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Culture War Roundup for the week of January 15, 2024

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https://apnews.com/article/ron-desantis-250c8ed4b49843350e258f0c2754c8ba

Ron Desantis has dropped out of the republican presidential primary and endorsed Trump.

Now, obviously, this will not change the end result- Trump will win the primary and obtain the republican nomination. But, there is a dim chance that it takes Haley into the #1 spot in New Hampshire, embarrassing for Trump, by consolidating the anti-Trump vote. Granted this is an increase from like 5% to 10%, but it's more likely to give Nikki Haley a boost before a do-or-die primary for her. It's I guess dimly possible that there's a few voters undecided between Desantis and Haley who will now support Trump, but I have to think this isn't a very big group.

Ron Desantis will likely try to find a Trump cabinet position; but it seems likely that he won't get one. Trump's broadsides against Desantis have lasted long enough to think they might be genuine. I would expect Desantis to finish his term and then look into either a senate seat, or a run in 2028.

It was always dumb of DeSantis to try and beat Trump. Trump is like 90 years old, just wait for him to die.

Trump is 77 and at least seems to be in remarkably good physical condition.

I'm always disappointed by people who make these actuarial assumptions about individual people (Looking at you Robert Mugabe). Even while being fat and old, Trump has great healthcare and seems professionally active, he could easily live into the 2040s

If Trump is still running for President in 2040... I mean, I don't really want to think about that.

Yes. His dad lived to 94, and while he is much fatter than his father was there is mixed evidence on whether being overweight is actually all that bad for you if you’re very elderly.

It is bad, but most of the elderly ills make you lose a lot of weight. So the thin population is bimodal. I think the hierarchy is something like old thin healthy, old fat, old thin sick. Being old and fat may mean that at least some of your machinery is working as expected. Where as some population of the old thin - nothing is working - so this skews the results a bit.

True, and you do have quite a few people who make it to 100 with a paunch, after which point getting thin is usually a bad sign (I recall the late queen thinned out pretty dramatically in her last couple of years).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4831285/

However, the question as to whether BMI may predict prognosis in patients with metastatic cancer remains open. We therefore designed the current retrospective study to investigate the potential association between BMI and overall survival (OS) in patients with distant metastases (DM) and a favorable performance status. Between 2000 and 2012, a total of 4010 cancer patients with DM who required radiotherapy (RT) and had their BMI measured at the initiation of RT were identified. The relation between BMI and OS was examined by univariate and multivariable analysis. The median OS time was 3.23 months (range: 0.1–122.17) for underweight patients, 6.08 months (range: 0.03–149.46) for normal‐weight patients, 7.99 months (range: 0.07–158.01) for overweight patients, and 12.49 months (range, 0.2–164.1) for obese patients (log‐rank: P < 0.001). Compared with normal‐weight patients, both obese (HR = 0.676; 95% P < 0.001) and overweight individuals (HR = 0.84; P < 0.001) had a reduced risk of all‐cause mortality in multivariable analysis. Conversely, underweight patients had a significantly higher risk of death from all causes (HR = 1.41; P < 0.001). Overweight and obesity are independent predictors of better OS in metastatic patients with a good performance status. Increased BMI may play a role to identify metastatic patients with superior survival outcome and exhibit a potential to encourage aggressive management in those patients even with metastases.

Well, if you're dying of cancer, all that fat gives the tumor something to eat that is slightly less important than the rest of you.

One more reason I give the poor bastards ice cream, beyond the cardiovascular benefits.

But it’s not just cancer patients. Peripheral vascular disease too.

As your study says:

Recent studies conducted in patients with chronic diseases have reported an inverse association between body mass index (BMI) and mortality.

So where doesn't it? A dozen specific explanations aren't satisfactory.

Like regular ice cream and alcohol consumption, overweight BMI is one of those things that annoy modern medicine by stubbornly correlating with lower mortality.

One more reason I give the poor bastards ice cream, beyond the cardiovascular benefits.

And the fun. But don’t forget the alcohol. My grandma’s universal cure showed a deeper understanding of the human body than all of modern medicine: If I even thought about looking pale, she would forcefeed me delicious desserts, baba au rum, black forest cake, rinced down with a warm grog.

https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2156

Overweight and obesity is associated with increased risk of all cause mortality and the nadir of the curve was observed at BMI 23-24 among never smokers, 22-23 among healthy never smokers, and 20-22 with longer durations of follow-up. The increased risk of mortality observed in underweight people could at least partly be caused by residual confounding from prediagnostic disease. Lack of exclusion of ever smokers, people with prevalent and preclinical disease, and early follow-up could bias the results towards a more U shaped association.

https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3324

Indices of central fatness including waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, waist-to-thigh ratio, body adiposity index, and A body shape index, independent of overall adiposity, were positively and significantly associated with a higher all cause mortality risk. Larger hip circumference and thigh circumference were associated with a lower risk. The results suggest that measures of central adiposity could be used with body mass index as a supplementary approach to determine the risk of premature death.

https://europepmc.org/article/pmc/4855514

Relative to normal weight, both obesity (all grades) and grades 2 and 3 obesity were associated with significantly higher all-cause mortality. Grade 1 obesity overall was not associated with higher mortality, and overweight was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality. The use of predefined standard BMI groupings can facilitate between-study comparisons.

TLDR: Being overweight and grade 1 obese are not that bad for you, and being slightly overweight can tentatively be considered beneficial. Confounders abound, beyond my ability to unconfound. But being fat fat? Bad idea.

My grandma’s universal cure showed a deeper understanding of the human body than all of modern medicine: If I even thought about looking pale, she would forcefeed me delicious desserts, baba au rum, black forest cake, rinced down with a warm grog.

My grandfather calls me anemic every time he sees me, and to be fair, last time I passed out and hit my head, the VBG showed I was 0.3 g% below the cutoff. Though his solution was iron tablets. And he's a doctor too.

https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2156

Imo they're trying to get it as low as possible, just mining for the right combination of factors:

In the analysis of all participants the lowest mortality was observed in those with a BMI of around 25. In subgroup analyses, however, the lowest mortality was observed in the BMI range of 23-24 among never smokers, 22-23 among healthy never smokers, and 20-22 among studies of never smokers with longer durations of follow-up (≥20 and ≥25 years).

On the curves, the mortality at 30 BMI is roughly the same as 20, and 18 is way worse than 32, so I strongly suspect aesthetic (and perhaps ascetic) considerations tainted the definition of the seemingly ‘healthy range’ of 18-25.

IIRC previous discussions here said that although facing off with Trump was a big risk, DeSantis may have believed that his best shot would be to ride his "tough on woke and covid overreach" image to victory while people still remembered and cared about those things. Looks like it didn't pan out.

Not really analysis but something I found amusing.

I read a Forbes article doing a retrospective on Desantis' campaign. That article happened to mention his polling peak was about a year ago and links to 538 as a citation. Not good to peak a year before a single vote was cast! The icing is, as ballotpedia notes, Desantis didn't even announce until May 2023! His polling peak was months before he announced and it's all down hill from there (contrary to Haley who is gaining in polls). The more republican primary voters got to know Ron Desantis the less they wanted to vote for him apparently.

It peaked but a comeback was still possible in 2023 , just improbable. Politics is full of surprises and comebacks.

The more republican primary voters got to know Ron Desantis the less they wanted to vote for him apparently.

I think it was more to do with being overshadowed by Trump, literally in the case of being physically smaller. Without Trump, DeSantis is competitive; in late 2022 he polled ahead of Trump for a few months or so on the anti-wokeness angle, which was no small feat. Regarding relatability ,is he worse than Romney, yet he was nominated.

damn. Was not expecting him to fold so soon. Good thing I did not have money on this. His campaign flamed out worse than I expected.

Trump will win the primary and obtain the republican nomination.

It's an actuarial question now--what are the odds he dies or is arrested and prevented from running.

I expect that the main outcome of this is that Trump gets more attention before the end of the primary than he otherwise would have, and this is bad for him in the General because it gives him more time for gaffes and senior moments.

Of course, it could also free up more attention for Biden, giving him more time for gaffes and senior moments as well.

Seriously, whoever hosts the first Trump/Biden debate could save us all a lot of time and energy by just asking both candidates to draw a clock. It's all pretty sad.

But I guess we'll see what happens. VPs are going to be a lot more important this cycle.

There is absolutely no chance of a debate.

Reasoning?

To my knowledge that's never happened before since the first televised debates.

Of course a lot of weird stuff is happening but that level of confidence still requires a story.

They've already set the precedent with Trump not debating for the primary, and Katie Hobbs not participating in her Gubernatorial debates in Arizona.

Biden has nothing to gain from debating Trump. Not only that, but Biden has all but completely stopped talked to the public aside from rehearsed speeches. On the rare occasions that they hold something roughly resembling a press conference, the questions appear to be preset, with the people asking them also preset. He won't even get in front of more or less friendly-to-him journalists. There's no way he's going to get in front of an openly hostile Trump.

You think so? I'll bet there's a debate.

Gentleman’s wager of $5?

A debate in this case is: Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the same room on the same stage at the same time with the ability to interrupt each other, and a moderator.

Televised live.

I'm fine with all of that except ability to interrupt each other. I'd be happy if that were taken away. Or at least systematized--IIRC Scott proposed a system where each candidate has 1 minute of total interrupt time, and they can press a button at any time to turn off their opponent's mic and use it.

Yeah, but then you get into them basically having a 'town hall' or something that is close to the types of 'press conferences' (where the questions, answers, and people asking them are all pre-programmed) that Joe Biden has on the rare occasions where he is willing to speak to the public.

That doesn't feel like a debate at all, just like those "press conferences" don't feel like press conferences.

(I'm not saying that this is the optimal debate. I'm just saying that this is how the debates have gone for 20+ years, and I think this is the first cycle we won't have one)

I think you win (your point has been vindicated) if they do get rid of interruption, it's just not something I'm willing to bet against. I can't imagine the public would appreciate Biden skipping out on a debate entirely, so procedural changes are probably as far as he'd go to skew things in his favor.

Donald Trump will be 82 years old in 2028 and Joe Biden will be 86 years old, assuming that they are both still alive by then. For comparison’s sake, Leonid Brezhnev died in office as General Secretary of the USSR Communist Party at age 75. His successor, Yuri Andropov, died at age 69. He was followed in the 1980s by Constantin Chernenko who died in office at age 73.

Some historians argue that the Soviet’s gerontocracy contributed to that country’s demise, as older, risk-averse leaders left their nations brittle and unprepared for change. The trend of elderly leaders changed, as you all know, with Mikhail Gorbachev (aged 54 when he took office in 1985), youthful by comparison. He was the first such leader to actually grow up his whole life in the USSR. He was a true believer, having been a party functionary since his youth. He genuinely believed that his proposals—perestroika and glasnost—would strengthen the state for years to come. He reflected the naive mindset that bought the Helsinki Accords hook, line, and sinker.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to compare those Accords with modern-day Wokism currently afflicting Western European culture. The older generation of leaders will roll their eyes. But they signed on to it. The next batch of younger idealist leaders—the Gorbachevs of our future—will take Wokism seriously to the detriment of our national integrity.

Expect woke-sympathetic Western leaders to act with indecision (or even create the groundwork for a national fracturing) when racial unrest in our new multi-racial societies boils over. Our future leaders will be expected to cash the checks that today’s elderly statesmen are writing. Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be long gone, but the culture of wokism will linger with us for a generation to come.

new multi-racial societies boils over

The US hasn't been even close to monoracial for a very long time. About 17% of Americans in the 19th century were black.

But very unevenly distributed, such that in fact huge portions of the country were monoracial or close enough to count.

True. And for those areas that weren't, there was relatively little racial mixing going on. Even among whites, denominational distinctions segregated society in ways that are very unfamiliar to modern Americans.

I think the complaints about gerontocracy by left, centrist, and right-leaning people are more a picture of some odd timing than a long-term issue that people try to pretend it is.

In the House, it's already fixed itself. Jefferies is the leader of the Democrat's, and Mike Johnson is the Speaker, and even if he gets knifed, another normal-aged Republican will replace him, eventually. Before that, Pelosi only lasted as long as she did, because her preferred successor got beaten in a primary by AOC, and it was thought she was the only one who could keep the House majority together, and her new preferred successor needed some seasoning.

In the Senate, McConnell's stepping down after his term is over, and Schumer likely will pretty soon as well.

Biden only ran in 2020, because he thought he was the only one who could defeat Trump, and thought the same in 2024.

In 2028, on the GOP side, there will either be Trump, or a bunch of Republican leaders of normal politician age - DeSantis, Noem, Cruz, Vance, Stefanik, et all.

Same thing on the Democratic side - Bernie isn't running again, but Newsom, Whitmer, Pritzker, Kamala, maybe AOC, etc.

Again, have your own personal views on all those people, but their all within standard issue politician age ranges.

I don't get the age obsession , or why this is that miraculous or surprising. People living a long time these days. Good genes , modern healthcare, a 'purpose-driven life' all help. Buffett, Munger, Kissinger...lots of people who were/are fully productive in their 90s or even 100s just before death. Contrary to Richard Hanania, I want to see more old people in politics and positions of power, if only because that gives hope for the rest of us. Age cutoffs, or ageism overall, just means shooting yourself in the foot as you approach that cutoff. It's giving yourself fewer options. Reagan and Trump, despite advanced age ,took active ownership or control of their presidencies, similar to Clinton or Obama.

Also, it helps unleash more human capital. The notion that old people in power crowd out young people is similar to the 'lump of labor' argument that technology destroys jobs--yes it destroys some jobs but has a net-positive effect of more jobs. Unlocking more human capital, and prolonging the productive lifespan of humans, means more economic growth and jobs overall. There are some edge cases like tenure, in which unproductive staff stay too long. But this is endemic with the tenure system and can be fixed with a more meritocratic or results-focused system.

I think the issue is one of being so behind the times that they can’t really grasp the issues that will come with increasing technology. 80 years ago, computers were rare devices that most ordinary people wouldn’t be using. The internet itself was unknown to most until 35 years ago. I’m not really sure I want someone who would have trouble setting up a home router making internet policy or other technology policies because they don’t understand how this stuff works.

I’m not really sure I want someone who would have trouble setting up a home router making internet policy or other technology policies because they don’t understand how this stuff works.

I am not certain the comparison is favorable to young people. Let's imagine your average 70-80 year old who started their corporate career in their twenties: born in 1954-1944, started their career in 1974-1964, retired at 65 in 2019-2009. During their career nearly all job that involved paperwork got electrified and then computerized: they have seen electro-mechanical typewriters, teleprinters, faxes, calculators, sevral generations of copying machines and printers, DOS, pagers, MS-DOS, email, web during the dot-com boom, dumb phones, remembered several phone numbers, and used all major popular versions of Windows and Office and Excel until Windows XP (possibly Windows Vista, 7, 8, even 10 depending if we are talking about average 60-70 years who retired in early or late 2010s). And that is a median office worker. During their free time, they have bought analog TVs, read magazines and newspapers that had be bought and distributed by mail, sent mail by themselves, visited library that had physical card catalogue system that got computerized several times over, switched their sound system from vinyls to cassettes to CDs to (maybe) MP3s, bought a car that didn't refuse to start because of a failed firmware update, and when driving that car, navigated with paper map instead of spoon-fed directions, and quite likely tried to set up VCR at least once.

Uncharitably, the average 20 year old is more used to touchscreens than keyboards, does not know what is "file path", possibly not even what is a "file"; is lost if the document they need is not listed in the Word "recently opened", or is asked to install software not in app store.

More importantly, I believe the 20 year olds are much more susceptible to "fish don't know about water" myopia than the grandpa who remembers who things used to be. Assuming the grandpa is not demented.

Granted, the optimal person probably is someone 50-60 year old (they probably actually set up that VCR most often).

ETA: The point about VCRs is that it was more complex thing than any router setup I have done in the past 5 years.

That's the issue with someone who's 70. When we start hitting 80 it's a fear of cognitive decline. Same reason they have to take more regular driving tests, improved modern healthcare or no.

The problem I have in the modern era is that the 65~ retirement age is being preserved for the boomers as a legacy of an age where you worked with your hands and died 5-10 years after retiring. Without generating anywhere near the amount of expense and medical drama that somebody in the last few years can and will these days.

For comparison’s sake, Leonid Brezhnev died in office as General Secretary of the USSR Communist Party at age 75. His successor, Yuri Andropov, died at age 69. He was followed in the 1980s by Constantin Chernenko who died in office at age 73.

How many of these guys where alcoholics/smokers?

2/3. Brezhnev was sodden and had developed a massive tolerance for alcohol. Andropov was fairly sober, as far as I know, but he did die of kidney problems and as a KGB-adjacent man he would be very good at having embarassing details hidden. Chernenko's most notable achievement was that he was the only one who could outdrink Brezhnev and was a good drinking buddy for him; thorough years of heavy drinking in his native Siberian winters, Chernenko seems to have developed such a tolerance (and almost constant state of being mildly tipsy) that he was apparently never visibly drunk. Chernenko was also a heavy smoker, which led to his death from emphysema.

Added to that, how much better is gerontology in the 2020s than in the 80s?

I notice I am confused. There is a 10-15% chance that the Supreme Court rules Trump ineligible for the presidency. There is an additional 10-15% chance that Trump is literally in jail by the time the convention rolls around. Just because DeSantis can't beat Trump in a primary doesn't mean he has no chance. Even if he doesn't have the money for an active campaign, endorsing Trump kills his momentum for a "told you so" convention chaos campaign.

It is the smart thing to do if he thinks: Trump will be nominated, return the favor by tapping him as VP, and then pivot off that for a 2028 run like Bush in 1988 with the help of Trump's endorsement.

Doubt Trump promised DeSantis VP although I suppose it’s possible.

My understanding is that 1. The Supreme Court isn't in a position to decide whether Trump is ineligible, just whether or not states are individually allowed to make that decision for themselves, and 2. You can run for and become President from jail, and then just pardon yourself.

  1. The Supreme Court isn't in a position to decide whether Trump is ineligible, just whether or not states are individually allowed to make that decision for themselves,

Questions Presented:

Did the Colorado Supreme Court err in ordering President Trump excluded from the 2024 presidential primary ballot?

And to be explicit, from the petition for certorari

The Court should also reverse the Colorado Supreme Court’s holding that President Trump “engaged in insurrection.”

First, the events of January 6, 2021, were not “insurrection” as that term is used in Section 3.

“Insurrection” as understood at the time of the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment meant the taking up of arms and waging war upon the United States. When considered in the context of the time, this makes sense. The United States had undergone a horrific civil war in which over 600,000 combatants died, and the very survival of the nation was in doubt. Focusing on war-making was the logical result...

Moreover, nothing that President Trump did “engaged” in “insurrection.”

SCOTUS could narrow the question, or people could make the argument he was disqualified for other reasons (emoluments fandom go!), but "can Trump disqualified under the terms of Section 3" is absolutely within SCOTUS' ambit and the upcoming oral arguments.

If Trump were removed, you don't want to be anti Trump Told You So, you want to be Trump's Avenger.

The only reason Trump being removed from contention through lawfare is a serious concern is because there is no credible heir. This entire campaign most of the candidates refused to attack Trump with have the severity he deserved because they were hoping he would be forced out and they didn't want to piss off his voters.

At this point if anything interesting happens it will happen after the primaries.

There’s a low-single digit percent chance of trump being ruled ineligible. Colorado and Maine’s theory is that the 14th amendment is self-executing, so the states can remove trump from the ballot. Even if the Supreme Court doesn’t slap their hands, the ruling would be that individual states can remove Trump from the ballot since it’s self executing, and Trump definitely won’t have his path to a majority removed by that(it may get reduced, of course, but I don’t see Arizona and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania all doing it).

Is that where the prediction markets are? I think the SCOTUS probability is overestimated.

This market has been pretty consistent at 80-90% that the Colorado decision is reversed. I think people tend to underestimate the likelihood of an affirmation for a couple of reasons:

  1. Supreme Court justices are electorally insulated from the excesses of Trumpism.

  2. Conservative Supreme Court justices are uniquely predisposed to be unsympathetic towards mobs of people storming government buildings to protest official processes they disagree with.

Unfortunately the Supreme Court isn't the end of it unless they rule categorically that Trump is and will remain eligible, which seems unlikely. The only real way to do that is are the related, very dodgy "The Presidency isn't an office under the constitution" and "The Presidential oath isn't an oath to support the constitution" arguments. Roberts might like those, but I don't know about the others. If they claim the standard of law used was wrong, the Colorado Supreme Court on remand can just claim that even under the Supreme Court's given standard of law, Trump is out (They can do this whether or not it plainly makes sense or not, as with the various gun control cases following Bruen). Even if SCOTUS demands an actual conviction, Jack Smith can just whip up a DC jury and get one.

There is a strict "did Trump commit insurrection (or aid/comfort enemies) as defined by 14th Amendment" option. It has some benefit in the sense that the dicta could cordone off efforts to disqualify people other than Trump, although I expect it's even less appealing to Roberts and a good few other people on the conservative side of the bench, especially with how mushy it'd have to go between factual analysis and legal analysis.

That said, I think you're being insufficiently paranoid. There's a lot of problems with any result that doesn't either clearly disqualify him, or clearly mark attempts to disqualify as violating a clearly established statutory or constitutional right, that are far bigger than Trump or the 2024 elections.

There is a strict "did Trump commit insurrection (or aid/comfort enemies) as defined by 14th Amendment" option.

The Supreme Court in its role as an appeals court would not decide this question; it's a question for a trial court. As an appeals court it can only say that the legal theory the court used to decide Trump committed insurrection is wrong, or that factual findings it made were baseless or wrongly admitted (e.g. admitting January 6 hearing testimony). And even the trial court can only look at the case put before it; nothing the Colorado courts do precludes a Federal trial for insurrection in DC. So the only way the Court can actually settle the issue is by declaring that as a matter of law, Trump cannot be disqualified full stop.

That said, I think you're being insufficiently paranoid. There's a lot of problems with any result that doesn't either clearly disqualify him, or clearly mark attempts to disqualify as violating a clearly established statutory or constitutional right, that are far bigger than Trump or the 2024 elections.

Those problems are unavoidable no matter what the result. Anything that clearly disqualifies him marks the whole Federal election system as clearly illegitimate to maybe 30% of the population, maybe a bit more. Anything that does not marks the Supreme Court as clearly illegitimate to maybe 40% of the population (a 40% including most of the elites and those in government), maybe a bit more. Anything that leaves it muddy will have to be resolved one way or another by the election, unless Trump dies.

The Supreme Court in its role as an appeals court would not decide this question; it's a question for a trial court. As an appeals court it can only say that the legal theory the court used to decide Trump committed insurrection is wrong, or that factual findings it made were baseless or wrongly admitted (e.g. admitting January 6 hearing testimony).

While extraordinarily unlikely, it's at least procedurally possible for SCOTUS to provide dicta far broader than a ruling itself, such as defining Section 3 insurrection specifically or requiring specific types and grades of behavior that isn't present here. People can (and probably will!) still defy that! cfe my Bruen rants. But it's an option that makes those things defiance.

And even the trial court can only look at the case put before it; nothing the Colorado courts do precludes a Federal trial for insurrection in DC.

That's fairer, and while the timeline for an insurrection trial is wildly implausible, there's nothing preventing people from taking some other federal conviction and (even implausibly) reading it as a Section 3-disqualifying behavior.

Anything that leaves it muddy will have to be resolved one way or another by the election, unless Trump dies.

I wish I was that optimistic: this weapon doesn't get put away just because the highest-profile target disappears, and it doesn't stop on November 6th or even January of next year.

Smith won’t be able to do that in time.

IMO the most convincing argument (and what I think SCOTUS is most likely to base its decision on) is that section 3 disqualification, specifically, is not self-executing under section 5, and that some specific action (legislation?) by Congress is necessary to invoke it, which has not happened in this case.

On the other hand, I doubt a partisan Congress (maybe even a single house) passing a simple-majority resolution that "[X] is disqualified from seeking office under the Fourteenth Amendment" really should be sufficient either.

Section 5 has a bunch of parallels in other amendments—it would be weird if that meant that slavery was effectively legal unless Congress passed legislation, under the 13th amendment. I don't find that terribly convincing.

I think the best case is just that what Trump did didn't rise to that level, but I don't know that that works out legally the right way for SCOTUS to rule on. I also wouldn't be shocked if they argued that one of the former acts suspending it like the one in 1872 applies to modern cases too. Maybe the officers one, but that seems tenuous to me, since it sounds like the people at the time generally agreed that the presidency was an office, from what I've heard.

As I said elsewhere, I hope Congress just suspends this whole contentious clause in this and all other cases, because once the Supreme Court rules, as soon as there's a clear standard, everyone will be trying to shoehorn their political opponents into that standard, across the board, not just Trump.

Section 5 has a bunch of parallels in other amendments—it would be weird if that meant that slavery was effectively legal unless Congress passed legislation, under the 13th amendment. I don't find that terribly convincing.

In fairness functionally other sections of the 14th amendment were not enforced until the Civil Rights Act a century later, whether or not that was legally reasonable or what the lawmakers intended.

The "not self-executing" argument is the same as the "requires a conviction" one; a conviction under 18 U.S. Code § 2383 would disqualify Trump.

A difference would still lie in whether Congress alone can disqualify a candidate without the involvement of the judiciary, given that they don't have the power to pass bills of attainder.

That wouldn't make sense under the text of section three, specifically, "but Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability." If section three required congressional action, then congress would only need a simple majority of each house, since they could just amend the law or pass a special resolution.

Also, as I understand it, Colorado's case is based on a Republican-led Originalist reading of the relevant law, which is exactly what the conservative justices who lead the court have staked their entire careers on, and is pretty open-and-shut obviously correct on that reading.

They may well abandon all their claimed principles and make an activist ruling of some type, but I think people are too confident that they will. I think people assume that because what Colorado is doing seems surprising and weird and motivated it must de facto have no strong basis in law, but I think that's just not true.

  • -14

Also, as I understand it, Colorado's case is based on a Republican-led Originalist reading of the relevant law, which is exactly what the conservative justices who lead the court have staked their entire careers on, and is pretty open-and-shut obviously correct on that reading.

It certainly is not open and shut obviously correct. The 14th amendment states "that anyone who "shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against [the US], or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof" is ineligible to hold office. Trump has not done any of those things. He has not remotely done any of those things.

He's certainly given aid and comfort, the question is whether the people he gave aid and comfort to were insurrectionists.

No, if there were a legitimate question here, it would be whether the people he gave aid and comfort to were "enemies thereof", that is, enemies of the United States. Insurrectionists would not necessarily be enemies of the United States. As far as I know, no state of war existed between the rioters and the United States, so the narrowest definition is not fulfilled.

I don't really agree with that but even if we accept your premise, it seems pretty obvious to me that the rioters are not "enemies of the United States" (which is what the text says he would've had to give aid and comfort to). They are citizens who were trying to effect what they saw as positive change for the country, not trying to undermine it.

I mean were the Confederates not that? Most people believe that what they are doing is for a good cause. That's certainly never been a criminal defense in any other situation, AFAIK.

Also I'm not sure it matters what the average useful idiot on the frontline thought, if it was being organized and armed by people with a different motive. If there was a plot by anyone to defraud the election, even if it's only a minority of organizers behind the overall movement, that's still a set of insurrectionists that were aided and comforted.

It was definitely an armed invasion of the capital while votes for President were being counted with the intention of disrupting that process, in which legislators were evacuted by security and held in a secure location, in which property was damaged and stolen, in which people were injured and killed.

People were prosecuted and imprisoned for an assault on the capital, that kinda feels like the legal system views them as enemies of the state. However you feel about it personally, it was a pretty big deal and the legal system obviously takes it more seriously.

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More comments

Especially given that insurrection would seemingly be informed by the civil war

Let's not forget another thing conservative justices have to keep in mind: that leftist mobs will be dispatched to the justices' homes if they dare to decide cases "incorrectly."

Roberts is conservative in that he doesn’t want to trigger chaos. Even if he 100% agrees with the Colorado ruling he’s going to realize a self executing 14th amendment means that any State can just decide to not let a candidate on the ballot.

The end result would be selecting Presidents by the state legislature.

But there is a also a big gap between conservatives don’t like seeing rioting and deciding to agree that rioting is the same as insurrection. Words still need to have meaning.

I think a universal reversal with the Democrat judges voting with the conservatives to reverse is far more likely than the conservatives banning Trump.

It would be extremely ironic if Trump's elector slate shenanigans end up actually achieving the desired result for every subsequent election but not for any of the ones that involve Trump.

I just don't see the court radically changing the political process like that though.

I do not think so either. I can’t convince Reddit that this opens the door to the 14th being used against any politician but it’s my belief it could be under the Colorado standard.

I think back to Roberts keeping Obamacare when he could have used the tax but to throw the whole thing out. He’s not going to want courts taking too much power and will find a way to squash this. Personally, I assume Roberts probably hates Trump but any personal opinions he has on Trump won’t keep him from seeing the precedence allowing Colorado’s ruling to go thru being a problem.

The big issue with going back to states legislatures pick their candidate would be it would be extremely unpopular. Many might not like the electoral college but Americans are still going to want the vote on this. Even if a good legal argument existed for this maneuver the court would still find a way to block it because of unpopularity.

Of course, selecting presidents by state legislature is still completely legal federally and how it used to be done, I believe. But this would likely be weaponized in other races.

If a state legislature decided to ignore all votes for Trump when selecting their electors, then those voters might well have a case under Section 2 of the 14th Amendment. (Unless those voters' "participation in rebellion" could be decided by the states?) Of course, a state might find the constitutional penalty of losing electors superior to the possibility of a Trump victory, if the latter has any real chance of occurring at all.

Seems unlikely to me. There's plenty of precedent. In 1892, Grover Cleveland wasn't on the ballot in five states, in 1948, Truman wasn't on the ballot in Alabama, and in 1964, Johnson wasn't on the ballot in Alabama. There were a few other cases. Ballots weren't done the same way at the time of the passage of the amendment, as well.

I'm hopeful, but there's a risk that Roberts may not be choosing from the full possibility space, but from a small number of best alternatives to negotiated agreement. And a lot of those leave states (and worse!) to just decide to not let a candidate on the ballot (and worse!).

I think it is 7-2 with Kagan siding with the conservatives

Eh, I think if they can’t get Kagan to vote with them there’s a pretty good chance of Sotomayor and KJB voting with her to get unanimity.

That would be my guess for the consensus here which tends to have an assumption Kagan is a real judge and Sotomoyer/Brown are just partisan votes.

Personally I’m hoping they step up here and vote with the conservatives.

Trump is very mercurial in that way. He can hate someone one day and love them the next. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure he's willing to hire someone for the specific purpose of abusing them. So I think one way or another, DeSantis does have a shot at Trump's VP slot.

Doesn't help Haley at all. DeSantis was running dead in NH and what voters he had will probably mostly go to Trump over her anyway.

Haley has the anti-Trump vote, but there is not an anti-Trump majority in the Republican party. To be beat him you have to win voters that like him. DeSantis had at least a chance of doing that, Haley does not.

DJT Jr recently mentioned RDS as a VP pick. If the Trump folks think RDS dropping out today helps Trump in NH (and SC), then VP slot may have been the consideration.

Harris called Biden a racist. Memories can be short in politics.

If he picks DeSantis as a VP, that messes up the race in Florida a little, as under the 12th amendment, at least one of the two candidates the electors of a state votes for must reside outside of the state.

Trump would move his official residence back to NY

Is Trump a Florida resident or a New York resident?

I thought Florida?

I'm not surprised. I thought all along this was the wrong time for DeSantis to go, and he should have waited for 2028 (he's young in political terms, being 45 now, so he'd be under 50 then).

But a lot of people thought this was the right time, he had the momentum, it was now or never.

Well, he ran, he shot his bolt, and there's not going to be a second chance for another run based on how he performed (or didn't) this time. He's the new Mitt Romney. Even worse, because at least Romney had active Democratic opposition running him down, but Ron did it all to himself. I'm looking at the list of remaining candidates, and I think the Democrat slate is pretty much something we can ignore - it'll be Biden again.

And who's left? Some Guy, Haley, and Trump. It's going to be Trump versus Biden, Round II. I don't think Nikki can do it, but if she manages a more respectable showing in the end, she has more of a chance to try again in 2028.

Why wouldn't there be a second chance? Everyone I know who preferred Trump liked DeSantis too, just thought it wasn't his time to be President yet.

I think he showed weakness on the national stage, and now he's dropped out. As others have said, if he waited until 2028 then he'd be out of office as governor and what is he going to do in the meantime? But now if he wants a second chance, he has to wait until 2028 anyway, he's still going to be out of office, and what will he do in the meantime, on top of which he will now have the albatross around his neck of "messed up his chance the first time against Trump of all people".

Whatever he does between now and 2028 will be perceived as second-best, scrabbling around for a Plan B, whereas I do think if he had waited he could have approached it with a better plan drawn up, be that "seek election to the Senate" or whatever and built up his reputation nationally.

Haley is dead politically. Too much of the base myself included don’t like her. There are plenty of Trump supporters who are fans of Desantis but I don’t know any that like Haley.

Desantis will have a chance in 2028 depending on what Trump Inc. decided to do. For now I would assume it’s Donald Trump Jr in 2028 but Desantis will have a fighting chance.

I don’t see Desantis taking a role in the Trump admin. And I think for the gop it’s better to keep him out of the admin in case Donald blows up some day. Which likely means you get Senator Desantis at some point.

And him dropping out now shows that he isn’t reflexively anti trump. Sure he thought he would make a better president but when it was obvious it wasn’t happening he backed Trump and didn’t prolong a primary fight for vanity reasons or to take advantage of Trump’s legal problems.

Agreed Haley is a walking dead woman unless someone Trump gets kicked off the ballot.

I'm not surprised. I thought all along this was the wrong time for DeSantis to go, and he should have waited for 2028 (he's young in political terms, being 45 now, so he'd be under 50 then).

The problem is he's term limited out in Florida, which means he'd have a dead time between his governorship and his run for the Presidency. This would likely work to his disadvantage, so it made sense for him to take a run at it now.

He can always run for congress in a safe seat and become house speaker.

It's generally considered a step down to go from a governorship to the House. And there's no guarantee he'd become speaker; I think it would be rather unlikely.

You have two relatively popular senators in Florida.

He could also go into the private sector and try to make a bunch of money.

Rick Scott isn't popular, he's won each of his elections by a hair and is hated within the GOP Senate caucus.

I mean republicans can’t seem to keep a speaker for longer than 6 months, I’m sure he’ll get a turn.

I'm not sure it will give Haley a boost. Older polls showed it could go either way. https://abcnews.go.com/538/stands-gain-desantis-drops-haley-christie/story?id=106101489

Frustratingly, it's not clear who DeSantis supporters in New Hampshire would flock to if DeSantis were to drop out after Iowa. According to the most recent Emerson College/WHDH-TV poll, it would be Haley — but according to a University of New Hampshire/CNN poll taken around the same time, it would be Trump. And both polls are almost two months out at this point, so really we're flying blind.

Those were from November though and most of the recent shift in Haley support seems to have come at the expense of DeSantis. Which makes me think he was bleeding votes to her for a while which would mean those that are left favoring him would be more Trump leaning. He also endorsed Trump.

The analogy doesn't fit the premise, so the conclusion is... not even wrong??

Germany is a board of landlords who - rightly or wrongly - signed various contracts (citizenship, residency, asylum). So tough titties to them. They have to live up to the responsibilities they signed up for. If someone can convince the majority of the board to void certain contracts and "evict" people, then they'd run afoul of their responsibilities to various human rights charters aimed at preventing exactly this kind of "eviction". They're free to do that too, as far as I'm concerned, but "landlords remorse" doesn't make comparisons to other dubious evictions unreasonable.

It is clear, regardless of your opinion on whether either expulsion is justified, that the expulsion of A is not morally equivalent with that of B. A will suffer only the minor inconvenience of moving in with their parents, while B - whether at your hand or at that of the freezing Winter outside - will probably die.

This is Copenhagen ethics. Assuming you're not a weird EA utilitarian, you don't have any obligations to someone who's already starving in the streets. So if you take someone in, you can't have any obligation to not throw them back out in the streets again.

Assuming you're not a weird EA utilitarian

I think being a 'weird EA utilitarian' is to a significant extent implied by the morality that most people hold, but it's just to difficult to actually follow so people rationalize it. Even if you aren't an EA though, I think 'you can ethically kick someone out of your house even if it will lead to them instantly dying' is something that very few people would agree with. I think the vast majority would agree you can ethically kick someone out even if it makes them homeless, but not homeless to the point where it's >50% likely they will die in the next month. (Note, though, that this is true because we have material abundance, a welfare state, etc - if tradeoffs between 'your family starving' and 'kicking out your guest and them dying' were common, the popular stance would be (and was) different, B is unconscionable precisely because there's a better option. But it's reasonable for 'which action is moral' to depend on 'which action is available')

But I think you're assuming a contradiction and using it to prove something false.

It is unreasonable to compare any repatriation of migrants in European countries to their homeland to what is happening to the Palestinians. The mass murderous ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their own homeland is analogous to similar historical behaviors of genocidal ethnic cleansing done by many regimes including the Soviet one.

Also, it is immoral for you to keep bringing up Jewish suffering when you promote the take how white Christian communities of Trump supporters deserve to die and support attrocities against Palestinians.

Fundamentally dead Jews from 80 years ago matter less than currently dying Palestinians, because we should care about current events and the past has passed.

Another thing to consider is that Jews in modernity not only suffered but also participated in causing suffering to others. Both as part of the communist movement but also as part of race marxist movements that supports the destruction of western civilization and its people, vilifies them and promotes one sided extreme propagandistic grievance that falsifies history.

The attempt by Jews to impose a Jewish supremacist ideology, makes some of the whining about insetivity to be particularly disingenuous. And this is why this taboo you are trying to take advantage is completly in bad faith and we need the opposite taboo against those trying to manipulate history in this manner.

Empathy towards the Jews is manipulated for purposes of elevating Jewish lives above non Jewish lives and to support screwing non Jews.

This milking of history by people who want to manipulate others to empathize with them while they are racist supremacists themselves ought to stop. So we actually ought to be punishing propagandists using Jewish suffering in such a manner to justify stripping groups from their rights. Or to promote a general dishonest narrative of one sided historical victimhood that justifies Jacob ruling over Esau.

Also important to decriminalize discussion of historical facts even if we ought to make it as taboo as possible if not criminalize using Jewish suffering or slavery to demonize Europeans in general and strip them of their rights. This is to say discussions about facts should be free, but overly milking such events should not be a free action.

Even excessive amount of holocaust, slavery films is suspect, but how things are framed and what narrative they promote is also important. The narrative of Jews as oppressed group that are chosen by God and God's will it to destroy other nations is one narrative that must be condemned and not promoted.

Rather than stopping machiavelian grievance merchants who promoted such narratives for destructive purposes, we had people siding with their crocodile tears about how they are victimized by racists.

Anyway, a moral goal is to stop the grievance merchants and to put different nation states on an equal playing field in regards to certain rights. Including the Jews. Rather than using say their history with communism, or the oppression of Israel towards Palestinians to claim that Jews should have no homeland neither.

So my favorite end result is fairer towards the Jews than your end result towards your various outgroups. So there is an inconsistency here.

Jewish supremacists who want it all at the expense of other ethnic groups such as the Likud faction are kind of paid by the same currency if they are responded to by people who want from the river to the sea a state only for Palestinians. Just like Netanyahou wants from the river to the sea only Israel.

So compromise is a good idea but it can't be a one way street by people who want to promote maximum sympathy for themselves while not respecting at all the rights of others.

Nevertheless for us who want good and moral outcomes, we should pressure the worst behaving faction with power who are destroying their opposite ethnic group on the ground. And we ought to not respect whatsoever such manipulations.

There is a reason why so many countries worldwide including countries that have nothing to do with the middle east like Japan have such a negative view of Israel. It's because the lie that people react negatively to bad Jewish behavior due to them being racist is wrong, and Israel is abusing human rights of Palestinians in a despicable manner that deserves condemnation.

The key factor, then, in whether an expulsion is or is not liable to become a genocide / mass murder is whether the people in question have an ancestral homeland or other ethnostate with the same religious, cultural and ethnic background capable of absorbing them (even if this might be annoying, expensive or politically divisive).

Of course not. The key part of whether mass expulsion is genocidal is if it is done through mass murder. And indeed mass murder, the goal to induce starvation and horrible circumstances to Palestinians, as well as destroying their homes is part of this violent ethnic cleansing.

It is definetly a warcrime that those who support paint themselves in some of the most negative colors.

Also, it is especially immoral to expel people from their homeland and Palestinians homeland is Palestine.

This is about racist supremacist Jews wanting greater Israel. What would be more in line with justice would had been for them to try to agree with a compromise with the Arab world and Palestinians that took seriously both Israeli security and Palestinian statehood that respects Palestinian human rights. This compromise would have come after past mass murderous ethnic cleansing and occupation. So even that would be a big compromise for the Palestinians.

There is a fundamental difference from resisting colonization in your own land by foreigners that leads to your entire destruction as a people (which is unsuprisingly supported by a movement that demonizes your history and people and discriminate against it and that is an important reason why they favor your destruction), to expelling people from their own country to take it for yours. Also, the movement against Europeans milks and utilizes past Jewish suffering against Europeans. And even promotes propagandistic narrative of Jews as historically the inoccent victims who never didn't do nothing, all antisemitic slander and Europeans as the permanent evil oppressors.

The behavior of both Jewish migrants in Israel and of Palestinians in how they are polled and even how they behaved in places like Lebanon is actually indicative of the problems of foreign colonizations.

The one thing both groups have in common is they should not be trusted to rule over others fairly, and shouldn't be destroyed neither.

The world does have an interest in suppressing the more sociopathic elements from being leading those communities. More so for the Jews due to being more influential worldwide. Especially outside their country. Such as suppressing those more narcissistic, sociopathic factions and individuals from destroying and mistreating foreign ethnic groups and having power over them. Also there are non Jews who have been influenced into being Jewish supremacists who favor the destruction and oppression of non Jewish ethnic groups and share the same pathological extremism, including the hypocricy of pretending that they are against "racists", when they are the worst ones and people are correct to oppose them.

So there is an interest in changing the prevailing ideology among Jews and having them be less self serving. But really, what can observe when looking at the history of Israel, Jewish mega ngos and groups of billionairs connected with people like Epstein and Mossad like MEGA, polls and behavior is that there has been a continuous core element of Jewish establishment which has been Jewish supremacist against other ethnic groups and organized to use their power against them. And the Jewish community has had some sympathy for that. But there has been also some divergence which was reduced as that establishment got them in line. Crisis is used to get Jews in line, since they have absorbed a mentality of the inoccent martyr.

If that establishment is broken and Jewish elites are both moderate at Israel and in diaspora, less influential abroad and also the dominant non Jewish elites who would be influential worldwide are moderates, and I consider you the opposite of that then a greater bulk of the Jews would behave morally, as they are subject to moderate memes that promote the idea that the rights of Jews/non Jews end where each others begin.

That we even allow Jewish supremacists to promote their propaganda and to be a faction acting freely is a mistake. We well know by now that it is a faction that is fanatically spiteful, totalitarian, greedy, cruel, dishonest and ruthlessly destructive. It should be a faction that is suppressed and condemned.

Also, it is immoral for you to keep bringing up Jewish suffering when you promote the take how white Christian communities of Trump supporters deserve to die and support attrocities against Palestinians.

Does she actually do this? I do not think this true.

This whole thread gives her an opportunity to discuss Jewish suffering and compare it to Palestinian. She indeed directly downplays the violent murderous ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by comparing it to deportation of migrants.

Further bellow she is debating the holocaust as she knew SecureSignals would bite the bait. And most importantly others would jump in the opportunity to show how serious they take this issue.

She recently argued that Williamson was right that white working class communities of the type that voted for Trump deserve to die. And she definitely supports atrocities against Palestinians and their ethnic cleansing.

Cimarafa is definitely a spiteful individual that wants to dish it out and while she promotes destruction and condemnation for other groups promotes sympathy for Jews, accuses others of antisemitism and so on.

She recently argued that Williamson was right that white working class communities of the type that voted for Trump deserve to die.

Williamson’s point was that it wasn’t wrong to say that those people can move to where the jobs are, not that the people literally deserve to die.

You are allowed to disagree with someone, and you are allowed to dislike their viewpoint (and even dislike them personally), but these last two posts are full of personal antagonism, which is not allowed. @2rafa is allowed to bring up Jewish suffering and say it's the most horrible thing ever and not comparable to anything else. She's also allowed to "downplay the violent murderous ethnic cleansing of Palestinians." I am not necessarily agreeing with you that she's actually doing that, but she is in fact allowed to. You are allowed to take offense at someone's arguments, and you are allowed to make counterarguments. You are not allowed to namecall or engage in literal ad hominem arguments.

There is a fundamental difference from resisting colonization in your own land by foreigners

Do you think the descendants of European settlers have a right to remain a majority in America and Canada?

Yes.

(Don’t endorse much of what Belisarius said, or only much weaker versions of some of it).

I don’t think we’d have a right to complain if North American Indians pulled an Amish/Hasidim and outbred us. I also don’t think it’s reasonable to begrudge them having resisted our expansion with violence, though without endorsing every single thing they did. (The Palestinian Arabs do have a very bad habit engaging in violence that’s both needlessly indiscriminate and ineffectual - the Cherokee didn’t really have the option of nonviolent resistance, whereas the Palestinians would probably have done much better for themselves with that approach than they did in reality).

One relevant difference between our northern Amerindians and the Palestinians is that the whole Zionist process was needless - some European country was going to roll over the North American tribal societies regardless of what Britain did. But Zionism-in-Palestine was a very complicated and very involved way to not achieve security, normalcy, or the new Soviet Jew renewal.

I know this isn't addressed to me, but the thing is European settlers won in America, Canada, Australia. Indians/Aborigines are not going to become a majority in any of those countries anytime soon, no matter what the fertility rates look like, nor is there anywhere to import those people from(sure, you can probably find a Navajo living in France or something, but probably north of 90% live in the USA). The alternative in these countries to a White European descended majority is a majority of Chinamen or Mexicans or the other kind of Indians or something.

That is a meaningful difference between Israel and the USA; if all white people left the US it would be either a black country or a hispanic country(depending on how you count) with only local majorities of Native Americans. If all Jews left Israel, there would be a solid majority of Palestinian Arabs.

Your last sentence rests on a category error fallacy. Arab is an umbrella group, but Palestinian is a specific ethnic group. The Palestinian homeland is Egypt in the same way that the Irish homeland is Spain, both being Europeans of Celtic origin; in other words, it’s a mistake to assume that an ethnic homeland is the same as an umbrella group’s territory. The DNA of Palestinians is closer to Samaritans than “North African Sunni Arab Muslims” for this reason. Also, I don’t think this argument would be made if the Palestinians sought to repatriate Israelis to Brooklyn or Lakewood. Isn’t Israeli culture unique despite belonging to the general umbrella group “Jews”?

The opposing argument will be that “Palestinian” as a distinct and/or overriding identity didn’t crystallize until the mid-20th century (there exist people arguing for earlier, have not read, can’t comment on quality of argument). Of course, pre-nationalist identity for non-Jati-like groups* was generally more local/regional than what replaced it, so it still wouldn’t make sense to “repatriate” them to other Arab countries.

To anticipate another counter-argument, there was some migration between Muslim regions (especially at urban and elite levels), so that some Palestinians have surnames indicating, e.g., Egyptian origin at some point. This is accurate, though the scale can be significantly exaggerated. My main complaint about this line of argument is that (except with very recent migrants) it makes about as much sense as “repatriating” all the Slovak Horváths to Croatia.

*Actual Hindu Jatis, but also Bosnian Muslims, Jews, Gypsies, Druze, Zoroastrians, etc. - (at least mostly) endogamous, religiously-defined groups with severe intercommunal purity barriers that reinforce common identity at a relatively early date.

This is...intensely silly. You assume, without justifying the assumption in any way, that one can accurately describe citizens and residents of a different ethnicity/religion as "house guests" of a polity. I reject your ethnonationalist distinction. I'm amazed to see the Zionist-Nazi collaboration revived, we've closed the loop here.

Neither German Citizens who some bureaucrat judges as "unassimilated" nor German Jews circa 1940 were "house guests." If the nation is a family, these are their brothers. They live there. This is, at best, three brothers voting to throw out the fourth brother onto the street.

Palestinian families have been in Israel, their genetic roots go deeper, than the Israelis who are "throwing them out of the house." Ditto, you know, most of the fucking Jews you so blithely label houseguests in the 1940s, they lived in countries Hitler conquered.

Both the Israelis and the Nazis didn't throw houseguests out of their homes, they broke into another home, and murdered part of the family.

In what sense is the nation a family? Particularly given that we're letting people swap citizenship on a whim.

It's her pathos based metaphor not mine.

I don't think the ancestral homeland part actually matters. What matters is just whether someone is willing to take them in.

If Israel had existed at the time, the worst of the Holocaust probably could have been averted, because it is true that the countries of the world refused to accept the Jews. But the flipside of that is that if there had been any country willing to take them the worst of the Holocaust could have been avoided. It didn't have to be Israel.

And if any country had taken them, that country would probably be more powerful in the present day as a result. Let's say all the Ashkenazis who would have settled in Israel all immigrated to Canada (historically some tried this and were turned away). Today Israel has a population of only 9 million, and many of them aren't descended from Holocaust survivors. You could pretty comfortably put all of Israel inside Canada without bothering anyone. Israel and the Canadian province of Quebec have about the same population, but Quebec is 70 times the size of Israel. Canada's population would be about 10-20% higher today.

This feels like an argument for having open borders, but it's not. Is it even a good thing to live in a country with a higher population? Actually, my main point is just that it doesn't have to be your ancestral homeland. What matters is that any country is willing to take the refugees in.

Israel boasts of genocidal intent. Everyone from former policymakers to children singing war propaganda songs talks about how the Israelis are going to stamp out the Palestinians, annihilate them.

There's been a lot of discussion about how the slogan 'from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free' is a genocidal mantra. If so, then there can be no doubt that 'within a year we will annihilate everyone and then return to our fields' is a genocidal slogan. Moving on from rhetoric, Israel is genocidal in action, blowing up an enormous amount of Gaza without regard for civilian casualties.

Well, that's how borders are formed, that's how nations move or get moved around. Survival of the fittest. History is written in blood.

What I object to is how Israeli expansion is somehow turned into this normative, moralistic end as opposed to the cold functioning of nature, tooth and claw. They can't reasonably cry 'help us we're being attacked by genocidal inhuman monsters' as they kill 20x more than they've lost. If Hamas and the Palestinians generally are genocidal, it follows that Israel and Israelis generally are also genocidal. And they clearly need no help in defending themselves.

Israel is using US-supplied weapons, US-supplied diplomatic and military coverage to wage this war. It's geopolitical cuckoldry to subsidize the imperial operations of other powers, assist Israel de facto with its settlement-building and colonization of Palestine (since that's what US aid unarguably does, by strengthening Israel's position). I live in a colonized country, the essence of civilization is conquest. But the big idea is that if you do the conquering, you enjoy the spoils. You don't do the conquering for other peoples. We are literally paying so the Israelis don't have to come to any reasonable accord with the Palestinians or other Arabs, so they can take more land, annex it, ignore the NPT and attack their neighbours with impunity. They know that they won't have to pay the price of their actions in Arab hostility, that we'll shield them militarily like we are now.

The US and the West more broadly doesn't need Israel, Israel has never joined the US in any war. They've made a lot of enemies for us, they provided phoney intelligence to encourage the Iraq War, they sold US tech to China, they brought down the Arab Oil Embargo on us. Israel clearly doesn't consider itself part of the Western bloc, they've never contributed anything. They only cause us problems, lap up aid and beg for more assistance like the aforementioned cuckoo bird. Now they've gotten us into another conflict in the Red Sea with their zeal for bombing. So be it if they want to kill lots of Palestinians - why is that our problem? Why do we have to guard their container ships from the Houthis and get ourselves targeted, start yet another expensive war? Why do we have to provide them munitions (out of already depleted stocks) and make Arabs angry with us? Strength is needed elsewhere, we've expended about 4 years worth of Tomahawk production (yes, that amounts to 80 missiles) on this campaign, which hasn't yet yielded any results.

Even this proposed moral trade 'if we get to expel our troublesome Palestinians from their own land as we annex it, that means you get to expel your troublesome migrants from your land' is unnecessary. I have no doubt that the plethora of Jewish refugee/migration NGOs would reject it, many are consistent in their contempt for both Israeli and Western national homogeneity: Soros and Ignatiev for example. The fact is that the Western world can do a great deal because there are hundreds of millions of us and we wield vast resources. Israel is a small country that acts as though it's a great power, having us shoulder the cost of its supersized ambitions.

Moving on from rhetoric, Israel is genocidal in action, blowing up an enormous amount of Gaza without regard for civilian casualties.

Civilian casualty figures for the invasion of Gaza are on par with other urban assaults by western militaries. You can contrast this with the battles in the Ukraine war, which are a lot a lot worse, and Assad’s reconquests of major Syrian cities, which are also way way worse.

So, a question I keep asking when people make this claim, and which no one has answered thus far(or even engaged with)- why is Israel’s genocide killing fewer civilians than Russia and Syria are doing on accident in campaigns with the goal of controlling the civilian population to subjugate as normal citizens of their respective regimes? While the IDF is probably more competent than the Russian army and definitely dramatically more competent than either the SAA or NDF, this shouldn’t matter that much if it’s an attempt at genocide-by-collateral damage, because after all Israel could easily get away with making Gaza look like Mariupol and then say sorry, we definitely not really regret the collateral damage, can’t make a shakshuka without breaking some eggs.

Civilian casualty figures for the invasion of Gaza are on par with other urban assaults by western militaries. You can contrast this with the battles in the Ukraine war, which are a lot a lot worse, and Assad’s reconquests of major Syrian cities, which are also way way worse.

This is not true. The civilian casualities in Gaza are significantly higher than that in Ukraine, the invasion of which by Russia people have been rushing to call genocide, including many people here. For simplicity I will just takes about deaths specifically and not casualities.

As already posted below the OHCHR estimates 9,701 civilian deaths in Ukraine between 24 Feb 2022 and 24 September 2023.

Reliable estimates for Gaza are hard to find but OHCHR estimates the deaths to be over 11,000 between 7 October 2023 and 16 November 2023 (some of whom would not strictly speaking be Gazans as there are also casualities outside of Gaza). So Gaza has roughly the same number of deaths in a month than Ukraine had in a year and a half. More recent numbers from early January suggest this number could be over 22,000 for Gaza. This would put the percentage of Gazans killed somewhere around 1% of the total population.

Now, Gaza is more densely populated and urbanised where the fighting is taking place, but this is also offset by the fact that Ukraine has a much larger population than Gaza and the operations are larger scale.

Regardless, no matter how you cut it, the civilian casualties in Gaza are extremely high and people would not be hesitating to call it genocide if it were any other country.

Did the US genocide Iraq?

For that matter, did the US genocide Japan?

Something like a million Japanese civilians died in the latter years of WW2 in retaliation for Pearl Harbor. And this was long after Midway: the US was clearly the dominant power by that point and not under existential threat, if it ever was.

And I think unequivocally the answer is “no.” One might think the fire bombing or the nukes were bad, but not all bad things in a particular category is the “worst” thing in that category (I don’t think that’s the point you are making to be clear).

The USA has committed its own atrocities in the past. When it comes to the war against Japan, the Japanese had their own murderous empire.

What is the point to bring them now but to excuse new warcrimes? At some point bringing WW2 constantly to justify new wars being started, or actual warcrimes such as Dresden kind of undermines the moral legitimacy of WW2 itself and should make us question whether the people doing this were also acting with self serving motives then too. Especially since the Nazis and Japanese were condemned for being warmongers and imperialists.

Is WW2 a permanent card to excuse starting wars and committing attrocities rather than a historical episode that should make us oppose such bad behavior?

There is also a genocide that happened against German civilians after the end of WW2. So by this logic, you could justify the most depraved behavior.

At some point this milking of WW2 to excuse warcrimes is behavior that is similiar to the nazis using the communist atrocities (including against ethnic Germans) as a means of legitimizing their future attrocities.

Rather than deflecting responsibility towards the past USA, we should focus on the now and judge morally Israel's actions. What we will see is an extreme racist supremacist goverment that dehumanizes a population and wants to conquer its land.

The same population that they ethnically cleansed in the past, in violation of the expectation of initial promises by zionists when they were promoting their project that they would respect the Arab inhabitants of the place. And in addition to this, of course they also promote culturally genocidal propaganda denying the Palestinians their nationhood. Unsurprisingly this is related to also to the project to violently ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their land, as well as as it is always the case with such rhetoric. The people who don't exist, can more easily be made to not exist.

History isn’t about creating get out of jail free cards. But it is a useful barometer for “what is normal” and what is “abnormal.”

By historical standards what is happening in Gaza is not abnormal nor is it a genocide.