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November 04, 2017

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Very interesting study, Doc, thank you. But depressing too, because it's impossible to imagine how your fantasy reset would actually take place, without civil war. And that eventuality is beginning to look, if not likely, then at least conceivable.

My voting habits are and have been very similar to what you’ve described yours to be. But for me there was even a time when I would consider voting Republican just to break the near stranglehold Democrats had in my part of NJ in local (county and municipal) offices. I felt a complacent one-party dynamic was unhealthy and could breed at least some corruption. (Technically, I still do, but that concern has been overridden by others.)

Aside from thinking that, as a general rule, Republicans have gone barking mad, I came to better understand how success in lower-level elections was important to the party, sort of like a farm system in baseball. So, even if I didn’t think Republicans had gone off the deep end, I would still have enough policy differences with them that, after coming to better understand how winning local elections helped the national party, I would be unlikely to vote Republican at any level.

It is kind of sad, and I think it makes me disengage, at least in general elections, because it’s so hard to imagine voting anything other than a straight-D ticket. Republicans have turned me into a Demobot.

Local politics is usually not particularly ideological: it's about small-scale, pragmatic issues, with lots of room for common ground and cross-party alliances. But these days my biggest disagreement with many Republicans seems to be about the nature of reality itself, and I can't expect small-scale disagreements to stay that way.

I'd rather not vote the party line, but until Republicans break their conspiracy-theory habit I don't have any choice.

I completely agree about local politics. I suspect that it's partly a matter of conspiracy theories being harder to sustain when the topic is road maintenance. Potholes tend to enforce engagement with objective reality.

I rather disagree with the idea that voting for sane Republicans at the lower/local levels mostly strengthens the party nationally. And I really can't see how the GOP returns to sanity without some new blood, which pretty much has to come from below.

Yes, there will be cases, as we've seen in the Virginia Governor's race, and before that with Mitt Romney, where previously (apparently) sane politicians go off the deep end. But to me that just means that winnowing can't be a one-time deal.

I would suggest, to anyone who thinks that we need two sensible parties, that you consider registering so you can vote in the Republican primarily. It's not like that commits you to vote that way in the general election. And it may be the only way we break the hold of the crazies -- make being sane a plus for getting nominated, rather than a handicap.

Christiana Duarte

It's not like that commits you to vote that way in the general election.

true. however, under most circumstances it would preclude one from then also voting in the Dem primary....so, not a very useful strategy IMHO.

As to 'sane' Republicans, perhaps we need a definition of what one would look like. What public policies would they aver that would substantially differ from those of a center-right Democrat?

What public policies would they aver that would substantially differ from those of a center-right Democrat?

Quite possibly few to none. But the point, at least for me, is to reform the Republican party. If they end up looking a lot like today's center-right Democrats, rather than what we see now, that would be a good thing. Right?

but, we already have a full measure of center-right democrats.

seems to me the shortest path forward is for folks who are nominally (R)'s to just cross the aisle and vote for the center-right (D)'s.

let the (R) party die on the vine. at the national level, anyway.

News flash....25 dead in Texas church shooting.

See here too:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2017/11/your-proactive-cooperator-thread.html?cid=6a00d834515c2369e201b7c930ffdf970b#comment-6a00d834515c2369e201b7c930ffdf970b

Maybe they can get TWO rumpublican gunmen to shoot up that pizza joint this time around. I'll bet more asshole conservatives believe the story this time than did last time:

https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/11/05/Russian-accounts-and-a-fake-news-site-are-reviving-the-debunked-Pizzagate-conspiracy-theor/218457

"seems to me the shortest path forward is for folks who are nominally (R)'s to just cross the aisle and vote for the center-right (D)'s."

Once this dangerous kabuki proceeds to the rumpublican party and its federal militias declaring martial law and rounding up the far Left ... and killing many of them ... no so-called wavering republican will dare run for office as a Democrat or vote for a Democrat out of sheer fear that worse is coming.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2017/11/dispatch-from-bizarroworld.html

They don't want to have wear a yellow "L" around in public.

It's too soon to poo-tee-weet:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2017/11/05/poo-tee-weet-open-thread/

wj wrote: "Potholes tend to enforce engagement with objective reality."

http://members.cruzio.com/~jeffl/nooze/pothole.txt

Brett Schwanbeck

If they end up looking a lot like today's center-right Democrats, rather than what we see now, that would be a good thing. Right?

hahahaha...from my standpoint as "extremist" left winger, absolutely not. You are basically arguing that (i'd guess at most) 30% of the GOP should wrest control of the party from the place where its base has logically taken it.

Pure fantasy.

Worse, when you vote GOP you are basically endorsing white nationalism, religious extremism, and the current version of unfettered Gilded Age capitalism.

"Sane" Republicans are enablers, not reformists, because they do not, as a group, or even as individuals, come anywhere close to advocating anything that could remotely be called "reform".

for wj,

This.

Read it. Give it some thought. Thanks.

but, we already have a full measure of center-right democrats.

seems to me the shortest path forward is for folks who are nominally (R)'s to just cross the aisle and vote for the center-right (D)'s.

But we really need two parties which are capable of governing. Otherwise we get stuck with the nut cases whenever it comes time to "throw the rascals out."

News flash....25 dead in Texas church shooting.

a white guy did it, and he didn't set a record. so, not news.

It's kind of barely news that Rand Paul got seriously beat up by one of his neighbors.

Whatever.

Also barely news that Saudi Arabia is violently purging people, possibly with the advice of Jared Kushner.

Yawn.

But we really need two parties which are capable of governing

we work with the parties we have, not the parties we wish we had.

the (R)'s, at the national level at least, appear to be unresponsive to reason. what they will respond to is losing.

when they start losing elections, they'll reconsider their policies.

when folks who keep voting for them in the hope of somehow bringing them back into the real world stop doing so, they'll stop winning.

at the national level, i'm pretty much gonna vote (D). i have no lever to bring to bear as far as (R) policy.

it's the folks whose votes they could lose who are in the driver's seat. but only if they're willing to vote other than (R).

Thanks, Bobby. I read it and did give it some thought.

I thought the most notable part was the observations that

the number of genuine "liberals" and "conservatives" is far smaller than meets the eye. Most voters who identify with those terms are partisans first, and ideologues second.
My take-away from that is that it should be entirely possible to redefine what it means to be "conservative" (actually, "Republican") to something far less extreme. As the article notes, Trump has already done something of the sort -- for all that he doesn't seem to care much about the ideological positions that he nominally supports.**

** As far as I can see, Trump really only has two core positions:
1) Trump is wonderful, and everybody ought to acknowledge it. Or else. (This includes individuals, foreign heads of state, countries, etc., etc., etc. Everybody.)
2) Anything that Obama did, agreed with, or was associated with in any way should be reversed. Without reference to anything else.

Actually, 2 is really just a reflection of 1, combined with the fact that Obama did a great take-down of Trump a few years ago, and Trump is still smarting from it.

Bobby: when you vote GOP you are basically endorsing white nationalism, religious extremism, and the current version of unfettered Gilded Age capitalism.

"Sane" Republicans are enablers, not reformists, because they do not, as a group, or even as individuals, come anywhere close to advocating anything that could remotely be called "reform".

Russell: when folks who keep voting for them in the hope of somehow bringing them back into the real world stop doing so, they'll stop winning.

I would say that those who are really "sane" Republicans are, indeed, advocating for reform of the party. But then, I may have a narrower view of what constitutes "sane" in this context than some.

I would point out that there is an important difference between voting in a Republican primary, in order to help sane (or at least less insane) Republicans win there, and voting for Republicans in general elections. I definitely believe in the former. I find I rarely see someone in the latter who I could vote for, at least at the national level. (I think I mentioned in another thread a while back that Bob Dole was the last Republican I could bring myself to vote for in a general election.) At the state level, things are less uniformly dire.

I have a question for everybody who insists that they will never vote for a Republican, even in a primary. Do you think that the country will be fine with only one even vaguely acceptable party? If not, where do you see a second one coming from? Do you think a new party will arise somehow -- even though historically that has only happened when there was an overwhelming issue (slavery) which the two existing parties were ignoring. Or do you think that the Republicans will magically change direction, just because they start losing elections more -- noting that, at least in California, a quarter century of electoral irrelevance has yet to see that transform the state party. (I see a few hopeful signs. But it's been a long time coming, assuming it is real.)

Seriously, how do you think this gets from where we are to where we need to be as a country?

wj wrote:

"Potholes tend to enforce engagement with objective reality."

click on the first link, since I can't seem to comment with the actual link cited:

https://www.google.com/search?q=conspiracy+theories+about+potholes&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

I've been telling people (including here), that D's should start voting in GOP primaries. When the one thing that GOP officeholders fear is losing a primary, THATs where one should make their fears come to life.

Sure, you give up influence in the D primary, but until one reaches the point where the *best* R is better than the *worst* D (which has not happened in quite a few years, and might never happen again), that's a tradeoff worth making.

But better to get a BUNCH of voters organized to switch primary voting, and *let the politicians know about it*.

"Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you *keep* it a *secret*! :

Thanks, Snarki! Although if they start losing primaries thru being too crazy, the message will get through. Even without a PR effort.

"Do you think that the country will be fine with only one even vaguely acceptable party?"

No. But a country that is not fine without this body-snatched monstrosity of a republican party is still better than a country with it, even with the vaguely and barely acceptable democratic party we'll be stuck with.

"If not, where do you see a second one coming from?"

Don't care. But if any of the current crew of "republicans" have anything to do with the next second one, we can eradicate that too and try a third time. Like Ripley points out to the new as yet uneaten cast in each "Alien" sequel, we're nuts to even want to go back to that planet for a second look.

"Do you think a new party will arise somehow -- even though historically that has only happened when there was an overwhelming issue (slavery) which the two existing parties were ignoring."

I expect so, given human endeavor. See answer to question #2.

"Or do you think that the Republicans will magically change direction, just because they start losing elections more -- noting that, at least in California, a quarter century of electoral irrelevance has yet to see that transform the state party."

No. But, wait a second, I thought that's what YOU have been telling us these past years would happen, based on some local transformation you have witnessed in republicans, unknown to the rest of country, after they lose elections.

;)

"Republicans", like velociraptors, Aliens, and
Ebola only become more viciously lethal with each sequel.

Do you think that the country will be fine with only one even vaguely acceptable party?

That depends. Our Constitutional system pretty much dictates there will always be two major parties. This has been true since the election of 1800.

If not, where do you see a second one coming from?

I do not foresee a "new" party arising. I'd guess there may be a possible crisis based on representation, not party affiliation. The R's will cling to Constitutional niceties while employing brute political force to maintain dominance (electoral college, small state advantage in the Senate, voter suppression, gerrymander). The Dems may finally invoke 'democracy' as they represent the politically denied majority. This could be a real crisis, but you never know.

Or do you think that the Republicans will magically change direction

Nope. You apparently do believe this. I mean really, Bob Dole? What was 'sane'about him?

Seriously, how do you think this gets from where we are to where we need to be as a country?

The southern conservative block, with its proclivity to vote in a unified fashion has been a check on other political actors since the 30's. This unity has been their marker since the ante-bellum era. Before they were solid Dems. Now they are solid R's. The civil war continues. When you "sane" R's finally figure this out, maybe you will get a clue.

We threw them out out of our party over civil rights. I suggest you sane folks find an issue and do likewise.

As always. Thanks.

Heck, felon republicans now go directly from jail, collect $200 and immediately file re-election papers, with the support of lunatics who have White House creds on their resumes:

http://www.newsweek.com/steve-bannon-michael-grimm-breitbart-news-dan-donovan-congress-michael-caputo-678318

That's some kinda Goodfellas confidence in the bright future of being republican assholes in high places.

Rostenkowski at least had the good sense to go home and die after his incarceration.

when they start losing elections, they'll reconsider their policies.

You would think so.

But that's not the path that California's state-level Republican party has followed: instead, they've skewed further rightward as the moderate primary voters have deserted them.

I have changed my voting habits. I always listened to or read every politicians positions and, maybe more important, their qualifications. Now they have to be notoriously bad for me to not vote Republican. I voted straight R except for the top spot last election. And will from now on. And despite the right wing social media assault this is backward:

The primary source of this breach, to make a long story short, is the US conservative movement’s rejection of the mainstream institutions devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge (journalism, science, the academy) — the ones society has appointed as referees in matters of factual dispute.

The primary source of this breach is the leftward drift and politicization of the institutions we used to count on. The reaction, way overdone, is not the cause. Once people can't trust any news then they will apply their outrage completely tribal.

Interesting to me is the reference, and acceptance, to Ezra' s conclusion that there is definitive evidence of collusion in a story about objective truth. The article itself is a left wing version of all the things it criticizes on the right.

And, in this case for sure, the left wing media bias came first.

What left-wing party? What left-wing media?

Wasn't always so, but now we have a traditionalist or hierarchy party and a capitalist party.

Guns, limits on abortion and sexuality, and religion etc are not significant impediments to capital accumulation.

Racism and sexism do limit human resources available for exploitation. Social services, if paid out of labor share, improve and pacify the working stock.

If you can keep them from war, the trad party is a mere annoyance and as easily dealt with as Bourbons and Romanovs.

The capitalist party is a goddamn formidable obstacle.

QOTD from Paul Gilroy, British race scholar: generic fascism is the management by the upper class of a middle class by means of the oppression of the lower class.

The reaction, way overdone, is not the cause.

but the cause, even if it's what you claim, is not the problem.

the problem is that the GOP has substituted it's own GOP-brand™ mythology for reality and forbids its followers from consuming anything else.

and now we get to see the fcking conservatives supporting (tacitly at least) Nazis, Russians and an authoritarian know-nothing who;s major selling point is that he is good at dividing people.

your party has lost it's fncking mind. it's a radical reactionary cult of personality.

your party lost its mind decades ago, was my point.

What year, would you say?

1800 or thereabouts.

1800 or so, oh too late

Count: But, wait a second, I thought that's what YOU have been telling us these past years would happen, based on some local transformation you have witnessed in republicans, unknown to the rest of country, after they lose elections.

;)

Well, what I thought I had been saying was that I saw signs that I took to be hopeful. Not that they had managed to make significant progress yet. Cue the saying about the longest journey and a single step.

And I'm pretty sure I also mentioned that California got a head start on the craziness. Which would mean that we aren't anywhere near hopeful for the rest of the country. (Even assuming that there aren't big swathes, which there are, of the country where California level Republican crazy would still be a huge step towards sanity.)

your party lost its mind decades ago, was my point.

uh huh.

well, as long as you get to blame someone else...

I mean really, Bob Dole? What was 'sane'about him?

Seriously? Have you been paying attention to the Republican Presidential candidates since???

The Democrats are now the conservative party, trying to keep what we already have - things gained under the New Deal and Great Society.

The Republicans want to destroy them. They are a revolutionary party, even if their aims are to return the United States to some imagined past glory. Retrograde revolutionaries are not conservatives.

What year did LBJ begin pushing Civil Rights legislation?

https://www.snopes.com/lbj-convince-the-lowest-white-man/

"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

Pretty damned prescient regarding what has transpired in rumpdom, for a Southern Democrat who, for all the right reasons, lost his political mind.

Seriously?

Absolutely. Dole gets a lot of press for being a "moderate",, but the key takeaway is this nugget:

"Mr. Dole spent years pushing big tax cuts, railing at regulations and blocking international treaties. His party actively courted the religious right in the 1980s and relied on racial innuendo to win elections."

That is not moderation. It is the BS GOP party line that drove them into the ditch they now find themselves in.

There are people who opine that the GOP went off the rails with the Tea Party movement, or maybe the Gingrich Revolution, or Reagan, or Goldwater. The roots go deeper--the abandonment of Reconstruction in 1877 was the start. The supine surrender to big business is the beating heart of their apostasy. The rest....window dressing.

In 1996, Dole proposed going after the children of deceased Medicare recipients for the bills the latter ran up during their lives.

Like McCain, there's nothing like the stigmata wounds of war to advance a right wing political career.

Unlike Reagan's horse in World War II, of course, their wounds were real. Reagan avoided overseas duty because of inferior eyesight.

My Dad was blind as a bat without his glasses from an early age, and served four years in the jungles of New Guinea.

George McGovern killed more enemies of America during his military service than the other two and many more combined, but .... you know, taxes and gummint for something other than war in bullshit America.

I would say that those who are really "sane" Republicans are, indeed, advocating for reform of the party.

That's cool, wj, I appreciate your point of view here. I'd just ask you to consider voting off of the (R) ticket when that makes sense.

Which, I suspect you already do.

Personally, I don't mind voting for (R)'s when it makes sense. But I live in MA, where (R)'s are people like Charlie Baker and Bill Weld.

Marty, that "leftward drift" you refer to dates from the end of the 19th C / turn of the 20th. How anyone can refer to a "leftward drift" over the last 40 years or so of American history escapes me.

But that's not the path that California's state-level Republican party has followed: instead, they've skewed further rightward as the moderate primary voters have deserted them.

Either of two extremes allow a party to embrace insanity: where you can't lose no matter what, or where you can't win no matter what. California has become, of course, the latter situation for Republicans. States where both parties have a reasonable chance are getting rare, and I expect they will get rarer.

The 2016 elections illustrated two long-term regional trends: the Midwest has been drifting red, and the West has been drifting blue. State-wide votes (governor, US Senators) in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio were pointing the direction. I didn't anticipate the Presidential vote in those places to swing last year because of the awfulness (IMO) of the Republican candidate, but the trend was clear.

At the same time, four western state legislative chambers flipped from red to blue (one in NM, two in NV, one in AK). I'm really interested in the Washington State special elections tomorrow. I think it likely that in 2018 the blue side will pick up another legislative chamber (Colorado) and two governors (NM, NV). Clinton did surprisingly well in AZ.

wj:

I agree that "it should be entirely possible to redefine what it means to be "conservative" (actually, "Republican") to something far less extreme." I'm arguing (perhaps too obliquely) that this redefinition can only be done by right-wing media.

My own local experience is that I can't count on moderate, sane Republicans to stay that way. Policy differences are almost irrelevant compared to *reality* differences.

Example: over the summer, the chair of the NJ Division of the US Fencing Association had to resign after he made a bog-standard inquiry about event planning into an issue of his personal politics. Mr Dr Science has a lot of inside knowledge about the people involved, and it was an egregious, unnecessary *mess* -- all because this guy got so riled up from RW media.

Our daughter had to break off with one of her D&D groups after Charlottesville, because her friends were "just playing devil's advocate" to defend Nazis. (Warning: Jewish people take that shit personally.)

And that's not even getting into all the conspiracy theories that can break through at any time, into what you thought was a normal conversation.

russell, I think the leftward drift in the media accelerated over the last 40 years. You simply cant find an unbiased mews source on tv, and haven't been able to for decades.

The ultimate reaction to that on cable tv was the all right all the time news sources that support and empower the farther right because, wel no news is unbiased so they might as well lock in their viewers.

In the absence of any news that even resembles, well, news. The opinions will not adhere to any semblance of accurate, much less even handed. When I read that the right makes up its own news, my reaction is that everyone does that.

John Dickerson actually asked one probing question to a Democrat this weekend, for the first time in months. But just once and let him get away with smirking at the idea that buying info from Russia was somehow ok as long as Democrats did it.

As an aside I really was laughing at Warner quoting the Republicans that "the important thing is whether the information is true, not where it came from" .

Except of course we have a special council and a grand jury proving that statement is false.

As an aside I really was laughing at Warner quoting the Republicans that "the important thing is whether the information is true, not where it came from" .

Except of course we have a special council and a grand jury proving that statement is false.

So, Chelsea Manning shouldn't have had any jail time? And no problem publishing all the "evidence of blatant war crimes" that resulted?

I'm sure you'll get that weasel to dance, if you try.

the idea that buying info from Russia was somehow ok as long as Democrats did it.

FFS. you're through the looking glass.

you're equating someone looking for evidence of Trump's ties to Russia with Trump's ties to Russia.

A couple of years back we had local Republican insanity break out. While the school board is nominally non-partisan -- in the sense that no party affiliation appears on the ballot -- the parties do endorse and fund candidates. Three Republicans got elected, and a year later, decided to kill the AP American History class because it wasn't rah-rah enough about the Founders, free markets, etc.

This is a recall state, and all three got recalled (sufficient signatures reached in record time -- folks with the petitions set up outside public libraries and there were people waiting in line to sign). In addition to the "let's whitewash history" problem, there's the issue of whether people dumb enough about tactics to take on AP students and their parents in a well-to-do suburban district are bright enough to let near the schools at all.

When I read that the right makes up its own news, my reaction is that everyone does that.

There's difference between having a bias and making up your own news. You seem to be talking about outlets such as WaPo and NYT, as opposed to Occupy Democrats (or whatever other fringy-left sources I doubt anyone here pays much attention to). Everyone has a bias. Some try to acknowledge and account for it as best they can. Others embrace it and turn it into an overt agenda.

So, when you write:

The ultimate reaction to that on cable tv was the all right all the time news sources that support and empower the farther right because, wel no news is unbiased so they might as well lock in their viewers.

you seem to be admitting that there's a difference. Then again, maybe not. Perhaps you can list examples of the kind of "all right all the time" sources your referring to and do the same for those with a leftward bias so we can have some idea of how they compare.

Either of two extremes allow a party to embrace insanity: where you can't lose no matter what, or where you can't win no matter what. California has become, of course, the latter situation for Republicans. States where both parties have a reasonable chance are getting rare, and I expect they will get rarer.

The thing about California these days is, the primaries (except for President) are open to anyone. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, get to the general election. Lately, we often have two Democrats facing each other in the general. When a Republican does make it, it's by virtue of being moderate -- not just "moderate for a Republican", but actually moderate. Without closed primaries, the need to cater to the crazies goes away.

The party organizations are still pretty crazy. (Democrats, too, just nowhere near as much.) But the people we have available to vote for in the general election are more moderate, on both sides, than what we used to see. Which I think is great.

I suppose I should add the caveat that the need to cater to the crazies goes away, except when it comes to fund-raising. I have the sense, although I may be wrong, that there are some seriously rich, and seriously nuts, folks who have become big donors. If you don't want to go down the path of insanity, you have to look a lot further, and a lot wider, than someone who is willing to go full-on crazy for a mega-donor.

You simply cant find an unbiased mews source on tv

I'll defer to you on this, I have no idea what the cultural biases of TV newscasts are. I don't get news of any kind from TV. No doubt that immediately tags me as some kind of elitist, if so, so be it. TV is not a high-quality source for factual information, it's an entertainment medium.

All of that said, the last 40 years has seen the emergence of the entire doctrinaire RW media blizzard. Not a "bias", an explicit partisan agenda.

For which I do not blame the "left wing bias" of the mainstream, I actually think the relaxing of restrictions on broadcast licenses had a lot to do with it.

You can, nowadays, say any damned thing you like on the TV or radio, and are under no obligation to afford an opportunity for other points of view to weigh in. Restrictions on ownership share within a given market, also gone or drastically reduced.

We all get to live in our own silos now. The RW's is just much, much, much more entrenched than any alternative.

Nowadays we have not just Fox but Sinclair News, Clear Channel, and on and on. Literally, a propaganda industry.

Which does not exist on the left.

you're equating someone looking for evidence of Trump's ties to Russia with Trump's ties to Russia.

Yep.

"There's difference between having a bias and making up your own news."

No, there really isn't. One of the things I spent time on as a father was teaching my kids that a little lie is as bad as a big lie, sometimes worse. Either way, once exposed, people don't believe you, or smart ones don't. Spinning a story, or just underreporting it, or sensationslizing opinions as facts are all lies. The staple of WaPo. NYT is less sensational but more apt to put an opinion piece out disguised as fact. Both always tell one side of the story. From what I hear that makes them the left corollary to Fox News.

Then you have TPM and Breitbart. There are fewer bizarre left sites than bizarre right sites, but they are there. I blame the Russians.

Everyone believes what fits their world view. Sometimes those overlap, sometimes they aren't quite the same, sometimes they seem outrageous.

Some people believe that buying information from the Russian government is ok if it was to get the goods on Trump, but not ok if it was to get the goods on Clinton because thats, different. That would be colluding to sway the election in my preferred direction.

I mean, ten
million documented dollars changed hands. Was laundered through a lawyer and the information was delivered and released. It isn't even a question.

And, DNC trickery.

And I'm the one through the looking glass? I'm deranged because I think she's crooked? Those are facts, they arent Vince Foster conspiracies.they really should take some of the shine off.

At least I despise the lying con person on the right as much as I despise the one on the left.

I just like most of his likely policies better.


Some people believe that buying information from the Russian government is ok if it was to get the goods on Trump, but not ok if it was to get the goods on Clinton because thats, different. That would be colluding to sway the election in my preferred direction.

I think you're confused about who did or is suspected of doing what.

Of course, every election has people colluding to sway the outcome. That's kind of the whole point. It's a question of who they worked with and whether or not that violated the law.

Some people believe that buying information from the Russian government is ok if it was to get the goods on Trump, but not ok if it was to get the goods on Clinton because thats, different.

Marty, the question is, who do you think bought information from the Russian government to get the goods on Trump? As far as I am aware this is not a description of anything that happened, but if you can point me towards something I would be grateful. If you are talking about the Steele dossier, this is not an accurate characterisation, for reasons that can be gone into, but I'll wait to see if this is what you meant.

Marty may be biased and making up his own news.

The staple of WaPo. NYT is less sensational but more apt to put an opinion piece out disguised as fact. Both always tell one side of the story.

Nearly every "left winger" I come in contact with will go to great lengths to refute this as they see the mainstream press as just another tool of the capitalists or "the deep state" (note how both left and right now use similar terms...telling, no?).

Even mainstream lefties will tell you of the rightward tilt of the NYT and WaPo, especially when it comes to economics, foreign relations (there is a party line there), and "free" trade. Dean Baker points this bias out on a daily basis.

So no. The whole frame asserting a left wing bias of the mainstream media is false.

Your entire argument is constructed on a false premise.

VOX breaks it down.

The information in the Steele dossier was elected through payments to various sources, including Ukrainian and Russian officials. I'm curious how that's not collusion.

NYT is less sensational but more apt to put an opinion piece out disguised as fact. Both always tell one side of the story.

I stopped reading the NYT after the run-up to the Iraq War. Because they, literally, published bullshit they got straight from Cheney's crew. Literally. And then Cheney's crew would cite the NYT as proof that even The Liberal NYT saw things their way.

We may not have gone to war in Iraq had the NYT newsroom not been in f***ing love with their "access to the White House".

So, not such a successful organ of left-wing propaganda.

If by TPM you mean Talking Points Memo, equating them with Breitbart is insane.

Different sources have different points of view, and in general yes, they present "their side" of the story.

Some sources plainly traffic in bald lies. Not the same thing. Most of them are RW.

Some people believe that buying information from the Russian government is ok if it was to get the goods on Trump, but not ok if it was to get the goods on Clinton because thats, different.

I think you're talking about the Steele dossier. If I'm mistaken in that, please feel free to correct me.

To reiterate the point cleek made upthread, the Steele dossier was compiled by an English national, formerly of the MI6, to document connections between DJT and his campaign and the Russians.

Folks associated with the Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS, a private strategic intelligence company based in DC, for that information. Fusion GPS paid Michael Steele.

"The Russians" do not appear in the chain of payments. They were (one of) the subjects, not the authors, of the dossier.

*About* the Russians. Not *purchased from* the Russians.

Please think through these things, at least at a basic level, before building your point of view on them. It matters.

Wow, that vox piece was really an unbiased interpretation of the facts. But absolutely illustrative of everything I've said.

It's not the same because Steele is a professional investigator, huh? It is not the same because the Clinton campaign didn't pay all the money for it, huh?

And so on. Meanwhile we get "That guy knows Russians" like ever person involved in big business and big government don't know Russians.

It is a really stupid set of arguments.

The information in the Steele dossier was elected through payments to various sources, including Ukrainian and Russian officials. I'm curious how that's not collusion.

First, let's see a cite. Second, if the Clinton campaign and/or DNC have no contact with these alleged Ukrainian and Russian officials (or knowledge of each other's involvement!), then there would be no collusion. Unless collusion means something different to you.

And "people close to the Russian government" were the sources cited in the dossier. In fact, if much of it is true, common sense says no other source could have provided it.

It's not the same because Steele is a professional investigator, huh?

Right, and he's not a Russian operative.

It is not the same because the Clinton campaign didn't pay all the money for it, huh?

You're missing the point. Republicans started the whole thing off and much of it was compiled prior to the Democrats being involved. The point being that Trump's contention that it's purely Democratic propaganda and entirely false is not a particularly good one.

Meanwhile we get "That guy knows Russians" like ever person involved in big business and big government don't know Russians.

I sort of agree with you on this. The problem is that Trump publicly urged the Russians to dig up Clinton's emails and that Donald Jr. met with Russians under the pretense that they had dirt on Clinton coming specifically from the Russian government. So these circumstantial things take on a bit more importance than if they were being noted out of the blue.

And "people close to the Russian government" were the sources cited in the dossier. In fact, if much of it is true, common sense says no other source could have provided it.

So what plan did the DNC and/or Clinton campaign hatch with these sources? Did they know who they were? Did they attempt to meet? Did they promise to ease sanctions or suggest some other quid pro quo?

Lisa Marie Patterson

paying a non-Russian guy to look for info isn't collusion with Russia.

if i hire someone to sniff around for information about X's association with Russia, he might end up talking with someone in Russia, even people close to Putin. that seems obvious. and that's not collusion.

if my staff is on-the-down-low friendly with Putin and they are asking people close to Putin to provide me with information about Y because it might help me win the election, and i'm making happy sounds about ending sanctions against Russia, or otherwise setting US policy to benefit Russia, that just might be collusion.

paying a non-Russian guy to look for info isn't collusion with Russia.

I like this. Short and sweet. Game over.

Not is paying some nonrussian guy to dig up dirt on Hilary? There is lots of non Russian guys on both teams.

What about inner-circle campaign members meeting personally with actual Russians (i.e. non-nonrussian) specifically about dirt on Clinton (I love it!) and bringing up the possibility of easing sanctions? What about the fact that the Russians didn't interfere with the election to help Clinton, but to help Trump?

The Russians interfered in the election to HELP TRUMP!!! Was that Clinton's idea?

The Russians interfered in the election to HELP TRUMP!!!...

... at least partially because they were assuming that Trump would help them out when he became President - an assumption apparently built on long and deep and frequent contacts with at least a half-dozen people on Trump's staff including Trump's own family members. that's the collusion. quidski pro quovich.

There is lots of non Russian guys on both teams.

but the actual Russian guys and gals are all on one side.

Even mainstream lefties will tell you of the rightward tilt of the NYT and WaPo, especially when it comes to economics, foreign relations (there is a party line there), and "free" trade. Dean Baker points this bias out on a daily basis.

So no. The whole frame asserting a left wing bias of the mainstream media is false.

Your entire argument is constructed on a false premise.

This. And it'd be nice if Marty would at least acknowledge this dichotomy.

I don't know that I see people belaboring 'the well known right-wing bias of the MSM' that often, but that's not because nobody thinks it's a thing. It's primarily because I think the folks belaboring its supposed left-wing bias have made their complaints common-enough knowledge that those of us who might otherwise be tempted to point out the obvious right-wing biases take a second look and realize that something more complicated is going on.

Which is to say, that while I think the MSM, including the NYT, are more Right than Left (the rightward Overton gallop of the 'center' axis notwithstanding) or at least more corporatocratic, I'm also willing to acknowledge that Marty and others with similar viewpoints probably slap their foreheads in outrage almost as often as I do when reading them.

The editors of the NYT would probably interpret this equally frustrated reaction as proof that their coverage is 'balanced', blind to the real problem -- that their coverage and editorial choices are actually just uniformly terrible, and that covering opposing viewpoints equally isn't the same as uncovering the truth.

And that's the NYT. Things just go downhill from there. Wave to 'neutral' 24 hour cable news outlets on your slide down to tv stations covering a 'string' of two or three local purse snatchings as if it were the scariest crime wave since Lindisfarne.

However, the 'antidote' to all of this, if such there be, is not to retreat into a hyper-partisan fact-free zone, like Fox News or Breitbart. You don't get to excuse the excesses of the latter by pointing to the failures of the MSM. (Also, like it or not, there really isn't a left-wing counterpart -- a few blogs, maybe, but those are hard pressed to keep even the RW blogosphere in sight, let alone match a 24-hour propaganda juggernaut like Fox.)

There is lots of non Russian guys on both teams.

While this may be true, what has it got to do with the price of eggs? The point is that there is no evidence, no nothing, to suggest that the Clinton campaign colluded with the Russian government against Trump. And, as others have pointed out, this makes complete sense because the Russians wanted Trump to win, as all US intelligence agencies agree.

That the Trump campaign colluded looks close to being conclusively proved, on the other hand. Consider all the contacts lied about by Flynn, Sessions, Kushner, Donnie Jnr (and no doubt many more), and the suspicious fact that Trump continues to delay implementing the sanctions mandated by Congress.

I understand that you hate HRC, and would put nothing past her or her people, and other Dems. But there must be some crimes you would concede she did not commit?

I'm curious how that's not collusion.

I think you are missing the point here.

Yes, it is obviously so that funds from the Clinton campaign, or folks acting on behalf of the Clinton campaign, were used to pay for oppo research on Trump. It's virtually certain that some of those dollars were paid by Steele to people in Russian government or intelligence circles, in return for raw information.

So yes, "they did it too!!".

If all that Trump, or his kids, or folks in his campaign, were suspected of was buying oppo research on Clinton from J Random Russian, there would not be a criminal investigation.

Paying for oppo research, even from foreign parties, is likely not illegal. It certainly doesn't meet the legal definition of "collusion" because no such legal definition exists, at least in any way relevant to the situation we're talking about.

The relevance of the Steele dossier is the claim that folks in the Trump campaign *participated with folks in or associated with the Russian government* to interfere in the US election in Trump's favor. And that Trump personally had been cultivated as a resource by the Russian government for at least the last five years. And that the Russian government had compromising information about Trump that it could use to blackmail him in order to influence US policy. All to further geopolitical goals of their own, in conflict with US policy.

As it happens, this resonates with other, independent intelligence findings about direct Russian interference in the US election.

So, there was an initial investigation by the FBI, with which Trump interfered by firing Comey. Which raises a suspicion of obstruction of justice, so now we have Mueller.

And, given Trump's personal business history, and the resumes of his close advisors, let alone their behavior during the campaign, Mueller's search for criminal behavior is likely to be a matter of shooting fish in a barrel.

The number and range of avenues that Mueller could, and may well, take go well beyond "collusion with the Russians". Whatever the hell that means, for legal purposes.

Trump is an idiot. He should not have fired Comey, he should put down the damned Twitter machine and quit making stupid statements that may end up being legally actionable, he should STFU and let Mueller do what he needs to do.

He won't do any of that, so if he wasn't dirty as hell to begin with, he'll be up to his neck in a barrel of sh*t before all is said and done.

The people around him - politically and otherwise - are crooks. And Trump himself is not an honest person. He shouldn't have run, but he did, so now he's being held to a higher bar, and he'll probably have his ass handed to him before it's over.

Clinton is not my favorite person, both she and Bill are ambitious self-promoters. They also, to steal your phrase, advocate for policies that I prefer to the alternatives. So they received my support. And, they actually are intelligent, effective political actors, which leaves a bad taste in some folks' mouths, but personally I find plain old competence to be of value.

We vote for the candidates we have, not the ones we wish we had. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was a movie, not reality. Welcome to the big show.

Neither of them are culpable of anything remotely like what Trump and his crew are being investigated for.

The Russians interfered in the election to HELP TRUMP!!! Was that Clinton's idea?

Well, yeah. But Clinton had already sold them all of our uranium and paid them $10m to boot. Beyond that, she had nothing. They wrung her out like an old dish rag.

/rant of snark

But there must be some crimes you would concede she did not commit?

Marty has graciously conceded that Hilary most likely did not pull the trigger on Vince Foster.

Unfortunately, this shades to the personal, but I think Marty goes wrong here

One of the things I spent time on as a father was teaching my kids that a little lie is as bad as a big lie, sometimes worse.

What, precisely, do you say when your wife asks 'do you think these pants make my butt look big?'

Lest I move all the way into the Count's territory, It seems that anyone who can say that a little lie is as big as a bad one and not want Trump impeached post haste is missing a large part of the picture. The whole constellation of RW media sources have made it SOP to question any politician. That's how Bannon and Breitbart gets its juice. So the whole 'I have never met a good politician or a bad patriot' is the engine that has gotten us to where we are.

It means that everyone, including Russell, is compelled to call out the Clintons as ambitious self-promoters. It compels people to look at Obama and declare him one as well because rather than admitting himself to be half white, he played up is Father's heritage (Dinesh D'Souza, please come to the courtesy phone).

No one is as pure as they should be, so that requires that the 'good guys' of the Right, plugging back into Marty's horror of falsehood, address the big lies done by 'the left', things like "the Vince Foster coverup", "the truth about Obama's childhood", "pizzagate", "the DNC staffer who tried to get out the truth" (had he been killed in a swimming pool accident, I wonder what would have happened) be cordoned off with a perimeter of little lies. Cause the other side's lies are always going to be more pernicious. Thus little lies = big lies serves to create an environment where no one is working for the common good. As perfect an illustration of the Doctor's point as one can imagine.

And rather than try to create an environment where our all too human politicians could operate in a way that might make ambition and greed less problematic and less common, we let concentrations of money make it so it is impossible for them to not get dirty.

The much cited profile of John Boehner bears a look with this in mind.

But the story of Boehner’s 25 years in Washington is also the story of the Republican Party, the Congress and American politics in the post-Ronald Reagan era: an account of corruption and crusading, enormous promises and underwhelming results, growing ideological polarization and declining faith in government. The same centrifugal forces that made Boehner’s job impossible have bedeviled his successor, Ryan, and kept the GOP majorities in Congress from passing any landmark legislation in 2017.

But we can't do anything about that, because to do something about it would be leftish. Go figure.

Trust is an odd thing, once lost almost impossible to regain. My wife knew the right answer before she asked and I obliged. Not the same.

A few things.

First, it's not particularly relevant what the left thinks of msm in this context. The causal effect of decades of msm being perceived by the right as a tool of the left is not effected by the left's defense of their media. I recognize the sincerity with which left leaning folks may believe they are not. It just doesn't matter.

Second, today and pretty recently both MSNBC and CNN have achieved the role of Fox news comparables. So yes, there are 2.

Third, there is a lot of "Its pretty clear the Trump campaign actually worked with" with no evidence. In every documented interaction the campaign said no to anything beyond getting the goods on Hilary. And the day after the election all the Russian sites immediately turned to discrediting the result.

Fourth, lots of splitting hairs. Steele is a private investigator, did he ultimately work for the campaign ? Yes.

They were just trying to uncover his Russian connections. No, they were trying to get stuff to make him look bad. From wherever they could, including Ukrainian government officials who didn't want him to win(?) and Russians who could be bought, or didn't want him to win. The "Russians" are not necessarily of one mind.

Last, I don't know yet if there is any evidence Trump or his campaign worked with a foreign government in a legal sense or any sense, if he did then he should take the fall. So should Hilary and there is a clear money trail to follow that they lied about.


So should Hilary and there is a clear money trail to follow that they lied about.

Could you spell her name right? Thanks.

Steele is a private investigator, did he ultimately work for the campaign ? Yes.

lol.

literally. i laughed out loud.

So should Hilary and there is a clear money trail to follow that they lied about.

pull the other one

So should Hilary and there is a clear money trail to follow that they lied about.

Yeah, cleek, But what does that even mean? Who is Hilary? and who is "they"? And what does "lied" mean in that world?

No, they were trying to get stuff to make him look bad

yes, obviously.

to make a 25-year-long story short, the Clintons are held to a standard that would make anyone else who has held national public office in the last 50 or 100 or 200 years give it up as a bad job and go find a nice lobbying gig somewhere.

Whatever Trump or his cronies are guilty of is likely to emerge over time, probably the next few months. it is, i gather, a target rich environment. because trump is a crook, and he surrounds himself with crooks.

I have no idea what kind of bullshit that crew was up to, from creeps like Stone, to crooks like "million dollar rugs" Manafort, to Steve "I heard the call of Roland's horn" Bannon or his sponsor, Robert "what 7 billion dollar tax bill?" Mercer.

you couldn't make this stuff up.

we'll never know the whole of it, but just what we know so far is freaking amazing.

i'll look forward to further installments of "both sides!!!" as it plays out.

as far as "calling clinton out", the clinton's are no different than anyone else who operates at that level. it's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll, nobody gets there who doesn't have a serious fire in their belly.

to the degree the clintons aren't my favorite folks, it has as much to do with "new democracy" triangulating as anything else.

then again, that's what got bill and obama into the white house, and it's what gave Hillary her solid popular vote win.

I give Marty points for perseverance in the face of total opposition, even if he’s the wrongest ever.

I give Marty points

Would love to know the overall score here, over time. Ha ha.

russell, I usually just let this go but, in this case, she is clearly being held to a much lower standard. To have a story about Trump all you have to do is say guy x who knew Trump back in the day has a friend who speaks Russian, and everybody nods and says "See, told you so".

Clinton hires a guy through a lawyer who lies about it, to get dirt from primarily Russian and Ukrainian sources whose motives are at least as suspect as the other Russians. Facts 10M, laundered through the lawyer who admits lying about it to investigators, uncorraborated dirt released specifically to impact the election and well, no big deal.

That's not a higher standard, as with Bill and the AG on the tarmac. it's a free pass.

Do have a story about Trump all you have to do is say guy x who knew Trump back in the day has a friend who speaks Russian, and everybody nods and says "See, told you so".

wait. do you even read the news?

The collusion test ought to be obvious. It's "has candidate X conducted their campaign in a way which makes it appear that they owe policy favours to a foreign government?"

By that standard, paying foreigners for information isn't a problem at all - the payment discharges any debt. Discussing bilateral relations with the Russian ambassador during the campaign while receiving various forms of electoral support is a big problem.

To have a story about Trump all you have to do is say guy x who knew Trump back in the day has a friend who speaks Russian, and everybody nods and says "See, told you so".

there are all kinds of stories about trump.

some are trivial and silly, some aren't.

Clinton hires a guy through a lawyer who lies about it, to get dirt from primarily Russian and Ukrainian sources whose motives are at least as suspect as the other Russians

Clinton's personal involvement here is, AFAIK, unclear. She is responsible for what her campaign does in her name, so if there was illegal or unethical behavior, she she be clled to account for it.

Yeah, the guy lied, and if he lied under oath he should have the book thrown at him.

As far as this, specifically:

to get dirt from primarily Russian and Ukrainian sources

Steele was hired specifically to go for Russian and Ukranian sources?

maybe he was just hired to get dirt, full stop, and that's where the dirt was. or, maybe he *was* hired to work Russian amd Ukranian sources, because that's where the dirt was.

Trump doesn't just "know a guy back in the day who speaks Russian", he has business partners who are Russian mafiosi. As in, guys who have done federal time for securities fraud.

Lotta oligarch money getting poured into Trump projects. Smoke, fire. It's a logical place to look.

Remind me - why'd that (R) platform position on sanctions change again? Who drove the bus on that one?

He shouldn't have run. He could have spent his golden years crapping on golden toilets and being a general PITA, like he's always been.

He wanted in, he got in. Now Mueller is all over him like a cheap suit, with a mandate to look into any and everything he thinks seems fishy.

In any case the "but Hillary..!!" thing is getting old. People have been trying to pin crap on the Clintons for 25 years. Relentlessly. They caught Bill lying about a blow job under oath. Everything else panned out to be... nothing.

Time to give it a rest.

Trump is a fool. Sometimes fate smiles on fools, sometimes it bites them in the @ss.

Place your bets.

He wanted in, he got in.

Howard Stern, long-time Trump confidant, says the plan was never to win. It was to finish second in the Republican primaries, generating lots of publicity, then stick it to NBC on the price to renew Celebrity Apprentice. Stern says Trump is entirely unsuited for the job, and that the stress will kill him before his term is done.

"Stern says Trump is entirely unsuited for the job, and that the stress will kill him before his term is done."

Silver lining!

Gotta go with Michael on this one. No question Trump loved the campaign rallies. All those fans cheering him on; just what his ego craves in massive amounts.

Which is also why he is visibly happiest when he manages to set up a campaign rally style event now. It's the only part of the job that he enjoys. All the rest of it is either requiring him to do things that he dislikes (or flat cannot, as in is simply unable personally to, do and knows he cannot do), or continually discovering that he cannot run the executive branch (let alone Congress) the way he use to run his little (in the staff numbers sense) company. Which is the only way he knows how to run something.

Not sure if the stress will kill him. But it won't be surprising if it does.

Face it, sheeple: Marty has sources of information and powers of discernment so far above our own that we might as well admit his reality is superior to ours. We are but dupes of the Liberal Media propaganda that Marty is too clever to fall for.

I for one am ready to admit that Hillary is a crook and He, Trump isn't; that the "death tax" is a burden on the middle class and mega-rich heirs aren't; that "unborn babies" don't go to Heaven but gun-murdered church-goers do; that global warming is a hoax, and, when Marty's sources declare it so, that water runs uphill.

IOW, Marty has convinced me. The rest of you can keep trying to argue with him.

--TP

Impeach:

http://ijr.com/the-response/2017/11/1012489-report-trump-encouraged-tribal-leaders-break-federal-law-drill-without-approval/

Also, hang Chelsea Clinton to be true to ourselves.


I believe the Clintons (and Obama...and all US presidents and secretaries of state since at least Wilson) have committed crimes that carry the death penalty according to US laws. But since they committed them 'on behalf' of the US and not to line their own pockets* they were not punished (and if still alive will not ever be) for them in accordance with US laws.

*it's OK of course if that happens as a mere side effect of the 'on behalf' crimes or if there is at least a tiny 'on behalf' part.

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