RNC vs Apple

Oh, look, Fox News thinks supporting the status quo is apolitical, at least when it’s a status quo they like.

Co-host Steve Doocy noted that Apple had dropped its support of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to protest some of Trump’s comments on the campaign trail. “But should the company be getting political?” Doocy asked.

Got it: not supporting the RNC is “political”; supporting the RNC is “not political”.

Root — the author of The Power of Relentless, a book which unironically uses the word “mega-success” in its subtitle — said that the company is making “a very, very big mistake, tragic, and I think [Apple CEO] Tim Cook is going to regret this.”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure the guy who felt a social responsibility to come out as gay is going to regret not supporting Trump’s and/or the GOP’s hate-mongering and bigotry.

“I think Apple has a big problem now,” he said, “because there are what? Sixty million-odd Republican voters? If every one of us pulls our support of Apple products or sells our Apple stock, I think the board will quickly make the decision to fire Tim Cook.”

“I think a boycott is a good move now,” Root continued. “I think all Republicans should boycott Apple products and pull their support of Apple stock until the decision to is made to fire the biased, prejudiced Tim Cook.”

Doocy said that “while we love the design and everything else — whether it’s the iPod or iPad or whatever else — it’s made in China! Isn’t this just what Donald Trump’s been saying about the jobs?”

Yep, because you’re all going to switch to using smartphones and laptops made in…oh, wait, China. So that doesn’t work.

So you’re all going to stop using smartphones and laptops and make do with a dumbphone…which is made in China.

It really doesn’t matter what brand, if you want to stick to US manufacturing, that pretty much means no computing devices, and very few consumer electronics. Though the Mac Pro is “manufactured” (I think actually assembled) in the US, so you can still buy that.

Oh, except you’re boycotting Apple because they manufacture things in China.

That is, if the whole political/apolitical distinction they’re making weren’t bullshit to begin with.

“Change This Law!” “OK” “You’re Not Allowed to Change It!”

GOP members of the House are planning to sue President Obama for his decision to delay enforcement of the employer mandate in the ACA for a year. 

I don’t understand this. I don’t see how it makes sense on legal, political, or governmental grounds. 

Legally, doesn’t one have to have standing to sue? Wouldn’t you have to be a business owner who was somehow harmed by this change, or maybe a private insurer harmed by the lessened requirements? And then, what are they suing for? Monetary damages? An injunction? Reinstatement of the requirement? And why sue? If he’s done something outside of the bounds of the President’s authority, isn’t that sufficient grounds to impeach Obama? Surely, if lying about having an affair (something that has absolutely nothing to do with governance), is good enough to justify impeachment, violating the Constitution and usurping legislative authority would be sufficient cause?

Politically, there are two obvious problems with this.

First, the GOP is suing to reinstate something they don’t want, which is part of something else they really don’t want. I’m not sure the political calculus on this. Maybe they want the ACA to be as onerous as possible, so they can point at it and say “see? look at how awful the Dems’ ideas are!” But that’s quite a balancing act: they’re counting on people to blame the party that enacted the law but was willing to recognize a problem and modify it, and not blame the party that reinstated the problem part of the law that they’re busy pointing at and telling us is horrible.  

Second, one of the big arguments of the GOP is that “activist judges” are ruining America by overreaching the judicial role and imposing their will on the other branches of government. So they need to thread the needle of arguing that a judge should overrule the President, who enacted a clearly populist measure which hasn’t been challenged by the people in any significant numbers, in order to re-enact a very unpopular measure, while arguing that in this case it’s not “judicial activism” even though the people’s representatives had previously tried to enact exactly the same measure, claiming that it was what people wanted.  

Governmentally, their argument is about the balance of power between the branches of government. As previously mentioned, they need to argue that a judge intervening in this case is different from a judge intervening in other cases. There clearly are differences, of course, but that doesn’t make it an easy explanation, and it’s not clear that the differences are germane. They also need to make an argument that this particular executive order is somehow illegal, while continuing their argument that executive orders in general are just fine (because otherwise W’s record comes up, and/or they hamstring a future GOP President with a Dem congress. Not to mention, they need to do all this without anyone bringing up the “unitary executive” theory that they only recently supported. And they need to explain how an executive order that modifies a law is different than a signing statement that modifies a law. And, finally, they need to explain why neither enacting a law to overrule the executive order—something that has been done in the past—nor impeachment are possible solutions to this problem. 

Obama Fudd

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, double shame on you. Fool me three times—ok, you got me that time, but that’s the last time. Fool me four times—wow, i really thought you meant it this time. Fool my five times—ok, now I’m starting to think you’re doing it on purpose. Fool me six times…

In principle, I’m all for taking the high road, and trying to inculcate a better environment in politics. But at some point, when the folks you’re trying to work with continually fail to come through with their half, you’ve just got to recognize that compromise isn’t possible. What particularly baffles me about Obama’s behavior is that the Republicans aren’t even trying to fool him, as near as I can tell. It’s not like they’re doing a Bugs Bunny routine, and are so clever and quick-tongued that they’re tricking Obama with subtle stances or bait-n-switch positions. They’re more like the Tasmanian Devil, with all the subtlety and fury (and careful consideration) of a tornado, bent on destroying every piece of government that they can, and making no secret of it.

Obama’s no dummy, so is he just too much of an idealist? Does he think that he’s currying favor with the electorate by failing to get things done? Doesn’t he realize that passing half-assed bills in an effort to appease the GOP risks creating legislation that is destined to fail, and taints the actual idea at its core, when going all-out might have resulted in something that actually made a huge difference? He ends up pleasing no one, which is worse than pleasing half the people.

The noises I hear coming from the right are a lot less like “we’re interested in working with you, if you’ll meet us halfway” and a lot more like “our way or the highway”. When his political opponents repeatedly and consistently say “sure, let’s compromise: we’ll do it our way”, what makes Obama think there’s room for compromise? And when they repeatedly and consistently make it clear that they’d rather nothing got done than something that they don’t like got done, why even try to work with them? For that matter, we’re talking about a political party that would rather prevent even a policy they originally proposed from being enacted, if they think their opponents might somehow benefit from the enacting.

To quote Free To Be…You and Me: Some kind of help is the kind of help we all can do without. It may be too late now, with a divided Congress, but I don’t understand why, after a couple months of disruption, Obama and the Democrats didn’t just say, “Fine, you’re not interested in helping us, we’ll just do our own thing,” have the courage of their convictions, and pass the bills they wanted.

Compromise in a Two-Party System, or, How to Lose Elections

What’s the Matter with Kansas?, by Thomas Frank, is a book that I’ve known the gist of probably since it came out: more and more people in this country have been voting into power politicians with a track record of policies against these voters’ own interests; why is this? And, as I understood from the interviews, etc., at the time of the book’s release, the author’s assertion is that, sometime in the 80s, a large faction of social conservatives started voting based on social, rather than economic, issues. OK, that makes sense, as far as it goes. But, leading up to the 2010 election, I decided I should read the book for myself, so I could understand and judge the arguments myself. So far—i’m 2/3rds done—I’m impressed with the research in the book. And he makes a very detailed examination of the people voting along social-values lines, how they do and don’t fit with traditional conservative voters, and how not-particularly-socially-conservative politicians have co-opted these voters. This last part is something I hadn’t really been aware of, prior to reading this book: he gives numerous examples of politicians not merely failing to pass their constituents’ social “reforms” into law, but not even trying.
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