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May 21, 2019

Comments

George Bush and Barack Obama have more in common with each other than they have with most of the people that voted for them. Even Bush and Hillary Clinton.

Well, wouldn't that be true of anyone who got to be a candidate (let alone winning an election) for President? I mean, they got to the top, regardless of whether they started with a huge head start (Bush), or whether they started way further behind (Obama or Clinton). Either way, most people who start there don't make it to the top in politics -- or anything else. Even a silver spoon is far from a guarantee of that, see Bush, Jeb.

Now if you want to look at where they started, that's a whole different deal. Yes, a lot of Presidents got a head start. Others, however, did not -- how far ahead, economically or socially, did Obama or Clinton, or Truman or Reagan start? Kennedy or Bush, yes; a lot of others, not so much.

nonetheless, your company and point of view are appreciated.

Agreed.

russell:

He is a menace to the world. He actually is a threat to democracy, here and elsewhere. And not an idle one.

Yes, but:

"the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back."

-Barack Obama

With that comment in 2012, the misspelled "reset" button, the uranium deal etc., methinks the lack of seriousness re Putin (and even the concern of being sold out) can be pointed at more people than just the current POTUS.

Just sayin'.

methinks...

the lack of seriousness re Putin ... can be pointed at more people than just the current POTUS.

We're not really talking about the same thing.

If you want to say that Obama as POTUS and Clinton as SecState were insufficiently wary of Putin, I think there is a case to be made. Same for W, who "looked into Putin's soul".

In the case of Trump, we're talking about corrupting financial entanglements.

Arguably wrong policy, vs corrupt self-dealing.

the lack of seriousness re Putin (and even the concern of being sold out) can be pointed at more people than just the current POTUS.

also: the GOP Congress, who replied to Obama's warnings about Russian meddling with "Sssshhh! Not so loud! You're gonna wreck it!"

but yes, let's criticize Obama

I have my doubts about that Michael Malice book that CharlesWT linked to earlier, but Vegas Tenold, author of Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America, has some pretty damning things to say about the Nationalist Edgelord Right's courtship of Russia.

"I think all the various Nazis and nationalists in America right now are sort of vying for the affection of Russia, and I think they believe there’s a big pot of money there, and there might very well be, but I don’t think we’ve so far seen so much evidence of actual monetary aid. They’ve certainly helped eastern European parties. I know the Hungarian Jobbik party is pretty closely linked to Russians. Russia is the beacon of white nationalism in the world now. I think Matthew would very much like to get his hands on some delicious roubles. I don’t think there’s been anything forthcoming."

Again, not collusion or coordination, but certainly an attempt to win some love. Useful idiots willing to play along in the hope that they will be dealt in later if they, like the NRA, prove useful enough.

And I seem to recall that Mueller established that the NRA, at least, did get money from the Russians. So those hoping to also get in on that funding have some reason for optimism.

Indeed. Though it remains to be seen if any of the foreign donations transmigrated into the NRA's usual political-ads-disguised-as-PSA's schtick.

Donald: Snark aside, the problem with America is America.

Yes. And America ("we", as I had it) includes Donalds as well as Martys -- i.e. people who shrug their shoulders at American collaborators of foreign kleptocrats -- as well as people like me.

But if you want to focus on evil foreigners, and I don’t, ...

I'm at a loss how to make it clearer: my problem is with the American collaborators, not the foreign kleptocrats. It's the American collaborators "we" can hold accountable; it's the American collaborators "we" can influence.

... I think the almost exclusiive mainstream focus on Russia is bad faith hypocrisy— we need an evil enemy to justify our military industrial complex. If we get into a war with Iran, it won’t be Russia that helped push us in that direction. It will be Israel and the Saudis.

And what do Putin, Netanyahu, and MBS have in common? The undying loyalty of He, Trump, that's what. Which doesn't bother snakes like Mitch McConnell and Bill Barr. Nor, when it comes to Putin, Donald.

If Noam Chomsky were POTUS, he would surely tell Netanyahu and MBS to take a flying leap, and I would applaud him for it. If Chomsky echoed Donald's attitude toward Putin, I would question his sanity -- or at least his sincerity.

But Noam Chomsky could never be POTUS, and one reason is that "we" can't get our act together enough to slay the dragons immediately before us, so we can get to work taming the dragons Donald (and I) stand a chance of influencing.

--TP

As a preliminary to me writing something tonight, this link about Pinker
https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/05/the-worlds-most-annoying-man

Pinker is a student of Chomsky, and it is interesting that the same means get utilized for totally opposite points of view

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t post a defense of Pinker thru attacking the author of the previous article
https://www.google.com/amp/s/whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/a-digusting-hit-piece-on-pinker-in-current-affairs/amp/

I think we should not underestimate Putin in 2020. Last time the Russians concentrated on propaganda and only probed the defenses on election security. Mitch the Turtle has made clear recently (and not in private or as a gaffe) that he will block any attempt at strengthening those defenses or even just evaluating their potential weaknesses. To me that is an open and deliberate invitation to foreign tampering in favor of the GOP. And since I believe that the election will be very close again, it will not take that much to swing it. I would not be surprised, if there will be an all time record of losing the popular vote while still winning through the electoral college.
SCOTUS will also get a few more opportunities to put five thumbs on the scale by greenlighting disenfranchisement and other shenanigans.

I'm at a loss how to make it clearer: my problem is with the American collaborators, not the foreign kleptocrats. It's the American collaborators "we" can hold accountable; it's the American collaborators "we" can influence.

This, and everything else Tony P said @10.48. Not to mention everything Hartmut says above.

Donald, all respect to your decision not to engage in discussions where no-one's opinion is likely to change. But speaking personally, I find it important to clarify my position properly, not least to myself. There will always be internal actors in a state who are motivated by greed, aggression, selfishness and bigotry. They will often make common cause with similar actors in other states. This is the human condition, and no doubt cannot be changed in its essentials, but they do not constitute "the state". They must be fought, with the weapons available, and in democratic countries the most important of those weapons is still democracy. When internal actors break the law to collaborate with foreign powers in furtherance of their own interests, thus damaging the (already fragile) democracy, they must be fought with every weapon available, because in the end only reasonably functional democratic means can avert bloody civil war. Some (although perhaps not you) might think that bloody civil war is a necessary preliminary to re-shaping the state in ways they think desirable, but I am not among them, and these days I think nobody else on ObWi (pace JDT)really is either.

They will often make common cause with similar actors in other states. This is the human condition, and no doubt cannot be changed in its essentials, but they do not constitute "the state".

Perhaps I should have made clear I meant:

but they do not at least in a continuous way constitute "the state"

Should have mentioned the UAE

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/world/middleeast/crown-prince-mohammed-bin-zayed.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

I guess I will make the point about Russia a bit clearer—

If people are so interested in dubious actors influencing our policy towards bad ends, they wouldn’t be focusing almost exclusively on Russia and Russiagate. And they also wouldn’t be focusing quite so much on Trump, who is a bizarre freakish figure, but whose actual horrible deeds are not that different from those of his,predecessors. Trump is a symptom. What is different about him is that he has no filter. Asked about supplying weapons to the Saudis, he openly says that for him it is about how much money we can make seeking the weapons. You aren’t supposed to say that. You are supposed to strike a poise and talk about national security and supporting our allies and stability and a lot of other bull crap. Children would still get blown up or starve to death, but Westerners could more effectively paper over the sheer nasty ugliness of so much of what we do. Trump is an embarrassment. He stripped the veil away. And a lot of people are focusing on the veil.

Or take the biggest issue of all— global warming. Trump again acts like some sort of cartoon villain, but again he just more openly represents the far more intelligent ( and evil) folk who have over the years managed to make one’s position on climate change a tribal marker in the culture wars. If you want to be a good conservative you mock concern over the issue that might ultimately be as significant as the prevention of nuclear war.

But instead over the past few years we have people thinking that Russiagate and Russian influence campaigns are “ a threat to our democracy” and the biggest thing we have to worry about. So Michelle Obama is friendly with Dubya and Gail Collins has these cutesy conversations with the racist climate change denying Bret Stephens.


“Pinker is a student of Chomsky, and it is interesting that the same means get utilized for totally opposite points of view”

Completely irrelevant. I mentioned Chomsky because decades back he introduced me and millions of others to the notion that Americans are awash in propaganda that covers up or papers over or distracts us from the ugliness of what our rulers do in our name. I mentioned him for that reason. His personal qualities don’t matter. People with widely varying personalities agree with his POV ( including Nathan Robinson) and there approximately a zillion of them writing about it online, though still, almost never in the mainstream press. Bret Stephens, though, gets hired by the NYT.

Lots of typos above. Still intelligible or anyway if not I can’t blame the typos

Anyway, I am staying offline for the remainder of the day.

For the first time, this morning I wondered if Trump could actually get reelected. This does not bode well for Democrats.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/01/politics/john-hickenlooper-booed-socialism/index.html

Regarding the Russians:

Part of the backdrop to all of this is the flood of money that came out of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Enormous, immensely valuable national holdings were privatized, where for 'privatized' please read 'snatched by mobsters in a feeding frenzy of murder and self-dealing'.

And all of that money wanted to go somewhere. Which brings us to the Trumps, and Deutsche Bank, and similar. And also brings us to, for example, Deripaska's company investing $22M in Kentucky to build an aluminum plant. After McConnell and Paul voted to ease sanctions on Deripaska's company.

Quid pro quo, who knows. I'm not being sarcastic, I really don't know. What is clear is that all of that cash has been used by murderous f*ing gangsters to purchase entree and access into Western financial and political institutions. I'm not talking about Hilary's emails or Facebook ads, I'm talking about access to and influence over players at the highest levels, political, financial and otherwise. And they are not doing this to further liberal democratic values.

Wave a few million or billion dollars around and suddenly you're not such a bad guy, after all.

And they also wouldn’t be focusing quite so much on Trump, who is a bizarre freakish figure, but whose actual horrible deeds are not that different from those of his, predecessors.

So far he has presided over fewer deaths than his predecessors.

What is different about him is that he has no filter.

This will be the first time that a sitting president will be twitter bombing the opposition leading up to their primary and on to the general election.

Trump is an embarrassment. He stripped the veil away. And a lot of people are focusing on the veil.

And libertarians use to think that Joe Biden might be the vehicle to reducing the statue of the presidency. :)

Or take the biggest issue of all— global warming.

I haven't been aware of anyone arguing that Russia has been involved in our disputes over climate change. And that even though, as essentially a petro-state these days, they would appear to have an interest.

Sometimes we manage to mess ourselves up unassisted. But that doesn't mean we should ignore the cases where outside actors are getting involved. (Especially getting involved covertly. I have little problem with some foreigner who wants to give us his views on either our issues or our candidates.)

For the first time, this morning I wondered if Trump could actually get reelected.

I've put it at 50/50, plus or minus, since November 2016.

If I took everyone who has a knee-jerk reaction to the word "socialism" - pro or con, MAGA-head or Bernie Bro - and put them in a room, then gave a dollar to each one of them who could provide a reasonably accurate definition for the word, and took a dollar from each one who could not, I would retire tomorrow.

Hickenlooper went into a Move On forum in Nor Cal and his Big Idea was "pragmatism" and an attack on the idea of big ideas. I voted for Hickenlooper back when I was a Coloradan. He's a good guy. But he does not have a good sense of audience or enough personal charisma to work his way past that shortcoming.

He saw the booing as a plus for his campaign. Thst could be sense of audience, the question is how many Dem primary voters would be booing with them. However anyone defines it socialism wont win the
is a tough sell in the general.

i could see a lot of lefties booing Hickenlooper's remarks simply because they give credence to the right's recent manufactured freakouts over AOC and Sanders and other socialist™ bogeymen. "Oh noes! Socialism's gonna eat your babies and steal your goodies!"

the number of Democrats who actually want actual socialism is probably pretty small. the number of Dems who want something the right will call socialism is probably 100%.

we're kinda done letting the right smear us. want to call us "socialists" ? fine, call us socialists. make yourselves the arbiters of dword meanings. but beware, this is where Bellmore will step in and shriek about you doing violence to the language.

the arbiters of dword meanings

(32 bit DWORDs for ever!)

That's not a plus for his campaign. That's clearer positioning and a momentary blip in the news cycle at the cost of a lot of good will. There are dozens of ways he could have appealed to moderates without alienating a sizable chunk of the primary vote in the process.

Hickenlooper needs to make it through the primary before he can make it through the general. Trying to appeal to swing voters this early on in the process (especially when the voters he's after are probably the same ones giving Biden and Beto their love in the polls) does not argue for his tactical sense.

I'd like to see Frank Luntz sell He, Trump and Yertl McConnell on the idea of branding America's biggest retirement program "Socialist Security". I mean, if you've managed to make "socialist" a dirty word, and your goal is to destroy "entitlements", what could be a better way than that to fire up the MAGA base?

Alternatively, I would not mind seeing one or two of the Democratic presidential candidates take up the "Socialist Security" branding either. For every MAGA voter they lose, I think they'd persuade at least a couple of sane people to laugh at soshulism-is-evil rhetoric.

--TP

For every MAGA voter they lose, I think they'd persuade at least a couple of sane people to laugh at soshulism-is-evil rhetoric.

And the biggest hit would be on the over-65 (i.e. receiving Social Security) voters who are currently the GOP base. Even more so than non-college whites.

"Hands off my Medicare!" is a slogan which can cut both ways. ;-)

"People" don't want "socialism".

"People" do want roads bridges schools and libraries, clean water and air, the ability to go to the doctor when they need to, to help their kids go to college if they want without having to re-mortgage the house or drain their life savings, and to have at least a modest level of financial security when their working lives are over. Which, for most, would preferably happen before they are 75 or 80.

Well maybe not libraries so much. None of the rest of those things save the implication of Medicare for all are much considered socialist, as they really arent redustributive.

No rational person would equate a government imposed insurance program, both ss and Medicare, with "entitlement" programs. We've been paying into those by edict for 50 years. The benefits are not redistributive, they are a government debt. I'll just take what I paid in and no one has to pay me a funking dime, or shut the hell up about them. Both sides.

College, well we'd be better to stop requiring grocery store cashiers to have a college education than paying for everyone to go.

Sorry Donald, Tony P mentioned Chomsky and I posted the Pinker link. Wasn't intended as a slam.

I'll just take what I paid in

'taint how it works.

you'll take some fraction of what current workers are paying in, the exact amount largely to be determined by whatever species of anti-government bug has crawled up the then-current GOP's butt.

you'll take some fraction of what current workers are paying in... and the government can manage to borrow...

"No rational person would equate a government imposed insurance program, both ss and Medicare, with "entitlement" programs."

Someone run out and find me a rational person.

Every conservative think tank, every conservative pundit, every conservative quasi-journalist, every conservative politician, every conservative man-and-woman-in-the-street refer to Social Security and Medicare and much else as entitlement programs that need to be curtailed, cut, or eliminated, and when they aren't in mixed company but some more odious language is used.

What's worse, liberals and Democrats use the word entitlement as well when referring to the programs, but they at least they don;t put on a face like there is a bad smell in the room when they say it.

You'll take what you need as dictated by your longevity and the state of your health from these programs and you are entitled to do so, and good on ya.

Whaddya gonna do, sit up in the your hospital bed when you are a codger, spit out the oxygen feed, unhook the monitors and announce "Time to cut me off, I've reached the limit of what I paid into Medicare! Bring one of them $17 aspirins and make it on the house and I'll be out of here!"

As my mother used to say about off-kilter people and/or statement: "You should have your head examined."

There will be a deductible and a copay for that, but if the condition is serious enough, and it sure sounds like it is, Medicare will pay.

Did you mean to say people DON'T want libraries so much?

Why, because they can put up with being ignorant, unread, and stupid for free online.

Grocery clerks aren't required to have college degrees, unless Whole Foods has jumped the shark.

Hell, even the caddies, cabana boys, and shoe shine girls working in high places in government under the current crap merchants aren't required to have a college degree, unless it's bullshit arts or knob-polishing.

"by edict"

You mean the Rule of Law, don'tcha?

Sound article on what the US Constitution actually means by “executive power”:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/executive-power-doesnt-mean-much/590461/

I know some don't care for Packer for legitimate reasons:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/how-did-republican-party-get-so-corrupt/578095/?fbclid=IwAR0YmbqzA9J0DyPpq13hUGoT06Q99GyeBjiZxs0V9SzisAtWWUi6nQCVFNA

Tomorrow, I hope to return and lay out how I agree with Donald in many of his particulars but also my idiosyncratic view regarding how those particulars fit together to achieve the extinction of the GOP.

Every conservative think tank, every conservative pundit, every conservative quasi-journalist, every conservative politician, every conservative man-and-woman-in-the-street refer to Social Security and Medicare and much else as entitlement programs that need to be curtailed, cut, or eliminated

Wouldn't it be more accurate to identify them as libertarian, rather than "conservative"? All those Ayn Rand fans, like our recent House Speaker.

Granted, there is a lot of (possibly deliberate) conflating of the two these days, at least in the US. But they really are rather different world views.

russell: "People" do want roads bridges schools and libraries, clean water and air, the ability to go to the doctor when they need to, to help their kids go to college if they want without having to re-mortgage the house or drain their life savings, and to have at least a modest level of financial security when their working lives are over.

Marty: Well maybe not libraries so much. None of the rest of those things save the implication of Medicare for all are much considered socialist, as they really arent redustributive.

Of course they are redistributive. No, not in the sense of taking money from one person and giving that money to another person. But the money is taken, and the goods/services that that money can buy are distributed to others.

They may not be considered "socialist" -- under the massively inaccurate current usage of the term. But redistributive they undeniably are.

wj: They may not be considered "socialist" -- under the massively inaccurate current usage of the term. But redistributive they undeniably are.

What wj said.

Marty: We've been paying into those by edict for 50 years. The benefits are not redistributive, they are a government debt.

At long last, a glimmer of hope! Marty fails to swallow at least one Republican talking point!! Alert the press. Pop the corn.

Just don't get your hopes up. Marty will keep supporting He, Trump's "(Republican) policies" even while acknowledging their logically bankrupt underpinnings.

For instance: "government debts" cannot be paid except by raising taxes, borrowing money, or "printing" money. Somebody ask Marty which of those "(Republican) policies" he prefers.

--TP

Sign spotted at tonight's NBA Finals game:

Make Raptors Great Again
You just know Trump's gotta be conflicted about this series. On one hand, the championship could be won by Canadians. Foreigners taking our championship! On the other hand, it could be won by Golden State, who are not only from California, but who snubbed him last year after they won.

Clearly the whole thing is some kind of deep state plot to damage the Greatest President Ever!!!

None of the rest of those things save the implication of Medicare for all are much considered socialist, as they really arent redustributive.

ok, so QED.

Socialism is not the the same as redistribution.

And most of the things in my list are redisrtibutive, depending on circumstances. If you pay property taxes but don't have school age kids, for example.

And FWIW, the reason SS is a "government debt" is because Tip and Ronnie had a martini and figured out that when the boomers retired the program would be upside down. So for the last 35 years we've all been paying in at a rate greater than was needed to run the program. And now,as per plan, we're spending down the surplus.

The reason doing that is in any way a challenge at all is the Iraq War and the Bush tax cuts. Remember Al Gore's "lockbox" and W's field trip to Fort Knox?

This, myfriends, is why we need libraries.

"Socialism is not the same..."

It is in Bernies world, and has come to be used for government deciding it's the best management vehicle for everything. Give the government all the money and it will spend it on the things that are important.

For the objection to this see SS and Medicare funds redistributed to, well, general funds. National government is a really bad place to accumulate money, even with supposed specific purpose.

You dont have to call it socialism, it's just the convenient descriptor that shares all the downsides.

You dont have to call it socialism

No, but we do. As you have done, as Hickenlooper did.

My Trumpie niece put a FB post up showing that the fact that the Panera guy finally closed the last "pay what you want" restaurant proves that socialism doesn't work.

I'm neither a socialist nor not a socialist. I'm not really an "-ist". But it damages people's thinking when words are used in ignorance of what they actually mean.

You appear to be fine with some forms of government management of public functions. And, not others. Which is pretty normal for everyone, including me.

Life would be simpler if folks would just advocate for the positions they actually hold, instead of getting caught up in bogus vocabulary.

Socialism is when the means of production are publicly owned. Not "publicly" as in traded as equities, but owned, collectively, by the public, i.e. the people.

Redistribution is when you take something from one guy and give it to another guy.

They are completely orthogonal concepts. I know you know this, I'm just trying to inject some clarity.

Both are legitimate exercises of public, i.e. government, responsibility. Both are useful in some case and less so in other cases. And the cases where either are useful change over time, for any given context.

Both are deemed completely acceptable *by people who otherwise claim they hate them*, in certain contexts.

It would be easier to resolve things like this if we didn't all have to dig through such an enormous mountain of bullshit before we got to the point. I'm not saying your comments here are bullshit, it's a statement about the larger context in which we're obliged to try to have a conversation.

It is in Bernies world, and has come to be used for government deciding it's the best management vehicle for everything.

who actually believes this? who literally wants the government to manage "everything" ?

nobody. that's who.

"Wouldn't it be more accurate to identify them as libertarian, rather than "conservative"? All those Ayn Rand fans, like our recent House Speaker."

Ah jeez, let me put it this way:

You don't have to call it conservatism, it's just the convenient descriptor that shares all the downsides.

I'm having a bipartisan moment. Maybe it's one of my spells. I should see a physician.

Here's the political problem, vis a vis p and Sanders for both republicans, the half-dozen who make a show of hating p, and democrats that Marty beings to light with his Hickenlooper comment way up there.

If Hickenlooper* or similar wins the Democratic nomination, many Democrats will doze off and stay home from the polls in weird self-imposed compliance with republican gerrymandering and Jim Crow voting franchise restrictions, even as a few, very few conservatives SAY they will vote for Hickenlooper as relief from p.

p wins.

If Sanders or similar wins the nomination, pro-Sanders folks who voted for p in 2016, the wily purity bastards, in protest of Clinton, will come back into the Democratic fold, but the nasty republican sh*t hits fan political machine will rev up to the dirtiest motherf*cking display we've ever seen to secure their malign base's full, not to mention violent, turnout in 2020.

p wins, even from a jail cell, which is why jail is not nearly onerous ... and final ... enough.

p is peak full-of-sh*tness, which is why he appeals to the peak American full-of-sh*tness of the full of sh*t marginal American majority, meaning the elites who vote in the Electoral College.

Myself, I stepped around a pile of horse pucky yesterday while hiking on a trail in the foothills west of Denver which I would vote for if IT ran against p, but then my principles can be as pristinely high or pristinely as low as they need to be to eliminate the GOP in all of its masked bullsh*t guises.

When the GOP is dead, my work is done.

I don't care what follows.

When John Wayne shot conservative (alright already, wj, Valance was a libertarian) Liberty Valance dead as a dog in the street, he tossed the carbine back to Pompey and headed back to the ranch.

That Jimmy Stewart was what followed was beside the point.


National government is a really bad place to accumulate money, even with supposed specific purpose.

Insofar as the Trust Fund was essentially a vehicle to raise taxes on regular folks so the revenue could be used to buy a lot of other stuff that rich people wanted (lower taxes for them & military hardware), I would agree. Given that the government can issue money whenever it wants, it was kinda' unnecessary.

I don't get how Marty does not understand that Social Security is essentially redistributive. It's young folks paying a part of their income to support old folks.

sheesh.

*Hickenlooper was a pretty good Governor of my state of Colorado, which is not really purple but rather red in some places and blue in others, with a little bit of bleed around the edges.

He, being a temperamentally moderate entrepreneur in the sin trade ..... breweries and bars ... had certain issues he wouldn't compromise on, such as trying to even attempt to regulate the fracking industry in Colorado, the rules as written years ago are even more vague and lax on the industry than what they are in Texas from what I understand, but he was skeptical (perhaps rightly so) of the legal marijuana industry in our state, pointing out the downsides, which happen to be the same as the downsides of the booze industry, but never mind.

The marijuana industry is kind of stuck in between principle-wise, which is what happens when libertarian hippies all of a sudden become conflicted libertarian entrepreneurial business people.

It's kind of a joke to observe the conflicted drama.

They are against being made illegal again, as many republicans and conservatives would like to do to them, unless of course the republicans are made board members of the going concerns, in which case, f*ck all principles, outside of shareholder rights, but they chaff like conservative businessmen at the taxes and regulation the Democrats levy on them, so, sh*t man, if it's legal, what's the problem.

They try to be good citizens, like all Americans, unless citizenship gets in the way of their self-interest.

The Founders wrestled with this but called the fight a draw.

National government is a really bad place to accumulate money, even with supposed specific purpose.

why?

the legal marijuana industry in our state, pointing out the downsides, which happen to be the same as the downsides of the booze industry

Actually, we in California are discovering one additional downside: nobody has yet come up with a good test for "driving while under the influence."
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/06/01/three-years-into-legal-cannabis-and-california-still-doesnt-have-a-reliable-test-for-driving-while-high/

There's general agreement that one shouldn't. Just no objective way to measure it, let alone a threshold.

Just no objective way to measure it, let alone a threshold.

just have cops show drivers an episode of Rick & Morty. if they laugh, they're stoned.

"National government is a really bad place to accumulate money, even with supposed specific purpose."

Since Trump and the GOP decided that it was more important to further enrich the rich, while blowing a trillion-dollar hole in the US budget, not much money is going to be 'accumulated' for quite some time.

Flow in (and straight out again), sure. Accumulate? Nah.

...even more vague and lax on the industry than what they are in Texas...

I have a friend that consults on small-to-medium oil and gas development in a variety of states. He asserts that Texas is the state where you have to pay the closest attention to following the regulations because (a) there are detailed rules, (b) Texas taxes the industry to fund an adequate number of inspectors, (c) the Texas Rangers are happy to shut down operations on the inspectors' say so, and (d) the Railroad Commission will cheerfully fine you into oblivion.

His examples of states where you can get away with murder are Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. He says that those three make Colorado look great.

Yup, PA, Ohio, and WV are shameless in the regard. Odd, how Texans aren't moving back there to enjoy the freedom.

This is fun:

https://twitter.com/ByDonkeys?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1135436716683272192&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.balloon-juice.com%2F

Scroll for the cools bits where they project anti-p stuff on to Big Ben and Parliament.

The Brits should have denied landing right of way to Air Force One after the lout's insulting bullsh*t.

If sh*t is sh*t from his mouth during the stay, hustle him and his dumb-hatted, surly-mouthed entourage of American vermin to the airport and deport his ass on Air Force One. Make sure the plane is accompanied at each wing tip by fully armed British fighter jets until it is out of British airspace, like they would any Russian and enemy incursion into their airspace.

If it attempts to turn back to Britain or any other evasive tactic, shoot it out of the sky.

Have some real nationalist pride, England.

Make England great again and the world a safer place to live.

The Brits should have denied landing right of way to Air Force One after the lout's insulting bullsh*t.

You're not looking at the big picture.

Trump is massively unpopular in Britain. Trump is endorsing Brexit, preferably a no-deal Brexit. Not to mention endorsing Boris et al. Which combination may just be sufficient to push the British into rejecting the whole Brexit thing, and its partisans, in favor of sanity. Not for its own sake so much as to stick it to Trump and anyone he likes. "The friend of my enemy is . . . a useful idiot."

One can hope, anyway.

Thanks for that Led by Donkeys stuff, JDT, most enjoyable. I think there's a pretty good chance he'll see the USS John McCain one at least, since Madam Tussaud's is very close to the US Ambassador's residence, where he's staying. So even though they're doing most of his travelling by helicopter so he can't see protests etc, there's a pretty good chance he'll see that one. Unless they black out the helicopter's windows to spare his feelings of course....

p likes the attention.

As long as his name is the subject and/or object, preferably both, he grows wood.

Even if his presence in England now torpedoes the anti-Brexit movement, he wins, in the self-regarding arrogance of his single Big Mac-fed brain cell, as the far Right across the world regroups and quickly evolves like velociraptors or bug aliens to strike again, next time violently.

It's only when his plane hits the water, given my imaginary scenario, will the too-late flicker of "oh, shit!" recognition of his self-destructive assholosity cross his face, and even then the punks with him on the plane will interpret that look as rightwing victory.

Like when Joe Pesci gets it in the garage as he goes to his made man christening in "Goodfellas".

Also, in case it (understandably) didn't get much coverage in the US, you should know that the US Ambassador (who is, even in a crowded field of Trump appointees, unbelievably half-witted and pathetic - I can back this up but don't get me started...) in an interview before Trump's visit, said that in the future talks about the trade deal between the US and the UK after Brexit, the NHS would be "on the table" like pretty much everything else. You can hardly overestimate how damaging a remark this was from the point of view of its effect on the UK public (for whom the NHS is pretty much a sacred cow): damaging for Trump's endorsed candidate for PM, and hopefully (possibly?) even for the prospects for Brexit (although for this latter one cannot hold one's breath). The gaffes by these people provoke many varied reactions (despair, amusement, schadenfreude etc), but this one almost certainly directly harms the Trumpistas' desired outcomes.

JDT, sure, Trump's ego is boosted by the flap. But sometimes ya gotta take one for the team. In this case, we accept a little (temporary, like always) ego boost for Trump as the price of doing right by our allies. (Unlike Trump, some of us remember that we have those....)

Well, that is .... something.

Here's a link filling in what GftNC is referring to regarding the American right wing dictating to other countries how they may conduct their health systems, when the former aren't trying to murder Americans with pre-existing and post-existing conditions, including the newly-born infants the right-wing purports to want to save from abortion.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/what-u-s-wants-u-k-it-will-sign-trade-n1013081

Who do we think we are?

I'm sure God has something to do with who the fuck we think we are.

One quibble, both the words "gaffe" and "flap" are misused above.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/chao-china-state-department-inappropriate-ethics-question

Come to think of it, the name Chao, like the name McConnell, is awfully furrin sounding for a miserably corrupt, right-wing, Ayn Rand-loving, gummint-hating republican c*nt to still be using.

Time to tighten the immigration laws.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-today-president-suggests-att-boycott-as-he-begins-uk-visit-2019-06-03?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

AT&T and all telecommunications providers should boycott, to the extent they can under the White House's arrangement with the government security apparatus to provide telephone and internet services, serving the White House by halting all telecommunications connecting these filth, in the White House or in Congress, to the outside world.

Cancel p's cellphone contract (Sorry, Vlad and every other spy agency in the world, I know it was good listening while it lasted) too.

An "Only the best people" entry, just for JDT:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/figure-linked-to-trump-transition-charged-with-transporting-child-pornography/2019/06/03/caee8aca-862a-11e9-98c1-e945ae5db8fb_story.html

One quibble, both the words "gaffe" and "flap" are misused above.

JDT: the gaffe was Woody Johnson admitting openly what many here have feared for ages, and the Tories have been eager to deny was a possibility. This rather takes the rug out from under them, unless they are prepared to admit (which is true) that Woody Johnson is a half-wit and has no idea at any time what he is talking about. Of course, you could (and I do) say the same about Trump, but still, the fact is that (by accident) the Ambassador wasn't wrong.

the US Ambassador ... in an interview before Trump's visit, said that in the future talks about the trade deal between the US and the UK after Brexit, the NHS would be "on the table" like pretty much everything else.

I may be even dimmer than usual today, but what does this even mean? That Clickbait and his criminal cabal will demand that the UK weaken or abandon the NHS as a condition of getting something or other from the US? Next it will be that people who want to do deals with us will have to make their gun laws more like ours, and ban abortion....

I think they want the NHS to let a raft of American-made products in on their contracting system, but the other stuff would not be beyond them.

I wouldn't be surprised either if America, in conjunction with Russia, demands greater latitude in exporting deadly weaponry into England.

No point to just letting American drugs have access to the NHS. Unless NHS is required to buy them even though they cost several times as much as the same thing from elsewhere.

Not that that level of market interference is beyond this administration....

If I'm not mistaken a gaffe is an unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder.

There was nothing UNintentional or by accident.
about Woody Johnson's statement.

He meant to say it and he meant what he said and there is no shame or embarrassment on his part about saying it, and it is not a blunder, though I understand that maybe some pro-Brexit dips aren't completely with the new right-wing program of leaving behind dreadful political correctness and dog whistles and telling like it is with unmistakable eye-poking candor.

To call it a gaffe is like calling Grover Norquist's drowning the baby in the bathtub remark a misstatement, which it most assuredly is not, or to call the Federalist Society's statement on its website that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and they will work to abolish them a typo, or to call the comedian's bit about the horse loose in a hospital to describe p, and then joking that now, all of a sudden, we have people who think it's OK to use the N word on TV, a hiccup.

They, the first two, deliberately mean what they say and the comedian included the bit about he 'M" word because it's all of a piece with the racist scum on the right who opened the door to let the horse into the hospital to run amuck.

Anyway, a small point. ;)

"N" word.

I'm sorry to say, JDT, that I disagree with you.

I think that although they (the Rs, the Trumpistas etc) have always had every intention of putting the NHS and everything else on the table, they have known that this cannot be said openly while there is still a chance that a) Article 50 might just possibly be revoked and Brexit not happen, or b) the UK might have a general election and this having been said openly would be a gift to Labour and/or the Lib Dems, or in fact to anybody except the Tories, who would suffer very badly for it. If the Tories were safely and securely in power, and then Brexit had happened or was about smoothly to happen, this would have been an open play. But as it was, the stupid and ignorant Woody Johnson walked right into the trap and told the truth because he was too stupid and ignorant to know what a terrible mistake he was making.

the stupid and ignorant Woody Johnson walked right into the trap and told the truth because he was too stupid and ignorant to know what a terrible mistake he was making.

It is, in many ways, the strongest weapon we have against Trump and his boys: their massive incompetence means that they are frequently unable to execute even when they might be in a position to advance their cause.

And you can be sure that anybody in the Trump administration who has any tactical sense whatsoever about trade, and contrary to appearances there must be one or two, is filled with rage that Johnson did this, and they can probably explain why to Trump in words of one syllable in which case he'll be enraged too. I understand that last time Trump was here there was quite a lot of anger from the White House about some of Johnson's comments, and this makes whatever he said then look completely negligible.

Stupid and ignorant is as stupid and ignorant does.

Both are among America's top exports and we just don't understand why you Brits won't open your markets to our handmade stupidity and ignorance, organically grown in some instances, overpriced as they are. ;)

And, you use the words stupid and ignorant with strict abidance to their meaning, so we'll call it a match.

And if one was in a mood to be amused, one would be amused to see the cascade of Tory ministers (particularly those vying for the leadership) insisting that "the NHS is not for sale".

https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/foreign-affairs/brexit/news/104292/donald-trump-warned-nhs-not-sale-brexit-trade-deal-he

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7097209/The-NHS-not-sale-Health-Secretary-hits-Ambassador.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490

JDT: you are, as so often, gracious. Peace.

I'm just trying to get past the idea that our ambassador to the UK is named Woody Johnson.

You couldn't make this stuff up.

https://youtu.be/pHZ72yHQ0K8M

Even Biden has come up with a respectable renewable energy transition plan:
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/04/biden-climate-plan-1352663

There is rather a lot more hanging on the result of the 2020 election than merely the future of US democracy...

Marty: thanks for that, I'd never heard it before. He may be an annoying, self-aggrandising guy, but nobody can deny his talent.

GftNC, one of those songs that seems as meaningful today as it was in 1973. Perhaps ironically, the b side was one man's ceiling is another man's floor.

I'm saddened that Paul Simon has retired from the music business, including songwriting.

Simon should be given all the awards before he retires from existing.

Need more anxiety? This gave me the agita when I heard it on the radio last night:

So one of the concerns is that we're seeing sort of diminishing government safety nets while we see intensifying environmental pressures. And a lot of people are becoming more and more concerned that in our lifetimes we will see, you know, disruptions in our food supply. This was foreign to me because I'm not someone who - I have never stockpiled food in my own home.

But I had relatives and friends, including my brother, who was a climate scientist, who was beginning to stockpile survival foods in the basement of his home. And I thought, what in the world is going on, and how urgent is this problem?


https://www.npr.org/2019/06/02/729261391/fate-of-food-asks-what-s-for-dinner-in-a-hotter-drier-more-crowded-world

Even Biden has come up with a respectable renewable energy transition plan:

But it's not.

  • The US has three essentially independent power grids: Eastern, Western, and Texas. This is a plan for the Eastern grid. It's a big FU to the Western in particular, even though the Western got >48% of its electricity from low-carbon sources last year (>40% from renewables).
  • It's heavy on offsets; the phrase "net carbon emissions" is a red flag.
  • It assumes that the R&D effort will produce unicorn technologies that make the whole thing painless.
  • Once the numbers are actually laid out, they aren't going to add up. The US national labs have spent 30 years studying this subject. The plan reads like those people weren't consulted.

I want to behave like this in my life:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/tenants-trump-tower-campaign-money

I'm going to sit down with my son later this week when I'm visiting him and tell him all my fatherly advice has been catastrophically misguided through the years.

Stop your scientific studies, drop all pretense of merit, remove your nose from the grindstone, and for God's sake halt this practice of not cutting corners in life.

Lie, cheat, steal your way to the top, kid. Butt in line. Take what is yours, at gunpoint if it comes to that. Cook the books. Kite the checks. Don't trouble yourself with all of that permission crapola.

Earn it ... screw that! Take it! And then offshore it.

Speak with a forked tongue during all of those pigfucking daily transactions.

Negotiate? Fuck 'em. Take it or leave it. Every offer should be a one-off final offer and have your thugs standing by to collect.

If you are sitting around the table and you can't figure out whose rat is being fucked, then you are the rat.

Be the fucker instead. It's the way business is done.

Be an American. Be a shithead. Elbow and knee your way through the prole crowd.

Fuck everyone and everything you can. Lift their wallets and shortchange your fellow man. Kick em in the balls.

Why should America be great again and you not get your piece of its vermin republican greatness.

Remember these words to the song:

But it's all right, it's all right
We've lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the road
we're traveling on
I wonder what went wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what went wrong

Well, whatever went wrong, kiddo, let the suckers worry over that. Meanwhile, make your move while they're busy looking the other way being sentimental.

Exploit their sorry asses. Kick em while they're down, because if your fellow men are down, that makes you "UP" by default and without even trying or giving a shit.

Make a killing. Offload that underwater beachfront property to the unsuspecting dreamers.

Capitalize, baby, and not just the first letter.

Don't put out the garbage. Put a bow on it and sell it the first unsuspecting schmoe who comes along.

I say these words tenderly to you, son. But remember, tender is for steaks, not eaten by chumps and schmucks who tow the line and can't afford the prime cuts in asshole America.

Eat their meat raw.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkpjLKX_Wbo

Food shortages?

Eat conservative children.

So Trump doubles down on Woody's comments now the cat is out of the bag, to (only the start of) predictable consequences:

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/donald-trump-nhs-trade-talks_uk_5cf67333e4b0e346ce84fff7?utm_hp_ref=uk-homepage

Say what you will about Trump's daft trade wars. At least one of them has created an opening for this from the State Department:

We salute the heroes of the Chinese people who bravely stood up … to demand their rights. Today, Chinese citizens have been subjected to a new wave of abuses, especially in Xinjiang, where the Communist Party leadership is methodically attempting to strangle Uighur culture and stamp out the Islamic faith, including through the detention of more than one million members of Muslim minority groups. Even as the party builds a powerful surveillance state, ordinary Chinese citizens continue to seek to exercise their human rights, organize independent unions, pursue justice through the legal system, and simply express their views, for which many are punished, jailed, and even tortured.
I doubt anything substantive will come of it. But it's nice to see a glimmer of the old days of US diplomacy.

At least it was enough to generate an outraged response from the Chinese embassy in Washington. Of course, all these years later they're still twitchy about any reference to Tiananmen Square.

And by the way, just to continue flogging a dead horse, I wouldn't have put it past Trump to make the same idiotic misstep even if Woody Johnson hadn't done it first, and for the same reason: arrogance, stupidity and ignorance. But the consequences are/would have been the same: harm to their underlying aims, although how much harm remains to be seen. Lots I hope, but there's still too much up in the air (on Brexit, and the Tory leadership) to know for sure, and in a worst-case scenario it could end up being drowned out as just temporary PR noise.

Hmmm....
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Dave-Granlund-PoliticalCartoons.com-.jpg

I'm saddened that Paul Simon has retired from the music business

The man is almost 80, and he's been doing this for a living since 1956. He has written, easily, dozens of songs that people will sing 50 or 100 years from now.

Plus, it's a vicious bitch of a business, even when you're on top.

If he wants to hang out with the grandkids, OK with me. Whatever he may have owed the world, he's paid in full.

Oh, we come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age’s most uncertain hour
And sing an American tune

It's always an uncertain hour. ya still gotta sing.

From the NPR link:

Environmental journalist Amanda Little says the sustainable food revolution will include meat cultured in a lab, 3-D printer food, aquaculture and indoor vertical farming.

If you want to know how and what to eat after climate change fubars industrial scale agriculture, go to the third world and see what poor people eat. Or just normal people.

Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.

First step: don't waste anything.

I want my chili pepper tomatoes.

My thought is that solutions that rely on capital-intensive high technology stuff are not really gonna get it done. We should think about ways to accommodate ourselves to the world, rather than the opposite.

My two cents.

Charles, just chop up some chilis and put them on your tomatoes.

Charles, just chop up some chilis and put them on your tomatoes.

I don't eat things like hamburgers anymore. But a couple of slices of juicy, hot tomatoes on a burger would really taste great.

If you want to know how and what to eat after climate change fubars industrial scale agriculture, go to the third world and see what poor people eat.

Some eat bugs. I would eat bugs if I couldn't tell they were bugs from looking at them, even if I still knew they were bugs. They're pretty f**king nutritious.

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