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March Madness: It’s Not Just About Basketball

March 26, 2016

Munch scream

What is it about the month of March that brings out the whackadoodle in otherwise competent creatures? “Mad as a March hare” refers to the frenzied mating antics of lusty lagomorphs as spring rolls around. But apparently the madness isn’t confined to the rabbit tribe.

Maybe our collective emergence from the doldrums of winter overheats our brain circuitry. In the U.S. at least, the stress of gathering a year’s worth of tax records while following the college basketball playoffs (affectionately known as “March Madness”) can strain susceptible nervous systems to the limit. But whatever the cause, March 2016 has been a banner month for showcasing our species at its maddest and worst.

In Brussels, that usually sedate European capital, Muslim terrorists linked to ISIS detonated two explosions that killed over 30 innocent people and injured at least 200 more. Coming in the wake of last year’s Paris massacres, and coupled with the news that a few hundred more ISIS operatives have infiltrated Europe to wreak future mayhem, it’s clear that the Continent is under siege by murderous medieval lunatics.

Europe’s ghettoized, often hostile Muslim neighborhoods have become spawning grounds for militants, and it only makes sense that several nations have finally halted the influx of Muslim refugees from Middle Eastern war zones. It’s easy for liberals to condemn nativism while rhapsodizing about diversity and humanitarian values, but — at least in Europe — non-assimilating, sharia-abiding Muslims are a bad fit at best and potentially treacherous at worst. Unfortunately, it’s too late to stuff this genie back inside the bottle. Europe will be reaping the consequences of its well-intentioned but ill-advised open-immigration policies for generations to come.

I’ve been waiting for moderate Muslims to lash out at the fanatics and de-legitimize them, but it’s no more likely to happen than American Christians rising up to shut down the KKK. So much the worse for Western civilization.

In Washington, stiff-necked Republican representatives are proving once again that they refuse to accept the mandate of the American people who twice elected Barack Obama as president. It’s one thing to reject a president’s Supreme Court nominee after a fair hearing, but that senescent snapping turtle Mitch McConnell and his outlaw gang of GOP obstructionists insist on ignoring the existence of that nominee (a respected moderate, as it turns out) until Obama shuffles off into retirement.

The Republicans’ obsessive hyperpartisanship, a thorny issue from Day One of Obama’s presidency, has morphed into blatant dereliction of duty. Call it Obama Derangement Syndrome, covert racism or just plain spitefulness, the obstructionists are asking us to believe the nonsensical argument that “the people” must guide the process by electing a new president (preferably a Republican) who will nominate the next justice.

Hello! “The people” already chose that president — in 2008 and again in 2012. Last I heard, he was still occupying the White House.

Meanwhile, establishment Democrats have been pulling out all the stops to block the Bernie Sanders insurgency. Former First Lady / Senator / Secretary of State / Wall Street darling Hillary Clinton has picked up endorsements, massive media coverage and tons of cash from the elite corporate potentates and plutocrats who would love to rule the known universe for at least another four years. The mainstream media coverage of the Sanders campaign amounts almost to a blackout.

A Bernie Sanders presidency would hit the ruling class like the bucket of water that snuffed the Wicked Witch of the West and destroyed her “beautiful wickedness.” Unlike the Republicans, the Democrats even tilted the results of several state primaries by using reliable party insiders (a.k.a., “superdelegates”) to override the popular vote. They may be Democrats, but clearly they don’t trust the people enough to believe in genuine democracy.

Of course, the ongoing Donald Trump juggernaut has caused many of us self-styled rational folk to question the virtues of democracy. I don’t believe that Trump is Hitler or even Mussolini, and I have to confess that I’ve enjoyed the spectacle of establishment Republicans scurrying madly to thwart his nomination. But I have to wonder how such a hefty plurality of garden-variety Republicans could fall under the spell of such a consummate flim-flam man.

Trump’s supporters are, of course, mad — angry mad as well as deranged mad, but mostly the former. The bulk of them are members of that most despised and neglected American tribe: older, less affluent, white Christian males. To be old, white, Christian and male in America is a sorry enough fate: you belong to one of the few remaining demographics that your fellow countrymen (and women) can mock with impunity. But to be all those things and struggle financially — while irate people of color call you out for your presumed “privilege” — well, let’s just say the inner furies mount ominously and cry for revenge.

Trump is the instrument of their revenge. He’s a populist demagogue unlike any other in recent American political history. Pugnacious Alabama governor George Wallace paled by comparison; you’d have to go back to someone like Huey “Kingfish” Long to find an apt parallel.

Like Long, Trump is smarter than he sounds; and he knows he has to sound brash, crude and defiantly ignorant to win the hearts of his constituency. His blunt, unscripted, shoot-from-the-hip style lends this particular demagogue the panache of a maverick.

Unlike Long, Trump can claim no actual political experience. He made his reputation as a high-rolling dealmaker, although (as establishment GOP veteran Mitt Romney gleefully pointed out), many if not most of his business enterprises have come to grief. Trump just seems to have a genius for winging it, saying whatever pops into his mind and talking trash about his rivals. His followers can’t get enough of it.

Believe me, I’d love to see a genuine maverick assume the presidency — a principled maverick who would overturn the tables of the money-changers, chastise the special interests and restore some semblance of sanity and balance to our beleaguered, bewildered nation. Trump is not that maverick. For me, he’s simply exploiting H. L. Mencken’s conviction that democracy is a self-limiting disease.

Here’s what Mencken meant. Given enough freedom and opportunity, smart people typically abandon the small towns that nurtured them and seek their fortunes in the big cities. They acquire the tastes and values of the urban elite, and they mate with other members of that elite. They produce elite offspring; they become a natural aristocracy.

Meanwhile, the small towns and rural hamlets across the republic languish in sad neglect, reduced to impoverished gene pools of frustrated left-behinds who enjoy little respect and fewer prospects. Where once their communities could boast scholars and men of vision along with the sturdy, sensible yeomanry, all that remains is a forlorn, resentful white underclass. They’re mad, they love guns, and they’ll be voting for Trump.

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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288 Comments leave one →
  1. dhlii permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:22 pm

    Senate republicans – or senate democrats in similar circumstances are constitutionally free to do as they please with respect to presidential nominees to most any position.

    The constitution makes the selection of various nominees the domain of the president – and with respect to executive positions the president is historically given political deference, as he was elected to head the executive and within constitutional limits may direct the activity for the executive branch towards those objectives he was elected to persue.

    With respect to independent agencies, appointments that exceed the presidents term, or appointments outside the executive branch political deference is inappropriate.

    Regardless, those are conventions not constitutional requirements.

    One of the reasons I continue to assert that Rick is NOT moderate, but a milque toast lefty is that he does not grasp that every issue does not require the government to act.

    The size of the supreme court is not mandated by the constitution.
    It has for some time traditionally had 9 members and likely will for the foreseable future.
    But a constitutional crisis does not occur if there are eight or seven or three or twelve.

    The senate is not obligated to confirm any presidents supreme court nominees.
    They are not obligated to confirm even well qualified nominees.
    There is no right to be a supreme court justice.
    There is no right to appoint a supreme court justice – merely a power to nominate one.
    There is no constitutional requirement to meet with a nominee,
    not constitutional requirement to hold hearings or to vote.

    Republicans are playing a game of political chicken with the supreme court.
    But it is one they are constitutionally permitted to do.

    Most voters do not make their choice based on a presidents preference for supreme court nominees. But those who do tend to be more conservative.
    The impact of a pending supreme court nomination on the election will likely favor republicans to a small extent.

    Are republicans playing politics ? Of course. But that is what washington is about.

    There are lots of things wrong with washington. But there is nothing wrong with the house or senate choosing to not act on some issue merely because the president wishes they would.

    If this bothers you – write your senator. That is in your power, and your right.
    But your desire that the senate act on Obama’s nominee does not reflect an obligation.

    Finally I would note that Just as Obama was elected in 2012, the Republicans were given control by the people of the house in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.

    There is no difference between the electoral mandate of the president and that of congress.

    • March 27, 2016 5:52 pm

      Of course you’re right, the senate isn’t constitutionally obligated to advise & consent on a strict timetable. But don’t you think they’re despicable scum suckers not to fulfill their Oath of Office?

      Each swears this oath upon taking office:

      “I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter:”

      Under the constitution their duty is to faithfully advise and consent .. And that’s understood to mean in a timely fashion. Although the constitution does not explicitly state that, those Senators, even the ones with their heads wedged up their rectums, implicitly know that’s what they’re supposed to do.

      ‘Faithfully discharge’ doesn’t mean faithfully delay. Delaying bringing the nomination to a vote up or down is dereliction of duty.

      What about this:

      Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment provides for vice presidential succession: it says, “Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.”

      No time frame is provided in the amendment. Do you believe congress has no obligation to quickly take the necessary steps to vote on a Vice Presidential nominee?

      Would you defend them under the same version of the Constitutional Loop Hole argument you used for the SCOTUS nominee: They have a perfect right to circumvent and avoid the intent of the amendment, because they can: the Shyster Lawyer Gambit?

      Where have all the Idealists gone, long time passing?
      Where have all the Idealists gone, long time ago?

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zWyEc7FAMTg

      • Ron P permalink
        March 27, 2016 6:31 pm

        Jay, when we have two parties that can not even agree on who our enemy is; ISIS by Republicans, ISIL by Democrats, why should we believe we can have split governance to even agree on bringing up a nominee for a vote?

      • March 27, 2016 6:56 pm

        That’s the problem, Ron.

        Two parties cleaved so far apart from the center (that’s us) they can’t agree on anything the least bit deviant from the middle.

        The moderate middle, the majority in other words, are the one constantly getting screwed by the 2-party system. This SCOTUS nominee is a great choice for moderates. We don’t want another Scalia, or a counterpart ultra Liberal judge. We need to ween the court of judges tilting to the left or the right. We need a centrist court. But we won’t get that in the 2-party system we have now. We need a third party to mediate/influence/negotiate with the other two. Or maybe a fourth or fifth party as well.

        Yeah I know it’s not going to happen in my lifetime, but I can dream, can’t I?

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 8:40 am

        How are they not fullfilling their oath of office ?
        You said there was no obligation to improve a nomination.
        That means that their choice is fully blessed by the constitution and consistent with their oath of office.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 8:43 am

        What you “understand” and what is true are not the same.
        The constitution is full of time limits.
        There are none on advise and consent.

        Further refusing to have hearings or consider a nominee is within “advise and consent” – it is saying “NO”.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 8:51 am

        I can not make heads nor tales of your “would you defend” argument.

        But I think the answer is “yes, I would”

        This is not a “loophole” argument. It is the constitution as written.
        There are timeframes for many things. Congress and the president must follow those. There are not for many others – and for those there is no such obligation.

        Further if you wish to get into the unwritten rules.

        Congress generally gives the president significant deference on nominees for positions that end with his term.
        It is rare that cabinet and other such posts are significantly delayed or that nominees to those are rejected for political reasons – though the constitution would allow that.

        While nominees for positions outside the executive, or positions that endure beyond the presidents tenure are subject to far more political scrutiny.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 8:55 am

        I am an idealist. I likely share many ideals with you.

        But none of us are free to impose our ideals on others by force – and government is force.

        You want to end poverty – I am with you. May the world cleaner, safer, I am with you. Eliminate prejudice – I am with you.

        But neither you nor I may use force to accomplish our goals no matter how laudible.

        Eichman thought he was doing a good thing. As did Mao, Pol Pot and myriads of others.

        You fail to grasp that the most vile people who ever lived where idealists too – they just had differnet ideals than you or I.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 9:12 am

        And Actually no JJ, I would prefer another Scalia or Ultra Liberal Judge.

        The hardest SCOTUS decisions to get rid of are those compromise moderate precedents.

        Though I would question what constitutes conservative, ultra liberal or moderate on the court today.

        There has been significant recent gains in our rights.
        The government can not use technology to search us without a warrant.
        It can not tag us with GPS without a warrant.
        Criminal defendents have the right to confront their accuser.
        Video games are free speech.
        The beginings of real limits on Takings.
        Limited the evidence allowed in court.
        Invalidated manditory sentencing guidlines.
        Expanded the right to counsel.
        Identified flag burning as free speech.

        What is the common theme of all the above decisions ?
        Justice Scalia provided the decisive 5th vote and for most wrote the oppinion.

        I do not universally agree with Scalia or any other justices, but the conservative justices have been far more willing in the past several decades to say NO to expanding government power, and yes to protecting individual rights.

        While so called “moderates” have been the worst.

        The role of the supreme court is to say NO to government infringement on our individual rights. That is its primary and most critical duty.
        It is the last bastion of individual freedom or the rights of the minority.

        So no, the last thing I want is another accomidationist moderate who sees no action fo government as an infringement on our rights.

        I would rather have an “ultra-liberal” or an “ultra-conservative”

    • March 27, 2016 11:05 pm

      Dave: Well, at least you admit that the Republicans are playing politics. I get tired of these games, and I still regard obstructionism as tantamount to dereliction of duty. By refusing to consider Obama’s nominee, Congress is essentially refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the executive branch and the two elections that put Obama in charge of that branch. Obama was respecting the legitimacy of Congress (and abiding by the Constitution) by submitting his nominee for approval. I detect an imbalance here.

      • March 28, 2016 9:43 am

        Hasn’t Obama, through his unconstitutional legislative edicts, better known as “executive actions” shown disrespect to and disregard of the legitimacy of Congress?

        I am not saying that two wrongs make a right. What I am saying is that Obama is easily as guilty as Congress here, and has been for a very long time. Part of the division in our politics has been engineered by Obama’s very skillful political claims that he is being “obstructed” by the Congress, when, in fact, that is precisely what the separation of powers is intended to accomplish. You would be hard pressed, for example, to make a good argument that Obamacare, a massive, historic piece of legislation, passed on a party line vote, through a budget mechanism not at all intended for this sort of thing, didn’t start this whole mess……

        You are right to detect an imbalance. But you only detect it on one side, when it exists on both.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 9:22 am

        Of course republicans are playing politics – everything in washington is about politics.

        As a generalization if politics chokes stifles and stalls government – I favor it.

        “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

        ― Mark Twain

        What is this nonsense about Deference to Obama ?

        We did not elect a king.
        We elected a president
        100 senators,
        435 representatives.

        Each of those was given a “mandate” by their respective electorate.
        If the president wishes to accomplish something he must work with those who were also elected.
        Republicans have controlled the house since 2010 and that is unlikely to change in the next several decades.
        The Senate is more tenuous but is currently controlled by republicans.

        Control of the executive is not total control of government.

        Our constitutional government was deliberately structured to make it very hard for govenrment to excercise the power it was given.

        That is a very very good thing. Not a bad one.

        That Obama, or Bush or any other president is thwarted by congress is good.

        Once again – we do not elect kings.

      • March 29, 2016 2:34 pm

        “Of course republicans are playing politics – everything in washington is about politics.”

        What’s troublesome is that you think obstructionism is a good idea.

      • March 29, 2016 5:06 pm

        It’s all obstructionism. Balance of power is now obstructionism, veto’s are obstructionism, overrides are obstructionism, opposition to the other party’s agenda is obstructionism, filibusters are obstructionism……..

        The point is this is all bulls**t. Nothing works the way it was intended to work, most everyone is playing politics, there are no statesmen left and the media are a bunch of idiots and/or cronies.

      • March 29, 2016 10:08 am

        Again, I’m in agreement with Dave ~not necessarily for all of the same reasons, but, in general, I think we are on the same page when it comes to this: the Constitution was meant to put limits and restraints on each branch of government, and the purpose of those limits and restraints was to make sure that one branch did not become so powerful that it could become tyrannical. I don’t think that this is in dispute by anyone who’s studied basic American government.

        Respect is all well and good. Obama can be a very disrespectful person ` he has, as President, publicly insulted the Supreme Court at the State of the Union address, invited Paul Ryan to sit front and center at a budget address and then basically called him (and, by extension, all Republicans) a person who cared nothing for children with cancer, old people, and a clean environment. It was clearly meant to humiliate Ryan for having the temerity to oppose him, and it was, well, just plain nasty.

        So, it seems rich to me when people feel the need to defend poor Barack when he is can’t get his unpopular legislation through the big, meanie Congress. That Congress is a bunch of mushes, who have essentially done nothing but talk tough and do nothing. 2010: historic landslide for GOP, resulting in a Republican house and 41 Senators to stop Obamacare. Result: Obamacare is not stopped. 2014: historic landslide, resulting in a Republican takeover in the Senate, to stop Obama’s illegal executive amnesty. Result: amnesty is not stopped.

        Deference and respect would help. But they are not the issue.

  2. dhlii permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:27 pm

    While there have been a few small instances of islamic terrorism in the US these are extremely rare.

    We should ask ourselves what is different between the US and Belgium or France or the EU that results in radically different levels of radicalization and violence.

    Europeans tend to stick up their noses at americans on issues of race, but when their culture is threatened by sufficient number of outsiders, their behavior is far more discriminatory.

    It is way to difficult for a US immigrant to obtain citizenship – it is usually impossible in europe. Worse still atleast the children of immigrants to the US are citizens, that is not true in Europe.

    The US is not some perfect melting pot.

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    But we are still the land of opportunity and far more tolerant than we are credited for.

    • March 27, 2016 7:14 pm

      “While there have been a few small instances of islamic terrorism in the US these are extremely rare.”

      The problem isn’t rarity, it’s the potential of a catastrophic terrorist event – like a smuggled dirty nuke detonated in a major city.

      There was only one Japanese attack on Hawaii, but the rarity was inconsequential to the outcome. By your fallacious argument the US shouldn’t have reacted as strongly as we did, because none of the 48 States was attacked.

      And no, we no longer want the wretched refuse of their teeming shores; we want the open-minded skilled seekers of our democratic way of life, ready to assimilate into our multi-cultural society, and leave behind contankerous medieval religious beliefs contrary to our religious norms.

      • March 27, 2016 11:08 pm

        Well said, Jay. I feel for the decent, moderate Muslims who suffer by comparison with the fanatics, but there’s really no accurate way to separate the wheat from the chaff. Europe opened the gates to all manner of Muslims and it’s now turning into a war zone. We can’t let it happen here.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 9:33 am

        Immigrants to this country today are from different places, they have different skin and religion. But otherwise they are little different from those of the past. They come for all the same reasons. They make themselves and our nation better for their being here.

        What is this dirty bomb nonsense ?
        Are they bringing dirty bombs in their backpacks ?

        There are 3+M muslims in the US. Very very few have been “radicalized”.

        Regardless, is there some special right to be an american that vests in you by virture of the accident of your place of birth ? Your Race ? Your religion ?

        Europe has vast problems – because it has no real immigration.
        Come to Belgium (or france) from the mideast and neither you nor your children can ever become citizens. You are permanently foriegners. It is not your country in anyway and never will be, you are confined to ghetto’s.

        And you wonder why they have more problems ? Why it is very very hard to “radicalize” US muslims ?

        Absolutely if we allow immigrants from the mideast into the US we are going to see a tiny bit more domestic terrorism.

        We are also going to see more Steve Job’s.

        The Net is dramatically positive.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 9:37 am

        So you would bar Jews from immigrating to the US – particularly Hasidic Jews ? Or Chinese ?

        In the past Italians and Irish were scorned and resisted asymilation.
        Even Poles, and Swedes still maintain their cultural identity.

        I live in a community with a significant number of Amish – whose religion and lifestyle have changed little for 3 centuries and who remain isolated.

      • March 29, 2016 9:02 pm

        “So you would bar Jews from immigrating to the US – particularly Hasidic Jews ? Or Chinese ?”

        Let’s put it in context: by religious norms I mean exclude those literally espousing thousand year old religious doctrine to justify subjugating and killing disbelievers, and/or replacing our form of government with one dominated by religious doctrine by force.

        As far as I know, neither Jews or Chinese are proselytizing death to disbelievers; but now that I think of it, I would be in favor of limiting Orthodox Jewish immigration for sects like the
        Haredi, whose Judaism is as relevant and useful to modern day American life as adherents of the Flat Earth Society. Before I’d issue them visas I’d have them swear to renounce the Torah laws that call for the execution of men who commit homosexual acts, death for adultery, and death for remarrying a woman you divorced. We don’t need more immigrants with those ideas to be passing them on to another generation.. Of course I’d let those already here stay: sadly there’s no chance theyll dwindle in number; they have a teemingly high birth rate (4.1 children per family, as compared to 1.9 children per family among non-Orthodox Jews); plus intermarriage is forbidden among Orthodox Jews, so there’s bound to be more then enough of them here to perpetuate their socially anti-diluvian practices for generations.

        And please, no accusations I’m selectively anti-Semitic; I’m selectively anti-idiotic-orthodoxy.

      • March 29, 2016 11:18 pm

        Yeah, immigration is one of the ways that I part ways with Dave. I can’t really improve on what you’ve said, Jay. I’m right with you.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2016 2:20 am

        Jay,

        Absolutely there are some very radical muslims, and islam is the religion of the majority of terrorists today.

        But should we ban Catholics because of the IRA ?
        Should be ban Jews because of the Irgun ?
        Christians raped and pillaged muslims in the mideast on numerous crusades.
        The inquisition is not a high point for western christianity.
        The KKK is a very christian organization.
        We can find lots of vile things that have been done in the name of myriads of religions.

        Yes, at this moment in time the religion most closely tied to violence and terrorism is islam. So what. There are 1.6B muslims in the world.
        Only a fraction of a percent are terrorists.

        If you wish to exclude those individuals actually advocating violence – I am with you. But that is not what you are seeking to to. You are seeking to exclude enormous numbers who we have no good reason to beleive are violent, because a tiny portion of them might be.

        Regardless, you are free to hate whoever you like – you want to hate muslims, or some jewish sects – so be it.

        But you are not free to craft our laws and policies arround your hatreds.

        William Shockley held some bizzare and hateful views.
        He also gave us the transistor and changed the world.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2016 2:23 am

        Pricilla;

        Immigration is like trade – more is better for us.

        Absolutely immigration has downsides, so does trade.
        But the net is wildly positive.

      • April 4, 2016 10:13 am

        Like international trade, government inaction or wrongheadedness is disastrous, like when the Chineese were dumping steel here, putting our own steel makers out of business. Same for immigration. Yes, it’s good, when controlled, horrible when not. We’re past the horrible stage: we’re in the ‘destruction of American culture’ stage now.

  3. dhlii permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:33 pm

    Whatever criticisms one might have of the Republican primaries – what lunacy is going on with respect to democrats ?

    How can any US party be considering an avowed socialist ?
    We are talking about one of the most failed bloodiest evil political ideologies of all time.
    Even if we pretend the Nazi’s were not socialists – which they were, their copious blood shed is still dwarfed by that of Stalin and Mao.

    Today we have north korea, cuba and venezuela as examples of socialism – who in their right mind wants to try that here ?

    With respect to Hillary, don’t the democrats have anyone better ? Possibly not someone who should be indicted ?

    Is there no modern democrat the equivalent of a Bill Clinton ?

    • Roby permalink
      March 27, 2016 11:00 am

      Oh Please! I don’t support Sanders, he is way too far to the left for me,and always has been. But he is not a socialist and calling him one once again blows the entire cover of your phony erudition. Aren’t you the one who delivered a lecture on all the 17 various subtle flavors of conservative? So, you now are not informed enough to know what Sanders is? He does not and never has believed that the workers should own the means of production, he is not a Marxist and says so, clearly. Workers owning the means of production is socialism and its not Sanders, who wants an expanded welfare state, which is bad enough but not socialism.

      We will likely soon find out whether a Clinton II presidency would be similar to Clinton I. But these are different times and circumstances. The left believes that Hillary is a “neocon.” The left certainly has gone lefter, I’ll agree with you on that..

      • March 27, 2016 11:17 pm

        Thanks, Roby. I think Sanders must get some kind of frisson by proclaiming openly that he’s a “socialist.” It would have been impossible for any candidate making such a claim to have a realistic shot at the presidency before the recent financial crashes soured many Americans on the virtues of unfettered capitalism. And of course you’re right that we need to distinguish between socialists and Marxists. Bernie always emphasizes that he’s a democratic socialist in the Scandinavian mold.

      • March 28, 2016 9:24 am

        Believe it or not, most moderate righties actually like Bernie these days. More because of his genuineness and lack of money, which tells you something about how bizarre things have gotten (that a conservative would support a socialist, democratic or not, because he seems like a slightly dim, but overall decent sort, who has not enriched himself at the public trough).

        Democratic socialism is different than Marixism for sure. Check out what’s going on in Sweden these days, due to a large influx of Middle Eastern migrants. I’m guessing this is not what most Bernie voters want……..

        .http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/16/world/europe/nordic-countries-overwhelmed-by-migrants-retreat-from-generous-traditions.html?_r=0

      • Roby permalink
        March 28, 2016 10:22 am

        Here is a more recent take, very thoughtful. WWII created 40 million refugees. How do we feel when we hear of someone whose family got out of Germany in 1939 in order to avoid the situation that was developing? Sympathetic and understanding. Of course the idea behind the ISIS related terror acts in Europe and America is to create a war between muslims in the west by making them hated. How do we react, go for it, resist it, throw up our hands? The whole situation is very complicated and brings huge moral dilemmas. Our post WWII values are under siege. Beat the living shit out of ISIS and resolve Syria. (Tangent: Europe is being given one more reason to despise Putin via the Russian Assad connection that has accelerated the refugees.)

        All this by the way is only tenuously connected with the Swedish/Nordic economic philosophy and Sanders “socialism.” Its easy enough to state that Nordic social programs/economic philosophies would not transplant to the US, different cultures, demographics, economies, histories Just because a bird can fly does not mean a camel can.

        http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/02/10/the-death-of-the-most-generous-nation-on-earth-sweden-syria-refugee-europe/

        Last paragraphs:

        “Something even greater is at risk. The Europe that rose from the cataclysm of World War II understood itself not simply as a collection of peoples, white and Christian, but as a community of shared values. The refugee crisis has forced Europeans to choose between the moral universalism they profess and the ancient identities they have inherited. Eastern Europe has already reasserted its status as a white, Christian homeland — just as many people in the Middle East have reclaimed the sectarian identities they had seemed prepared to discard.

        Now the Europe where the Enlightenment was born may well be making the same choice. The Muslim influx threatens Europe’s liberal, secular consensus; but rejecting the refugees also shakes one of the great pillars of that consensus. Europe may fail on both counts, driving the refugees from its doorstep while succumbing to right-wing nationalism. Americans have no reason to be complacent. It is all too possible that we will do the exact same thing.”

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 9:51 am

        Sanders has repeatedly called himself a socialist.

        “Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim at their establishment.”

        The history of socialism has been despicable.
        While there are more vile and less vile examples, there are no good examples.

        http://atlassociety.org/objectivism/atlas-university/deeper-dive-blog/3962-can-there-be-an-after-socialism

        Further look at Sanders policy positions:
        He wants more regulation, bigger government, more handouts from government, less individual autonomy, more homogenization. More punishment for success and rewarding failure.

        Put simply “More socialism”

        Those vaunted nordic social democracies the left loves, only survive because they have far more economic freedom than the US.
        And even they have been significantly reducing taxes, and free services since 1980 – because they are unsustainable.
        The Swedes found in the 1980’s that swedes living outside of sweden had double the standard of living of those living in sweden.
        And they have slowly been adjusting accordingly.

        How Well is Venezuela doing ?

        There is very robust economic data – bigger government whatever the flavor reduces the rate of improvement in standard of living by 1% for each 10% of GDP that government consumes.

        Big government regardless of the flavor does not work.

        a 1% yearly increase in standard of living compounded over one generation dwarfs the benefits of every social safetynet program ever conceived.

        The left forgets that there is only one root to a better life.
        Produce more value.
        Whether individuals or nations, that is the only way.

        We could argue over what is value – except that we need not and can not.
        Value is whatever each of us as individuals decide it is.

        Again the problem with the left is they presume to decide what each of us should value. That is tyrany.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 9:56 am

        Of course there are myriads of flavors of socialism – but they share things in common. Failure, and bloodshed.

        Have I argued that all, most, or any flavors of conservatism are inherently good ?

        In general my umbrage is directed at statists.
        I do not care whether they are on the left or the right.
        Those who want a powerful government doling out largess to those they fancy are wrong and evil regardless of ideological identity.
        Sanders is inarguably one of those.
        Frankly so is Trump. All that separates them is which groups they hate and which they love.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 10:15 am

        Rick;

        Regardless of what he says – Sanders is not a Scandanavian mold Democratic socialist. Frankly, I think he is either politically naive about what Socialism actually is – and about what has and has not worked in scandanavia, or deceitful.

        Ah, back to the “financial crisis”

        Just as with the great depression – the government F’s up and blames the failure on the free market.

        Lets address the financial crisis first:

        The entire concept is nonsense.
        The financial system has very very little capacity to create or destroy wealth. Financial transactions are all near zero sum.
        Trade money for stock – one party has money, the other stock.

        Value can be created by exchange – but only if after the exchange the resources exchanged are valued more and put to better use by those who receive them.

        The left makes a big deal about MBS’s and CDO’s and CDS’s and other “securities”.

        That word security is of critical importance.
        A security is something whose value rests on the value of something else.
        The value of stock rests on the value of a company.
        The value of a mortgage rests on the value of a house.

        Wall Street can re-arrange securities to its hearts content, but doing so can not cause a significant economic downturn.

        A recession results when there is a substantial loss in the wealth held in the economy.

        In the recent instance that occurred when housing prices collapsed.
        In a short period of time the value of housing in the US dropped by 11T dollars. From that moment on recession was inevitable.
        The financial system did nto cause the housing bubble and its subsequent collapse. That was primarily the responsibility of the Federal Reserve, and to a lesser extent the responsibility of idiotic government policies with respect to credit.

        Regardless, my fundimental point is that the financial markets can not be the cause of this or any recession.

        Financial machinations can cause you to lose money – but someone else must gain it.
        Nearly everyone lost in the recent recession. No one walked away with 11T.

        Regardless, you can not destroy vast amounts of wealth merely by exchanging it.

        There are two critical elements to a recession:
        An asset bubble, and easy credit.

  4. dhlii permalink
    March 26, 2016 5:55 pm

    Trump has no appeal to me. But your Mencken rant is telling.

    Apparently you divide america into an urban aristocracy and slightly retarded suburban and rural yokels.

    Our rural and suburban government is abysmal – yet it stands head and shoulder above the governance the urban elites have imposed on themselves.

    I can not personally engage in the cognitive dissonance necessary to support Trump.

    I do not see him as the next Hitler – but I do see him as too close to a totalitarian to elect.

    But that does not stop me in reveling at his evisceration of the political establishment – even if he is not nearly so far from that establishment as he claims.

    Rick properly notes we are angry.
    But it is much more than angry white christian males.
    It is anger at our political masters in Washington.
    It is cross party anger. It is cross gender and cross race.
    different demographics may not be equally angry, nor angry for the same reasons, but our anger is not limited to some narrow demographic.

    This is not about white privilege – but it is about privilege.

    • March 27, 2016 11:25 pm

      Granted, the anger has spread beyond the less affluent older white male demographic. Nearly everybody is angry in America these days. But Trump’s core constituency is the downwardly mobile older white male.

      By the way, I wasn’t mocking them. (Mencken did, gleefully.) No, I feel sympathy for them. Remember, I described them as the one remaining group that Americans can freely mock without consequence (and yet they still have to hear about “white privilege”). Their communities are hurting, and so are they.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 10:28 am

        I am not seeking to defend Trump. He has no appeal to me.

        I am merely pointing out that he is surfing on a broad wave of anger.

        He did not create that anger.
        Further that anger is not merely this white male nonsense you are spouting.

        Absolutely, there is white male anger. Absolutely Trump is capitalizing on that.

        But white male anger is a tiny portion of the whole.

        Just as I think the specific policies of Trump are crap.
        The same is true of Sanders or Black Lives Matter, or ….

        But left right, black white, whatever we are very very angry.
        We are for the most part angry with our government.

        We are often wrong about the solutions or the causes of our anger,
        but the anger is still very real and very justified – even if in articulating it we place the blame incorrectly.

        Rather than fixate on Trump, you should ponder why from right to left the electorate is incredibly angry.

        Trump, Sanders, Black Lives Matter, are all seeking to focus that anger on some straw man.

        But there is only one viable cause for our anger that explains the anger of all groups – and that is the failure or our government.

        Either we grasp the real force that has F’d up our lives, or we start fighting each other.

        What is wrong with Trump, Sanders, BLM, …. is that they are focusing their anger on those who had little to do with it.
        They are preparing for class and race warfare.

        To the extent that any group is even close to directing their anger appropriately that would be the right.

        On the republican side that anger is directed at the political establishment.
        Not blacks, not the poor, not the rich.

  5. March 26, 2016 6:40 pm

    “Here’s what Mencken meant. Given enough freedom and opportunity, smart people typically abandon the small towns that nurtured them and seek their fortunes in the big cities. They acquire the tastes and values of the urban elite, and they mate with other members of that elite. They produce elite offspring; they become a natural aristocracy.”

    Could we not also say that given enough freedom and opportunity, smart people, including all races, will abandon the big cities and seek safer, cheaper and more comfortable living conditions, while they acquire the values of the suburban citizenry and mate with other members of non-big city dwellers. They produce entitled offspring where their expectations of a living standard just starting out is at or above that of their parents. With the move to suburbia they forget their roots, and other than a few activist minority leaders, their interest lie in their own personal advancement and not in the advancement of those left behind.

    As for the Trump/Sanders/Clinton presidential candidates, H. L. Mencken also said ” On some great and glorious day the plain folk of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”.

    Smart man that H.L. Mencken was!!!!!!!!!!!

    • March 27, 2016 11:30 pm

      Good points… I didn’t factor suburbia into the equation, but today’s suburbanites would have been living in small towns a hundred years ago and adding vitality to their communities. Today they tend to be more conservative than the urban elite, and you’re right that they’ve basically lost touch with their roots. (They do move around a lot.)

      Mencken had another good quote that’s relevant to our discussion. I’m quoting from memory: “Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

      • March 28, 2016 2:21 pm

        Your memory’s pretty close, Rick.

        “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
        H. L. Mencken

    • dhlii permalink
      March 29, 2016 10:33 am

      While I would alter the wording of your remarks a bit. Otherwise I agree.

      I am not a huge fan of the rural/urban dialectic.

      But people make choices and as a result of those choices they succeed differently.

      In the end the choices are their own.

      If staying in a city results in prosperity – more power to you.
      If moving to the country or suburbs improves your standard of living – great.

      Regardless, we have these and myriads of other choices.

      We make them as individuals.
      As individuals we own the consequences – good and bad.

      What we should not have is an elite – urban or rural, dictating our choices for us.

      • Ron P permalink
        March 29, 2016 1:09 pm

        Dave(?) you may have misinterpreted my comments concerning urban/suburban/rural movement. My comment comes from the angle that many of those that improve their life by hard work and understanding the value of education are able to escape that poverty of the inner cities, leaving behind a much more hard core poverty stricken population. And many of those that leave that life never look back, expecting others to help those in need.

        And to add to that, how many times do we hear about athletes that have some form of a charity to help people, but how many of these base their charitable giving on kids performance in school. If education is the key to advancement, why is it so difficult to find educational charities funded or founded by athletes? If fact, why is it so hard to find any educational charity?

  6. March 27, 2016 10:38 am

    Well, I have to say that I agree with everything Dave has written in his comments, almost 100%. The exceptions would be 1) that Rick is a “milquetoast lefty” – most emphatically not true, and 2) the rather shocking (to me) statement that “While there have been a few small instances of islamic terrorism in the US these are extremely rare.” So I guess I’m more in the 80-90% range of agreement with you, Dave…..but most of your comments were quite brilliantly on the money. And, for you , quite succinctly written!

    That said, what I loved about Rick’s column (and love about Rick’s writing, in general) is the heartfelt intelligence, the literariness, and the lack of artifice in expressing the feelings of left-leaning moderates in our country. In other words, far from being a milquetoast lefty, Rick is an honest plain-spoken moderate liberal, not afraid to lay blame where he feels it belongs ~ moderate Muslims, American Christians, the white working class, and, of course. Republicans. The fact that I disagree with much of what you say here, my friend, doesn’t in any way detract from my immense admiration of the way you say it. (And that is not suck-uppiness, it’s true respect).

    Nevertheless, I think you miss the mark, by far, in few places in your esay, but I’ll start here with just one, a huge jaw-dropper for me: “I’ve been waiting for moderate Muslims to lash out at the fanatics and de-legitimize them, but it’s no more likely to happen than American Christians rising up to shut down the KKK. So much the worse for Western civilization.”

    Seriously??!! If “American Christians” did not shut down the KKK, who the hell did? Or do you believe that the KKK is still an active threat? I’m sincerely flummoxed by this, almost as much as I am by your contention that the Republicans are somehow violating the Constitution by refusing to take up Obama’s SCOTUS nominee. As Dave wrote (and as, apparently, most Americans have forgotten), the Congress is a CO-EQUAL branch of the government, meant to be equal in power to the President, and just as he has the right to nominate, they have the right to ignore or reject his nomination. THe Republican Congress has been elected in two genuine landslides, which gave them a mandate to oppose everything that this president has done. The fact that they only now are standing up to him is one of the main reasons that Donald Trump is winning.

    • Roby permalink
      March 27, 2016 11:08 am

      Ha, almost the only place where I Agree with Dave is the rarity of Muslim violence. Regular murderous nuts are far more common than muslim ones in America. The single most heartbreaking event for me that ever happened in my lifetime in America, among all the dreadful candidates was the Sandy Hook first grade massacre. An ordinary non muslim gun nut family propelled that one, and 99.9 of the other daily slaughters in America.

      • March 27, 2016 7:22 pm

        Go figure, haha.

        99.9 of the other slaughters in America are not really ideological in any way. The insane young man who perpetrated the horror in Sandy Hook was not a liberal or a conservative. He was a lunatic.

        In that sense you and Dave are right. I was reading it more along the lines of murders linked to ideology. But, if we’re just talking actual murders, then sure, not so many.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 10:50 am

        Just as muslim terrorism in the US is a rare event so is events like Sandy hook.

        You can not put US muslim terrorism in its appropriately insignificant place without doing the same with Sandy Hook.

    • March 27, 2016 11:51 pm

      Priscilla: First of all, thanks for the appreciative comments. Like Mencken, I enjoy playing with words, and I make it my goal never to write a boring sentence. (Although that sentence itself was kind of boring.) On top of that, I tend to write about subjects that fuel my passion or indignation; you probably won’t see me holding forth on Congressional races in Nebraska or the latest pronouncements by the secretary of commerce. (Do we still have a secretary of commerce?)

      As for my remark about moderate Muslims, American Christians and the KKK, here’s my train of thought: The KKK still exists a hundred years after its revival during the Wilson years. It’s a shadow of its former self, but American Christians haven’t been able to consign it to the dustbin of history. If we can’t eliminate such a puny secret society by appealing to their better natures, how will the world’s moderate Muslims persuade a hundred million (or more) radical Islamists that their beliefs are too extreme?

      I addressed the issue of Congressional vs. Presidential authority in one of my comments to Dave above. What galls me is that Obama was being de-legitimized by Congress — especially in light of the fact that the president was nominating a moderate to fill the empty seat. Obama made a responsible choice and showed a willingness to compromise; meanwhile, Congress just couldn’t rise above partisanship. Of course, I tend to be an idealist, so I’d like to see the executive and legislative branches get along.

      • Ron P permalink
        March 28, 2016 12:18 am

        Rick a congress that blocks everything a president want to do is nothing new. One only has to look at the modern definition of a “do nothing congress” and you will find it goes back to the years when Truman had taken over for FDR and was running in 1948 for his own term. He was losing the election up until the time he called congress back into session to get some legislation passed and the blocked it. He tagged them with hat name and the election turned and he won with over 300 electors. It may not have been a SCOTUS appointment, but it was just the same GOP tactic then that McConnell is using today that is going to cost the GOP the election in November, regardless of who is running.

        When one really digs into history, it explains a lot of what is happening currently at any point in time. History repeats.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 10:59 am

        Of course Obama is being “delegitimized” by congress.

        In fact he has done that by himself.

        He was elected in 2008 to put the country back together after a disasterous recession.
        His party had dominating control over the federal government.

        We can argue over details and ideology and whatnot, But it is inarguable that Obama has failed.

        We have had an incredibly weak economic recovery and nearly a decade of subpar growth. Doing nothing almost certainly would have had better results.

        In this election we are seeing the rejection – left and right of the “establishment”.

        Republicans took back the house in 2010 because of the perception that Obama was a failure.

        They failed to take the presidency in 2012 because they ran Obama Lite – and establishment candidate.

        They took back the senate in 2014.

        Sorry, but Obama has “deligitimized” himself.

        The fact that we did not want Romney more than we did not want Obama in 2012 is not a glowing endorsement.

        I can argue my own specific ideological reasons for Obama’s failure,
        but it is pretty inarguable that his presidency has been a failure.

    • dhlii permalink
      March 29, 2016 10:40 am

      People die everyday in the US from myriads of causes.
      The left and the right manipulate us into fixating on what are overall very tiny issues, and magnifying them all out of proportion to achieve their political goals.

      The left wants to control Guns – so they fixate on the horrors of newtown or aurora.
      While horrible, still very small overall. More children die from accidental poisoning in a week, than have died from assualt weapons in a decade.

      The same with terrorism. Yes, there have been a few instances in the US. But as horrible as these have been overall they are inconsequential.
      There are 3+M muslims in the US, there is never going to be zero bad behavior in any of them.

    • dhlii permalink
      March 29, 2016 10:47 am

      Rick’s answer to every problem is more government – that makes him a statist.

      Milquetoast lefty, fits.

      I do not BTW hate Rick. I just think that so long as he is in denial about his own views he is not going to be able to understnad why they do not work.

  7. Roby permalink
    March 27, 2016 11:09 am

    Rick you are right on in so many ways here, most of all about Mencken.

  8. Roby permalink
    March 27, 2016 11:11 am

    Lindsey Graham on the Daily show. Wow. Brave man in many ways. Needless to say that such a sane man got nowhere in this election. http://www.cc.com/video-clips/3y9tmy/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-lindsey-graham—the-senator-picks-his-poison–ted-cruz-vs–donald-trump

    • March 27, 2016 7:09 pm

      I like Lindsey Graham a lot, always have. He’s less conservative, although more hawkish, than the average GOP senator. He is also a great believer in trying to each acroass the aisle, when possible, although it rarely is these days……(so we kind of agree, Roby 😉 )

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 11:01 am

        Reaching accross the aisle often has another name – “log rolling” and it has given us some of our most disasterous policies.

        I am not a Graham fan at all.

  9. March 27, 2016 3:08 pm

    I’m pretty much on the same page for most of what you wrote, Rick, with a few minor reservations: describing Trump’s supporters as old white Christian males is too generalized a statement. They may be a core element, but Trump won a large share of college educated voters in Nevada and New Hampshire; numerous blogs with high IQ contributors backing Trump; and even 25% of American Jewish voters rate him favorably – definitely not a Christian demographic.

    As obnoxious as he is, there are valid pearls buried within most of his exaggerated rhetoric. I see him as the political equivalent of Hirudo medicinalis, the blood-sucking leech historically used for medical blood-letting therapy. The theory was the human body contained four ‘humors’ – the vital elements of blood, phlegm, and black and yellow bile. If the proportions of these humors became unbalanced, it would cause ill health. Bloodletting by leeches (repulsive looking creatures with pointy teeth and suckers) would restore the balance and good health. Modern medicine has confirmed some positive benefits for leech usages, and they are still used in certain surgical procedures for the anticoagulant properties of their saliva, which keeps blood from clotting too quickly when it’s flow is needed to promote healing in restricted areas..

    In other words, there are times when it’s necessary to let the body bleed. Trump serves that repulsive leech-like function, not only on the Republican Party, but on the current two party power structure body-politic as well.

    Therefore, as bad as he would be as Prez, he’s served a vital purpose for the nation. He’s ripped open many of the dried scabs of conventional wisdom: about the outdated assumptions party leaders and political mavens and media chatter boxes have made about the constituencies of both parties; about acceptable and unacceptable political discourse; about the myths and shibboleths of candidate acceptability; and perhaps most important – how easy it is for a political outsider to manipulate the national media and use them to propel himself to the forefront of national leadership.

    And the bloodletting isn’t over: watch it flow at the a republican Convention when they deny Trump the nomination. Reality TV will be as gory as the Horror Movie TV Channel. 👹👹

    • March 27, 2016 7:40 pm

      Well, here is another thing that drives me nuts, these days (oh lordy, so many things!)

      What do you mean “deny Trump the nomination”? Like he will have the 1237 delegates and they will change the rules? Or that he will not have a majority, and, after the first ballot, he is toast? That’s not denying Trump the nomination. That’s Trump losing the nomination, because he could not get a majority of delegates, according to the rules.

      Trump likes to threaten that this would be death for the GOP. But, that’s just Trump being Trump. If he can’t get a majority, he loses, fair and square. Odds are, in that scenario, none of the current three Republicans still in the race would end up as the nominee.

      And, despite his threats, Trump can no longer put together a credible 3rd party run- he’s not rich enough, he needs the RNC’s money and support ~ he also has missed the chance to get on most state’s ballots, unless he get another party’s nomination. And sure, a lot of Trumpists will not vote in November, but , then again, a lot of them never voted before anyway.

      By the way, this is not meant to be a criticism of your comment, Jay, just a reflection of my frustration of how the media has mischaracterized the process. It’s even stupider than reality TV sometimes……..

      • March 28, 2016 11:09 am

        Also, Jay, for you……

        “But in the drama of this insane campaign, he has actually earned his position, and if his doggedness wins the Republican nomination on the second ballot it will be one of the most fascinating triumphs in recent political history.

        Though it will also probably be short-lived. But if you think a little thing like losing a general election will dispose of Ted Cruz’s ambitions, you don’t know Ted Cruz.”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/opinion/who-is-ted-cruz.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fross-douthat&_r=0

      • March 28, 2016 1:06 pm

        Carl Rove was on Fox this morning, Priscilla, discussing Cruz, explaining why so few Republicans are aligning with him even though Rubio is out and Cruz is the primary obstacle to Trump’s nomination.

        Mainly, Rove said, the reason is that Cruz is really and truly disliked, as a person. Rove then provided anecdotal examples of Cruz’s distasteful personage. When interacting with other republicans, Cruz came across as abrasive, pompous, self absorbed, disrespectful of anyone who disagreed with him (yes, very Trumplike), and overall an annoying pain in the ass. He was said to be more interested in hearing himself talk then engage in conversational interaction with others, and about as enjoyable to be around as jock rash (my interpretation of the annoyance expressed).

        Other Cruz contemporaries in the senate describe him as a liar who calls other’s liars (like calling McConnell a liar on the Senate floor), and of course the memorable, priceless observation by Lindsey Graham that nothing would happen if you murdered him on the Senate floor, and the Senate held the trial.

        In order to rally the support of his colleagues he’d have to undergo a quick personality metamorphosis from obnoxious jerk to tolerable jerk, and mouth the proper mia-culpas in tones of apology sincere enough to seem genuine. In this he can incorporate advice from Shakespeare’s Richard III:

        “And thus I clothe my naked villainy
        With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ;
        And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”

      • March 28, 2016 3:31 pm

        Yeah, I’m totally on board with Rove, here. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to read the NYT column by Douthat that I linked, but it says essentially the same thing from a position of grudging respect. After all, a supremely unlikable- heck, even hate-able- nakedly ambitious, prick has been able to get within spitting distance of becoming the GOP nominee. And is not out of it yet, mind you, having put Trump back on his heels more than once this week. If he could succeed in knocking Trump off and actually securing the nomination, it would be an unprecedented feat for such a widely hated politician, even within his own party (after all, there WAS a Goldwater wing in the party, there’s no “Cruz wing”). Even Lindsey Graham, who hates him, has endorsed him.

        But, yeah, I can’t stand him either……

      • March 28, 2016 4:38 pm

        What I’d like to see happen at the contested convention (that’s where it’s headed) is the delegates come to their senses, and nominate Kasich for president.

        Conventional mistaken wisdom assumes that would be a horrible idea because both Trump and Cruz supporters would revolt, and twice as many Republicans would then stay home and not vote in the general election.

        I think the opposite would happen: there’s strong animosity between the Cruz and Trump factions; if either wins the nomination, sparks will fly (likely fists too) and the losing side is likely to abandon the nominee, and some possibly abandon the party too..

        But if Kasich is picked, I think the outcome will be different. Both Trump and Cruz supporters will throw up their arms in anguish, but then grudgingly shrug it off, because at least the hated other didn’t get it. They will grumble for a while, but because there’s not a resoivoir of hateful anger directed at Kasich (not yet anyway) most are likely to return to the fold, to gang up on Hillary or Bernie.

        If I was a Republican establishment power broker, a Kasich scenario would look good to me. In the short term it eliminates hated Cruz and detested Trump, both openly hostile to establishment operatives, both inimical to expanding the Republican voter base, and promotes a friendlier less confrontentational Republican face representing the party, thereby making it more difficult for Democrats to whip up the guaranteed voter turnout they’d see with Trump or Cruz in the race.

      • March 28, 2016 5:40 pm

        Yes I just read the column, thanks for reminding me.

        “A dogged, charmless, unembarrassed striver,” ha! Makes me want to read Powell’s novel.

      • dhlii permalink
        March 29, 2016 11:12 am

        I have problems with Cruz, because he has drifted from a more vigoruous and abrasive form of Paul’s libertarian non-interventionism to more of a neo-con and evangelical. I am guessing this is an effort to win the election.

        I could care less about his personality. I am not sure that being liked by McConnell or Graham is something I would brag about.

        Since we are all unhappy with washington, why would the oppinion of the establishment matter much ?

        Further what are we electing ? Chief baby but kisser or president ?

        The left made a big deal that Bill Clinton’s sexual pecadilo’s had nothing to do with his effectiveness as president.

        I personally would have removed him for lying under oath, but compared to Bush, Bush and Obama his presidency was stellar.

        Cruz is used to being the smartest person in the room, and being right nearly all the time. Unlikely Clinton he has not managed that with grace.
        Obama conversely leaves the same impression and has the grace of Clinton.
        But he is wrong most of the time.

        I can not see myself voting for Cruz, but the rest of the choices are worse.

      • Ron P permalink
        March 29, 2016 1:27 pm

        Leadership is not cramming positions down others throats. Cruz is much like Obama is his “leadership” or lack of leadership abilities. There are many instances where Obama addressed congress or SCOTUS and chastised them or told them what they were going to do. SCOTUS in the address to congress and congress when they leaders met to discuss healthcare reform and he told McCain elections have consequences (basically telling McCain to shut up). Cruz is much like Obama in his approach. He does no compromise, he demands. He does not discuss, he tells. So if Cruz becomes president, we will have the same problems in the future we have today because congressional leaders know they are equal partners in governance and they will defend that position at all costs. Look at the great presidents in history and they were leaders, not authoritarians.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    March 27, 2016 9:40 pm

    Perhaps it would have been more surreal if the 2016 Presidential election cycle had been “politics as usual” with the same PC BS, more of the same glossed-over, memorized rhetoric. That would have been more maddening to me than the current tumult. I’m glad anger has been surfacing, manifesting. Perhaps this is actually a healthy sign of life in our system. Hopefully we force ourselves to some resolutions and don’t spiral all the way down.

    Thank you Rick for noticing that “The mainstream media coverage of the Sanders campaign amounts almost to a blackout.” It may ultimately backfire. The propping up of Hillary and the partial ignoring of Senator Sanders may feed more into the momentum of the anti-establishment Bernie and hurt Hillary, at least with the popular vote.

    Roby, since you have not been a Bernie fan, it is all the more commendable for you to point out there’s a big difference between “Democratic Socialism” (which includes Private Property, Capitalism…) and “Socialism,” even though the terms share the same word.

    Thank you Priscilla for reminding that Congress as Legislative branch is supposed to be a CO-EQUAL branch of the government along with the Executive and Judicial branches.

    President Obama would score another win for the New World Order with not-so-moderate Merrick Garland who has shown he is not a strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights.

    If anyone still thinks “NWO talk” is just for conspiracy nuts, read Strobe Talbott’s “The Great Experiment.” Strobe’s an insider: Deputy Secretary of State 1994 to 2001, President of the Brookings Institution, member of the Council on Foreign Relations…(Strobe is a fan of a global authority)

    “In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn’t such a great idea after all.” –in Time magazine, America Abroad: The Birth of the Global Nation, Monday, July 20, 1992

  11. March 27, 2016 9:49 pm

    Of course that was me above, Pat Riot

  12. Ron P permalink
    March 28, 2016 6:51 pm

    My moderate side of me wants the March Madness to continue well into July, allowing for a contested Republican convention that will provide the divisiveness that is needed to almost destroy the GOP as it is known today and split that party into the factions that it needs to be split. No longer can we have one party that represents the far left leaning, minority controlled, entitlement seekers, requires unending spending increases leading to increased deficits and requires SCOTUS appointments based on strict liberal ideologies, while another party represents ideologies of multiple persuasion.

    Multiple persuasions like moderates that accept compromise, understands the need for constructive tax reform, constructive spending reforms, acceptable social program changes and moderate compassionate SCOTUS judges who make decisions based on law and not ideological positions. The conservatives with their unyielding social program changes, strict adherence to christian based legal decisions, tax reform that benefits the upper income and corporate America, unacceptable spending cuts to programs providing needed services to the poor, unending tax cuts leading to higher deficits and conservative SCOTUS judges making decisions based on strong conservative ideologies and not on a constitutional basis.

    It is becoming much harder for a national candidate as well as many state wide candidates for Senate to capture the nomination and then appeal to enough individuals to defeat a candidate from a party that is well tied to one philosophy.

    I have little hope that we will ever see a party that represents the majority in America today. What we will have is two parties that represent the fringes of the moderate majority. But maybe a complete meltdown within the GOP will bring it closer to the middle. And there might just be enough movement to create a viable moderate party that will become the majority party for an extended period of time.

    • March 28, 2016 7:49 pm

      We need a third party, Ron, operating within the boundaries you enumerated that the two fringe-dominated parties transgress. In other words the third party should flexibly reflect your views and mine, the RonJay Party.

      Our election slogan: All The Way With RonJay.
      And if Priscilla wants to be involved, we will call it the RonJayPris Party.
      And our election slogan will be: We Can’t Miss With RonJayPris!

      I of course am open to other names, if more folks want to participate in founding this needed new political entity – the goal is more important then labels ✌️.
      All we need now to get our new party launched is a sympathetic multi-billionaire 💰💰💰with similar mindset. Anyone come to mind? 🤔

      • Ron P permalink
        March 28, 2016 11:14 pm

        Love it. Now all we need is a couple hundred billion and were on our way!!!

      • March 29, 2016 10:44 am

        Bring on the lobbyists!

  13. Anonymous permalink
    March 28, 2016 11:22 pm

    or at least $27.00 a few million times!

    (I’m actually tired of hearing Bernie say his same spiel, but being funded by the People in a grass roots way is kinda cool.)

    • March 29, 2016 10:43 am

      The “Bernie spiel” is so classic now. And his accent is so fun to imitate!

  14. Roby permalink
    March 29, 2016 11:46 am

    “Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production; as well as the political ideologies, theories, and movements that aim at their establishment.”

    True!
    From the Wiki Sanders article:
    “In defining what democratic socialism means to him, Sanders said: “I don’t believe government should take over the grocery store down the street or own the means of production, but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a decent standard of living and that their incomes should go up, not down. I do believe in private companies that thrive and invest and grow in America, companies that create jobs here, rather than companies that are shutting down in America and increasing their profits by exploiting low-wage labor abroad.”[197] Noam Chomsky described Sanders as “basically a New Dealer,”[199][200] and many journalists have likened his policies to the New Deal.”

    See the Difference?

    “How can any US party be considering an avowed socialist ?
    We are talking about one of the most failed bloodiest evil political ideologies of all time.
    Even if we pretend the Nazi’s were not socialists – which they were, their copious blood shed is still dwarfed by that of Stalin and Mao.
    Today we have north korea, cuba and venezuela as examples of socialism – who in their right mind wants to try that here ?”

    Oh Sure Dave, those $%#@&^ Swedes, Danes, and Finns, well known bloodthirsty and murderous evil socialist regimes. I don’t know whether its that you are simply too stupid to talk to about politics and economics or too hysterical, self deluded, and intellectually dishonest. Apparently its the latter but it is hardly distinguishable in its effect from the former.

    Since you were able to distinguish all 17 flavors of conservative I will posit that you are also theoretically capable of understanding why Sanders uses the label socialist, and its NOT because he is a marxist, like all the evil examples you gave are. Yes, no one will disagree with you that Stalin was evil. Anyone with any brains that have not been buried under a ton of mental debris will recognize that there is no link between the Swedes, Sanders, and Stalin. They all have noses and a human genome. Comparability ends there. Unless of course one is such a lost extreme quasi-anarchist philosopher that they believe that nearly ALL government is oppressive. Which I guess is your issue, you hate the very idea of government and in your absolutism and hysteria find 98% of the folks you encounter to be oppressive “statists.” Enjoy your umbrage, its your lot.

    Linking Sanders “Socialism” to Stalin, Mao, and North Korea is intellectually pathetic. You come up with a few pearls of wisdom here and there but one has to dig through so much of your mental nonsense and distortion to find it that I only ever accidentally encounter the Dave who is not out of his mind with fear that everything that is liberal to any degree is equivalent to Stalin and North Korea. You’d be a smart interesting fellow if you were not out of your mind.

  15. Ron P permalink
    March 29, 2016 6:07 pm

    Wonder if anyone sees a double standard in this reporting?

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/clinton-staffer-sanders-campaign-brooklynite-article-1.2580488

    When 46% of New York City’s Jewish population live in Brooklyn, is this “campaign like a Brooklynite” code? And Bernie is Jewish to add to that comment.

    Even if it is not code (and I doubt that seriously), where would the national press be had this been said about a Republican?

    • March 29, 2016 9:16 pm

      No, not Jewish code.

      I grew up in NYC, went to High School in Brooklyn. Back then Brooklynites had a rowdy working class reputation: Like the Brooklyn Bums Dodgers when they were still there; rowdy pugnacious ‘dees’ and ‘does’ residents with flattened noses and cullafloweur ears. I’m guessing the reference has morphed over the years, but some of that ‘Brooklynite’ association must remain – though to me it only applies to Bernie as an unpretentios stick-ball playing street kid without airs.

  16. March 30, 2016 4:38 pm

    The final straw for me: fornicate Trump!

    My new slogan for him: UpTrump’s Rump!

    This quoted in the NYT, from a Trump interview with Chris Matthews:

    Donald J. Trump, pressed Wednesday on his support for a ban on abortion and what it would mean in practice, said that “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions.”

    Finally, Mr. Matthews asked Mr. Trump, “You’re about to be chief executive of the United States. Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no?”

    Mr. Trump responded: “The answer is there has to be some form of punishment.”

    “Ten days?” Mr. Matthews asked. “Ten years?”

    Mr. Trump replied: “I don’t know,” adding, “It’s a very complicated position.”

    I’m putting the Jay-Hex on him; he’s soon going to be afflicted by some hellish disease or pox. Bubble bubble, toil and trouble in Trumpland.

    • Ron P permalink
      March 30, 2016 4:56 pm

      Jay, tell me the Witches Spell or Voodoo trance that you are doing and I will join you to make this happen.

      I came across an interesting article the last couple days and with everything this man is doing, I have to believe there may be truth to this story. He keeps making more and more outrageous statements and his popularity keeps increasing. He has got himself caught in an election vortex he does not know how to escape from, so he makes more remarks he thinks will do him in and they are not working.

      http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/03/28/Ex-Trump-Insider-Donald-Doesn-t-Want-Be-President

      I think he wanted just enough support to be a deal maker at the convention, get some things into the platform and move the party slightly left of the far right positions that the party was headed for and now he has himself in a pickle his ego will not allow him to escape.

      • March 30, 2016 6:11 pm

        The hex has worked!
        He woke this morning with boils on his rump.
        Now he’s backing away from his remark.

      • March 30, 2016 6:38 pm

        But as usual, the media dolts are only focused on Trump.
        Cruz hit Trump with this:

        “Once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn’t seriously thought through the issues, and he’ll say anything just to get attention,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who opposes abortion rights.

        “Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world,” Cruz said.

        http://therightscoop.com/ted-cruz-issues-statement-ripping-trump-on-abortion-comment/#ixzz44QYLX25U

        Cruz is a proponent supreme for outlawing abortion. Where are the follow up question to him about his position for penalties if abortion is criminalized? Who? Doctors and nurses? The father of the fetus who pays for the abortion? Cab drivers who facilitate an abortion by transporting participants?

        Unfortunately my mojo power is limited, to one major hex a month, and my blood has to be boiling at the time. So Cruz luckily will escape butt boils until the forces of retribution synchronize.

      • Ron P permalink
        March 31, 2016 12:06 am

        Jay, there is one major difference between Trump and Cruz. I have been pretty constant in my thoughts about the tow. Cruz being “in-your-face” with his social positions and my saying I would find it hard to vote for him. Trump saying one thing today and something different the next, but nothing that indicated he had the experience to be president. I did veer from my original position that I would never vote for him for a few days, but then I came to my senses and went back to that position.

        Cruz has positions that he can support and are recognizable positions of many of the far right political ideology. I doubt very much if he could get much of his far right conservative social programs enacted since the Senate is a moderate body that usually stops anything much out of the main stream unless they have a complete majority (60 votes) and all of them accept those positions such as the ACA. There are not enough far right senators to support Cruz’s positions.

        Trump, on the other hand, is totally incompetent to be president, has unacceptable positions from his tax policies that would drive up the deficit to his immigration policies that no one would enforce. The courts would stop much of his security programs before they ever went into action. His abortion positions would be overturned based on previous SCOTUS decisions. His trade positions, ie tariffs on Mexico and China, would never make it through congress. His foreign affairs programs would do more damage to the worlds view of the United States that would take many decades to recover.

        Based on all the financial data projections, I am not sure I want a Republican to win anyway. Obama has set the stage for the deficit to increase 12.6 trillion between 2015 and 2020 and another 17.1 Trillion from 2020 to 2024. At the same time, mandatory spending which includes huge increases for the ACA will increase 30% between 2016 and 2020. That is the major contributor to the deficit along with the interest that will increase 124% from 2016 to 2020.

        Whoever is elected is going to have a tremendous problem to correct and the next election will be one targeting all the changes that negatively impact people. I’m not sure I want a Republican taking the blame for decisions made over the past 8 years.

      • March 30, 2016 6:39 pm

        “Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.”

  17. Roby permalink
    March 30, 2016 10:53 pm

    Ha, I was watching in dismay a few weeks back as one TNM denizen after another stated that they were going to choose Trump. I felt like I was in a bad zombie movie (are there any Good Zombie movies?) and that I was watching everyone around me succumb to the weirdness. I knew how those movies always end, so I took a break. It seems the spell is wearing off. I thought it might.

    If I awake one morning with butt boils I’ll know that I pissed Jay off somehow…

    • Ron P permalink
      March 31, 2016 12:12 am

      Ha! That’s what we moderates do. We might lose our minds now and then, but we always come to our senses and take a sensible position.

    • March 31, 2016 12:21 pm

      Now you’re equally armed! 👹
      Double, double toil and trouble;
      Fire burn and caldron bubble.
      Fillet of a Politician-snake,
      In the caldron boil and bake;

      Eye of Blunt and toe of Biden,
      Wool of Hatch and tongue of Durbin,
      Wicker’s fork and Schumer’s sting,
      Durban’s leg and McConnell’s wing,

      For a charm of powerful trouble,
      Let (Name)’s butt-boil bubble.‼️

  18. Roby permalink
    March 31, 2016 8:22 am

    Perhaps the Zombies are awakening? Its still going to be one hell of a GOP convention even if they do.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/433457/donald-trump-media-flaks-hedge-their-bets

    • March 31, 2016 11:42 am

      Like most TV shows, TV personalities have a quick rising and falling success rating. At first when a new show captures your attention you’re an avid fan. But just as quickly you can lose interest. The show, the personalities on it, haven’t changed, it’s basically the same product that thrilled you a month or two ago, but now you perceive it as the same-old same-old, and it bores you. You often see this happen with Late Nite TV show personalities and performing stand-up comedians – you can’t wait to see them at first; then you can’t wait to turn them off.

      The Donald has worn out his novelty. His ratings are plunging, accelerated by the mass gang-up on him by Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, Feminists and Minoritists, and most everyone else in the Establisment who wants to maintain the status-quo.

      My guess is that Trump’s fall from grace won’t be pretty. No matter how ugly or benign the Republican convention turns out, afterward Trump’s persona will take more hits then Pee Wee Herman/Paul Reuban did for masterbating in a movie theater. His ‘brand’ name is already severely tarnished, an his future business opportunities will be limited, his media appearances choked off 9like Pee Wee, Trump’s TV show reruns will not be aired for decades, if ever) and he’ll only be trotted out on FOX or CNN for future election commentary, like Newt Gingrich and other inconsequential fallen political celebrities.

      I also predict Trump is divorced within two years, and marries within three – betting pool anyone?

      Poor guy: makes me want to consider taking off the Jay-Hex; but that’ll have to wait until the Cleveland Fornications Convention is over, so I can transfer it to CrudFace, if he’s the nominee.

      • Roby permalink
        March 31, 2016 12:27 pm

        Very true and funny. I never get tired of reading things from people who are saying what I want to hear, especially if they say it well. I need a moderate echo chamber and a steady diet of anti trump essays.

        Really, if Trump is not an intentional plot to blow up the GOP he still could not be doing a more complete job.

        I think we may just possibly wind up with a splintering of the seemingly genetically required two party system. Once upon a time there were three TV networks and public TV. We may be seeing the beginnings of that happening to political parties. If it does I have no idea if it will turn out well or badly. I don’t know how multiple parties would play out with congressional elections. Even if one did believe in Bernie (and I don’t), he would get into office and then, what, no progressive party congress people.

        Anyhow, something is happening, we’ve changed, it will take many years to know if the change was anything for the better in the long run. <– Yes I know this sentence is a model of obviousness.

      • March 31, 2016 1:07 pm

        “if Trump is not an intentional plot to blow up the GOP he still could not be doing a more complete job”

        Now if we could only find someone to do an equally good demolition job on the Democratic Party we’d be on the right track for a better balanced country.

      • Ron P permalink
        March 31, 2016 2:56 pm

        JAY,,,NO..NO..NO..We need the democrats just like they are. We need all the far left tax, spend, entitlement individuals to stay just like they are in one happy organization. We need the GOP to do the same once they implode with all the far right “in-your-face” christian conservatives. And then maybe that 1% or less chance of a main stream party will develop.

        I can dream can’t I?

  19. Ron P permalink
    March 31, 2016 2:49 pm

    This has nothing to do with anything we have been discussing. This is much more important. If you know anyone who has children who are allergic to peanuts please share this with them. In fact, share it on any social media you have as over 20% of the population is now allergic to peanuts. Many parents have relied on food safety websites to insure the products they purchase are safe, but when changes to formulas are made, many may not read the small print on the back of the food container, assuming the same ingredients are used to make to product.

    http://snacksafely.com/2016/03/advisory-various-keebler-and-austin-brand-cracker-varieties-to-be-reformulated-with-peanut-flour/

    In 2006 congress passed the food labeling safety act which required certain allergens to be identified on ingredient labels. With the number of allergic individuals growing and the number of companies changing formulas, my personal belief is a statement should be required on the front of the container in size 11 font or larger “Warning, contains XYZ” where XYZ is one of the allergens already required on the ingredient list.

    If my chain saw came with a warning label “Warning, do not place hand on chain when running”, a warning label on the front of food containers is not out of line. Kids don’t care if their parents are liberal, moderates or conservatives, but they do want their parents to feed them safe food.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 4, 2016 2:40 am

      CDC and other reputable sources list peanut allergies as between .5 and 1% of the population. While a serious problem, still not 20%. Even HuffPo only reported 1%.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 4, 2016 1:26 pm

        Thanks, I read the info wrong on the website I accessed. 25% of those alergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts. But still think the warning should be on the front of the packaging and not on the back. What’s the harm if the government already requires the labeling?

  20. March 31, 2016 9:52 pm

    “…and then, what, no progressive party congress, people.”

    a total of 469 seats in Congress (34 Senate and all 435 House seats) up for election on November 8, 2016.

  21. Pat Riot permalink
    March 31, 2016 9:59 pm

    He’s got to be purposely being outrageous. He’s got to be amazed so many people are taking him seriously this long. I withdraw my previous desperate 15 minutes of support for D.T. (I’m tired of hearing his name.) I was thinking maybe we needed an a**hole to get some things done, but he’s just too despicable and retarded.

    • March 31, 2016 10:28 pm

      I agree – I wanted someone to shake up the rigid left-right lockstep, but Trump’s mindset is equally stuck in a-hole gear.

      I think Roby had the right idea- it’s time to dive into a media-free pool of tranquility, and tune this stuff out for a while.

  22. Pat Riot permalink
    March 31, 2016 10:28 pm

    “Hey, are you sure this room isn’t bugged?”

    “100% sure.”

    “OK. Here’s the deal. We gotta bring the U.S. down even faster. People are getting wise, waking up…but not so fast that they riot everywhere and break all our capital investments…”

    “Wait, I thought Americans were getting more stupid. You’ve seen where they interview Americans down at the beach and they don’t even know who fought in the Revolutionary War or what July 4th celebrates, right?”

    “Yeah, that’s just a certain uneducated demographic. The educated and semi-educated, and the just plain clever, are starting to realize…”

    “We gotta make government EVEN BIGGER! Get the people even more dependent than ever!”

    “We can’t do that. People’s faith in the government is at an all-time low.”

    “Precisely! We turn adversity to advantage. Look, what do we have to do to get you skeptics and doubters and nay-sayers to accept that we can manipulate the populace when we control the lion’s share of the media? I told you we could get people so excited about “hope and change” that we could elect a black man President in a country that’s 77% white, give or take.”

    “Yes we did! We can’t top that.”

    “Yes we can. It’s fun. America is the prototype of free-enterprise and capitalism, and it’s about 85% Christian, and it worships youth, and so we going to get a democratic socialist elected, and, get this, he’s going to be old and Jewish.”

    This time three cups of coffee are simultaneously spewed across the conference table.

    “How we gonna do that??”

    “The Republican front-runner will self-destruct, and undermine the Republican Party along the way, and meanwhile the establishment Democrat will wane while the populist lefty gains momentum…”

    “No way!”

    • March 31, 2016 10:37 pm

      I knew it – the producers of House Of Cards are the secret powerful establishment running everything!

      • Ron P permalink
        April 1, 2016 12:47 am

        Jay, the current GOP primary campaign led by Donald Trump is a scheme based on the play “The Producers”. Trump set out to attract enough attention to build his image, influence the GOP platform somewhat and set the stage to further his riches by selling his scheme to the highest bidder on TV.
        Step one: “We develop the worst agenda ever set forth by a presidential candidate.”
        Step Two: “We hire the worst Campaign manager with a questionable legal record.”
        Step Three: “We state we will fund the campaign completely ourselves, but then we use social media as our main communication tool and manipulate the media to give us millions in free TV coverage by saying outrageous things. We spend little other than cost for jet fuel”
        Step Four: “We get the worst candidates that drop out to support our campaign (Christie/Carson)”
        Step Five: “We have our campaign manager grab a reporter, we say it is her fault. We say women should be indicted for criminal activity if they have an abortion. And if that does not do it, we make comments about nuclear bombs that makes those that do not support us or are on the fence in support so they think we are nut jobs and would use it in Europe. That will make even the strongest supporters begin to think we are nuts. When asked about specific issues, we give answers that reflect answers one would give after reading Cliff Notes summary of a book.”
        Step Six: “We go to the convention, complain about how we are treated and threaten to take the GOP to court and leave when someone else is nominated”
        Step Seven: “We begin negotiations for a multi million dollar reality show that shows the daily activities that took place during the campaign”
        “WE CAN’T LOSE WITH THIS PLAN. ITS GENIUS. WE MAKE MILLIONS”
        .

      • April 1, 2016 10:07 am

        Great movie! But remember, the two producers end up in jail at the end.

        And I think Trump could make millions on the reality tv scheme, but may lose billions when the animosity he’s created causes others with a lot more billions to exact revenge

      • April 1, 2016 12:57 pm

        Ha… Brilliant, Ron! Springtime for Trump. I loved it!

      • April 1, 2016 11:48 pm

        Oh, wait a minute… Pat had a hand in this satire, too. Sorry… that’s what I get for skimming the comments from my administrator’s page.

  23. April 1, 2016 8:23 am

    You know, if Trump is finally imploding – and this week would certainly seem to indicate that he might be – this whole thing may turn out to be a good wake up call for the American electorate.

    The primary systems on both sides have been obviously rigged. On the Democrat side, you have the super delegates…not an altogether terrible idea, sort of the “primary election” version of the original Electoral College, but there has obviously been way too much “fixing” by the DNC, to make sure that Hillary is assured the nomination. Again, not so terrible, assuming she is the best candidate that the Party can come up with, but the fix shouldn’t be so obviously in. And we now know how deeply disliked Hillary is, by a good portion of her own base……

    On the GOP side, the whole primary system was streamlined and fast tracked, to make sure that the candidate with the most money and party support (Jeb!) would win quickly and easily, avoiding the unnecessary roughness of 2012, when Romney had to waste valuable time and money to fight off useless upstarts like Rick Santorum and has-beens like Newt Gingrich. Again, not such a bad idea….I still think that Romney was a good candidate, and, if he hadn’t been beaten to a pulp by his own party, he might be POTUS today. But no one ever anticipated a field of 17 candidates, insuring that any bad actor with a plurality of 30-35% could win enough delegates to potentially take the nomination.

    So, assuming that the country gets out of this election relatively unscathed, maybe some valuable lessons will be learned. Of course, probably, the wrong ones, but I can dream, can’t I?

    • Pat Riot permalink
      April 1, 2016 9:02 am

      Priscilla, this year there are absolutely segments of the population learning more about politics, about the way our system works and doesn’t work. My own anecdotal evidence is that I hear people saying things such as, “well I never really got involved much in politics before, but I think such and such isn’t right and blah blah blah.”

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 1, 2016 9:04 am

        Most of the comments I hear (and read) make me cringe and want to move to an island, but I suppose there’s something educational going on these days! We can dream!

  24. April 1, 2016 8:55 am

    Oh the possibilities!

    Of course our present reality is not “manipulated.” Our present reality is mostly the confluence of natural forces beyond our control. Individuals and groups of people couldn’t summon the coordination to “manipulate” the world. Manipulation implies people being manipulated which implies those being manipulated being sort of misled or “not in possession of all the facts”. Manipulation is a fear-mongering word. C’mon, manipulation?

    When politicians use the thumb gesture because research indicates it makes them look better than when finger-pointing, that’s not manipulation, that’s just smart politicking.

    When a TV ad announces loudly and repeatedly a sale price for a car, but their quickly mumbled disclaimer covers them legally regarding the fact that the sale price only applies to a very limited selection (small percentage) of the vehicles on their lot, that’s not manipulation, that’s just legal salesmanship. Just because hundreds of people drive to the car dealership expecting one thing but encountering another, that doesn’t make it “manipulation.”

    Marketers in general are not manipulating by using package design, colors, carefully worded slogans and images. We talk of advertising “campaigns,” and marketing “blitzes,” and of “saturating the market with….” and “cornering the market,” but at no point is it manipulation. It’s just marketing.

    Naah. Most of the choices Americans make every day regarding the products they purchase and the lives they lead are based on careful research after possessing most of the facts. It has nothing to do with money, power, cronyism, and the subsequent limited choices available “on the shelf,” and certainly nothing to do with manipulation. No the world is too complicated for that.

    • Roby permalink
      April 1, 2016 11:51 am

      One theory on the sudden and drastic growth of brain size during the evolution of Homo Sapiens is that it was exactly tied to use of that extra brain power to manipulate each other, and the more brain power we got the more we needed to fend of everyone else, explosive growth of brain size was the result. Regardless of whether that theory is true (anyhow the theory is not testable or provable) we humans certainly do constantly manipulate each other to get a world that seems “fair” (most advantageous) to us. Of course we are being manipulated, from the moment we are born. By everyone we meet and even by people we don’t meet.

      Are there also events beyond our control? Hell yes. The complexity of the social interactions of the entire globalized human race is beyond anyone’s control or comprehension. Try to accomplish one huge sinister manipulative plan and you can be sure the outcome will be wildly different than what you were attempting. There have always been people with much more than the average influence and they can influence some things in the near term. But seeing the number of mighty that fall, it is clear that no one can control anything huge for very long. I suppose that someone like, say, Ruppert Murdoch controls a lot, but how often does he not get his way in his political machinations? And then he’ll die. The Koch Bros as well. Napoleon said that the most surprising thing to him in his life was how little could be changed in the end by power, and he was an extremely powerful man, dwarfing Ruppert Murdoch or the Kochs. Or as Hendrix put it “And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.”

      Congratulations on renouncing your 15 mins of Trump support!

      • dhlii permalink
        April 4, 2016 8:38 am

        The economist Acemoglu did a paper some time ago that demonstrated that even when a business deliberately sought to act harmfully that all that complexity and interaction you noted would result in a net beneficial effect for the rest of us.

        Prior to that another economist analyzed nearly a century of anti-trust cases and data, and found that businesses almost never attempt the predatory behavior that anti-trust law is premised on. That when they do it never works.

        The market is too large and too complex. Preditory behavior using a strong market position to destroy competitiors is incredibly expensive. It nearly never results in a monopoly, monoplies are not sustainable, therefore monopoly prices are not sustainable.

        The same is true of countries attempting to gain an advantage through trade manipulation.
        If as an example China is subsidizing its exports either through currency manipulation or any other way – then it is transfering its own wealth to our country in an attempt to buy market share. But keeping that share requires maintaining the subsidy. The end result is a continuous transfer of wealth from the manipulating nation to its targets.

        The JP Morgan london whale controled billions in market assets and thought he could leverage that market power to reap tremendous profits by driving the market. A small fund in the US guessed what was going on and bet heavily against him, and JP Morgan lost Billions.

        The point of the examples above are that you are correct the world is incredibly complex. It is beyond the understanding of incredibly smart people, or nations or super computers, or governments or politicians.
        Attempts to manipulate it usually backfire.

        There is alot of study in economics and elsewhere about the complexity of the world and human interactions. The command economy that the left envisions is not possible, nor is the predatory economy the left fears.

        The scale and complexity of the world make successful large scale manipulation impossible. No one can know enough to be able to do it. No one can act large enough without leaving clues that allow someone else to figure our what you are up to.

  25. April 3, 2016 8:46 pm

    When Trump is right, you can bet your bottom dollar the media won’t give him credit for it: Mexican Cartels responsible for murder and crime spike in US:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/us/crime-spike-in-st-louis-traced-to-cheap-heroin-and-mexican-cartels.html

    • April 3, 2016 9:52 pm

      You’re absolutely right, Jay. While I yield to no one in my distaste for Donald Trump, he is right more than he is wrong, and he has brought a lot of hard, impolitic truths to to surface. Not all of his followers are racists and idiots, many are just people who are tired of all of the lies.

      I guess you could say he’s the wrong messenger with the right message.

      And, he’ll never get a fair shake from the media….all the attention he wants, mind you, but no fair shake. Seriously, that girl who got her arm grabbed too hard by Trump’s manager? Are you kidding me? What a crybaby. Of course, the idiot manager could have just said he was sorry, but Trump means never having to say you’re sorry.

      • April 4, 2016 9:45 am

        We are in sync 100% on this one, Priscilla.

      • April 4, 2016 9:54 am

        It does happen occasionally, right? 😉

    • Ron P permalink
      April 4, 2016 12:47 am

      Jay, I agree completely, and when I hear Trump make comments like he did about abortion, NATO and Nuclear weapons, I ask “How did this clown get to where he is today?”. And then I hear interviews where he has had time to think about what he said, the reactions to what he said and has his team work with him on a followup and he makes complete sense of a subject.

      As Priscilla said “you could say he’s the wrong messenger with the right message”. Or, he is the right messenger with the right message with the wrong presentation of the message.

      The problem is no one is going to reign him in and get him on message in the correct manner. He does not do well in scripted messages as seen when he gave the address to AIPAC. It was not bad, but it was “Trumpism”. But he is like the kid that skates through school by reading the first sentence in each paragraph before taking the final exam. He has heard the subject and knows it exist, but has no indepth knowledge of the subject and when he gets in a debate with Clinton, she is going to eat him alive and his only recourse will be to attack her personally, leaving any substantive information on drug enforcement on the table other than to say “he will build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it”.

      • April 4, 2016 10:00 am

        Or like Alexander, slice the troublesome Gordian Knots of policy with a sword stroke.. Like Truman did. Successfully by the way. Yes, these are different times, but obliterating a few select cities and rebuilding those cultures as we did with the Japanese would make this a safer world all around. Or am I naively offending Dave’s First Principal of Govermental Passivity?

      • Roby permalink
        April 4, 2016 10:05 am

        I am going to show my liberal streak and say that Trump is the wrong messenger with the wrong message. There is a grain of truth in Trumps message, but I have never heard of any political candidate whose words, however grotesque, do not contain at least some grain of truth. When that grain of truth is buried in a sea of ugly madness, then the message is a bad message. Trumps message on Mexicans, immigration, the border wall, and US policy towards muslims as a whole attracts the admiration of people like David Duke and White Supremacist Barbie herself, Ann Coulter. Its a really shitty message that needs to lose.

        I’ve been hanging out a bit on the comments sections of the National Review, they are pretty anti Trump. (its where I heard Coulter labeled White Supremacist Barbie by an angry conservative). I find there a fair number of conservative people who see this situation exactly as I do and have the proper contempt for Trump, Coulter and the message they have that is so agreeable to persons such as David Duke. As well, there are those sane republicans, such as Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham, who have said what I am saying about Trump’s message. So, maybe this isn’t even my liberal streak talking? Maybe its just ordinary human decency and common sense to say that Trump’s message is garbage, even if there is a grain of truth buried in it about uncontrolled illegal Mexican immigration and the dangers of Islamic ideas.

        Trump getting a bad ride from the media? Cry me a river, the media has a factual reporting job, but also an opinion job. Show me where they have abused the Trump campaign in the fact department. Its a fact that Trumps campaign manager grabbed that conservative reporter and left bruises and then they all lied madly about it. Its a fact that he has been charged. (Spare me the conspiracy theories.) Its a fact that an outpost of the heart of conservatism, Breitbart itself, fractured as a result of that completely unnecessary action. Security was everywhere at that rally, Secret service and all, a campaign manager is not “muscle.” That kind of stupidity towards the press is ugly and unacceptable when a radical college professor does it and just as bad or worse when Trumps near skinhead campaign manager does it. Both deserve to be fired, no place for either. In the opinion department the mainstream media outlets are doing their job when they blast this disaster of a candidate and all of his ugly unAmerican anti-Constitutional messages. I’ve got zero sympathy with you guys on this one.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 4, 2016 1:51 pm

        Roby, I never said I support Trump now. I have teetered a couple times and said maybe, but then come to my senses. What I meant about the right message by the right messenger in the wrong method was the ability to mobilize a large number of voters to support him even with his off the wall statements. He has support of those that see immigrants coming into the country illegally, not learning the language, not paying income taxes, accepting food stamps and medicaid and running up bad debts in hospitals when they don’t have insurance. They want something done to stop illegal immigrants. Is a huge wall the answer. I don’t think so. He has the support of those that want to feel secure by reducing the number of muslim immigrants. Is stopping all travel the answer. No. He has the support of those that want to feel secure in their jobs and of those who have lost jobs. Is tariffs the answer. No.

        The answers are something else for these and other issues that the “Trumpers” find appealing and why they support Trump. Just this morning they had one of the leaders of the Border Patrol Union on Fox Business and they are supporting Trump. All due to the Obama lax policies.

        The answers to all the problems people want fixed is not being addressed by any of the other candidates in a manner many of the voters can understand. They are smart enough to recognize talking points compared to actionable policies. Trump has “action” in his comments, they just might not be the right actions.

        When a moderate-right candidate begins to offer solutions to problems and they have very specific actions to accomplish the goal, then they might get the same support as Trump. For instance “I will secure the border” is political BS talk while “I am going to secure the border and build a wall and mexico will pay for it” has the policy and the action included.

        So while Trump’s message is a “sea of ugly madness” some voters are overlooking that since all the others are just offering a “sea of political crap”.

      • Roby permalink
        April 4, 2016 3:21 pm

        “Roby, I never said I support Trump now. I have teetered a couple times and said maybe, but then come to my senses. What I meant about the right message by the right messenger in the wrong method was the ability to mobilize a large number of voters to support him even with his off the wall statements.”

        Thank you Ron. A perfectly rational explanation, I understand you. At this point I am just looking around and wondering how many people around me have become completely unchained from rational thought or morality, become victims of Osama’s poisonous seed, and are willing to consider any wretched idea but, believe me, I never worry that you are one of them.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 4, 2016 8:48 am

      The problem with Trump is not whether he is right or wrong, it is that he is still advocating that everything can be made better by government action.

      He is arguing for different government actions than Bernie Sanders, but the problems are the same.

      The exercise of political power can create winners and losers at a scale sufficient to make political corruption attractive. But it can not make our economy work better. It can not outperform the aggregate result of individuals attempting to act in their own self interest.

      Trump is a statist and totalirian – exactly like all progressives. The difference is his coarser character and the fact that he does not wrap himself in a cloak of fake empathy and concern for the less well off makes is hunger for power more apparent and less appealing.
      But the harm is the same.

      “And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!”

      The broad use of power for good is nearly impossible. Power is something we want dispersed and limited.

      • April 4, 2016 9:53 am

        Nice LOTR tie-in, Dave. I had to google it, but it’s a great quote for the subject.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:04 pm

        Thank you Priscilla.

        LOTR is fiction, but the themes as meaningful.
        It calls to us because on some level we know it is a kind of truth.

        In LOTR the ring of power had to be destroyed.
        Merely giving it to a good person would ultimately end badly.

        Power corrupts. It corrupts the good and the evil alike, even if that corruption manifests itself differently.

        Governments stumbles more as it gets larger – Even Obama in a moment of candor admitted that the IRS – much less the entire federal government was beyond his ability to control.

  26. Roby permalink
    April 4, 2016 10:30 am

    “Yes, these are different times,but obliterating a few select cities and rebuilding those cultures as we did with the Japanese would make this a safer world all around. ”

    Jay, you have lost all my respect. You meant exactly what you said, this is not humor. You are no moderate. You are just some sick %$#@@& nut who is not either conservative or liberal. Fuck yourself. Your ideas show the moral danger that has followed 911. THEY did that, Osama, radical Islam, they killed civilians deliberately to “win”. WE don’t do that. Got it, jerk? Please disappear from here, you are considerably worse than JB with his plan for machine gun nests along the Mexican border to shoot border crossers.

    • April 4, 2016 1:36 pm

      Now now Roby, calm down. I was just voicing my inner deamons.

      Would I really nuke North Korea and/or Seria or areas of Iran where as I write this they’re preparing to attach prototype nuclear warheads to ICBMs? Hummm. Would I? In the words of the immortal Jack Benny, Wait! Don’t rush me! And if the ghost of HST was resurrected to appear here would you tell him to fuck himself too?

      And do you tend to fly off the handle like this frequently, and if so do you think that might explain your history of multi marriages?

      • Roby permalink
        April 4, 2016 1:45 pm

        Cop out. Done with you.

      • April 4, 2016 1:51 pm

        Just curios, Roby – are you bipolar?

  27. April 4, 2016 3:28 pm

    OK, this looks like a job for Supermoderate. (Maybe I’d have more influence if I donned a cape and had a licensed action figure modeled after me.) I hate to see two smart, respected New Moderate crew members diss each other to this extent.

    Roby, I’m guessing that Jay was just thinking aloud when he brought up the Truman solution. Sometimes our frustration with the status quo leads us to fantasize about drastic solutions; it doesn’t mean we’ll actually want to implement them.

    Jay, you have to understand that Roby is passionate about his moderate beliefs, and bombing selected cities isn’t exactly a moderate solution. Doesn’t mean he’s bipolar.

    We’re living in fractious times that can easily cause the most rational among us to give way to irrational ideas and anger. Let’s all try to stay centered, folks… mentally as well as politically. End of sermon.

    • Roby permalink
      April 4, 2016 4:14 pm

      Hi Rick, I appreciate the effort.

      I will add that I would like to think that if there is a hell to burn in Truman is there. Nuking Hundreds of thousands of civilians was an abominable unnecessary war crime. 911 cleared that up for me, I had not thought much about it previous to that. You don’t kill civilians on purpose, otherwise you are the disease. We don’t get a pass on morality because George Washington was a great man. Rather otherwise.

      I’m not any special person, not particularly courageous or morally brilliant, but I know evil when I hear it. 911 was a moral bomb that has come quite close to succeeding in morally rotting America. Trump channels that, craziness is everywhere blossoming in my own society. I’m scared to death.

      Imagine that a very similar conversation was going on among muslims. One opinion, lets nuke them (Americans) and then civilize them. Another opinion, F you and the horse you rode in on, that’s evil. Who would Americans side with if they could hear such a conversation? Does morality not apply to us? After nuking or otherwise leveling several cities of civilians, someone would need to civilize us, not visa versa, and that would very likely be attempted. The very idea is as idiotic as it is immoral. Redneck talk radio garbage. Which is becoming close to our common language.

      There were several hundreds of thousands of civilian victims of our atomic weapons in Japan. Truman, who in many ways seems to have been a nice man who loved his children gave the order to drop and then slept peacefully he said. I was not in his shoes but… Perhaps had we not used them on a civilian target the Soviets would have taken a different path themselves after WWII and the cold war and iron curtain might have been avoided. We will never know, but that was a moral low point in American history not something to re used in the middle east.

      Do people in say Costa Rica or Italy routinely opine that their country should fix something in the world by dropping nukes on civilian populations somewhere? American exceptionalism. Ugg.

  28. April 4, 2016 7:31 pm

    Well, at the risk of making you mad at me too, Roby (please don’t be!), I hope that Harry Truman is up there among the angels and not burning in hell. Being a wartime president is probably one of the most morally and ethically ambiguous jobs that one can have, not to mention the frightening life and death decisions affecting your own people and your enemy’s people that have to be made on a daily basis. I remember my dad (who was a radio operator during WWII, travelling with the infantry) telling me how his battalion got steak dinners every night for 2 weeks before the anticipated invasion of the Japanese mainland, because it was expected that the vast majority-75%-90% of them would be killed in the invasion. Granted, they were not civilians, but I’m still kinda glad that my dad was spared from being in the invasion force, all moral theorizing aside.

    And, when talking about Islamaphobia, I think that the scenario that you present “Imagine that a very similar conversation was going on among muslims. One opinion, lets nuke them (Americans) and then civilize them.” is pretty much what Iran has in mind….they just haven’t quite gotten up to speed with their nukes yet. Islamists are barbaric killers and rapists, who justify their torture and killing on religious, i.e. moral grounds. They have begun to succeed in “civilizing” Europe (to the point that THIS is happening~ (http://news.trust.org/item/20160404045811-tquts)

    And it’s happening because people are terrified. You can laugh at them if you want, or deride them as idiots – but that doesn’t make them any less terrified. Last night, Times Square was evacuated, after an empty van was left running. It turned out to be a false alarm, but I’m sure that Brussels was not far from the minds of the frightened people who fled the area. Terrified.

    As you have often, and rightly, pointed out, fear is a great motivator. People are very afraid these days, and rightly so. You and Dave can talk about the “few” terrorist incidents in the US, but come back and tell me about that when a building that one of your loved ones is in gets blown up, or their plane get hijacked. And fear leads to anger leads to demagoguery. And, as Ron says, BS doesn’t help, You know when you’re being BS’d, I know when I’m being BS’d and when Donald Trump says that illegal immigration over our southern border is the cause of a huge amount of crime and drug addiction in our country, he is NOT BSing. Trouble is, he’s the only one that’s saying it. Why won’t the others??

    I think that was the point that Jay was making in his post last night, and the point that Ron and I were agreeing to.

  29. Roby permalink
    April 4, 2016 8:26 pm

    “You know when you’re being BS’d, I know when I’m being BS’d and when Donald Trump says that illegal immigration over our southern border is the cause of a huge amount of crime and drug addiction in our country, he is NOT BSing. Trouble is, he’s the only one that’s saying it. Why won’t the others??”

    Because it ain’t true, I looked it up. The only crime that most of them are guilty of is illegal immigration, by definition. Subtract that from the crime statistics and there is no major crime impact. Anecdotally, I’ve been in both California and New Mexico this year and both of my parents are living quite happily and peacefully among very large numbers of mexicans. I walked all over the place and felt safe 100% of the time. I saw one hispanic kid pull a crazy stunt in a car, cutting someone off.

    “…lets nuke them (Americans) and then civilize them.” is pretty much what Iran has in mind….they just haven’t quite gotten up to speed with their nukes yet. ”

    Oh please Priscila, Iran is no more going to nuke us than Putin is. Deterrence. you are wasting your fear.

    “Islamists are barbaric killers and rapists, who justify their torture and killing on religious, i.e. moral grounds. ”

    Arrg! That unsubtle blanket statement, with not a single qualifier in sight, is the view all too many conservatives have of Islam. I’m not going to tell you in an equally blanket manner without qualifiers that they are a religion of peace. The truth is way more complex. For God’s sake Priscilla read a few books on Islam, if you haven’t. This black picture of all muslims being killers is just not the truth. But once a person thinks it IS the truth than any preemptive strike, worst case scenario, Jays proposal, can be rationalized.

    We are scared, guess what, so are they in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, of us and of each other. They may have a religion that tells them they will have glorious afterlife, but they are also human and susceptible to fear, like any human. Even in its best form I have no use for their touchy, often bloody, primitive, woman enslaving religion, there is still plenty of good information out there that disproves your entirely blanket black view of them.

    Truman’s fate ain’t up to me, but, unbelievable as it may sound today it suddenly, duh. hit me today, we are not morally capable of being the world cop after nuking 200,000 Japanese civilians. That is why it does not ever work out. We are just a nuclear powered bully, not a cop. Its how most of the world sees us. God help me, Dave may be right. The US has no moral authority to tell anyone how to live, we blew that long ago.

    • April 4, 2016 8:51 pm

      Ok, I give up. You win, we’re the worst.

      But did you even read the NYT article that Jay linked about the Mexican cartels? And, do you (or any of us) even know the extent of violent crime being perpetrated in our cities by illegals, given the prevalence of sanctuary cities? You can read into statistics what you will. I’ve read the leftist Economist for years, and to read it is to believe that 100% of illegals are pure as the driven snow. Read some other outlets, like the right wing Brietbart, andevery crime is a Mexican crime.

      I read stuff from all sides and in the middle. And what I have come to believe is that there is a serious crime problem in our country that is specifically linked to illegal immigration. Not that illegals commit all of the crimes, or even most. But a lot, and we don’t do a damn thing about it. And it riles me no end when people talk about all the nice Mexicans that they know. I can literally say that two of my closest friends are Mexicans. That is so far from the point, and I’m sure that you know it, because you’re too smart not to.

      And I am very sorry for the people in the Middle East killed in the neverending violence there. I believe that we could help them, especially the innocent Christians who have been persecuted and slaughtered for years now. But, opening up our borders to anyone who wants to come in is not going to help (cue Dave, to tell me how wrong I am, lol)

      Anyway, I don’t believe that I have ever said anything to indicate that I have a “entirely blanket black view” of any group of people, and I’m a little offended by that. But not too offended, since we’ve been through worse, you and I. I’ll chalk it up to you’re being really upset by Trump. You and about 100 million other people, including me. But, we can’t just turn on each other and act as if everyone of a different mind is the devil. I’m not. You’re not. None of us here are.

      • Roby permalink
        April 4, 2016 9:29 pm

        Priscilla, I am happy to sue for peace. Does Islamist mean muslim? I just looked it up. It doesn’t, my bad I misunderstood you (while asking you to go read a book, irony, Ha!).

        Priscilla, I understand that the US is mostly trying to do good and defend freedom. I like my society in America and consider it much better than that in any Islamic country, (not that I have ever been to one). But we are at, not to sound like Howard #@$% Zinn, perpetual war, all my life and I doubt any year of my life has gone by without some bloodshed of innocents by the American military and no small number of atrocities and support for right-wing death squads in south and Central America. My Lai is not just one mistake. Hundreds of dead civilians in Panama for what purpose? About as much purpose as the dead left by Margaret Thatcher in the Falklands.

        This is not a one sided question, there are other perspectives than the western one our culture, western culture, the English, Dutch, French with its empires in the middle east, Vietnam, Africa, has paraded around the world absolutely abusing, raping murdering, enslaving for hundreds of years. Always with God on our side for some noble purpose. What right did we have to go to Vietnam in the first place, let alone expand that war into Cambodia and Laos, to destabilize everything and unintentionally, but without any apologies bring in Pol Pot. The oppressive actions of the Soviets in their “near abroad” have always infuriated me, but we have killed far more people in my life in our foreign policy than they have. Far more. We have no moral authority left.

        God help me I’m becoming a Libertarian or a left winger on foreign policy. We are morally and physically incapable of what we have been attempting to do. We have a history that is as bloodthirsty and arrogant as anyone we seek to civilize, even if we have a much nicer culture in our own borders. This is not actually something I often think about, and when I do think about it I always come to the conclusion that the world would be even worse off without our help. Thinking about the casual suggestion that we repeat Hiroshima today to civilize the Islamists just blew my little mind wide open. We are lovely society inside our borders but a military disaster (outside of WWII) outside them and it does not bother most of us a bit most days, including me. That is scary. We just accept it, while being afraid of the “them” because they are vicious killers.

        For the record, ISIS still needs to be blown to bits.

      • April 4, 2016 9:45 pm

        Then peace it is!! (Except for ISIS – death to them!)

    • April 4, 2016 10:17 pm

      I guess you don’t consider this crime related to our porous Mexican border:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/03/us/crime-spike-in-st-louis-traced-to-cheap-heroin-and-mexican-cartels.html?_r=0

      And FoxNews.com reviewed reports from immigration reform groups and various government agencies, “including the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Sentencing Commission, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Government Accountability Office, the Bureau of Justice Statistics and several state and county correctional departments. Statistics (which) show the estimated 11.7 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. account for 13.6 percent of all offenders sentenced for crimes committed in the U.S. Twelve percent of murder sentences, 20 percent of kidnapping sentences and 16 percent of drug trafficking sentences are meted out to illegal immigrants.”

      If you don’t believe Fox, check their sources. One thing for certain, whatever the percentages, if the number of illegals were halved, the crime they commit would be halved, if quartered, then quartered. There’s too damn many illegal Hispanics in this country, and if you don’t think that’s true you’re as cognitively dysfunctional as as a Ken Doll.

      In any case I don’t want to deal with you anymore either. I came here for good company and civilized conversation, even if often based on difference of opinion, not to be insulted and cursed out. And I enjoyed meeting most everyone here – even you, until you proved to be a manic-depressive smuck. And I’ll keep monitoring Rick’s insightful well written postings, but as of now, I’m disconnecting from the comments.

      Nice knowing the rest of you. Good luck, good health, and good bye.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 4, 2016 10:37 pm

        Intolerance is ugly, but there’s a point when tolerance becomes weakness and then suicide.

      • Priscilla permalink
        April 4, 2016 11:16 pm

        Don’t leave, Jay. Really, you have such a unique take on things. Sometimes all wrong, of course….just take a break and come back ( I so wanted to add “y’hear” at the end of that, but felt it was inappropriately lighthearted for the occasion. But seriously, don’t leave us for good.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 5, 2016 12:28 am

      Roby, check the statistics. I believe you will find that more civilians died in Germany from allied carpet bombing of German cities than the two bombs dropped in Japan combined. The use of any bombs is unacceptable, but it has been debated over and over and most analyst agree that more lives were saved by the use of those two bombs than continued warfare in the Pacific and the use of carpet bombing Japanese cities with conventional bombs. And that does not even count the number of lives saved in the rest of southeast Asia that the Japanese were eliminating, much the same as the Germans in Europe.

      And I will show one of my far right conservative wingnut positions that separate me from a true Libertarian or moderates. If we can save one American GI’s life by using all acceptable means of warfare, then I am all in favor. At that time, those bombs were acceptable warfare due to the lives already lost and the same mindset existed almost as bad in the Japanese leadership that exist in ISIS leadership today. Today, Nukes are unacceptable, but anything else to avoid one American death should not be off the table, even if it cost civilian casualties.

      As for illegal immigration, ask yourself why is the Border Patrol Employees Union backing Donald Trump?

      • April 5, 2016 9:34 am

        Good point, Ron. One of the things that is often lost in today’s political discourse is historical perspective. That’s the reason why I told the story of my Father’s being in the planned invasion force of Japan. If we had not bombed Japan, he, and over a million other GI’s, would likely have been killed, not to mention the Japanese soldiers and many civilians that would have died in the fighting there, which may have gone on for weeks or months and cost more lives than were lost in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

        Of course, the dropping of the atom bomb was so significant because it WAS the atom bomb. The London Blitz, aimed specifically at civilians, went on for almost 2 months, every single day, and killed over 30,000. And that doesn’t count the tens of thousands injured and/or left homeless, orphaned, etc..

        So, was Germany morally superior, because they just used “regular’ bombs?

        That’s the problem with the whole “peace movement” and the idea that American presidents or generals are “war criminals” if they make certain decisions that they feel are in the best interests of their military and their homeland.

        Obama has said that he has refrained from bombing ISIS oil fields, because it would cause environmental damage. To me, he is a pathetic excuse for a commander in chief, but, to others, that makes him morally superior. Go figure.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:14 pm

        Your view does nto necescarily separate you from libertarians.
        Like conservatives they are not homogenous.

        Regardless, the lockean social contract requires a nation to defend its citizens.

        I think we should be somewhat careful about social/political calculus that makes assertions such as one american is worth 10 or 100 japanese,
        but being careful is not the same as grasping that in times of war our first objective is saving ghe lives of our own citizens and soldiers.

        Regardless, war is a moral quagmire. Ultimately the best we may be able to hope for is to minimize the extent of the immorality.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:25 pm

        “I think we should be somewhat careful about social/political calculus that makes assertions such as one american is worth 10 or 100 japanese,
        but being careful is not the same as grasping that in times of war our first objective is saving the lives of our own citizens and soldiers.”

        This most likely would be a matter of interpretation for each individual asked. When asking a “loaner” who lives by themselves in a cabin miles away from their closest neighbor, they most likely would have a completely different answer than a family with 10 kids, 20 grandkids and a host of aunts, uncles and cousins.

        I personally would look at one of our military personnel defending millions in America and say “there is no limit to what your life is worth compared to the enemy”. I don’t have to be careful at all in making this comment anywhere, anyplace.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:16 pm

        I would also note that I frequently call the LEFT to task for US/THEM calculus – because it is not consistent with their ideology.

        If Income inequality in the US is unacceptable – then why is the US permitted much higher incomes than the rest of the world ?

        If you have no moral judgement attached to income inequality, there is no issue. But if you make it an issue inside a nation, you must explain why it does nto apply more broadly.

  30. April 4, 2016 10:33 pm

    Roby, except for your usually vehement opposition to Dave, you have historically been a fairly reasonable commenter. Let’s take an open-minded look at your recent flare-up at Jay.

    It seems fair to say that you perceived that a line had been crossed, and so “the gloves came off” (verbally, that is). Another way to put it is that once there is a certain level of foul committed (or perceived to have been committed), then the rules of decorum are abandoned and an increase in the violence level of retaliation is employed. Of course this “taking it to another level” occurs in confrontations in many contexts and at many levels, including war.

    I think Jay was just exploring ideas, as we do here. Jay, I don’t always agree with you, but I value the agility of your mind. I think it is beneficial here to be able to consider a wide variety of viewpoints.

    So, at the point that Roby thought Jay was advocating destruction of cities, was Roby justified in his “intensified” response? I say no, not here. We’re examining ideas and viewpoints here.

    Roby, I’m guessing that you are getting very frustrated with what you see occurring around you in this country. Me too.

  31. Roby permalink
    April 4, 2016 11:05 pm

    Pat, When I explore ideas I always use weasel words like “perhaps” or “maybe”, or “sometimes I wonder whether….”

    Find me a weasel word here:

    “Yes, these are different times,but obliterating a few select cities and rebuilding those cultures as we did with the Japanese would make this a safer world all around. ”

    Jay was simply exploring the idea that we should nuke a few cities in the middle east. I responded by exploring the idea that he might want to have sex with himself.

    I’m not a bit sorry. For me the thought of deliberately exterminating a few hundred thousand innocent civilians seems worse that telling someone to screw off. If those are his demons he should keep them to himself. Seems like a lot of people are having the same demons, enough to make a movement that is making me ill.

    Anyone who wants to bend decency into a pretzel explaining why its really not so bad to propose outdoing Osama bin Laden by a factor of 100 or so is welcome to do so. I won’t be joining in.

    There was a time when I thought that the US was a serious enough country to be trusted with a nuclear arsenal. Our leaders were sufficiently serious people in general, even if I did not agree with all of them. The Trump movement has changed my mind. We are more potentially dangerous that anyone, along with Russia because we own the most lethal hardware and are no longer serious mature cultures. If the awful Islamists want to kill us they can do it by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, with considerable effort. We can push a button and knock of tens of millions without raising a sweat. And the idea hardly bothers us.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 7, 2016 12:25 pm

      I was taught – and accept that when you are writing and speaking – get rid of the weasel words. They add nothing.

      I repeatedly make absolute statements here – such as government always fails at something.

      I know that is not true and once in a while someone successfully manages to provide a comupance.

      But the absolute assertion still makes the point.

      The US federal government spends $4T/year. You would think that you can not possibly spend that much money without some positive result. And that would be correct.
      But we do nto get close to $4T in value.

      Government absolutely fails much of the time – meaning it makes things worse not better.
      It net fails nearly all of the time – meaning spending the same amount of money privately would have resulted in a better net outcome for all of us.

      Regardless, the point is that the addition of weasel words even to a speculative argument does not improve thought or debate, or understanding. It just provides and excuse to gloss over what might be a good argument.

      You will find weasel words infrequently in professional writing. They are a liability not an asset.

  32. April 5, 2016 12:04 am

    The discussions and debates here at TNM are in a different plane of existence than the realities of our world. If a commenter expresses a viewpoint here, whether it is the commenter’s deeply felt opinion or whether they are riffing, whether the comment is popular or unpopular, it should be countered according to the rules of TNM, which is not ad-hominem, and not with profanity.

    For example, if a commenter were to state that one culture is more to blame for a country’s problems than another culture, and you happen to think that opinion is racist and incorrect, than argue your point, but telling them to F-themselves and calling them a sick &%$%$* nut and jerk is about you losing your cool and is a personal attack and is not welcome here at TNM. You know better. You were out of line. I think others will agree that you have been getting steadily more hyper and hostile of late.

    • Roby permalink
      April 5, 2016 8:18 am

      Excuse me Pat, I think that Jay is a big boy who used personal attacks on JB. Heh, I agreed with the stuff he said to JB. Added some myself.

      Nuking middle eastern cites is the single most horrific, idiotic idea I have ever heard proposed here, well worthy of a swift kick in the nuts. Nor have I heard anyone else condemn it. You’ve reacted to me saying get lost, not the idea of nuking innocents. What is wrong with you? Nothing is wrong with me that a vacation from politics won’t cure. The world returning to sanity would be nice too.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:27 pm

        Can;t think of many circumstances which would cause me to support nuking mideastern cities.

  33. Roby permalink
    April 5, 2016 12:12 pm

    So, I’m trying not to rush to conclusions here, though I am sorely tempted.

    I’d like to know explicitly whether anyone other than myself has any A. moral and B. practical objections to following the Hiroshima/Nagasaki model and obliterating entire cities in the Middle east in order to solve our Islamist problem.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 7, 2016 12:33 pm

      Given the current conditions – I have moral and practical problems.

      I am generally non-interventionist.
      But I do beleive that ISIS has engaged in violence outside its own “country” sufficiently that we and other nations are justified in putting boots on the ground and obliterating it.

      Though we should not repeat the Iraq/Afghanistan nonsense.
      The right to obliterate another nation for violent acts to other nations does nto require us to nationbuild after we have destroyed the cancer.
      In the case of ISIS the nations it has displaced would likely fill the vaccum. Regardless whether right or wrong we have proven very very good at destroying other nations.
      We suck at nation building – which should not be surprising.
      Nations have to want what we are selling to keep it.

  34. April 5, 2016 12:14 pm

    Whether Jay, or I, or anyone here at TNM can take it or not is very beside the point about protocol at TNM. Part of the beauty of TNM is that it’s not Jerry Springer and not the typical comment section that devolves into name calling and profanity, and you know it. I’ve drifted to ad hominem before and apologized.

    Now you also know that when a thought is expressed, such as the new one right here: “If we used conventional weaponry (to avoid radiological fallout) and exterminated the entire Middle East, the world would be safer for those who remain” …that’s a thought, but it doesn’t mean I’m a true fan of the idea, like the idea, or am doing any more than considering the universe of possibilities, which of course is done regularly at “high levels” and funded by our tax dollars, blah blah, yada yada…

    “Undoing the Gordian Knot” with swift sword is a strategy, and a good point, and connecting it to Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an excellent, rational link of the Gordian Knot to the 20th century, and eliminating other Gordian Knots around the world with “shock and awe” or drones is certainly on the table in conference rooms, and, as squeamish about death as most insulated Americans are, if said squeamish Americans were under attack most would kill to survive, including killing in horrific ways, and sometimes en masse, but that’s too much of a topic for here and now.

    Jay’s quick little gem began with “…Or…” , as though saying, “and here’s another thought…” and not “Dear humanity here is what I sincerely think we must do…” and I took it no more offensive than when my car mechanic says, “Kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” or when I dream of having the Evaporator Ray that can make bad drivers disappear off the road.

    Furthermore, even if Jay or someone really thought that turning the desert sand to glass were becoming the best option, I’d still want them here at TNM if they could express themselves with wit and vigor, which Jay does, and which you do, when you’re not trying to save hypothetical lives via a blog! C’mon MAN!

    • Roby permalink
      April 5, 2016 12:57 pm

      Not to oversimplify or put words in your mouth, but, you have no moral or practical objections to repeating Nagasaki/Hiroshima? I find none in what you wrote, which seems to me to say that its on the table. But I want to be 100% sure that is your view.

      • April 5, 2016 1:44 pm

        I think that you’re asking the wrong question, Roby. I understand that it may be the RIGHT question for you, but we’re talking about war, for god’s sake. No one ever wants war ~ no decent person, anyway. But once you’re in a war, the ethical questions become much more complex. Much, much, MUCH more complex. And they all involve death and destruction, because that’s what war is. If you’re the aggressor, you keep killing and destroying until the other side surrenders. If you’re attacked you have to kill and destroy the attacker, until it surrenders.

        No other way. It’s pick your poison. Of course I have practical and moral objections to repeating something like Hiroshima. Certainly in an unprovoked or aggressive situation. But if the barbarians are at the gate, it becomes more complicated.

        This is why I believe Obama is such a p**s poor commander. He has allowed the barbarians (who he makes excuses for, by the way) to come very close to the gate, and has made future decisions by any subsequent commander that much more morally difficult and ambiguous.

        But, anyway, if you’re just asking in a vacuum, sure I have moral objections to bombing whole cities.

      • April 5, 2016 1:52 pm

        And, actually, if I could, I would delete the part I wrote about Obam, because I know that it bothers you when I attack him, and it was a bit gratuitous in this context. It’s just that what he does upsets me so much. But, in any case, sorry.

      • April 5, 2016 2:44 pm

        It’s obvious what is going on here. Roby you are outraged by the cultural decay and barbarism brought to light by the Trump circus, etc., and so your inner hero has you standing your ground like a bastion of decency and morality, a white knight, up on your moral superior high horse. “Come back, cowards, and declare that you want to drop nukes on innocent people…”

        Of course I don’t. I want the Industrial Military Complex to re-tool and begin manufacturing us our residential MRI machines, zero carbon energy widgets, and high-tech micro-farming equipment for the 21rst Century Renaissance, etc. I couldn’t be more for humanity learning the real processes for peace. But I will still imagine ugly what-if scenarios to try to stay ahead of the psyhos who plan that sh** for real.

      • Roby permalink
        April 5, 2016 2:57 pm

        Priscilla, you gave me a straight up answer to my question, there is nothing to be sorry about. Really I’m quite upset and mind boggled these days , yes, but I’m not actually losing it, it may sound that way, but as of today I’m about as solid as I was, er yesterday.

        On the practical side here is what I believe. Nuke a few cities in say Pakistan or Syria, al la Harry Truman, to shock and awe, and you will set the whole world on fire. The US would be a pariah, every muslim in the west really would become a jihadist, we would have no ally in the world and be perceived as the disease and not the cure. My son in law in Israel and his wife, who are expecting a child, would be in utter danger for their lives because all the 1.7 billion in the arab/muslim world, who are not concentrated in one island as Japan is, would truly rise up and Israel would be the first target. As well, Putin would say, see, look, I told you the US was the great evil power in the world, now I have a free pass as long as I don’t nuke anyone, (or maybe I have a free pass to nuke someone). And so on. I believe that if a US president came up with such an order to nuke cities in anything other than a catastrophic situation, far from where we are now the Joint Chiefs would have him/her impeached on sanity grounds and not perform it.

        My moral objection is that while Hiroshima may have been quite an ambiguous situation, given the horrors of WWII, deliberately killing civilians is against every convention we have signed. If deliberately targeting civilians is morally acceptable if one feels in danger, then 911 was not a moral outrage, simply we hate it because they did it to us, not because there was anything intrinsically morally wrong. If that is what Americans as a whole believe, (and I am not to the point of saying that they do, I doubt it) then there is no reason for calling the Boston bombing or the California shooting an outrage. These things in that universe are simply bitter to us because they did it to us, not because there was anything morally wrong or cowardly about attacking innocents.

        The reactions to the fire bombing of Dresden from many people, even some of the military people who were involved, were of disgust and horror. The general in charge was not beloved after the way by the general british public in spite of what they had suffered. A large number of brits considered him shameful. The Germans started the bombing of cities, and they get the largest share of disgust, atom bombs or not. There are many (I looked it up) then and now who do consider Hiroshima and Dresden to be war crimes. Not everyone, no.

        I understand the laws of history, you don’t judge one period by the standards of another. But there were many in that earlier period who Did find the atomic bombings very morally wrong and that is how the human race hopefully has a slightly better set of standards as time goes by, people stand up and judge. Because if we don’t change our moral standards then we are just equally savage people with ever more powerful weapons. Its obvious how that story ends. To keep this less than enormous I am going a post the story of an action that the British performed in India, a massacre, that no one today would accept. But it was accepted by quite a few at the time.

  35. Pat Riot permalink
    April 5, 2016 12:22 pm

    …and there’s an expensive granite monument in Georgia advising, in numerous languages, a serious reduction in the number of humans on earth, which is the main reason I am for pollution reduction but not for the coupling of climate change so diretly w with overpopulation, because conclusion jumps about overpopulation too easily become an excuse for humans to play God.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 7, 2016 12:45 pm

      Please can we avoid the over population nonsense.

      I must have said this here before.

      When I was in Grade school the nuns had out milk cartons where we were supposed to put nickels and dimes for the millions of starving children in bangeledesh.
      Today the left whigs out because a few hundred bengeledeschis are killed in factory fires.
      But no one notices – no one is starving anymore.

      In 1965 Paul Ehrlich wrote the population bomb and there were 3.5 billion people.
      We are approaching 8B today.
      Calories per person per day have doubled. Standard of living has doubled. life expectance has nearly doubled.

      Hunger to the extent it still exists is political having nothing to do with limited resources.

      Using the technology already in use in some parts of the west today, with currently available farmland we can feed about 25-50B people. USing techology that is viable but still in the lab we can likely increase that by a factor of 10.

      I admit I am trepedatious about a global population of 50B.
      But in 1965 I beleived Ehrlich’s nonsense about mass starvation.

      I do not know exactly what the future brings – but I do know that it will be better than today.
      Rachel Carson was wrong., Ehrlich was wrong. All Malthusians since Malthus have been wrong.

      The world is better, cleaner safer,healthier today than a decade ago.
      And it will be even more so in another decade – or century.

  36. Pat Riot permalink
    April 5, 2016 12:36 pm

    Here is a bright and shiny, very oversimplified way out of humanity’s messes:

    Why do we not want to kill our loved ones and friends? Putting aside pure moral objection to murder, we also don’t want to kill them because we KNOW them, and we think life is better WITH them in the world (not all family members, haha!), in other words we BENEFIT from them being here with us.

    So the task is for us to become friends with as many individuals, groups, regions, and countries as possible, and to use our technology/media and greatest artistic minds, to show/demonstrate how we benefit from each other, and how we can benefit further… To me it is an abysmal, unforgivable tragedy that we continue to use high-budget film and TV to explore every evil instead of creatively demonstrating how we influence each other and could actually coordinate at new levels to improve life and liberty in ways most can’t yet comprehend.

    Still far too many barbarians, and now with technology. Social enlightenment better happen fast…

    • Roby permalink
      April 5, 2016 3:26 pm

      Thats a really great answer Pat, its what happened when Russians and Americans went behind their governments backs and formed friendships. Russia and the US have a lot in common, we are they two most tortured nations on earth torn between our beautiful values and our frequently terrible actions.

  37. Ron P permalink
    April 5, 2016 12:37 pm

    Another example of why Donald Trump is attracting so many voters. How long can we continue to lose jobs and still be economically strong?

    http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/ford/2016/04/05/ford-invest-16-billion-new-plant-mexico/82645712/

  38. Anonymous permalink
    April 5, 2016 2:24 pm

    Well said up there, Priscilla.

  39. April 5, 2016 2:52 pm

    There’s only one thing remaining for you, Roby…the Comfy Chair!

  40. April 5, 2016 3:12 pm

  41. Roby permalink
    April 5, 2016 3:12 pm

    “The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when a crowd of nonviolent protesters, along with Baishakhi pilgrims, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab, were fired upon by troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer. The civilians had assembled to participate in the annual Baisakhi celebrations—both a religious and cultural festival for the Punjabis. Coming from outside the city, they may have been unaware of the martial law that had been imposed.
    The Bagh-space comprised 6 to 7 acres (28,000 m2) and was walled on all sides with five entrances.[1] On Dyer’s orders, his troops fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to flee. The British government released figures stating 379 dead and 1200 wounded. Other sources place the number of dead at well over 1000. This “brutality stunned the entire nation”,[2] resulting in a “wrenching loss of faith” of the general public in the intentions of Britain.[3] The ineffective inquiry and the initial accolades for Dyer by the House of Lords fuelled widespread anger, leading to the Non-cooperation Movement of 1920–22.[4]
    On Sunday, 13 April 1919, Dyer was convinced of a major insurrection and he banned all meetings; however this notice was not widely disseminated. That was the day of Baisakhi, the main Sikh festival, and many villagers had gathered in the Bagh. On hearing that a meeting had assembled at Jallianwala Bagh, Dyer went with fifty Balochi and Gurkha troops to a raised bank and ordered them to shoot at the crowd. Dyer continued the firing for about ten minutes, until the ammunition supply was almost exhausted; Dyer stated that 1,650 rounds had been fired, a number which seems to have been derived by counting empty cartridge cases picked up by the troops.[5] Official British Indian sources gave a figure of 379 identified dead,[5] with approximately 1,100 wounded. The casualty number estimated by the Indian National Congress was more than 1,500, with approximately 1,000 dead.[6]
    Dyer was initially lauded by conservative forces in the empire, but in July 1920 he was censured and forced to retire by the House of Commons.[7] He became a celebrated hero in Britain among most of the people connected to the British Raj,[8] for example, the House of Lords,[9] but unpopular in the House of Commons, which voted against Dyer twice.[10] The massacre caused a re-evaluation of the army’s role, in which the new policy became “minimum force”, and the army was retrained and developed suitable tactics for crowd control.[11] Some historians consider the episode a decisive step towards the end of British rule in India,[12] although others believe that greater self-government was inevitable as a result of India’s involvement in World War I

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

    “Dyer is reported to have, from time to time, “checked his fire and directed it upon places where the crowd was thickest”;[23] he did this not because the crowd was slow to disperse, but because he (the general) “had made up his mind to punish them for having assembled there.”[23] Some of the soldiers initially shot into the air, at which General Dyer shouted: “Fire low. What have you been brought here for?”[25] Later, Dyer’s own testimony revealed that the crowd was not given any warning to disperse and he was not remorseful for having ordered his troops to shoot.[26]
    The worst part of the whole thing was that the firing was directed towards the exit gates through which the people were running out. There were 3 or 4 small outlets in all and bullets were actually rained over the people at all these gates… and many got trampled under the feet of the rushing crowds and thus lost their lives… even those who lay flat on the ground were fired upon.[27]”

    This is from the WIki on Dyer:

    “A significant number of ordinary Britons supported General Dyer. Rudyard Kipling, who claimed Dyer was “the man who saved India”, is alleged to have started a benefit fund which raised over £26,000 sterling, including £50 contributed by Kipling himself.[38] Subhash Chopra in his book Kipling Sahib – the Raj Patriot (2006),[39] writes that the benefit fund was started by the Morning Post newspaper and not by Kipling and that Kipling made no contribution to the Dyer fund. His name was conspicuously absent among the list of donors as published in the Morning Post. But Kipling did admire Dyer.
    The debate over the conduct of Gen Dyer following the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre at Amritsar, India, sharply divided the British political class inside parliament and outside in the press. Curiously enough Rudyard Kipling was not one of the leading lights of Dyer’s frontline supporters who battled unsuccessfully for his promotion from the rank of Colonel to honorary Brigadier-General in retirement for ‘saving the empire’ in India.
    Hailed by London’s Tory Morning Post as ‘The Man who saved India’ and popularly honoured as Brigadier-General, the massacre man remained a Colonel till the end of his life in 1927.
    More specifically, while Kipling did not contribute the first £50 or anything to Dyer’s Benefit Fund, his friend Sir Michael O’Dwyer, former Lt- Governor of the Punjab, under whose jurisdiction Dyer carried out the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, did, of course, contribute £20 to the benefit fund. The fund raised £26,317,1s 10d when it was closed in December 1920.
    Nevertheless, Kipling did pay his tribute to Gen Dyer at least twice, with brief but definitive words of edification.
    The first simply read: ‘He did his duty as he saw it.’
    — This tribute was inscribed on the card accompanying Kipling’s wreath at the funeral service for Gen Dyer at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.
    The second relating to a hospital project read:“These (hospital) beds have been endowed as a lasting memorial to Brigadier General R.E.H. Dyer, a brave man who in the face of a great peril did his duty as he saw it — ‘he that observeth the clouds shall not reap’.”

    Dyer suffered a series of strokes during the last years of his life and he became increasingly isolated due to the paralysis and speechlessness inflicted by his strokes. He died of cerebral haemorrhage and arteriosclerosis in 1927.[64] On his deathbed, Dyer reportedly said:
    So many people who knew the condition of Amritsar say I did right…but so many others say I did wrong. I only want to die and know from my Maker whether I did right or wrong.
    —The Butcher of Amritsar: General Reginald Dyer by Nigel Collett
    The Morning Post remembered him in an article titled “The Man Who Saved India” and “He Did His Duty” but the Westminster Gazette wrote a contrary opinion: “No British action, during the whole course of our history in India, has struck a severer blow to Indian faith in British justice than the massacre at Amritsar.”
    “Noted historian Gordon Johnson commented that “…Dyer’s actions ran counter to Army regulations. These required that force should be constrained by what was reasonable to achieve an immediate objective; minimum, not maximum, force should be deployed. Moreover, proper warning had to be given. On April 13, 1919, as demonstrated by Collett, Dyer ignored this. While he may have believed the Raj was threatened, and may have thought the mob was out to attack him and his soldiers, this does not justify his cavalier abuse of procedure and his indifference to Indian suffering. In so behaving, he brought not only death to the innocent but also destroyed himself and undermined the empire in which he took so much pride.”[63]

    Most of us today would recognize that this man’s actions were evil. Times do change, slowly.

  42. Roby permalink
    April 5, 2016 3:21 pm

    Or perhaps things don’t really change:

    “The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas), also known as the Falklands Conflict, Falklands Crisis, and the Guerra del Atlántico Sur (Spanish for “South Atlantic War”), was a ten-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British overseas territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It began on Friday, 2 April 1982, when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands (and, the following day, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had claimed over them. On 5 April, the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.”

    “In the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher’s popularity increased. The success of the Falklands campaign was widely regarded as the factor in the turnaround in fortunes for the Conservative government, who had been trailing behind the SDP-Liberal Alliance in the opinion polls for months before the conflict began, but after the success in the Falklands the Conservatives returned to the top of the opinion polls by a wide margin and went on to win the following year’s general election by a landslide.[117] Subsequently, Defence Secretary Nott’s proposed cuts to the Royal Navy were abandoned.”

    Perhaps there is some merit to that word “Sheeple.” I don’t want to be one, my sympathies lie with those who can see evil, even when it is their own side that perpetrates it.

  43. Roby permalink
    April 5, 2016 3:33 pm

    “Of course I don’t. I want the Industrial Military Complex to re-tool and begin manufacturing us our residential MRI machines, zero carbon energy widgets, and high-tech micro-farming equipment for the 21rst Century Renaissance, etc. I couldn’t be more for humanity learning the real processes for peace.”

    OK, a 10, I think this online relationship can be salvaged.

    I seriously am considering converting my foreign policy views to libertarian as a result of thinking about all of this. Really , I have no idea what the best path is for American foreign policy, continue as the frequently disastrous world cop or beat ISIS and then retire and give our aircraft carriers and all that to Costa Rica and Iceland and let them try with unbloodied hands.

  44. April 6, 2016 12:52 pm

    Rick’s post was about madness. I’m currently reading “The Great Upheaval” by Jay Winik. In the Intro Mr. Winik finds it remarkable and commendable that America managed to “politic” its internal rebellions and tensions and hold itself together, in contrast to the tragedy of the French Revolution and also the repressive clamp down from the top that occurred in Russia under Catherine the Great. Hopefully we can “politic” our way out of our current madness.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 6, 2016 3:28 pm

      pat, for dummies like me that know little about the French Revolution or Catherine the Great in Russia, were those countries and leaders that had any orderly succession or were they like the English during our revolution where one ruler had complete control. If so, I would have to say the madness we are seeing today in the USA most likely is temporary and a natural correction and healing could take place. There could be some extreme upheavals during the process while parties align to attract voters, but I suspect those parties will find some way to correct the mess they have created for themselves.

      The democrats need to look at the super delegate process and determine if that is the correct model for themselves as their party is the insiders picking the candidate while the voters are more split, while the republicans need to look at their process and determine how they can be everything to everyone that is not a liberal.

      Now there is one way that a revolution could occur in this country. A formidable third party arises and it attracts enough moderate voters that no one gets the required electoral votes and the election goes to the house. If you thought Bush getting into office when it appeared he had not won the popular vote was upsetting, just think about a candidate getting a clear majority of the votes but being overlooked because the House was controlled by the opposition party.

      But that might be a good thing in the long run. Then maybe American educated individuals would know what the constitution said about the election process and not just naturalized citizens from foreign countries who learned this stuff in the naturalization process.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:14 am

        “But that might be a good thing in the long run. Then maybe American educated individuals would know what the constitution said about the election process and not just naturalized citizens from foreign countries who learned this stuff in the naturalization process.”

        Agreed, Ron. I think some of the current upheaval could be good in the long run. I hope so. Americans are at least learning more about the election process. My wife’s 5th grades students are amazingly politically informed this year.

        Also, what you touched on about Britain in the 1700s and other countries in that era essentially having all the shots called from the top (paraphrasing) is important because it’s very different from what we have going on here in America. That is, despite the wealth gap and increased consolidation and Oligarchy, America still consists of such diverse and varied interests, industries, networks of wealth, influences, etc. (I’m not expressing this very well; I’m tired!) Let me try it this way: because there are so many different engines of our economy and our society, I’m at least hopeful that things will level themselves out, and that we can learn from this and emerge stronger.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 7, 2016 12:54 pm

        Why is it that Republicans should be everything to everyone that is not liberal ?

        Wouldn’t it be better to be what is necescary to improve the country ?

        Bread and circus’s only get you so far.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 7, 2016 1:27 pm

        Dave (?) “Why is it that Republicans should be everything to everyone that is not liberal ?”
        You missed my point and did not connect the dots back to many of my previous comments. I will try to do better next time with the connectivity of my previous statements to current ones.

        What I meant in this comment:..From my perspective the democrats are liberal left and they make no bones about it. They do little to try to attract the moderates into the party. They are not running a moderate left and have not run a moderate left since 1992. And well before that they run Dukakis and Mondale. But the Republicans ran 17 different candidates, ranging from moderate (Trump..in my opinion) moderate right (Kasich) to extreme right (Cruz).

        So while the democrats can pick a few positions and drive those home (minimum wage, free college education, income equality) the republicans are putting forward many different proposals based on many different ideologies.

        that is what I meant by Republicans trying to be everything to everybody. They have determined they want to try and as of this point, I think it is failing. I find it very hard to believe Trump can activate the far right Christian conservative voters or the moderate suburban mom’s (Reagan democrats). Likewise I do not see Cruz activating the Trump supporters and again the suburban mom’s, but he will get more of them than Trump. And I can’t see Kasich or any other moderate motivating the far right to get out the vote.

        There is no Reagan in the republican party today that can do the same thing Reagan did in 1980. And that is because the Republican party, as it now is constructed, does not want someone like Reagan to lead their party.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 10, 2016 6:18 pm

        Ron;

        I do not expect candidates to reflect my personal political values.

        Nor is politics one dimensional.
        It is not even two dimensional – though that is closer.

        Some issues do not divide neatly along political boundaries.

        Further politicians lie.

        Pick most any issue, and it is hard to find consistency between what politicians of either party say, what they do, and what they claim is their ideology.

        Obama ran as a progressive democrat. His presidency is only barely distinguishable from that of Bush.

        You say Cruz is no Reagan – Reagan looks quite different in the rear view mirror.

        Reagan was Cruz in 1976.
        Reagan was the anti-establishment candidate from 1964 through 1980.
        Reagan was Goldwaters biggest campaigner. Reagan was the continuation of Goldwaters, 1960’s constitutional conservative values.

        If elected will Cruz look like Reagan in 2020 ? I do not know – no one does.

        Why is Hillary in bed with Wall Street ?
        Why did Warren fight to re-authorize the Exim Bank ?

        Why did Ryan back down on the Budget and Sequester ?
        Why has Cruz gotten in bed with Neo-Cons ?

        Both parties are falling all over themselves to bash free trade – yet free trade is one of those things that 95% of economists agree is a win-win.
        But then governments purported Free Trade deals have little or nothing to do with actual free trade.

        I choke when modern democrats are called liberal. Liberals value individual liberty.
        Two decades ago the RFRA was passed with near unanimous bi-partisan support. Our Congress said that SCOTUS did not give the first amendment religious freedom near enough weight.
        Todays left want to use force to make nuns buy birth control.
        That’s not liberal.

        Nor do I see the TNM conception of moderate – which I would frame as compromise nearly everything just slightly left of center, as moral, virtuous or in anyway good.

        Compromise is a tool not a value, and its use is frequently evil.

        Clearly bad choices are much easier to fix than compromises.

        What I do know is that we are moving slowly closer to catastrophic government failure. Not one of our current candidates is addressing this.
        Bernie wants to spend a trillion more a year.
        Hillary is at most less profligate.

        Every republican has a plan to simplify and cut taxes – all of them good.
        But absent cuts in spending, tax cuts will do little good and may actually cause harm.

        No candidate is truly serious about reducing spending.

        I am happy that both the democratic and republican “establishment” are stumbling.
        I am disappointed at what has stepped into that void.

        I am not so concerned that Cruz, or Trump or Sanders will get elected, or that if elected the country will go to hell – we are already headed that direction.

        What I am most concerned about is that if whoever is elected does not turn out to be a Reagan – and we can not know they will not right now, that we are in trouble.

        We need and demand an outsider. But if we get one and they fail, it could be decades before we attempt to take government from insiders again.

  45. April 7, 2016 9:07 am

    When I first graduated from college (back in the Stone Age), I worked as a middle school history teacher for a couple of years – moved up to high school for 10 years after that. Back then, the school in which I taught had a curriculum that covered basic US History in 7th grade, and then Civics in 8th grade. The Civics curriculum was basically one semester on the Constitution and one semester on American Politics and Government. During the second semester on politics and government, I used to spend a long time, at least a couple of weeks, on our system of nominating a president. The unit would culminate in the kids having a mock convention, and “nominating” one of their own as POTUS. It was a lot of fun, and I hope those “kids” (now middle aged adults) retained some of what they learned….

    Anyway, I’ve been amazed over these last weeks – maybe “amazed” is the wrong word…”disheartened” might be better – at how little Americans understand about the admittedly byzantine process of choosing the nominee. I guess it’s because we haven’t really seen a real convention fight since 1976, when Reagan almost took the nomination from the incumbent, Ford. It drives me crazy when Trumpists say things like “If Trump comes to the convention with a clear plurality of delegates, and they try to steal the nomination from him, there’s going to be demonstrations and riots!”

    Well, aside from the rather humorous thought of “Republican riots” (what do they do, stomp their feet and throw their martinis in your face?)….these idiots appear to have no idea that a “plurality” and a “majority” are two entirely different things, and that a MAJORITY is necessary to win the nomination on the first ballot, the second ballot, or any other ballot. They also don’t seem to understand that the whole purpose of a convention is to have the elected DELEGATES decide who the nominee will be. I

    Our current education system has woefully failed the political process. The media could help educated people, but…hahahahaha! Nevertheless, I think that perhaps the hated Establishment (that word has been so overused and misused at this point that it has become meaningless) might conceivably end up following the rules, holding a convention that results in a unifying nominee, and educating millions of people on why our system ultimately works.

    That would be worth it, even if they lose…which, thanks to The Donald, they almost surely will…….

    • Ron P permalink
      April 7, 2016 12:16 pm

      Priscilla. Well said!.
      Now why should our education system failing to educate kids in civics be different than anything else.?
      1. Ever try reading something hand written by a younger person today?
      2. Ever witnessed a younger person being able to determine how much change to give someone during a cash transaction without a computer?
      3. Ever ask a younger person who their elected officials at the federal level were?
      4. Ever ask a younger person what the importance of bees are to science?
      5. Ever ask a younger person when slavery ended? (Even what century?)
      And I could go on and on with “Ever ask” questions.
      Our education system is failing, from the parents all the way through to the janitors in schools.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        April 7, 2016 11:59 pm

        Not to just be argumentative, but for moderation, I’ll defend the younger folks:

        Ever ask an older American if they bothered to find out the ingredients of foods they ate, such as hot-dogs, Coca-Cola, or baloney?

        Ever ask an older American if he or she should be using plastic bags?

        Ever ask an older American if they supported the Vietnam War, Korean War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War?

        Ever ask an older American if the majority of their friends growing up had divorced parents?

        Ever ask an older American who “discovered America”?

        Ever ask an older American if they remember throwing trash out of car windows in the 1960s and early 1970s?

        Ever ask an older American to help you email family pictures from your phone to distant relatives?

        Ever ask an older American if they’ve roller-bladed, jet-skied, sky-dived, rock-climbed, scuba-dived, or hang-glided, or why they thought retirement meant a sedentary lifestyle and heart disease? (that one was a little harsh)

        My point is that while public education may have failed these recent American generations, they are learning tough lessons from life and asking good questions that too-trustful previous generations never thought of. I’m not saying much more than that, not passing full judgement on any of the generations, just recognizing there is good and bad in each batch of us crazy Americans!

      • April 8, 2016 8:19 am

        Oh, for sure, I’m on board with both of you on this (how’s that for a squishy moderate reply?)

        The takeover, relatively long in coming, but now virtually complete, by the federal government, of what was once a pretty decent educational system, has been a pretty much unmitigated disaster, as far as I am concerned. The fact that it is not only the public education system, but our most prestigious private universities that have been fully infected by the worst kind of political correctness and idiocy (but I repeat myself) has been by design, orchestrated by the old New Left (yes, I have a sick obsession with Bill Ayers, but the more you read about him, the more you will too!) and is producing a generation of Americans who know almost nothing about the foundational principles of our nation, very little of our history, and even less about the ideologies that they enthusiastically support. Go ahead, ask a recent college grad to tell you who Josef Stalin was, Or Mao Tse-tung (I think I’m supposed to spell it Zedong these days)…..or, for that matter, Alexander Hamilton (and “the guy on the $20 bil” or “the one that the Broadway show is about” doesn’t count as an answer.

        On the other hand, just the other day, I was having a political discussion with my son ( the politically engaged/filmmaking/Brooklyn-living one) in which I said “Thank God, this will be the last Baby-Boomer election ~ my generation has really done a bang-up job, ruining everything that our parents fought for.” My son kindly reminded me that, artistically, anyway, the Baby Boomers have actually done a pretty bang-up job. But, it is his generation that needs to figure out how to right the ship, and, despite the fact that they are very poorly educated, they may actually have other gifts that help them accomplish the tasks ahead. I hope.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 8, 2016 12:25 pm

        Pat, it is interesting the differences in our perspectives as it comes to education and the examples given. I am not saying either of us are right or wrong, just they are different based on subject. Where I gave examples of civics, government, communication, science and math, you provided personal health. environment, personal technology, personal lifestyles and safety and family structure. The one about Viet Nam could also be considered “personal” since so many were affected by the war with the number of unnecessary deaths attributed to Johnson’s stupidity. There was one concerning discovery of America that was something more in line with the education system in the country.

        I have no problems with the education system teaching people about personal health and the impact of what they eat has on their bodies, but if they don’t know that bees are a requirement for harvest, the food will diminish and starvation will occur. The use of technology is great, but when I go into a restaurant, place an order, the order in on the counter, they tell me it is $5.17 and I give them $6.00, they need to know how to give me change when the dang computerized terminal craps out on them just before they finish the transaction.

        Maybe we could go back to some basics in education and then incorporate the current events into that curriculum instead of replacing the basics, like eliminating cursive handwriting so anything the younger generation writes these days looks like a 7 year old wrote it before they learned cursive. Math. Make change before learning to use computer software. Science. Learn about icebergs, clouds, rain, droughts, ocean currents, moon impact on tides before learning about global warming. You need to know how things work before learning about how something is being impacted by outside forces.

        And when voters vote and have no idea what they stand for other than outlandish statements and personal attacks (like Trump supporters), then we need some basic education for voters also, no matter what their age.

      • dhlii permalink
        April 10, 2016 6:32 pm

        Pat;

        The food we eat is healthier than ever.
        Most of use who are no longer 20 are not affraid of our food. That is a good thing not a bad, one.
        We do not know what is in our food – because we do not need to.
        We actually can trust those who put food on our table – far more than our politicians.

        Should we be using plastic bags ? Increasingly it requires a Phd and an array of super computers to determine the right answer to paper, plastic or cloth.
        Meanwhile the environment is – as it has been for a couple of centuries, getting better all the time.

        Every 10,000 years a new group “discovers” america and genocidally steals it from its prior discoverers.

        Many of your complaints about older americans are that 40 years ago, they were about as stupid as younger americans today. That is probably true.

        What does it matter if you spend your free time hang gliding or fishing – if you enjoy yourself ? Younger americans have more opportunities today than older americans did 40 years ago. I keep trying to tell people – the past was not nearly so fantastic as we remember it. I was happy decades ago. But when I am honest most of life is far better today. That young people have more choices, is to OUR credit, not theirs. Lets wait and see what they leave to their children.

    • April 11, 2016 9:38 am

      Dave, I agree that the past is never as great as the old fogies think, nor is the present so bad. But the problem is that we have reached an almost Orwellian Memory Hole situation in our public education system, so that today’s children will have difficulty sorting out the very things that you’re talking about. That’s not to say that they will be unintelligent – thank God that the government hasn’t yet figured out how to do that!- but they will have been taught from childhood – pre-school, once Hillary gets her claws into the system – all of the left-wing shibboleths about the past (minority good/white bad, women good/men bad, transgender not abnormal/believing that it is bad, etc) that we used to have open discussions about, but are now taboo.

      I’ve never been a big Springsteen fan, so I can say it – he’s an a**hole for bailing on NC. Not as bad as Apple bailing on the FBI, but we’ve reached that point where people like Bruuuuce do things for popular effect, and are unquestioned and celebrated for it.

      • Roby permalink
        April 11, 2016 12:17 pm

        “they will have been taught from childhood – pre-school, once Hillary gets her claws into the system – all of the left-wing shibboleths about the past (minority good/white bad, women good/men bad, transgender not abnormal/believing that it is bad, etc)”

        Priscilla, that is just a (highly partisan) caricature of the education system. Like any good caricature its based on reality, but it exaggerates it so that its just barely recognizable. That is not the educational system its your darkest fear of what the educational system is becoming. In your fear you think that Howard Zinn and Ted Rall have taken control of education and are conspiring with Hillary Clinton to brainwash 4 year olds into becoming BLM activists. (I may be making a caricature of your caricature.) Well, their view does get represented but it is not the dominant view. Its like me saying that White Power Barbie Coulter IS the republican party.

        White people fought the Civil war and shed a great deal of blood to free the slaves. Men voted to let women vote. Coulter is a loon and and wingnut who has lost most of her audience. Everyone knows these things, and they are undeniable. Radicals only seem to be in charge.

        Cooler heads have to prevail, put their fears into perspective as if its noontime and we are looking at things in the sunlight and not 3 a.m. after having eaten a heartburn inducing burrito before going to bed and getting nightmares and indigestion and fears of mortality and everything dark.

        Once one believes that the left or right caricature is the actual truth, then its time for a revolution.

        We don’t need that, we need the center to hold, we need for common sense and common decency to prevail over despair and a revolutionary atmosphere that no person can pretend to control once it attains critical mass. The revolutionary mindset is not the cure, its the disease. If that chaotic destruction of revolution really happens everyone who is not totally lost will know in a second that it was a mistake. I think that I am being Conservative when I say that. Slow, down, everyone, take a deep breath and slow down.

        My wife and her family, by the way, have lived through several real revolutions that started hopefully with great expectations. She does not live in her own birth country, that was just one of the many consequences of a real revolution. I don’t want to have to flee my country or even to have to Want to flee my country.

        America is not dying. Its very imperfect but still very strong with lots of cultural capital.

      • April 11, 2016 1:00 pm

        An excellent post, Roby, and I agree with a great deal of it, almost all, in fact.

        I am still an optimist, and I try not to get despairing of the future when I read that students at world class universities are so horrified and traumatized by conservative speakers like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Shapiro, David Horowitz, Condi Rice (I don’t think she’s even a conservative, but she did work for Bush, so that’s bad enough). These people have to hire security details to make sure that they are not assassinated for being dangerous dissidents. And, except for Rice, they’re not really even famous. And, if they DID get shot, there would be many in the media (not all, thanks goodness, who would say that they provoked it). Ann Coulter is provocative and crazy, and an embarrassment to conservatism…..but she doesn’t deserve death for it.

        And then there is the nonsense of the “Trump 2016” chalkings on many college campuses. Chalkings have become rather common at many colleges over the years, started, I believe, with the gay rights movement, which would chalk various sayings on sidewalks and monuments on campus. I remember when my older son visited Swarthmore (where he ended up going) it was “Queer Week” and that was my first exposure to chalkings, some of which were quite graphic and profane, others just pedestrian. There were no “safe spaces” on campus in those days, but, trust me, walking around a school with your teenage son, reading all kinds of semi-pornographic homosexual sex references on the sidewalks, made me wish there were somewhere I could hide! Now of course, our special snowflakes need protection from coolege Republicans. It’s nuts, and, yes, it does make me wonder how much farther this craziness can go.

        Anyway, I’m with you on praying that the center can hold. I still think so. Just not as strongly as I used to think it could……….

      • Roby permalink
        April 11, 2016 1:22 pm

        Huzzah for the center! Long may it last!

        You’ll like this:

      • Roby permalink
        April 11, 2016 1:26 pm

        And this too:

      • April 13, 2016 12:49 pm

        Enjoyed the clip, but of course Cleese also made a serious point: that so much political correctness is really condescension in disguise… coupled with a fear of retribution. “We need to be nice to these poor second-class minorities who can’t take care of themselves, or they might kill us.” And I’d add, “Worse yet, our upscale liberal friends might ostracize us.” It’s a fascinating combination of attitudes; I should write about it at some point.

      • April 13, 2016 9:02 am

        Great clips, Roby. I live John Cleese! And Bill Maher has been very tough on political correctness, despite being a raging liberal, so there ya go!

        Bryan Adams , by the way, tried to make himself relevant again by cancelling a concert in NC. Even though he just toured Egypt, a country that arrests people, and often jails them, for being gay. That kind of hypocrisy is rather breathtaking. But no one ever said that has-been rock stars were self-aware 😉

      • April 13, 2016 9:03 am

        “love” Cleese, not “live” him…..

      • April 13, 2016 3:14 pm

        Rick, that would be a great topic to write about. And it reminds me of the subject of a book that I read a couple of years ago, which explored the reasons why groups that are largely similar, but have relatively minor differences (Catholics v. Protestants, Shia v. Sunni, Democrats v.Republicans) often hate each other more than they hate people who are really different from them. The author’s explanation was that we often overlook different ideologies as being simply inferior, but when someone thinks essentially the same as we do, but disagrees on a few key points, we focus on egotistical emotional triggers, i.e. who’s right and who’s wrong. It has some relevance to the political correctness argument; for example, why some get angrier at Christians for wanting to define marriage as between a man and a woman, than they do at Muslims who commit honor killings when their daughters have sex before marriage……

      • April 13, 2016 9:26 pm

        Good point, Priscilla. I’ve been stumped by the left’s soft spot for sharia (and radical Islam in general), when Western liberals would never be able to survive in a society governed by sharia. I assumed that their sympathy was just a stubborn endorsement of the self-hating notion that white/European=bad while nonwhite/non-European=good. But the theory you’ve cited makes sense. People feel more threatened by the possibility that their version of the Truth might be open to doubt. We don’t give Hinduism or shamanism a second thought because those beliefs are like a whole ‘nother universe.

  46. Pat Riot permalink
    April 8, 2016 1:01 pm

    Ron, it’s true, your Ever Asks were related to education and my pokes at us older folks were all over the place. Also, I was all on board with the same complaints about our younger folks, so I’m another squishy moderate with Priscilla on this topic.

    I think some of “the basics” of education will soon be available in accelerated, immersive fashion. So for instance the kids walk into an immersive hands-on building and they come out the other side knowing fractions forever. So not two years in traditional chalk-and-talk but four days instead in an immersive center. I know that is part of our future if we don’t blow ourselves up first.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 8, 2016 5:22 pm

      We can teach our kids anything as long as it is wrapped in sex, included in an “electronic war game”, made a password to get into their cell phones or made into a series of questions to get into social media.

  47. Pat Riot permalink
    April 8, 2016 4:38 pm

    Okay so a slight exaggeration above regarding my immersive, accelerated, hands-on learning buildings mentioned above, but here’s part of the vision:

    Back in the 1990’s I’d get young adult and adult students (ages 18 to 50) in my Dept. of Labor training program who did not do well as traditional learners in chalk-and-talk lecture. Many were bright and capable, but they were not traditional learners. Some of them never grasped the adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying of fractions through 12 years of public school, and couldn’t read a tape measure, for instance. In ONE WEEK of hands-on projects, where they had actual objects and actual projects, and could SEE that a 3/4″ board and a 3/4″ board together filled a 1.5″ space (ETC), and could finally see the reasons WHY one would need to do arithmetic with fractions, and then I force fed them all day long with converting from paper and pencil to lumber, plastic at the saw, to actual completion of projects, it finally CLICKED and they got it, and it was a beautiful thing.

    We could offer similar pre-fabbed modules to grade schoolers (minus the power saws), one building full of hands-on modules for one concept, another building full of modules for the next concept. (Some don’t need it; others need it desperately) They practice and practice all day long, all week long, until it’s a part of them. This has been done to an extent with various programs, but not to the Walt Disney level that I envision. Somebody with 100 million dollars please take my vision and set it up!

    Maybe I ought to do a GO-FUND me for my first one. Anyway, I wanted to give a little more of a glimpse of what I alluded to above. Have a great weekend. Power to the People! Bottom-Up and a bit of Top-down, in balance, Amen!

    • Ron P permalink
      April 8, 2016 5:04 pm

      Pat, this is very interesting as I had the same thing in sports when I was coaching young kids in soccer and basketball. But the difference in this was not so much each different child but sex. I could tell my male team how to kick the ball, where to go on defense, how to space themselves on the field and they comprehended it fairly well. For the female teams ( coached both my sons and daughters, telling them did not work well. Showing them or having them watch a college or professional game and picking out certain things worked for them. One mind worked well “doing and learning” while the other mind did better “seeing, learning and then doing”.

      My dad was a tool and die maker. He was not much on math, but there was no one that was any better in converting fractions to decimals, hundredths, thousandths, ten thousandths etc, etc. He did not learn this in “traditional” school as we know it today. He learned it in school when the schools trained people for two career paths. One for those wanting college (and at that time those were limited) and those that wanted a “job”. Wood shop (capentry.etc), machine shop (machinist, tool and die makers, welders, etc) and auto mechanics. When they came out of school they were ready for a job because they learned by doing. Everyone’s minds learns differently.

      Khan Academy has done some of the hands on learning stuff, but it is not used as widely as it might be. All due to the “one size fits all” mentality of the current education system being promoted at the federal and state levels. And I also think this is promoted by the universities that are teaching our new teachers as well as the mentors when a new graduate gets a teaching job. One has to wonder how much creativity the teachers can use to teach kids today compared to following the scripted manual handed to them for them to follow.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 10, 2016 7:11 pm

      We do not learn the same. We are not the same. We are not equal.

      What works for one of us does not for the next.

      This BTW is not new. In the late 60’s I participated in a summer education experimental program that endeavored to tailor education to each student. It was great.
      That was almost 50 years ago. Why is what we have known for 50 years suddenly going to be implimented well today ?

      In the early 70’s an experiment was conducted – I beleive in Chicago at the infamous Cabrini Green. HUD brough in the best social workers, the best administrators, the best of the best in all necescary areas. They picked the most motivated and most likely to succeed occupants of public housing and they helped them move out into suburban communities.
      This pilot program was phenomenally successful. So it was converted to Law in 1974 and implimented nationwide – we call it section 8.

      Only now the same program is destroying working class minority communities. Why ?
      Because what works when you cherry pick those most likely to succeed does nto work when you try to apply it to everyone. Because the average social worker is not the best social worker.

      Whatever it is that we ask government to do for us, it will not be done for the best of the less well off, using the best of the best resources. It will be done for ordinary bottom quintile people, and ordinary govenrment employees.

      Knowing what works in education is not the same as being able to broadly impliment it.
      We have known many of the answers for decades.

      Further government is NOT supposed to treat us each differently. Government is supposed to be blind to our differences, and treat us all identically. We do not want government treating us differently.

      We are not the same – and government is not the means to accomidate our differences.

      We have a system that is not only allowed but extremely good at providing for each of our differences. It is called the free market. Go to the grocery store and look at how many different types of breakfast food there are. You want gluten free organic, fair trade sugar free …. somebody makes it.
      Not only do free markets do the best job of delivering to each of us what each of us wants and needs, but it manages to do so using ordinary people – not the best teachers, not the best social workers, not the best administrators.

      Government education is never going to deliver a state of the art tailored program to public school students. That is totally at odds with government.

      My kids are/were cyber chartered. Not for everybody, but exactly what my daughter needed 8 years ago. Private for profit companies drive the charter schools, but they are part of the public school system. 8 Years ago my daughter was able to take her classes in the order that worked for her. She could proceed at her own pace. She was not allowed to move on from a lesson until she had mastered it.
      That was then. Today she has graduated – with a 3.92 GPA. But it got harder and harder with each year. Why – because cyber charters are part of the public schools.
      With each year came new rules that slowly destroyed all the flexibility of the Cyber Charter.

      By her last year – procede at your own pace had been gone for years. She was scheduled for specific classes on specific days, most everything was exactly like regular public school – except done from a computer at home. So much for each of us are different.

      Government does not, can not and really should not tailor itself to each of our differences.
      Another reason why to the largest extent possible government should stay out of what it is not essential to.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 10, 2016 11:51 pm

        “Government education is never going to deliver a state of the art tailored program to public school students. That is totally at odds with government.”

        Last comment on this subject.

        (But first, I preface this by saying segregated schools created problems that I am not aware of because I lived and grew up in a state with segregated schools for years and went to school with Blacks, Hispanics and Japanese kids. And that had no impact on the outcomes of the kids form low, middle and higher income families since the schools were miles apart and drew from all segments of the communities.)

        Government is never going to deliver a state of arts program to public school students, but they had a drastically better program from the 30 when my dad was in school until the 60’s when I was in school. Sometime after that “improvements” were made and the steady decline in outcomes began.

        Yep, the federal government is never going to do it, but local government should have the freedoms to offer education that meets the needs of the kids in multiple tracks, not just “one size fits all”

      • Ron P permalink
        April 10, 2016 11:52 pm

        That was going to schools that were integrated, not segregated.

  48. Pat Riot permalink
    April 9, 2016 5:59 pm

    Ron, as you know, Tool and Die Makers earned a good living in the USA, and there was plenty of work then too. My father was a Millwright for a global manufacturer, and so his work buddies were machinists, tool & die makers, etc. It is difficult for me to wrap my head around working in tolerances of ten thousandths of an inch!

    One of the problems with the old “two tier system” of education (A track to college and B track to Vo-Tech) was that it was prejudicial and gave all the glory to college and Vo-Tech was mistakingly, snobbishly viewed as an unfortunate lesser path. Industry today is starving for good precision machinists/CNC operators, and they can earn more than many folks with college degrees, and it’s the PERFECT FIT and a great life for some people, not some lesser choice.

    I believe all U.S. teachers today are keenly aware of learner differences and varieties of instructional styles. One of the problems today is that the poor teachers are expected to divide themselves into all types for all learners. There is often not nearly enough support for the teachers. A friend of mine teaching public high school suddenly received two Iraqi students who had serious difficulties with English, and therefore with all subjects. My friend was fond of the two Iraqi students, but the amount of extra work to help them keep pace was ridiculous, and there were many other students with IEPs (Individual Education Plans). She resigned and is no longer a teacher.

    I believe the advances coming to our education system(s) are going to help us greatly.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 9, 2016 6:51 pm

      Pat, please elaborate on the new changes. I have not heard about those.

      As for the Iraqi students, that’s where the “one size fits all” system of a failure. One, they are left behind because the teacher will not take extra time to help them and they can’t keep up or (2) the teacher slows down class progression to match that of the slow learners or (3), the good teacher takes the time to teach the slow learner by spending more time, then burns out and quits. None of these are good outcomes.

      As for the two track education system, wonder how many inner city kids would be employed today in a job they enjoyed and not on the streets selling drugs if college courses were not crammed down their throats in school. There is a place for everyone in society to be productive, but when they are ignored because of elitist thinking (like Bernie and free college for everyone), then many will be left out. Not everyone is cut out for college, so how do we get a 12-15 year old kid on the right track for a good paying manufacturing job when they get out of school?

      • dhlii permalink
        April 10, 2016 7:24 pm

        “There is a place for everyone in society to be productive, but when they are ignored because of elitist thinking (like Bernie and free college for everyone), then many will be left out. ”

        It is far more complex than that.

        There is more than one place for each of us. It is unlikely that most of us will find our perfect niche. But still we can all do well.
        Further it is OUR responsiblity, not someone else’s to find our most productive use. We are not owed jobs – good or bad. We are not owed education, we are not owed success.

        You rail at elitists like Bernie – but he is just giving all too many of us what we want.
        Most of us do not want to have to find out place, find a job, strive to be ever more productive. We want everything handed to us on a silver platter.
        We want to be as rich as Donald Trump – but we want it all to just happen for us with little serious effort on our own.

        To each according to his need from each according to his ability.
        That is the song of the sirens, and it calls us all to give over our lives to others.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 10, 2016 11:37 pm

        Dave..Your comments, then mine.
        “There is more than one place for each of us. It is unlikely that most of us will find our perfect niche. But still we can all do well.”

        Yes, this is true. We may not find our perfect niche, but many will find one that works. Where our system of education fails today is assuming everyone wants to go to college. When I was in school, only the ones planning on going to college took the SAT. Those planning on a vocation were enrolled in electives like wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, etc. Those were the kids that did not like or have an interest in algebra, biology and other subjects that prepared one for their first year in college. They had to take the basic courses of math, English, history, civics, etc, but they also took classes that prepared them for a vocation. How many kids today come out of high school able to weld, rebuild engines, repair fenders, hoods and other metal parts on a car? How many drop out of school because they have no interest in the classes being offered. You say “But still we can all do well”. I say only if we give everyone the opportunity to do well and right now I do not see that opportunity being offered like is was for years before the federal government got so involved with local education.

        “Further it is OUR responsibility, not someone else’s to find our most productive use”

        Yes, once we become adults, that is a fact. But what is our responsibility when it comes to educating kids so they can make that decision when they become old enough? Can a single mom who is working to make ends meet because the father left be expected to offer her kids exposure to welding, mechanics, metal fabrication, or is it one of the few responsibilities of government to make that available through education? And I mean local government, not federal.

        “You rail at elitists like Bernie – but he is just giving all too many of us what we want.”

        You can say that again, and what too many of us want has to be paid by someone and he does not expect “us” to pay for college for everyone. And what I meant by “elitist” in this regard is his position that everyone should have a college degree. Liberal Arts 4 year degree to fix plumbing, that really make sense!

        ” We want everything handed to us on a silver platter.”

        This has nothing to do with the education system in the country that started this discussion. People with no education to people with doctorate degrees can have this mentality.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 10, 2016 7:17 pm

      My Grandfather was a tool and die maker.
      Sort of self taught.
      He convinced a factory owner that he was a tool and die maker, got hired and convinced the other tool and die makers to teach him.

      At the start of the great depression he persuaded a bank to allow him to take over a small bankrupt factory. He had a 1/4 share of it, the bank owned 3/4. By the 50’s he owned it all. He had also become president of the local bank. Unfortunately he had a stroke when I was about 6 and died. The factory is still there, still making bottle caps as it has since 1930. Though it is mostly owned by someone else. Another guy who convinced my father that he could keep it going for many more years.

      • April 14, 2016 12:26 pm

        Very good American story about your grandfather, Dave! That’s the fabric we’re made of!

  49. Pat Riot permalink
    April 9, 2016 8:06 pm

    “There is a place for everyone in society to be productive, but when they are ignored because of elitist thinking…then many will be left out.”

    I agree strongly, Ron. There are so many opportunities for improvement along these lines. One of them is just making young people aware of the many career/job options. Our mantra when I was in “Workforce Development” was:

    “Know Yourself, Know the Market, Make the Match”

    Appropriate matching of people to careers/jobs can happen at multiple times in a person’s life. What I wanted when I was a 20-something is very different than what I wanted in my 40s and now!

    Most kids only know what they see on TV and maybe a handful of occupations from family members. They need much more exposure to the realities of different industries at an earlier age, and not just from videos, but videos can be a start. And as you said above they need a better grasp of the basics of education (that will be portable to MANY jobs/careers).

    As far as upcoming changes, I was generalizing as my usual visionary self about improvements during this century and not specific policies being enacted or rolled out. I think charter schools are a good start toward needed further privatization and competition. I think entrepreneurs will raise the bar for education and I welcome that.

  50. Pat Riot permalink
    April 10, 2016 9:38 am

    Rick’s post is about “Madness”. While there’s no denying there is some madness, it is unnecessarily multiplied and exaggerated and multiplied again by the profit-driven, ratings-driven, advertising-driven, (and propaganda-driven) mass media. Our corporate Mass Media is a Madness Machine. How much of our society is really going mad?

    Many of the stories that are covered over and over ad nauseam distort our perception of reality and contribute greatly to the madness. Considering the many stories that are NOT covered because they are “not stories” (i.e. the other 90% of our culture and society that IS FUNCTIONAL and holding our culture and society together) I say the mass media industry is beyond irresponsible. Honest investigative reporting for the common good has given way to sensationalism that in the aggregate becomes sinister, treacherous, viral, infectious. It’s a madness machine that now serves a role as instigator and divider.

    The response I often get to my indictment of the mass media is, “yeah well that’s the way it is. Trouble sells. Trash sells.” This infuriates me. It doesn’t need to be this way. Look what it did to our once jovial, people-loving, somewhat lefty moderate, Roby, who is now in detox from the Political Furor/WWE Politics Smackdown that our Corporate Media not only permitted to occur but fed into and loves to whip into a frenzy. What are the solutions to this sickness?

    • Roby permalink
      April 10, 2016 11:04 am

      Very thoughtful Pat.

      Vast impersonal forces. Human psychology is one. The force at work here is the same one behind the tulip speculation frenzy in the Netherlands in 1637.

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

      We are having a frenzy of being cynical about America. Technology, another vast impersonal force, met the human tendency to be lemmings (or the dreaded sheeple).

      At the risk of sounding like Dave, one of his points that I can somewhat agree with is that according to some measures things aren’t that bad, and even are pretty good. My own life being one. People don’t pay enough attention to that aspect of America.

      America is like currency, Those pieces of paper work because we believe they are valuable. America works because we believe t hat its valuable.

  51. Roby permalink
    April 10, 2016 11:22 am

    The Trump and Sanders movements both scare me as populist movements because they are based on an over the top phenomenon of people losing faith in America. That is very contagious and easily snowballs.

    Its easy for people to lose faith when they run on pure emotion. Today, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have captured the tulip craze market on losing faith in America. The other two candidates in the race seem the perfect foils, neither is a person who inspires faith.

    9/11 was a deep blow to America, the financial crisis was another. In these years the internet sprung up and became our source of facts, usually shallow facts. So, we are in a bad way psychologically as a nation, its not just me. Some people are very angry and have lost all perspective and are living in fear. Enter me, I am angry at the people who are angry and I am in fear of them. All that is left is for another layer, people who are angry with people like me who are angry at angry people. Downward spiral.

    The good news is that America is such a large flywheel and the ordinary people make everything work surprisingly well, even if large numbers of them can swallow the dementia that is the Trump campaign while they are doing that.

    Ordinary people living their lives and keeping everything running are another vast impersonal force, this time a good one.

  52. Ron P permalink
    April 10, 2016 12:16 pm

    There was a time when some leaders understood what being a “moderate” meant. They could be conservative or they could be liberal, but in the end when the moderated their positions, something got done in Washington.

    This quote from Harry Truman shows what leadership is …”It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.” – Harry S. Truman

    With the likes of Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Barrack Obama and the rest of the leadership, sitting down and working out differences is not part of the plan.

  53. April 10, 2016 12:48 pm

    There are different kinds of anger, and different ways to express it. It’s not a pretty emotion, and, more often than not, it’s expression is often directed at the “wrong” people. And we’ve seen that play out in front of our eyes in this primary season. People are angry at Obama, at the GOP leadership, at the crappy economy (despite all of those happy talk posts I see on Facebook about how great the economy “really” is), but we just haven’t noticed) at the cultural rot, at political correctness, at the endless cycle of intolerance and extremism, at the overwhelming amount of political corruption and cronyism in our government…….

    So, after years of frustration and powerlessness, this is what we have. I still remember when Scott Brown was elected Senator from Massachusetts. Opponents of Obamacare were jubilant. Democracy had triumphed! Despite everything, the previously unknown Brown had overcome all odds in one of the bluest of blue states, and had become the 41st senator to oppose the ACA. The bill would not pass! There would have to be fixes, the Democrats would have to negotiate! The system had worked!

    The euphoria lasted about a week, until Harry Reid announced that the bill would be passed through a special budgetary mechanism known as reconciliation, which only required a simple majority. Democracy had been vanquished, politics had won. It was a bitter pill for all of those people who had believed in the system.

    And, many of those people stopped believing in the system. Stopped believing that their vote was worth anything. And there were other bitter pills. Tea Party darlings who, when faced with the challenges and temptations of Washington, failed to fight for the very people who had put them in Washington to fight. And those people stopped believing in the system. And so on , and so on….

    And this is why, Roby, I can’t be too angry at the angry people. Sure, there are the idiots and racists among them. But we’ve had idiots and racists all along. The angry people who are driving this election cycle are the frustrated, disappointed, cynical and bitter people who once were the greatest believers in the system.

    And the politicians just don’t get it…….

  54. Roby permalink
    April 10, 2016 2:15 pm

    Priscilla, Its a meme, its the “we have given up on the system because we did not get what we want” meme, its a deadly cancer, spread with the help of the internet.

    On the left this meme is fueled because the system didn’t produce single payer health care, eliminate the 1% (code for the upper class, considerably larger than 1%), stop all US military involvement in the world. You have more sympathy for the angry cynics on the right, how about their mirror image on the left with all of their anger and cynicism because they have not been able to tax the 2% into oblivion, do you not fear them and their cynicism and anger? I do.

    On the right, Yes, there have always been racists and idiots, but they never had a candidate who spoke their language to crystalize around before and grow, become ambitious. Trump is a very dangerous thing.

    Trump and his followers are not unreminiscent of the not small number of professional revolutionaries in the Black lives matter movement. Are you angry with any of them? Fearful? Al Sharpton? I am fearful of the BLM/Occupy left and of the Trump/Coulter right populists. Both sides have some grain of a real issues. Cops really ought not to shoot small children within a second or so of leaving their vehicle, some of those cases of police brutality actually Have been worthy of murder charges, immigration can’t be unrestricted, its not stupid to wonder how we can separate the peaceful muslims from the Islamists when letting people come to the US.

    But these professional radical cynics, right and left, have used to create a monster meme of giving up on the system and the need for a revolution.

    Meanwhile the more reasonable and thoroughly understandable versions of the concerns of about police use of deadly force or immigration or wealth disparity or Islamism are lost in the noise.

    I remain angry and fearful, most of all of the general meme with its right and left subsections of disbelief in the system.

    • April 10, 2016 3:37 pm

      Giving up on the system, because you didn’t get what you want is one thing. That’s just a temper tantrum. Giving up on the system, because you have come to realize that what you were taught to believe was the right way to address issues and problems is, in fact, no longer the right way and – surprise! – there is no new way to replace it is what I’m talking about.

      I have more sympathy for the angry cynics on the right, because these are the people that we need (not the angry cynics, but the traditionalists, the conservatives, the “good clean-living folks”) to keep the system working in the first place. Once THOSE people start listening to demagogues and considering extreme solutions to problems, we’re in trouble. Liberalism is fine and dandy when things are going well, but liberalism addresses problems that a society can deal with when the basic foundations of that society are working. Once those foundations are spinning out of control, liberals are coming to a gun fight with a toy light saber.

      Of course I’m angry and fearful about Trump and his followers, but I also see that over the last couple of months, there has been, on the right, a really coordinated effort to defeat him. While the mainstream media has spent their time trashing him as a racist and the second coming of Hitler, all the while hanging on and reporting every stupid thing he does and freezing out every other candidate, the National Review took the unprecedented move of officially “un-endorsing” Trump and publishing, for the first time ever, an entire issue devoted to explaining rationally and philosophically why no Republican or no conservative should vote for Trump. The 22 essays in the issue “Against Trump” represent the whole array of conservative “types” from Glenn Beck to Thomas Sowell.

      The Republican Party, very belatedly, has also begun to work towards a “reasonable” solution to the Trump problem, and one of the reasons that Ted Cruz is doing so well right now is that he is essentially being used as a tool of the party to get to a contested convention, a convention that will not nominate Donald Trump. That doesn’t mean it will nominate someone that liberals will like, or even conservatives, but, if you’re angry and worried about Trump, you should be rooting for Cruz right now. Not because he’s your kinda guy, but because he’s the only guy who can work through the system ((that’s important) to defeat Trump.

      A lot of the problem is that we tend to trash the followers of one candidate or the other, trash the candidates themselves, but never stop hurling invective and insults long enough to demand that the candidates themselves explain how they will attempt to constitutionally address our many serious issues. So, in that case, we have met the enemy, and it’s not Donald Trump.

      • Roby permalink
        April 10, 2016 3:59 pm

        “I have more sympathy for the angry cynics on the right, because these are the people that we need (not the angry cynics, but the traditionalists, the conservatives, the “good clean-living folks”) to keep the system working in the first place.’

        We need conservatives, but we don’t need liberals? Just lose all of us liberals somehow and the American world will see no loss? I’m Not trying to twist your words but they seem to imply that conservatives people are more valuable. Maybe I’m misreading you.

        Rationalizing the anger and cynicism of only one side seems to me just to perpetuate the problem. The meme that revolution is in the air because we’re nearly FUBAR is for me the enemy, I don’t care, left, right, or libertarian. Its a mania, I don’t think facts bear it out. If its the cure for something then its in great danger of being more destructive than the disease.

      • April 10, 2016 6:30 pm

        Well, I don’t think I said that. Although, maybe it came across that way. What I think is more along the lines of this ~ liberals are better at fighting oppressive institutions (government, religion, social mores) and conservatives are better at fighting the dangerous tendency within most liberal movements that can lead to radicalism and rejection of the past, regardless of the value of that past.

        I think we’ve had a lot of change lately ~ I think it’s time to slow down, take the reins away from the “changers” and give them to the “let’s slow down and think about this-ers”. If that makes more sense.

    • dhlii permalink
      April 10, 2016 8:06 pm

      The “System” – government – can not give us what we want. Though far to many politicians promise us otherwise.

      Look arround at what is wrong in this country today. What of our problems are not tied to government ?

      Whatever you want that does not involve government is readily available, often delivered right to you, and usually quite affordably.

      A couch potato 40 years ago had three choices of viewing – two of which required copious amounts of tin foil and standing in odd positions.

      Today whatever I want to view is on my phone, my table, my computer and my flat screen, which all together cost about what a color TV did when I was a child.

      My car has electic windows, an automatic tranmission, an entertainment system that works with my phone, It has a 100,000 mile waranty, and in a few more years it will drive itself.

      I shredded my shoulder a few months ago. Had I done that 40 years ago, it never would have recovered. Today for a dew thousand dollars a surgeon rebuilt the entire shoulder using instrumnets the size of a fountain pen, and it will be better than ever all done in a surgical center that was an Acme Market when I was a kid.

      In the same time period, government now consumes almost 50% of what we produce, and despite that runs nearly a trillion dollars short each year.
      Social Security will bankrupt the country – if medicare does nto first, if ObamaCare does not first, if …. does not first.

      They are still fighting in the mideast. Our government seems no less inept at foriegn policy than ever before. Bitch and moan about Hillaries tenure as Secretary of State and it was not that impressive – but when ever has it been ?

      What is government doing better today than when I was a kid ?
      Why is government bigger and a bigger problem today than then ?
      It has stuck its nose into ever more things, but few if any of those have improved.

      Why is it that far to few of us can look arround and see clearly – what has without any doubt gotten far far better, and what has clearly gotten worse.

      How is it given the past 40 years, that we would choose to trust the free markets less and government more ?

      Given the past history of the far left programs in the US and socialism world wide, how is it that Bernie Sanders is not booed out of every venue he appears in ?

      How is it that a portion of us, and nearly the entire democratic party were willing to take a giant government bite out of our healthcare system ?

      Huricane Katrina, Sandy, … Walmart stepped up, Home Depot Stepped up, Denny’s stepped up. Where the F was our government ?

      We have politicians passing antigouging laws, while Denny’s is serving free coffee and sandwiches, Home Depot have prepositioned nearly everything that anyone could need immediately after so that even before the winds and rain stopped people could start to rebuild. And what did government do – actually delay allowing help to arrive.

      The market sees the predations of nature as opportunity. A few short term thinkers sell gas at 4 times the normal rate. But most who consider the long term, know that if they look after you when the world is going to hell, that when things are better you will remember them.

      Many of us and particularly the left – hate the free market, we bitch and moan about greed.
      As we sip our starbucks Grande Carmel Frapachino, extra syrup, %2 milk, while trying to choose between watching something on Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, or …

      • April 10, 2016 9:50 pm

        I get your point, Dave, but, you don’t provide the answer to the question of what system WOULD provide us with what we want. You don’t seem to be an anarchist, but, unless you are, you can’t just be against government, you have to be for some type of government. Some “system.” I think that our Constitution is a pretty good system. There are aspects of it that might need to be amended or changed, and it provides a way to do that.

        Except that very few people in the federal government seem the least bit interested in the Constitution, and the system is falling apart. And what seems to be replacing it is a popular desire for authoritarianism, not libertarianism.

  55. Pat Riot permalink
    April 11, 2016 11:50 am

    “Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up once in awhile then a scum floats to the top” –Edward Abbey.

    Dave, are you talking about federal government, state government, local government, or ALL government? What roles do you see appropriate for government besides national defense and state and local police?

  56. April 17, 2016 10:12 pm

    This is really funny and should pretty much cover how everyone feels about this primary season…….

    • Ron P permalink
      April 17, 2016 11:49 pm

      Finally an explanation anyone can understand!!!

      • Roby permalink
        April 18, 2016 9:40 am

        If anyone is a conservative!

        Oh, poor old Bernie, being screwed right and left by the Dem party (which he finally sort of joined a few months back in his 73rd year).

        I saw a few portions of the NY Dem debate because I was playing in a restaurant and it was on TV. Bernie looked to me to be completely crazy, one idea in his head that he pursues with no idea of what he is actually proposing to do about it. 40% of Dems want that, Dems are 35% of the voters, that makes about 14% who are so far left that they want this veins popping out his head populist welfare state lover/bank hater. And about the same on the other side 40% of the 30% of the voters who are Reps. want Trump = ~ 12% 26% of the country want some complete loon for president, they are still outnumbered I tell myself.

        If the Dems can use their rules, long in place, to keep a complete nut, who could not possible fulfill the role of president from being their candidate I am grateful. A true Dem. loon running against a true GOP loon is a nightmare election that I pray can be somehow avoided. Normally I have a sense of humor I believe, but not about this (unless of course its humor from my side of the spectrum, then its hilarious).

      • April 18, 2016 10:18 am

        Well, don’t forget that many of the primaries in which Trump won more than his 30% populist, nativist GOP base were open primaries….and I’m guessing some of those were populist nativist Democrats. The truth is, both parties have morphed into something totally different than they started out to be. The Democrats were supposed to be the party of the working man ~ they are now the party of left wing extremists and the urban & academic elite. The Republicans were supposed to be the party of business owners, both big and small, and they have become the party of evangelical social extremists and nativists. Both parties are beholden to the rich, and the entire Washington “establishment” is corrupted, almost (or maybe hopelessly) by cronyism.

        The way I see it, we would be far better served by electing a Trump or a Sanders, because, all of a sudden, you would see the feckless US Congress miraculously become the co-equal branch of government that it’s meant to be.
        George Bush and Barack Obama didn’t get away with anything that the Congress did not allow. For all of the squealing and whining that the GOP has done about immigration, they’ve never even whispered the possibility of impeaching a President who has refused to enforce our laws. And for all the huffing and puffing that the Democrats did about W and Cheney being war criminals, it was all hot air. You can bet that Bernie or The Donald would not get that kind of royal treatment.

        But you’ve got to keep your sense of humor, Roby! And, as you have often reminded me, politics is not “real life.”

      • Ron P permalink
        April 18, 2016 12:25 pm

        As Roby calculated, 26% of the population is driving the bus, even if Bernie is not nominated, because Hillary is not that much different. She supports:
        1. Free college tuition, books and fees for 4 year college by raising taxes on the rich.
        2. Infrastructure spending by raising taxes on the rich
        3. Tax cuts for the lower income group by raising taxes on the rich.
        4. Tax reform to increase taxes on the wealthiest among us.
        5. Raise in the minimum wage so everyone across america has the same minimum regardless of cost of living in their communities.
        6. Increase benefits under the ACA.
        The only thing she does not appear to support that Bernie supports is breaking up the big banks so they have less harm on the economy when they fail. And that is only because she has been bought and paid for by Wall Street.

        So when 26% drive the positions and candidates, the 74% that desire something else, and in many cases, something more moderate, they are left out, And that is because they (1) don’t care, (2) don’t know how to make their positions known, (3) accept what is jammed down their throats or (4) complain on social media thinking that will fix the problem.

        Not until someone with a lot of money is more worried about the country than their own pocket book who is willing to fund a campaign for a third party candidate that is well known and is willing to break for the two party system, will anything change. It has been over 100 years since a new party emerged that could compete and the only way the 74% are going to get representation, is for another third party to emerge.

  57. April 18, 2016 6:58 pm

    There you go again, Roby, lumping Sanders and Trump together because they are “outsiders,” and calling them “loons.” If something has to be called lunacy, it would be a continuation of the current “Ultra-Consolidation” and the corruption that protects it.

    From your previous posts I can surmise that your “pro-establishment” amen corner comes mostly from a fear of turmoil and upheaval, and that’s a legitimate fear. But I say if you drive to American towns and small cities and section of big cities where you, yourself would not normally go, where industry has departed and nothing has filled the void, and the houses are leaning and in disrepair, and the people are lost and in disrepair, and you take a good, hard look, and even casually measure the economic and cultural decay during the past 30 years, that you should then fear the continuation of the Consolidation more, regardless of temporary personal affluence, because eventually it gets it will get to the point where the context which has been America will reach the real breaking point.

    My next two posts will be short videos of Sanders regarding climate change and Sanders regarding something other than the worship of money. If you have substantive points to make I’d love to hear them.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 19, 2016 12:12 am

      Pat. Sorry to interject into your comments to Roby, but I just wanted to say I agree with you 100%. I don’t like what Trump or Sanders are promoting and would like something different. But “lunacy” is the voting of the same parties into power and expecting a different outcome, especially when the outcomes have been the same for many years (varies with whatever outcome is look into). Sanders and Trump ay not have the right answers, but at least they have a different one.

      • April 19, 2016 8:00 am

        Ron, please always interject. I don’t like half of Sanders’ positions. I wish he were much stronger against illegal immigration for instance. He has been reasonable in the past regarding the 2nd amendment, but I worry that all the hoopla and the Bern will go to his head. He’s only human. What I’m cautiously excited about is the possibility of breaking up the stranglehold from the top, especially since some at the top don’t give a rat’s ass about the American People or national sovereignty. If Trump had some depth and sophistication and tact I would have been desperate toward the right instead of desperate toward the left!

      • April 19, 2016 8:56 am

        Well, I’m with you guys on this too. That’s what I meant about the Congress getting up off of its collective butt, if Trump or Sanders were to be elected. This idea that the President can do whatever he wants would end PDQ, I think.

        And, Pat, I agree that it could be very messy, and maybe even dangerously messy. But, if we end up with President HRC, SCOTUS is lost, the Congress continues to be a bunch of money-grubbing do-nothings, the Presidency becomes ever more imperial. Maybe a lot of people are ok with that, since they think it will benefit them – free stuff and all.

        I just don’t know. Honestly, I would prefer a constitutionalist like Cruz, but I see no way that he wins….even with an appealing running mate. I’m not a “burn it down” kinda gal (is “gal” even politically correct these days?), but I see Hillary as the worst, most depressing option. In other words, the one we’re likely to get.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 19, 2016 12:49 pm

        I think Trump would find ways to work with congress better than Cruz. In some respects, I accept Cruz’s positions on something better than Trump’s, such as his way of addressing immigration, fiscal policies, foreign policies, but then he goes off on extremist social policies of the evangelical Christians that a small percentage of Voters support and he loses me.

        I think Trump would be more like Reagan in meeting with Ryan to work out agendas (no one can work with McConnell) than Cruz. I see more give and take with Trump and more directives with Cruz.

        i also see Clinton being more open to dialog with Ryan, but that is due to earlier years and with her movement to the left, that could be a pipe dream.

      • April 19, 2016 9:49 am

        And, Roby, before you worry that we have all become loons (actually, maybe we have!), I cannot stand Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. While I agree that Sanders is the most sincere in his pronouncements, I also think that his pronouncements are the most stupid and witless ~ and, with Trump in the race, that is a very low bar to clear. I do wonder how someone who tried to get conscientious objector status is qualified to be a commander -in -chief, but I suppose nothing like that matters anymore.

        For what it’s worth, I can’t stand Cruz or Kasich either.

    • Roby permalink
      April 19, 2016 10:39 am

      Heh, Pat I thought my post might spring you into action. I don’t really lump Trump and Sanders together, though there are similarities in their ideas and their supporters and their approaches. But if I had to cast the deciding vote in the 2016 election between Sanders and Trump I can promise you I would not choose Trump.

      I respect where you are coming from Pat. You may or may not remember my posts about Baltimore, a place I would not normally go but I did go because my youngest daughter graduated from art school there. And I WAS shocked and I think that something drastic needs to be done and I will admit that of all the candidates only Sanders would put his heart and soul into trying to do something there. So if that is all there was to this I would choose Bernie cheerfully.

      The two things I fear most in America are the growing ideological divide and the crumbling inner cities. (That is leaving out my greatest long-term fear of global warming and all my fears in the international world about wars and tyrants.)

      Since my lonely establishment Amen corner here of 1 (one is the loneliest number) has already said the same thing over and over here to the point where any of you can write my stuff for me, let me try to say this just slightly differently this time. I agree with your entirely noble thought that you would give half of what you own to make the broken parts of America better. I’d like to think I might too. But, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to Ron or Priscilla, and not meaning to put words in their mouths, they would not make that choice and would resist it fiercely. Pat, are not Sweden. Most Americans don’t want to have a huge government run bureaucracy to help struggling people and eliminate poverty. Until they do its not going to happen.

      Personally I believe that the country could afford to do some very large things in the way of training programs (NOT 4 years college degrees in Philosophy or Sociology!) to redirect money into the poorest and most broken places. But it won’t happen until a solid majority of Americans want that and we are far from that place.

      If Bernie were elected with a democrat run congress we would lose our dear friend Ron, and a lot of other people too. Spending would increase far far far beyond their beliefs. Bridges would have long lines of jumpers. Or there would be an actual armed rebellion in the red states and perhaps red pockets of blue states. You can’t have what Sanders wants when the bulk of his support is from millennials. If Sanders were elected with a GOP controlled congress they would just hurl invective at each other and agree on nothing and in the next presidential election we would get the opposite of Sanders.

      I’ve known Bernie Sanders (not personally) for 30 years. He has no detailed knowledge of almost anything, he does not live in the details. I easily recognize him because I am the same way, I am far more interested in the big picture than details (Ph.D nothwithstanding). Bernies interests and knowledge base are entirely insufficient to be president. I am a minority of one here, I do not believe for one minute that congress would fill the vacuum of a disastrously unpresidential president. Such a president would cause immense damage.

      While I am not the financial conservative that Ron is, I don’t want to have a president who would just about kill Ron and all the Rons and Priscillas by wildly expanding the federal government or trying.

      I want a president who is not far removed from the ideological center of gravity of the county. That is not Bernie.

  58. April 18, 2016 7:21 pm

    Seems like a man after your own heart, Roby…

  59. Pat Riot permalink
    April 18, 2016 7:26 pm

    To stop a runaway train there is going to be some squealing of brakes, sparks, some jostling of the passengers. I’ll brace for some changes, maybe some of them rough, to stop the runaway train (s).

  60. April 18, 2016 8:16 pm

    The future of our country, and of humanity/the world, doesn’t depend on a handful of healthy endeavors or systems, such as “sustainable energy” or “free markets” or “human rights,” (which most would agree are good, important things) but rather depends on a whole myriad (one of Dave’s favorite words) of endeavors and inter-related systems that exist/operate in social, economic, and political contexts. But we are not going to solve problems quickly enough if the “tip of the pyramid” maintains an increasingly powerful stranglehold on needed alternatives in those various contexts. Too vague?

  61. Pat Riot permalink
    April 18, 2016 8:43 pm

    I love the first half of this clip. I’d say he’s articulate. He’s a gentleman. Presidential to me. I’d say he also comes across as a Moderate–willing to work with people where he can despite differences. Who else is talking about humanity in this way? His goals may be bumpy for America. He may run into strong resistance. A loon?

  62. Pat Riot permalink
    April 18, 2016 8:47 pm

    I myself am doing quite well in America, but I would be happy to lose more than half of my wealth, property, and conveniences in order to see the crumbling of much of America halted and turned around, to see American towns and small cities becoming vibrant and upbeat again.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 19, 2016 12:17 am

      This will take more than government to make happen. A recent survey that I believe I posted here shows the vast majority of Americans would rather buy cheap crap from Walmart than buying “Made in America” at the local mom and pop store for a few bucks more, thus creating jobs in America and a better economy. Those same people are the same ones bitching about the economy.

      • April 19, 2016 7:25 am

        I agree, Ron. It will indeed take more than government to return vibrancy and a “real sense of community” to many American towns and neighborhoods.

        The transition from mom and pop corner stores in the neighborhoods to the malls and big box stores (that require a car to get there) hurt our culture, big time, even though it seemed to make economic sense at the time for the bigger selections and better prices. Some of the neighborhood’s wealth used to circulate in the neighborhood, and those shop owners sponsored the little league teams, and the stores gave people reasons to walk up the street or around the corner, and on the walk people stopped and talked with each other….don’t get me started! Instead that wealth got diverted to “absentee owners” who lounge on their yachts in Palm Springs or even further away on the Mediterranean. This transition may be one of a thousand key changes that hurt our culture, but it was definitely a component.

        When I’m in a car with my 24-year-old son and his hipster friends they always want to patronize the small neighborhood places for lunch or whatever. They are appalled if I suggest McDonald’s or Wal-Mart because there is one on the way. Haha they will refuse to eat or go inside some global or national chains. So at least there is a growing awareness. And you have probably read about, architects and builders are designing neighborhoods with shops and playgrounds and other destinations, and sidewalks, designed in again as indispensable features, so maybe we are learning.

    • Roby permalink
      April 19, 2016 10:52 am

      If only you could convince 70% of Americans to feel the same. Convincing 51% would only lead to an actual civil war. The 49%ers would rather die than be any kind of socialist. In reality its probably more like 70% who don’t want the Swedish form of economy.

  63. Pat Riot permalink
    April 18, 2016 8:54 pm

    “Positivity” hasn’t been in vogue in America in awhile. Most people see sarcasm and being jaded as “normal”. My positivity, and the positivity of others, gets misinterpreted as naivete or “pollyanna” etc. It’s not. If I say I think more people in America going to college would mean fewer Jerry Springer types in my beloved America, fewer dangerous provincials that I and my children would have to encounter, that doesn’t mean I think of this in a simplistic way, or that there aren’t plenty of exceptions, or whole new problems to solve, but I still think it’s true (that more people able to go to college would decrease the amount of Jerry Springer guest types.

  64. Pat Riot permalink
    April 18, 2016 8:57 pm

    A bigger boat than I currently own is one of the things on my list. But here’s an easy choise: bigger yachts for a few, or a more educated America,(even if the education falls on “deaf ears” or “doesn’t stick” in some cases). Still a worthwhile change to me.

    • Roby permalink
      April 19, 2016 10:53 am

      Pat, You are a great American. My hat is off. Now, go clone yourself at a furious pace, a million per day would about do it.

  65. Roby permalink
    April 19, 2016 10:59 am

    Priscilla, thank you for your obvious concern for my mental state in this weird post-all-cultural things-I-love-or-can-relate-to world. I am off to spend the day, 8 solid hours I hope violining. Bach, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, and Tchaikovsky are on my agenda. I found a great and very expensive teacher, a Julliard grad. One of the nice things about paying a lot for lessons is that then you really feel you have to put your heart and soul into practicing! No more politics for me today!

  66. Roby permalink
    April 20, 2016 9:12 am

    Pat, I can add, that I don’t think Bernie is dimwitted. He just has that baby talk New Yawk accent that always makes me underestimate the intelligence of the bearer. Same with the similar Boston accent, and the same with deep southern accents. I can’t help myself, I hear those northeastern and southern dialects and my mind just will not accept the speaker’s words as being thoughtful, even if they are. Yes, I know its silly, but that is how one part of the brain works. Don’t blame me for saying that, I’m just the messenger. How the brain works is one of my vast impersonal forces.

    I will miss Bernie when he is gone, I’ll admit it, heart generally very much in the right place. He raises issues that are very necessary to raise, it is at least a partial victory for his principles. Where I am with him for the most part is where the problems are, what to fear. But his solutions won’t work and would build a bureaucratic society that I don’t want if they did work in some way.

    If Bernie were elected president it would be the absolute final end in the US of most of the ideas that he promotes, because it would become completely obvious that the US does not share Scandinavian cultural values and the red state America is a much stronger force than hip millennial progressives. Lacking his presidency the progressives can still dream that they will someday triumph in the US.

  67. April 20, 2016 6:12 pm

    Well, Roby, I appreciate you upgrading Bernie from “loon” to a guy with a good heart but a bad accent that makes him sound unintelligent and unappealing to you, haha. You are being honest and we can leave discussion of Bernie there!

    I could disagree with the last two paragraphs of your previous post in so many ways, but I’m getting weary of politics too, so I’ll just go in one direction.

    There is such a critical difference between the context of today’s issues and those of past decades (despite Ron’s good post a while back that listed some of the issues that have trajectory into present day), that to talk in old political terms such as “progressive” and “centrist” is misleading and troublesome.

    For example, when “progressives” in the 1960s and 1970s were for government programs and “tweaking society” (oversimplified) it was during a time when, bear with me here, the U.S. ports were shipping to the world, the U.S. manufactured everything including electronics (Philco, Westinghouse, GE, etc.), people around the world admired us for our classy movie stars and our standard of living, etc, yada yada. (There are many other very important factors, but you get the idea), and now so-called “progressives” are trying to literally wrestle our country back from oligarchical cartels who have been “robbing the till,” bankrupting the U.S., and fostering hatred toward the U.S. in more places than just the Mideast. Again, I don’t have time to build the case, but does the stark difference in the overall condition of the U.S. then and now need to be debated?

    Our current situation should be beyond the old ideological discussions of conservative vs. liberal, Republican vs. Democrat, social programs vs. laissez-faire, etc. It’s more a matter of where unprecedented amounts of money are already going, and why, and who is benefiting, and emergency measures to save the U.S. from extinction by diverting some of that funny money back to The People. So this shouldn’t be a debate about economics, and ideology, but a question of triage to stop the bleeding. And so many Americans believe only Trump and Bernie are offering triage, and so they are even willing to look beyond the scariness of “democratic socialism” and “the Donald”.

    The middle and upper classes in 1939 Germany were feeling pretty good about themselves and Germany. (Great black and white home movies on the “Rise of the Third Reich” on the History Channel.) And then the Western Bankers brought/funded one helluva coalition against them. (Not defending the Nazis.) I will not convince you here, but mark my words, the “clubs” in power now that sent our troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere, and run the drone programs, have about as much concern for “the American People” as Western Bankers had for the German people in WWII, and Hillary and Obama are, in effect, extensions of those clubs. Many are suggesting the U.S. will be used as the patsy or fall guy for quick Plan B global reform if Plan A gradual global reform looks jeopardized. I’m sure this last paragraph will sound like “crazy conspiracy talk” to you, but check back with me in 4 years if Hillary is elected and we’ll see the status of American “liberty.” I really hope I’m very wrong.

    • April 20, 2016 6:45 pm

      Pat, you have referred to globalism before, and I have seen it referred to in political articles, but not really paid very much attention. I’m sure it doesn’t lend itself to easy explanation, but when you have some time to kill, if you could write a bit more about this “global reform”, Plan A and Plan B. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like “crazy conspiracy talk” to me.

      • April 20, 2016 11:17 pm

        Priscilla, I’d be glad to. I’ll do my best to be brief and to not sound too much like a conspiracy lunatic! At the risk of stating the obvious and/or what you already know, I’ll just launch into a crass summary:

        Plan A is the gradual process of establishing a global government whose power supersedes and nullifies the sovereign powers of individual nations, including the United States. This is not a fanciful notion. It has been a stated and documented objective by powerful people and thinkers for many years. Some supporters believe that a global government is the only way to eventually save the planet and humanity from incessant wars and from selfish, short-sighted behaviors of individual nations. Powerful, wealthy people of course have children and grandchildren and have incentives to think about securing the future!

        Plan A has been in progress for quite some time. Gradual has been the preferred method in order to avoid sparking resistance and rebellion, etc. It’s the frog being boiled in a pot–too gradual to notice until it’s too late. Considering the violent history of mankind, and the troublesome interaction of nations, and the human stupidity and myopia we see manifesting in the news since there has been news, there is merit to this Globalist (New World Order) viewpoint. Achievements toward these ends have been impressive. These are some of the smartest, results-oriented, successful people in the world. I would love to enumerate the accomplishments, but I would want to spend the time to do them justice.

        Opponents to the globalist agenda point to flaws inherent in centralized planning. Whether it is regarding a manufacturing process, owning property, interpersonal relationships, etc., life teaches us that an “absentee landlord” often becomes “out of touch” with what is occurring on-site, with changes and needed solutions. This is part of the reason that the private sector outperforms government 99% of the time–because a good private sector owner has “skin in the game” and is immersed in the process, close enough to see the organic conflicts as they arise and with natural incentives to rectify those conflicts. Personally I believe nature teaches us that the healthiest method is a balance between top-down and bottom-up. Each leaf performs its own photosynthesis, each grass root reaches down to find it’s own nutrients, but all receive the sun and the rain from above. That sounds a bit hokey. I wish I had time to better illustrate that metaphor. Anyway, America’s Founding Fathers sought this balance between bottom-up (personal liberty) and top-down (rule of law, central planning via a balance of powers and checks and balances, and God).

        Sometimes when I am despondent about the frailties of mankind, about the abysmal lack of coordination among self-centered people, I think it best to just give up on bottom-up self-determination and align with the global elite. At least they’re semi-coordinated and have immense resources! I happen to think some of the agenda-pushing global elite are correct about some things and misguided about others.

        Other problems include disagreement, imperfect coordination, resistance, competing factions, and rogue elements. Many believe George W Bush the son was a bit of a rogue element who could not be controlled by his openly NWO-supporting father. But at least, it seems, some say, George W Bush operated from what he believed was a noble, spiritual place. Scarier to me are the elements that are utterly atheistic and operating from a complete survival-of-the-fittest mentality. They will rule at any expense. And then when you factor in climate change and perceived overpopulation…ug.

        I hope that wasn’t too general. Plan B, if gradual is being thwarted, is to plunge us into chaos. That’s age-old divide and conquer. Obviously we see the factionalism and hysteria being stoked. Many believe Obama could have been a great Uniter, rather than a divider, but that is not part of the agenda. And they’d rather not destroy too many of their capital investments. Gradual is much more desirable.

        I purposely stayed away from specifics, because that would require sources, documentation, and work. I’m not retired yet!

  68. April 21, 2016 12:07 am

    There’s a more extreme version of Plan B in which the world believes it must stop the rogue U.S. because the U.S. became irreversibly corrupt and went too far. Let’s see…global aggression, acting without U.N. approval, the U.S. population broadcasted to the world as pornographers, cop-killers, minority haters, rednecks, degenerates, polluters….

    Sadly, the once-great U.S. became corrupt and had to be stopped (like Germany in WWII). Countries band together. The ruling elite, the de-facto commanders-in-chiefs (did any of us working stiffs really push for all these wars?) have our military “stand down” in effect (dwindled and engaged elsewhere?). Along with the demise of the U.S. is the demise of the U.S. dollar. And who steps in with a new global currency?

    Look folks, it’s a scenario. I’m a pretty good chess player and can think a bunch of moves ahead, but I’m a working stiff. What do I know?

  69. April 21, 2016 10:31 pm

    Thanks for the link, Prisclilla! Konrad’s article in the American Thinker on fascism does dovetail with some of the things I was saying, and I agree with him to an extent. The good news, and I’ll rely on a page from Roby’s playbook, is that the statists don’t control everything, and couldn’t control everything because there’s too much going on. So, it’s reassuring for us to realize that even in the midst of statist over-reach there are still entrepreneurs starting businesses, good kids with integrity graduating schools, various groups of people pushing back against the corporitism, etc., etc., etc.

    I see Konrad’s take on fascism as what is occurring WITHIN countries, and as I said I agree to an extent. Some of my New World Order / Globalist talk is in regard to powerful groups / “cartels” jockeying for position to control commerce and affairs AMONG countries, and efforts to be the “Alpha Cartel” or Godfather of global players, so to speak.

    Another reassuring thought is that this type of activity has been occurring for a long time, even during decades that we tend to look back on as golden years and glory days, so there’s still room for many flowers to grow healthy out of the excrement. To beat my drum…I think the worst part is the unprecedented consolidation.

    One of my favorite questions to ask is “what now?” So, even if we assume only half of the worrisome developments are true, then “what now?” What do we do now? What do we do to preserve liberty and our cutlure?

    • Roby permalink
      April 22, 2016 8:19 am

      Yes, I can agree with these Roby-like caveats.

      Even single countries can’t be unified or single political parties. The Brexit talk shows that Europe is unifying poorly. Taking the sovereignty of the USA, China, and Russia from the grip of their cold dead hands and making them submit to a unified world government? I don’t see that in my lifetime or my children’s. In some scifi book set 5000 years in the future? How powerful is the UN, who submits any large portion of their sovereignty (just spelled that correctly two times without spellcheck!) to it? Quick, who is the present leader of the UN and name the last 5 leaders? I can’t either. Countries make agreements if it suits their purposes, look how well its working with global warming. THere is a powerful tendency of humans to fragment into smaller and smaller groups that is much more powerful than our rare urges to unify.

      The UN, weak as it is, is what there is of a unified world government and it seems that it has helped to prevent WWIII thus far, which is the main thing that “world government” was aimed at.

      • April 22, 2016 12:49 pm

        Dear Mr. Caveat,

        I think it’s far worse than I think you think it is, but not as bad as some people think it is, but far, far worse than other people think it is, but let’s Fuhgettaboudit and have a great weekend!

        One of the best things we can do is to continue to take care of ourselves and the people around us, and I think you do that, and in many ways it’s easier to take care of ourselves when we don’t dwell on the twilight zone.

        Have a great weekend everyone!

  70. Pat Riot permalink
    April 21, 2016 10:33 pm

    Sorry I typo’d your name, Priscilla!

  71. Ron P permalink
    April 22, 2016 2:16 pm

    One of the most “maddening” things to happen in March was the issue with “Trump Chalkings”. This continued into April and I am still listening to the news about “Trump chalkings” at universities. These, as well as other conservative political postings on campuses, have led to a backlash by students demanding that this be stopped because it is offensive, emotionally disturbing and damaging to their psychological well being, I wonder if they really understand what they are demanding. Many of their parents and grandparents demonstrated on campus for exactly what they are demanding to be removed. Before 1964, speech on college campuses was strictly controlled by the administration. If it did not meet the “thinking” of the administration, it was not allowed. In the mid 60’s, the free speech movement began and was made a cornerstone for the movement at UC Berkley. (It actually began much earlier, but did not become national until that time). Students were arrested, fights broke out and other outcomes occurred due to the sit-ins. In May, 1970, four students were killed and nine wounded, one paralyzed for life when the national guard opened fire on their anti-war demonstration at Kent State university in Ohio. They paid dearly for the right of free speech that day. But in the end, students had the right to say, write, or communicate most any subject because it was their “right under the 1st amendment”. I wonder if students today really want to go back to where a small group of individuals control what others can say like it was before their parents and grandparents fought for that right when they were students?

    • Roby permalink
      April 23, 2016 8:47 am

      I did a quick search and I ignored the news sources that I consider conservative propaganda I quickly found this, which made me ill:

      https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2016/03/28/context-controversy-over-trump-chalkings-emory-university-essay

      Oh, the author, a vice president and dean at Emory, does speak up for the first amendment, but it seems the chalkers did not follow it correctly by getting a “chalking permit” and doing it in an approved “chalking location.” Anyone who has been on campus (Priscilla!) is of course familiar with the tightly controlled and orderly culture of chalking.

      I no longer work on campus, funding ran out for the tutoring I was doing and boy am I glad. One of the last incidents that happened at our little state college was that one student’s senior art project was “censored” by some unknown party who put brown paper over the glass door leading into the school’s art museum. Why did they do that? The senior art project consisted of graphic photos of two men having sex. The typical people were outraged that anyone would take it upon themselves to censor art.

      I wonder how those same people would react to a Trump chalking. Makes me want to buy some chalk and find out.

      Now, I am no danger of becoming a conservative because of stuff like this, but I certainly am evolving an ever more serious loathing of campus mind control by the left. Maybe, like the good liberal that I am I’ll take firm and serious action and get a bumper sticker.

      Ron, you are right on about this.

      • April 23, 2016 9:52 am

        What’s weird about this chalking stuff is that it’s been going on for years. I posted, in an earlier comment, the story of how one of my sons and I visited Swarthmore during “Queer Week”, back in 2001, and there were all kinds of ‘offensive’ chalkings all over campus. The only people who were traumatized by this were parents, lol!

        What ever happened to college kids being edgy and rebellious? I guess that helicopter parenting really has had its effect on the culture……..

      • Roby permalink
        April 23, 2016 12:37 pm

        I should have included the heading of the article:

        “Chalked endorsements normally would not cause anyone to blink an eye, writes Ajay Nair, but a particular set of circumstances at the university created a flash point.”

        OMIGOD, a flash point, a freaking flash point, right in a safe zone. This cannot be allowed to pass, we need a Constitutional amendment to define and outlaw both flash points and to Constitutionally create campus safe zones.

        By the way the comments to the article I referenced are hilarious, not everyone has succumbed. In fact the number of reasoned responses to the article The majority by far) is enough to make one hopeful that most people get that PC is bad, especially on campus.

        One of the pythons said that if there were anything worthy of making MP reunite for a movie it is PC. Please guys, the time is now, we need you pythons!

  72. April 22, 2016 7:51 pm

    That first amendment is a tricky one.

  73. Roby permalink
    April 23, 2016 1:44 pm

    http://emorywheel.com/emory-students-express-discontent-with-administrative-response-to-trump-chalkings/

    And they got what they wanted.

    I hate Trump.
    I hate PC campus safe zone crybullies.
    I hate both sets of idiots.

    Bill Maher got it right though, some condolence right?

  74. Roby permalink
    April 23, 2016 1:53 pm

  75. April 23, 2016 2:59 pm

    “It’s not going to survive contact with reality.” A good comment by the chap in the Bill Maher clip! In this chalking situation is seems rather obvious that moderate equals common sense equals truth, and the extremists on both sides need to get out more often.

    • April 24, 2016 8:50 am

      Sometimes, though, I wonder. We have successfully, it seems, convinced an awful lot of people that men can be women and women can be men. That runs counter to reality, but it is currently animating our culture in very real ways.

      Interestingly, if we really, REALLY believe that a person can switch genders based on psychological preference, why isn’t there a push for transgendered people to compete in sports, based not on their birth gender, but on their “real” gender. So, you would have Caitlyn Jenners competing in women’s sports, not in men’s. It would truly transform our culture, and that’s what the social justice warriors want, right?

      But women who use male hormones to enhance their athletic performance are punished and cast out of their sport. So, does that mean that we are going to forbid transgendered women like Jenner to participate in sports, or force them into men’s bathrooms…oops, I mean men’s sports?

      Yeah, something is off here. ESPN, fired Curt Schilling for questioning laws that ‘force’ people with XY chromosomes to use to use the men’s locker room…..why not come out in favor of XY transgenders to be female athletes? That is. if they really believe that transgendered women people are actually women. Otherwise, it’s discrimination, no?

    • April 24, 2016 9:12 am

      Heh, “transgendered women people” …. that was a typo – I meant to change “people” to “women” and forgot to delete “people.” But it has a ring to it.

  76. Roby permalink
    April 24, 2016 9:28 am

    Well Priscilla, look at the bright side, transgender has got to be the last frontier, right? No one is going to take up bestiality as a cause, not even campus PCers, right?

    I’ll admit I’m old school, David Bowie made me queasy and I did not just go into a 4 day funk over the death of Prince, the sexually ambiguous fundamentalist Christian, clean living raunch machine. People are just taking parts out of every drawer and creating mishmash Dennis Rodman freak personalities to attract attention. Jenner is the winner of the freak contest. More likely he is just mentally ill but no one has the guts to say that.

    I do watch the Daily show and love lots of it, other parts make me a bit queasy. They had a transgender show a week or so back, I wound up yelling at the screen I don’t care! and turning it off.

    There is an actual transgender kid in my family (not one of mine thank god). She was such a funny cute kid, definitely unique. Then she wanted to be a boy and almost ended her parents marriage. But she likes boys, she wants a boyfriend not a girlfriend. The family would be incredibly relieved if she were merely lesbian. She was born female but wants wants to become a male homosexual?!? It seems more like a crisis of teenage confusion.

    Both sides should stop freaking out over the bathroom thing, there have been transgender people and they have used bathrooms forever and I don’t remember any consequences that touched my life from it.

    Again, this has to be the last and weirdest frontier and then we can all take a breath I hope the activists will have run out of ground breaking causes. Then what will they do?

    I care a hell of a lot more about the economy than transgender bathroom rights. But I am still not going over the conservative side! I’ll admit that just for a moment I actually considered voting for Trump yesterday in my revulsion over Emory et al.

    By the way, that transgender kid in my family, she is a Trump supporter, big time.

    I’m off to a saner world, Bach and a tennis match for me today. No weirdness can find me if I turn off my computer and don’t answer the phone.

    • April 24, 2016 6:28 pm

      Roby, my daughter has a friend who is a transgendered female, and she has the same girlfriend that she had when she was a he. So she changed from a straight guy to a gay girl. I’ve heard of this before, as well.

      What ever happened to tomboys? True story: I grew up with a girl who refused to play with dolls or any girl toys, was tougher and stronger than all of the boys in the neighborhood (got picked 1st for every kickball game), dressed like a boy, at least to the extent that her parents would allow it, etc. By the time she was a senior in HS, she was captain of the cheerleading squad and the homecoming queen. But, if she were growing up today, would her parents have considered her a transgendered boy, and told her to use the boys bathroom?

      And what about transvestites? I thought that there were guys who liked to “dress up” once in a while, but that didn’t make them gay. Just “different”. Can you not be one of those guys anymore?

      Maybe this is the last frontier, but something tells me there are ever more weird and troubling ones to come……I hope you’re right and I’m wrong.

    • April 25, 2016 9:31 am

      This is an important read…..don’t be put off by the name of the site. Rod Dreher is a thoughtful, moderate conservative, not a flaming wingnut. Anyway, read the whole thing, especially the part about the transgender KINDERGARTNER being bullied by his/her peers. Also, it quotes one of my favorite iconoclastic liberals, Camille Paglia:

      http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/reality-bathroom-transgender-metaphysics/

      • Roby permalink
        April 25, 2016 12:26 pm

        If I were the parents of a gender confused kindergartner I would be doing my best to kindly but firmly lead the child to the gender behaviors that go with the sex of the child. No matter how much the world changes its not ever going to be easy to be trans. When the child is grown and can make a non hormone addled choice, then be accepting. Not at 5.

        I’l try to find my liberal side here. I was low in the pecking order as a kid, I could lick anyone my own size, but that was a very small number of kids. I loved classical music, had big glasses, read all the time, did badly in school. Had to fight quite a bit. It made me mentally tough and it made me question not myself but Them. All the same, not an easy ride through the school years as a straight kid. For gay kids in my era life must have been pure unadulterated hell, just unimaginable. Suicides were very much more common than in the straight population.

        I am a queasy moderate, never at the cutting edge of the struggles that the odd gender kids go through, I accepted the result of the struggle for gay etc. rights…after the battle was over.

        Its easy to laugh at all of this stuff being safely straight, even though it was no easy thing to negotiate sexual development in high school even being straight. Perhaps people who were the alphas and beta, the top of the food chain maybe school was one long adventure full of happy times.

        If people braver and nobler than myself have changed the world for the better for gay etc. people, then I can (belatedly) support them. My kid’s generation is very much adjusted to all of this sexual identity thing. At least in Vermont and the other places my kids have lived.

      • April 27, 2016 8:38 am

        No question that the “sexual identity thing” has been normalized among millennials. I do wonder whether that is a good thing or not. I am not particularly conservative when it comes to things like gay marriage, but the idea that a male can become a female, or vice-versa, simply because he or she believes it is so is not something that I think is a matter or self-actualization, but more a manifestation of mental illness.

        And let’s say I’m wrong, and there is, in fact, some genetic predisposition to transgenderism. How common is it, and why haven’t we studied the role of nature vs. nurture in its manifestation? Do identitical twins separated at birth both show transgenderism?

        Here is my problem with many of the “settled science” arguments of the left. There IS no science. There is only emotion, political determinism, and anger.

        But no science.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 27, 2016 12:49 pm

        You left out in your choices as to why someone might be a trans parents who are upset about the sex of their child and choose to change it for the kid.
        http://thefederalist.com/2016/04/25/minnesota-parents-sue-to-get-trans-classes-in-kindergarten/

      • April 28, 2016 9:04 am

        Even the “gay at birth” theory has holes in it. A study of identical twins showed that if one of the twins is gay, the other has about a 50% chance of being gay. And no doubt the second twin is at least partly influenced by the gay twin’s behavior. I do think some people are destined by biology to be gay — we can see stereotypically gay physical types among both men (small, slim, fine-boned) and women (beefy and deep-voiced) — but probably the majority of gay people fall on a spectrum.

        As for transgender people, I still have a problem with the idea that someone with xy chromosomes is a woman simply because he feels like one. Yes, he might be more at ease in the world if he were reassigned, but until he is, do emotions trump biology?

  77. April 26, 2016 2:05 pm

    Totally confused how someone who is a “moderate” accuses the right of hyper-partisanship and declares Obama as having a mandate by virtue of being twice elected. Did the right not win the house and more recently the senate, do they not get a mandate as well? Does Obama share no guilt in the dysfunctional landscape since the right won’t let him have his way is it all their fault?

    I do commend you on what you are trying do here, but I think you are certainly left of center on some positions, maybe right of center on some as well. I do appreciate a moderate but I’m not sure how a moderate can see this partisan landscape as all the fault of one side. Pretty sure it’s a matter of too many Kool-Aid drinkers on both sides and I hope you agree that the president and much of congress have drank the proverbial Kool-Aid.

    • April 26, 2016 2:08 pm

      Well, yeah. Co-equal branches, co-equal mandates.

    • Ron P permalink
      April 26, 2016 4:26 pm

      dtriebel, Your confused?
      I’m confused. You stated “I do commend you on what you are trying do here, but I think you are certainly left of center on some positions, maybe right of center on some as well”

      I have been under the assumption for many years that a moderate was someone who held different positions on issues that were not ideologically left or right, but someone who was somewhere between the two extremes. They could be security conservatives, fiscal moderates and social liberal and be considered “moderate” in their overall thinking.

      So others on this site have some idea as to your thinking, how do you define a moderate? Does one have to be moderate on all issues, or can they be someone like I described above.

      And if someone as I described is not moderate, then how would that person be placed in the scale of 10 on the left, 0 in the middle and 10 on the right.

      (Maybe what I described is someone totally screwed up and that would solve the problems others have in defining me!!!)

      • April 27, 2016 9:59 am

        Oh I totally understand that a moderate will have positions both left and right of center. I don’t expect a moderate to be all moderate all the time. I just feel that for any moderate to look at this partisan environment and decide that it’s all the fault of one side or the other is to out themselves as a liberal or a conservative. To side with the GOP or DNC on particular issues makes total sense. To say that the GOP needs to understand that Obama has a mandate (while ignoring the mandate of the house and senate) and they need to comply with his wishes in general is to me anything but moderate.

        The issue in question, the supreme court nomination, is certainly a litmus test of party affiliation. It is an issue that without a doubt would see the two parties switching positions if the shoes were on the other foot. If it were a Republican president and a liberal justice being replaced everyone’s position would be reversed. The people claiming that the GOP must vote on the nominee would swear that they were under no obligation to do so.

        On this issue I would expect a moderate to take a stand on principle that would not change regardless of the roles of the respective parties. I clearly do not feel that this was done in this instance.

      • April 27, 2016 10:32 am

        I think that it’s entirely possible to be both partisan and moderate. In fact, I think anyone that is an entirely neutral centrist is probably someone who doesn’t really care much about politics at all.

        On the other hand, I’m in total agreement with the idea that you can’t have it both ways. If it’s fine to stonewall a GW Bush nomination, but obstructionist to do the same to an Obama nomination, then there is some non- moderate partisanship going on.

        I’ve been pretty clear that I am generally a Republican partisan…mostly by default these days, simply based on my belief that the GOP is the lesser of the evils. But Ron often makes some very convincing arguments for the one or two moderate Democrats that still exist in the federal government (Joe Manchin and ?) and I would not be opposed to supporting someone like that. It just seems that, increasingly, moderates are powerless in our system.

        Interestingly, I have heard convincing arguments that Trump is the most moderate of the remaining presidential candidates. If you strip away his populism and his obnoxiousness, I think that that is probably true.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 27, 2016 1:15 pm

        Every issue has its own set of unique circumstances. You are right that the liberals would be arguing the same thing if the roles were reversed on the SCOTUS appointment. But then one must look at the circumstances that surround the current situation to determine if a more moderate stance should be held compared to one that is a rigid right wing uncompromising position. If the candidates for president were Clinton V a very popular Republican candidate where the chances were more than 55-45 that the Republican would win, then my position would be to hold out a keep the seat open until after the election. However, under the current circumstances where the polls show a 50-40 (10% undecided) support for Clinton and an even larger difference in electoral votes, my position becomes one of taking the best possible candidate that you can get because the alternative is going to be much worse. Take the candidate that is much closer to a Sandra Day O’Conner than one that is much closer to a Gingsburg/Sotomayor.

        And this thinking pertains to all government programs. Close the government to make a point on spending, but then get nothing when a settlement is reached because everyone knew to begin with that only the citizens would be inconvenienced and those wanting government shut down would be the losers shows how rigid positions gain nothing. Refuse to negotiate a budget and let reconciliation take command and the only segment that really suffers is the military.

        Being extreme on any issue is not leadership. It’s being an idiot. As for Trump, I have no idea where he stands on any issue as all he uses is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious adjectives that give no one any idea what he will do when in office. Everything he says is generalizations with no specifics and that is what we have had for years. And that is why this country is so screwed up.

      • April 27, 2016 12:55 pm

        I think what I like best about a moderate is that, while they will have issues they are passionate and partisan on, they will be agreeable to listening to both sides and come to a common sense solution on most things. Increasingly we have people and politicians that subscribe to a parties platform and instinctively fight for one side common sense be damned.

        I lean right more often then left, mainly because I find the government inept and the left too often fights to expand it at my expense. The right however is just as full of narcissists and clowns as the left so here I am. Wondering if we will ever get a wise leader who can see the world through both eyes.

        I think Trump is a moderate in many ways and has the most upside, but I think his downside is far larger than anyone else’s and is most likely to fail and result in a very reactionary and far left wing candidate being elected in four years. I think there are no great choices for a moderate candidate this cycle.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 27, 2016 1:33 pm

        “Wondering if we will ever get a wise leader who can see the world through both eyes.”

        No, that time has passed. I think the republican Party would be in the most opportune place to accomplish that because so many people are just off center, one way or the other. While the democrats play to the very left of center population, the Republicans had the chance to capture the middle and right. But then came the Trump movement with 17 other candidates and he benefited from that food fight until it was too late for a more acceptable candidate to capture the voters. Had there been 3-4 to begin with, I believe Trump would have lost in the first few primaries and decided to drop out, leaving a Bush, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio battle for the nomination. Bush or Kasich would have taken a more moderate voter and Cruz and Rubio would have fought for the more conservative voter, leaving the later primaries between the final two.

        But the two parties have moved so far from center that there will never be another Clinton (Bill) to compromise on social issues or a Reagan to compromise on issues the republican support to gain some part of their platform. Its all or nothing and right now its nothing.

      • April 27, 2016 3:13 pm

        Ron,

        I certainly appreciate your position better now and would agree it’s better to get a more moderate justice in while one can get them. If you believe that Hillary is the presumptive winner it makes perfect sense. I’m not sure that is the case as she is a pretty unattractive candidate but considering the alternative I’m certainly not going to argue this point.

        I’m not sure of if Merrick Garland fits the moderate category. I am ignorant, one side of course thinks he is way to generously moderate and the GOP is evil if they don’t confirm him, the other of course thinks he is way too liberal. I have not done any due diligence. I assume that the left found the most liberal in reality yet moderate in appearance candidate they could. Someone they could use either to get nominated or to score political points, either way they probably don’t care.

        I’m not as cynical as you in that I think things tend to balance out in the long run the foolish media likes to write stories as if one party or the other has a decided long term advantage without realizing that the GOP and DNC naturally adjust positions to make sure they get roughly 50% of the voters. I think the same will happen if the candidates continue to move to the extremes. Someone like Reagan or Clinton will show up and will manage to win a nomination. They will then just by virtue of being reasonable go down in history as being a pretty good president.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 27, 2016 7:36 pm

        I also have not reviewed a lot about Garland, not because I am not interested, but because there is so much on the internet that is either totally slanted in favor of his appointment or totally against his appointment. The one thing about the internet is it is almost impossible to find anything unbiased on any subject without spending hours going through tons of websites until finding one that is neutral.

        The only thing I can sau about galrand is Orin Hatch said in previous SCOTUS reviews that “he would help Obama if Garland was nominated, calling Garland “a consensus nominee” and predicting that Garland would win Senate confirmation with bipartisan support”. That was due to his more moderate positions on rulings, but Obama then appointed other much more liberal candidates that ended up on the court.

        As for the issue with moderates being able to capture national elections, one only needs to look at the percent f individuals eligible to vote who actually do. In the 40’s. somewhere between 56% and 58% of eligible voters cast a vote and that was even with thousands in the military fighting a war who may have not been able to cast a ballot for some reason. In the 50’s and 60’s, 60% to 65% of eligible voters cast a ballot. Since the 70’s, the number voting has steadily decreased until 2008 to the mid 50% range and that was even with the first black running for president that created a huge increase of minorities voting.

        I suspect that this election will be the same as the 1996 and 2000 election where just about 50% of the people eligible to vote actually do. And they will be the ones that believe they have some skin in the game which means the most liberal or the most conservative, while those that have moderate views and believe government will do whatever it wants with or without their vote will again stay home and then bitch for 4 more years when they don’t like what is happening.

    • April 28, 2016 8:34 am

      Dtriebel: I understand your point (and welcome to our little bastion of political sanity). If Congress wanted to reject Obama’s Supreme Court nominee after giving him a hearing, that would be acceptable to me. It’s the cavalier rejection of Obama’s authority to nominate a new justice that had me gritting my teeth. There’s a point at which conscientious opposition becomes reflexive obstructionism, and this Republican Congress passed that point years ago.

      • April 28, 2016 8:57 am

        I do agree with you about the long term standoff between Obama and the Congress. But I think that, in addition to cutting both ways, it began during the Bush administration, when the Democratic Congress decided to change the confirmation rules, in order to block Bush’s federal justice appointments, and then changed them again when Republicans started using the new rules to block Obama’s nominees. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but it’s hard to argue Republican obstructionism in light of the fact that, really, ever since the Bork nomination in the 80’s, Appellate court and SCOTUS appointments have become intensely politicized.

      • April 28, 2016 9:20 am

        Rick,

        I certainly respect an opinion based on principles and if you feel that any congress should hold a hearing on any nominee put forth than I am respect that viewpoint. In my viewpoint the GOP is playing politics and doing the same thing the Dem’s would do if the roles were reversed. I don’t think there is much chance that these politicians will ever act any differently. If they wanted to be principled and ethical they would have chosen a field more conducive to such behavior.

        I don’t blame the Republican Congress for being obstructionist. The gulf between them and their president is to wide for compromise. Both were elected by the people and have a mandate of their own. If I felt one side or the other held moderate views I could certainly assign blame to the other but sadly that’s not the case. Compromise takes two parties both willing to give a little but neither side is budging thus both are equally culpable in my view.

        The SCOTUS is certainly the one place where we need moderate viewpoints. If Garland is indeed such a person than I do hope he is confirmed.

  78. April 26, 2016 8:34 pm

    The definition of “Moderate” or “moderate” is something we’ve batted around here often.

    Wikipedia offers this: “In politics and religion, a moderate is an individual who is not extreme, partisan, or radical.”

    I think that’s a decent start. We might try to better understand “moderate” by asking ourselves what it means to be extreme. Everyone might not agree, but I say there is an element of stubbornness and closed-mindedness to extreme, radical, and partisan viewpoints. Fill in your own examples.

    A moderate possesses enough reasonableness to have SOME movement or SOME flexibility on an issue depending on the circumstances.

    I think it is misleading and a mistake to associate the words “centrist” or “middle” or “average” with being a Moderate. A Moderate could be considerably far to the right or left on an issue, but still have the reasonableness to have enough flexibility to see exceptions and degrees of accuracy, and to be able to compromise enough to be pragmatic and productive in conjunction or along with slightly opposing viewpoints, whereas the extremist will not budge, even if not budging is counter-productive.

    Is this what it means to be Moderate?

  79. April 27, 2016 8:19 pm

    OK so maybe I was Captain Obvious with my post above attempting to generally define “Moderate”. I’m glad to see all recent commenters apparently agreeing that Moderates can be left or right and are not “in the middle” by definition. Also that a Moderate can be partisan and unbending about some issues. Excellent! Bravo! Glad to see this!

    As a husband of 32 years I can give in to my wife on certain things for the sake of the marriage, and be rigid on a few issues to be “true to myself,” and she can do similar for the sake of the marriage and similar to be true to herself. Obviously we desperately need our representatives to work with each other for the sake of the country, but unfortunately party ideologies blind them to the common ground. And then of course some representatives care more about the party and their clout and their career/personal gain than the good of the country. Haha I’m still being Captain Obvious!!

    As with time-tested marriage counseling methods, a first step is to get beyond pointing fingers at the “other side,” to get beyond the mud slinging and begin to see the shared objectives. This isn’t just “nice”!!! A bad marriage cannot heal while the partners are focused on what is “wrong” with the other.

    Now here is the slightly out-of-the-box part, and I’ll scream it: WE MUST DEMAND, AS CONSUMERS, THAT THOSE WHO CREATE THE CONTENT OF OUR MASS MEDIA (MOVIES, TV , NEWS, INTERNET CONTENT, ETC) DEMONSTRATE HOW INTELLIGENT HUMAN BEINGS RESOLVE DIFFERENCES WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT.

    So much of our culture is media driven, and so much of our media is profit-driven, that we’re driving ourselves off a cliff. Writers, do your part! Directors, do your part! CONSUMERS, do your part! We must all do our part to restore dignified human interaction by, duh, DEMONSTRATING HOW IT’S DONE!!!!

  80. April 27, 2016 8:46 pm

    Not sure if my point above came across. How do we get Republicans to stop thinking Democrats are idiots, and vice-versa? How do we get our leaders to work with each other to get things accomplished? Answer: by making cooperation the norm. How do we do this? By demonstrating it over and over and over, like many of the black-and-white programs did that us Baby Boomers grew up on.

    Of course this is just part of the solution, but the solution exists.

    The human beings who run Comcast, the Walt Disney Company, 21rst-Century Fox, and Time-Warner are smart enough to know the consequences of their actions, (the culture-eroding crap they air), or they are not. Therefore, either they just don’t know, they just don’t care, or they purposely want to destroy culture. Social and Political work hand in hand.

    I’m done my rant. I had to say it. Good night!

    • April 28, 2016 8:50 am

      Pat: My guess would be that they know but don’t care as long as long as the product shows a profit. I’ve been increasingly alarmed by the decrepitude of popular culture lately. We’ve had decrepitude in our midst for a while now, but it’s the widespread public enthusiasm for anyone who pushes the cultural envelope (Lena Dunham and other pay-cable darlings, for example) that alarms me. When will somebody with cultural authority who isn’t a raving right-wing fundamentalist speak up and say “Maybe we’re pushing the envelope into the gutter…why is this good?”

    • Roby permalink
      April 28, 2016 10:07 am

      Bravo to Mr. Obvious. Its a really great rant. I can only wish that some moderate cultural leader would appear and rally people to live within the boundaries of common decency and common sense, a sort of moderate Trump. The media is very definitely the most powerful actor in our cultural decay. They are feeding the centripetal forces that are Balkanizing us.

      I’ll be Mr. obvious too, the reason that nobody gets what they want out of government is that we Americans cannot agree. Single payer healthcare, Bernie is going to try to shove that down the throat of the DNC. Its a lost cause. 50% want it, but 50% don’t. (actually based on what happened in Vermont I’d say the 50% Think they want it until they are about to get it and see what it really is and then they don’t actually want it).

      My point being that reform populist candidates can run around complaining about the Establishment all they want but they are barking up the wrong tree. We have endless political corruption and way too much money in politics but even if you remove all of that completely by some miracle, we still are left with a nation that is full of people who desperately want something that they can’t have. Why can’t they have a drastically simplified tax code or an isolationist foreign policy? Because they are not a strong majority that it would take to make that work. They will never understand that.

      Start with my Sanders-supporting son, his answer to my telling him the nuts and bolts problems with single payer care is just to call everyone who has any objection to the idea the establishment. What a simplified black and white world he has been led into along with tens of millions of others by having his own specialized media who are the only people he believes are moral and informed.

      This is the single most important reason for our cultural decline, the power of technology and computers have made it possible for people to live in their own ideological universes on a previously unheard of scale. No cultural glue. That glue existed in the dinosaur technology world that I grew up in with 3 networks.

      My version of Mr obvious boils it down to no cultural glue, nothing to bring Americans to roughly the same melting pot at 6 each night. Anyone with factual arguments about any policy is just the establishment (or the anti-establishment.)

      Moderates need one photogenic articulate people smart lovable spokesman. We need some super communicator who can bring America back together. The media as a whole are not interested in that job, they are interested in profit and being a big deal to their own group.

  81. April 28, 2016 10:39 am

    Alright, Jay, I am setting the stage for your return here:

    “When specifically asked his opinions on Ted Cruz, Boehner made a face, drawing laughter from the crowd.
    “Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
    http://www.stanforddaily.com/2016/04/28/john-boehner-talks-election-time-in-office/

  82. Ron P permalink
    April 28, 2016 12:30 pm

    Since the subject of SCOTUS and garland has come up a couple times, just wondering if anyone has thought not holding hearings from another angle. Obama sends somewhat moderate choice as replacement. McConnell blocks all attempts to hold hearings before election to answer to the conservative wing of the party. Democrats win White House in November. McConnell holds hearing as fast tracks Garlands vote in lame duck session, passing appointment before Hillary takes office and is able to appoint a much more liberal candidate with a Democrat senate that would approve anything she sent.

    • Roby permalink
      April 28, 2016 1:21 pm

      Democrat senate?

      http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/01/11/calculating_democrats_chances_of_regaining_the_senate.html

      But no, I don’t think your scenario is likely, there would not be time for any dignified hearings for just one thing.

      • Ron P permalink
        April 28, 2016 2:42 pm

        I do not see much in this analysis where the negative impact of a Trump candidacy is taken into account. Most of this has to do with a presidents approval rating.

        So I will use North Carolina as a basis for my comments. During the primary, Richard Burr, the incumbent after 12 years, received 437,000 votes for the GOP ticket compared to Deborah Ross, a state congresswoman, with 445,000 for the democrat ticket. Total for both primaries was 705,600 GOP and 704,700 democrat, so each candidate took about the same percentage of the primary vote. Now NC, which has had a number of GOP senators has gradually changed from a strong red state when Jessie Helms won elections for years to a very dark purple state, with many more democrats than republicans. 2.7 million registered democrats to 2.0 million registered republicans. So from that standpoint, Burr starts out as the trailing candidate. Now we look at demographics. 3.5 million registered women to 3.0 million registered males. Again Burr trails this demographic.

        So now we put together a woman running against a man. Chip goes to the woman.
        Woman is a democrat and man is a republican. Another chip goes to the woman
        Democrat presidential candidate is a woman. Increases womens turnout in election. Chip goes to the woman.
        Republican presidential candidate has a 65%+ disapproval rating, with a high rating from his own party. Decreases GOP turnout. Chip goes to the woman candidate.
        Possible statewide November referendum on HB2( transgender bathroom bill) allowing voters to decide what should happen. Increases conservative turnout. Chip goes to the male.

        So given those issues, in North Carolina the one poll early in the process shows Deborah Ross not that far behind Burr and that is before anyone takes into account all the variables I have listed. And Burr is not a right wing radical, he is about 1/2 way between a centrist and a right wing nut job (Cruz). So he is acceptible to many in the center right and center left. He is also the chairman of the senate select committee on intelligence and has not played into the right wing of the parties playbook on using politics in this arena.

        So if Burr is vulnerable, then senators is PN, WI and many other states are vulnerable along with the open seats like in NV where a Hillary/Trump choice will almost guarantee the democrats keeping that seat.

        All of this can change with any unforseen international flareups or econonics meltdown between now and November.

      • April 29, 2016 8:44 am

        Great analysis, Ron. NC has really become a kind of petri dish of what is happening across the country.

        It’s ironic that it was Barack Obama, then an unknown, who spoke at the the 2004 Democratic National Convention about the need to get away from “red’ states and “blue” states. Now, under his presidency, the division between the two has become a huge chasm, one that threatens the entire system under which we live.

        Maybe he meant that they should all turn purple and eventually blue, and we just didn’t understand him…….

  83. Antipasties permalink
    October 15, 2016 6:01 am

    Oh, how reassuringly pessimistic! Really, whatever “it” is, I just can’t get enough of it!

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