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August 10, 2017

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P.S. Relevant to picking the "best" candidate out of a wide field: Maine voters approved ranked-choice voting at referendum last fall, but parts of that law have been declared unconstitutional in a the state supreme court advisory opinion (Maine constitution, not federal). As far as I know the whole thing is now up in the air; the first implementation, if the law stays in place, would be the party primaries in June 2018.

LePage won both his terms running against Democrats (neither the strongest of candidates IMHO) and an independent with a big ego who wouldn't get out of the way no matter how low his poll numbers went.

I suppose it would be too much to hope that Maine voters would remember this outcome the next time. And engage in "tactical voting" if the candidate that they would most prefer has no realistic hope.

wj, sad to say, I'm pretty sure that's too much to hope, since a lot of people didn't seem to remember it between 2010 and 2014.

2010
2014

LePage is fond of saying that he was Trump before Trump was Trump, and that's probably true in some ways, including some ways he wouldn't be flattered by. But I include on the list the fact that he won almost half the vote in 2014; a lot of people still think he's great.

He campaigned in 2014 partly on the idea that he had calmed down. I heard him say on the radio, just before the election, something like this: "Look, what I want people to realize is, even a Frenchman can learn to calm down."

Just one of his many ethnic/race-based utterances. And -- it was all fake; he calmed down just long enough to win again, then reverted to his standard idiocies.

My favourite Fred Astaire movie ever !
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045537/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2

The most absurd script you can imagine, but in a good way, and the dance sequence with the great Cyd Charisse is utterly sublime.

Oh, hell... Collins declares whenever she wants and rolls on to a landslide. This is her swan song, classical moderate Republican and no longer has to commute back and forth to DC.

Granted, I'm a westerner looking at it from outside.

Echoing back to the previous thread, one book I have never re-read is Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, which we can safely bet takes its title from Macbeth's soliloquy:

— To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 19-28

The reason I bring this up is that Faulkner scholar and Macbeth wannabe He, Trump recently stirred a memory of "sound and fury" in my disordered mind.

Let us be grateful that Trump-before-Trump Governor Paul LePage never (to my knowledge) went as far as once-governor of New Hampshire Meldrim Thompson, who famously suggested that the NH National Guard had every right to include nukes in its arsenal.

Life has been a tale told by an idiot for a long time now.

--TP

Michael Cain -- you're probably right, depressing as that is. But I had better not say anything more about Maine politics.

Tony P. -- I read The Sound and the Fury as a young person; it seems to be the Faulkner that gets onto school lists. Or it was in those days, anyhow. I didn't like it much, though there were 3 or 4 other Faulkners that I loved and reread more than once, especially Go Down, Moses.

You wrote in the other thread: I was born in the wrong country, and immigrated to another.

I chuckled at that. I'm not sure whether there was a right country for me to be born in, but for most of my life I was in love with -- go figure -- Ireland, and English literature (not to be confused with literature in English). On my one trip to London I felt like...it's hard to say what I felt light. Because of Shaw's letters, and Dickens, and who knows what else, I "know" London far better than I know any American city except Boston. And yet of course I don't really know it at all. If I felt more financially secure as I near retirement, I'd go spend a few months there before I get too old for such adventures. And then a few months in Ireland. Or v.v.

A girl can dream.

(Then again, I tried twice in my life to go from one of those islands to the other and was thwarted both times; I think there's some mystical barrier between them.)

Janie.

I have been to London exactly once. In June 1994 it must have been. It was a business trip; the only foreign business trip I ever had to a country that had not been a WW2 Axis Power. Having a Saturday to myself, I did some sightseeing. Not for me the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, or London Bridge. No, I sought out the places I "knew" from middle-brow literature.

I went to the Old Bailey and the Inns of Court, to check out Horace Rumpole's stomping grounds. Selfies were not a thing back then, or I'd have one of myself standing in the doorway of No. 3, Equity Court and pointing to the plaque with John Mortimer's name (among others) on it.

Then I made my way to Cambridge Circus where George Smiley's MI6 had its headquarters. I tried to identify the building that John LeCarre might have been describing in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy but I doubted even then that I succeeded.

I had not made Bertie Wooster's acquaintance at the time, but I know I walked past his front door at one point.

I was spared awareness of the ludicrous Da Vinci Code until a decade later, but when I did read it (it was a gift; I was in bed with a cold; so sue me) I remembered having walked around the Temple Church, just across the way from Rumpole's chambers.

Like you, I'd like to spend some time in London again, when I know I'll have the money to live on after I get back.

--TP

apropos:

Newport Police 'issue warning' to cat that looks like it's holding an assault rifle

http://www.oregonlive.com/trending/2017/04/newport_police_issue_warning_t.html

The only thing that can protect you from a Bad Cat with a Gun is a Good Cat with a Gun, amirite?

history doesn't make me optimistic in that regard

what I'm wondering about lately is if the (D)'s are going to be able to get their sh*t together enough to flip the House in '18.

it should really be a lay-up, but between institutional impediments (see also - gerrymandering and vote suppression) and their own general inability to get out of their own way, I'm not sure how it's going to play out.

this is a weird country.

The wife and I did a week in London in 1999. As cheesy as it may sound, we did the Big Bus Tour on our first full day there on the advice of a friend who suggested it as a form of orientation. Thereafter, it was a lot of waking, tube rides, and the occasional taxi. We only used the city bus once. We couldn't make heads nor tails of the routes and schedules.

Ours was a sightseeing and pub-crawling trip, with our being still a bit on the rammy side for 30-year-olds.

Some of the cooler things we did were seeing Amadeus at the Old Vic with Michael Sheen playing Mozart, taking the Jack the Ripper walking tour of the East End (which is a lot like North Philly), and going to the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race in Putney. (We missed the race, itself, but enjoyed the especially rowdy pub scene that followed.)

I would move to London in a heartbeat (assuming I could make enough money to afford it), though my impression is colored by the unusually nice weather they were having while we were there. It was a record heat wave for the week of Easter, with daytime temperatures mostly in the 70s (Fahrenheit, of course) and very little rain. I loved it. It was everything I like about big cities, but with far less of the downsides that you find in American cities.

Ours was a sightseeing and pub-crawling trip, with our being still a bit on the rammy side for 30-year-olds.

What does rammy mean? The internet tells me it pertains to a quarrel or brawl, but this seems rather unlikely for you and your missus, hsh. Speaking of the Old Vic, there is a play on there which has had wonderful reviews, which I am going to try to see when I'm back in the smoke next week and the next. It's called Girl From The North Country, but what really appeals is that apparently the music of Bob Dylan is woven into it in a masterly way. If I see it I will report back, on the offchance it heads anywhere some of you might see it.

https://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2017/girl-north-country-3

What does rammy mean?

Rambunctious, more or less - almost like college kids, but with jobs and money, perhaps a bit less stupid. (This was before we had kids of our own, so we didn't have parental responsibility to temper us.)

what I'm wondering about lately is if the (D)'s are going to be able to get their sh*t together enough to flip the House in '18.

What I'm wondering is if they get themselves together by 2020 to correct their 2010 mistake and take some state legislatures. Or at least one house. (Although some governorships in 2018 wouldn't hurt.)

Because otherwise the gerrymandering is just going to keep being a major impediment to getting a House which reflects anything close to the national popular vote.

Ours was a sightseeing and pub-crawling trip

I drink very infrequently. And I don't think I've ever gone into an actual bar in my life -- certainly not one outside a hotel where I was attending a conference.

So I've wondered for years, what do non-drinkers in the UK do if they don't meet at their local? I'm sure there are other venues. But the pub is the only one which gets mentioned on this side of the pond. Maybe the UK folks here can enlighten me.

Ha, excellent question wj. Outside London and other cities, rural pubs are closing at an unprecedented rate. The pub, as you rightly remark, was a major social hub and meeting place, but the increased availability of cheap booze in e.g. supermarkets (from deregulation of admittedly archaic rules about when and where you could buy alcohol) has led to a great deal of drinking at home. Non-smoking in public places didn't help - the pubs of yesteryear were dens of smoke and beer-soaked carpet. But no longer. Millenials of my acquaintance, when "going out on the lash" (out to pull ((find attactive sexual partners)) and get drunk) now do what they call the "pre-lash" at home, establishing a certain level of "merriness" before going out and needing only minor topping up. Pubs in London have had to adapt, and offer more than in the old days, so often decent food, live music etc. etc. England is changing a lot, in some ways for the better, in many ways for the worse. If Brexit goes ahead, it feels as if it will be mostly for the worse.

But to answer your question, more and more people of a certain age no longer drink, so it has become perfectly respectable amongst any but the young to go out, to pubs or elsewhere, and drink soft drinks.

wrs @ 11:56, and this is what worries me about the large field of Democrats running for governor in Maine. (Eight, not, as I said in the OP, seven.)

I think it's great that a lot of people are getting involved and a lot of people are running. My concern is that there will just be an on-going fragmentation, not a gradual winnowing toward the strongest candidates.

My favorite Maine musicians, Schooner Fare, used to have a standing joke in their shows: "We don't belong to an organized political party. [pause] We're Democrats."

Even signs of fragmentation on the right don't cheer me up, given gerrymandering and other shenanigans. Guess we'll see.

One of my pilgrimages in London was to the British Museum. In his younger years Shaw spent a lot of time in the British Museum reading room, but alas, it was closed for renovations when I was there. I did enjoy the museum, though.

My daughter and I had a great time walking all over the place -- she had some items on *her* list too, and I almost didn't care where we went as long as it was London.

To hsh's point about good weather -- we went in July, a last-minute trip, and spent two weeks all told in London, York, and Edinburgh. The weather was gorgeous the whole time -- I'm sure (as with my hiking stints on the Olympic coast in Washington) giving me a completely skewed idea of what it might like to be there all the time.

Other than London as an amorphous whole, the most moving thing for me on that trip was York Minster. I walked in and started crying...basically didn't stop until I walked back out again, although I suppressed it pretty well after a while.

Westminster Abbey didn't affect me that way in the least, though I did enjoy it. We walked across the Millennium Bridge, saw the outside of St. Paul's (and the memorial to firefighters... special to me since my dad was one), a bit of Fleet Street, the National Portrait Gallery, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, Harrods (on my daughter's list :-) -- it was a lot for just a few days!

On the topic of uncharacteristic stuff in England (e.g. a long stretch of gorgeous sunny weather) -- and kind of opposite -- we had a train break down on the way back from Edinburgh to London. I also had a train break down when I went to Brussels and traveled to Amsterdam a few months later. So the notion of Europe's fantastic train service got a little sullied for me.

what do non-drinkers in the UK do if they don't meet at their local?...

Coffee.
There are probably more coffee shops than pubs now.

I certainly drink more coffee than beer...

fantastic train service...
In the UK ??

Harrods (on my daughter's list :-)

We went there, too. It was on my wife's list. I enjoyed it, though. As department stores go, it was sort of ... I hate use "amazing," but I don't feel like thinking of another word right now ... so, amazing (for a store). The thing that stands out most in my memory is the food court - so much beautiful food.

Nigel -- In the UK ?? -- well, my impressions may be out of date. ;-)

But then I'm moved to add: at least you have train service. We only pay lip service to it in the US.

hsh -- yes, the food is what I remember at Harrod's too! And the line of limos and town cars outside, with the drivers waiting to take their charges home. Or wherever.

Because otherwise the gerrymandering is just going to keep being a major impediment to getting a House which reflects anything close to the national popular vote.

Indeed, but there are some real institutional constraints that have more effect: (1.) "First past the post" representation; (2.) The tendency of D's to cluster in urban areas so they elect Congresscritters 80-20 and the R's win 55-45 in the burbs or 60-40 in rural areas.(3.) the deeply undemocratic makeup of the Senate.

If the economy does not tank, and we don't get embroiled in a stupid war, a D "wave" election in '18 would not seem to be in the cards, Trump's poll numbers notwithstanding.

You get civil wars when the political divisions harden and neither side can 'win' by other means.

Take it from there.

Regards,

You get civil wars when the political divisions harden and neither side can 'win' by other means.

but first, fashion wars!

http://www.avclub.com/article/breitbart-editor-threatens-right-wing-fashion-mag--259344

I was kidding, a bit... and maybe comparing us with Europe rather than the US.

About pubs: when I first went to Ireland, in 1979, I traveled around the country alone for a couple of weeks by bus, train, and thumb. I was amazed to find all generations in the pub in the evening; back home in the USA, my generation wouldn't have been caught dead in the same social venue as our parents.

But when I thought it over I had to realize:

1) I'm not much of a drinker and didn't go to bars all that much at home, so didn't have much basis for the comparison; and

2) the places I was going to in Ireland were in villages and rural areas where there weren't any other options -- the pub was it.

And the Irish are a whole other story -
they are pretty much nothing like the English (and on the whole, I mean that as a compliment). Apart from anything else, they drink a whole lot more.

they are pretty much nothing like the English

This is what I meant upthread when I postulated a mystical barrier... ;-)

Oh yes, I had forgotten that - dinner and wine intervened!

OT - wonder if sapient would be able / willing to comment on the white nationalist rally in C'ville.

the past is never dead. it's not even past.

Since Charlottesville got the "Nuremberg torchlit Nazi rally", I guess it'll be slated for the war-crimes trials in a few years.

Plus hangings. Short drop, long dangle. It's traditional!

To people who condemn "violence" I say:

Imagine that ISIS supporters with black flags and torches and openly carrying scimitars staged a rally on Boston Common. Imagine that a coalition of atheist and Unitarian counter-protesters confronted them. Suppose "violence" ensued.

Would you confine your reaction to pious condemnations of "violence"? Would you indulge your both-sides fetish with ritual whining about "coming together"?

Or would you act like a decent human being and forthrightly condemn the fucking ISIS nutjobs?

And more important: would you be decent and forthright even if the fucking nutjob ISIS supporters were part of your political "base"?

--TP

Was going to link to a great article in today's Guardian about German nursery schools where the kids vote on almost everything, and how well it's working and the excellent effects on the kids of knowing their rights, ability to influence their lives by taking part in a democratic process etc, but alas: since I last linked to the Guardian or the Observer they have put up a paywall. I know of course that they need money, and I occasionally donate in reply to their appeals (much as I do to Wikipedia), but I'm just not up for another subscription on top of the NYT and getting the Guardian every Saturday and the Observer every Sunday.

Anyway, for anyone with a subscription already, it's page 17 of today's main paper, and the headline is Pudding or Puree? Democracy put to the Test at Nursery.

actual neo-nazis have killed people in VA today.

Trump blames "all sides".

the right is a cancer.

How awful. I hope to God they catch the scum who did this. As for the scum who marched, I'm with Tony P above. Sure I don't like violence, but opposing hate and discrimination is every decent person's duty, and sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe. Seeing Trump still trying to appease the worst element of his admittedly awful base is just pathetic and disgusting.

Hate speech is legal in the US. Assault and murder are not.

People like them can talk, and march. But people like us can also march, and talk back. It seems to be mainly people like them who actually kill people...

Hate speech is legal in the US.

and can get you elected President.

the right needs to burn.

looks like the guy driving the car which ultimately caused the fatality was panicked, and actually isn't a Trump supporter.

so: an accident.

Of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent). The total number of fatalities is about the same for far right wing violent extremists and radical Islamist violent extremists over the approximately 15- year period (106 and 119, respectively). However, 41 percent of the deaths attributable to radical Islamist violent extremists occurred in a single event —an attack at an Orlando, Florida night club in 2016.

Countering Violent Extremism: Actions Needed to Define Strategy and Assess Progress of Federal Efforts (.pdf - page 4)

so: an accident.

I'm very glad. When such an act is done on purpose, the poisonous ripples spread very wide.

Of the 85 violent extremist incidents that resulted in death since September 12, 2001, far right wing violent extremist groups were responsible for 62 (73 percent) while radical Islamist violent extremists were responsible for 23 (27 percent).

No deaths caused by liberals/lefties I notice. I wonder if any journalist is going to bring these statistics about who is most responsible for "ideological" deaths in America up to Trump, or one of his spokestrolls, in an interview...

No deaths caused by liberals/lefties I notice.

The report was written before the baseball field shooting.

Ah yes.

Hodgkinson also had arrests in his background for a series of minor offenses and at least one more serious matter. Court records show that his legal trouble started in the 1990s with arrests for resisting police and drunken driving. In 2006, he was arrested on a battery charge after allegedly punching a woman in the face, then striking her boyfriend in the head with the wooden stock of a 12-gauge shotgun before firing a round at the man, according to a sheriff's department report.

Not exactly what I would call a typical liberal/lefty then, but nonetheless I give you this: he was anti-Trump, anti-Republican and pro-Sanders. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio...

No deaths caused by liberals/lefties I notice.

The report was written before the baseball field shooting.

oddly enough, and in a stroke of great good fortune, the only death that resulted from Hodgkinson's attack was his own.

apparently, the right wing wackos intent on murder are better at it.

i'm still trying to get my head around trump's "both sides" comment. one "side" is made up of real live fascists, nazis, carrying flags with swastikas in case anyone is still unclear on what they're about.

the position of the POTUS should not be that anyone needs to "come together" with freaking nazis. nazis don't "come together" with anybody, their interest is in either dominating or eliminating anyone not like them.

there is no common ground to find. pick a side, because "in between" is not one of the options.

pick a side, donald. they think you're on theirs. maybe you want to make it clear whether you are or not.

cleek:

Where are you getting that it was an accident? The Charlottesville TV station reports

The driver of the car that reportedly caused the fatal carsh is in custody and charges are pending. Police are investigating the crash as a criminal homicide.

actual neo-nazis have killed people in VA today.

Trump blames "all sides".

the right is a cancer.

Trump's "command" of language being what it is, I am forced to at least consider that him condemning what happened at all is actually about the most one could hope for. Not to say that he might not have been deliberately pandering to the folks involved. Just that, even if he wasn't, he might have phrased things this way.

wj,
so, soft bigotry of low expectations, then?

Sounds plausible.

Snarki,
Exactly

Where are you getting that it was an accident?

i forget the site.

said he was just some guy who got caught in traffic, his car was getting pelted with rocks and carp so he panicked and ended up rear-ending the car(s) the actually killed the person.

but i'd have thought MSM would have picked up on that by now. i've also seen that 4chan is pumping out fake names for the person.

i honestly don't know what the state of things are right now.

Are we really reduced to the point of appeasing the "white working class" by grading their Dear Leader on a curve? A curve that's normalized at the moral and intellectual average of spoiled 6-year-olds??

When Iranians "elected" looney-tune Ahmadinejad as their "president", red-blooded Murkins could justifiably ask The Iranian People: "Are you nuts, or what?" It's time to ask those red-blooded Murkins the same question. And to kick them in the ass if they so much as whisper "Benghazi" or "email server" before they answer "Yeah, we blew it".

--TP

P.S.: Apologies to 6-year-olds; most of them are in fact morally and intellectually superior to He, Trump.

I wasn't so much (consciously) grading on a curve as trying to recognize the low level of competence we are dealing with.

When I think he's deliberately being toxic (usually), that's one thing and he gets no slack. But I entertain the possibility that occasionally, maybe, he will try to do the right thing . . . and, being how he is, blow the execution. Whether this or any other specific case fits that possibility is, of course, a separate question.

I am forced to at least consider that him condemning what happened at all is actually about the most one could hope for.

Not even close to good enough.

He's the freaking POTUS. There is no curve. There are no bonus points for good intentions. "Blowing the execution" is failure.

Don't want those terms, don't take the gig.

Seriously, it's not a position for learn-on-the-job amateurs. Which is what we are dealing with.

In the words of Yoda, for the POTUS, there is no try, there is only do or not do.

He's not doing.

i've also seen that 4chan is pumping out fake names for the person.

Actually, "the right" is not a cancer. 4chan is a cancer.

Splitting hairs in the land of the hairless.

The balanced middle loses its balance and sinks from both ends.

We need a bloody savage military coup to overthrow by violence the entire trump/republican/right wing confederacy. Take no prisoners, kill all of them outright and their families.

But that won't happen will it? Because our military is filled with right wing vermin who would be happy to slaughter anyone to the left of Jeff Sessions.

The Left is unarmed and a dry pussy of pointless blithering compromise.

I write this two days since touring John Brown's Fort at Harper's Ferry and pondering his massive strategic mistakes. For one, not raising an army of at least a million professional killers to wreak justice on the filthy gutless conservative confederates of his day.

And two, trusting in God. The Christian God in this godfucked country always comes down on the side of those who enslave, maim, and slaughter.

Else, why are they always with us, making our lives a misery and calling it conservative.

Tomorrow, my son and I will take in a Yankees/RedSox game at Yankees Stadium. Maybe read a little Montaigne in the afternoon while the shadow of doom encircles us.

The clouds in today's sky looked vaguely mushroomy and there are too many sick fuck vermin in this country who look forward, with smirking, sadistic right wing glee to those portentous shapes becoming a reality.

If the evil vermin rump and his company of murderers do even the slightest harm to my son at any time in any way, I pledge that I will kill every republican, friend and foe, in this country.


Of course it's not good enough. But given the reality we have, I think there is something to be said for focusing my outrage. Rather than going all scattershot in what is clearly a "target-rich environment".

In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to pick and choose like this. But in a perfect world Trump would be nothing but a failed New York real estate promoter and reality TV wanna-be.

The Christian God in this godfucked country always comes down on the side of those who enslave, maim, and slaughter.

a brief theological aside.

as i understand it, the god that christians affirm does not, never has, never will, come down on the side of those who enslave, maim, and slaughter.

so those who enslave, maim, and slaughter need to watch their @sses.

given the reality we have, I think there is something to be said for focusing my outrage

that's all good.

my approach, personally, is to not relax the bar.

if that proves embarrassing for our POTUS and his supporters, that is their hash to settle.

no grading on a curve.

The Charlottesville Police Chief Said the Crash Was ‘Premeditated’

well fuck.

http://heavy.com/news/2017/08/james-alex-fields-jr-charlottesville-suspect-arrested-driver-crashed-rally-republican-age-bio-video/

no, the right is diseased. and it is being fed from the very top of the country.

burn the right down.

Just curious about something.

The things I read say that the driver was booked on second degree murder. I understand that the charge could change before this gets to trial. But perhaps someone with more knowledge of the law can help. Would it be second degree, rather than first degree, simply because, while he intended murder, he didn't intend murder of the specific individual killed? Seriously, would that be enough to get the lower charge?

russell: as i understand it, the god that christians affirm does not, never has, never will, come down on the side of those who enslave, maim, and slaughter.

Sorry, but that depends on which "christians" you're talking about. There is a large body of "christians" for whom the bloody-minded, vindictive, gay-loathing, massacre-and-enslavement inciting, tribal god of some bronze-age polygamist shepherds outranks His Only Begotten Son as a paragon of "christian" ethics.

When He, Trump declares that "we love our god", does any sentient person believe that Jesus Christ is the god he means? Somehow, Christ's advice to "sell all thou hast and give to the poor" seems incompatible with He, Trump's entire "brand". And as for slapping Him on one cheek, well ... his "christian" mouthpieces have made a point of His refusal to follow Christ's admonition in that regard. Certain "christians" in his "base" see him as their champion for that alone.

It's no more my place to judge theological arguments among Christians than among Muslims, Jews, or Hindus. But it does seem to me, from outside, that there are vast differences within all those religions, as well as between them.

--TP

"it is being fed from the very top of the country"

The malign republican dunce at the top revealed his violence-encouraging brand in every fascist rally he held during election season, so all who voted for this paragon of evil and all those who enabled his ascension to lead the ruination of our country were fully on board with his fucking murderous intentions.

No one walks free from their collusion with this Evil without savage punishment.

The Nazis today and their republican enablers in Virginia should have been gunned down en masse by Patriots and statuary of those patriots who liberated America from this scourge should be erected in place of the confederate traitorous vermin whose statues have honored racism and pigfucking states rights in the name of fucking our fellow Americans these past 150 years.

I didn't feel this way in the past. I didn't feel this way a year ago. I didn't feel this way yesterday and I've driven through the South the past 10 days and people are as nice as can be.

But there is malignity abroad all over this land and whatever pisses this malignity off so it takes up the weaponry the fascist NRA has armed it with and comes after me so I can fucking kill it in self-defense is my true aim.

It's cleek's law in extremis. Ok I'm poised off now by every fucking utterance about every fucking issue by every fucking conservative and you put me here.

Why is it so surprising that now I'm going to react with savagery. Who do assholes think you are?

A note on what's left of American religion. It's nothing more than Ayn Rand disguised in priestly vestments .... The prosperity gospel and fuck the hindmost.

It wiil be killed. The filth will be liberated from paying taxes for eternity.

Juanita Jean makes the small but cogent point that the racist antisemitic republican voters who marched and murdered in Virginia were carrying tiki torches made in Asia and purchased from Walmart as the entire process, which republicans extoll, ruins small Main Street businesses and living wages for millions of Americans, the latter of whom turn around and buy tiki torches made in Asia at Walmart to goose step against the entire mess.

Americans as a class of people are leading all other nations in the full of shit olympics for dumbasses.

Catching up after traveling for the last few days.

Before more important business, quoted for truth:

And the Irish are a whole other story -
they are pretty much nothing like the English (and on the whole, I mean that as a compliment). Apart from anything else, they drink a whole lot more.

Posted by: Girl from the North Country

Full disclosure: I’m half Irish catholic (and half German jew … a confluence of two great rivers of guilt) … I’ve enjoyed my time in England, but they will always be referred to as “the oppressors” in the presence of some of my relatives.

The things I read say that the driver was booked on second degree murder. I understand that the charge could change before this gets to trial. But perhaps someone with more knowledge of the law can help. Would it be second degree, rather than first degree, simply because, while he intended murder, he didn't intend murder of the specific individual killed? Seriously, would that be enough to get the lower charge?

Posted by: wj

More disclosure: I’m an attorney, but not in the area of criminal law … nothing I post is to be considered legal advice, yadda, yadda, yadda

States vary in the specifics and I have not researched VA law, but in terms of the first year law school definitions, first degree murder is premeditated in terms of the perpetrator planned it for more than a split second. The fact that the perp killed someone other than the intended target or killed indiscriminately doesn’t come into play, see, e.g., felony murder rule. It’s the quality (and perhaps quantum) of mens rea that matters. Second degree murder is often described as a crime of passion. The perp intended to kill, but the mens rea was formed so quickly that it doesn’t meet the standard for first degree murder. The classic example is a someone comes home to find their spouse in bed with their best friend and has a gun handy and in a split second of rage kills them, see "heat of passion". The perp intended to do it, but there isn’t enough premeditation for first degree murder.

The other definition being that second degree murder is based on engaging in dangerous activity resulting in the death of another which demonstrates a clear indifference to the welfare of human life. Under this definition, the perp didn't intend to kill, but did something so monumentally dangerous that manslaughter isn't enough.

I could come up with fact patterns fleshing out our current low level of knowledge that would satisfy either/both of these definitions.

Once again, this is a very rough and general description. If the investigation reveals more than a split second of planning for this attack, the VA terror-by-car perp will get bumped up to first degree plus a whole lot more.

And now for the part of the program where the new guy drops a turd in the punch bowl …

This alt-right, white nationalism BS has been brewing for a while; long before Trump. It’s a puss-filled boil that needed to be lanced before it became a severe drug-resistant sepsis. Trump didn’t create it; he cravenly harnessed it. We are kinda sorta lucky that such an incompetent buffoon is in charge and is fomenting this spasm of domestic terror. Imagine if someone with skills beyond a carnival barker was slowly nurturing this into a real movement?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is a good thing in and of itself. Perhaps there was a way to navigate the shoals of white resentment without grazing any rocks, but it was going to be difficult. That Trump and the alt-right is screwing up before even pulling away from the dock may be the best we could have hoped for. It serves as a wake up call for the complacent before things really get out of hand. Clearly this is cold comfort for victims and their families and my heart goes out to them.

it does seem to me, from outside, that there are vast differences within all those religions

It's nothing more than Ayn Rand disguised in priestly vestments .

i do not disagree

Trump didn’t create it; he cravenly harnessed it

this.

he cravenly harnessed it

and he seems to be trying to normalize it. or, he's at least trying to give it a chance to grow.

or, at the very, very least, he's too stupid to know that's what he's doing.

"he's too stupid to know that's what he's doing."

He's too narcissistic to ever admit a mistake, so "gives it a chance to grow"

Plus evil AND stupid, of course.

Full disclosure: I’m half Irish catholic (and half German jew … a confluence of two great rivers of guilt) … I’ve enjoyed my time in England, but they will always be referred to as “the oppressors” in the presence of some of my relatives.

My grandfather (who emigrated to South Africa in the late 19th century) was pretty embedded in Afrikaner politics, and fought in the Boer War despite being a European jew. He sounds from many stories like he was an absolutely fantastic guy. My mother told us that he never referred to England alone, always "England the whore".

Pollo, thanks very much for the info on the varieties of homicide.

As for Trump and the racist scum, we should perhaps be thankful that he has been so industriously alienating every other Republican politician in sight. Just that little bit more incentive, or at least lack of disincentive, for them to do the right when his fans pull something like this.

He's not stupid, he's a coward. The vast majority of Southern whites hate the KKK, but why risk it?

I had hoped Dukes mouth would force a response but, unsurprisingly, even that didn't do the trick.

On the only other hand, taking down statues of Robert E. Lee is stupid and petty. If you want to get rid of all the statues of people who supported slavery at one time or another you get to start at the Lincoln Memorial and work backwards.

and he seems to be trying to normalize it. or, he's at least trying to give it a chance to grow.

or, at the very, very least, he's too stupid to know that's what he's doing.

Posted by: formerly known as cleek

I really think it's the latter. I've said elsewhere that the root of all evil in politics is rationalization. "I want to do great things over here, so I'm willing to pander over there to get the result I want." While not trying to draw a false equivalency, I've seen it on both the left and right.

As best I can tell, outside of ego gratification, Trump only really cares about tax cuts for the rich and economic nationalism. Everything he does is in service of those three things. In other words, I don't believe that Trump is really much more of a racist than your average upper west side Manhattanite; that's pretty racist, but not Nazi salutin' racist.

Mainstream Republicans have been rationalizing their flirtation with racist elements since CRA and Nixon. They have been restrained by (a) not being a racist; (b) understanding that there is a line beyond the dog-whistle-zone where the backlash is fatal; ( c) a combination of the two.

Trump's mistake is being too stupid to see any of these lines that restrained mainstream Republicans and being too ego driven to risk alienating a non-trivial part of his remaining base of support.

In other words, I don't believe that Trump is really much more of a racist than your average upper west side Manhattanite; that's pretty racist, but not Nazi salutin' racist.

His birtherism was aggressive, long-lasting, and unhinged. I suppose the unhinged part could be put down to the toxic mix of his ego, his stupidity, and the fawning bubble he seems to live inside. But I really don't think he's anyone's "average" racist.

taking down statues of Robert E. Lee is stupid and petty

THE SOUTH SECEDED AND FOUGHT BECAUSE OF, AND TO PRESERVE, SLAVERY

SLAVERY

Plus evil AND stupid, of course.
Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki

Not to be pedantic ... strike that, this is ObWi, pedantry is encouraged and expected ...

It's hard to be both evil AND stupid. Evil almost requires knowledge. There is a level of reckless indifference to facts or knowledge that crosses over into evil territory but I don't think that Trump is there ... yet.

Cf., Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. These two possessed a combination of knowledge and reckless indifference re: the actions of their clients and the impact of their lobbying efforts to get in the same zip code as evil. I don't think Trump is there yet.

His birtherism was aggressive, long-lasting, and unhinged. I suppose the unhinged part could be put down to the toxic mix of his ego, his stupidity, and the fawning bubble he seems to live inside. But I really don't think he's anyone's "average" racist.

Posted by: JanieM

My expectation for the "average American racist" might be lower than yours.

I don't think Trump is there yet.

There comes a point where the inability to see oneself from the outside and the utter refusal to take responsibility for the effects of one's own actions in the world must be judged by the effects themselves.

The effects of Trump's public presence are, on balance and IMHO, evil, and his stupidity doesn't excuse them or mitigate them in any way.

But I foresee that there's going to be no end to the hair-splitting pedantry, so I won't respond again.

If you want to get rid of all the statues of people who supported slavery at one time or another you get to start at the Lincoln Memorial and work backwards.

This is actually kind of an interesting point, IMO. That's not to say I agree with Marty about who should be celebrated with statues and other memorials, but it's something worth talking about.

Why, for example, is it okay to memorialize the famously slave-owning Thomas Jefferson but not Robert E. Lee? The first answer that comes to my mind is that Jefferson isn't being celebrated for his support of slavery, but for other things - some of which may well have helped lay the foundation for the later abolition of slavery.

What is Robert E. Lee being memorialized for? Why do we know his name?

There comes a point where the inability to see oneself from the outside and the utter refusal to take responsibility for the effects of one's own actions in the world must be judged by the effects themselves.

The effects of Trump's public presence are, on balance and IMHO, evil, and his stupidity doesn't excuse them or mitigate them in any way.

But I foresee that there's going to be no end to the hair-splitting pedantry, so I won't respond again.

Posted by: JanieM

As I posted above, I agree that there is a point of reckless indifference that can drag an ignorant person into the evil zone. I'm just honestly not sure that Trump is "there" yet.

I will admit that those who know me well have noted my reluctance to use the "evil" label, so take that for what it's worth.

Apologies if I came across as messing with you. Cynical gallows humor is endemic to my profession. I was not trying to be dismissive of your remarks. We're having typically crappy August weather here in central Florida and I just finished a book that I need to digest so I defaulted to messing around on the intertubes. As the newbie who may have overstayed my welcome, I'll go into self imposed exile for a bit.

Cheers.

hsh -- that was my immediate thought, too.

But maybe, really, in a proper state of the world we would have no statues, or just statues along the lines of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That is, we would honor the anonymous nobodies who keep the world going by their kindness, their unsung grunt work, their courage, whatever.

I think we know Lee's name because he went to war to defend slavery. I think we know Jefferson's name for more than that. But honestly, I don't care much about his statues either, except that maybe by being reminded of the spectacle of his complexity, we can learn something about our own.

Perhaps it comes down to expecting more from those who lived in a time when slavery was being abolished than from those (Washington and Jefferson) who lived earlier.

I can't see anybody claiming, with a straight face, that Lee was memorialized for anything other than leading the Confederate Army. Not that someone won't try, I suppose....

Pollo, don't feel like you have to leave!

As the newbie who may have overstayed my welcome, I'll go into self imposed exile for a bit.

No need for that, unless it's your preference.

As the newbie who may have overstayed my welcome, I'll go into self imposed exile for a bit.

I don't think you've overstayed your welcome, and I do think new blood is very welcome. Any of us, on a bad day, or in a testy moment, might think we're being got at when in reality there are very few here who really do that.

hah,

Robert E Lee was redecorated and respected officer for 30 years before the war, he was an active supporter of Johnson's reconstruction, and, while a slave owner by inheritance, joined the South because hos home state did.

He was a good man, certainly by the definition of his time, and great leader of men. Someone that long after his surrender was held in high regard in both the North and the South.

So there wj, someone did. It seems to me that the people who want to take down the statues are the ones who only know one thing about him.

Lee was certainly a great general. Without him leading the Army of Northern Virginia, the Civil War would have been over a lot sooner. And with a lot fewer casualties all around. (Admittedly 20/20 hindsight there.)

As for the people who want to take down the statue, I think they know one other thing about him: that his statue was raised originally, not because he was a great general for decades before the war, but only and specifically because he fought for the Confederacy.

Adam Silverman at BJ on the Trump administration and related topics.

Robert E Lee was redecorated and respected officer for 30 years before the war, he was an active supporter of Johnson's reconstruction, and, while a slave owner by inheritance, joined the South because hos home state did.

Sure. But that's not why you know his name. That's, at most, only part of why he's being memorialized.

Do you think there's equivalence between memorializing Jefferson, who owned slaves, and Lee, who fought to preserve slavery? Do you think support for slavery is a significant factor in memorializing Jefferson? Do you deny that it's a significant factor in memorialilzing Lee?

In contrast to Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant was kind of a stumble-bum before he whupped Lee's confederate ass. He then became a two-term president. Anybody who thinks that Grant could have become president without whupping Lee's confederate ass is of course nuts.

So what makes Grant a figure honored highly enough to have memorials and statues? His two terms as president, or the fact that he whupped Lee's confederate ass?

And what does Marty think would happen if Charlottesville left Lee's statue alone and simply erected a bigger and more impressive statue of Grant right beside it?

The confederate spirit is like CO2 in the atmosphere. A little bit may be healthy, but a little bit plus epsilon can be catastrophic.

--TP

taking down statues of Robert E. Lee is stupid and petty.

If people in Charlottesville don't want a statue of Robert E Lee in their city, they're entitled to take it down.

Yes, there is a general movement to remove monuments, memorials, and other artifacts celebrating the CSA and the people in the CSA. Folks can either receive that as political correctness run amuck, or they can receive it as reconsideration of what is worth remembering and celebrating in the nation's history.

There were a lot of wonderful people who fought to retain and extend the practice of slavery, and the economic and social system that relied on it. Many of them were of two minds about the institution itself. Lee was of two minds about it, maybe even of one mind and against it.

Nevertheless he fought for it. His loyalty was to his state and "his people", rather than to the union and the extension of the principles it was founded on.

So, he was on the wrong side of history.

Where are the statues of Benedict Arnold? He was a great patriot, too.
Right up until he wasn't, just like Robert E Lee.

If folks want to take down statues of Jefferson because he was a pusillanimous hypocrite on the issue, I'm fine with that, too. I'll help them tear them down.

If folks in a given town or city want to take down a statue that they no longer feels reflects their values, they have the right to do that. If folks want to leave them up, they have the right to do that. And lots of folks do.

The punks who showed up this weekend were not all about preserving an accurate record of the life and biography of Robert E Lee. They were about advancing the idea that white people are genetically superior to everyone else, and should therefore rule the fucking planet.

They can kiss my ass.

I agree wholeheartedly regarding Lee.

In normal sane times taking down Lee's statue would be silly.

It was silly a year ago.

But if a resurgent pansy neo-confederacy 150 years after the great slaughter (I've toured two Civil War battlefields in recent weeks where the Union got its head handed to it. .... Chickamauga and the site adjacent to Harper's Ferry .... and I've read plenty of Civil War history), who know nothing of the misery and privation this country was subjected to the first time around, and who brandish shallow racist trappings and rhetoric and fake Nazi footwork (the SS would make short work of rump's howling pigfuckers) all the way to the White House (do you know the lives sacrificed keeping the confederate army from overtaking the White House from their lines in the forests and fields surrounding Washington D.C. during the Civil War), we will smash all of their icons, Saddam.

And more. As far as they and their widows choose to take it.

That said, General Robert E. Lee would spit on rump and his mesmerized minions and would join Lincoln and Grant to oust them from our hallowed halls of government.

Lincoln wept when his beloved brother-in-law died horribly at Harper's Ferry -- maybe it was Chickamauga; the fact escapes me now --commanding confederate troops.

Rump and his republican know nothings would smirk and tweet over a similar event in the coming Civil War II because they are insects without honor.

And by the way, if General Lee was alive today to tie Ben Carson, the black republican Sheriff from Detroit who worships rump's feces, and whomever that rump reality game show black female shit who marches around the White House glaring at and threatening everyone, to posts and give them a whuppin with the lash, it wouldn't have anything to do with race.

It's because they are malign, dumbass right wing rump republicans who mean harm to millions of Americans.

And if those snowflakes find that an offensive, politically incorrect thing to write, fuck off and bring it on, slime.

Robert E Lee was redecorated and respected officer for 30 years before the war,

i'm sure he loved his dog, too. but he also lead the charge to ensure that black people should remain property.

imagine you were black and got to be reminded of that every time every time you drove to the bank.

The so-called black and so-called sheriff David Clarke is from Milwaukee, much the better for Detroit.

The black Lady Macbeth high stepping it around the White House is named Omarosa Manigault, which in Swahili means Shithead Who We Can Do Without.

I'm all about facticity.

Look, not for nothing, but the Lee statue in Charlottesville was commissioned in 1917 and erected in 1924.

50 or 60 years after the Civil War.

That period aligns with the re-emergence of the Klan in the south and elsewhere as a popular movement.

Revisionist history and "political correctness" is not an exclusively modern phenomenon.

It's about freaking time we got our heads around what the Civil War as about. To try to tease slavery out of it, and pretend it was all about preserving sacred traditions of chivalry and god knows what else, is delusional. It was not freaking Ivanhoe, it was insurrection to preserve and extend an economy and way of life based on the utter subjection of entire races of human beings.

If you can see daylight between the Nazis of mid-century Europe, and the advocates of the slave economy in mid-19th C US, your eyes are better than mine.

Likewise, the legacy of nullification and the doctrine of the political sovereignty of individual states - which also goes back to Jefferson - likewise needs to be reckoned with.

Likewise, the overall doctrine of white supremacy, full stop, that is baked into our history.

Do we still want to affirm things like that? Are we bound to celebrate them, still, because they are part of our history? Are we required to respect the legacy of freaking death and calamity that goes along with them?

Or can we say, 250 years on, those things were wrong, and we prefer to no longer erect and maintain monuments to them.

The idea that white people were superior to every other kind of person was the dead normal position, at all levels of society, for most of our history. It's still quite common. It's wrong.

The idea that it's right and proper for white people to own black and brown people as livestock, and breed buy and sell them for profit, and force them under threat of horrific violence to spend their entire lives doing physical labor to enrich white people, is wrong. Was wrong, is wrong.

The idea that a state government can participate in a federal polity, but reserve the right to decide what parts of federal law and governance they will and will not comply with, is wrong.

These things do not deserve celebration.

There are only a million things that white people, and southern people, and western people, and whoever else has a bug up their ass about statues of Robert E Lee, can be proud of.

Robert E Lee is not at the top of the list. He was an accomplished general, and a decent man, and when the rubber met the road he threw in with the folks who wanted to keep breeding, buying, and selling other people and making them work their lives away under threat of violence in order to enrich themselves.

So, he was wrong. Very wrong, about a very important thing.

If folks want to take his statue down, so be it. If that strikes you as foolish and petty, maybe think again. If you don't live in Charlottesville, it ain't your business in the first place.

Strong, cogent condemnation of the Confederate heritage fetish (my phrase) in a Crooked Timber comment. I won't copy it verbatim, but it's just a paragraph.

Or, wrs.

And -- the more this discussion goes on, the more I want to consider the possibility that the whole motivation of statues and monuments is suspect.

If southern heritage needs to be celebrated, find a barbecue chef to honor.

And -- what do we suppose is the ratio of statues of women to statues of men, here and around the world?

At least it's gotta be better than the male to female ratio of American presidents.

Bah.

Benedict Arnold served with distinction in the Continental Army. The Battle of Quebec, Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga. An excellent soldier and general.

Then, he decided he had been ill-used and that he would do better working with the British. Not an unusual move at the time, loyalist sentiment was widespread. He was also not completely wrong about being ill-used.

Nevertheless, monuments to Arnold are not common. Because, when push came to shove, he decided to take up arms against the fledgling United States.

There is this, celebrating his foot injury at Saratoga. His name is, somehow, omitted from the memorial. It's just a boot.

If folks want to erect an anonymous monument to Lee's boot, I have no quarrel.

Our racists and historic denialists (and misogynists!) are also in full throttle, in this case attacking the great Cambridge classicist Mary Beard for defending a cartoon showing a black paterfamilias in Roman Britain as historically accurate, against accusations of politically correct retroactive diversity:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/12/black-people-presence-in-british-history-for-centuries

Our racists and historic denialists (and misogynists!) are also in full throttle, in this case attacking the great Cambridge classicist Mary Beard for defending a cartoon showing a black paterfamilias in Roman Britain as historically accurate, against accusations of politically correct retroactive diversity:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/12/black-people-presence-in-british-history-for-centuries

GftNC -- thanks for that link.

Sigh.

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