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December 06, 2019

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And I don't know why this post is cutting off the others on the front page (at least on my browser). Not sure how to fix

“We’re looking very strongly at sinks...”

The Autumn of the Patriarch.

AKA the babbling of the inanities.

WTF is going through that man's mind.

going through that man's mind.

Assumes facts (very much) not in evidence.

The 5th Avenue murder thing was a joke

my current favorite argumetn about why the impeachment is wrong is that it's not supported by Republicans.

these would be the same Republicans who looked at 2016 Trump (the serial bankruptor, the runner of a fraudulent 'university', the mail order vitamin hustler, the tax cheat, the out and proud proponent of sexual assault, the serial husband, the porn-star-boffing hush-money-payer, the guy with fake Time Magazine covers of himself in his office, the guy who mocks veterans and the disabled, the racist, sexist, amoral, immoral delusional fabulist) and said "YEAH THAT'S THE STUFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the Dems are supposed to convince THOSE people that bribery is wrong?

those people?

the people who abandoned every principle they ever claimed to have?

impeachment is wrong because those people won't change their mind?

pull the other one, cultists.

Speaking of thought control:


https://theintercept.com/2019/12/05/us-visa-social-media-screening/

This is interesting (and will enrage trump, once he understands it) - China is introducing a similar regime on passenger vehicle carbon credits to the one in California:
https://electrek.co/2019/12/06/beijing-shifts-from-ev-subsidies-to-setting-quotas-for-automakers/

It will have a profound global impact (the immediate short term one is that foreign manufacturers who don’t produce enough EVs will be forced effectively to subsidise Chinese manufacturers who do).

oh cool. there are two more instances of Trump/Ukraine QPQ, hding in plain sight.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/trump-extorted-ukraine-2017-2018-impeachment-giuliani-mueller.html

witch hunt!

And right before Xmas. Completely unprecedented (since 1998).
The Grinchrich does newt like that at all.
(the only reason not to punch him right in the face is purely hygienic, i.e. fear of catching something nasty. So repulsive that he likely need not bother with body armor).

By the way, for any subset of people who a) enjoyed rightwing journalist Andrew Neil's interview with Ben Shapiro and b) are following the UK election with any attention, you might be interested to know that although all the other party leaders have submitted themselves for interview by Neil (his interview of Corbyn was called "brutal" and "a bloodbath"), Boris Johnson has so far not done so. This is pretty remarkable, and is no doubt because his handlers assume that because he is still much ahead, such an encounter can only damage him. Since the end is drawing nigh, you can look at Andrew Neil's fantastic, straight to camera piece on the subject (at the end of his interview with Farage). You can find the short clip (which I can't post) on the Guardian website. It is well worth listening to. Money quote:

There is no law, no supreme court ruling, which can compel Mr Johnson to participate in a BBC leader's interview. But the Prime Minister of our nation will at times have to stand up to President Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China, so it was surely not expecting too much that you spent half an hour standing up to me."

Italiexo!

Eeeek! Thanks cleek!

This is your GOP, folks:

Party line vote in House to renew VRA

Scum.

Yes. I think it's more than fair to say that anyone who opposes this is openly supporting racist voter suppression, and is therefore scum. QED.

By the way, I haven't seen Tony P around these parts for a while. Anybody know if he's alright?

Nikki Haley: Confederate flag stood for ‘service, sacrifice and heritage’ before mass murderer ‘hijacked’ it

As far as I'm concerned, she just forfeited any possible support for any office. She may, of course, have said similar things previously. (For all that she was governor when the Confederate flag got removed from the state hourse.) As a politician in South Carolina, it wouldn't be surprising. But she's moved past that . . . or should have.

The second KKK “hijacked” that flag long before Dylann Roof, if that tells you anything about its meaning.

i seriously can't fathom where a person whose maiden name is Nimrata Randhawa, who was born and raised in South Carolina to immigrant parents, could be so ignorant about racial issues in the US. i have friends of similar backgrounds who grew up in southern NC and they have no shortage of stories about the topic. i guess the alternative is that she understands, but is lying? but that's almost as unfathomable.

Some ideas about what Democrats need to start doing

What's this I hear about an election coming up in the UK?

bobby, that seems to be the same link in both comments. Was there supposed to be a second one for the UK election?

oops....should have been this link.

He sounds nice

The mention in that article of Boris Johnson's charm reminds me of a rather brilliant thing I heard a comedian say on TV on Friday: "Charm is like lube for evil". I don't think it always is, and I'm not saying BoJo is evil, but if his charm helps get him elected, which I fear it will, many of the consequences will be pretty evil.

I am utterly immune to it, but it’s undeniable that the BJ charm is a thing.

Which differentiates him from Trump, I suppose.

Which differentiates him from Trump

Sadly, no. No few people look at Trump and think he's the cat's meow.

Jeder hat seinen eigenen Geschmack.

I don't think that even his most devoted base considers Trump charming. They (very foolishly) admire, respect and like him. They believe his idiotic lies, and his idiotic diagnosis of what's wrong and what's great about the country, but charm? I don't think so. Charm is a strange and hard to define quality (although I think it always includes humour in some way), but you know it when you see it. And Trump does not have, and has never had, a scintilla of it.

lots of articles out there about how charming Trump is in person.

he must be, right? he's a con man, charm is required.

I'm beginning to think this might be one of those "two countries separated by the same language" situation....

situations...

All politicians (at least all the ones I've met) are capable of being charming in person. But few people are capable of charming a television audience. BoJo can do it, whereas Trump makes one's skin crawl.

I'd be pretty surprised if Donald Trump had what I understand to be charm even in person. But I was serious about the language comment; first of all I think there is a difference between saying loosely that someone is charming (can easily mean, nice, personable etc), and saying somebody has charm. Charm, as I (and various other people with whom I have discussed it over the years) try to define it, is a fugitive, hard to describe quality. As I said, it seems to be inextricably bound up with some kind of humour (which Trump obviously lacks), and the word is connected with a minor magic spell for a reason. It need have no connotation of moral or ethical worthiness, in fact you could say it draws people despite themselves.

Two countries separated by differing understandings of what is attractive in people.

Trump is crass, rude, and vulgar. My impression is that folks in the UK find that unattractive.

Many folks in the US find that very appealing.

Appealing, even compelling.
But charming ??

One only has to watch Johnson’s (rareish) interviews to see that some journalists are charmed despite themselves; I’ve not seen that with Trump.

Belief based politics butts up against reality...
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/09/farmers-climate-change-074024

... behind closed doors, of course.

definitely charming. again, the internet is full of articles about people being surprised about how charming he is in person: one-on-one, especially. Google "Trump is charming" - reporters, celebrities, politicians, CEOs, etc..

many of them also say his charm can evaporate in an instant, when the boorish side of him comes out.

his podium persona is apparently totally different than his behind-closed-doors persona.

"Charming" in its normal everyday sense: quite possibly, depending on the gullibility (and political leaning) of the encounterer.

"Charm" in the UK sense: not a chance, I'm pretty sure. It's clear that this is a linguistic miscommunication between cultures, and exacerbated by the fact that even in the UK, "charm" is notoriously hard to describe or define.

"A heedless and erratic old man..."

The rococo insults emanating from NK have a certain charm.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/09/north-korea-insults-trump-heedless-erratic-old-man

I was looking to see if I could find a definition which conveys something of what many here mean by charm. I found this, but of the verb:

to attract irresistibly; to delight exceedingly; to enchant; to fascinate

and I think it gives an inkling. I know that many find or have found Trump attractive in the sexual sense among others (although I guess his money helped in many cases), but the last three give an idea. An ability to delight exceedingly, enchant, fascinate, sometimes against the encounterer's will (as with many people's reaction to BoJo), these are aspects of charm which it is impossible to imagine Trump embodying, and which help explain that comedian's remark ("Charm is like lube for evil").

Anyway, I won't go on any more. As was the case with "refute", I do know that my obsession with the definition of words can be very tiresome, particularly where there is room for cultural divergence!

Hitler has been described as very charming (and polite) in private (and his eyes as magnetic), quite different from his public persona at rallies. Even in his final days in the bunker his extreme rants against his generals stood in great contrast to his 'private' behaviour towards his personnel (which seems to have been genuine).
I somehow doubt that an uncultured boor like The Donald would manage that (in particular towards low underlings) and if so only as pure play-acting. Not to forget that He is both a buffoon and a poltroon (and a clueless clown sans talent comique).
BJ (from as afar as I am at least) looks like he displays a buffoon persona while being a calculating bar-stud behind the mask.

Many folks in the US find that very appealing.

Perhaps. A different view is that the Republican base really likes Trump and really dislikes the Democratic alternatives. Moving out from the base, there is a not insignificant number of people who find Trump abhorrent but find the alternatives even worse. Trump is awful, but he maxes out at 2 terms. None of his ideas involve "structurally reforming the country" or nationalizing medicine for all practical purposes, which if they occurred, are irreversible.

My sense is that at the non-presidential level, as recent elections would suggest, more independents who find Trump repugnant are voting Democrat than are independents who are afraid of the hard swing left on the Democrat side (I'm not going to get into an argument that the Dem's are really just old-fashioned conservatives or that "medicare for all" isn't the functional equivalent of nationalization due to lack of time). Whether this will hold true at the presidential level remains to be seen. For decades, Texans would vote R for president and D down ballot. I don't know about other states.

If I were a serious, Sapient-level Democrat, I'd be concerned that the Progressive positions staked out by most of the leading Democratic candidates will force a similar phenomena of Americans consciously choosing grid-lock.

I do know that lumping everyone who "supports" Trump into a single, pejorative group of brain washed morons is probably an error on several levels.

A different view is that the Republican base really likes Trump and really dislikes the Democratic alternatives.

I agree - there are plenty like that. Trump is a sadistic, racist, toxic alpha-male, a con-man, and a fraud. Plenty of people seem to like those things about him. He's also a Russian asset, and a traitor. They don't seem to mind that either, or maybe they actually like it, since Putin is of similar character. Are some brain-washed morons? Maybe, but most are not the "decent" "Christian" people who we thought believed in loving one's neighbor, helping the hungry, visiting the prisoners, etc.

If I were a serious, Sapient-level Democrat, I'd be concerned that the Progressive positions staked out by most of the leading Democratic candidates will force a similar phenomena of Americans consciously choosing grid-lock.

My own policy preferences tend toward incrementalism. That said, our health care system has been broken for a long time, and there are plenty of models in other Western democracies (another example of things that Trumpists hate) that work better than ours. The ACA, as it was designed, was a decent step towards providing a public-private solution, but it was sabotaged by take-no-prisoner Republicans, who, if they had been at all interested in working with Democrats to fix what was sub-optimal, instead of ruin what was good, could have made our health care system work well.

As a serious, sapient-level Democrat, I think it's absurd to blame Democrats for not being compromising enough. We're sick of trying. Thanks.

None of his ideas involve "structurally reforming the country" or nationalizing medicine for all practical purposes, which if they occurred, are irreversible.

does Trump even have ideas?

i can't name a single specific policy goal of his other than The Wall.

i know the things he's actually done, and they uniformly suck.

I do know that lumping everyone who "supports" Trump into a single, pejorative group of brain washed morons is probably an error on several levels.

we're long past the point where anyone can claim to not know the kind of person Trump truly is. that filter has been applied: sorting accomplished. and i feel completely comfortable saying that i don't want any Trump supporter at my dinner table.

maybe that doesn't make them "brain washed morons". it makes them thoroughly deplorable, though.

None of his ideas involve "structurally reforming the country" or nationalizing medicine for all practical purposes, which if they occurred, are irreversible.

Whether he has ideas, or is just doing things, the reality remains that he is creating major structural changes. To take just one example, the State Department is losing vast portions of its experience and expertise. Technically that is reversable . . . over the course of a generation or two. But the damage done by our lack of diplomatic staff in the mean time? It may be a second order effect, but irreparable.

Similar effects are being seen everywhere from the Department of Agriculture to the National Weather Service. Anyone who won't abandon reality to pander to Trump's fantasy of the moment is being sidelined, transferred far away, or otherwise encouraged to quit. Or flat out fired, for those without civil service protections.

does Trump even have ideas?

No. And that's at least one upside for Trump. Politicians with ideas can be really dangerous.

No. And that's at least one upside for Trump. Politicians with ideas can be really dangerous.

Oh, there's no real question that Trump has ideas. They're just so detatched from reality that they can be hard to recognize for those who don't share his delusions.

And they typically pose worse dangers than most politician's ideas.

He has a lot of ideas about how people use bathrooms. File under "so detached from reality that they can be hard to recognize for those who don't share his delusions."

At least Trump's ideas are self-serving, small and petty. It's the big ideas of a competent politician who wants to remake the world that is dangerous.

None of his ideas involve "structurally reforming the country" or nationalizing medicine for all practical purposes, which if they occurred, are irreversible.

I just want to agree with wj, and others about this, which seems uncharacteristically naive of McKinney. It's true what others have said, that it's hard to discern his ideas and what they involve, but the structural "reform" (I would prefer to say deterioration) of the country is unmistakable, whether intentional or not. The State Department is an excellent example, but that Michael Lewis piece we read some time ago about the Dept of Energy is even scarier for the domestic USA, and may involve accidents or outcomes that really are irreversible.

and he's going to do a lot of damage to the courts, as well.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/04/trump-nominee-who-is-anti-ivf-surrogacy-was-deemed-unqualified-she-just-got-confirmed/

Pitlyk is also the latest of Trump’s nominees to receive a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, which has long reviewed the competence of nominees for the federal bench. In a Sept. 24 letter to lawmakers, William Hubbard, chair of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, wrote that Pitlyk’s “experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any trial or even real litigation experience.”

“Ms. Pitlyk has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal,” Hubbard wrote. “She has never examined a witness. Though Ms. Pitlyk has argued one case in a court of appeals, she has not taken a deposition. She has not argued any motion in a state or federal trial court. She has never picked a jury. She has never participated at any stage of a criminal matter.”

Her experience does, however, include clerking for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh when he was a federal appellate court judge — just like Justin Walker, another recently confirmed federal judge the ABA deemed unqualified.


A second Trump term will likely cause irreversible damage to the US justice system. Those who don’t take seriously the danger to the judiciary as an independent branch are fooling themselves.

More seriously, the climate change emergency does not allow for a further four year pause on US action. You can be as sceptical as you like, but if you’re not in absolute denial, then inaction at this point is playing Russian roulette with at least two chambers loaded.

Rest of it is just graft, corruption, incompetence and institutional vandalism - but that’s not exactly unprecedented in US history (or anyone else’s, for that matter).

Oh, and NATO. And US influence in ASIA.

If anyone still cares.

I just want to agree with wj, and others about this, which seems uncharacteristically naive of McKinney. It's true what others have said, that it's hard to discern his ideas and what they involve, but the structural "reform" (I would prefer to say deterioration) of the country is unmistakable, whether intentional or not.

I try to choose my words carefully. When a Progressive says "structural reform" or "Medicare for all", this has substantive meaning, the latter being much more specific than the former but both being policy positions which, if enacted, would be impossible as a practical matter to reverse.

The upside of Trump is that he really doesn't have any idea what he's doing and therefore can't screw anything up legislatively that can't be undone. If faced with a choice of permanent and profoundly undesirable structural change or nationalization of 1/6th of the economy vs a narcissistic bull in a china closet, who cannot do anything approaching the Progressive level of proposed harm ('harm' by my subjective standards), don't be surprised if enough people hold their nose and vote for Trump if the alternative is just too awful to contemplate.

I take Cleek's and others' point about the judiciary, and have several points. For the first 5 years of my practice, I regularly appeared in front of US Dist Judge Joe J Fisher, and Eisenhower appointee, who was the perennial "worst trial judge in the 5th circuit". Since then, I've been in front of plenty of shitty judges. Judges die and/or retire. That's a plus in many cases. Also, you can appeal bad decisions at the trial court level. Bad judges tend to be lazy judges, so at the appellate level, look for at least some number of Trump appointees to let others decide the case and write the opinion. I haven't been in front of a Trump appointee so far, so I don't have personal knowledge. At the Supreme Court level, the complaints are subjective and partisan. Whether you like his appointees or not, they are not incompetent jurists, which is also true for the liberal wing of SCOTUS.

Nigel's point about foreign policy is well taken. It's one of the many reasons why I'll never vote for Trump no matter what. But, Nigel, here's my question back to you: what would Warren or Sanders do differently with China or NATO that would matter substantively (I don't consider the sucking up or snide remarks to be a long term substantive problem--they go when Trump goes)?

I don't think Sanders has any love at all for NATO and I'm not sure Warren has any concept of what strategic defense is.

Nigel's concern for climate change policy is, I think, misplaced. Sure, Warren and Sanders pay lip service to addressing climate change, but their two big ticket issues are Medicare for All and Free College/Loan Forgiveness--both of which are hugely expensive. I cannot take anything either of them say about addressing climate change seriously if they are going to prioritize these obvious budget-busters. If GCC is truly an existential threat, then they should both be saying, "In a better world, we'd be all in on Medicare for All, etc, but all of that is moot if we don't fight climate change, so that's where I'm laying all of my bets. I want to save this planet and then we will get down to the details of improving everyone's lives."

The last time around, when Hillary and Bernie were fighting it out for the nomination, Sapient referred to Bernie's innumeracy, which I took to mean his detachment from budgetary reality. It is entirely fair to criticize Republicans for their gross hypocrisy across the board, from morals to the budget, but that doesn't mean the Democrats don't have their own innumeracy issues. They most surely do.

It's clear that this is a linguistic miscommunication between cultures

I think you're probably right.

(and his eyes as magnetic)

I think that was probably the coke and opioids.

A different view is that the Republican base really likes Trump

I believe that is actually the view I expressed.

Lots of folks think he's horrible, but will support him for other reasons. But lots of folks think he's great. As in, personally great. We all know some of those people. Most of us are probably related to some of those people.

Hence, my point.

And it's not a small number of people. It's tens of millions of people.

that doesn't mean the Democrats don't have their own innumeracy issues.

Bernie has innumeracy issues. "Democrats" as a whole don't. Republicans don't care about the national treasury as long as they're pocketing it.

The upside of Trump is that he really doesn't have any idea what he's doing and therefore can't screw anything up legislatively that can't be undone.

He's handing our country to Vladimir Putin. It's unlikely that damage can be undone.

I apologise for misinterpreting, or at least mischaracterising you, McKinney. I took "structurally reforming the country", and "damaging the structure/s of the country", to be, in the way you seemed to be implying it, more or less synonymous. And Nigel, wj, I and others have given many examples of the damage to the diplomatic structures, the judicial and legal structures and other structures of the country. Not to mention the abstract structure which is composed of commonly understood and agreed norms and standards.

i assume the reason the Dems are so focused on big health care reform is that healthcare is always at the top of "what matters to voters" polls. while climate change barely registers. right now, Gallup shows climate change is polling between "family decline" and "lack of respect for one another" on the "most important" list.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/1675/most-important-problem.aspx

so, they're going where the voters are.

maybe if climate change polled higher, politicians would have to run on it. but any of the Dems would be much better on it than Trump. so, i don't mind so much that they're not leading with it.

that doesn't mean the Democrats don't have their own innumeracy issues

the current Dems' problem is that they put the estimates in writing instead of just promising "the best health care, super cheap. beautiful plans. the best." it's hard to criticize a thin vapor for not standing up to detailed inspection.

said it before: those detailed plans make Warren and Sanders look like they're running for Super Senator, not President.

The argument for a Green New Deal is that you need a strong safety net ( single payer) or people won’t make the sacrifices needed to solve the global warming problem. If the elites just impose sacrifices, it won’t work. Also, our current health care system is wildly inefficient and expensive and single payer would be better.

I fully expect Sanders to fail to bring it about if he gets in. Every Republican and the corporate Democrats will do everything they can to make him a failure. He will be a one termer and I am gearing up to hate every single person responsible. This is how I approach politics these days.

Fear and loathing aside, paragraph one is the short argument. There are much longer ones elsewhere.

Putin my ass. We are run by corrupt oligarchs in America— blaming our idiocies on evil furriners used to be something liberals ridiculed conservatives for doing, before we found it so rewarding. I only think this because Putin wants me to, so keep that in mind.

blaming our idiocies on evil furriners used to be something liberals ridiculed conservatives for doing, before we found it so rewarding.

It is entirely possible to think Putin is benefiting hugely from Trump without considering him responsible for our own idiocies. Even if, as I do, you think he worked hard to help Trump's campaign -- never expecting Trump to win, but sometimes you get lucky.

Most of us are probably related to some of those people.

Truly I am blessed in my relatives. The whole clan seems to be essentially what I consider marginally right of center. (My mom was the most liberal of the bunch. Mostly as a reaction to being on the local school board and having the John Birch Society go after her hammer and tongs.)

We can even talk politics at family dinners. We mostly don't, but not because there is any particular disagreement. As I say, blessed.

“both being policy positions which, if enacted, would be impossible as a practical matter to reverse”

Like prisons? Or the rumblings clueless-American-me has heard about privatization of the NHS?

I kinda feel like the US hasnt had a lot of trouble with the unpossible task of redistributing public sectors to private interests.

McK,

I think you vastly underestimate the damage Trump is doing.

The judiciary, your minimizations notwithstanding, is being filled with incompetents, Federalist cranks, and extreme right-wing partisans.

Other parts of the government are being purged of experts, who are replaced with industry stooges. See the changes to scientific staffs at EPA, Dept of Ag, etc.

Damaged alliances can be rebuilt, of course, but it takes time, and there is always the fear of a reversion to Trumpism on the part of the allies.

So no, it's not minor stuff.

Plus, to echo sapient above, there would be little talk of MFA if the GOP hadn't willfully sabotaged the ACA in so many ways. It's a decent system that needed some tuning, but the Republicans couldn't stand to hand Obama a success.

Putin my ass. We are run by corrupt oligarchs in America

Oligarchs know no country affiliation. Putin is the head of an oligarchical international crime mob. It's fine if you just hate "American" oligarchs. They're all bad, and they're all working together. But Putin has a lot of funding, having already looted Russia and some of Russia's surrounding countries.

Also, I find it somewhat hilarious that our Donald hates, just HATES, our CIA, but thinks Putin, KGB guy, is just so nothing burger. What's that all about?

And, jeez, McKinney. You're going on about Democrats when this exists? Hell's bells.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the country is significantly "structurally reformed" every couple of generations. Maybe more frequently than that.

The world I live in is not the world my old man lived in. Nor was his the world his old man lived in. Structural reforms occurred, somehow or other.

Things change. You either accommodate that, or it runs you over.

The whole health care reform thing was kicked off about 30 years ago, but some guy running for Congress (I think) in PA. I forget who. But that was when it started surfacing as an issue, this time around.

The reason it's an issue is because (a) we spend un-fucking-believable amounts of money on health care, (b) we have middling outcomes, and (c) a lot of people were going bankrupt.

There's a reason that health care is, in fact, something like 1/6 of the economy - a number that pretty much nobody else achieves, in spite of their horrible socialist health care systems. Lots of reasons, actually. Very few of them are driven by the dreaded public sector.

To be perfectly honest, I kind of think we're FUBAR. Something like 40% of the population as a whole looks at the state of the world, the state of the country, and thinks Donald J Trump is a really good idea.

I'm at a loss. I have no useful response to make to that. I shake my head and try to think of ways to make things slightly less shitty within the puny scope of what I can personally accomplish, and hope that the country wises the fuck up at some point.

Don't know what it will take for that to happen, just hope things aren't so broken at that point that nobody gives a shit and we devolve into some kind of real-life banana republic.

I think it could go either way.

Don't know what it will take for that to happen, just hope things aren't so broken at that point that nobody gives a shit and we devolve into some kind of real-life banana republic.

I think it could go either way.

Weird. I just remembered a flash from my young adulthood when I was talking to my father about the Central American war that was going on, and he told me that there were a lot of people in this country who really would be happy if our we were like Guatemala. He said that they were like what the South wanted to be during the Civil War. I really didn't get it - the Civil War? Wasn't that so long ago involving slavery and such?

Nothing has changed. The South during the Civil War wanted an oligarchy. The resistance to that won, then there was Reconstruction, then there was an oligarchy. Then there was a New Deal, but that gradually gave way to an oligarchy (I would say the Nixon to Reagan years solidified it). It was subtle, and the resistance to it was also subtle, so we didn't recognize it as the same old thing: Clinton and Obama were respites. But they've dug in, gone international and digital, and now we're here.

Of course, some will chime in here and talk about Democrats (modern Democrats - of course, the parties switched as we know) who are corporatist oligarchs, blah blah blah. And, yes, there are Democrats who are rich, etc. But that's different from the ones who want to enslave people.

The Confederacy (the ones who want us to be a banana republic): they're the Republicans now. They're blatant liars, corrupt oligarchs, evil f'ing people. We can live alongside rich people. These people want to eat our livers.

If they win, we're FUBAR, and I'm not optimistic.

Honestly, the only party that openly desires to enslave anyone is the Democrats.

Every policy is based on the government taking all the money and doling it out as they desire.

That's the closest thing to enslaving people any party gets.

I forgot, Marty - weren't you going on and on about your health care expenses? Now you're on Medicare? What a fraud.

“ Also, I find it somewhat hilarious that our Donald hates, just HATES, our CIA, but thinks Putin, KGB guy, is just so nothing burger. What's that all about?”

Rightwingers never understand this and in many ways you are so like a McCarthyite in your thinking. As an American I feel like our sins are what I should focus on first. Our sins are arguably larger than current day Russian sins. It depends on how one distributes blame for the deaths in various proxy wars.

I don’t like Putin, but this is the Cold War all over again. We are supposed to look at those evil demons overseas and blame them for everything that is wrong here. I am limiting my ranting time or I could go on for quite a while.

But.as always, it is an extremely useful distraction. We don’t have to examine ourselves or our party or our faction within our party or the country. No, it’s Putin. As it happens, Trump has actually done things like end arms control treaties which both Putin and I hate. ( We were talking about this just the other day. Notice, sapient, how I cleverly distract suspicion by making a joke of my Putin ties. You see right through it, Cassandra like, a prophet without honor. If only I left here permanently. Then you could just say outright that I am a Putin agent.)

The fact that we have had successive Administrations lying about Afghanistan would have mattered once. I will be pleasantly surprised if it will matter now. There would need to be some way one of the two parties could portray it as the fault of the other.

...(a) we spend un-fucking-believable amounts of money on health care, ...

There's a lot of perverse incentives for medical care costs to be high. For example, a hospital can bill $100,000 and settle with the insurance company for $13,000. The hospital then presents the "lost" to the government for compensation. The insurance company presents the "savings" to the employee insurance policyholder and requests the agreed-on fee for the savings.

Medical care doesn't have to be so expense. In the pass twenty years, Surgery Center of Oklahoma has not raised any and has lowered some of its fees.

Honestly, the only party that openly desires to enslave anyone is the Democrats.

fuck you.

We are supposed to look at those evil demons overseas and blame them for everything that is wrong here.

no, we're supposed to blame our ostensible allies, as usual.

“ no, we're supposed to blame our ostensible allies, as usual.”

For our faults we blame us. Trump is a product of Republican attitudes. Not the person that the leaders had in mind, but he is their baby, not Putin’s and they are currently stuck with him. Putin isn’t forcing them to side with Trump.

Democrats are responsible for these slimy triangulating hypocrites we have as our leaders, most of whom depend to a large extent on their donor base to tell them what they believe.

On foreign policy, we can blame ourselves and some of our allies, obviously. Nobody forces us to do stupid murderous things over and over again.

Democrats are responsible for these slimy triangulating hypocrites we have as our leaders, most of whom depend to a large extent on their donor base to tell them what they believe.

He's running!

Honestly, Donald is making me nostalgic. He just sounds so much like the radicals I heard in Berkeley in the late 1960s. Even to the phrasing. If it wasn't for the occasional mention of Putin and Afghanistan, I'd think I was in a time warp.

He just sounds so much like the radicals I heard in Berkeley in the late 1960s.

Makes me glad I'm a youngster [haha].

Honestly, the only party that openly desires to enslave anyone is the Democrats.

Really, man, what cleek said. If you rode in on a horse, that goes for the horse, too.

Donald, man, you made your point. Triangulating (D)'s suck. Do you know what the fucking alternative is?

Donald J Trump.

Every two years, I get to vote for a House Rep. Every four years, I get to vote for POTUS. Twice in every six years, I get to vote for a Senator.

Do you know who gets my vote?

Best available ham sandwich.

In the meantime, I do my best, within the scope of what is available to me as a basically puny insignificant person, to try to make the world a slightly less shitty place.

And when I get to vote, it's best available ham sandwich.

Quite often they suck. Some suck less than others. The ones that suck less than others, get my vote.

Politics is about power. Power, as a coin of the realm, is generally a corrupting fucked-up quantity. It takes profound, and I do mean truly profound, integrity and strength of character to hold power without it going to your head.

It's the freaking ring that binds them all. It will bring out your inner Gollum.

I don't expect virtue from governments. I assume corrupt behavior, and in the case of actors at the hegemonic scale of something like the United States, I assume acts of profound hubris and damage.

I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips. Right?

And we're better than most.

There are no pure nations. I don't think anybody here has any illusions about the compromises that characterize even the best of state actors.

Ham sandwich.

If you want to run, I might even vote for you. If you don't want to run, then I have to settle for the ham sandwich.

I accept my share of the resulting collective guilt as the price of living in a place that gestures in the direction of self-governance. On my head be it, and on all of ours.

We try to do our best, according to the light given to us.

Makes me glad I'm a youngster [haha].

Well, at least you avoided getting familiar with both varieties of tear gas: CS and CN.

How do we move forward from here?

That's what I want to know.

If we can't do it together, then we'll have to figure out how to do it separately. Whatever the hell that means.

How do we move forward from here?

Because, in all seriousness, I got nothing. I'm at a loss.

How do we move forward from here?

I don't know, but how much weirder can it get?

Well one of the things we know about Trump is that he consistently accuses othets of things that are true of himself. So perhaps, just perhaps, Trump used Steele to try to get dirt on his opponents' Russian connections.

Or maybe on those opposing his Trump Tower Moscow project. Either would account for why he was so upset about the Steele dossier -- he knew just how much Steele could, and would, find on him.

How do we move forward from here?

That's what I want to know.

I suppose that depends on who you mean by "we."

Marty has made it clear that he's more scared of us than he is of the skinheads.

McKinney is still mulling whether Sanders might be worse than Trump and acting as if the whole of the government would follow Sanders lead the way that the GOP has caved to King Lear Jet.

Romney and Collins and Sasse are still acting as if what's on offer with Trump is preferable to splitting the GOP to find a way back to something like bipartisanship.

Regime cleavage.

All we can do is choose the future that we believe in and fight for it as hard as we can because there is no cooperation waiting in the wings.

The right has been living in CS Lewis' hell for close on three decades. Take your pick which one. It's either The Last Battle and "The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs" or it's The Great Divorce and hell as a city with an ever emptying center.

Damnedest thing I've ever seen, and totally unexpected.

I suppose that depends on who you mean by "we."

Human beings who live in the United States.
Human beings who live on planet Earth.

Damnedest thing I've ever seen, and totally unexpected.

Don't know about unexpected, but otherwise yup.

Marty has made it clear that he's more scared of us than he is of the skinheads.

where 'us' is a myth created and sustained by the wingnut FUD complex.

where 'us' is a myth created and sustained by the wingnut FUD complex.

This is clearly true.

I'm scratching my head trying to understand how anyone could think that a party's desire to reform the country's hopelessly dysfunctional healthcare system is a reason not to vote for it.

The system before Obamacare was horribly expensive and badly failed to meet the basic requirement of providing a reasonable level of universal healthcare. It was crying out for reform.

The ACA is not a thing of beauty, but it was a start. There's no merit in a policy of simply trying to stop it working.

There are many healthcare models on offer in Europe. If the Republican Party picked one - Germany's for example - and the Democratic Party picked another, perhaps Sweden's, then you could have a useful debate about their relative merits.
But wanting to row back the poor system now to the worse system of 10 years ago is simply bizarre.

But wanting to row back the poor system now to the worse system of 10 years ago is simply bizarre.

a party whose only true principle is the reflexive rejection of liberalism is bound to end up taking some pretty bizarre positions.

Yes. People like Marty think it’s the closest thing to slavery.

Every policy is based on the government taking all the money and doling it out as they desire.

Sounds good to me. When do we get to start?

Wj, you need to get out more. Seriously, you live in some sort of bubble if you have to go back to your memories of the 60’s to hear people like me.

There actually needs to be a place where people with widely different views get together and argue. This ain’t it. It would need heavy moderation to keep the screaming under control.

And Russell, there are not alternatives in the voting booth, or not good ones anyway. Not yet. But people spend about one minute per year there, leaving about 500,000 other minutes some of which could be used to think about and say something about issues that the ham sandwiches are ignoring or making worse.

For example—

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/10/astonishing-moral-cowardice-sanders-and-khanna-denounce-738-billion-bipartisan

As for me running, sorry, but that’s evasive. It’s a weird way to reply.. Is everyone who thinks the two parties suck supposed to run for office? I have zero interest. Sorry, but that particular “ rebuttal” doesn’t work Tell me to do more real world activism and stop wasting time on the internet. That one would strike home.

OK Donald.

Do more real world activism and spend less time on the internet.

But when you do go spend your minute in the voting booth vote for the best available ham sandwich.

Vote for "the best result possible, not the best possible result."

I will, Bernard. And any future time when people want me to stfu so y’all can have your private discussions, feel free to remind me.

Incidentally, there are people running. Long shots, but sometimes an AOC will win.

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/473349-pelosi-gets-progressive-primary-challenger

Not storming out in a huff, btw. Wanted to be clear on that. I will keep lurking and occasionally posting links. That’s worthwhile, Imo. But arguing here is a time sink.

But when you do go spend your minute in the voting booth vote for the best available ham sandwich.

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." —(mis)attributed to Emma Goldman

Swalwell was pretty awesome yesterday:

https://twitter.com/funder/status/1204171753242669062

"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal."

hundreds of children separated from their families and caged in warehouses might disagree that voting changes nothing.

Swalwell gave a great interview outside of the hearing room at some point too, but I can't find a link. I admire him a lot and hope that he has a bright political future. Cabinet? (Wishful thinking, of course.)

If voting changed anything, the party hostile to democracy and to a majority of the country's citizens and residents would do everything in their power to suppress it.

Oh, hey....

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