Trump may be anti-elitist in that he believes, and seems to enforce, the idea that authoritarian tribalism makes the world function better for “your own people”. The new GOP tax law, which is largely Trump’s first “achievement”, seems to reinforce that idea in several ways.
The tax policy is said to penalize residents of states with high state and local taxes and high state services. It is said to reward the “real world” economy supposedly in midwestern and southern states at the expense of the intellecuality and abstractions of the coasts. Sounds like my first attempt at a book, “The Proles”.
James M. Pettit explores this idea in National Review, where he shows how blue states lose residents to red states. Despite the situation right now in 2018, this could help “conservatives” in the long run. But we’ve seen this before. I left New York City at the beginning of 1979 (a few years after NYC’s own “drop dead” financial crisis in 1975) for the lower taxes and living costs of Dallas. Along with that came more conservative social values. There was a tendency for families to segregate and for companies to move to the far northern suburbs (like Plano) to “get away from the blacks”. Moving probably delayed and prevented my own exposure to HIV, but we had to deal with a mean anti-gay climate in the early 80s when AIDS was first being publicized. But generally, “conservative” areas want to see outlier people (like me) socialized into vertical tribes (extended families) so that governments don’t have to do as much.
But Vox (Dylan Matthews) proposes a scheme where blue states go to employer payroll taxes as opposed to state income taxes. This would mean lower wages at first but possibly workers (and many employers) come out better after taxes are done, under the new scheme.
On January 1, Noam Scheiber (in Business Day, New York Times) suggested that the new tax law will encourage more workers to become independent contractors, because sole proprietorships will now be able to deduct some expenses. If I really sold more individual copies of my own books (or really tried and got more advertising revenue from my blogs) this could help me.
And today, David Herzig (p A15) suggested that states are losing sales tax revenue when you buy online (except through Amazon Prime, which collects it). One issue is that states (according to an earlier Supreme Court ruling, which may get overturned) can only enforce taxes in states where they have physical presence (and Amazon is building its own stores). I actually started filing sales tax with Virginia in 2016, and have made a practice of paying it to Virginia wherever books are sold (like Washington DC book fares). In a few cases I have given complimentary copies and reported them as sales and paid a small tax. I stopped for a while when I moved because of possible issues regarding business licenses and the new condo residence (my “downsizing”) but I expect to resolve this by March.
All of this suggests I need to get more serious about “selling” on a transaction level myself, and I’ll get into that soon.
I haven’t followed the immigration issues as much as I did in 2016, as other issues recently have captured my attention.
But let’s jump into the DACA issue and note the Vox stories on Osman Aroche Enriquez by Dara Lind, the second of which appears here. Osman was one of a number of DACA immigrant adult children who filed for an extension of protection from deportation due to the provisional (depending on Congress) DACA “wind down”, and whose application was “lost in the mail” just long enough to arrive late. The story in Vox seems to have pressured ICE to review a number of these cases. One question I would have would be, if he marries his fiancée, does that change anything? The public may be surprised to learn that marrying a US citizen does not usually make the undocumented person’s stay legal, so the idea of pressuring a US citizen to marry someone for, say, humanitarian reasons (now in LGBT situations with same-sex marriage), would usually not work (source)
In the mean time, while Congress frets with Trump, DACA immigrants find that their own lives are bargaining chips for what others do even through they did nothing wrong.
There are other debates going on, especially chain immigration, which indeed seems more likely to present security issues (as with a recent incident near Port Authority in NYC). Chain migration may reduce the vetting of individual people that would normally be done. Trump’s second or third travel ban went back into effect under the temporary permission of the Supreme Court.
Trump talks about using a merit system for immigration but still wants to reduce the volume of legal immigration. He seems unwilling to consider the nuance it will take to balance compassion (and some economic wisdom) with genuine security concerns. There is no such thing as a policy that has mathematically zero risk for members of the public, even me (previous post).
There’s no question that he still plays to group biases: some of his base feel that immigrants collectively threaten their job and their personal security, both notions of which are probably wrong statistically, as numerous studies (like by Cato) have shown.
As we think about individual rights in relation to our surrounding community, we have to ponder the extent we become vulnerable to other people’s contact and our perceived similarities to others within group membership. That’s one reason I don’t like to think about making political changes by group.
When I visited the network neutrality protests this week, I noticed that the ICE building was just across the street (just south of the Smithsonian Metro stop).
Dara Lind of Vox has also offered an essay on the children of DACA adult kids — many who have no clue. This is becoming a multi-generational problem.
Population demographics is back again. This weekend, Ross Douthat offered an op-ed “The Sterile Society” Some of what he says seems to fall out of the sexual harassment scandals – that we won’t let men be men anymore. Indeed, there is a fear in some circles that we lost a sense of the value of chivalry and heterosexual complementarity.
Douthat goes through some ways how reducing teen pregnancies and divorce have boomeranged. No, there aren’t happier marriages. Fewer families with ample children to carry on a prosperous civilization (the movie “Children of Men”) are being formed in the first place. Douthat refers to other studies supporting the idea that women really want more children but maybe the men don’t. He seems to be invoking what George Gilder called “Sexual Suicide” in a damning book back in 1973 (and then “Men and Marriage” in 1986).
I could recall my own attitudes as a teen, documented elsewhere, that there is nothing inherently “sexually” exciting about people depending on me for physical needs. Up to a point, where I focused on academics and employment, that could be a good thing. But then, as economic and personal workplace pressures mounted, marriage and family sounded like a private afterthought.
Hyperindivdualism, beyond having blurred the value of lineage as a kind of vicarious immortality, seems to have built a world where personal responsibility is atomized, and our past dependencies on others are kept hidden, like in a recycle bin. Yet, real life can present challenges, where we suddenly are thrust into situations of providing for others whatever our choices. These can include caring for parents, sibling’s children (sometimes with inheritances – like the series “Summerland” or film “Raising Helen”); or being thrust into parenting roles when working as a substitute teacher, as I found. This sort of sudden quasi-parenthood is a lot more meaningful for someone who did have his or her own children, or at least adopted them. Indeed, public and tax policy should be very diligent in how it handles responsibility for dependents other than one’s own natural children. Having kids is the most straightforward way to put “your own skin in the game” before being heard.
Michelle Goldberg supplements things with a piece, “No Wonder Millennials Hate Capitalism”. Yup, the various GOP tax plans seem to slam the “losers” or disadvantaged or struggling, and act as if they wanted to defend an ideology of moral superiority for those at the top. It’s as if they want to protect the most privileged of us from getting our hands dirty taking care of accidental dependents who fall into our paths with leaking shoes we have never worn. Yet, having babies is what teaches people how to do that, and until recently conservatives generally wanted to encourage more children (at least “the right babies” – you know the debate about Sharia taking over Europe some day). Providing for others seems to constitute its own imoral leg, and would be there even if we could subsist in a world of mental sex and fantasy only. “Right and wrong”, whatever Dr. Phil thinks, usually involves non-binary situations.
One of the major issues often articulated in the libertarian community is civil asset forfeiture.
Time again, we hear stories of police taking cash and sometimes other goods from people they stop on highways, without charges.
German Lopez has a particularly galling story on Vox about Phil Parhamovich, who apparently was driving through Wyoming with about $91000 in cash, on a concert tour, intending then to drive to Madison WI, to buy a music studio and make a major career change.
Hear Laramie WY (ironically, the town where Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998) he was pulled over in a routine traffic stop, and searched. The police wound up keeping the $91000 despite not charging him with anything, and the state until recently refused to budge on returning it.
Lopez now reports that, after the story appeared in Vox, the state agreed to refund the money.
Several observations apply. One of the most obvious is why law enforcement is “funded” this way, by what police can keep when they seize something. Another is why they can keep anything when the driver is not charged with a crime or a person of interest, and when no illegal or suspicious material is found. There sounds like a pretty obvious question in this case about any probable cause.
I was stopped for speeding when driving through the Chicago suburbs Labor Day morning in 1997 when driving out for a corporate job transfer to Minneapolis. The cop did ask me about weapons and drugs, for no reason. Police do say that random checks help them find possible terror suspects. The cop then noticed a stack of copies of my authored “Do Ask Do Tell” book and was impressed that I was an “author” and let me go without a ticket.
In 1998, I was stopped in St. Paul on University Ave in an area of wide streets and little traffic, on the way back from a speaking engagement at Hamline University on my book. That’s the most recent ticket I can remember. But I still had crutches in my car, from my earlier hip fracture, but the cop never said anything about that. I wound up paying an $85 “administrative fee” to have a “first offense” removed after a year.
Of course, one can always wonder about the practical wisdom of carrying a lot of cash.
Laura Williams, in a guest post on Rick Sincere’s blog, explains how drug laws, especially regarding marijuana, are in part motivated by the opportunity for forfeiture.
Wikipedia scene of Ames Monument north of Laramie. I visited it in August 1994.
(Posted: Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 10:45 PM EST)
At some intersections in northern Virginia, right turn on red is permitted (or not forbidden by sign) but obviously dangerous as obstacles block sight of oncoming vehicles at higher speeds (allow speed limit plus 10). Furthermore, at some intersections, pedestrian traffic is heavy and wrong way bicycle traffic (however illegal) happens.
So sometimes I do not turn on red. And drivers behind honk, even though they cannot see around the corners.
Yesterday I had an occasion where a driver honked continuously and tried to run me off the road after I turned when it turned green.
There are discussions about this problem online, such as on Reddit. No, I’m not using my smartphone. No, it’s not “stupid” to ignore the “protection” of a left-turning vehicle from the other direction, because that driver doesn’t necessarily check the lane closest to me (and could come into my lane).
Driver should no that a driver in front of them is not legally obligated to turn right on red, and may see dangers that “you” can’t see,
One time in Minneapolis, a driver passed me to turn right when I didn’t turn and the cops immediately stopped him.
There’s another issue: slow driving in the left lane. Agreed. One shouldn’t do it. But in this area there are many situations where traffic merges in from the left (one of the most notorious is from the center median rest areas on I-95 in northern Maryland). Then the driver in heavy traffic cannot get up enough speed to move over quickly. Many drivers don’t reduce speed even when they see a driver needs to merger.
There seems to be an attitude that some combativeness in driving (like in cycling) is necessary and somehow virtuous.
One other suggestion: communities should increase the green light delay time (or increase the yellow time) on very wide intersections. This might have prevented the fatal crash in Florida involving Venus Williams.
If you’re in the UK or Commonwealth country (other than Canada) and drive on the left, then this blog post applies to left turners.
Last week, I had a narrow miss myself when left turning across fast traffic at night, and an amateur biker darted in from the wrong way from the dark, almost getting hit. He cursed me, but when I stopped to assure no collision had occurred, he seemed more apologetic.
Seriously, many amateur bikers do not realize how difficult it will be for drivers to see them in time. Pedestrians are moving slowly (although joggers could be moving quickly) and can claim right of way in crosswalks and many situations. But cyclists are often moving at least 20 mph, close to the speed of a car. There is no time for drivers to see them from the wrong direction.
Yet, some amateur bikers talk as if they are on the moral high ground (having no empathy for driver exposure to liability as well as there own safety), and that people shouldn’t drive at all, and that life involves taking risks for some common good. I mention this as an attitude of many boys in section 3 of Chapter 1 of my DADT-1 book.
Bikers often run red lights, meaning they have to be passed multiple times when otherwise riding legally with traffic.
Here are a few references(bikeeasy, Bicyclesafe, npr), especially on the topic of “salmoning” or wrong-war riding for convenience. Note the other terms, like “shoaling”.
Guest Post by David Essel” “Sexual Harassment Abuse: When Will It End?”
How come people in positions of power, both men and women, haven’t become more actively engaged to stomp out sexual harassment and sexual abuse before now?
Number one best-selling author, counselor, life coach and radio host David Essel has been helping women in particular heal from sexual harassment and sexual abuse for the past 28 years, and yet even he has not seen the attention given to it right now.
“It seems like we finally have reached a tipping point. The point in life and society where individuals are saying enough is enough. I applaud Everywoman, every man, who has decided to take a stance against sexual harassment and sexual abuse.
But is it enough? When the president of United States, and leading power figures in the world of movies and television shows, as well as political talk show hosts are finally called out… Will this be what it takes in order to heal and move forward in life, to create a society where women feel safer?
In family counseling, just like in the world of business, we say everything is top down. And by that we mean that whenever there are problems in society especially when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual abuse, it starts from the top and trickles down. What does that mean? Well let’s look at the presidency. Donald Trump bragged about his escapades with women before becoming president. That’s as high in society as we can get.
And the family is no different. The core family. Which is where my work has been for the past 28 years. Whenever I work with someone who has sexual challenges, either they are overly engaged in sexual activities, or they completely have shut down sexually, we always look back to the patriarch or the matriarch of the family for clues as to why their child, a son or daughter, is facing sexual dysfunction.
I’ve worked with countless of women in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have suffered their whole life from sexual dysfunction, only to find out that it started with their father. Or their brother. Or their cousin, a male cousin who took advantage of them during something as innocent and simple seemingly as hide and go seek.
And when they finally open up to me in our sessions, which can often take 2 to 3 months of counseling sessions before they feel safe enough to open up about their childhood tragedies to a male, there’s a trail of distraction they left behind them. And the number one person destroyed? Themselves.
I worked with one young lady who was sexually abused by her father from the age of 11 until 21. That’s right age 21. She felt incredible shame, guilt, in saying no to her fathers advances even when she was in college. He had convinced her that she was dirty. She accepted it. And after 12 months of working together she finally rose up and shared her horrific story with her mother, Who dismissed it. Seriously once again damaging her daughters self-esteem.
But she didn’t give up. As we worked together she became stronger and stronger and stronger until she finally approached both her mother and father together and blew the door wide open.
Her strength was enormous. She shattered the family secret. And in doing so, protected generations down the road from having to go through the same abuse from another family member. She decided not to visit her parents in their house any longer, but rather stayed in hotels when she went home. The message was given. And on his deathbed, her father apologize profusely with tears running down his face as his life ended.
She is a born-again woman. Filled with strength and fortitude, and has use this to help others in life as well. She has encouraged me to share her story, over and over again, with some of my clients that are as young as 12 years of age who have been sexually molested. Her story, has given them strength as well.
How about my interviews with Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison, who was sexually abused by her judo coach from the ages of 12 to 16. In my interviews with her she said it was one of the hardest things to do at that young of an age, was to point her coach out for what he had done. But she is at peace, and has become an incredible role model for young women in athletics everywhere.
Recently, I started working with a woman in her 40s, that openly shared her extreme sexual dysfunction that was manifested through promiscuity her entire adult life. When we looked at the core issue, her brother had sexually molested her for four years as a little girl, and had threatened her with harm if she said anything to anyone.
After our work together that lasted almost 12 months, she healed, and for the first time in her life became involved with someone who is healthy. A man who could listen to her past story, without judging her, accepting her as she is today… A powerful, confident, healed woman. Her shame and guilt gone, her desire to be free and do the work necessary has allowed her to become a role model in her community as well.
There are thousands of women who have come forward, and walked into the light of healing. It takes incredible strength. I hope that through all of the media attention that is now being given to the most prominent of names, that individuals from all walks of life will seek help, assurance, and assistance in healing any type of sexual harassment and or abuse that they have experienced .
Number one. Ask for help. Whether you go to a woman’s shelter, a spiritual center or church, or to professional counselors, the time is now. Please don’t wait any longer.
Number two. Read about women like the clients I’ve mentioned above, who have broken through incredible amounts of shame and guilt to become free. As women read more about others who have healed, it will give them incentive to walk down the same path of healing as well.
I don’t believe that we can totally eradicate the dysfunction of sexual harassment and abuse from our society, but I do believe maybe for the first time in my 28 years as a professional, that we are on the brink of something big.
A tipping point. Let us all hold hands, men included, to expose the dysfunction in our country in order to heal it for good.”
David Essel, M. S., Counselor, author, life coach, is a number one best-selling author, counselor, master life coach, and international speaker whose mission is to positively affect 1 million people or more every day, regardless of their current circumstances. David’s work is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, chicken soup for the soul’s Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the United States of America. Celebrity Jenny McCarthy says, “David Essel is the new leader of the positive thinking movement”
The news is filled with recent stories, as well as age old stories, about sexual harassment in the workplace. At home. College campuses. What will it take for it to end?
Sometimes accusers have been sued for “defamation,” as in this story on Huffington by Dominque Mosbergen, about Brett Ratner suing Melanie Kohler. In some cases, women (or even male victims) may not have the resources to defend themselves against “frivolous” litigation.
The whole matter of Kevin Spacey and “House of Cards” brings up the subject of possible make victims and gay harassment, which was generally thought to be relatively infrequent. Elahe Izadi has a new story in the Washington Post.
David Brooks has a relevant column today, “Lovers, prospectors, and predators“. One could add that a lot of men, maybe most, become too lost with themselves to remain lovers when there is no more prospecting.
Here’s an arresting opinion in the Sunday New York Times, Review, Nov. 4, p. 4, “Are Christians Supposed to Be Communists?”, by David Bentley Hart, a Notre Dame fellow (Richard Harmon’s fighting Irish) and author of “The New Testament: A Translation”.
Pastor David Ensign at the Clarendon Presbyterian Church in Arlington VA has in the past talked about the hyper-socialism of early Christianity. It was not a political mass movement in the sense of more modern history, as this was not possible then. It was more a refuge, a passage from one trying circumstance to the next world. It was like living on a spaceship. One wonders if this comports with the idea of a science fiction writer describing an advanced civilization without the presence of currency or money (a strictly human invention as far as we know, most of all block chains and bitcoin, which might indeed be “universal”). At the end, Hart admits that modern civilization is impossible without the idea of property, at least personal property.
Hart discusses the idea “koinon”, or common, and one’s life in koinonia, literally expected to become a koinonikoi, a member of a hive. Accumulated wealth is viewed as having been stolen from the labor of others, the ultimate surrender to the ideology of some sort of Marxism, and maybe the whole ide of the “New Man”, as recently explored by the Cato Institute Oct. 16 in the forum, “Terror, Propaganda, and the Birth of the ‘New Man’; Experiences from Cuba, North Korea and the Soviet Union.”
I’ve seen a little of this by visiting a couple of intentional communities, especially “Twin Oaks” in central Virginia in early April 2012 (report).
A Facebook friend from Florida posted this advisory to everyone, about the reduction in the open enrollment period for the ACA to 45 days for 2017:
Here it goes:
“Congratulations, Americans!! 😏
“The 2018 ACA (Affordable Care Act) enrollment period has been shortened to 45 days (Nov 1-Dec 15). Fortunately, your friends are posting this and using the word “congratulations” so it gets posted more frequently in Newsfeed by Facebook algorithms.
“Please copy and paste (don’t share) on your own timeline, if you want to help spread the word. Finally, if you don’t have coverage, get coverage. Too many people have fought for the ACA for you to be uninsured in America.
The particular friend probably is not in any dire straits, and I don’t know whether Facebook thinks it’s OK to just copy posts as if they were original with metatag keywords like “Congratulations”. (I think of “Greetings” for the draft, previous post). So I rewrote it and added a link of my own from Health Affairs, here.
Sarah Kiff of Vox shows and tells why our “free market” (sic) healthcare prices are so high, along with this cardstack explainer.
John McCain, starting a statement that at first would have accused Donald Trump (like Bill Clinton) of draft dodging, seemed to demur as he then criticized a system in the 1960s that allowed rich kids to get doctors to write them medical disqualifications, while poor people went. Dan Merica has a typical story on CNN. At first glance, it may sound to male millennials or even younger men that different moral standards are applied to men of earlier generations than to them or to women.
Actually, there was a sequence of privileges that I outlined in the footnotes to my DADT-1 book, after 48b, where it says “Chapter 2 additional conclusion” and I supply a table.
For a while, during the Kennedy years, married men with children were protected, and then married men without children were protected until a single-male pool was exhausted. The marriage and paternity deferments were ended under LBJ in 1965, but the student deferments, which figured so much into the course of my own life, continued until the lottery started in 1969. In my case, deferemnt meant that I was much less likely to see combat or even go to Vietnam when I went in, in 1968.
It is well to look at statistics of Vietnam War deaths by race, and also by conscription status (War library; world history)
McCain blithely speaks of an obligation to be available to serve your country. Of course, it sounds a lot more credible from him than Trump. But it’s always seemed like a contradiction to the idea of the “right to life”. For a while, men who did not consummate procreative sexual intercourse with women were more likely to be drafted.
The Supreme Court, in Rostker v. Golberg, had upheld the male-only Selective Service registration iin 1981, but recently there have been bills in Congress to require women to register, as in Israel.
The capacity to share risk and sacrifice was a major part of the moral climate when I was growing up. Cowardice was a real crime. If you evaded your share of the risk, someone else had to pick it up in your place. That certainly complicates the moral compass compared to the more linear idea of personal responsibility and harmlessness in libertarian thought in more recent times. It also complicates the meaning of marriage.
The deepest “meaning” might have had to do with community resilience. Most men experienced the sense of shared duty to protect women and children, with some degree of fungibility or interchangeability. Some duties in life were very gender-based. Milo Yiannopoulos said as much, that manhood included willingness to lay down one’s life for others, although I can’t find the best link right now, here’s a related one. But spouses of men who came back from war maimed and disfigured were to be expected to remain interested in their partners for life – an expectation that my projection of fantasy life in my days at NIH attacked.
There are other ways men take risks – dangerous jobs of the Sebastian Junger viariety help men “pay their dues”. Yes, women can do them sometimes, maybe most of the time. But I didn’t see any women as hotshots in “Only the Brave”, about wildfire firefighters. All of this invokes the low-level hum of debate over national service.
McCain’s echo of the obligation to offer oneself to military service needs to be considered in light of his reluctance to support the end of “don’t ask don’t tell” at the end of 2010. Yet today he seems to support the service of some transgender members, and he opposed Trump’s brusque attempt to re-impose a transgender ban on Twitter. But I advanced arguments in my first DADT book that the possibility of future conscription (or even the “Stop-Loss” backdoor draft of the Iraq war) added to the moral urgency of ending the gay ban and DADT. Few writers tried to make this argument. My staying in this way may (online with search engines, letting my content go to “It’s Free”) have helped with the repeal.
There is a way that people today take risks that weren’t expected in the past – that is, in going all out in very personal ways, like organ and bone marrow donations, to save lives. That’s partly because medicine makes such outreach – using your own body components — possible as a new kind of sacrifice. This gets personal and intimate in ways that were unknown when I was growing up.
The New York Times has a couple of impressive pieces on this topic. Michael Stewart Foley describes “The Moral Case for Draft Resistance” in the 1960s here. Even more challenging may have been John Kelly’s ancillary statement about the ignorance of Americans who haven’t served in a NYTimes “editorial notebook” piece by Clyde Haberman, which argues for the return of the draft, or maybe some kind of national service (civilian service could recur into old age). Remember how Charles Moskos had helped author “don’t ask don’t tell” but decided the whole ban should be lifted after 9/11 when he started arguing for return of the draft.