Re: Guest post from Thorn: Sortil├Ęge

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Alternate title: "Oh, the Wobblies".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 10:59 AM
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1: Seriously, though!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 11:15 AM
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I reached the conclusion that this book was stupid without reading it, thus making me the true winner. Another victory for my vague ambient prejudices!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 11:51 AM
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And I guess ultimately why???

People are bored at work and don't have anything else to do. Also the internet made color-coded maps easy to look at and ubiquitous and have fucked up people's minds.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 11:54 AM
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I reached the conclusion that this book was stupid without reading it, thus making me the true winner.

I don't know that the book is "stupid" it's just surprisingly bland. You remember the old line of, "the book contains great insight and great originality. Sadly the parts that are insightful are not original and visa versa." The book feels like that except without meaningful amounts of originality.

The stories that he tells are generally interesting, but it doesn't feel like there's much of a thread connecting them, and it also doesn't feel like Bishop has much ability to critically assess them. I haven't looked through his footnotes but his description of the rise of the megachurch was interesting to me -- because it's an important part of US culture which I don't think about very often and I appreciated the reminder -- but it also reads in such a way that I'd guess he got the basic framework that he uses to tell the story from one (or maybe two) sources and then did enough reading to pick up some helpful details to add color.

The Big Sort feels like a justification and erasure project and I'm curious if it does too to people who feel a bit more Sorted themselves or if this is me being hostile and prickly.

I don't know that it feels like a justification. He often suggests that the Big Sort is a bad thing (for example he clearly prefers the idea of the church as a community mixing pot to the cellular megachurch) but he also shrugs and suggests there's not much to do about it.

I'm not sure how much I think it's an "erasure project." He doesn't have much of an ear for racial issues at all, and his sense of class is very 90s Clinton-era (which isn't surprising given the date of the book), and he is somewhat uncomfortable about political conflict. He likes the idea of a society in which there's more interaction between people of different ideological persuasions, but I don't know that he wants or sees value in conflicting ideals; he would just rather that everybody is basically comfortable socializing with each other.

Each of those things ends up excluding a lot of the animating energy of American politics (and political history) but is that an erasure, I'm not sure . . . ?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 12:34 PM
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I finally started reading this, and wow it's annoying.

The underlying assumption is that political differences aren't important, and people who are taking politics seriously are driven by interpersonal distaste for the lifestyles of people who disagree with them: if it wasn't for that interpersonal distaste, we wouldn't be so politically divided.

And that's just nuts. The anecdote he opens with, about the poor sweet conservative Republican who gets driven out of the nasty intolerant liberal Austin neighborhood? No one dislikes the guy for his lifestyle. When he starts campaigning on a neighborhood listserv for conservative candidates, people are unhappy about that, and a lesbian points out that his candidates want to keep her from getting married. That's not political divisions driven by lifestyle difference, that's meaningful substantive political disagreement that's intense enough to make this guy uncomfortable living in a place where people disagree with him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 1:48 PM
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And then on race -- I'm not close to finished, but he's talking about increased ideological distance between the parties in the period from the seventies to the present without, as far as I can tell, addressing the post-Civil Rights Act realignment of the parties. Of course the parties got more ideologically distant over that period, in the beginning of it there were still genuinely liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats.

This guy seems to be an idiot. There's probably interesting stuff to be said about the topic, but I will be surprised if he says any of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 1:51 PM
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Thanks for the post! Perseverance in the face of annoyance, thy name is Thorn.
It didn't feel like deliberate justification or erasure to me (but then, it's not my country). I think Bishop is just smart enough to hit on a partial explanation of what he sees, but not remotely smart enough to realize how limited his explanation is, or to integrate his analysis with other work by better-equipped people.
7: We talked about this quite a lot in the previous threads. He talks a bit about race later, but essentially utterly fails to grapple with it.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 2:52 PM
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8: Sure, I'm not saying it's deliberate and I do think it's dumbness. He's assuming he can assume that his readers and perhaps most people are like him, when his argument should be pointing out that that's only true in certain places and scenarios.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:01 PM
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9: Yes. It's deeply middle class- and white-centered. In the 1960s that maybe covered the majority of the US, but presumably not anymore.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:15 PM
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On the missionary stuff Thorn mentions: Bishop discusses Dalit conversion to Christianity in the Punjab in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, claiming that conversion only occurred at scale when proselytization was conducted by locals rather than Westerners, the point being that people are more easily persuaded by people like themselves. No doubt there's truth to that, but Bishop's account (and presumably the missionary accounts he works from) appears to misrepresent the history significantly.

During the same period many Dalits in the Punjab were converting, not just to Christianity but also to Islam and Sikhism; in the 1920s a Dalit movement there (apparently one of several throughout India at the time), among the same leatherworking caste Bishop discusses, formed its own separate religion, which sought and got official recognition in 1931; in the 1950s a nationwide Dalit movement started its own Buddhist sect which today has some millions of members. In the 1920s the British were also reforming Indian governance, including the creation of separate franchises for different religions, giving all those conversions political significance (hence that pursuit of official recognition). All of this suggests to me that these conversions had little to do with missionary strategy, that Dalits converted not because they were persuaded by anyone's preaching but because they saw advantage in doing so.

Which suggests in turn that the limited success of missions in India resulted largely from limited political or economic incentives for conversion. Such such top-down/trickle-down conversion certainly worked in Latin America, made much headway in Africa and Indochina, and AFAIK has always been the norm for the spread of Islam. In India, by contrast, AFAICT the Company never encouraged missionaries, and the Raj, born as it was in the wake of the Rebellion, presumably was similar.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:23 PM
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It's deeply middle class- and white-centered

Which leaves him severely, but severely, begging the question, in terms of talking about increased partisan geographical polarization as explained by a symmetrical preference for living near people "just like us". That is, I'll buy that landslide Republican counties are going to be super homogeneous on all sorts of factors: race, lifestyle, and so on. But, e.g., I'm in an incredibly politically homogeneous area -- no chance of a Republican winning federal office from here -- but it's very diverse ethnically and lifestyle-wise. I'm not like Thorn, living in an area where I'm in a very small minority: upper middle class white people are probably between a quarter and a half of the neighborhood. But it is absolutely not a monoculture.

And to the extent there are people living in neighborhoods like mine, they are both unSorted on anything other than politics, and solidly Democratic. At which point... how does that fit into his symmetrical theory? (The explanation is going to be, like it always is, that no one lives in city neighborhoods because they're not real places, I assume.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:27 PM
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LB, how far are you into the book?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:39 PM
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And to the extent there are people living in neighborhoods like mine, they are both unSorted on anything other than politics

Oddly, that comes up in section III (he says that Democrats sort for liking high population density and Republicans like low population density).

According to political scientist Michael Harrington, the average population density of counties voting for Bush was 108 people per square mile in 2000 and 110 people per square mile in 2004. Counties voting for Al Gore in 2000 averaged 739 people per square mile. Those voting for John Kerry in 2004 averaged 836 people per square mile. ...

Thirty years ago, before the Big Sort, the spacial arrangement of voters was more balanced. In 1976 the average Democratic county in the presidential election had a slightly smaller population than the average Republican county.

Of course, I think that change was driven more by the South switching from Democratic to Republican (and liberal East Coast republicans switching to democrats) than by everybody moving around.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:42 PM
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14: The population density dimension is well-supported in other things I've read, though as you say I assume that's mostly just correlation.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:46 PM
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12: His symmetrical theory doesn't work. This again was covered quite extensively in previous threads.
Also, AFAIK neighborhoods like those in Manhattan are in fact very rare in the US.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:51 PM
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Rare if you're counting places, probably somewhat less so if you're counting population living in places like that. Like, the Bronx is more populous than eleven states, Brooklyn more populous than fifteen, and there are cities other than NYC in the country (although you wouldn't know it from listening to me).

And I would tend to believe that the population density dimension isn't coincidence, but that it does mean something about politics -- that is, being willing to live in a dense area, which is often going to mean being willing to interact with neighbors who aren't exactly like you, is something that Democrats don't mind and Republicans will generally avoid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 3:58 PM
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LB, how far are you into the book?... This again was covered quite extensively in previous threads.

Sorry, am I being irritating? I skipped the prior threads because I thought the book was going to annoy me, and then broke down and started it today because I'm avoiding work. But even expecting to be annoyed, I was impressed by how thoroughly and immediately annoyed I was.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 4:01 PM
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You'll learn more from the threads than the book, definitely.
17.1: Your general point is certainly right. I just want to point out that in the US Manhattan is very much an outlier in lots of ways.
17.2: It does say something about politics, but I don't buy that that kind of lifestyle-based migration choice significantly affects politics in the way Bishop describes. Inasmuch as it does, it's massively confounded by suburbanization in general, which long precedes Bishop's timeframe.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 4:06 PM
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On the missionaries, I was struck also by this : "Converts [...] came in groups. And those groups were socially and culturally coherent." Which is hardly a new insight: AFAIK conversion en bloc has been the Christian norm since Constantine. Also, this quote from the missionary McGavran

Men do not join churches where services are conducted in a language they do not understand, or where members have a noticeably higher degree of education, wear better clothes, and are obviously of a different sort.
strikes me as essentially a description of the archetypal parish church. Which leads me to think that Bishop is stumbling around the edges of something very important, a decline of Christianity as a vertically-integrating force generally aligned with the state, which as a rule it has been since Constantine (the US of course being a major exception). I don't know enough to go anywhere with this though.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 4:14 PM
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With some exceptions, US parish churches have been fairly class/racial/even ethnicity homogeneous for a long time, because of the diffusion of denominations (even Catholics tended to stay in ethnically-specific Catholic churches; even mainline Protestant denominations tended to have fairly specific class bases, especially in specific parishes).

, a decline of Christianity as a vertically-integrating force generally aligned with the state

In the US, institutional Christianity being directly linked to the state might be at its apogee in American history right now, because of the hand-in-glove relationship between organized evangelism and the Republican party, which, I think, is not quite like anything we've ever seen before (with some exceptions at the local level). So basically every part of this story he's telling seems like bullshit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 4:37 PM
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LB does raise an interesting question: what would be a good example of an "unsorted" zip code? Given that the thesis of the Big Sort is fuzzy, perhaps trying to define the opposite will help illuminate it, or just demonstrate that it's non-falsifiable


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 4:41 PM
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21: What do you mean by "diffusion of denominations"? Immigration? And how long is "a long time"?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 4:43 PM
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Since the 19th century, even very small American towns would generally have 3-4 or more separate parish churches for separate Protestant denominations, usually roughly sorted on class or ethnicity (and almost always sorted by race), plus in many areas a Catholic Church (and if there were immigrants from more than one Catholic country, often two ethnicity-specific Catholic churches). Of course there were individual towns homogenous enough for that not to be the case but it's more the rule than not almost everywhere.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:00 PM
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24: Thanks.
22: Not an answer, but pretty cartograms. The last set on the page shows some purple counties, maybe Americans can extract something from them.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:07 PM
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In my experience, really small town Catholic parishes were not separated by class, though the ethnic segregation was done as often as possible. Of course, until the 60s, nobody understood the language at mass.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:14 PM
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Harris County, Texas?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:16 PM
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Obviously, it depends on when the different ethnicities arrived and how bunched up they were.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:17 PM
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27: Maybe. Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:22 PM
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Harris County is Houston, the fourth-largest city in the US. It also contains a bunch of extremely "sorted" white-Republican enclaves, as well as some of the most ethically diverse communities in the US (which are, like LB's Manhattan, also very Democratic.) So what is the point of this again?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:22 PM
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I dunno. Nick asked.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:23 PM
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really small town Catholic parishes were not separated by class

Yes -- I think the relative non-separation by class was a distinctive feature of the US Catholic Church vs the protestant churches (which obviously weren't formally or absolutely divided by class, but still). And even today I think that's relatively true of US Catholics vis-a-vis US protestants (not that there aren't only-poor or mostly-only-rich Catholic parishes) and one of the great things about the US Catholic church.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:26 PM
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My parish now is mostly university people with a smattering of the Italian neighborhood that used to be there. It's less class-mixed than my small town parish, but much less white. Which is to say, still really white but diverse for Pittsburgh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:32 PM
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The parish I was in when I lived in Ohio was basically all rich white people. Because I lived near, but not in, Upper Arlington.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:37 PM
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My idea of the parish church is admittedly based on vague memories of Austen and Medicis getting assassinated in church.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:40 PM
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Anyway, I didn't know that black people church took longer than white people church. I just thought that was Greek people.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:42 PM
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If I were racist, I could make a joke about African Time.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:48 PM
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Which are now white people, I think.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:49 PM
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I bet Germans have a chauvinist but non-racist joke about Greek Time.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:49 PM
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I've only been to black people church three times (I think, still feel like this is still pretty good for a white dude) but I think I know the source of the delay -- there was a specific collection for each ministry or project, each of which gets to make a brief pitch. That was like an extra half hour right there.

I also went to Belizean church once on Belize day, where I learned that even people from Belize have no idea what the national anthem of Belize is.


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:52 PM
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Also, the "cellular" affinity-group structure Bishop says most megachurches have makes me think not of revolutionary cells so much as totalitarian mutual surveillance/collective responsibility groups. The Book of Lord Shang, for instance:

His five-man squads were responsible for enforcement of laws within their own units and for the performance of their units in battle. [...] Collective responsibility was not just a means for the state to terrify people through the enormity of the punishment but also a method to secure their participation in mutual surveillance. If kin or neighbors reported the crimes of those to whom they were linked, they not only escaped punishment but could receive rewards.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:53 PM
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40.2: It ends with "You'd better Belize it."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 5:56 PM
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31: I asked about "zip code" precisely because many counties are segregated internally. But I asked because I was trying to figure out if Bishop had a thesis which is clear enough to be falsified (or, at least, to identify counter-examples).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 6:00 PM
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I think his thesis is that counties (or localities, to be more charitable) have become increasingly partisan due to partisan migration. So a counterexample would be a place that has seen substantial i/emigration of voters without substantial partisan change.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 6:12 PM
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What about substantial partisan change without i/emigration of voters? Because I think that's pretty common.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 6:49 PM
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have become increasingly partisan due to partisan migration

BUT WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN. Obviously it's not *intentionally* partisan migration. If partisan affiliations match up with reasons people have, on net, moved to specific places for other reasons that's an interesting story (and I think there's certainly some truth there) but this asshole seems singularly ill-equipped to tell that story.

The thing about hate-reading something is that you don't even have to read it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 6:51 PM
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Local religion story.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 6:59 PM
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32 You mean like Methodists are just Baptists who can read?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:04 PM
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In this section Bishop also discusses Hetherington and Weiler's book, which I've now finished and recommend highly. (If I could do this group over actually we'd just read that.)

Lakoff argued that these two moral systems essentially distinguished political conservatives (strict fathers) from liberals (nurturant parents). After the 2004 election, there was a great deal of discussion about whether "moral values"--gay rights, abortion, religious beliefs--drove voters' decisions. Two political scientists, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, took another approach. They decided to apply Lakoff's theory and determine whether, at root, the United States was divided by a difference in worldview, one revealed in two styles of child rearing.
Bishop frames the childrearing thing as just another dimension of difference, or another way to interpret the left-right spectrum, but this utterly misinterprets the work. Hetherington and Weiler don't care about childrearing attitudes in themselves, they use those attitudes as a proxy measurement for authoritarian personality dispositions (they think this a better approach than previous ones because it avoids asking respondents straightforwardly political questions); the childrearing questions are just a research instrument. Using that instrument they show strong and increasing party polarization on authoritarian lines. Most obviously, that's happened with race: authoritarians are afraid of other people, and therefore tend to be racist; the Democrats abandoned racism, so the racists now gravitate to Republicans. They show similar changes on things like gay rights, crime, and foreign policy. I think this sort, in positions and voters, is the sort that actually explains most of what Bishop describes.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:05 PM
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46: If partisan affiliations match up with reasons people have, on net, moved to specific places for other reasons that's an interesting story (and I think there's certainly some truth there)

For instance, I think The Villages in Florida is a case of that . (And less extreme but similarly the Broward/Palm Beach dem tilt.)

I do recall many years ago (70s?), some article about Dallas rising as a banking center and on New York transfer say how great it was in that "You don;t even have to pretend to like the opera here.".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:05 PM
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(To take up the local angle).

(You folks all know ARRTI by heart, right?)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:06 PM
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46: What it means is exactly what you say in 46.2.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:07 PM
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50.last: I'm assuming Dallas opera is so good you will really enjoy it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:07 PM
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It's also a book written long enough ago that Clay Aiken hadn't come out yet and so it's not jarring that a megachurch is selling his autobiography.

Honestly, I would still find that a bit jarring. It implies the checklist for "model Christian" is "straight, white, on the TV."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:22 PM
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50.3 - I remember reading the same line somewhere (maybe from you!) But also important to remember that Dallas itself now votes for liberal Democrats, which would have been incredible in, to pick a year completely at random, 1963.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:25 PM
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Schoolbooks were a hot issue, even then.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:27 PM
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Too soon.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:33 PM
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Belize trivia: Belize has low wages, short-ish flight time from Texas, adequate public infrastructure, political stability, and native English speakers whose accents sound vaguely classy to Norteamericanos. Its fastest growing industry is, therefore, telemarketing.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:41 PM
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Converting people in trusted groups where they share backgrounds, food preferences, social connections, apparently.

That's why Utah is full of people selling Amway and stuff. I heard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:42 PM
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55: As I was writing I thought maybe I had put that in a comment here before. I have no new things left.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:44 PM
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I think his thesis is that counties (or localities, to be more charitable) have become increasingly partisan due to partisan migration.

That is the thesis of the book title, but it is also clearly not what the book is about (in the sense that most of the chapters have little or nothing to do with migration, and are about the ways in which group identity manifests).

Perhaps I'd argue that his thesis is, "there are positive feedback mechanisms that mean that as the country becomes more ideological (and more ideologically divided) it becomes easier to recognize those divisions in day-to-day life and to choose to spend time with ideologically similar people (which increases the ideological divisions)."

Put that way it's still not clearly correct (there was a lot of sorting in 1965, it just wasn't generally ideological) but it explains why I do think he's gesturing at something interesting.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 7:51 PM
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It's certainly becoming more divided and easier to recognize those markers of the divide in daily life. I just don't think there was very much of that back in the time when the book was written.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 8:06 PM
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"Americans have become increasingly homogenized, such that a wide variety of life choices are increasingly well-correlated both with each other and with party identification.
For instance, knowledge of any one of a person's choice of car, ZIP code, party, religiosity, race, or media consumption habits, enables one to predict, with greater accuracy than in the past, all of the others."


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 9:22 PM
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Yeah, the sense of 1:1 cultural, ethical, personal affiliation with partisan affiliation in this country is really new, I think, at least to me. Completely impressionistically: I really hated George W. Bush, and was well aware of the disaster turn the Republican party had taken since at least 1992. But I certainly came into contact with people who voted for him and didn't think of them as irredeemable assholes for that reason alone, particularly if they were only modestly "political." My sense is that this was still true even in 2008, a McCain vote would have been weird but I wouldn't have felt completely personally and socially isolated from a McCain voter, again assuming a relatively apolitical vote.

By 2012 things had started to change, in the sense that Republicans started to feel more genuinely foreign and evil, and the world started to feel more purely tribal. And then of course you have Trump, and now an "apolitical" Trump voter feels like both (a) an impossibility and (b) someone entirely on the "other side."

This is pretty new, but I don't think it's just Trump. For me, maybe this is crazy, but it's really the experience of the Republican congress 2010-2016, when it became clear that political compromise at the federal level just was never gonna happen, at all, on anything, even on pretty basic issues and even with a Democratic President. Yes this had been evident since Newt Gingrich but somehow not in quite the same way. I really do blame Mitch McConnell for destroying America.

Also having a black President like Obama, and the way that President was opposed, made a big difference here, but I need to think more about exactly why. I guess it was kind of illusion-shattering about the good faith of people on the other side, as well as giving everyone a sense of raised stakes.

And also social media, just for giving peoples' asshole selves a chance to be fully expressed all the time.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 7-18 9:30 PM
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64: I know some old-line hard-core Republicans (one is buddies with George Shultz), and they all hated Trump. You can see the corrupting influence Trump has, though -- the older ones who are near retirement still hate Trump, while the one young one now works in the administration.

I think social media is an underrated factor. A decade ago we had the worst economic disaster in 70 years, and while you could see the strain it put on the system the status quo survived intact. Now we have more minor problems and everything has gone COMPLETELY CRAZY.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 12:57 AM
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Though the two places behaving the most inexplicably are the US and the UK, so maybe it's the Murdoch factor? Italy just elected an anti-immigrant government, but they at least had a sudden spike in refugees. The US and UK have had bupkis.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:05 AM
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66: The Weiler book also leads me to think the Murdoch media may actually have played a very significant factor. (Moderate people when frightened behave more like authoritarians.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:14 AM
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64 is basically what I think. The recession was made to much worse for millions of people for no reasons other than making Democrats look bad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 6:06 AM
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I'm trying to land a contract for a development project in Belize right now. Apparently they need someone to write an API for some business processes.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:04 AM
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You can see the corrupting influence Trump has, though -- the older ones who are near retirement still hate Trump, while the one young one now works in the administration.

Certainly Trump is a huge corrupting influence, but I think that he won the primary indicates that the damage was done before. In large part, I think that he won indicates that the sorting was driving away moderating influences from the Republican Party for year prior.

Which is, I guess, something that supports Bishop's thesis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:04 AM
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69: The rain forest needs paving.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:05 AM
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They aren't going to pave the rain-forest yet. They still need to pave the streets.

No, the problem with the rainforests is that they get cut down to grow corn. This is largely the work of Mennonites, oddly enough.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:09 AM
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I guess that's what the Mayans did too.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:20 AM
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Paved or not, if you get them to name the streets, you can keep Bono away.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:20 AM
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Speaking of which, I never understood why Michael Stipe was advocating for a Belizean space program ("If you, Belize, you put a man on the moon, man on the moon").


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 7:57 AM
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As a launch site, Belize shares the qualities of southern Florida in being an uninhabitable coastal swamp, but has the additional advantages of being further south and of speaking English.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 8:10 AM
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||

No game today and the semi-finals are Tuesday and Wednesday and I'm already going into World Cup withdrawal.

|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 8:27 AM
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I'm not sure how this fits with sorting, but if anybody wants to buy a $200 Cornhole set crafted by a local artisan, I can say where to go.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 8:54 AM
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I've mostly purged my FB feed of hateful people, but I saw a few people posting and commenting on the immigration crisis mitigating articles explaining the usual phony bullshit, and the comment that I saw multiple times by the person I knew was, "I knew there had to be more to the child-separation story!"

Here's the point: Post-election, Republican voters lost their plausible deniability once and for all with me. I remember posting this and hearing other red state dwellers agree. These guys were now monsters.

This kind of "I knew there had to be more to the child-separation story!" has the effect of trying to rebuild the plausible deniability. "I heard two sides to a story and had to come down on the one that rang more true! Sure, the other side sounds heartbreaking, but that's just not what's going on!" (I'm not saying this is the conscious intent, just that this is how such things get erected.)

The people I'm describing here are mostly "Why can't politics go away?" types who aren't paying much attention and aren't that tribal about it, and really do get annoyed with both sides equally. They're just unable to discern the wild assymetry between the two sides.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 9:00 AM
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I bet that's not how you spell that word.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 9:01 AM
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Ass-metery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 9:09 AM
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80 Especially since only one side is being the ass here.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 9:31 AM
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It's kind of hard to take calls for civility seriously when they come from people who think of "Pizzagate" as 'just asking questions', but call it uncivil when you quote somebody's very recent words that they have not disavowed or apologized for to point out that they are racist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 10:31 AM
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This kind of "I knew there had to be more to the child-separation story!"

I think I mentioned a while ago a hobby oriented web forum that was the primary place where I interact with conservatives (I may interact with some face to face, but since we don't discuss politics I wouldn't know it). There I learned that a popular "bullshit story so we can live with ourselves" narrative is that, prior to this new policy, i.e. under Obama, the logistic problems of placing the children of arrested migrants with relatives or in temporary foster homes resulted in thousands of them disappearing into sex trafficking and the liberal media covered it up!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 11:30 AM
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re: 66

The UK has had a substantial upswing in immigration over the past 20 years.* So while there may not be the number of refugees, it's absolutely the case that pearl clutching arseholes worry about everyone speaking Polish,** and politicians and the right wing press have pandered to and stoked that fear.

* I'm married to one of said immigrants, and live in an area completely surrounded by others. I absolutely don't see immigration as a problem.

** Ironically,*** the people who worry about this are largely not living in areas where everyone speaks Polish.

*** typically/predictably.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:16 PM
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85: Right, but the UK just went crazy recently. Italy going crazy is less inexplicable, because there is an obvious proximate cause. If the UK had gone crazy about Polish immigrants after the financial crisis, it would have been dumb and horrible, but it would have made sense. It's like Germany waited until the Great Depression had been over for five years before they said "Fuck it" and elected Hitler.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:28 PM
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Italy going crazy is less inexplicable, because there is an obvious proximate cause.

Being Italian?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:30 PM
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||
Two cultural referee requests:
1. Has anyone played this game and if so with which version of the lyrics? I just saw kids playing it in a foreign country with totally different lyrics and my wife and I disagree on the proper words.
2. Anyone with kids with long hair, at what age should they be expected to deal with it themselves (brush, clip, and/or tie back)?
|>


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:50 PM
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2: I'd say 3-4th grade. I'm sure a kid would be capable of doing it earlier than that, but I remember starting to do my own hair in 4th grade, and Hawaii seemed to naturally start doing it herself this past year in 3rd grade.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:55 PM
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It's sort of like washing their own hair and putting on sunscreen in terms of skill set. We do have friends who maintain that their upper elementary school age kids can't be trusted to wash the shampoo out properly and properly put sunscreen on, and they're probably right, but we're okay with the 2nd grader doing a shitty job.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:57 PM
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Thanks, a few years to go then. We cut off a few inches to make it more manageable at least, she always gets it in her food unless we remember to re-tie it up before every meal.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:58 PM
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Yes our second/third grader bathes himself but his hair is short so can't get too gross if he does a bad job. Still learning the girl stuff as we go.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 1:59 PM
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Yeah 90 is about right. Maybe 3rd grade to do a pretty shitty job, 5th to do it well with no supervision.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:00 PM
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I finally made my son cut his hair because, among other reasons, he kept smelling like a wet dog when he came out of the shower. I don't think he really gets how shampoo works.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:08 PM
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Have you excluded the possibility that your son is, in fact, a dog?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:12 PM
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You can tell he's not because dogs can't leave so many socks around the house.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:13 PM
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one of the most common questions in the local Autostraddle-spinoff facebook group mostly for queer women is how to find the megachurch worship experience that will still be affirming for someone who has come out.

Isn't this a bit like complaining that you're vegan but you wish there was a way you could still get the oily, sickening experience of eating at McDonald's? (What analogy ban?)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:19 PM
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If it wasn't for the whole wanting-to-live-past-60 thing, I would eat McDonald's for breakfast every day.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:22 PM
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And KFC for every dinner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:23 PM
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Actually, you'd have to solve the early-death problem and the horrible-feeling-inside problem. It's worse than operating with a hangover.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 2:24 PM
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97: Serious point being, minorities or victims of reactionaries are not by that token progressive. African-Americans are easily the most authoritarian group in the US, more so than Republicans.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 5:29 PM
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For instance.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 5:35 PM
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Thorn: If I were advising someone who was looking for a megachurch worship experience that would be affirming for someone who was out, I would suggest that they start by looking at churches in their area that were publically affirming of LGBT people, and see if any of them had enough of the megachurch aspects that they were looking for. Two good resources for the former are gaychurch.org (https://www.gaychurch.org/find_a_church/ ) and The Institute for Welcoming Resources (http://www.welcomingresources.org/usa.htm ).

My wife and I have been involved in working towards LGBT equality in the church since the 1980s. It was one of the things that initially brought us together as a couple. The terminology varies by denomination, but we've been through the process for both Open and Affirming (UCC) and Welcoming and Affirming (American Baptist) churches. The process has gone a lot smoother for the UCC. The American Baptist church where she was a member was one of four Bay Area churches targeted for disfellowshipping in the 1990s by their region (the American Baptist Churches of the West) for being charter members of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, and her parent's church was another. That was a long and painful struggle over several years. It does bring up one limitation of the data above, in that generally only those churches who are willing to make public statements of their affirmation are included. We were aware of other Bay Area American Baptist churches who were privately supportive, but unwilling to make a public declaration lest they too be targeted. To find that kind of church, you either need to be plugged into the right networks, or do a lot of individual research.

I will note that the disfellowshipping effort was led by a group of Central Valley megachurches. I don't know how much of that was Central Valley culture vs. megachurch culture, but the essence of their main complaint (back when both sets of churches were trying to hash things out privately) was that the very existence of a handful of Bay Area churches publically proclaiming LGBT equality was hurting their ability to evangelize in their communities by creating uncertainty over the message on sexual morality that they were trying to preach. I also know someone whose previous church experience was with a different megachurch more recently, where she faced a lot of criticism from the women in her peer group when she shared that she was living with her then-boyfriend (now husband) before marriage. So while I don't think that a megachurch necessarily implies a strongly conservative sexual ethic, that has been my at-a-distance experience of them to date.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 5:57 PM
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Just join the Episcopal Church. Additional advantage: drinks.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 6:04 PM
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...she faced a lot of criticism from the women in her peer group when she shared that she was living with her then-boyfriend (now husband) before marriage.

You need to check how many people in a church rent one-bedroom apartments.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 6:36 PM
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103: I never respond to those threads because people who want to go to megachurches clearly don't need/want my help. There are tons of affirming churches of various denominations but people want the worship style I guess.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 6:44 PM
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We, of course, have more than one gay-friendly megachurch in the city of LA. Just sort yourselves over here, redneck lesbians! There aren't any smug assholes or anything.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 6:51 PM
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"Would you like to join our 'When the Milk Is Free' ministry?"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 6:59 PM
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104: so true. being an episcopalian is the easiest gig in christian worship. plus drinks.

on the hair front, oh god my children are teenagers and they still need hair help (the brushing out part, but also the braiding properly.) this is my fault for having someone do it for them for ages. girl x has hair so long she can sit on five inches of it, while girl y has hair so thick but fine she gets tragic rat's nests. they can wash it fine. so, I say 18.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 8:04 PM
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104 and 109: there are some anti-gay evangelicals in the Church of England but not so much in ECUSA - at least they're not terribly evangelical.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 8-18 8:25 PM
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there are some anti-gay evangelicals in the Church of England

Benefit of reading too much 1960s science fiction: I read this as the much more cheerful-sounding "there are some anti-grav evangelicals in the Church of England".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:49 AM
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anti-grav evangelicals in the Church of Englandi

'Anglicanism is a broad church', they said. 'Let the Zen Baptist monks in', they said. 'What could possibly go wrong', they said...


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 4:44 AM
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The Church of England actually already has flying bishops. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provincial_episcopal_visitor They're the result of a previous outbreak of tolerance over ordaining women, which drove so many charming individuals to embrace Rome, where at least they could be sure of a comfortingly misogynist atmosphere.

Their high moral standing remained unaffected, though. When, some years later, the Catholic church was involved in covering up widespread child abuse, out of those who had left CoE for Rome over women priests, the following left the Catholic church in protest:


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 5:15 AM
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113: Another link after the colon at the end? The whole flying bishops thing is so wrong as a matter of church polity. That was more Anglo-Catholic than evangelical, which is deeply ironic. So Congregational of them. The Whole thing where churches in the US align with African bishops is also messed up. In the US we were pretty clear that the churches would lose their property if they left the denomination.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 5:28 AM
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Why would they leave? This time the leadership is infallible.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 5:31 AM
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113: Another link after the colon at the end?

No, deliberately blank.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 5:45 AM
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64: this happened basically overnight in the UK with the referendum.

More broadly, it strikes me that the US hasn't gone from "mixed" to "sorted, one-group districts" - it's become sorted on the degree of sorting, which is another way of saying that one group adopted a political program all the others find intolerable.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 6:11 AM
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Do we need a thread for what the hell is happening in the UK right now?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:14 AM
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So, I'm not really following very closely, but is the Tory government basically falling apart because it's impossible to both get out of the EU and realize the benefits promised by those pushing leaving the EU?

What happens next?

Are Johnson and his ilk going to be running on a 'stab in the back' narrative? Are the actual mechanics of leaving no longer important to the bulk of the people -- can they, like the Trumpsters, be bought off by theater? Or is there a real and substantial constituency for actually leaving the EU?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:19 AM
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In other words, ++ to 118.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:20 AM
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Could the UK still not leave if they changed their minds, or is the decision irrevocable from the EU end yet?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:26 AM
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121: I think that if the UK changed its mind the EU would let them; Brexit is going to be quite a hassle for the EU as well, and also pretty costly. Forcing the UK to leave even once it had changed its mind would be an odd decision.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:28 AM
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My (probably wrong) understanding is that to stop the article 50 process, they'd need some sort of absurd supermajority of the remaining EU states to agree, if not all of them. To clear that hurdle the UK would probably have to pay a pretty heavy price, undoubtedly including the many exemptions from EU rules it had carved out for itself over the years.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:31 AM
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One of the prominent lawyers who originally drafted article 50, himself British, said that it'd be reversible, but it doesn't sound like that's clearly spelt out in the text. On the other hand, in this bit from Wikipedia it seems like the EU has taken a hard stance, possibly just as a negotiating position:

On 29 March 2017, the EU Commission stated "It is up to the United Kingdom to trigger Article 50. But once triggered, it cannot be unilaterally reversed. Notification is a point of no return. Article 50 does not provide for the unilateral withdrawal of notification." Similarly, the European Parliament Brexit committee headed by Guy Verhofstadt has stated that "a revocation of notification [by Article 50] needs to be subject to conditions set by all EU27, so that it cannot be used as a procedural device or abused in an attempt to improve on the current terms of the United Kingdom's membership".

Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:34 AM
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Lord Kerr (who wrote Article 50) reckoned that it wasn't irrevocable.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:35 AM
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I saw someone link polling on Twitter that suggested that a small but solid majority of UK voters -- like 55% -- now think that Brexit was the wrong idea, but solid majorities also are opposed to doing anything about it, like reversing course on Brexit or having Parliament vote no or whatever. Seems so goddamn insane! I assume the difference has to do with the way Brexit cross-cuts both the two big UK political parties but I sure don't claim to know anything about UK politics.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:37 AM
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Pwned. But, again, I would be surprised if a change of mind in the UK was used by the EU-27 as an opportunity to put the screws on the UK; not least for fear that the UK might respond by saying "well, in that case maybe we will leave after all". Brexit would be costly for the EU too, though of course not nearly as costly as it will be for the UK.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:37 AM
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re Johnson and his ilk going to be running on a 'stab in the back' narrative?

Johnson always runs on stabbing people in the back.

flying bishops

Missed opportunity for a daytime soap, there.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:41 AM
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If it's headgear based, I'd think that although nuns might fly, a bishop would be more rocket-powered.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:44 AM
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127: I hope you're right. I guess it depends on how much UK public opinion eventually swings against Brexit, and the personalities of the politicians in charge of both the UK and EU at the time. There probably needs to be at least some small slap on the wrist for all the nonsense, though, perhaps ameliorated with a PR campaign to show how much money the UK will save by not leaving. They could even put it on the side of a bus.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:45 AM
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Bishops' mitres, the arches of their cathedrals, and the noses of supersonic aircraft all tend to look like ogives.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:53 AM
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It's too bad that Corbyn is basically pro-Brexit, and oddly soft on Russia. "Brexit was funded by the Russians, who also just poisoned some people" seems like a potent tool in the right hands.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:21 AM
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The EU would be crazy to ask for anything, even a symbolic something. Britain giving up on Brexit would be a gigantic victory for the EU as an institution. It would create the perception that it's too hard to leave.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:24 AM
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Or it would create the perception that fucking around with your EU membership is costless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:26 AM
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133: yes, good point; but I think dalriata may be right about the EU not being the only body involved. The member states also have to agree to Brexit being dumped, or most of them do. (I'm not sure.) And it's not impossible that out of the EU-27, some might be up for a little shit stirring. Spain and Italy, perhaps. Maybe Malta and Cyprus.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:26 AM
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Britain shot its own economy in the head. That's not costless.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:27 AM
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133: Yes, but we've come to expect everyone to choose the crazy whack-yourself-in-the-head- option now.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:29 AM
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Britain didn't just shoot itself in the head. It basically tried (or promised its voters that it would try) to create a new agreement retaining most of the benefits of remaining in the EU while avoiding restrictions. I don't see why the EU would want to create a precedent where somebody can try that and fail and go back to the status quo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:35 AM
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134, 8: Everyone who isn't literally insane would know it was a bullet dodged. So long as Britain gains nothing, I don't see it would be a dangerous precedent. And in any case, the precedent is a hypothetical future problem, against the massive actually-existing problem of a core Western country committing suicide at the most dangerous moment since 1945.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:44 AM
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138: because they will have failed, very publicly.

And as I say, Brexit would be costly for the EU as well. So if the UK population narrowly decides (and it will be narrow) that it would like to stay after all, the EU would be nuts to take any retributive action that might push the UK back towards leaving.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:45 AM
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138: Why not? Britain will have demonstrated that it was stupid and have humiliated two successive governments. If the EU pushes Britain out, they will become the villains of the piece.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:45 AM
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There is direct, explicit proof that literal insane people are coming close to absolute majorities (and have effectively achieved winning pluralities) in many countries. It would be very foolish to create a further incentive to election fucknuts to win concessions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:46 AM
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Like, I'm not even British and I think Brexit is the stupidest thing ever, and my reaction to the EU trying to extract concessions is "No, fuck you!"


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:47 AM
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141: I don't think "We've humiliated your government and we'll do it again if you don't behave" is any kind of a threat to pro-Brexit voters. It's probably another win for them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:50 AM
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But isn't this all hypothetical, because not enough people in Britain are both (a) opposed to Brexit and (b) willing to do anything to stop it, and this will continue to be the case until (at a minimum) there's a big change in leadership of one of the two main parties so that there's some major political factuon strongly opposed, which can't realistically happen before Brexit does?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:50 AM
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142: Like I said, the EU shouldn't make any concessions, just status quo ante. Ideally Britain would lose its existing carveouts as punishment, but that may be politically unwise right now, as Walt says.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:51 AM
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145 could be totally wrong but it's my impression.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:52 AM
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143: That's arguing a hypothetical, as it implies the U.K. has asked to de-Brexit. But why wouldn't some concessions be in order. Trying to adjust to Brexit has imposed very real costs on other countries in Europe for no fault of their own.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:52 AM
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There is direct, explicit proof that literal insane people are coming close to absolute majorities (and have effectively achieved winning pluralities) in many countries.

And I think I know why.

https://thinkprogress.org/exclusive-elevated-co2-levels-directly-affect-human-cognition-new-harvard-study-shows-2748e7378941/


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:53 AM
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I think it is politically unwise for the EU to entertain such ideas without a formal antidisestablishment-Brexit request because it would be a very good way to blame the EU for something it didn't do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:54 AM
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It all depends on the World Cup. If England wins, then the English will be so full of themselves, there's no way they will give up on Brexit.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:55 AM
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144: The voters have been muttering for decades. none of it mattered until some politicians were dumb enough to give them a chance. All the other asshole politicians will look at this shitshow and want no part of it. Whatever brinkmanship they try for would stop far short of Article 50, or even votes on it. I imagine various parties in Europe have tried such things already, but don't know enough.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:56 AM
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This is assuming no major European country elects a government as stupid as Trump's. Which of course is possible, but I don't think any of them has the American kind of crazy.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 8:58 AM
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153 You forgot Poland. And Hungary. And Italy.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:01 AM
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The no-concession arguers are convincing me, but I'm still worried that any single European government could wreck it. One very light concession would be British support to rewrite Article 50 to make it much harder to leave. Say, an explicit process including a supermajority referendum with a turnout requirement. Brexit should never happen again. (At this point I'm just fantasizing.)


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:02 AM
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154: I didn't say evil, I said stupid. Haven't been following Italy, but the Poles and Hungarians don't appear to be blundering idiots, they seem to be shitheads with a plan.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:08 AM
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I think that of Trump also. Or at least the people who put Trump in power.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:09 AM
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157: Who? The voters very clearly don't have a plan; Republican leadership opposed him until he won; his campaign staff afaik were clowns; whatever hand the Russians had appears to have been opportunistic, without any expectation he would actually win.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:18 AM
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I think we could probably abort Article 50 at the cost of losing some at least of our various opt-outs. Right at the moment, you can get 2/1 on May going this week. A general election would be the most tremendous shitshow, since a clear majority of Labour voters re now opposed to the party's stated policy of Brexit, but I don't know how this maps onto parliamentary boundaries.

Meanwhile, the Conservative brexiteers are absolutely shit-faced crazy after their encounter with an almost homoeopathic dose of reality on Friday. Stab in the back doesn't begin to cover it. One MP tweeted yesterday that May, who should have been Churchill, was actually Chamberlain. And the conservative commentator Melanie Phillips (once the first woman senior executive on the Guardian) proposes with a straight face putting Nigel Farage into the Lords so that he can become Prime Minister and "rescue democracy".

These people, as Raf Behr, observed, are dealers in lies who have got high on their own supply. And they are going to destroy their party. They did destroy the country first, which I suppose they'd call putting country before party.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:22 AM
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157: Bannon had a plan


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:23 AM
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157: Mercers


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:25 AM
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158: I don't buy that the voters didn't have a plan, or at least that most of them didn't. They wanted white nationalism, to a greater or lesser degree. The Republican leadership opposed him until they got tax cuts for the wealthy, a Supreme Court that will be hostile to unions and workers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:25 AM
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How new is the news that Boris resigned? Did it just happen or did I miss it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:26 AM
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163: Ancient history! I've known for at least an hour.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:29 AM
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The Russians were opportunistic, but who isn't. They've succeeded in a coherent plan to weaken NATO and the U.S.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:32 AM
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Talking heads on BBC seem to be implying Johnson will try to oust May.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:34 AM
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Sorry, I should have posted on this topic instead of an overview of Russian-Trump treachery.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:35 AM
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I mean, really, the facts of our position in the world act on the brexiteers like Novichuk. They can go months without touching reality, but the smallest reminder that an exit without a deal will bring complete catastrophe and they start frothing at the mouth. Similarly, any admission that we are much the weaker party in these negotiations and would be even if we had an agreed aim in them.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:36 AM
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I don't know if 151 is intended as a joke, but it occurred to me for real. Of course, the opposite argument also occurred to me.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:38 AM
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165: I think we're using different standards for "plan" here. Trump voters and Brexiters both want to turn the clock back some never-really-existent 1950s. They have an idea of what direction to move in but certainly don't have policies that can get them there. Putin seems to have a clearer goal and more realistic plan to get there, but that plan is mostly just causing shit wherever possible, which (so far as we know) certainly didn't extend to a detailed plan actually to elect Trump (which is what I took you to imply in 157).


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:41 AM
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168: That's why I think there needs to be grounds for a rhetorical denunciation of Brexit and Brexiters, and it can't just be "it turns out that free trade is pretty good". Coming this close to victory, they are not going to settle for defeat. There has to be a competing nationalist case, and the link between Brexiters and Russia is the opportunity to make that case.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:44 AM
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170 When I hear that I always reply that I think it would be a good thing to return to the marginal tax rates of the 1950s. That they don't want so much.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:44 AM
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167: Don't beat yourself up. The BBC is using the majority of its unparalleled global journalistic resources to cover some idiots who got themselves stuck somewhere.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:49 AM
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170: I don't think 95% of any voters have a plan at that level of detail.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:51 AM
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174: Sure. I think MAGA and Brexit are just dramatically unrealistic even by the standards of vague aspirations.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 9:59 AM
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172 - and polio


Posted by: Dave Heasman | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:03 AM
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Putin seems to have a clearer goal and more realistic plan to get there, but that plan is mostly just causing shit wherever possible, which (so far as we know) certainly didn't extend to a detailed plan actually to elect Trump

There is no "certainly" about it. We already know that the Russian state took a lot of actions aimed at electing Trump, and there is some pretty convincing evidence that they did so in collaboration with the Trump campaign.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:06 AM
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And they've won Syria because of it and are now in striking distance of keeping Crimea.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:09 AM
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170: They have a plan, but they are not willing to say openly what that plan is -- the expulsion or murder of non-whites, and the end of economic competition from foreign competition. The first one isn't stupid, just monstrous. (The second one is stupid, and is the main grounds for calling the Trump administration stupid.)

Actually, I think they just want black people to know their place, but Hispanics need to go.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:11 AM
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175: How is MAGA is unrealistic. They are right now very effectively altering immigration patterns into the United States. They are very likely to have gotten a court that will end affirmative action (my guess is that somehow they will justify affirmative action for white people vs Asian Americans) and much of the protections of the VRA.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:11 AM
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133: yes, good point; but I think dalriata may be right about the EU not being the only body involved. The member states also have to agree to Brexit being dumped, or most of them do. (I'm not sure.)

For dumping, I think only the ECJ knows. Member states have to agree unanimously to an Article 50 extension.

There are two routes to reversal that I can see, neither of which may be legally possible. One is a "withdrawal agreement" that doesn't actually involve withdrawal. That would require a qualified majority of member states and a simple majority in Parliament (plus being able to withstand any legal challenge). The other is outright revocation of the notification, which would require the ECJ to say it's possible and whatever conditionality they attach to it. And of course the UK government to actually do it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:11 AM
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177: Granted. Those actions and collusion seem though to have been improvised in the course of 2016. My point simply is that we seem to be seeing actors taking advantage of a chaotic situation rather than the development of anybody's deep-laid plans.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:13 AM
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179-80: True. I was thinking of foreign policy.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:15 AM
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It's weird that the chances of both hard Brexit and no Brexit have shot up over the course of two days. I understand how it happened, but it's still weird.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:19 AM
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169: Yes, I wasn't sure if it was a joke, either. Am I correct in assuming that the good folk of Albion are paying infinitely more attention to their football team, than any of this Brexit nonsense?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:27 AM
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I'll just add here that my wife's exact response to the news that South Korea had beaten Germany, thus knocking it out of the tournament in the first round (first time since 1938, apparently) was: "Merkel is gone."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 10:37 AM
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Also, I don't think any other administration would have done anything substantially different in Syria. And the one who originally dropped the ball on Crimea was Obama, something I think he will come to be judged very harshly for.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:18 PM
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No Democratic senators were going to Moscow and coming back talking about ending sanctions when Obama was president.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:23 PM
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And no Democratic Senator or president was doing anything to prevent Assad from winning his war or Russia keeping Crimea. This isn't a both-sides-ism thing. I'm saying Obama failed badly on Russia, for his own reasons. The Republicans are now failing even worse, for worse reasons.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:28 PM
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Wait, what were we supposed to do about Crimea. Go to war over it? Sanction moar? Serious question, the answer doesn't seem obvious to me but maybe it was.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:31 PM
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And what were we supposed to do about Syria for that matter? There were no good solutions there. Best thing Obama did was to keep us out of it (relatively speaking).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:36 PM
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We should've taken in a lot more Syrian refugees. That's all I've got on that.

I didn't think then and don't think now that the Russian takeover of Crimea was worth bloodshed. Given the stakes involved, I don't think anything short of that would have made a difference.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:41 PM
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American bloodshed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:43 PM
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192.1 Completely on board with that. One of the greatest moral failings of our time.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:48 PM
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For Syria, the answer does seem obvious, to me, at least in retrospect -- we should have taken in a shit-ton of Syrian refugees to remove the pressure on the rest of the world. Our main strategic interest in Syria, other than ISIS, was avoiding the giant refugee crisis that happened and destabilized Europe and some other countries. Plus massive refugee services would have been a huge propaganda help for the US in the Muslim world. Obama did screw that up but he probably couldn't have done close to enough regardless without Congress, so like with most things from 2008-2016 you can certainly blame Obama a fair bit but the real disaster was Congress.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:50 PM
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pwnd by Carp


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 1:51 PM
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I think we should have either done less in Syria, or more -- either turned a blind eye to Assad, or driven him from power. Our level of involvement led to a prolonged civil war, which is the worst possible outcome.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 2:18 PM
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Seems right


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 2:21 PM
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Plus massive refugee services would have been a huge propaganda help for the US in the Muslim world.

Would it, though? Does taking in lots of Muslim refugees actually improve your reputation with Muslims generally? Serious question. I'm not aware that, to pick two, Lebanon has suddenly risen to a position of commanding moral status because it has taken in over two million Syrians, nor that Russia has sunk to the status of pariah for taking barely any despite being much larger and richer than Lebanon.
Obviously I'm not in the region and I'm not an expert, but there are so many other factors that seem to have a much stronger effect on public opinion (such as it is) in the Muslim world.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 2:30 PM
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I said help, not be decisive. The US has obviously been a propaganda disaster in the Muslim world for decades, for reasons fair and unfair, and a clearly generous act would help nudge the needle in the other direction. How much, who knows, I obviously don't know much about what shapes Muslim public opinion.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 2:44 PM
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They started it, what with stealing our boat and putting them on the shores of Tripoli.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 2:58 PM
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Mexico is more or less totally our fault.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 2:59 PM
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Oh, I agree we should have done less wrt the Syrian rebellion against Assad. I'm a long way from convinced that what we did do in the Obama years with respect to the actual Syrian civil war has had that much affect. I could be convinced otherwise, but my sense is that the Gulf States and the Saudis were real players, and our efforts were a token.

I did/do not object to our efforts to help Iraq retake territory from ISIS, and our de facto alliance with Iran in so doing, or our de facto alliance with the Syrian Kurds in preventing ISIS in Syria from resisting those efforts in Iraq. We have a special responsibility in Iraq -- to avoid making matters even worse, first of all, but having fucked shit up so badly, we can side with the Kurds and Iran in driving ISIS out.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 3:47 PM
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Re Syria, I agree with others that there were and are no good options. Contra Walt, I point out that your intervention against the Iraqi Baathists also led to a prolonged civil war, and Iraq was actually less complicated than Syria.
Re Crimea: I agree Crimea isn't worth bloodshed, but the US guarantee of Ukraine's borders, narrowly, and the postwar European order, broadly, certainly is. AIUI "sanction moar" was actually a real possibility, with the potential essentially for destroying Russia's economy. That's unpopular for good humanitarian reasons, but again, postwar order. There were also a range of possibilities for substantially assisting Ukraine against the Donets rebels, and at the far end direct intervention in Crimea. (The Russian troops invading there weren't uniformed, they and Russia were pretending they were Ukrainians; this presumably done precisely so that US intervention wouldn't automatically escalate to war with Russia.)


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07- 9-18 7:08 PM
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