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December 03, 2022

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Really hard to resist generating different sorts of counts once there's a copy of all the content in my hands :^)

For author all
Total comments 507,176
Comments by year
2003 2,021
2004 36,374
2005 62,182
2006 45,572
2007 46,911
2008 70,876
2009 50,890
2010 25,821
2011 15,610
2012 12,470
2013 9,818
2014 12,104
2015 16,654
2016 14,940
2017 17,854
2018 17,221
2019 11,657
2020 16,535
2021 13,771
2022 7,895

For author Michael Cain
Total comments 2,261
Comments by year
2004 5
2005 16
2006 19
2007 41
2008 58
2009 60
2010 23
2011 1
2015 19
2016 103
2017 240
2018 284
2019 256
2020 318
2021 396
2022 422

A bright spot for your day
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/dec/11/rupert-murdoch-fox-dominion-lawsuit-deposition

It seems Rupert is going to have to answer questions, under oath, about the lies on Fox News about voter fraud.

appears to be building a wider case that Fox News has a long history of misinformation and steamrolling facts that do not fit its editorial line.

We can only hope.

Talking of which, how does everybody (anybody) feel about a) whether he [Biden] should run, and b) if not, who else might be a good choice and have a shot?

Of course he shouldn't run: he's too old to do the job properly. He was too old last time, and there have been four more years of decline.

However, if he's the best chance to beat the Republican candidate, he should run anyway, because the last two Republican presidents have been disastrous. (I don't know much about DeSantis, but what I do know is bad.)

There is an answer for this kind of problem: prohibit family members of elected officials from holding positions - as employees or otherwise - that can create a conflict of interest for the elected official.

I don't know what's legally possible. but I suggest that decent policians (that may mean D politicans only) should undertake that if they're elected, members of their family will not accept paid work which appears to be exploiting their connection. And their family should join in the undertaking.

he's too old to do the job properly. He was too old last time, and there have been four more years of decline.

The trouble with this thesis is that he's been doing the job properly. Not just better than his predecessor -- which is a ridiculously low bar, considering the TFG has displaced Buchanan as our worst President ever. He's arguably the most effective President we've had since Johnson. This despite dealing with a 50-50 Senate, and a couple of loose cannon Senators from his own party. (In particular Sinema. Manchin's views differ from most here. But at least he's more interested in legislating than posturing.)

Plus, he's done much to repair our relations with the rest of the world. Our allies are still twitchy at the chance that TFG, or someone similar, might crop up again. But at least we've seen things like a united front in Ukraine, including widespread sanctions that have held firm rather longer than the doomsayers forecast.

You can argue that he can't keep it up. But consider that he's been embarrassing those who thought he was too old to be effective back in 2020 when he was seeking the nomination. You probably shouldn't bet the ranch on that one.

Acknowledging that the Orion capsule returned from its first flight to a successful splashdown in the Pacific. Next Artemis mission will be in about two years. One of the factors causing that delay is that some of the avionics electronics in this capsule will be reused in the second flight, but have to be fully tested and recertified for that. Test and certification is a 24-month effort...

Gosh, I had no idea that the "gun safety lobby" (and in fact the significance of that naming) had achieved so much. The main article gives the history of how this has happened, for anybody as oblivious as I was:

The N.R.A. is not vanquished, but it is walking wounded. The primary battlegroun. d over gun legislation has been the statehouses, where Parkland set off a startling reversal. After decades of getting trounced by the N.R.A., activists saw 67 gun safety laws passed at the state level in 2019, compared with nine pro-gun laws. This year, 45 new gun safety laws have been adopted in states, while 95 percent of gun-lobby-linked bills have been blocked, according to an Everytown report.

Our power must be real now, because Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, warned his conference it was. Before the vote for the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act this June, Mr. McConnell told his conference the game had changed. In a closed-door session, his team presented stunning internal polling of gun-owning households. He summarized it for reporters: “Support for the provisions of the framework is off the charts, overwhelming.”

And with that, the architect of the gun safety blockade in Congress blew a hole in it. He needed to peel off 10 of his senators, and he got 15. The law strengthens background checks, especially for people under age 21 and provides funding to carry out red flag laws and for mental health, school safety and violence interrupter programs.

That was just a start. Our anger, trained on Congress, can propel a string of initiatives to finally bring America’s shameful mass-shooting era nearer to a close.

For the first time in decades, Republicans in Congress are taking our demands seriously. They are finally less afraid of the N.R.A. than they are of us.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/13/opinion/sandy-hook-gun-safety.html

For the first time in decades, Republicans in Congress are taking our demands seriously. They are finally less afraid of the N.R.A. than they are of us.

Here's the bind McConnell et al. are in.
- their party is now hostage to the crazies. Not just the gun nuts, but people who make simple gun nuts sound halfway sane.
- their party is, partly as a result, seriously in a minority. Their only hope at the national level is to avoid motivating generally moderate voters to bestir themselves to turn out and vote against them.
- few things get people motivated like a mass shooting in an elementary school. Which we keep having more of.

As a result of which, national level Republicans have to at least appear to be "doing something". At a state level, politicians in Texas or Wyoming can cater to the gun nuts. But nationally, that's a losing strategy.

So actually, the author is wrong. It's not "us" (the people who have been trying for years to get reasonable gun control laws passed) that the GOP is afraid of. It's the folks who have ignored the issue for years. But now have had it hit home.

This effectively neuters the ghouls on the Supreme Court. No real prospect of them going a Dobbs on marriage rights now.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/12/13/biden-s-codifying-same-sex-interracial-marriage-00073762

And looking at the last decade's history of the issue, this is genuinely Biden's achievement.

A tremendous achievement indeed. Let's hope the same can be achieved for safeguarding at least e.g. the Vice President's role in the certification of elections - I read that there may be enough GOP support for that too. Still leaves abortion, contraception and wider voting rights though...the ghouls on the Supreme Court (excellent coinage by the way) can still continue to do enormous amounts of consequential damage on those issues, and so much else.

Meanwhile, on another note, in today's Guardian there is another obituary for Peter Brook, by Richard Eyre. I have raved here more than once about Brook's amazing and legendary Dream, this is how Eyre talks about seeing Brook's Lear when he was 19:

Iwas 19 when I saw Peter Brook’s production of King Lear in 1962 and I felt like Berlioz seeing Hamlet: “The lightning flash of that discovery revealed to me at a stroke the whole heaven of art. I saw, I understood, I felt that I was alive and that I must arise and walk.” The production was on an almost bare stage, stripped of what Brook described as the “quincaillerie” (ironmongery) of stage production that had so fascinated him as an absurdly young director of theatre and opera. The play was revealed in its elemental force, a world without moral absolutes in a permanent condition of fallibility.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/dec/14/obituaries-2022-peter-brook-remembered-by-richard-eyre

A tremendous achievement indeed. Let's hope the same can be achieved for safeguarding at least e.g. the Vice President's role in the certification of elections - I read that there may be enough GOP support for that too. Still leaves abortion, contraception and wider voting rights though...the ghouls on the Supreme Court (excellent coinage by the way) can still do enormous amounts of consequential damage on those issues, and so much else.

Meanwhile, on another note, in today's Guardian there is another obituary for Peter Brook, by Richard Eyre. I have raved here more than once about Brook's amazing and legendary Dream, this is how Eyre talks about seeing Brook's Lear when he was 19:

I was 19 when I saw Peter Brook’s production of King Lear in 1962 and I felt like Berlioz seeing Hamlet: “The lightning flash of that discovery revealed to me at a stroke the whole heaven of art. I saw, I understood, I felt that I was alive and that I must arise and walk.” The production was on an almost bare stage, stripped of what Brook described as the “quincaillerie” (ironmongery) of stage production that had so fascinated him as an absurdly young director of theatre and opera. The play was revealed in its elemental force, a world without moral absolutes in a permanent condition of fallibility.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2022/dec/14/obituaries-2022-peter-brook-remembered-by-richard-eyre

Still leaves abortion, contraception and wider voting rights though...the ghouls on the Supreme Court (excellent coinage by the way) can still do enormous amounts of consequential damage on those issues.

It's chancy to predict what this Court will do. But consider:
- 3 of the justices are basically political hacks.
- access to contraception is far, far less of a red flag, even in conservative/reactionary circles, than abortion ever was.
- reversing the decades-old decision making access to contraception a right would set off a firestorm that would make the reaction to Dobbs look like trivial spat in a freshman dorm.

So I'd guess that, having seen what impact their abortion decision had on their party's electoral performance, those same hacks would be extremely wary of taking that next step.

Speaking of the NRA, mass shootings would have been an interesting thing to talk about in the 'fear of violence' thread.

One of the most interesting things about it is how (and maybe why) "violent crime" and "mass shootings" somehow seem to get coded as almost entirely disjoint categories in many contexts.

In an extreme example, I could imagine someone arguing that some quiet Texas hamlet isn't really the per-capita murder capital of the country, because all those elementary school kids don't count -- that was just a one-off incident!

It's kind of a weird blind spot.

(A blind spot we all have a bit apparently, despite best intentions and everyone here mostly having our heads screwed on straight: AFAICT, nobody brought it up the other day, even though mass shootings are pretty salient to questions like, e.g., whether people's feelings of safety are a function only of crime < 10 blocks away.)

Also: even when gloomy, Maine's the second prettiest state, after Alaska. Fewer mountains, but better towns.

jack lecou -- there's someone on Balloon-Juice who sees my pictures when i have a thread there, and has said at least twice that Maine is the second prettiest state ... after Virginia

I spent a week in Alaska in Feb. of 1985, at Fur Rendezvous time; i was pregnant, so didn't do as much outdoor stuff as I might have. (But we did spent a fair amount of time at the festival. I was impressed with people's habit of having a fair outdoors in February of much the sort other places have in July. Maine is somewhat similar in having *lots* of people who love to be outdoors in the winter, but I don't think there's anything to compare with the Fur Rendezvous. Which I don't even know if they still have.)

Each place has its virtues....but as I've said in one of my BJ threads, I saw Maine only after I had hiked in a lot of places out west, and ended up loving the Olympics the most, including the coastal strip of ONP. At first Maine seemed like the toy version... Well, it sort of still does. Alaska to me is more spectacular than pretty, but that's a quibble.

Alaska to me is more spectacular than pretty, but that's a quibble.

It's a useful distinction.

Having grown up with it, I guess I never felt overawed by Alaskan spectacle. Rather, when I visited Maine, it immediately felt sort of homey. Something about the combination of thick forests and rocky shorelines plied by little fishing boats. Very similar to SE Alaska as I remember it. Especially when there's a touch of rain in the air.

My take would be that much of the Alaska panhandle is pretty. With, admittedly, some spectacular parts -- Glacier Bay comes to mind. But the rest of the state does tend more to the spectacular.

Yeah, my week was in Anchorage with a few day trips in the car out of the city, so I didn't see the SE part of the state. I did, though, hike for a couple of weeks in ONP, and visit one of the San Juan islands. It is so beautiful there, and I assume it's fairly similar to SE Alaska.

Anyhow, this is giving me wanderlust. Which I can't indulge at the moment, but which is fun to dream of.

As to Maine being homey -- yes, and it reminds me of the impression I always get when I drive across northern New England. It's a fairly small area by the standards of any western state, but the three states (ME, NH, VT) are all different in terms of the shape of the land and the feel of the little towns you drive through. How much the land shaped the style of settlement and v.v. I don't know.

You guys had me street-viewing on Google. After meandering about, I ended up in some beautiful neighborhoods north of downtown Seattle on the bay/sound. I want to live there now, but I don't know that I can swing $1M for a 2500 sq ft house on a fifth of an acre.

Make that $2M! I looked up a couple of houses. The $1M house was far more modest than the 2500 sq ft house.

hsh, the only solution seems to be to invest in a time machine. So you can go back and buy when prices were better.

"Quick! To the Time Machine!"

Or one of the steppers from the Long Earth books. Old-growth forests and still-crispy glaciers just a step away. Or, IIRC, there's purportedly lots of waterfront property on a North America that still has an inland sea. Just a couple thousand universes further over to the West.

Or the farcasters in Dan Simmons's Hyperion books, although maybe that's cheating since it involves lots of planets instead of just this one. No more fantastic than a time machine, I suppose.

IIRC, there's purportedly lots of waterfront property on a North America that still has an inland sea.

If waterfront property (in the state of Washington) is what you want, pop on over to the Olympic Peninsula. Reasonably close to Seattle, nice waterfront, and way cheaper. (My sister and brother-in-law retired there, being unable to afford the Bay Area in California. At least, once he retired from Lawrence Livermore.)

FYI, GftNC comment at 10:50 yesterday morning retrieved from Spam.

I want to live there now, but I don't know that I can swing $1M for a 2500 sq ft house on a fifth of an acre.

Zillow tells me that my house - 1400sf 60's ranch, bumped up to 1800sf by a semi-finished basement, 1/8 acre, no garage - is worth about $750K. We are in a "starter home" neighborhood.

I'm not sure how reliable Zillow is, but even factoring that in, that is fa-reaking nuts.

It's all hypothetical funny money to me, because my wife and I plan to stay put until they carry us out. But I seriously do not know how young people just starting out can get any kind of toehold in home ownership.

Long story short - rich parents or they can't get in. Corporations are buying up all the properties.

Welcome back, feudalism.

One thing I loved about the way those neighborhoods looked in Seattle was that there weren't many lawns to speak of. The homes had what looked like little botanical gardens that weren't overly manicured - just wild enough to seem natural, but not overgrown or out of control.

It makes me curious about the level of maintenance people have to put into their yards. Either everyone's really good at gardening or the stuff that grows there is easy to take care of. Maybe a bit of both.

No real question, the man has class.
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/12/7-great-things-about-donald-trumps-dumb-nft-announcement.html
(This just for the image. Because I refuse to link to any Trump output directly.)

It absolutely is low class. Rock bottom low class. But still, class.

hsh: from yesterday's NYT:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/14/climate/native-plants-lawns-homeowners.html

Headlined: They Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Lost about a couple in Maryland who, informed by their homeowner association to get rid of their wildlife-attracting native plants and get a lawn, went to court and got the law (at least in Maryland) changed.

Trump's NFT 'cards' isn't the lowest of low-class.

He could be selling loosies in Mar-a-Dumbo.

Maybe he is!

HOA's are the worst for having little tin dictators lording it over their domains.

Couldn't get behind paywall for wj's link on Trump NFTs, but managed to see the video on Rolling Stone. One of the funniest things I've seen in months. It's hard to see how even the most rabid MAGAts won't start wondering about their hero, leaving the coast dangerously clear for De Santis.

And to think, he got that figure with his diet. Maybe nutrition is the next science to get tossed in the trash heap of history. (And kill off a few idiots in the process.)

If anyone has watched The Boys, the Homelander similarities in attitude were there before. Now the imagery adds to it. Old Homelander...

Hsh,

I live in an HOA on an island in the south Puget Sound. Houses here are around three hundred thousand for a lot that doesn't have a view. That includes access to three miles of beach and a marina. The downside is a commute of a minimum of one hour to a job, more likely an hour and a half. We bought a condo which went up in value enough to give us a big down payment on our house. Our house has gone up about 75,000 in six years. So still affordable for retirees and young families with white collar wage earner adults. FWIW. https://www.movoto.com/shelton-wa/614-e-pointes-dr-w-shelton-wa-98584-501_33755/

But I seriously do not know how young people just starting out can get any kind of toehold in home ownership.

It can be pretty tough. Especially with the "just starting out" qualifier.

I'm sure that the scenario of returning from a honeymoon in one's 20s and moving into an affordable 'starter house' was never really as accessible to everyone as pushers of an idyllic "American Dream" might have tried to portray (it would have heavily depended on one's complexion, among other things). But it was at least something that some people managed once upon a time.

Now, that sort of thing is firmly in the "things people used to do in the olden times" folder, somewhere next to "taking a trip down to the hat shop in a horse drawn trolley," "paying for college with a summer job" and "doctors who make house calls".

I'm certainly not going to say getting a house is impossible for people younger than, say, 40. Particularly for white collar professionals in dual income situations. But exactly how possible heavily depends on the region, assistance from parents, etc.

Even workaround options like getting a "fixer-upper" are complicated by phenomena like deep-pocketed professional house flippers bringing cash offers.

The stats don't lie here: IIRC, home ownership rates have been falling pretty steadily since the '80s. For all age groups under 65.

Unfortunately, the only "options" reliably available to young people just starting out nowadays are 1) further enriching the rentier class, or 2) learning to love the "simple pleasures" of "van life".

Trump's NFT 'cards'

Putting aside for a brief moment how profoundly toxic an influence Trump has been on all of our daily lives....

The NFT cards are the funniest thing I've seen in a long, long time.

My profound hope is that this will whittle his support down to the hard core true believers.

Who else will want to be associated with this clown show?

My profound hope is that this will whittle his support down to the hard core true believers.

Who else will want to be associated with this clown show?

Catch-22. If, as seems likely, some decide it was a "false flag" operation (and thus nothing to do with their hero demi-god), well then they won't be buying these cards. Which means less income for TFG.

Update: apparently the first run of Trump trading cards sold out in a day.

That’s about $4.5 million in his personal pocket.

SMH

Math question: how many days does that number of minutes** represent? Caveat -- some fool might have bought several, under the delusion that they were a good investment.

** "one born every minute".

Would not be at all surprised if the whole thing turned out to be some sort of weird money laundering scheme or covert way of quietly funneling donor money to his legal bills.

Otherwise the mind boggles.

The mind doth truly boggle. Isn't "money laundering scheme or covert way of funneling ______ money to _____" the very definition of an NFT?

Give me tulips any day.

Buy low, sell high. On BJ I see the price has doubled. Probably it's too late. I'm more of a "buy and hold" guy, think I'll sit this one out.

They could very well have "bought" most of them themselves just to create the impression of major interest - kind of like what T. Rump did with the Art of the Deal back in the day:

https://bookriot.com/buying-books-onto-the-bestseller-list/

It would fit their MO.

I’ll be damned if I can make any sense at all out of the whole Trump phenomenon. It’s like people want to be screwed over.

SMH

I really don't understand why a person would want anything digital. Isn't the fun of collecting associated with handling the collected object? Or am I just hopelessly retro? I don't understand digital photo albums either.

It occurred to me that I don't have that attitude toward books. I prefer reading on my kindle. However, I MUCH prefer illustrated books and magazines to be "real." I want to have an atlas or map in my hand too.

I’ll be damned if I can make any sense at all out of the whole Trump phenomenon. It’s like people want to be screwed over.

Perhaps your difficulty is that they want to see themselves as victims, and you do not. Trump is merely satisfying their want, by making them victims. And they are cooperating with him in satisfying their want.

Re: Clickbait's NFTs. Delicious twist to make russell's head spin even faster.

H/T to Anne Laurie at BJ.

*****

wonkie -- I don't get the NFT phenomenon at all, and haven't tried. But I'm the opposite of you with digital stuff -- I don't read on a Kindle (or any equivalent), only real old-fashioned books.

But once I took up photography seriously, and ended up with so many pictures to process, work on, and keep track of, I set myself up with a good quality, 27-inch monitor hitched to an old computer, and I run a slideshow all day long of all my polished pics (taken by me, edited by my friend Steve).

The slideshow faces the doorway where people come into my apartment, and it has become a centerpiece of the room where I spend all my time. People come in and comment on the pics, ask where they were taken, etc. My 13-month old granddaughter lies around in her playpen and gazes at the pictures when she's bored with her toys. (Lord knows what she makes of the pics -- mostly landscapes -- but she seems quite mesmerized by them sometimes.)

If I had the pics printed, it would be a whole different process to be able to look at even a fraction of them with any attention on any given day. The technology creates a whole different dynamic from the way life used to be.

That is indeed a delicious twist, Janie. And there I was thinking nothing could make the ad and the cards themselves any funnier!

It's safe to assume anything SFB does is a scam, including NFts which are a scam anyway.

Speculation is, the buyers are the usual gang of international despots and oligarchs who keep shoveling $$ his way, as a laundered payment for the classified documents he either let them copy or gave them outright.

Oh, and by the way, I am beginning to wonder if Elon Musk has an actual mental health problem, quite apart from having Asperger's, and being an arrogant and entitled arsehole. YMMV, except on the description after that last comma, which I am betting will find general agreement.

when you're a flaming asshole, money is just like gasoline.

A truer word was never spoken

Re: Clickbait's NFTs. Delicious twist to make russell's head spin even faster.

Mine is spinning in several dimensions after reading that. What a cesspool.

Trump is a crook. Crooks gotta crook, it’s what they do. Oftentimes, a crook will crook even if playing it straight would be easier and/or have a better upside for them.

They’re just living out who they are.

Nothing Trump does surprises me. What surprises me are the millions and millions of people who would take a freaking bullet for the guy.

For the life of me, I do not understand it, and likely never will.

Not sure what it would take for some folks to wise up.

Not sure what it would take for some folks to wise up.

Much as crooks gotta crook, because it’s what they do, marks gotta get conned, because it's what they do. There simply isn't any way to wise them up.

Well, I've just watched the final hearing of the Congressional Committee. They've done a fine job, and it's awfully hard to see how anybody can doubt their conclusions and recommendations for referral. But, of course, everything we've seen all along shows that diehards, in their millions, will doubt them. It will be very interesting, although inevitably depressing, to see the reaction from people like the GOP leadership.

Last week, if the Department of Justice had brought a charge of insurrection against Trump, they would have been faced with explaining why they had gone so far as to do that. Given the Jan 6 Committee's referral, they are now faced with having to explain why if they do not. Especially in the face of the mountain of evidence the Committee has published.

Basically, the terms of the debate have changed.

Mike Pence really is a spineless worm (or at least, he exhibited the only part of vestigial spine he possessed on January 6th, and the effort wore him out for ever).

But Pence told Fox News on Monday that he hopes the Justice Department doesn’t indict his former boss for his role inciting the Capitol Hill riot because of what he claims is a “partisan taint.”

“Congress has no formal role in Justice Department decisions, so they can make recommendations today,” Pence said. “But when it comes to the Justice Department’s decision about bringing charges in the future, I would hope that they would not bring charges against the former president.”

Pence then suggested that Trump’s only “crime” was picking bad attorneys.

“The president’s actions and words on Jan. 6 were reckless, but I don’t know that it’s criminal to take bad advice from lawyers,” Pence said.

Pence then tried to suggest the DOJ shouldn’t be Grinches by following the pesky rule of law when it is, after all, Christmas, before deciding to indict Trump.

“I think that would be terribly divisive in the country at a time when the American people want to see us heal,” Pence said. “At this time of year, we’re all thinking about the most important things in our lives: our faith, our family. And my hope is, the Justice Department think very carefully before proceeding.”

And don't tell me he's just exhibiting electoral calculation - I know all that. He is a worm, as are they (almost) all.

I certainly hope something comes out of the referrals. And the various other cases against Trump. It would be about time.

But I think that's one of the most under-reported aspects of this whole thing: if and when some charges finally stick, well, great, but it's going to be at least a good 30 or 40 years too late.

Because of course Trump is a crook. But he has been the whole time.

If somebody had stepped up and prosecuted him and/or his company back in the 1980s, or even just exercised a modicum of oversight on his financial filings at some point, the last 6 years would have looked very different.

And of course, it's not just Trump. There are a lot of crooks happily a-crooking out there.

I recognize that "white-collar" crime is often less straightforward to discover or prosecute than, say, a liquor store holdup. But it's also exponentially more damaging. Both financially, and to the fabric of social trust. Maybe we should start allocating law enforcement resources accordingly.

(And let's be honest: a lot of this isn't that hard to uncover -- e.g., a lot of Trump's shenanigans over the decades were essentially open secrets. It was simply more convenient for the various powers to be to go along with the wrongdoing.)

“The president’s actions and words on Jan. 6 were reckless, but I don’t know that it’s criminal to take bad advice from lawyers,” Pence said.

The "party of personal responsibility" says what?

I read somewhere long ago that Steve Bannon recruited Trump to run for office but didn't want him to win because he knew winning would expose Trump to scrutiny that would result in convictions. This implies that it was common knowledge at least in some circles that Trump was a crook of long standing.

I do think that many people including Bannon and TRump were surprised that he won.

I do think that many people including Bannon and TRump were surprised that he won.

My sense is that Trump entered to 2016 primaries 1) for the attention he craves, and 2) because he figured (correctly) he could rake in a bunch of money from campaign donors. Which he could then redirect into his own pockets -- that kind of scam being old hat for him.

When he actually got the nomination, that just meant he could run the con a while longer, and make more off it. I suspect that even he, seasoned conman that he is, never dreamed there might be enough suckers out there for him to actually get elected.

Once he did win, he had no clue what to do. Except keep running as many scams as possible. Which is what he did. The actual work of the job got delegated (implicitly, because he was too clueless to know what the pieces were explicitly) to whatever flunky was handy and willing to take it. Be they the Senate Majority Leader, the Federalist Society, a cabinet member, or just a random hanger-on.

I think that would be terribly divisive in the country at a time when the American people want to see us heal

There is no healing without candor and accountability.

"Let's just put this behind us and move on" is not healing. It's denial.

Healing requires eradicating the infection.

Painful, yes, but now that pandemic shortages have eased, there should be enough Lysol to dunk the MAGAts head-first.

According the TFG, it'll clear up their COVID very quickly, also, too.

“At this time of year, we’re all thinking about the most important things in our lives: our faith, our family. And my hope is, the Justice Department think very carefully before proceeding.”

Oh, FFS!!! (That's all I got....)

“At this time of year, we’re all thinking about the most important things in our lives: our faith, our family. And my hope is, the Justice Department think very carefully before proceeding.”

Do you suppose he's heartened by the fact that the Justice Department seems to have done that very thing? :-)

His family can think about how those a**holes wanted to hang him. Would that have made for a nice Christmas in the Pence home this year? I'm guessing not.

His family can think about how those a**holes wanted to hang him. Would that have made for a nice Christmas in the Pence home this year?

Beautifully put, hsh. Really, what else needs to be said? The lack of moral fibre, and mealy-mouthedness, really beggar description.

Mike Pence: for shame (as if you even know what the word means), you creeping, arse-licking toady to anything and anybody who can further your ambition.

"Would that have made for a nice Christmas in the Pence home this year?"

There are vampires in that family.

It is known.

So Pence didn't need to worry about getting hanged. (Esp. not with that 'obviously rope wrapped around a soda can fake noose') But rather, he needs to worry about getting a cooked-until-rock-hard Trump Stake stuck in his chest.

wj, I think you summed his administration up very aptly. The shocking thing to me is how his administration showed the depth of moral corruption in the Republican party because, with the exception of some genuinely stupid people, they all knew he was running a con and they covered for him over and over and over. There was no low too low to go for most elected Republicans and Faux and R voters. NO more principle, no ethical standard, nothing was important enough to defend.
Now most elected Republicans and strategists would like us to just forget about Trump, just pretend that he didn't happen. Or pretend that his era is over. But it isn't. Except for a very few who stood up for the rule of law, they shared his corruption, and they will continue to be just as corrupt in support of whatever thug their crazy base voters pick next election.
I don't know how the Republican party can recover from moral degeneracy this extensive.

Except for a very few who stood up for the rule of law, they shared his corruption, and they will continue to be just as corrupt in support of whatever thug their crazy base voters pick next election.

And, sadly, most of those exceptions were primaried out, forced into retirement because they knew they would lose a primary, threatened (not just personally but their families as well), or otherwise attacked by the MAGAts. I want to believe, I really really want to believe, that there is some path back from this utter degeneracy. But optimist though I routinely am, I'm having trouble seeing what it might be.

I do read suggestions that what forces a party to step back from such radicalism and insanity is simply that they get tired of losing elections over and over and over again. The counter to that thesis is, most obviously from my perspective, the California Republican Party -- which is now entering its 4th decade of losing due to having embraced xenophobia and reaction. And, despite losing massively and routinely, still shows no sign of changing course.

I think the experience here with a one-party state government makes clear that the country needs two sane and viable parties. If we had one here, we might have been spared an empty suit like Newsome. But so far, no sign that we will get one. Apparently the truism that the market will provide whatever there is a demand for doesn't apply to politics.

The counter to that thesis is, most obviously from my perspective, the California Republican Party -- which is now entering its 4th decade of losing due to having embraced xenophobia and reaction.

I don't think there is a California Republican Party. I think the growth of dark money and social media makes it so that there is effectively a national Republican Party donor network and a national Republican Party base. This results in there being a group of California republicans who are functionally indistinguishable from independents in that they get no say in state politics beyond choosing to vote for or against the chosen Republican candidate.

Both the money and the base have written off the state as a permanent loss and live vicariously through the party's wins in red states and national politics. They are entirely given over to negative partisanship.

I don't think there is a California Republican Party. I think the growth of dark money and social media makes it so that there is effectively a national Republican Party donor network and a national Republican Party base.

The flaw in this thesis is that the behavior of Republican voters and Republican politicians here has not changed materially (that I can see) since the mid-1990s. That is, a time when they were not that far from the days when California was routinely a Republican-run state. So they had first-hand memories of the fact that a conservative, but not reactionary, Republican like Reagan could run and win here.

But perhaps you were trying to imply that there are no state-level parties anywhere in the country any more. Was that it?

I was referring to what political scientists have pointed out about the nationalization of party politics in the US and noting how that drift of the party (money and broadcast media at the top, social media at the volunteer bottom) captured the party apparatus.

Thirty years of negative partisanship has done the rest of the work of making moderate policy unthinkable to any of the people active in the state party.

It's not really my thesis, it's my ethnographic observations of what the political scientists have been noting for a while.

The party politics on social media here have been dominated by abortion, immigration, law enforcement, and the second amendment. Those are all driven and funded by national organizations.

I keep seeing Gavin Newsom described as an "empty suit" - not just here, but elsewhere.

And for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

He has, near as I can tell, an impressive number of legislative victories on non-trivially important bills.

He's not afraid to rhetorically jab the GOP in the nuts, locally, regionally, and nationally.

He's just gotten a GOP judge to do exactly what he wanted: throw out the anti-gun law that was modeled exactly after the Texas anti-choice law, so that now the law can be appealed onward and upward to SCOTUS.

In what way is Newsom an empty suit?

He has, near as I can tell, an impressive number of legislative victories on non-trivially important bills.

Did he sign those bills? Sure. Did he support them? Yes. Did his support make a significant difference in getting them passed? Not really. Did he originate the ideas behind those bills? No. In short, he's not noticably a leader.

The gun law might be seen as an exception. Except that taking the Texas abortion law as a model for a gun control law was so obvious that even *I* thought of it. As for "getting a GOP judge to throw out the law", once the law was passed, it was inevitable that someone (not Newsom; not recruited by Newsom) would sue to overturn it. And find a Federal judge to overturn it. Credit the NRA, if you will, for helping the plaintiff find a judge to do that. No credit to Newsom for that happening that I can see.

For an example of a Governor actually leading on something, see Oregon's Kate Brown commuting the sentences of everyone on death row in her state (all 17 of them). Newsome has managed only a moratorium, back in 2019. He said at the time that he might commute those death sentences. But last I heard, California had around 700 individuals on death row -- the most of any state. He could commute those sentences, but....

In short, Newsom occasionally talks a good game. If someone else makes it seem politically desirable. But actually doing something is rare. (Unless it's attending a fundraiser while urging everybody else to avoid large groups due to covid. /snark)

Here's a fairly thorough assessment of Newsom's record from Cal Matters.

https://calmatters.org/explainers/newsom-recall-report-card/

I feel about Newsom the way I feel about Feinstein. They are corporatist Democrats who are generally on the right side of social issues, but side with property interests and wealth too often. I was especially disappointed, for example, that Newsom bowed to developers and vetoed legislation that would have limited development in areas at high risk of wildfires.

So there is a lot of symbolic action and some genuine good, but a squeamishness to give any real teeth to policies that deal with inequality and the environment.

And he's a douche with a suit and a good haircut - entirely too easy to paint as an out-of-touch elitist. Probably because he is one. I'd say that Harris, even with her flaws, is a better choice than Newsom, as would either Brown or Inslee.

While we're mentioning where people stand on various political scales, here's a paragraph about The Guardian that tickled me from Tony Jay, one of BJ's UK commenters, who posts long and often hilarious summaries of British politics from time to time:

The Guardian is centre-right conventional wisdom sterilised and repackaged to cater to a centre-left readership. It exists to convince people who should know better that Both Sides have extremists and only safe, stale centrists can save the world… thus helping to split the anti-Tory vote and ensure Conservative rule.

And like so much punditry, it all sounds so plausible. I guess that's sort of the definition of punditry, right?

Was it Publius who used to post derisively about David Broder's great scale that always had to return to balance by equating the sins and virtues of the political right and left? That's what it reminds me of (at least partially, since I'm not entirely sure what it is I'm remembering).

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