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December 02, 2021

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In California, we are going with a government issued QR code which you can display on your phone. Not impossible to fake, but at least requiring some level of technical knowledge, which filters out the anti-science types.

But still possible to check against the public health records. One case that they are in the process of making a big deal over is the registered nurse who was accepting payments to put false information into the government database.

One case that they are in the process of making a big deal over is the registered nurse who was accepting payments to put false information into the government database.

That sort of thing is always possible. For example, you could have someone in a hospital fake birth records, and then use birth certificates those to apply for Social Security numbers for that fake person.

Presto! Solid fake background IDs to sell to the highest bidder. (And no worries that someone will notice that the actual holder of that SSN died.) I don't know if anyone has seized that business opportunity yet or not. But it clearly would be possible.

Appeasing pussy Democrats kowtow to subhuman fifth column Putin-licking Trumpian butt licking traitorous insurrectionist Republican vermin and torpedo a decent American’s dream.

I’m quite sure Russians living under Putin’s murderous regime will now think twice about emigrating to the piece of fucking dog shit America.

Putin will have the murderous conservative movement’s back when they start murdering all of we Commie enemies in the nascent savagely violent Civil War the former filth have declared.

Omarova happily, for now, temporarily is free to arm herself with military grade weaponry to act in her own self-defense fake cracker Kennedy decides he wants to get the whites of his subhuman confederate eyes within her shooting range again.

I wonder if Trump’s fellow travelers at the Russian Embassy in DC will protest this rancid, malignant treatment of their former countryman by hateful, cocksucking America.

We are a fucking disgrace.

The link: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.axios.com/democrats-omarova-occ-5755a0e4-c6a5-4ca7-b6c7-87d18d5491f9.html

About felonies, I'm sure the attitude is similar to this specimen

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/jenna-ryan-jail-capitol-jan-6/2021/11/04/c94cd8c2-3d82-11ec-8ee9-4f14a26749d1_story.html

the sad thing is that some may be right
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/16/black-men-sentenced-to-more-time-for-committing-the-exact-same-crime-as-a-white-person-study-finds/

That sort of thing is always possible. For example, you could have someone in a hospital fake birth records, and then use birth certificates those to apply for Social Security numbers for that fake person.

Eventually, down the road somewhere. I feel reasonably sure that the systems don't allow the front line workers to add new birth records from 20 years ago. When I worked for my state's legislature, I had to learn (so I could explain, or attempt to explain) a bunch about our state's intake software for public services. Permissions were fine-grained, every transaction with the master database was logged, logs were preserved for long enough for almost all discrepancies to surface.

Older software here is nowhere near as secure. We handed out a dismaying amount of unemployment insurance cash to people who didn't even exist in the last couple years.

I feel reasonably sure that the systems don't allow the front line workers to add new birth records from 20 years ago.

I was thinking more of someone making an investment. Falsely register a birth as happening now. Knowing there would be a market for the ID later.

Although I suppose there might be an argument that most criminals are not capable of that kind of delayed gratification....

"For example, you could have someone in a hospital fake birth records, and then use birth certificates those to apply for Social Security numbers for that fake person."

Really diabolical if they print a birth announcement in the local Honolulu newspaper JUST so it can be used for a President a half century later.

hey, hey, wj. I feel you should read this one today!

LOL..have a good holiday season.

hey, bobbyp. When someone denounces the current economic environment by comparing it to the 1920s (even if he says it's worse), I suspect him of not knowing what he's talking about on some critical points. If he compares it to the Gilded Age, I can at least hope he has a clue about the economy and how it might be reformed. (The level of political corruption is similar, too.)

Bobbyp, thanks for the link. It started off a bit slow, but got better and better. And I think Karl Polanyi is a better person to be citing over Marx, and not only because of the hundred year disastrous legacy.

For those with a taste for gallows humor, consider this idea
https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/19/politics/trump-house-speaker-2022/index.html

For that matter, why wait for the next election to make his Speaker of the House? Vote Trump in as Minority Leader right now. It's a bigger megaphone than he's got currently, which might overcome his distaste for the title.

" why wait for the next election to make his Speaker of the House? Vote Trump in as Minority Leader right now."

It sure would make it easier to get Trump in front of a House committee investigating the insurrection, plus any other committees that have questions, including ethics committees.

So, GO FOR IT, TRUMP!

It sure would make it easier to get Trump in front of a House committee

Well, maybe. Then again, he might spend as much or more time away as he did as President. Republicans might end up looking back at the hapless McCarthy as a (relative) paragon of competence.

Merry Christmas arrives early for FOX News killers:

https://twitter.com/ianbremmer/status/1468577901083860995?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

FOX News "personalities" blame Jewish death lasers and call for the internment and murder of all homeless folks, of which Joe Biden is one.

Fellow subhuman "Personalities" from the Third Reich refused to comment for this article.

Next up: the opening of the Novichok Christmas stockings. Mom, this little bottle of vodka tastes funny.

Merry Christmas arrives early for FOX News killers

I propose a conspiracy theory: the arsonist was a far right individual who was protesting Fox being way too liberal. Dubious, but why let reality intrude into the MAGAverse?

An innocent tree burns while yards away insurrectionist, treasonous, anti-human, anti-American EVIL carries on:

https://digbysblog.net/2021/12/08/say-it-with-him/

At least Hitler burned the Reichstag, not the adjacent Christmas tree.

Vote Trump in as Minority Leader right now.

I believe the rules are that the minority leader has to be a member of the House. That doesn't apply to Speaker.

Since when does Trump care about rules. Rules are for others. You know, the little people.

Possibly more important to Trump, as either minority leader or Speaker, you have to do actual work. There's a bunch of things that can't be shoved off on staff or assistants.

This may be of some interest:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/01/brooks-true-conservatism-dead-fox-news-voter-suppression/620853/

Money quote:

...to be a conservative today, you have to oppose much of what the Republican Party has come to stand for.
Hard to argue with that.

Possibly more important to Trump, as either minority leader or Speaker, you have to do actual work.

As President you have to do actual work, too. Hard work and lots of it. Trump didn't then. Why would he believe he would have to actually work as minority leader or Speaker? Who would make him?

the arsonist was a far right individual

crazy homeless guy.

re: bobbyp's TAP article - I think it's useful to distinguish between free markets and/or market economies, and capitalism.

they are not the same thing.

I'm not sure what to say about Brooks. the (R) party has hitched its wagon to middle class white resentment and tax cuts for rich people for basically my entire adult life. there's nothing particularly 'conservative' about any of that.

the penny drops whenever it drops, I guess.

I read the Brooks piece.

He makes the case, rightfully I s'pose, that Marxism, Communism, Burke's hated French Revolution, all of the conservative bugaboos had within them the seeds of their own epic, disastrous failures from the get go.

But he elides the same train of thought for his beloved conservatism, ahh, things just got off track because of some faulty actors and thinking, the "ism" of it is still pristinely intact.

I say bullshit.

The malignant metastasizing tumors of American conservatism, and its sister bullshit nationalist toxic capitalist versions abroad, including Buchanan's/Dreher's murderous faux Christianity, will be wiped off the face of the Earth just like the other "isms".

Raise Brooks' taxes.

He'll run back to the fold like a good little purist.

crazy homeless guy.

There you go again, trying to inject facts into a perfectly nice conspiracy theory.

Come now. There are plenty of reports that on an average Tuesday, President Trump rose late, had some breakfast, watched some Fox, then wandered down the hall to do some work. Everyone knew not to schedule nine o'clock briefings tomorrow, if it was a day the President was starting late. Speaker Trump would need to be some place promptly on most days to call things to order and set the House to its work. Installing Trump as Speaker is the House Republicans saying not only are they not going to govern, they're not even going to go through the motions.

he elides the same train of thought for his beloved conservatism, ahh, things just got off track because of some faulty actors and thinking, the "ism" of it is still pristinely intact.

Actually, he explicitly acknowledges that conservatism includes features which make what we have seen a possibility. Not an inevitability, but a possibility. Bad actors can exacerbate the situation (and have). But then, any philosophy can go off track. See Cambodia, for just one example. Here's hoping our case doesn't get that bad.

Installing Trump as Speaker is the House Republicans saying not only are they not going to govern, they're not even going to go through the motions.

Steve Benen (not Bannon!) wrote a book on that. The GOP is a post policy party (apart from being a death cult which is merely optional).

the GOP is a nationwide theater troupe, full of people who want to make the big time performing Republicanism on Fox, but who are now grinding out Scenes From The Culture Wars for their local audiences.

I continue to be at a loss to understand what exactly it is that the Fox audience wants.

What are they angry about? What would make them happy?

Brooks wrote his usual stuff about the wisdom of received cultural mores and "sentiments", all of which is very nice...but....absolutely banal. Because where the rubber meets the road is the conservative penchant to justify restrictions on human freedom and their worship of untrammeled power held by those they approve of. Thus in the realm of public policy, they always come up short...favoring the rich and the comfortable.

Where they really went off the rails was when they hitched their philosophical star to capitalism....a revolutionary concept in human affairs in 1789. So much for "received wisdom" and "going slow".

We continue to live with the unintended consequences of that union.

The more time goes by, the more I think that cleek is absolutely the prophet for our time. His 08.30 above only confirms it. And so, russell, I think the answer to your question is that they want the humiliation and destruction of anything and anybody who could be categorised as "liberal", or who professes to care (let alone actually cares) for the common good (see their contemptuous use of "SJWs", as if social justice was a pathetic delusion). Presumably because such concerns show them, as in a mirror, their own selfishness and egocentricity, and this makes them angry.

But as for what would make them happy, after the destruction of their perceived enemies, that is indeed the question. Perhaps they cannot be happy, without enemies? Maybe they would turn on each other and eat their own tail?

Finding new enemies is their specialty. And in case of doubt there's always 'the Jews' (who need not even be present. Shadow enemies are always useful because they are extra scary).

russell: Abe Lincoln had "what they want" figured out, and explained in his Cooper Hall speech.

Even total victory will not satisfy them or "make them happy". So might as well just crush them.

Fair warning of where the US is headed.
https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/12/not-going-back-to-before-roe-religion.html

And for any sane Republicans still under the illusion that they might reclaim their party. Or that the sane Republicans still in the party are likely to stand with them...
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/01/peter-meijer-freshman-republican-impeach/620844/

they want the humiliation and destruction of anything and anybody who could be categorised as "liberal", or who professes to care (let alone actually cares) for the common good

my thought about this is that people who get their information from Fox etc believe their lives and values are threatened by liberals.

so their anger and fear reactions are constantly being stoked.

I think people are accountable for what they choose to fill their heads with, so I think they own some responsibility for believing the stuff that winds them up. they can change the channel, right?

but I also hold Fox et al responsible for provoking all of that.

and all of that said, I find it hard to believe that the motivation is purely negative - purely a matter of wanting to destroy people who they think are their enemies. I'm inclined to assume there is some positive motivation in there as well.

my sister and her family are more or less the kind of folks I'm talking about. they range from my hard-core Trump supporting brother in law and niece, to my sister, who is more of a garden-variety evangelical conservative.

if I were to ask my sister what she actually wants - what a good life looks like, to her - it would basically be (a) move out of downtown Phoenix to get away from the crowds and California expatriates, and (b) be left alone, i.e. not have government telling her what she can and can't do.

those are actually pretty modest desiderata. they are goals that are mostly achievable, and where they aren't achievable (i.e., there are always things that "government" is going to require you to do or not do) they can probably be whittled down to something like an annoyance.

rather than something that requires half or more of the population to be destroyed.

the issue here is this: none of us are going away. so we need to figure this stuff out.

I can work with people who basically just want to be left the hell alone. there are probably ways to accommodate most of that. when I say "I can work with", I just mean that I'm sure I can find some kind of common ground at the level of public policy that will more or less work for all parties concerned.

but we can't get to that when the conversation is all about secret plans to inject micro-chips in everybody, or lizard people selling babies for sex.

so I'd rather try to understand what these people want - in a positive sense - than argue about crazy paranoid theories.

what would make them happy? for my sister, it's moving out of downtown Phoenix and growing vegetables in her yard and not having to deal with all of the annoying regulations that come with living in an urban area.

for my brother in law, it's having guns and dogs and going fishing a lot.

I'm trying to figure out how to focus on that stuff.

what is it that these folks want? what - what *positive* thing - would make them happy?

there are probably some answers to that that aren't achievable. everybody is not going to be an evangelical Christian, some people are going to say happy holidays, some folks aren't going to want you open carrying a gun in their home or store or even neighborhood.

but perhaps there are some answers to that that are achievable. so I'm looking for those.

What are they angry about?

Whatever Fox tells them they should be angry about.

What would make them happy?

What already makes them happy - having something to be angry about.

I continue to be at a loss to understand what exactly it is that the Fox audience wants.

What are they angry about? What would make them happy?

they're angry at strawman Democrats that wingnut media parades around for them. Fox News viewers don't want to be happy. they want to be angry - that's why they watch Fox (or OANN, Newsmax, etc. if Fox isn't hardcore enough for them).

I continue to be at a loss to understand what exactly it is that the Fox audience wants.

What are they angry about? What would make them happy?

I think your 10:59 comes close. What they want, basically, is for everything to stop changing all the time! Not that even close to "everything" is doing so, but lots is.

They are mostly OK with technology changing -- so long as it doesn't require them to learn a whole new job. An auto mechanic may pine for the days when a wrench and a welder were enough to deal with a car. But he can live with having gradually had to learn how to deal with computer chips everywhere. However learning to program those chips would be a bridge too far.

But what makes them really uncomfortable is social change. New kinds of people they are expected to deal with as equals. (As inferiors was not too bad, mostly.) New ways they are expected to speak and act. (Although manners having relaxed enough that they can be crude in public doesn't seem to be a problem. If only their children's manners hadn't changed, too.)

That's a big part of why they dislike government: they don't mind everything the government does. Just the things that require them to behave differently. Having the government put a highway in is fine. (Well, except if it forces them to move.) Because they will cheerfully use it. But having it put in "affordable housing" in their neighborhood? Not so much. (Maybe if their kids were going to live there. But not "those people" i.e. folks not like them.) Government forcing other people to conform to their mores is great. Forcing them to conform to, or even just accept, different mores . . . isn't.

So, what does Fox do for them? Mostly, it makes them feel like they are not alone. Obviously there are lots of people who disagree with them -- otherwise the government wouldn't keep changing things. But Fox lets them know that there are lots of people who agree with them, feel like they are part of something bigger than their immediate social circle. Yes, it's constantly telling them about more new stuff being (supposedly) forced on them, and getting them upset. But that's not the attraction. The attraction is the sense of community.

A less snarky follow-on: The phenomenon I observe among my many conservative friends is that they're extremely pleasant, happy, fun, nice people in person, at least if you don't talk politics with them.

If they discuss politics, even with people they agree with, they get at least a little bit angry. If they discuss politics with someone who challenges them, they get angrier still.

On social media, they sound like fire-breathing crazy people, at least the ones who discuss politics on social media. Not all of them do. Some of them do almost constantly, and they're the worst.

The main takeaway for me is the contrast between their non-political selves and their political selves. For some, it's like two completely different people.

I sympathise with and respect your desire for a positive way forward, russell. But when you say

their anger and fear reactions are constantly being stoked

I fear that this is not only true, but has been true for long enough that it has created a sort of impenetrable feedback loop (if I understand that term correctly). Of course one does not want to see people one loves as sort of zombies totally in the thrall of negative forces and unreachable by negotiation on benign wishes or impulses, but if a substantial proportion of the population has fallen to a cult, the chances of deprogramming on that scale seem limited. And since an essential part of the cult's programming has been to paint its adversaries as incapable of anything benign, any possibility of any kind of positive development is strangled at or before birth.

I am so very sorry to be so negative, and the last thing I want is to depress you, of all people. I only hope I am wrong. But this is how it is beginning to seem to me.

(I would have said that the only possibility to improve anything is to work like crazy to elect Dems at the local and national levels, as you have often remarked, so that eventually policies can be enacted which benefit the relevant third of the population so inarguably that they slowly come to let go of their prejudices. And as you know I have often discussed various ways I thought the Dems might improve their electoral chances. But I am losing faith that this can be accomplished, in the face of the skewed SCOTUS, gerrymandering etc. Again, I hope I am wrong.)

Addendum: as we have often noted, the actual policies of the GOP or (as we now should call it) the Party of Trump not only do nothing to benefit the people we are talking about, they actively do them harm. So the essential task which Fox et al perform is to distract them from reality by creating straw monsters for them to hate, so they go on voting for the GOP/POT. And this is done with great expertise and therefore success, so that it is literally impossible to discover what they might want, or what might make them happy, since they have been lured into a shadow realm which bears almost no relation to reality.

if I were to ask my sister what she actually wants - what a good life looks like, to her - it would basically be (a) move out of downtown Phoenix to get away from the crowds and California expatriates, and (b) be left alone, i.e. not have government telling her what she can and can't do.

Serious question. Why does she live in downtown Phoenix?

First thing: if you have cable, be aware you're paying money to Fox News. They collect fees from the cable companies based on the total number of cable subscribers, not Fox viewers.

Second: if you want to be left alone, stay the hell away from me. I mean that in the nicest possible way. You want to be Amish? Be Amish. You want to stable your horse and buggy next door to my condo? Sorry, bub.

Third: you can burden your mental universe with whatever deities you like, but if you want me to live as if I fall for that delusion too then go to (your) hell. Leave me alone. I'm looking at you, SCOTUS.

Finally: it may already be too late to salvage American democracy by The Rules. (The Rules currently being: Republicans are allowed to cheat; Democrats aren't.) If the "white working class" would rather have its grievance than tolerate "change", let's give them some more things to grieve about. Like being shunned by people who may also be white and work for a living but are not racist theocratic fascists by temperament.

--TP

I fear that this is not only true, but has been true for long enough that it has created a sort of impenetrable feedback loop (if I understand that term correctly).

Basically correct. The right wing propagandists are exploiting amygdala reactions and the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Execute) to keep their audiences in a perpetual state of outrage. That's the basis of the "flood the channels with shit"strategy. If the propaganda can stay far enough ahead of the loop to interrupt the decision making loop before any resistance can be organized (the execute phase), then the resistance can be paralyzed.

Propaganda shock and awe.

The left has nothing like it, and so far has no answer to it.

For some, it's like two completely different people.

yup

this is not only true, but has been true for long enough that it has created a sort of impenetrable feedback loop

yes, I think that is so.

it's arrived at a very dangerous point. like, not quite Rwanda, but you can see it from here.

the actual policies of the GOP or (as we now should call it) the Party of Trump not only do nothing to benefit the people we are talking about, they actively do them harm.

in pragmatic terms, I think this is completely so. at least for people who aren't, for example, business owners, but even for them I'm not sure (R) policies are always a win.

what I think is that the folks in question don't care.

way back when Obamacare was being debated, I read an interview with a guy who had a family member who would basically either die or live an *extremely* reduced life without the ACA.

the guy recognized that, and still opposed the ACA. because government shouldn't be in the business of health insurance, full stop. even if it means his sister would die.

so the pragmatic benefits seem to be less compelling than people's understanding of what liberty means. for example.

Americans are living in two separate nations.

Why does she live in downtown Phoenix?

She didn't used to, but then downtown Phoenix expanded.

She moved again recently to a property further away from downtown, and she's happier now.

When she and my brother-in-law first moved to AZ back in the late 70's they landed in Payson, up in the mountains east of Phoenix. At the time it was back of beyond. They mostly loved it, except for the drug trafficking.

They moved to Phoenix in the early 80's for work and so my mother could help with childcare. In the early 80's Phoenix was not what it is now.

They've just kept moving every few years since then to get away from the latest iteration of "downtown".

what I think is that the folks in question don't care.

they care about beating the Democrats, because Fox tells them that's the only way to MAGA. policy is only relevant in that the GOP has traditionally claimed a few positions as its own and so Fox viewers reflexively know which side to take. but, as Trump proved, even that can be set aside tactically, if doing to makes it possible to beat the Dems.

you don't go from a self-proclaimed party of heartland traditional family values and the rule of law to a party that idolizes a thrice-married, crooked NYC playboy real-estate huckster and c-list celebrity mail-order scammer who publicly fantasizes about his daughter in the span of a year unless all those values and positions were just a charade.

but you can do it, easily, if your only real principle is that Dems Must Lose.

if your only real principle is that Dems Must Lose.

I don't think that's quite it. Their one principle is *I* Must Win. If they thought that it would improve their chances of winning, they would change parties in an instant. By now, for most of those in Congress, it wouldn't -- they've gone too far down the rabbit hole, and non-MAGA voters wouldn't forget. Perhaps more to the point, non-MAGA donors wouldn't trust them enough to pony up.

They've just kept moving every few years since then to get away from the latest iteration of "downtown".

I've always considered Phoenix metro to be a big suburb of almost nothing as far as an actual city goes. It's a matter of how dense your part of the big suburb is, and the density keeps increasing over time until it reaches the Phoenix maximum. The maximum then continues to spread further and further out into what once were less-dense suburbs, which in turn were once unpopulated (by humans - plenty of snakes, lizards, scorpions, coyotes, roadrunners, etc.) land.

wj,

You seem to be talking about politicians while cleek seems to be talking about ordinary-yokel MAGAts.

You may be right about the politicians: if Covid killed off all MAGAts tomorrow, GOP politicians would switch parties the day after. If you think they're cynical charlatans to that extent, I am not inclined to argue with you.

But stop fooling yourself about what "I must win" means in practice. Elections are a zero-sum game, for one thing. For another, the GOP hasn't sought "win-win" solutions since last millennium, I think.

--TP

For another, the GOP hasn't sought "win-win" solutions since last millennium, I think.

Collectively, in Congress, I'd date the breakpoint to 1994 (when Gingrich became the Republican leader in the House).

that's the only way to MAGA

what does America look like, when it's "great again"?

there are the true believer hard-core Nazis, who think it's a country with no Jews or black or brown people. but I don't actually think there are that many of them. Trump got 74+ million votes in 2020, I'm not seeing 74+ million actual Nazis.

The folks who showed up on January 6 seem to have been a reasonable cross section of middle- to upper-middle-class America, especially white America. Whatever it is they want, they want it bad enough to riot and invade the US Capitol in order to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power following an election.

That's a big freaking deal. It is, in fact, unprecedented in the nation's history, and the nation's history includes a very wide variety of things, good bad and indifferent.

What does it mean, to them, for America to be "great again"?

Maybe you guys are right and they all just really enjoy being some combination of terrified and pissed off. In which case, we're kind of screwed and there is not much to be done except try to keep them from breaking every damned thing they can get their hands on.

In the run-up the Civil War, the issue was really, really clear. Preserve and expand slavery, or don't.

What is the analogous issue or set of issues now? Is there one? Or is it all about crazy crap like lizard people and 'election fraud'?

What the hell do these people actually *want*? They say stuff like "they want their country back" - what does that mean? Do they even know?

there are the true believer hard-core Nazis, who think it's a country with no Jews or black or brown people. but I don't actually think there are that many of them.

Get rid of all those Jews and black and brown people? No, I agree there aren't a lot of folks who would agree that they want that. But have those people "know their place"? I think that's a lot closer:

  • Basically white government. A few women, mostly succeeding their deceased husbands in the legislature.
    And maybe 2-3% of government officials who are part of those groups, as long as they are tokens and not in positions of real power.
  • No signs and government documents in languages other than English. (No, probably, TV shows in other languages either. A few radio stations might be OK, since they can ignore those.)
  • No religions other than their own (and maybe the occasional Catholic) prominent.
  • No homosexuals visible (outside, perhaps, a few hidden in a few big city ghettos). And no non-traditional families.
  • Nobody suggesting any of those things should change either.
Think of the 1950s -- as portrayed on TV, not the reality.

one nation under God and one religion under God

Michael Flynn dixit.

from the North Country, obvs!

Think of the 1950s -- as portrayed on TV, not the reality.

it's almost 2022. most of the people we're talking about weren't even alive in the 50's. or if they were, they were barely school age.

not disagreeing with you, just having a hard time making sense of it.

A friend of mine from my Colorado days recently posted an indiegogo link on his FB page from Gary Gygax's son and his business partner who are looking for backers to get them cashed up to take a run at Wizards of the Coast (owners of the copyright for Dungeons & Dragons) demanding that Wizards stop "bullying" and "slandering" TSR (owners of the trademark for the old publisher of Dungeons & Dragons).

Because Wizards of the Coast publishes legacy content for the earlier editions of D&D that features a disclaimer:

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

So now a bunch of OG gamers are getting all knicker twisty because a) Wizards is featuring diverse representation in its artwork and stories and b) trying not to present any sentient race as being inherently evil and c) pointing out that the old material from gaming's early days were meant to appeal to white male nerd power fantasies that have not aged well - either in mainstream society or in gaming subculture.

What the snowflakes want is a) to be able to like the problematic things that they always liked without having to acknowledge any of the things about them that made them problematic and b) to continue to enjoy the sort of new cultural status that comes from being a tech nerd without having to make room for any of the new groups drawn to the subculture.

Which is where we are with most everything on the right in the US. It's people who bough the old meritocracy myths wanting their day in the sun, but also wanting all those myths to still be true. They want to be secret winners, newly acknowledged as cultural heroes while keeping all the old villains in place. Because they still believe that they deserve to win the old game and that the other losers don't deserve it.

Michael Flynn dixit.

my first reaction to this was "yes, but he's a grifting nutcase".

then I remembered the immortal words of PT Barnum said...

or, you know, just the immortal words part...

A few radio stations might be OK, since they can ignore those.

The equivalent of the numerous foreign-language weekly newspapers across much of the Great Plains and western prairies up through the 1920s. Swedish and Danish in NW Iowa and Serbian and Croatian in parts of SE Nebraska are two that I know of from living there are a kid.

most of the people we're talking about weren't even alive in the 50's. or if they were, they were barely school age.

not disagreeing with you, just having a hard time making sense of it.

Not arguing that they got their vision watching TV in the 1950s. Just that what they seem to want looks remarkably like what those 50s shows portrayed.

what does America look like, when it's "great again"?

it looks like Jesus and flags and eagles and guns and freedom.

And Happy Days re-runs, apparently

I'd say the 'people knowing their place' mentioned above is the most succinct way to express it. And it has a double meaning:
1) 'them' knowing their place below 'us'
2) us not being insecure because there are no fudamental changes, so we do not have to permanently adjust and can expect that simple plans will work longterm.

That would include getting secure longterm jobs with living wages attached.

For the #2 one could at least have sympathy and understanding. And one major problem is that #2 has become essentially impossible and those profitting from that have found successful ways to connect #1 and #2 in the minds of those suffering from it, i.e. blaming the insecurity on 'them' not 'knowing their place anymore'.
And this turns out to be enough with no need to have an actual Nazi majority.

And Happy Days re-runs, apparently

I admit to a certain amount of curiosity as to whether the target is Mississippi or Wisconsin.

There were TV shows from the 50s, and there were TV shows about the 50s.

Ozzie and Harriet ran from 1952 until 1966(!), overlapping The Honeymooners (55-59) which was in many ways its antithesis, and also the mildly subversive Dobie Gillis and the wickedly subversive Rocky and Bullwinkle, although both of those just make it into the 50s, with debuts in 59.

Then there were TV shows purporting to be about the 50s. Leaving MASH aside, I suppose Happy Days most readily springs to mind.

Now, how about The Andy Griffith Show? It ran 60-68, so it's not from the 50s. But surely it was about the 50s -- or a Bowdlerized version of the 50s anyway. In the small town of Mayberry, North Carolina(!) everybody went to (the same) church on Sunday, and nobody was black. Sure, Sheriff Taylor was a single parent -- but a virtuous widower, not a divorced heathen. So I say the 50s were already being whitewashed when we boomers were at an impressionable age.

Speaking of whitewashing, the Griffith spin-off Gomer Pyle, USMC ran 64-69 without a single reference to the Vietnam war, I think.

I have harped before on the sociological inferences I draw from having seen all 3 versions of Miracle on 34th Street -- the climactic courtroom scene in particular. In the original 1947 version of the movie, the lawyer wins by invoking the authority of the Post Office ("an official department of the United States government"), while by the 1994 remake the judge is swayed by seeing "In God We Trust" circled on a dollar bill. Movies are honed to appeal to the mass audience. The mass of Americans had faith in the federal government shortly after WW2; they had faith in "faith" by the time Newt Gingrich came on the scene -- if Hollywood was any judge.

Myths are addictive, mythmaking is profitable, and the MAGA myth will be with us until a better myth quashes it. Policy will always be orthogonal to that unfortunate fact.

--TP

the guy recognized that, and still opposed the ACA. because government shouldn't be in the business of health insurance, full stop. even if it means his sister would die.

I was at a small gathering and these subjects came up, with the conversation revolving around masks and guns.

I said, at some point, that a significant portion of this country seems to have no concept whatsoever that citizenship in part involves taking care of each other.

In response, one of my friends said that in the course of their work they are often in meetings and groups with people like some of those who have been described in this thread today. Really nice people in most contexts, but then you cross a line.

This friend of mine is no shrinking violet, and apparently often frames a question to gun owners: if giving up your guns would bring back the children who died at Sandy Hook, and all the others who have died in school shootings in the US in the past few years -- and let those children live out their lives like the rest of us -- would you give up your guns?

No one has ever said yes.

Of course, if you are happy enough to sacrifice your own sister, I suppose there's no surprise if you're happy enough to sacrifice any number of innocent school children.

The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of six-year-olds, apparently.

Or, in the case of COVID, fellow citizens.

I keep wondering: what about my life, liberty, and happiness?

Rhetorical question, obviously.

a significant portion of this country seems to have no concept whatsoever that citizenship in part involves taking care of each other.

I’d be happy with not harming each other. or at least taking each other’s interests into consideration.

I’m sure my counter-parties would say that wanting them to wear masks is me not taking their interests into consideration. Which leads to the question of how to weigh the relative merits of different people’s interests.

And that turns into a pointless rabbit hole.

What I think, to be perfectly candid, is that the phenomenon of Trump has crystallized a latent madness that’s basically always been out there.

Trump could, in fact, stand in the middle of 5th Ave and randomly shoot people, and it would not in any way alter the opinion of the folks who support him. They just fucking love the guy. More than that, they adore and worship him.

It’s perverse. The man is a flagrantly corrupt POS. I don’t understand it, and I’m not sure I want to. As far as I can tell, it’s a kind of mass mental illness, and I’m dead serious about that. History is full of exactly this kind of insanity, and it doesn’t end well.

I’m interested in what these people actually want out of all of this madness. What is it that they hope to achieve. What does America look like when it’s “great again”, and why is that good. Hopefully there is something more there than just owning the libs, because that is a goal worthy of a misanthropic 7th grader.

I’m not interested in their love and adoration of Donald fucking Trump, and I’m not interested in who they’re going to shoot if they don’t get their way. That’s where the conversation stops.

And to be perfectly honest, the longer this bullshit goes on, the less open I am to any of it.

There is a point beyond which there’s no more looking for common ground. Maybe we’re already there, I don’t know. But we’re getting close to it. I know that I am.

wrs

I have thought a lot about the mass mental illness framing, to no useful conclusion; and I'm more afraid about it every day.


I've thought a lot about this, and one thing I keep coming back to is, homo sapiens is a failed species. The Genesis myth might have some kernel of truth to it, since we sure as hell act like an exotic/invasive species, wrecking havoc with every single ecosystem we encounter.

The only metric we shine at is spreading uncontrolled over the planet. We destroy everything in our path - animal, vegetable, and mineral; not to mention our own kind, by the millions. We leave piles of trash everywhere. We poison the land and air, sea and sky.

We are destroying the biome that allows us to live at all, much less live comfortably.

And while there are people who do their best in ways great and small to reverse or at least ameliorate the damage we do, the vast vast VAST majority of the species doesn't give s shit.

So what I think is happening is, the richest people in the world (Murdochs, Putins, Mercers, Kochs, et al.) know that. They know we're heading toward an era of real, honest-to-goodness scarcity of the really important stuff, like drinkable water. Food that isn't grown in a vat. Stuff like that.

And their response is to make sure they and their families (and that's it) have everything they need to survive the next two hundred years. They need unspeakable wealth to build unbreachable refuges which are supplied with abundant, usable resources.

And they need less competition. They need there to be a lot fewer humans than are around now. Or at least, a lot fewer humans who are in any shape to challenge the Oligarch Oases.

Destroy consensual government? Check. Destroy the regulatory Administrative State? Check. Turn people against each other as a game now, so we're primed to go to war for real when food and water are on the line? Check.

Bring back the ways humans have used for our entire existence to separate us into warring camps: Race/ethnicity. Religion. Gender. Those hatreds are ancient and vicious and it doesn't take much to turn them into pogroms and holocausts.

It's not just the US that has fallen down this rabbit hole. The UK, Australia, Hungary, and practically the entire Mid-East are locked, loaded and ready to party.

Trumpists want everyone who isn't like them dead, or at least marginalized.

The oligarchs in our midst want everyone who isn't them dead, or at least powerless.

Works out nicely. For them.

I have thought a lot about the mass mental illness framing

In one of the posts I wrote about Korea, I mentioned a theory a long time German teacher posited that I tend to agree with, that the country has a collective case of PTSD. I think that the States (and the UK) have a serious case of patriarchy overdrive, where 'masculine' qualities of always winning, never admitting error, valorizing a 'no fear' attitude. It is no big surprise that the Jordan retrospective 'Last Dance' was so popular. I don't want to deny Jordan's gifts, but the man seemed to be a bully who couldn't stand to let others take any credit. That he gets valorized tells a lot about the culture.

they need less competition. They need there to be a lot fewer humans than are around now. Or at least, a lot fewer humans who are in any shape to challenge the Oligarch Oases.

One has to wonder if they have considered the probable impact later of all that high power artillery they are spreading around now. Their "unbreachable refuges" may turn out to be nothing like.

Always worth re-reading Umberto Eco on ur-fascism:

https://italianacademy.columbia.edu/umberto-eco-fascism-new-york-review-books

13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view—one follows the decisions of the majority. For Ur-Fascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. To have a good instance of qualitative populism we no longer need the Piazza Venezia in Rome or the Nuremberg Stadium. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.

Because of its qualitative populism Ur-Fascism must be against “rotten” parliamentary governments. One of the first sentences uttered by Mussolini in the Italian parliament was “I could have transformed this deaf and gloomy place into a bivouac for my maniples”—“maniples” being a subdivision of the traditional Roman legion. As a matter of fact, he immediately found better housing for his maniples, but a little later he liquidated the parliament. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

Get rid of all those Jews and black and brown people? No, I agree there aren't a lot of folks who would agree that they want that. But have those people "know their place"? I think that's a lot closer

Indeed, that's what it's all about and not only in the US:

UK citizenship law is fundamentally exclusionary and racist and the latest proposed amendment is designed to facilitate the process of exclusion even further:

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2021/12/exclusive-british-citizenship-of-six-million-people-could-be-jeopardised-by-home-office-plans

“It’s a profoundly racist law,” Frances Webber, vice-chair of the Institute for Race Relations, told the New Statesman.

“If you’re born here and you don’t have any foreign citizenship, you can do whatever you like. You might go to prison, but you will always have your citizenship.

“If you don’t have citizenship, what other rights do you have? As Hannah Arendt said, citizenship is the very right to have rights.”

one thing I keep coming back to is, homo sapiens is a failed species

i get to a similar place. but mine is more like: humans have created a world that amplifies their own flaws because they don't truly recognize those flaws.

the internet, for example, is a great tool that also lets humans' apathy towards untruth run rampant. we're not interested in truth, we just want to be told what we would like to be the truth so we can pat ourselves on the back and get back to our nose picking.

No one has ever said yes.

I'm still in shock from this. But why? It should have been obvious before, but never in such stark terms.

I suppose they might comfort themselves with the old lawyers' favourite "Hard cases make bad law".

I'm very concerned with all the monkeying around that's going on with our election process at the local level. If they can't cut off democracy's head, they'll cut off its feet. And too many people appear as though they'll go along with the whole thing if it means their party wins. I don't think they understand the conflict that will follow and how unpleasant it will be for everyone, including them.

On another tangentially related topic, there's this. Concluding paragraph below.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/12/09/trump-net-worth-billion-dollar-investment-media-company-523970

In the coming months, as Truth Social goes live and users download the app, we’ll quickly find out if Trump is worth the $1 billion bet investors have placed on him, or if the Trump aura is actually a mirage as TMTG collapses into lawsuits, acrimony and financial penalties extracted by the federal government in Trump University fashion. Either way, you can be assured that Trump will come out of it with a handful of cash. He always seems to.

I guess he's a good businessman in some sense, although it's a perverted use of "good." What was that about PT Barnum?

What hsh said (at 10:09).

It seems to me that the non-MAGA population needs a) encouragement to resist this attack at the roots, and b) critically, guidance to the target of those attacks, and how to resist them. Does it need showing up at particular meetings? Volunteering to run for a position, so the MAGAtes are not running unopposed? Etc. (A couple bullet points on why each target matters might be a good idea as well.)

I'd bet the otherside has a playbook in hand for their planned subversion. Our side needs one, too. And a big effort to distribute it widely.

I guess he's a good businessman in some sense,

A skilled con man (which Trump is) can bring in money. But a good businessman has to do something more with that money than funding further grifting and feeding his own ego. Which is where Trump is an epic loser. I mean, how incompetent a businessman do you have to be to achieve bankruptcy when running a casino.

to hsh's 10:09 - I can recommend Common Cause and the League of Women Voters as two organizations that are focused on voting rights in pragmatic terms, and often with a local focus.'

so if anyone is interested in getting hands-on with this stuff, they are two possible organizations to partner with or even join.

so if anyone is interested in getting hands-on with this stuff, they are two possible organizations to partner with or even join.

Thank you!

As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise sharply in Missouri, local health departments are abandoning efforts to stop the spread of the pandemic disease, saying their hands have been tied by the state's attorney general and a recent court ruling.

One local agency, the Laclede County Health Department, northeast of Springfield, announced that it has ceased all COVID-19-related work, including case investigations, contact tracing, quarantine orders, and public announcements of current cases and deaths.

the anti-science party is hard at work.

I get that the unthinkable is difficult to think about, but traditional methods of resistance are many steps behind the conservative movement’s radical and utterly intolerable impositions on America.

They’ve told us for 40 years their goals and effing methods. They bound ahead to the letter of those aims daily. They are heavily armed.

The League of Women Voters and Common cause are just so many lesbian, baby-killing, communist, n-word lovers to the fascist vanguard of the already violent subhuman Republican Party.

Fake Christian Pence is refusing to cooperate in the legislative investigations of the 1/6 plot to murder him and his wife at the Capitol.

Covid-19 conservative terrorist bombers are committing suicide in their efforts to spread the deadly contagion. Health department officials in subhuman red states can’t stay in their own homes and offices for fear of being murdered by Republican operatives.

The plot to steal the 2024 Presidential election is well underway and gaining steam. Even Democratic and liberal hand waving over that dread prospect is half-hearted and pointless.

We are suffering a mass psychosis of sociopathic bullshit by tens of millions of so-called Americans, daily whipped into flames by the fascist bellows of the propaganda organs of the vermin Republican Party and its ultra-rich bankrollers.

Worse, we, all of us, because we are decent people, are suffering a vast failure of imagination regarding the already envisioned endgame of the ruthless, racist, gutter-fascist conservative movement.

Like this lady and her husband we don’t know what we are up against:

https://www.newyorker.com/

Putin will champion Trump and the Republican Party.

Plus, according to them, God is on their side, a sure sign of approaching genocide.

Try this link instead:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/12/13/the-accidental-revolutionary-leading-belaruss-uprising

Time for some biowarfare. Send emergency cases that exceed hospital capacity right to the offices of these guys in sufficient numbers so they manage to saturate the air quicker than they can get kicked out. Bombard them with physical mail that has been handled by guys working on the Covid station before they decontaminate themselves at the end of shift. And do a good mix of variants to overpower and circumwent their antibodies (for these serial killers by proxy were highly likely among the first to get vaccinated). "Hustet ihnen was!" (lit: cough them something) as we say over here. Let them be breathed on everytime they set foot outdoors and sneeze on their cars. And - since that is far more effective than talking - sing them a serenade at every opportunity ("Aer-o-sole-mio!").
I do not endorse (yet) to Rittenhouse them the moment they complain.
In case of success put them at the end of the line at the hospital and offer them as much 'miracle cure' as they want with the promise that for each dose they take (before witnesses) they will get moved one position up the line. Should they pass out before reaching the head of the line, tell teir escorts/attenders that this is the wrong place to seek treatement for drug poisoning and give them an address as far away as possible (the guys there should be prepared to send them off to yet another distant place and so forth until the digestive rear exits either recover by themselves or die).

The League of Women Voters and Common cause are just so many lesbian, baby-killing, communist, n-word lovers to the fascist vanguard of the already violent subhuman Republican Party.

True enough. It's possible that things are too far gone for namby-pamby rule of law efforts.

That probably is so in some places.

But the reality is, I'm just not that interested in shooting people. That's their game, not mine.

I'm not sure where that leaves People Like Me if Trumpsters decide to go all Rwanda on the rest of us. Maybe I'll change my mind. It depends.

In the meantime, I'll use what's available, short of killing people.

I do expect 2022 and, especially, 2024, to be hinge moments in all of this.

Damn the (R) party for their cowardice and their cynical, gutless capitulation to the absolute basest impulses in our national character. They've devolved into a band of jackals.

Damn the (R) party for their cowardice and their cynical, gutless capitulation to the absolute basest impulses in our national character. They've devolved into a band of jackals.

Amen.

wrs

It seems to me that the non-MAGA population needs...

I feel like resistance is going to look like this

https://www.npr.org/2021/12/10/1063112624/redditors-spam-kelloggs-job-portal-striking-workers-union

How that works for voter suppression, I'm not really sure, and it will probably be highly unorganized, but given the lack of technical sophistication of MAGA types, there are a lot of potential targets.

Fnck the guns. Just get in the way.

You want a 50 states effort? Send your candidates and elected officials out to support labor organizing and to speak at a picket line. And keep pushing the current trend in labor away from bureaucratization and towards democratization (as just happened with the UAW).

That shows fight and earns loyalty.

And given the demographics of organizing in this moment, it will win solid support from millennials and younger voters who will remember this and keep showing up if this gives them any chance at security in their exceptionally contingent lives and futures.

I feel like resistance is going to look like this

. . .

How that works for voter suppression, I'm not really sure, and it will probably be highly unorganized, but given the lack of technical sophistication of MAGA types, there are a lot of potential targets.

I rather think the way it works is, in part, tech types hacking in and posting messages from (supposedly) Trump, calling on his followers to sit out elections. Rather than vote for some Republican who has been insufficiently loyal. Their actual loyalty being, of course, irrelevant -- although links to fake reports of apostacy, better yet lese majeste, might by a nice touch.

Given Trump's typically sloppy phrasing, it could be "stay home altogether," rather than just "don't vote for X." Thus helping down ballot races as well. Even gerrymandering isn't proof against massive, petulant, "hold my breath until I turn blue," sulking.

Whatever the terms are that THEY bring to this, and each iteration of their assault on this country has been accomplished on their rigid uncompromising terms, respond in kind ….. times 100.

I can be 100 times more immovable than Clarence Thomas.

Try me.

Given the subject, I suspect The Atlantic would overlook my copying and posting their email of today about American democracy. In my opinion, their treatment of the current situation is really worthwhile:


This is The Atlantic’s weekly email to subscribers. Today, we invited Barton Gellman, whose cover story “January 6 Was Practice” was published online this week, to share a few thoughts with readers.


Our latest magazine issue explores the health of our democracy. The prognosis is in doubt, and we think we have an obligation to say so. As I report in my cover story “January 6 Was Practice,” we have today only one political party that is content to live within the constraints of constitutional democracy, only one that is willing to lose an election. The other is willing to win by subverting the institutions of democracy itself.

Our editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, puts his finger on the journalistic dilemma that arises from this state of affairs:

Stating plainly that one of America’s two major parties, the party putatively devoted to advancing the ideas and ideals of conservatism, has now fallen into autocratic disrepute is unnerving for a magazine committed to being, in the words of our founding manifesto, “of no party or clique.” … But avoiding partisan entanglement does not mean that we must turn away from the obvious. The leaders of the Republican Party—the soul-blighted Donald Trump and the satraps and lackeys who abet his nefarious behavior—are attempting to destroy the foundations of American democracy.

My colleague George Packer begins his own essay in the magazine with the arresting declaration: “I’m trying to imagine the death of American democracy.” He sees this exercise as a civic duty. “Nothing has aided Donald Trump more than Americans’ failure of imagination,” he writes. “It’s essential to picture an unprecedented future so that what may seem impossible doesn’t become inevitable.”

This failure of imagination has left Democrats with many divided priorities, of which the threat to democracy is just one. President Joe Biden, as George notes, “has spent far less of his political capital on saving democracy than on passing an infrastructure bill.”

Since Donald Trump took command of the GOP, I have longed to read a richly reported story about what it is like to be a Republican of conscience in the party today. My colleague Tim Alberta delivers that story in style with a profile of Peter Meijer, a freshman member of Congress. Meijer, who speaks with Tim with unusual candor, thought he could help lead his party away from the poisonous lies of Trump and his acolytes. Chastened by a year of experience, he has come to see that mission as naive.

– Barton Gellman

And of course, Nigel posted upthread the link to the Meijer story mentioned.

Send your candidates and elected officials out to support labor organizing and to speak at a picket line.

12% of workers are unionized in the US, and that number is falling.

maybe pick a bigger demographic?

maybe pick a bigger demographic?

Who says that this should be the only thing?
Plus, strong words and actions there may well get more attention (beyond that) than the generic stump speech.

The first order of business would be (re)gaining trust anyway.

Just wandered by to ask if any of our cancel culture warriors (I'm lookin' at you, Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan) have written letters of outrage to the New York Times about this.

No, you say? I am shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

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