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July 05, 2018

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regarding the west 'winning', I'm not completely clear about what is meant by 'the west', or what 'winning' means.

I would say "the West" is a somewhat moving target. Initially, I would say, it encompased Western Europe and North America. (Plus Australia and New Zealand, which would be acknowledged part of it if someone raised the point, but otherwise not recalled.)

Over time, it expanded to include other areas which embraced democracy and a basically market economy. Specifically first Japan and South Korea, and more recently much of Eastern Europe. The exact label is, thereby, clearly no longer a matter of geographic reality but now basically a matter of convenience and habit.

As for "winning", I would say that it was a matter of the general acceptance (at least in public) of the idea that the population should select who will run the government. Witness the fact that even most blatant dictatorships (e.g. Russia) routinely take the trouble to hold at least sham elections.

Also the idea that commerce should go forth basically without government management of the details, albeit within the limits of regulations set by the government. There are vigorous arguments about just how much regulation is appropriate. But the practice of the government completely running the economy is now confined to a very few places like North Korea.

The victory isn't set in stone. As we can see close up in the US, and in various European countries like Hungary and Poland.

Start America Over Again

Whatever we do, can we avoid the slogan that spells out the acronym F.A.R.T, though it is an accurate description of the hot gas emitted by the Flatulent-in-Chief.

https://myepb.net/front_controller.php/news/read/category/Politics/article/newser-trump_trade_legislation_has_unfortunate_acronym_fa-rnewsersyn

One of the principal jobs of a competent government bureaucrat is to police the acronyms for unfortunate spellings.

Clearly, those positions have been eliminated.


Interesting stuff. I'm not sure if I can go with wj's definition of the west. Japan? South Korea? As soon as a place gets a certain standard of living, they move over to the West column? And if they slide back down, they get kicked out? Is it possible for an Islamic country to be defined as 'western'?

(funny aside, when I was at the Linguistics Summer Institute many years ago, one of the guys there was always playing cassettes (yes, it was a long time ago) of Tuvan throat singing, and one wag mentioned that he was playing that 'country and Eastern music'.)

I agree with Russell that a rethink of winning is involved, but that still leaves 'the West' undefined. And there are some points of wj's I'd agree with. I imagine it would start with
-Greeks and democracy. Perhaps Hartmut can remember which Greek historian defined the difference between the Greeks and the Persians (something about accepting the leader as a living god or not) So wj's point about people ruling rather than royal families as well as individuality which then flows to the idea of the rights of Man
-Christianity, not simply the teachings of Christ but the whole Protestant Reformation.
-Mercantilism and Empire building, which we like to celebrate (Columbus Day anyone?)
-Industrial Revolution
-The nation-state

4 out of 5 of those points plug into the Holocaust (Anti semitism from Christianity, Lebensraum, the industrial mechanisms involved and the idea that the state grants protection and if a person is a stateless person, they are under no nation's protection.) I'd use those points as a starting point to define the 'West'. I feel like that seems reasonable, but I'd be interested in what others feel.

As soon as a place gets a certain standard of living, they move over to the West column?

I think wj might have been referring to democratic institutions rather than prosperity ?

(As an aside, Christianity is the largest religion in South Korea.)

the idea that the state grants protection and if a person is a stateless person, they are under no nation's protection...

True, but note that the Holocaust was at its most unrestrained in precisely those places where the state had been most completely destroyed.

Make America Sane Again

A Better Future for All

For a Better Future

Renew America

Let America Shine

Clearly I'm no advertising genius either, but this seems like a worthwhile exercise to me. FWIW, liberate, egalite, fraternite is still the best.

Sorry, on a phone so posted before proper itallicide!

I think wj might have been referring to democratic institutions rather than prosperity ?

I still have a hard time imagining Japan as part of 'the West'.

True, but note that the Holocaust was at its most unrestrained in precisely those places where the state had been most completely destroyed.

Not sure what you mean by that. The largest number of Jews lived in Poland and the Ukraine, so that is where the bulk of murders were, but the idea of first using Jews as industrial labor and working them to death would be the thing that distinguishes the Holocaust from other genocide campaigns for me.

Not sure what you mean by that. The largest number of Jews lived in Poland and the Ukraine, so that is where the bulk of murders were

This was a thesis, fairly convincingly demonstrated, of Timothy Snyder’s book Black Earth:
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/hitler-holocaust-antisemitism-timothy-snyder/404260/
Where states were destroyed, Jews were murdered; where the state remained intact, Jews could find some protection in bureaucracies and passports…

The figures he cites were independent of size of Jewish population, or tendency towards anti-semitism in the various pre-war societies, and indeed showed a marked difference between the regions of Poland - those which had been occupied successively by the Soviets and then the Nazis witnessing the most complete slaughter.

A harrowing book, but an important Holocaust document.

it expanded to include other areas which embraced democracy and a basically market economy

When did a market economy become a distinctive feature of 'the west'?

Not saying it is or isn't, and not saying it is a good or bad thing. But it's certainly not discussed in (for instance) the constitution.

Are we a republic, or a capitalist enterprise?

Are we a republic, or a capitalist enterprise?

Thank you. This line of discussion has been sort of lost on me, and I haven't been able to figure out why. This is why. The triumphalism at the fall of the Soviet Union was really all about capitalism, not democracy, however much lip service was given to the latter. ("Freedom" really means freedom of corporations to do what they want, when it doesn't mean freedom to carry assault rifles downtown.)

My two cents, surely not worth more than that: "the West" is another bit of obscurantism, like "democracy." But I would say it's rooted in the same era as the phrase "the third world." There was "the West" (the US hegemon and its European allies); the Commies, consisting of the Soviet Union (Reagan's "Evil Empire") and its satellites and, somewhat in the background, Red China and its sphere of influence; and the poor, downtrodden, ignorant, "undeveloped" rest of the world, which was at constant risk of being taken over by the Commies and therefore needed to be constantly saved from that fate by "the West." Angola, Vietnam, Cuba -- those are the first places that come to mind as battlegrounds in that war during my childhood and coming of age. To this day I remember names like Patrice Lumumba and Fulgencio Batista because those conflicts were in the news 60 years ago when I was a little kid.

I think all y'all need to look further back than the Cold War for this notion of The West. I'd argue that it's rooted in the schism between Rome and the Eastern Empire (hence the term "Near East") and really seized hold of the European imaginary during the time of Charlemagne and The Song of Roland.

Check out Anthony Pagden's introduction to The Idea of Europe, Europe: Conceptualizing a Continent. He gets at a lot of the problematics. Whatever the case, I think he shows that the idea of "The West" and of "Europe" are deeply linked.

nous -- good point. I was thinking more narrowly, in relation to who "won" after the fall of the Soviet Union.


I'd say Nous is on to something!

Another battle cry: "Workers of the World Unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"

Maybe too much baggage?

lj: I still have a hard time imagining Japan as part of 'the West'.

Nous: I think all y'all need to look further back than the Cold War for this notion of The West.

I'd agree that the origin of the notion of "the West" has a distant historical basis. But during the Cold War the concept evolved. By that point, it became essentially a counterpoint to "the East/communism." With "Third World" used to designate those who were a) not politically aligned with either and b) not all that well developed economically.

Once a country no longer met the criteria for Third World, they got slotted into whichever side they were politically aligned with. Which, in the case of Japan, was the West. The culture remained very different. But the political and economic features were quite similar to the rest of the West, and quite different from the East -- regardless of geography.

"Workers of the World Unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"

That resonates because the New Gilded Age has some features in common with the original. But, as you say, it has baggage. Perhaps a rephrase, and something which is a bit more nationally focused -- this being, after all, a national political issue.

What you are talking about, wj, is not "The West," but rather "Western Aligned" nation states. Otherwise "Western" collapses into meaning little more than "capitalist," and we lose taxonomies like the split between Eastern and Western philosophy.

Note that with the fall of the Soviet Union there was only a brief pause before the ideas of The West and Europe started to revert to the earlier notion of Westernness.

Is Russia Western? Is Turkey Western?

Think we also need to throw Edward Said's Orientalism into the mix.

What you are talking about, wj, is not "The West," but rather "Western Aligned" nation states.

Yup. But "the West" is routinely used in exactly that sense.

To your specific questions:
- No, Russia is not "Western." And never really has been IMHO. Its upper class has occasionally had pretensions. But the political environment has never come close.
- Turkey was what I would consider "Western", or at least close. But by this point, I would say that Erdogan has taken them out. Being part of "the West" is, as noted, not set in stone.

On the other hand, India is getting close. Needs a little more economic progress, but the straws are visible in the wind.

Since this is an Open Thread....

Would any of you folks in the UK care to comment on what the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis portend? Not just for the current PM's government, but for the course of Britain going forward.

Thanks

I think of the West as any place where you might find a cowpoke punchin' doggies.

Into the West, where two little boys head for Tír na nÓg. There aren't any cowboys, but at least there's a horse.

Not much time, but:

1. Contrary to the impression he gives, Boris Johnson is extremely clever. But his sole focus is on personal ambition and advancement. I hope this decision finally shoots his fox, but as W C Fields said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the public, and the public adores him because he is very funny, and adept as presenting himself as a bumbling but nice bloke, whereas in fact he is a vindictive and amoral self-server. But the elements of the Tory party which believe in his Euroscepticism (which may mainly have been calculated for advancement) think because of his popularity with the public he could beat the Labour Party in the next election. I hope they're wrong. Diplomats say he was a hopeless Foreign Secretary (surprise surprise), and his resignation when a UK citizen has just died after exposure to Novichok shows his priorities.

2. David Davis, about whom I know much less, seems a more principled character, but apparently he was absolutely hopeless on the Brexit beat. In fact, the handling of Brexit has left even soft-Brexiteers aghast at the Tories' incompetence.

Going forward, people like me are still holding out some hope (in vain, I'm sure) for a second referendum. However, polls suggest that the result might not be that different. So it looks like we are leaving Europe alright, and pundits seem to agree today's events will not lead to Theresa May's immediate downfall. What the public will make of us ending up with a sort-of Norwegian model, so still subject to lots of EU rules without voting rights, remains to be seen. I guess it makes Labour's victory at the next election more likely, despite widespread public uncertainty about Corbyn's fitness to be leader.

Over to people like Pro Bono who, unlike me, understand about the economic implications!

p.s. I loved "country and eastern music"!

apparently he [Davis] was absolutely hopeless on the Brexit beat.

Yeah, I'd say only one meeting in 3 months with the EU's Brexit guy would count as hopeless for someone who is supposed to be negotiating terms. You could almost think he wanted no agreement, so things would just collapse entirely when the deadline arrived....

The triumphalism at the fall of the Soviet Union was really all about capitalism, not democracy, however much lip service was given to the latter...

With all due respect, that is a most US centric view.

If it were entirely true, what did the EU enthusiastically welcome so many former soviet satrapies as members - into a union whose membership includes explicit tests for democracy and rule of law (which incidentally Turkey is, for now, failing miserably) ?

Did we cock up engagement with post soviet Russia ? Probably.
But that is a separate issue.

Contrary to the impression he gives, Boris Johnson is extremely clever.

‘Extremely’ is going a bit far, I think. And he can also be exceptionally idle.

He’s basically a blagger, who has been more or less found out, I hope.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. My own is that there are sufficient Brexit enthusiasts who will remain in the government (for example, Gove), and that no one* really wants to take over from May right now, as they have little idea what to do if they did.

We’lll probably muddle on for a while longer, and even possibly achieve some kind of Brexit fudge. At which point May can take the blame and be kicked out by whichever minister is in the ascendency...

The combination of the Fixed Term Parliament Act and the Tory leadership contest rules make getting rid of May quite difficult.

*Apart from the fanatics who’d rather seem no deal at all with the EU, and damn the consequences.

Davis - another blagger, promoted beyond his competence (though indeed rather more principled, albeit erratically, than Johnson).

me: The triumphalism at the fall of the Soviet Union was really all about capitalism, not democracy, however much lip service was given to the latter...

Nigel: With all due respect, that is a most US centric view.

With all due respect, why not? I did mention Reagan later in the comment (and was thus being more or less explicitly and admittedly US-centric), and I am an American, and we were at one point in this thread talking about American politics and possible effective political slogans post-Trump.

Sometime, when it's not so hot and I embark on my long-postponed study of the dynamics of blog conversations, I'll go back and trace how we got from slogans to the definition of "the West." But it's too hot for that today.

He’s basically a blagger

Quite a useful word.

American triumphalism! We are kind of good at it, I think.

No problem, JanieM.
I am perhaps a bit too quick to take exception to implications (in this case clearly not intended) that the US and the ‘West’ are synonymous.

No argument on Boris's idleness, Nigel, and I think it's because of that combined with cleverness which makes him think he can wing it so often to such awful effect. Apart from that, your analysis seems pretty sound to me.

are we a republic, or a capitalist enterprise....

Well Franklin and Jefferson were certainly not unaware of Adam Smith....
https://adamsmithslostlegacy.blogspot.com/2005/10/adam-smith-and-us-declaration-of.html

American triumphalism! We are kind of good at it, I think.

It's easy for us to get there.
- We were mostly isolated from foreign threats for the bulk of our existence. So no losses and, except for the War of 1812, no serious attacks/invasions.
- We "conquered" the continent (against minimal effective opposition, but we can and do ignore that detail).
- Then, in the 20th century, we got into WW I late enough that we could (at least in our own minds) take credit for the victory -- we arrived and presto!
- WW II we do deserve credit for, even if we did have the enormous advantage that our industrial infrastructure (unlike that of everybody else involved) didn't come under attack. We got to fight on other people's ground.
- Finally, we used our advantage at the end of WW II to lead the Western** opposition which eventually triumphed over the USSR. (And if you doubt that we won and Russia lost, just ask Putin.)

Triumph after triumph! And, outside Trump's fevered imagination, no significant losses -- Vietnam was a non-win, and an expensive one, but we didn't actually lose any ground there.

** Sorry. But I don't really know what other term to use.

Nigel, thanks. Peace.

wj: WW II we do deserve credit for

Some of the credit. Taking the other side of the coin this time (the "let's not be so US-centric" one), I'd say that as an American you have to dig deep to find out that the Soviet Union played a bit of a role in that war too.

The USSR's death tolls, both civilian and military, are staggering. I don't know what they teach kids now, but we certainly didn't hear a whole lot about Russia's role in the war when I was a kid. Then again, for me personally, my dad and uncles were mostly in the Pacific and/or in Korea, so it wasn't until much later that I realized that for some people the war in the Pacific was a bit of a sideshow.

Lots of really interesting observations and I'll hope folks don't mind if I think about them for a while. I remember Nigel recommending Black Earth and I'll have to get on to that. Looking over the references for functionalism vs intentionalism, I see there were a whole slew of books that I hadn't read, but I'm not sure if I can summon the mental energy to catch up with the field. It's a subject I could read in my 20's, but in my late 50's, I find I don't have the stamina...

"No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination."

That was the second sentence of Brett Kavanaugh's acceptance speech in tonight's episode of "He, Trump Presents".

In case anybody like Marty or McKinney has ever wondered what I mean by "lickspittle", let THIS serve as an illustrative example.

In case any Democratic Senators are reading this, please be sure to ask Judge Kavanaugh where he got this little faux-factoid, and whether it's a fair sample of his "judgement".

--TP

Am I alone in thinking that Kavanaugh looks a bit like a weaker chinned Matthew Perry ?

And why Trump picked him:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/brett-kavanaugh-is-devoted-to-the-presidency/564764/
One could imagine, of course, that Kavanaugh’s experience pursuing wrongdoing in the Clinton White House might incline him to a jaundiced view of presidents generally, thus offering a hope that, on the bench, he will be independent of the president who appointed him. But in a 2009 article in Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh, by then a life-tenured judge, announced that the independent-counsel investigation in which he served had been a mistake after all: “[T]he nation certainly would have been better off if President Clinton could have focused on Osama Bin Laden without being distracted by the Paula Jones sexual harassment case and its criminal-investigation offshoots.” He suggested instead that Congress should, by statute, simply provide that a sitting president could neither be sued, indicted, tried, investigated or even questioned by prosecutors while in office. Problem solved.

A (rather right-wing) friend sent me this, if you can get past the firewall. The writer should certainly know!

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-english-love-a-buffoon-but-the-boris-johnson-joke-went-tragically-wrong-2m3fmt5km?shareToken=e949a7c5131f0077c42aeb9a3a450dda

For those who can't get past the firewall, a sample:

Johnson’s glittering intelligence is not matched by self-knowledge. He sees his place in the nation’s history in Churchillian terms, whereas others — including most of the parliamentary Conservative Party — would cast him as Blackadder in a blond wig.

He is a man of remarkable gifts, flawed by an absence of conscience, principle or scruple. It has been a misfortune for Britain that through two years when diplomacy has been critically important we have been represented abroad by a jester.

why Trump picked him

hip deep in the Starr investigation, principal author of the Starr report.

involved in the Vince Foster BS, argued before the SCOTUS for the suspension of attorney-client privilege in that context.

worked the Florida recount thing for W, then was a staff attorney for W. W nominated him for a circuit court judgeship, it took him 3 years to be approved because of his obviously partisan history.

balls and strikes!

From:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-brett-kavanaugh-would-change-the-supreme-court/

Overall, though, his track record is clear: He rules consistently in favor of business and employers and against government regulations and agencies. Over the years, Kavanaugh has authored a number of rulings reining in Obama-era environmental regulations, and he authored a recent dissent arguing that the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, the agency created in the wake of the Great Recession to prevent future financial meltdowns, was unconstitutional.

Score 1 for ... hmmmm ... oh, I got it! - shareholder value!

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the US will be a significant step further from democracy. In a proper democracy, the minority party doesn't get to pack the Supreme Court with hard-line partisan Justices.

And now Susan Collins has her out. It was all going to be about Roe v Wade, and that might have been tricky for her because people seem to be on to her at last. But since instead it's going to be all about how he's there to make sure Clickbait doesn't get indicted, impeached, or whatever, her litmus test (or lack of one) is irrelevant. Republicans love them some shareholder value!

Good times.

the US will be a significant step further from democracy

strictly speaking, we're a republic, not a democracy. and, the founders were creatures of their time and class, and were remarkably suspicious of democratic 'mob rule'.

so, lots of baked-in institutional speed-bumps to curb majority rule.

in the American republican (small r) model, a minority of the population can, and presently does, have a majority voice in governance.

it happens, and I'm pretty sure has happened before. not sure that it's sustainable.

with reference to an earlier conversation about the SCOTUS pick - i'm curious to know if wj would consider Kavanaugh 'another Kennedy'.

For our collection of campaign slogans. Stolen from an Anne Laurie post at BJ, quoting Amanda Marcotte on Twitter:


Kavanaugh dissented from Merrick Garland in one case I’ve found so far, in which Garland ruled that Sea World should have done more to prevent a captive orca from dismembering an employee. Kavanaugh felt dismemberment was a reasonable risk of employment.

— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) July 10, 2018

Maybe Democrats should make that a campaign slogan: Vote for Democrats. We don't think you should be dismembered by whales.

— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) July 10, 2018

SAVE THE WHALES (while preventing them from dismembering you)!

I once knew a guy who liked to wear a "Nuke the whales" t-shirt, just to get people riled up.

He's the friend I was with in Provincetown one year when I saw my all-time favorite t-shirt slogan (surely I'm repeating myself). On the front, "Jesus is coming." On the back, "Look busy."

Stupid jokes: the only way to get through this mess?

i have a t-shirt that says

"I found Jesus!"
[picture of Jesus standing behind a couch]
"He was behind the couch!"

i wore it once, to a bar, and some meathead got physical with me about it.

There are few things Jesus loved more than a good bar fight.

My favourite bumper sticker, in california decades ago, was I brake for hallucinations

GftNC, I was particularly taken by this about Johnson:

Here at last, they say, is somebody real; a man who tells it like it is; an overweight bundle of fun who makes them laugh. It is no contradiction that this vote of confidence is unsupported by most of those who know Boris well, starting with Michael Gove, or who have been rash enough to believe a word he says about whether it is Monday or Tuesday.
Gosh, what American political could that have been written about, almost word for word...?

russell: with reference to an earlier conversation about the SCOTUS pick - i'm curious to know if wj would consider Kavanaugh 'another Kennedy'.

Nope. Hardiman, mught have been (based on this https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-4-potential-nominees-would-change-the-supreme-court/ ). But Kavanaugh? No way.

I'd guess that his views on Presidential immunity on absolutely everything were the overwhelming reason he got tapped.

wj: yes, he has been compared to Trump before, with many people also commenting on their respective hairstyles. But unlike Trump, pace Nigel, he is very clever (and highly educated), although we are living in a period where it is possible to debate whether Trump's stupidity and ignorance make him more or less dangerous....

Trump's stupidity and ignorance probably make him less dangerous than he would be otherwise. Although his inability to focus on much of anything except himself is probably a bigger plus -- hard as that may be to believe.

And that's doubly true if it turns out that there is anything to this
https://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/trump-putin-russia-collusion.html

I'd guess that his views on Presidential immunity on absolutely everything were the overwhelming reason he got tapped.

I can see the attraction.

We should have sent Nixon to jail. For, like, 10 years. Real jail, not La Quinta Inns and Suites jail.

My expectation at this point is:

  • Kavanaugh will be approved
  • At some point Mueller will deliver his findings
  • Manafort, Flynn, Papadopolous, probably Cohen, will do some kind of time. At La Quinta.
  • Trump will not be indicted for anything whatsoever, because in the end it will go to the SCOTUS, and Kavanaugh's reading of the penumbras and emanations apparently evolved between the tenure of Bill Clinton and George W Bush, and he'll be the swing vote. In an originalist way, of course. Probably something he overlooked when reading Locke's Second Treatise the first time around.
  • Trump will not be impeached, because (R)'s.
  • Or, Trump will be impeached, because midterms, but the vote on impeachment will fail in the Senate, because (R)'s.

And, Trump will continue to FUBAR the cause of small-l liberal democracy for another couple of years. To say nothing of the environment, and working Americans, and brown people, and women, and anyone else who doesn't own or speak for great big piles of money.

Maybe six, if the (D)'s can't get their act together.

There might be a hotel in Moscow when all is said and done, but maybe not. If there is, Trump's name will be on it, but Putin will own it. Because Trump is Putin's mark.

Trump is used to 'winning' by cheating people out of their wages, and screwing over creditors, and laundering kleptocrat money, and generally being a dick.

Putin is used to winning by killing people. Not personally, they just end up dead, somehow.

Advantage Putin.

Anyway, I'm starting a book on all of the above, if anyone's interested.

Manafort, Flynn, Papadopolous, probably Cohen, will do some kind of time. At La Quinta.

You don't think Clickbait will pardon them before it gets to that point?

He probably will. Although perhaps only after 2020.

Unfortunately for them, there are also significant state charges. Which Trump is in no position to do anything about.

From wj's NY Mag link:

Russian intelligence gains influence in foreign countries by operating subtly and patiently. It exerts different gradations of leverage over different kinds of people, and uses a basic tool kit of blackmail that involves the exploitation of greed, stupidity, ego, and sexual appetite. All of which are traits Trump has in abundance.

Yep.

it happens, and I'm pretty sure has happened before. not sure that it's sustainable.

Reminds me of the comment about the market staying irrational longer than the rational investor can stay solvent....

I'd guess that his views on Presidential immunity on absolutely everything were the overwhelming reason he got tapped."

Why guess at facts?

Yes. Except of course when anyone but a Republican is President:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/07/starr-starr

Kavanaugh also played a supporting role as a hack in the theft of the Presidency in the 2000. He has just been cast as a leading man in the coming Constitutional Crisis that will sink the country into horrific, genocidal, savage Civil War (they have all of the guns and the political money via Citizens United) in all 50 states, as he casts the vote or votes to exonerate mp and all of the other republicans who, with the absolute aid of the Kremlin, stole the election of 2016, among dozens of other crimes.

Kavanaugh has principles and if we don't like those, he has others. All self-serving and partisan.

A warning blast from the past about political principle from the early 1950s by Arthur Schlesinger at a time when the American Political Science Association convinced the two parties to transform themselves into truly national, ideological cohesive parties, a process that in the republican is now finished and complete, locked in with no possibility of being ameliorated, because those bugs are organized and ruthless. There is no time left for the democratic party to complete their transformation, and more's the pity, considering the bloodshed that is imminent:

"Is not the fact that each party has a liberal and conservative wing a genuine source of national strength and cohesion? . . . The result is, of course, that no group can have the desperate feeling that all options are foreclosed, all access to power barred, by the victory of the opposition: there will always be somebody in a Democratic administration on whose shoulders business can weep, and even a Republican administration will have somewhere a refuge for labor. If the party division were strictly ideological, each presidential election would subject national unity to a fearful test. We must remember that the one election when our parties stood irrevocably on questions of principle was the election of 1860."

The book review from whence the quote:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/07/02/the-rise-of-mcpolitics

The Federalist Society will criminalize abortion, gay marriage, and possibly homosexuality and lesbianism once again. Labor unions are done, as they are in the Soviet Union, which is fitting. Only republican money will flow into corrupt stolen elections from here on out. Environmental and workplace regs are finished.

The Federal Government is out of the business of protecting the American people, with the exception of the prejudices and discriminations of white, male Christians and the odd lot Ayn Rand filth, the latter those who like and wish to retain their right to blowjobs as long as there is no minimum wage or protections for those workers supplying them.

As it happens, I now have a much more expansive view of the Second Amendment and what the Founders viewed as its' role in defending against the enemies of this country.

Casting our eyes abroad, the worldwide right wing nationalist conservative movement, including in Russia and China .. the latter in which Ivanka mp's trinkets and scarves are produced and enter the U.S. without tariff ... and Israel and Turkey, and Poland and England and spreading like the zombie virus to the rest of the world, must also be fucking liquidated.

If you want your children to live in a halfway normal world, albeit less populated.

They will also cause Social Security and Medicare to be declared unconstitutional by the courts and the Court. Because they say and have declared forever that's what they fully intend to do.

I was reading that some 40,000 right-wing attorneys, law students, and judges are members of the Star Chamber called the Federalist Society. I'm told Rod Rosenstein ... the republican, Marty ... is one of them, temporarily I expect, as he will soon resign if not thrown out of that pigshit, murderous organization, probably while he is behind bars for being an American in the midst of the unAmerican vermin called the republican/conservative party.

The 39,999 are among the living.

Change that fact, within the context of a Civil War in every street in America and we can save our country.

Casting our eyes abroad, the worldwide right wing nationalist conservative movement, including in Russia and China .. the latter in which Ivanka mp's trinkets and scarves are produced and enter the U.S. without tariff ... and Israel and Turkey, and Poland and England and spreading like the zombie virus to the rest of the world, must also be fucking liquidated.

If you want your children to live in a halfway normal world, albeit less populated.

Dana Milbank wrote an editorial in the Washington Post entitles "An Explosion Is Coming". He hopes it's electoral and not the street-leel variety, but the first option is already being foreclosed by the liars and cheats in the republican party, and the Russians are already hard at work enabling it.

Republicans received an update on their progress in Moscow just last week.

Look:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-grants-clemency-to-oregon-cattle-ranchers-whose-imprisonment-led-to-armed-standoff-2018-07-10?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

You can do anything, break any law, to subvert rule of law, as long as you are a piece of republican dogshit.

They'll kill the rest of us.

SAVE THE WHALES

We did.

You're welcome.

We did.

liar.

https://us.whales.org/wdc-in-action/climate-change

Just posting a link, since someone praised Obama’s support for the Syrian rebels some days back. There is a slight chance Trump will end that support, though if so it will probably be counterbalanced by more stupidity elsewhere. This is a fairly lengthy post.

https://m.regthink.org/en/articles/the-breaking-of-syrias-rebellion

To no sane person’s surprise, it turns out that both the government and the various rebel factions are all horrible.

Great Schlesinger quote Count.

Donald, while the analysis is fine as far as it goes (and, as you say, it's no great surprise for the groups covered), I notice that Ms Tsurkov is careful to never even mention the word Kurd. And says nothing about conditions in the areas that the Kurds control.

Note that the faction that the US has been mostly supporting is the Syrian Kurds. Which, I would say, rather undercuts your point. Not necessarily invalidates it completely, but definitely undercuts the theory that our support is all going to noxious groups.

Fossil Fuel Industry

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2018/07/today-sixth-extinction-5

But, without fossil fuels, would there now be any whales left to worry about?

Open thread: The stock market is down today on trade-war fears. There was an Onion piece I saw not long ago about the stressed-out floor trader who always shows up in photos accompanying internet stock reporting, holding his head or covering his open mouth with his hands or grimacing with clenched fists, when the market is down.

True to form, he showed up today. The Onion is funny.

But, without fossil fuels, would there now be any whales left to worry about?

Fossil fuels in use or simply in existence? Also, too, are you a fan of Andy Kaufman?

Fossil fuel use certainly supplanted whale oil use.

Moby Dick had a happy ending after all.

Fossil fuel use certainly supplanted whale oil use.

and now it's killing them.

[and that's before we start adding up the damage that petroleum's other demon spawn, plastic, creates]

you can always count on ObWi for some high-quality esoterica.

Oddly, it looks like the greatest number of whales were hunted and killed in the 20th C..

Like, three million of them. In no small part because fossil fuels made hunting them more efficient.

Counter-intuitive, perhaps, but nevertheless it appears to be so.

Over to you, Fossil Fuel Industry.

By comparision, looks like 236K killed in the 19th C.

This is all just google-ology, I'm happy to be corrected by folks who have some actual knowledge of the history of whaling.

But it looks like our fossil-fueled 20th was an order of magnitude more deadly for whales than the 19th, when whale oil use was at its peak.

Apparently, whale oil is a hobby horse of sorts.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/this-post-is-hopelessly-long-w

But now, it's not whale oil they are hunted for. It's sashimi. (OK, the Japanese claim they are hunting them for scientific research. Anyone who believes that, I've got this iconic bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you for a great price.)

For whales that subsist on krill, what might wipe them out is factory ships (often, but not exclusively Japanese I believe) hoovering up vast tonnages of krill to turn into fish oil and other products. And it won't just affect whales, apparently many other species are depending on the food chain of which krill form the bottom layer.

Meanwhile, we still have significant vulnerabilities in our vote counting systems. Partially because reporting flaws that you find means that you are admitting to violating the 1985 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. And you are likely to find yourself being investigated by the FBI for doing so.

There is (was) a bill to update the act so as to (among other things) provide for reporting bugs to the appropriate authority. This was introduced . . . in 2013. Stalled in committee (thanks to objections from Oracle). Reintroduced in 2015, and stalled in committee again. Sigh

Posted by: Sebastian H:

" I actually found the Army discharge story to be strangely more shocking than the rest of the recent stories. I'm not totally sure why, but I did."

You assumed, as I once did, that the right held military service as sacred, or at least in deep respect. I dropped that belief many years ago, as the evidence piled up.

In the end, the only thing that the right respects is power and money.

Taking a moment away from the salt mine to make a point or two about our revered president. Not everyone on the right likes the MF, even if we are not in a state of perpetual outrage, as some few seem to be. That said, what happened in Europe this week is really, really beyond the pale for someone who claims to be a Republican. Seriously, while it is correct to call out--in an appropriate fashion--the NATO members who are not making fair contributions, the meeting with Putin cannot be rationalized, period full stop. If you have time, read the link below from National Review (you'll be ok with it), and ponder the disconnect between Trump and his Director of National Intelligence. Here's the link: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-warning-lights-are-blinking-red-again/

He needs to go.

I hope you are the harbinger, McKinney.

Its a decent piece, McKinney, but with respect nobody here except maybe you and Marty needs to ponder it: we've all been talking about the disconnect between Trump and various members of the intelligence community, whether specialists in cyber-warfare or otherwise, for weeks and months. As for the rest of Trump's Excellent European Adventure, with particular emphasis on calling the EU America's foe and saying what a great Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be, words are rapidly becoming inadequate to express what you have leading your country.

He needs to go

yep

he definitely needs to go.

but he ain't going anywhere.

we're stuck with him till 2020 at least. and come 2020, we're going to hear a long list of reasons why Trump is still better than a Democrat. the GOP loves him.

Glad to see you say that, McKinney. I'm just wondering what any Republican Senator or Congressperson is going to do about it.

Full panic mode over at LGM.

BJ, too.

I'm just wondering what any Republican Senator or Congressperson is going to do about it.

That is the question.

the GOP loves him.

I am afraid this is correct. I can't say that Trump is pushing Republicans farther to the right, because he really doesn't have a 'true north' of any kind. Rather, he is pushing them farther into a cult bubble that will be difficult for a lot of elected folks to explain if reality ever manages to intrude. I think the Dems are moving farther left, in part and maybe in large part, in reaction to Trump. Ironically, Sapient (IMO) adheres as much as anyone to the traditional, center/left of WJC/HRC.

“I’ve been involved in securing a VERY private line of communication between the Kremlin and key Republican leaders through, of all conduits, the NRA.”

an actual Russian agent wrote that in an email.

no collusion. you're the puppet.

my gut says Ryan is resigning because he doesn't want to face voters after it comes out that he was one of those "key Republican leaders".

Coats and FBI Director Wray both worked at the same firm for a # of years (me too). If they took to heart the ethos of the group they worked in at the firm, it would be a good thing - and I think they have (or had it before they joined).

Also why it doesn't bother me that they serve in the Trump Admin, in that they have a sense of honor.

I think the Dems are moving farther left, in part and maybe in large part, in reaction to Trump.

yep.

and also the success the farther-right have had in dragging the GOP away from the center. not that there is much of anything in the center; there was compromise, but that's gone now. the hard right has been running the GOP for almost a decade now, and it hasn't hurt them at all. Dems have noticed that and are starting to come around to the idea that running on centrism in an age when GOP cooperation is impossible to get is a fool's game. might as well stand for something bold and opposed to the GOP's offer of tax cuts, racism and plutocracy.

And here is Coats

https://twitter.com/ODNIgov/status/1018928520037363712

Actually, great news from Trump's meeting with Putin. He doesn't seem to have given away the store. Which, after Kim, wasn't a given.

Depending, of course, what he said to Putin in that private meeting. The good news is that he's too dumb to remember very much really sensitive intelligence info to pass on. But perhaps the information/orders were going the other way....

The nuclear code is 12345.

the cult is thriving.

https://twitter.com/JordanUhl/status/1018876214554058755

I think we're actually in LG territory here. I mean, everyone has to pee, amirite?

He needs to go.

Tell your senators and congressperson.

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