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July 17, 2020

Comments

So many fixes:

https://digbysblog.net/2020/08/3rd-party-shenanigans/

Still not nearly enough military grade weaponry in the hands of Americans, particularly in the hands of those who need it most:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/08/evictiontastic

Republican QAnon, of which these scum are a manifestation, must be hunted down, terminated, and deposited with the fishes running out of Osama bin Laden meat to feed on.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-most-absurd-trumpian-drama-ever-is-taking-place-at-of-all-places-usaid?ref=author

QAnon will kill more Americans than al Qaeda and ISIS combined.

We're pretty much into open thread sort of comments, right?

Yesterday I got hearing aids fitted. I have the top octave-and-a-half of music back. My wife can stand at the bottom of the stairs and ask a question in a reasonable voice, and I answer from my office because I heard and understood it. Not to mention that they're Bluetooth capable and paired with my phone, so I have a high quality headset for phone calls and "speakers" for streaming audio that are matched to my frequency-dependent hearing loss. Lithium ion induction charged batteries guaranteed forever. Billion-op per second DSP that's not just doing fancy filtering, but looking at the big picture and adjusting the filters.

Damn.

We are a deeply sick f*ck sociopath of a country:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/5/1966823/-Crawfish-Guestworkers-We-went-to-the-hospital-to-get-treated-for-COVID-19-our-employer-fired-us

https://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2020/08/04/colorado-state-university-athletes-say-administration-covering-up-coronavirus-health-threats/5572625002/

As a class of people, Americans aren't classy, are not exceptional, and need beatings all around.

The cops are beating up all the wrong people.

Who the f*ck do we think we are?

Yo!

Yeah, ovah heah, semites.

https://digbysblog.net/2020/08/yo-semites/

Michael Cain: wow! O brave new world, that has such gadgets in it...

Of course, it goes without saying that most of that technical detail was Greek to me, but it was the transformational aspect of your comment that impressed me!

I wonder if some of my reaction is like times past when doctors put off cataract surgery for patients until their vision was bad enough that the post-surgery results would be a drastic improvement. The aids' processing does create some distortions, and if I pay close attention I can notice some of those, but the overall improvement is dramatic.

It got me thinking this morning whether there would be a similar response if Biden wins. He and his administration may be regarded as better than they actually are simply by comparison to the Trump administration.

He and his administration may be regarded as better than they actually are simply by comparison to the Trump administration.

Quite possible. But then, they will have a big enough mess to clean up that accomplishing anything beyond that would be impressive. And I expect he will feel there is a lot to be done.

Michael, who is the vendor?

Still likely to lead to a land(back)slide in 2022.
Meanwhile, if Jabbabonk indeed goes through with his intended census adulteration, I hope the Dems will fight it up to SCOTUS (and Roberts will again be 'a traitor' in a 5:4 demanding to put it right before the data is used for allocation).

Yesterday I got hearing aids fitted.

I wore hearing aids from when I was 5 until I was about 8, when I lost them somewhere. My folks didn't replace them, mostly likely because they were tired of trying to make me wear them.

Then, I started wearing them again when I was about 50. It was life-changing.

Mine seem similar to yours, except not rechargeable. There's a little bit of digital glare in the very highest octaves, which drives me slightly nuts if I'm listening to acoustic piano. But then again, the very highest octaves are once again perceptible. So, on net, a solid win.

If you can't see, you get glasses. If you can't hear, you should look into hearing aids.

It makes a huge difference.

Today just became a very good day.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html

The chief executive of the National Rifle Association and several top lieutenants engaged in a decades-long pattern of fraud to raid the coffers of the powerful gun rights group for personal gain, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by the New York attorney general, draining $64 million from the nonprofit in just three years.

I suppose one might be glad that they were diverting funds to themselves, rather than using them for yet more lobbying and electioneering. But getting them nailed has to be a plus for the nation.

And if the NY AG does force them to send refunds to their members, it makes it harder for said members to ignore that they've been being conned. I mean, how can it be fake news if I just got this check in the mail?

Re: NRA destruction

As Yosemite Sam would say:

"Thar's *griftin's* in them thar rubes!"

(then fire some rounds from his six-shooters)

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/6/1967019/-Corrupt-Trump-plays-favorites-with-coronavirus-aid-to-states

Nuke and kill the Republican Party. Stab it in its eyes.

Invite the Chinese to invade both Texas and Florida and liquidate all republicans in those filthy federal dollar sucking climes.

https://digbysblog.net/2020/08/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-the-state-department/

Ditto.

They must be stopped with a tidal wave of their blood.

Re: NRA destruction

This can only mean that the libs are coming for yer guns and are going to destroy the 2nd A.

Some copy writes itself.

More on the NRA scandal.

"Whether or not the lawsuits' allegations are true, the suits, brought by Democratic officials against one of the most divisive advocacy organizations in the country, are guaranteed to ignite a political firestorm.

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that the NRA is planning to spend "tens of millions" in battleground states to reelect President Donald Trump. Jason Ouimet, the head of the NRA's lobbying arm, told the Free Beacon that the NRA has added more than 1,000 new dues-paying members per day since June.

There has been a record-breaking surge in gun sales over the past several months, driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis."
New York Attorney General Seeks To Dissolve NRA in Lawsuit Alleging Massive Fraud: The lawsuit accuses the group's leaders of fraudulently diverted millions of dollars to prop up their luxury lifestyles.

the suits, brought by Democratic officials against one of the most divisive advocacy organizations in the country, are guaranteed to ignite a political firestorm.

Because, of course, it's unthinkable that a government AG's office is simply doing its job, without political intent.** And, I suppose, it's equally unthinkable that a jury verdict at trail could be anything but partisan.

This kind of mindless bullsh*t gets really tedious. Just because the author is a partisan/ideological hack doesn't mean that everybody else must be.

** Like, if it was a partisan put-up job, why wasn't it done long since? It's not like the NRA is a new player on the scene.

Marty, these are by Phonak, model Audeo M50-R. Pretty much mid-range on price. There are much less expensive DSP-based hearing aids showing up in the market these days. It will be interesting to see if the discount brands can catch up to the premium outfits in software.

On russell's points... I'm certainly not going back. Whatever distortions the aids may be adding, it's preferable to what I had before. The comparison to glasses raises some social questions. These hearing aids cost a LOT more than my prescription reading glasses. Although non-FDA-approved personal amplification aids are also getting better according to Kaiser.

This society and economy will not go forward as presently constituted with self-dealing sociopaths:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/is-greed-holding-back-a-drug-that-could-treat-covid-19-patients-11596737727?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Regarding the NRA, if indeed those anti-American republicans conservatives stole $64 million from their dupe members, that's gotta be the largest heist from the most armed organization in world history.

That's like stealing from the Mafia, or the U.S. Army. Takes some brass balls, that.

I'd like to know what dumbass NRA members think all of those guns and ammo and Second Amendment solutions did to protect their wealth and their castles?

Protect your castle? How about La Pierre and filth stealing your money and buying their own castles with it.

Sounds like the tree of liberty watered your shoes with the piss of psychopaths. Right in front of yer blind eyes. And La Pierre didn't even have to wear camo because they steal from the willfully unseeing.

And not a shot fired. Y'all must have been pointing your popguns in the wrong direction, like Elmer Fudd.

Never shoot, and never, ever ask any questions now or later.

We're taking your weapons, dopes, because you prove you don't them and have no idea what dangers they should be used against.

Any blacks, hispanics, muslims, and immigrants hated by the NRA elites and their dupes among the accused, I wonder?

They scared the pants off you twits about the imaginary enemies coming to get yer daughters and yer hubcaps and yer jobs and then they kept your pants AND your wallet, and ran the pants up a flagpole so you could salute your bullshit flag.

Your castles were cased, alright ... by white republican conservative traitors.

We need many MORE guns in this country to execute the true EVIL.

Right wing judges infesting our courts will overturn any judgement and punishment against these scum.

There is no America.

There is only the autopsy, performed by a quack dupe.

Nowhere in the Constitution.

Because, of course, it's unthinkable that a government AG's office is simply doing its job, without political intent.

Letitia James campaigned on a promise of going after the NRA if she were elected. That seems to make it a bit political. "Elect me and I'll tear down that organization you hate so much."

Just because the author is a partisan/ideological hack...

Seems like the author is just making an observation.

There has been a record-breaking surge in gun sales over the past several months, driven by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis."

clinging to them, to mollify their self-inflicted fear.

"Elect me and I'll tear down that organization you hate so much."

Is that a direct quote? Is it even a quote from her mouth?

Was it political that the government prosecutors took on the Mafia?

Was it political that government prosecutors went after the KKK?

Was it political that government prosecutors went after Bernie Madoff?

Was it political when government prosecutors went after the Enron thieves?

Will it be political when government prosecutors prosecute, try, and execute Trump and his entire crew?

Of course it was and is, and more political power to the prosecutors.

Both sides do it. It's time one side does it good and hard and eternally to the corrupt other side in power at the moment.

"Letitia James campaigned on a promise of going after the NRA if she were elected."

Whaddya know? A politician who keeps her promises.

If she hadn't, you'd say she was just being political during her campaign.

Even if there is not one shred of truth to the charges against the NRA elite luminaries, that they fall hard and forever is in the national interest.

They have distributed arms and ammo to the entire criminal element in the country who kill their fellow Americans.

They have distributed arms and ammo to criminal elements, all fucking conservative/libertarian, who make it necessary that Dr. Fauci be escorted to and fro and at his home by armed law enforcement.

And now they are going after his grown children and their children.

When everyone has guns, criminals will have even more guns.

An armed society is a rude fucking American society.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/two-decades-of-pandemic-war-games-failed-to-account-for-donald-trump/

The link speaks for itself.

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/facebook-removes-troll-farm-posing-african-american-support-donald-trump-n1236056

This one’s for russell, given the Epoch Times connection.

Can you imagine an American Conservative/libertarian leper colony with Doctor Trump in attendance during the most infectious stages of the disease?

Quarantine, schmorantine.

First, kids, make sure your concealed carry holsters are not rubbing against your sores, my pretties.

Tomorrow's outing, freedom lovers, will start with a stop at the local junior high school so all of you can participate in career advice day in the classrooms with the students, perhaps one on one if need be. Afterwards, lunch in the food court at the mall, followed by a swim at the local public pool ... remember, now, to dip your feet in the antiseptic puddle while leaving the dressing room and before going off the high dive, oh, the biggest splash garners the prize, and a very special treat for you deprived hopeless romantics in the evening ... we'll head to the edge of town and visit the Check Your Scabs At the Door Kitty Ranch and Strip Club.

It's Cop A Feel Night! Lap dances in the bodega out back. Bring plenty of ones for those happy endings, you fiscally conservative cheapskates!

Letitia James campaigned on a promise of going after the NRA if she were elected.

Nice to see an elected official deliver on what they promise.

This one’s for russell, given the Epoch Times connection.

those crazy bastards simply will not leave me alone.

That's like stealing from the Mafia, or the U.S. Army. Takes some brass balls, that.

Not really. Just takes knowing that your membership is a bunch of fools. Which, since they've been buying this long con (and there's really no other way to describe the NRA) for decades, it obviously is.

The NRA is not a grassroots organization with a huge membership. A lot of those member numbers are one-year memberships purchased for the person by the dealer at the time of purchase and never renewed. A bunch of the rest are lifetime memberships, which may or may not belong to active and supportive members.

I don't think for a moment that any of the gun-drug dealers whose main drug is the myth of redemptive gun violence care one bit about $64 mil embezzled, given the massively swollen market that the NRA has delivered to them with their racialized paranoia marketing schtick.

Of course a whole lot of those recent sales are to African-American buyers, so those gratuitous NRA memberships may start to look a bit scary to them in the very near future when that fantasy of theirs gets flipped.

I don't think for a moment that any of the gun-drug dealers whose main drug is the myth of redemptive gun violence care one bit about $64 mil embezzled

Completely agree. For the gun manufacturers and dealers, for whom the NRA is just a great marketing tool, the response is likely "cheap at thrice the price!"

But note the DA's intention to return money to members who, she says, were defrauded. At least in principle, some of those funds were their money.

Via Hullabaloo, read:

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/covid-19-end-of-american-era-wade-davis-1038206/

The Party of Death will not receive a decent burial:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/08/the-party-of-death

This is how what isn't outright stolen is doomed:

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2020/08/why-did-world-war-ii-end-2/

This is the link that should have been attached with that 12:09 comment:

https://abc7chicago.com/kanye-west-republicans-trump-2020/6359322/

But, if Trump is re-elected I expect nuclear war with China.

Best piece I have read about the complexities of COVID:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/08/covid-19-immunity-is-the-pandemics-central-mystery/614956/

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/6/1967309/-Ted-Cruz-lies-outrageously-at-Senate-hearing-blames-far-right-terror-on-antifa

When will he burst into flames so we can refuse to put him out with raw sewage?

He's an animal, a bug.

America will not go forward with his millions of ilk having signs of life.

Good Atlantic piece, nous, thanks.

the factual reality that right-wing extremists have committed about 10 times as many acts of domestic terrorism in the United States in the past three years (49 incidents to 5) with a concomitant difference in lethality (144 people killed to 4)

This is the statistic, from JDT's link, which needs to be borne in mind and repeated continually.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2020/08/07/glacier-collapse/#45a4f8a827f6

This has Chinese hoax written all over it.

Ice is just a figment of the dumbass conservative imagination.

Think of the fury rising around the entire globe regarding what the worldwide conservative movement, working in tandem in all of its guises, regardless of economic system or cultural grounding, has subjected us to so far.

Think then of the savage fury, especially among heavily-armed populations like America's the pitiful, 15 or 20 years ahead when global climate change dwarfs all of the other issues these murderous fuckers have refused to allow us to address via the instruments of what was once representative government.

Because it's too late now. Even the time for redemption has run out.

If I were them, I'd start swimming for it now, because if they set foot on what's left of my terra firma, they will be looking at guns in their faces, and when the time rolls around and I have anything to do with it, FEMA and Homeland Security will be purely brutal paramilitary forces to mete out blame and justice to the deserving who are deliberately and with righteous malice doing this to us.

I can be a law and order conservative too.

Biden needs to hurt the fake, malign God of radical republican conservatism.

Badly.

The world is turning into a different place. What it's gonna look like on the other side of all of this BS is kind of a jump-ball.

The way we live now - across many dimensions - is not sustainable. Therefore, the way we live is going to change.

Not a damned thing anyone can do about it. About the "it's gonna change" part, that is. Everybody and anybody can do lots of things to make it suck less. Do those things.

Stay adaptable, everybody! It's either that, or get run over.

An armed society is .... somehow one that allows ratfucking, sadistic villains like this to govern:

https://digbysblog.net/2020/08/the-worst-person-in-the-world/

We need ten times as many semi-automatic and automatic weapons in the country in hands willing to kill evil.

It's a worldwide criminal enterprise.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a33546879/trump-scotland-open-championship-cash/

After we try him for his traitorous crimes here, and issue a sentence of death, extradite him to Scotland and let them get a piece of him, as long as he shipped back here for his final savage and very public fate.

Trump really is the epitome of the American dream: even the dumbest thug among us can pull himself up by our bootstraps and proceed to rip off and fuck all of us over.

It's the American way.

It's murderous psychopaths all the way down:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/7/1967365/-After-COVID-hospitalization-Kansas-Republican-went-to-meeting-with-governor-did-not-disclose

And yet all of those NRA weapons in Kansas are silent as murder stalks their citizens.

Milller:

He appeared to study De Niro’s gestures—the loose hands, the fingertips-on-fingertips, the head tics—and incorporate them into his persona.

A sad little Fredo.

COVID relief talks scuttled and Th'Rump planning to try to podge something out of executive power and paint the Dems as the cause of the pain.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/07/donald-trump-covid-19-unemployment-talks

Historically, this looks like Hoover's half-measures in the face of the Great Depression, but there seems to be a disturbing number of the Emperor's loyal subjects who are still insisting on the sartorial splendor of the Orange Nudist, so who knows how this plays out?

Hoover, for all his faults and lack of understanding of the historical moment, was head and shoulders above Trump by any measure.

Anyone without malign intent would be head and shoulders above Trump.

Hoover, it should be noted, was responsible (when not President) for things like the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the American Relief Administration after World War I. As Secretary of Commerce, he organized Federal relief efforts after the Mississippi Flood of 1927. Not to mention, in the early 1950s, leading the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government (the Hoover Commission), which drastically revised, and vastly improved, the way the Federal government was organized and run. (He and Carter are the only serious candidates for being our best ex-President.)

It is impossible to imagine Trump doing any of those things. It is impossible to imagine any US President, even one of the current Republican politicians who might someday become President, even considering appointing him to do so. Even Kushner would be a better choice, and that's a damn low bar.

In fairness, macroeconomics barely existed back in 1929, and its implications were not understood (or believed!) until much later.

Including in 2008. And 2020.

..., which drastically revised, and vastly improved, the way the Federal government was organized and run.

We're way overdue for another one.

We're way overdue for another one.

Unfortunately, it would require both parties being interested in improvement -- because the commission's work is going to be a multi-year project. (Which, I agree, is sorely needed. Although a Commission on Organization of the Legislative Branch of the Government might be more urgent.)

But that's something we don't have. Nor any real prospect of. McConnell losing his Senate seat would be a big step in the right direction. Sadly, that looks like an outside shot at best. For all that a lot of his constituents are being horribly hurt by his refusal to address the need for a second relief bill.

Subversion, foreign and domestic.

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/stacey-abrams-on-census-freeze-this-is-more-nefarious-than-people-realize-89687621827

All norms dead.

Institutions hollowed out of their missions, even the expressly constitutional ones.

What do think is coming next right at you, conservatives?

It won't be your fucking mail.

You can't think what because there is no precedent for it.

The first Civil War was a warm-up exercise.

There is no middle ground left.

The conservative movement, that malign evil, retreated from it and burned it to the ground on in its ill-advised wake.

The smoking abyss that has taken its place can only be traversed by bullets.

Your country is hereby ungovernable at any fucking level. And any attempt by you scum to impose governance of any kind is the signing your death warrants.

Those not counted now will count YOU later.

And you and your children will NOT like it.

Distancing yourself from a failing party is an easy hedge when your position is either completely secure or increasingly desperate. But if Republicans are serious about reckoning with their futures, they must start by asking themselves: “Where is my red line? At what point would I say, ‘This is just too much’?”

If it wasn’t seeing kids in cages or seeking bribes from a foreign government, was it the repeated suggestion that the coronavirus would take care of itself? If it wasn’t Trump’s defense of white nationalists in Charlottesville, was it when he suggested we postpone the election in a tweet?

From an opinion piece in today's WaPo headlined I was a Republican, and I drew my red line too late. I’ll answer for my choices for years to come.

I suppose there is certain (limited) satisfaction in seeing Republicans (or in the case of McKinney conservatives) issuing mea culpas, or at least admissions that they were wrong, but what I really want to know is why are so fucking few of them doing it? An extremely knowledgeable, well-connected American asked me the other day "McConnell??? What possible explanation is there for it??? After all, he is not a half-wit."

I blush to admit that I haven't read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but a question for anyone who has: is there a phenomenon like a tipping point, where an empire is on the slide and then suddenly reaches a point where it becomes unstoppable, and people who might have been presumed to have the brains and motivation to correct it give up and just go for the money (or whatever else is on offer)?

You have to be impressed by the guy's fierce determination to sicken, and kill off, his supporters. Although calling a presidential press conference a "peaceful protest" (his excuse for ignoring New Jersey's covid-19 restrictions) is a bit over the top, even for him.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-news-conference-bedminster/2020/08/08/343a0f86-d97c-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html

Presumably his supporters there figure they are rich enough that they can get total medical care even if the hospitals are overwhelmed and turning away members of the hoi palloi.

I haven't read Gibbon but I think there was no single tipping point but a continous process that could have been retarded or accelerated significantly over centuries. It got temporarily reversed several times by capable rulers and there was imo no single ruler that made the decline irreversible. There were far too many factors in play and some of them existed even before Rome reached the peak of her power.

...is there a phenomenon like a tipping point, where an empire is on the slide and then suddenly reaches a point where it becomes unstoppable, and people who might have been presumed to have the brains and motivation to correct it give up and just go for the money (or whatever else is on offer)?

A variety of formal methods for dynamic systems have been proposed/used to describe tipping points. Hysteresis in electronics is a simple example. Cascading failures in sand piles are fun: given a small pile of sand on your desk and you drop individual grains onto the top, why do some grains simply "stick" and some grains cause a whole side of the pile to collapse? Unlike Thullen, who wants a shooting civil war, I'm inclined to think that people will gradually get comfortable talking about a partition of the US into two or more groups of "compatible" states that eventually leads to a tipping point where such a partition becomes inevitable. Who knows what the trigger might be (I think energy policy in response to climate change, but that's just me)?

Presumably his supporters there figure they are rich enough that they can get total medical care even if the hospitals are overwhelmed and turning away members of the hoi palloi.

Someone should remind them that Herman Cain's money didn't save him.

The wealthy are often the first adopters of goods and services that become useful and wanted by the larger society. Perhaps these people will be ginny pigs, ah, first adopters of new medical treatments the rest of us can benefit from.

The Tom Holland without the spidey senses, on Gibbon and America:

https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/08/06/america-is-not-rome-it-just-thinks-it-is/

This is why, perhaps, faced by the rampant egotism and swagger of a showman like Trump, his opponents can often seem less alarmed by his policies than by his style. Nostalgia for a more dignified and marmoreal style of politics, one that might indeed seem descended from the age of the Founding Fathers, has been a constant among critics, Democrats as well as Republicans. Nowhere was this more evident than at the funeral of John McCain, whose record of heroism as a soldier and of patriotism as a senator Cincinnatus might well have admired.

Michael Cain, I prefer your eventual scenario to Thullen's, if those are the only two on offer, which they might be.

Hartmut, I had supposed that to be the case, but thanks for confirming. In theory, I know that all empires rise and then fall, so at (certain, more emotionally detached) times I am reconciled to the fall of the American one. But when I think of what is likely to replace it, I find it harder to be be so detached.

Want? No.

Predicts. Warns.

The right wing will start the violence. They tell us this. Every one of their pronouncements ends with "or else".

Why else the arming of America?

Each election is a ratcheting up by them toward that "or else" end.

What they receive in return will be deserved punishment on THEIR violent terms, and we're not talking Antifa's pathetic storefront vandalism and senseless, nihilistic anarchy.

In retrospect, Civil War will still not be desired, but viewed as inevitable.

You sabotage the Post Office and the U.S. Census and the Courts, and you have deliberately placed us in a position of running hot metal against hot metal without the usual normative lubrication of institutions.

By the way, Dreher and others at The American Conservative have been speculating ominously about a coming Civil War as well.

Dreher particularly seems to believe transitioning men and women and the rest of the LGBT community and BLM and Joe Biden the Marxist! are coming for them, Dreher's brand of Christianity always requiring that THEY get to play the martyrs and they may be the only ones who can do the canceling.

I've yet to see any gay men, lesbians, or transitioning Americans wielding an AR-15.

I haven't read Gibbon. It sits ponderously on the shelf.

But I am re-reading William Shirer's "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and some of the parallels with Trump and his brownshirts are striking, although Trump does not measure up to Hitler's crazed perverted genius and discipline and vision, long expressed pointedly and clearly, and why it was not stopped by a bullet to Hitler's brain between 1923 and 1939 is difficult to fathom, except that Hitler's racial vision for Germany was the apotheosis of German history and the German people's opinion of themselves going back a long time.

Trump is more unpredictable and thus dangerous in a different aspect. He is an apotheosis of the long simmering racial (all of the Others) vision of a certain segment of the conservative movement in America, which we thought had been relegated to the fringes, but instead was beavering away ruthlessly and with great discipline below the surface until this asshole gave them the Will and the position to do their worst.


I'm inclined to think that people will gradually get comfortable talking about a partition of the US into two or more groups of "compatible" states that eventually leads to a tipping point where such a partition becomes inevitable.

There is the detail that we don't actually have entire states which are compatible. What we have is parts of states. For example, the rural parts of Washington and Georgia are far more similar to each other than either of them are to either Seattle or Atlanta. What it comes down to is, there isn't a neat way to partition the country. And that's before the other detail that lots of people move around all the time.

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2020/08/08/the-president-announced-hes-signing-an-executive-order-to-cover-pre-existing-conditions-if-you-think-its-a-joke-youve-missed-the-point/

What we have is parts of states.

Indeed. Which is why I think the issues have to be something that have regional concerns, not the urban/rural divide everyone is arguing about today. Things where the rural parts of Washington are more aligned with Seattle than they are with rural Georgia. Water. Fire. Energy. For example, Wyoming is slowly figuring out that the customers to their west who used to buy lots of coal-fired electricity simply aren't going to buy it any more. But those same customers will buy lots of wind power, which Wyoming has in abundance.

Which is why I think the issues have to be something that have regional concerns, not the urban/rural divide everyone is arguing about today. Things where the rural parts of Washington are more aligned with Seattle than they are with rural Georgia. Water. Fire. Energy.

Except that those things are not what is driving fissions in our society. And, in many cases, are already adequately handled by regional groups -- e.g. regional energy agreements. The divisions in our society are not actually rural/urban. But they follow those geographical splits more closely than any other. Without addressing those divisions, nobody is going to go for regional splitting up of the country. (I don't actually think we will see Thullen's civil war either. But splitting up the country seems almost as unlikely.)

I dare say that just about nobody currently alive has read the entire (22? 23? large volumes) Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

The condensed, abridged Penguin single volume? Yeah.

IMO, the collapse was baked into the cake around 100BC, when Rome shifted to a system of "whoever wins this round of civil war gets to be the big cheese". At that point, the dice were loaded in favor of stupid destructive a-holes running things, and a run of bad luck resulting in collapse was inevitable.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/7/1967582/-Friday-Night-Massacre-at-USPS-Trump-ally-completely-restructures-gets-rid-of-23-execs

Looks like city/county states might be the coming thing. Rural populations are likely to continue to decline for political and economic reasons. The amount of land used for agriculture is declining. Agriculture automation is reducing the number of jobs in rural areas. High state-wide minimum wages will likely push people out of rural areas into cities.

"High state-wide minimum wages will likely push people out of rural areas into cities."

More likely, pull.

Low rural wages are doing the pushing out.

However, the housing industry is counting on much more rural housing development as the work-for-home pandemic becomes permanent.

Zuckerberg has already put his employees on notice that if they intend to remain working at home and especially if they move out of the cities, they will be paid less.

Of course, they will still be earning much more than their rural counterparts, which will drive up property prices and competing those townies out of mortgage and home affordability.

And natch, the newly arrived upper middle class won't like it when in return the townies start demanding higher wages as well.

Then, there will be those closed post offices.

via Hullabaloo:

" We're not polarized. One party is a pluralist center-to-left coalition whose ideas are broadly popular, based in scientific consensus; the other is reality-denying, near an authoritarian cult w waning minority support, hanging onto power through cheating and and panic-mongering. https://t.co/BujReaPdrr
— Rick Perlstein (@rickperlstein) August 8, 2020"

Hitler's cult was waning just before he was released from prison in 1924.

Wj, keep in mind my schedule for when this could happen. Thullen is ready to start shooting this evening. Nine years or so ago when I made my initial prediction, I said between 30 and 50 years. Nine years on, I would still be very surprised if it were in less than 21 years now, or more than 41. Will the US be a conventional global superpower in 31 years? Will it be the dominant economic player it is today? How much will the Southwest and Southeast differ on climate change when one is dealing with too little water and the other is dealing with too much?

As point of reference, from 1828 (tariff confrontations) to 1861 (shooting war) was 33 years.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/8/7/1967293/-Fauci-s-daughters-live-all-over-the-U-S-Due-to-death-threats-he-s-hired-security-for-all-of-them

This evening may be too late.

Trump said today Democrats don't love their country.

The last refuge of...etc. They always go there.

But they need to say it to my face. Bring a weapon.

Trump wants violent Civil War.

He ordered those death threats and hits from the White House on Fauci's kids.

Michael, what I think I'm seeing is the country, on a regional basis, becoming more similar in many ways. I think of how different the South was from the rest of the country when I was growing up. Today, the rural South may still be that different, but the bulk (population-wise) of the region isn't really that different from the rest of the country. Go to the suburbs of Atlanta or New Orleans, and then to the suburbs of Seattle or Cleveland or San Diego -- similar people, with similar outlooks and similar lifestyles. Sure, there are cosmetic differences -- see our previous mentions of what fast food establishments were in different regions. But overall? Just not that different.

That is, I think, what is driving a lot of the Trump-mania in the deep red states. They are becoming more like the rest of the country, both from people moving around and from businesses spreading out and bringing similar opportunities (and with them, similar kinds of people develop, even from local roots). If you hate change, as many people do, that's deeply disturbing. But it's also unstoppable. But not much you can do when your own kids keep becoming more like them.

Basically, I think you would have had a better chance of a partition 30-50 years ago than you have now. Or will have going forward. It looks to me like the trends are running the other way.

"I would still be very surprised if it were in less than 21 years now, or more than 41."

The conservative movement is way ahead of your timeline.

Pat Buchanan has been threatening "lock and load" civil war for at least three decades.

Just so with Newt Gingrich and the revolutionary paramilitary NRA and militia movements.

Paul Weyrich, one of the architects of the coming Republican Civil War on America going back to the 1970s, oversaw the drafting of an essay in 2001 called "The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the The New Traditionalist Movement", which was a virtual anti-Democratic and anti-small d democratic-declaration of war on American culture and governance.

"Our movement will be entirely destructive, and entirely constructive. We will not try to reform the existing institutions. We only intend to weaken them, and eventually destroy them. We will endeavor to knock our opponents off balance and unsettle them at every opportunity ...

We will use guerrilla tactics to undermine the legitimacy of the dominant regime. We will take advantage of every available opportunity to spread the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the exiting state of affairs ..

Most of all, it will contribute to a vague sense of uneasiness and dissatisfaction with existing society. We need this if we hope to start picking people off and bringing over to our side. We need to break down before we build up. We must first clear away the flotsam of decayed culture."

The movement advocated intimidating people and institutions, such as Hollywood celebrities and university administrators. We must be feared, Weyrich dictated, so they will think twice about opening their mouths.

It describes precisely the ruthless cancel culture that the conservative movement initiated in this country.

Did Trump read Weyrich. Of course not. But he is the dumb, blunt instrument of this malign piece of shit revolution. All of Trump's seasoned political operatives are Weyrich's children.

When he orders the worst, they already drafted it and think, finally, a motherfucker who will fuck liberals once and for all.

Trump gave them the ruthless will to destroy.

So, if we overlay today's timetable over the pre-Civil War timetable, we're closer to the endgame than gradulist partition, which, by the way, I far prefer to violence.

But overall, I choose Lincoln's option to keep the Union together. I don't want America to be partitioned.

If the conservative movement wants to keep separating us and refusing all compromise and going after the numerous Others, including restricting the voting franchise, they will leave my country one way or the other.

There is still room in those Confederate graveyards for the dead.


IMO, the collapse was baked into the cake around 100BC, when Rome shifted to a system of "whoever wins this round of civil war gets to be the big cheese". At that point, the dice were loaded in favor of stupid destructive a-holes running things, and a run of bad luck resulting in collapse was inevitable.

I think that strain existed even before that but the a-holes had to band together to keep the hoi polloi down while enriching themselves by expansionist means. Sallust was a colossal hypocrite but his claim that the influx of cash* into the Roman economy while losing the main rival that could be painted as an existential threat (Carthage) shortcircuited the system has quite a bit going for it.

*Before the Punic wars actual cash played only a minor role. Influence and prestige rested on control over arable land.

Regarding the payroll tax trump suspended today, he stated:

"If I win, I may extend and terminate,” Trump said, repeating a longtime goal but remaining silent on how he'd fund the Medicare and Social Security benefits that the 7% tax on employee income covers. Employers also pay 7.65% of their payrolls into the funds."

The conservative movement's long-term goals have always been, as in forever, to roll back the entire safety net going back to 1932.

No Social Security, No Medicare, No Medicaid. No nothing.

Start the shooting this evening?

Too fucking late.

Racist, subhuman republicans can't handle it when the darkie got there first:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-abruptly-ends-briefing-when-challenged-for-falsely-taking-credit-for-veterans-choice

Racism is the pre-existing condition that will never be covered.

It will be the cause of death on the conservative death certificate.

@wj, I could be wrong, but consider... Six years from now the western suburbs say, "Either get the western power administrations in line with what we're trying to do with renewable energy or turn them over to us." Nine years from now the western suburbs tell the federal government, "We will fight to the death to keep Yucca Mountain closed and Georgia can put all their new nuclear waste somewhere in Georgia." Twelve years from now the western suburbs tell the federal government, "Clean up Hanford and INL or get the hell out so that we can try." 15 years from now the western suburbs tell the federal government, "Either spend the tens of billions to do fire mitigation on the public lands or get the hell out so that we can." 18 years from now the western suburbs tell the federal government, "Either do sane things with western water policy or get the hell out so that we can."

The Atlanta suburbs will be clueless. The Boston suburbs will be clueless. The Chicago suburbs will be clueless. Not necessarily because they don't care, but because their political classes will be concerned with their own problems.

"We will fight to the death to keep Yucca Mountain closed and Georgia can put all their new nuclear waste somewhere in Georgia."

@Michael, things like this (as a motivation for partition) make sense. Until you consider that
1) It leaves Georgia looking for somewhere closer for their nuclear waste. Which doesn't seem like a motivator for them to support partition. And
2) The West has a few nuclear sites of its own. Yucca Mountain may not be the ideal regional dump site. But there will have to be one somewhere in the region, partition or not.

It seems more likely that a better solution for nuclear waste will need to be found. Experience suggests that a Federal research project is more likely to succeed than multiple small state/regional projects. (Probably with lots of duplication.) Again, actually an argument against partition.

Of course, the same stupidity that produced Brexit could also strike us. But it would have to be both bigger and repeated in several regions simultaneously to get past our far higher barriers to anybody leaving.

"Either do sane things with western water policy or get the hell out so that we can."

An example of off-kilter water policy is that of Los Angeles paying more than 25 times much for the same water as farmers in the Imperial Valley pay for it.

"Either spend the tens of billions to do fire mitigation on the public lands or get the hell out so that we can."

Private forests hardly ever catch fire.

An example of off-kilter water policy is that of Los Angeles paying more than 25 times much for the same water as farmers in the Imperial Valley pay for it.

But, but ... it's simply not economical to farm an area that's naturally desert if you charge anything like market rates for water!
/sarcasm

The below-market water rates has allowed the Imperial Valley to become a very large basket with a lot of eggs in it.

Transition would be an enormous hassle. And expensive -- since people there made good-faith investments based on government guarantees of cheap water.** But it would still be a sensible thing to do for the long term.

** I doubt either Michael or I want to try to explain Western water rights.

Private forests hardly ever catch fire.

This seems rather a bold claim.

See also, pyrophitic plants.

"Private forests hardly ever catch fire."

Privatizing forest land automatically causes it to repel lightening strikes right up to the property lines, plus for some unknown reason, the American public at large does not burn them down with untended campfires and RV exhaust sparks.

It's magic.

It's like public versus private golf courses. There are no lightening strikes on privately-owned gold courses. Are there?

Charles has a point to make about fire maintenance on private lands versus public, but that ain't it.

I could make the point that private structures, homes and the like, mysteriously burn to the ground across the country in much greater numbers per capita than publicly-owned structures, but I suspect somehow I'd be eliding some obvious explanation of circumstance.

Something along the lines of "No Smoking" ordinances, I expect.

Many Americans live longer because of public financing of Medicare and Medicaid than did in the old days of "private" healthcare, by which I mean no affordable healthcare for large segments of the population.

Even now, if you are standing on a strictly surveyed border separating one state from another and are struck by lightening without benefit of health insurance you'll want to keel over into the state that has Obamacare and secured publicly-financed Medicaid.

Probably practice that ahead of time.

Private hospital emergency rooms aren't as crowded as publicly financed public hospital emergency rooms, but I'll be damned if I think why, and the food, staffing, and accommodations are better in the former too, generally speaking.

Interestingly, the captive animals in public zoos are treated better than the ones in Joe Exotic's private operations.

There are more incidents of Covid-19 infection of public beaches than on privately fenced-off beaches ... and no lightening strikes on the latter either.

Reason Magazine uses fewer semi-colons than the Congressional Record.

Good luck returning the Imperial Valley back to nature by raising the price of water to market levels as we simultaneously shut down the world trade in fruits and vegetables, and nuts with tariffs.

Imagine, if the Western states tried to break away from the United States next week while Trump is President.

Think of the bill he would send to the Governors for public lands. Why, the cost of the Hoover Dam alone would break the table in Nevada.

Plus, he'd direct the proceeds into his family's offshore accounts, bypassing the U.S. Treasury.

Well, last evening's deadline for nationwide violence against the Republican Party has passed and I still have no gun or ammo.

%-}

"golf" courses, but "gold" fits too in a way.

The manifesto JDT refers to above: The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement. It's long-ish, but you can probably read it in 15 minutes or so.

A heads up - that link is to Free Republic, so exercise caution as needed.

What is unstated in Heubeck's paper is exactly what a "traditionalist conservative" culture would look like. He claims that all of this is about profound existential questions:

how man ought to act, how he ought to perceive the world around him, and what it means to live the good life

But he does not address how people ought to act, how they should perceive the world around them, and what it means to live the good life.

Maybe all of that covered by assumptions shared by him and his intended audience?

The closest he gets to an explanation of what, exactly, it is that he wants is talk about "virtue, excellence, and self-discipline".

This he contrasts with "the materialism, hedonism, consumerism, egoism, and the cult of self-actualization which permeate modern life" and "the world-view of the leftist, which holds the unbridled ego at its center".

?????

There is also the usual mish-mash of cultural references tossed into the big bag of "our Western Judeo-Christian tradition". I'm always unclear to me if these guys want to be Christians or Romans. Or maybe Spartans. Jesus or Leonidas, guys. St Francis or Cicero. Pick one. You can't have them all.

After 20 years of listening to culture warriors calling their troops to the barricades, I'm still trying to understand exactly what it is they want.

Is this (still) all about the gays and evolution and sex ed in schools?

FWIW, I'm on board with rejecting the "consumerism and egoism" of modern life. I'm not seeing that much hedonism around these days, though. Studio 54's been closed for 40 years, man. Nobody's doing blow anymore except Wall St suits.

I also keep waiting for the "rejection of materialism" to catch on in conservative circles, but so far no joy. If there is one thing that unites the right, it's the absolute sanctity of personal, material property.

Maybe the reason these guys remain such an embattled minority is that people don't actually want what they're selling. They seem determined that we should have it, nonetheless, like it or not. And they seem more than happy to burn it all down if they can't achieve that.

What is unstated in Heubeck's paper is exactly what a "traditionalist conservative" culture would look like. He claims that all of this is about profound existential questions:

how man ought to act, how he ought to perceive the world around him, and what it means to live the good life

But he does not address how people ought to act, how they should perceive the world around them, and what it means to live the good life.

Maybe all of that covered by assumptions shared by him and his intended audience?

I can tell you this, it would start with the subjection of women. It always starts with the subjection of women. Whether it turns into Gilead, or Khomenei's Iran, depends on which precise bit of the Judeo-Christian tradition (don't forget, Muslims too are "people of the book", revering Abraham, Moses and Jesus as precursor prophets - in fact by tradition Abraham built the Kaaba in Mecca) they're going for.

I don't know where to put this, since the thread about DiAngelo and White Fragility seems so long ago. But this link is a thread examining the problems inherent in the concept of "White Privilege", as opposed to "Racism". I don't agree with all of it, but it is interesting, argued in good faith, and brings up some of the problems we have discussed here in the past (race v class as categories of oppression etc). It's not long, but worth a read I think.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1292071391244754944.html

I enjoy the sudden weight loss after a lightening strike.

In fact, feminism was a central target of Weyrich's grand plan, later transformed by Weyrich amplifier, Rush Limbaugh, into "feminazi" .. yes ... they are all on the same page ... a new page is sent out daily for amplification by the vast right wing conspiracy and media to read from.

You think FOX and Friends comes up with this crap on their own?

Weyrich brought Phyllis Schlafly and Anita Bryant to the fore in the conservative movement.

An excellent summary of all of this can be found in Anne Nelson's "Shadow Network".

The prime reason why the conservative movement in Congress is not addressing the childcare crisis during this pandemic as forced infection is pushed by them via school attendance, with financial penalties for districts who refuse to host the virus and enable its spread, is to convince, force, mostly mothers who work to stay home ... family values, you see.

Secondarily, the conservative movement hopes to
so frighten the American public with the possibility of their children bringing the pandemic home with them to kill their grandparents, that droves of citizens will permanently abandon the public schools, thus destroying teachers' unions, bringing the public pension programs crashing down and ushering in crypto-Christian brainwashing in private schools, on whose playgrounds lightening never strikes and fire alarms not needed, nor mandated.

Most primary and secondary teachers are women, so again, women and their wages are targeted.

The conservative movement forces poor women of all races, but black and hispanic mothers are the real targets, to work to receive public welfare support, but at the same time wants middle class and upper class women to stay home and take care of the kids as men remain in the workforce and as God ordained the absolutist conservative order.

Lots of wiggle room there, but that is the gist of conservative manifestos going back decades.

Ann Coulter, who may well be a transitioning woman, or is it man, I get it mixed up, has remarked that allowing women the vote was roughly when all of our troubles started.

Among all of the other times someone besides white males were permitted, after much foot dragging, to fully participate in American exceptionalism.

Now, conservatives here will pooh pooh my alarmism, but the conservatives here aren't conservatives of the card-carrying absolutist variety.


Good link, GftNC. I was confused by the format at first, thinking I was reading comments on a piece I was unable to see. I figured out that it was written as a series of tweets.

"the world-view of the leftist, which holds the unbridled ego at its center."

I think that's a typo. It should read "the world-view of the far right/libertarian, which holds the unbridled ego at its center."

I'm still trying to understand exactly what it is they want.

Is this (still) all about the gays and evolution and sex ed in schools?

Actually, it never was about those as such. Those were just examples of the moment.

What they want is really quite simple: No Change. They want the world to stay the way it was (more accurately, the way they thought it was) at some mythic time in the past. Maybe when they were kids, and blissfully unaware of reality beyond their immediate neighborhood. Maybe what their parents describe of their childhood.

The Cause du Jour will change constantly; the underlying desire driving them remains the same.

When I have my partition conspirator hat on, I always start from the important question, "How would I convince the political class in 38 states to support the idea?" I am surprised by the number of people who miss the obvious point that not all states need to be doing it for the same reason.

I'm not a Georgian so haven't spent much time thinking about reasons Georgians might believe they were better off in a smaller group of states. Greater say over where climate refugees from Miami get to resettle? Better chance striking a deal for access to the Tennessee River for water for Atlanta? Not having to listen to idiot westerners whine about fires and the mess at Hanford? Atlanta as the financial and political center of a country (the "biggest fish in a smaller pond" prospect)?

Yes, what IS the process for adding a fifth head to Mount Rushmore (hat tip to Eschaton):

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/08/us/politics/kristi-noem-pence-trump.html?referringSource=articleShare

Second question: What IS the process of trucking Antifa up to the Black Hills to cancel, via high explosives, that fifth head on Mount Rushmore.

I always thought that one of the requirements for sculpting Presidential heads into Mount Rushmore was that the original human model for the head had to have contained a brain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-lVa7aEkNU

Greater say over where climate refugees from Miami get to resettle?

Do you envision Florida and Georgia in the same region or different ones? If the same, partition would seem to actually increase the numbers of refugees arriving in Georgia. Because, after all, as separate nations, other regions wouldn't have to let them in. And if separate, what region would Florida belong to?

Actually, that would be one of the great challenges of partition. Creating, from scratch, new national governments, complete with internal (to the old US) border controls, both for people and for goods. Not to mention infrastructures already in place, which won't always fit neatly into the new borders.

It's easy to talk up the benefits. But as so often, the devil will be in the details.

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