This week’s articles

1. Nicholas Kristof has a good piece on political dysfunction on the West Coast. He correctly points out that the problem is worse than in left wing areas of the East Coast. (I wish the editor had used the term “progressive” in the title, not “liberal”.) He also sees a few glimmers of light:

One encouraging sign is that the West Coast may be self-correcting. I’ve been on a book tour in recent weeks, and in my talks in California, Oregon and Washington I’ve been struck by the way nearly everyone frankly acknowledges this gulf between our values and our outcomes, and welcomes more pragmatic approaches. 

I see the same thing, as we seem to be past “peak woke”. But the West Coast has a loooong way to go. if you are wondering about the sort of thing Kristof was referring to, check out this ABC news story.

2. Bill Kristol has an amusing tweet. One characteristic of a banana republic is a lack of self-awareness. They don’t even seem to be aware of how silly they look. Places like North Korea experience an almost unimaginable amount of suffering. But if you look past the tragedy, the situation there is actually extremely funny. Let’s hope America stays the lucky country, as we sure as hell don’t deserve our success.

3. A very funny tweet on what it takes to build a Costco in LA.

4. A conservative writer at The American Mind admits that conservatives have bad taste:

There must be reasons, besides cunning Gramsci-esque counter-maneuvering, why efforts to launch a conservative artistic movement so often droop their way unto death. There must be reasons why right-wing “alternatives” to mainstream culture still often feel like consolation prizes. I can’t help but suspect that what we have here is a problem of taste.

Sorry guys, but this is true.

4. According to the National Review, Trump’s conviction seems to have pushed 100,000 voters toward Biden:

The day he was convicted in Manhattan, Donald Trump led President Biden in the RealClearPolitics average by nine-tenths of a percentage point. Since then, the voting public has had time to ruminate on the significance of the presumptive Republican nominee’s legal straits, even the possibility he could be sent to jail, and figured: Meh.

As of publication time, Trump’s lead in the RCP average has dipped — to eight-tenths.

Of course that 100,000 shift to Biden is plus or minus a couple million. (No link, it came via email.)

5. This is a puzzling remark:

China’s President Xi Jinping told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that Washington was trying to goad Beijing into attacking Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Chinese leader has also delivered the warning to domestic officials in his own country, one person said.

This can be interpreted in several different ways. One interpretation is that he’s getting ready to blame the US for a Taiwan war. Another is that he’d rather avoid war, at least for the time being, and is telling nationalists within China that going to war now would play into US hands. Recall that Leopold Aschenbrenner claims that we are in a battle with China for AI supremacy. A war over Taiwan would likely cause China to lose that war, as it would face draconian economic sanctions.

This is one reason I oppose most US protectionist policies aimed at China (except where there’s a clear military angle.) I want China to have a lot to lose if it invades Taiwan. Here’s Dmitri Alperovitch (who is generally quite hawkish on China):

Complete decoupling is impossible given the volume of trade that exists. We also can’t get any of our allies on board with full decoupling. Finally, it’s counterproductive because if you have no economic relations, then you actually have no leverage. We want more leverage over them to try to deter nefarious actions.

6. The Economist has a good article discussing who hates whom in various European countries. This is just a few highlights:

The religious dimension remains crucial; in France antipathy towards North Africans is markedly higher than towards black Africans, according to the latest report by the country’s anti-discrimination monitor. . . .

Current events can also reduce prejudice. In the 1990s Italians stigmatised Albanian immigrants. But as Albania has grown more stable and less poor, they have slipped off the list of feared minorities. . . .

And when all else fails, they go after the Roma. Robert Fico, the Slovakian prime minister who survived an assassination attempt on May 15th, began his political career as a left-wing populist and is currently a right-wing one, but his Roma-bashing has remained constant. Portugal long lacked a big far-right party, explains Alexandre Afonso of Leiden University: it had little immigration, and those who did come, such as Brazilians, were not viewed unfavourably. So when the hard-right Chega party launched in 2019 it targeted the small, impoverished Roma population. Chega is now polling at 18%.

7. For the third time in a row, Wisconsin is likely to be the tipping point state in the election. The Economist has an interesting article about the state. One thing is clear, whatever this election is about, it’s not about “the issues”:

Charlene, a farmer in western Wisconsin who works a second job as a cleaner to supplement her family’s income, says she’ll be voting for Mr Trump because of his strength on the economy and health care. Her son struggled to afford care when he fell ill recently. Because of Republican resistance, Wisconsin remains one of ten states yet to expand Medicaid to cover those whose incomes fall just above the poverty line.

8. People who favored making pot illegal ought to be ashamed of themselves. Thousands rotted in prison for selling pot, despite the fact that legalization has produced none of the disasters that drug warriors predicted:

In 2014, 44% of Americans over the age of 12 said that they had tried the drug. By 2022, the figure had risen to just 47%. Regular use by adolescents is still much lower than it was in the 1970s.

An extensive study published last year in the journal Psychological Medicine found that people who live in states where weed is legal consume more than their identical-twin siblings in states where it is not. But they are no more likely to suffer mental, physical, relationship or financial problems. Another study looked at health-insurance data to see whether states with legal cannabis saw more claims for psychosis. The authors found no relationship.

9. Singapore benefits from the fact that most American protectionists are dumb as a rock:

Singapore also has one of the largest current-account surpluses in the world. As a small country and a close partner of America in security, Singapore avoids the scrutiny others might endure for its huge savings and managed exchange rate. The fact that America has a bilateral trade surplus with Singapore tends to keep it out of the glare of protectionist American politicians. 

Bilateral deficits are obviously meaningless. Fortunately, our politicians are too dumb to understand that Singapore’s surplus contributes to our deficit.

10. Matt Yglesias has another great post explaining why Trump’s first term was terrible. He concludes as follows:

And it’s definitely true that if you judge him by outcomes rather than inputs and also make an exception for the bad outcomes, then his presidency was fine. . . . Everyone makes mistakes and ideally learns from them. As best I can tell, what Trump learned from his term is that he needs to double-down on surrounding himself with craven loyalists who won’t contradict him. Not only did he tell congressional Republicans that we should replace the income tax with tariffs, but to the best of my knowledge, nobody bothered to tell him that’s a stupid idea, because at this point everyone knows that you either get on the Trump Train or do what Mitt Romney is doing and quit congress. Will governance outcomes be better or worse when nobody wants to contradict the president’s dumb ideas? It does not seem, historically, that it’s a good idea to combine an ignorant leader with a team of sycophants.

11. It’s interesting how America appears in the eyes of our East Asian allies:

They know that China plays hardball with American firms; they accept the region is rife with industrial policy; they understand that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have to pay a price for living under America’s security blanket. They are loyal soldiers defending the silicon island chain. . . .

What irks them, though, is the feeling that America is upsetting one of the last remaining bastions of globalisation not just for geopolitical reasons, but out of a selfish desire to preserve its economic dominance. One Japanese executive fumes that America is “childish” to try to stifle Chinese competition. A Taiwanese expert asks drily whether it would satisfy the “America First” contingent if TSMC simply changed its name to America Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. Quietly, many hope their firms will continue to straddle the geopolitical divide for years to come.

12. Bloomberg says that NIMBYIsm has come to the south:

The [Nashville] boom — driven by transplants from blue states like New York and California — has spurred a right-wing group that marries conservative religious beliefs with restrictive policies on growth into control of the local legislative body. At a planning board meeting in May, the pressing agenda item was whether to boost minimum lot sizes in rural areas to at least 2.3 acres; big enough to ward off housing developers who need more density.

Was Jesus a NIMBY?

13. Let’s end with a slightly more optimistic link:

Zhou Qiren is an unusual economist. A professor at Peking University, he spent ten years toiling in the countryside during China’s cultural revolution. “The same farmer”, he observed, “worked like two totally different persons on his private plots versus on collective land.” Unlike most economists, Mr Zhou still studies incentives and constraints from the ground up, starting not with abstract principles, but with concrete cases, often drawn from his travels around China and beyond. . . .

He is sceptical of state-owned enterprises, which he once compared to public passages crowded with private “sundries”. He also has doubts about the feasibility of national self-reliance. Prosperity, he has pointed out, is built on “coming and going” across borders.

It was, therefore, a surprise when Mr Zhou was invited to brief Xi Jinping, China’s ruler, at a symposium on May 23rd in Shandong, a coastal province.



27 Responses to “This week’s articles”

  1. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    18. June 2024 at 15:22

    In my experience growing up in the north east then moving to Florida is that up in the northeast Democrats are not liberal but more pro union but pro law enforcement kind of like Trump.

  2. Gravatar of Solon of the East Solon of the East
    18. June 2024 at 15:40

    A matter of state policy, Singapore runs current account trade surpluses.They are also the most state-managed economy on the planet, but very pro business, like most (all?) Asian Pacific economies.

    Unfortunately I do not think this model can work in the U.S., due to inevitable political corruption.

  3. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. June 2024 at 15:53

    Floccina, Maybe, but while Trump is pro law enforcement (except for himself and insurrectionists that support him), is he pro union? I don’t think so.

    Solon, You said:

    “They are also the most state-managed economy on the planet,”

    LOL, you continue to make a fool of yourself:–MZsV-kqyWUslLSY4yGBdKNOx50sSLKX7h6caAjP0EALw_wcB

    Next you’ll tell me that North Korea has the freest economy on the planet.

  4. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    18. June 2024 at 21:43

    The fact of the matter is, art gets worse when one sacrifices the things that make it good, or make sense, for political posturing. This can happen for any topic: We cannot change Barbie to shoehorn a market monetarism message and still make it any good. What in the world would it have to change so that the message is coherent, and doesn’t ruin the bones of the movie? So ultimately good art is created by people who might have political opinions, but put the objective quality ahead of the political aspirations.

    We can see this in Disney movies. There’s been a pro-diversity streak in them for quite a while. Coco and Encanto, for instance, are extremely competent musicals that happen to appeal liberal sensibilities, even though they don’t try to scrub any and all things that a conservative might like: The importance of family and the remembrance for the elderly? But that’s because scrubbing those concepts would make them nonsensical for the cultures they are representing. But then you can look at other movies of theirs that just don’t make any sense for anyone, because the moral authenticity of the character arcs, and stress on the actual beats of the story were just disregarded.

    A movie can be too woke for it to be succcessful too, and the left definitely has art that is just as cringey as the right’s, but it requires detachment from outcomes. Some cities seem to be OK having policies that are detached from outcomes for decades, but when it comes to art, there’s far more competition. Modern conservative art, however, has far less pressure, because if it’s not extreme nonsense, the modern conservative movement doesn’t really swallow it. The 80s was full of good conservative movies that sold very well. There’s no wokeness in the new Top Gun either… but when your political messaging isn’t about what you and your values, but about hating on other people’s values, (see “try this on a small town”), It must suck unless the complaints are very grounded. And if there’s anything we know about modern American conservatism, it’s that it’s not more grounded than adding 6 more letters after LGBT, or trying to add Art to STEM.

  5. Gravatar of Kit Kit
    19. June 2024 at 00:28

    The work of art may have a moral effect, but to demand moral purpose from the artist is to make him ruin his work


  6. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    19. June 2024 at 04:48

    US conservatives don’t make good art because they are not really conservatives, but instead a different kind of liberal (individualists). There are a ton of good movies and art by people who are conservatives (communitarians/collectivists) or that have a kind of communitarian viewpoint. Many of those movies are not from the US, but there are plenty of movies that are kind of anti-individualist that aren’t considered conservative, like No Country for Old Men.

  7. Gravatar of Lizard Man Lizard Man
    19. June 2024 at 05:09

    5 and 11

    Ultimately, the US and its allies need the productive capacity to defeat China militarily. If they cannot do that, it will be completely rational for China to become the regional hegemon and force the rest of the region to choose to ally with China. This is why sanctions against China won’t work; if China wins, they can and will demand that other countries drop those sanctions, and most of the those countries will drop the sanctions, and those countries will then sanction the US and its remaining allies. The threat of sanctions only has any deterrent value if a superior military force can prevent China from controlling the shipping lanes of Asia. If China controls those shipping lanes, the most the US can do is unilaterally refuse to trade with China; everyone else will ignore sanctions because China has the superior navy.

  8. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    19. June 2024 at 06:08

    I had dinner with some people from Washington state recently, which was a fascinating view into how screwed up that place is. One example: one person is the CFO of a chain of stores and mentioned how they were fined recently because a 17 year-old employee worked 8 hours and 3 minutes. 3 minutes over 8 hours is apparently a violation of child labour laws.

    Now, they are only giving employees under 18 shifts that are 7 hours or less, to prevent any more issues like that. They’re also debating whether to simply stop hiring people under 18.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions…

  9. Gravatar of Student Student
    19. June 2024 at 07:19

    Jesus was a FIMBY (fairness in my back yard). The question we can ask ourselves in any dilemma is how would I feel if someone did this to me.

    In any event… he doesn’t say much about economics or the NIMBY question in particular (I get you were joking)… but it’s interesting to think about.

    I would say the closest he gets to the issue is in the parable of the workers in the vineyard. This comes only from Mathew, which makes sense to me as Mathew was likely writing to primarily to Hebrews who were living in the Levant. He was trying to explain to the Jews how those gentiles given a share of the inheritance does not reduce their value. It’s not unfair to them. Which is very similar to the way natives think about immigrants or conservatives in Nashville who see all these new liberal migrants.

    The Workers in the Vineyard.*

    1 “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
    2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
    3 Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
    4 * and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’
    5 So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
    6 Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
    7 They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
    8* a When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
    9 When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.
    10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.
    11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner,
    12 saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
    13 He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.* Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
    14 * Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
    15 [Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’
    16 * Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

  10. Gravatar of LC LC
    19. June 2024 at 08:23

    I have to disagree with Kristof on his West Coast take. (Maybe his column just went over my head, which is very likely.). All the problems he mentioned are more anecdotal rather than showing systematic problem. He pointed out Oregon has ranked worst in terms of youth mental healthcare, but the question is always how are such things ranked? What is the bias (intentional or unintentional) in these rankings? Sure West Coast has its share of problems, but overall I’d bet if you take life satisfaction survey, West Coast residents probably would rank their lives highly. In fact, West Coast of United States might be the best place to live in the world, factoring in climate, health care, innovation and freedom. I have been to other parts of US and world and I can’t think of a region better than US West Coast.

    I also find the term China Hawk (or Dove) anarchocristic, unuseful and even annoying. First, the term refers to desired US government policy toward China, which is usually dominated by special political interests (unions, multi-national corporations, billionaires). Second, it neglects the multifaceted relationship between China, US and rest of world. To start, China today is the largest Auto Exporter in the World. This is without exporting meaningful number of vehicles to US. So what does being a China hawk or dove mean in this context? More accurately, the term could be a bystander in this context (and whether the bystander is mad or just passive.). What kind of economic leverage does US have to wield? China today is also the number 1 importer of agriculture products from many parts of world (beef from Argentina, Soy Beans from Brazil, Wines from Australia). China is also increasing their tourism exports with visa free entry requirements to more and more developed countries in the world. What does a China hawk or dove in US view or can do anything about it? Third, on some matters of military or economic competition, being a hawk or dove pre-disposes a person to a certain view of China that’s colored by ideology, or past, and very rarely towards the future. For example, China is doing its b best to move dollars out of SWIFT system. Should US continue to weaponize the dollar or should it recognize externalities on the dollar and position it as an international good? Similarly, on military, US can freak out about China’s build out, or it can think about China’s unfunded obligations and chill out? (For that matter, why no one asks what is the $1T US defense budget being spent on to get so cared by China’s $300B spend?) Also, having a purely militaristic or mercantilist mentality leads US to make bad decisions, such as the disinformation war on Covid vaccines in Philippines, What were we thinking?
    Overall, it seems to me US and China are like ships in the ocean that are passing each other and some of us can shake a fist at it, but there is no meaningful change to the course of ships.

  11. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. June 2024 at 09:43

    Lizard, I see lots of evidence that conservatives simply are not as good at appreciating art. Does anyone doubt for a moment that Trump would be incapable of appreciating any serious novel or subtle art film? Of course there are millions of exceptions, I’m just talking about averages. (Yes, there’s Biden, but even he’s not as insensitive as Trump.)

    BTW, for much of my life I was really bad in this area, but I’ve gradually improved by working on it.

    Tacticus, Yes, and there are so many other examples. For instance, the high speed rail fiasco could only happen in California.

    Kit, Good quote.

    Lizard, People lose sight of how much our anti-China policies are impacting China’s attitude toward the West.

    LC, Good points about China. Regarding the West Coast, I read Kristof as agreeing that it’s a nice place to live, but complaining about some really dumb government policies, which is also my view.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. June 2024 at 09:44

    Bob, Good points.

  13. Gravatar of Eharding Eharding
    19. June 2024 at 10:16

    “I want China to have a lot to lose if it invades Taiwan.”

    I have to agree, Sumner. I think the Ukrainian partial success has made China much more wary about any potential (and very difficult) Taiwan attack.

    “People who favored making pot illegal ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

    Gotta disagree, Sumner; if previous prohibition didn’t work, it was because it was not severe enough.

  14. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    19. June 2024 at 16:07

    This is hilarious. Everything you say is the complete opposite of the truth.

    Japan is moving away from globalization, not towards it. The Japanese are paying MNC’s to move their factories to Vietnam, Thailand, philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

    They were the first country in the region to sound the alarm. They know better than anyone that you don’t want to be reliant on any one country, but definetly not a gangster like the CCP.

    The government literally subsidizes companies who agree to move their manufacturing plants. You have no idea what you’re talking about. They were doing this before Trump was elected, and most Japanese support Donald Trump. They want American companies to do the same thing, because the CCP is dangerous. It’s Hitler 2.0.

  15. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    19. June 2024 at 16:28

    ‘Japan is moving away from globalization, not towards it. The Japanese are paying MNC’s to move their factories to Vietnam, Thailand, philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.’

    Oh, Sara, please never stop posting. You truly do make me laugh.

  16. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    19. June 2024 at 16:30

    Replacing income tax with tariffs is a great idea.

    America had the same policy during the victorian era, arguably it’s most prosperous time.

    Here is what we should do.

    a) End the Fed.
    b) End Income tax.
    c) Raise tariffs.
    d) Bring the factories home, and/or nearby (mexico, canada).
    e) Close the borders to all cultures who are radically different, and who will create ‘pressure groups.’ There are towns in Minnesota calling for Sharia law. We shouldn’t be importing that kind of problem. In other words, islam need not apply.
    f) Mexicans and other christians from South America, Europe, Africa and Asia are welcome to immigrate, but they should all have to pass a mandatory english test (b1 level) and an american history civil exam which includes an essay on the federalist papers. And they have to be sponsored by a family or company, or have enough money to survive. No handouts.
    g) End birthright citizenship and anchor babies.
    h) deport everyone who came illegally. You break the law by coming illegally, then not only will you get deported but you’ll never be able to come back.

    Also, good idea to keep density lower. More density leads to fewer freedoms.

  17. Gravatar of Kangaroo Kangaroo
    19. June 2024 at 18:45

    Scott: the “defund” movement created such horrendous conditions in western cities that a few relatively intelligent people finally decided to get off their butts and deal with the nightmare created by the [quote from Ten Years After song].

    The “goad China to attack Taiwan” comment is surprising for sure. And scary. Given the Chinese subs circling around Taiwan and the frequent Chinese air force fly-bys of the island, it seems likely your first suggestion is the correct understanding: China is getting ready to blame the US for provoking a war.

    I’m not sure China would agree that such an attack would be devastating and in fact they may see now – the next 12 months – as the best opportunity they will ever get. The US is increasingly bogged down in Ukraine; Biden is a weak president; the US is deeply divided; no matter who wins the presidency, there will be turmoil. A year into the next presidency, things in the US will likely have calmed down and stablized somewhat, or possibly even solidified. Biden and Trump are both old and either could croak at any moment and the current turmoil could subside, especialy if Trump dies. And honestly he’s looking shakey these days.

    Beyond that, on the one hand I feel like China has a very intelligent and sly diplomatic corps. On the other, however, I just finished reading a history of China and it’s leaders have a long record of making surpsingly stupid mistakes. Like declaring oneself dictator for life.

    So anything can happen. But I agree with you on the economic leverage thing. So long as tech isn’t primarily military, we need to keep the trade channels open.

    cheers sir

  18. Gravatar of kangaroo kangaroo
    19. June 2024 at 19:39

    Oh, also, #8:

    I voted for legalization in WA when I lived there. I have since thought I should not have. I’ve been around a lot of stoners on and off throughout my life. My observation is that regular pot use does nasty things to brains.

    Probably the main reasons dope use hasn’t ticked up since legalization are a) eveveryone who wants it can already get it easily; b) since the 70s when I was young I feel like there has been a downturn in all drug and alcohol use by youth; c) there are more options for drug use now than in the 1970s.

    I can’t help but wonder if dope use is one of the reasons certain minority groups struggle in education. That surely would be sad.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. June 2024 at 08:46

    Kangaroo, I struggle with your logic. We agree that pot use has not increased significantly, and you still favor the insanely expensive and cruel drug war, which causes massive hardship?

  20. Gravatar of steve steve
    20. June 2024 at 09:59

    Liked the Yglesias piece. It is notable how quickly people forget history so it was a nice review. To be fair, I think that history gets distorted particularly in Trump’s case because he is good at self-promotion and marketing. He promoted a lot of his ideas and proposals as actually being accomplished when they were not, so his fans believe he accomplished more than he did. On the other side of the issue it is amazing how his supporters want to excuse or just forget his failures. In particular, I have always found it odd that his fans claim he is a great leader but when the agencies of which he was in charge were perceived as failing they absolved Trump of all responsibility. (BTW, thought his piece on Okun was excellent. Did you cover that? Most of the DEI training programs are a scam/grift.)


  21. Gravatar of Philo Philo
    20. June 2024 at 11:20

    On 9., you write: “Fortunately, our politicians are too dumb to understand that Singapore’s [trade] surplus contributes to our [trade] deficit.” But it’s the voters rather than the politicians who are dumb. The politicians understand that the voters would not understand the situation, even if someone explained it to them. If the voters don’t understand something, it is not a political issue.

  22. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. June 2024 at 14:19

    Steve, You said:

    “Trump’s case because he is good at self-promotion and marketing.”

    Yes, but only because people are really dumb. Imagine believing the things Trump says.

    I agree about DEI being a scam. Again, how dumb do leftists have to be to fall for that stuff.

    Philo, You said:

    “But it’s the voters rather than the politicians who are dumb”

    No, it’s both. Not one politician in a hundred understands this stuff. Voters barely know that Singapore exists—they aren’t the issue.

  23. Gravatar of steve steve
    21. June 2024 at 07:11

    Scott- I think you are having fun with this but I think it goes beyond dumb. I dont know how rich Trump really is but there is no denying that he has been involved with a lot fo real estate deals and other commercial activities. Lots of business people have been willing to buy what he sells. Lots of people who had lots of money who had been successful in business, suggesting they arent really stupid.

    To me he gives off con-man/grifter vibes. I have felt that way long before he got actively into politics. Deeased father-in-law ran a large architectural firm in Philly and we talked about Trump back in the 70s and 80s. FIL avoided Trump’s business but some of his competitors didnt and lost a lot fo money in his New Jersey escapades. However, people coming back to the guy, willing to ignore his record. Anyway, I think it’s more than just people being dumb. There’s something about what Trump does that actually appeals to people allowing them to believe that he is a real Christian, that he actually cares about them or that he really is a genius.


  24. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. June 2024 at 11:13

    Steve, Yes, I cannot argue with any of that.

  25. Gravatar of Kangaroo Kangaroo
    21. June 2024 at 18:02


    I never made the argument that pot use would go through the roof if pot was legalized. So what if it does or doesn’t? The point is that dope use is harmful. Obviously you don’t have experience with that. I do.

    An easy way to prevent the hardship caused by drugs – drug war or not – is to not use them. Don’t do the crime and you won’t have to do the time.

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. June 2024 at 21:23

    Kangaroo, You said:

    “I never made the argument that pot use would go through the roof if pot was legalized.”

    I never said you did. The point is that your argument makes no sense at all. Pot is dangerous? Yeah, so what? Being dangerous is no reason to make something illegal. Do you want to ban alcohol? Tobacco? Mountain climbing? You are making no sense at all.

    Why make something illegal if we both agree it would do no good, especially given that it would do massive harm?

  27. Gravatar of Tacticus Tacticus
    22. June 2024 at 07:19

    Hold up. Kangaroo, you voted to legalise marijuana in 2012 but were not aware that using it had harmful side effects?

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