine a Norway, or a Germany, or an Asian country with ambitions in this field like Singapore or South Korea, thinking in this way).

As it happens, the American Meteorological Society's annual meeting is in the week of the inauguration. The corridor conversations will be interesting. (One of my colleagues is going, and I think he's already preparing for lots of questions about employment opportunities in Australia).
Nov 10, 2016 11:08 AM # 
jennycas, I'm not an expert but I think there are several categories of complaints about Obamacare. Some people are opposed because they are opposed to anything related to Obama. Others don't like it because they are opposed to the Federal Government doing something they think the states should do. Still others bought into the myths that the government was going to choose your doctor and set up death panels or that this was somehow "socialist". And then there are the legitimate concerns...

Some people are facing very large rate hikes next year. My understanding of the main issues are that, despite the mandate to buy insurance, not enough young, healthy people have bought coverage. That's a fundamental requirement for the system to work -- young, healthy people who don't often need care help keep costs down for those who do. Another problem is that some states chose not to expand Medicaid coverage which would have helped reign in expenses for the insurance companies. In some states insurance companies have left the market, leaving just one company and therefore no competition.

Most people won't see these huge jumps in premiums (and the subsidies are also increasing) but the fact that some people are seeing such a huge spike is enough to validate the opinions of people who already think Obamacare is a disaster.

Those who are more well-versed on the issue please feel free to correct/amend/expand!
Nov 10, 2016 11:09 AM # 
Oh wait, I forgot about the argument that "health care is not a right" and that Obamacare is giving people something they should have to work for. These were arguments I heard a lot when I was in the AF.
Nov 10, 2016 11:16 AM # 
American institutions and companies have historically set aside money to snatch up top Canadian talent when Canadian governments have messed up. Avro Arrow mess up changed the trajectory of the aerospace industry for decades in Canada and US (fun fact: avro arrow road is the exit to get to my cottage and Wil and Katta Smiths house). Anyway, I'm hopeful top Canadian schools will hire a lot of that talent -especially Canadians living in the US. Trudeau government recently funded a $156M Global Water Futures program with USask,
Waterloo and McMaster. There are 20 academic positions as part of that and we are in the middle of that hiring phase but perhaps we should see if more people will throw their name in the hat given what's happened.

Canada's government is having trouble with a few provincial Premiers not wanting a price on carbon. Trump dumping Paris will add (dirty coal) fuel to their fire.
Nov 10, 2016 11:21 AM # 
Wow. We Aussies just take having universal access to federally funded healthcare for granted! (Which is why I get a little annoyed to hear people complaining when a brand-new chemotherapy drug is not yet covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidy. They don't know how lucky they are that even in private hospitals, their chemo is nearly always subsidised federally.)
Nov 10, 2016 12:18 PM # 
As somebody who currently is not working (by choice - we are traveling for 6 months) and therefore has purchased a marketplace health insurance, my guess is that Obamacare played a big role even if people weren't talking about it. In particular, open enrollment for next year's plans opened quite recently with everybody who has it getting emails about it. And, from what I've heard, prices are increasing (some places more than others) and there are fewer plans/companies to choose from (also affecting some states more than others).

Even though I believe health insurance is really important, it's still painful to shell out $450 per month per person for something I hope I don't have to use. Yes - you can get cheaper plans, but even the more basic ones would have been at least 300 per month. And then you are paying the first five or so thousand in expenses out of pocket even though you are paying hundreds a month for insurance. Of course, many people get subsidies based on income. But, then the amount you still are paying is that much more painful because then it might mean that you aren't buying something else you want.

Also, most people don't know about some of the most important changes like banning an annual or lifetime max payout by the insurance company (it used to be than a company could say that they stop paying after 1 million or sonething). It also took me reading a lot of fine print to realize that even the cheap policies have a pretty low out of pocket max that the consumer would have to pay (around 12k). Another benefit, free birth control, is probably hated by many.

To be clear, I like Obamacare and moreover I wish we had free medical care for everyone. But, even being in favor of social health care, understanding why it's important to pay my part into the system, and being able to afford it... it's still not fun to see the bill every month.

It also doesn't fix one of the major pain points in US healthcare: being afraid to go to the doctor because you have no idea how much it will cost and worry that your insurance company might deny it.

So, you could end up in a situation where you're paying hundreds a month for the least expensive option, you go to the doctor and have to still pay reasonable high co-pays to see the doctor plus pay hundreds or thousands out of pocket if you are under your deductible, and still have your insurance company deny claims and send the bill to you (which you then have to fight).

Another problem is the basic structure: many people are paying more than they need so that there is money in the system to cover those who have huge expenses. Obviously this is fundamental to the system working. But this means that many, many people are feeling the pain of the system (paying monthly) while relatively few are getting the benefit (not going bankrupt when terrible things happen). And yes, while not risking going bankrupt is a good thing for everyone, it is hard to appreciate while making payments each month.

Lastly, it didn't help that signing up took us 9+ days and probably 20+ phone calls...and that during that time we had to pay expenses out of pocket hoping to get reimbursed later. And couldn't get confirmation that we actually had coverage.

In short, I think Obamacare made huge progress and that we desperately need people to have health coverage. But, I also think that it is painful for many people participating in the system - even those getting subsidies and benefiting from it. And, getting an email saying that you are going to have to pay even more...while you are deciding who to vote for or if you want to vote...that can't have helped.
Nov 10, 2016 1:17 PM # 
Sounds not totally dissimilar to Switzerland, except here signing up took about two minutes online.
Nov 10, 2016 1:44 PM # 
Cristina and Suzanne are right that cost of Obamacare is a big issue. As an example, my plan (one person, self employed) went from $445 per month in 2011 to $931 for 2017, in a period of very low inflation or economic growth. Now I like having insurance and I've dutifully paid, but financially I'd have come out way ahead if I hadn't bothered. But you never know.

An often overlooked consideration is that some people find it morally objectionable to pay insurance that covers things like abortion and contraception, or reproductive services.

Plus a lot of people just want the government to get the f**k (to use your word) out of their lives. They don't want to be told what they have to do and how to do it, and when they can change it (only during enrollment period), even if it's for their own health. Look at the same resistance to motorcycle helmet laws, seatbelt laws, and texting while driving.
Nov 10, 2016 2:07 PM # 
I thought it would be nice to list some of the positives and also a list of actions people can take.

- This provides (yet another) serious counter-example to the argument put forward by Mens Rights Activists that an accusation of rape or sexual assault will ruin a man's life.
- Trump will not be able to accomplish many of his most popular and wild promises: Mexico isn't paying for a stupid wall, he can't deport 11 million people, he's not sending Hillary to jail.
- His win sets Democrats up for a good midterm election and probably a good 2020.

And some actions:
- Donate to the ACLU. We can hope that their workload does not increase next year but they do good work regardless.
- Donate to Planned Parenthood, which now faces the serious possibility that they'll lose federal money.
- Join or donate to a local immigrant protection organization, like The New Sanctuary Movement or Juntos in Philly.

I welcome additions to both lists.
Nov 10, 2016 2:43 PM # 
How about donating to or supporting environmental organizations such as:
- Natural Resources Defense Council
a favorite of chitownclark, they pursue litigation to protect the environment.
- National Audubon Society
not just for birds, adocates preservation and protection
- National Wildlife Federation
environmental education, getting kids into nature, resource protection
- The Nature Conservancy
protects land through purchasing and preserving; unfortunately has not been particularly friendly to orienteering / off trail use.
- World Wildlife Fund
protection of endangered species, habitat conservation
- local conservation land trusts
these protect land from future development, usually through conservation easements, sometimes through direct purchase.
Nov 10, 2016 2:45 PM # 
I like those additions, mikeminium!
Nov 10, 2016 2:52 PM # 
To add to my statement before...I think money you have to pay monthly feels different than money withheld from a paycheck or paid once a year. And, that in general money you have to pay feels different than money you don't get. Plus it's set up so that it feels like you are paying wealthy insurance companies for something you are buying, not contributing to a public good.

So it's not just the cost, but the way a person experiences the cost that matters in terms of the psychology of how it feels and is perceived. I think if social healthcare was just part of taxes it wouldn't feel as bad because the cost would just be part of the larger thing you have to pay.
Nov 10, 2016 2:57 PM # 
Wholeheartedly agree Zan. The tax system drives me insane here. In the UK, your percentage gets deducted automatically, and occasionally you get a letter saying "we took too much, have a check!." The deductible system here is INSANE, and when you make people go through every single line of their payments, it really hurts. It's much less present when that is just taken care of for you.

Of course I understand the history behind why it's ended up this way, but just wanted to agree that the psychology of it IS important.
Nov 10, 2016 3:50 PM # 
The other people who are probably upset about ObamaCare are people like me whose insurance through work has gotten a lot worse in recent years. I think my company probably just used it as an excuse to pay less even though they did cite ObamaCare as the reason for the changes. Plus, as someone with health problems, I really value knowing that if I didn't have my job, I could still get insurance. However, I'm paying about $4000 more per year for care than I was in 2012 and I can understand how that would seem like a real change for the worse to a lot of people. Before, an emergency room visit would have cost me $100 and now it would probably be my out of pocket maximum, $6,850, since I have to pay my deductible then 20% of the guaranteed-to-be-high bill.
Nov 10, 2016 4:12 PM # 
"Plus a lot of people just want the government to get the ....They don't want to be told what they have to do and how to do it, and when they can change it (only during enrollment period), even if it's for their own health. Look at the same resistance to motorcycle helmet laws, seatbelt laws, and texting while driving ."

I think that it is fine as life choice to want to be left alone, to succeed and fail under your own power, etc. The complication is that in many ways we are inextricably connected. Unlike helmet laws and seatbelt laws (which save lives and, given that people aren't deemed responsible enough to drink until 21, should be mandatory for younger people), texting while driving should be illegal because --- it negatively affects the lives of other drivers ---.

More debatable are the ways we might be beneficially interconnected. National defense is necessary but to what extent? We pay for wars whether we support them or not through our taxes because it is argued that it is part of a national defense that protects our citizens. It is non-negotiable whether there are people who oppose it or not. So how about healthcare? Is it a right? Is it a choice? There are no doubt lots of opinions. One opinion might be 'Its not in the constitution so forget it'. Would the country not be better off (use your own definition of better off here) adopting a system that ensures basic healthcare if the cost to it working well is that we are beneficially interconnected by distributing the risks of illness? I'll simply point out that people in many other developed countries have life expectancies and quality of life rankings exceeding the US, pay less on average for their health care, and stress less about seeing a doctor when they should.

I do echo Becks and Zan (and Mike), it matters how it feels as you pay. Uninsured folks who go bankrupt will likely concur with the preceding sentence.
Nov 10, 2016 4:42 PM # 
Hey Mintore! Just wanted to say that I don't think we've ever met, but I'm really appreciating your contributions to this thread.
Nov 10, 2016 5:23 PM # 
Mintore raises an interesting point about life choices. Living in a country with universal healthcare (Canada, for anyone who doesn't know me), life choices sometimes lead to interesting discussions. Most people agree that driving while impaired or texting should be illegal because of the risk of harm to others. But life choices also change your probability of needing to use universal healthcare. This becomes one of several arguments supporting our seatbelt law, non-smoking laws in public places, etc. For those who hate "more government", universal healthcare may lead to more laws. Of course, I like those laws so I don't mind but I know some people don't like it.

But it goes farther. What about people who smoke and refuse government-funded smoking cessation programs? "Why should my tax dollars fund their expensive lung cancer treatment?", some people say. ("We die sooner on average and thus cost less over our lifetime," the smokers reply. And I think I've seen this proven!) It goes on. "Your crazy mountain biking (or orienteering)... I don't want to pay if you fall." "Oh yeah? You just sit on the couch and eat chips. I don't want to pay for your heart problems." "Oh yeah? Well, you drive a compact car with a higher risk of serious injury if you're hit."

Every one of us makes life choices that alter our risk of needing healthcare. Although we hear grumbling from time to time, I'd say the majority here have accepted that we'll help the mountain climbers and the smokers alike, knowing that most of us live in some kind of glass house where we can't throw stones. I certainly wouldn't trade our right to universal healthcare. Too bad the American founding fathers decided to protect guns but forgot about health!

This is not really related to Obamacare, which is interesting to learn more about from people with firsthand experience.
Nov 10, 2016 6:57 PM # 
Hate to rain on the parade, but in fact the Democrats do not look good for the 2018 Senate elections: they are defending seats won in the 2012 presidential election year, so they hold 23 seats up for election, while the Republicans only hold 8 (plus 2 independents). The Democrats are defending Florida (49%-47% Trump margin), Indiana (57-38), Missouri (also 57-38), Montana (57-36), North Dakota (64-28), Ohio (52-44), Pennsylvania (49-48), Virginia (45-50), West Virginia (69-27), and Wisconsin (48-47), plus a few genuinely safe states like California. While the Republicans may lose a seat in Nevada (which Clinton won 48-46), the next most marginal seats they hold are Arizona (which Trump won 50-45) and then Texas (53-43).

The Democrats are also defending 20 seats (compared to 13 for the Republicans) in 2020, so it will be hard for them to make gains then either. I guess the Senate is extremely likely to be in Republican control until at least the 2022 midterms, unless something really disastrous happens. And then only if Trump wins re-election and there is a backlash against him in the midterms.
Nov 10, 2016 7:20 PM # 
In the 2020 election, all 33 Class II Senate seats are up for election; there are currently 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats expected to be up for election, although the exact numbers could change if vacancies or party switches occur. (from Wikipedia, accuracy not confirmed)
Nov 10, 2016 7:29 PM # 
Texting while driving was a bad example. Certainly it affects the safety of others. The point was simply that any time you tell people they have to do something, some segment is going to resist. The more it appears to affect only themselves (eg getting high at home, not being allowed in a park at night, etc,), the more resistance you can expect. Too bad orienteers and other outdoors folks don't revolt over the concept of parks or trails being "closed" during certain hours or seasons or conditions, the way motorcyclists have managed to kill so many mandatory helmet laws.
Nov 10, 2016 9:08 PM # 
@PG, yes, sorry, my mistake re: 2020, but the point on 2018 still stands.
Nov 10, 2016 9:23 PM # 
Yes, 2018 is definitely a defensive year for Democrats in the Senate, but midterms are a good time for the opposing party to make gains in the House. And, more importantly for the 2020/2021 redistricting, state legislatures. Absolutely an uphill battle on all fronts but it would likely have been even harder with Hillary as POTUS.
Nov 10, 2016 9:38 PM # 
I think this is such an important point: the Republicans systematically took over many state's governorships (hell, they hold deep-Blue Maryland's and just won Vermont's...) and houses on their way to winning the US House, Senate, & Presidency. These the guys who are doing the redistricting, and the incredible gerrymandering in most states is what is keeping the Republicans in the House in way too many cases. (I should admit that my home state of Maryland has one of the worst gerrymandering in the country, but at least in our case it helps the Democrats. ;-) We cannot simply show up to vote for president every four years and ignore the midterms. They are vital to turning things around. 2020 will be so important as that class of elected officials in states will do the post-Census redistricting. Perhaps this election will be a wake-up call. Gotta be some silver lining.

Fascinating discussion. I can always count on AP.
Nov 10, 2016 10:02 PM # 
I like to think this s##t show will at least ensure more young people vote in the midterms. Only one person in my lab had ever voted in any midterm before, and I'm certain all will next time.
Nov 11, 2016 9:35 AM # 
@peggyd Don't forget that VA's next gubernatorial election is next year. That's the first battle.

I have so many other things to say but I'm back at work so I should, you know, work.
Nov 11, 2016 10:02 AM # 
Despite all these attempts to get people out and vote, is this seriously true:
Nov 11, 2016 5:58 PM # 
RE: salal There are a variety of "if-onlys" that could have swung the election. If the 3rd and 4th parties votes had been cast for a candidate with a realistic chance of winning; if we had first-past-the-wire voting; if this or that voting bloc had tilted slightly differently; etc.
Nov 11, 2016 6:59 PM # 
adding to Sam's "if-only" list

the winner were based on the popular vote
Nov 11, 2016 7:27 PM # 
If only the Russians and the FBI had expressed less interest in the election...
Nov 11, 2016 8:21 PM # 
If only as many African-Americans and young people came out to vote as came out to vote in 2012 or 2008.

If only Clinton had picked a different running mate who might have enhanced the appeal of the ticket and brought out more voters (Corey Booker comes to mind).

If only nobody voted for 3rd-party candidates and most of them voted for Clinton instead (of course there is no assurance that most of them would have chosen Clinton -- presumably they voted for a 3rd party because they found Clinton and Trump more or less equaling undesirable.)
Nov 11, 2016 10:57 PM # 
Yeah, obviously a lot of "what ifs"... some move towards more proportional representation being one of the main ones.
Nov 12, 2016 2:05 AM # 
@Bash: and what is wrong with the Russians? You know, that after this kind of hate speeches of HC about "bad Russians" approximately 80 percent of russian-speaking americans voted for DT. For example, this is about 15000 extra votes for DT in FL and the same amount in PA.
Nov 12, 2016 4:42 AM # 
I didn't say anything was wrong with Russians or Russian-speaking Americans! (Although I can understand why Russian-Americans might be sensitive after the campaign.) I was referring to statements by the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence that they believed only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized cyber attacks on U.S. systems leading to leaks of information that harmed only one candidate's campaign. To be fair, Trump's Twitter account made it way too easy for the other side so maybe the hackers (whoever they are) were just trying to level the playing field. ;)
Nov 12, 2016 6:57 AM # 
As it happens, today I went to a talk on the use of social media in political campaigning, and one of the more unexpected findings they presented was that the number of mentions a candidate has on Twitter is strongly positively correlated with their electoral success, and whether those mentions on Twitter are positive or negative is irrelevant - in other words, there's something to the old saying that "any publicity is good publicity". (They also concluded that social media is good for energising your side's own supporters but almost useless for reaching swing voters).
Nov 15, 2016 5:39 AM # 
@Oleg--perhaps, but since sometimes AP-frequenting friend and Russian émigré Tundra/Desert remains so cogently and earnestly opposed to Putin and his 5th Avenue deputy, I'm sure those other Russians' votes are little more than a democratic myoclonic twitch, and even less consequential. ;)

As for me, while I appreciate the need to invent an enemy in political systems of every stripe throughout history, I think I'll retire to read the Prague Cemetery, where this concept is explored with a bit more panache and wit.
Nov 15, 2016 5:42 AM # 
> "if-only" ...
> the winner were based on the popular vote

Maybe this would have changed the result. But maybe not. If the winner were based on the popular vote, all candidates would have conducted their campaigns very differently (such as, campaigning much more in "safe" states and much less in "swing" states than they did under the electoral system) such that the popular vote might well have been significantly different (I have no idea in which direction).
Nov 16, 2016 4:00 AM # 
Every American knows these days that Russians are mean and wicked. Putin is among the worst: his hobby is to poison opponents, when he gets bored with it, he likes to torture small animals.
It is a proven fact – I can even find a few Soviet Jews in Brighton-Beach who would agree with it. You see – it is a proven fact. Also, Russians are known to have stolen Lindbergh baby (likely baked one in the oven for dinner), murdered Sacco and Vanzetti, brought to suicide a famous Austrian painter.
I always believe to what authorities tell us. I was brought up this way in Sunday school. They would never lie to us. Why would they?
Nov 16, 2016 4:09 AM # 
On my earlier posts, I had empathy for how people might feel frustrated if they are self paying for insurance.

On the flip side, as I'm currently traveling around the world, it's pretty clear how much we take for granted in the US having clean drinking water, clean air to breath, and no trash on our streets, public parks, beaches, and forests.

Some places are also protect these. Many do not. And, while the poor feel it worst, how rich are the weathy if you can't go outside and breath the air?

In Cairo I saw children swimming in a canal filled with trash (and probably sewage). Families picnic on Fridays in the green spaces in the middle of busy roundabouts, because it's one of the only public green spaces. I'm not in India, but am hearing from friends that schools are closed in Delhi because the smog is too thick to go outside. The public beach in Borneo Malaysia was strewn with trash, but the one in Mozambique was very clean (although their economy is very dependable on coal who knows about that side of things). Namibia was mostly very clean with good water and protected natural parks, except where I saw baboons on the open trash heap of the town dump. Obviously this is just what I can see on the surface as a tourist passing through.

Clean air, clean water, and shared public spaces are a great treasure, yet are taken for granted by many (most?) people in America. So often I think that people think of environmental movement as being about saving cute animals or not being able to build to protect an obscure lizard. Partially this is about how these conversations have been framed. But, it should be just as much about us. Humans really need to breath good air, drink good water, and have clean streets and parks.

It's like we have an old shoe box filled with treasures, but assume they are worthless & are taking them to the pawn shop to see if we can get anything for them.

I know that others on this thread appreciate this, but it's been especially poignant to me as I've been traveling.
Nov 23, 2016 9:50 PM # 
Good stuff Zan, thanks.
Those of us who remember the 70s remember dirty water (the river in Cleveland burning ...) and air. Not as bad as a third world country, probably, but still bad. The Clean Air Act and other stuff -- EPA etc -- have really turned things around and now we just take it all for granted.
Just like gains in social rights, we can't take any of it for granted.

This discussion thread is closed.