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November 14, 2019

Comments

Shorter me:

IMO the (D)'s will be much better served by making sure all of the folks who already support them get to the polls and vote, then trying to persuade or cater to the folks who either hate them or are generally lukewarm to them.

Not my field, I'm sure I could be more than wrong about all of that. But that's how it looks to me.

Focus on getting people who are already inclined to vote for you to do so.

A more useful focus is on which group you have the best chance of influencing to do what needs to be done.

Realistically, how many people does that amount to? How many people are actually on the fence right now, prepared to vote for Trump but open to voting for a (D) if the right one comes along?

And how does that number compare to, for instance, making sure that 70% of 18-34 year olds actually show up, as opposed to 40%? Or making sure that black voters actually get to register and have polling places open long enough to get their votes cast?

Realistically, how many people does that amount to? How many people are actually on the fence right now, prepared to vote for Trump but open to voting for a (D) if the right one comes along?

That's not what I was trying to say.

If you blame those who voted for Trump, what does that get you? Can you persuade them to admit that they made a mistake? I'm guessing not -- even if, in their heart of hearts they know it.

On the other hand, as a Democrat you have some chance of persuading your fellow Democrats to nominate someone who could pull in the votes of some (and it wouldn't take many) of those voters. Yes, more GOTV efforts will be helpful. But in this critical a situation you don't want to write off any possible support.

The VF piece wasn't so much about figuring out which Dem nominee can get the votes of people who don't like Rump but might still vote for him. It was about impeachment dissuading them from voting for whoever the Dem nominee ends up being.

More generally, the decline in support for impeachment, after what seemed to me to be compelling supportive testimony, is what got me thinking. And it may well be less about people who are willing to vote for Rump and more about people who might vote D but will stay home if they get disgusted with the whole thing.

Both sides don't do it.

One side is a cult and the other side is a club (McKinney's Democratic friends, which is spelled differently than "Democrat") with members who don't want to join a club that wants them as a member.

Hell, Sanders supporters may well have put Trump over the top in 2016.

But Trump republicans ... 89% of them ... would never vote for, say Dwight Eisenhower or George Bush Senior if they ran as a Democrat.

It would be interesting if Trump ran for President on both the Republican and Democratic tickets.

He'd probably win in a tie, and then we can all go kill ourselves.

The John Birch, southern confederate, Pat Buchanan, Federalist Society crank nut-case judge wing of the republican party are now the Republican party.

Mitt Romney will cater to them, not the fucking country.

They must be destroyed. It's beyond fucked, neither meat or vegetable.

If we get through this without massive punishment of the entire traitorous Trump administration, and his in-the-bag republican supporters Congress, with him going personally to the gallows, then this country will not go forward peaceably.

Romney? Goodness. If you're turning to Gordon Gekko for salvation, you really have a problem.

If you're turning to Gordon Gekko for salvation, you really have a problem.

we really do have a problem.

If you blame those who voted for Trump, what does that get you?

To me, it's less about (or not at all about) "blaming those who voted for Trump" and more about (or completely about) pushing back on the idea that it's the responsibility of people who do not support Trump to somehow sway the minds of those who do.

People should vote for who they want. And people should own their choices. If you voted for Trump, the fact that he is the POTUS is down to you. Most if not all folks who voted for him are fine with that.

as a Democrat you have some chance of persuading your fellow Democrats to nominate someone who could pull in the votes of some (and it wouldn't take many) of those voters.

First, I'm not a (D). Second, I'm not sure there is a (D) running who would pull in more undecideds than the number of (D) voters they would lose.

I'm not disputing the logic of what you're saying, I'm just not convinced that there is a useful upside, as a practical matter.

Realistically, of the folks actually running, the ones that (I think) fit what you're talking about are Biden, Klobuchar, or Butigieg. Warren and Sanders are "too far left", Harris is too CA, plus woman plus black, which unfortunately is still a factor. The rest of the gang are too far back to be realistic. Klobuchar is really too far back to be realistic, to be honest.

Biden has broad appeal to more centrist folks, but is not inspiring to people who actually are motivated by the ideas that folks like Warren and Sanders promote. So you'd gain some, and lose some.

Not my field, I can't say where it would land. My guess, or maybe intuition, is that it would be, at best, a wash.

If you're turning to Gordon Gekko for salvation, you really have a problem.

Yes, but he's the nice, polite Gordon Gekko.

But then Hannibal Lecter was nice and polite...

It was about impeachment dissuading them from voting for whoever the Dem nominee ends up being.

the reasons that article lists add up, for me, to: these people are not people who pay close attention to politics and are probably the kind of people who say things like "there's no real difference between the parties".

i don't know how a politician is supposed to reach them. "be an attractive politician to people who hate politics" is tough. it's more about the personality and general narrative around the candidate: Obama was an engaging speaker with a unique package; Trump was a "billionaire" celebrity; W was an unassuming aw-shucks kind of guy after 8 years of raging Clinton scandals (even if many were manufactured).

do we have anyone with a good personality and/or simple compelling narrative?

about impeachment... odds are good it will be long over by the time of the conventions. everybody will be sick of hearing about it - and you know Trump will be unable to STFU about it. so, maybe it will hurt him in the end.

hope

... until he ate your liver.

It was about impeachment dissuading them from voting for whoever the Dem nominee ends up being.

Yes, that was my understanding as well.

I guess my opinion is that it's gone too far at this point. The time to worry about possible electoral impact was probably before having the public hearings - a couple of weeks ago, they could probably have folded their tents and hoped for the best in 2020.

If they were to pack it in now, I think they'd lose all credibility. The line in the sand has been drawn, they need to carry it through.

Plus, what McK said.

I'm not sure there is a (D) running who would pull in more undecideds than the number of (D) voters they would lose.

I suppose my views are colored by remembering my second election, where the Democrats nominating McGovern resulted in Nixon getting reelected.

There seems to be a notion in some quarters (including here) that the reason Democrats lose elections is that they don't run far enough to the left. Yet it appears that, whenever they decide to go that way, they end up losing. There's always an alternative explanation for the specific case. But it happens often enough that the case for causation rather than mere correlation seems viable.

I've always pictured Trump as a sort of Beyond Meat Hannibal Lechter who somehow, thru sheer force of malignant presence, when he is in the vicinity, can convince, say, just about any republican to feed on his own brains:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibfBDKiw1ac

I don't think anyone knows what it is to be in trump's orbit until they've spent time in a room alone with him.

He's a mesmerist, like a cobra, rising to greet you and then spitting poison in your eyes.

But he expects a thank you.

Regarding Romney, I would turn McKinney's statement from a couple of weeks ago (Just because a person doesn't support trump and wants him impeached, doesn't mean that person must support Sanders or Warren) around and point out that the same logic applies to Romney.

Romney is a face man. Both of them.

Even his insincerity is shallow.

I would never turn my back on the guy after reaching a deal.

However this ends, Lindsay Graham must follow trump out the door. Resign or be hounded by vengeance the rest of his short days.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/22/1901224/-Watch-Lindsey-Graham-run-when-a-Marine-veteran-asks-him-about-staying-true-to-his-oath-of-office

The fucking ex-Marines who inhabit the Oath Keepers and other vermin armed republican militias always carry a weapon.

Why can't Marines on my side do the same?

Honorable behavior counts for squat in rule of lawlessness conservative America.

The idea that there are still "good" people not actively supporting the party opposing these traitors makes me wonder. The Republican Party is malignant, and we're quickly approaching Stage 4.

It was about impeachment dissuading them from voting for whoever the Dem nominee ends up being.

I’m rather sceptical about this. Everyone is getting very excited about a single poll which doesn’t show a movement much greater than the margin of error.
And the subset analysis of independent voters is surely even more hazy statistically ?

Also, let’s see this pans out. To me, it looks as though Trump is losing it.

Ha !
https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/nov/22/sacha-baron-cohen-facebook-would-have-sold-final-solution-ads-to-hitler

He’s not wrong.

cleek invoked Hamilton upthread.

Here's more:

When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents . . . is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”

From here:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/25/the-sober-clarity-of-the-impeachment-witnesses

But we aren't dealing with the Hamiltons, and the Adams's, and the Madisons, are we? We aren;teven dealing with anyone as

No, this:

"Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen. Both sides are heavily armed, my friend. This is not 1974. The people will not stand for impeachment. A politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life."

Roger Stone.

Trump, the President of the United States, and much of his 89% following endorse every word of that.

Only one side is heavily armed. They don't give a shit about legal process.

These are ruthless, violent, enemies, divinely inspired in their goals and the means to them.

a single poll which

there's a trend moving against the inquiry, and it started last Monday:
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/public_approval_of_the_impeachment_inquiry_of_president_trump-6956.html

but the polling for removal has been pretty consistent (and below 50%)
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/public_approval_of_the_impeachment_and_removal_of_president_trump-6957.html

"anyone as sane as Aaron Burr."

"Try to impeach him. Just try it. You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen. Both sides are heavily armed, my friend. This is not 1974. The people will not stand for impeachment. A politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life."

Roger Stone.

from jail.

Everybody thinks they are "the people". The other people are also "the people".

Enjoy your orange jumpsuit Roger. If we're in luck you'll get the whole 50 years.

We have checks and balances not because those things exist in the Constitution, but because we insist on following the procedures to which we agreed when we set the protocol for checking and balancing the different parts of our government.

If we don't act, we have no checks and there is no balance.

There is a political cost to be paid for insisting that our country follow its Constitution. Deciding that the cost is too high is just admitting that we are not, in fact, a constitutional republic, but a set of habits formed around a formal agreement that we have decided was too inconvenient to follow.

A republic, if you can keep it. But also *if you want to* keep it. We may not be able to keep it. But deciding not to act is, in some sense, deciding that we'd rather keep whatever we have in place of a republic than take the risk of fighting to keep an actual republic.

Either way, though. We have lots of people with a say in the matter, and more than the 3% that the threepers toss around are willing to fight to prevent the majority of voters from putting a check on their runaway attempt to protect their world from the change that would be required of them in a functioning republic.

So the D's get their say, and then whoever stands in for the R's right now get their say, and we see what it will take to keep a republic, or if such a thing is even possible any longer.

If you want a good idea of where we stand as a society right now, go read some Icelandic sagas.

You have what rights you can enforce in the courts. You have courts that are shaped by the factions that control the appointment of judges. You pledge yourself to a faction or you go it alone. The faction works to extend its power through politics, threats, and economic power.

If your faction is too weak or you have no connection to a faction, you are subject to the law without recourse under it.

For those with no faction, or with too weak a faction to shift the power of the court, you have only the threats of public shame or extrajudicial violence with which to enforce your rights, whatever the law says.

Following nous's 6:30, from a BJ commenter recently:

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition …There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

great quote, JanieM.

Just to state a theme from my past comments:

This is a war.

We have to pick sides. We have to figure out who our leaders are. We have to do the work (the hard work, because we're all independent thinkers) of following them.

That, obviously, means we have to pick right when it comes to our leaders.

It would be great if there were a system to reevaluate, and we should do that if necessary or possible. But that will be really difficult, and will throw us off track for awhile. So good to evaluate people now.

Democratic candidates [most of the ones in the debate] are worthy, and I hope they all have roles to play. Whomever we pick, we have to support. We're an army now. We need to be united, and to be against someone in an election, we have to be for the other person. All together.

Thank you, JanieM. It is imperative for all to understand the conservative movement, as embodied in the current GOP, sees attempts by Democrats to govern as essentially illegitimate. See Barr’s recent unhinged rants, for just one example. Therefore “all is permitted” when it comes to the effort of enhancing or retaining political power.

Today’s GOP cannot be ‘reformed’. It must be destroyed.

As a far out left wing whackadoodle, I am routinely admonished that there is no other effective political allegiance than the Democratic Party, deeply compromised as it may be. There is a great deal of truth to this. Similarly, there is no other place for ‘never trumpers’ to go either. Holding your nose but still clinging to the GOP is a political dead end. You are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

You have a choice to make, a side to pick. Thanks.

Yes, Janie, that is a terrific quote. A truer word was never said.

Well, if it's that good it should be credited more specifically, to what at BJ they always call "valued commenter" Martin.

He doesn't cite a source, so I don't know if it's his own originally. But it sure does fit right now, e.g. Bobbyp's mention of Barr's rants saying basically that government by Democrats is illegitimate.

Today’s GOP cannot be ‘reformed’. It must be destroyed.

Sad to say (at least to me), this appears to be true.

But I am disturbed that those outside the GOP seem to be embracing one part of the far right worldview that got us into this mess: that everyone on the otherside is not just wrong but irredeemably evil. That's what all the "this is a war" and "they must be destroyed" rhetoric come too.

If you want to argue for destroying the GOP, fine. If you want to argue for voting every single Republican out of public office at every level, also fine. I may not agree with all of that, but it's an acceptable pisition. Arguing for the destruction of over a third of the pipulation, however? Not IMHO acceptable -- no matter how infuriating their views and votes may be.

Arguing for the destruction of over a third of the pipulation, however?

Did anyone say that? I said "This is a war."

It is a war. That doesn't mean over a third of the population dies. That's not really the usual statistic, even in gruesome wars, like the Civil War, where 2% of the population died.

And I'm not talking about a shooting war. I'm talking about being united against a common enemy. Nobody, in fact, has to die [except, of course, the people who are dying now as a result of Trump's foreign and domestic policies].

It’s self defense.

They attacked.

They can back off.

It's war by other means.

Nobody's getting shot, mostly, but the (R)'s are not, remotely, acting in good faith.

That's tolerable, until it isn't.

That's what all the "this is a war" and "they must be destroyed" rhetoric come too.

And FWIW, nobody is talking about "destroying" a third of the population. With the exception of Thullen, nobody is talking about destroying any person as such.

"Destroy the Republican party" means making a political organization a nullity. It happens, ask any Whig.

Source of the quote about conservatism

http://crookedtimber.org/2018/03/21/liberals-against-progressives/#comment-729288

I am online too much.

From donald's link, the reciprocal of the conservative project:

The law cannot protect anyone unless it binds everyone; and it cannot bind anyone unless it protects everyone.

I might want to lay a somewhat more generous table than that, but for sure we're not getting anywhere worth getting to without that.

Also FWIW, if I had to lay odds on which current party had better odds of continuing on into the future, it would be the (R)'s. They have much better message discipline, they are more cohesive, and they are far more comfortable with violence, rhetorical or otherwise.

“ I am online too much”

This is of course untrue.

It’s true about me.

Frank Wilhoit is exactly exact.

Don't leave this out.

"There is nothing more or else to it, and there never has been, in any place or time."

It's been a tremendous week. Throw six or seven "very's" in there for truth.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-impeachment-inquiry-hoax

Fuck it.

IUD, IED.

We are dealing with ignorant animals:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2019/11/22/psa-embedding-tweets-instructions-in-pictures/

wj But I am disturbed that those outside the GOP seem to be embracing one part of the far right worldview that got us into this mess: that everyone on the otherside is not just wrong but irredeemably evil. That's what all the "this is a war" and "they must be destroyed" rhetoric come too.

I share your concern here. To be clear, I earned my grad degree trying my best to understand how war and worldview and rhetoric and identity shape each other. I've learned a fair bit both about the language and purpose of propaganda - especially that which dehumanizes those not like us to open up the possibility of violence that we would never permit against another human being. Such language and intent, and the worldviews that sanction it, unmake the world and civilization. I do not want that.

But neither does that mean that I do not recognize and acknowledge when I see those things deployed and recognize that lines have been drawn and that license has been given.

I said feud rather than war because feud happens within a society and wars happen between societies. Russell referenced Clausewitz earlier, but Clausewitz had no theory of civil war or of partisanship, and no theory of how to restore a society once the peace had been breached.

The last thing that I want is actual war, and I will not lend my words to moving forward that end. But damned if I don't see that moving forward if we do not stop the constant drag on decency and the Overton window. One side, determined enough, can force a war. Right now they are seeing how far we will let them go before we actually resist so that they can calculate whether or not they can get it all without death and ashes following.

We need to make that stop before death and ashes are the only possible outcome.

nous, I quite agree.

What wj and nous said.

I am entirely onboard with the goal of getting rid of the Republican party as a political player, as I believe that its wholesale embrace of Trump has done it irreparable damage.
Dehumanising your political opponents is another matter. I understand rhetorical hyperbole, and use it myself on occasion, but when it becomes a reflex, it is no longer hyperbole.

I've learned a fair bit both about the language and purpose of propaganda - especially that which dehumanizes those not like us to open up the possibility of violence that we would never permit against another human being.
This.
In any society there are those who are predisposed to violence, and those who in the right circumstance (probably a majority) will acquiesce, willingly or unwillingly, to it.
Those who would actively ‘never permit’ in any circumstances are quite unusual.

I'll speak for myself.

I don't actually know a single person that I consider to be evil, let alone irredeemably so. People, including myself, are a mix of things. Some of those things are bad, and some good.

I have no interest in destroying any person for any reason. I can imagine using force to resist someone who is literally threatening some other person with direct physical harm, and that's about it.

So, that's me, personally.

This statement concerns me:

Right now they are seeing how far we will let them go before we actually resist so that they can calculate whether or not they can get it all without death and ashes following.

I don't see people who Are Not Like Me, or who Vote For Trump, as trying to "get it all" per se. I think they are, in general, afraid. The things they are afraid of don't make a lot of sense to me, but that doesn't really matter much. Fear is often - maybe in most cases - not that rational. It is nonetheless powerful.

The risk of "death and ashes" comes, I think, mostly from people acting out of that sense of fear. That sense of threat.

I agree that the potential exists right now for, not civil war exactly, but violence as a common and even widespread expression of social and political conflict. We see some of it already, at the fringes - and frankly, mostly on the right. Violent rhetoric is, and has been, as common as dirt, for years, and again mostly on the right.

I think all of that is driven less by some kind of will to power, and more from irrational fear. Which is to say, less by a desire to "get it all", and more by fear.

Fear of what is, for me, hard to grasp. And that's what I find most concerning.

I recently made the mistake of engaging my conservative sister on the topic of the Electoral College. She is afraid that, if the EC goes away, her voice will be "totally lost", overwhelmed by people in "big cities", by which she primarily means NYC and LA. As an aside, she lives in Phoenix, which at 1.6 M people is the fifth largest city in the nation.

Not to pick on Marty, but he recently offered the opinion that Trump, bad as he is, is better than any (D), because the (D)'s want to "take control of everything".

"Totally lost" and "take control of everything" are pretty scary concepts. They are also not very realistic assessments of the facts on the ground.

The combination of perceived threat and the embrace of beliefs that don't reflect or account for reality is what is dangerous. Threat, because frightened people make bad decisions, and perceived danger justifies actions that would otherwise be unjustifiable. And embrace of beliefs divorced from reality, because it makes it impossible to walk people back from their sense of threat.

That is what is dangerous.

The blame I place on the (R) party is (what I see as) their cynical decision to exploit all of that to gain and hold power. If I say they "have to be crushed", what I mean, very specifically and to the exclusion of other meanings, is that they need to lose elections - lots of them, and decisively - so that they will be motivated to abandon that tactic. They deserve to lose, because that tactic is toxic and harmful, and perpetuates the core problem. Anyone who cares about the future of the country should think twice about voting for any (R).

But the (R)'s per se are not the core problem. The core problem is fear, based on distorted understandings of reality.

If it ever actually does come down to shooting at each other, I guess I'll defend myself. Or, frankly, I'll go somewhere else until people come back to their senses, because I'm not really all that interested in killing anybody, for any reason. For "not really interested" please read "find it abhorrent".

But what will keep it from coming to that is figuring out what people are so freaking afraid of, and then figuring out how to get them not so afraid.

Unfortunately, I don't have great ideas about how to achieve that. But the intention to do so has to be the starting point.

I will amend my comment to add: if our homegrown Nazis ever make the leap from cosplay Nazis to real Nazis, then all bets are off as far as my personal pacifism.

You never know how brave you'll be in the moment, but I hope I would not stand by and watch harmless people be slaughtered.

Everything has a limit.

Dehumanising your political opponents is another matter. I understand rhetorical hyperbole, and use it myself on occasion, but when it becomes a reflex, it is no longer hyperbole.

Anyone watching the impeachment hearings saw Republicans flat out lying, maligning and attempting to target and ruin innocent people, and doing so in order to bring about a dictatorship. They are actively conspiring with corrupt foreign governments to enrich themselves and destroy the foundation of liberal democracy, something that millions have died for.

I'm not going to worry whether I use words that hurt their feelings. They're human, unfortunately. They represent the worst of what human history has been about.

My suggestion, that we start looking at this as a war, is not about shooting anyone. It's about being solid, united and resolute in beating them politically, and eradicating their evil influence on our society.

They are hurting people now. This isn't a hypothetical.

This could be interesting.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/22/politics/nunes-vienna-trip-ukrainian-prosecutor-biden/index.html

This could be interesting.

Just another day for the Republicans.

Just a quicky: what nous, wj and Nigel said, albeit with russell's caveat about fear versus greed (although no doubt some of "them" i.e. Trump supporters, are acting out of greed, some out of fear, and no doubt some out of both).

Just a quicky: what nous, wj and Nigel said, albeit with russell's caveat about fear versus greed (although no doubt some of "them" i.e. Trump supporters, are acting out of greed, some out of fear, and no doubt some out of both).

Just a quicky: what nous, wj and Nigel said, albeit with russell's caveat about fear versus greed (although no doubt some of "them" i.e. Trump supporters, are acting out of greed, some out of fear, and no doubt some out of both).

some of "them" i.e. Trump supporters, are acting out of greed, some out of fear, and no doubt some out of both)

Why, bless their hearts. They need to wake the f* up.

They need to wake the f* up.

Yes

They do. A excellent piece in the New Yorker yesterday, entitled The Awful Truth About Impeachment, contains this undeniable sentence in its first paragraph:

After five days, twelve witnesses, lots of shouting, and dozens of angry tweets from the President, the House Intelligence Committee’s public impeachment hearings into Donald Trump’s Ukraine affair ended on Thursday with one unequivocal result: a Republican stonewall so complete that it cannot and will not be breached. The G.O.P. defense, in essence, is that facts are irrelevant, no matter how damning or inconvenient, and that Trump has the power to do whatever he wants, even if it seems inappropriate, improper, or simply wrong.

And plenty more of great relevance later, including how after the testimonies of Yovanovich, Vindman, and particularly Hill's authoritative debunking of the Ukraine-election- interference-conspiracy-theory:

If anyone thought that Hill’s stirring insistence on the facts would have any effect, that notion was quickly dispelled. By 11:23 a.m., the Trump campaign had sent out a “rapid response” to its e-mail list, with the subject heading “Ukrainian election interference.” It was a two-sentence missive, introducing a new conspiracy linking the House Intelligence Committee’s chairman, Adam Schiff, to the one that Hill had just so eloquently debunked. “There’s a simple reason Adam Schiff wants to deny Ukraine interfered in U.S. politics,” the e-mail said. “He was willing to collude with them.”

we're now fully into The Age Of Raw Power.

let's see how our institutions hold up!

whee.

My final word on Mitt Romney.

He's a Trojan Horse, much like the second most dangerous man in America: William Barr

Remember how anodyne Barr seemed to conservatives who don't approve of Trump during his nomination "hearings".

Hearings in which no one heard.

Find another ham sandwich.

Hearings.

We'd be better off conducting nomination "smellings".

I sniffed out the bad cop brimstone wafting from Barr.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvK1LDRo4_A

the second most dangerous man in America: William Barr

what has McConnell done to lose his spot?

what has McConnell done to lose his spot?

Who said McConnell wasn't #1? ;-)

But the (R)'s per se are not the core problem. The core problem is fear, based on distorted understandings of reality.

Thus the root cause is those who have chosen to create and exploit that distorted view of reality. Not because they, themselves, believe it, so much, as because it pays well. See Fox "News" (i.e. the commenters masquerading as news, rather than the actual reporters) and Rush Limbaugh.

what has McConnell done to lose his spot?

McConnell doesn't have the FBI, etc., reporting to him.

russell - This statement concerns me:

"Right now they are seeing how far we will let them go before we actually resist so that they can calculate whether or not they can get it all without death and ashes following."

I don't see people who Are Not Like Me, or who Vote For Trump, as trying to "get it all" per se. I think they are, in general, afraid. The things they are afraid of don't make a lot of sense to me, but that doesn't really matter much. Fear is often - maybe in most cases - not that rational. It is nonetheless powerful.

There was a modulation in the "they" that was, perhaps, not clear. Internet-age right wing thinking is dominated by fear and tribalism. The Kochs and Murdochs and Limbaughs and Trumps and Hannitys are the one's who are testing the waters of how far they can pull people before society cleaves. The Right to Lifers who lend their support to these people "want it all" only in the sense that they have decided that God requires then to act and they would sacrifice the constitution and fairness to achieve that goal. The Threepers are willing to undercut any and all constitutional principles in order to preserve the values and myths they believe defines America, which is to them a set of values, not a protocol for reaching consensus about what is fair.

The "all" these groups want is outside of the public consensus. They are not committed to representational government. They are not afraid that their voices will not be heard, they are afraid that they will be ignored and that they will not get their way.

Welcome to the world of blacks, women, gays, non-Christians, etc..

Either we agree to listen and to work together or this is not a representative democracy.

So it's not All People Not Like Me. It's only some, and in some ways. But they are sticking together rather than seeking agreement and trying to find ways to accommodate those with differing beliefs. And that's not sustainable beyond a certain point.

I've been mulling over hairshirthedonist's other refreshing remark way upthread ....

'I sometimes wonder. Does Soros ever read about the overwhelming influence he supposedly has, and say to himself: "Wow. If only...."'

... because it is a reveal, as it happens, with some elements of my recent reading, specifically "Modernity and the Holocaust" by Zygmunt Bauman.

I'm not sure I fully buy into Bauman's overarching theory, expressed in all of his writing, and which I won't delve into in this comment, but I thought of George Soros, a Jew, as I read these bits, and in light of the most recent baldfaced antisemitism aimed in his by the worldwide conservative movement direction.

First, of course Soros thinks about the hate directed at him. He's a European Jew, so he has to think about the "Jewish Problem", as it came to be termed by anti-Semites and acted upon to dreadful ends.

These quotes from Bauman reveal the forces aligned against Soros the Jew, forces now once again malignantly ascendant across the globe.

Soros has become the latest iteration in right-wing conservative minds of the conceptual Jew.

"The conceptual Jew was a semantically overloaded entity, compromising and blending meanings which ought to be kept apart, and this reason a natural adversary of any force concerned with drawing borderlines and keeping them watertight."

More to the point, Bauman quotes Leo Pinsker who wrote of the Jews in 1882:

"For the living, the Jew is a dead man; for the natives an alien and vagrant; for the poor and exploited a millionaire; for patriots a man without a country."

A finer point from Raoul Hilberg from his monumental "The Destruction of the European Jews", quoted by Bauman:

"The Jew could be represented as the embodiment of everything to be resented, feared, and despised. He was a carrier of bolshevism but, curiously enough, he simultaneously stood for the liberal spirit of rotten Western democracy. Economically, he was both capitalist and socialist. He was blamed as the indolent pacifist, but, by strange coincidence, he was also the eternal instigator of wars."

Of course, Soros has been maligned as a super-Jew and fake Jew by the right for decades, but here are examples of mortally dangerous antisemitism toward him by conservative vermin (yes, THEY are the vermin, not the OTHER; THEY dehumanize the OTHER and thus themselves are subhuman) in recent weeks:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/11/the-george-soros-conspiracy-theory-at-the-heart-of-the-ukraine-scandal/

Conservative Rick Lowry of National Review raises the specter of "elite cosmopolitanism" in the Democratic Party. The code words NEVER change, they merely find different mouths to be vomited from.

and this ....

https://www.mediamatters.org/twitter/how-total-fabrication-connecting-george-soros-son-whistleblower-went-underbelly-internet

This new little punk Jew-hating (joined by perhaps by the right-wing Stephen Cohen, who hates liberal Jews) fascist, Nick Fuentes is someone to watch, especially by decent conservatives, because he is the latest velociraptor to emerge, even to the right of Trump and Coulter and Cernovich and the rest of the filth, and believe me, the Republican Party as it is now constituted, will embrace him for their own malign ends. Michelle Malkin is already full-in with Fuentes, the spaniard in the works and always a leading indicator of the next many horrible miles of bad road the conservative movement is heading down:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/11/1/1896408/-Alt-right-trolls-make-life-miserable-for-Charlie-Kirk-and-his-Turning-Point-USA-Culture-War-tour

https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/groyper

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/11/don-trump-jr-booed/601807/

These ilk must be removed from America. I dehumanize them because they dehumanize me and vast numbers of Americans. It's self-defense.

When fighting Comanche, do what the Texas Rangers finally figured out, become Comanche and fight them with their own methods.

This is my penultimate comment and then my long-promised retirement from blogging shall commence.

Huzzahs all around.

here's a fun read: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/11/16/20964281/impeachment-hearings-trump-america-epistemic-crisis

This is what Republicans need more than anything on impeachment: for the general public to see it as just another round of partisan squabbling, another illustration of how “Washington” is broken. They need to prevent any hint of bipartisan consensus from emerging.

Tribal epistemology is key to this. Republicans must render partisan not only judgments of right and wrong but judgments of what is and isn’t true or real. They must render facts themselves a matter of controversy that the media reports as a food fight and the public tunes out.

That’s the main reason they are focusing their attacks so intently on process complaints. The investigation itself, the hearings, the whole process must come to be seen as partisan, which will serve as permission for the engaged on the right to attack it, the engaged on the left to embrace it, and the broader public to dismiss it.

Aiding in the effort is the propaganda machine. One of the more notable findings from the aforementioned poll: “89% of Republicans who get most of their impeachment news from Fox oppose the inquiry because they think the allegations aren’t true; 59% of other Republicans say the same.”

JDT: This is my penultimate comment and then my long-promised retirement from blogging shall commence.

Have a wonderful vacation!

Penultimate: last but one in a series of things; second last

JDT: don't retire. Please. I have assumed all along that your intention was to ... maybe ... change your nym ... take a break ... whatever. But don't leave for good!

Seconding JanieM. You're important.

3rd'd

I don't want any part of a revolution without Thullen in it.

4thd, ad infinitum.

Goddamit, how can the man who drew our attention to the magnificent Damn John Jay! Damn everyone who won’t damn John Jay!! Damn everyone that won’t put lights in his windows and sit up all night damning John Jay! among so much else just up and leave. It's unconscionable. It's unthinkable. Don't do it.

Your country needs you.

I know some of you don't read the NYT anymore, so I hope you won't mind my giving a few paragraphs from Roger Cohen's piece on Fiona Hill's testimony:

Hill rose in her adopted country to serve three presidents as an expert on Russia and the former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. She was the top Russia and Europe expert on Trump’s National Security Council until she quit in July. It was devastating to hear her lambaste, without naming them, the shameless Republicans who have embraced a “fictional narrative” propagated “by the Russian security services themselves” under which Ukraine, not Russia, attacked American democratic institutions in 2016. “It is beyond dispute,” she declared, that Russia was the foreign power that “systematically” did this.

Moscow succeeded, Hill suggested. “Our nation is being torn apart. Truth is questioned. Our highly professional and expert career foreign service is being undermined.” Russia aims at nothing less than destroying Americans’ faith in their democracy. American support for Ukraine, under attack from Russia, has been “politicized,” a succinct summation of Trump’s reduction of a major European country, struggling to emerge from the mind-bending legacy of the Soviet imperium, to a potential source of dirt on a political opponent. If this is not abuse of power, what is?

Never before have I felt such overwhelming disgust at Trump’s weird, unexplained, unquestioning, total embrace of Vladimir Putin, in effect an act of presidential connivance in an attack on the United States. The cri de coeur of Hill, for whom America was hope, was shattering.

Trump is Putin’s stooge. The American president’s contempt for Ukraine’s fate is quintessentially Russian, for, in the mythology of Greater Russia, Ukraine as an independent state is a mere illusion (hence Putin helps himself to Crimea). Never before have I felt with such acuity — except perhaps during the earlier testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine — how the public service of dedicated patriots is under attack from Trump’s diplomacy as an exercise in narcissism. In these two cases, of course, it’s narcissism compounded by misogyny.

Trump is Putin’s stooge

and yet, Trump's support among his base has only strengthened.

the GOP has decided it would rather live in its own mythology than deal with reality.

not sure where the country goes from here. can't be any place good.

can't be any place good.

We must get rid of them in 2020. No, it won't solve it, but they have to be told.

Obsidian Wings without Thullen will be like The Office without Michael Scott.

they have to be told

i'm thinking they're not going to listen.

Never before have I felt such overwhelming disgust at Trump’s weird, unexplained, unquestioning, total embrace of Vladimir Putin, in effect an act of presidential connivance in an attack on the United States.

I’m not a Cohen fan, but he’s on point here.
It’s not just the US, though. Putin sees democracy as the west’s weakness, to be exploited by a Russia which can’t compete by more conventional means. On the evidence of the last few years, he’s not entirely wrong.

Agree with Nigel. Autocracies have longer institutional cycles and more centralized message discipline for their propaganda machines and for their foreign policy. Putin has commented on this in public many times, even before 2015.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/putin-russia-tv-113960

Would you bet your survival on the US, where a turn in voting can reverse decades of foreign policy and aid, or Russia, where the chairs get rearranged, but the regime lasts for decades?

On the evidence of the last few years, he’s not entirely wrong.

This is too depressingly true. He has been helped in his exploitation, of course, by the enthusiastic collaboration of e.g. the narcissistic grifter in the White House, and the laissez-faire attitude of Facebook et al who have allowed the likes of Cambridge Analytica to game the system. But that's our current democracy for you, and a perfect illustration of that wonderful quote about conservatism Janie reposted, which I cannot resist repeating:

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

Autocracies have longer institutional cycles and more centralized message discipline for their propaganda machines and for their foreign policy.

But their weakness is that, when the autocrat dies/falls/etc. they can have a long pause before they get a new one in place. And while some (e.g. Putin) can be quite deft at subverting other countries, others barely manage to hold their own together. See, for example, Kim in North Korea. Yes, he has some military strength to keep him safe. But his success at subverting anybody is nil.

Which is a roundabout way of suggesting that Putin won't be around forever. And whoever replaces him is likely to be rather different.

Yes, wj, but neither Putin nor Trump give a rat's ass what happens after them.

Which has the positive aspect (desperately looking for a silver lining**) that they won't bother to put any effort into making sure there is someone similar to follow after them.

** It's not much. But I'm in grasping at straws mode....

Perhaps the most depressing thing about all of this discussion of Russia and Putin is that from a pessimistic view, Russia and Putin are going to turn out to be a minor irritation compared to...what comes from the other direction in the wannabe global hegemon department.

And just in case we weren't depressed enough, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hospitalised again.

So, time to prepare the betting pool on whether The Donald will nominate Steven Menashi* for RBG's seat? Close competition from judges that voted in favor of Him in all the cases He currently loses of course. And the Moss Cow Midge is on the record that he will have him/her confirmed even when the duck is already lame (wouldn't put it past him to do so on inauguration day morning if need be). And we can unfortunately not rely on any Dem congressbeing 2nd-amending him in self-defense in that case.
Something to think about should one suffer from low blood pressure or having trouble keeping awake.

*likely most prominent judicial digestive rear exit currently around

Will Cthulhu turn out to be the lesser evil after all?
(for the pedants: I am aware that this particular Great Old One cannot legally become POTUS due to not being a natural born US citizen.)

It’s okay, Cthulhu has a longform birth certificate from Hawaii.

this particular Great Old One cannot legally become POTUS due to not being a natural born US citizen

Well, as long as he was running as a Republican that wouldn't be a problem would it? After all, he could count on the current Supreme Court to rule that the Constitution, like the law, doesn't apply....

How many of us knew that Biden had a stutter ?
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/01/joe-biden-stutter-profile/602401/

If Cthulhu has a second residence in Y'ha-nthlei, he may qualify but then he would be from Massachusetts and thus not tenable.
The GOP would run Nyarlathotep, although under a less oriental name, if they could.
Better than the current Tsathoggua-in-a-wig though.

And then there’s the rats in the walls to deal with.

IOKIYAR...The six wisest words in the English language.

JDT - I shall deeply miss your literary truck bombs. Whatever your future brings, keep on truckin'.

Russell's sister and Marty and their deep fears: They fear the fact that there are those who historically have never had control will become ascendent and, yes, 'take control'. History shows this happens from time to time, and those powerful who so ruthlessly cling to their power generally go down hard....a word to the wise.

Serwer nails it:

Trump's Conspiracy Against Democracy

After all, he could count on the current Supreme Court to rule that the Constitution, like the law, doesn't apply....

We await John Roberts performance at the forthcoming Senate trial of Donnie Trump with great anticipation. Balls and strikes, y'all!

ethics investigation against Nunes?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-house-democrat-says-ethics-probe-of-nunes-is-likely-over-alleged-meeting-with-ukrainian-about-bidens/2019/11/23/0dde6b22-0e0a-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html

sure, why not.

give the GOP another way to flaunt its nihilism.

In September, while working my way thru a slot canyon (this one didn't require technical climbing, skills I don't possess) in the Escalante Staircase area of southern Utah, I rested roughly half way through the thing for a good half hour. It was completely quiet (I got into it at sun up before others arrived; other canyons were as crowded as a stroll down 5th Avenue in Manhatten).

Each of my shoulders touched the walls to either side. There were much narrower places behind and ahead. About 20 feet up, there was a strip of brilliant blue, cloudless sky.

The silence, other than my own breathing, was prehistorically impressive. Thoreau-like silence.

And I thought to myself, I am sick of the noise. The political noise, the noise of the financial markets (which is where I supplement my income), the blaring, honking, quaking, senseless noise of the media, particularly the deafening fire-hosing crap on the internet.

I'm sick of the noise I make. I don't like it. I can't hear myself think anymore. I try to make my noise, which is rough and insulting by contrivance because I mimic my enemies, the more reprehensible ones on the ascendant right, entertaining in its bombast, perhaps even vaguely literary.

But that's not me. Make no mistake, if the conservative movement keeps pushing, it WILL be me in real life, you know what I believe is going to happen, I won't repeat it. It's elemental with me ... I don't like the way they operate. I don't like the cut of their jibs. I hate bullies, as I do in sports. I really hate militantly organized juggernauts of lying bullies. They are certain of everything.

I'm not. Absolute certainty is fascist. Ambiguity is human.

So, it's that's simple; I'm going to shut up. How many more ways can there be to say the same thing?

I've done this before of course, (I loved wj's remark "Have a great vacation!" He's got my number.) only to be back shortly for "oh, and one more thing", but this is like retiring from baseball, which I did to make time for travel. I'm merely doing this to make time for more important matters.

Without the habit of blogging, I'll have hours more each day to get the reading done. I'm going to make a fort of all of my books and crawl inside it.

Like a slot canyon.

Now that Harold Bloom is gone, someone has to continue the reading and the re-reading.

And then there those guitars glaring at me from the corner.

I also recall OCSteve hanging it up becuase hie head was about to explode from high blood pressure. Mine's well within the normal range, but I'm tired of feeling like my eyeballs are going to explode all over the screen and my chest is going to burst open with nuclear-scale anxiety. And then there is that throbbing vein in my forehead.

No doubt I will lurk. I admire Donald's lurking technique.

Thanks to all of you for listening. For those who stopped listening or may have left here because of my noise, come on back. Thank you for your forbearance.

I get it.

Near the end of the trip in September, while visiting a friend in SF, she introduced me to her boyfriend. Nice guy, but a die hard Trumper, he sets his clocks to the FOXNews schedule. He just inherited five million dollars from his father. He was, as these cracked things go, a 30-year career Federal retired civil servant. He hates taxes.

Got it?

I kept my mouth shut, which I do in real life, unlike my short fuse here, unless it gets personal.

Besides, Trump diehards cannot be be talked to.

But his sister, also a recipient of five million, in her sixties, invited the three us over for dinner. My friend warned me as we drove up the sister's street that I would notice a huge banner hung from the gutters on the front of her house in this middle class neighborhood that read "Re-elect Donald trump, the greatest President in history and STOP the bullshit."

I girded my loins. These people have no idea of my politics and I kept my mouth busy with a glass of wine when in their company.

But while this loose cannon of a woman was making dinner in the kitchen (her culinary skills and taste were as you would expect, pedestrian), for some reason the subject of the NRA and guns came up (not by me) and her brother asked her if she was a member (she was standing in front of the kitchen sink, we were 12 feet away in the living room) and she looked at us and said with a sneer "I certainly am. I own a 457 Magnum and I am ready to kill liberals!"

Now, this is the second time in the last couple of years that this sort of brazen gun talk (I related the first story a couple of years, in which my brother's teenaged stepson, an otherwise decent kid sat on the couch near me mock-firing a semi-automatic rifle (unloaded, but a real one) at images of Muslims and Hillary Clinton on the TV. I worked all of that out; they now have a gun safe in their basement, but it should put everyone really at ease that the kid is now in his second year of Navy Seal training .. great, hanh!).

Anyway, the fleeting thought crossed my mind that this crazy Trump woman, encouraged literally in her behavior by the sitting President of the United States might open a drawer in the kitchen and haul the 457 out of it, and I spotted (this all occurred to me in a split second) a cast-iron pan sitting on the stove and imagined myself leaping over the coffee table and braining her with the edge of it.

Instead, I heard these words come out of my mouth without really skipping a beat after her statement, "Well, here I am!"

NOTHING happened. Not another word about guns or politics was spoken the rest of the evening. The other three (my friend is a liberal as well; in fact this is the friend whose second husband was murdered by Timothy McVeigh in the Murrah Building) found somewhere, anywhere else to look beside at me, their laps, the ceiling, out the window, and the rest of the evening passed in a sort of "How bout them Giants?" sort of mood.

This occurred at a fucking dinner party.

These people are lunatics.

So, I'm gone but I'm right here.

When the troubles start in earnest, you'll hear from me, or about me.

I'll be damned if I'm going to be arrested for saying or writing things, which is where things are going. If I'm going to be arrested, it will be for doing things, as part of a resistant army.

I'll have my finger marking a place in book, but I'll have one free hand.

Peace and health to all of you, my dear friends.

See you in the funny papers.


LL&P, JDT.

See you in the funny papers.

Back atcha.

Shine on, you crazy diamond. It's been more than good to have you aboard.

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