Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Lead is My Concern

This Dara Lind post at Vox starts out with my real concern for the next 4 years: "It is entirely plausible that Donald Trump will succeed on his own terms, and will flourish politically for it."

I'm not so sure that I see it unfolding the same way--I think it is more likely that the economy is getting better and will largely continue to do so for at least the next 3 years despite any horrible things Donald does, and that the voting population doesn't care how or why but better means the person in charge stays.  The part that got me thinking, however, was a little lower down.  She states:
...arguments about how the Democratic Party can build a winning coalition again. They tend to bear a suspiciously strong resemblance to whatever the speaker himself thinks is most important.
I have a pretty strong feeling regarding climate change and science research being most important (the latter is very important for combating the former) but I don't think that has anything to do with building a winning coalition.  The only way science in general and climate change specifically get to be a winning coalition is if/when half of Florida finds itself underwater (literally).  Even then I'm not so sure.

I agree that economic populism is far more liberal than Democratic policy in general (and it can't even see Republican policy), but the general perception doesn't go that way.  If you ask people if rich should be taxed the same, more or less, most people say more, but far fewer people vote that way.  Similar issues arise with other economic issues, as well as with many other aspects that we talk about, like identity politics (people say racism is bad but lots of them voted for Trump).

I'm not sure how to win without pandering, or lying or disaffecting [millions] of Americans.  Those are all things that Donald did constantly, and it was pointed out by everyone, and he still won (yes, I know, he actually lost the popular vote by a fair amount, but even still).

The real difference between the parties' campaigning is that Democrats treat the voting public as intelligent, while Republicans treat them like rubes.  There isn't, therefore, anything that Democrats can do to change things short of having a better show.  So long as a sizable fraction of our electorate are, in fact, gullible rubes, it is very difficult to win them over without some form of pandering, lying, and/or showmanship.  The fact that an unqualified racist demagogue can win the presidency is proof positive that the show is of greater import than the message.  Looking back it's pretty easy to see that as a factor to Obama's victories.  It can also be easy to see it as a share of why Reagan, [Bill] Clinton and Dubbya won as well.  Their shows were better.

There is certainly a lot to blame to throw at the media for this (that is where and how the show plays out afterall) but it doesn't change the fact that looking back to recent history, the better showman wins the election.

My opionon since the start of this mess a year ago was that Hillary Clinton could be a very good president--possibly one of our best--but she was a horrible candidate.  No matter how well someone can do the job she has to win first.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

And Cheers to Google Doodle

Jagadish Chandra Bose was an awesome scientist.

I Still Like Pelosi

There are leadership issues with the Democratic party, but I think they're more DNC, DCCC, DSCC related than the top posts (not a huge fan of our incoming senate minority leader, but it seems he'll at least have to pretend to be better with Warren and Sanders owning the Dem base). So, yea, there are problems, but I'm still with Nancy Pelosi.  I think she's done a hell of a job overall.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Yes, Yes, A Million Times Yes!

Every time Republicans win something everyone (Republicans, sure, but also media and Democrats) acts like they actually won in the sense that we think of it, i.e., as though they got the most votes, but Republicans haven't won the most votes in a national election in quite a while including 2016.  This election more people voted for Democrats for: president, senate and house, and the only reason Republicans control all those things is the messed up system of electoral nonsense that exists in this country.

More people in this country wanted Clinton as president (or at least not Donald).  More people in this country want Democrats to control the Senate and House.  Democrats who are in those bodies need to act like they have the mandate of the people BECAUSE THEY FUCKING DO!

Republicans are good at winning election because they have learned and are willing to game the system (voter suppression, ballot initiatives, gerrymandering, appeal to lower population small states that hold disproportionate voting clout).  Democrats, however, are--and have been for a while--the party that the majority of people in this country actually wants in power.

It would be really nice if the media would also do that but the media, despite perpetual noise about "liberal media bias" actually it actually gives far more credence/deference/respect to things Republican than to things Democratic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Self Control Ain't What It Is

Diet, exercise, spending, and saving are all considered demonstration of self-control or a lack thereof, but that is probably not the right way to think about it according to a study discussed in this article. It's apparently just that people with better habits aren't tempted as much.  Possibly because they have better habits.  

I also think there is something to be said about the relative ease of different activities.  If you have to spend half an hour getting ready to get exercise then you aren't going to do it very often, even if you like it.  If healthy eating requires lots of prep work and lots of cleanup then that becomes less likely too.  This is why mostly automated saving in 401k's is better than someone personally moving money into a savings/investment/retirement account and why the fully automated social security program is even better.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Let's Blame it on _____________

I'm sure that (mostly the left) is going to spend millions of words going over things like why some people voted for Trump and how to reach out (the right doesn't give a damn about people that voted for Clinton, though to be fair, the politicians elected by the right don't actually give a damn about the people that voted for Trump either).

Democrats need to be better.  This was true in the 90's, then the 00's and still in the 10's.  The Democratic party just sucks.  Obama is a cool guy who spent way too much time caught in the weeds negotiating with Republicans and trying to turn around people that hate him and what he stands for rather than fighting for the people who elected him (and, ironically, those who hate him too).

At that link the question is asked "Do we try to assimilate and emphasize our similarities, or do we celebrate differences and endorse multiculturalism?" and that strikes me as very wrong.  That isn't an either/or proposition.

He is Jewish and says they assimilated, but there are lots of Jewish delis around (particularly in the northeast), Chanukah is--while neither a high holy day, nor largely celebrated--a widely acknowledged part of the winter holidays here and is commonly referenced in popular culture.  Part of assimilation is celebrating differences and it is inherently an endorsement of multiculturalism.  It isn't like Italians assimilated and now no one knows anything about Italian culture/food/history, because they are all just "American" now.

The catch is that in order for a new group to assimilate it has to be accepted by the broader community.  This is almost certainly easier for people who look like the dominant [white Christian] culture.  I suspect that this is why LGB (and even T) rights and acceptance have advanced so quickly this past decade while Middle-Eastern and Hispanic acceptance have been a bit slower, and even moved backwards.  There's also a family effect where the stereotypical rural white man could end up with a gay son.  He's probably not going to find out his son is Persian.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Couple Good Reads

So much is terribly depressing and/or infuriating right now.  These two aren't exactly happy, but for democrats, liberals, compassionate people, human beings, non-racists, feminists, pro-LGBTQ...pretty much everyone save for the cesspool of humanity that elected our next president, these are worth reading.

Atrios is not normally this long winded, and he certainly makes many of these points on a regular basis, but shit is fucked up and bullshit.

The other is from Dean Baker at the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).  It's a bit harder to read, but does point forward rather than back.  He concludes:
I would argue that we have pursued policies that have been deliberately designed to shift income upward over this period...It is understandable that the losers from these policies would be looking to lash out at the winners. Voting for Trump was a way these people could spit in the face of the people who they see as wrecking their lives. 
It’s not pretty, but the best way to respond is to give them real ways to improve their lives and stop having all the benefits from growth go to those at the top. Trump is not going to help the people who have been left behind, and we have to make this fact as clear as possible. But we should also be showing them policies that will have substantial and direct effects in improving their lives.
That's pretty much how I feel about why people voted that way, and it pushes on my frustration with the Democratic party these past [20] years.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Harry Reid:

I can't find a link to the source (I got it from Digby).
“I have personally been on the ballot in Nevada for 26 elections and I have never seen anything like the reaction to the election completed last Tuesday. The election of Donald Trump has emboldened the forces of hate and bigotry in America. 
“White nationalists, Vladimir Putin and ISIS are celebrating Donald Trump’s victory, while innocent, law-abiding Americans are wracked with fear – especially African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Muslim Americans, LGBT Americans and Asian Americans. Watching white nationalists celebrate while innocent Americans cry tears of fear does not feel like America. 
“I have heard more stories in the past 48 hours of Americans living in fear of their own government and their fellow Americans than I can remember hearing in five decades in politics. Hispanic Americans who fear their families will be torn apart, African Americans being heckled on the street, Muslim Americans afraid to wear a headscarf, gay and lesbian couples having slurs hurled at them and feeling afraid to walk down the street holding hands. American children waking up in the middle of the night crying, terrified that Trump will take their parents away. Young girls unable to understand why a man who brags about sexually assaulting women has been elected president. 
“I have a large family. I have one daughter and twelve granddaughters. The texts, emails and phone calls I have received from them have been filled with fear – fear for themselves, fear for their Hispanic and African American friends, for their Muslim and Jewish friends, for their LBGT friends, for their Asian friends. I’ve felt their tears and I’ve felt their fear. 
“We as a nation must find a way to move forward without consigning those who Trump has threatened to the shadows. Their fear is entirely rational, because Donald Trump has talked openly about doing terrible things to them. Every news piece that breathlessly obsesses over inauguration preparations compounds their fear by normalizing a man who has threatened to tear families apart, who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and who has directed crowds of thousands to intimidate reporters and assault African Americans. Their fear is legitimate and we must refuse to let it fall through the cracks between the fluff pieces. 
“If this is going to be a time of healing, we must first put the responsibility for healing where it belongs: at the feet of Donald Trump, a sexual predator who lost the popular vote and fueled his campaign with bigotry and hate. Winning the electoral college does not absolve Trump of the grave sins he committed against millions of Americans. Donald Trump may not possess the capacity to assuage those fears, but he owes it to this nation to try. 
“If Trump wants to roll back the tide of hate he unleashed, he has a tremendous amount of work to do and he must begin immediately.”
We can still hope.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Twisted Logic

There is a very twisted logic that operates US elections.  The components make sense but assembling them into a whole leads to a twisted, regressive, non-functioning pile of shit.

In our system of government there are so many veto points that even an out-of-power party can do quite a bit to stop progress (mostly by way of the fillibuster in the Senate, and the president's literal veto power).  This means that to have a functioning government one of two conditions needs to be met: all the branches need to be controlled by the same party, and in the Senate that must be a supermajority (60 senators), or the minority party in the Senate must consent to allow the majority party to govern, and/or (depending on who controls what) the two parties must cooperate and work together.

It makes sense, however, for the out-of-power party to do all it can to stop the in-power party from achieving anything perceived as good.  Republicans, and only Republicans, have taken this to heart and understand that even if they control Congress, anything good (or bad) would get credited to the president (not really fair but that's the way it goes).

So it makes sense for the party that is not controlling the executive to make things in the country worse, so that the voters are more likely to change the control to them.  Republicans are perfectly content to harm the country so that they can gain in future elections.  If Democrats were willing to do the same, this might balance out but they are not.  Democrats, unlike Republicans, actually try and accomplish as much good for the country/their district as possible whether or not they are in power.  This means that they cooperate with Republicans to make bills more to their liking.  It also means that if they succeed the Republicans get credit, which means a weaker position in future elections (so Republicans are more willing to cooperate with Democrats if Republicans control the presidency).

This has the natural result of politics that will favor Republican policies over time.  This is true even if (as is actually the case) Democratic policies have more support in the electorate, and (as is also true) the evidence indicates they are better for [the economy, the planet, people's welfare, happiness...].

So why don't Democrats play the game the same way.  There are logical reasons for this too.  The main one is that Democratic voters are far more likely to believe that compromise is a good thing to do.  This has gotten less true of late, and is less true when applied to politics than to life in general, but it is still the case.  

Republicans play politics as a zero-sum game.  Democrats do not.  This means that, frustratingly for any thinking person: Republicans are more likely to win in the long run, and the US is more likely to lose (note: not because of policies, though I think that too, but because periods where Democrats are in charge, Republicans are fine with hurting the US to gain power back, but the reverse is not true).

The twisted logic is that it could be that voting for Republicans may be what is best for the country and best to advance Demcratic priorities, and that this will continue to be true so long as the two parties are playing different games.  Either Democrats need to wise up and play the same game as Republicans, or voters need to get over racism, sexism and xenophobia to actually vote for the party that has their interests in mind.  The past few decades hasn't left me with positive feelings about the Dem establishment, and after this election, I don't have much hope for the latter.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

"That's great it starts with an earthquake..."

The USA, in memoriam: it was a nice ride while it lasted.  My take is twofold, though both are arguably the same (the Democratic party establishment is horrible and just doesn't fucking understand US politics).

First, every presidential election brings out a lot of people who don't normally vote.  Most of those people, like most of the electorate just vote for the same people/party they do every 4 years.  However, lots of people (and it'd be nice if there was polling for this but I doubt it is possible) vote for "something different," or more accurately vote for the least political [seeming] candidate on the ballot.  Obama was clearly that, so was Bush Jr., and also Nader.  In the 90's it was actually Perot, though Bill Clinton didn't seem as much the politician as either Bush Sr. or Dole.  Reagan was also a non-politician politician and may have been the one to start this trend.  There isn't a candidate we've had that is less politician like than Donald and so they voted for him.  (Note: in my previous diatribe on his supporters these voters mostly fall in the "stupid" category.)

Second, the Democratic party establishment has a tendency to get behind competent, capable, long-time party insiders like Hillary (in 2008 and 2016) and Kerry and Gore, that most of the electorate consider boring and/or corrupt (and, unfortunately, no, it doesn't matter that they are wrong).  Kerry was not an exciting candidate and there is a very good chance Dean could have won.  Yes, Gore probably did win, but it's pretty easy to stipulate that his boring persona hurt him, of course it's hard to see any other candidate as the nominee that year since he was VP and all.  Obama managed to overcome a lot of the party establishment by actually winning some of them over.  This year, Bernie was the Dean candidate: he probably would have won the general but the party establishment steamrolled him and pressured others to stay out of the race to clear the field.  It was Hillary Clinton's turn.  She was a bad candidate in 2008 and was again this year.

Now, this isn't her fault and it really is frustrating for me to dump on her in the wake of Donald.  She is competent and would have made an excellent president, and the negative perception that people have of her is largely due to decades of asinine media coverage of non-scandals.  Even if there wasn't that, however, she is just the consummate insider, and a small but significant segment of this country just fucking hates politicians that seem like politicians.   (I don't particularly like her but very specifically for her too-militaristic foreign policy stance and friendliness with bankers.)

Friday, November 04, 2016

Yes!

Good God I hope network/cable news morons read this story at Vox and apologize to the American people.

Ha, ha, just kidding, they can't read!  If they could they clearly wouldn't be acting the way they are.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Think We've Evolved Since the Salem Witch Trials?

Nope.  There's an inkling toward the end that some actual abuse may have happened in some of those cases, but it got tied up in the satanic panic and so is all questionable.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Zombies

I don't watch Walking Dead, mostly because I think Rick is (perhaps appropriately) a cartoon character and not particularly likable.  That said, zombies are fun.  This zombie infection calculator is neat, but I think it is missing something, namely, transportation.  While a zombie may cover ground at a walking/running pace an infected but not yet zombie could get in a car and move lots faster.  

The actual infection rate would probably depend pretty heavily on awareness and countermeasures.  So that calculator is probably wrong but it's not clear how to make it better.

In Which I Discuss Krugman and Economics

Short post this, as it's really a thought more than an actual discussion or criticism.  Out of this post of Krugman's--a comment on transportation costs and technologies--is this bit:
As I see it, we had some big technological advances in transportation — containerization, probably better communication making it easier to break up the value chain; plus the great move of developing countries away from import substitution toward export orientation. (That’s a decline in tau and t in my toy model.) But this was a one-time event. Now that it’s behind us, no presumption that trade will grow faster than GDP.
That sounds, at some level, right, but it is backwards looking only and seems to ignore the phenomenon that is the internet.  Yes, if I order a good chef's knife from Amazon then that has to be transported to me.  But if I order a book for Kindle/Nook or a digital video game off Amazon or Steam, then I'm still getting something, and that is a something that would have required transportation even 10 years ago (in most cases) because the digital online sales of those items just didn't really exist yet.

The transportation cost of digital items is approaching zero--there is a bandwidth cost, so it's not = 0 but it's pretty damn close.  Krugman doesn't seem to be able to envision a future where technological improvements could do something similar for physical items--odd for a sci-fi fan.  There are people who thought that 3D printers might make the same thing happen for actual physical objects...and they still could, but only if they get a lot better--don't think 3D printers, think Star Trek replicators.

There a whole lot of economic questions/problems with this happening, but it isn't something that can't happen.  We're already partway there with information related things (games, books, music).

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Obamacare Problems Shouldn't Surprise Anyone

Ok, first thing, I feel I need to say whenever I discuss the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare): it is a Republican plan.  It is the conservative answer to the question: "How do we provide health coverage for everyone?"  The liberal answer can take a few forms but the easiest is "single payer" (aka: medicare for everyone).

ACA's 3 legged stool is straight forward:

  1. Require insurance companies cover everyone (no preexisting condition exemptions).
  2. Mandate everyone get insurance (otherwise, because of 1. the sensible thing is to not get insurance until you are sick/injured, which doesn't work for, I think, obvious reasons--if not obvious: this would devolve to just paying for health care, i.e. no meaningful insurance at all)
  3. Provide subsidies for those who can't afford and penalties for those who can to make sure everyone gets insurance.

There are a couple ways for this this to breakdown but they amount to the same thing: too many people or insurance companies opt out.  This is exactly what is happening.  Healthy people not covered via employers are just not getting insurance on the exchanges, which means those that do purchase are in worse health than average, so the costs to cover them are higher than expected and so we see the combination of insurance companies dropping out of the exchanges and/or raising fees dramatically.

The public option would have done quite a bit to fix this: by making it possible for people to buy into Medicare (essentially) on the exchange, you wouldn't have to worry about insurance companies leaving, and the costs would be fairly low since they could be leveraged with Medicare and/or Medicaid.  Problem solved...except insurance companies did not want this because they feared (and liberals hoped) that the public option would be cheaper and provide better coverage than insurance plans, and so, over time, people would leave the insurance companies for the public option.  Basically this is a back door slide into single payer.  Not sure it would have worked but it wasn't just the liberals who thought it might: insurance companies agreed.

If there is no public option then there are a couple other mechanisms for fixing this, but both amount to the same thing: anyone that "opts out" has to pay the equivalent of a bronze tier insurance coverage.  While this technically could mean increasing the size of the penalty or just giving everyone insurance and then billing them, it would probably need to be the former.  At that point, why pay a penalty and not get insurance when the cost is the same?  So people would sign up in larger numbers.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Good Conversation With One Oddity

This conversation between Ezra Klein and Molly Ball is pretty good overall (though it doesn't really address what to do about things) but for a very odd point Molly made near the end.  She said
It’s his celebrity, it’s his money — so many of his positions are so antithetical to the interests of the donor class in the Republican Party that only someone with his own money and visibility could have done that. And, as you said, his shamelessness: He doesn’t care what people think of him.
That’s rare, particularly among rich, famous people. Most rich and famous people care very much about their image. And he doesn’t, and that’s a remarkable quality.
But he does care...a lot.  He carries grudges against people who say that he is a bad businessman or that he cheats (taxes, contractors, whatever) or that he is only where he is because of a rich father...or that he has short fingers.

There have been plenty of stories (I doubt this was the first, but maybe) saying the reason he got into the race in the first place was because Obama slighted him at the White House Correspondents' Dinner (I don't know if a better argument that that event shouldn't exist could be made).  His entire net worth is a judgement on what the value of the "Trump" brand is.

He cares.  He's just way too stupid to understand what he should do to actually get the respect he craves.

Sounds Good to Me

I'm not sure I agree about the $20 but yes, the main use of the $100 and $50 bills are illegal (tax evasion and illicit purchases/sales).  So drop them.  Of course if we're going to start changing up our money system we should also drop the $1 bill in favor of $1 coins and start minting $2 coins, drop the useless penny and really drop the almost as useless (and also money losing) nickel (note the only multiples of 5 cents that can't be made without a nickel are $0.05 and $0.15).

A part I thought was interesting that I would guess most people aren't aware of was when Rogoff said:
The tax evaders are at the upper part of the income distribution. Payment recipients, like cleaners, don’t owe taxes. And if they’re paid under the table, then when they reach retirement age and try to get their Social Security, there isn't any.
The general understanding of immigrants taking jobs, being paid under the table and not paying into the system is really a case of employers cheating the tax system.  Bringing undocumented immigrants out of the shadows, will help prevent this possibility.  I would guess that it would do a better job than abolishing the $100 and $50 would.

Incidentally after that statement the next back and forth was somewhat nonsensical (going from 2% to 4% inflation target would confuse people but negative interest is perfectly sensible?!?).  I think both issues would actually be solved by NGDP level targeting (say 5%) that doesn't have the inflation only "confusion" (which is really banker hysteria) or the goofiness of negative interest.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Your Vote Says About You

In this person's case, it mostly says they are A Idiot.

I'll admit I'm somewhat sympathetic to 3rd party candidates and voters.  The problem is most of them are represented by this person whose decision is just stupid.  On a related note I also found John Oliver's bit on 3rd party candidates to be off the mark (quite unusual) while Samantha Bee has been spot on (not unusual).

The problem with 3rd party candidates is our elections.  We don't have a parlimentary system where 15% of the population voting for Green party would translate to 15% Green party in Congress.  It translates to zero.  More because most districts don't require a majority to win (i.e. you can win with a plurality...which could technically be as low as 34% but more likely in the mid 40's) the only function a 3rd party candidate really performs is to siphon votes away from the major party candidate that is closest to them in terms of policy.

If all states/districts did run off elections whenever a leading candidate got less than 50% then there would be a stronger argument to vote for 3rd parties.  It would help give a more complete picture of what the electorate really wanted.

Almost by definition in a 2 party system, neither party is going to represent you as well as some (real or fanciful) potential 3rd party could.  That's just going to happen when the two major parties are trying to figure out how to get 50% of the vote.  It's hard to get 50% of people in this country to agree on any single issue much less a whole slate of them.  Unfortunately, in our electoral system where we vote for individuals for all offices in winner take all type elections, a 2 party system is the only one that makes sense.  There are a very small number of reasons to vote 3rd party:

  1. Both politicians really are the same (think Simpsons episode where aliens replace the 2 party candidates) and it doesn't matter so much who wins.  Note: this was Nader's argument in 2000 which I thought was crap at the time.  This is a pretty hard argument to make today, if only for procedural reasons (whether government will function).
  2. One party has put forth a particularly horrid candidate and that party's members can't vote for their candidate.
  3. Non-voters only: people who don't vote but get inspired by some particular candidate.  This can happen for main party candidates too (see: Obama) and yes, everyone should vote, but some people just don't.  Ever.  Showing up to vote for a 3rd party is better than not voting at all.  If you have ever voted D or R this category does not apply to you.

In fairness to the A Idiot there is also a piece by a Gary Johnson supporter.  I disagree with that person on the main issues brought up but that person is not A Idiot.  This is a weird election and this falls firmly into the point 2 above.  If it were a standard Republican on the ballot instead of the Lilliputian fingered, Brobdingnagian-egoed orange one then that person would be A Idiot too, but it isn't.  In this election Republicans and conservatives voting Gary Johnson make sense, Democrats and liberals voting Jill Stein (or Johnson) are A Idiots.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WA I-732 Climate Bill

No, I hadn't heard of it before either.  It is an interesting story to say...well, something about it.  I'll admit I'm rather partial to both sides of this.  A strong push could have actually accomplished something and rather than seeing the glass as half full, should be supportive liberal groups have rather--HULK SMASH--so, ok.

I've also likely got a white dude perspective on this, but if various liberal/social groups state that they want x, y and z and some white dudes write up a bill that includes x and y but not z (even if said white dudes didn't expressly talk to them) why is that so bad?  Yes, I get the seat at the table aspect, but, in the end it comes off as "I want these things, you are giving me some of them, but you didn't talk to me and aren't giving me everything so fuck you and your plan."

On the other hand: anyone who wants to push for any legislation that helps with climate change that preemptively concedes language/policy to imaginary "sensible Republicans" is pretty much a idiot that deserves their inevitable defeat.  You want Republicans to be invested, you have to force them to it.  You are better off with the liberal super fantastic bill that you can really get everyone who is currently supportive of your primary motive(s) behind.

Oh, and also, too: revenue neutral plans are only useful if you have plenty of revenue already, which isn't really true in most of the US, including Washington and if you don't then they're for shits. So: bad fucking idea.

I don't live in WA, but if I did I suspect I'd be pissed at everyone involved but vote for the bill.

Monday, October 17, 2016

We Couldn't Function if We Remembered

I understand where this post is coming from and what the author is trying to convey, but there is a very good reason we don't keep horrors in mind for long: we wouldn't be able to function if we did.  The fact is that keeping in mind bad things happening a long way away isn't useful.  Most people can't really do anything about the crisis.  Yes, as a nation we absolutely should, but individually, there just isn't a lot a person can do...even giving money, which can be useful for lots of problems isn't really doing much here.  Most of the problem needs to be solved by nations: ending the crises that are producing the refugees and, more immediately, helping those refugees get out of bad situations and allowing them in to nations/places where they can start their lives back up again.

It's actually one of the great adaptations of humanity that, by and large, we get over very bad things, even when they happen to us.  It allows us to keep functioning, and to live.  The image and the reality of that dead baby is horrible, but if you have to remember and carry that with you every day, how could you possibly go on?  Especially when there isn't much of anything you can do to prevent that going forward.

I suppose the press has a responsibility to keep the pressure on by keeping awareness up, but at this point, everyone knows there is a crisis.  It seems to me that the writer remembering that baby is really just inviting suffering into her life.  She may be in a better position than me to "do something" in that she has an actual audience and can keep writing about it, but even if she does, I'm not sure that would really help.  We need decent people in power in politics (in the US and Europe)...