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December 31, 2021


There are those who are energized by being out, surrounded by other people -- whether they know any of those others or not. For them, a New Year's Eve mob scene is wonderful, and I know they really missed last year.

But for me, being in a crowd takes energy -- even if I'm not interacting with anybody else. So my New Year's Eve has long been: stay home; maybe watch a fireworks show on TV, but likely not even that. (As a bonus, that avoids the drunk drivers who turn out for the festivities.)


I assume that if you forget, and say them more than once, then, seppuku?
There's a Dinosaur Comics where T-Rex is planning to leave town forever because he accidentally asked someone the same polite question twice in the same brief exchange, but in my pre-new-year's fatigue I can't find it.
Happy New Year to all! This will make about my 16th year of visiting ObWi, however desultorily.

I assume that if you forget, and say them more than once, then, seppuku?

Almost, but not quite. What amazes me about this country is how it can induce such feelings of guilt over social rituals.

My wife and I joined a friend for oysters, artisanal cheeses, smoked salmon, and champagne.

What can I say, I am a cartoon of a coastal elitist.

This AM we slept in, then before breakfast I put some peanuts out for the squirrels and corbids, and some seed for the ground feeders. I’m beginning to bond with the squirrels, they follow me around now like tiny loyal dogs.

Later today we bring roast pork to our former next-door neighbors, who moved into senior housing last year.

Then I’ll probably do some chores and take a nap.

Happy New Year, everyone. My wishes are for the best, my expectations are for same old same old.

Onward and upward.

From today's WaPo on the difficulties attached to secession:


I was alone, but skyping with sibs and friends also alone, and watching Jools Holland's Hootenanny. I ate a duck breast and broccolini, and drank half of a decent bottle of champagne (I'll have the rest later). I've never liked new year's eve parties, so none of this was any hardship.

secession seems ridiculous to me - state borders don't separate Democrats from Republicans, nor liberals from conservatives. it's not a north/south problem. it's not a coast / landlubber problem.

What gets me is that the civil war we had was over millions of people being slaves … f**king slavery! What’s this one supposed to be about? A bunch of made-up bullsh*t and some real but overhyped issues that are the usual matters of disagreement in functioning democracies? It’s a manufactured casus belli.

the civil war we had was over millions of people being slaves … f**king slavery! What’s this one supposed to be about?

To an enormous extent, judging from the flags they fly, this one appears to involve the same viewpoint trying to take a mulligan.

This time gets characterized as urban vs rural. But that was actually equally true last time, too. And it turned out that the winners could get along economically without the losers far better than the losers could get along without the winners. Probably be the same this time, too.

And this morning, we watched the Rose Parade on TV. My wife grew up in Pasadena (about 2 blocks from the Rose Bowl, actually). So in past years, we would go out the evening before, stand on the front lawn, and watch the floats inch up the hill from the pavillions where they are built to the staging area where the parade starts. A far better, and closer, look at them than you get attending the parade itself.

Since her parents are gone, we don't go down most years. But I remember.

Yesterday we Zoomed with friends who have relocated from the OC to the PNW. Then we ate a lot of tapas and drank, played some co-op video games, and watched a movie until midnight.

Today we are cooking food out of the Dungeons & Dragons cookbook we got for Christmas before our first D&D session of 2022 (again on Zoom).

I'm not going to engage in secession talk today. I want the year to start with positive narratives that imagine paths to solutions. That's why my teaching and my leisure time have both migrated firmly into speculative fiction mode. I live in the hope that our utopian narratives stage an epistemological rupture and spill over this dark timeline like a salve.

A new one this year. Yesterday afternoon I got a New Year's Eve Day A/V connection from the granddaughters*. After watching them elbow each other trying to hog the camera -- "Girls! Try standing farther back" got no traction -- I'm spending the afternoon thinking about the best way to deal with the problem. Take away the "local" view so they can't see themselves? Add a second camera? Add an entire second A/V unit? Well, I told my daughter that it would be a work in progress.

* The multimedia over internet protocol toy technology I built 27+ years ago.

Michael, I'm so glad to hear that your day held leisure to talk with family. The reports out of Colorado yesterday were every bit as bad as we had around here during the summer.

I hope all of you enjoy a healthy and fulfilling 2022.

Oysters and champagne are my go-to meal; I could easily live on that diet.

Since the Boulder Colorado area fires just north of me ... Michael Cain is closer, not sure about nous ..... were mentioned, I thought I'd post these articles with photos of the devastation, but also to show how weather conditions along the Front Range, and of course the mountains just to the west, can turn on a dime:

The inferno:


The aftermath:


The home Paul Campos of LGM recently moved from is now gone; the folks who bought recently moved from California.

Overnight snow and freezing temperatures moved in. This morning, same place:


No deaths reported yet. Two people are missing, and if that is all, we are very lucky.

I've been watching the fires in Boulder County with the horror of recognition. We haven't lived there since we moved to Irvine, CA in 2004 for my grad school, but the area that burned was very familiar. We hiked the trails in the wild area devastated by the fires dozens of times and the area that was evacuated literally stopped across the street from where our apartment was located on the south edge of Boulder.

It's a wound mostly to nostalgia, but I still feel the loss.

JDT, glad to hear you are surviving well also. (I apologize for forgetting you were in the area as well.)

I was in no way in the way of that fire (central Denver) and no sweat on knowing where all of us are geographically, wj.

Other dangers, yeah, but later on that.

Like nous, I've done a lot of tramping and hiking in the fire area.

There's a wonderful bread bakery in Louisville, Co, whose suburbs burned, that I visit every couple of months, and a long-time guitar store too that from all reports survived.

Superior, another Front Range Olde Town, directly across a six lane highway, the main thoroughfare between Denver and Boulder, which the fire jumped with no sweat, got the worst of it.

There are wonderful canyons cutting into the foothills and pine forests directly to the west that survived, I'm presuming, given the maps.

I hike there often.

Michael, I'm so glad to hear that your day held leisure to talk with family. The reports out of Colorado yesterday were every bit as bad as we had around here during the summer.

We're all 50 miles to the north, so it was never going to be more than smoke on the horizon for us. In some ways the fire was a freaky confluence. Six wet months early in the year so the grasses grew tall and thick, six months with basically no precipitation so it was tinder dry, an unusually (but not horribly so) high wind day, and an ignition source in exactly the wrong place. The ignition source probably won't be settled for days/weeks. Right now, I'm betting on human stupidity. Too many of our fires in recent years go back to that.

Like nous and Thulen, hiked there regularly, especially when the kids were too small to do more challenging vertical. Drove through it for years when I was working in Boulder. A number of really nice one-of-a-kind houses went up in this one.

...which the fire jumped with no sweat...

Given 60+ mph winds, even grass fires will spark spot fires well over 400 yards ahead of the fire line proper. IIRC, during the big run the Troublesome fire made at Estes Park in 2020 with similar winds, there was spotting more than two miles out.

Six wet months early in the year so the grasses grew tall and thick, six months with basically no precipitation so it was tinder dry, an unusually (but not horribly so) high wind day, and an ignition source in exactly the wrong place.

I'm not sure those who have never lived west of the Great Plains can even imaging just how dry the vegitation routinely gets in this part of the country. What you describe was unusual, but not terribly so. The "six months with basically no precipitation" is entirely normal; it's the wet 6 months that got the grass high which is the killer. Unfortunately, without that precipitation, the streams and reservoirs go dry, and we have those problems....


minor copy-edit, should it be 'omukae kudasai'?

Ahh, you are right, I'll change that now.

More on the near Boulder fire:


When you scroll down, catch the video of water being, do I have to say literally, out of Ralston Reservoir by the 100 mph winds, which continued for eight hours straight.

But I could at least say "blown".

we're in the middle of a crazy windy storm here in NC right now. it's full of water, though. flash flood alerts going off on our phones all night.

it was 75 here on Saturday, 80 on Friday. and there's a 100 chance of snow by 11AM today.

takes a lot of wind to turn 75 into snow in the matter of 36 hours.

takes a lot of wind to turn 75 into snow in the matter of 36 hours.

Truth. A former colleague here along the Front Range, where such transitions are pretty routine, said his rule was divide the wind speed by 10 to get the inches of snow that were going to come next. This storm just past was very close. In Fort Collins, gusts to 75 and 8" of snow; in Boulder, gusts to 115 and 11".

in case anyone wants to wallow in thoughts of civil war, Vox has you covered.

Don't have time to read cleek's link right now, but Zach Beauchamp was once an Andrew Sullivan protege (i.e. Daily Dish writer). lots of time has passed, but I wonder if that gives a clue to his underlying vantage point.

Haven't gotten thru Beauchamp's article entirely. But he starts out saying "No other established Western democracy is at such risk of democratic collapse."

One word: Hungary.

Where, be it noted, Trump has just endorsed to local autocrat. Quelle surprise.

The Vox piece is definitely worth reading. I don’t have a good sense of how great the danger is.

I think the main threat comes not from the right wing militias— there are always creeps like that around—but the Republican Party elites pandering to Trump’s narcissism for their own purposes. If they really do pass laws making it impossible for Democrats to win, a lot of left wingers might start talking and thinking like our own JT. Or alternatively most of us just sigh and live under the new semi authoritarian order. Or both. Then we have our Time of Troubles, but it would start with the Republican Party elites.

The militias by themselves can commit atrocities like the Oklahoma City bombing or terrify people in the Capitol, but it is the elites who can destroy the system.

wj - don't disagree that Hungary has been teetering, but I'm guessing that Beauchamp was using his 'established' qualifier to separate out the former Eastern Bloc states (I'd put Poland in this category as well).

Does a 30 year history with a patchy first decade count as 'established?'

AFAICT, This kind of thing has been happening all over the country. It's January 6 on a local scale. I don't think anyone has an effective answer for how to deal with it.

There was an nbcnews dot com headline the other day about public health officials resigning all over the country. Health care workers are burnt out.

I don't think it's just a question of whether it's militias or the R elite....

nous, that might well be where he's coming from.

On the other hand, from 1867 and 1948 Hungary had a functioning parliament with a multiparty system and a relatively independent judiciary. So it's not like the post-Soviet era is their first time around. (Poland, in contrast, only had a half dozen years after WW I before a coup ended that experiment.)

Janie, that is IMHO, the real problem. The actual out-in-the-woods-playing-with-guns militias we can deal with. We probably ought to get a little more harsh in doing so (the Bundys, for example, should be in jail or dead and their cattle confiscated), but we can deal.

It's the yell-and-scream-and-disrupt-things types that are the problem. Most of them would never consider actually shooting someone. Probably be outraged is someone suggested that was where they were going. But they can do far more real damage.

One word: Hungary.

oh... keep reading :)

Just finished reading the Beauchamp article and he explicitly mentions Hungary, but puts it in a separate category from the 'established' democracies.

I found little to argue with in the article. He's done a lot of homework. There are plenty of names and links to follow for anyone who cares enough to do a deeper dive.

I am not at all reassured that the people who specialize in this research are pointing to the same things I have been thinking out loud here for the last year.

The one question that I keep coming back to in all of this is the question of law enforcement. If we do end up with a more intense and widespread version of Portland post-Floyd as the outcome of this polarization, I have to believe that the enforcement will be similarly one-sided in its application. That's going to up the pressure on Democratic leaders to assert their control over both law enforcement and protesters on the left through the deployment of those agencies. This leaves the alt-right free to embrace accelerationism. That would resemble the Italy situation referenced in the article, but it's unclear if anything like the Red Brigade will form on the left here, while the militia movement is well established on the right.

The alternative, though, is that we end up with right wing authoritarian backlash and a partisan police force that makes enforcement in most places look like enforcement in Kenosha - armed "patriots" get police blessing while "rioters and arsonists" bear the brunt of both.

Either way, though, our deep structural problems with policing are going to probably end up getting ignored out of a sense of authoritarian expedience.

Not fun times.

The Republican Party has been open about its intention to steal elections. Breakdown will come when it succeeds, blatantly enough that leftist activists take to the streets. Because then the fascists will be on the streets opposing them, and the police will be on the side of the fascists.

The Republican Party has been open about its intention to steal elections. Breakdown will come when it succeeds, blatantly enough that leftist activists take to the streets.

No, the breakdown will come when non-activists take to the streets in protest. Which, I have to say, I think rather more likely than not at this point. At least at the local level.

Pro Bono - if that moment you describe happens where/while there is a Democrat in office it will be a moment of truth. The DNC leadership wing of the party (the self-described moderates) could easily decide to cut loose the progressives for fear of losing the suburban white vote and the big donors. That, however, will alienate the student/progressive/labor coalition and probably ensure more conflict, but with the Democrats trying to keep the crackdown more TV friendly in its optics.

The LAPD gives us a good idea of what all that looks like. Not reassuring.

"Pernicious polarization" is a problem because Americans refuse to take "politics" personally in Real Life(tm).

Would you shop at a store that has MAGA posters plastered all over? Would you hire a plumber with "TRUMP 2024" bumper stickers on his truck? Would you keep playing golf with somebody who insists the 2016 election was stolen? If you would, then a MAGAt takeover shouldn't bother you much -- it would just be "politics" after all.


Ah, Tony, . . . is that the 2016 election or the 2020 election...?

"It's the yell-and-scream-and-disrupt-things types that are the problem."


That despicable vermin, managed by his subhuman wife, was permitted to protect Presidents of the United States as a Secret Service agent. One presumes he was forced, I say forced, to be vaccinated against the usual diseases, although apparently the rabies shots didn't take.

It's too late.

Our only slim hope for America avoiding the coming conservstive-led conflagration is that the Bonginos and the entire of retinue of conservative genocidal wanna-bes are co-opted by their own colossal, grifting perverted capitalist hate-is-the-product bullshit and pull back because they wont be able to sell their bogus supplements, survival kits, fake anti-Covid pills and unguents, Chinese-made American flags with 61 stars, holsters and all of the other faggot weapons accessories that place sexy bulges in their clothing for losers to lick in such great amounts as their savage disorder engulfs every street and cul-de-sac in America.

Why do we think the evil Hannitys and Ingrahams and rest of them were on the phone to White House staff gibbering and crying over Trump's* refusal to call off the attempted violent overthrow of the U. S. Government and the murder of Democratic officaldom ... billions of dollars of despicable Business would suffer, and they aren't quite done cashing in before they fully unleash the dogs of war on America and we can't have that, can we?

Well, not quite yet.

This piece of dead shit, Limbaugh's one year anniversary of his death, thank God, he's dead, is February 17.

Excerpt from the above linked article:

"New technologies provided an ambitious host with unprecedented reach: satellite transmission allowed a single broadcaster access to hundreds of stations, and toll-free calling let listeners across the country hear their own voice on air. Limbaugh’s show became the cultural standard-bearer of American conservatism. William F. Buckley, Jr., an early mentor, effectively ceded the floor in 1993, when his magazine National Review hailed Limbaugh on the cover as “The Leader of the Opposition.” Talk radio made Limbaugh wealthy—at his peak, he earned about eighty-five million dollars a year—and he didn’t obscure the fact that his strongest motivation was financial. When the biographer Zev Chafets visited him at his manse in Florida (twenty-four thousand square feet, with a salon decorated to resemble Versailles), Limbaugh told him, “Conservatism didn’t buy this house. First and foremost I’m a businessman. My first goal is to attract the largest possible audience so I can charge confiscatory ad rates.”

On February 17, every year from now on, Limbaugh should be dug up and shot in his dead head just to make sure, annually, that he is out of the picture, and as a lesson to all conservatives that we will no longer be fucked with.

Here's another sawed-off little asshole making up for poor posture as a weakling kid by grifting America for tens of millions of dollars on behalf of the murderous conservative movement:


He announced the other week that he is so flexible that he could, if he wished, suck his own cock, because apparently no one, outside of his publicist is willing to the dark and dirty work of getting the slimeball off a fine Christian conservative activity.

I hereby remove all First Amendment rights from Rogan and Bongino. What are the twin twats going to do about it? Call the fucking government they fucking hate?


If this is true, then Donald Trump must be executed by the rule of law. If he is not dealt with by that maximum sentence, then America is fucking dead.

If he is merely jailed for some soft time at a country club, then he will be re-elected FROM jail and either run the country from his cell like a Mafia Don running the country's business, or he will sign his own pardon papers in jail, be released and then begin imprisoning and killing all of us, except for Marty, with the full power of the Federal Government behind him.

But, yes, as Donald pointed out, it the Republican elite that is the most dangerous, mortal domestic enemy of America.

Right up there with foreign threats, nuclear Iran, which the malignant conservative Trump helped become nuclear, Putin's Russia, which the vermin, traitorous conservative movement is cheering on for the invasion of Ukraine, and the CCP.

Happy New Year!...?

1 in 3 Americans say violence against government can be justified, citing fears of political schism, pandemic: The Post-UMD poll, coming a year after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, marks the largest share of Americans to hold that view since the question was first asked more than two decades ago.

CBS News poll: A year after Jan. 6, violence still seen threatening U.S. democracy, and some say force can be justified

In other news, which I have alluded to in recent days, after several days of very mild cold/flu symptoms, I tested positive for the Covid-19 virus on December 29.

Virus cases are soaring in Denver, Colorado, as they are in many other areas.

I'm fine thus far. The mild symptoms are now nearly dissipated.

I began quarantining two days earlier when the symptoms appeared. I will continue for the full 10 days recommended by my care provider, plus two more days to make sure and will be retested this Friday.

I'm fully vaxxed and boosted and otherwise in good health and physical shape.

I'm careful and observe masking protocols. I'm avoiding the elevator in my building. I check my mail late at night.

I expect I contracted the virus in a restaurant Christmas week. I had just come off a six-day period of voluntary isolation prior to that because I had flown back from a wedding in Pittsburgh December 14, where several folks were, stupidly, unvaxxed, plus I had the common flu before I left on THAT trip and was still feeling the effects of that. I was tested for Covid before I left on that trip because I was a little worried about giving something to all those strangers on the plane out, in case the prior bout with the flu might have been Covid.

Visited three eating establishments after the isolation Christmas week. Managed to enjoy oysters and champagne on one of those visits, and on another got into a shouting match with an anti-masker who was shooting his mouth off.

Probably got this thing from him. But like Trump, he's still out walking the streets.

Even after this Friday, with the virus wreaking havoc still, I will be sticking close to home for the foreseeable future.

So here I am. I'll be fine. The only real loss is that I didn't get to see my son and his girlfriend order the holiday.

I hope all of you are well too.

"over" the holiday.

I'm deeply concerned over the lack of gunfire by pistol-packing conservatives who sanctify private property while constantly boasting what they might have to do do threatening intruders:


I'm hoping the concealed-carry conservatives all just pussies and do nothing but talk smack, but I expect if it was BLM or any other group perceived to be liberal and doing the invading, it would be an immediate cause to draw weapons and ask questions later, as our conservative courts and judges inspire them to do.

Do something conservatives. Defend your country and other people's property.


2020 of course. Never mind, it was a rhetorical question anyway.


Well, you could make a case that 2016 was stolen. In the sense of giving the office to someone who got a lower number of votes. Not what the term "stolen" means, but still, it's a more valid point of view than claiming that 2020 was stolen.

Looks like northern Japan started the year off with a lot of heavy, wet snow. (YouTube)

Anyone looking for a touch of optimism for the new year might enjoy this.

The crazies seem to be attacking each other. Quick analysis of the conflict: "there’s only a certain number of people you can fleece. It’s not a renewable resource.” Think professional wrestling, except the grifters really are competing -- some for attention, but mostly for dollars.


The crazies seem to be attacking each other.

I just drove the hour and a quarter back from my daughter's house, and I was thinking about this thread and wishing there was a way to set their various factions (surely there are factions, there are always factions) at each other's throats.

The pessimistic view of that scenario would be what Gandalf said about Mordor and Isengard: "The victor would emerge stronger than either, and free from doubt." I don't know if that applies in this case, I have no crystal ball. But as with the Covid situation, unfortunately the damage would probably not be confined just to the combatants.

Trump is an epiphenomenon. He recognizes a pool of resentment that he can take to the bank, financially and otherwise.

The pool of resentment is the problem.

For myself, I'm more or less preparing myself, mentally and otherwise, for an extended period of domestic hostility, quite possible extending to the end of my life. This country may never be a coherent political entity as long as I live.

I straight up do not understand the motivations of Trump supporters, or more generally of (R) party supporters. In principle I'd like to, because I don't think it's possible to resolve any of this stuff without some degree of mutual understanding.

Then again, I'm not sure all that much would be resolved by my understanding. It's quite possible that what they want, and what they are angry about, are things that not only don't resonate with me, but are things that I profoundly disagree with, if not abhor.

I bear no particular ill will toward conservatives-or-whatever-we-want-to-call-them, however there are also a lot of things that I can't and won't accept. By "not accept" I simply mean I find them plainly wrong.

We're at some kind of stalemate. They don't want what I want, they don't value what I value. And vice versa. And nobody's going anywhere in numbers large enough to make a difference.

Things that can't continue, don't continue. We can't continue as we are. What "not continuing" looks like, I have no idea.

Best of luck to one and all.

Thullen, stay safe out there, buddy.

Yes, JDT, luckily it sounds a really mild case. Get better soon, and back on the oysters and champagne asap.

On the main theme, I too am (unsurprisingly) at a loss. I find myself agreeing with, variously, nous, Donald and Pro Bono. It's a grim place to be in, despite the fact the fact that I am in excellent company.

I straight up do not understand the motivations of Trump supporters, or more generally of (R) party supporters. In principle I'd like to, because I don't think it's possible to resolve any of this stuff without some degree of mutual understanding.

My sense, very much from the outside, is that Trump's supporters fall into a couple of quite possibly non-overlapping groups.

First, we have the flat out grifters, very much in Trump's own mold. They simply do not care, perhaps cannot even imagine caring, about anyone but themselves. Some (including the Murdochs) are running various enterprises in order to fleece the marks. Others are politicians, seeking to hold power by whatever means seems most useful. None of these have issues they care about, or which would need to ne negotiated for a solution. They just want their personal gain.

The second, far larger group, are those who are basically afraid. Afraid of change, afraid of loss (financial, status, or whatever), afraid of whatever fantasy has been woven for them. In some cases, the change they are afraid of involves issues that others (e.g. we here) care about. In other cases, those they oppose would actually be more than happy to help them avoid the ill effects of those changes. Except for the detail that this group has been conned into believing that those they oppose must have some ill intent behind any offer of help.

The first group can, IMHO, only be dealt with by making them clear that continuing as they are will seriously damage them personally. A bunch of criminal convictions for the Trumps, and for the politicians who organized Jan 6, would be a big step forward there.

The second group can be brought around. But probably not before the first group is taken down.

I don't want to start a fight in the comments, but it amazes me that you can analyze Trump supporters without mentioning racism or sexism. To say that the second group 'can be brought around', I wonder how that happens without having them figure out that they are motivated by a racial and/or sexist animus.

There are a shit-ton of articles about this sort of stuff, so many that it is possible to find an article that will support your viewpoint. But here are two



The whole black men vs. black women recedes in significance when you see that as a total demographic, 9 out of 10 voted against Trump.

The optimistic view is that these racist and sexist voters are older and are becoming a smaller demographic. That's not my view. It is far too easy for the first group to maintain their hold on power by appealing to these tropes, tropes that are floating around in the collective zeitgeist, looking for a suitable host.

And taking down the first group will just mean that others will step up to take their place. You find a way to remove Boebert, Taylor-Greene, Cawthorn from the equation, what stops the next crop of racist/sexist idiots from moving up?

Brexit was a foreshadowing, and the anti-vax shit is just underlining how people can grab onto positions that will ultimately harm them and do it for reasons of shared identity. As Russell said, Trump is epiphenomenal and the grifters are the same. You aren't going to get anywhere without addressing the root causes.

Part of the scared are a group of Evangelicals that support Trump because they believe that he is basically a garbage human, but they believe that the Democratic Party is in the grip of Satan, and bent on destroying society, and already engaged in totalitarianism. They support Trump because they believe that their god is orchestrating Trump despite what Trump personally wants.

I don't think this group is reachable. They live in a non-falsifiable, self-authorizing world of feelings. All we can do is hope that they get run over by the clue bus in whatever idiosyncratic way might allow them to self deprogram. I haven't the faintest what that might be, and suspect that it will take thousands of individual tipping points to get anywhere.

I don't want to start a fight in the comments, but it amazes me that you can analyze Trump supporters without mentioning racism or sexism.

Ah, but you see, I think both of those are are just aspects of fear. There are, I suppose, some few who hate members of other races (or women) ab initio. But in most cases it is more a matter of fear of losing money/position/etc., and having been taught that members of those other groups will be the cause of that loss. Remove the constant drumbeat of propaganda reinforcing that fear, and the problem drops substantially. (So says the resident optimist.)

Evangelicals that support Trump because . . . they believe that the Democratic Party is in the grip of Satan
. . .
I don't think this group is reachable. They live in a non-falsifiable, self-authorizing world of feelings.

Perhaps not. But in many cases their feelings require constant reinforcement from outside. Break that feedback loop, and many (not all, of course, but many) will find their way back to their earlier "character matters" position -- that is, that the ends do NOT justify the means.

Ah, but you see, I think both of those are are just aspects of fear.

When you generalize it like that, it feels like you don't want to or can't admit it makes up pretty big chunk of that group. And when you have people who will swear up and down that they don't support Trump, but are happy to tut-tut if Obama put his feet up (while wearing a tan suit, the horrors!) or the gauntlet Harris has had to run



or the more recent "Biden is instituting fascist vaccine requirements", it makes the dividing line between that 2nd group and those 'I hate Trump, but...' pretty fuzzy. And much less likely that they can be 'brought around'.

I think the way to understand Republican voters is to watch Faux. The message of Faux is "Republicans good, everyone else is bad." Real issues are rarely discussed and never discussed honestly or thoughtfully. The tone is sneering, jeering, with a lot of appeal to the maturity level of upper elementary school. Personal attacks on individuals and character attacks on groups are the norm and substitute for discussion of policy. What motivates Republican voters? Egotism. They see themselves as the good guys battling to save America from the evil everyone else. Racism and sexism are subsets of that but they disrespect all of us.
Of course there are Republicans who are not part of the Faux mindset, but they are a small minority.

Oh I forgot another significant part of the pattern: faux victimization. The way they justify their disrespect for everyone else is by convincing themselves that they are the real victims. SO they are the only good Americans with the only good real values and everyone else is unamerican and must be cancelled and they are entitled to do whatever it takes to win because they are protecting America and themselves, they being the real victims. It's the pathology behind fascism.

I might be wrong, but I feel the Brexit voter and the MAGA voter are less a venn diagram and more like a single circle.


I've had a lovely Xmas / New Year's despite a sick child, who was nevertheless very jolly, but we couldn't go out much and Covid preventing us seeing grandma abroad.

I finished the new Knausgaard, which is good but I feel merits further thinking on my part'


I also devoured the new Franzen which is really, really good - his best. If I was in a position to turn books into miniseries, I'd pay a lot of money for it.


I started reading Middlemarch, but don't have the head for it (got sick on New Year's day) so instead am finishing Ferrante's "Days of Abandonment", which is brilliant:


So this is all great, but then you watch "Don't Look Up" and realize that, whatever its merits as a film, it's describing US and our carelessness exactly at this point in time - only difference being that the comet will hit in 20 years time, rather than six months - all of which is rather depressing.


And the war criminal Tony Blair will be knighted, with full support of Labour leader Keir Starmer (whom I am trying to like, but with increasing difficulty).

And my daughter will go back to school tomorrow without any safeguarding measures in place, so that we will probably all get Covid in a few weeks - happy days.


If anybody likes a good TV series, we've been watching Succession, which is great both as a big, character-based tragicomedy and a scathing satire of capitalism.


novakant, hold that thought (about Starmer), I've got a few Grauniad articles that I hope you can weigh in on in a post I'm finishing up now

The mass suicide of conservatives continues, as commanded by the genocidal Republican Party/pro-Kremlin/pro/Confederacy/Insurrectionist movement and its media propagandists.


Just because there are fewer of these psychopaths does not mean they can't continue by hook and crook to rule as a minority fascist movement.

Unless they are stopped. Dead. In their tracks.

46 years old. What a waste.

I'm at a loss.

If crypto-Christians can't send us to the fires of Hell, they will send the fires of Hell to your childrens' doors:


It continues: “Beneath the surface lies a tangle of doctrine that teaches its followers that slavery was ‘a marvelous opportunity’ for Black people, who are deemed by the Bible to be servants of whites, and that homosexuals deserve no less than death.


“While homosexuals are shunned by the Twelve Tribes (though ex-members say the group brags about unnamed members who are “formerly” gay), the group actively proselytizes to African Americans, yet one of its Black leaders glorifies the early Ku Klux Klan."

All Americans should mimic the lawless conservative movement and its Trump Mafia family vanguard, and ignore the Rule of Law and fight every subpoena issued by every Court and governmental body in the land, if those courts and bodies are infested by conservative movement cadres, unless the subjects of the summons are themselves conservatives, in which case enlist an army of bounty hunters to track them down.


Stop the entire American conservative judicial machinery in its tracks.

46 years old. What a waste.

I'm not so sure. The article notes she was an anti-vaxxer even before covid. Which makes this just evolution in action. Never pretty, of course. But, ya gotta weed counter-survival genes out somehow. And if she'd lived, she would have had years to do more damage to others.

I'm not so sure.

there's a sort-of karma aspect to stuff like this which is not lost on me.

but it still seems sad, and a waste, to me.

46 is pretty young to die, especially from an easily preventable cause. even if it's due to your own foolishness, and even if your foolishness created risks for others.

I find people like this exasperating and at times enraging, but COVID is a crap way to go, and I don't wish it on anyone.

a tangle of doctrine that teaches its followers that slavery was ‘a marvelous opportunity’ for Black people

a point of view that has been expressed by, among others, Pat Buchanan, in an email shared with me by my Trumpie brother in law.

yes, they were slaves and were treated as livestock - livestock with benefits, in the case of black women - but at least they got to hear about Jesus.

just another thing for Jesus to weep about.

I asked my bro-in-law not to send me any more crap like that. he has been kind enough to respect my request.

I note in passing that Charles Murray is taking another swing at the good old 'black and brown people are cognitively inferior' trope. it's a reality we must face, says Murray.

the guy sells a lot of books, so I assume there's an audience for this stuff.

It's sad, it's a waste, it's a tragedy ... in the Greek sense ... except that it is all jimmy the greek to these dunderheads, like some shallow sorority and fraternity self-hazing.

It's also extraordinarily dangerous to the country.

Cults murder themselves, and when they don't, they murder those who oppose them.

She was a lowly lieutenant to the sadistic vaccinated Republican and conservative Jim Jones and Charles Manson Generals encouraging her to seek oblivion.

Who else did she infect while taking one for the Gipper God?


All are primary effects.

Nothing secondary about it.

They are deliberately causing and embracing chaos.

They believe it to be a ladder to absolute fascist power.


We are going to need more dragons.

It's also extraordinarily dangerous to the country.

Tru dat.

but at least they got to hear about Jesus.

I read somewhere the assertion that slaveowners in the South thought that giving their slaves religion would make them more accepting of their circumstances. But then the owners got caught up in religion themselves.

i feel sorry for her, and Ashley Babbit and all the other people who get turned away from sanity by the cynical greedheads who run the Republican myth-making machine.

yes, she and Babbit and all the horse-paste-gobbling-jackholes are personally responsible for their outcomes. but the people who continue to profit off of the lies they sell to the easily-led are twice as despicable, in my book.

Perhaps not. But in many cases their feelings require constant reinforcement from outside. Break that feedback loop, and many (not all, of course, but many) will find their way back to their earlier "character matters" position -- that is, that the ends do NOT justify the means.

The reason I despair for the "hardline anti-modern Trump-cynical culture warrior GOP Evangelicals" is because they basically live in cells that are constructed specifically to provide constant reinforcement on a local level.

The cynical top-down grifters that you point to only have that position of power because that opportunity was created for them by 40 years of local activism coming from radicalized fundamentalist evangelicals. They have whole communities of alternative health and media that rival Q (even as the two have become entangled).

They are not driven by any national media trends and there is no way to end the reinforcement because that reinforcement is built into the local communities and the networks between them. It's basically a P2P network of anti-secular, anti-modern, dominionist sectarians.

Good luck with a blue pill for that.

What we know is that in the beginning American* slave owners were vehemently opposed to missionaries as far as their slaves were concerned because they feared the messages sent, that it would not make the slaves more docile but infect them with the idea that, if they were equal in the face of G#d, they should be so too on Earth.
The result was a compromise know as the slave bible of 1807.
e.g. the whole Exodus story had to be removed.
The slavers were correct in a sense, cf. e.g songs like 'Go down, Moses', that slaves would draw exactly those dangerous parallels between their own situation and the Sons of Israel in Egypt.

*in the Americas, not limited to the US

In case this has not yet been mentioned above:


According to that absolutely notorious judge, the military has no right to require the soldiers to get vaccinated, if they object to it. It's not explicitly said, whether it is just because the objection is religious in nature but at least that is what the SEALs asked for and what the judge agreed to referring to the 1st amendment in his injunction).

people who would rather play wingnut politics than take orders don't seem like the right people to be SEALs.

According to that absolutely notorious judge, the military has no right to require the soldiers to get vaccinated, if they object to it.

Next step: orders that soldiers must not get vaccinations. Hey, once upon a time being gay was a bar to serving. Next, being vaccinated might be. And no doubt this judge would be just fine with that . . . since it is his particular ideology being mandated.


MAGA is a drug. It is addictive, for some people. An overdose can kill you. Even a less-than-lethal dose can make you dangerous to sane people.

The questions for sane people are: how should we deal with the addicts? and how should we deal with the pushers?

The War on Drugs has been a costly failure. Would a War on MAGA be any better? What would it look like, anyway?

Leaving the MAGAts alone to mainline the stuff in their lily-white ghettos has a certain appeal. Unfortunately, they don't live in ghettos. They circulate among us, and are tolerated by most of us.


no need to declare a war on Trump supporters, they're bringing their own war. I'm just trying to understand how to deal with it all.

It's not explicitly said, whether it is just because the objection is religious in nature but at least that is what the SEALs asked for and what the judge agreed to referring to the 1st amendment in his injunction).

From memory of pieces written by Naval authorities, so possibly suspect... The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to vaccinations for years. Not one. Their standard procedure for such requires documentation from a chaplain, an officer in the chain of command, and raises questions like, "If you have had a religious change that precludes maintaining readiness in your current position, we will discuss whether we can find you a new position or whether a general discharge is in order."

The War on Drugs has been a costly failure. Would a War on MAGA be any better?

That's why I think drunk driving is a better analogy. We don't try to force people not to be alcoholics -- as with the War on Drugs, Prohibition didn't work. But we do force them not to do things as a result of their alcohol addiction. Seems like something similar could be tried here, to protect others from their folly.

The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to vaccinations for years. Not one.

And, amazingly, the filing granted by the judge makes that very point. Apparently they think this proves that the exemption is window dressing -- and being not real means that it violates their rights somehow.

people who would rather play wingnut politics than take orders don't seem like the right people to be SEALs.

I thought service members were required to follow lawful orders. Getting vaccinated isn't illegal, is it? ;^)

I thought service members were required to follow lawful orders. Getting vaccinated isn't illegal, is it?

I think the argument there is that being ordered to eat a ham and cheese sandwich isn't illegal either. But someone who's Jewish might reasonably have a problem with it.

No, I don't think the cases are really comparable. And I think general (not honorable) discharges are in order in these cases. But the situation isn't quite absolute.

Garroting one's enemy, perhaps slitting his or her throat, certainly killing anything that moves is fine if not dandy and pardonable and not in violation of whatever small-print slop the Bible and its thick and ordinary followers, Christian killers, will not only do but train strenuously for .... a needle in the arm, not so much.

I'm not taking any fucking vaccine; hey, the Seals I've been around use the f-word as punctuation.

Keep the government out of my fucking military healthcare.


One wonders about some tenderfooted he-man punk Seal and his or her feelings about donning a gas mask in combat.

My God, can you imagine what would John McCain would have done if the North Vietnamese had tried to vaccinate him? He would have given up and expired immediately.

I happen to know from my Navy Seal step-nephew that Seals are required to carry a weapon, including in their luggage on flights (what good it does in their luggage is beyond me), at all times when off base domestically becuase of fear that Russian and Chinese agents may attempt to assassinate them.

By the way, he's all grown up from the teenager who just a few years ago would point an unloaded semi-automatic weapon at Hillary Clinton on the TV. He's not to be messed with now, and seems to be a gentleman.

I also know that Navy Seals stationed in Japan during the pandemic and not permitted stateside leave for extended periods of time reportedly suffered from high rates of suicide on account of homesickness.

Is that a trait we want in our warriors. Again, it's not like they are confined to tiger cages in Japan.

Also, no doubt when our fine Christian boys catch the clap on shore leave here and abroad, on wonders whether they take the penicillin shot in the butt, or orally, the righteous wonders.

My step-nephews Navy Seal Commander was killed, tragically, in a training accident just before I saw the former in Pittsburgh in early December.


That judge is full of shit, just like the conservative dog shit who recommended and confirmed him.

Every time he takes a breath, my religion is offended and I gird my loins (Christians seem so loin-centric) to administer God's wrathful vengeance.

I wnder if a Christian Seal has been ordsered to sneak in on Osama Bin Laden and administer a Covid booster shot, if they would have followed orders.

Proper spelling, schmelling.

Make me!

But our Freedoms???!


Fucking Commies.

According to that absolutely notorious judge, the military has no right to require the soldiers to get vaccinated, if they object to it.

Skimming through the opinion, it appears at one point the judge says that what matters about the reason a person objects is not whether it is factually true, but whether the person sincerely believes it to be true. So, apparently, if the person sincerely believes the mRNA vaccines contain material extracted from animals, that trumps the verifiable fact that every single component of the vaccine is synthesized.

...COVID is a crap way to go, and I don't wish it on anyone.

I don't understand this. What would be a good way to go at 46?

Like Nelson Rockefeller?

Actually, one's lungs hardening into cement and massive organ failure as one's last thought is the final speech you gave dissing the vaccine and calling for Tony Fauci's arrest, while your husband or wife and your children stand behind glass weeping, and the last thing you hear is one of them giving off that first telltale dry cough you infected them with would make great white sharks and Torquemada get graduate degrees and up their games.

I don't understand this

pretty much what Thullen said.

or, more simply, 46 is too young to go, full stop, and COVID is a crap way to go at any age.

we have vaccines now. nobody has to die from this stupid virus anymore. it's profoundly sad that some folks seem more than happy to put themselves and other people at risk.

makes no sense to me.

Is the murderous, genocidal, tax-hating Governor of Florida going to roust up his new special unaccountable guard to collect fines, have fired, and arrest the real estate jokers who refuse to party like it's 2019?


Can DeSantis send his filth conservative operatives cross state lines and take dialing for dollars smiling-like-maniacs realtors and real estate moguls and developers into custody, drag them back to Florida, shove a Mojito in their hand, buy them each a hooker (and bill them later courtesy of the DeSantis Presidential campaign), rip off their masks, and demand "Party, dammint, or else!"

There will be violence.

I think Pro Bono' s question was light humor, but I thought I would punch it up a bit.

...COVID is a crap way to go, and I don't wish it on anyone.

A truly crap way to go is covid as a result of your uber ambitious husband insisting on cavorting with anti-vaxxers when you are undergoing chemotherapy. (Well, at least he got vaccinated. Even if that fact seems to be a Florida state secret currently.)

i know five people currently with COVID.

that's five times more than i've known since this started.

(six, if you count The Count)

I lost count of how many people I know who've gotten COVID in the last few weeks.

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