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Culture War Roundup for the week of April 17, 2023

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In fairness, InBev is massive. Bud light is but one brand. The other question is what the stock would’ve done but for bid light harm. For example if it would’ve been up 1.5% then 3% is meaningful.

There's a few other factors to this IMO. Since they're so large, if a boycott was super effective, it might still take a while to produce a noticeable effect on their bottom line. And even if it doesn't hit them that hard, the real effect might be that other, smaller companies would notice and shy away from making these sorts of moves out of fear of drawing a similar response that might be much more painful for them.

Anecdotally, we're what, two weeks into this? One of my acquaintances works for a Budweiser distributor in west Alabama and from what he tells me (while being beyond tired of talking about it) things are apocalyptic, his employer is tightening the belt, they're not getting help from AB, he gets accosted by randos for wearing Bud Light shirts, etc. We're talking multiple bars pulling all In-Bev products, a whole Walmart selling two cases of Bud Light (on Rollback!) in a week, customers sitting on pallets of unsold product, nobody hitting sales quotas. At the least, this is worse than the Papa John's N-word saga and much worse than the John Schnatter comments about Obamacare (I delivered for a Papa John's while in college at the time; hearing about his antics semi-regularly got deeply annoying after awhile.)/hosting Romney in his mansion.

I don't have a dog in this fight (other than being deeply sympathetic to the local distributors who are, at this point, the ones taking it in the ass, not InBev, and who tend to be pretty red in my experience), but I agree that it may take time for the effects of a boycott to make their way up the chain.

That's pretty interesting anecdotal evidence. The logistics issues tracks more or less as expected - that it may take months for even pretty major purchasing changes to make their way through the supply chain back to the bottling factory and force them to actually change how much they produce.

Lol, looks like right-wing cancellations are as short-lived and poorly thought out as the left's.

Called it!

To put a more positive spin on it, you could say that people obsessed with politics are only a minority of the population.

Stock down 1.5% (ie, nothing) since this started

not too surprising. same for Nike stock which was not hurt despite kaepernick ads controversy

If we're canning ad execs now, can someone take out whoever okayed the giant CGI "RUFFLES" logo for the NBA playoffs? This might be the most distracting ad-placement I've seen in months.

When ads get that distracting, I'd rather not consume either product (NBA or Ruffles). Strangely, I'm okay with product placement when entertainment leans into it like Wayne's World or Idiocracy, or like the KFC dating sim.

sounds like it is doing its job. I would give them a rise instead if that is the case.

In late October 2022, the Department of Education began an investigation into alleged discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity at a school district in eastern Pennsylvania. While many of the specific allegations in the complaint focused on conventional culture war -- Pride flags in middle school classrooms, pronoun and name policies, what gender's sex-segregated health class a trans person should go to, some complex questions about during-school-hours protests -- a large portion reflected something far less prosaic: over two dozen (largely-redacted) pages of bullying targeting specific students, and a teacher (redacted in the ACLU's public copy of the complaint, but in other reporting revealed as an Andrew Burgess) was suspended and transfered after reporting that bullying.

The school district has, in response, investigated and released its own report:

For his part, Student 1 wrote Mr. Burgess a lengthy e-mail, setting forth multiple alleged bullying incidents, including:

  • having ice thrown at him, being hit, and being subjected to physical threats;
  • having a student yell at him and try to trip him;
  • being “deadnamed” and being told the name he used was not his “real” name;
  • being called a variety of slurs;
  • being repeatedly propositioned for a date, despite turning down theoffers;
  • having food thrown at him in the cafeteria; and
  • being called the “r-word.”

3/3/2022 E-Mail Message from Student 1 to Andrew Burgess [Ex. 41]...

Mr. Burgess then began to organize Student 1’s allegations of bullying and harassment into the dossier, setting forth in a two-page chart the names of the alleged perpetrators, dates and times of the alleged bullying, a description of the alleged events, names of witnesses, and the locations of the events. The remaining two pages of the dossier contain further detail about the alleged events. [Ex. 16.] During his interview as part of this investigation, Mr. Burgess explained that he created the dossier during a meeting with Student 1 and Student 2 during school hours. Burgess Interview at 25–26 [Ex. 11]. According to the dossier’s metadata and contemporaneous e-mail communications, it appears that the dossier was initially created on March 3 and that additional work occurred on it on March 4, when it also appears that Mr. Burgess met with Student 1 and Student 2.

The dossier contains serious and troubling allegations. If true, it shows that Student 1 was subjected to repeated bullying by about a dozen of his fellow Lenape students over the course of months, with some of it continuing on a “weekly” basis or even “3 or 4 times a week.” [Ex. 16.]

During his interview, Mr. Burgess was asked whether he ever reported to the School District the information Student 1 gave him:

Q. And did you ever report any of the information that [Student 1] gave you to anyone else at Central Bucks School District?

A. No, I did not.

Burgess Interview at 26 [Ex. 11].

This was not a one-off:

During her interview, Ms. Gluck, a French teacher at Lenape and moderator of the school’s SAGA club, told us that, around December 2021, she was approached by Stephen Albert, then a former Lenape assistant principal and a vocal activist on LGBTQ issues and frequent attendee at School Board meetings. Mr. Albert asked Ms. Gluck to get information from SAGA club members (i.e., students at Lenape Middle School) about stories of LGBTQ bullying and harassment in the School District that they had heard.

According to Ms. Gluck, in January or February 2022, she made that inquiry of SAGA members at a club meeting and reported the information to Mr. Albert, who, again according to Ms. Gluck, was to send a “compilation” e-mail to a Lenape administrator. During our investigation, we found a February 6, 2022, e-mail message from Mr. Albert to Mrs. Saullo and Mrs. Dowd, which copied various individuals, including Borough of Doylestown officials, Ms. Pray, Superintendent Lucabaugh, and the three Democratic School Board members.

Nor was it specific to just faculty at the school:

Mr. Burgess told us that he sent the dossier—which was replete with allegations of physical and verbal abuse—to Mr. Marshall [ed: an attorney at the Philadelphia Office for Civil Rights], that the two of them talked about the issue over the phone in May 2022, and that he told Mr. Marshall that the information in the dossier had never been reported to the School District. Id. at 197–98.11 Further, in his April 25 e-mail to Mr. Burgess, Mr. Marshall refers to the “the student and family involved in the complaint,” indicating that he appreciated that a child’s welfare was at issue. [Ex. 12]. Yet, with this knowledge, Mr. Marshall failed to notify the School District of the allegations in the dossier and OCR complaint, even though he knew the information had been concealed from the District.

During our investigation, we wrote to OCR about Mr. Marshall’s conduct in this case, requesting an opportunity to interview him about what happened, and asking OCR to cooperate with this independent investigation. On February 8, 2023, Beth Gellman-Beer, the Director of OCR’s Philadelphia Office, wrote us, declining to make Mr. Marshall available for an interview.

To be absolutely clear, this is not a neutral analysis by an disinterested third party: the report is written by Duane Morris LLP at the request of the School Board, which does not require mind-reading to find somewhere other than the bleeding edge of trans activism or jumping to support OCR investigation of their policies. It is absolutely possible that Duane Morris is spinning this as hard as they can, or even playing as fast and loose with the facts as it is alleging the teachers in question did. (though the recommendation that Burgess be suspended without pay is at least raising the stakes, if doing so.)

But they do have some pretty nasty receipts.

It's even possible (indeed, I'd guess likely) that the school administration would not have necessarily acted in accordance with Andrew Burgess's preferred punishment schedules, if perhaps more on the matter of incorrect pronoun use or the awkward 'romantic' (probably not; the report seems to think they were genuine if stalkerish, but that it came through a third party feels more like what's often used as the windup for later mockery) overtures than one the student that allegedly said "I'm going to rape you". I wouldn't be surprised to find someone here immediately start debating whether each particular thing counts as meaningful harassment rather than 'mere' teasing, though given that Burgess and the ACLU listed them as serious offenses I don't think it particularly matters at this point. I wouldn't be surprised if the teachers here genuinely believed, in their heart of hearts, that the school board and principle's policy proposals were strong evidence that they Don't Care About Trans People rather than just Don't Care About Pronouns, or perhaps that they were the earthly incarnations of Satan awaiting the opportunity to break children.

((Hell, it's possible even the most friendly administrators might still ignore a case, without the political loading: joint overdiagnosis and under-diagnosis is more palatable a term than anarchotyranny, but neither is unimaginable or even that unfamiliar. The report details a Buck County Investigation against students who wore t-shirts sloganed with and said "Let's Go Brandon" at Sexuality and Gender Alliance students as an example. And there are genuine policy disagreements over when and what extent requires intervention.))

According to the school district's claims and investigations, which seem to fully match the unredacted portion of the ACLU's complaint, they never had the opportunity to fail that test. And that's relevant less because I care for the opportunities available to a school's upper management, since no small number of the upper caste in public education make it seem like they thought Brazil was a how-to guide, but more because it means that a student (actually, multiple students) were getting left for the bus to run over them, by people that they thought were specifically looking out for them.

I've written before about cases where people elevate Activism above actual things happening on the ground, and while this isn't quite as literal as burning the very people you're claiming to protect on a pyre, it's got my hackles up to a pretty similar degree. Barring some pretty serious revelations from the ACLU or Burgess -- which is possible!... if not likely, given this statement --this does not look like how a teacher would or should act if trying to use every tool available to prevent harassment of vulnerable students. Even had the Department of Education acted on the initial complaint, rather than closed it, Student 1 would have finished a full school year and experienced a large part of a second one before any intervention could have occurred.

This looks more like people who wanted to provide a gift-wrapped case against the school district's new board, which could wrap the controversial or policy questions in with the trivial ones. I can see the utilitarian arguments, for the needs of the many, so on. They just look very bad when, at the end of the day, a trusted adult specifically acting as an advocate for the students is sitting on that list.

Humans are weird enough that I’m near certain that some are gender dysphoric. But this is likely a stable, rare number. Growth in trans identifying youth appears to be a misfit thing, like the goths of my generation.

Some of the goth thing seemed to me to be an embracing of and celebration of misfit status. They dialed their weirdness up to eleven so no one could possibly mistake them for a normie.

It would be so very strange to see even a news story about goths being bullied in middle school. People would have a few reactions:

  1. That’s so unfortunate.

  2. It’s probably not happening because they are goth.

  3. If it is, why don’t they just dress normally?

I’m surprised the comments here are so supportive of bullying, and frankly I wonder if it’s because it confirms many of our anti-trans biases.

When I first read this I noticed myself disagreeing that the bullying was important, but after reading some of the arguments in the comments I realized I’m not convinced for any logical reason, just because I hate that trans is spreading in middle schools.

If this child were being harassed for something like believing in God, or an immutable characteristic like a big nose or their race, I would find this situation terrible.

For all the people saying kids need to toughen up or whatever - I firmly disagree. Humans can learn to operate in high trust, net positive ways, and that’s the society I want to build. If we keep creating cycles of kids being fucked up and aggressive in their early lives, adults will continue to act that way too. You can say hierarchical psychological violence is necessary to the human condition or whatever, but if that’s truly the case I say we strive towards something better.

I think part of the issue is that some of the things in that list are very definitely bullying but some of them are things that SJ has unilaterally declared Problematic, and even here nuance is hard.

Yeah, that's probably a good part of it. Even in the Duane Morris report, which (at least by the time of publishing) was trying to highlight the teacher's inaction in the face of bad behavior, it's worth noticing the euphemistic nature of "being subjected to physical threats" and "variety of slurs", given that the investigators had (and attached!) the chart listing exact words. And the ACLU-PA complaint redacted wholesale anything outside of the political and school policy matters.

I emphasized the exact quotes from that report to highlight fidelity, but it did mean it's easier to focus on the less significant and more minimal stuff.

I feel like there is a "Central and non-central example" going on here.

Everyone agrees that the central example of Bullying is unequivocally bad, only that is relatively uncommon; negative social interactions among kids and teenagers aren't rare though. A lot of people are trying to claim bullying, for varying reasons. They might have had poor social experiences but that doesn't mean they were Bullied or even that they were (only) the victim.

Then there are the actual policies, do they help or are they making things worse and only providing an illusion of action and acting as a cover for not taking responsibility for the really horrible events by hiding behind policy?

The same dynamic extends to a lot of issues:

  • Parental abuse

  • Rape

  • Racism

  • Sexism

  • Etc. More or less anything with a claimed victim/abuser dynamic

A genuine but relatively uncommon issue exists and people immediately try to claim victimhood to gain sympathy or rationalize their own inadequacies (often to themselves)/bad experiences. Most claimed instances are so ambiguous that it's impossible to tell who's the victim and who's the abuser, or even if the event took place at all.

Sweeping policy is implemented but is so ineffective as to be possibly be counterproductive in regards to its stated purpose and has a lot of negative unintended side effects, which end up being the primary effect of the policy. Often with stated lofty goals just like the one in your final paragraph.

The cure is so bad that disease not only becomes harmless in comparison but even actively good in the minds of some people.

Bullying is bad, but this whole thing is selective outrage. If someone was bullied there for any other trait, would any authorities have cared about it? Let alone open a Federal investigation?

On one hand, probably not. The ability of school administrations to ignore bullying, or worse to come down like a pile of bricks only on students who defend themselves, is pretty legendary. I've written before about a school district that managed to have its employees walk by some of the most severe crimes: overlooking some thrown food or an implausibly-friendly 'joke' is a lot more minimal than that and certainly happens thousands of times a day across a country the size of the United States.

((I don't think any of the behavior here requires or even benefits from a federal investigation, instead of just telling the offending students to knock it off and, for repeat offenders, something like a detention or separated lunch sessions.))

On the other hand, I've spent six hours in the last month dealing with the fallout of a student making fun of what he perceived or joked about perceiving as (heterosexual, if it matters) flirting between two students. Part of the reason it took six hours to deal with the fallout is that the organization didn't spend fifteen minutes two weeks earlier to recognize that same complaint had shown up in three different contexts and put a stop to it then, but a bigger part is that I didn't want to have three students lose some important opportunities for learning. And that stuff then was far more marginal (I wouldn't categorize it as bullying at all, but if you had to it's definitely closer to norm enforcement than a lot of the described stuff here). And unlike the teachers in question here, making sure students have a conducive learning environment isn't my literal full-time job.

So while I absolutely agree that this shouldn't require a federal investigation, I absolutely would care about it, and would expect other adults in a position of authority or trust to at least consider the situation once brought to their attention. I'm not going to expect or even ask for heroic efforts from every teacher on the planet, and it's not hard to imagine a teacher or school administrator that didn't think any of this was worth the paper it was written on.

((I don't agree, and to no small extent I think this organizational willingness to accept disruption and student-student conflicts is one of many small reasons that some of the worst schools manage to be so incredibly bad, along with having negative effects for normal students at normal schools, but I could be persuaded that it's better than the alternatives. And there's nothing in the Duane Morris report suggesting the discipline problems in this school were outside of the typical range.))

But this teacher did decide that it was something he Cared About, enough to file with the feds and involve the ACLU. Just not enough to do anything in the meantime.

Would you care? If yes, why don't you make it a Federal issue?

It's not up to me what gets made into a federal issue. That's up to the feds.

Yeah, that middle school was a horrible horrible time for me, filled with with what would rightly be classified is ongoing physical abuse and verbal harassment in an adult context. The setting of middle school makes bullying a much bigger issue than most people will ever encounter as adults.

I don't know what the best solution is -- I don't want kids' lives getting ruined because they were a dick as a 12-year-old -- but I think it's perfectly appropriate for a school to investigate and take serious action on it.

I think changing the setting has to be the start. That some teens are abusive dicks is one thing. That you (and I) felt obligated to go back everyday to the place where you are regularly abused, to sit in forced confinement with people you hate, is insane.

No need to ruin any lives. The solution is simple: anyone caught bullying gets punished in a horribly embarrassing manner. Spanking, maybe? Something that would make them the object of mockery, to reduce their social status and impede the social dynamics that encourage bullying.

The process is then iterated. Anyone caught bullying the former bully is also punished. After a few passes, everyone will be too terrified to bully.

This won't be implemented because (1) the required punishment is not permitted in Western countries and (2) teachers generally don't actually care about bullying.

This is a terrible solution. A punishment can't really be embarrassing unless the one doing the punishing is higher status, and I don't think bullies generally respect teachers. A teacher spanking a bully wouldn't lead to him being bullied by his former friends, it would lead to him and his friends beating up the previous victim for snitching to outsider authority.

I don't think respect for teachers matters. You think a 12-year-old being spanked in front of the whole school wouldn't be embarrassed about it? You think his peers wouldn't laugh at him?

They would laugh at him for getting caught, and not taking the punishment stoically enough, and then go right back to being his friends and bullying the previous victim/the snitch. Friends laughing at each other does not make them lower status amongst themselves.

The idea was to embarrass the bully in front of all of his classmates etc., not just his friends.

But OK, it might not be a foolproof plan. Maybe I just don't understand middle school social dynamics well enough.

or all the people saying kids need to toughen up or whatever - I firmly disagree. Humans can learn to operate in high trust, net positive ways, and that’s the society I want to build. If we keep creating cycles of kids being fucked up and aggressive in their early lives, adults will continue to act that way too.

I was with you until this part. Kids do need to toughen up, but bullying is not the way to do it, unless we're using a very broad definition of bullying. The problem with bullying is the mob dynamics, not that they might get into a scrap.

It depends what is your plan for your children's future.

If they will have to live in the jungle where only right is might and only laws are teeth and claws, they do need to learn how to be animals.

Of course, when you are the biggest, strongest and toughest jungle animal, you are still jungle animal, and some people another ambitions for their lives.

If they will have to live in the jungle where only right is might and only laws are teeth and claws

I'm sorry, but what the hell are you talking about? I missed the part where I advocated for might makes right, and law of the jungle.

unless we're using a very broad definition of bullying.

That seems to be both the commonly-used definition and the most common form of bullying nowadays. Most people I know have said they were bullied, and when I asked how it essentially boiled down to "I didn't have many friends" or "I faced social repercussions for my actions."

Oh. I was thinking more of cases like this, where someone is picked on precisely because they seem unlikely to retaliate, though here the bully meets karma. OTOH, this example isn't even so egregious, because all the other kids let them sort it out one-on-one. What I'd consider bullying would be when the bullies friends would step in, and beat the crap out of the victim for daring to retaliate.

Yeah that's definitely closer to actual bullying.

I am of the belief that bullying is net positive and our obsession with bullying is another manifestation of over charged empathy.

That doesn’t mean all bully is net positive (some goes too far). But a little bullying is positive.

In my experience almost all kids who are bullied are bullied over harmless or immutable characteristics like being short, unattractive, shy, or fat. Once it's established that they suck, other even more minute characteristics (clothes they wear, their interests, their family, etc.) which would be totally unremarkable in anyone else are used as pretexts for further bullying. I don't think I've ever seen a case of "constructive" bullying.

Getting picked on all the time didn't make me any more of a well-adjusted person, it just made me angry and withdrawn. What did was when I eventually ended up transferring (for unrelated reasons) to a new school where bullying was practically non-existent, so I was able to reach out and make friends without the constant fear that I would be mocked or physically assaulted.

Being fat is not an immutable characteristic, especially as a kid.

Most kids are not in control of their food intake (and should not be). Their food is prepared and portioned by adults. If a kid is fat, you need to be bullying the parents.

There is value to enforced conformity, especially when people are young. People learn the rules.

Perhaps if they were going to be (openly) trans, they should have had stronger convictions or perhaps been closeted. It's a shitty situation, but life is full of those.

"The same boiling that hardens the egg softens the potato"

I've found people's opinions on things like bullying or violence tend to just be them projecting their own egg-ness or potato-ness onto others. Yeah, some people will grow character because they got picked on, pull themselves together, become more socially adept etc, but others will just break, curl up into a ball in their own isolated corner, and suffer for it for a long time.

Now you can just say "they should be better," but I'm not sure that's possible. Most things are genetic, and I'd be surprised if fragility isn't heavily genetic as well. There's always trauma adaptation, but that usually makes the person less fragile and also less socialized, so there is a tradeoff there.

The way I see it, the problem is trying to act like everyone is equal. By insisting that this is true, we've left no room for people to exist safely at the bottom of social hierarchies. There's always a sense of "why aren't they better?" that just wouldn't exist in a world where it's understood that yes, some people are at the top, and others are at the bottom, and you each have responsibilities and expectations. Meritocracy has become an excuse for those at the top to ignore the responsibilities they must carry, and an excuse to blame the bottom rung of the ladder for not carrying out responsibilities they shouldn't even have.

Yeah, some people will grow character because they got picked on, pull themselves together, become more socially adept etc, but others will just break, curl up into a ball in their own isolated corner, and suffer for it for a long time.

Devil's advocate: perhaps the point is to sort the sheep from the goats, and to do so early in life in a way that rarely kills them outright. Then those that can't hack it wind up in roles for those that cannot hack it...

In my experience, it's the losers that do most of the bullying. The kids with dysfunctional families who don't have anything going for them. The actually smart, successful, socially adept and resilient kids... often do a lot of posturing and casually put others down... but the kids who go out of their ways to be bullies are not our future stars.

"Hack" what. It's not like being a bullied dweeb precludes someone from a good career and family.

And also those who can't or won't be bullied are not placed on a track for the best societal roles.

I guess. There could be a noblesse oblige for those at the top, but so much of our society is predicated on catering to the bottom already.

Further, it incentivizes the worst kind of bullying — cry bulling.

Pretty sure the worst kind of bullying would be the sort that leads to death (by own hand or otherwise) or permanent physical damage.

The 'catering' we do for the bottom is caused by the meritocratic view, however. Believing that every ghetto-denizen and backwoods hick is just a temporarily-embarrassed email worker is a direct result of ignoring the fundamental differences between people. Our current system is built around trying to pretend the bottom is "really" just like the top, while shunning anything that's actually 'bottom-ish.' Proper recognition of natural differences means that we can accept that no, most of the bottom has very different ways of thinking than those at the top, and will never be the same.

The same goes with cry bullying. It only works because privileged people are able to pretend that they're not. Proper noblesse oblige means that the privileged are held to higher standards.

Yeah. But I guess...I think that a lot of middle class schools have gone too soft. Take stuff like zero-tolerance. It'd be a good idea to have at least a cursory attempt to find out who started it...if Bully punches Victim and Victim grows a pair and decides to fight back they both eat a suspension. Incentives are all fucked up.

So too: we've got stuff like...1) people crapping on someone that doesn't shower, calling them Stinky or some shit like that. They can probably fix that problem, and if they can't there are larger issues at play. Then you've got shit like 2) assholes bullying a kid on crutches by repeatedly kicking his crutches out from under him and causing him to fall. These are not the same.

I've heard stories of things that are closer to 2)...Tonya Harding tier shit where a bunch of jealous guys ganged up on a star football player, punching him when no one was looking and eventually pushing him down a flight of stairs. Guy broke his leg, but returned to football the next year.

I wouldn't be surprised to find someone here immediately start debating whether each particular thing counts as meaningful harassment rather than 'mere' teasing, though given that Burgess and the ACLU listed them as serious offenses I don't think it particularly matters at this point.

Yes, there are kids who get relentlessly bullied (and serious harm is done) but that seems like an outlier and not applicable to this incident. The examples given were common (to just about anyone) when I was in middle school. Kids can be mean, but so is the world. Some kids need to learn to harden up and others need to learn empathy for people who are different. School is when you can learn these lessons/make these mistakes in a relatively safe environment (compared to IRL).

Saying that this is a moot point is odd. I don't understand why the ACLU gets to decide this.

Edit* Interesting write up tho... thanks for posting

I suspect that these things follow a power law...for both bullies and victims. There are some bullies who are really good at being bullies and bully a lot; there are some poor motherfuckers who are simply bait for said assholes. You've got some mix of voluntary bad conduct AND immutable characteristics in there. That mixture varies. On one end you've got the guy that genuinely is an asshole, on the other you've got the guy who's IDK black in an all-white school in the middle of nowhere. Admittedly - that is becoming dated, but 40 years ago that was very much a thing that happened.

I think there could be some interesting conversations in the general sense, about what extent each particular matter requires intervention, if any, and what those interventions would be. I'd argue that there are some that I think are unusual enough that they should require intervention -- even if "I'm going to rape you" was an outdated Dragon Ball Z Abridged joke, and contextually I'm pretty skeptical that it was, it's the sorta thing you at least need to mark down so you know if the kid's learning when to stop -- but I probably could be persuaded a lot on what extent that intervention needs to take, especially.

I don't think it's relevant for discussion at this stage. None of the current OCR complaints are about punishing the students. Regardless of when the ALCU or OCR should be deciding things, both the ACLU-PA and the teacher on site believed that these incidents were enough to justify federal investigation, and indeed investigation about insufficient response to this bullying. Even if the ACLU and teacher wrongly believed a strong and immediate intervention necessary, it's valuable to notice that they weren't consistently behaving as if they believed that.

I'd argue that there are some that I think are unusual enough that they should require intervention

I agree. But it seems they're pushing it to the point where everything requires intervention.

There's definitely a line and rape threats are past it; even if it's trolling, joking, whatever... And that's something kids should be taught. But a federal investigation?

Perhaps that shock causing me to miss the nuance of all this...

Has retard really hit this level of the euphemism treadmill that it is included on this list? Besides the dead naming and stalking I could have produced anecdotes for that whole list for myself and many people I knew growing up and none of us even considered ourselves that bullied. Discipline the little shits doing it for sure, they need to learn what is unacceptable but am I really supposed to be that surprised middle schoolers are little bastards to each other? I suppose if these are tasteful understatements that might be different but that doesn't seem their style.

Has retard really hit this level of the euphemism treadmill that it is included on this list?

I'm not sure. It was widely suspected to have been either on the No No List or used as justification for putting subs on the No No List back at reddit, but it wasn't the sort of thing that was getting autofiltered everywhere. In this case, it's a middle school student sending an e-mail to a teacher teacher, so I can understand not being in a huge hurry to spell it out (though the student did write out "faggot", which I was under the impressive was pretty discouraged).

Besides the dead naming and stalking I could have produced anecdotes for that whole list for myself and many people I knew growing up and none of us even considered ourselves that bullied.

I'm not sure for the 'stalking': the original allegation from the student was "[redacted] that kept asking if I would go out with him or [redacted] because they "had a crush on me" even after I kept telling them I was uncomfortable and asked them to stop". It might have been a genuine-if-creepy romantic overture, in which case it'd be outlier stalking, but I'd had something similar happen that was essentially just trolling, . Given the gender stuff, age group, and especially the dual overture, that seems at least as plausible for me.

That said, while I got to run into some really annoying bullying, I don't think anyone ever said even jokingly "I'm going to rape you". The closest was a girl who kept wagging me across the room and then making jokes about how she 'made me come with her finger', which is... still a pretty far distance away. And my high school days were back when that was much more in the common comedy than now.

Discipline the little shits doing it for sure, they need to learn what is unacceptable but am I really supposed to be that surprised middle schoolers are little bastards to each other?

Yeah, I'm absolutely not surprised by a bunch of young teenagers being jerks; even well-intentioned teens often don't recognize boundaries or reasonable behaviors, and a lot of kids aren't well-intentioned. I think the kids need to be talked to, but the bigger issue's the failures by the teachers in question. Even in informal environments, you have to be really careful because it's so easy for problems to fall through the cracks until they explode. If you can't separate the situations where a kid misbehaves until told proper behavior, from those where the kid continues to repeat or escalate bad acts, you don't have the ability to manage students at all.

I don't think anyone ever said even jokingly "I'm going to rape you".

Guys say this all the time, in different, often grotesquely violent terminology. "I'll rip out your eyes and skullfuck you into the next county!", which in a school document would probably get pared down to "I'll [rape] you". Especially if the person doing the writing wanted to make it seem more serious, rather than just over-the-top ridiculousness.

Didn't get that one, either. Especially at the time and the circles I wandered, there were only so many times you could offer or threaten to (skull)fuck a suspected gay before the 'suspected' bit would have rubbed onto the jokester too, so may have been more present for other people.

I'll certainly recognize the possibility it was a joke or even a friendly joke, and the timeframe would be about right for when the whole 'submissive and breedable' meme took off (which, uh... is even more awkward to write out). And, to be clear, there's a lot of not-joking interpretations that would still require little and minimal immediate intervention. At the other extreme, it's certainly possible that Student 1's specific allegation (to directly quote the e-mail: "[redacted] threw ice at me, and after it hit me, said 'You bitch, I'm going to rape you.'") was either exaggerated or even wholly false.

Sometimes these are things you can figure out, and sometimes they aren't. Most teenagers are awful liars, but that mostly just lets you eliminate what didn't happen, rather than increase certainty in what did.

But, notably, none of those simple investigatory steps happened here for months. I don't, and Duane Morris LLP's report does not, make any serious analysis of the specific bullying allegations. The teacher in question claims to have believed the student, and wrote down the name of another student that Student 1 claimed was a witness for the specific matter. And then sat by as nothing happened about it.

Has retard really hit this level of the euphemism treadmill that it is included on this list?

It might have. I’ve had people confront me over saying it in casual conversation a few times, years ago (granted in a very progressive environment), and I’ve seen a lot of “r-word” referring to retard in the last few years.

I don't understand how saying 'r-word' is any better. They're referring to the same word, just not putting out the phonemes.

It all seems kind of r-worded.

Yes. This happens with all slurs though.

When people say "N-word", they aren't yelling "You N-word!" at a black person. The signalling would make no sense (I want to yell a slur at you but I want to be Politically Correct about it...?) and they would sound stupid and unprincipled.

When they want to use the slur, they actually use the slur, so by not actually saying the slur, that's a strong signal that they are actually not using the slur. And this reifies the whole signal.

Is this stupid? shrug It's how slurs work.

That's my point. People who are racist just find a new word. Thinking that stopping the word will stop evil is silly.

We can all acknowledge that the euphemism treadmill is kind of dumb. Yet we still defend it because bad people use those words.

In the meantime, silly things like the OK symbol gets trolled into being something it's not... and people still go along with it.

I’ve always seen it as stupid in the He-who-shall-not-named way. It’s poor communication (if you mean to refer to a slur, then imo it’s much better to simply say the word and be clear what was said and what was meant) but it also gives those words much more power than they’d otherwise have. Half the fun of smoking is knowing that it will really upset the squares, and likewise half the fun of saying retard or nigger is seeing the adults hyperventilating over a single word.

I mean, the way things are going I could definitely see people in the future using "N-word" as a minced oath. It would certainly be amusing to see a kid try explaining to their teacher or angry parent that they called someone "an N-word, but not the N-word."

Man, I can't get over the fact that The Department of Justice Education is investigating middle school bullying. Like, it's middle school dude. What did you expect? I'm sure if you put everything that happened to me in middle school into an adversarial legal brief it would look pretty bad too.

Let me explain the problem: Every single child in the public school system has to learn every single social rule at some point. Some will learn simply by being told, but not every rule is or could be expressed in words. Some will learn from the mistakes of their classmates. Some further will have to make the mistakes themselves. A number of these mistakes are, or must result in, bullying. Middle school is when puberty starts, and thus is where many of the most salacious rules must be learned -- learned the hard way if necessary. You can't take the bullying out of middle school and have it still be middle school.

Was anyone killed or maimed? I've known people that went to schools where bodies were being hauled out once or twice a year. Perhaps that is a bit high of a price to put on social gracefulness, but there might be a point in some of it. I've heard stories of people who had their classmates attempt to light them on fire when they were seventh-graders because they were gay in Texas in the 70s; I don't know how the attempt turned out.

The kicker: his teacher egged them on.

You're being overly charitable to middle-schoolers if you think most of bullying is that "they didn't know better". They know better well enough, they simply don't care.

I'm sure if you put everything that happened to me in middle school into an adversarial legal brief it would look pretty bad too.

Right, but nobody would care, because you're not a member of an actually-protected class. It's who/whom all the way down. Heterosexual boy gets beaten up, threatened, called a retard or faggot or whatever, that's just a day ending in 'y'. Same thing happens to a 'trans' student, it's literally a Federal case.

As far as I can tell, the DoJ isn't involved; the complaints here were filed with the Office for Civil Rights under the Department of Education (officially its own cabinet-level org, for whatever anyone treats it like that). But they agree that it was too small beans for them, too, and the original complaint detailing just the middle-school harassment was closed in September of last year.

The four new complaints at the OCR, at least some of which were filed with the ACLU-PA, are about alleged retaliation against Burgess, alleged retaliation against students who protested Burgess's suspension, allegedly discriminatory naming and pronoun and class assignment policies, and failure by the school administration to respond to the bullying allegations.

I agree that some students will only learn the hard way (and sometimes not even that). I do not think the appropriate response for these alleged bullying behaviors involve removing the students from the environment, and severe punishments shouldn't (and probably can't) be brought. The galling thing here is that a teacher that believed the behaviors here were severe enough to justify an initial OCR complaint, but did not act in a way conducive to actually getting any lesson, at the expense of the targeted student that confided with him. Even something as simple as sitting the kid down and telling them to cut it out, cause that's the sorta thing that will get them in deep trouble in most office jobs, wasn't possible when the only teacher with the kid's name was sitting on it.

You know things are bad when even liberals are despairing at DeSantis' poor performance. I think her analysis is mostly correct. Voters don't really care about issues so much as who is the strong candidate. Trump is funny but also strong. DeSantis is neither - despite being the actual principled conservative by comparison.

Given Kamala's own exposure as a weak air-head, it seems almost inevitable to me that we will see Biden vs Trump once again in 2024. I try not to be ageist but American politics is really becoming a gerontocracy. The refusal of Dianne Feinstein to step down is par for the course.

That said, while I believe the author is right about the primal nature of Trump's appeal, it's probably a mistake to ascribe his popularity entirely to it. I suspect many in the media still haven't understood that he rose as a consequence of structural changes that will outlast him. Seeing the GOP as the more anti-war party would never have crossed my mind during the Bush era when accusations of insufficient liberal patriotism was rife. Now it appears to me that the veneration of the CIA, Pentagon and FBI are all highly liberal-coded.

The NYT is sad because they want a Republican civil war. DeSantis knows that he needs Trump's voters and supporters, and that he can't afford to alienate them by attacking their perfect prince. But the fact is he doesn't need to. He's far younger and will live to see the end of Trump.

Four years of Trump and another eight of the next Democrat is a 14 year waiting period for DeSantis; a lot of time to fight to maintain one’s position as heir.

Why does DeSantis need to wait eight years? I don't see any reason he can't run in 2028 or 2032. Particularly because there's no obvious successor to Biden. Harris is unpopular.

You know things are bad when even liberals are despairing at DeSantis' poor performance. I think her analysis is mostly correct. Voters don't really care about issues so much as who is the strong candidate. Trump is funny but also strong. DeSantis is neither - despite being the actual principled conservative by comparison.

DeSantis has the advantage of not having any obvious weaknesses and following the same formula/playbook as Bush and Reagan, by getting a huge evangelical turnout and conveying populist culture war appeal.

Perhaps, but evangelical turnout isn't the same as it was in the eighties or nineties. During Trump, a portion of the "moral majority" or whatever we're calling religious voters these days, went "NeverTrump" and got run through the BLM, Covid and Trans splits. Not certain they'd come back for DeSantis.

The moral majority is dead, but there seems to have been an upwell for the trads lately.

Perhaps. Time will tell, but I'm not staking any bets on them shifting the next national election.

Why is Trump a stronger candidate than DeSantis? It seems to just be a matter of charisma.

Trump can't make things happen. Even if he wanted to, which is dubious, he doesn't have the ability to manipulate the organs of state and get things done. DeSantis does. DeSantis is younger, smarter and more capable. DeSantis just isn't so exciting. For example, I could get behind this policy platform from Trump: https://twitter.com/loganclarkhall/status/1631725952395878416

  1. use federal land to build new cities
  1. develop flying cars
  1. revitalize rural industries
  1. launch a baby boom with bonuses for young parents
  1. beautification campaign, get rid of ugly buildings

But I know that he doesn't have the ability to implement it. Consider that in the first part of his presidency they had both parts of the legislature and executive. He got nothing done with all that! He tried and failed to build a border wall. He succeeded in lowering taxes and assisting Israeli foreign policy goals. He failed to win culture war battles or break the power of the US administrative machine. It looks much more likely that the deep state is going to break him.

Trump is a stronger candidate in that he is still an outsider. DeSantis is just another bog-standard Republican, and that's what you're selling him as. He'd be competent (maybe), he knows how to work within the system etc. The fact that Trump isn't like this is what made him popular. He can't compromise, everyone hates him too much.

even worse, when he signed the bump stock ban he actively went against his base.

Didn't the NRA actually support that one?

If they supported it is besides the point. It would only modify my statement to include 2 traitors instead of just one.

Yeah, I love reminding the crusty Republican Fudds about this at the shop. They've mostly memory-holed that as hard as Democrats did Obama's drone campaign.

What would a Fudd care about a bump-stock ban? You don't need a bump stock for hunting deer. (Unless this is a less-negative use of Fudd than I've usually heard)

Fudds are all on the hysterical and paranoid NRA mailing lists. They're always wound up about some state bill in Illinois or something that doesn't affect them in the slightest.

Fudds are all on the hysterical and paranoid NRA mailing lists. They're always wound up about some state bill in Illinois or something that doesn't affect them in the slightest.

"Fudd" used to be derogatory name for people who would say "Waiting periods? Magazine sizes? Scary black assault murder rifles? Hand guns? I do not care, let me alone with my shotgun, I want to shoot wabbits."

Not any more. Even the "fudds" now learned that all these things affects them, that the other side does not care about saving lives, is not interested in any "reasonable gun control", but wants to take all guns without exceptions (and then proceed to sharp instruments, including kitchen knives), and yielding to their pressure is inadvisable in any circumstances.

Consider that in the first part of his presidency they had both parts of the legislature and executive. He got nothing done with all that!

As you note, he made a major tax reform which eliminated loopholes that funnel money to high income Democrats. He ended the PATRIOT act. His supreme court hit rate is 100%, resulting in ending Roe vs Wade, compared to the 50% hit rate for all Republicans since the 80's [1]. He started 0 wars.

He also made Operation Warp Speed happen, saving millions of lives by routing around the regulatory state.

Now I'd prefer DeSantis to Trump. But lets not pretend Trump did nothing; he certainly did far more than I expected, and far more good things than the swamp dwelling Republicans he was running against.

And realistically speaking he also made other Republicans better. In a world without Trump putting wokeness on our radar, would DeSantis be anything other than a generic Republican?

[1] Bush Jr: Roberts and Alito. Bush Sr: Thomas and Souter. Reagan: O'Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Kennedy.

Trump's tax cuts for the rich weren't especially great for rank-and-file Republicans. His SCOTUS appointments could have been accomplished by any R president with a heartbeat. The fact that they're more reliably conservative is more thanks to McConnell and negative partisanship leading to fewer compromise candidates. Trump actually seethed about how "disloyal" his SCOTUS appointments were, as he would have preferred lapdogs rather than principled legal scholars, but thankfully McConnell outmaneuvered him.

I definitely agree that Trump made other Republicans better though, as their MO before him was essentially "chain-surrender on cultural and social issues in order to fellate transnational corporations as much as possible". Trump wasn't as much of a break with that as some people imply, but he at least moved in the right direction.

His SCOTUS appointments could have been accomplished by any R president with a heartbeat. The fact that they're more reliably conservative is more thanks to McConnell and negative partisanship leading to fewer compromise candidates. Trump actually seethed about how "disloyal" his SCOTUS appointments were, as he would have preferred lapdogs rather than principled legal scholars, but thankfully McConnell outmaneuvered him.

This is one of the great ironies of the religious conservatives on the Trumpist right. They hate McConnell for not being a loyal Trumpist and for being a DC insider, while also praising Trump for not fucking up the culmination of McConnell's patient long-term project of assembling a philosophically anti-Roe court. The way Roe was overturned is why we need systemic politically savvy game-players like McConnell. Trump just happened to be there when it hit the tipping point (to Trump's credit, he stayed out of the way).

Now, it looks like Trump might have one more problem on this front, with his squeamishness on the issue raising the hackles of at least one venerable pro-life group: https://nypost.com/2023/04/23/trump-touts-pro-life-record-to-iowa-voters-after-criticism-from-anti-abortion-group/ If this creates a schism in his base, DeSantis looks like a safer pro-life bet.

As you note, he made a major tax reform which eliminated loopholes that funnel money to high income Democrats.

This is the first time I hear about this. All the talk I've seen (predictably) focused on "tax cuts for billionaires". Could you elaborate a bit?

The SALT deduction cap made high-income blue staters and Texans(Texas is the main red state with the level of local taxes that the SALT cap affects) very angry, because high state taxes now had to be paid in full instead of deducted from one's federal tax bill, and ending or raising it is regularly if unsuccessfully demanded by democrats representing high-net-worth voters in blue states.

SALT tax deduction was a way that blue states could raise taxes without making their high income taxpayers angry. Trump capped it, meaning now a rich NYer has to actually pay the high state taxes he advocates for.

Also mortgage interest cap impacts people with multimillion dollar homes who itemize.

OP is probably talking about the SALT deduction cap.

Tangent on those policy proposals -

New cities: Maybe a good idea, but the goodness leans very heavily on details and execution. And explicitly bypassing whatever issues current big cities have, and whatever prevents smaller cities from growing a bit. There's also the perception-reflexivity effect - to make a new big city work in a very short period of time, you need to get a lot of people to invest in an uncertain project. Not that any of that is impossible or even 'hard', every country has done it many times. But I'm not a planning expert, so the first sentence means I can't say much of use about it.

Flying cars: multiple existing companies already sell flying cars, they're just not useful for anything other than a gimmick. Having the same components transform from car-form to plane-form and function to standards in both is just unnecessarily costly. Drive your car to a small plane or helicopter and get in it. And even then, few people use small planes or helicopters, they're just not that useful. I'm not sure if the VTOL startups went anywhere, but that's plausible in a way flying cars isn't.

Rural industries: The words 'revitalize' and 'industry' don't suddenly create industries. Which industries? How? Would that correspond to a significant price increase for normal consumers because they can't buy chinese/vietnamese clothing/chips/trinkets anymore?

Baby bonuses: Just aren't that effective in terms of cost/benefit. And compare to the increase of this, which happened under biden. (Just like welfare, baby bonuses incentivize lower income people more, necessarily)

Beautification campaign: Despite appreciating the 'modern building bad. ancient building good. truth, beauty, wonder. our civilization is in decay' more than a bit, I'm not sure anyone will notice. One reason so much effort went into statues and buildings and paintings, historically, is that there wasn't much else to look at. But now that we have pictures and movies and computers, the interestingness of building aesthetics correspondingly declines. I'm not too familiar with the aesthetic motivations behind modern art and architecture, but I believe that was deeply related. Plus, there are just a ton of buildings, and replacing 1 in 10k core buildings with new ornate architecture won't really change the actual 'feel' of cities as people walk through them very much. A more effective path might be a combination of the YIMBY making building, generally, much easier/more common, and then somehow have most of the new buildings be 'nice'. I'm not sure what the curve of 'ornate tradness' vs cost looks like, but I'd expect costs to be significant, given that labor and material costs of construction are still high (hence it resisting automation), and how much of past cost reductions are in the specific materials and techniques used. Of course, a rich and advanced society could 'pay the cost' and allocate 2% more of its population to making buildings look pretty if we wanted.

Precisely, all of these things are ambitious goals and the devil is in the details. Does anyone trust that Trump can make them happen?

You should check out 'where's my flying car?', he makes a good case for why flying cars would be useful in letting people live much further from workplaces and reducing commuting time. He lays the blame on ridiculous, luddite regulatory systems for suppressing the technology. But he also goes off into all kinds of other tangents, it's not a well-structured book.

I think it's not just that they're ambitious goals with tricky details, it's also that I'm not even sure we want them, due to opportunity costs.

New cities: what's wrong with the current ones, and why can we expect the new ones to be better? I don't see why this wouldn't just be a big waste of resources.

Flying cars: What is wrong with the current system? Proliferation of private flying cars, if they can be made to work, seem like they could be pretty dangerous, both to the people in it, anyone else in the air, and the people on the ground. Is there a reason that wouldn't be true? I suppose also the numbers would have to be run on how much development costs vs. benefits could be expected to behave.

Rural industries: This will require some care as to what exactly "revitalize rural industries" means. If they are doing economically worse than they should because of government regulations or due to externalities, that's great. But if the market is the cause in an unbiased way, then aiding them is at the cost of better use that that money could be put to elsewhere in the country. Subsidies and similar seem dangerous.

Baby bonuses: this one might be worth it, but the numbers would have to be run.

Beautification campaign: the previous comment was good about there being a somewhat lesser value to ornateness now, although I agree it is uglier. But improving everything would be expensive, and I would imagine it would have to be done judiciously to be worth it. So I suppose here it is more clearly an example of the devil being in the details.

New cities could be a way to expand with new forms of government, and let people that have different political opinions from mainstream big cities see if their ideas work.

As the US spread West this type of city formation driven political change was crucial. It kept eastern US societies more stable as well since there was a place to send the misfits.

what's wrong with the current ones, and why can we expect the new ones to be better? I don't see why this wouldn't just be a big waste of resources.

Well there are all kinds of traffic problems with extending urban sprawl, if you want to build anything it costs you a lot of money digging through all these cables and pipes from hundreds of years. And there are many powerful nimbies. Far better to just make new cities with all the necessary infrastructure, insulation, have it all up to standard. Economies of scale in construction, fewer costs from blocking off important infrastructure people need. The Chinese did a good job building extra cities and then filling them up later, they think ahead. But I agree that it would be a waste of resources if Trump was doing it - he'd probably just sign some bills, get some press coverage and move on.

What is wrong with the current system?

I was rereading parts from 'Where's my flying car' and he points out that insurance costs for his light aircraft (made using 1970s technology because investment and development's been crippled) are roughly equal with car insurance. So logically, if most people with flying cars are rich clever people like him, (which they would be since flying cars are still going to be expensive), insurance costs and damage caused should be similar. It'd be less with a better regulatory system and more efficient control technology - excessive regulations mean that aircraft are so expensive many people build their own instead of buying off the shelf planes.

Horses were OK but cars were better and flying cars should be better still. It's like a better, cheaper helicopter.

Rural industries

Subsidizing and supporting industry can be helpful in the long run. If Korea didn't support its domestic car industry, how could they have developed one from scratch when they were so outclassed by the US in technology, market size and experience? If they stuck to Economics 101 Comparative Advantage Good, South Korea would still be an agrarian economy. And why did semiconductor production move to Taiwan and South Korea when the US invented the whole field? Support has to be done in the right ways of course but it's still a good idea. Big countries should have the full range of critical industries like steel, chemicals and so on. You don't want to put a giant steel mill in the heart of New York. I suppose Trump is also happy to develop oil and pipelines in rural areas, contra Biden. In principle it's possible to do this correctly but in practice?

Baby bonuses

Well what is the alternative? Mass migration unravels the nation. Human cloning is not well-developed. My favoured policy of social engineering and affirmative action for parents is not exactly popular. Do we just wait for AGI?

cities

Good points about economies of scale and so on, obstruction by the current status quo, and so on. I'd still have to be persuaded whether or not is sufficient to outweigh the infrastructure already built up in cities, but it now doesn't seem entirely pointless.

flying cars

Maybe that's true now, but if flying cars became normal, there would be a much fuller airspace. I would find it hard to believe that that would not adjust the insurance rates. If a sizable amount of the population owned flying vehicles, crashes and near misses would become much more likely. Of course, 3 dimensional space would help, but desired destinations would concentrate traffic, at least at beginnings and ends of flights. There's probably a stronger case for some usage of flying cars making sense than widespread usage.

Rural industries

That's a good point. I suppose that doesn't account for it needing to be rural, but I think you're right.

Baby bonuses

Yes, I think aiming to raise fertility would be good. There might be more effective options, though.

I think the policy recommendations and critiques found in pronatalist.org's FAQ might be worth looking into. (under "what pronatalist policies are most effective")

Among the things mentioned is more doing cultural things. A tax cut gives financial incentives, but doesn't necessarily convey the message it's trying to send on a cultural level very well.

But I know that he doesn't have the ability to implement it. Consider that in the first part of his presidency they had both parts of the legislature and executive. He got nothing done with all that!

Paul Ryan and John McCain and the rest of the neocon Nevertrumpers stymied him from the beginning, all the way to the vote to cancel Obamacare and the McCain “FU I’m dead anyway” move. The wall was getting built, and until COVID, all of the economic indicators were nice.

This is why electing presidents who have experience with the legislature is critical so you can actually pass stuff. A president without extensive allies and contacts and favors owed in congress is impotent.

Like Mitt Romney? John McCain? Bob Dole the former Senate majority leader? Ron DeSantis is another in this line, from Trumpsters’ perspective.

The people wanted an outsider who would buck the system. They wanted someone who would tell them the truth about how moneyed interests were selling out America. They were denied Bernie, so they chose Trump over Hillary. Then they voted out the legislators who stood in his way. It may have been bad gamesmanship, but so is getting second place perpetually.

Well the whole point was to defeat them - instead they defeated him. The US military went around his back to keep troops stationed in the Middle East. He did not have a firm grip on the judiciary or the instruments of power - they mangled his policies. He was on the defensive most of the time. A strong president would've gotten Hunter Biden imprisoned for corruption, he wouldn't have gotten impeached for it. A strong president would've delivered more tangible results with a trifecta. A strong president wouldn't have been 'monitoring the situation' as his supporters were swept out of twitter and reddit, he would've forced the social media companies to back down. Trump kept bitching and whining and complaining, he didn't use the methods available to impose his will. He could've ended the 2020 riots by deploying troops - if he had ensured that he had a reliable and loyal officer corps.

Everyone treated him with contempt because they knew he was weak. If he spent less time golfing and more time governing, he would've gotten more done.

The task is very difficult and surely needs more youth and energy. I don't know why people expected that from a man in his 70s.

A strong president wouldn't have been 'monitoring the situation' as his supporters were swept out of twitter and reddit, he would've forced the social media companies to back down.

Actually yeah, what the fuck. The largest pro-trump community on the internet was completely wiped out before the 2020 election, and we didn't even get an angerly-worded speech about it. It wasn't on Fox News so he didn't give a shit.

Best evidence there was never a Q euspiracy.

Is this /r/thedonald? Oh man we had fun times there back in the day. That subreddit was the whole reason I voted for Trump in 2016.

It seems to me that a strong candidate is one that wins by 20%; not someone who loses.

DeSantis was very strong during covid. Trump was weak (wouldn’t even fire Fauci). This whole “DeSantis is weak” thing seems astroturfed.

With all of that said, the Republican primary may be brutal. Even if DeSantis wins, Trump will decry the result and could make the general untenable.

If DeSantis loses, does he have a viable path in 2028? Romney went from runner up to nominee in 2012 but who knows.

If you’re RD, do you sit out the 2024 and go for it in 2028? Win or lose this is Trump’s last campaign. If Trump wins, his VP may be popular. If Trump loses, you have a relatively easy lane if you don’t make big mistakes over the next few years.

Honestly, best case for the Republican Party is Trump having a health scare, quitting the race, and throwing support behind RD.

Showing a young executive like RD next to a frail Biden will be quite the contrast and I doubt Biden will be Reagan like with quips about not taking advantage of his opponent’s youth and inexperience.

It's funny how Trump is worse for the Republicans than he is for the Democrats.

A geriatric Biden can only beat 1 candidate, and that candidate is Trump. Trump sucks the air out of any room he is in. An election with Trump is an election about getting a democratic candidate who can blend into the background, and allow the hate train to build on its own. An election with DeSantis it becomes about the issues. Biden would have to actually speak during the debates to beat DeSantis. Would allow Biden to speak, and Biden would absolutely dig hos own grave faster than Desantis.

With Trump, Biden could piss his pants in a debate, and people wouldn't even notice it. Democrats and Republicans alike will only be looking at Trump, with their minds warped to imagine dreams/nightmares that no reality could match.

Showing a young executive like RD next to a frail Biden will be quite the contrast and I doubt Biden will be Reagan like with quips about not taking advantage of his opponent’s youth and inexperience.

Agreed. I see a rock paper scissors scenario opening up.

Biden > Trump > DeSantis > Biden

An election with DeSantis it becomes about the issues.

And one of those issues is the six week Abortion ban he signed into law. If DeSantis had held the line at 15 weeks he would have had a really good shot but this will be the first post-Dobbs presidential election and there's no way for DeSantis to occupy a more popular middle ground position on abortion with any credibility after that.

I'm not sure that early abortion bans are Kryptonite for republicans in the same way everyone seems to assume. Even granted that they're unpopular, Abbott, Dewine, and Kemp all got reelected with unusually good margins while having recently passed fairly strict abortion laws. In the case of Abbott there is literally polling showing that Texans preferred O'Rourke on abortion and not other issues, while Abbott claimed multiple times on live TV(albeit not widely watched TV) that the most important issue for him was keeping abortion 100% illegal. Dewine had a major news story about a pregnant 10 year old rape victim who couldn't get an abortion because of his policies.

Granted that the electorates in Texas, Ohio, and Georgia are probably more pro-life than average, but they're not that much more prolife. Desantis is also better at message discipline and media control than average.

"I have no intention of pursuing a federal abortion ban as that matter is best left to the state level legislatures, as the Supreme Court made clear."

Man, that was easy.

I'm sure that's what he will say I just don't think the public will buy it. 'I think abortion is baby murder but you can trust me not to do anything about it' isn't particularly trustworthy after the 'Roe is settled law' judges went mask off with Dobbs.

"This is clearly a lie, as we can see from his previous behavior, supporters, and party platform" followed by a bunch of clipchimping and scary music.

Anybody who is on the prochoice side is incredibly ready to believe that republicans want a federal ban, because lots of them do and say so.

Doesn't even matter if it's not true; it's republican Death Panels style of thing.

The problem is of course, I'm sure ole' Meatball Ron has voted for restrictions multiple times on the federal level while he's in Congress, will be endorsed by numerous groups that want pro-life restrictions on the national level, and I'm sure the 2024 GOP convention will endorse national pro-life legislation.

More importantly, there's about .01% of the population cares about federalism - all they'll know is the GOP candidate signed a restrictive abortion law. Plus, the Liberal Media and SuperPAC's will have plenty of time to talk about the GOP's long history of supporting federal abortion bans and basically push the idea, "do you trust what Ron DeSantis says or what the Republican Party has said for 40 years", or whatever a smarter person than me can write.

Plus, there's just a decent chance that to try to win over evangelical voters in Iowa, he'll just go ahead and endorse federal restrictions to try to win a caucus.

I've been baffled by the sudden media deluge of people proclaiming that DeSantis can't beat Trump. DeSantis hasn't even declared he's running yet. It would be one thing if he had a sudden gaffe or something that got everyone talking, but I'm seeing articles, videos, tweets from "personalities" left and right beating DeSantis with any stick they have handy and declaring that he's already lost when the contest hasn't even begun. This strikes me more as an attempt by those who want Trump to be the Republican candidate (both on the right and on the left) to either pre-emtively take the wind out of DeSantis's sails or convince him not to run.

Chill out people. The primaries are a long way away, this is way to early to declare winners and losers.

This comment reminds me of this internet comic. Of course there's still a long way to go, but polls early in the primary are still fairly predictive of the ultimate outcome. For all intents and purposes Desantis is already running with the Florida legislative session just being an extended PR stunt of "what I would do if I got into federal office!". The fact that Desantis is losing support even this far out still isn't a good thing. Desantis will need to pull off an Obama vs Clinton in '08 feat to surpass Trump. The weaker he looks, the more likely other candidates are to jump in and bite into his chunk of the pie. His pseudo campaign so far has been pathetic, as it's clear he's terrified of directly attacking Trump when the reverse isn't true in the slightest.

Jesus Christ THIS.

Desantis hasn't officially declared. If (when) he does he's going to come out with a bevy of pre-arranged endorsements, and likely a massive set of ads and an actual, you know, campaign. Merely announcing he's running will boost his immediate popularity.

He's no stranger to fighting close electoral battles. He's not flying blind here. So maybe try not to be premature in assuming the current situation is representative of the future outcome. Or, if you are, lets place some actual bets.

I watched Desantis blow even the elevated expectations he had going into 2022 election season out of the water. I'll gladly accept 50/50 odds of Desantis clinching the nom right now.

Anyone who is pretending to know that Desantis is too weak to go the distance, at this point in the game, is giving away their own wishful thinking.

On the one hand…yeah, this is endless horse race nonsense. Gotta churn up page views and eyeballs, let’s make up some Trump vs. DeSantis drama.

On the other hand…a lot of Florida lawmakers endorsed Trump. Which is part of a growing drumbeat of stories that DeSantis is really quite the unlikeable asshole. A very loud drumbeat. A very, very loud drum beat with lots and lots of anecdotes that DeSantis has terrible people skills, and with very few stories of how he’s a swell guy.

I don’t know. Everyone seemed to like DeSantis when they knew his policies…but now that he’s more in the public eye and people can actually hear his voice and see how he interacts with people…dude doesn’t have a lot of charm, and Trump, god help me for praising Trump, but Trump does have a certain rakish charisma.

Which is part of a growing drumbeat of stories that DeSantis is really quite the unlikeable asshole. A very loud drumbeat. A very, very loud drum beat with lots and lots of anecdotes that DeSantis has terrible people skills, and with very few stories of how he’s a swell guy.

More stories than there have been over the last seven years about Trump being unlikable and hard to work with?

Which is part of a growing drumbeat of stories that DeSantis is really quite the unlikeable asshole. A very loud drumbeat. A very, very loud drum beat with lots and lots of anecdotes that DeSantis has terrible people skills, and with very few stories of how he’s a swell guy.

You really think Trump will defeat DeSantis because DeSantis is too much of an unlikeable asshole? Are we talking about the same Donald Trump here?

Anyway, this is politics. If you hear a drumbeat, think Foley artists, not restless natives.

Compared to DeSantis? Yeah.

Trump is an omega-level asshole…but he can schmooze. He can work a crowd, and he can do interviews. I have seen no evidence yet DeSantis can do that. Have you actually heard him speak? He has zero charisma—none. Trump has a toxic, used car salesman charisma, but at least he has it, whereas DeSantis is an awkward blank.

How did DeSantis win Florida?

Originally, Trump endorsed him, then the Florida Democrats were the Florida Democrats they've been since the 50's (after all, they were one of the first Dixiecrat parties to lose power to the GOP within the South) outside of Lawton Chiles and Bob Graham, then piggybacking off the rise of Spanish right-wing radio, general ambivalence toward COVID restrictions in a tourism-friendly state (note the only incumbent Governor to lose in 2022 was Sisolak in Nevada), and lots and lots of free money from the government via the COVID bill to pay for tax raises, and not being totally incompetent when it came to the hurricanes.

At the same time, Rubio won by almost the same amount DeSantis did, without all the Culture War stuff.

So anyway, I was discussing the great replacement theory with a far-righter earlier, and I said that immigration had little to no effect on native birthrates, citing Japan and Korea as examples.

That pointed to a far more likely culprit, education as a whole (not just women’s). South Korea and Japan can’t seem to stop "investing in the future" by making their and their kids’ lives hell. Naturally, to escape the vicious cycle, they end up abolishing the future.

Isn’t it weird that a prominent justification for making money in our society is ‘sending my kids to college’? Anyone who refuses to do so is shamed with accusations of selfishness and not wanting their kids to succeed. They then choose the alternative path where kids aren’t even in the picture, so they’re free to be selfish in peace. We’re copenhagen ethics-ing humanity into slow painless extinction.

Trads like to assign the blame to female education, but most of the arguments apply to men as well. People are wasting 5-15 years of their lives on a very expensive vacation, at best, when they could be having kids. We want them to make that important decision early, and nothing sobers a young man quicker than staring decades of drudgery in the face.

It’s time to abandon our rosy view of Education as just an intolerable burden on the living. The unborn are its primary victims. Your children cry out: “Mum! Dad! Why do you let my Evil Professor keep me here? Why can’t I liiive? “

Say No To School. Choose Life.

Isn’t it weird that a prominent justification for making money in our society is ‘sending my kids to college’?

Which makes the Marc Andreesen post about how flat screen TVs that cover your whole wall will soon cost $100 while a college education will cost $1,000,000 even scarier. Will we normalize taking out med school levels of debt for all degrees, and which people/parents will be stuck paying off for their entire lives?

Pricing the lower middle class out of college, so only those with generational wealth, those willing to take on a lifetime of debt, and those on scholarships can be elevated to the halls of power. The first group is already aligned with the elites, the second group is made of debt-slaves stuck doing whatever the system demands, and the third is beholden to the politics of pull.

Power grab. They’re finalizing one-party rule right before our eyes.

Schooling is part of the problem but really this isn't monocausal. If you want the monocausal explanation then it's "children cost too much", people retort that economic incentives don't work, so it can't be an economic problem but they just don't understand the sheer magnitude of the problem. In a preindustrial society, the kind of society with high birth rates, children are a source of wealth: you can put them to work around the house and in the field as young as 5 years old, it's basically free labor.

In our contem