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October 22, 2019

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I am so lucky, she puts up with it very good-naturedly.

I'm sure she considers herself quite lucky, too, GftNC.

Nobody knows, but the betting markets are laying odds against a December election.

One issue is that an election entails a period when there is no parliamentary scrutiny of the executive, and no one trusts BoJo not to use that to implement a Brexit of his choosing.

Given that BoJo can't get a parliamentary majority for anything important, the rational solution would be for a new government to be formed more to the liking of a majority of MPs. That government could then call for a general election without exciting fear of procedural trickery. But JeCo refuses to let his party vote for that unless he is to be Prime Minister, and the majority of MPs don't like that idea at all.

All this may not be what the framers of the Fixed Term Parliament Act had in mind.

for the OMG pile... Rudy G butt-dials reporter while he's talking to other people about the Bidens.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/rudy-giuliani-butt-dials-nbc-reporter-heard-discussing-need-cash-n1071901

Rudy, like much of Trump's circle, is so inept in the things that he does that one would normally assume the reports were from the Onion. Except that they are in reputable news reports, from reporters with a well-earned reputation for playing it straight.

Can anybody really be this dumb? This incompetent? This consistent in shooting themselves in the foot? And yet it keeps happening. It really is a refutation by counter-example of the thesis of a malevolent universe -- in such a universe these clowns would never have reached maturity. Even in an indifferent universe their chances would have been slim.

Another piece of significant news:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/25/mueller-report-trump-justice-department-democrats-grand-jury-evidence

It’s been a string of very bad news for Trump in the impeachment battle.
It’s now almost certain, IMO, that the House will end up sending this to the Senate for trial.

I would not be amazed if Roberts ends up president with a degree of impartiality (though that’s hardly certain).

Then, politics.
Are there enough Republican Senators who will risk the contempt of history if the evidence is sufficiently clear even to the biased observer ?

Perhaps one of you folks in the UK can clear up for me just where things are.

Ahahahahahahahhahaaaaaaa...rgh.....

I would not be amazed if Roberts ends up president with a degree of impartiality (though that’s hardly certain).

Is there something missing here? Roberts is not in the line of succession.

Sorry - autocorrect.

I must have mistyped presiding...
Easy to do on an iPad, with tired eyes.

Ah, got it. Makes much more sense! Sometimes the autocorrects are easy to decipher, sometimes not.

Yeah, I think Roberts still cares enough about his reputation in legal circles that he'll run things in a reasonable fashion. The current Senate rules give him a largely unlimited hand once the gavel is handed to him. The Senate can overrule him on procedure, point by point, but I don't think McConnell will be able to find 51 votes to do that.

If I could pick one thing that I'd like to be able to eavesdrop on this weekend, I want to hear what Macron is saying about Corbyn.

For your holiday shopping:
https://www.customink.com/designs/dsublowers/gmy0-00c1-9dws

Are there enough Republican Senators who will risk the contempt of history if the evidence is sufficiently clear even to the biased observer ?

yes. every single one of them who wants to stay in the Senate will vote against removal.

defecting would utterly doom them in their next primary election.

(here's the same sentiment in more words)

Aren’t there a couple retiring... and Romney might just be thinking about legacy ?

I want to hear what Macron is saying about Corbyn.

Need to brush up on your French obscenities ?

sure. but it will take 20 GOP Senators to remove him. that's not likely to happen, with Trump's approval with the GOP base still in the upped 80s.

if the approval gets down to 50% or something, it would start making sense to defect. but at 87%, defecting is just suicide.

in my estimation.

Need to brush up on your French obscenities?

Something like that.

I was reading a conspiracy theory piece the other day that hypothesized Boris and Macron are in cahoots to push Brexit through next month. As conspiracy theories go it wasn't bad. It made at least as much sense as reality seems to these days.

I want to hear what Macron is saying about Corbyn

Don't know about French obsenities. But I can definitely see some biting remarks on the theme of how, absent Corbyn, the UK would get rid of Boris and improve everyone's quality of life.

The vermin, racist conservative campus free-speech movement:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/10/26/open-thread-oval-office-occupant-finds-some-african-americans-to-speak-over/

We're having a speaker on campus tomorrow. All students are urged to de-platform themselves and remain in their dorm rooms .

Do any of the Europeans here know how big a change Michel from Belgium might be when he takes over from Tusk as EU Council President on Dec 1? I've noticed that every time an extension has been requested, Tusk is in front of the cameras almost immediately to announce he's recommended to the EU Council members that they grant the request. Is Michel likely to be the same way?

President Trump was awarded the Bipartisan Justice Award today.

JDT, I read that and had to double check whether I was looking at something from the Onion. "Bipartisan"??? "Justice"??? Trump?!?!? Gotta be an alternate universe.

Michel will likely be less conciliatory than Tusk:

https://www.ft.com/content/1d6f0bec-9d16-11e9-9c06-a4640c9feebb

Where to start. A joint US-Kurdish operation took out Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.

In the announcement from Trump we find out that
1) he'd like us to think this was bigger than bin Laden. No obvious reason, other than bin Laden having been taken down under Obama.

2) because he was worried about leaks jeopardizing the operation, he didn't give the Speaker of the House and other Congressional Democratic leaders an advance heads-up. But he did give the Russians advance warning. Because, apparently, Russians are more trustworthy than Democrats.

3) even though it was a joint operation with the Kurds, Trump's thanks for assistance mentioned Russia (who did nothing) first, then Syria, Turkey and Iraq. He added that there was also “certain support [the Kurds] were able to give us.” Well, I suppose it would have been awkward to credit the Kurds much, after hanging them out to dry.

The subhuman republican liar also knew Bin Laden would take out the World Trade Center on 9/11.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/467631-trump-again-claims-book-foreshadowed-9-11

He thought about alerting security at the WTC that fateful day, but then calculated that if the buildings were leveled, his Trump Tower would appear taller in their absence.

We, as a country, are in grave, mortal danger.

wj, the Russian are (imo) actually more trustworthy concerning keeping their mouths shut until after the operation. Several (GOP) congresscritters on the other hand are (demonstrably) not.
And Putin does not love the Islamists any more than the West* (maybe even less).

*I just noticed that this sentence is ambiguous but both possible meanings do apply (Putin not loving the West either and neither loving the Islamists)

But he did give the Russians advance warning. Because, apparently, Russians are more trustworthy than Democrats.

I just assumed they filed a complete flight plan with both the Russians and the Syrians so the helicopters didn't get shot down. The operation was easily within range of the air defense systems the US has been systematically avoiding and helicopters are easy targets.

wj, the Russian are (imo) actually more trustworthy concerning keeping their mouths shut until after the operation.

Hartmut, just to clarify something you probably already knew: wj's point is that he trusted the Russians' discretion more than that of Pelosi and the Democrats. It's almost as if he thought he had more responsibility to a foreign power than coequal branches of the US government.

"He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Trump said."

And here we have a foreshadowing of the nature, if you add in the shitting of his trousers, of p's coming pathetic demise as well, along with his armed loyalists (hundreds of the vermin) barricaded in the penthouse at Mar-A-Lago, after months of refusing to vacate the Office of the Presidency by order of the rule of law and pitched gun battles between murderous republican militias/armed evangelical martyrs and U.S. troops surrounding the building, and this after defaulting, by Presidential decree, on the Federal debt in order to de-fund the impeachment process itself and attempting the arrests and imprisonment of prominent members of the Democratic Party ordered by consigliere Barr.

The last resort of checks and balances on this rogue subhuman republican conservative movement will be their bodies piled in every Fifth Avenue in every city in the country, since the Constitution is absolutely useless in dealing with these filth.

"It's almost as if he thought he had more responsibility to a foreign power than coequal branches of the US government."

There is no "almost" or "as if" about it.

And the word "coequal" is defunct when it comes to this rogue government.

via Juanita Jean:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/26/politics/john-kelly-trump-yes-man/index.html

'White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham added, "I worked with John Kelly, and he was totally unequipped to handle the genius of our great President."'

I agree that John Kelly was totally unequipped to handle p.

After all, he did not carry a semi-automatic weapon with him in the White House.

Grisham, the first Press Secretary to never hold a White House press conference, somehow managed to emit these words from her pie hole despite it being fully occupied with p's nether parts.

Look what Reagan's astrologer, Milton Friedman, and the Chicago School did:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/10/27/1894748/-Venezuela-is-a-strawman-If-you-want-a-glimpse-of-the-United-States-future-look-at-Chile#read-more

Money quote:

'I was talking to a conservative friend recently and he said to me: “Our universities are being overtaken by communists.”

I showed him the new $120 million business school building being built on our campus. I then suggested that when he could show me one campus with a $120 million Communism building, I would believe that our campuses were being overrun by communists.'

I have it on good authority** (good memory, actually) that our universities had already been taken over by godless communists in the 1960s. Maybe earlier, but I wasn't paying attention then. So there's no way they could be in the process of being taken over now.

** That would be the horrified arch-conservatives (John Birchers, etc.) of the time.

there's good money in telling people there are commies under the bed.

Good money, not least because it apparently isn't possible to saturate the market. They just keep buying and buying and buying....

I'm laughing about the furore over the WaPo's description of Al-Baghdadi as an "austere religious scholar", as if this is necessarily a complimentary description as opposed to what might be an accurate but morally neutral one. I believe that ISIS was as foul an entity as is possible to imagine, and its repercussions for Yazidis, women, and civilians in general living in their so-called caliphate totally horrific, but only in Gilead could this description (which has, no doubt, applied to many of the most appalling men in history) be seen as necessarily complimentary.

"Anyone for a round of golf?"

"Now, Mr President? Our people are just about to ...."

"Just stage the photograph. And make sure the Navy Seals don't get the credit for killing al-Baghdadi. I did it, unlike the nigger Obama."

https://twitter.com/petesouza/status/1188471757579194371

On my recent trip to California, I stayed in Benicia with an old friend for a week. Everything around it is now burning or the edge of the burns, including wineries we drove by in Sonoma county to the North.

We cruised on a friend's trawler under bridges now enveloped in thick smoke.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/10/27/1895428/-3-fires-roar-in-California-Here-s-what-you-need-to-know-about-Kincaid-Tick-and-Vallejo#read-more

We cruised under the Carquinez Bridge, on the Carquinez Coot, a trawler, back and forth on the way to San Francisco Bay:

https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10228334-181/major-fire-at-carquinez-bridge?sba=AAS

Yeah, the winds around here are howling like it was a major storm. Tree limbs down and everything. Except the sky is clear (albeit hazy with smoke) and it's bone dry.

via tristero at hullabaloo:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6rz7zxr4w0nc0oq/TrumpMed2.mp4?dl=0

Yeah, the winds around here are howling like it was a major storm... Except the sky is clear...

When we moved to the West 30-some years ago, it took a while to get used to the idea of 80+ mph straight-line winds under a clear sky and sun/stars. We live about 12 miles from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which is (intentionally) located at the mouth of one of the canyons. NCAR has clocked straight-line winds as high as 147 mph.

A dozen years ago during a homeland security public policy class, I asked the guest speaker from the state organization about how bad things could get if a half-dozen pairs of terrorists spent a summer afternoon/evening driving the back roads in the national forests during a high wind warning, tossing a lit road flare into the woods every half mile or so. His expression said (a) they had thought about it and (b) perhaps arresting me on the spot would be a good idea.

Stay safe, man. No one outruns a fire when it gets those kinds of wind behind it.

I attended meetings at NCAR many decades ago, while working for Department of the Interior weather scientists.

If you merely sweep the forest floors with small brooms daily, there is no chance that a spark could catch alight in a 147 mph windstorm.

With that deep state advice from on high, there really is no need to fund the elitist NCAR quacks, now tied to chairs in the basement of the building and gagged, or the Forest Service for that matter.

By the way, the latest free advisory from the conservative republican science office at the White House, located in p's lower intestine, is that Californians should in fact run faster away from the fires like real Americans have been running from hoaxes since 1776.

Hatpins to keep your MAGA hats on while running in high winds can be purchased at the Republican Party merchandise website: http/fuckoffandburnbabyburn.com

The biggest single source of the high fire danger, it appears, is that we have been too good at preventing forest fires.

Left to nature, fires go thru moderate sized areas all the time. But they don't get further because they run into places that got burned a couple years previous, where there isn't built up piles of fuel lying on the forest floor. However, by helpfully putting out fires as fast as possible, we allowed huge amounts of fuel to build up across wide areas. So now, when a fire gets going and gets a little wind behind it, it can explode and just keep exploding across a wide area.

Relatively recently, the idea of letting small fires burn (or even doing control burns, when there is little wind and lots of water available to control the size) has caught on. But there is still a lot of decades of "helpful fire prevention" to be overcome.

And, naturally, the drought driven in part by climate change just makes things worse. (Or would, if climate change was real, rather than banned from Federal government publications.)

Washington Post obituary: "Jeffrey Dahmer, a connoisseur of exotic and locally sourced meats, dies at 34."

CharlesWT: Possibly the remedy is to cancel your subscription to the Post. Same as: I don't really get FoxNews.

I was going to post a much more inappropriate thing, but I've been schooled by the tone policemen here. Thanks teachers!

The biggest single source of the high fire danger, it appears, is that we have been too good at preventing forest fires.

because we have to, until we invent fire-proof houses to build in the middle of fire-prone forests.

Such houses are of course technically possible but (most) people would not want to live in them. Maginot style residential housing for some ineffable reason never really caught on.

because we have to, until we invent fire-proof houses to build in the middle of fire-prone forests.

For the least 60 years, yeah. For the 60 or so before that, because the timber companies convinced Congress that letting even one tree they might eventually be allowed to harvest burn was a great economic loss.

It is sad that in hindsight the best argument for letting the individual states be responsible for the vast western public lands would be "they can't afford to conduct a total fire suppression policy."

This article is probably too brief properly to make its case, but it introduces some interesting ideas:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-trump-administrations-war-on-the-government-is-an-autocratic-attempt
https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-trump-administrations-war-on-the-government-is-an-autocratic-attempt

I messed up the cut&paste, but you get the idea...

Because everybody loves a map*:
https://www.newsweek.com/electoral-college-votes-approval-rating-1467956

* OK, that's me projecting, because *I* love maps.

Governments generally overestimate their own competence to decide what's best.

generally always :)

Governments Politicians
Just to be clear :-)

They have much in common with libertarians, then ?

Americans always underestimate the competence of the governments which represent them to do what's best, and, in doing so, insure the incompetence of those governments by electing know-nothing fucks.

One knife, two edges.

Americans, each of us, also believe we know precisely how to do each others' jobs, yet we also, each of us, don't believe anyone else has the right to tell us how to our jobs.

The plumber is an attorney, the candlestick maker is a doctor, the doctor is an astronaut, the beekeeper is a policeman, the shareholder is a CEO, the CEO is a janitor, the janitor is a shareholder, the writer is a critic, the comedian is an audience member, the audience member is a comedian, a critic, and a writer none are taxpayers if they can cheat their way out of it, and cheaters are the winners, and all expertise is questionable at best, except our own, and if you want something done, do it yourself sez the plumber, the attorney, the candlestick maker, the doctor, the astronaut, the CEO, the janitor, the taxpayer, the shareholder and bullshit artist at the end of the bar, who is the only one is correct about anything, because ... bullshit.

Why, if I was you ...

Why, what you oughta do ..

You know what I would do, if I were that guy. Why, I'd ....

Listen up, maybe you'll learn something ...

Let me tell ya the way things work, sonny ...

Jerry Seinfeld made a funny observation. If you get a homeless guy together with another homeless guy, inevitably one of them decides he's the expert and is telling the other one in authoritative tones what to do and how to do it.

Do what?

Nothing.

America would to do well just to have a National Shut The Fuck Up Month.

For example:

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a29611649/boeing-737-max-return-faa/

Let's loosen up oversight on the know-it-alls, who, after all, are closer to the people incinerated in airplane crashes while not taking personal responsibility for the deaths, who can very well build airplanes that dive straight into the ground and then cover up precisely how it happened without any help from the government.

generally always :)

Anecdota:

My wife and I went up to Montreal for a long weekend. On our way into the city from the airport, our driver pointed out the new hospital downtown.

All new, he said. All modern. And free.

We rode the Metro all around the city. Clean, efficient, works great.

Rich history there, with many historical sites preserved. The city has a program going on now where they project brief videos on large building surfaces, telling the history of the city as stories about people. Warts and all, actually. It's nice for people to understand the history of their community. It fosters a sense of having something in common.

Nice parks, nicely maintained. Beautiful public botanical garden. Funny goofy decorated pumpkins for the kiddos, who were having a ball with it all.

Lights were on, water ran from the tap, roads were all pretty good.

Everywhere you go there, there are separate waste receptacles for paper recycle, plastic recycle, and landfill trash. People just use them, without bitching about it.

Government.

So, WTF, libertarians?

Governments are precisely as good as the people in them. No better, no worse. Some governments are really good at doing the things that governments do. Some aren't. The ones that are, are so, because the people in them think that doing government-y things - planning, implementing, and managing public goods and services, for the public, in the public interest - is actually worthwhile. Actually worth their time, attention, and best effort. And they consider themselves responsible to the people they represent and serve.

It happens every fncking day, everywhere all around the world. Nothing magic or mysterious about it.

It just doesn't happen here, very much. At a minimum, there is damned little respect for it, whether it happens or not. Perhaps those things are related.

Lotsa reasons that might be so. I have my own theories. But what is plainly in evidence is that there is nothing about "government" per se that is any better or worse than any other thing that people do.

In some places people give a shit about what happens in public life, outside of their own personal little bubble, and have a basic human respect for the people who try to make the right things happen. In others, people don't.

Wish I lived in a place where people did.

'our driver pointed out the new hospital downtown.

"All new, he said. All modern. And free.

We rode the Metro all around the city. Clean, efficient, works great.

Rich history there, with many historical sites preserved. The city has a program going on now where they project brief videos on large building surfaces, telling the history of the city as stories about people. Warts and all, actually. It's nice for people to understand the history of their community. It fosters a sense of having something in common.

Nice parks, nicely maintained. Beautiful public botanical garden. Funny goofy decorated pumpkins for the kiddos, who were having a ball with it all.

Lights were on, water ran from the tap, roads were all pretty good."'

Such are the dreadful, commie depredations of socialism.

And this ...: "Everywhere you go there, there are separate waste receptacles for paper recycle, plastic recycle, and landfill trash. People just use them, without bitching about it."

... is Stalinist to the bedrock. This is exactly how Ukraine was starved into submission, it started with recycling and not being able to use the politically incorrect words "nigger", "fag", and before you knew it, the wheat and livestock were confiscated and sent to Moscow to feed the many Guilianis wives of the day.

One quibble. It's not free, but everyone pays and everyone gets, unlike the States where only some get and everyone winches about paying, even when they don't pay ... assholes.

And look here, the Toronto Stock Exchange Index has gone straight to zero under socialism:

https://www.forecast-chart.com/historical-tsx-composite.html

And look here too, Afghanistan is safer than Chicago and Montreal according to expert studies by deep fucking stupid:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhFBVVIn57U

In Afghanistan, republicans and conservatives can carry military weaponry in the streets and be blown away and their bodies left to rot in the streets, but it's all for free. They don't have to pay taxes, so pure freedom.

In some places people give a shit about what happens in public life, outside of their own personal little bubble, and have a basic human respect for the people who try to make the right things happen. In others, people don't.

Perhaps it is useful to regard libertarianism as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If a bunch of people, for philosophical reasons, decide that government is a terrible thing, then that's the kind of government they will get.

Governments are precisely as good as the people in them.

Amen.

But sometimes the people in government (regular old bureaucrats) are so much better than their elected bosses. We're seeing this play out now in a very sad drama. Hope we can recover someday.

One quibble. It's not free

Yes, obviously it is not. It costs money to build a great big freaking building in the middle of a large city, outfit it with modern medical technology, staff it with trained and competent medical providers and support staff, and keep the whole thing running.

Millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars.

And the people of Canada pay for it, most likely by paying taxes.

And the consequence of that is that Canadians pay a bit less than half of what we pay per capita for health care.

It's the difference between "I'll chip in for that so that we can all have it" and "I'm not gonna pay for something that guy over there is gonna use".

I've pretty much lost all respect for this country, because we appear to be too fncking stupid lazy and bone ignorant to come in out of the damned rain. We crap in our own pants and then crow about what an outstanding thing we have produced.

I'm ashamed to be an American. I struggle to find anything sound or wholesome in our national character or deportment anymore. All we care about is money and "being number one" in some farcical category or other. We think we are great, or "great again", but we are not. We just have a lot of money and great big guns.

That is a fucking mafiosi's idea of being great. A bully's idea of being great. An insecure, ignorant, asshole's idea of being great.

The kind of insecure, ignorant asshole that thinks shitting in a gold toilet is cool.

That is what we in large part are, and where we are heading.

My old man spent four years below decks in WWII, keeping the engines running on a crappy little troop transport, wondering if this was the day something or other was going to crash through the wall and send him to the bottom of the fucking Pacific Ocean. Four fucking years away from his wife and home, floating around in an ocean of death and mayhem. I'm glad he's not alive to see this bullshit.

An Algerian dude drove me and my wife from the airport to our hotel, and he could not stop himself from bragging about the marvelous city and country that he now called home. Look at our beautiful new hospital - all new, all modern, and free! He understood it was not actually free, no doubt he is a taxpayer and some hours of his life have been spent working to make that hospital a reality.

What he meant by "free" was look, look at this wonderful thing that we have made for ourselves, and anyone can have it, just because they live here. It doesn't matter if they are rich or poor, man or woman, gay or straight, black brown yellow red or white, Christian Moslem Hindu Jew Buddhist what have you.

If you live here, and you're sick, you can go the hospital and they will take care of you, and you don't have to worry about how you will pay for it.

If that's not freedom, I don't know what the fuck freedom is.

It literally made me cry. It's making me cry now, writing this. It makes me cry for how shallow and mean and fearful and resentful and small-hearted we have become.

WTF, America. Who did this to you? What happened to you?

I cannot respect anyone who looks at the state of the nation today and says yes, this is what greatness looks like. We should hang our heads in shame.

Yup. WRS.

WTF, America. Who did this to you? What happened to you?

In essence, we went from believing that anyone who worked hard could succeed, and that was great. To somehow thinking that success was limited, so in order to win we had to make sure everybody else lost. And then got focused on the making-others-lose part, to the exclusion of the working-to-succeed part.

Trump is merely the epitome of "me winning requires that everybody else lose" -- as the embodiment of a philosophy, it is perhaps not surprising that he is adored by his co-believers. The good news is that, even now, they are a minority. (Perhaps part of why they hate/fear immigrants is that immigrants are very much in the work-to-succeed camp.)

What to make of this? Biden, facing an embarrassing lack of small campaign donations, has reneged on his promise to forego money from SuperPacs.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/25/joe-biden-super-pac-fundraising-058022

Is this a lifeline, or confirmation that he's hollow and inflated?

Lack of small donations to that extent does lead one to wonder just how soft that high poll number support actually is.

It literally made me cry. It's making me cry now, writing this. It makes me cry for how shallow and mean and fearful and resentful and small-hearted we have become.

russell, this and your whole two posts are beyond upsetting to read. Mainly because you yourself are the diametric opposite of all the things you characterise America as having become. Any country that would have you would be lucky, and America has, as wj implies, plenty who are more like you than are like Trump and his henchthugs. But the point about "any country that would have you" is that unfortunately, like a spreading stain, plenty of countries are going the same way as the US, albeit more slowly. I don't know where this contagion started, and I think wj's analysis is, I regret to say, inadequate. But whatever the cause, there is plenty of it about - despite the totemic love for the NHS for example, you have only to hear various Brit voxpops complaining about the help given to desperate, fleeing refugees to realise what a despicable rough beast, its hour come round at last is loosed upon the world.

Clearly, I have no prescriptions, or even adequate explanation. But what I do know is that people like you are the only possible bulwark against the eventual complete triumph of this horrible thing, and that despair is disabling. Probably condescending coming from such an inadequate source, and not particularly helpful, I know. But it still needs to be said.

I am most unhappy about many things in this country but being enamored with Canada is not realistic, every asylum seeker on our southern border would be rejected by Canada:

"To come to Canada as a refugee, you must be referred. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a designated referral organization, or a private sponsorship group can refer you. You cannot apply directly to us as a refugee.

To be referred, you must fall into one of these two refugee classes."

You cant apply for refugee status unless referred, you cant apply to immigrate unless you are sponsored, you cant immigrate unless you can prove you have the financial capacity to support yourself, or your sponsor does. You have to speak English,, or French.

These rules would be greeted in the US as draconian and xenophobic, the grass is not greener,

the medical system there leaves much to be desired, most of the advantage could be met with simple catastrophic insurance in the US. Britain Canada and elsewhere are struggling to fund and manage the systems they have, looking at alternatives.

We can improve our systems and our way of life in many ways, but Camelot doesnt exist.

Our reluctance to support government-sponsored projects in the US did not likely originate with people's reluctance about efficiency or quality, but because the federal government supported integration and racial equality.
The health care system has other twists (such as healthcare's history of being tied to labor and employment, and opposition by the AMA), but as people began to equate government institutions with integration, those who welcomed integration were more likely to consider government involvement in a positive light. Others not so much.

Just a theory.

We can improve our systems

not anymore.

we have a party of creating and a party of tearing down. and so nothing gets done.

These rules would be greeted in the US as draconian and xenophobic

And yet....

Note that those are absolute numbers. Canada has just over 10% of the population of the US, so adjust as needed for the per-capita comparison.

I raised the example of Montreal not as Camelot, but simply as an example of what "government doing useful stuff" looks like. They appear to be pretty good at it. It was a reply to CharlesWT's snide aside. I'm more than sure they have their issues, but if you're sick there and don't have money, you can go to the hospital. Metro is good, roads are good, parks are nice and freely available, lights are on, turn on the tap and water comes out, and you can drink it without worrying about it.

All good things. Right?

Libertarians all bitch about government, but they still ride the bus to work. Or, you know, drive themselves in their own personal automobile, but on public roads.

So, government. Not such a bad thing, in the end.

I don't see Canada, or any other place, as Camelot. I see Canada, and most of the other industrialized OECD nations that are our approximate peers, as places that do a better job than we do at addressing the needs and interests of their populations through public effort.

Because, in general, people in those places don't despise their own government in the perverse and bizarre ways that we do.

We are profoundly stupid and self-defeating in that regard. We'll let our own people fucking die from causes with obvious remedies, or descend into financial ruin unnecessarily, before we'll let that government camel sneak its nose under the tent flap.

So I think those countries are better than we are, in that regard. I don't want to move to any of them, I want this country to be more like they are, in that regard.

The idea of universally available catastrophic health insurance is fine with me. It will have to get past a (R) party whose base applauds - literally applauds - the idea of someone dying because they failed to buy adequate insurance for themselves.

Good luck with that.

The difference between Canada and the US is the difference between "sure, I'll chip in for that so that we can all have it" and "I'm not paying for something that guy over there is going to use".

I think the first attitude is better. I think the second attitude sucks.

I don't want Camelot. I want an America that I'm not ashamed of.

The problem is not the system, the problem is the people. We need to take a hard look at who we are and who we are becoming, and then wise the fuck up.

We've been very fortunate. The correct response to that is gratitude, not ignorant self-important bullying hubris.

Just a theory.

As working hypotheses go, not a bad start.

most of the advantage could be met with simple catastrophic insurance in the US.

So, Marty. You sign up for the "added" insurance every time you fly or rent a car? Hey, it's cheap!

The idea that a policy that doesn't kick in until you have spent $8,000 out of pocket is a sick joke for most people. Want proof? Businesses that offer "health insurance" to their employees do not tend to offer such "plans" because catastrophic insurance policies are simply not adequate.

WTF, America. Who did this to you? What happened to you?

1789-1865: Institutionalized, legally sanctioned human slavery; genocidal elimination of native peoples; expansion via military conquest.

1865-1933: Economic class war; more military expansion; government sanctioned racial segregation.

1934-1967: Krugman's Great Compression. There is hope.

1980-present: Regression to the mean. And I mean really mean.

It's who we are.

But I hear you. We can do better. Let's put our shoulder to the wheel and make it so.

WRS. Again and yet again.

And now we have an Army Lt. Colonel, who is on the NSC, and who personally heard Amb. Sondland say that the aid to Ukraine was dependent on investigating specifically the Bidens. Not corruption in general, but the Bidens specifically. He's apparently also testifying that he raised objections at the time, both to Sondland and to the NSC counsel.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/vindman-offers-a-firsthand-account-of-critical-episodes-in-alleged-quid-pro-quo/2019/10/29/cb16a5c0-fa45-11e9-ac8c-8eced29ca6ef_story.html

Of course, since he's an immigrant, his loyalty to the US is being questioned. His army career (and Purple Heart) notwithstanding. But the defenses are getting more and more tenuous.

and John Yoo said this is Vindman's testimony might be espionage.

such a powerful intellect.

Yes. Testimony to members of United States House of Representatives, who are clearly agents of a hostile foreign power and not part of our own government. It's not like we'd be spying on ourselves!

extra "this is", free to good home. i have a whole litter of them i can't this is use.

Of course, since he's an immigrant...
At the age of three.

A deep sleeper agent, obvs.

And we're well beyond "Have you no shame ?", since we know the answer to that.

It's not just "no shame". It's also "no brains".

The military has far, far higher public approval than any politician -- and Trump isn't particularly respected, even compared to other politicians. Smearing one is seriously problematic. Especially (since we're talking about Trump fans here) one who is clearly Caucasian -- not Norwegian, perhaps, but close. Sorry, but those are the people we are dealing with.

One other aspect of the Ukraine mess that somehow hadn't reached the surface of my consciousness: the Hatch Act.

Title 18, United States Code, Section 610, makes it a crime — indeed, a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison — for “any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce, any employee of the Federal Government … to engage in … any political activity.”
Note that, unlike much of the Hatch Act, this part explicitly does cover the President and Vice President. Guess avoiding prison for this is one more reason for Trump to be desperate to avoid impeachment and removal.

one who is clearly Caucasian -- not Norwegian, perhaps, but close.

'close' as in possibly less than 100 miles from being a literal Caucasian .

Romney:
https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/467939-romney-vindman-attacks-absurd-disgusting
It’s absurd, disgusting, and way off the mark. This is a decorated American soldier and he should be given the respect that his service to our country demands...

This is a decorated American soldier and he should be given the respect that his service to our country demands...

since Trump doesn't do "should" or "respect", is there a plan B ?

At this point, it isn't about Trump. It's about Republican Senators. Of course, a lot of them don't do "respect" either, because they are slavishly following Trump. But some of them might still have limits. Each one who still respects the military is one more step towards 20.

Will it be enough? Probably not. But each step forward is a step forward.

no GOP Senator who wants to be re-elected is going to vote for removal while Trump's approval rating is in the 80% range.

best we'll see is one or two who will make vewy sewious fwowny faces but will ultimately decide the punishment doesn't fit the crime.

A few more Republicans express... qualified doubts:
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/29/republicans-defend-impeachment-witness-vindman-061057

As the weight of evidence grows, it might just go beyond a few fwony faces... And some Republicans are retiring.

My sense is that the Trump-fans attacks on the officer are just another example of Team Trump shooting themselves in the foot. Sometimes they miss. But not, I think, this time. (That gun rest on the knee is so helpful that way.)

they seem panicked and confused, shooting wildly any time something they can't control appears.

somebody's gonna get hurt.

i hope it's Trump.

Apologies, cleek, but you're thinking too small.

I hope it hurts not just Trump (that's a pretty safe bet; the only question is how much). But it also hurts all the GOP politicians who have gone all in for him. AND the "conservative" commentators who have been cheering for him as well. (Fox "News" as an institution definitely included.)

I'm not really going with a Thullen-level diatribe. But I'm up for serious personal/career/economic damage for the whole crew.

wj: from your lips to God's ear.

Not just Trump shooting himself in the foot. His buddy Erdogan may be regretting getting Trump to do him a favor as well.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trumps-dealings-with-turkey-pave-way-for-house-vote-acknowledging-armenian-genocide/2019/10/29/00adb200-fa7d-11e9-8906-ab6b60de9124_story.html

For those who don't follow these things, keeping the US from formally acknowledging the Armenian Genocide has been a major Turkish priority for a long time. And now, thanks to his scamming Trump over the Kurds, Erdogan may have blown up that longstanding effort. Oops.

Returning to the OT
And the Nationals take it to game 7!

Gotta say, MLB is doing its part to give us as much reality to focus on as they can. But all good things must come to an end. How will we stay sane when it's over?

If ever there was a scintilla of doubt over Starr being a partisan hack...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/29/suddenly-ken-starr-doesnt-like-impeachment-so-much/

Say what you will about necon Jennifer Rubin, but this is on the mark:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/30/what-about-all-other-patriots/

An excerpt:

The government-wide smear of the “deep state” — that is, those men and women who take seriously their oath to the Constitution and do not confuse that loyalty with loyalty to Trump — is also an attack on the patriotism and loyalty of fellow Americans. This is now an essential aspect of right-wing conspiracy theories and regular nomenclature among Republicans.

It is not just military service personnel who deserve our respect, but any Foreign Service officer, civilian Pentagon worker, law enforcement officer and, yes, even members of Congress. Trump, however, sees no difference between disloyalty to him (meaning any deviation from the cult and willingness to say anything in Trump’s defense) and disloyalty to the country. He has characterized critical voices (the media being the “enemy of the people”) and adverse witnesses including the whistleblower as traitors. All of this has not weakened his grip on the Republican Party.

Governments generally overestimate their own competence to decide what's best.

I admit that was provocative of me.

I meant what I wrote, but it's by no means an argument for right libertarianism.

First, there are many things which can't be provided effectively by a free market. Healthcare is one - the government has to get involved, it's just a question of how best to do it.

Second, there are many markets - the labour market is one - where inequalities of information and power demand government regulation.

Third, there is no reason why the distribution of income and wealth which results from market activity should be best. It's entirely proper for governments to seek to increase human well-being by evening it out somewhat. (Note also that intellectual property rights created and defended by governments are responsible for the greatest concentrations of wealth.)

But it remains that case that government interference is often damaging. US agricultural subsidies for example.

All of this has not weakened his grip on the Republican Party.

i never get tired of being reminded that i never have to take any Republican seriously on anything again.

"But it remains that case that government interference is often damaging."

This can be agreed with. Every action has unforeseen consequences. Americans have big problems with unforeseen negative consequences stemming from government action, but seem to enjoy the negative unforeseen consequences of private actions.

I guess because we enjoy improvisation in our societal disasters rather than planned ones.

Both are forced upon us.

But it's not like government makes this stuff up. Private actors, individuals, and their big brother individuals, the private and public corporate world, vote in elections (we'll leave aside the increasing frequency of stolen elections) to install their representatives to either interfere to ameliorate they themselves cause or to NOT interfere to ameliorate those problems (and NOT ameliorating the problems also has unforeseen consequences, AND not ameliorating is government force every bit as consequential as force by actively interfering).

This article ....

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/21/is-amazon-unstoppable

.... about Amazon and Jeff Bezos contains this remarkable statement from a top Bezos Lieutenant, regarding their worker/management relations:

'One senior Amazon executive said of its warehouses, “It’s a hard economy for people without college degrees right now. We can’t run a philanthropy, but we’re trying to be the best of those bad kinds of jobs.” Another top executive suggested that Amazon was merely a cog in the American economic machine—and inevitably reflected how contemporary inequality had created winners and losers. “We’re doing what we can,” he said. “But ultimately this is a problem only the government can really solve—by changing how the economy works.”'

See, they are asking (more like daring) for government action regarding the myriads problem of inequality, which they admit is not their problem.

Action which they will fight against tooth and nail with their huge financial resources, their huge lobbying force, and frankly, by paying off the representatives they help get elected.

"US agricultural subsidies, for example."

If you can tell us what unforeseen consequences and depredations would have transpired without agricultural subsidies, we can compare them to the unforeseen consequences and depredations that have occurred with them, and make up our minds.

There must be a pithy Rumsfeldian formulation to encapsulate that point.

I agree with you, Pro Bono.

It was Charles' inevitable "always" I was reacting to.

"Always" is every Libertarian's nickname. ;)

Governments generally overestimate their own competence to decide what's best.

We'd be a great deal better off if we recognised that almost everyone tends to overestimate their own competence.

A tendency which increases with power and status.

Governments are people, my friend.

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