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After the Retail Apocalypse, Prepare for the Property Tax Meltdown
Big-box retailers nationwide are slashing their property taxes through a legal loophole known as "dark store theory." For the towns that rely on that revenue, this could be a disaster.
retail  economy  america  taxes 
yesterday by bradbarrish
Polarization in Poland: A Warning From Europe - The Atlantic
This is not 1937. Nevertheless, a parallel transformation is taking place in my own time, in the Europe that I inhabit and in Poland, a country whose citizenship I have acquired. And it is taking place without the excuse of an economic crisis of the kind Europe suffered in the 1930s. Poland’s economy has been the most consistently successful in Europe over the past quarter century. Even after the global financial collapse in 2008, the country saw no recession. What’s more, the refugee wave that has hit other European countries has not been felt here at all. There are no migrant camps, and there is no Islamist terrorism, or terrorism of any kind.

More important, though the people I am writing about here, the nativist ideologues, are perhaps not all as successful as they would like to be (about which more in a minute), they are not poor and rural, they are not in any sense victims of the political transition, and they are not an impoverished underclass. On the contrary, they are educated, they speak foreign languages, and they travel abroad—just like Sebastian’s friends in the 1930s.

What has caused this transformation? Were some of our friends always closet authoritarians? Or have the people with whom we clinked glasses in the first minutes of the new millennium somehow changed over the subsequent two decades? My answer is a complicated one, because I think the explanation is universal. Given the right conditions, any society can turn against democracy. Indeed, if history is anything to go by, all societies eventually will.


Polarization is normal. Skepticism about liberal democracy is normal. And the appeal of authoritarianism is eternal.


Americans, with our powerful founding story, our unusual reverence for our Constitution, our relative geographic isolation, and our two centuries of economic success, have long been convinced that liberal democracy, once achieved, cannot be altered. American history is told as a tale of progress, always forward and upward, with the Civil War as a kind of blip in the middle, an obstacle that was overcome. In Greece, history feels not linear but circular. There is liberal democracy and then there is oligarchy. Then there is liberal democracy again. Then there is foreign subversion, then there is an attempted Communist coup, then there is civil war, and then there is dictatorship. And so on, since the time of the Athenian republic.


Democracy and free markets can produce unsatisfying outcomes, after all, especially when badly regulated, or when nobody trusts the regulators, or when people are entering the contest from very different starting points. Sooner or later, the losers of the competition were always going to challenge the value of the competition itself.

More to the point, the principles of competition, even when they encourage talent and create upward mobility, don’t necessarily answer deeper questions about national identity, or satisfy the human desire to belong to a moral community. The authoritarian state, or even the semi-authoritarian state—the one-party state, the illiberal state—offers that promise: that the nation will be ruled by the best people, the deserving people, the members of the party, the believers in the Medium-Size Lie. It may be that democracy has to be bent or business corrupted or court systems wrecked in order to achieve that state. But if you believe that you are one of those deserving people, you will do it.
authoritarianism  europe  politics  america  history 
yesterday by corrales
This Is All Donald Trump Has Left (Deadspin)
His politics, to the extent that they’ve ever been legible, have always been off-the-rack big city tabloid bullshit—crudely racist exterminate the brutes/back the blue authoritarianism in the background and ruthless petty rich person squabbling in the front. His actions since becoming president have been those of a dim, cruel child playacting at being a powerful man—giving orders without quite knowing what they mean or how they might be carried out, taunting enemies, beating up the people he can afford to beat up without having to be called to account for it, lying as needed or just for yuks. He hasn’t changed a thing since graduating from punchline to president. It’s been clear for decades that Trump was both an asshole and a dummy; this is now a problem not just for the odd unlucky cocktail waitress and his staff of cheesy apparatchiks but for literally every person on earth.
trump  america  culture  politics  government  media 
yesterday by matthewmcvickar
Instead of focusing on women who have long shown us where their loyalties lay, Democrats are better served by continuing the grassroots organizing we saw by some of the winning women this week: Reaching out to voters who have been abandoned by the left or working to enfranchise voters whose rights have been suppressed.
solutions  politics  dudeproblems  america 
yesterday by corrales
Opinion | I Take Back My Praise of Jeff Flake’s Book - The New York Times
In which case, perhaps I should soften my critique of my critique. It wasn’t that I was too kind to Flake when his book came out. It was that I mischaracterized his book altogether. “Conscience of a Conservative” was not a cri de coeur, a critique of Trump, an analysis of the sorry state of our politics or an invitation to recommit to Goldwater’s philosophy.

It was a relic. It was a bit of quixotica. It was a tragedy.
america  populism 
2 days ago by corrales
Tennessee legislature kills resolution condemning neo-Nazis as terrorists
A Tennessee state House committee on Wednesday refused to vote on a resolution to denounce neo-Nazism, white nationalism and the alt-right as terrorist organizations.State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D) sponsored the resolution which went beyond condemning the movement, without naming specific groups, using "terrorism" language. It also called on law enforcement to pursue the "criminal elements" within them "with the s...
racism  america 
2 days ago by corrales
Sex in America
Major new article studying the idea that young people are having less sex. The details are much more complicated.
tootme  sex  relationships  psychology  america 
2 days ago by nelson

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