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July 2016: It’s Not the Apocalypse, but It’s Close Enough

July 21, 2016

Hieronymus-Bosch-A-Violent-Forcing-Of-The-Frog

It’s not the steamy weather that alarms me, although I’m increasingly inclined to wait until sunset for my daily walks. It’s not even the rapidly melting glaciers, the plight of African elephants or the prospect of a costly sewer line repair outside our house, although all those things are alarming, too.

No, what really alarms me this summer is that our world is starting to resemble one of those dystopian tales on the order of 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or Soylent Green. Nearly every day now, the news drops some fresh horror onto our battered heads — and we’re not even engaged in a major war. We’re simply looking at everyday life during the past month of a bad year in a mostly-disastrous century.

  • As a relatively mild preface to this month’s horror show, the United Kingdom voted (narrowly) to exit the European Union. The “Brexit” caused panic and discord in Europe, a temporary stock market swoon, and disgruntled rumblings among the liberal-leaning elite that such vital matters shouldn’t be entrusted to ignorant voters. (In other words, democracy has its limits!)
  • On Bastille Day, a radicalized Tunisian-born French Muslim drove a truck more than a mile through a crowd that had gathered to enjoy the fireworks along a waterfront promenade in Nice. The 31-year-old terrorist managed to obliterate 84 innocent humans (including at least ten children) and injure scores more before he was mercifully euthanized by the police.
  • A 17-year-old Afghan refugee armed with an axe and a knife terrorized a train near Wurzburg, Germany, slashing at least five passengers before police took him down. The teen had pledged to kill infidels and was heard to exclaim “Allahu Akbar!” before entering that peculiar paradise reserved for dead Islamic terrorists.
  • In Turkey, an attempted military coup ended in disaster as President-and-Aspiring-Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan quashed the revolt with a little help from his police. Nearly 300 died during the upheaval, and angry mobs demanded the death penalty for some six thousand rebels. A vast purge is now underway: Erdogan has fired 45,000 military and public officials along with 15,000 educators (including all university deans). Their professional futures don’t look especially bright at the moment. Meanwhile, Erdogan blamed a 77-year-old Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania’s Poconos for instigating the coup and demanded his extradition. (As Dave Barry used to write, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.)
  • The much-anticipated Rio Summer Olympics could sputter out in a miasma of polluted water, Zika infections, rampant crime, decimated attendance, political instability and the possible expulsion of the entire Russian team due to performance-enhancing drugs. What if they threw an Olympics and nobody came?
  • Puffy North Korean chieftain Kim Jung Un launched three ballistic missiles into the sea as a test designed to simulate a pre-emptive nuclear attack on South Korean ports and airfields. As South Korea’s primary ally, the U.S. is committed to respond if the North ever attacks the South. Calling Dr. Strangelove.

Of course, the United States hasn’t been immune to the July madness. Two more black men — Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota — were executed by police during what should have been routine stops. It’s almost always the same story: nervous confrontations, misunderstandings, threats, hair-trigger reactions, sudden death, grief and anger. Those two men should still be alive, but there’s no going back.

Because the victims were black men shot by police, their tragedies made national headlines. (We almost never hear about the white men fatally shot by police, even though — surprise! — they outnumber black victims by a ratio of roughly two-to-one. Are white shooting victims less newsworthy? Would they muddy the narrative? Maybe they’d help focus the narrative more on overuse of lethal force and less on race.)

The Black Lives Matter people staged reasonably peaceful protests in response to the two executions, and they were entitled to do so. Even though their fears and resentments are based on a distorted narrative fed to them by the media, those fears and resentments are genuinely felt. They wonder why their people seem to be disproportionately targeted by the authorities, and naturally they worry that any encounter with the local police could quickly turn fatal.

Then the unthinkable happened: five cops assassinated by a militant black sniper in Dallas, and another three methodically gunned down in Baton Rouge, scene of Alton Sterling’s death. The latter assassin, also a black militant, traveled nearly 800 miles from Kansas City to carry out his revenge.

The two black assassins saw their victims as symbols rather than individuals with distinct personalities, families, hobbies and personal histories. The cops became interchangeable representatives of a hated group. The Baton Rouge shooter might have been unaware that one of the assassinated officers, Montrell Jackson, was a black man beloved for his kindness and decency and, ultimately, for a heartbreakingly sympathetic Facebook message that stands as a testament to his character. In the end, all that mattered to his murderer was that he wore blue.

That’s what terrorists do: they reduce three-dimensional humans to flat cartoon figures who conveniently represent The Enemy. Shorn of individual traits, virtues and quirks, they’re easier to view as targets.

Extremist ideologues do the same thing, without going as far as to commit literal murder. Their ideological opponents become caricatures, drawn broadly and grotesquely for the purpose of ridicule and political annihilation. Reduced to easy targets, they never gain consideration as individual human beings. They’re identical ducks in a shooting gallery. Progressives see conservatives as dangerously ignorant xenophobic yahoos with a gun fetish; conservatives view liberals as effete anti-Christian snobs who shield Islamists and advocate all manner of gender-bending depravity. As for whites and blacks, those labels alone imply that they’re opposites predestined to eternal conflict.

The United States is increasingly vulnerable to random acts of terrorism. Just as disturbingly, our republic has become fertile ground for the kind of intellectual terrorism that reduces fellow citizens to two-dimensional targets. On the left, “white male” is now a virtual epithet accompanied by vocabulary garnered from collegiate Grievance Studies seminars: patriarchy, hegemony, structural racism and the like. On the right, all forms of “otherness” are generally suspect.

Am I caricaturing the caricaturists? Perhaps. But I need to point out that such divisive attitudes are dangerous. They might not propel us toward a literal civil war (although I wouldn’t rule it out), but they’ve already launched a rhetorical one.

Extremist rhetoric is magnetic: it tends to pull unaffiliated souls toward the poles and away from the center. The ranks of moderates are dwindling while the extremists are gaining ground at our expense. The result: more anger, less tolerance, and the kind of July madness that we’ve been witnessing.

Our overheated July is coming to a head with the two national conventions. As I write this, the Republicans are going at it in Cleveland. No orgies of madness to report so far, other than the ominous cries of “Lock her up!” whenever a speaker utters Hillary Clinton’s name. The gun rhetoric has been less militant than I expected, even from the Duck Dynasty scion who spoke the first night and the NRA spokesman who followed him. Melania Trump’s surprisingly effective speech was immediately undermined by revelations of plagiarism — most likely not her fault, although extracting a confession from the Trump organization was like pulling half a dozen teeth. I’ve smiled quizzically at the D-list show biz celebrities called upon to address the assembled crowd. (Yes, it must be tough to come out as Republican in Hollywood.) I wondered why that crowd was booing the speech by Senator Ted Cruz, until I realized that he had no intention of endorsing Trump for the presidency. Trump’s grown children seem like models of filial loyalty, clean-cut attractiveness and good citizenship — hardly the spawn of Satan. (The man himself speaks tonight.)

On the whole, the Republican convention hasn’t looked much like the apocalypse. I suspect that the upcoming Democratic convention here in Philadelphia will follow suit. But the ground continues to rumble and simmer beneath the surface — here in the U.S. and around the world. The pressure builds, and the summer is only half over.

 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

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238 Comments leave one →
  1. roberta swanson permalink
    July 21, 2016 8:22 am

    SINCE HILLARY CONSIDERS HERSELF TO BE IN THE MIDDLE, IS SHE YOUR PREFERRED CANDIDATE?

    • July 21, 2016 9:10 am

      I don’t have a preferred candidate at this point, and that’s based more on considerations of character than ideology. Neither Clinton nor Trump are ideologues, which is good, but they’re two of the most objectionable nominees I can remember. Trump is probably the more dangerous of the two, but Hillary is at least as deceitful.

      • July 23, 2016 12:23 am

        Which one had the guts to lie to the parents of fallen military personnel killed in Benghazi as to what caused the attacks?

        One can lie to me, one can lie to you, one can lie to anyone and that can be overlooked. But anyone that lies to a mother about how her son was killed is nothing but a snake and should never be made commander-in-chief of out fighting forces.

        But then people talk big about supporting our troops, but then overlook this issue and issues with the VA because it does not impact them personally..

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 23, 2016 10:02 am

        Unfortunately, Ron, many people no longer really care about our military. I’m convinced that a large number of Americans believe, in their hearts, that anyone who joins the military is a fool, a nationalist, or both. Their lives are not as important as, say, those who become college professors.

        Once the draft ended, and they no longer had to worry about their own husbands, sons or daughters being killed in a far away war, they just stopped caring. Of course, lip service is always important. They claim to “support the troops,” but they don’t really mean it. Benghazi, regardless of whether or not you consider it to be a horrific scandal or a big nothingburger, is a sad example of how we brush the lost lives of military people under the political rug.

        Every Democrat I know was livid over the inclusion of Sean Smith’s mother as a speaker at the RNC. Fair enough, except that Trayvon Martin’s mother will be a speaker at the DNC. Personally, I would prefer that grieving moms not be paraded out in front of millions on national tv, for the purpose of whipping up hatred against the opposing party’s candidates. It’s disgusting, no matter which party does it. But, if the point is that one presidential candidate lied to Patricia Smith about why her son died in service to the nation, then that goes directly to the qualification of that candidate to be Commander-in-Chief. And, in a sane world, it disqualifies her. But, in so many ways, this is not a sane world.

        Not the Apocalypse, but close enough, indeed…..

      • July 23, 2016 10:12 am

        Logged out again. Can’t figure out why this keeps happening….

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2016 9:56 pm

        Sorry, Rick, I would greatly prefer an honest ideologue.

        Neither Clinton nor Trump can be even slightly trusted. They have no anchor of any kind. Atleast you know what an ideologue will try to do, or will lie about trying to do.

        There is no reliable means to predict what Either Trump of Clinton will do in any situation.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2016 10:10 pm

        I really do not wish to defend Trump – but Sorry – Clinton is more dangerous.

        Trump – like every single republican candidate this cycle is some form of non-interventionist. It is probable that he might take action against ISIS – but that can be justified – they have attacked us. We can easily obliterate ISIS – they have made the mistake of attempting to hold and occupy teritory. And unlike Afghanistant and Iraq – we can leave when we are done – as ISIS occupies other nations teritory.

        Clinton on the other hand had a disasterous tenure as Sec. State.
        The Coup in the Ukraine was stupidly provoked by our state department, giving Putin the excuse to invade Crimea.

        There appears to be evidence that Clinton was responsible for our more aggressive posture in the Mideast, and that Obama is responsible for trying to tone it down.

        Regardless our Mideastern policy under Obama has been WORSE than Bush – and that is bad, and that falls entirely on Clinton.

        Clinton is a Neo-Con – she is the biggest hawk of all candidates – including every Republican from the primaries. The most reliable defections from the GOP actually supporting Clinton are Neo-Cons.

        Put in language maybe even a moderate can understand Clinton is the Chenney of the democratic party.

        Clinton is likely to be challenged as President – by Putin and by various mid-easterners and is likely to feel that she has to take a hard line.

        Remember Ronald Reagan’s big foreign adventures ?
        Grenada ? We actually left Beruit after the embassy bombing.
        Trump can get away with talking tough and still back away.
        Clinton can’t.

        I do not want to pretend that Trump is some foreign policy superstar – he is not. But aside from possibly starting trade wars – and I do not think he is actually stupid enough to really do that, he is unlikely to do anything in foreign affairs.

        Both are likely to be disasterous domestically.

        Regardless, I can not in good conscious vote for either.

        They are a choice between Evil and Lesser Evil, but Trump is still the Lessor Evil.

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 24, 2016 3:22 pm

        I generally agree with this comment, Dave. We seem always to be choosing the lesser of the evils these days.

        But I will vote for the lesser evil, in this case Trump. I respect the choice of people who vote for Johnson or write in a candidate, but, in my case, 1) I don’t like Johnson. He’s not really much of a libertarian, unless there is such a thing as “big-government libertarians”. And I haven’t been impressed with Weld either and 2) the idea of protest voting or voting for someone with zero chance of winning seems a waste of time.

        I do know exactly what we’ll get with Hillary : more bureaucracy, more controls on free speech, on freedom of religion and on gun rights. No enforcement of our immigration laws. A leftist majority on the Supreme Court, that is likely to endure for 30 or more years. A hawkish foreign policy, married to a leading from behind strategy that will give her hawkishness some plausible deniability. Continued attempts to pit local law enforcement against minorities, especially blacks. And so on…..

        I don’t know if Trump will be any good as a president and commander-in-chief, but he can’t be worse or more corrupt than the incompetent Hillary, so I’m willing to take a chance.

        Also, I have no doubt that, if Trump violates the Constitution, he will be impeached and thrown out of office. The Clintons are above the law, we have seen that over and over again. We have also seen that the media will fight to keep a GOP administration honest, but will cover for almost any Democrat. So, I figure that there will be more constraints on any misuse of President Trump’s power, little to no constraints on President HRC’s.

        I could change my mind about voting Trump before the election, but I will not vote for Hillary. So, in that case, I would probably just vote down ticket. I’ve never done that, and I don’t want to…..but this is the strangest election ever.

      • July 24, 2016 3:25 pm

        Why don’t I just change my name to anonymous? Of course, cougrrl already did that……

      • July 24, 2016 6:08 pm

        Word Press is a strange animal. I can not post anything until I fill in my email address at the bottom of the screen. A few times i have been “anonymous” when I entered the email wrong, but other than that it makes me filling something. And when I enter that, it blows in the rest of the screen name, etc. Makes you wonder if their is someone monitoring your comments!!!

      • July 25, 2016 2:36 pm

        Wow, long thread here. Let’s see if I can remember what I was going to comment about.

        Ron: I’m still not sure I understand the intensity of the outrage over Benghazi after all this time. Bottom line: Muslim fanatics murdered four people at our embassy. How does anyone know the extent to which that inflammatory film about Mohammed played a role vs. the reduction in security? I’m guessing it was a little of both… plus, you know, radical Muslims. 😉

        Dave: I get your concern over either of two unprincipled nominees winning the presidency vs. a candidate whose principles are a known quantity. I’d vote for a moderate ideologue, of course.

        Priscilla/Anonymous: I can understand your preference for Trump. Believe me, sometimes I lean in his direction when I think about uncontrolled illegal immigration, offshoring of jobs, and insider politics. Then I remember what a total jerk this guy can be. (Have we had any total jerks as presidents? Even Bill Clinton had a statesmanlike side.)

      • July 25, 2016 4:52 pm

        Rick, I hate to ask this, but have you been sleeping in a cave somewhere concerning the Benghazi attacks. It is not what caused the attacks or the e-mails that clinton had on her computer. It is not the foreign policy that caused the attacks. And it is not the fact that Obama/Clinton had their minions running around the country taking about what caused the attacks that ended up being lies.

        It is the fact that she told the families these lies and then came back and told the press and anyone that would listen that the Benghazi families were liars. Damn, she can lie to me, she can lie to you, but by god do not lie to a family that just lost their son because it is politically beneficial to do that.

        And please don’t try to convince me that the Benghazi families are the liars and she is not. That is total BS.

        She is unfit to be commander in chief when she does crap like this.
        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/432577/hillary-benghazi-families-absolutely-wrong-i-told-them-youtube-video-responsible

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 8:41 am

        Rick;

        I would suggest that Trump and Clinton are the most objectionable candidates specifically because they are NOT ideologues.

        Neither have any principles or core values that guide them.

        This is one of the problems with the moderate fixation on “compromise”
        and your fixation on ideology as inherently evil.

        What is the real difference between those willing to sacrifice others for their principles and values, and those willing to sacrifice principles and values for some false harmony ?

        You note correctly that neither Trump nor Clinton are ideologues.
        I have little doubt that either would be perfectly willing to compromise on most anything. They are after power not principle – and that is what is wrong with them.

  2. July 21, 2016 9:19 am

    IMHO, this is what happens when you have such horrid Income Inquality. After WWI, Income Inquality shot way up. The likes of Hitler, Mussolini, & Stalin took control, promising the masses anything they wanted to hear. History is full of examples of angry people finally resorting to violence when they are broke. You would think the wealthy would learn! It just boggles the mind how much money the top 1% have.
    In the US, when we had manufacturing, those were good paying jobs. We had a strong middle class and a thriving economy. I believe much of that was not only due to the generous nature of the Greatest Generation, but also thru laws that protected working people. Move those jobs overseas to sweatshops, and the economy sinks. Why? Because those are no longer middle class jobs, those workers are not making enough to drive the economy. If they were, the world economy would be thriving.
    Because it is NOT good by any stretch of the imagination, people are angry and frustrated. Me included. Not enough to resort to voting for Trump, but I want people on all sides to understand that you HAVE to have good paying jobs for the majority regardless of if you think what they do is “worth” higher pay, or you think it is a job for morons. In case you haven’t noticed, when left to their own devices, major corporations will pay squat while claiming they can’t “afford” to pay better. I deeply suspect that if the top 25 corporations would pay middle class wages to 80% of their employees, the economy would explode. Oh, I’m so sorry the top 10% of those corporations might have to take a few less vacations and buy $10 underwear instead of $100 undies. And stop stupid speculating with money that should have been paid to workers over that last 40 years.
    One article I read explained it this way – the top even 10% can only buy so much. The more people with money, the more that gets bought. The tax cut stuff is bs, because if no one is able to buy anything, no jobs will need to be created. The masses drive the economy, not “job creators”.
    Fix wages, you will have far fewer disgruntled people needing to make a point.

    • July 21, 2016 11:41 am

      “Move those jobs overseas to sweatshops, and the economy sinks. Why? Because those are no longer middle class jobs, those workers are not making enough to drive the economy.”

      And just when did the real movement of jobs begin moving out of the USA? You might find that in 1988, manufacturing accounted for 40% of the economy. Just 16 years later, 2004, it only accounted for 9% of the economy. Between 1998 to 2004, manufacturing lost over 3 million jobs, that is 500,000 jobs each year. GM, Ford and chrysler moved many of their plants overseas during the 90’s and early 00’s. Furniture, one of NC’s primary economic engines, moved most of its manufacturing overseas.. And one only has to look to Pa to find what impact overseas manufacturing has on steel production.

      So what happened in the 90’s? The Clinton administration finalized negotiations and achieved legislative passage of both NAFTA and the Uruguay Round, concluded World Trade Organization agreements on telecommunications, financial services, and information technology, launched negotiations toward the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (that expanded upon NAFTA) and a free trade agreement with Chile, negotiated a free trade agreement with Jordan, secured legislative approval of significantly expanded Caribbean trade preferences and a generous new trade preference program with Africa, and negotiated and won legislative approval for China’s entry into the WTO ( which has expanded unfair trade agreements with China due to their currency manipulation). And many of these agreements (if not close to all of them) have one thing in common. The USA enters into the agreement, we make concessions today while the other party has a few years to comply and when it is found they do not comply, there is little enforcement included in the agreement to make them comply.

      So ask now, which candidate is supporting the Trans Pacific Trade agreement that will continue this disastrous policy of unfair trade agreements and which one is against these agreements? Because when the candidate that supports TPP is elected, we can just about write off that 9% remaining portion of our economy to foreign countries.

      • Roby permalink
        July 22, 2016 8:12 am

        Respectfully you are a bit overdoing it Ron. What has happened is more complicated. Our percentage of industry in the entire economy has fallen because other sectors have become stronger. China was a bad deal and we can blame that on Bill Clinton. Nafta apparently has been a plus becasue its an actual trade agreement. I have not the competence to judge the TPP but economists in general like free(er)trade.

      • July 22, 2016 12:55 pm

        Roby, I am not an economist, but I do have a background in finance and know when looking at statistics and financial numbers, one needs to be careful in the use of those numbers. So with that said, when you look at industrial output numbers, remember you have to include mining, energy, utilities and other outputs that I would not consider manufacturing when compared to trade agreements. You can not move oil exploration that occurs in the USA to China like you can move manufacturing a washing machine.

        However, when you want to buy small electric hand tools at Lowes or Home Depot, look at the country they are made. The good ones are made in Mexico. Until the 90’s, they were made in America. Today the most American made car is Toyota. Now most all fords, except the F150, are made in Mexico. Many of the GM’s are Mexican made. Try buying a large appliance or electronics that is American made. Can you find one? And then, all those cell phones. Can you find an Apple device made in America?

        And buy the way, when you take your chart that starts with about $5.00 in 1920 and apply an average growth rate of 3.5%, you end up at the point where the chart ends up. That is somewhere close to the average inflation rate and with all the technological advances in manufacturing and all the new and great things we can buy, don’t you think our manufacturing output should be exceeding inflation. And again remember the chart you shared has the inflated energy sector included which since 1975 have exploded in dollars per unit produced.

        When you look at employment in manufacturing that has decreased dramatically over the past 30 years, I have a really hard time buying that all these trade agreements have been good for the American economy. BUT>>> I will accept that when I go in and buy all that cheap Chinese crap at the local Walmart that last 6 months , buy a hand tool at Lowes and then have to replace it in two years or buy light bulbs made in China that last a couple months instead of almost a year like the old bulbs lasted, then that most likely is good for the company bottom line selling that crap. It is not good for my bottom line when I have to keep replacing it. And it is not good for the individual that use to work for GE or Carrier that is out looking for a job because their job is now in Mexico

      • Roby permalink
        July 22, 2016 8:15 am

        We are still the worlds largest economy dwarfing economies of countries with far larger populations, China, India. The value of money by country may distort that statement somewhat. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)#/media/File:World_share_of_nominal_GDP_IMF_WEO_2015.png

      • Roby permalink
        July 22, 2016 8:18 am

        That did not display lets try this:

      • Roby permalink
        July 22, 2016 8:26 am

        The US economy is a hair larger than the combined economies of China, India, Brazil and Russia. Their combined population is 3.2 billion, ours is 320 million.
        The US is used to being exceptional. As time goes on the world catches up (following our unnatural dominance in the wreckage of WWII) and we find parties to blame for that depending on our ideologies.

        I’m so glad I’m livin in the USA (If I don’t follow politics).

    • dhlii permalink
      July 23, 2016 10:14 pm

      Here is “Income inequality” in the US

      You are right the middle class is being destroyed – they are all becoming more wealthy.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 23, 2016 10:21 pm

      US manufacturing is larger than ever.
      Over the past 25 years US manfactured exports have quadruppled.

      US manufacturing as a percent of GDP has declined (total manufacturing has increased) – but the US trend is indistinguishable from the global trend.

      Put differently Manufacturing in the US and everywhere else has been growing – but more slowly than other areas of the economy. The entire world is moving to a service economy.

      • July 23, 2016 11:50 pm

        I can not tell from this chart what is included in the numbers. Like I commented to Roby, the numbers that are published by our government concerning industrial output includes many things that the common folks would not consider “manufacturing”. Does your numbers include mining, energy, utilities and other outputs and if so, what does the numbers look like when you remove these numbers. Energy, for one, has grown substantially during the early 2000’s, as has energy output.

        You and Roby may be right that we produce more today than we ever have. But if anyone knows what that is, please let me know as I have a hell of a time finding anything in the store with the “Made in the USA” label.

        I suspect someone is also including technology development such as software which is the “new manufacturing”, but producing software that you can write one time and sell millions of copies with little further human inputs is much different than building a washing machine that requires repetitive human inputs.

        Please share the info you have on what we produce as gross figures without details can include any number of things..

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 9:03 am

        Ron P;

        Does it matter precisely what is in each graph ?

        If you think that the trend will invert if you define “manufacturing” differently, then look at the trends for the components that you think make up manufacturing .

        I would also note you want to exclude mining and energy – why ?
        Why do you think that will change anything ? Why do you think that is not industrial or manufacturing ? It is certainly not service.

        Why do we mine coal, iron, or anything else ? Because of what we can manufacture from it. Unless you beleive that we are extracting iron and shipping it to China to be made into steel then increases in mining mean increases in manufacturing – whether you count mining as part of industrial output or not.

        Energy is essentially the same. 21% of US energy consumption is industrial, 10% is residential, 29% is transportation, the rest is primarily for commerical buildings.

        We have more than doubled our energy consumption – while at the same time more than doubling the efficiency with which we consume it.
        We are producing ever more using ever less.

        Anyway why does excluding energy change the picture ?

        Please note, I am not arguing that your definition of manufacturing is wrong, only that it does not matter precisely what you define as manufacturing, because the trends will be the same either way.

      • July 28, 2016 11:45 am

        I want to exclude energy and mining to compare how we stand today for industrial production compared to how we stood, say 40 years ago, before NAFTA and other trade agreements with China. I asked this because I “assume” there has been little change in employment in those two areas, while many reports show a significant drop in American employment in manufacturing. I am not an economist, but looking at the following chart would indicate to me that something happened during the 90’s to change the landscape for manufacturing in the states and the stuff that keeps coming up is NAFTA and China.
        http://www.google.com/search?q=automotive+manufacturing+employment+in+1990&biw=1152&bih=749&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjH3c3mvpbOAhUE4SYKHazZAZ4QsAQIGw&dpr=1#imgrc=e-oI5Yd-X-eqlM%3A

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 9:22 am

        Ron P;

        I am not personally fixated on manufacturing.
        It ultimately does not matter what we produce, what matters is how highly it is valued.

        You addressed software – does it matter whether software is tangible like a washing machine ? What is important is the value that people place on it.

        If americans can figure out how to easily produce something that everyone else thinks has great great value – that is how we will raise our standard of living.

        A really good example of this would be iPhones.
        Iphones are designed in the US, their software is developed in the US, the actual phone is manufactured in China.
        I beleive the retail price of and iphone 6 is nearly 800. The manufactured price is under $200. This is also one of the distortions in our purported balance of trade. When Apple sells an iphone in the US it receives $800.
        Since that phone was “made in china” the entire retail value of that phone is counted as an import. Yet China only receives $200 for making the phone, the other $600 never leaves the country. Part of it pays the designers and software developers, part of it pays for the retail sale of the phone. This is increasingly true of much of what we consume.
        The farmer gets only a small portion of what we pay for food.

        The iPhone itself is some plastic and sand – the entire rest of its value is as intangible as the software.

        Regardless, the value of things is not rooted in how much sweat we extended producing them – the labor theory of value – communism has proven to be a disasterous failure.
        The value of things is rooted in our desire for them.
        Value is subjective.

        Standard of living rises when a person or nation produces greater value.

        If the value of manufactured goods is low and the value of software is high – our standard of living will be highest if we produce more software and less washing machines.

        Yes, nearly everything you see was made in China – because while US production over the past 50 years has grown linearly, chinese production has grown exponentially.

        But it is fallacious zero sum thinking to beleive that chinese production has come at the expense of the US.
        It has not. There are now over a billion chinese who are increasingly able to buy not merely more of what china produces – but more of what the US produces. Most of the value of every iphone sold -whether in the US or China raises the standard of living in the US.

      • July 28, 2016 11:56 am

        OK somehow I am not being clear in my thoughts about manufacturing, jobs, income and standard of living. So I will try another way.

        1) If I own a company that sells an item for $1 and I sell $500 billion in that product and it takes 100 people to create one copy and 1 person to create 499 billion additional copies (software) , that is very different from a company that employees 10,000 people to produce $500 billion in light and heavy industrial items such as mining equipment, cars, washing machines.
        2) If we sign unfair trade agreements where the manufacturing company moves to a foreign country and my company closes and a software company takes its place, we still have the $500 billion being produced, but we have 9,900 fewer jobs. Does that not have a significant impact on the economy?
        3) And if those trade agreements allows the foreign countries to restrict my exporting the software to them, but we do nothing to restrict the import of the heavy industrial products they now produce, does that no have a negative impact on our economy?

    • dhlii permalink
      July 23, 2016 10:26 pm

      Our Economy is not “sinking” not in manufacturing, not in anything else.
      For the past two decades it has been growing at an absymal rate of 2% – compared to the 20th century average of 3.5% and the 19th century average of 7%.

      BTW the strongest correlation to the rate of growth is that it is inverse to govenrment spending – even today, developed or developing nations with smaller governments are growing at faster rates.

      • July 23, 2016 11:57 pm

        And again, this includes everything from the person picking up your trash to the scientist finding a cure for cancer. My issues are with trade, industries going overseas and how industrial output for the different categories of industrial outputs have changed. So far I can not find that on the internet that does not combine many different categories of industries which some seem to not be light or heavy industrial outputs.

      • Roby permalink
        July 24, 2016 10:30 am

        You ask interesting questions Ron and I sure don’t know the answers. To get a really good answer without making a personal educational 1000 hour crusade about trade agreements and job losses and industry one should find an expert they can trust who has no ideological axe to grind. Find such an expert and if they can explain things clearly one may learn something. There is no doubt that the mix of things that constitute the American economy has always been changing and continues to change. In 1900 it took 50% of the country to feed the country. Those farm workers did not have a high standard of living at all and the average lifespan was 49 years in 1900. I’d rather live now, trade issues and all. I work hard, but not very hard compared to how people worked in 1900 and my standard of living in many ways would have been unattainable by anyone in 1900, not to mention my life expectancy. I sound a bit like Dave here, yes.

        As to the mix of what is considered industry, hasn’t it been always the case that that its not all washing machines and cars, heavy industry? The auto industry shifted toward foreign sources already long ago, long before Chinese trade replaced all the hand tools. I’ve read that China trade has been responsible for the loss of a million jobs. But trade is always a doubled edged sword and an economy needs both imports and exports. You hope to expand your foreign markets by opening your own. Apparently that is actually happening.

        I’ll certainly agree that globalization means that workers in America have to be more “efficient” which means that they have to work harder for less money, than if we were not competing with Asian workers. All the same, protectionism is not considered a win by economists either. As usual the problem is huge, driven again by my vast impersonal forces, and every possible approach to free trade and protectionism has a downside.

        People who are against the TPP make this out to be a pretty clear easy to understand question and it is not. My instinct is to be against the TPP but there is some reason other than pure greed on the part of some elite that is driving consideration of it. I’m not buying the idea that this is an evil plan put over on American workers by the usual culprit, the rich. Economists like these agreements, in a very large view they are win-win for all of the countries that are involved, but of course not to those who lose their jobs.

        Change is inevitable, jobs have never been static, I’ve reinvented myself quite a few times in my life and at the beginning of the reinvented phases it was never clear that it would work out. There are no guarantees but the most determined, hard working and optimistic people will have much better chances than those who put their energy into blaming outside forces for their situation.

      • July 24, 2016 11:37 am

        “But trade is always a doubled edged sword and an economy needs both imports and exports. You hope to expand your foreign markets by opening your own. Apparently that is actually happening.”

        Or maybe not. Lets look at the census bureau numbers fro 1990, 2005 and 2015 before NAFTA and most recent China Trade agreements.
        1990 Mexico, imports 30.1 billion, Exports 28.2B deficit 2B
        2005 Mexico Imports 170.1B, Exports 120.2B deficit 50B
        2015 Total deficit 60B

        1990 China Imports 15B, Exports 4B deficit 11B
        2005 China Imports 243.0B, Exports 42B, deficit 202B
        2015 Total deficit 367B

        Now someone can argue with me all day long that trade is a good thing, but when I see we have raised our trade deficits by $252 billion just after NAFTA and new Chinese trade agreements, to me that is not a level playing field and something is wrong with that picture. We now have a total deficit of $407B and most of that is crappy products that will not last from China and Mexico. (And try buying replacement parts for Chinese products. Most are “throw aways” and have no repair parts listed).

        “You hope to expand your foreign markets by opening your own. Apparently that is actually happening.”…….or maybe not!!!! If we could look at trade numbers where the deficits were much smaller and the exports grew at a higher rate, then that might be the case. I would not expect a dollar for dollar increase in imports/exports, but fairness would expect something much closer than what we now have.

      • Roby permalink
        July 24, 2016 12:04 pm

        You make a good case Ron, using facts. I think that we can survive the Mexican imbalance with little overall impact. In fact, strengthening the Mexican economy is completely in our interests, its a much better way to keep Mexicans in Mexico than that stupid wall that 66% of Americans don’t want.

        America was in the drivers seat of the world economy since WWII and we had it supernaturally good. The size of our economy relative to that of our low cost competitors and our standard of living argues that we are still exceptional, just not as exceptional as we were. I’d rather live here than in China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam….

        As to the Chinese trade deficit, you’ll get no argument from me, its always driven me nuts and I don’t mind blaming Bill Clinton for it. All the same even that situation viewed from the dispassionate eyes of a sort of mythical average economist is not seen the same way as you and I would see it. They would say that the US economy is large enough to withstand it and that we benefit in the greater buying power of the average person. As a tangent, I have long said that we should at least use trade as a lever on the China-North Korean situation. Its a weird complicated world.

        If we went on a long objective reading campaign about all the issues that involve globalization and trade agreements we would not be left with any simple obvious truth or forward path. Its not going to hurt my feelings any if the TPP does not come to pass, but if it does I expect its impacts to be complicated and mixed.

        I have a beautiful excellent quality jazz guitar made in South Korea that I got used for $650, new cost is a bit over $1000. The equivalent made in the USA Gibson ES-175 would be $5200. I just would not be able to buy such an instrument and stay married. Mine is excellent quality and brings me great pleasure. That does not show up in balance of trade statistics. People are motivated by being able to afford things, by cost. A jazz guitar is a bit of a luxury I guess, but there are many other items that bring the cost of living down. Its no consolation to someone who lost their job to overseas competition.

      • July 24, 2016 5:58 pm

        Guess I would give SK a pass on our trade imbalance with them. Just 13 billion a year. And I suspect your guitar and all the others are but a speck in that 13 billion. Its those Kia’s and Hyundai’s along with electronics that make up the most of that import difference.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 9:32 am

        And again – what does it matter what it includes ?

        Is it of critical importance to you whether we have become wealthier by collecting more trash or by producing more software ?

        What is your goal ? To produce more washing machines or to increase your standard of living ?

        When GDP/PPP per capita is rising what that means is that each of us is producing ever more value.

        And that value is set by the value people throughout the world are prepared to exchange to get what we produce.

        If I can write 10 lines of code and receive $1M for that,
        am I ? Are we worse of than if I worked far harder and produced a washing machine ?

        Value – even economic value, ultimately tracks Maslow’s heirarchy of needs.

        Initially we place high value on the most fundimental things. Water, Food,
        Then shelter. As we produce ever more of these fundimental things there supply increases and we value them less. Water is critical to life – but it is cheap, air is free. Today software, and entertainment have very high values. As we produce ever more of those more efficiently their price will decline – and we will prize something further up the hierachy of needs more.

        The US spends more on entertainment than any nation in the world – that is no accident. We have nearly the highest standard of living. That inherently means we spend less as a portion of our wealth on food, and washing machines and more on things closer to the top of the pyramid.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 9:54 am

        Roby;

        Standard of living is raised by producing greater value with the same number of people.

        There are myraids of ways to do that.
        None of them mean getting paid more to produce exactly the same thing.

        The entire fear of globalization is complete nonsense.
        It is completely unimportant whether we produce washing machines,
        All that matters is the total value of what each of us produce.

        The value we produce is the value we can consume.

        If americans produce philigiston – some mystical thing that everyone else must have desparately. And we do so through a magical process that requires very little work but no one else in the world can replicate,
        so long as that philigiston is highly prized and so long as the total value we produce is large enough to exchange for all the other things we want and need, we will still have the highest standard of living in the world.

        What is produced matters – but it matters because of the value people place on it, not because of the labor, or resources needed to produce it.

        And BTW auto manufacturing returned to the US long ago.
        A tiny part of that was our laws.
        But the primary driving factor was that even the Japanese found that it was cheaper to produce cars in the US. We have the cheapest and most reliable energy in the world, the most skilled workforce in the world, the most efficient transportation system in the world and we are the largest market in the world. Even Mercedes is moving plants to the US.

      • July 28, 2016 12:01 pm

        “And BTW auto manufacturing returned to the US long ago.”

        Please explain why most Fords are produced in Mexico and a large portion of GMs also in Mexico and Canada.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 1:18 pm

      You do not seem to like your job or employer.

      Fine, I have no problem with that.

      But if you do not like the terms of your employment, change them.
      You are free to demand more, you are free to work somewhere else.

      Are the owners of your mom and pop grocery store in the top 1% that is purportedly exploiting you ?

      Do you think that the Gates and buffets of the world care in the slightest about mom and
      pop grocery stores ?

      There have been cashiers in grocery stores throughout my entire life.
      Are you more productive today than a cashier was 40 years ago ?
      How do you expect to have more if you are not producing more ?

      There is no one that owes you more merely because time has passed.
      You are not owed more because others have produced more.

      If you are doing the same job producing the same thing that you (or someone else) did 20, 30, 40 years ago, you should expect the same standard of living.

      If your standard of living has risen and you are not more productive than you were – then you are sponging off of others.

      The good news is the vast majority of us are more productive than 40 years ago.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 28, 2016 2:39 pm

      I keep trying to inculcate a basic understanding of standard of living and productivity and why all this nonsense about globalization and trade whether it is from Trump or the left is idiocy.

      Here is a columnist on Real Clear Future that has done a better job than I

      http://www.realclearfuture.com/articles/2016/07/25/the_paradox_of_productivity_111930.html

  3. July 21, 2016 1:01 pm

    I would like to know why only manufacturing jobs are considered to be worthy of a “living wage”. People look down on fast food workers, janitors, and so many others as if they don’t deserve a living wage. (IMHO, this also pulls down what the next tier up makes) We also need to look at this problem from a world-wide perspective – if we don’t get laws changed in all countries, these corporations just pick up and move to the next country for “cheap labor”. From what I have been reading, this is already happening as jobs move from China to Vietnam, etc. “Cheap labor” which always seems to be the driving motivator, costs us dearly in the long run. Besides a sucky economy, I’m sure environmentally its disastrous. American hardwood being harvested here, shipped there, and then back here? How incredibly wasteful. Of course in the near future they won’t be shipping much back because no one can afford it.
    The US is still in a position they could be influencing world policy. Can’t import from countries that treat workers like dirt. Of course, we have to do alotta work here first. I work in a state(VA) that has NO laws governing breaks or lunches. I work 9+ hours shifts, standing, with no breaks or a lunch. I’m the only cashier in a mom & pop store. To add insult to injury, my boss deducts 30 mins from every day “assuming” I’ve taken 30 mins worth of breaks. All perfectly legal.
    For me, this is just part-time while I look for a “real” job. Its minimum wage, no benefits, even if I was full-time. I have a co-worker that says the only vacation she’s taken in 15 years was a day to see her grandchild born. This is what I mean when I say most conservatives have no clue as to what it is really like to be working class, or we would not hear the BS about lazy victims they throw around.
    If you would like an excellent book on offshoring, read Beth Macy’s “Factory Man”. It is about Bassett Furniture, which is still barely in my area. It shows how America’s wealthy corporations sold us out, creating this road to horrid Income Inequality.

    • July 21, 2016 4:49 pm

      And you still will vote for Hillary even though she supports TPP, another means for corporations to move overseas and import products, make more money and eliminate jobs the same as her husband did in the 90’s.

      To me that does not make a lot of sense, but then I do not understand much of what voters are voting for this time around anyway. That’s why I am going to stop voting for the one party system (with two different names) and vote for a real difference maker even though he will not win.

      Now responding to your issue with companies moving from one country to another, look at the history of manufacturing in the USA. Textiles and Furniture in the Northeast until somewhere around WWII, then due to union demands, they moved to the south. Then due to rising wages, they move overseas. Now due to rising wages, they are moving from the Southeast Asia countries to the African countries. And you can find this with any number of companies producing any number of products.

      And by the way, if you work 9+ hour shifts without a break, then file a complaint with the federal department of labor, wage and hour division to get back pay. Your employer is in violation of federal laws, not state laws.

      • July 22, 2016 7:55 am

        There are NO federal laws about breaks and lunches. This is a mistake many people make. Its handled at state level.

        Since I have made no indication of who I am voting for, not sure why that keeps cropping up. But I will not vote for a loud-mouth, hating narcissist with no political experience. He is used to giving orders, not negotiating. Won’t be an effective leader without that skill.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 7:32 am

      You seem to be fixated on rules with respect to employment – as if somehow these are important and control what you receive in return for your labor.

      Standard of living is what we produce. The governmnent can dictate that we get 100% of our time off, or that the minimum wages is $100/hr – that will not increase the standard of living of the country.

      Most of us – those on the left in particular fixate on money. Money is merely a medium of exchange – it is not wealth in and of itself.

      If you buy a car. you exchange the money you were paid for the work you performed for that car. Cars, food, homes, entertainment – those are real wealth.

      According to the US Census that wealth has atleast doubled in every quintile over the past 40 years. Most of us who have been arround for more than a few years can and should know that just by looking at our own lives.

      If you are employed, you will never be paid more than the value you produce for your employer for very long. If through the political or other processes you manage to impose rules that compel your employer to pay you more than you produce – then soon enough you will not have that job – either you will be terminated or your employer will go out of business.

      Many of us bemoan “corporate profits” – corporations are owned by people – shareholders, and for the most part that is us, through our IRA’s, pensions, and insurance.
      Regardless, though corporate profits vary with the risk of the business, on average they are less than 5%, and over long periods of time they are very stable – they do not go up or down very much.

      When through government you force your employer to better compensate you – without providing your employer greater value, you accomplish nothing. If profit margins change for long – your employer goes out of business. Either costs have to be reduced elsewhere or prices have to increase. Everything that is produced is ultimately produced for the benefit of consumers – you. So increasing your wages or benefits while concurrently increasing prices provides you with zero benefits. In the unlikely even that over the long run you personally benefit – that comes from someone else – and not some “rich person”

      The fundimental law of economics is in the first book of the bible.

      “By the sweat of your brow, you shall produce your daily bread”
      Gen:3:19

      Either you produce the equivalent value to what you consume – or someone else produces it for you. Regardless, what is not produced can not be consumed. Tweaking employment rules does not alter that.

      • July 24, 2016 11:43 am

        “Many of us bemoan “corporate profits” – corporations are owned by people – shareholders, and for the most part that is us, through our IRA’s, pensions, and insurance.”

        Problem is many do not have IRA’s, but they may have pensions and insurance. And even the individuals that do have IRA’s, do not relate corporate profits to their investments increasing in value. Conservative, Libertarian, Liberal, in many cases the electorate is ignorant of this fact. They bitch when profits are too high and then bitch when their IRA’s decrease in value or their employer changes pension funds due to unfunded liabilities.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 10:01 am

        Ron P

        Our lack of understanding does not change how things actually work.

        There is one actual evil in our structure – and that is Social Security.

        Even State pension plans ultimately are funded primarily through investment.

        The money contributed to Social Security is not invested.

        Prior to SS more than 50% of americans owned stock – directly.
        As a result of social security our nation has been robbed of trillions of dollars of investment.

        This actually has a very perverse regressive effect. The less investment there is the more valuable that investment becomes – the more profitable it is. IRA’s, Pensions insurance are a good thing, they are one of the few things that breaks the monopoly of the rich on investment.
        This creates the income inequality the left bemoans.
        Possibly the most powerful force for income inequality in the US is Social Security.

      • August 2, 2016 12:47 pm

        dhlii,

        I could not agree more about social security, it is the most loved, least useful program that I can think of.

        If any investment manager showed up at your doorstep and offered to take 12.4% of your income and invest it getting roughly 2% ROI (what the government offers on it’s IOU’s) you wouldn’t give him the time of day. For me the 6-7% I invest in my 401k will end up being worth far more than the 12.4% my employer and I contribute to social security. Whenever I point this out someone invariably mentions that it takes care of orphans and widows. Then I have to explain that yes it does at a much greater cost than a simple insurance policy.

        I’m disgusted when I think how much wealthier we would all be if this money was invested wisely. I seriously looked at whether I could claim to be Amish and get out of it. I could, but not while holding a Normal job…

        I’m not asking for much from my government. Wisely invest those dollars. Do not loan them to yourselves for a pittance so that you can blow it on your latest boondoggle thereby passing the buck on how to pay for your program to the next generation.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 7:44 am

      Ah; those evil other countries that treat their employees like dirt.

      When I was in grade school we put nickel’s and dimes into milk cartons for the starving millions in Bangeledesch. Today the left is ranting because a hundred or so are killed in factory fires. Over the past 40 years the standard of living of the entire world has doubled.
      In the 1960’s the world population was 3B, there was constant famine and starvation, millions died, “The Population Bomb” was set to go off and things would get much worse.

      Today there are nearly 8B people. What starvation there is, is purely political. We produce more food than we need – most nations – including poor nations, produce all the food they need.

      The standard of living in China when Mao died was $50/person/year – unchanged from “The last emporer” nearly a century earlier. Today the “exploitation” of “cheap labor” from china has raised their standard of living to about 11K/person/year.

      If you can increase my standard of living 200 fold – please exploit me.
      More than 1B people have moved from the bottom of the third world to the bottom of the first.

      Those earlier exploited japanese workers raised their standard of living to nearly that of the US, Singapore and Hong Kong has over 75 years raised their standard of living from poverty to higher than that of the US.

      India is doing badly – compared to China, Hong Kong or Sinapore – yet india has gone from poverty to relative abundance.

      If this is “exploitation” – then we need much more of it.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 1:22 pm

      There is no such thing as a “living wage”

      Your job is worth the value you produce – that is all.

      I do not look down on anyone who works hard for a living.

      But I do not pay more for my house, my car, my food than I have to to get the value I want.

      If I hire others – the same is true. Just because I do not look down on a janitor, or gardener, or waitress, does not mean that I will pay them more than the job is worth.

      What a job pays is very close to the value produced – it has nothing to do with the value of the person.

      • July 25, 2016 2:48 pm

        Dave: How do you explain why a CEO in the 1950s made about 30 times as much as the average worker, while a CEO today makes hundreds or even thousands of times as much? Are all those CEOs doing that much better than their predecessors? Are today’s workers doing that much worse than THEIR predecessors? I don’t see any legitimate reason for the wildly increasing spread between CEOs and ordinary workers… to me, it signifies that the system is deliberately widening the income gap at a time when the middle and working classes are being crippled by the elimination of jobs.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 10:07 am

        Rick;
        Why do I need to explain ?

        The value of anything is what a willing buyer and a willing seller agree to.
        The same is true of a CEO.

        Shareholders select corporate boards.
        Corporate boards select CEO’s.

        If you think that CEO’s are over paid – vote your stock for a board that will pay them less. Regardless, ONLY the shareholders of a company should have a say – as this is their money – not yours or mine.

        Ben & Jerries struggles to conform with E. F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” principles of corporate management.
        So long as they ran the business themselves they sort of managed – primarily by holding vast quantities of the stock whose appreciation in value made up for their reduced pay.
        When they finally had to hire a CEO. They had to throw Schumacher out the window.

        If they wanted to hire a competent CEO they had to pay the rate that person was willing to accept.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 10:26 am

        Rick;

        I get really really tired of this “the past was so much better” nonsense.
        You are old enough to know better – to recall the past from your won experience. Regardless, use proper measures – compare actual wealth and it should be crystal clear to you that in most every way – including actual income, we are nearly all better off today than 40 years ago.

        I would further note that whatever the issue – when someone is selling you one of these malthusian memes – you should presume they are lying.
        No Malthusian meme in any field ever has ever proven true.
        Someone selling you that the past was better is consciously or unconsciously lying to you.

        Workers are not doing much worse than their predecessors.
        Please take a look at census data – this income inequality meme is a crock.

        At EVERY quintile we have twice the wealth today than we had 40 years ago.

        You are old enough to know this and to have seen it with your own eyes.

        Just two of the myriads of fallacious problems with the IE nonsense.

        Are you in the same qunitile today as you were when you just entered the workforce ? Do you know anyone who has been in the workforce who is in the same quintile as they were 40 years ago ?

        So the first big problem with IE is that it misrepresents what is being compared. It assumes that ones income – relative to all others is somehow constant throughout life.

        At the very best all it “proves” is something that should be a tautology.
        That an 18 year old juest entering the market flipping burgers is no mare valueable today than 40 years ago – DUH ?

        Has the actual value of a burger changed ? Has an 18 year old burger flipper magically become more productive ?

        Get a clue. Standard of living rises one and only one way – producing ever more value per person. An economy that does not do that will have eroding not increasing standard of living – because someone somewhere else will produce more value for less, and that will lower your standard of living if you have not increased your productivity.

        But the next statistical error of IE (and a very very common one in economics) is the narrow comparison of dollar denominated values over long periods of time.

        Inflation is insidious and very statistically difficult to deal with.
        Confress fights over which inflators to use for SS and all kinds of other things. There are no universally reliable inflation indexes. Inflation is not uniform over time or over markets.
        Few of us fail to grasp that the price of computers had radically DEFLATED. Agregate inflation indexes work fairly well for they same aggregate measures that they were derved from – we can fairly accurately adjust GDP. We can not accurately adjust income – and the longer the period of time the worse the error.

        This is trivial to see – and trivial to fix.
        Reprice everything in non currency denominated units.
        As an example recalute labor or prices into the goods that could be purchased and compare those.

        Even the bottom quintile has double the wealth it did 40 years ago according to the census.

        But you can trivially do this from your own life experience.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 1:26 pm

      If the treatment of those who produce the goods you buy from other countries is important to you – then do not buy goods that are produced in ways that offend you.

      But you do not get to dictate to others what they can and can not do.

      If you wish you can try to persuade me not to buy these goods that offend you.

      You can organize a boycott. You can write letters to the company.

      There are dozens of things you can do.

      What you can not do is use force to require me to do as you wish.

      And when you have government concoct laws that limit what I can buy – that is what youy are doing.

  4. Beaufort permalink
    July 21, 2016 1:22 pm

    Maybe this is abdication of my vote, but most likely voting Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. His history, platform, and ethics make sense to me.

    • July 21, 2016 4:52 pm

      AMEN!!!!! Maybe if enough people would begin thinking like you and I we might see a change in politics in this country. I have always been amazed that the only true party that believed in governing based on the constitutional powers granted to the Feds by the people was never taken seriously.

      But then, they don’t give away stuff to buy corporate or citizen votes like the Dem’s and Rep’s do either.

      • July 22, 2016 9:26 am

        I hope you are not again trying to imply that their is a huge underclass of people just waiting for government checks…supplied by Dems. This is the biggest piece of poppycock propagated by conservatives. I’ve lived & worked in some of the poorest areas – inner city Dallas and Appalachia. There are many hard working, disheartened people, but extremely few lazy ones. I could probably count them on one hand.
        Corporations are the biggest welfare queens by far.

        It would be nice if people would listen to other parties…but that would require thoughtfulness. In a country that loves reality tv, not likely to happen any time soon 🙂

      • July 22, 2016 1:26 pm

        Moogie..Over the years that I have lived, I have seen both parties come up with plans to help underprivileged individuals. I have heard JFK talk about taxes and the importance of lowering taxes to spur the economy and create “good paying jobs”. He is still the star of the democrat party besides FDR. I have heard the GOP talk of the importance of lowering taxes and they are considered the scourge of the earth by many democrats. I have seen the government develop programs for the poor, and those programs have decimated the black family structure in America. And I have seen both parties promote programs for the good of the country, only to have it fail greatly. And all this while running up a deficit my grandkids and your kids are going to be paying the consequences for for years to come

        So your comment “I hope you are not again trying to imply that their is a huge underclass of people just waiting for government checks…supplied by Dems” does not fit into my wheelhouse. What i do know is when you have programs that create a class of individuals that have no way out, that creates a need for continued support, there is incompetence by those creating the program. I know that continuing a failed program is a waste of your kids and my grandkids money. I have no problem with providing assistance to those in need, but the programs created by the government now do nothing to help those in need. One only needs to look at the WPA, CCC and other programs in the 30’s to find where FDR created programs where the government provided jobs and people worked when they participated in those programs. Kids saw their fathers go off to work or knew they were at a project and found “worth” in that activity and had someone to copy when they got older. Today, those same kids do not even have a father in the house. And the mother, if she can find work, is working a dead end job with no future. We have people demanding a “living wage” for individuals caught in this cycle of despair when they should be demanding a program to move them out of that cycle. No one should be working a career at McDonald’s. Those should be jobs for young adults starting their first job like so many did in the 60’s and 70’s.

        So you can believe one candidate or the other is going to fix the problem. You can believe that one party or the other is going to fix the problem. You can keep looking through the rose colored glasses and image one party or the other helping, but I believe nothing will change until we blow up the two party system that has done little to help in 50 years and have a government based on the constitution and not personal gains. Right now I have no idea what Trump will do. I do know that Hillary is bought and paid for by Wall Street. There are many articles about the support she receives by that group. That is why I will not vote for either of them.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 24, 2016 1:44 pm

        Moogie – of course there is a huge body of people waiting for government give aways. Some are rich some are poor many in between.

        But ultimate the government is bribing us with our own money.

        The federal government costs $4T/year. That is 1/4 of everything that is produced each year.
        More than half of that is “entitlements” – social security, medicare, medicaid, SNAP, TANF, ….
        Some of it is giveaways to business – Ethanol subsidies, ExIm,
        About 1/5 of it is Defense spending.
        The rest is the cost of the myriads of bureacracies that make up the federal government.

        Every dollar the government spends – regardless of what it spends it on, comes out of the economy – it costs, jobs and all sorts of wonderful things
        that do not happen because the government takes our money.

        The majority of us in the middle pay in slightly more than we get back.

        Of course why giving money to the government to get it back in some form is a good idea I can not imagine.

        The bottom quintile receives in benefits many times what it pays in taxes – essentially they pay little of no taxes.
        The Top Quintile pay 84% of all the taxes that pay for the federal government.

        So yes, there is a large number of people partially or wholely dependent on the government.

        Worse still they are strongly incentivized not to work – and that costs all of us.

        This is not some myth – it is an absolute fact.

        These are not “evil people”. but we have allowed them to become dependent instead of productive.

        No one is challenging the merit of the people in inner city Dallas or Apalachia. Only the wisdom of government created poverty.

        You also seem to beleive that how hard you work matters.

        While I appreciate hard work, it is merely one factor.
        If you can produce great value for others without working hard – you will and should do well.

        If you work hard all day carry boulders up the hill and back down again – you produce no value no matter how hard you have worked and should not be paid.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 1:27 pm

      Libertarians – We are not the crazy ones this time!

  5. Roby permalink
    July 21, 2016 9:17 pm

    Thanks Rick, your usual sane thoughtful essay.

    Well. this election season will be exceptionally disgusting, but the apocolypse will happen after it, not during it, unless one of the two major candidates is magically replaced by someone less hated and that person wins. The thought of the level of division that will begin in January is stomach churning.

    So many people want a “revolution.” They don’t know what they are asking for and they will be furious if they don’t get it and we all will experience the historians curse “May you live in interesting times” if they do. Not looking forward to either scenario. Revolutions don’t usually hurt only the intended target, they hurt everyone. Ukraine? Egypt? Syria? Yugoslavia?, Iran?, Cuba?, Venezuela? Which revolution would we like to use as a model? OK, some of the eastern european revolutions following the fall of he Soviet Union, e.g., the Polish Solidarity movement, produced positive results, mostly because the prior situation was so wretched. But revolutions have a mostly horrendous track record. I am not looking forward to the future.

    I do handily live less than 50 miles from Canada if it gets really bad.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2016 1:52 pm

      I am not so sure that people do not know what they want.

      I think a major part of what is driving Trump’s success as an example is that people KNOW they are not going to get what they want from the insiders.

      If you are voting for Hillary – you know what you are going to get – mostly more of what we have had the past 16 years – probably with an extra helping of lies and corruption mixed in.

      I am not sure that anyone wants that. Some may be choosing that because Trump is scarier, but people do know what they want.

      I think most trump voters know they are not getting what they want from him.
      But they are more likely to get what they want than from Hillary.

      They also expect change, disruption of the status quo.
      Again most of us want the status quo disrupted.

      I can not bring myself to vote for Trump – he is just wrong on too many things.
      But I understand his apeal – even if he (hopefully) fails to deliver on his promises.

      No matter what voters in both parties have sent a message to government that they do not want business as usual.

    • July 25, 2016 3:57 pm

      Roby: Thanks, my friend. I agree with you about most revolutions. In “The Cynic’s Dictionary,” I defined a revolutionary as “an oppressed person waiting for the opportunity to become an oppressor.” We need look no further than France, Russia and China. But (and it’s a big “but”) I still look forward to the possibility of a peaceful revolution — in the form of constitutional amendments that would break the hold of lobbyists and other special interests over our representatives. Of course, it’ll be really, really hard to get such a movement off the ground (some of us have already tried)… because our representatives benefit from the current system.

      I’ve also come to believe that identity politics is poisonous. No matter who gets elected, it’ll be a triumph for identity politics: minority issues, women’s issues and LGBT issues under Clinton… embattled white people’s issues and gun owners’ issues under Trump. I say “Make America sane again!”

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 10:39 am

        Rick,

        I am entirely with you on reducing the ability of people to exert influence on government.

        But the constitutional ammendments proposed to do so will make things worse not better.

        The first and largest issue is that you think that the problem is on the outside.

        Lord Acton did not say “money corrupts” he said “power corrupts.

        I have said this repeatedly – whatever power you give government, someone will find some way to bend that power to their own benefit.

        Frankly most of the things the left has whigged out about are GOOD things not bad.

        Citizens United and the advent of PAC’s is a fantastic political improvement.

        It radically diminishes the power of politicians and political parties.

        As Brandies noted the appropriate response to bad speech is more speech.

        There are more voices out there than ever before.

        Every day now I am getting dozens of political spam messages in my inbox. These all come from different groups with different goals and agenda’s.

        What do you want ? To go back to political decisions being made in smoke filled rooms ?

        Or worse still – should we go for the egalitarian democracy of the french revolution ?

        You constantly confuse the ends and the means.

        What is it you expect from government ? What is its job ?

        Democracy is at best a means – not an end.

        Do you want us all to have an equal standard of living ?
        Or do you want us to have the highest possible median standard of living. ?

        We are not equal.
        We are entitled to one form of equality only – equality before the law, and to acheive that government must be blind to our differences.

  6. July 22, 2016 9:46 am

    BTW, I should say I enjoy your pieces, Rick.

    • July 25, 2016 3:02 pm

      Thanks, Moogie. You’ve raised plenty of key issues here, and it’s good to have a fair-minded voice from what our liberals disparagingly call “flyover country.” I can remember when there was a blue-collar middle class: a family could live comfortably on the income from a union job. Now most of those jobs have been eliminated or offshored, without concern for retraining those who have lost out. Dave (dhlii) mentioned that we’ve moved from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. True enough, except that even those service jobs are being offshored — or taken by immigrants imported by companies to replace higher-paid American workers. That’s a disgrace, topped by the fact that many of those American workers are actually forced to TRAIN their successors!

      • July 25, 2016 4:56 pm

        Rick, form a “a fair-minded voice”, please explain your position as to why you think the good paying jobs have been moved overseas in the last 30+ years.

      • July 25, 2016 6:34 pm

        Ron: I think it’s pretty simple: cost-cutting to improve profits and boost share price.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 11:42 am

        The “good paying” jobs are not going “over seas” or elsewhere.

        To the greatest extent possible the crappy jobs are moving.

        Whether local or global the function of a market is to deliver more value for less.

        If the chinese make CFL’s and plastic cups better and cheaper than we do – that is better for them and better for us.

        As to Rick – the share price rises and falls with the value of the company.
        The value of the company rises as it is able to deliver greater value at lower cost. Cost cutting is a major way that occurs.

        Does it matter to you whether jobs are lost to chinese workers or to robots ?

        Many of the jobs China “took” a couple of decades ago are now leaving china for bangeledesch and other less developed countries – why

        Because china’s standard of living has risen sufficiently that it no longer makes sense for chinese workers to have crappy textiles jobs.

        Why on earth would the US want back jobs so shitty the Chinese aren;t willing to take them any more ?

        “Let me be perfectly clear”

        If we want to continue to raise our standard of living we must give the crappy low value jobs to someone else.

        Any job that is going elsewhere for lower wages is by definiton a crappy low value job.

        If you choose to hold on to those crappy low value jobs – even if you artificially inflate wages, you still REDUCE our standard of living.

      • July 28, 2016 12:09 pm

        “If the chinese make CFL’s and plastic cups better and cheaper than we do – that is better for them and better for us.”

        Please tell me where you get your CFL’s that are better than what we had before they went to China. No matter where I buy mine, they are burning out at a much higher rate than the old bulbs. I still have American made bulbs in fixtures I installed in 1986, but they sure are not that crap from China.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 11:48 am

        To be clear I have not explicity said we moved from a manufacturing to a service economy.

        We are more heavily service focused, but I do not care much about that.

        We are doing two things – one good one not.

        We are moving to ever higher value jobs – we are becoming increasingly productive.

        We are raising the ceiling for those at the bottom.

        The higher we make minimum wages the more productive we demand low or no skill people must be to even get a job.

        The strongest economy requires getting as many people as possible producing the greatest value they are able to.

        That means as close to full employment as possible – even it that means very low skill people taking very crappy low value jobs – that is still better than no job at all.

        It also means having everyone engaged in the most productive job they possibly can be.

        If the chinese can make tshirts for less – we should not make tshirts.
        We should make something of greater value.

  7. July 23, 2016 12:09 am

    How interesting, Mike Spence and Tim Caine as the two VP candidates. These are the ones that should be on the top of the ticket with Trump and clinton as their running mates. I could see myself voting for either of these for president.

    And to add to this article by Rick, today a German Iranian young man attacks individuals in a mall in Germany. Wonder what tomorrow will bring? One thing for certain, I would not want one of my kids in Rio participating in the Olympics in August with the apparent problems they are having with security issues.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/woes-confound-rio-in-run-up-to-olympic-games-1467329562

    • July 23, 2016 10:27 am

      Regarding the VP candidates~ both are being criticized as “boring.” I’ll take boring. I suppose the best case scenario is that, after Hillary or Trump wins, s/he gets impeached, convicted and we get Kaine or Pence! 🙂

      • Roby permalink
        July 23, 2016 4:22 pm

        Priscilla (and Ron), Yes! Lets have the boring Veeps replace the candidates and return our poor politically ill country to normalcy of some kind.

        Liberal that I am, my hope is that the dems have their convention and then if even more legal crap surfaces on Clinton she can resign and we get Kaine as candidate. I’d be wildly enthusiastic about that turn of events.

        I have no happy reaction to Pence (other than the one very favorable fact that it appears that he does not in his bones believe in negative campaigning, huzza for him on that!) but as an alternate to Trump, oh, easy choice that.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 24, 2016 3:05 pm

        Roby;

        Liberal – one who values individual liberty highly.

        John Locke would be a Liberal, Jefferson, Adams, Thoreaux would be liberals.

        I am curious what “negative campaigning” means to you ?

        Clearly even you accept that Clinton has lied – should her opponents ignore that ?

        Isn’t calling Trump a rascist – even if he is “negative campaigning ?

        I have a problem with lies.

        I did not vote for Bush I because he told the UN that the Vincense was in international waters when he knew it was not.

        Somehow that seems trivial compared to:

        I did not have sex with that woman.

        Or I did not send or receive classified emails from my private server.

        Or the attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the murder of 4 americans including the US ambassador was the result of a youtube video.

        Or if you like your doctor you can keep them.

        Is it fair game in your world to point out the lies that your opponent has told ?

        I am expecting the current political season to be rife with negative campaigning.

        Clinton touts her qualifications – to me that means what she did as senator and Sec. State is fair game.

        Trump is an incredibly rich target.

        Is it not reasonable for all of us to hear all the dirt on the two people who want to be president before we choose one ?

        As to ideas and policies – how much of either contenders platform do you really expect to see enacted ?

        Do you honestly think Trump is going to “build a wall, and have Mexico pay for it ” ?

        I am not even paying attention to whatever the democrats have promised.
        There is ZERO chance they are enacting anything.

        If we are lucky we will get 4 or even 8 more years where the federal government does nothing new. While I would prefer to see it do even less, that is wishful thinking.

        Sarbox is one of the worst regulatory disasters we have ever enacted – until Dodd-Frank. PPACA has been coming apart at the seams since passed.
        It has increased the number of people insured by only a tiny fraction,
        insurance companies are raising rates or leaving the market.

        We have wasted massive amounts of legal resources fighting the lefts attempts to use PPACA to shove their morality down everyones throat.
        Why is it that the left seems to think it is acceptable to force nuns to give their impramatur to birth control or cease to do charitable work ?

        The left once properly understood the right could not impose their morality on all by force. Somewhere along the way they have lost that.

        But that is one of my problems with the left – for those on the left the rights of minorities only exist for favored minorities.

      • Roby permalink
        July 24, 2016 3:24 pm

        There seems to be something about my posts in particular that exacerbates your reading problems Dave. Nothing of what you wrote is related except in the most tangential manner to anything I said. Its like having a spoken conversation with a nearly deaf person. I ordered cream cheese but you brought me green peas, which I am allergic too.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2016 10:48 am

        Roby;

        i target fallacious ideas not people.

        I barely pay attention to exactly who I am responding to.
        I am focused on What I am responding to.

        You have the messages you want to express – I have mine.

        If in a comment about Cream Cheese – which I do not much care about you say something fallacious about Green Peas – it is likely I will respond.

        Get over it. That is what freedom means.

        I have no ability to control what you say, you have no ability to control what I do.

        I am no more obligated to directly address your remarks about cream cheese when I want to confront your mistakes about green peas, than you are to respond or to confine your response to my points.

        Again it is called freedom.

        I have an entirely different perspective regarding what is wrong today – than most anyone here.

        I share some agreement with many on the left and right on a variety of problems. But I rarely am in agreement on solutions.

        We do not reduce discrimination, by discriminating.
        We do not reduce corruption by increasing power,
        we do not increase freedom by writing more laws.

        Regardless, I am primarily discussing ideas. Not fixated on people.

  8. July 24, 2016 10:55 pm

    With the “Breaking News” that seems to be what everyone wants to talk about this week, I am going to offer a suggestion to the Democrats that needs to be part of their platform.

    Platform policy: Under no circumstances will any member of our party use any form of e-mail to communicate anything other than recipes or news about kids. All communication will be though telephone conversation only.

    They will probably try to blame Trump for getting WIKI to expose the current e-mails. Who else would do it?

    • dhlii permalink
      July 28, 2016 11:33 am

      I understand why the sandersnistas are upset.

      But I do not understand the surprise.

      First was there ever any doubt that the DNC was strongly behind clinton ?

      Just as has there been any doubt that until they had no choice the RNC was fighting tooth and nail to avoid Trump ?

      In each instance they are political parties – they can do as they please.

      The other issue that has been evident to most anyone who is not blind – which apparently precludes the media until now and most democrats, is that there is far more stress in the democratic party than in the republican one.

      Over the past several decades the grip of Social conservatives – the religious right on the GOP has been slowly diminishing. The religious right itself has been changing – though most on the left are completely ignorant of that.
      This change resulted in a power vaccuum and triggered a massive power struggle between various factions in the GOP. Any presumption that Republicans (or democrats) are somehow monolithic is nonsense.
      Social conservatives, Neo-Cons, Fiscal Conservatives, Establishment Republicans, Tea Party, libertarian republicans are all different factions within the GOP and all are seeking to fill the power vaccuum. This power struggle has been going on for more than a decade.

      While the outcome thus far does not fit my perfect world. It has been a significant shift toward more libertarian values.

      With umpteen GOP candidates in this election – not a single one was a neo-con.
      The only neo-con in this entire race is Hillary.
      Every single republican was a non-interventionist.

      That is one issue. I am disappointed that Trump won the GOP nomination – he is flat out stupidly wrong on trade, on immigration, on globalization. Worse still I think he is actually smart enough to know that – and that is very disturbing.

      What has been less obvious – but still clear is the DNC is facing its own civil war.
      Post Bill Clinton it has been shifting back to the left – pretty far to the left.
      While mostly Obama governed indistinguishable from Bush – a left republican.
      Ideologically he was pretty far left.

      I may like sanders but that any national party is serious about him as a candidate is deeply disturbing. Have we really forgotten how evil socialism is ?
      I have actually met Elizabeth Warren – she Taught my wife in Law School.
      That person and the far left zealot have no relationship to each other.

      Regardless democrats have an very large and unruly left wing that they are in danger of completely losing control of.
      It is as if the religious conservatives of a few decades ago prepared to start their own party if they did not get their way.

      I loath Hillary – but the real Hillary is a political hack – not a rapid left winger. But she has been forced to tack hard to the left to hold the democratic party together.

      We keep getting told demographics is destiny.
      Well if the Sanders wing of the democratic party wrests control at a time when the GOP is shifting towards the center, democrats are in deep trouble in the future.

  9. Roby permalink
    July 25, 2016 11:36 am

    The sight of Vladimir Putin pulling the strings of Julian Assange to help Trump and his foreign policy of utter cluelessness is about as ugly as it can get for me, 3 completely vile actors who I wish never had access to any power acting more or less in concert.

    Some searching online this a.m.revealed news stories in recent months that allege that Putin has been meddling in German politics using the refugee crisis and Russian nationals in Germany as well to attempt to replace or weaken Merkel. I have no idea what the world is going to look like in 5 years but the possibilities are more disgusting and frightening than I would have guessed a week ago and far blacker than I would have guessed 3 years ago. Its a dark dark world. If someone had told me 2 years ago that the GOP nominee would embrace Putin and his policies (without upsetting his voters!) I would not have believed it. Imagine what RR would have thought of Trump’s foreign policy ideas (if you can call them that) vis a vis Russia. There is no solid earth any more, anything can happen. Don’t like it.

    Who do I fear more, Putin/Russian expansionism or ISIS/Islamism? Both are ugly and terrifying. Who will blacken the world more if they succeed? I have no idea which is worse. DIvided we fall, I know that, and Putin has artfully divided us, as did Bin Laden.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 25, 2016 1:17 pm

      Tin-foil hat stuff right now, Roby. If it turns out that the Russians did this, then we can be certain that they have all of Hillary’s emails, but right now, Wikileaks says this was their hack. Only left wing news sites and Clinton staffers are pushing the anti -Trump angle. If it’s true the truth will out, until then let’s wait for the facts.

      • Roby permalink
        July 25, 2016 1:57 pm

        Tinfoil it may be but its plausible and in my mind likely. I don’t think its just left wing sites, they provide a link to actual internet security sites. I’d love to be wrong, but this fits Putin’s Russia like a glove. In any case Trumps incompetent take on foreign policy and Russian behavior (an area where you and I found our greatest agreement!) invite one to believe that its in Putin’s interest to do this.

        If Hillary (Bill), Putin, Assange, and Trump should all or even some of them have entirely natural disabling coronaries or strokes or falls down a staircase, choking on a ham sandwich, anything I would consider it an improved world without any of them (you can throw Micheal Moore and Rush and white power barbie onto that list as well.) Bad actors are gaining on us.

      • July 25, 2016 3:41 pm

        Roby: Maybe I should revive my old “Cynic’s Sanctuary.” (It’s still there, but I no longer update it.) Believe me, I can sympathize… we’re being dominated by bad sorts on the right, the left and overseas. Canada is looking more and more appealing.

      • July 25, 2016 4:57 pm

        I have no doubt that the US has been hacked repeatedly. Peter Thiel’s brief but powerful message at the RNC stressed that we, as a nation, are no where near where we need to be in terms of technology and communication.

        James Comey made it clear that during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, her “extreme carelessness” made it highly likely that very sensitive top secret information was obtained, either though the hacking of he multiple unsecured systems or through the emails of the people that she emailed.

        My objection, hence the tinfoil hat reference was this sentence:

        “The sight of Vladimir Putin pulling the strings of Julian Assange to help Trump and his foreign policy of utter cluelessness is about as ugly as it can get for me, 3 completely vile actors who I wish never had access to any power acting more or less in concert.”

        Donald Trump is is clueless about national security, but Hillary Clinton, who actually had possession of highly classified secrets and information and left it open to foreign or domestic hackers is not??

        Putin is a dictator, Assange is a leftist, Trump is an American citizen, and well-known businessman and celebrity, who has succeeded in being nominated for POTUS. I think it’s partisanship taken too far to accept the opposing campaign’s accusation that the emails proving that she coordinated with the DNC to deny Sanders the nomination, were hacked by Putin’s henchmen for the purpose of helping Trump.

        Otherwise, I agree that Putin and Assange are nasty guys, and no one in our government should ever have made us vulnerable to either one of them.

  10. Roby permalink
    July 25, 2016 2:16 pm

    From Bloomberg back on June 22

    “The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation was among the organizations breached by suspected Russian hackers in a dragnet of the U.S. political apparatus ahead of the November election, according to three people familiar with the matter….Before the Democratic National Committee disclosed a major computer breach last week, U.S. officials informed both political parties and the presidential campaigns of Clinton, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders that sophisticated hackers were attempting to penetrate their computers, according to a person familiar with the government investigation into the attacks.
    The hackers in fact sought data from at least 4,000 individuals associated with U.S. politics — party aides, advisers, lawyers and foundations — for about seven months through mid-May, according to another person familiar with the investigations.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-22/clinton-foundation-said-to-be-breached-by-russian-hackers

    From CNN

    “The suspected Russian hack is part of a wave of Russian cyber attacks aimed at political organizations and academic think tanks in Washington, US officials briefed on the investigations say.
    Over the weekend, Wikileaks began publishing emails from the DNC. The group didn’t identify the source.”

    You can find much more along these lines in sources that are ordinary middle of the road news sources. I’m not insulted by the tin foil hat phrase, but this is not tin foil hat stuff.

    Putins people have the ability to do this and given their various poisonings and other tricks its something they would do. It ties with their efforts to interfere in Germany. From my not small knowledge of things they have been involved in I have only small doubt this hack was Russian.

    Wikileaks as far as I know mostly do not hack themselves , they are the receivers of things others hacked. They are hard left and anti-US as hell.

  11. Roby permalink
    July 25, 2016 5:24 pm

    “I think it’s partisanship taken too far to accept the opposing campaign’s accusation that the emails proving that she coordinated with the DNC to deny Sanders the nomination, were hacked by Putin’s henchmen for the purpose of helping Trump.”

    I think the Russian hackers went on an enormous American fishing mission and then sent the stuff that most suited their purposes to Wikileaks. I Don’t think Trump was in the loop, if that is what you are reading into my comments, simply Hillary is quite unsympathetic to Putin and will resist him as President where as Trump is a useful idiot who is highly preferred by Putin who won’t resist him or who will have lost the game already before he catches on. I don’t think Trump and Putin communicate or coordinate, simply Putin believes that Trump is a virus that will cripple the US and therefore help Russian foreign and domestic interests. I still think that Trump’s chances are not great in the general election. Putin has very possibly once again miscalculated by poking Clinton, she will be even more opposed to him now and she and Merkel are likely to continue to look for ways to pull his fangs with more determination.

    There are limits to what I will suspect even Trump of, e.g. his 6 pointed star was just a six pointed star and I would not go so far as to believe he will actively and deliberately conspire with Putin (until he does). But he does not need to in order the be the virus on America that Putin is hoping for. Even as a mere candidate he has done huge harm.

    As just a tangent, those e-mails prove no such thing about Clinton coordinating with the DNC to deny Sanders unless you have seen an E-mail to that effect that I have not heard of. I am not defending Clinton or the DNC but they just don’t prove any such thing. They show that the DNC was hostile to Sanders. Well, he’d been a democrat for an hour when he declared war on them. War is war. Like the GOP establishment was hostile to Trump. They show the usual embarrassing stuff that hacked e-mails show about political/diplomaic stupidity and lack of judgment during warfare. If it were Trump or anyone who was the victim of a hacking my sympathies would be with him. Hacking is just sleazy stealing and invasion of privacy I don’t care who the target is.

    God help me I’ve been reading the news, yes. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

    • July 25, 2016 5:50 pm

      Don’t worry, Roby, it’s election season, you can be forgiven a few news bites. 😉

      Here’s the thing…..you might be absolutely right, and Vlad might be actively interfering in the US election. There is pretty strong evidence that the US interfered in the last Israeli election, trying to prevent the re-election of Netanyahu. And maybe it is because he fears a Hillary Clinton presidency more than he fears a Donald Trump one. Nothing would surprise me, these days.

      There’s a saying, in politics, that “no conversation is ever off the record and every mic is live.”
      Perhaps it needs to be amended to add “no email is ever private.” How Clinton, her party and her campaign have gotten this far without realizing that everything she emails is able to be hacked simply astounds me. So, I am willing to sit back and wait for events to unfold. It may be a dirty trick, or it may simply be that the DNC, like Hillary herself, are extremely careless with their electronic communications and this was a crime of opportunity by hackers who saw easy pickin’s.

      That all I was saying really.

      • Roby permalink
        July 25, 2016 6:03 pm

        Well, historically (at least European) it has been the norm to take an interest in and interfere in the succession of power of neighboring countries, so its nothing astounding in that was, the only thing that astounds me is that Trump is this close and this empty of any foreign policy ability and that with Trump as nominee its the Dems taking a much more cynical view of Russian intentions. As I said, RR would be beyond shocked…. This is a huge role reversal.

      • July 25, 2016 6:24 pm

        It is, for sure. But even you would likely admit that NATO is pretty frayed at the edges these days, and many of our European allies have been feckless, to say the least.

        I suspect that Trump’s comments about most of our NATO allies not pulling their weight, but expecting the US and Britain to do all the heavy lifting, were something of a shot across the bow, rather than the ramblings of a fool. But, one never knows these days.

        I just don’t buy that Putin would prefer Trump to Hillary. Obama hasn’t been so much as a thorn in Putin’s side, and Hillary promises to be Obama 2.0. Trump, on the other hand, is unpredictable and talks about putting America first. Maybe Putin does think that Trump is a fool, and that Hillary is lying about continuing the Obama foreign policy….

        Arrrgh. I can’t believe I even typed that last paragraph. How did we ever end up with these two?

  12. July 25, 2016 8:47 pm

    Rick I decide to open a new comment to your CEO’s causing the problems with wages and jobs.

    So you do not believe that unbalanced trade agreements signed by Clinton with the support of the GOP in congress during the 90’s had ANYTHING to do with major manufacturing.

    “The 2010 National Trade Estimate (NTE) released on March 31 by the Office of the United States Trade Representative explains how the Chinese government kept out American products. The latest statistics released on March 18 by the BEA show that for every $1 that the United States bought from China in 2009, the Chinese government only let its people buy 28¢ of American products. Although the Chinese economy was growing by 8.7%, the Chinese government managed to shrink Chinese imports of American goods and services”.

    Is this Fair Trade? Doesn’t seem like it to me.

    According to this report, page 60, “China still maintains high duties on some products that compete with sensitive domestic industries. For example, the tariff on large motorcycles is 30 percent. Likewise, most video, digital video, and audio recorders and players still face duties of approximately 30 percent. Raisins face duties of 35 percent. In addition, There have been continuing reports of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and China Telecom adopting policies to discourage the use of imported components or equipment. For example, MIIT has reportedly still has not rescinded an internal circular issued in 1998 instructing telecommunications companies to buy components and equipment from domestic sources”. This restricts American products for this purpose. And in China, who does anything the government tells them not to do?

    Page 63-64. “China’s inspection and quarantine agency, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), and MOFCOM have imposed inspection-related requirements that have led to restrictions on imports of many U.S. agricultural goods….In addition, traders report that shipments often are closely scrutinized and are at risk for disapproval if they are considered too large in quantity”.

    And there are many other documented instances where China restricts American products, but what restriction do we have on their cheap low quality products they send us made by Chinese workers making about 55,000 yuan per year or $8,250 US dollars.

    And remember, few of these imports come from American owned companies in China increasing profits in America since the chinese restrict foreign ownership of companies in China. Few are like Apple that have their own plants in China.

    Now we can say that NAFTA is good for the USA. We import their products like cars, electric tools and other manufactured goods, and we export wheat, corn, soy beans and other agricultural products. What a deal!!!! A $40,000 car for a truckload of corn! No wonder our trade deficit has increase substantially since NAFTA. But here, we do have your example of CEO’s just wanting to increase profits. Ross Perot was sure right about that “sucking sound” of jobs going to Mexico.

    So you can blame CEO’s that want in increase profits that increase retirement funds for millions of Americans, but I will blame the incompetence of our government in signing agreements that allows open ports for Chinese crap and closed doors for our stuff going to them.

    And we won’t even discuss the issue with one of the most liberal oriented companies in American, Apple, that produces most of their products in China and spouts off all the liberal talking points when it comes to wages. When most of your workers are in China, you can do that. And they can take advantage of the lax laws governing workers in China as presented in the following article.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30532463

    Other than media reports, what documentation do you have that counters my information?

    • July 25, 2016 11:42 pm

      Ron, remember that I’m staunchly opposed to the continual offshoring of jobs. This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a by-product of our corporatist system, which is supported by elite liberals and conservatives alike. (I do hold Clinton accountable for accelerating the trend.)

      This really has nothing to do with the widening gap between top income levels and median income levels. I’d honestly like to know why CEOs and investment bankers are worth so many times more today than they were in the postwar era, when the US was actually more dominant an economic force. Why are virtually all recent gains in income going to the plutocrats?

      • July 26, 2016 8:41 am

        Ron and Rick,
        Like many people, my eyes start to glaze over when the talk gets too detailed regarding trade agreements income inequality.

        It’s so easy for politicians (some of whom, I suspect, are just like me in the “eyes glazing over” regard) to fire up a crowd by shouting about this stuff. Bernie Sanders has started a veritable movement built on economic illiteracy. There are many who say the same about Donald Trump, although I sense that his talking points – ok, shouting points – are constructed more along the lines of “we need trade agreements, but not like the ones that we have, which damage America”. And I agree on that. It might be helpful if Trump didn’t sound so demagogic in his delivery,but, then again, people like me might not listen if he were too wonky.

      • July 26, 2016 12:08 pm

        Trump would have been down there with Huckabee and Santorum had he been less vocal and used more commonly acceptable phrases. And his only chance is to keep stoking the fires to keep his supporters energized so the GOP turnout is higher, because he will not get elected by those with cooler minds.

      • July 26, 2016 12:00 pm

        Well I can only relate one example that might be applied to many instances. CEO of a mid sized hospital in NC. When the RN’s were making 25K to 30K per year, the CEO was making around 175K or about 6 times what the average worker in the hospital made. That was just before the explosion of CEO wages began in the early 90’s. Seems as though the average wage for workers at the hospital increased 4-5% each year, but the CEO’s wage increased much more rapidly. The members on the board that were on the subcommittee for executive pay were also business executives in the community and the CEO of the hospital sat on some of the boards for other industries. So what happened. “You scratch my back and I scratch yours”. The hospital CEO got large raises and the other business executives got large raises.

        As this happened in our area, it only took a couple of hospitals doing this to put pressure on others to raise CEO pay. I suspect this happened across the country and I suspect this happens in all industries. And once it happens, pressure grows to keep increasing salaries so a company can get the best available candidate for the CEO’s position that is available.

        It is much like sports. Is Andrew Luck worth 25 million a year? I doubt it, but when he got that contract it set the standard for contracts for other franchise players. Same with Lebron James and A-Rod.

        Its the “good ol’ boz” network that help create the CEO overpay and the market now sets the standard like all economic situations.

        No the CEO’s are not worth what they are being paid unless they own the company before they go public, but individuals who are the workers are getting paid what they are worth or the salary will increase. Just like the RN shortage of the early 90’s that increased their salaries substantially due to a severe shortage of nurses.

      • July 26, 2016 1:00 pm

        Ron, you’re absolutely right, and therein lies the rub for any Republican candidate. If they conduct themselves with dignity and express reasoned and fair minded positions, say, like Mitt Romney, they are libeled and crushed by the rhetoric of the leftist Democrats. Remember, Romney was lambasted as a right-wing extremist who hated poor people,women, blacks, gays, even dogs, called a fool for stating that Russia was our foe, and a felon for not paying his taxes. All of it lies, but he didn’t fight back.

        Enter Donald Trump. He fights back with the nastiness and ferocity that the left has always used on the GOP candidate. And all of a sudden, Mitt Romney is viewed as a dignified moderate….which he always was, by the way.

        Trump may be fighting with extremist rhetoric, because extremist rhetoric wins in our fractured and ill-informed society. The “cooler minds market” has declined. A lot. The 21st century is about bathroom wars, not trade wars.

      • July 26, 2016 1:58 pm

        Hope this comes through. Not sure if I can link up a Facebook post to wordpress or not, but I think this says it all. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had more politicians that told the truth and only talked about issues and let people decide based on the issue instead of the constant lies that we hear. But that is our political environment and we most likely will never get the best person available ever running for any presidential election in the near future.

        http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154360450665763&set=a.101983010762.126647.544700762&type=3&theater

        Maybe if this does not open through this link, copy and paste to browser and see if that will work.

      • July 26, 2016 3:04 pm

        It came through just fine, Ron. Sad to say, the best people available are highly unlikely to even seek public office anymore. I can’t blame them. Why would a an ethical moderate want to put himself and his family through the meat grinder that is today’s politics? Both parties have shown themselves to be inhospitable to outsiders looking to change the system, and, even when a Mr. Smith-type does make it to Washington, he is soon sucked into the big-money politics that is the system.

        It’s because of this that I find myself sympathizing with the much-maligned millennial generation. They have known nothing but the 24 hour news cycle, reality tv, and crooked politics….not to mention being the product of a broken, union-corrupted educational system. Is it any wonder that they are willing to follow an old socialist, who seemed to be an idealist? Or a reality show star, who seems to be a straight-talker, but may not be? Hillary Clinton attempts to portray herself as a glass-ceiling breaking feminist, but most savvy millennials know that she is no more a feminist than Melania Trump is an ugly hag. And Bill Clinton has lost his mojo. Well, I mean his political mojo, anyway. Who can they look up to as a leader in their dangerous world?

        If millennials are this ill-informed and nihilistic, what will the next generation be like? Calling Pat Riot for an infusion of optimism here!

      • July 26, 2016 4:51 pm

        “Hillary Clinton attempts to portray herself as a glass-ceiling breaking feminist, but most savvy millennials know that she is no more a feminist than Melania Trump is an ugly hag.”

        Anyone that thinks Hillary Clinton is a glass ceiling breaking female is totally out top lunch and has been drinking too much of the progressive cool-aid. There are four basic types of women in business. One that does not have a desire to progress in her career and is happy where she is. Two, one that sleeps with the bosses to get what she wants. Three, ones that demonstrate a clear and distinct ability to perform at the highest levels of management through plain old hard work and motivation. And four, ones that have latched onto coat tails of others that have taken them though their careers that have allowed them to achieve positions that they would not have achieved through their own efforts.

        Now one can say Hillary slept with the boss (Bill), but that is questionable other than when chelsea came along or they can say she fits into category #4. There is no way in hell she fits into category # 3

  13. July 26, 2016 10:28 pm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/26/us/politics/convention-highlights.html?_r=0

    Anyone notice something missing on stage at the DNC? I might be blind, but I do not see a flag in sight. Now I don’t think they need to do the stage in flags like the RNC, but not one? Really???

  14. July 27, 2016 11:32 am

    Another question concerning the DNC. Who would have ever predicted the Democrats would have held their convention at a location called the “WELLS FARGO CENTER”?

    Even the Bernie supporters have not said a word about this.

  15. Roby permalink
    July 27, 2016 8:54 pm

    FACT CHECK: TRUMP’S CLAIM THAT TIM KAINE IS TOM KEAN IS ‘MOSTLY FALSE’ – Kate Sheppard: “In a press conference Wednesday morning, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump criticized Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential candidate, Tim Kaine, for how he governed New Jersey. ‘Her running mate, Tim Kaine, who by the way did a terrible job in New Jersey ― first act he did in New Jersey was ask for a $4 billion tax increase and he was not very popular in New Jersey and he still isn’t,’ Trump said. Except Tim Kaine was the governor of Virginia. Tom Kean, a Republican, was the governor of New Jersey from 1982 to 1990. They are different people. Kean, now 81, has been critical of current New Jersey governor and Trump ally Chris Christie.

    Yes, Trump is really a detail guy, always on top of things and sharp as a tack.

    Side note, As president of Drew University Tom Kean handed my oldest daughter her college diploma when she graduated. He also gave my father a job in the NJ Department of Higher ed nearly 4 decades earlier which he remembered well when I asked him. He is not Tim Kaine, no.

    Its OK, as president Trump would have other people to actually do anything that requires a brain. We don’t need a president who knows stuff, that is superfluous baggage.

    I don’t care what anyone says, Trump is dumber than a bucket of goat cheese. If he was not always so then he has early stage dementia.

    • July 27, 2016 10:12 pm

      Ha! He did, however, know that Tim Kaine asked for a whopping 4 billion dollar tax increase as governor of VA.

      I’m gonna give Trump the benefit of the doubt here, since he knows Tom Kean personally, and when told that he said NJ, he corrected himself. I listened to the press conference, and the whole Kean/Kaine thing took about 15 seconds.

      • Roby permalink
        July 27, 2016 10:52 pm

        You took that well, a point for you. As well I believe you are right about it being a memory glitch. Still believe that the bucket of goat cheese is smarter though. Here is a quote from the 538 convention coverage. I’m just having to find things to laugh about here, what else can one do?

        “In case you didn’t get Kaine’s reference to the writer who worked with Trump and then denounced him, here’s the New Yorker article from last week about Trump’s ghostwriter on “The Art of the Deal.” Tony Schwartz now regrets what he says was an effort to make Trump more likable and impressive. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is,” Schwartz said. “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” Trump responded by threatening to sue his former co-author.”

        Then there is George Will…. Perhaps Trump can sue him as well or better yet initiate one huge lawsuit against everyone in the world and save time.

      • July 27, 2016 10:56 pm

        It really doesn’t matter. Both parties are following a truck load of pig poop and everyone knows there isn’t much that stinks worse than that. All we can do is pray for split government likes we have had in Obama’s second term so Washington can not get anything done. We see what happens when they do something (Healthcare), so doing nothing is much better than something.

      • July 28, 2016 8:41 am

        I would normally agree with you Ron….but there are pretty big issues that will need to be addressed sooner than later. And, as Obama promised us 8 years ago, things have changed. The ACA is about to fail…lost in the stories of gun control and racism, is the fact that the insurance companies are bailing out of the state exchanges and private premiums are skyrocketing. This of course is all by design, so that we will accept single-payer. The immigration invasion will continue unabated if we have no leadership at the top. The assault on freedom of speech and religion will be intensified. Everything will be “hate speech.” A third term of Obama’s policies will only continue and exacerbate the identity hate politics that he has carefully crafted.
        Hillary will not hesitate to rule by diktat, just as he has, so gridlock will no longer be a protection against the abuse of executive authority.

  16. July 28, 2016 1:58 am

    Heres Bloomberg’s speech this evening.
    Any moderate or Indepenndent still considering voting for Trump after watching this is brain dead,

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/videos/watch-michael-bloomberg-on-trump-at-dnc-i-know-a-con-when-i-see-one-w431378

    • July 28, 2016 8:27 am

      Thanks, Jay. I’ll take being brain dead over the phony dog and pony show that I saw last night.

      Obama can read a speech exceptionally well ~ I will give him that. But the disconnect between the unified America that he described, and the apocalyptic terror war that we are facing from ISIS (always ISIL for Obama, – he is so anti- Israel), the street war against cops that we see from BLM and New Black Panthers, the PC war against Christians and conservatives that’s going on in our universities,the neo-fascist crony capitalism that is destroying small business and depressing real wage growth, and the flagrant abuse of our immigration laws, encouraged by corporate greed and political need??

      Yeah, that disconnect wasn’t really addressed.

      Add to that, the almost hilarious statement that no man or woman has ever been as quaiified as Hillary? Check out John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren for qualifications. Hillary better qualified?? Nah. And ask yourself, would you rather your Commander in Chief be Hillary or, say, George Washington or Dwight Eisenhower. They were kinda, sorta better qualified at the most important job that the president holds.

      Only someone like Obama, who is ignorant and/or dismissive of our history, and who, himself, was uniquely UNqualified for the presidency could say something outrageous like that.

      I’ll lapse back into my brain dead coma now, thank you very much.

    • Roby permalink
      July 28, 2016 8:40 am

      Amen to that.

      • July 28, 2016 8:52 am

        I am going to assume that your “Amen” is to Jay, not to my being brain dead Roby…..you guys are pretty vicious in an election year. 😉

        All I kept thinking about last night, and again this morning was “We have always been at war with Eastasia” Doublethink is here, and the thought police are everywhere.

      • Roby permalink
        July 28, 2016 8:53 am

        Amen to Jays comment I mean. George Will, Romney, Bloomberg, the Bushes, many other conservative /GOP leaders on one side rejecting Trump, Julian Assange, Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin on the other working for his election, easy to understand what is going on here with Trump, something remarkably bad. Trump is probably at his high point in the polls and its not very high. I think that the debates are likely to remove the closeness of the race. If and when Trump loses he leaves a giant crater. I honestly do not understand how any conservative can fail to be completely horrified by Trump and reject him but there are a lot of things I don’t understand.

        Yesterday our wonderful Russian friend came by to pick some of our black currents and regale me with stories about how she was working in a Moscow theater as an assistant to the composer Shostakovich in the early 70s. Then she gave me a big speech about how the Russian olympic team is being picked on with no evidence whatsoever only because they are Russians. Moral, Utterly excellent people can take loyalty to some appalling thing to the ends of the earth and all their friends can do is sigh and love them anyhow.

      • Roby permalink
        July 28, 2016 9:02 am

        Yes, Priscilla, you slipped your post in before my Amen clicked with sort of hilarious results to my meaning. All conventions rely on hyperbole, hyperbole makes one shake their head yes, but not as much as say an appeal to Vlad the Putin for help by an American presidential candidate. There is bad and there is worse. Anyhow, I have no desire to be nasty to you and can only do the liberal equivalent of praying for your soul. <– Meant to be funny not mean.

      • July 28, 2016 9:22 am

        Don’t worry, dear sir, I know that you are a kind soul, even if you fall for the claptrap that we heard last night. 😉

        Here’s the thing. I may cringe sometimes (ok, lots of times) at some of the stuff that Trump says. But I’m not an idiot and I’m not a snob (not saying that you are) and I have thought my position through pretty carefully, taking into account, as you say, that almost the entire “old guard” of the GOP, plus the bulk of the conservative commentariat is aligned against Trump. Has it made me reconsider? Yes, but, after reading and absorbing the arguments against him, I find the arguments against her to be far more compelling. Far more compelling. And I believe that, despite the all out effort to frame Hillary Clinton as anything but a shallow, corrupt, greedy incompetent, Trump is going to win. Both are demagogic in their rhetoric , just as Obama has always been in his. It’s demanded in today’s politics, unfortunately, and we have to look past it to hear what they are really saying.

        I won’t go into much more detail now, because I have a feeling that we may discuss this at length over the next few months.

  17. Roby permalink
    July 28, 2016 9:51 am

    “even if you fall for the claptrap that we heard last night.”

    The only part I have paid much attention to was Bloomberg. I have watched not one minute of either convention.

    I suppose that if Trump wins I will be in the position of knowing how JB felt under Obama, but unlike that case, in the Trump case the US will actually become internationally perceived as a hopeless, mentally ill, basket case, and played by Putin in the leadership vacuum in a way that will make you long for the good old days of this era.

    I get that conservative are just as horrified by Hillary appointed SCOTUS as liberals are by GOP appointed ones and will fight to prevent that, as well as fighting to prevent a blowout. But if Trump can win against the wishes of WIll, Bloomberg, the GOP old guard, Wall Street, the Pentagon, women, hispanics, that will be one remarkable result. I’m highly doubtful. When campaign advertising starts in serious Trump has provided just thousands of things to use against him with non political junkies tuning in for the first time, i.e., most voters. As well, my mind cannot wrap itself around the idea that Trump could win a debate with Clinton. The scenario that I find pretty compelling is that when it becomes clear that Trump is losing, the Libertarian party will be the recipient of GOP votes and Clinton will win easily. Perhaps its wishful thinking (and I canNOT believe that my wishful thinking includes Billary in the WH) but that is my most likely scenario. I hope that I can find the strength to just turn the whole spectacle off for a month or two once the conventions are over. This daily looking at polls will only drive a person loopy. Looking in once a month would be a whole lot healthier.

  18. July 28, 2016 11:32 am

    Bloomberg cuts no ice with me. He is no independent. He is a big, BIG government nanny-stater, a hypocrite on gun control, and a powerful, wealthy man, totally disconnected from the average person. And very buddy-buddy with Bill Clinton.

    That said, I happen to think that he was a halfway decent mayor of NYC, certainly when compared to the leftist nincompoop that’s currently dismantling the peaceable order established by Guiliani and carried on by Bloomberg. DeBlasio is under multiple investigations for violations of campaign finance laws, yet he was paraded out in from of the true believers at the DNC. Democrats feel no shame when it comes to this stuff, and I find it revolting.

    This will certainly be an election of extremes. And, no doubt, the powers are aligned against Trump, the interloper. But there are an awful lot of people who have been disenfranchised by the left, and feel that strongly. They see what is happening and who is benefiting from their disenfranchisement. And they know, instinctively and rationally, that last night was a parade of liars, telling them that all is well. That Hillary has their backs, and that Trump is the liar, not her.

    These are people who have been told every four years, since the century began, that the Republican candidate was just like Hitler. That he was a racist, a misogynist, and a warmonger. That he was backed by all the big money in the election, provided by the evil Koch Brothers (forget about Soros, Bloomberg and the others behind that curtain). It falls on deaf ears now, and if Trump supporters are ignoring it, it’s because the Democrats have cried wolf for years.

    And Trump won’t play the game, being nicey-nice, agreeable, go down looking and all of that. He’s going to fight back and, if he goes down, he’s going to go down swinging, against the globalist cabal of which he was once a part. And that’s why this will be close. I think, in the end, Hillary can only win if Obama drags her across the finish line, by convincing black voters that he will still be in charge of things. That could happen. It was reported yesterday that he has cleared his schedule for October and will be on the stump every day.

    Hey, remember when sitting presidents stayed out of politics during the campaign in their lame duck year? Yeah, that’s not happening.

    • Roby permalink
      July 28, 2016 4:41 pm

      Priscilla, you and I are just going to agree that we inhabit very different political universes. I did not think that Romney, W, Dole, or McCain were racists, sexists, whatever. I could accept any of them as president with equanimity and no hyperventilating. Many years after W left office I finally admitted what a bad president he had been but with no rancor. He just was not up to it and faced problems larger than his judgment.

      Trump is altogether different. Trump has attracted the admiration of people like David Duke and Coulter who are loud proud racists. There is a reason for that. I hated Nixon and now I hate Trump. There has been no president or nominee in the interim that I hated. There have been those I disliked strongly, yes. The willingness to excuse or explain away Trump may seriously be the death of the GOP as a presidential party for many years. Large parts of the GOP have veered into ugly loon territory during the Obama years, led by influential people like Rush L. Trump is the final result. Its a disaster that will end badly no matter who wins the POTUS race.

      The old guard may start to look pretty good in a short time but they have been kicked off stage and may not be back in many cases.

  19. July 28, 2016 4:05 pm

    Dave, you and I are discussing two very different issues. “What is your goal ? To produce more washing machines or to increase your standard of living ?”

    You are discussing GDP and gross industrial production, while I am discussing income. I understand you points about productivity of people, but i am not discussing that point.

    What I am discussing is unfair trade agreements that have taken good paying jobs in American and taken them to Mexico and China where they are anything but good paying based on American standards. I also blame both parties for these agreements since NAFTA was begun an agreement that both clinton and the GOP congress approved as were the agreements with China.

    For example, Buick is one of the fastest selling cars in China. But to get into that market, GM had to build a plant in China to build Buicks for the Chinese because China had roadblocks in place that kept that American made car out of their market. But we have no impediments in place to block their imports. So instead of American producing a Buick, the Chinese are producing it.

    And that is why we may be more productive in what we manufacture, from food to software, but many of the higher wage jobs have gone to foreign markets. And this has been one of the causes for the stagnant wages .

  20. July 28, 2016 10:29 pm

    There are many noble, virtuous, touchy-feely ideals being paraded and cheered these past nights, and tonight, at the DNC!

    Many Americans cheer these ideals (e.g. togetherness, cooperation, motherhood, children, et cetera). I cheer many of these ideals!
    But I will not be fooled into thinking that Hillary Clinton/B. Obama/Bush/Cheney, etc. have been or will be working for the best interests of Americans and America.

    (At least Chelsea did not bring a puppy out on stage for her speech.)

    Just look at the results over the past decades. Research anywhere you want regarding stagnation of American wages, the widening wealth gap, and the consolidation of power, and then consequently the chiseling away at the U.S. Constitution, our rights, our privacy, etc.

    DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know everything is not horrible. Dhlii Dave correctly points out, and with data, that many things are better. But I am not talking about availability of products, improvements in products, improvements in production, etc.

    I am talking about consolidation of power and the consequent disenfranchisement of most Americans (not to mention the various messes in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria…)

    Priscilla above mentions the “globalist cabal”. Others refer to “corporatist elites” or “the Establishment” or “NWO” or…

    Because the various terms overlap and become fuzzy at different levels and in different contexts, many people want to dismiss such talk as conspiracy theory, fear-mongering, etc. But look at the numbers. Look at the growth at the very top and the collapse of the middle.

    We have been over this already here at TNM: THIS is why many people, including many smart people, are willing to look beyond Trump’s roguishness and “anti-tact”—because people believe he’s anti-establishment. Because one doesn’t have to be a smooth saint to “get things done”.

    I stop myself. Here I will only say that I am not fooled by the DNC’s warm and fuzzy sell. The needles on my bullshit detectors are all the way over in the red. Now the glass on the dials have cracked!

    Don’t get sucked in to promises and rhetoric. The past 12 years tell me what I need to know about the powers behind the parade.

    • July 29, 2016 12:52 am

      Yes, Pat! I must say, I did laugh for a bit, as Joe Biden went on about how “dark and angry” Donald Trump is, while lecturing us loudly and angrily about Trump’s anger.

      • Roby permalink
        July 29, 2016 8:21 am

        Did you laugh Priscilla when Romney said the same thing? Or G Will? You have discarded the opinions of people you once respected just as rapidly as my son the Bernie Bro rejected Elizabeth Warren when she endorsed Hillary, or the opinion of any other person who was not a Bernie bro. Makes my head spin how quickly large numbers of people reject previously respected figures these days once they say something unwanted. Donald Trump yesterday went on an emotionally incontinent rant about wanting to hit some little guy who offended him at the DNC. That is not a many who can direct our foreign policy, be the face of America, meet foreign leaders at G7 and the like, have his finger on “the button.” There is a very good reason why Romney and Will have made statements about Trump and the GOP that no rational person could have predicted a year ago. Ignore them if you wish. Some things are bigger than party loyalty.

        I watched Putin speak about Trump yesterday (his Russian is so plain and clear that I understand him perfectly, which is not always the case, many Russian speakers confuse me completely) and our family in Moscow told us by skype what a good man Trump is because they heard it on state TV for quite a while now. I heard Trump say that we can get along with Russia and wouldn’t that be nice for once. I could not wish anything more than a world when all the kindness of both the Russian and American people could mix and we would not have to fear each other’s government. Vlad Putin is a very soft-spoken and well spoken man who has tapped the Russian nationalism and patriotism that dwarfs anything comparable in America. You think you love America? Its nothing compared to the instinctive total uncritical love that the average Russian feels for the motherland. Putin took possession of that uncritical love. He has used it to steal the chaotic Russian democracy and replace it with a soft power dictatorship that can make lies tangible instantly whenever they wish and face no consequences at home. This interests Donald Trump not at all, along with the many many other things that don’t interest him. He simply sees dollar signs and hot pieces of ass in Russia. (DT has the emotional level of a 2 year old, a gigantic id with no one to say no effectively.) If we ever reach a point where the US and Russian governments can trust each other it will not be through the one sided naivete and childish greed of Donald Trump. Don’t I wish with all my heart it were so simple to deal with Putin’s Russia.

        Last I saw Pat was championing Bernie Sanders and telling us not to get sucked in by Trump. I will never get sucked in by Trump, that is a constant. Pat you still make my head spin, you want some explosive force to change history. In the 20th century two explosive forces changed history, one led by Lenin and then Stalin that led to little stalins in places like North Korea and Cambodia, and the other led by Hitler. The consequences of those two explosive forces still affect our international lives and the European world that the US cannot thrive without more than anything else. I do not want your explosive history changing movement, it will be taken over by darkness.

        The conventions are over. I have tens of thousands of words I want to write about this, but I will abstain. To be short, I’m counting on you guys, Priscilla and Pat to eventually reject Trump without 10000 words from me trying to influence you because I do not wish to bathe myself in this darkness and it won’t help. Only you can save yourselves from Trumpism. I’m counting on a sufficient number of Americans to reject the darkness that is Trumps uncontrolled and ignorant id. Meanwhile I have Beethoven quartets to learn and gigs to play, a family to keep on track, gardens, and a new grandchild in Israel through my wife who we will visit soon in person. Cute pink clothing today in 18 years she will be an Israeli soldier. What a world. God save all of us, and good luck to you all on your political season.

      • July 29, 2016 9:47 am

        Roby, I think you are misreading the populist impulse that is driving the support for candidates like Bernie and Trump. By focusing on their ideological positions (or, in Trump’s case, the lack of any really coherent ideology) you are judging them~ and their supporters~ by a set of standards that is not relevant to much of the current electorate.

        A definition found on the internet: “At its root, populism is a belief in the power of regular people, and in their right to have control over their government rather than a small group of political insiders or a wealthy elite.”

        It would be hard to argue that Hillary Clinton is anything but a political insider and wealthy elitist ~ worse still, her immense power has accrued from her marriage, not her accomplishments, and her wealth from donations to a “foundation,” that is little more than a front… that, and the many millions that she, Bill and Chelsea have made from absurdly high speaking fees. Her behavior as a senator was entirely unremarkable, as Secretary of State deplorable, and yet…..and yet, the President of the United States has said that she is the “most qualified presidential candidate ever.”Even by rah-rah convention standards, that description is hyperbole and dishonesty on a very grand scale. She is not only far from the best candidate ever ~ she is highly unpopular, even in her own party. A woman of the people, she is not.

        Now, regardless of how the DNC emails leaked (and we can discuss that , if you like), no one is disputing their legitimacy. And what the emails show is a not-so-shocking corruption at the very top of the Democratic Party. A calculated effort to make sure that the “will of the people” is completely thwarted and that control of the government remains in the hands of political insiders.

        It has become increasingly clear that the ruling elite of our nation will say and do just about anything to retain their power. Rick often, and correctly rails about the corrupting influence of money in politics. But there is a reason that Lord Acton said “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” What we’re seeing in American politics today, is a revolt of free people in response to an increasingly powerful and unresponsive government. It’s not a coincidence that both Pat and I used the word “disenfranchised” to describe a huge swath of the American electorate.

        Pat made it clear early on that his support of Bernie was entirely strategic and had nothing to do with Bernie’s ridiculous unicorn-poop ideology. Of course, that strategic support was hopeless, NOT because it wouldn’t work, but because, unbeknownst to the millions of Bernie supporters, it COULDN’T work. The fix was in – the will of the people was nullified before it ever could be expressed.

        Jeb Bush, the ultimate dynastic GOP elitist, destroyed the candidacy of the Marco Rubio, to the tune of over 100 million dollars, while ignoring the rogue candidacy of Donald Trump, Why? Because Bush thought it was his turn to be king, and Rubio had cut the line. Had nothing to do with fixing the problems of the nation, or even serving the nation. No, it have everything to do with keeping power contained in a small cabal of like-minded elitists, led on the left by the Clintons and on the right by the Bushes. Rubio had to be put down, and then they would easily deal with the nut-case Trump and the ideologue Cruz. Except….well, we know the rest of the story.

        So, yeah. I’m supporting Trump, the rogue. If he wins, the Congress will keep him in line. Or throw him out, if he gets too uppity. But he may get the chance to shake things up a little. And re-establish for the political elite that this is a democratic republic, not an oligarchy.

  21. July 29, 2016 6:49 pm

    Priscilla you said:

    “Roby, I think you are misreading the populist impulse that is driving the support for candidates like Bernie and Trump. By focusing on their ideological positions (or, in Trump’s case, the lack of any really coherent ideology) you are judging them~ and their supporters~ by a set of standards that is not relevant to much of the current electorate.”

    Well said, Priscilla!

    Let’s talk a little more about the “populist impulse” and Roby’s irrelevant and outdated standards! Roby I’m messing with you a bit. I wish our entire culture were more in line with your higher standards, but I DO think your focus IS slightly missing the point. Let me enlighten you in less than 1000 words with typical, random Pat Riot analogies…I think it could be fun AND hopefully you will see the light…

    Let’s say you’re in a Supermarket and there’s a mom with a rambunctious, annoying kid who is touching everything and knocking the candy out of the rack, and let’s say the mom looks like she belongs on stage on the Jerry Springer show, and she yells at her kid, “HEY, SPIKE, PICK UP THAT CANDY AND PUT IT BACK, AND APOLOGIZE TO THAT MAN, AND GET OVER HERE AND STAND BY ME OR I’LL RIP YOUR ARM OFF!!!!”

    And the kid picks up the candy, says he’s sorry to the man in line, and stands by his mother. Now as an observer you could conclude that she did her “Mom Duty” effectively, even if she’s not the picture of class and refinement. Would you rather have the pretty mom in the sun dress who pleads with her kid twenty times to no avail, “Please Ryan honey, please don’t do that, please stop, please…” (while the shenanigans continue)?

    Now you may say this analogy hardly applies to the office of the POTUS, but we’ve had the suave speaker/smooth operator in Barack Obama, and the disenfranchised don’t like the results. People are tired of the whole long line of “Presidential Looks” and other phony fronts, and tired of pussy-footing around being politically correct.

    Maybe just one more for fun: the Air Conditioner repairman has unkempt hair, bad teeth, and his ass crack showing, but within ten minutes your AC is blowing cold air again. Would you rather have the clean cut, smooth talking salesman to make the repair? What do you require primarily in an AC repairman? Of course that he fix the AC. You are willing to overlook the rough edges if he gets the job done.

    Q: What do disenfranchised people require in our next President? A: Someone who is not a puppet of the Establishment.

    Do many people wish Trump were more knowledgeable about many things? Sure. But what’s the main thing they want?

    I think for the first time in my life I’m agreeing with Hollywood Lefty Susan Sarandon when she says she believes Hillary is more dangerous for America than Trump.

    Again, I don’t like either choice. I dislike Hillary and her cronies much more. I still don’t know how much Trump is acting and how much is for real. The whole thing looks too much like the World Wrestling Federation with the villain (Trump) and the glass ceiling breaker Woman in the white dress. Ug. Canada looking better.

    • July 30, 2016 11:01 am

      Great examples, Pat…you have a talent for analogies, sir!

      Roby, lost in my response to you is how much I have agreed, in the past, with much of what you are saying. And I don’t mean that to mean “you are living in the past,” so much as to mean that my attitudes and opinions have changed based on my observation of the events that have transpired in this election year.

      For one; this whole idea of “the establishment.” Back in my left-wing hippie days, long ago, that was a common buzz phrase, as it is again. As my mindset evolved into a more conservative-leaning one, I became “one” with the hated Establishment, and began to resent the misuse of the term, a misuse which continues to this day. That’s why I prefer to use the term “elites” or even “cabal”, despite the conspiracy-theory connotations of the latter.

      I yield to no one here at TNM in my admiration for Mitt Romney. You may or may not recall that I was briefly inconsolable when he lost the 2012 election ( you indulged in a bit of schadenfreude back then 😉 ), and I have even very recently commented on my irritation with Rick’s “Landshark” column, written 4 years ago! I continue to think that Romney would have been an excellent, maybe even great, president, and that many of our current issues would be different ….different in a good way. But he’s wrong on this election, just as he was wrong to allow Obama to lie about him in 2012, and go on lose a winnable election. Moderates need to learn how to win, or their moderate ideas won’t matter.

      The Clintons back in the WH would be a disaster. They have committed crimes – real crimes – and will continue to do so. I believe that many elite conservatives, particularly those like George Will (whom I have always disliked) and neocon Bill Kristol, WANT the Clintons back~ not because they like them, or think that they are good for the country, but because they know that, under a Trump administration, they will be shut out of the elite, influential insider clique to which they now belong. They believe that they are powerful now, and that perceived power has corrupted them. They’re also snobs, and believe that Trump is a nouveau-riche commoner,

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 7:51 pm

        “For one; this whole idea of “the establishment.” Back in my left-wing hippie days, long ago, that was a common buzz phrase, as it is again.”

        Hah, I missed this post, in an effort to save my sanity I send the router for the internet in with my wife to work so that I will be internet free for the day. So when a lot of posts occur I can miss them.

        You were a left wing hippie too? Youza! That puts a whole new angle on you!

        As one ex left wing hippie to another I toast to the survival of our sanity during these insane times. Insert toast icon here please wordpress.

      • July 30, 2016 9:36 pm

        It’s true! Flowers in my hair, flowers everywhere! I had no idea what I was talking about 90% of the time, but it was fun to fight the establishment!

        It’s going to be a crazy 3 months, for sure. Here’s to the survival of our sanity, Roby (sound of glasses clinking).

  22. July 29, 2016 7:04 pm

    And so, Mr. Aristocrat on the Titanic sipping sherry in your tuxedo, there’s water in the lower decks and it’s rising, and many time-honored customs are no longer applicable, and former ideas about what it means to be “Presidential” have proven to be a ruse, and untrustworthy, and ineffective, time and time again…but the rogue who spits and curses–maybe he is our hero in these desperate times?

    • Roby permalink
      July 29, 2016 11:01 pm

      No.

      • July 30, 2016 12:02 am

        So economical, Roby, with your one word response. I wasted so many words! After I was done I didn’t think I’d sway you more than a slight fraction of a degree. What was I thinking?

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 8:13 am

        I do not believe in the point of view that the Trump campaign/GOP convention has on anything. Nothing. I find nothing admirable in Trump whatsoever. He could not shut up a screaming child. He IS a screaming child.

        According to me, the worst problems that face the world are global warming and Russia overwhelming Europe with their implacable expansion of influence. ISIS/Islamism is a real problem, but the Trump campaign has the wrong answers as Ryan said.

        I believe in a balanced rational criticism of public figures. I did not find Cheney evil, Bush stupid, Romney elite. I did not hate W’s team, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Rumsfield. They screwed things up badly in Iraq not because they were incompetent or evil, not to make money for W’s oil buddies (as the left claimed) but because they were faced with problems that had a set of choices that ran from terrible to atrocious. They picked the wrong choices as we see now in Iraq, but it was easy to do so. I do not go down this road of over the top acidic analysis of public figures, Trump is the exception. Cruz not so far behind I guess. I don’t think Hillary belongs in jail. That is Howard Fu*&^%$ Zinn territory. The Hillary e-mails caused intelligence damage to the US that is a grain of sand on a beach. The idea that she is untalented or unqualified is absurd, not a serious criticism.

        I have no inclination whatsoever to a populist revolution to fix imaginary problems. A People’s History of the United States and other ZInn manifestos is something I tortured myself reading once, its the blueprint for this populist nonsense and actually a good bit of Trump/GOP rhetoric has been taken from its pages, not that anyone notices. Lets throw all our presidents in prison! They are all criminals! Reagan first over the Contra’s which was full of lying to the American people. Well, that is Zinn’s perspective and I don’t want to see it used on anyone. Barf.

        I’m pro establishment anti-populist in every bone of my body. The establishment are the people who actually know how to do things. If those things turn out badly its because the problems are complex.

        The Clinton’s have huge faults, I could write 10000 words on them, but those faults have still been exaggerated beyond all believability by the left and right. I’ll be sending money to Clinton, it will be well spent to fight Trump/Putin, which is a fight I do believe in to my bones.

        Trump must not win, congress cannot contain all the devastating foreign policy mistakes he would make.

  23. July 29, 2016 8:56 pm

    Well I tried posting from my office computer with no success, perhaps from the home computer. Despite the jabs and sometimes insults, I was quite impressed by the civility of the discourse on this site. I skimmed through the 400 plus comments in the prior article, it got a little nasty but over all, pretty good.

  24. mike300spartan permalink
    July 29, 2016 9:21 pm

    Similar to many, I am not fond of either Donald or Hillary. I’m quite pessimistic for the near term future but I believe many overestimate what damage one individual can do. Even if that person selects the worst Supreme Court justices, (Whomever you think are the worst). I seem to remember a history lesson about President Jackson defying the Supreme Court and recently our current POTUS has been accused of either not following or not enforcing the law. While I’m probably most passionate about gun rights, and I would hate to see a Supreme Court working to undermine them, I would take comfort from the history of prohibition. The law didn’t seem to stop most people from alcohol, and eventually the law changed. I am open to ideas to curb violent deaths, we spend so much on other things, why not a few billion on improvements to stun gun technology, if non-lethal weapons were both effective and cost efficient, they may become popular. Increased popularity would then possibly reduce the incidents of toddler’s accessing lethal weapons or someone with depression making a momentary rash decision that results in suicide.

    • July 29, 2016 10:31 pm

      Mike, in some ways I agree with your comment “I believe many overestimate what damage one individual can do”. Even with a congress of his own party, the worst Obama did was healthcare.

      What concerns me is what the next individual will not do nor will the next 4-8 years of congresses. And that is entitlement reform and deficit spending. I think that is going to have a much greater negative impact on future generations than gun control, social issues and other topics one heard from the conventions. Even ISIS can not impact as may people in the homeland as a melt down in our economic security. And the reason I find this so concerning is the fact that percentage of individuals with home ownership is at the lowest level since this statistic began to be followed in 1965. The highest level was in 2007 and the downturn is a direct result of the 2008-9 recession. One can only image what a worse economic downturn would bring when our debt becomes unattractive to investors and our interest rates begin rising that will make the deficit and debt even worse.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        July 29, 2016 11:28 pm

        Ron, my guess is that you are right. Our country can handle a certain amount of debt indefinitely, and a tiny bit of debt may have some benefits, such as allowing people to buy government bonds in relative security. But people love to vote for politicians that reward us with goodies now at the cost to some future time or generation. It is shameful. However, I personally feel I need to clean up my own act before pointing the finger. Particularly my habit of eating too much unhealthy food and buying things on credit rather than exercising self discipline. How can I complain of the government’s appetite when I can’t control my own? Maybe someday I’ll be able to cast stones but not today.

      • July 30, 2016 9:59 am

        Ron and Mike,

        I somewhat disagree with the premise that no president can do much harm in 4 or 8 years. Obama has been very successful in his 8 years, fundamentally transforming much of our government and society, despite considerable public distress and opposition to his policies, expressed by the fact that the majority Democrat Congress that passed Obamacare is now a majority Republican Congress that has 1) not repealed Obamacare, nor any significant parts of it 2) not impeached Obama, after he began his 2nd term by announcing that he would use his “pen and phone” to enact policies that Congress was too gridlocked to pass. Executive amnesty for illegals has been sanctioned by federal courts, yet continues almost unabated, and, President HRC would appoint a leftist justice to SCOTUS, who would uphold it, and render any bipartisan reform moot. 3) has caved so thoroughly to Obama on budgetary issues, along with many other legislative powers, that voters now assume that the next President will begin his/her term exercising those extra-Constitutional powers, essentially acting as an authoritarian ruler, rather than a chief executive.

        Keep in mind also, the tremendous expansion of the federal bureaucracy under the last 2-3 administrations, and the use, under the Obama administration of the IRS, the Bureau of Land Management, the EPA, and the Justice Department, for political purposes.

        I think much of the fear expressed over a Hillary or a Trump presidency is based on the belief that the next president will continue to exercise authoritarian power, and expand the role of the president, based on Obama’s doctrine that, if the Congress doesn’t “act quickly enough,” the president has that power.

        And, if that is the case, a lot of damage can be done in 4 years.

      • July 30, 2016 1:21 pm

        I guess where I disagree is based on my Libertarian leanings and past history.

        “Who the hell wants all those Irish in this country? They are going to destroy our way of life”
        “Who the hell wants all those Chinks in this country? They are going to destroy our way of life”
        “Who the hell wants all those Italians in this country? They are going to destroy our way of life”
        “Who the hell wants all those Mexicans in this country? They are going to destroy our way of life”.
        Yes this is a country of laws and when a President oversteps their authority, then congress has the ability to reign in that person. But has this happened? No. Because the Irish, Chinese, Italians and all other immigrants did not destroy the country nor will all the Hispanics. And one only needs to look at large companies like those owned by Trump to find out why congress does nothing to offset Obama’s E.O’s on immigration.

        Healthcare..The market is correcting itself without government. As insurance companies drop out of offering Obamacare policies, we are moving back to where many do not have health insurance like it was before Obamacare. And it will continue to correct. Now one can argue all day long about rising rates, but that is due to one thing and one thing only. People who were sick and used healthcare, like cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes that have high costs were dropped from insurance coverage when they began filing claims and could not get insurance after due to pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies only wanted to cover the well population so they could increase profits. Now we have costs being covered that were not included before and everyone is paying due to cost shifting from sick patients to well patients. That is what insurance does. Spreads the risk. Now I am not saying that Obamacare is the right solution, but if there was anything better, would we not see the GOP offering anything but a “repeal” bill and “repeal and replace” soundbites that have not produced the “replace” yet that will be better and continue to provide coverage to sick people.

        But I will agree that the next president could have a very damaging impact on the country for inaction. One, not fixing the debt and deficit and two, not taking on Putin in his quest to reinstall the Soviet Empire. I see Trump not doing either or these nor do I see Hillary fixing the first.

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 7:25 pm

        “this is a country of laws and when a President oversteps their authority, then congress has the ability to reign in that person. But has this happened? No. Because the Irish, Chinese, Italians and all other immigrants did not destroy the country nor will all the Hispanics. And one only needs to look at large companies like those owned by Trump to find out why congress does nothing to offset Obama’s E.O’s on immigration.”

        For the I don’t know how manyth time Ron, your sane take on things gives me hope. The whole post, not just the clipped part. You do libertarian philosophy proud, over and over.

  25. July 30, 2016 11:38 am

    I forgot yet again that these written words often do not convey the intended tone, but I think it will work out anyway.

    When I saw that my online friend Roby had written a single word, “No,” in response to my errant paragraphs, I smiled and thought, “Bravo! ha-ha, a great response to my failing to really hit the target in enough of a convincing way!” That’s what I should have written! It’s a lesson to me as a writer–why do we so often not convey our initial thoughts but instead communicate some edited addendum to our thoughts?

    Anyway, my short response was intended to be congratulatory to him and self-deprecating to me, but now that I re-read it…I see it could just as easily come across as me complaining about his lack of response. I should have added the all-important smiley face!

    Anyway, I don’t know in what nuanced way my friend Roby interpreted my “wasteful words,” but what we received from him was a well-written, well thought-out stance that makes me realize again, and keenly, how we humans are looking at different things and therefore seeing some of the same things so very differently. wow.

    My initial reaction to your last post, Roby, was “Wow, such a different viewpoint from such a different direction. What is he looking at, and what am I looking at?

    Whether listening to someone or reading what they’ve written, I purposely acknowledge the parts with which I agree, as I was deliberately taught to do by Sacred Heart nuns and Oblates of Saint Francis De Sales priests and brothers, for this tempers the mind to better receive the whole, and then I can perhaps better understand in a rational way what the person is NOT focusing upon.

    Roby wrote: “I do not go down this road of over the top acidic analysis of public figures…” Agreed. For 30 years I’ve been ranting that our expectations of public figures to be Super-Human Saints is f-ing ridiculous, and furthermore the ridiculous scrutiny prevents “regular folk” from putting their necks out to help and strengthen our society. Our tattletale media is both a blessing and a curse in varying degrees in varying contexts.

    What I say is glaringly missing from Roby’s viewpoint, where he is not looking and has seemingly refused to look further, is along the lines that our own “Establishment” is purposely, surreptitiously, gradually, incrementally–(even reluctantly by many who know it but don’t want to lose their jobs, status, and material worth)–seeking to undermine the old, troublesome concept of sovereign nations, including the undermining of our own U.S.A, and that this is an historic shifting of power toward top-down and centralization and consolidation, which marginalizes and de-values the common people, makes them cogs without voices in a runaway system that is based on money over human rights, on profit over common good…but many do not see it because they are looking at other things.

    And for this Establishment to wrap itself in cutesy stories of mothers reading books to children and togetherness and inclusion—ug, fiction pales in comparison to the stinging ironies of real life!

    And so this is part of the value of respectful dialogue, which is a part of a healthy society and culture, which is being supported and preserved by some and dismantled and smashed by others, depending on where you are looking. wow just wow

    • Roby permalink
      July 30, 2016 6:15 pm

      I was completely not offended Pat. you worried for naught. I just fundamentally disagree with your world view. Its not like there is nothing there at all to your worries about power moving around the world following money but you are fighting a force as elemental as the fact that straight boys like pretty girls. Globalization is a cat that is out of the bag. No one can put it back in. I’m no elite, and carry no water for the elites, but they are #32,156 on my list of worries. In every society at every time there have always been people with more money and more influence than the average person, and there always will be. The Russians call it Blot: pull, inside connections. Every society has their name for it. Take Rupert Murdoch as an example and he is not even American but has a huge influence here. You are not going to change that, its part of the fact that we don’t live in some ideal communist society where everyone is equal. I don’t waste my time worrying about the elites. Throw specific bad actors in prison if they actually break the a serious law. But don’t use that power in a trivial ideological, partisan manner or you will have to imprison every living member of the Bush administration and dig up Reagan’s bones over the Iran Contra scandal, which was far far more fundamentally illegal and unconstitutional and indicative of malfeasance in the executive office than any e-mail server scandal.

      Ideology is EXACTLY the issue, not Howard Zinn inspired (whether anyone realizes it) populist revolutions. We are split because we have different fears and therefor want differnet supreme courts, foreign policies, tax schedules, levels of social spending and debt. The disenfranchised to me are living in inner cities or rural poverty. Not the people who want pet unicorns on the left or a pet dragon or whatever on the right, Those people are not disenfranchised, they are just somewhat delusional.

      I’m disenfranchised! my ideal president would be Lindsey Graham and he got nowhere. I did not get what I want. I protest, its unfair, wah, Fox news and the conservative media did it somehow. I’m going to have a populist revolution and call the next administration criminal at every chance.

      Actually, no I am not, people like me who want someone like Lindsey Graham for President don’t do that stuff.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        July 30, 2016 6:52 pm

        I’m following you Roby, I’m certainly not here to agree with everyone, but I do like finding bits and pieces of common ground with the goal of building a more peaceful society.

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 7:32 pm

        Thanks Mike, I’m not sure what following means though. My sense of humor wants to paste in the clip from Life of brian where brian is trying to get his followers to stop following him.

        You are a military guy? I was in the Nat Guard myself. The significant other of my oldest daughter is an Iraq vet who is up for a Lt Col. promotion, he is an excellent man, everything a father could want for his daughter.

  26. July 30, 2016 12:16 pm

    To live and to learn is an adage the seems to escaped those of you still supporting Trump.

    For perspective, when Trump first started campaigning for president, competing against the other Republican presidential wannabes, I touted him here. I thought it refreshing and positive that someone was openly bringing up topics formally taboo on the national stage, about our sieve-like Southern border, and Muslim immigration, and obtuse Democratic Political Correctness – issues that resonate with my own concerns.

    Mistakenly I assumed Trump’s maniacal blustering was a role-playing device for attention, the obnoxious buffoon identity he assumed when appearing at WWF wrestling events. But I was wrong. It was no act. What you see is what you get: a loud, classless fool so insecure he can’t abide any criticism from anyone without vicious response. For example, his classless petulant response in Denver the other day, whipping up his supporters to boo retired 4-star General John Allen, calling him “a failed general.”

    Is this the kind of classless, intemperate IDIOT you want representing our nation? A decent human being would have said he respects Gen Allen’s service & concerns but disagree with his policy criticisms. But Trump is not a decent human being – he’s a demagogic BS artist, and anyone who rationalizes outbursts like this from Him, against our own military, is… a fool.

    I certainly was foolish for not recognizing Trump was defective goods sooner. But the longer he appeared in public the more loud and hostile and obnoxious he became,, and so I started tracking his statements, and business history, and multitudinous law suits, and his disregard for those he manipulated and insulted along the way. One trait obvious to anyone who takes the time to research him: he lies constantly, on issues small and large; lying is as reflexive to him as wiping his brow when pressured.

    Sadly, it may be too late to repair the damage he has done to our disintegrating American standards of public/political decorum.The horror is that Trump has already demolished those American values we all at one time held sancrospect for our leaders, thereby lowering future standards for reasonable political discourse. He has, in FACT, cloned the political process into that grotesque World Wrestling Federation event I mentioned earlier, filled to fan applause with the same level of obnoxious threat and insult exhibited by blustering bullying wrestlers stomping ringside for the cameras like barbarians.

    • July 30, 2016 12:24 pm

      Eh, you’re just getting kind of rude, Jay. Discuss, don’t throw stones…..

      • July 30, 2016 12:34 pm

        When it comes to conservative ideology, I’ve come to believe you and Pat are irrational ideologues, the kind who cannot escape the confines of party ideology.

        For weeks now I’ve listened to your Trump rationalizations and Clinton accusations with horror and sadness, too upset for the most part to comment, but for a few brief exceptions.

        The sadness is over the fact that good intelligent people ( and I do believe you are that) become prisoners of their preconceived prejudices (small ‘p’) and cannot thereafter objectively evaluate reality. Instead, you become adept at contradictory rationalization, embracing persons and positions opposite what were your core beliefs.

        Im sorry if you find that rude. The truth often hurts.

      • July 30, 2016 3:38 pm

        Jay, my dear….You’ve called Trump supporters “brain dead”, “irrational ideologues”, people who ” cannot objectively evaluate reality” and more. Those aren’t arguments, they’re just stupid insults.

        You enthusiastically support a candidate who is, by any objective measure, a lying and unethical politician. And yet, you state (I assume with a straight face), that it’s Trump that is the only lying, unethical candidate.

        Both Pat and I have gone into great detail regarding our support of Trump’s candidacy. In fact, I’m not sure that Pat has ever said that he DOES support Trump, only that he doesn’t support Hillary and that he understands why people support Trump. Far from an ideologue (not to mention that Trump really has no ideology, and most conservative ideologues hate him).

        I am not at all offended by you, Jay, and that’s the truth. I’m glad you’re here.
        You’re an important part of the debates that we have. But you need to read what others write and respond to their actual arguments, instead of flamethrowing when you disagree. I get it, it’s easier said than done. I’ve got my own glass house.

    • Roby permalink
      July 30, 2016 6:19 pm

      “What you see is what you get: a loud, classless fool so insecure he can’t abide any criticism from anyone without vicious response. For example, his classless petulant response in Denver the other day, whipping up his supporters to boo retired 4-star General John Allen, calling him “a failed general.”
      Is this the kind of classless, intemperate IDIOT you want representing our nation? A decent human being would have said he respects Gen Allen’s service & concerns but disagree with his policy criticisms. But Trump is not a decent human being – he’s a demagogic BS artist, and anyone who rationalizes outbursts like this from Him, against our own military, is… a fool.”

      Is there a (triple) like button for this post? Go get em Jay.

  27. July 30, 2016 12:31 pm

    “The most obvious observation about Donald Trump is one rarely made: He is not a gentleman. “Not a gentleman” is a designation and reproach he richly deserves but has not received. And why is that? “Gentleman” is no longer a standard we enforce or even a term we use. The outstanding person in this election is Donald Trump, in that he attracts the most attention, but the outstanding fact is the voters behind him who excuse Mr. Trump for his ungentlemanly behavior….”

    Www,weekly standard.com

    • July 30, 2016 2:54 pm

      Mitt Romney is the absolute epitome of a gentleman. And, they tore him to shreds. Many voters don’t buy it anymore.

      I agree that Trump behaves like a vulgar, asinine jerk. People who know him personally say that he is not at all like that in private. So, who knows? But he is certainly a candidate the likes of which we have never seen, that’s for sure

      (Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, has a vested interest in Trump losing. So, I take his magazines opinion with a huge grain of salt)

  28. Pat Riot permalink
    July 30, 2016 12:54 pm

    I was thinking similar to Priscilla regarding the damage that one person can do. While it can be somewhat re-assuring that there are certainly limits to the damage that one person can cause, even in a seat of power such as POTUS, given checks and balances, opposing forces, gridlock, inertia, habits, and Murphy’s Law, et cetera, the people in seats of power can definitely have direct damaging effects and cause collateral damage with long trajectories into the future. By what they do and don’t do. Obama’s consistent choice to fan the flames of division rather than truly, genuinely, helping to unite us has been a major contributing factor in the unraveling of law and order, for example. PLENTY of other examples.

  29. Pat Riot permalink
    July 30, 2016 1:33 pm

    Jay, I agree with you regarding Trump. In other posts here on TNM I have called him narcissistic, a rectal orifice, dangerous like the rise of the 3rd Reich. What I’ve been trying to defend here, apparently unsuccessfully, is the reasoning behind the support of Trump. Try this:

    If a building has fallen on you (let’s say the Twin Towers), and you are injured in the rubble and in darkness, and the biggest A-hole you know says I see a way out, you follow him.

    If you don’t think a building has fallen on you, if you think you and the U.S. will be OK continuing with the Establishment, then you have no use for the ungentlemanly, rude, semi-stupid A-hole.

    IMAO (In My Awesome Opinion), wink / smile face, one of two things is going on:

    1. Trump is the other wing of the same bird, and we are being duped again, and the Establishment will have a slightly different version of their way with either wing.

    or

    2. Only a billionaire A-hole like Trump was able to squeeze through the Establishment’s control, because sensible talk looks weak in our Media Culture, and bombast gets coverage, so the Mass Media, mostly owned by 5 mega-corporations, “back-fired” and worked against itself, like a drug addict taking another hit and another hit, and the spoiled sliver-spoon, walking EGO-maniac fool billionaire actually cares about the United States, in his warped, 5th grade way, and that leads me to my point several posts above: It doesn’t always take an impressive, good-looking, well-spoken person to get a particular job done. And the particular job is to wrest power away from the Establishment, which, if people are cognizant enough and strong enough to digest the complicated, layered reality, rather than prejudiced shallow sound bites (bytes?), consists of Mommies reading books to their daughters, but also of such things as drone programs that drops bombs on particular people without the knowledge or consent of its citizens, citizens who are not exempt from becoming targets.

    I’m certainly not an Ideologue, and I’m no fan of Trump’s flawed character. I’m pretty much out here without a camp.

    • July 30, 2016 2:47 pm

      “I’m certainly not an Ideologue, and I’m no fan of Trump’s flawed character. I’m pretty much out here without a camp.”

      It’s the story of 2016. Everyone is either undecided, disappointed or a hypocrite (not necessarily because they want to be, but because circumstances have forced them to support candidates whom they previously swore they never would).

      Keep an eye on the college kids and the millennials. They don’t like Hillary at all, but she is a woman- historic! – and many are afraid of Trump, but unsure of exactly why he’s dangerous, because they grew up watching him on “The Apprentice,” and he seemed pretty normal. If they start to take a shine (how’s that for an old fashioned phrase, lol? My grandfather used to say it…) to one of the two, and a preference cascade begins, that could make all of the difference. I think older voters are more set in their preference.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        July 30, 2016 2:53 pm

        And the media is so powerful at getting behind and pushing a preference cascade, if it’s for their horse!

  30. July 30, 2016 2:48 pm

    Ron, I agree with 93.7% of your last post, except for one thing I think is important about our past history: immigration is a different reality when an economy and country are booming and arcing upwards, when railroads are being built or when the U.S. is supplying the world with goods, including early electronics, etc. etc.

    I’m no hater of Hispanics or legal immigration, but in our current economy and reality, there IS IN FACT some DISPLACEMENT with immigration, as opposed to absorption and assimilation, with regard to jobs and culture. Now please don’t anyone insert me into the camp of loud-mouthed racists or protectionists or other camp non-applicable to me. I’m a new moderate. I can see actual displacement without going to the extreme in my positions.

  31. July 30, 2016 4:03 pm

    And also, Jay, I think you used to play roller hockey in New York, so you can’t be all bad, and so understand my tone is “friendly enough” even in disagreement, and Priscilla doesn’t need any defense from me, but she is no ideologue either. If you read her history of posts she might be labelled as “right of center” or a “conservative moderate,” but she is moderate in that she explores each issue as it comes along, and she has “crossed party lines” in logical debate often to get to the crux of a matter.

    Whereas, in regard to you and Roby’s support of HRC, if I were to throw stones I’d say you two must have become be very selective in your reading about American activities, or you think you are part of the Oligarchy or wish to become part of it, the rest of Americans be damned, or you are in denial, or you think Hillary and the DNC’s image is a lesser evil than Trump’s blustering. HRC irks me on so many levels, but far worse are the non-transparent powers behind her. Help me understand how you are not repulsed by HRC and the phony heart-tugging crap, and that awful thumb-pointing thing she does when she coughs up sugar-coated bile such as “…and such and such wonderful thing for EVERY AMERICAN…Barf, Barf, Barf.

    And so if I had to choose between Hillary or Trump, I’d choose Trump any day of the week, but I might vote for Jill Stein of the Greens or Gary Johnson of the Libertarians, not just out of principle, but in hopes of moving alternate parties along.

    Really, man, what part of Hillary’s Unicorn Poop are you believing?

    • Roby permalink
      July 30, 2016 6:32 pm

      The part where she understands who Putin is and said so clearly when the shit was going down. The part where she was a decent NY senator. The part where Kissinger, someone who actually has not only an opinion, but a highly informed opinion, praised her running of the State Department. The part where I have read the opinion of a large number of conservative journalists and conservative political figures say that she is running by far the better more functional campaign and would make a far better president. The part where she has been a long-time member of the moderate liberal wing of the democrats, which is where my ideological heart lies. The part where left wing nuts think she is a neocon and right wingers think she is wildly liberal. The part where her husband was a talented president who took the Dems to the middle.

      Plus, and first of all, because Trump cannot become president.

      • July 30, 2016 9:37 pm

        Kissinger? Kissinger? Wow, that is a very revealing person to bring up.

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 10:15 pm

        “Kissinger? Kissinger? Wow, that is a very revealing person to bring up.”

        OK, granted he is as polarizing a figure as Nixon himself and supported nefarious realpolitik actions. On the other hand no one thinks he is any kind of fool or incompetent or lightweight. The Vietnam years were a disaster brought on by the terrible cost of doing evil ourselves while fighting the evil of Stalinism, Maoism. I still have no idea what we should have done instead of opposing communist governments even though the results were horrific. The post WWII world of aggressive communism fought most of all by the US was a nightmare of impossible choices. Could large parts of asia and parts of south America have wound up like North Korea? We will never know. Kissinger is a good reference that Clinton knew what she was doing as SOS. Which, in a sea of over the top acidic inquisitions aimed at crippling her, is needed.

        “A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War. Kissinger’s Realpolitik resulted in controversial policies such as U.S. support for Pakistan, despite its genocidal actions during the Bangladesh War.[3] He is the founder and chairman of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm. Kissinger has been a prolific author of books on politics and international relations with over one dozen books authored.
        General opinion of Henry Kissinger is divided in the West. Several scholars have ranked Kissinger as the most effective U.S. Secretary of State since 1965[4] while some activists and human rights lawyers have condemned him as a war criminal.[5][6]”

  32. July 30, 2016 4:17 pm

    Mark Cuban, whose opinions are generally sound, officially endorsed Hillary Clinton today, affirming he would vote for her.

    Like me, Cuban originally had favorable thing to say about Trump early on; like me he soon became disillusioned the more Trump spouted idiotic nonsense. He came to the conclusion Trump was unfit emotionally, intellectually, temperamentally to be president. He was also an early critic of Trump’s business acumen, and his ignorance of modern technology.

    http://ijr.com/2016/01/514653-mark-cuban-unleashes-his-thoughts-on-donald-trump-with-a-4000-character-rant/

  33. July 30, 2016 4:25 pm

    Daniel Pipes, a respected and respectable long time conservative Republican also just quit the party over Trump:

    “Here’s why I bailed, quit, and jumped ship:

    First, Trump’s boorish, selfish, puerile, and repulsive character, combined with his prideful ignorance, his off-the-cuff policy making, and his neo-fascistic tendencies make him the most divisive and scary of any serious presidential candidate in American history. He is precisely “the man the founders feared,” in Peter Wehner’s memorable phrase. I want to be no part of this.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20160722_Daniel_Pipes__With_Trump_as_nominee__time_to_quit_the_GOP.html

    • July 30, 2016 4:33 pm

      If you don’t think trump is boorish, selfish, puerile, and a repulsive character, there’s something wrong with your ability to judge people. If you accept that he fits Pipes description but rationalize it away, there’s something wrong with your judgement. And if you think he’s an acceptable choice for president, your perceptions are as dysfunctional as the court subjects praising the Emporer’s New Clothes, an illusion of reason.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        July 30, 2016 7:41 pm

        Wow all you guys stay pretty busy, by the time I read through all the new comments, there is like three more long comments with heavy content. So I’m trying to essentially trying to counter Priscilla with my point about one individual, in my opinion, can’t be all that damaging, by challenging you Jay with a couple of questions. Let us assume for sake of argument, that all the terrible things you attribute to Trump are absolutely true. If he became president and encountered any resistance from the Senate in building his wall, do you think he would miss any of his golf tee times to work through their objections? I don’t, I think he would just have the miles of fence built somewhere and declare victory. If he is an idiot, how is he going to get anything done, how is he going to do the damage you fear? Clearly you could argue “missed opportunity” if the “correct person” was in office, then a lot of good could get done, but I see a whole lot of gridlock no matter which direction a president moves. If I could shift directly to Priscilla now, I do believe that a leader, backed by a dedicated administration and some grassroots support, can do a lot of damage, but a one woman show, or a one man show isn’t going to get very far. To further clarify, I don’t even think they need to have a majority of people, perhaps 30% or as little as 20% of the general population. I personally refuse to vote for someone that I think is as poor a choice as Trump. But if he were to win, I will be happy for the political damage it will cause both the Democrats and the Republicans. I will be hoping he delegates most everything to others and it might not be so bad. Hillary, on the other hand is much more scary, she comes not alone, but with a well oiled political machine that has proven so effective in wrecking political opponents. She is way, way too hawkish, it is funny how Republican candidates tried to sound so military tough but IMO Hillary is going to prove to the world that a girl isn’t afraid of ordering troops into combat. Let me steal a line from a button I saw on facebook: “I’m already against the next war.” it said. And so I am.

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 8:11 pm

        “If he is an idiot, how is he going to get anything done, how is he going to do the damage you fear? ”

        That sounds like a really effective argument, and if it were the president of a bank we were talking about, well, no it would not work then either.

        Simply vis a vis Putin it is necessary that the President not be an idiot. Really, pretty much all foreign policy requires that the president not be an idiot. I am highly pro Russia if we are talking about its people, by highly oppossed to it government. I don’t want war, not at all, I want containment until something more democratic and less decietful, arrogant, threatening etc. comes along. I want to the Putin model to fail. Trump seems like he would be happy to see the Putin model triumph.

        Who knows with Trump what erratic thing he could choose to do in the middle east? He has no compass, no interest in much but money and being a “connoisseur of female beauty.” US foreign policy requires direction, hopefully enlightened direction. It would be wildly surprising if that came from Trump. I do not imagine he is going to be able to attract a highly competent staff either, he appears to like yes men.

        Who knows, perhaps he will become president and perhaps he will be a great president, with an effective foreign policy but that possibility seems like its way way out in the far end of the bell curve of probability. I’ll take the devil I know. Bill started no wars.

      • July 31, 2016 11:46 pm

        Reply to Mike re what mischief a president trump could stir up:

        Lots, via executive actions, and other shifty means, some discussed here:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/donald-trump-and-the-dangers-of-a-strong-presidency/2016/07/30/69cfc686-55be-11e6-b7de-dfe509430c39_story.html

        The longer lasting pervasive damage to our nation, already in process, is the corrosive stain to our national character that elevating a fool like Trump as the candidate of the Republican Party has already done to our reputation and credibility. The negative consequences of electing someone like him, petulant, temperamental, narcissistic to a fault, thin-skinned, a bullying classless buffoon, will forever scar our national character, and shame us to future generations.

  34. July 30, 2016 4:42 pm

    Harry Truman, anticipating a Trump-like Irritant:

    “Conceit is God’s gift to little men.”

    • Roby permalink
      July 30, 2016 6:23 pm

      You are on a roll Jay. Don’t stop.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        July 30, 2016 7:53 pm

        Yes, Roby, I was in the Army for a little less than 9 years. I’m much older and fatter than my little picture I use. (I’m 50 years old). The army was very good to me, I got to go to language school for both Arabic and French. I was in the First gulf war. I probably would have stayed in the Army but there was just too much time away from my family. When my daughter turned 3 years old, I had been with her a combined total of 12 months, two months here, 6 months away, two weeks there, 4 weeks away. Just an unacceptable ratio to me.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        July 30, 2016 10:06 pm

        Someone said Jay was on a roll. I was about to say we are going in circles: back to hearing how rude, crude, and “un-presidential” Trump is. Yeah, we already established that about a year ago. We already pretty much all agreed about that here at TNM. Did you not read the posts and points about how Trump’s rough edges and political inexperience are not only not as important to many people as other crucial issues, but part of their hope he will actually grab the wheel and steer the ship to a different course, a course that includes a re-building of America instead of selling it out?

        As to the crudeness, I’m sure if we put many past presidents, and other high-ranking officials, into the limelight of today’s ubiquitous media, we’d see characters more shocking than Trump to today’s hyper-sensitive PC wimps and insulated valley girls. Teddy Roosevelt might gut a lamb on live TV.

      • Roby permalink
        July 30, 2016 10:34 pm

        “Someone said Jay was on a roll. I was about to say we are going in circles: back to hearing how rude, crude, and “un-presidential” Trump is.” Well, I did not mean the somewhat in your face tone in my on a roll.

        If only the only thing wrong with Trump was that he is rude. He lies so prolifically that one can no longer even react any longer we just expect the lies, he has been absolutely unethical in business, cheated his subcontracters, stiffed his debtors, has no morals that I can see; he is an ignoramus, is utterly innocent of even the most basic knowledge of issues, and is most likely in this for purposes of getting richer. He has bad judgement, a thin skin, a vicious temper, is a braggart’s braggart. He makes enemies and keeps them. He surrounds himself with toddies and really nasty lawyers, has made it clear that he will be vindictive to any one who opposes him, never has a good word for a competitor or doubt in himself, files ridiculous lawsuits to intimidate anyone who opposes him. He keeps or kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed. Women to him are either to be bluntly called ugly or are good looking pieces of ass. To call him an intellectual lightweight is an insult to, er, lightweights.

        Rude just scratches the surface of the iceberg.

  35. mike300spartan permalink
    July 30, 2016 9:04 pm

    Roby, your mention of Bill reminds me that Bill came to where I was deployed once while he was President. It was an airfield in Tzar, Hungary. As a Sgt of my team I was allowed to pick two soldiers to meet him in person. I could have selected myself as one of the two. I felt that may be in a small way an abuse of power to pick myself, so I did not meet him. Later I was told they passed out little boxes of M&Ms with the presidential seal on them. I jokingly tell people that had I known I could have got a box of M&Ms, I would have said to heck with abuse of power, I want some M&Ms!

  36. July 31, 2016 12:18 am

    Hillary’s hypocrisy and phoniness are state-of-the-art. Some of her many flip flops and lies are on video to view. She’s the ultimate political chameleon. The Clinton foundation apparently takes money from despots and tyrants, similar to Trump likely taking money from Russian Oligarchs. Bill Clinton couldn’t control himself even while he was in the white house—literally in the building of the white house. Obama is essentially a puppet of non-transparent powers. He is a smooth talker and polished. Is that what we require of a President? Appearance and tact?

    Many politicians are much “nastier” when the cameras are off. They are practiced and skilled at presenting a phony, PC front. Trump doesn’t try to please everyone with a phony PC front. How many American men were “non-PC” like Trump, or much worse, from the 1950s and back, and the country functioned fairly well, er, I mean flourished. How many men and women are non-PC today, but being so has become taboo for fear of offending someone?

    America is at war, around the globe and at home. America is under attack by extremists, homegrown and abroad. American culture is under attack from many fronts. Since 2008 there have been an unprecedented number of foreclosed homes. Commercial real-estate is alarmingly vacant. Global Elite make trade deals that undercut the working classes around the world. I get tired of making lists of the real troubles, but humans forget.

    Who do you want fighting for you during a war, a somewhat block-headed General Patton or a phony spokesmodel working for the same cartels that are gutting the country?

    Oh how I wish there were an intelligent, well-spoken, presentable champion with integrity, honesty, and depth who would inform the public as to what’s really going on, and share the plan for corrective action so that we could monitor and celebrate the progress.

    • Roby permalink
      July 31, 2016 7:53 am

      Single party rule. All GOP. Governors, Senate, House, President.

      No.

      A real life episode of Gremlins starring Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Rush and the rest of the GOP crazy machine. The GOP convention imposed completely on America.

      No!

      If you think I am going to accept that nightmare because Hillary is phony you are out of your mind. (insert smiley here) Clinton stands between us and disaster. I’ll send her every penny I have if necessary.

      • July 31, 2016 9:22 am

        “Clinton stands between us and disaster. I’ll send her every penny I have if necessary.”

        What? Disaster? What in God’s name are you talking about?

        Obama and the Democrats had 2 years, 2 full years of unilateral power over the country. With the exception of Obamacare, passed on the lie that “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor” and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street bailout bill, they accomplished nothing. Whined a lot about Republican “obstruction”, but Republicans couldn’t stop them from doing anything. The Democrats had a veto proof majority, and succeeded in doing nothing but passing an economy-wrecking healhcare law and and bank bailout which stuck taxpayers for the housing crisis meltdown.

        So, tell me about disaster. Democrats have lost more House, Senate, state legislative and governors seats under Obama than under any other president, ever in history. Deservedly so. Obama has had no foreign policy successes at all ~ which is why he was willing to sign an unratified treaty with Iran, lifting the sanctions without conditions and greenlighting their nuclear weapons program. Big success there.

        Basically, the Democrats now rely on division and hatred – not to mention media assistance- to get the vote out every 4 years, and, in between, they gin up that hatred and division. Although I was never a John Edwards fan (was anyone?) he was right about one thing ~ there ARE 2 Americas. And as long as we continue to elect Democrats it will stay that way, because they NEED division to get elected. If you cannot see that, it’s because you refuse to look.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        July 31, 2016 9:29 am

        As I’m relatively new to this website, I apologize in advance if I re-hash things that you may have discussed a zillion times before. But shouldn’t Hillary get the “credit” for convincing Obama to intervene in Libya? http://www.salon.com/2016/03/02/even_critics_understate_how_catastrophically_bad_the_hillary_clinton_led_nato_bombing_of_libya_was/
        You are aware she voted with Republicans against a proposed ban on the use of cluster bombs in urban areas? Of course no one knows the future, but I’m pretty sure a Trump presidency will go badly, however, I believe Hillary is far more of a Hawk and even if gridlock stops her from anything else, it won’t stop her from military intervention.

      • Roby permalink
        July 31, 2016 9:52 am

        Pure conservative partisan propaganda Priscilla. You hated democrat one party rule and clearly believe it was terrible, now you seriously don’t get why I think that GOP one party rule led by a president who has the worst character of any party nominee in my lifetime would be a disaster? Please! Talk about being unwilling to see. We have hit the point where there is no point to talking, we do not inhabit the same universe. In yours the views of the majority of scientists on climate change are not as important as the fact the Al Gore has a big house. Its pure, pure, pure partisan thought and it drives me nuts.

        DIvision is NOT a purely democrat innovation. The Southern strategy, later described and denounced by its own architect? Remember that one? We live in two different universes. In mine I would be very happy with Lindsey Graham as president as long as the Dems reliably controlled either the house or senate for balance. In mine democrats are not to be trusted running the whole shebang, I want a division of power. In your absolutely partisan view the GOP will restore unity and reason and should control everything so they can do so.

        God help me but we are at the end of having anything to discuss. I am now out of here, for real, for the duration of the election and may god strike me pink if I behave otherwise.

    • August 1, 2016 12:24 am

      Re Pat: “The Clinton foundation apparently takes money from despots and tyrants.”

      And they use the money to save lives and improve living conditions in 3rd World nations. If you were objective you wouldn’t be mouthing that BS dishonest ideological party line.

      They’re a world class organization who have improved the health and lives of thousands of people. The ‘despot and tyrant’ donations are tiny compared to money donated worldwide from nations and charitable institutions, including Bill Gates and the Rockerfeller Foundation, the Sweedish Postcard Lottery Charity Fund, Coca Cola, the Government of Norway, Elton John AIDS Foundation, NORAD, the Commonwealth of Australia, etc.

      And there’s no proof – none – the despots received ANY quid pro quo in return for the comparatively small amounts of money they donated. The Clintons have done some shady things in their lives, inevitable when you’re involved in national politics as long as they have — but the Clinton Foundation has been their saving grace.

      You need to man up, Pat, and stop parroting Fox News and the vindictive Right, who are mostly WRONG.

      • August 1, 2016 8:45 pm

        Jay, Jay, Jay. I gather my information from a multitude of sources, left, right, and center. I purposely subject myself to the extreme “Amen Camps” of the Progressive Left and the Far Right, to see how both delusional sides are blaming the other side, as well as a varied bunch of more reputable and objective sites.

        The following link gets on our target about paragraph 6 or 8. The whole article is worth reading. I’m not saying International Business Times is the ultimate objective site, but it’s not Fox news and it’s no amen camp. It’s just one of many sites I read.

        http://www.ibtimes.com/clinton-foundation-donors-got-weapons-deals-hillary-clintons-state-department-1934187

        “The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. ”

        “The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.”

        Jay, if the Clinton Foundation also rescues puppies, and that makes you OK with the conflict of interest brought out in linked article and other articles…

  37. July 31, 2016 9:25 am

    Well, at least we are still free for the time being to speak our minds. In about eight years the One World Government Overlords, faced with the dilemma of over-population, will read our posts and decide we think too much and need to be loaded onto trucks and turned into fertilizer for the Monsanto crops, haha. Maybe they will just mail me some Zika. Yes, better for the rulers at the top of the matrix to keep the unimaginative, semi-conscious viewers of sports and entertainment who will tighten bolts and sell the latest phones without questioning things. Top-down Centralization is closer to my nightmare than the flawed GOP, which at least touts personal responsibility, rugged individualism, free enterprise and capitalism–we just won’t have any clean water to drink or air to breath, that’s all.

    Time for me to turn back to my own pursuits for awhile.

    Mike300Spartan, your viewpoints added to the discussion and I hope you’ll stick around and chime in. Obviously I’m with you about Hillary and her political machine being way too hawkish. Probably the core of my personality revolves around we humans learning to think and communicate better so that we can avoid the horrors of war. Thanks for your service in the Gulf. I was a U.S. Navy Seabee for 5.5 years, and I was honored and took it very seriously (especially being part of protecting our country), but I was always “stateside” so it was no big sacrifice on my part. I respect your choice to spend more time with your family.

    Later, all. Keep thinking, keep questioning. God help us!

    • mike300spartan permalink
      July 31, 2016 9:33 am

      I plan to stick around here, thanks. But there is a tyrant..oops, I mean I have a wife that is calling me to do a few things right now before we go on a short vacation. Perhaps I’ll be posting Wednesday night again. It has been a pleasure.

  38. July 31, 2016 5:12 pm

    Just finished reading an interesting book, “The Righteous Mind ~ Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt. Haidt is a psychologist, not a politician, and he says that, when he began writing the book, he was a liberal, but now prefers to see himself as more “integrative”. I think he likes that term better than “moderate.” (He’s a big fan of No Labels, Rick)

    Haidt says that we all seek to make rational arguments, but that people’s rationalizations about political issues are usually formed post hoc; that is, they mostly know which way they want to go, so their reasoning follows their intuition. We become good at presenting our reasons to others, but become frustrated and incredulous when the others don’t change their minds in the light of our brilliant, rational arguments. And we begin to think….those other people are insincere, crazy, or just stupid.

    How has this played out at TNM this week?

    Jay has called Trump supporters “brain dead,” Roby has characterized my reasoning as “propaganda,” and I’ve expressed disbelief that anyone could support Hillary….. a more passive-aggressive way of saying that “no one in their right mind” could possibly do so. (Hey, passive-aggressive is how we women roll!) Ron, Dave, Pat and Mike get the good conduct awards.

    I do think it’s harder for us to be “integrative”, because we only discuss these things online. As Ron has said a few times, if we all sat down together, we would probably come up with a lot of solutions. Without killing each other, even! But, online is what we’ve got, as long as Rick will have us. I believe Mike is correct when he says that the group that comments here is generally more civil than most. So, to civility!

  39. August 1, 2016 12:33 am

    Bozo Trump is at it again, now vindictively and unreasonably attacking the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier. He has no restraint, no sense of propriety. It’s inconceivable that anyone would want this fool to be our president.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/

    • August 1, 2016 8:13 am

      Khizir Kahan, the father of the slain American soldier, spoke at the Dem Convention and was put on every Sunday show. Trump has said that his son was a hero, but that the war in which he died was a war against radical Islam. Trump pushed back against a man who slandered him by saying he has a ‘black soul” and that he never read the Constitution. He said Hillary Clinton voted for the war, not Trump, and it was Clinton and Obama who withdrew the troops and refused to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement.

      Additionally, Trump rightfully attacked the media for focusing on Mr Khan, but ignoring the mother of Sean Smith, slain in Benghazi, and parents of Kate Steinle and others killed by illegal immigrants.

      After watching Cindy Sheehan during the Bush years, I have little doubt that the Democrats want to exploit the death of an American hero in the same way, by using his grieving parents against the Republican candidate who had absolutely nothing to do with his death. Absolutely nothing. Fault Bush. Fault Rumsfeld. Fault Obama. Fault Clinton. Fault Radical Islam. But don’t fault Donald Trump. He had nothing to do with Captain Khan’s death. A proud and grieving father should not exploit his son’s death for political propaganda.

      Trump has the right to to push back on this father’s accusations, don’t you agree?

  40. August 1, 2016 9:03 am

    Yes, Trump has the right to push back. I had a similar thought when watching the father speak: oh…I wonder if the mother doesn’t have ‘permission’ to speak? It wasn’t a cruel or racist thought by me. Women being ‘2nd class citizens’ is a part of the Islamic culture. It’s a reality. I’m glad Trump said it. Our PC dictatorship dictates we are only permitted to say, oh, I am very sorry for your loss, God Bless the Troops, soldiers are heroes. The cold reality is that most soldiers wouldn’t be soldiering if they weren’t being paid. Yes, I know there is patriotism, honor, etc., but most wouldn’t be there without the paycheck and career opportunities, but now straying off the subject perhaps and gotta start work…

    • August 2, 2016 4:57 pm

      Pat, I meant to get back to you on this. I, too was puzzled as to why Mrs. Khan came out on stage, and then proceeded to just stand there and never speak. I mean, the wives of candidates do that sometimes, when they are trying to show support in a tough situation (“I am announcing today that I will be resigning because I got caught….er, I mean I want to spend more time with my family”). But, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any speaker at a convention bring their non-speaking spouse onstage before, not even the presidential and VP candidates. The candidates’ spouses come out for the balloon drop and the parade waving, but not for the speech.

      So, it seemed odd, until it became obvious that the whole point of having this particular man speak was for him to attack Trump’s stance on vetting Muslim immigrants. Mr. Khan, dressed in a suit and tie, was not visually identifiable as a Muslim. But his wife, wearing a hijab, was. I think that was the reason that she came out. Basically she was used as a prop to signal their religion. Honestly, if they were going to do that, they should have written some small thing for her to say. Just my opinion, of course……

      • August 2, 2016 5:51 pm

        Priscilla, there were only two reasons that these two individuals were on stage at the DNC and it was not about their son.
        1. It was to further divide the voters based on race, sex or religion.
        2. It was to instigate a reaction from Trump.

        And they accomplished much more than they had set out to do. They achieved goal number one and they far exceeded whatever anticipated goal they had in mind when not only the media jumped all over Trumps remarks, but the most ardent supporters (Veterans Groups) as well as GOP congressional members cam out against his remarks. Not only did they show how incompetent trump is to be president, it makes even his strongest supporters wonder what will happen if a foreign leader with a hidden agenda makes some negative Trump remark during a summit meeting that will bring lasting agreements between multiple nations in an effort to derail any agreement that may be achieved.

        This guy is not only a loose cannon, he has very old unstable gun powder in the chamber ready to explode at any small incident that occurs. Lord knows I am the last to think Hillary would be a good president, but even with her lies on deceit she is still mentally stable. I do not see that stability in Trump.

      • August 2, 2016 9:31 pm

        Ron, I completely understand the position of anyone who says that they can’t, in good conscience, vote for Trump, because they believe him unsuited and temperamentally unfit for the office. But, if Trump is temperamentally unfit, Clinton is morally and ethically unfit. Trump is still the lesser of the evils to me right now. By a hair.

      • August 2, 2016 11:20 pm

        Priscilla, the difference between morally and ethically upfit and temperamentally unfit is the reaction that will occur from actions by others and how others use those actions. Where I agree 100% that Clinton is morally and unethically unfit to be President, I do not see her reacting in a negative manner to something someone will say about her since she has heard it all since her first days in the Arkansas governors home. I can not say the same for Trump as I see him about as unstable as the dwarf that rules North Korea.

      • August 3, 2016 9:35 am

        Even as someone who is still planning, at this point, to vote for Trump, I can see that his inability and/or unwillingness to do anything but defend himself against real or perceived – mostly real – insults is troubling. I don’t at all, however, think that it is a symptom of mental illness. Rather, I see Trump as having been, all of his life, enabled in his tendency to use outrageous behavior and demands to get what he wants, even to the point where he acknowledges that in his own book. His obnoxious personality has been an asset and his “brand”. But he is a true political neophyte, and he has not shown the self- discipline to study and get up to speed on his political skills or his policy details. He clearly believes that the kind of behavior that got him the nomination will win the general election. It obviously won’t.

        But, I don’t think he’s crazy. Foolish, prideful, stubborn yes, Thought he could play the media in the general the same way he did in the primaries, yes. Thought the Republican Party would be his team, and back him up, even after he had barged in uninvited, yes.

      • August 3, 2016 10:58 am

        Well unless there is some huge disaster between now and the election, I can’t see how he can make up a 12-13% deficit when only about 7% of those polled have still not made up their minds. Both of the most recent polls have Hillary 53-40 or 52-39. And once people make a choice, it is harder for them to change than the undecided. Then add the fact that many of the large money contributors to GOP candidates have abandoned Trump and are sending money exclusively to Senate and House members reelection to try and retain the Senate, that is also something that will restrict his efforts. One of the problems we face could be another influx of new voters that will decide the election. NC has had a substantial increase n registrations and a good percentage of those are Democrats which now have the democrats with a 200K-300K advantage. This is going to make the reelection of our senator of 18 years much much harder and allow the election of another air head liberal like Kay Hagen who we just defeated a couple years ago.

      • August 3, 2016 11:54 am

        Agreed, Ron. Lots of voters are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Clinton should be easier to beat than Bernie Madoff. But the GOP has found a way to make her the front runner………

      • August 3, 2016 12:18 pm

        The sane faction of the GOP should have risen up against Trump at the convention… they’re self-destructing now along with their nominee. (I still haven’t ruled out the possibility that Trump was planted by the Clintons for this purpose.)

      • August 3, 2016 1:45 pm

        Now that is the conspiracy of all conspiracies. Clinton planting Trump. Now I have said many times I can see where Trump ran on his own to stir up the GOP to insure Clinton won, but not to the point that Clinton and Trump were in cahoots with each other. And with everything Trump is doing to lose this election, you may be right. Now won’t that be the scandal of all scandals if one of those 30,000 e-mails she deleted was concerning this subjkect and someone actually finds it later.

  41. August 1, 2016 7:17 pm

    I don’t think I have ever seen a person so determined to lose something as much as Trump is trying to lose the election.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/vfw-trump-khan-feud-226509

    Just a couple days after his most ardent supporters in Charlotte NC gave him a rousing welcome and acceptance of his speech to them as compared to a polite, but quite response to Clinton’s address to them, the VFW has ripped into Trump concerning his comments about the family of the fallen soldier.

    And no one can convince me that this is Trump being Trump as I have heard different stories about the public Trump is not the same as the private Trump, blah blah blah. Unless your a high ranking member within the mafia in New York, you do not get to where Trump is today being as stupid as he is, by pissing off every sector of support he can possibly piss off.

    I am back to my early spring position where I related Trumps run for the Presidency to the play “The Producers”. I need to find my dialog I wrote and share that with others as it is more appropriate today than ever.

    • August 1, 2016 9:09 pm

      Ron, I do agree that, regardless of whether or not the Khans are unfairly attacking Trump, it was foolish of Trump to respond as he did. He should have responded by acknowledging the magnitude of their loss, but that he disagrees with their interpretation of the Constitution. His response opened him up to criticism, even from his allies, and has allowed the press to hammer him relentlessly as not caring about gold star families.

      That said, does anyone believe that, if this family were not Muslim, the Democrats would give a hoot about them? They don’t give a hoot about the gold star families from Benghazi; Hillary herself has called them liars. Those men died bravely in the service of their country as well, and their grieving parents and spouses have not received a tenth of the coverage in 4 years, that the Khans received in four days.

      It is discouraging, I must say, to be supporting a candidate who doesn’t seem to listen to his political advisers at all. I liked the idea of a candidate who was not a career politician, who spoke his mind, rather than spouting poll tested sound bites, or in Hillary’s case, constant lies. But I’m starting to see the downside of Trump being not only a political amateur, but one who thinks that he knows better than anyone else what will work.

      This will leave a mark. We’ll see if Trump can recover. I’d really despair if it weren’t Hillary that he was running against, but who knows? Maybe Trump can even blow what should be an easy lay up. If it’s mid-September and we’re still talking about his self-inflicted wounds, rather than his policies and solutions, then we may have the answer to that.

      But I’m not resigning myself to President Hill and Bill yet. Aarrgh. I thought wine could get me through this election season! I might need something stronger…….

  42. August 1, 2016 9:01 pm

    Re the Trump/Khan flap: I think both sides played dirty (surprise, eh?). The Democrats played dirty by exploiting a Muslim soldier’s death to score points against Trump. Of course, Trump couldn’t resist taking the bait, and he played dirty by insulting the mother as a submissive Muslim wife. Of course, the mainstream media are in Hillary’s corner, so all we’re hearing about is Trump’s ghastly faux-pas (only about the 100th he’s committed during his campaign).

    I’ll be writing a new column soon, so be prepared. In case you haven’t already guessed my position, I’m convinced we’re looking at the worst choice of presidential nominees in our history. No matter who wins, all hell will break loose.

    • August 1, 2016 9:15 pm

      Ah yes, Rick….as I said, I think I may need something stronger than wine to get through this election. Seriously, think of the psychic toll it takes to be a Trump supporter! Or a Hillary supporter! It’s either ghastly faux-pas or lies.

    • August 1, 2016 11:28 pm

      “In case you haven’t already guessed my position, I’m convinced we’re looking at the worst choice of presidential nominees in our history. No matter who wins, all hell will break loose.”

      Exactly. There is no lessor of two evils this time. That’s what makes choice number three so attractive to some with an open mind to alternatives to the two party corrupt system we have today.

      I still want to know whats in it by losing the election for Trump. In a few years it will become apparent like all corruption settles on the surface after a few years have passed.

  43. mike300spartan permalink
    August 2, 2016 12:53 am

    Back from vacation sooner than I calculated. So many thoughts you guys share, so little time. 🙂 Priscilla, the book you read has in my opinion a profound concept that I think we ignore too often and leads to a lot of frustration in our discussion and debates. While identifying the problem, perhaps the book shares solutions that you didn’t mention in your post. I think if we shared ideas on subjects that were not such hot topics, and then built up to the hot topics, it would not lead to people changing their positions but would lead to better understanding and respect for people with opposing views. I often ask myself, why do I post online? There are truly multiple reasons, sure I like affirmation, who doesn’t? I also like “peer review” , throwing out a half-baked concept and having people tear it to pieces so I can see the flaws. But ultimately, what I want more than anything, is not to change anyone’s mind, but to help people with opposing views, respect, or at least not fear, people who are of an opposite opinion.

    • August 2, 2016 8:46 am

      That “A” thread that you referred to is a dumpster fire (new term for me, got it from reading about this election, haha, but it’s a good one) and none of the regular commenters post on it, nor do any of the people who stoke the fire seem to post on any other thread. That’s not to say that we haven’t discussed race here, because we very much have. But in a much less incendiary way. Honest, but not incendiary. And, now I will stop with the fire metaphors.

      I think that we often analyze and critique different ideas here. Everyone, is very good at seeing the inherent flaws in the reasoning of others, but we differ in our ability to see the strengths. I would say that that difference depends on how “tribal” our thinking is. I have my own views as to who is “most” and “least” tribal around here (hint: I’m one of the more tribal), but it takes a greater effort for those who have embraced a certain intuitive way of thinking to accept other peoples’ opinion at face value, without trying to “analyze them away,” using our pre-packaged arguments.

      I think that, in a presidential election season, this becomes ever more difficult, because the tribes are so well-defined and, over time, become hardened in their opposition to each other.
      As an example, I would refer you to recent older threads, in which Roby and I had some very productive discussions, in which we discussed the relative pros and cons (mostly cons) of Hillary Clinton and Donald Ttrump. But that was before Hillary and Trump became the candidates. Now, it appears, we are ‘warriors’ for our tribe, each defending candidates whom we have criticized in the past.

      In other, non-presidential years, the stakes don’t seem so high. I suppose there is not to much that we can do about that, except maybe discuss the idea ( I think it was yours) that electing either Trump or Clinton will not be the End of Times. But it would take a particularly great effort to shed our polarized views and amiably discuss that.

      That’s why we have Rick 😉

  44. mike300spartan permalink
    August 2, 2016 1:33 am

    To give an example of my thoughts of building up on milder topics prior to hot topics, take the “Trump/Khan” flap as Rick referred to it. There are many sub-issues to this that might be worth addressing with someone if you know they are on the opposite spectrum as you. Rather arguing if Muslim culture oppresses women or not, and if whatever differences they have should be tolerated or opposed. How about just talking about other cultural differences that you personally experienced, I’m sure we all have such stories. I spent a year as a volunteer in a country that was called Zaire when I was there, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. Long story short, I once was invited to sit on a couch when I had muddy pants. I objected, and the young man of the house said: “It is ok, I have sisters.” Thinking it was perhaps just an anomaly that this young man thought he could make a mess because he had sisters to clean up after him, I relayed the story to a different, larger group in that country. I can still remember their blank expressions, how they did not see what point I was getting at in my story. While we may find that as rather abhorrent in our culture, do we need to work on imposing our culture on them? Another time a young lady breast fed her child at the dinner table and when done, she put the child down and left her breast exposed and continued her conversation with me. While it was a prurient pleasure for my 21 year old self, do we need to teach our daughters to be more “open” are we way to prudish in our culture, or is it ok that we and they stay different? I think it may lead to better understanding to discuss such things rather than always talking about the “Evil” of Donald, Hillary, Democrats, and Republicans.

    • August 2, 2016 8:57 am

      Mike, you ask “While we may find that as rather abhorrent in our culture, do we need to work on imposing our culture on them?”

      I’m not going to answer that, yet, anyway. But I think that asking questions, rather than stating our “truths” is a good way to at least attempt to discuss these difficult political and social issues.

      It’s why I asked whether Trump had “the right” to push back on Khizir Khan. In my reading of the controversy, many people think that questioning even the accusations of a parent who has lost a son or daughter in combat is akin to heresy…..but only if that parent is from their “tribe” and attacking the other tribe. So, despite my obvious take on the answer (I could do better at being open on that score), I posed the question, because it seems to me to be the central issue of that controversy.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        August 2, 2016 10:08 am

        Typing on my phone. Terribly slow for me. Thanks for your feedback Priscilla.

  45. mike300spartan permalink
    August 2, 2016 7:59 am

    I’m a little embarrassed to have three posts in a row, (I don’t know why I feel that way). But after reading a number of other threads on this site, I showed me what appears to be the power of search terms. I found this site by searching the term “moderate blogs’ and I happily found, as I previously stated, posts from people that seem to keep their tempers on a leash. However there was one topic that seemed to be filled with the cussing and full blown anger that sadly is so typical of so many other sights. Why, the difference? Apparently it is the search term, those who search for that term seem to be geared up to share their anger. Thus I won’t even use the word here, but it starts with the letter “A’ and it isn’t Abortion or Affirmative Action. Heck, affirmative action got, what? Only 15 comments and not much fireworks. But that other one, wow, quite nasty. Maybe there are other threads here just as harsh, I haven’t read them all yet.

    • August 2, 2016 12:28 pm

      Mike, you will find that most everyone keeps their comments non-personal and when they get to the point of personal attacks, they seem to go quite. But there are and have been those that do end up with personal comments when their information runs low and their arguments have nothing left. But they also seem to be ones that are much more left or right of center than the “regulars” that comment on most every posts that Rick creates. He does do a good job in creating comments from others.

      And you might also find that they don’t last long on this site (or they comment once and wait for the next thread) since they find little support for their more extreme positions. I have found that those much further from the center without support from others do not want to stick around and defend their positions. This goes for both the right and the left. And then you have one like me that are so screwed up we don’t know if we are extreme righties or lefties, so we call ourselves moderates.

      Seems like the moderates from moderate left to moderate right are the only ones willing to discuss in a fair and open way exchange of ideas without getting into the mud. That is not to say there is not a comment or two now and then that may be personal, but it is kept to the minimum.

    • August 2, 2016 3:56 pm

      Mike: If you want to see real blood and guts, check out the “White People” discussion under “The Issues.” If anything, I think the comments are even more deranged than on the “A-word” thread. I’ve almost been tempted to close the discussion there, but I’m genuinely fascinated by what our racial extremists have to say.

      Welcome, by the way. I have a tendency to come and go during the commentary intervals between my posts, so I haven’t read all your comments, but I think you’ll feel right at home here.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        August 2, 2016 6:56 pm

        Thanks, I enjoy your site. I’ll take your word for it and I’ll skip that thread. I have two items to discuss with you but I prefer to wait (they are more abstract theory, nothing pressing) It is your articals that drive the discussions so don’t let reading all my ramblings delay you. Everyone’s time is limited.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        August 2, 2016 10:03 pm

        I have learned you have a venue, called wild card debate that fits what I was thinking about earlier. When I want to talk about something entirely unrelated to the thread, I have that spot.

      • August 3, 2016 12:11 pm

        Yes, I set it up for that purpose. I think the New Moderate regulars used it for a few weeks, then abandoned it. But you’re welcome to try and revive it.

  46. August 3, 2016 7:29 pm

    France’s President Says Trump’s ‘Excesses’ Make People ‘Want to Retch’

    c’est vrai
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/04/world/europe/francois-hollande-donald-trump.html?_r=0

    • August 3, 2016 7:58 pm

      And this coming from someone who pays over $10,000 per month for hair cuts. Excesses????

      • August 4, 2016 12:57 pm

        So, it takes one excessive jerk to recognize another.
        If the pot calls the kettle black, that doesn’t cleanse the kettle,

      • August 4, 2016 2:56 pm

        Yep. Nor does it cleanse the Pot. They are still black even if they think otherwise.

    • August 3, 2016 8:03 pm

      Why do so many reputable intelligent people other than Democratic ops – Independents, Republicans, and others we don’t generally associate with politics – have such negative views of Trump?

      Mark Cuban thinks Donald Trump is ‘a jagoff’
      Daniel Pipes thinks he’s ‘boorish, selfish, puerile, repulsive’
      Gary Kasporov says ‘Trump is useful as a litmus test for political decency. Anyone still backing him doesn’t have any.’
      Warren Buffett thinks ‘a monkey could invest better’ than Trump.
      Michael Bloomberg says ‘The richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.’
      Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire delivered blistering rebukes of Trump’s obtuse outbursts against the Kahn Family.

      I could go on and on. If so many people across the political spectrum are making negative observations of Trump’s character and temperament and personae the adage ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ has to be taken seriously.

      • August 3, 2016 8:17 pm

        You forgot Meg Whitman, former governor candidate and moderate Republican.

        Jay, the fire sale has already begun. Much more than smoke weeks ago. When the Bush’s said they would not endorse him, that said a lot. Maybe “W” doing this did not mean much, but when 41 said the same, that did mean a lot to many.

        One can only pray that the GOP gets it S^%$ together before the next election and eliminates the fringe candidates early or they will never get another Republican in the White House for many years. Even Ted Cruz would have been better than Trump and that goes a long way for me to say that as I dislike Cruz about as much as I do Clinton.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        August 3, 2016 11:32 pm

        Jay, in your list of people, I was saying to myself, …don’t care about what that person says, don’t care, don’t care. Then you mentioned Gary Kasparov, oooh! That’s my sweet spot. I love chess, I won the reserve section of the Wyoming chess championship in 1998. (You can look me up, Mike Hatcher). Anyway, not sure why you referenced what he said, but you ever want to discuss chess sometime, just let me know.

      • August 4, 2016 1:05 pm

        Kasporov is relevant as a critic of Trump because he’s been warning about Russian anamosity to the US incited by Putin for years, whose outspoken criticism of Obama’s lax response to it has been lauded by Republicans.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/donald-trump-reminds-me-of-vladimir-putin–and-that-is-terrifying/2016/07/23/36397692-50e5-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html

      • mike300spartan permalink
        August 4, 2016 9:04 pm

        I expressed one phrase quite poorly. Let me clarify, Kasporov’s background growing up in the Soviet Union, being a positive voice for change with all the transition the former Soviet countries went through, make him an excellent resource and a valid subject matter expert. I was just expressing astonishment you found and referenced him.

  47. August 3, 2016 9:47 pm

    The media is giving Trump the full treatment now, and it will continue. There will be stories about how hideous and un-American he is, how crass and stupid, how Republicans are flocking to Clinton etc. None will tell the full story or even the true story – how, for example, Trump originally praised Captain Khan as a hero, before saying that his father had no right to attack him. How he didn’t say that he “would not endorse Ryan,” but turned Ryan’s own words against him and said “I’m not there yet”, apparently as a bit of political payback. How he didn’t “kick a baby out of his rally” but joked around with the mom, and the crowd loved it

    The media is Donald Trump’s enemy now, just as it was his ally during the primaries, when it sucked all the oxygen from the other more serious and qualified candidates.

    And Trump’s worst enemy of all is himself. The Bad News Bears didn’t make this many unforced errors.

    But, as a result of the media’s rush to destroy Trump and Trump’s apparent rush to be destroyed , we haven’t heard much about the $400 million in cash that Obama paid to Iran in exchange for 5 hostages, without disclosing it to the American people. Because, of course, it is against US policy to pay ransom for hostages. In the White House press briefing today, Josh Earnest acknowledged that, since Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, there is a “possibility” that some of that US taxpayer cash went to funding the slaughter of innocents.

    Hillary called it “old news”……

    • mike300spartan permalink
      August 3, 2016 11:17 pm

      I heard this story has been out there for a short time now, I feel a little bit like a puppet that the media has chosen what day I should take notice, and it worked. But now I am very interested. The administration says it is the settlement of a previous arms deal? I want to know every detail about that deal, what was it, Iran-contra something? What arms? Where and when? Does the administration think we forgot that they were too busy and too focused on the nuclear deal to mix it with anything else? They could not discuss civilians being held, but they managed to work out that little arms misunderstanding? The distain this administration has for the American people, how appalling. Sorry Priscilla, I’m still not going to vote for Trump, I don’t ever intend to settle for less-worse anymore. I’m guessing I’ll be voting for Gary Johnson but I don’t have to commit to anything yet. That being said, it seems cliché but I’m pretty sure it will be a matter of turn out. I think it doesn’t matter how many people Trump annoys if the semi-loyal democrats are too unexcited about Hillary to skip bowling night and go vote. The flipside is how much Trump’s rudeness will keep the semi-loyal Republican voter from skipping bowling night to go vote.

      • August 4, 2016 12:27 am

        Mike, I’m not trying to get anyone to vote for Trump. TNM is a site where we discuss opinions as well as ideas, and I’ve tried to be upfront about my opinions, but all of us are going to make our own choices, for our own reasons. Johnson is going to do well, I think. A lot of smart people are going to see him as the only sane option that they have, and I certainly get that. As I said, Trump’s been making a habit of unforced errors, but I’m not buying the narrative that he’s crazy. Do I think he can refocus and get his campaign on track? I’m hopeful, but I’m doubtful. The only thing I know for sure, at this point, is that I won’t ever vote for Hillary Clinton.

        As far as the cash for hostages deal, it’s an outrage that no one in the media seems very outraged over. Forget the fact that paying ransoms encourages hostage taking, forget that this deal was made in secret, using taxpayer dollars, forget that the administration is now lying about it. The worst thing is that the Obama administration admitted, rather casually, in answer to a reporter’s question, that some of the $400 million that we secretly airlifted to Iran “coincidentally” on the same day that a “prisoner swap” was announced, “may possibly” be used for terror.

        You may recall that Obama was required to provide Congress with all information related to the Iran deal, including any related agreements that might affect the total lifting of sanctions. Do we think that this was a related agreement that just slipped his mind?

      • August 4, 2016 11:49 am

        Priscilla. Lets’ pretend in this episode of Trump/Clinton/Johnson reality show.

        You own a business. You have standards that future employees have to meet. One of those is the public perception of the person since they will represent your company in important meetings. conventions and professional appearances.

        You hire a company to do background checks on your future employees. You have three possible candidates that have some experience, but will be filling a position that is new to them. The background checks find:
        1. One candidate has been found to be a consistent liar in their former employment.They were found to be untrustworthy by many clients.
        2. One candidate has been found to be consistently attacking anyone that has questions about him/her and has shown the ability to piss off every conceivable potential supporter of your business, along with a trust issue much like candidate #1..
        3. One candidate has been shown through the years to be level headed, has shown the ability to work well with many different groups of people and is a good representative of what your company stand for. The only draw back is this candidate has little support from your leadership in your company and they want someone with more name recognition.

        Which person do you offer the job?

      • August 4, 2016 1:18 am

        The ‘arms deal’ goes back to the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. When he was ruling the nation he had purchased and paid for an arsenal of weapons, but after he was ousted and American’s taken hostage the weapons weren’t delivered, and the money was held in escrow by the US.

        Under International Law I believe Iran had undisputed legal claim to it, and as part of the recent Nuke treaty the US agreed to make restitution. It’s ironic that Republicans are now chastising Obama for indirectly linking the release of the recent hostages with that agreed-on payment, because those same Republicans were bitching at Obama for not get any concessions from Iran for those very same prisoners when it was announced the money would be repaid to them.

      • mike300spartan permalink
        August 4, 2016 7:13 am

        Jay, thank you for that recap. So, I want to see if I got this correct. I’m trying to state it as objective as possible, but I probably won’t because I’m coming from a position that we should not have made a deal with Iran until their leadership started behaving better. We get deservedly mad at Iran for invading our embassy and taking hostages. Thus, rules or no rules, we keep some of their money and start treating the country as a pariah. Our embassy hostages get released, Over the decades, Iran continues to do things here and there that tick us off, sponsoring terrorist acts, ect. so we continue and/or add sanctions, and while we probably deal at times with other countries doing similar bad things, we kind of carry a grudge so no new deals with them. Then they start messing with nuclear development, despite their continued bad behavior, this is just too important to ignore, carrot or stick? Well, the last thing we need right now is another U.S. military intervention in another country, so let us deal, maybe for some rewards, such as giving them back their own money that we, and other countries, previously “froze” and opening up some trading with them, the possibility of limited business deals. Then after long and difficult negotiating we have the Iran deal. Did I get it right? Any corrections needed from my “high level” overview

      • August 4, 2016 8:48 am

        It probably would have been a good idea to reveal the payment to Congress, and let them know what concessions, if any, other than the release of the hostages, we received. I mean, the Iran deal was hsd already been announced, so no need for secrecy, unless this was done outside of the announced agreement, right?

        Also, I wonder why we shipped the money in actual cash, on wooden pallets, in an unmarked cargo plane, rather than transfer the money via the banking system?

      • August 4, 2016 6:52 pm

        Mike, when you look at what has happened the past day or two and then relate that to much of the talk that occurred back when this agreement was reached by the administration, one has to wonder why the GOP is talking out of both sides of their mouths. Not sure if you remember, but when this was agreed to, many in the GOP chastised the administration for allowing Iran to continue to hold our citizens and not having them part of the agreement.

        So, if there was a negotiation and they agreed to release our hostages and we agreed to turn over their money we had for years along with other nuclear issues, then that would have been “an nuclear agreement”.

        Now, the agreement was reached, we agreed to give them the money, but they said the hostages would not be released until the money was received, that is a ransom.

        Timing is everything even though the outcome is the same. And we are still stuck with a screwed up federal government.

    • August 4, 2016 12:50 pm

      Yes Mike, your recap is pretty much right on target.
      Here’s a clearer explanation (previously made public in January Pricella) from Kerry:

      http://dailycaller.com/2016/01/17/state-department-agrees-to-pay-1-7-billion-in-us-taxpayer-dollars-to-iran/

      The money had to be transferred in cash, and not in American dollars, because the US sanctions against trading with Iran in dollars are still in effect. congress hasn’t acted to end them.

  48. The Grand Wazzoo permalink
    August 3, 2016 11:04 pm

    Trump has been huffing Trump for this entire election cycle. He is addicted to Trump and has overdosed on Trump. Overdosing is never pretty. Trump has been watching Trump on TV, getting angry at the indignities Trump endures, tweeting his wrath on twitter, rinse and repeat.

    The 538 nowcast gives him an 11% chance. I won’t rest easy until its a 0% chance. He has pretty well wrecked the GOP, I cannot understand why any intelligent and/or decent person would want to turn the country over to him to do the same. I cannot even imagine the debates. Penis boasting won’t fly this time, but I don’t think he has any other shtick. I seriously have begun to place bets with myself about whether he will wind up in the loony bin before or after the election. By which I mean that he Will! wind up in the loony bin, but will it be before or after the election?

    The Trump Psychiatric Rehabilitation Towers! Best in the World! Patients eat Trump steak at every meal! All nurses are ravishing and wear only 1 postage stamp as a uniform!

    (Roby is indisposed. I’m his evil twin)

    • mike300spartan permalink
      August 3, 2016 11:22 pm

      Hmm, I wouldn’t mind going a little crazy to get good nursing care like that for awhile. 🙂

      • The Grand Wazzoo permalink
        August 3, 2016 11:27 pm

        A little crazy won’t do, this is the Trump Psychiatric Rehabilitation Towers. Yu have to be at the top of the crazy game to get in. And rich.(never begin a sentence with and).

        Here’s one I stole from a WaPo Comment:

        “Gingrich: “Anybody who is horrified by Hillary should hope that Trump will take a deep breath and learn some new skills”

        I’m hoping that I wake up tomorrow and my Corgi dog has turned into a thousand pound gold bar. Honestly, I think I have the better chance. “

    • mike300spartan permalink
      August 3, 2016 11:36 pm

      Aw, oh well, I guess I don’t qualify then. And your grammatical mistakes don’t bother me.

  49. August 4, 2016 1:23 am

    Liz Mair, another Republican/Libertarian stalwart, jettisons Trump, calling him a … Watch it yourself it’s too good to miss:

  50. The Grand Wazzoo permalink
    August 4, 2016 8:00 am

    Here’s one worth reading from the dreaded MSM
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-guide-to-the-conspiracy-theories-about-donald-trump/

    • August 4, 2016 11:55 am

      WOW G.W….That script I wrote back in March about Trump developing and promoting a show based on his run for President using “The Producers” as a guide is looking better and better. I should have had that copyrighted.

      • August 4, 2016 1:13 pm

        When Trump first entered the Republican primaries last year a good friend of mine, who has knowledgable contacts in NYC Republican circles, was told that Trump’s primary goal was to produce a documentary Reality TV series of his candidacy, and that he had already queried network execs about it.

      • August 4, 2016 3:05 pm

        OK Jay, you made me do it. I went back in time and found my early spring post when Trump was in the 30’s and Cruz still had time to get the nomination. I could update this with some more recent happenings from the Trump campaign to make it more relevant to what has happened, but anyone reading can add those steps in themselves. And now you confirm for me that I was on the right track with this. Some people said I was nuts. What do they know. So here it is.
        Producing “The Presidential Candidate”:
        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.” (Update, he has been replaced)
        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”
        —(Note add in new episodes of illogical actions here)
        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”

      • August 4, 2016 5:33 pm

        Ron, I’m looking forward to the revamped reality documentary, now titled The Sinking Of Trump Titanic

  51. jbastiat permalink
    August 23, 2016 9:31 am

    Well, I have been gone for quite a while and I can see nothing has changed. Dave and Priscilla make sense and retain a sense of themselves. Well done, you two.

    • August 23, 2016 7:27 pm

      Well, unfortunately your ‘time out’ didn’t clear the cobwebs from your mind. 🤔

      • Ron P permalink
        August 23, 2016 11:16 pm

        Well this long debate has been enjoyable to read up until this point. I guess we are back to personal attacks and off politics now. Guess I will unsubscribe to this now since I am getting enough of that crap on TV between Trump/Clinton.

      • August 24, 2016 10:05 pm

        These personal attacks are mild compared to other formats, like football teammates jostling shoulder pads prior to the kickoff.

  52. August 23, 2016 7:30 pm

    So, Dave, are you still insisting the government should stay out of the drug market, and let greed be unregulated?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/mylan-execs-gave-themselves-raises-they-hiked-epipen-prices-n636591

    • August 23, 2016 11:40 pm

      Included in this article is the comment “But because of the patent on the EpiPen delivery device, a true generic doesn’t exist.”

      Maybe it is government involvement that is one cause of this drug going up so much. If not for the patent that has long been paid for, maybe there would be some other drug companies producing the drug that would help drive the price down. It also states that due to lobbying “Legislation that enhanced its bottom line followed, with the FDA changing its recommendations in 2010 that two EpiPens be sold in a package instead of one and that they be prescribed for at-risk patients, not just those with confirmed allergies”. Again, government involvement that increased the price.

      Maybe the FDA should deregulate this injectable and allow it over-the-counter which has a huge advantage to driving the cost down. One only needs to look at all the heart burn drugs that cost hundreds of dollars just a few years ago and now all are available over the counter at less than $25,00 for the name brand and 1/2 that for generics.

      There is a time and place for some government involvement, such as safety of the product, labeling of contents, etc, but when the involvement only leads to adverse market conditions, then it is time the government gets out of regulating the industry.

      But that will not happen as long as politicians receive huge donations for protecting a certain product or industry. And one can see who is bought and paid for by drug and health companies this election from the following.
      http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/select-industries.php?ind=H04

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