« I can't believe this is happening to me.... | Main | Nothing really matters, anyone can see, Nothing really matters... »

November 02, 2019

Comments

Thanks for doing the yeoman's work in trying to communicate the truth about Trump to Marty. I'm not seeing any indication that he cares about the truth though. That's the most disturbing thing to me about all of this.

it is interesting to see just how far his party loyalty extends, though.

though, way back when, in the summertime, Marty did say this:

That includes Trump, based on his current tweet storm on the squad I think he should be impeached. It is the step too far.

and i agree!

i just don't see how that's a greater offense that using the federal government to assist his own election campaign.

Wow. Great memory, and good find, cleek.

I’m sure Rump is super concerned about Cheney and Haliburton, too, since he’s so focused on what former VPs might have done to enrich themselves. It’s purely coincidental that the one he wanted another country’s president to announce an investigation into in late 2019 was his most likely 2020 election rival. It didn’t even hurt when I fell off that turnip truck.

It didn’t even hurt when I fell off that turnip truck.

Some people weren't so lucky, they fell on their heads.

Actually, that explains a lot.

The effort you’re putting into debunking Marty’s ridiculous claims is commendable, but I fear wasted.

He is merely parroting the party of Trump’s talking points, and will l8kley continue to do so. Debating their merits is going to be a very one sided debate.

general non-specific 'corruption' is everywhere

And we don't even have to go back to Cheney to find examples.

Has Trump threatened China if China refuses to investigate Elaine Chao?

In fact, it would probably take us into next year to even start listing the examples of similar corruption in Clickbait's own administration. Or his own family! Is he investigating himself for corruption yet? I mean, the field is so rich, and it would be so much easier than bashing the president of Ukraine to make shit up.

But no, wait, I forgot, Clickbait isn't corrupt enough for anyone to care about, or at least anyone whose head suffered in that fall off the turnip truck.

The invented spec of Biden corruption matters ever so much more than the redwood forest of Clickbait corruption....

Because, because.....I think cleek's law applies here, actually.

Nigel @10:08: you're absolutely right, and that has been true forever. I don't know why Marty comes here to sneer at us and get abused in return, and I don't know why we all bite the hooks. I'm not supposed to call Marty a troll, but given that he comes here knowing full well what will happen, and we bite the hooks knowing full well what will happen, and no one's mind ever changes the slightest iota and we all know that will happen (or not happen, I guess), and every thread he joins becomes about him -- I think it's pretty apt. Especially because of that last criterion. When Marty shows up, general discussion dies, and it's all about refuting his idiocies. Maybe there's some value in that for any imaginary lurkers who need fodder to refute their crazy uncle's Fox talking points, but I'm skeptical even about that.

Some days, even I have something better to do.

Like today. Off to some craft fairs to shop for Christmas presents and marvel at all the ways people can find to spend their time creatively.

IMO, it really is the "Trump, Undaunted Destroyer of Corruption" thing that destroys that particular defense. why would anyone believe that?

it's such an obvious retcon that even diehard fans should cringe at it.

Once again I'm ok if Trump gets impeached. That diesnt change any of the criticisms of the Dems or the lack of a real smoking gun. If it were me this is not what I would hang my hat on.

I dont like Trump, I dont like the Dems just as much. I come here because I keep looking for a glimpse of self awareness that the Dems have abused the whole federal bureaucracy in search of a smoking gun. Failing that they are making one up. That is as big a threat to our democracy as anything Trumps done.

He is not a legitimate excuse for their actions.

Again, nonsense.
Can’t be bothered, Marty. If you’re sincere, please rebut each of these points:
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/11/ukraine-depositions-trump-republican-corruption-lies.html

‘No smoking gun’, forsooth !

I come here because I keep looking for a glimpse of self awareness

Sneer on, Marty.

I mean, a fascination with our self-awareness...how quaint and civic-minded, I'm sure.

Go work on your own self-awareness for a few lifetimes.

J Edgar Hoover, the conservative Deep State at the time, 1919, and persisting long afterwards, addressing Emma Goldman on the ferry transporting her and hundreds of other dissidents to a hardly seaworthy vessel anchored off Brooklyn, for her deportation back to Europe:

"Haven't I given you a square deal, Miss Goldman?"

"Oh, I suppose you've given me as square a deal as you could," Goldman replied. "We shouldn't expect from any person something beyond his capacity."

Yes, forsooth!

This conversation related here:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/11/when-america-tried-to-deport-its-radicals

.. an article that should be read if only to introduce yourselves to one Louis F. Post, the likes of which, and many more such individuals, will have to be seen again in America, if we are to emerge from the current malign insanity .... and not only regarding immigration, foist upon this country by the conservative movement (during Goldman's moment here personified by the racist, anti-Semitic conservative Democratic Party Wilson Administration) .. as it has found its apotheosis in p, without catastrophic but long-deserved civil unrest.

Honesty is not sneering. You think I'm a rube. I think you cant see that's been the Dem talking point at least since the deplorables comment.

I examine every new thing on the actual facts, not what some emasculated civil servant feels about it. I try my best to listen through the bs on both sides. But there is bs on both sides.

But here, the Dems are all about facts. That's a lack of self awareness. Dud Schiff coach the whistleblower? What does it mean if he did? Why are they leaking the closed door testimony when open testimony is underway? Is that to shape opinion and influence elections with no response possible? Do you ever look at what the Dems are doing critically?

Saying you don't care about the smoking gun isn't the same thing as saying there isn't one. AFAICT, Marty alternates between the two.

President with pretty wide latitude in foreign affairs

Presidents have enormous latitude in foreign affairs. (Constrained only by the requirement that actual treaties get ratified by the Senate.) But that is latitude in deciding what policy is in the national interest. Which is not, be it noted, identical to the President's (any president, not just this one's) personal political interest.

Of course, it can be challenging to figure out what the current administration's policy is on anything, including foreign affairs. Even ignoring the detail that, when you can suss it out, it will likely have changed in the meantime, depending on who talked to Trump last. The only consistent threads seem to be
1) what benefits Trump personally,
2) what benefits Putin (possibly overlapping categories)

Beyond that?

And I keep engaging with this because, unlike some, I am hoping America does not end up in a violent civil war.

There are people on the wilder fringes of the Dem side (I'm thinking of JDT-type rhetoric, if not his actual reality) who are just as obdurate and up for a fight as some rabid Trump supporters, and those two groups of people could well end up instigating or fighting in a civil war.

But in my opinion, Marty and people like him are not in this category, and it does no good and probably does harm to insult them or call them evil or evildoers. If widescale violence and disintegration are to be avoided in the USA (and maybe they can't be) then people have to be prepared to talk without monstering each other.

I am not making a false equivalence, or recommending a kumbaya both-sides-now approach, and my own opinions of the Trump situation are presumably quite clear. But I do believe in dialogue between adversaries, as a way of avoiding armed and other kinds of conflict. Plenty here disagree with me. So be it. I'll keep it up unless asked to desist.

"You think I'm a rube."

Bullshit. You are one of us, and probably with a bigger 401K, at least at one time before conservative corporate types threw you to the wolves and the depredations of Obamacare.

Yet another conservative elitist hiding behind truly victimized citizens (unfettered free trade, no available access to healthcare, except unregulated opioid distribution by tax cutting oligarchs, and the obliteration of unions, among every other fucking item, are fundamental deep state conservative dogma forced upon these people by the conservative movement), the white working class who have true grievances, just as the black working has had for a century or more since slavery, but the former are so newly desperate at what unfettered capitalism can do to them that they are in thrall to a cosseted elitist demagogue who has never earned an honest cent in his trust fund baby life, beyond what he could steal (rhymes with "deal") and slap his feces logo on, from others, in order to score some massive tax cuts and install reactionary judges who will rule that Social Security and Medicare, among other things, must be dismantled in the name of some fantasy of the true American way of life.

And yes, Hillary Clinton, like Nixon's camera-unfriendly stubble, has a tin ear, and should have STFU about "deplorables", who are merely Romney's "47%", despite the fact that some people actually are deplorable, just as Hitler's aggrieved Germans were, and she should further learn that her mere presence as a public figure, a woman who sez what's on her mind just like any republican male would, and her more recent public statements, drive people into Trump's arms, and he has nothing but fake diamond cuff links to reward them with.

"There is bs on both sides."

Your side has won the bs game.

We don't need extra innings or sudden death overtime to determine that.

Take the trophy and turn out the lights.

My prediction is that, in ten years, Trump will have vanished in the rearview mirror and everyone's hair will be on fire about entirely something else. Until then, we will have muddled through without anything even near the 1960's levels of violence.

Ever wonder why California seems so relaxed about diversity? Well just possibly because it has been diverse for a long time. A very long time.
https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/11/09/the-number-of-native-american-tribal-languages-in-california-might-surprise-you/

Culturally and linguistically, (California) was the most diverse place on the planet when Juan Cabrillo first put ashore on Kumeyaay land in 1542. When we consider the hundreds of nations that lived here — their distinct languages, customs, and trading practices — the longevity of our native civilization takes on a new meaning. Ancient California was, in fact, the crossroads of a continent and home to a vast population.
Place names based on Spanish may be what catch the eye, not least because they include big city names. And also because we tend to be familiar enough with Spanish to realize what we are seeing. But there are lots of Native American names that you just don't pick up on. Including places like Yosemite and Tahoe.

I come here because I keep looking for a glimpse of self awareness that the Dems have abused the whole federal bureaucracy in search of a smoking gun. Failing that they are making one up.

So far so good. You gotta show your work, though.

You think I'm a rube. I think you cant see that's been the Dem talking point at least since the deplorables comment.

Probably not so regarding you specifically, but IMO this is a fair complaint in general. Pointing and laughing is not good faith engagement.

the actual facts, not what some emasculated civil servant feels about it.

Hmm, now we're diverging from substance.

Dud Schiff coach the whistleblower?

Did he?

Why are they leaking the closed door testimony when open testimony is underway?

A reasonable question. But at this point it's pretty much all in the public record.

Is that to shape opinion and influence elections with no response possible?

Have there been no (R)'s at all present in the closed door sessions? No opportunity for the (R)'s who were present to rebut leaked information, or at least make a response?

Do you ever look at what the Dems are doing critically?

Every day.

Look, it's fine if you want to raise all of these points. But you have to at least do some due diligence to see if they have any merit.

The reason people here get annoyed with you about this stuff is that you don't appear to actually be presenting any facts. Nothing that stands the most basic kind of scrutiny, anyway.

As far as I can tell, Joe Biden is not actually under investigation. Therefore talking about whether he's been "cleared" or not is absurd. If you believe he actually is under investigation by anyone not involved in the whole Trump/Giuliani train wreck, please explain why. Bring some information.

If you think Schiff coached the whistleblower, please bring some actual information that explains why you think that. And if you're going to go down that path, you need to also explain why there is a conga line of people - people who were on the call, people with stellar resumes in public service - who are telling the exact same story, only more so.

If you want to engage the topic, show us why you think what you think. It will be less frustrating for everyone, yourself included.

Show your work, man. That's all anyone is asking for.

Another set of back-and-forths that make me think that, whatever else people may think, the future of the republic is fragile.

An article about "regime cleavage" on Politico by Thomas Pepinsky was making the rounds on social media a couple weeks back.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/10/31/regime-cleavage-229895

He warns that this current polarization may lead both sides to reject the legitimacy of the other. He points to the work of Levitsky and Ziblatt as a model for thinking about this, and, as this excerpt from their book, How Democracies Die shows, that is not a comforting model:

https://newrepublic.com/article/145916/democracy-dies-donald-trump-contempt-for-american-political-institutions

This is entirely the sort of political theology that I mentioned earlier when I linked to the encyclopedia article about Carl Schmitt during the Kavanaugh hearings. The GOP -- on a structural level from the leadership to the propaganda wing of Sinclair/Fox/Breitbart to the grassroots of the NRA and the religious right -- is fully invested in the friend/foe distinction, and the Democrats are finding themselves pulled apart into the Overton Tracking centrists and the Resist progressives, who have given up hope of any return to normalcy and, in the absence of any meaningful concern for moderation on the right, are committed to counter-mobilization.

I'm scared because I really don't see anything to argue with in either of these accounts.

The GOP -- on a structural level from the leadership to the propaganda wing of Sinclair/Fox/Breitbart to the grassroots of the NRA and the religious right -- is fully invested in the friend/foe distinction, and the Democrats are finding themselves pulled apart into the Overton Tracking centrists and the Resist progressives, who have given up hope of any return to normalcy and, in the absence of any meaningful concern for moderation on the right, are committed to counter-mobilization.

I'm scared because I really don't see anything to argue with in either of these accounts.

Me too. And that's why I think resisting the forces encouraging the polarisation is absolutely vital.

But I have to say, FWIW, what russell said at 12.56 seems pretty damn reasonable to me.

Show your work, man. That's all anyone is asking for.

Yup.

The Levitsky and Zeblatt article blames the Republican Party for the polarization, and that's where the blame belongs. So when we talk about resisting polarization, we're resisting Republicans.

the Democrats are finding themselves pulled apart into the Overton Tracking centrists and the Resist progressives, who have given up hope of any return to normalcy and, in the absence of any meaningful concern for moderation on the right, are committed to counter-mobilization.

Both of these groups are supporting "Democrats" (each other), even if tepidly at times. As long as that stays the case, there is some hope.

The hope, in the absence of any resistance to radicalization on the part of the GOP identified who profess disgust with Trump's corrosion on an institutional level, is to mobilize the vote so overwhelmingly that the GOP suffers a defeat on the national level the likes of the one that they have suffered at the state level in California. "The Base" must shatter and necessitate a redo of the core values and party platform, otherwise I think we end up with the pendulum swings of authoritarianism that Levitsky and Ziblatt predict, perhaps with an outbreak of open Threeperism in the woolier pockets of the nation where RWNJs have always found shelter.

There's an interesting Q&A in today's New Yorker called The Passion of Newt Gingrich, in most of which Newt's answers and assertions could be coming straight from Marty. But very interestingly, towards the end, after a bit of sparring about how the Rs keep changing the line to favour Trump, from say "there was no quid pro quo" to "there's nothing wrong with a quid pro quo", the following exchange occurs after Newt confirms that Republicans are convinced there is a cultural civil war going on:

Isaac Chotiner: And you have this guy [Trump] who is a messenger, who is putting forward conservative policies and confirming conservative judges, and standing up for conservatives in the culture war. And, because of that, we have something like Ukraine. I think that most conservatives, if you had said to them five years ago that Barack Obama was pressuring someone to investigate a political rival, would have said that was an inappropriate way to deal with American aid to a foreign country. But there is a larger issue here in conservative minds—a cultural civil war—and that’s what people are focussed on, and that’s why things are always going to be O.K., or worth the cost.

NG: I think that’s right. I think that’s a reasonable analysis.

So there we have it.

So there we have it.

And this is why laughing and pointing isn't inappropriate. It might not be helpful, but what is?

the Democrats are finding themselves pulled apart into the Overton Tracking centrists and the Resist progressives, who have given up hope of any return to normalcy and, in the absence of any meaningful concern for moderation on the right, are committed to counter-mobilization.

No doubt my view is influenced by living in California. Where the Republican Party headed down the ideological purity / no RINOs wanted rabbit hole rather earlier than much of the rest of the country.**

What we see is a GOP which is essentially irrelevant. Democrats hold all the statewide offices. And supermajorities in both houses of the legislature. So, what happens then?

What happened here was we went to open primaries. Essentially everybody competes against everybody else, regardless of party, in the primary -- except for the presidential primaries. And the top two have essentially a runoff in the general election.

In the majority of cases, that means a general election between a more liberal Democrat and a more conservative one. What that may foreshadow is a Democratic Party splitting, as the Republicans fade further into irrelevance. Frankly, I'd like to see us fold in something like Maine's single transferable vote system. But that's more of a tweak than anything else.

** Excluding the Deep South, of course.

there is a larger issue here in conservative minds—a cultural civil war—and that’s what people are focussed on, and that’s why things are always going to be O.K., or worth the cost.

This basically echoes thoughts of Bannon's, on the topic of the RW embrace of white nationalists. Yes, they're nasty bastards, but they're gonna help us get where we need to go, and we'll sort out the details later.

All of that comes from a conversation he had with high-level folks at the Vatican. I can probably find it if anyone is interested. Or, I can also just let it sink to the bottom of the ocean, where it belongs.

I don't understand the culture war thing. Or, I sort of understand it, weird people make us uncomfortable and everybody is weird to somebody. But I don't understand the sense of impending existential doom and the at-all-costs reaction that it appears to inspire.

What world do conservatives expect to be able to live in? One in which they are never obliged to encounter or accommodate, in any way, anything that they can't affirm?

The people who live in a world like that are the people who deliberately separate themselves from everyone else. Extreme religious communities, total purist off-the-grid types, preppers waiting for the socio-political apocalypse. (Note the significant overlap between those groups).

And guess what - everyone is completely, 100% free to go do that, if that's what floats your boat. Exercise your Benedict option. Go with my blessing, and the blessing of everyone here on ObWi no doubt.

Everyone else has to deal with people who aren't like them. Everyone. That does not have to be a threatening or even uncomfortable experience, you just have to accept that those people exist, and have a claim as reasonable as yours to exist in more or less the same general area as you do.

If you can't find a way to do that, and are willing to burn the whole thing down rather than try to figure it out, then things are basically going to fall apart. Because circumstances are going to continue to change. Life isn't going to stand still to accommodate you.

Marty hates Trump, but the (D)'s scare the living bejeesus out of him in ways that Trump can't begin to touch, for reasons that he doesn't quite seem to be able to articulate beyond the (D) desire to "take control of everything". Newt affirms every variety of (R) malfeasance because of the "culture war". Bannon is open to embracing fncking Nazis - literal Nazis - if that's the path to victory in the great clash of civilizations in his head.

This is all insane. Barking fncking mad. And it's gonna end up with some people dead, maybe a lot, and it will be the end of this country as a coherent polity, to the degree that it has ever been one.

What world do conservatives expect to be able to live in? One in which they are never obliged to encounter or accommodate, in any way, anything that they can't affirm?

I think it's a rampant personality disorder. Honestly, I have my blind spots (as I'm sure everyone here is well aware), but why be mean to people who aren't harming you? I don't like R's because that's what they do. And I don't want to give Marty, or anyone else, any room to support people who make that happen. Is he misguided? Absolutely. His guides are evil people.

What world do conservatives expect to be able to live in? One in which they are never obliged to encounter or accommodate, in any way, anything that they can't affirm?

The thing is, the only way to get there (since self-isolation always breaks down) is genocide. Worse, iterative genocide. Because once you get rid of those who are different, you become able to notice that some of those who have been allies in this are actually different from you as well. So you do it again. And again and again.

Maybe, at some point, a group ceases to panic over difference while still retaining the capability to eliminate the purists. Maybe the purists decide they can tolerate others, so long as they are totally subservient. Or it ends in extinction.

In fairness, it must be said that the same horror of difference exists on the left as well. I've encountered some of those folks first hand. We saw in Cambodia in the 70s how that works out. We seem to be seeing it again in China today, so far principally in Xinjiang and Tibet. At least for the moment, the left in the US has managed to keep the purists from taking control. I pray that lasts.

it must be said that the same horror of difference exists on the left as well

It's not an inherently or specifically left/right thing. If doesn't even have to be about politics, it can be religion or ethnicity or almost anything you can imagine.

In the US, right now, it's showing up among conservative Americans.

The phrase "culture war" implies that there are two (or more) cultures - deep patterns of human behavior and organization - that cannot co-exist in the same place and time. And it implies that, in order for one of those cultures to continue, it must defeat if not utterly destroy the other.

That utterly undermines the conditions for, and possibility of, dialog or rapprochement.

This is being invoked over stuff that has little if any effect on the actual lives of the people who seem to be experiencing such a profound sense of threat. As far as I can tell.

I have no idea how to address it. It seems beyond reason.

Even Germany and France became buddies after their unfortunate 1871 falling-out. It took merely just short of a century, 2 world wars and (low) double digits of megadeaths to overcome the 'hereditary enmity'. So, there is always some hope that even Merkins will manage it in the end (or hopefully before that).

I have no idea how to address it. It seems beyond reason.

So, there is always some hope that even Merkins will manage it in the end (or hopefully before that).

I suggest laughing and pointing.

Also, that anyone who doesn't like Trump: vote for the D.

Yes, I'm a D. It's long been like this, people - just not quite this bad. Did I always agree with every possible thing that any D said? No. But look at the record:

Nixon: crook

Ford: pardoned crook.

Carter: sweater

Reagan: Iran-contra, daily degradation of the environment, horrible central America policy, and other horrible shnt. [Did we decide that 4 letter words are okay?]

Bush I: Iran contra involvement. Willie Horton.

Clinton: sexual infidelities explicitly detailed by Ken Starr. Can debate policies, but didn't Hillary say "superpredator", and angle for universal healthcare? Obviously, erase any achievements like stopping genocide in former Yugoslavia, strong economy and the birth and burgeoning of the Internet.

Bush II: Nepotism anyone? Also, too, torture, war under false pretenses, horrible news daily regarding environmental degradation, and can we say financial crisis?

Obama: Nice (and for people here: dronez!). But he forgot about Russia.

Trump: WTF?

If there are any conservatives other than wj reading who can explain the sense of persecution and threat that seems endemic among American conservatives, please share, if you are willing.

I except wj because, although conservative, he doesn't seem to be as generally freaked out and fearful. I don't hear any culture war apocalyptics from him.

As a heads up, this being ObWi, you may receive responses that go beyond the merely polite. Strong language may occur.

If you are willing to brave all of that and share whatever it is that we're not getting, I personally will appreciate it.

If doesn't even have to be about politics, it can be religion or ethnicity or almost anything you can imagine.

In the US, right now, it's showing up among conservative Americans.

The phrase "culture war" implies that there are two (or more) cultures - deep patterns of human behavior and organization - that cannot co-exist in the same place and time. And it implies that, in order for one of those cultures to continue, it must defeat if not utterly destroy the other.

I am embarking on a theory. It barely even qualifies as a work-in-progress, but it's something to play around with.

I blame sports. Specifically high school and college sports. (Although pro sports aren't blameless.)

It is my observation that sports fans have gradually, over my lifetime, been putting the fanatic back in fan. "My" team gets supported, regardless of how they behave, on or off the field. And all other teams are not only opposed but demonized. Rallies cheer for suggestions like "Kill the __[fill in name of other side]__!"

Imbibe enough of that for a lifetime, and you start filtering it over into every other activity you engage in.

I also note that, to massively oversimplify, there are far more sports fans on the right than on the left. Certainly in college. (On the other hand, there seem to be a fair number of sports fans among the liberals here. Clearly not a perfect correlation.)

Result, the right has more political fanatics than the left.

As I say, a work in need of progress. But it seems like an interesting idea to play around with. Feel free to trash as you please.

I except wj because, although conservative, he doesn't seem to be as generally freaked out and fearful. I don't hear any culture war apocalyptics from him.

Thanks for that, russell.

I managed to grow up, with fairly conservative parents, without most of the prejudices that afflict many of those around me. And certainly without any concern that someone who was merely different might be a threat. I never thanked them enough for that blessing.

At the moment, I'm not so much fearful as dispairing. But while I am unenthused about a fair number of the policies being advocated by many of those seeming the Democratic nomination, that's not the cause. Rather it's what my party (and I still, to some extent, think of the GOP that way; no matter that it has changed beyond recognition) has become. Had become to some degree before Trump, actually, certainly here in California. Although he has brought out the worst in far more of its members than I had dreamed might be possible. Alas.

totally OT:

this segment from On The Media today was absolutely fascinating.

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/supreme-court-justice-most-say

a recurring question on the left has been: why does Clarence Thomas act the way he does? is it because he's such a die hard movement conservative that he is blind to race issues?

i'm going to simplify greatly, but (as a teaser) it's more like: he's a rather intense follower of Malcom X's brand of super cynical black nationalism, but mixed with Ayn Rand's individualism. that makes his decisions sound like he's super right wing, but he's actually just really fundamentally pissed at the system and thinks the best way forward black people is to arm themselves and to disengage with liberal attempts to improve the lot of blacks in the US.

But there is a larger issue here in conservative minds—a cultural civil war—and that’s what people are focussed on, and that’s why things are always going to be O.K., or worth the cost.

today's conservationism is the opposite of what liberals want, updated daily.

fuck the GOP.

today's conservationism is the opposite of what liberals want, updated daily.

But it's just so, so much easier to just oppose someone else. Rather than, you know, actually exert yourself to think about what you believe and why. Sloth, nothing more. (Well that or inability to think.)

it must be said that the same horror of difference exists on the left as well
It's not an inherently or specifically left/right thing. If doesn't even have to be about politics, it can be religion or ethnicity or almost anything you can imagine.

There a very interesting article in Science which suggests that is was, curiously, the Catholic Church which was responsible for the original move away from such attitudes, by its undermining of intensive kin based social organisation:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6466/eaau5141
A growing body of research suggests that populations around the globe vary substantially along several important psychological dimensions and that populations characterized as Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) are particularly unusual. People from these societies tend to be more individualistic, independent, and impersonally prosocial (e.g., trusting of strangers) while revealing less conformity and in-group loyalty. Although these patterns are now well documented, few efforts have sought to explain them. Here, we propose that the Western Church (i.e., the branch of Christianity that evolved into the Roman Catholic Church) transformed European kinship structures during the Middle Ages and that this transformation was a key factor behind a shift towards a WEIRDer psychology...

That, of course, has little to do with our current predicaments, but I thought it an interesting idea that the Catholic Church might have been one of the great forces for modernity.

Of more relevance to the question raised by russell is this excellent Guardian article on Milan:
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/nov/10/how-europes-cities-stole-continents-wealth
“It was big cities like Milan, not nation states, which benefited most from the great wave of integration that came with the European single market,” Camagni says.

“The city provides financiers, lawyers, designers, artists, culture, everything required to be a modern international hub. It has a monopoly on the high-end services that command the highest prices, and the rest of Italy has to pay those prices. In fashion it sits on top of a long global chain that has low-paid garment workers in Vietnam at the bottom. The problem is that this miracle in Milan only really involves the million or so people at its very heart. The city has shaken off the industrial hinterland that made it great in the 20th century. In the end this creates a problem of dignity for other places.”

Clearly Europe is not the US, bu it is impossible not to be struck by the parallels.

In last May’s European elections Milan voted for the Democratic party. The rest of Lombardy voted for Salvini’s League. Afterwards Pietro Bussolati, a Milanese Democratic party official on Lombardy’s regional council, sat down with colleagues and drew up a novel map of metropolitan Milan. “It wasn’t just of the city,” he explains, “but also of the surrounding area. What we found was that the proportion of centre-left votes in a place was directly related to the availability of fast means of transport to Milan itself. In all the places where people didn’t have that, and frequent contact with Milan was more difficult, the vote went to the centre-right.

“In my opinion this is not about salaries; it’s about how much direct knowledge one has of how innovation and openness help bring about economic growth. The more you can see that the universities, the research institutes and openness to the rest of the world bring about opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have, the more you are likely to vote centre-left and express liberal values. And by the same token, the less you see of that, the more likely you are to fall for myths about migrants who steal and so on, and vote for the League.”...

Also, not all is grounds for despair.
Even the deepest crap provides fertile ground for growth:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/11/10/joe-arpaio-arizona-latino-activists-elected-office-229906
Nearly 10 years later, Garcia is part of a new wave of Latino politicians in Arizona who have entered politics in response to those policies—a legacy that Arpaio and Brewer likely did not expect. In a state that once compelled police officers to ask about the citizenship status of the people they pulled over and barred undocumented immigrants from getting driver’s licenses and paying in-state tuition at public universities, a growing number of Latino activists are using the lessons they learned in organizing against the immigration crackdown to catapult themselves into elected state and local office...

It worked for the Irish in Boston.

Interesting stuff, Nigel. Thanks.

Hm, is that a reason why public transport is considered anathema to the Right these days?
Apart from benefitting the lower classes, that is.

I examine every new thing on the actual facts, not what some emasculated civil servant feels about it.

I don't know who Marty meant by this characterisation, but in case it was meant to describe Foreign Service Officers I just want to say this. I have known very many FSOs, and they are normally rather conservative, pretty patriotic types (much more conservative than me, and I am hardly radical). They are prepared to be put in harm's way in their country's service, and occasionally they die in that service. What some of them are doing now is brave and principled, as discussed in an article in the NYT headed How the State Dept's Dissenters Incited a Revolt, Then a Rallying Cry. It is certainly true that during the Trump presidency morale in the State Department has been low because of that administration's contempt for expertise and impartial advice, and assessments have frequently been made that the State Dept will take "generations" to recover, but this recent "activism" (i.e. participation in a legal congressional process) is very clearly a result of their conviction that the POTUS is behaving in a deeply improper and illegal way. Bill Taylor had retired, he was persuaded to come out of retirement to replace Masha Yovanovitch. He, and people like him, deserve praise and respect for their willingness to undergo much unpleasantness in their country's interests.

I read that article yesterday. Their advice is not impartial, it represents a POV. They object to this Presidents foreign policy. That's whast the article says. After 50 years of a consistent interventionist set of policies they object to reducing our influence, which reduces their importance and, in their view, the security of the US.

Perfectly natural to react to that.

Why are they leaking the closed door testimony when open testimony is underway?

what has been 'leaked'?

most of the witnesses are making the text of their opening statements public. i can't think of anything interesting from any of them that wasn't in the public statements. all i heard about what happened behind the closed doors are things like "the Dems gasped".

now that the transcripts are coming out, we're learning a few more details about what happened - stuff that wasn't in the public statements. and some of the new details are exactly the kinds of things that would leak (the phone call transcript is missing things about Burisma, for ex). but they didn't leak.

we're also learning that the GOP is desperate to change the subject.

wrs: show your work.

Now that the transcripts are coming out....leaking, releasing, question is still the same. You obviously knew the answer.


They have actual expertise, so they see how this President's foreign policy affects what they perceive as US interests. This is POV stuff. But testifying in an impeachment enquiry, against orders (and they are normally very much about following orders, even if they disagree with them), that's because they see a POTUS behaving improperly and illegally.

leaking, releasing, question is still the same. You obviously knew the answer.

as always, not even an attempt to address the substance.

F

I read that article yesterday. Their advice is not impartial, it represents a POV.

This is quite true.

  • They represent the point of view that the law applies to everyone, and should be followed.
  • They represent the point of view that facts matter.
  • They represent the point of view that foreign policy should serve the nation. Not just the current President's personal interests.
  • They represent the point of view that, when they took an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States," they should do so.
Pity the current President's point of view is different on all counts.

wj: true in every particular.

1. Betty Cracker at BJ, saying it better than I ever could:

I think we’re better off being post post-partisan and asking the swing voters who decide elections to pick a goddamned side.

The whole thing is great, and it isn't very long.

2. Re: wj's comment last night on sports and divisiveness: nah, correlation is not causation. ;-)

3. Re: wj's comment last night on "the left" in Cambodia: What's currently called "the left" in the US is a mishmash of economic policy preferences and social/cultural preferences (among other things). By definition, the murderous "left" in Cambodia, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China, etc., is the polar opposite of the latter aspect of what's currently called "the left" in the US. (Somehow I don't see "the left" in Cambodia in the 1970s championing LGBTQ rights, the welcoming of immigrants, etc.)

If you want to try to tease out how we got to see the overt resurgence of white nationalism, children in cages, Opus Dei strongly influencing federal policy about abortion, gay and trans rights, etc., it might be more useful to talk about "authoritarianism" than about left/right distinctions.

But it all seems kind of circular to me.

Better link to Betty Cracker's post. The other was to a specific comment. Sorry about that.

Marty might want to read this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/11/10/republicans-admit-they-have-no-fact-witnesses-trump-did-it/

The gist: Republicans are essentially stipulating the facts. What they have left is
1) arguing that it somehow wasn't bad enough for impeachment.
2) stunts

Marty, to his credit, explicitly makes the first.

What isn't clear is what, then, would be bad enough. After all, they also argue that the President can't even be investigated while in office.

Something tells me that impartiality (I would never cop to such a thing, myself) is not Marty's goal here but rather that his partiality is in fact objective impartial truth.

"Deep State": absolutely as meaningless but willfully partial and bullshit turn of phrase as "Death Tax", "Democrat" politicians, and "political correctness".

Tell me, oh impartial one, which objective truth was more partial to the actual truth, the conservative, or was it liberal, Deep State's repeated warnings about the spectacular attack on 9/11, or the Bush Administration's willful, studied decision to ignore those warnings?

Were the CIA and the State Department partial to American citizens NOT being attacked and murdered en masse, and is that partiality suspect because it's not impartial?

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/cia-directors-documentary-911-bush-213353

also, what wj said, what cleek said, and what GFTNC said.

Also, in advance, WRS sez here pretty soon, whatever it is.

I have other questions.

What does "All men are created equal" mean, exactly?

Putting aside what the Founders actually, literally meant compared to how progressives, including Lincolnesque republican progressives, throughout subsequent history have fought against conservative opposition and stonewalling at every fucking turn to open the claim to its full meaning.

I mean, place every one-second old baby born across America at the identical time side-by-side at the imaginary American starting line and tell me for how long this equality lasts for them, or is even relevant, given the myriad realities of each subsequent judgmental, ranking, competitive tick-tock second of lived life each baby experiences.

I say, maybe a second and a half, and then they are no longer equal, regardless of opportunities.

So what then that they are created equal.

Enjoy this brief equality while you can, kids.

You'll all be equal again one day.

It's called the grave.

"It represents a POV."

So what, then what?

Consult the Oracle of Delphi, for its completely unconsidered opinion?

Do I have to start a sentence with "I'm old enough to remember .."?

I'm old enough to remember conservatives claiming exclusive access to immutable truth, not limp-wristed relativism.

Now we know (I knew) that when, for example, when Milton Friedman could, in his inimitable, bald-faced "no one can argue with my complete and total grasp of the rational truth" unctuous tone of voice that corporations have only one purpose, to serve the interest of shareholders and no one else, he was talking out of his ass, from whence the conservative point of view originates, sez I.

"It represents a POV."

So now conservatives are channeling Derrida and Foucault?

The other day, some MAGA stalwarts were interviewed and asked "Do you believe that Trump could get away with shooting a guy on Fifth Avenue?", and one of the female irritating adherents answered "I don't know, it depends on who he shot? Who did he shoot?"

Art Garfunkel? He's a liberal, isn't he?

These stinking pigs could be great, award-winning St. Louis or Cleveland or Texas cops.

It's so fitting that the President of Ukraine is a comedian and trump is a heckler.

The other day, some MAGA stalwarts were interviewed and asked "Do you believe that Trump could get away with shooting a guy on Fifth Avenue?", and one of the female irritating adherents answered "I don't know, it depends on who he shot? Who did he shoot?"

Art Garfunkel? He's a liberal, isn't he?

These stinking pigs could be great, award-winning St. Louis or Cleveland or Texas cops.

It's so fitting that the President of Ukraine is a comedian and trump is a heckler.

So now conservatives are channelling Derrida and Foucault?

LOL

Dammit, I try my best to say "Art Garfunkel" only once weekly, and now I've said it twice in 30 seconds.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/11/a-warning-by-tristero.html

This is my POV as well, which is to day, I deleted a lengthy rant to say simply, but that in more words.

Bert's dead. Is that all? No, you ain't seen nothing yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF-LPsCsdr8&t=58s

Bear with me, I'll illustrate with a different video soon, when I get tired of that one.

Marty is practicing his spider walk here.

I read the Betty Cracker link. I can't speak for what Buttigieg or Biden are saying, but I can speak for myself. When she approvingly quotes Drew Magary in Medium as saying:

Do you wanna know something about partisanship? Partisanship is good. Partisanship is the whole reason we have a democracy. I have no interest in finding common ground with fucking Trump voters or with other assorted white supremacists. I have no interest in making sure those groups don’t feel demonized. I have no interest in making them feel COMFORTABLE when they have made so many Americans, and the world beyond, feel the precise opposite. I’m allowed to be angry at the state of things and I’m sure as hell allowed to loudly call out those responsible for it.

I'm certainly not talking about finding common ground with white supremacists, or maybe even most Trump voters (sorry Marty for continuing to take your name in vain, but you are not in fact "a Trump voter"). It's very comforting and a relief to the feelings to vent, and insult "the other side". But, as every negotiator knows, a zero-sum game is an unwise strategy: if you try to humiliate the other guy and have him grovel in the dirt, you're just as likely to end up driving him into a corner and prolonging the fight, and the damage it causes. If you can make common cause with people who do not start out on your side, but are not totally all-in with the other side, you stand a better chance of winning through to a (mutually) desirable outcome. Now people like Marty are on record as caring, for example, about the budget deficit. So perhaps they will end up seeing that, in the case of Trump, America now has a record-breaking deficit of approaching one trillion dollars, and perhaps that will end up enabling them to make common cause with Trump's opponents. Ordinary partisanship can resume normal operation when the extraordinary danger Trump and his henchmen pose to the world passes.

This ain't baseball.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/11/balls-and-strikes

It's Civil War.

It's Civil War.

I'm with John.

Short answer, Trump has not shut the government down to trim the Dems budget. Of all the things complained about that is the least valid criticism of Trump. He cant do anything except sign the CR or shut down the government.

In that case Congress is United in letting him take the heat for it.

Trump had two years of solid GOP rule.

the budget does not matter to the GOP.

You’d think the tax cuts had no effect on the deficit. But that would just be a POV.

tax cuts pay for themselves, in votes.

Jen Rubin has thoughts about Bloomberg and Trump and the GOP:

Finally, Bloomberg could spend just a few of his billions supporting the Democratic nominee for president and those Senate and House candidates in the general election best positioned to throw out Republican incumbents in Congress. This is no “dark money”; Bloomberg can be perfectly transparent about how much he is giving to which candidates. It is not until the Republican Party is obliterated that a new generation of center-right leaders can emerge, expunge all traces of Trumpism and rebuild a viable, decent Republican Party. We really do need a functional two-party system.

I have some other thoughts on wj's sports analogy, but for now let it be said that Alabama lost their first home game in four years.

I have some other thoughts on wj's sports analogy, but for now let it be said that Alabama lost their first home game in four years.

Blast!

Blast!

(You forgot the second one.)

wj's sports analogy,

That's wj's tentatively posed sports analogy.

After 50 years of a consistent interventionist set of policies they object to reducing our influence, which reduces their importance and, in their view, the security of the US.

And your point is, what? That they are misrepresenting the president's words and actions to get him kicked out of office, because they disagree with his policies?

If that's your point, what you have offered in evidence is an exercise in mind-reading.

You're getting to a point where your "point of view" begins to look like paranoia. They're all out get him!!!

Maybe consider that he just freaking did it.

This ain't baseball.

Hey, Prinzessin Gloria von Thurn und Taxis!! Former billionaire royal wastrel party girl and now defender of the faith, hanging with the Supremes.

Maybe we really are just living in a Pynchon novel. Or that Benuel movie with the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus.

The weird have turned pro.

1) Betty Cracker is one of my idols.

2) The effort to find the "good" in Marty is lost on me. I'm sure Marty has some good. Read Hitler at Home. I'm sure if Hitler hadn't killed himself, he would have been invited to dinner by various generous people. I would not have been among them.

3) Is Marty Hitler? Of course not. But supporting the sadism that is the Trump presidency (or disingenuously not supporting it, by saying "but the dems are so bad too!") is wrong. Marty is in the wrong. Taking up for Marty by cherrypicking is rare humane moments is nice, but kind of weird. He is speaking up for these horrible lies of the Trump phenomenon. Countenancing Marty here is morally wrong.

personally, i find the notions that A) Trump didn't do what every witness says he did and B) what he did wasn't bad, and C) ok, he did it, but that isn't bad enough to warrant the asterisk* next to his name ... all kindof absurd.

and, i know Marty's a smart guy. so, i kept hoping he'll tell us why he's clinging to B. but he wouldn't - not in any substantive way. instead, he's just gone full cleek's law on us.

it's pure partisan nihilism. and that's easy to understand.

--

* - impeached

Countenancing Marty here is morally wrong.

Words fail.

Words fail.

No.

Arguments fail.

My position is correct. You are good at words. Go for it.

My position is correct.

QED

Go for it.

Not possible?

But surely your response will be to dig in at me for lacking in compassion and being too dismissive of the other commenters here. [POSTING RULES! or whatever]

Or being rude (as russell would say).

You know what? You're "misguided".

Maybe LJ will weigh in and ban me.

QED

True enough.

morally wrong.

I disagree that trying to engage Marty in a discussion of this stuff is morally wrong.

That said, I have to say that I find Marty's comments in this thread, and on the topic of the impeachment inquiry in general, to be in bad faith and, frankly, morally wrong.

The president has been credibly accused, by credible witnesses, of withholding military aid to another country, in order to enlist that country's aid in discrediting his political rival.

That's either true, or not true. The purpose of the inquiry is to determine if it's true.

That is the substance of the matter. Marty has made one comment about the substance: he doesn't think Trump's actions rise to the level of an impeachable offense. That's an opinion he is entitled to, and he is completely entitled to state it.

But he has gone beyond that to accuse the (D)'s of engaging in a three-year long attempt to illegitimately overthrow the 2016 election. And insinuates that the people testifying against Trump in the Ukraine issue are "emasculated civil servants" who have come forward because they are personally "offended", or fear losing their influence, or just don't like Trump's foreign policies. And, he comes here, more in sorrow than anger of course, to say that we all are simply unable to throw off our blinders and see what a pack of scoundrels the (D)'s are.

To all of which I say, fuck that noise.

Morally wrong, whatever. It's dishonest, and I'm done with it.

I don't really disagree with the whole of russell's comment, with the exception of the last two sentences which are not my style. And as to bad faith, I (the inveterate mind reader) am unsure. Doesn't that imply that you know you're wrong when making the argument? I'm by no means sure that Marty does.

GftNC, does your 1:57 apply to Marty and not to sapient? If so, can you explain why?

Serious question, not snark.

Janie, I'm on my phone so it's a bit difficult to go back and forth, and get a proper eyeful while considering your question, if you see what I mean. But if I understand you correctly, it's talking anti- trump strategy, so positing that Dems should be prepared to at least engage constructively with never-Trump conservatives in the hope that between them they can oust him and then return to partisan business as usual. I'm guessing you don't agree with me, but that's pretty much what I was getting at, albeit I now see rather unclearly.

So I guess you could say it applies to sapient and not Marty, although sapient was not necessarily in my mind at the time, and "Marty" was a stand in for (theoretically) possibly reachable conservatives.

GftNC, I was also less than clear; I was reading your comment much more expansively. But I'm not in a position to elaborate at the moment, so I'll leave it at that for now.

It's complicated, but basically, no, I don't agree with you.

Yes, I was speaking generally to begin with, and meant it that way too, but then zeroing in on the neverending subject. Good night!

As to bad faith, I think it relates not just to whether you know you're wrong, but to your motives. Marty comes here to start a fight and then to sneer. He admitted as much with his condescending comment about looking to see if we have any self-awareness.

It's toxic, and I'm done with it. No empty threat this time.

And/or -- wrs.

Doesn't that imply that you know you're wrong when making the argument?

Dems should be prepared to at least engage constructively with never-Trump conservatives

Bad faith does not imply that you are knowingly making false arguments. Bad faith is, as Janie notes, about intention.

Marty has come to this thread with a variety of claims. The (D)'s are abusing their powers. The impeachment inquiry is an attempted coup. The people who are coming forward now are doing so out of a sense of offense arising from their personal "emasculation", or out of some sense that their influence is being diminished by Trump's foreign policies. Joe and Hunter Biden are under active investigation for corruption arising from their actions in Ukraine, and Trump was simply asking that Zelensky co-operate with that. (D)'s are exploiting closed hearings to selectively leak information detrimental to Trump's case, in order to unfairly prejudice public opinion.

Marty has been asked, repeatedly, to defend any of these statements with documentary evidence of any kind. None has been forthcoming.

Instead, we are all incapable of self-reflection, and incapable of seeing that this is all just a naked power grab by out of control (D)'s.

So no, I don't believe he is here to "engage constructively" with any of us. I have zero interest in mind-reading, and have no interest in speculating about what his motives or objectives are. I'm observing that he's coming here and making what appear to be insupportable claims, and then, precisely and exactly, refusing to engage constructively in examining whether any of it has merit.

And then insulting all of us when we get annoyed with it.

I call it bad faith because I'm extending the benefit of the doubt that he's not coming just to troll and wind us all up, but is simply being less than candid. I.e., he's presenting himself as wanting to "engage constructively", but is not really interested in doing so, for whatever reason. And the "whatever reason" is really not of interest to me.

In any case, enough is enough. Why should we invest any more time into it? He has been actually been invited to engage constructively here, repeatedly, in this thread - explain why you hold that position, can you provide any information that would support what you're saying - and he can't be bothered to do so.

Enough already.

Please russell, enough is right. I commented on a nyt article referenced here. The article made it clear that yes the foreign service folks had their feelings hurt. I dont need anything more than their quotes to get that. True of many of the things I have said.

Since when did a demand for a response need to be honored in a timely manner? I had a pretty busy weekend with my real life.

And mostly my questions are around facts. Like so far not a single witness heard Trump tie the two things together. Not one. In fact, not one talked to anyone who heard him demand the quid pro quo. They all "felt" it was wrong. So show your work.

Or dont talk about me arguing in bad faith. I ask a question and come back to two days of meta complaining that any evildoer would take up for satan himself. I'm not the person arguing in bad faith here.


So show your work.

What I've had to say about it is:

1. The claim the (D)'s are making is that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to coerce Zelensky to publicly state that the Bidens were under investigation
2. The purpose of the impeachment inquiry is to establish whether that is true or not.

I think both of those points are sufficiently clear from public sources that they don't need further support.

The question I asked you about the foreign service folks was - so what? What is your point in bringing up their personal level of "emasculation" or hurt feelings? If you're trying to argue that that somehow undermines the credibility of their testimony, say that. If not, then why is it even relevant? My assumption, perhaps unfair, is that you want to imply it without actually saying it, which strikes me as dissembling and bad faith. You can speak to your own intentions if you wish.

TBH I'm sick of all of this crap. I've been having these same conversations with "conservatives" of all stripes for almost 20 years now.

Trump is a freaking crook. That is the heart of the matter. Maybe that will result in him getting tossed out, maybe it won't. Probably it won't, because the (R)'s will get his back no matter what, for all of the reasons discussed in this thread and ten million others.

Even if he is thrown out, we will then have POTUS Pence and a (R) majority Senate. So it will be SSDD, only maybe more so as far as the socially reactionary side of (R) policy. So I'm not seeing how this is a coup, or a naked (D) power grab, or anything similar. It's the House investigating the POTUS, which has been SOP for every administration as long as I can remember.

You don't like Trump, but you dislike the (D)'s even more, so if it's Trump or (D)'s, you'll go with Trump.

To me, that speaks of a profound disregard for this country. An inclination to put the things that make responsible self-governance possible, as long as you get your preferences policy-wise. We all have our own priorities, and our own calculus concerning what is and is not important.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Blog powered by Typepad