Slog AM: Families Belong Together, Everyone Hates ICE, Capitol Hill's Mystery Coke Machine of Horror Disappears

Comments

1

Mexizuela!

2

Did anyone notice the black uniformed dudes on top of the fortress on Saturday, taking pictures of the demonstrators below?
Pictures upon request.

3

why listen to the World Cup on the Beeb when you can just follow live-tweets from the Guardian? You get little nuggets like this-

75 min “Watching the game in Heraklion yesterday,” tweets Jeff Buck. “Three Americans at the next table. One asks ‘Does Russia have the Euro’; “Not since the Brexit,” says another’ the others nod sagely.
My favourite word in this anecdote is “the”.

Amusing to think that now in the Age of Trump, Americans have filled the slot as the butt of stupid jokes.

4

Comment handling methods desperately need debugging.

5

@1 knows the rules. When referencing anything that has to do with socialism, always mention Venezuela. For bonus points, add Soviet Union references. Never mention the social hellholes of northern Europe, like Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

6

The heat strokin' graphic is pure gold from the Obama era. Good morning Dan.

7

@5: It might be because no one who has any idea of what they are talking about considers any of those three nations socialist.

I know, I know. You need some nations to point to whenever someone brings up how often and catastrophically socialist governments fail. But that does not magically make a capitalist nation socialist just because they have a vibrant socialist party in government, and a liberal welfare program.

8

I forgot Nathalie wasn't doing Slog AM. Until I got to Armpit of the Day, and then all became clear. Love you Dan, please never change.

9

@7

There you go again with your National Review (or at least National Review style) claims.

At least you aren't promoting white pride for white American kids again on this thread so far.

10

I've been a regular sea kayaker for many years. I've seen porpoises, seals, sea lions and orcas when I was either alone or with one other person many times. In every case, we were just some sea mammals passing each other by, and many times, the wild animal swims over to you. They are curious creatures.

I've also seen groups of different types of sea mammals obviously fishing together. Again, I'm just paddling along and there they suddenly are. They've come crazily close to me on occasion, all without me disturbing their activities at all. You just sit and calmly watch while they roll by you doing their thing. In any of these scenarios, the 200 yard rule is obviously absurd.

Now, I don't have a lot of respect for the one-day-on-the-water-every-10-years yahoos on vacation who purposely travel to where they are and disturb their activities, but at the same time, the idea that this is the problem is again absurd. The real problems are pollution and declining fish stocks. Blaming boaters just lets the real problem continue to fester while an easy scapegoat gets blamed.

11

The quasi-socialism of northern European countries is the kind of not-actually-socialism that Sanders, et al see as a model for the US. Not literally full-on socialism, just using tax dollars to fund health care and child care and make college more affordable. It's the people who say 'B-B-BUT VENEZUELA!!!' who have it wrong - deliberately so, because it's much easier to demonize an economic model that fails its people over one that gives everyone access to health care and higher education.

12

@9: Here is the PM of Denmark stating that Denmark is not a socialist country:

https://www.thelocal.dk/20151101/danish-pm-in-us-denmark-is-not-socialist

Here is an article from The Economist detailing Scandinavia's embrace of free trade, globalism, and government non-intervention:

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2013/02/02/the-next-supermodel

Here is a wikipedia article detailing the "Nordic Model," which you are ignorant of:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_model

And yes, I already know that you will refuse to read any of this and just claim that posting it makes me literally Hitler, so just save yourself some time and don't bother. We'll just take it as read.

13

A heterosexual man turn down a Tinder hook-up because of trump?

Somebody needs to give that guy a medal.🏅
This man is a true patriot.🇺🇸

14

I feel like these stories about trump people struggling to find dates are being planted by the trump admin knowing that liberals will laugh at them and reinforce the narrative that our captors are the true victims.

15

@Teddy

Hey, can you do me a favor?

Since you know what socialism is and isn't, could you please explain it to all of your conservative friends?
You could start by explaining to them why government-run single-payer healthcare isn't socialism.
I know you work in the health insurance industry, and single-payer healthcare would probably put you out of a job, but it would be a great way for you to show that you put Country first.

16

LEARN HERE! Orcas are the largest of the Dolphin family.
They are not whales. They are big like whales and have even bigger teeth.

17

Kallipogus @ 3 is absolutely right.
For the post game video summary check out FIFA’s youtube channel.
For hilarious step by step follow The Guardian. Here is a recent gem from the currently played Belgium-Japan game:
“43 mins: Shoji does a lovely 360-degree spin away from trouble just outside his own penalty area. He’s so happy about it that he immediately passes the ball straight back to a Belgian.”

18

@blip

Those stories are obviously planted.

The only thing more surprising than the guy turning down NSA sex is the trump staffer deciding to tell the whole world about it.

They want to be the victim.

19

@15: if you paid attention to my comments instead of just imagining what I must be saying, you would see a clear pattern of my advocating for a single payer option. So no need to get up on that high horse to give me your old man tut-tutting.

As for my job...I imagine the US insurance industry would take quite a hit. But if you look at countries with single payer, they still have private insurance markets. I imagine the US would remain the largest private market on the planet, and would continue to employ lots of people.

If the industry contracted enough for me to lose my job, so be it. As a capitalist, that is the risk I assume and will accept it as reality before I find other employment with the skills I have.

The market has every right to decide it does not need me, and it is up to me to support myself.

20

One thing I never understood about the "socialist states always fail, look at " argument is that it assumes that it applies a criticism to an economic ideology based on some bad examples exclusively to socialism and not to capitalism. Like, first off, American and British capitalism has likewise been responsible for the deaths of millions and the destabilization, displacement and impoverishment of millions more. And you can point to individual power hungry bigots who happen to be capitalist as well as you can to those that happen to be socialist. For example, for Hugo Chavez I can raise you Saddam Hussein or Saudi royals, etc.

The truth is that we have not had a modern economic model that has managed to provide a wealthy standard of living for the entire population without resulting in or requiring the exploitation, murder and oppression of others. If we are looking in the post-feudal Capitalist world specifically than we are going to have to grapple with globalized industrial economies, and those capitalist models have managed to create massive world wars, global slave trades, colonialism, climate change that threatens to destroy the planet, etc. I don't know why people think that the USSR or the Chinese communist states have been more inhumane than European or American imperialism- seems a lack of understanding of history to me.

As for socialist models of government, we are limited to examples that exist within a capitalist world- one that the capitalists are armed to the teeth and actively fighting to destroy the communist and socialist states. That's going to lend itself to a response that includes the closing of borders and the establishment of some sort of hierarchical control. I'm certainly not one that would defend a Chavez or a Stalin or a Mao, but at the same time, it's disingenuous to pretend that a) these regimes were somehow more brutal than our own - that only works if you only look at what governments do internally and ignores the millions of people our government kills abroad, and b) that these are models for current calls for socialism. Socialism, as opposed to the Nordic models, is a global project and requires the defeat of capitalism globally. Most socialist organization are very clear about this long term vision- it is a centuries long project.

My own criticism then is that it's not something that we can really achieve in this lifetime and therefore not very practical as a political goal, and also we might want to start considering alternatives about how we can all survive within this existing system, but if we zoom back down to real world concerns, the very short term goals are things we could all get behind if we aren't brainwashed. Tax the extremely wealthy and decommodify housing to invest capitalist surplus into social welfare- jobs programs like FDR implemented, single payer health care, college & vocational training, public ed, etc. When people say, how can you pay for it, they are being disingenuous in my opinion. We spend TRILLIONS on military funding without them asking the same question. And anyway, I already said how- tax the extremely wealthy. If we don't start doing that, we are going to have trillionaires soon, people like Bezos is on his way. What do these very rich people do with their surpluses? They invest in building and the stock market and space programs and the like because they are trying to get their profits to grow. Take their money and invest in social good instead. Nationalize a lot of their property. I don't feel sorry for billionaires. Take their shit.

As for the larger picture view of whether or not socialism works, I don't know. I think we can learn a lot from some of the successes in Cuba, and yes some of what worked in the USSR and in China as well (it wasn't all bad) as well as what has worked in Nordic countries and also in some of the countries that aren't socialists but have had to survive outside the global capitalist system such as North Korea and Iran. The fact that some of these places are brutal dictatorships doesn't mean we can't tease out the good from them. Likewise with capitalist states- the fact that global industrialized capitalism has literally resulted in destroying the planet, putting the species at risk, in a wave of extinctions, in nuclear war, in massive global warfare that killed millions, in genocides and colonialism, in refugee crises, etc doesn't mean that we can't learn anything from the capitalist mode of production- it also manages to raise the standard of living for many people, the miracle of modern medicine, etc. So I think we should consider all models very critically.

Also just a quick note to point out that we actually don't know what most socialist or communist experiments would've produced if they weren't constantly under attack from capitalists. For example, when a socialist came to power in Australia and Argentina, the United States overthrew them. When a socialist Obviously you know the long history of the US slaughter of leftist government in Vietnam where the US literally killed millions of people rather than let a leftist government come to power. ETC.

That's my lunch time rant.

21

@Teddy

"So no need to get up on that high horse to give me your old man tut-tutting."

Projection at its finest!

The thing I like about you the most Teddy is that you're always good for a laugh.

22

"Everyone Hates ICE"
Well... not everyone (not even most everyone).

"69 percent want Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to continue its work and not be abolished"

http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/394934-trump-just-keeps-on-confounding-his-hapless-detractors

23

Also my opinions on this matter are colored by the fact that there are actual communist states in India which had higher standards of living by far than the capitalist ones for a long time. Not that either model was a pure example of its textbook version, but only that the word "communism" doesn't have the scare factor for me that it does for many Americans. It's just a way to organize production and distribution and doesn't require a dictator or mass murder. And secondly, having spent enough time in the developing world, I'm well aware of what level of brutality capitalism requires of the rest of the world so it seems weird to me when Americans can't dissociate communism from the atrocities of the USSR or China but have no problem dissociating capitalism from the atrocities of the USA or UK.

24

Solid work, Dan Savage--and quite enjoyable! Good start to my day.

25

@20 The US overthrew a socialist government of Australia, when was that?

26

Remember when Mitch McConnell assured Susan Collins that if she voted for the tax bill, he'd hold a vote on improving the ACA but never followed through? Honestly, how stupid IS she?

27

@Ken Google is your friend! Though to be fair, the Aussie was more a social democrat than a democratic socialist, but since the discussion above includes social democrat states like the nordic ones it seems relevant. The Argentine is the famous Allende of course.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/23/gough-whitlam-1975-coup-ended-australian-independence
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/09/chile-coup-salvador-allende-cia/380082/

28

@27 Allende was president of Chile, not Argentina. They're right next to each other but they're different countries, you know kind of like Canada and the US . . .

29

@12 - Well of course they embrace "free" trade/globalism/etc., they use the same type of money as everyone else, positive-interest; the rules of which dictate "profit or die". As long as the world uses /only/ this kind of money, everyone has to play by these (sociopathic) rules.

@11, et.al. -- Don't forget that the US & affiliated groups engage in largely unreported economic warfare against countries they don't like (Venezuela, Iran, etc.) to do things like actively destabilize their currency, mess with money flows, or hamper exporting of primary goods... which in turn hamstrings the sitting government's ability to do what they want, destabilizing and discrediting them & their politics.

This was done with the Soviet Union, for example, when the US conspired with Saudi Arabia to have S.A. pump oil at maximum volume, dropping the price of oil (USSR's primary cash export), and effectively de-funding the Soviets & hastening the end of their power. Which was, of course, hailed as an ideological victory for liberal 'western' democracy over nasty socialism; when it was actually a victory of an aggressive but secret structural attack strategy.

30

@19: See this why, as I advised you earlier, you need to learn to code. Then you too can be a contractor making big money, and continue to have plenty of free time to comment on the Internet.

31

@ Ken, lol & yes that's what I meant. I don't know why I typed that and twice which is pretty dumb, especially as I do know better (as I linked to). I'd like to say it's because I was reading about Argentina but I was just writing a bunch of stuff pretty fast. Anyway, the point is the same.

@29 Not to mention the mismanagement of the Venezuelan currency which had the most to do with the collapse. Again I don't want to be one of those lefties that dismiss all criticism of Chavez, but the "look at Venezuela" response to anyone who is asking for single payer etc is just really simple minded.

32

Teddy: "The market has every right to decide it does not need me"

Translation: "I'm perfectly fine with being a faceless, disposable cog in a vast, dehumanizing economic machine that prioritizes profit over people."

33

@31 I'd never heard of that thing that happened in Australia. I knew the British Crown still had the authority to remove an Australian prime minister but I didn't think it had been exercised that recently. Do you thin there's any chance the Queen will fire Donald Trump and let us back into the Empire?

34

Socialism is certainly a bad choice, just look at what happened in Grenada: the idiots voted for it and brave Reagan sent the marines.
Not to mention that Norway’s socialist roots enabled it to be one of the very few oil-producing countries where the entire population enjoys the economic benefits. What a waste!

35

Makes sense that Trump voters would just date themselves. Why not make an app for it? Hell, we gay guys have a bunch of them just for us. Make an app for Trump voters and/or conservatives generally

36

Oops, hit enter too soon. Make an app for them so they can date one another easily. Then just make it an easy rule on other apps, direct all the Trump traffic to apps that can handle it and won't take up valuable bandwidth on people who aren't going to be getting any from regular people anyways. Seems like a win-win. They don't have to deal with constant rejection from everyone else around them and we don't have to deal with them.

37

@23 - ""it seems weird to me when Americans can't dissociate communism from the atrocities of the USSR or China but have no problem dissociating capitalism from the atrocities of the USA or UK.""

That dissociation is the privilege of living in and receiving the fruits of empire. Everything we do is justifiable or ignored.

@31 -- Sure, that too. I'm not saying that any given leader/group in power might not also hasten their own fall in some way, just that --to your other point-- they are under constant overt and covert assault to destabilize & delegitimize them.

Which really begs the question: Why?
Why are capitalists/America so afraid of socialism that they must immediately engage in coup plots, assassinations, and warfare of every description whenever a lefty leader gets elected?

38

"he openly disdains wealth"

Yay?

Why the fuck would you disdain WEALTH? It's the distribution of wealth that's the issue. Not the wealth. Come on. Wealth is a good thing.

39

You'd think that people who yell at each other on the internet about Communism and Capitalism would at least have taken the time to read a wikipedia page or two to find out what the words mean.

Capitalism is an economic structure in which prices of goods are set via a market system, and production is entirely at the discretion of those who hold or can raise the capital required to set up and operate a productive enterprise. It requires a government that will firmly enforce rules for the market and strong private property laws, but does not demand that its government take any particular form-- it can take the form of a monarchy, a dictatorship, a direct democracy, a timocracy, or any number of other governance systems.

Communism is both an economic structure in which goods and services are produced and distributed without a market mechanism (though not the only one) and a specific form of government as well. Prices (if there is a monetary system at all) are set by the government. Which goods are produced is determined by the government, based on its assessment of what its citizens require. The government in turn is formed by the workforce (and in the strictest definition takes a specific form, of hierarchies of representative councils or committees).

Neither of these things exists, or has ever existed.

The distinction between Venezuela and the USSR on the one hand, and Sweden and Norway on the other, is that the former utilize price controls and/or central planning (in addition to a market component) while the latter do not (though they do employ fairly aggressive forms of capital redistribution, sometimes called "socialism," a term with much looser definition). None of the countries mentioned are or were truly Capitalist, nor truly Communist (the USSR was an oligarchy from the start, its workforce never exercised any meaningful political power).

There are many more Capitalist(ish) states than Communist(ish) states, not because Capitalism is particularly viable but simply because the term can be used to describe aspects of a lot more states than Communism, which is a far more specific. Capitalist states fail all the time, of course, and they are usually replaced by different form of government which nonetheless enforces an economic system with capitalist traits.

There are many, many more states, including the US, that can be said to enforce aspects of a socialist economy, because "socialist," like "capitalist," is a lot less precise than the term "Communism."

40

@33, no and for exactly the same reason that the US and UK had no problem with their 70s intervention. Trump, though vile, is very good for business. It's why the Republicans cooperate with him. Please note that the extremists that came to power with him originally (the Bannons and Gorkas and others who really did have ideologies outside of the global capitalist status quo, no matter how stupid or inhumane) were all immediately run out of the admin, and the people that are left are the capitalists. The ruling classes, be they British monarchs or Republicans or Democrats, will always support pro-capitalist policies, even if they flirt with fascism, over even the slightest anticapitalist policy. So no. Trump is cutting taxes on the rich and defending against the distribution of wealth with the displaced masses. So long as he continues to do this, why in the world would British elites intervene? (Also just to be pedantic, the US is not a part of the commonwealth so it's a moot point but I'm guessing you were jesting anyway.)

41

Robotslave, the government setting prices is not a definitive feature of communism. But this is splitting hairs as I assume that when people talk about the efficacy of communist, socialist or capitalist states, they are referring to how states self-identify and what experiments have been tried, rather than a textbook definition that has never existed. I think it's fine to say that we are working towards a new type of society- one that will take centuries to build- because that is the closest thing to the truth. And none of us can imagine what will happen after capitalism any more than anyone in the past living under feudalism could have imagined this modern era. Nonetheless, some very brilliant people have managed to think up a lot of influential ideas that will shape the future, and still unforeseen stuff will happen that will take it in a direction that we can't possible envision. For that reason, I'm happy to throw my lot in with the left- socialists and all- because their plans provide immediate relief to the harms of the status quo and they have their criticisms all in place and aren't afraid to upset the status quo with bold visions of a new thing. But I think that any -ist of any sort that thinks they have even an iota of an idea about what the future will be like is full of shit. It's not going to be communist or socialist or capitalist. It will be a wholly new thing influenced by those ideas and also by shit that we can't possibly imagine. So while I think it's worthwhile to look at what happened in Venezuela or the USSR or China or Cuba or Kerala or North Korea or any of the Nordic states and try to tease out what worked and what was different and what failed, I think it's boneheaded for anyone to say that we must be capitalist because of the horrors of those states just like it's boneheaded to say we must be communist because of these theoretical reasons. In any case, it seems especially boneheaded to look at Western capitalism and pretend it's some just humane project - the pinnacle of civilization or whatever, in fact that's brainwashed. BTW if it sounds like I'm arguing with Robotslaves point, I'm not really- more just bouncing off what he/she said. The only argument I have is with his/her assessment of the role of government in communism which is not a definitive feature.

42

@41

Agreed, price-setting is a detail-- as I implied, Communist systems need not have a currency at all (you could just have ration ledgers for all goods and citizens instead). But in any "true" Communist system, central planning is a necessary component-- absent a market, that's what you need to do to decide what to produce, and how much of it, and who it should go to. Put another way, any configuration of "people getting together and making a decision" about all of that is, by definition, a government; it's unavoidable.

I do agree that the labels aren't important, if only because there have been so many outright dictators that have slapped the word "Communist" over the door, and simple thieves who have done nothing but line their own pockets under a thin cover of Capitalism.

The names don't matter. But the definitions or at least descriptions kind of do-- where we're going might not have anything to do with what we've done to date, but we're a lot less likely to get there if we don't pay some attention to which kinds of systems, when put into practice, make things measurably worse.

43

@32: Your life is what you make of it. If having a job makes YOU that, YOU can only speak for yourself.

That is your fear talking. Get it under control.

44

@ 43
The “fear” is not from work itself, but rather where your money goes and the perverted priorities set, or not, by the government.
In the US your tax money does not provide you with adequate health coverage, decent retirement, or providing higher education to your kids. Not to mention that a medical condition can land you on the street at any given time and no one will care for you.

It is a perverted system where the more money you make, you are also awarded with access to better, cheaper benefits.
It is a system where privatized jails lobby for max occupancy, and any attempt to prevent crime through education and other programs will be presented as loathsome “socialism.”

Obviously all this could make society a bit nervous, but at least we have our free constitutional access to guns.

45

We have a system which is addicted to money and power. We have a lunatic regime headed by sociopaths like Trump who has a black hole where they never get enough attention, money, power and land resources etc. They use their police powers to maintain their hold on us with propaganda and inadequate educational resources. Critical thinking is a threat to this system.

Idiots like trump are given the microphone not critical thinkers.

46

"Why are capitalists/America so afraid of socialism that they must immediately engage in coup plots, assassinations, and warfare of every description whenever a lefty leader gets elected?" --treacle @37

Maybe those unbridled, unfettered Capitalists are Terrified that,
should we happen to get a taste of Socialism,
We, the People might might want it HERE.

And then, whotf ARE they gonna exploit?

I totally agree with Emma Liz -- let's take a Critical look at
what EACH system has to offer; take the best,
discard the rest, and live happily-ever-after.

Well, maybe not overnight, but eventually...

47

I'm sure this thread will show up in all of our files when they are deciding who to put to a firing squad. Actually, a firing squad would be an honor, you commie-dog traitors! They'll just feed you to the pigs --- /after/ you've grown too old or weak to keep working in the prison-factory.
You know, It'll just be a real blessing once they can finally implement "no-due-process" --tested and normalized on immigrants-- with the population at large. It'd be a waste of money and time anyway just to end up with the same result.