Saturday, January 26, 2019

The left imitating Republicans

I probably should prove something beyond just my sense that it's happening, but I feel that the left side of the political spectrum, a little or a lot closer to where I belong than the other side, is becoming more like Republicans. We believe what we want to believe. Deficits suddenly don't matter any more. We don't like nuclear power and are suspicious of biomass so they're off the table instead of reasoned through. The Republicans careened into office with a president with zero political qualifications for any office, so the Democrats should nominate Oprah Winfrey. A weird and nuanced confrontation between (mostly) white teenagers, a weird cult, and a (not-Vietnam) Native American vet can only be thought of in a single way, and those who rethink it are the liberal version of cucks.

The big advantage America has over say, the UK, is that only one of our two major parties has gone bat-guano insane. We need to keep it that way and hopefully reduce that number over time. It's possible - here in California, Republicans are questionable as a major party (no statewide office in several election cycles, have only about 25% representation in the legislature), and maybe something reasonable will eventually overtake them.

I'm overplaying this a bit. The Oprah boomlet has mostly gone away, and the other issues get pushback. The left seems to be getting over the idea that race is a purely cultural construction but also has complex and nuanced relationship to genetics, one that doesn't fit simplistic racist constructions either.

It's a problem though, and reasonable people need to push back.

35 comments:

Andy Mitchell said...

"The big advantage America has over say, the UK, is that only one of our two major parties has gone bat-guano insane."

As a UK resident I find that comment interesting. Not because I disagree: I do struggle at elections to decide which party is least insane. But I have wondered whether my opinion of the left has been impacted by the same kind of right wing propaganda that, in the US, paints democrats as crazed left wingers. So seeing the same view from across the pond might be reassuring.

Russell Seitz said...

"The big advantage America has over say, the UK, is that only one of our two major parties has gone bat-guano insane."

Have you met Jeremy Corbyn's brother Piers, the climate astrologer?
He makes Monckton look like Lord Rayleigh.

https://youtu.be/zDBbfDbaiA4

David B Benson said...

When I figure out a quip to parry

Bat-Guano Insane

I'll reposte.

jrkrideau said...

The big advantage America has over say, the UK, is that only one of our two major parties has gone bat-guano insane.

From the my side of the border it tends to look like the one party has gone bat-guano insane and the other is just run-of-the- mill crazy. Admittedly the Democrats seem to have a number of sane members. I am sure there are sane Republicans but they must be on the endangered species lists.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

There are reasons to be against nuclear power: it's dangerous, expensive, actually generates significant amounts of CO2, and takes years to deploy, the latter of which means it can't--not shouldn't but CAN'T--play a significant role in reducing CO2 output. Nuclear shills to the contrary, we can solve the problem without the aid of nuclear, so if the Democrats want to take it off the table for political reasons, that's okay with me.

David B Benson said...

BPL --- Wrong and wrong again. Demonstrated to be the safest per unit of electricity. Generates about the same CO2 as wind and solar PV; see the World Nuclear Association website page.

CAPEX of around $4/W is available from Korea's Kepco; presumably about the same from Rosatom, which has about $130 billion in backorders.

From Fiends of the Earth, mispelling intentional, all you will obtain is mistruth, to be overly polite about it.

Fernando Leanme said...

The US Democrats aren't sane either. The Democrat controlled legislature just approved a law which allows abortion in the third trimester. I'm not an antiabortionist, but I do consider aborting a viable fetus is murder. Meanwhile a communist group of congressmen are peddling a Marxist program under the guise of "fighting climate change", the leader of the house is not allowing president trump to give the state of the union address, and many democrats are defending the Maduro regime. And I see now you advocate making cement with firewood. The only thing that's missing in the Democrat crazy house is a California law forcing homeowners to install solar panels.

David B Benson said...

Uh, I am under the impression that now all new residential construction has to include solar panels in California.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

FL: I'm not an antiabortionist, but I do consider aborting a viable fetus is murder.

BPL: I'll let that one stand on its own.

FL: Meanwhile a communist group of congressmen are peddling a Marxist program under the guise of "fighting climate change"

BPL: It's all a commie plot!

Bryson said...

Hey, Fernando--have you ever looked into the conditions under which third-trimester abortions are performed? Unviability is the most common one-- another is pre-eclampsia so severe the mother is expected to die if an abortion isn't performed. The physicians who perform this essential service are a rare and threatened species: famously, Dr. Tiller was murdered for his 'crimes' (after O'Reilly came up with his 'Dr. Tiller baby killer' slogan, repeated many times on Fox...)

FixedCarbon said...

Re the parting shot in the last paragraph, what now is your definition of race?

David B Benson said...

As for me regarding politics, ignore it. Consider ethnicity.

FixedCarbon said...

David Benson. Did you write the piece in which the last paragraph mentions race?

David B Benson said...

Of course not.

Bryson said...

I'm often surprised to see what's regarded as 'extreme left' in the U.S. My advice is to begin by shifting your Overton window. Consider health care, for instance: nearly all developed countries have a system that provides high quality health care to citizens and permanent residents regardless of income-- systems which produce better health outcomes at lower overall costs than the US experiences, and which take many different forms with a wide range of public and private providers. They do tend to be imperfect-- for example, Canada has pretty limited private and government support for drug costs outside of hospitals-- a fast growing part of health costs, which impacted us when our son was in treatment for Ewing's sarcoma, and would have been much harder to deal with if I hadn't had a fairly good benefits plan at work. But the situation in the US is much worse-- yet the Republicans continue to sabotage "Obamacare" (a modest step in the right direction that was thoroughly debated and discussed, unlike, e.g., the recent massive tax cuts) without much push-back from press/ public... Centrist fears of excesses on the left in the U.S. look highly exaggerated from up here.

FixedCarbon said...

Who wrote the piece above in which the last paragraph mentions race?

John ONeill said...

'Nuclear can't--not shouldn't but CAN'T--play a significant role in reducing CO2 output.' Despite it demonstrably having done so in about twenty countries, something solar has yet to manage. Even impoverished Ukraine, with half its power from nuclear, makes a third less CO2 per kilowatt hour than Germany, supposedly the green standardbearer. And don't say Ukraine has been wrecked by Chernobyl -their cancer rates are lower in nearly every category than Germany's, and the exclusion zone has turned into a wildlife sanctuary. It's also providing a good subsistence living for the babushkas who sneaked back through the fence, and thrive growing all their own vegetables.
David Benson gives solar too much credit - wind is about equal to nuclear (10 grams CO2 /kwh,if you ignore all the fossil fuels burnt in calm weather, versus nuclear's 11 grams), but solar averages about 45 g.

David B Benson said...

Mea culpa.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Wow, Chernobyl made things better in the Ukraine! Who woulda thunk it?

Barton Paul Levenson said...

And my point about nuclear taking forever to deploy is answered by questions about safety! What a unique way of looking at things!

David B Benson said...

The Korean consortium Kepco builds reactors in about 4 years. Rosatom the same.

Consider reading
A Bright Future
Joshua Goldstein & Staffan Qvist
2019
PublicAffairs

David B Benson said...

It was a factor in the breakup of the USSR.

John ONeill said...

'And my point about nuclear taking forever to deploy is answered by questions about safety!'
That was pre-emptive mole whacking. The history of successful nuclear power is mostly of programmes going from below one percent of a country's power profile, to between fifteen to fifty percent, within about twenty years. Nowhere has solar got into double figures.

David B Benson said...

Of course France is 75--85% nuclear.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

DBB: The Korean consortium Kepco builds reactors in about 4 years. Rosatom the same.

BPL: And you can put up a wind farm in 9 months, and for an order of magnitude less capital investment cost. Which wins?

Barton Paul Levenson said...

JO: Nowhere has solar got into double figures.

BPL: Yet. I'm sure the buggy whip people said that about automobiles at some point.

David B Benson said...

Germany's "energy transformation" has cost over US $ trillion so far, for wind turbines, solar panels, transmission lines and gas turbines for when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine. I believe that they have yet to turn off the first coal burner. Germany has the highest price of electricity in Europe.

France has the least expensive electricity in Europe. Most credit the EdF fleet of nuclear power plants.

As a small example in population served but not in area, South Australia is blessed with plenty of wind and they have the largest number of wind turbines. These generate enough that during proper winds South Australia exports power to Melbourne over the 650 km interconnects. Despite this South Australia has the highest electricity prices of any of the Australian states. I suppose this is in part due to the large fleet of gas turbines for when the wind doesn't blow combined with the import price for natural gas.

David B Benson said...

Depending upon how you measure it I think so in South Australia.

David B Benson said...

BPL, in Turkey there is probably wind along the Black Sea coast. I have yet to read of any interest in placing wind turbines there. This might be due to the cost of constructing transmission lines.

Yet Rosatom is now definitely going to construct a station of 4 VVER-1200 nuclear power plants in a turnkey operation in which the Turks will pay a flat US $123.5/MWh.

By the way, that is a typical rate for new nuclear power.

David B Benson said...

Yes. Using name plate capacity, 28% is solar considering just solar+wind. South Australia uses the gas turbines as little as possible.

These are utility figures so do not include roof top solar on residents and businesses.

Barton Paul Levenson said...

DBB: These generate enough that during proper winds South Australia exports power to Melbourne over the 650 km interconnects. Despite this South Australia has the highest electricity prices of any of the Australian states. I suppose this is in part due to the large fleet of gas turbines for when the wind doesn't blow combined with the import price for natural gas.

BPL: And yet during the recent heat wave, it was the coal-fired plants that failed, and the solar and wind farms did not.

David B Benson said...

BPL --- South Australia doesn't have any coal burners any more. The reports I have read suggest that South Australia experienced little difficulty during the recent heat wave due to the 2,971 MW of natural gas, etc., generators. I suppose the wind helped a little.

The rolling blackouts were in Melbourne, Victoria.

Canman said...

DBB, actually, France does not have the least expensive electricity in Europe. It's more in the middling range, but it's definitely the cleanest.

David B Benson said...

Mea culpa.

Brian said...

FixedCarbon - sorry, I've been gone for awhile but I wrote the orginal post with a paragraph about race.

Any subdivision below the species level is fairly arbitrary, and you can be a lumper or a splitter with lots or few categories. I don't know if there's a reason to think of race or ethnicity as different concepts. Either one would be groups of humans modestly more related to each other than to other humans, due to modest levels of reproductive isolation. The differences between neighboring groups can be clinal or can be dramatic, although my non-expert sense is that the former is more common than the latter. Modern genetics has shown many modern groups (e.g. Europeans and South Asians) have experienced a great deal more turnover and genetic mixing in the last 5k years than some had expected.

The above is a biological discussion. Cultural ideas of race and ethnicity somewhat map to the concept above, but can also on occasion be very different.