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July 13, 2020

Comments

russell, the last thing you really want is to quit picking bits on style. It's the only place you were winning. The problem with the cancel culture discussion for the left is it weakens that advantage.

I'd argue with Marty if I knew what the hell he was talking about.

Ahh, so the Chomsky-Foucault debates? Here's the background on those
http://www.openculture.com/2019/06/michel-foucault-and-noam-chomsky-debate-human-nature-power-on-dutch-tv-1971.html

and here's Chomsky's statement on postmodernism that also discusses Foucault, which also has a similar reference to your reference to Hume.

http://bactra.org/chomsky-on-postmodernism.html

he debate they had was in the 70's and this article presents it in a more current light with a skeptical view of Foucault, though I think it may explain why I think Foucault is more correct than Chomsky in this historical moment.

https://areomagazine.com/2020/03/05/chomsky-vs-foucault-revisited/

I certainly understand that post-modernism is tough, and I think there are a number of reasons that it is so tough, which include that it arose from a French academic culture (Derrida, Foucault, Lyotard) but I think there are a lot of important observations, and one can draw a line from Nietzsche, who Mishra draws on for his analysis. Not easy stuff, and the complaint if it were really true, it should be in easier language is not something I agree with.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a good review
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/

And I personally think that Foucault is prescient in his Discipline and Punish. I think it is worth a look.

I don't know if I can write a post about all this, but with the end of term coming up, I may try.

If you can make it intelligible, I’d read it with enthusiasm.
Never could make out what they were on about.

russell, the last thing you really want is to quit picking bits on style. It's the only place you were winning.

with you, maybe.

everybody isn't all about tax cuts and "safety is overrated".

if "cancel culture" is what gets in the way, you weren't really on board in the first place. which is fine, different strokes. but seriously, just own it.

do you think anybody really believes that you, or anyone, gives a crap if James Bennet is no longer the editor at the NYT? or any of the other 'cancel culture victims'?

it's just another tribal pissing contest.

this country is going to drown in a sea of trivial horseshit.

"So much of the academic left is composed of people dressing up banalities in a lot of pretentious rhetoric."

Donald, if you never write another word here, that statement will serve as the summation.

I would tergiversate, but instead will agree completely, and besides I might hurt myself.

The pretentious language of the social sciences has always made my skin crawl. It is a source of a great dispiriting and befuddlement.

As Professor and Foremost Authority Irwin Corey asks: "I'm sorry, what was the question?"

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

Let him explain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFshZsux1-s

When in doubt, the Three Stooges were marvels of linguistic distraction when they knew nothing about the task at hand, which was all
the time:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jKefWjRd58

And why CAN'T life be like this?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTSmbMm7MDg

Never was so much political drivel produced as when the periodical Dissent merged with Commentary and they published Dysentery.

As a wag once asked Euclid: "Why was the hypotenuse so bad in bed?" To which the great one answered, "Because he could never find the right angle."

George Bernard Shaw said every profession is a conspiracy against the laity, and opaque, high-sounding, but impenetrable jargon is the moat the professions build around whatever their money maker happens to be.

Technical jargon is like a patent.

Which is why I never hire a plumber who calls himself in large lettering on the side of his van, "Doctor Plunger", or a roofer named "Professor Shingle".

And there is nothing more off-putting then when an interviewer asks a porn star: "How long have you been working in the industry?", like maybe she carries a lunch pail to work and is pursuing an advanced degree in technique of some kind.

Ask any lawyer about this stuff, but make sure you bring a Latin dictionary along with.

Our Founders were lawyers and the case in point is "e plulibus unum", and every few months since 1776 we have to have a parsing discussion about whether it means out of many, one, .. or ... all for one and one for all, or whatever, and meanwhile, during that distraction, Donald Trump waltzes off in broad daylight with the silver cutlery in the White House.

Over at the American Conservative, I've never heard so many know-it-alls use terms like "petty bourgeoisie", and the "vanguard of the proletariat" and accuse Black Lives Matter and Antifa of being Marxists, when I know not one of the conservative accusers nor the protesting accused have ever cracked open Das Kapital for a look-see, but all of them can mouth the cliches with exactly the same authority as I can mouth the Flintstones' theme jingle.

Every statement regarding the Constitution by one of these guys with a little copy of the document in his shirt pocket starts out with these words: "Nowhere in the Constitution does it say ..."

Somehow, when it gets around to saying what it does say, everyone stops and furrows their brow and takes a collection to hire at a hefty fee a constitutional lawyer who then goes into a lengthy and expensive process of throat clearing in a marble building with august pillars holding up the veranda, and even then the Judge, wearing no pants, issues a stay and we have to come back next year to hear something even more perplexing.

Even God, who is most likely Chico Marx, has his own exclusive, mysterious jargon in the Bible and the Koran and the vast Hindu and Buddhists texts that demands hiring a raft of consultants to get to the bottom of, and then when we finally think have reached bottom, a fragment of stone is found in some ancient rubble telling it's all too gnostic for us to comprehend.

I knew the world was headed down the chute when bartenders started referring to themselves as mixologists and had a certificate on the wall behind the bar where the photo of the young Angie Dickinson used to hang to prove it.

There is always the Simpsons or Shakespeare if you want it straight.

if I was going to give the (D)'s a piece of advice it would be to do the following:

point out to people how much the average household got from Trump's tax cut. compare that to how much the average household with income over, say, $200K got. or the average S-corp owner. or, you know, C-level executive.

ask people how much cash they could lay their hands on, on short notice. cash, not charge card.

ask people how confident they are that they will have a job in one year, or five years. ask them how many months they could get through with whatever they could scratch up.

ask people how much of that beautiful DJIA they own.

you are correct about one thing, rank and file America doesn't give a shit about social justice stuff.

it's the economy, stupid. it's always the economy, stupid.

"petty bourgeoisie"

FFS, it's "petit bourgeoisie".

Let's get our snotty elitist lingo correct, damn it!!

Here's all we need to know about cancel culture:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/fauci-says-he-and-his-family-have-been-assigned-security-detail-due-to-serious-threats

It starts with the f8cking President of the United States

Liberals nip at your heels and might get you to resign your job or fired.

Conservatives f8cking kill you and your family too.

Which is why I never hire a plumber who calls himself in large lettering on the side of his van, "Doctor Plunger", or a roofer named "Professor Shingle".

True story: When I was a kid, my grandmother, having been widowed for years, dated a mafioso who owned a roofing company, Ed's Roofing. (All widowed grandmothers do that where I come from.)

Their slogan was, "Don't be a goof! Let Ed fix your roof!"

(He gave me a promotional t-shirt, which I would have worn every damned day if it weren't for my "Gong Show Reject" t-shirt with the hand pointing to the person standing next to me or the "Polen Farms" t-shirt I got from my dad's pig-farmer friend, with a picture of a huge hog on it.)

the complaint if it were really true, it should be in easier language is not something I agree with.

for those who prefer the plain and simple facts of science to the turgid verbiage of academia, I invite you to explain string theory.

the ABC's are always easy. if you don't want to dig deeper, fine. some people do.

I invite you to explain string theory.

Hell, just try to explain general relativity theory or quantum mechanics.

I took thermal physics in college. This term from that class always got me. I would randomly bring it up in the wee hours with drunken friends, just to get a little weird.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcanonical_ensemble

Chiming in late. I have no problem with people talking about American culture, our subcultures, and how they do or don't get discriminated for and against.

But when someone starts talking about "whiteness" what I hear is someone applying a pejorative label to the parts of American culture that he or she personally dislikes. Whether it is characteristic primarily of members of one race, or is common across society generally, doesn't seem to be a factor. Any non-whites who subscribe to that characteristic simple get put down for selling out their race.

Technical jargon** mostly (admittedly not always) is a matter of having a label which helps specify a difference which matters when working in the field. Jargon in some other fields seems to serve, primarily, pretentiousness.

** Doesn't matter whether we're talking nuclear physics or automotive mechanics. It's a matter of needing to specify a part, a tool, or a procedure, without which what you're dealing with won't work.

I'd guess that older scientific (and other) terms don't bother people much because they're used to them. But you can imagine something that's now as pedestrian as "chromosome" sounding ridiculous to people when it was coined.

Maybe someday "intersectionality" won't bother bother people - not even McKinney's grandkids when their grown.

they're, dammit!!!

Jargon in some other fields seems to serve, primarily, pretentiousness.

I think jargon, in all fields, is mostly shorthand. It's way to boil a complex set of ideas, with an attendant history and backstory, into a phrase, so that every time you talk about it you don't have to unpack the whole mess and rehearse the backstory (again).

And yes, in all fields, it can be a way to distinguish the folks who are in the know, from the folks who are not.

And TBH, I find a lot of pretentiousness in technical jargon, also. Like, what the hell is a software ontologist?

All of this makes me think about the raging debates in the early centuries of Christianity.

homoiousios, or homoousios? filioque, or not?

As if a word was going to capture a mystery like the nature of god.

What is the actual thing that people are talking about, is my question. If the specific language that people are talking about gets in the way, maybe just ignore it.

Most of the language that people are objecting to here actually refer to pretty basic things. Who has power, who doesn't. How do people acquire and hold on to power, do they and how do they prevent others from having it. What does it mean to be free.

Maybe just focus on that and not sweat the annoying parts.

I'm nearly sure that "petty (sic) bourgeoisie was a direct quote from a piece at TAC just the other day, but I can't find it today.

I read everything.

Nietzsche is tough, but more along the lines that he uses revelatory poetic language than he does a philosophical jargon.

I tried reading Derrida once.

I went out and bought a couple of Graphic Guides (published by Introducing Books.com) last year, one on Postmodernism and one on Derrida.

Haven't gotten to them yet.

I've always thought Walker Percy's career trek was instructive for those attempting to express difficult concepts, from early on publishing fairly difficult papers on the nature of language and his existential complaints in obscure philosophical journals to later expanding on those views in really good, highly literate novels (still difficult but "getting at" something with metaphor), and then ending up publishing his "Lost In the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book" to introduce a wider readership to his musings.

If he had lived, we probably would have seen a Walker Percy reality show format illustrating extreme cases of existential alienation and distraction as he did his best to introduce the swine to his pearls by moving them closer to the front of their noses that they cant see either.

By the way, I've always thought lj has a knack for tweezing out legible meaning from difficult matters.

One of George Carlin's least favorites:

"Say it in your own words."

He'd ask, and I paraphrase, "So, everyone has their very OWN words, now? No words in common?"

Well, pretty much.

wj, I think as a general statement that it is true that the "softer" social sciences borrowed the idea of an exclusive technical jargon from the harder sciences that deal with concrete stuff. It's just that the naming of the moving parts is by definition mushier and more difficult to get a grasp on in the social sciences.

A doctor, a sawbones, can say let's replace the child's left kidney so the whole child can go forward fully operational on a schematic physical basis is easier to relate than say, in education, or child psychology, instructing us to address the needs of the "whole child".

The jargon is by its nature mushy and its specific relation to the referent hard to get at.

I just finished a collection of short stories by Guy Davenport, and about to start a collection of essays by the same, and the reader is challenged to know way more minutiae in myriad fields than he or she could possibly have at hand, but one of the pleasures of deep reading to going back and seeking out the knowledge, if you have the patience before going forward with the reading at hand, and then re-reading.

Davenport also makes up words, or at least one would need a Borgesian dictionary of "archaica" to follow up what he could possibly mean sometimes.

russell, I could not care less abou6 Bennet. I do care about the guy in Arizona who, in an impassioned political speech said the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat, immediately pointed out it wasnt literally, and was fired from his job the next day. That's cancel culture. Michael Richard had a more egregious incident, but cancelled.

These things happen all the time, I dont keep a list, but it exists, it is harmful and happens because millions of people can anonymously pile on and dont have to consider the consequence for another human being.

It isnt trivial, it is why I remain relatively anonymous, not kidding myself, as many of the things I have said here could effect my employability in MA. Needless to say I dont discuss politics at work or much of anyplace besides here.

In MA, I'm cancelled. In Florida I'm pretty cancelled too.

Cops are good at using unnecessary jargon. "We apprehended the adult male suspect fleeing at a high rate of speed from the vicinity of the double homicide" means "We caught the guy speeding from where the two murders happened."

I'm nearly sure that "petty (sic) bourgeoisie was a direct quote

No worries, that was just me amusing myself by being a dick. :)

Guy Davenport

Long ago I stumbled across his translations of Diogenes and Heraclitus. The former being hilariously caustic, and the latter being... obscure - it certainly seems like he's onto something, but what is it, exactly? Nonetheless, the meaning somehow seeps through, by some kind of osmosis.

"In a rich man's house, there is nowhere to spit but in his face" - Diogenes

"Time is a game played beautifully by children" - Heraclitus

Davenport was a man of parts, with a curious and perspicacious mind. Now I have to go find more of his work.

JDT, I know the social sciences are dealing with a "mushier" field. (I've got a couple of degrees in Anthropology to go with my engineering degrees.) But it doesn't have to use the amount of jargon that sociologists, especially ideologically motivation sociologists, seem to employ currently.

I think the easiest test for such things is, "Could I describe the same events with equal precision without all the gobbledygook?" If so, the jargon isn't really useful.

I do care about the guy in Arizona who, in an impassioned political speech said the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat

I believe you refer to Couy Griffin, founder of Cowboys for Trump and a county commissioner in NM, not AZ.

As far as I can tell, not fired. There were calls for him to resign.

Gee, why, in the current climate, would there be calls for a person holding office, and who made the statement "the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat" in a public speech, to resign?

I'm mostly anonymous here, too, for the same reason you are. Because, as McK noted way upthread, if you publicly identify yourself with a particular point of view, that can create problems for your employer and / or whoever hires you or buys stuff from you.

That is just the way life is. It's not "cancel culture", it's the reality of separating our personal lives from our professional ones.

And it's weird for you, or anyone, to complain about being "canceled" in the context of a blog post. Right? Because here you are, talking.

Being "anonymous" here to prevent your political views from affecting your business is no different than not wearing a MAGA hat to a business meeting. It's not something imposed on you, it's your choice, because making some big political point is likely less important to you than paying the rent.

Nobody's making you do it, it's your choice.

I do care about the guy in Arizona who, in an impassioned political speech said the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat, immediately pointed out it wasnt literally...

Unfortunately, it has become SOP to do that independent of whether it was indeed meant metaphorically or just done to avoid legal liability.
The alternative is of course 'it was/is just a joke'
I guess Henry II should just have added that after 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest'.
No idea about the context of the Arizonian example, so I will abstain from judgement whether to agree or disagree with the consequences met.

"We apprehended the adult male suspect fleeing at a high rate of speed from the vicinity of the double homicide" means "We caught the guy speeding from where the two murders happened."

Except that while "homocide" simply means someone is dead, "murder" is a specific legal crime. Distinct from, for example, "justifiable homocide" or "accidental death." It makes clear that "we're still working on figuring out exactly what happened."

Marty: ... millions of people can anonymously pile on and dont have to consider the consequence for another human being.

Also, one human being can say things that offend millions of anonymous people.

You might say "A million people merely feeling offended is less unjust than one human being losing a career" and you might be right. But I would ask you this: if one guy steals $1 from each of one million people, should he be punished for grand, grand larceny? Or not?

--TP

There are people who abuse social media to harass other people, sometimes to the point of causing them to lose their jobs, have to move, or otherwise have their lives turn into some version or other of hell.

Is that bad? Yes it is.
Should people do that? No they shouldn't.

Is this behavior particular to the left, or right, or middle, or any other point on the compass? No it is not.

It's people being jerks. Sometimes people are jerks. Life would be better if people weren't jerks.

Is there much more to say about it than that? Not as far as I can tell.

Next topic, please.

Many postmodernist academics are bad writers. Many deal in banalities. Many of those who deal in banalities are propped up in that by others who are under the sway of the pose.

Same happens in the sciences. Same happens in the social sciences. Lord help us all does it happen in business schools.

It's a product of careerism and a publish or perish model of tenure. Don't blame me, I'm an adjunct. I decided early on to focus on my teaching of undergrads rather than on writing for a small group of academics.

But that does not in any way mean that postmodernism is all smoke and mirrors and empty suits. Foucault and Derrida are hard, in large part, because they are complex and allusive writers in French, drawing on references that a small group of people know very well, but that many people know only through secondhand summary. And most people read them in translation. Ever tried to translate an allusion to Levinas wrapped in a Heideggerian framing that includes puns that only make sense in French? Good luck with that. And if you attempt to unpack all that linguistic play for a reader, you end up with a Pale Fire sort of document that is more footnote than text.

On this level, the comparison to religion makes sense, or at least to revealed religions focused around a central text. Those cultures, too, develop styles of communication that are densely allusive and require high levels of cultural literacy in order to understand the subtext and decipher the sender's information.

But on another level, the comparison to religion makes less sense for the postmodernists than it does for Chomsky. Postmodernism has its roots in Nietzsche's anarchism and is more at home with chaos theory than it is with Platonic ideals of justice being baked into the pie.

I find Chomsky as tiring as I do Žižek and most other Lacanians, but I always find it ironic when Noam accuses anyone else of moralizing.

TLDR: postmodernism is hard to read because its core is all about the metaphysical scaffolding and language upon which we organize and deploy our understanding of things like math and science. Some postmodernists may get the science wrong or push their arguments too far (Latour, Lyotard, Baudrillard) and others just do a shit job of reading and understanding the difficult texts at the core of the postmodern critique. But the core of the critique is based on a solid and consistent paradigm of how language and metaphysics permeate science and rationality.

Yeah what nous said. I think.

My own experience in chemistry is that at least for papers (less so for books) bad writing is actively encouraged. Some journals explicitly ban any use of personal first person pronouns and/or require exclusive use of the passive voice however awkward it makes the result. No 'we found that...' will be tolerated, only 'it was found that...'. And that's just one example.

Purely on the subject of jargon (and of course its distancing effect), and only because when I posted in the past the first of Henry Reed's Lessons of the War, the wonderful Naming of Parts, people liked it, this is the second poem, not as good but still not bad, also written in 1943, called Judging Distances. I particularly like "whatever you do don't call the bleeders sheep", which you can immediately hear in a cockney army instructor's voice.

II. JUDGING DISTANCES

Not only how far away, but the way that you say it
Is very important. Perhaps you may never get
The knack of judging a distance, but at least you know
How to report on a landscape: the central sector,
The right of the arc and that, which we had last Tuesday,
And at least you know

That maps are of time, not place, so far as the army
Happens to be concerned—the reason being,
Is one which need not delay us. Again, you know
There are three kinds of tree, three only, the fir and the poplar,
And those which have bushy tops to; and lastly
That things only seem to be things.

A barn is not called a barn, to put it more plainly,
Or a field in the distance, where sheep may be safely grazing.
You must never be over-sure. You must say, when reporting:
At five o'clock in the central sector is a dozen
Of what appear to be animals; whatever you do,
Don't call the bleeders sheep.

I am sure that's quite clear; and suppose, for the sake of example,
The one at the end, asleep, endeavors to tell us
What he sees over there to the west, and how far away,
After first having come to attention. There to the west,
On the fields of summer the sun and the shadows bestow
Vestments of purple and gold.

The still white dwellings are like a mirage in the heat,
And under the swaying elms a man and a woman
Lie gently together. Which is, perhaps, only to say
That there is a row of houses to the left of the arc,
And that under some poplars a pair of what appear to be humans
Appear to be loving.

Well that, for an answer, is what we rightly call
Moderately satisfactory only, the reason being,
Is that two things have been omitted, and those are very important.
The human beings, now: in what direction are they,
And how far away, would you say? And do not forget
There may be dead ground in between.

There may be dead ground in between; and I may not have got
The knack of judging a distance; I will only venture
A guess that perhaps between me and the apparent lovers,
(Who, incidentally, appear by now to have finished,)
At seven o'clock from the houses, is roughly a distance
Of about one year and a half.

Hartmut: agreed.

Passive voice is a big feature of science writing. Scientific authors fall back on it because it allows them to sound objective and authoritative and completely erase the scientists at the heart of the process. As a writing teacher, I have to strike the balance between trying to break my students of that passive voice habit if they ever hope to make clear arguments about cause and effect, and letting them know that they will need to employ it if they ever hope to publish in a scientific journal.

This intellectual drivel stuff....well, I'll know it when I see it.

Yeah what nous said. I think.

LOL

Cancel culture from early May in Ohio. Dr. Amy Acton resigned from her post as Ohio's director of public health in June.

Protesters have been a near-ubiquitous presence at Ohio’s Statehouse for the past couple of weeks. Some are armed with long rifles and refuse to stay 6 feet apart from each other and those passing by, as recommended by health experts. The groups have been small but spirited and peppered with signs professing support for President Donald Trump, the anti-vaccination movement and a conspiratorial, prejudiced distrust of Jewish people.

Acton is Jewish.

Also this:

Protesters returned to the Bexley neighborhood of Dr. Amy Acton for a third time, driving up and down the street with upside down American flags as well as protesting on foot in front of her house at about 3 p.m. May 8.

Katie Forbes, a freelance photographer, told the CJN Acton’s neighbors decorated Acton’s lawn with balloons the day before to show their appreciation for her work to protect the lives of Ohioans, and the display was descecrated by that afternoon. The balloon display originally read, “We love you.”

Forbes said there were about 20 protesters and about a dozen troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol as well as officers from the Bexley and Columbus police departments.

One car went through the neighborhood with white lettering that said, “Quit Acton Viruses Need a Host.”

Protests previously took place at Acton’s home on May 2 and May 4. At the May 2 protest, two men openly carried guns.

[My bold.]

Amy Acton and her husband have six children. I don't know how many of them are still at home.

"The prog left's cancel culture" -- another McKinney phantasm, a perfectly crafted hoop. Or is it hook? So many metaphors, so little time.

Also, I love that reporting: "small but spirited." Guns and anti-semitic messages are very spirited indeed.

too bad conservatives couldn't have been agitated about lying from public officials. in 2016.

A fascinating article on keeping business going during the pandemic.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/24/coronavirus-mask-mandate-ohio/

Money quote:

Protesters claimed the masking requirement trampled on their individual freedoms. The political nature of the anti-mask movement baffled Sullivan. “I am a free-market, small-government conservative,” he said. "This isn’t about some in-your-face constitutional issue. It’s about doing the right health protocols to mitigate the spread and to keep Ohio’s economy going.”

Delighted to see this.
https://www.justsecurity.org/71598/why-we-filed-a-complaint-with-the-dc-bar-against-attorney-general-william-barr/

Mere disbarrment is too good for him. But it definitely should be part of the package.

It is best to keep in mind who the real Leninists are.

Meanwhile:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/24/1963460/-Attorney-is-shoved-and-blocked-from-seeing-migrant-kids-held-by-ICE-at-a-Texas-hotel

I omitted the rest of this comment for fear the FBI and Homeland Security will show up and cancel me in this free for pigs only society.

Disgraceful fascist f*cking sh"t.

Nowhere in the Constitution.

More on how Sarah Death Panel was one of our most far-seeing, prescient subhuman futurist republicans.

Years ahead of her time, except for all the other times.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2020/07/24/now-you-have-your-fucking-death-panels/

When she blurted out "Abbott!" during her eye-rolling, out of body on camera seances in which she communicated with the subhuman republican future of America, she didn't mean Bu Abbott.

Murderers .. empaneled.

One problem with settling for a ham sandwich is they don't tend to organize death squads to kick off truth and no reconciliation.

None of these filth will ever be held personally responsible.

Bud.

The latest racist insane loudmouth, recently successful juking stocks, gets an audience with God:

https://www.mediamatters.org/donald-trump/barstools-dave-portnoy-used-his-interview-trump-complain-about-dr-anthony-fauci

Your are full of shit, America.

The rest of the world needs to join arms and cordon off our borders, shoot down any planes, sink any ships bearing diseased insane Americans across our borders.

If you spot Cuban agent Mario Rubio rowing to Cuba, let him pass.

F8ck him.

Fortunately for this cuck, Biden is empathetic:

https://www.mediamatters.org/black-lives-matter/ben-shapiro-declares-empathy-bad-politics

Shapiro gets anywhere near Fauci, I hope the former is carrying.

The 'Death Panels' in Texas were signed into law by Gov. Dubya, lo these many years ago, in order to kick out maybe-end-of-life patients that didn't have the ready benjamins to stay in the ICU. (Go ahead, look it up: it's the Futile Care law).

I guess they'd just roll 'em out the doors, and dump 'em out of the wheelchair, with a cheery 'now y'all take care, hear?'

From the barstools link:

The company that bought us, Penn National, are a gambling company, so sports gambling’s a big part of what we do. I switched to the stock market, actually, day trading. So Fauci’s on my ax list, because every time he talks and says the companies — the country should stay inside, my stocks tank. So I don’t like that aspect of it.

Penn National paid $450M for Barstool Sports.

Not enough for Portnoy. And if it takes people dying for him to make more with his day trading hobby, then fuck it, people can die.

I feel a personal obligation to try to extend the benefit of the doubt and not assume the worst of people. But lately I find myself struggling with the fact that some people just really do seem to be selfish entitled shits.

Maybe he's nice to his mom.

By the way, "you're", not "your are", a little upthread.

With grammar like that, you'd think I'd be full in on Trump.

Perhaps that kind of grammar is necessary, but not sufficient...?

Shorter Trump:

As in most most of American history, Republican or democratic, the latter until recently, the niggers are coming.

And your wives and daughters and gay sons might like it:

https://digbysblog.net/2020/07/making-the-suburbs-great-again/

The rankest sort of demagogic racism.

F*ck Republicans. But not that way.

Your might catch something.

Think about it though, republicans will come around to abortion, like they always *cking have for their white suburban daughters when the kid is interracial.


Shapiro, it should come as no surprise, misrepresents the social science about empathy, but he's always been a shit reader and thinker for the very reasons pointed out in those studies.

All he's really doing in that piece is conflating empathy with partisanship. They are not equivalent.

Try America in One Room on for size:

https://helena.org/projects/america-in-one-room

Empathy is not the problem. Propagandists like Shapiro are.

Dance for me, baby:

https://digbysblog.net/2020/07/making-america-great-again-2/

https://newrepublic.com/article/158584/donald-trump-devouring-country

TNR:

Presidents might be right or wrong, but they are at least supposed to try. But that is not where we are, because that is not the kind of president we have.

Nuff said.

(R) support for Trump has declined, but is still right around 80%.

We've had Nixon, then Reagan, then Poppy Bush who was basically "kinder gentler" Reagan, then W, then Trump.

I can't even bring myself to think about what comes next.

I know it's freaking horrifying that some random dude in NM was called on to resign after saying the only good (D) is a dead (D) (except not really, that was just rhetorical), but WTF is it gonna take for conservative people to give up the (R) party as a bad job?

You aren't the party of Lincoln anymore. Lincoln's dead, and if he was alive, you'd probably kill him.

The (R) part is not the party of fiscal responsibility. It's not the party of equality under law. It's not the party of anything good or constructive or useful in any American tradition I recognize.

Your guys big plan to win in 2020 is to keep people who won't for them from voting.

Time to abandon ship, y'all. Or not, and go down with it.

Your candidate for POTUS is Donald J Trump, criminal fraudster and general flaming asshole. And there's nothing you can do about it.

Whatever happens this year, where the hell do you think you go from here? Tom Cotton?

Cut it loose. Consider this an invitation.

then Trump.

I can't even bring myself to think about what comes next.

Seems like a great time to embrace a belief in reversion to the mean. Which said mean might irritate you enormously. But compared to Trump, a massive improvement. (And I, too, can't bear the idea of comtinuing the trend.)

Seems like a great time to embrace a belief in reversion to the mean.

I'll embrace it when I see it.

Which said mean might irritate you enormously.

I'm not sure what you think I'm about.

If you're offering Eisenhower, I'm fine with that. But what's the mean between Nixon and Trump? Or Reagan and Trump, for that matter?

W Bush?

Been there, done that. No thanks.

I don't mean to be unkind, but you all need to bring your game up.

Didn't Obama attempt a reversion to the mean?

Meanwhile, more Applebaum:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/trump-putting-show-portland/614521/

But even if the courts eventually force the troops in jungle camouflage off the streets, the president who sent them there—and who is now threatening to send similar troops to other cities—might not care. That’s because the purpose of these troops is not to bring peace to Portland. The purpose is to transmit a message. Americans should find this tactic familiar, because we’ve seen it before. When the Trump administration cruelly separated children from their families at the southern border, that was, among other things, a performance designed to show the public just how much the president dislikes immigrants from Mexico and Honduras. The attack on demonstrators in Portland is like that: a performance designed to show just how much Trump dislikes “liberal” Americans, “urban” Americans, “Democrat” Americans. To put it differently (and to echo my colleague Adam Serwer): The chaos in Portland is not an accident. The chaos is the point.

I just finished reading the chapter about the Kosovo War in Phillip Knightley's The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero and Myth-Maker from the Crimea to Kosovo and it is a scathing indictment of how thoroughly the US military has learned to manage and manipulate the media. This is just the next natural step.

Didn't Obama attempt a reversion to the mean?

And Bill Clinton before him.

"reversion to the mean" doesn't apply when you have a clear trend in the time sequence.

Russell's data points show an exponential increase in "horrible": each one beyond what one expects from a simple linear extrapolation.

R0>>1. Inject bleach and Lysol.

"You aren't the party of Lincoln anymore. Lincoln's dead, and if he was alive, you'd probably kill him."

John Wilkes Booth fathered the modern, anti-modernist Republican Party and he sired it under many names, Newt Gingrich being one among legions who reverted to meanness and cruelty to further the movement's objectives, including Robert Welch, Richard Vigurie, Paul Weyrich, the grifting Fallwell clan, Tim Lehaye, Ralph Reed, the De Vos family, and plenty of other opportunistic, self-enriching fake Christians, Grover Norquist, Pat Buchanan, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Cheney, Jude Wanniski, Arthur Laffer, every successive leader of the NRA .... add hundreds of names to that list.

And then decades later statues of the Confederate heroes and veterans of that awful war, and the destruction of Lincoln's rough-hewn plan for Reconstruction, were erected to peer down from their perches at us to make sure the oppressed were reminded daily of who REALLY won that war and was still running the show.*

Think of all of the "moderate", "reasonable" "open to compromise" republican politicians who have entered the expensive box seats in the theaters of their Party's primaries over the past number of years and emerged metaphorically feet first like Lincoln, outed and canceled as RINOs, and with bullet holes in their stovepipe hats, to be replaced by whackjob, crypto-Christian, John Birch goons who view the past 100 or more years of political history as so much anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-capitalist Reconstruction, on every level, to be eliminated, just as Andrew Johnson did the bidding of the traitorous Confederacy and vetoed the Freedman's Bureau.

Each generation of conservative republican upstarts is more Orc-ish than the last, so much so that the likes of Barry Goldwater (far right-wing conservative hero who took a look around at the filth that was penetrating his party and was promptly RINOed in retirement) Ronald Reagan and George W. seem kindly and comforting, almost comically and ham-handedly foolish now, even though their outward cheerfulness belied the inner ruthless reptile slithering toward the death of rational government.

Even Paul Ryan, the blue-eyed wonder with the deceptive, flirtatious Dagny Taggart grin, seems relatively harmless now, but all of them, perhaps unwittingly, laid the cornerstones upon which the current filth built their trumpean monument to "mean"ness and cruelty.

"reversion to the mean"

I take Donald Trump, and whatever comes after from the deep bench, deep state of meanness the Republican Party has put in place, as merely the natural fulfilled apotheosis of the American conservative movement's aspirations.

What Trump gifted to them was the will NOT to give a sh*t about norms, compromise, and and even fake civility. McConnell and the rest of them looked at that and thought, finally a motherf*cker who will dispense with the theater of civil kindness we've been putting on these last decades because "political correctness" and such-all bullsh*t, and roll over any civil opposition and force our program on this country and destroy not just the Left, but all opposition, even from what once was the moderate right.

Trump is their money maker. It took a sadist and a psychopath to get those tax cuts and make the country free for Covid-19 and now deregulated Salmonella and much else, and they f8cking know it.

There will be no going back, however. While I find the never-Trumpers useful to the restoration and return of the ham sandwich middle, if you look at these guys' history of "meanness" as political operatives for the Republican Party, thank you for lending your help in the advancement of ham sandwich politics, but now shut your mouths and sit down.

We know the type of "mean" the Republican Party will always revert to, because it worked.

*I'm not fully cancel culture on statues. Many of them should be decommissioned after legislative deliberation and Statues of Robert E. Lee, the General, for example can be placed in museums of "great" military leaders on the battlefield, along with, I don't know, Rommel, Yamamoto, Grant, MacArthur, Genghis Khan, Sammy Kahn, James Caan, and Madeline Kahn.

I get the anger, long in coming, because many of these statues should not have been erected in the first place and should have been removed by legislative deliberation long ago, but they weren't, so here we are. What did we expect? Another hundred years of patience and forbearance?

As to General Andrew Jackson, (and his successor, Martin Van Buren), his statue, except symbolically, has done no harm. Better that the Cherokee Nation had put battle hatchets and staves (they mostly used bows and arrows for hunting) into the back of the live item way back in the day so he could be rightly punished when it counted. I know Jackson was a product of his time and place and knew not what he was doing, since all the cool kids were doing it too, perhaps, but so were the Cherokee and THEY KNEW what Jackson was doing was immoral, murderous, racist, and ruthless, so they must have had higher moral IQs than the white men who did them in.

But THEY were the ones who had to move and die doing so.

What Trump gifted to them was the will NOT to give a sh*t about norms, compromise, and and even fake civility. McConnell and the rest of them looked at that and thought, finally a motherf*cker who will dispense with the theater of civil kindness we've been putting on these last decades because "political correctness" and such-all bullsh*t, and roll over any civil opposition and force our program on this country and destroy not just the Left, but all opposition, even from what once was the moderate right.

I have to say I think this is pretty much exactly right. And when liberated from "the theater of civil kindness" they (the GOP) experienced a huge burst of relieved, exultant exuberance, and really ran with it. And half the country, or at least the ones who wear the MAGA hats and the T-shirts reading "Fuck your feelings", got caught in the nimbus of the exuberance too. And as russell keeps saying, those people aren't going anywhere.

those people aren't going anywhere.

and neither am I.

the last 4 years have been an unending dumpster fire. the nation is a freaking shambles, and internationally is now something of a laughing stock.

you got your tax cuts, deregulation, and judges. and to get them, you've freaking gutted the nation.

nobody here seems to want to own up to supporting Trump, so I guess our conservative readership is somewhere in that tiny minority of (R)'s or (R)-leaning folks who aren't MAGAs. so I guess I'm not talking to you when I say this.

but I will never, ever, ever forget what a freaking calamity conservatives and the (R) party have foisted on this nation.

it's gonna take years and years and years to dig our way out of this mess. I'll probably be dead before it's done, if it's ever done.

you guys did this.

Which mess russell? Other than replacing the idiot in charge himself what mess do you think will take years to clean up? Immigration? Naw pretty much right where Obama left except for a few executive orders. Foreign relations? Any actual downside is repairable in the first 90 days of a new Presidency, that will undo some good things but it wont take "years". Economically, well recovering from the virus will take a few years,but that was true no matter what.

Not that I think no damage is done, but unless you're counting the judges as something that needs to be repaired, there is not much long term damage here. The House stymied his worst instincts, the courts have blocked some others and by and large what's been damaged is the Anerican ego.

As bad as W was (and I, for one, didn't vote for him) he was a saint compared to Trump.

I don't think we do anyone any good by ignoring just how far beyond and previous Republican president (or presidential candidate) Trump actually is. Certainly his fanboys have been around for a long time. But they were no more the whole story of the GOP than the Dixiecrats were of the Democrats back in the day. For all the the Dixiecrats were what gave the Democrats cintrol of Congress for so long.

I'm guesing (hoping?) that there's maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of Republicans who are actually true believers in his racist xenophobia. Unfortunately, there are a huge number who treat politics like sports: they're out there cheering for "their guy," without reference to anything about him or what he does. That's pretty appalling to everyone (like all of us) who pays attention to politics and thinks it matters what politicians do. Even when there isn't a major crisis in progress. But we're definitely a minority -- in both parties.

So yeah, as I said, you'd be seriously unhappy with what another Bush I or Reagan did. But I submit you'd take him in a heartbeat if the alternative was another Trump. Sure, you'd prefer that the GOP return to being the party of Eisenhower. So would I. But for the moment, I'll settle for a massive reject of Trump and all his works.

P.S. My pipedream for November is Trump losing Utah and Wyoming. Just because of what that would mean for the future direction of my party. And save me having to work to create a new center-right party from scratch. Which is the alternative.

Which mess russell? Other than replacing the idiot in charge himself what mess do you think will take years to clean up?

I'd say the biggest mess is staffing. Trump (and his appointees) have driven an enormous number of talented and experienced people out of government service. Rebuilding that expertise won't be quick or easy. Policies can be turned around relatively quickly. People, not so much.

Which mess russell?

Every community needs a Pangloss.

you'd be seriously unhappy with what another Bush I or Reagan did.

Correct.

But I submit you'd take him in a heartbeat if the alternative was another Trump.

Also correct.

FWIW, IMO Reagan was actually a very good POTUS - clear direction, pretty effective executive. The whole happy grandpa thing was kind of an act, IMO he was actually pretty sharp about the things that were important to him, at least until the mental deterioration set in. And I will always be happy to give him props for the nuclear weapons scale-down, that was well done.

I just basically profoundly disagree with his understanding of what the country is about. If I never have to hand out crappy stale old government cheese to crazy homeless people who were "de-institutionalized" and turned out on the street again, I'll be grateful.

W, different story. Everything I didn't like about Reagan, plus not really good at the job. Plus, you know, Cheney and the whole torture regime and Strangelovian world domination fetish.

Trump is just a nasty piece of work, all around. And 80% of (R)'s think he's great. Maybe you're right, and 1/2 to 2/3 of them are just pretending, but 80% say they think he's great. And if that's just people applauding "their guy", I'm not sure that's any better.

All else aside, THIS will bring absolute justified mayhem and violence:

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/25/895185355/as-concerns-about-voting-build-the-supreme-court-refuses-to-step-in

More than monuments will come crashing down when representation is stolen from us, and most probably stolen at the point of a gun as Trump and Barr deploy camo-ed troops to f*ck our franchise come election time.

Foreign relations? Any actual downside is repairable in the first 90 days of a new Presidency, that will undo some good things but it wont take "years".

Marty, I am breaking my self-denying ordinance to tell you that on this alone (about which I can speak with more authority than on the domestic US aftermath) you are very much mistaken. Unfortunately. America's 20th century allies have now had to truly get used to the idea (as a fact, not just a thought experiment) that America is no longer a reliable ally nor a trustworthy signatory to international treaties. A commonly understood attitude towards totalitarian dictatorships has crumbled, with what seems like the enthusiastic approval of a significant percentage of the American public, and to make things worse, as I have said before I am reliably informed by those seriously in the know that the damage to the specialist knowledge base in your diplomatic corps will take two or three generations to repair, if it can even be done. Your country has been terribly damaged, and as I say, that is even without considering the damage domestically.

Not to mention, I hardly dare ask what "good things" you think have been accomplished in foreign relations during the Trump presidency!

America's 20th century allies have now had to truly get used to the idea (as a fact, not just a thought experiment) that America is no longer a reliable ally nor a trustworthy signatory to international treaties.

And I think it's occurring to them that they might not actually need us.

Which is a realization that may not be to our advantage.

anonymous federal troops are plucking people off the streets of the US, without charges.

nothing to see here, Dems are just as bad. Obama was a tyrant!

I have a few conservative friends and relatives who I have tremendous respect for, who have shown courage and integrity during the Trump years. Most of them work for the federal government. They are sick at how badly gutted their departments are, how shabbily the people who had stewarded those departments through multiple administrations have been treated as they were thrown out or forced into retirement and replaced by incompetent partisan lobbyist hacks.

Those institutions will be decades in rebuilding, and the rebuilding process will be complicated and exploited at every turn by foreign rivals who favor a weak US.

The one potential silver lining in any of this is that this loss of ability to project US influence might force the US to be better and more collaborative allies, but I don't think that course of action is a given. Just as likely we are brought low by hubris.

I'll stop channeling Sophocles now and yield back my time for Thullen's antistrophe.

Those institutions will be decades in rebuilding, and the rebuilding process will be complicated and exploited at every turn by foreign rivals who favor a weak US.

Exactly right.

Those institutions will be decades in rebuilding

Like I said, the worst damage is people we've lost.

The question becomes what do you want to rebuild? All post wwii a d cold war diplomacy has been based on the projection of US military power in varying degrees throughout the "free" world.

This provided a reasonably stable economic environment for the west to flourish financially, both the US a d its "allies".

Allies is used loosely as dependence was really not a long term basis for alliance. Ultimately, as someone may have pointed out, the dependent western nations look up and find the imminent threat is something they can deal with, without the hegemon.

So they reasonably dont a totally live up to their end of the alliance while increasingly criticize the more powerful ally. Outside the UK this has been SOP since pre Bush 2. More and more the US was not supported by the "allies" in key negotiations, wars, treaties.

So, the foreign service staff becomes obsequious in trying to extend their sense of self importance, at least in terms of the time, by just executing the playbook that makes the US as indispensable as possible while giving away to the EU and China increasing economic power as the need for our military power wanes.

I could go on but the question remains, what do we want to rebuild? What role to we want to secure internationally? Will that really take 2 or 3 generations or just using the talent that is still available toward a more thoughtful foreign policy posture.

Will that really take 2 or 3 generations

The sense of the room appears to be "yes".

The rest of your argument here seems to be, yes, we FUBARed it, but we didn't want to be that important anyway.

If so, you'll probably get your wish.

All post wwii a d cold war diplomacy has been based on the projection of US military power in varying degrees throughout the "free" world.

The view that all of our diplomacy has been based on military power makes Trump's approach comprehensible.

Of course, in reality our post-WW II diplomacy has been based on trying (not always successfully) to persuade our allies to work with us to achieved agreed upon goals. Not coerced, agreed upon.

Achieving that kind of agreement requires knowing something about those other countries, and having people who are able to talk to the leaders of those countries and show them how our goals align. People who have left in disgust (or been fired for excessive competency).

So, the foreign service staff becomes obsequious in trying to extend their sense of self importance, at least in terms of the time, by just executing the playbook that makes the US as indispensable as possible while giving away to the EU and China increasing economic power as the need for our military power wanes.

I have mentioned before how extraordinary and insulting your view of the US diplomatic corps is, and that was before the incomprehensible accusation of obsequiousness (which is actually, now I think of it, a better description of Trump when dealing with foreign tyrants in defiance of his diplomats' advice). I told you in the past that they have taken an oath to uphold the constitution, put themselves in harm's way for their country, and died for their country. As far as I can see, the members of the current administration have only done the first, are foresworn at that, have no expertise to benefit their country, and have never risked anything whatsoever in their country's service.

Will that really take 2 or 3 generations or just using the talent that is still available toward a more thoughtful foreign policy posture

Yes, to the first part, and you are being optimistic (or perhaps just ignorant) in assuming there is much talent "still available", when I believe the top several (3 or 4) layers of experienced, specialist knowledge are already gone, and more going all the time.

As for while giving away to the EU and China increasing economic power, to anybody with eyes to see this was obviously destined to happen, about China anyway, and without anybody doing the "giving". I remember my father saying it to Chinese nationalists round the dinner table in Hong Kong in the 60s.

More and more the US was not supported by the "allies" in key negotiations, wars, treaties.

You have claimed this before, and been proven wrong. I see you now except the UK, but that's not adequate unless you give several ("more and more") proper examples. In their absence, this is just a Trumpian talking point.

The rest of your argument here seems to be, yes, we FUBARed it, but we didn't want to be that important anyway.

If so, you'll probably get your wish.

Yes.

More and more the US was not supported by the "allies" in key negotiations, wars, treaties.

Close. But the accurate version is:
More and more, since Trump, the US is not supported by the "allies" in key negotiations. It's not what happened in the past. But it's what's happening now.**

But why would they support us? Not only do our positions routinely make no sense -- in fact, are antithetical to the goals we (well Trump) simultaneously proclaim. But we not only don't discuss what we're considering doing, we don't even give them a heads-up. Although, to be fair, Trump frequently doesn't give his own people any warning about whatever stupidity he is going to go for next.

** Interestingly, the assertion fits right in with the Trumpian practice of denouncing others for things that they have not done . . . but he has.

Well 30 years before Trump I watched our IP being stolen by the Chinese, in 1998 I had a high level meeting with an Indian businessmanwho who unabashedly claimed that outsourcing was Indias way to steal the work, then the IP, then marginalize the US.

So if that tracks with anything Trump has said, he is right in that case. The EU has increasingly hedged its bets with both China and Russia over the las 30 years only to fall back on his when they prove unreliable partners.

I have a very high regard for ipndipviduals working in the foreign service, they just havent had much to work with since Reagan.

His = us

Problems at the State Department predate Trump by years. Of course, there's no problem Trump can't make worse.

"Over the last several decades, special envoy positions have proliferated for the simple reason that the State Department bureaucracy can suffocate policy implementation. Under normal circumstances, the State Department is slow and unwieldy. The bureaucracy is byzantine and beset by petty turf fights that undercut cooperation to a common cause. Nor does every issue conform neatly to preexisting bureaucracy. The fight against ISIS, for example, initially involved Syria and Iraq (two different State Department desks), and coalition affairs mandated interactions with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, among other countries."
State Department bureaucratic bloat undercuts Syria and Islamic State strategies


"Take, for instance, one of the central findings of the new report: under-qualified staff. This is a fixable problem, not a law of nature. The basic failure, as the State Department’s own reviews have highlighted, is that the diplomatic service doesn’t hire people with the skills it needs—and doesn’t teach, incentivize, or reward them for anything other than language proficiency. There is no system of midcareer education after the initiation course. The professional development model relies entirely on mentoring, yet half the diplomatic corps has less than ten years’ experience."
The State Department’s dysfunction predates Pompeo: Bad as he is, the Secretary of Swagger isn't entirely to blame for the crisis of American diplomacy.

damn those other countries, stepping all over our Anglo-American moment!!

Of course, there's no problem Trump can't make worse.

That's the point. Nobody says the State Department was perfect before, but there was real, deep expertise, which benefitted your country, and now most of it's gone.

The world trusts us ....pighsit:

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/07/republicans-blow-an-fbi-source-again/

We're pariahs.

International scoundrels.

We're Goldfinger.

"Well 30 years before Trump I watched our IP being stolen by the Chinese, in 1998 I had a high level meeting with an Indian businessman who who unabashedly claimed that outsourcing was Indias way to steal the work, then the IP, then marginalize the US."

You watched? Tell us more. Did you call the Ghost Busters?

Did she hit on you, too?

Larry Kudlow may have dated that Indian woman, merely for her capitalist Ayn Rand chops.

She probably writes for the National Review now.

Did she regale you with tales of the British Raj and how she learned everything she needed to know from them?

In Charles' second link above, this:

https://www.aei.org/op-eds/the-state-departments-dysfunction-predates-pompeo/

"In the longer-term, rather than having diplomats attend the National War College, there should be a Diplomacy College, providing an education of strategy, economics, and history so demanding that the military would clamor for places in it."

I agree. Good luck.

"The professional development model relies entirely on mentoring, yet half the diplomatic corps has less than ten years’ experience."

So, I guess we can put to rest to the raw bullsh8t peddled by conservatives all these decades about the entrenched, careerist federal bureaucracy attracted by the complacent difficult to fire policies and the gold-plated extras.

You'd think those long lunches alone lied about by pigf8ckers all these years would have been reason enough for more than half the staff, to stick it out.

There was turnover constantly between fed and private spheres the two times I worked for the Federal government, which I am proud of.

CharlesWT's linked article there signals bureaucracy as the problem, but the information that is linked to, there, points not to "deep state" style bureaucracy so much as to too much extra War on Terror apparatus tacked on to the top of a functioning foreign service.

And while they talk about Tillerson's anemic attempt at downsizing, what I have heard from the people I know who saw that in action, the downsizing was not in any way a careful pruning of the 9/11 overgrowth. It was more of an MBA downsizing mentality applied across the board without regard to how those things disrupted the day-to-day workings of severely understaffed offices abroad. And the people being cut were the ones with the most local knowledge and local trust.

I don't know what Marty remembers, but I'm old enough to remember that NATO invoked Article 5 right after 9/11 for the first and so far only time in its history. Maybe Marty still harbors a grudge against de Gaulle for withdrawing from NATO, although France has returned to full membership since then. Maybe he still resents that some US allies refused to support our misbegotten war in Vietnam or Dick and Dubya's Excellent Adventure in Iraq. Maybe Marty thinks He, Trump has a point when he claims some NATO allies are "playing us for suckers" by not spending enough on their militaries, although that would only make sense if their spending more on theirs meant we could spend less on ours -- and He, Trump (like most Republicans) loudly denounces any suggestion that the Pentagon budget is too big. I'm just guessing. Marty's generalities invite that sort of thing.

But enough about "defense". I wonder about Marty's Indian businessman and "outsourcing". Does Marty think US companies are coerced into outsourcing by foreigners, rather than tempted into it by their own greed? Is it foreigners who "steal the work" of American job consumers, or is it American "job creators" who do it? Is it possible to outsource "work" without transferring know-how to the cheap workers?

--TP

Defense budget is double what we need to defend us, just my estimate but it is also an employment and training program, maybe we could shift that money to the non war age someone mentioned above.

France votes against us regularly at the UN, has for decades.Since you brought up France.

I ll leave the business discussion alone, John made fun of my source a d Tony just popooed thr whole notion.

I'm old enough to remember that NATO invoked Article 5 right after 9/11 for the first and so far only time in its history.

Countries participating in the war in Afghanistan. I count 60, but I could be off by one or two.

Countries participating in the Iraq war. Looks like about three dozen.

China is trying to bootstrap itself into the 21st C. They are absolutely trying to get access to our IP, either as a quid pro quo for American countries doing business there, or by outright stealing it if they can.

That is, literally, how the US got our foothold in the Industrial Revolution. We stole it. There's no surprise there. In the early cold war, we got a big infusion of expertise in rocketry from the Nazis we defeated. All of that stuff is basically a given.

It's definitely worth asking critical questions about what we want our place in the world to be. It's definitely worth asking whether we really want to be spending many many multiples of any other country on the planet for our military.

The thing is, there is a difference between choosing a direction, and having a direction imposed on you because you have limited your options through your own stupidity and ham-handedness.

tl;dr

You can try to put some lipstick on this pig, but Trump has significantly diminished the standing of the US in the world.

As did W Bush.

That's not to our advantage.

It's definitely worth asking critical questions about what we want our place in the world to be. It's definitely worth asking whether we really want to be spending many many multiples of any other country on the planet for our military.

You can try to put some lipstick on this pig, but Trump has significantly diminished the standing of the US in the world.

A lot of our standing in the world had to do with (not necessarily in this order):

1) Reliable partner with allies.

2) A strong military (too much money, but whatever).

3) A reputation for reasonably non-corrupt government (not perfect, but in the scheme of things, quite good).

4) A State Department with experts, and consistent policies.

5) Goodwill among people who traveled and did business abroad.

This made us a "hegemon" which a lot of people [here] complained about constantly. The good news about being a hegemon is that power can be wielded in a positive way if that's the direction that the Executive wants to travel.

So, whether we're a "hegemon" after Trump, we don't really know. We're a nuclear power, so obviously can wield the scare tactics. But what else do we got?

To some of us, great not to be a "hegemon" and not be able to say a meaningful word about any horror story that goes on elsewhere. Right?
Weren't a lot of folks here advocating that?

Obviously, during the next [?] years, we'll have piles of whatever to clean up right here, as we always have [but who says that focussing here and ignoring other places is going to solve the problems here?].

Anyway, I hope we don't catch fire and incinerate, and that we can find a humane path and move forward in some kind of peace and love. Trump definitely set us back. Maybe we should consider what is going to get us to that path in the future. I thought Obama had us on the right track, but many here thought not.

If they aren't with us, they are against us.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/08/un-ceasefire-resolution-us-blocks-who

It is good we are losing our status as a hegemon, but bad that we are losing it through hubris and incompetence rather than giving it up because we found a better way to achieve the greater good. I do not think that we will deal well with the loss of status. I do not think we have been doing well with it for a while.

Obama was probably as good as could be expected under the circumstances, but that good was constrained by our long legacy of exploitative interventionist foreign policy. We were not the worst on that front by any means, but we were far from as good as we flattered ourselves to be, and Yemen was a black mark for his administration.

It is good we are losing our status as a hegemon, but bad that we are losing it through hubris and incompetence rather than giving it up because we found a better way to achieve the greater good.

In other words, too bad we don't live in Heaven.

It's good to have the power to work for good. When we lose power, we cede it to others. Maybe they will do better. Think so? I don't.

Also, some people here don't like me because they think that I have called for Democratic solidarity to the point that they don't think (under my prescription) they have a "voice".

Trump has reduced anyone's "voice" (internationally, especially) to f'ing zero.

@Tony Is it possible to outsource "work" without transferring know-how to the cheap workers?

In a word: No.

I work for a very small company which is currently developing some cutting edge network technology. That's "cutting edge" as in there are, at most, a dozen people world-wide who can follow the technical details, if we were willing to explain them. One of those being a kid in Morocco, who is doing some of the development for us.

Because he's super-bright (as well as inexpensive), he's going to end up knowing more about this stuff, and not just the specific things we're doing, than almost anyone on the planet. But even if he just learned the minimum needed to write the code, he'd still be among the world elite on the general subject. No way to avoid that.

Did we set out intending that? No, we just wanted some code written. But the more capable he shows himself to be, the more we have him do. Do I think he'll turn Morocco into a tech superpower? Nope. But he could form a core for a tech cluster. And that's not a bad thing.

If they aren't with us, they are against us.

lj, stupid as that one was, I think it's even stupider that we blocked another UN resolution solely because it said covid-19, and Trump insisted that it had to say "Wuhan virus." Well, that's what happens when the guy in charge lives the philosophy that image is everything, and reality irrelevant.

You had to have been living under a rock not to have seen that electing Trump was the day the U.S. pretty much handed China the 21st century.

Where the country will go even if we manage to get rid of him is the question of the moment. As for Marty's notion that we can easily undo the diplomatic damage within the first 90 days…welp, hate to pile on, but I don't think he gets just how damaging it was to put a psychopathic dolt in charge with a sycophantic Senate and an army corps' worth of flunkeys as enablers and accessories to stupidity. Thinking that we could keep on our perch while undermining how the perch got built to begin with was a catastrophic error of taking our position badly for granted.

What might yet undo us was less our foreign overreach and more our fetid, wretched provincialism.

This gives me some modicum of comfort, but we're dealing with an individual who gives not one sh*t:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/25/1963780/-Enough-With-The-What-If-Trump-Refuses-To-Leave-Office-Nonsense-OK?utm_campaign=trending

Of course, he still has the nuclear codes until Inauguration.

There are massive anti-Putin protests in Russia.

Somehow the prospect of two simultaneously cornered sociopaths is not promising.

Marty, I did make fun, but you have a way of dropping extraordinary news/claims without providing detail or cites and rarely any followup.

If you spotted a Martian in your backyard, OK.

But what happened then?

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