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You’ve Just Crossed Over into the Trump Zone

February 4, 2017


I’m watching a horde of militant Berkeley students and professional protesters rioting live on CNN, and it’s getting ugly. Alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos had been scheduled to speak on campus, but the crowd would have none of it. Flames erupted, rioters smashed windows, and Milo disappeared into the anonymity of night. He’d live to share his white supremacist fantasies another day, but apparently not at Berkeley.

The Berkeley riot is superficially about the impudent young neo-Nazi who had the temerity to set foot on a hard-core progressive campus. But we know who the rioters are really protesting. One hand-printed sign said it all: THIS IS WAR! You don’t start a war over a campus speaker.

We’re two weeks into the Age of Trump now, and it still seems like a dystopian fantasy: a rogue president, his sinister inner circle and the legions of irate Middle American Trumpophiles, pitted against the pain-stricken coastal elites who utterly despise the new president and half their fellow Americans to boot.

The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling should be standing off to the side, grimly amused, submitting his terse commentary for our approval. Since Mr. Serling has been terminally inconvenienced for the past 42 years, I’ll submit mine.

As one of the last moderates standing, I’ve kept a reasonably cool head through the Trumpquake. I’m not frantic just yet. My eyes haven’t turned into burning coals of hatred. I’ll tell it to you straight: the good, the bad, and the orange.

Consider, if you will, a once-dashing figure of a New York billionaire, now grown paunchy around the belly and puffy about the chin, artificially bronzed and grotesquely coiffed — a man of boundless ego and grandiose ambition, blunt yet devious, smarter than he sounds, more gaudy than graceful, proudly uncouth and possibly unhinged, intellectually lazy but bursting with rude energy, ready to leap tall buildings and establishment politicians in a single bound.

That’s our new president, love him or loathe him. (And with Trump, there’s virtually no middle ground.) According to most of my friends, he’s already displaced George W. Bush as the worst chief executive in American history. I’d say he could be edging perilously close to the lowly ranks of Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding and the immortal Millard Fillmore.

The difference is that the aforementioned gentlemen were simply passively bad; they lacked the skill and backbone to take command of their high office and make a difference for the better. Trump, on the other hand, is actively bad, and that’s exactly what he seems to want. The man delights in sowing discord, making enemies, taunting the opposition and compromising our national virtue to serve his ambitious ends.

From the left, and even the center, the accusations against Trump read almost like the lengthy list of grievances against King George III in the Declaration of Independence:

  • He has lied repeatedly and foolishly about voter fraud and the size of his inaugural crowd
  • He has stuffed his cabinet with billionaires intent on destroying their own departments
  • He has espoused an “America First” policy, deliberately echoing an infamous historic movement with anti-Semitic undertones
  • He has brazenly deleted all the liberal and humane topics on the website
  • He has failed to detach himself sufficiently from his multiple business interests
  • He has undermined relations with Mexico by insisting on building his ridiculous border wall and threatening to cripple Mexican trade
  • He has insulted the prime minister of Australia, our longtime ally, during a crackpot phone call
  • He has salivated over the prospect of repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan
  • He has initiated a blatantly anti-environment agenda that will undo half a century of progress in preserving our natural resources and wildlife
  • He has compromised what remains of his dignity by habitually tweeting rebuttals to Hollywood celebrities who insult him
  • He has hired a notorious, disheveled alt-right revolutionary as his most trusted strategic adviser
  • He has placed said disheveled alt-right revolutionary on the National Security Council while dispensing with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • He has carried out a dictatorial purge of senior-level officials in the State Department
  • He has described the press as “the opposition”and waged war against CNN
  • He has maintained a suspiciously cordial relationship with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, raising questions of collusion and/or potential blackmail
  • He has hastily imposed a travel ban on citizens of seven Muslim nations, including desperate Syrian refugees, while conveniently overlooking several other Muslim nations that actually harbor terrorists (and where, by coincidence, he maintains business interests) 
  • He has fired the acting attorney general for attempting to block his travel ban
  • He has obstinately refused to release his taxes after months of prodding
  • He has consolidated excessive power around himself in an attempt to establish autocratic rule

The list of Trumpian offenses grows daily, with no end in sight. And Trump is nothing if not offensive. He’s our third consecutive polarizing president, doubtless the most polarizing of them all. But his opponents are polarizing us, too. Based on the furious anti-Trump memes and comments that choke my Facebook feed every day, you’d think Orangeman was the second coming of Hitler. I understand the sense of alarm and even disgust among Americans who value our liberal heritage, but the steady drizzle of demonization and dire warnings is like Obama Derangement Syndrome on steroids: a hysterical mass movement that has split America into two snarling sub-nations.

At least Trump is no ideologue; he’s a gonzo pragmatist. He might even be a closet centrist. But he could be the most flagrantly immoderate centrist in history. His administration promises a massive upheaval of the status quo, for better or worse — mostly worse, if you value things like social progress, a free press, world peace and Mother Nature.

I see the 45th president not as a second Hitler but as Trumpolini: a strutting, posturing authoritarian potentate with a narcissistic need for power, admiration and ego gratification. Like his Italian predecessor, he’s hellbent on making the trains run on time (figuratively speaking). The guy might look ridiculous, but he doesn’t dither. He might actually restore a few million industrial jobs to these states if he’s good on his word. He might also roll back numerous environmental and civil rights advances that were gained through decades of struggle against stiff opposition. He could even join hands with his beloved Russia to form a latter-day Axis.

But here’s the difference. Unlike Il Duce, Trump is subject to re-election in less than four years. His sinister inner circle can’t suspend the vote. Even with Congress and the Supreme Court in his pocket, our aspiring dictator needs to submit himself to the approval of an increasingly Millennial, left-leaning, racially diverse electorate.

Just over a quarter of eligible Americans voted for Trump last November. If we don’t like what we see over the next few years — if we’re disheartened and exhausted by life in the Trump Zone — we’re free to voice our opinion at the voting booth in 2020 and tell the man, “YOU’RE FIRED!” At the rate he’s alienating members of his own party in Congress and elsewhere, we might not even have to wait that long.

Be sure to keep this point in mind, though: the inevitable rebellion against Trump could be so extreme, and its leaders so inflamed by self-righteous rage, that we could be looking at a future far-left revolt comparable to the French and Russian Revolutions. My advice for concerned Americans: stay alert, stay informed, stay objective, stay sane. We all need to keep our heads, now more than ever.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate and the author of Lifestyles of the Doomed, available wherever e-books are sold.

438 Comments leave one →
  1. Roby permalink
    February 4, 2017 2:41 am

    Ha, First, by virtue of coming home from a gig at 1:15 a.m.

    Very clear and sane, Bravo!

    And, you and I have the same list of bad presidents and the same idea about how they were bad though I think Andrew Johnson may have qualified as actively bad.

    Does the pendulum swing to the Bernie left in four years? I hope not, those Scandinavia guys could not lead America as a whole either.

    • February 5, 2017 9:46 am

      Thanks, Roby. You could be right about Andrew Johnson — a weak president when we needed a more authoritative one, but more than just a passive bumbler.

      I’m afraid the pendulum could swing beyond Bernie — maybe not in the next election, but within our lifetimes. The progressive sub-nation that has been emerging in response to the Trump-Tea Party sub-nation will prevail eventually due to us Boomers dying off. America could come to resemble a modern college campus: progressive groupthink will rule.

      • Roby permalink
        February 5, 2017 11:34 am

        Hi Risk, Ha, look what you’ve done!

        The next generations in the red states will be just like their parents, only more so due to the internet. So, no Scandinavian majority will emerge. Since the kids in the blue states will go further left while the red states go further right we will have a civil war or a rupture, not a left wing failed utopia.

        Unless the middle can fight back this time that is our future.

      • February 5, 2017 3:53 pm

        Hmm, you could be right. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, and the move toward the right and left extremes could continue without a radical moderate movement. Makes me feel indispensable, and I’ll continue to do my bit, but I think I’d rather go birdwatching.

      • Roby permalink
        February 5, 2017 4:06 pm

        Those birds, would they be 5 to 6 feet tall and come in blonde, redhead, and brunette?

        Or are we talking ceder waxwings?

      • February 5, 2017 5:53 pm

        Both, now that you mention it. 😉

  2. Timothy Price permalink
    February 4, 2017 3:17 am

    What you say is true but in the positive. The
    Yes, he is actually draining the swamp. He is stupendous! More power to him. He is learning all the time and already he has exposed the MSM for the opposition party they are and is inviting in real joirnalists. He has give the green light to prosicuting Hillary and wherever that leads. The Fed is soon to be audited, exposed, and a transition made to a new financial system. Go Donald.

    • Jay permalink
      February 4, 2017 1:56 pm

      And refilling the swamp with worse flotsam

      • Roby permalink
        February 4, 2017 2:06 pm


    • February 5, 2017 9:48 am

      I could accept Trump if he made good on his promise to evict lobbyists from the halls of power. But his cabinet looks just like the kind of people he promised to evict!

      • February 9, 2017 9:32 pm

        “his cabinet looks just like the kind of people he promised to evict!”

  3. permalink
    February 4, 2017 8:15 am

    Why don’t you try and meld with themoderatevoice, another centrist website that has a large following. Centrists need to organize. Bob Levine

    • dduck12 permalink
      February 4, 2017 10:26 pm

      No way, TMV is an un-moderate site. Smaller and more closed minded with a left slant and very little tolerance for diverse views and non conforming views, plus a nasty streak for the lesser animals in the barnyard. At least one of your more respected commenters can confirm/refute or change my opinion because of prior experience with TMV.
      So please stay uncontaminated TNM.

    • February 5, 2017 9:54 am

      dduck speaks truth. I like Joe Gandelman, the founder-editor of The Moderate Voice, and he appreciates my columns. But the articles and readers at TMV skew to the left side of center, and I’ve caught heat there from the readers numerous times for my less PC opinions.

  4. Priscilla permalink
    February 4, 2017 10:39 am

    For the most part, I agree with Timothy Price (Timothy, just please don’t start talking about false flag attacks!).

    Trump made many campaign promises, and as far as I know, Rick and everyone who comments here, heard them and understood them. Now, granted, no one thought that Trump would win, so perhaps many didn’t take his promises seriously.

    But, aah, now that he has been inaugurated, and, unlike most any other president in memory, is seemingly on a sleepless tear to fulfill as many of his promises as possible, the world has exploded in rage. Literally ( and I don’t use that term loosely).

    Comparisons to Hiltler and Mussolini are commonplace, sharing assassination fantasies are not only acceptable but defended. Calling his supporters ~ all of them~ “white supremacists,” and “anti-American” is part and parcel of the Great Resistance (there is no more carping about Republican “obstruction” of course, now that the detestable policies of the Obama administration have produced a Republican majority….oh no, now we have the admirable Democrat Resistance to the duly elected tyrant.)

    Rick, although I disagree in large part with your take here (could you tell, lol?), and may at some point put forth a rational explanation of why I believe that Trump is proceeding in the only way that gives him any shot at piercing through the sodden and corrupt bureaucracy that is our federal government, I do agree with you about the leftist revolt. It’s already here, it’s most certainly unhinged, and it is financed by those who do not wish us well.

    Berkeley is not the only example of the leftist war against free speech. Check out the protests, not only against speeches by Milo, but by Ben Shapiro, an eminently respected conservative, an Orthodox Jew, a NeverTrumper throughout the election, was banned from speaking at DePaul University a couple of months ago. “Security concern” were given as the reason. Shapiro attempted to enter the building in which his audience waited, only to be threatened with arrest if he took one more step. Just this week, a talk by Gavin McInnes at NYU, organized by the Campus Republicans resulted in several arrests, as protesters successfully shut down the seminar (at least the NYPD had the balls to make arrests).

    Moderates would be well advised to watch the SCOTUS confirmation hearings, and listen to the smears that will be heaped upon the head of a good, decent and brilliant man, who has made it his life’s work to uphold the Constitution. He will likely be confirmed, because the real fear for the left is the next appointment ~ the one that they fear may turn the Court to 6-3, when Justice Kennedy retires. If, in fact “you value things like social progress, a free press, world peace and Mother Nature,” you will find no comfort in the battle royale that ensues.

    Sorry, this is too long.

    • Roby permalink
      February 4, 2017 11:32 am

      If, in fact “you value things like social progress, a free press, world peace and Mother Nature,” you will find no comfort in the battle royale that ensues.”

      I’m not sure how you mean this? Is it a dig at simple minded liberals like myself, environmentalists, etc?

      There are the battles and there is the longer war. Your side has just made campus PC very much stronger in the long run, while you are excited to believe that you will finally give it its overdue punishment. Since I hate campus PC I am rather peeved with your side for strengthening it.

      Since I am one of those who “value mother nature” I am looking for a raspberry icon, with sound effect respond to your happiness at my coming distress. Ugg.

      The one on the right holding the banner was me ten years back. You and timothy can have a good laugh but I am proud of that moment. And George Soros did not pay me to march.

    • February 5, 2017 10:12 am

      Priscilla: In some ways I’m more unnerved by the anti-Trump backlash than I am by Trump. Did I mention that one of our Facebook friends posted 138 times (I think that was the number) in a single day — mostly scathing anti-Trump memes — before the guy even took office? We could be expelled from polite society for voicing any disapproval of the women’s march or Muslim immigration.

      That said, I’m nervous about Bannon’s influence on the president — the only person crazier than Trump himself happens to be his most trusted adviser. Naturally I wouldn’t mind if Trump kept his promise to drain the swamp — I’d cheer if he did. But so far, most of his actions and preoccupations seem to be catering to his archconservative base: building the Mexican wall, loosening environmental and banking regulations, shutting out refugees, etc. I’m waiting for the “clean government” Trump to emerge.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 5, 2017 3:22 pm

        Haha, Rick, I have unfollowed so many people on Facebook, that I had to start jotting them down, so I would remember to check their pages occasionally. I really do like to see what else is happening in their lives, even as Trump destroys the universe……..

      • dduck12 permalink
        February 5, 2017 6:17 pm

        Rick, I posted this on the un-moderate site: Iago’s fate based on the final dialogue of William Shakespeare’s “Othello” was torture and execution, which were to be enforced by Montano. After Othello commits suicide and falls on the bed beside his dead wife, Desdemona, Lodovico tells Iago to look upon the consequences of his evil acts.
        Or, more recently:
        Two top roosters don’t usually last too long.

  5. Roby permalink
    February 4, 2017 10:53 am

    trump is playing a very weak hand. There is only one card in it, 90% of GOP voters support him. But, GOP voters are only 36% of the voting public. I’ve been reading the details of the various polls carefully, moderates are against him by a wide margin, independents also by a clear margin, women as a group are very strongly opposed to him. GOP support, most notably from non college educated white males is his only strong support. that will change as his mistakes add up and start to cause actual pain to GOP voters. Then he will have no cards in his hand and go from being a blustering ultra-strong president to a very weak president. History will record that he is just making a fool of himself and GOP voters with his ideas about how to govern and especially his EOs.

    Not that the dem party is going to ride to the rescue, they have an even weaker hand, in control of nothing and divided between the Sanders and moderate wings. They lack almost a single useful idea between the two wings. So, we are actually in for a period of huge uncertainty where no group will have a strong hand, chaos may ensue, which is very worrying when it comes to foreign policy. The dems have nothing useful to offer the GOP has bad, sometimes horrifying ideas that are unpopular. One thing this underlines to me is that the issues are much more difficult to solve than voters believe. The most passionate bases of the two parties both believe in a world in which their guy can make everything good again by taking some simple decisive actions that are going to change everything and win a new era of the dominance of their party. The solutions that the bases of the parties believe in are simpleminded disasters.

    Now, just maybe, the middle will have a chance to clean up the mess in a few years and establish a strong presence if not a party.

    As a tangent, I enjoy reading the things that Mad Dog Mathis has said about what he believes our foreign policy goals should be. They contradict trump’s policy ideas almost completely.

    Click to access PPP_Release_National_2217.pdf

    ” Less than 2 weeks into Donald Trump’s tenure as President, 40%
    of voters already want to impeach him. That’s up from 35% of voters who wanted
    to impeach him a week ago. Only 48% of voters say that they would be opposed to
    Trump’s impeachment.
    Beyond a significant percentage of voters already thinking that Trump should be
    removed from office, it hasn’t taken long for voters to miss the good old days of
    Barack Obama…52% say they’d rather Obama was President, to only 43% who
    are glad Trump is.
    “Usually a newly elected President is at the peak of their popularity and enjoying
    their honeymoon period after taking office right now,” said Dean Debnam,
    President of Public Policy Polling. “But Donald Trump’s making history once
    again with a sizeable share of voters already wanting to impeach him, and a
    majority of voters wishing they could have Barack Obama back.”
    Why so much unhappiness with Trump? Voters think basically everything he’s
    doing is wrong:
    -Overall voters are pretty evenly split on Trump’s executive order on immigration
    from last week, with 47% supporting it to 49% who are opposed. But when you
    get beyond the overall package, the pieces of the executive order become more
    clearly unpopular. 52% of voters think that the order was intended to be a
    Muslim ban, to only 41% who don’t think that was the intent. And the idea of a
    Muslim ban is extremely unpopular with the American people- only 26% are in
    favor of it, to 65% who are against it. When it comes to barring people from
    certain countries from entering the United States, even when those people have
    already secured a Visa, just 39% of voters are supportive to 53% who are against
    it. And just 43% of voters support the United States indefinitely suspending
    accepting Syrian refugees, with 48% opposed to that. Finally voters see a basic
    competence issue with Trump’s handling of the executive order- only 39% of
    voters think it was well executed, to 55% who believe it was poorly executed. “

  6. Roby permalink
    February 4, 2017 11:07 am

    “Trump voters also continue to refuse to believe in the sincerity of those protesting
    him. 48% think the folks who protested at airports across the country last
    weekend were paid to do so by George Soros, to only 31% who think the
    protesters weren’t paid. Trump voters thought the women’s marchers were all
    paid by Mr. Soros as well so clearly the Trump administration is going to be very
    expensive for him.”

    This to me is freaking hilarious, literally the view from an alternate universe. My daughter marched. Soros did not pay her. Maybe she could apply for back pay? ROTFLMAO. I’m sorry, Pat is going to be peeved with me for maligning, but this group is propelled by ideas that are flat out nuts and conspiracy theories.

    “-It hasn’t taken long for voters to develop a pretty dim view of Trump advisor
    Steve Bannon, and become wary of the extent to which he’s being given power
    within the administration. Only 19% of voters see Bannon favorably, to 40% who
    have a negative opinion of him. Only 34% of voters approve of his being given a
    seat on the principals committee of the National Security Council, to 44% who
    are opposed to that. What’s particularly telling is that only 19% of voters think
    Bannon belongs in that seat on the National Security Council more than the
    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence, to
    59% who believe those folks are more deserving of that place at the table. Even
    Trump voters think he’s gone too far on that front- by a 40/35 margin they think
    the more traditional members should have that position rather than Bannon. “”

    I have an optimistic hope that when historians and others look back on the Bannon NSC appointment it will be seen as the turning point of the letting the air out of the trump windbag. I am betting that there is a large majority of GOP politicians, certainly the people who understand foreign policy, who are aghast at the NSC move and waiting for their chance to fight trump-bannonism, which will not come until trump has lost sufficient popularity with GOP voters by breaking something major. The delusional people who think that Soros paid my daughter to march are never going to abandon trump. Eventually they may be the last members of the GOP as it sinks. That would be great.

    Of course I may be all wet and trump and his voters may hold the day and make America great again, that is a small but not zero possibility.

  7. Jay permalink
    February 4, 2017 12:52 pm


  8. Jay permalink
    February 4, 2017 12:58 pm

    “proudly uncouth and possibly unhinged”

  9. Jay permalink
    February 4, 2017 1:08 pm

    “I see the 45th president not as a second Hitler but as Trumpolini: a strutting, posturing authoritarian potentate with a narcissistic need for power, admiration and ego gratification”

    • February 5, 2017 10:16 am

      Yes, I think Trump must have studied old film footage to capture Il Duce’s mannerisms. I first noticed it during his acceptance speech at the Republican convention last summer.

  10. February 4, 2017 1:14 pm

    Rick–“Taunting the opposition and compromising our national virtues to serve his own ambitious ends.” What do you think those ambitious ends might be? He had as charmed a life as any of us could imagine before he entered politics. Now he is universally condemned and chastised by the media and a majority of Americans for trying to disrupt a government that had become virtually dysfunctional, and alter numerous unbalanced relationships with other countries. His personal flaws are pretty apparent ( and always have been), but implying some vague “ambitious ends” motivate him, rather than a genuine desire to reinvigorate and strengthen the American economy and security interests is an extremely negative take more in keeping with a non moderate at this early juncture of his presidency.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 4, 2017 1:48 pm

      “His personal flaws are pretty apparent ( and always have been), but implying some vague “ambitious ends” motivate him, rather than a genuine desire to reinvigorate and strengthen the American economy and security interests is an extremely negative take more in keeping with a non moderate at this early juncture of his presidency.”

      RP, thanks for saying briefly that which I have spent too many words trying to say.

      Part of the problem in our dysfunctional system is that compromise, even on a relatively small scale, has become impossible, due to the huge partisan divide in Washington, funded by competing special interests . Throw in a populist president, who has promised to blow up the system, the system that moderates have been railing against, and, all of a sudden, the system is great, and the guy who wants to change it is an extremist. Go figure.

    • Jay permalink
      February 4, 2017 2:20 pm

      For someone with a charmed life, what had he done with it for anyone’s benefit but his own? Howard Stern, who considers himself a Trump friend, and had stayed in contact with him during the presidential run, says Trump originally decided to run to get publicity to improve the then lagging ratings of the Apprentice show and to highlight the Trump brand with the media attention.

      In Trump’s previous exasistance on the planet there is no evidence he ever did anything to help the country or our citizens more than a few perfunctory minor gestures of philanthropy, for which he exaggerated amounts and frequency – all tax deductible of course. But there is a mountain of evidence of nastiness and vengeful behavior toward fellow citizens both financial and personal, verbal and legal. He’s been a bloviating bully his whole adult life whose only purpose has been personal and family self aggrandizement, financially and ego inflated celebrity.

      • Roby permalink
        February 4, 2017 2:34 pm

        Don’t burst their bubble. Anyway, it isn’t possible.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 4, 2017 9:48 pm

        No, Roby, because, of course only you and Jay are good people.

      • Jay permalink
        February 4, 2017 11:14 pm

        It’s not a case of being good, but of being right.
        Trump is WRONG for this nation.
        Rationalizing that is gilding a tarnished Lilly-Brain.

      • Roby permalink
        February 4, 2017 11:13 pm

        “No, Roby, because, of course only you and Jay are good people.”

        Well, even with its dripping sarcasm that at least beats the tone of your previous description of people like jay and myself (and my trump-despising kids and most of my friends and tens of millions of other people who have a view of trump that differs from yours, which is actually most of the country):

        “Calling his supporters ~ all of them~ “white supremacists,” and “anti-American” is part and parcel of the Great Resistance”

        Its not the accidental lack of a qualifier, its just how you actually think of us never trumpers, who are at least the 40% of Americans who want him impeached as of today. Its your major political shtick, resentment that we non conservatives allegedly never stop calling all conservatives, every one of you, racists, un American, deplorable. Yep, that describes us, all of us. The other part of your shtick is finding the worst examples on the far left and making them out to be everyone who disagrees with you. Why, damn! I believe that is just the thing you are complaining about when you think you are the target. I hate the far left, probably actually more than you do, but they are, by far, not the only opposition to trump, they are a minority part of it. No, George Soros is not paying me to write this. If only.

        You know, I agree with the sarcasm aimed at the constantly abused sensitivities of the tender snowflakes on campus and in the outraged far left in general, but there are no shortage of pained hyper sensitive martyrs on the right who can’t hear certain ideas without over reacting and painting huge classes of people, in this case, all of who oppose trump with a broad smearing brush. BTW, its about 70% of moderates who are anti trump according to the polls, so thats a lot of moderates you are bashing along with many other people, even quite a few conservatives.

        I agree with Jay on this trump disaster, he could be calmer, and it is essential for the average never trumper of whatever ideology to stay calm and hunker down for the long battle, but I find him utterly lucid on trump, his character, what it means to have him as president. Is it really too much to bear that not one but two people (at least) are in agreement on opposing trump here? Seriously, the next time I read you joining in the bashing of the tender snowflakes on the left I’m gonna say, well you are a fine one to talk aren’t you? And most of the campus snowflakes are kids.

    • Jay permalink
      February 4, 2017 2:34 pm

      We all agree the government – the nation as a hole – was dysfunctional and getting more so. But tossing hand granades into the mix like Dodo Donald is doing, produces a dysfunctional AND fractured government and nation. We needed a leader, not a bomb throwing divisive blusterer who compounds his stupidity surrounding himself with other outsiders devoid of governing experience.

      I’m sick of the left and the right, of doctrinaire conservative and liberal idiots pulling the nation apart like a stretch toy – but now that Republicans are in control, foisting their unbalanced ideology on the nation, they are the enemy of moderate government, and must be confronted/resisted to keep them screwing up things worse than they were under the Democrats.

      • Roby permalink
        February 4, 2017 2:38 pm

        Exactly, You are on a roll. It is good the hear a voice of reason from my own universe.

        I don’t like my one of my cars, it has let me down quite a lot. But I am patiently fixing the engine, not taking a sledge hammer to it, which would be emotionally satisfying and faster. The damage from such a fit of emotion would not go away.

    • February 5, 2017 10:30 am

      RP and Priscilla: Believe me, I wanted a president who would shake up our system; I’m just not liking the way Trump is shaking it up so far. Instead of a politically neutral drive to create a government that represents the people rather than special interests, Trump seems to be going full conservative. As for his personal ambitions… I’m thinking more about absolute power than money. Trump wants to be CEO of America, and he’s been acting the part. (And of course, he’s been stuffing the “board of directors” with people who support his mission.)

      For the record, I think Gorsuch would make an admirable Supreme Court justice, even though he’s a textbook conservative. The GOP deserves a slap upside the head for refusing to consider Merrick Garland last year, so if the Democrats want to stall, I can sympathize with them. In the end, though, both parties need to grow up and stop being so partisan. (What a concept!)

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 5, 2017 3:08 pm

        Rick, I think that everyone’s general impression of these first 2 weeks has been that we have a government that’s spiraling out of control. I guess where I differ from you, and from others here, is that I don’t see that as being entirely Trump’s fault, and, in fact, I blame a great deal of it on the absolute refusal of Congressional Democrats to behave with even a modicum of respect toward the president. And, forget respecting the president, when has there been a refusal to behave with respect toward their own Congressional colleagues?

        I guess my point is that partisanship has gone way, way, waaaay beyond anything that we’ve ever seen. Trump is a lightning rod for sure, and he does little to nothing to try to calm the situation, but the Democrats have been at least as responsible for what appears to be all out political warfare.

        The fact that Obama chose to make a SCOTUS appointment in the middle of an election year, particularly when the opening came as a result of the sudden death of the most conservative justice, was highly unfortunate. He should have abided by the Biden rule, and not put anyone forward. But, if Hillary had won, no one would be carping. I get it, but I have minimal sympathy. It’s certainly no excuse for opposing Gorsuch.

        But, yeah, every day I want to scream, “Will everyone just grown the f*** up!!”

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 5, 2017 3:28 pm


        And, by the way, I do recall that, back in the 19th century, before the Civil War, some senator attacked another on the Senate floor and beat him with a cane.

        So, I guess it could be worse.

      • dduck12 permalink
        February 5, 2017 6:22 pm

        @Rick 10:30. Agree.

  11. February 4, 2017 6:32 pm

    Jay–The blinding hatred and contempt for Trump that you display in your blog posting leaves little room for discussion. If you are correct in your assessment, for some unknown reason (do you really believe he ran to improve ratings for his television show?), Trump and the GOP want to destroy the nation. I suspect that is not the case. I just hope they are given a fair opportunity by the new” revolutionaries” sharing your mindset to create positive change.

    • Jay permalink
      February 4, 2017 10:11 pm

      I don’t have blinding hatred for Donald, but I do have clear eyed contempt for him. If he was ousted as president tomorrow I’d go back to viewing him with the same contemptuous amusement I did when he was doing his World Wrestling Federation stchick. But what’s acceptable behavior from a private citizen is UNACCEPTABLE from the President. If you don’t agree how detrimental that is to us as a nation, we reside in different moral universes

      • Jay permalink
        February 4, 2017 10:48 pm

        And yes I’m sure a good part of the reason he competed in the primaries was for publicity to help his tv show and brand name. Howard Stern wasn’t the only one talking about that. When Trump first entered the primaries, a good friend of mine who had worked for Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor, and still had contacts with Republican operatives, emailed me that same observation: trump was in it for ego and free publicity. He also said there was talk about Trump producing a documentary on his run – wonder if his kids will try to make that now, and further test the conflict of interest provisions?

        He was, is, and always will be a huckster. Like having P.T. Barnum as president, with a managerie of cabinet freaks as side show attractions.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 5, 2017 10:25 am

      Jay, your repeated protests of not having blinding hatred for your president fall on deaf ears, because 99% of your posts are merely screeds of fury and contempt against Trump and his supporters. Your favored word, “detest,” is a synonym for “hate, ” and most of us here are educated enough to know that, so it insults our intelligence to be told otherwise. It’s as if I said, “hey I don’t “like” this soup, I merely find it “pleasing.” How can anyone discuss that, without a ridiculous and tedious parsing of words that are essentially the same?

      RP made a reasonable observation, and rather than acknowledge it, you threw back the typical passive-aggressive liberal response “we live in different moral universes.” And, of course, we all know what that means ~ it means that anyone who doesn’t think just like you is a morally contemptible dolt.

      The truth is much different. There are moral universes, other than yours ~ and mine~ and perhaps we need to be more open-minded about them. I can understand that your emotional response to Trump, the man, is so negative that you can barely bring yourself to separate him from the issues and events that are currently shaping this country. But, give it a try.

      • Jay permalink
        February 5, 2017 12:56 pm

        “Jay, your repeated protests of not having blinding hatred for your president fall on deaf ears”

        Exactly right – you have deaf ears.

        And Dick-Head Donald is ‘the’ president, but not ‘my’ president in the same fashion that Dick Nixon wasn’t my President.

        And I’m sure Dumbbell Donald’s intemperate remarks about justifying Putin the Murderer because the US has done bad things too fell harmlessly on your deaf ears. As did his stupid tweet undermining the judiciary by attacking the Federal Judge who halted his constitutionally suspicious ban fall on your deaf ears as well.

        And of course you’ll rationalize your deaf ear syndrome no matter where the criticism comes from, painting those making it passive-aggressive liberals Really some variation thereof, even when the disgust with Trump crosses party and ideological lines:

        Bill Kristol: ‘Trump’s response to the ban being thrown out isn’t to act to tighten vetting, which he could do. It’s to engage in demagogic fear-mongering.’

        Neal Katyal (strong Gorsuch supporter for SCOTUS confirmation):
        ‘”So-called judge”? As the former top courtroom lawyer for the federal govt, I’ve never seen a president attack a sitting judge this way.’

        Trump continues to stupidly undermine our institutions with sledgehammer blindness and you continue to submissively embrace him like a good conservative acolyte mommying a recalcitrant child.

        As to your dolt charge, yes I think anyone who stubbornly clings to partisan ideology as stubbornly as you do, is doltish.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 5, 2017 2:47 pm

        All righty, then. My intent was to try and separate you from your personal hatred for our president and focus on questions such as the ones that Roby actually asks in his response to dd12 below.

        Roby’s questions are fair and, while they take seriously the personal flaws and behavior that have caused dd12 to be repelled by Trump, they move beyond that and focus on other, more substantive issues. Answering those questions will lead to a discussion that goes beyond emotion and reactionary thinking.

        Winston Churchill was a leader who was personally despised by many Brits, especially in the run-up to WWII, and then again, after the war was over. He was a harsh, rude, unlikable man. But he had a toughness and a spirit that made him a great wartime leader. Lyndon Johnson was an obnoxious braggart and liar, who treated the women in his life with little respect.

        Well, anyway, you get my point. Trump is not and can not tear this country apart singlehandedly. No matter how many DEVIOUS, DICK-HEAD, DUFUS, DUMBELL (did I miss any?) DONALD!!!! comments and links you post, it will not change the fact that there are many other factors and many other people that have led us to the place where we are.

      • Jay permalink
        February 5, 2017 8:23 pm

        Comparing Trump to Churchill to make a favorable comparison is like comparing a smelly pair of unwashed socks to English leather equestrian riding boots

  12. Jay permalink
    February 4, 2017 10:59 pm

    The Bozo Is Demeaning America Again

    “Trump puts US on moral par with Putin’s Russia. Never in history has a President slandered his country like this.” Brett Stephens,Deputy Editorial Page editor of The Wall Street Journal

  13. dduck12 permalink
    February 4, 2017 11:18 pm

    Hi Rick. Thanks for your latest thought provoking post.
    I don’t know if anyone will agree with my non-partisan reaction to it and to other discourse on blogs, around the water cooler and in the MSM/Cable “shows”. To wit: whether you like, approve, tolerate, waiting to see what happens, or you hate, dislike, abhor or wish him harm, Trump has lowered our standards of discourse, and for that I am pissed at him.
    I am at a loss for the words to describe my feeling so I am using some made up ones:
    in addition to the old reliable “dumbing down” I am thinking we are all “numbing down”. It leads to “crassiness” with vile words flung much more easily and frequently. Of course words are just words, but they lead to attitudes and make fringes like the ninja rioters and anti-free speechers self validate and in general makes us more coarse and less sensitive.
    Looking back on your previous posts, as an example, contrasting it with this latest seems to prove the point. I think this has been creeping up on all of us for a while and is not all just Trump but I think he has elevated the curve dramatically.
    By the way, this is no criticism of your post itself, just a more general observation of a trend which I don’t like. And, yes, Trump is like chum to feeding sharks and deserves most of the criticism he engenders.

    • Roby permalink
      February 5, 2017 11:43 am

      Beautifully said.

      That addresses his tone. How do you feel about his competence? His overall fitness for the job? His purely EO style presidency? His appointments? If it were only his tone I personally would be a lot calmer but for me its the entire package that is wrong.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 5, 2017 2:51 pm

        Roby, I agree on the EO thing, although I think that we need to wait a bit longer to see of Trump will actually try and circumvent the legislative process. At this point, he’s been mostly signing orders that are well within his powers, mostly rolling back Obama’s EO’s

        I think that his appointments have generally been good. Are there any in particular that worry you? I have some concerns about Michael Flynn, but I haven’t done enough research to know if everything that I read about him is true.

      • Roby permalink
        February 5, 2017 3:48 pm

        Scott Pruitt, since I live in a ten year older version of the body of the guy marching against global warming. Micheal Flynn was evaluated as a nut and bad officer by Colin Powell, which jibes with my gut impression of the man. Bannon, who has moved the ideologically ambiguous trump into alt right flavor. Mnuchin, who’s appointment ought to be raising the fury of people like Pat. The cat will guard the canary? Really? When the 2007 crisis unfolded, very little of which could be blamed on W, W rose to the occasion and immediately allowed competent people such as Berneke have full control. The global credit market damn near froze. I don’t think many people actually get what that means, but perhaps your husband does as the owner of a construction buisiness that must depend on both credit and the economy. Repealing Dodd Frank is idiotic. I foresee another such crisis at some point in the trump reign. Will he and his people act as competently as Bush did? I have huge doubts. I think they will greatly aggravate the next crisis and then mismanage it. Perhaps this time the international credit market Will fail and people will find out what that means. I don’t think it will treat people in NJ kindly, you might want to start seriously worrying about that. I no longer favor Ellison, his words on depriving China access to their islands were immensely unwise. Mattis said something appropriate and careful on the subject, International waters are international waters. What Ellison said is sure to deeply complicate the situation in the south China Sea. He is out of his depth. Priscilla, if China becomes offended enough to act militarily in their backyard we will not be able to stop them. Our economic leverage on China is much more telling than our military leverage in the South China Sea.

        I like Mad Dog Mattis, immensely, he lives in my universe in which foreign policy and military alliances are an immensely complex, and thus much more fragile than the average person realizes, system that will respond unpredictably to shocks that has to be treated with as though disrupting it willy nilly could have fatal consequences. I can tolerate Priebus, he is from the real world, he certainly beats bannon as an influence. That is my list of who I approve of. The rest are as Rick said, exactly the people whose world trump ran against. At some point the Pat Riot wing of the trump support is going to come to the giant realization that they have been had, completely had. We got a chaotic, macho, and unrespectful foreign policy, that is exactly in trump’s image, a fat cats list of fat cats running the Departments, a global warming denier and an alt right goon who wants to destroy the system.

      • dduck12 permalink
        February 5, 2017 6:06 pm

        I guess I missed my target, and widely. I was not talking about Trump specifically, who I personally have abhorred for years, just his addition to the already growing state of numbness and crassiness for all of us.

      • Jay permalink
        February 5, 2017 8:17 pm

        Roby, tho not yet confirmed, you didn’t evaluate this Trump choice:

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 6, 2017 12:40 am

      dd12, rereading your comment, I can see what you were saying. In any case, it was no endorsement of Trump, and you did make clear that he was not the only problem.

      I think that the past decade or so of bare knuckle, scorched earth politics has been building up to this. Character assassination and identity politics? They’ve worked. I don’t think that it’s so much that Trump chose to fight the way he did in order to win the election….it’s just the way he has always fought, and politics came down to his level.

      In many ways, he is exactly the president that we deserve.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 12:21 pm

        “In many ways, he is exactly the president that we deserve.”

        Ha, Masochistic Conservativism. 😏

  14. Pat Riot permalink
    February 5, 2017 7:43 pm

    I”ll say again that the craziness is exacerbated and greatly fueled by the pro-establishment / anti-trump media. Previous Presidents have pushed very similar immigration bans and rhetoric. My wing and I (haha) did not expect the “establishment” to just roll over, and neither did Trump and his band of Merry Men, that’s part of the reason Trump picked radical folks like Bannon. It is like…if you were going to an event, and your previously insulting ex-spouse were going to be there, you’d bring a date that would go right up the ex’s…

    I find myself nodding and strongly agreeing with Priscilla and RP’s posts. Roby, while you have a sliver of open mindedness about possibilities, both you and Jay operate from a reinforced pill box (WWII fortification) of a mindset. I think much of the left is embarrassing itself. 2016 campaign and politics was a giant ratings grabber, and I think both left and right are being manipulated.

    From my view the country is improving already. What will screw it up is the crazy left and a media that incites them. I gotta mostly disengage from here for awhile.

    • Jay permalink
      February 5, 2017 8:09 pm

      It’s improving for you because Republicans are in charge.
      If you objectively add up the positives and subtract the negatives, we’ve taken three steps backwards overall.

      An example of a big stride backwards:

      “Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday cast President Trump’s moves this week to undo financial regulations enacted following the 2008 financial crisis as a betrayal of his campaign promises to stand up against Wall Street.

      “This guy is a fraud,” Sanders (I-Vt.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “This guy ran for president of the United States saying, ‘I, Donald Trump, I’m going to take on Wall Street. These guys are getting away with murder.’ Then suddenly he appoints all these billionaires, his major financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs, and now he’s going to dismantle legislation that protects consumers.”

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 6, 2017 12:45 am

        Heh. Bernie Sanders, the great economist. That’s perfect.

        Dodd-Frank destroyed small banks, put crushing regulatory burdens on small business and helped Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to continue to dominate the housing market, even after they almost destroyed the entire economy. There’s a reason why it’s been called “consumer protection for billionaires.”

        Trump’s belief is that it takes those who know how Wall Street works to reform it. Makes some sense to me. They can’t be any worse than the crony crooks who protected the “too big to fail” big banks from competition, lining their own pockets in the bargain.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 11:03 am

        “Trump’s belief is that it takes those who know how Wall Street works to reform it.”

        Trump’s belief is that it takes Wall Street insiders to game the system from the inside to enrichen Wall Street insiders and big buck billionaires like himself.

        Trump’s cynical philosophy of lying about draining the swamp while intending to refill it with his own toxic swamp sewage is once again evident: after his specific phony criticisms of Wall Street while campaigning, he hires the same Wall Street Executives he railed against to oversee the nation’s financial interests. I’d dig up the numerous quotes the Hypocrite Liar spoke but why bother, you’d Kellyanne ConJob Alternate Fact it with your usual deaf ear rationalizations that a lie is the truth in the ear of the true Trumpian believer.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 12:05 pm

        I agree Dodd Frank has unduly burdened small banks, an unintended consequence of the paperwork regulations; but the CEO-EXEC class at the large financial corporations don’t give a damm about small banks – they’re happy to see them fold: less competition. They’re more concerned with Section 951 of Dodd–Frank, dealing with executive compensation, that allow shareholders to vote to approve executive pay and “golden parachutes.”

    • Roby permalink
      February 5, 2017 9:13 pm

      Well, my mindset is that I am a scientist and we are now performing an experiment, not one that I would have liked to see performed.

      My hypothesis (related to chaos theory) is that human civilization is an infinitely complex system beyond anyone’s control, like a chess game with 9 billion pieces that have no set moves, and that there are certain stable zones it can achieve and when conditions change chaos results (the dark ages) followed by a new stable system at some point. My hypothesis is that the system that is now being disrupted, while not perfect, was working better than most give it credit for. I think that it is far more likely that the next stable era, if the disrupters succeed in smashing us out of this one, will be much more brutal, dangerous, and display much less human freedom, Lil Kim, putin, and China will be the model and the US will require a dictator to bring the warring liberal and conservative ideologies into a working society. Israel most likely perishes if full chaos ensues, as well as south Korea.

      Obviously I am hoping that the revolution stalls by the agency of people like Mattis and Graham and we remain in this particular configuration.

      I favor evolution, not revolution.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 6, 2017 1:26 am

        I too favor evolution over revolution, but life for too many Americans was de-volving: wage stagnation or decline, obliteration of unions, 32 hr. work weeks so not eligible for health benefits, skyrocketing health care, pensions a thing of the past, bridges falling into rivers, water that’s undrinkable, areas in cities where cops won’t go, public schools just passing kids through without learning occurring, meanwhile taxes being collected and spent overseas for the benefit of those at the top of the pyramid, with token domestic programs enabling the most needy to remain in a cycle of dependency, legislation to enable off-shoring, legislation to gut the American middle class, legislation to enable the greatest consolidation of corporate wealth human history has ever known, so don’t sing me your elitist song about past stability. All the disconnected, selfish establishment had to do was bring the country along with it, but it was too busy being overly greedy and playing master of the globe at the expense of Americans. And now we don’t have bloody revolution with pitchforks and muskets, we have revolution by transition of power, and the left will have to find a new fantasy. Ok I’m done for the moment.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 1:37 pm

        “All the disconnected, selfish establishment had to do was bring the country along with it”

        You’re right. Damn those selfish establishment people! Just who do they think they are!!

        Hummm. Aren’t they mostly the Republican establishment? Who have fought tooth and political Republican PAC against solving those problems you mention: extending health care, infrastructure repair, deteriorating public schools, living wages, wealth concentration, etc? Isn’t the establishment you’re talking about big business, the military-industrial complex, bankers and brokers and mega money Republican conservatives who have thwarted reforms to improve those problems?

        There’s no longer a ‘transition of power’ in our government. We now have usurpation of power. Permanent Divisiveness is now the fabric of government. And what’s coming is not going to be pretty. As to the democracy we once knew, in the words of the immortal NY Yankee Baseball announcer, Mel Allen, “Going, Going, Gone…”

  15. Pat Riot permalink
    February 6, 2017 1:31 am

    And don’t continue to make the mistake that Trump’s appointed billionaires are a problem for Trump fans, for tea partiers, for the alt right, or moderate conservatives. We like billionairrrs. We want a chance to make it rich too. We like the kind of billionaires who want to bring industry back here. We like front capitalism when it gets the gravy train rolling again so there can be some trickle down, because the selfish elitists shut the faucets off except to themselves and that was one of their mistakes.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 6, 2017 1:37 am

      Front capitalism? We hate spell check tyranny! I tried to say we can even tolerate some degree of crony capitalism if working people get to share in the fruits of our labor. What kind of Nazi technology conspiracy changes the word “crony” to the word “front”? Bloody oppression!

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 6, 2017 2:22 am

        Attention former establishment,

        How dare you wage war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia…and not take care of U.S. veterans when they return home. How dare you not straighten out the corruption and ineptitude at VA hospitals.

    • Roby permalink
      February 6, 2017 10:07 am

      Teh gravy train was rolling best after WWII. That was globalization for sure, WWII globalized us, the US was getting the best deal from that globalization that any nation ever had because all of the other major nations of the world had been devastated and we were the industrial engine of WWII on our big island.

      Those days will never be repeated. I worked in industry, a manufacturing plant and a chemical factory in NJ in the early 70s. You are overestimating how nicely the management/establishment was being to workers even in those halcyon days. I was being poisoned at very low wages, no benefits. I was coughing grey shit out of my longs for a year after the chemical factory, (pesticides and fungicides) perhaps it was the stuff we made or perhaps it was just my own tissue.

      I think that your idea of what is wrong in the US is based on a very partial understanding of economics. And, I can understand why people thought marx had the answer to saving the working class, and I can understand why they thought Keynes and the liberals did, but I cannot understand why anyone believes that an uncouth ignorant life long scammer is the answer, that seems transparently wrong.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 2:02 pm

        Globalization was inevitable..
        Technology was shrinking the world..
        But WWII accelerated it.

        Many of the problems we are facing now are shared by other industrial nations, including winners and losers in that conflict. I see that in reading English language translations of foreign media. There, as here, in the democratic free press nations, the media is reporting growing internal divisiveness between Left and Right, over many of the same issues: immigration, taxes, wealth distribution, suffering working class. Unanimity of opinion, of course, is standardly positive in the press controlled nations.

        I think what I’m suggesting is that a good chunk of our national problems are shared planetary ailments, meaning we need to look at what’s going on from a wider point of view and perspective. Even so, as you suggested earlier, the sway of history may make us unable to solve the downward spiral we are in now.

      • Roby permalink
        February 6, 2017 2:44 pm

        Yes, you are on to something there. These forces are huge and basically irresistible. Harness globalization, but trying to stop it is futile.

        When I see people being too cheerful (politically) I try to depress them. When I see people being gloomy, I do the opposite. I guess I just like to argue.

        So, perhaps the world has always being declining since Pliny the elder and we will survive, somehow, the lying age of the ignoramus.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 4:59 pm

        Moderate pugnaciousness – we end up arguing with two extremes, not one.

  16. dduck12 permalink
    February 6, 2017 2:24 am

    Exactly, PR.

  17. Pat Riot permalink
    February 6, 2017 2:33 am

    Attention former establishment,

    You grew the government too large. It had too many layers of bureaucracy. You stopped representing The People.

    We like billionaires who challenge the system. Billionairres on our side have capital to help the cause. They aren’t desperate for re-election. We understand some percentage of them may also be out for themselves. We’re okay with that as long as they help turn things around to give regular Americans a chance.


    • Roby permalink
      February 6, 2017 8:34 am

      Like Marx you have described a real problem. We now know that Marx’s cure was worse then the disease. Your cure, we are going to find out. I think you are naive. I think its a defective cure. But the experiment is underway, does not matter what I think history will judge.

      Globalization makes war less likely, that is what I think. You will disagree I guess but the economic weapon can be used while the nuclear one can’t. Can it?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 6, 2017 10:23 am

        Roby, I understand that your concern is that a Trump solution that is worse than the problem.

        But Trump’s “cure” is decidedly nothing like Marxism ~ the Marxist impulse driving left-wing leaders like Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren (and I am not calling them doctrinaire Marxists) is largely what has driven businessmen to turn their backs on the Democratic Party.

        I don’t want to see the end of the Democrats, as the party of the middle class. I don’t want them to all turn into Bernie Sanders ~ who, by the way, is still technically not even a Democrat, but a Socialist. I want a Democratic Party that is made up of moderates like Joe Manchin, and liberals like Joe Lieberman . I want to see the Party police its own ranks, and push out dead wood like Nancy Pelosi, who makes Donald Trump look articulate ( you know i’m right!).

        I’ve thought a lot about whether globalism makes us safer. And, I think that it would ,only if America retains its standing as a defender of democracy. I don’t think that that means we have to intervene in every war, or try and create democracies in countries that are culturally unsuited for it. But appeasement and withdrawal are also not working. I think that is what James Mattis is going to try to do~ we have already announced that we will defend Japan’s interests in the South China Sea. That is part of the deal we made with Japan long ago, and, under Obama, we refused to do it. I don’t think that China will start a war over one island, but it may make it rethink its plans of continuing to militarize the entire area. I don’t know.

      • Roby permalink
        February 6, 2017 11:46 am

        Well, I like that reply. Nice.

        My point to Pat is that the problem of how to get a fair deal for workers under a capitalist system is as old as the hills and has had many solutions, some of which failed spectacularly (marxism) some of which seem to be underperforming (Scandinavian model, which has little or no marxism even if they call themselves democratic socialists), Keynes, Progressives, AMerican liberals, etc. All of these were sincere answers to Pats humanitarian concern with the working class (which is me and my wife and my kids BTW.)

        Pat and the trump supporters are making an ideological problem out of what is actually an impossibly difficult economics problem, and they are not the first!. And If Dave ever shows up he will dispute Pat that the workers are doing so badly or that management/elites are the problem. Although he won’t miss the chance to pour contempt on liberals/progressives it will be for believing in regulation of almost any kind of the economy.

        Pats view is very simple on the cause and the solution to fairness for the working class. He is naive and no less locked in a conceptual box than I am. As well, in my box the problem is impossibly difficult and I don’t know the solution though I can recognize a bad and false one.

        On the role of the US defending the world:

        We are defending Europe against putin, Israel against the entire middle east, South Korea from North Korea, Taiwan from Mainland China, and the civilized world from radical Islam. They only way that we can keep that up is by picking our battles judiciously. We cannot act recklessly anywhere. If we were to get into a pissing contest with China about their artificial islands and neither side backs down, then the Falkland Islands war could play out, but on a far grander scale, between two Nuclear powers with very capable ICBMs. Our previous presidents understood the nuclear rules and their state departments understood diplomacy in a world where the US has more commitments than we can fulfill if all of our adversaries were to act in concert. Mattis knows them too as, thanks god an establishment figure, but whether trump bannon know them or respect them is not clear. That has me up at night.

        We can defeat ISIS, we can contain putin, if we are very smart, quite lucky and concentrate on that. Those are the largest threats to stability. If we screw up in China, we risk losing on all of the other arenas, worst case scenario, all at once. That kind of view of the world is not part of the macho thinking of trump and most of his supporters, they would consider me a king sissy as they play with their fireworks next to a TNT factory.

        As well, the Chinese may or may not press the issue during the trump administration, but they are processing the insult to their own national pride and making plans that they have the fullness of time, as a culture that is several thousand year old, to carry out. You and I have kids, If you and I escape the consequences of Tillerson’s reckless words our descendents will not. We are an arrogant superpower with oceans of blood on our hands due to arrogant mistakes accusing the Chinese of being arrogant, but regarding their part of the world. Imagine China involving themselves in defending Panama, or the Falkland Islands.
        We should conduct diplomacy, er, diplomatically, as if we are not invincible, as if we are overextended, which we surely are.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 6, 2017 10:25 am

        ***Not all businessmen have “turned their backs” on the Democrats. Publicly, many support them, especially the tech sector, which uses H1B visas to pay lower wages to immigrants.

  18. Pat Riot permalink
    February 6, 2017 3:10 pm

    I was slightly inebriated from Super Bowl and mouthing off for disenfranchised American workers who are willing to work but see few opportunities. Everyone can’t be an entrepreneur, we need a variety of people, and working class should not be dismissed or looked down upon if they are trapped with family in a U.S. rust belt, especially when many entrepreneurs and owners turned their back on them and the U.S. by going overseas, driven solely by profit, and taking the U.S. for granted. Profit AND loyalty to country should be dual priorities.

    Agree some elements of globalization are essential and wonderful–nations working together on Earth issues.

    Agree we should not and could not go back to post WWII industrial model. Impossible. Modern high-tech manufacturing can happen here, and our community colleges can prepare the workforce.

    And robotics cannot and will never replace all human labor, and of course new engineering and management positions will forever be created for the latest iteration of machines, and a nation’s business owners and movers and shakers should also have some obligations of citizenship, in cooperation with reasonable goverment oversight and reasonable regulation, by the will of the People.

    Instead of that, who can deny we had an increasingly powerful Oligarchy?

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 6, 2017 3:15 pm

      Those who think globalization is good in a blanket sort of way are the ones who are actually oversimplified in their thinking.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 6, 2017 3:24 pm

        U.S. diplomatic leverage and clout in the world is seriously undermined when U.S. crumbles domestically. Then we negotiate with military like mobsters who speak with forked tongue. Yes, Trump is brutish and clumsy, but he has decades of corruption to undo.

      • Jay permalink
        February 6, 2017 5:12 pm

        “Yes, Trump is brutish and clumsy, but he has decades of corruption to undo.”

        thanks for that, Pat – I needed a good laugh. 🤣

      • Roby permalink
        February 6, 2017 4:08 pm

        Well, Thank god I’m not one of Those!

        Look Pat I ‘ve read your comments for Lo these many years and I know that you have a heart of gold and want to help people. I am far from indifferent being more or less one of those who work too but you have this fire to make the balance between the fat cats and the workers fairer. So my hat is off to you.

        You really have it in for the Progressives, in spite of the fact that their movement is based on the same desire you have to shift money from the elite to the workers. I find that ironic. I’m not saying their answers have been magical but they were sincere. Its been tight fisted small government conservatives who have had the least sympathy for vets and workers.

        But you seem to have thrown your lot (on behalf of the workers) in with the conservatives/GOP. Which has Never been the party of Workers. Having just read the Coolidge biography I’ll refer you to the Bonus Army chapter of our history. Good fiscal conservative Coolidge and then Hoover had little sympathy for WWI vets who suffered financially from going off to war.

        I had a quote and a link to the wretched story of the WWI vets under Coolidge and Hoover, culminating in the Bonus Army being routed gleefully by MacArthur and Patton. For some reason its “awaiting moderation” ha ha.

        Anyhow, you probably are well aware of that history. Then there was the Pullman Strike broken by troops under Cleveland (a democrat I’ll admit). Socialists like Debs spoke for the workers, real old fashioned lefties. Somehow you have got yourself seriously angry with people from the movement that has historically shared your cause. How we get to a convoluted history where progressives are anti worker and conservatives are their saviors seems pretty wild to me. it involves an awful lot of blurring the eyes and cognitive dissonance. Progressives may be a more educated group, not generally blue collar but that is not a crime, to be educated. You and I agree about global warming. So how exactly are we supposed to be pro coal? Its not an elite thing its a global warming needs to be fought thing. I regularly play for red necky blue collar audiences, they are usually wonderful. And I’ve worked construction, in factories, as a mechanic, been in the guard. The good old boys are what they are. What they aren’t is economists or scientists and they have no more use for those groups than visa versa. The deplorables vs. the pointy headed geeks. The geeks will be the next movement to be slighted and demand a different flavored country.

        So, if you side with conservatives/GOP on the size of government, OK. But their attitude has pretty much always been unsympathetic to workers in a Dave-like libertarian free market economics kind of way.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 6, 2017 9:09 pm

      “Yes, Trump is brutish and clumsy, but he has decades of corruption to undo.”

      Exactly, Pat. The changes he seeks to make require, in many ways, a political brawler. For all of the people who claim that he is coarse and “unpresidential,” I haven’t seen many criticize the lack of respect that is shown to him. Or, for that matter, much outrage at the malicious obstructionism from the Democratic Congressional minority, that is far worse than anything that Republicans did to Obama. You just know that the media will turn the inevitable Democratic government shutdown into a brave act of resistance to a tyrant.

      As thin-skinned as Trump seems to be when it comes to personal slights, he does seem to have the stomach for persisting through the political wars that he’ll have to fight on a daily basis. He’ll need to control his impatience with the glacial pace of government change and not let it turn him into an unconstitutional authoritarian, as it did his predecessor.

      But, that is the whole purpose of checks and balances, and his choice of Neil Gorsuch seems to indicate that he is not planning to become Trumpolini. People like Jay will always judge him on style rather than substance, and find him lacking. But, it’s the substance of his presidency that will matter, not how orange his skin is, how annoying his tweets are, or how poor his manners.

  19. Roby permalink
    February 6, 2017 3:41 pm

    Well, Thank god I’m not one of Those!
    But you seem to have thrown your lot (on behalf of the workers) in with the conservatives/GOP. Which has Never been the party of Workers. Having just read the Coolidge biography I’ll refer you to the Bonus Army chapter of our history. Good fiscal conservative Coolidge and then Hoover had little sympathy for WWI who sufferer financially from going off to war.
    If you wish to side with the conservatives/GOP on the size of government, OK. But the attitude of that part of our political framework has pretty much always been unsympathetic to workers in a libertarian free market economics kind of way.
    You really have it in for the Progressives, in spite of the fact that they are based on the same desire you have to shift money from the elite to the workers. I find that ironic. I’m not saying their answers have been magical but they were sincere. Its been tight fisted small government conservatives who have had the least sympathy for vets and workers:
    “Army Chief of Staff and Major General Douglas MacArthur watched a brigade of steel-helmeted soldiers precisely align themselves in a straight four-column phalanx, bayonets affixed to rifles. He nodded his head in satisfaction. Discipline was wonderful. Up ahead, Major George Patton kicked his heels against his mount, and the big horse reared forward to signal a line of cavalry. The riders drew their sabers, and the animals stepped out in unison, hoofs smacking loudly on the street. Five Renault tanks lurched behind. Seven-ton relics from World War I and presumably just for show, the old machines nonetheless left little doubt as to the seriousness of the moment. On cue, at about 4:30 p.m. on July 28, 1932, the infantry began a slow, steady march forward. Completing the surreal atmosphere, a machine gun unit unlimbered, and its crew busily set up.
    This was no parade, although hundreds of curious office workers had interrupted their daily routines to crowd the sidewalk or hang out of windows along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol to see what would happen. Up ahead, a group of weary civilians, many dressed in rags and ill-fitting, faded uniforms, waited in anticipation amid their sorry camp of tents and structures made from clapboard and sheets of tin covered in tar paper. Some loitered in the street. They had heard something was afoot — expected it after what happened earlier. Now, a murmur rose from the camp crowd. Upon seeing the Army’s menacing approach, they were momentarily stunned, disbelieving.
    Recovering their senses, a few of the men cursed and sent bottles and bricks flying toward the troops — ineffective weapons against so formidable a force. The missiles shattered on impact on the hard pavement or bounced off the flanks of horses and soldiers. Undaunted, the roughly 600 troops maintained their discipline with tight-lipped determination. The extra training MacArthur had recently ordered was paying off.
    Some of the camp inhabitants had already begun running from the oncoming soldiery, but angry packs held their ground, defiantly wielding clubs and iron bars, yelling profanities. An officer signaled, and the infantry halted to don masks and toss gas grenades. Forming into two assault waves, they continued their push. Clouds of stinging, gray fumes wafted through the air, forcing most of the remaining unarmed veterans to flee in panic. One particularly pesky truckload continued to throw debris, prompting a quick response from Patton: ‘Two of us charged at a gallop and [striking with the flat of our swords] had some nice work at close range with the occupants of the truck, most of whom could not sit down for some days.’
    As cavalry dispersed a group of outnumbered veterans waving a U.S. flag, a shocked bystander, his face streaked with tears from the gas, accosted MacArthur as he rode along in a staff car. ‘The American flag means nothing to me after this,’ the man yelled. The general quieted him with a stern rebuke, ‘Put that man under arrest if he opens his mouth again.’ The energetic officer was in his element. One reporter observed, ‘General MacArthur, his chest glittering with medals, strode up and down Pennsylvania Avenue, flipping a riding crop against his neatly pressed breeches.’

    Following what the D.C. police commissioners had labeled a’serious riot’ by the Bonus Army, a beribboned Maj. Gen. Douglas MacArthur was charged with using U.S. troops, aided by machine gun–laden trucks, to clear the demonstrators from the center of the city. (National Archives)

    MacArthur could not help being euphoric. If the tactics were not textbook, the results were everything he hoped for — a complete rout. The troops had exercised perfect restraint in completely clearing the downtown area without firing a shot. Within hours it was all over. Troopers set the abandoned camp ablaze as the former inhabitants retreated, demoralized and beaten, across the Third Street bridge. MacArthur called a halt to allow his troops to rest and eat while he considered his next move.
    As many as 20,000 former soldiers and their families had converged on Washington in the summer of 1932, the height of the Great Depression, to support Texas Congressman Wright Patman’s bill to advance the bonus payment promised to World War I veterans. Congress had authorized the plan in 1924, intending to compensate the veterans for wages lost while serving in the military during the war. But payment was to be deferred until 1945. Just one year earlier, in 1931, Congress overrode a presidential veto on a bill to provide, as loans, half the amount due to the men. When the nation’s economy worsened, the half-bonus loans were not enough, and the unemployed veterans now sought the balance in cash. Known as Bonus Marchers, they came in desperation from all across the nation, hopping freight trains, driving dilapidated jalopies or hitchhiking, intent on pressuring Congress to pass the legislation. The administration vehemently opposed the measure, believing it inflationary and impractical given the $2 billion annual budget deficit.
    At first the march was a trickle, led by Walter Waters, a 34-year-old former sergeant from Portland, Ore. It soon became a tidal wave, drawing national press attention. The first contingent reached the nation’s capital in May 1932. They occupied parks and a row of condemned buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue, between the White House and the Capitol. When new arrivals overflowed that site, they erected a shantytown on the flood plain of the Anacostia River, southeast of Capitol Hill. Theirs was a miserable lot, alleviated somewhat by the beneficence of the city’s superintendent of police, Pelham Glassford, himself a war veteran….”

  20. dduck12 permalink
    February 6, 2017 4:24 pm

    Priscilla you make some good points and I agree there are bad actors in both parties. I would add Tulsi Gabbard to your list of the types we would want to have in either party.
    On business people, they come in all shades of greed and pragmatism based on pressure to succeed, pressure from higher ups (boards and shareholders) and competition.

    And, yes Pat, some would let you wallow in toxic waste and not lose a nights sleep. Over regulation only pushes them and businesses affected further towards the devil as does too lax oversight.
    And, no, Trump is not going to be the knight with the shining pompadour to straighten things out IMHO. Again, IMHO, Kasich had a better combination of business and government talents to attempt the job.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 6, 2017 10:07 pm

      dd12, knight with the shining pompadour, lol. Good one.

      John Kasich certainly has a far better political resume, and his experience at Lehmann Bros, gives him valuable background in business ~ really, his business experience is more relevant, in many ways, than Trump’s. I mean, how much do you have to know about golf courses to be president? (insert Obama joke here)

      The problem with Kasich is that he couldn’t get anyone to vote for him. I know he’s been pretty popular in Ohio, but, even after he and Ted Cruz were the last non-Trumps standing in the primaries, his vote total percentages rarely made it out of the single digits.

      I know people kept saying that he would do well with moderates, but I don’t see how a guy who couldn’t generate any excitement at all within his own party would have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

  21. Jay permalink
    February 6, 2017 5:32 pm


    You probably won’t get this if you’re younger than 50-
    Watch closely, the video only lasts for about 5 seconds 😊

  22. Pat Riot permalink
    February 6, 2017 5:34 pm

    Roby! Thank for your response and your conversational tone, especially since I’ve been spouting off like a populist revolutionary. I especially appreciate that you said “fire to make the balance between the fat cats and workers fairer.” Fairer being key word. A symbiotic relationship with only moderate exploitation perhaps! You could easily have poked at more of my oversimplifications, as I admit I am often not specific enough, but you posed your questions like a gentleman and have thereby dampened me down a bit to a safer level.

    So yes I see the irony also. I hear myself sounding like a Jack London lefty or a John Steinbeck sympathizing with the People, but yet I cringe at modern progressives and seem to side with the conservative fat cats! Have you prompted me to the core of my political position? I would like to clarify…

    • Roby permalink
      February 6, 2017 6:45 pm

      Cool! Well get into it, maybe tomorrow, I have plenty of ideas. But the old lefties had guts, the Debs and the labor people. Chaplin caught it in his films. The kids who marched down south for civil rights too had guts too and some got murdered by right wingers. Then came the pretentious days of rolling stone magazine, limousine liberals, etc. Drugs clouded a lot of people with good hearts and made them so stupid. There is a LOT to parody and mock on the left but it is also the source of the workers struggle. And then communism appeared and then was defective and some could not admit it. So much confusing history.

      Just remember, Yes, Fragile Close to the Edge, that is Progressive rock, and its audience was progressives, musical and social. Don’t let that part of your soul get lost in the chaos of left and right politics.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 6, 2017 9:19 pm

        Ah, Roby, I loved my days of being a left-wing hippie. It was so righteous, and not in the stupid surfer-dude sense.

      • Roby permalink
        February 6, 2017 10:23 pm

        Post some pictures? I have some long haired pictures from age 18 pretty funny.

  23. February 7, 2017 3:16 am

    There’s some speculation now that Trump might be dyslexic. That would explain a lot: his aversion to reading, his garbled syntax, his defensiveness, and his penchant for just winging it (he can’t make sense of the briefs he receives). There’s a report — I don’t know how credible — that Trump signed the EO putting Bannon on the National Security Council without having read it first.

    I’m not sure what to think; it seems plausible enough, but he did a decent job reading his inaugural address. Anyone else have more info (or opinions) on our president’s reading comprehension skills?

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 7, 2017 11:02 am

      I don’t think he’s dyslexic, Rick, but I think that it’s totally possible that he is being briefed on most things, as opposed to reading them.

      The problem that I have with all of this stuff is that it’s out there to convince people that Trump is the puppet of an evil racist (Bannon), and that he is unaware of his own actions. I don’t believe that for a moment, and I can recall many similar accusations about Reagan…(which I believed at the time). The idea that Trump is an idiot of some sort, maybe because of learning disabilities, maybe because of mental illness, is another way to de-ligitimize him, and to say that the unelected Bannon is the “real” president. I think that it’s complete bunk.

      That said, I do think that as one of Trump’s top advisors, Bannon is a man in a hurry and has been the force behind the flurry of EOs that have been the story of Trump’s first 14 days (I suppose 100 days is too slow now?). While it’s true that Trump has fulfilled more campaign promises in 2 weeks that any president in memory, it has been spun by the press as a negative, particularly the EO temporarily restricting refugees from the 7 nations flagged as being “areas of concern” by the Obama administration.

      I agree with those who say that better communication about the so-called “Muslim Ban” would have averted much of the craziness surrounding it. Trump apparently thinks that Twitter is an effective communication tool, but in the case of something like the this, it would have been better to have called a special press conference, to allay peoples’ fears about it, and explain the reasoning behind it. The bully pulpit isn’t so bully if it’s not being used.

      One has to wonder if Reince Priebus is overwhelmed by his job right now, and that is the explanation for why Bannon has perhaps been able to make things happen too quickly. It’s possible that Priebus’s attention has been focused on the extreme delay of Trump’s cabinet confirmations, and not sufficiently focused on the EO’s .

      No matter what the case, I’m not assuming any dire or sinister intent, or any disability on Trump’s part, unless some real evidence of that comes forward.

      • Roby permalink
        February 7, 2017 11:58 am

        “While it’s true that Trump has fulfilled more campaign promises in 2 weeks that any president in memory, it has been spun by the press as a negative, particularly the EO temporarily restricting refugees from the 7 nations flagged as being “areas of concern” by the Obama administration.”

        Ah, the press, the nasty old press, spinning and spinning.

        It sounds to me in the this and other posts like you are quite pleased with trump about fulfilling so many promises. And yet it was all by EO, which you say you are opposed to. So, well, you can’t have it both ways. My take is that you and the rest of trumps supporters, the vast majority of whom had the strongest Constitutional objects to EOs are now quite happy with trump using them while throw a few not very believable darts at EOs as a presidential tool.

        More or less 40% of Americans want trump as president and 40% want him impeached now. THe other 20% would seem to support very little of trumps program from the wall on down.

        When the Dems rather tragically for the country swept into power in 2008 in a convincing manner with no ambiguity about it they went to work with great hubris, misunderstanding their mandate. Had they used it wisely they would likely still be in power. Hubris and politics are constant companions.

        The GOP has just limped as weakly into power as could be done and their hubris machine is turned up to 11.

        The GOP narrative was that Obama was a divisive president. And he was. But, he at least had a very solid election behind him and the American people had given both arms of Congress to the dems with 60% majorities. Which they promptly misunderstood as the country suddenly having turned liberal.

        The GOP program of divisiveness and hubris, hugely overplaying the election results, will have its consequences, although about 30% of the country will follow trump to the death and believe every hubris inspiring conspiracy theory about Soros paying for all the trump dissent. No, the dissent is real, very broad and utterly sincere and does not need the press to spin it.

        The GOP has a program America as a whole does not want and an unfit president, who truly at times seems to be a puppet of a political extremist advisor.

        Serious rifts will eventually appear on the right, Bannon will disappear, and we will be left with a loudmouthed incompetent as president and chaos, not constructive chaos, that will present huge opportunities for our international adversaries and only widen the chasm between right and left at home.

        At some point the stock market will notice, adding to the chaos.

        This election was a disaster. I see few signs that we are on the verge of becoming great again.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 7, 2017 6:37 pm

        I’m not opposed to EO’s. Every president uses them. I’m opposed to uncinstitutional EO’s, that circumvent the legislative process.

        Every single one of the EO’s that Trump has issued, including the temporary travel ban, is grounded in existing legislation, passed by Congress, or is a repeal of one of Obam’s EO’s. It is perfectly legal for Trump to cancel Obama’s EO’s as long as they were not codified in legislation by Congress.

        You misunderstand the use of EO’s , if you think that what Trump has done so far has been exactly what he said he would do. If he were trying to replace the healthcare system, implement tax reform, or evade immigration law, as Obama did, I would be opposed to them. But he has essentially been using EO’s in a very transparent way, signing them in public, and explaining their purpose.

        The travel ban was spun dishonestly by the press, and has cause some chaos. It would have behooved the president to speak to the rationale behind it, although I gather that he did not think it nescessary. Today, testifying before Congress, General Kelly said that he regretted not running it past Congress before the EO was issued. But he stated, very strongly, that it was critical that we not allow unknowns from these seven countries into the US:

        ” Kelly repeatedly disputed that the executive order is a Muslim ban, insisting it’s just a “pause” based on security concerns.

        He said five of the seven countries named in the order are “nearly failed states” and four of them don’t have U.S. embassies.

        “So I’m at a total loss to understand how we can vet people from various countries when in at least four of those countries we don’t even have an embassies,” he said.”

        Roby, I get that you and Jay are completely opposed to Trump on every single issue, but for the life of me, I don’t understand why you think that we should do as Europe has done, and allow hundreds of thousands of unvetted refugees and immigrants into this country. I think you’re nuts to want that.

      • Jay permalink
        February 7, 2017 7:48 pm

        Here you go again, distorting and misrepresenting the facts- this time relating to the vetting of refugees to defend narrow focus Trumpian half-truths about the ban.

        I’ll give you a link to the actual vetting procedures, far more thorough then the vetting of any nation’s visa applicants not on the ban list, but I’m sure you’ll KellyConJob dismiss it with Alternate Facts from Trumpsylvania.

        Again, I’d like LESS Muslims to immigrate here; much less from those Jihidist saturated nations; but we have a moral responsibility to rescue our share of those truly in desperate need of help. That means providing a balance between protecting our security and offering safe haven immigration entry to genuine victims of oppression. As the linked article points out, these immigrants for the most part ARE escaping violence and torture and extermination. Is it possible a few clandestine terrorist moles may circumvent the vetting procedures? Yes, but about as likely as Trump legitimately separating himself from business conflict of interest while president or ceasing his adolescent Tweeting.

        I’m guessing the ban, a temporary imposition for political show ( Trump: see I’m making America safer as I promised) will be found legal; but it expires in less than 90 days, and if renewed, will be far less limiting. And the safety of the nation won’t have improved at all, but our unity already fractured as a result of the clumsiness of its imposition will not mend.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 7, 2017 8:02 pm


        I didn’t realize that you knew more that General John Kelly about vetting procedures for refugees from failed nation-states and enemy nations.

        But I see that you got your info from CBS, so it must be superior to all of that crazy classified homeland security stuff.

        So sorry,

        Kellyanne Con-Job ❤

      • Jay permalink
        February 7, 2017 11:34 pm

        Apparently I do know more than he does, I’ll be happy to sit down and wise him up. Remember, he’s a military guy, and until his appointment the last few weeks knew shit from shinola about vetting immigrants. He’s spouting boilerplate security platitudes, backing up President Bannon, er Trump’s rationalizations for the ban, which even you admit was ill planned, ill conceived, and ill implemented – the inevitable results of an ill mind.

        And I was right about you KellyAnneConning the information presented in CBS news interview link, of Gina Kassem the on site State Dept official who oversees the refugee resettlement program in the Middle East and North Africa for the U.S. who actually conducts vetting interviews and follow ups. Like Trump, like KellyAnne, like Trumpsters everywhere, if the news doesn’t fit your narrative you disparage it and the source reporting it. You’re a rah rah Trump cheerleader, wagging Alt fact Pompoms:

        Gimme a T
        Gimme an R
        Gimme a U-M-P!
        A Trump in your Rump
        Spells our Vic-Tor-Eeee!

      • Roby permalink
        February 7, 2017 8:05 pm

        “I don’t understand why you think that we should do as Europe has done, and allow hundreds of thousands of unvetted refugees and immigrants into this country. I think you’re nuts to want that.”


        I said that? I would be crazy to want that but…

        I am opposed to having an incompetent president. Isaid the other day that trump was correct to have at the PC students on campus, and previously I wrote for example that I could support his infrastructure idea. I support his appointment of Mad Dog Mattis, ironically apparently the sanest of the lot in his administration.

        Why does being a republican/conservative seem to pull so many people into a Rosanne Rosannadanna world of perpetual confusion?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 7, 2017 8:36 pm

        Haha, good one, Roby.

        I assumed that you were opposed to Trump’s EO’s. If you support the idea of a pause to determine how best to vet refugees, then I was wrong.

        On the other hand, we’ve had an incompetent president for the past 8 years. That’s an entirely other subject.

        We were talking EO’s, man! Do I need to challenge you to a cockatoo video coontest?

      • Roby permalink
        February 7, 2017 8:49 pm

        The line, You sound like you Belong in NJ was just an accidental bonus.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 8, 2017 1:30 pm

        Jay, curious on how you interpret this law:

        “Immigration and Nationality Act 212(f):

        Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

        I believe that If there is an argument that the President should not have this power, it should be brought up in the Congress, to change or amend the law. Getting activist judges to do so is against the spirit and intent of constitutional checks and balances. It’s legislation by the courts.

      • Jay permalink
        February 8, 2017 2:35 pm

        Well, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which abolished immigration entry quotas, specifically prohibits using national origin, race, and ancestry as basis for immigration. To justify overriding that act the President has to validate his claim refugees from his banned list are genuine threats to the national security.

        Who are the courts going to rely on for accurate assessments of National Security in this instance – Dumbass Donald or rational experienced professionals ?

        Here’s a legal assessment of how that may be decided:

        In all of these matters, generally speaking, important cases involving national security that require high level declarations of fact and national security impact, for example, a declaration by a DNI, are the product of professional intelligence products. These types of documents often require considerable interagency coordination. 
        In this case, the factual declaration that is in the record is one of a bipartisan group of former national security officials who argue that the executive order is not only not helpful to national security but, in their view, is actually harmful. Some of these officials were recipients of intelligence briefings as recently as last month. The government, meanwhile, appears to rely solely on a broad assertion by the President that the order is intended to protect national security. While that authority is certainly within the purview of the institutional office of the President, it seems complicated by the fact that this particular President has an extensive public record of making assertions unsupported by actual facts. Moreover, the credibility is further called into question since this President has only received a limited number of intelligence briefings since he has only been in office several weeks, and, according to public reports, received less than the usual amount of intelligence briefings during the transition. These awkward facts lend towards an argument that in this particular case, a court’s determination that the order is a lawful exercise of national security authority might need to rely more than usual on factual declarations presented by senior national security officials.

        NOTE: lawfareblog com is a great resource for objective evaluations of legal issues.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 10, 2017 6:03 pm

        The problem, Jay, although I doubt that you will agree, is that there are powers reserved to each branch of the federal government, and the president is commander-in-chief, with responsibility for national security and for the safety of American citizens. The court system is responsible for making sure that any legislation, or proclamation by the president, is lawful. Based on the law, any president can exclude, by executive order, any group of non- citizens that s/he deems detrimental to the interests of the US. Carter,Clinton, Bush 1 & 2 and Obama have done this without any blowback from the courts.

        In the case of the INA, the president has plenary power to restrict immigration, if he believes that the national security of the country is at stake. Period. Full stop. Circuit court judges are not privy to military and classified briefings and there is no lawful way for them to stop the president. Even if they believe that he is acting out of racism or religious bigotry, which, in this case, he clearly is not. If any of the thousands of refugees now pouring into the US commit an act of terrorism, it will be as a result of Trump-hatred by the left, not Islamophobia by the the executive branch.

        That said, there are some good things that have come out of this. For one thing, Trump can reissue a more tightly worded and narrowed temporary ban, if he chooses. Or he can choose to implement new vetting procedures now, before the 90 day review is completed. For another, it shows that, despite his – correct – belief that he could legally ignore Judge Robart and the 9th Circuit, he is choosing to abide by the ruling for now, rather than take the bait on what would be a constitutional crisis if he pulled an Andrew Jackson and continued to enforce the ban. That would certainly instigate even greater violence by the left than we have already seen, and divide the country further. Finally, it has shown that his SCOTUS nominee is a fair and independent judge, who does not feel that he has to agree with everything that the president says or does or tweets. Gorsuch already has a few Democrats on his side, maybe it will bring over enough, so that the filibuster remains intact.

      • Jay permalink
        February 10, 2017 10:48 pm

        Yes there are powers reserved for the three major branches of government.

        But the judiciary’s power is to define the limits of the two other branches.

        If the Congress thinks the Court overstepped their authority they can pass a constitutional amendment to expand the constitutional power of the president.

        That’s how the system operates.

        I’m surprised you’re not applauding the court ruling. When Trump was campaigning in full stupidity mode, I recall you, in a moment of sanity, saying we shouldn’t worry because even if he was elected Congress and the Courts would be a safety brake to keep him in check.

        That seems to be what’s happening here. They temporarily stopped an EO based on Trump’s ill-informed opinion that allowing already vetted refugees entry was a clear danger to our security.

        The government provided no data to prove that claim; no experienced government officials were summoned to verify or substantiate it. And contextually, because of Trump’s blatant use of the words ‘Muslim ban’ during the campaign, and his utterance as President he’d give preference to Christian refugees from those banned nations, that violates the Constitutional First Amendment religious clauses.

      • February 11, 2017 12:55 am

        Jay, I would agree with your position concerning the court except for one thing. Thats is the 4-4 ruling that would occur if the decision from the 9th came before them and then their decision would be upheld.

        The problem with the courts today, especially the 9th is they are making law and not upholding the constitution. All of the courts are too left or right, and not moderate to make non-political decisions. In the 9th, they have been overturned more than 85% of the time when their decisions have come before SCOTUS. Had the lame brain attorney stuck to the precise wording of the section concerning the presidential powers and kept coming back to that during the presentation to the 9th, I think SCOTUS would have a hard time upholding their decision. However, I heard a great deal of his presentation and his answers and had I been a professor and that being a mock presentation for a grade, that doofus would have been lucky to get a D-. I have never heard anyone as ill prepared and incompetent as he was in that presentation. That is why Trumps E.O was overturned.

        Next step. a smart decision would be another EO to stop immigration for those not already cleared for entry. Small change, new EO, would require another court case to overturn it. Keep playing the game until the new SCOTUS judge is confirmed. Don’t let it go to SCOTUS until a full panel is in place to hear the case.

        But Trump’s ego may get in the way as he hates to lose. Right now he is a loser and he may not be able to handle that and direct the justice department to go to ScOTUS as soon as possible. And then a “kissing your sister decision, no winner, no loser, 4-4 but the 9ths decision will set precedent.

      • Jay permalink
        February 11, 2017 1:11 am

        I agree, as do most of the legal experts who have spoken about the EO and the hearing – the Trump camp screwed up everything. trump,the loud mouth messenger, screwed the message beforehand with his religious Muslim baiting; he poisoned the legal air with his stupid blabbering; his lawyers weren’t prepared to coherently address the basic question they were asked about justifying there is an actual threat posed by these immigrants.

        This is what happens when you have a moron as President.
        We need to get rid of this shameful embarrassment to our country before he does something really horrible.

        Dump the Chump.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 11, 2017 11:49 am

        We all agree on a couple of things. The Trump administration put out a hasty and poorly understood EO, that created chaos in it’s implementation, and caused some people to be detained at airports unnecessrily. I know the pain of being detained at airports, having flown in and out of O’Hare many times. If only I had known about Judge Robart…..but yes, Trump erred badly on the implementation of this, and no amount of excuses matter

        Secondly, the Justice Department attorneys who presented for the Trump administration did an awful job. Did you know that, at the last minute, two top attornies hired for the job, recused themselves when it came out that their firm had filed an amicus brief for the other side?

        When this holdover DOJ guy, Flentje, said that he had no idea whether any refugees from the 7 countries had committed acts of terrorism, and he said that he didn’t know? I could not believe it.

        I do agree with Ron, that Trump is going to have to get control of his ego ~ as well as his id ~ and realize that he needs to retreat on this, because it’s not worth it. He should withdraw the EO, and issue a new one. Not the hill to die on. He already got wounded.

      • Jay permalink
        February 11, 2017 1:50 pm

        “He should withdraw the EO, and issue a new one”

        Apparently that is now the strategy…
        Maybe they should hire you to replace Kellyanne Con for advice.
        If you get the call, tell Trump to stop his tweet lying,
        Better, tell him to resign.

    • Jay permalink
      February 7, 2017 12:34 pm

      There’s a lot more speculation, based on public statements made by people who have dealt with Trump directly, that he has Attention Deficit Disorder.

      “AD/HD [ A.D.D. OR ADHD ] is a neurobiologically-based developmental disability estimated to affect between 3-5% of the school age population (Professional Group for Attention and Related Disorders,1991). No one knows exactly what causes AD/HD [ A.D.D. OR ADHD ]. Scientific evidence suggests that the disorder is genetically transmitted in many cases and results from a chemical imbalance or deficiency in certain neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help the brain regulate behavior.”

      Related studies have been conducted to examine
      the influence of temperament on attention span (my CAPS added):

      “The mothers of 232 pairs of twins were interviewed periodically about the similarities and differences in behavior displayed by their twins during infancy and early childhood. The results showed that each of the behavioral variables (TEMPER FREQUENCY, TEMPER INTENDITY, IRRITABILITY, CRYING, AND DEMANDING ATTENTION) had a significant inverse relationship with attention span. In other words, the twin with longer attention span was better able to remain absorbed in a particular activity without distraction, and was also the less temperamental twin.[5]”

      Trump’s sister, the Federal Judge, wryly commented in an interview that it was useless to argue with Donald growing up: “He always got his his way.” Knowing what we know now we know that wasn’t by persuasive logic.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 8, 2017 4:35 pm

        So what you are saying, if I understand u correctly, is that Trump has a more evil twin somewhere? Haha.

      • Jay permalink
        February 8, 2017 4:43 pm

        Ha, hadn’t thought of that. But yes, and the evil Trump has a goatee and a glass eye and ambidextrously gropes with both hands.

  24. Roby permalink
    February 7, 2017 1:02 pm

    Here, everyone here will find something to like and agree on in this from Quartz written by a fellow at the Hoover Institution. Very well written and balanced from what sounds to me like a moderate conservative point of view. BTW, even prior to reading this I was placing very little hope on the 2018 to produce something like a tea party repudiation of the president from the left.

  25. February 7, 2017 2:05 pm

    Roby–The negativity you throw out there seems to be boundless. Poll figures to support it are dragged out of dubious ether (40 % of Americans want Trump impeached??). I really think you need to get a grip and see how things unfold. The power behind the throne theory relating to Bannon is a really quick leap to judgement. Many (including myself) at least had eight years to cement that conclusion about Valerie Jarrett.

    • Roby permalink
      February 7, 2017 2:17 pm

      RP, While you are nowhere near as wordy (some might say mouthy!) as I am, and so the word boundless may carry some meaning, I well remember the few pithy words you did have for Obama and the dems.

      I am as against trump and the present nutty GOP as you were against Obama and the present nutty Dem party.

      I don’t mean this in a nasty way, but you are going to have to live with it. The unreliable poll spin is just an extension of the world of “alternate facts.”

      The 40% figure is from a poll I posted above. I’ll repost the relevant excerpt:

      Click to access PPP_Release_National_2217.pdf

      ” Less than 2 weeks into Donald Trump’s tenure as President, 40%
      of voters already want to impeach him. That’s up from 35% of voters who wanted
      to impeach him a week ago. Only 48% of voters say that they would be opposed to
      Trump’s impeachment.
      Beyond a significant percentage of voters already thinking that Trump should be
      removed from office, it hasn’t taken long for voters to miss the good old days of
      Barack Obama…52% say they’d rather Obama was President, to only 43% who
      are glad Trump is.

      • Roby permalink
        February 7, 2017 2:26 pm

        I do not believe he will be impeached unless he breaks something so large that GOP voters can’t avoid noticing it. That will take him some time most likely. Nor would I encourage even trying to impeach him at the moment. The important thing is that 40% are so opposed already that they want him gone. That number is much more likely to grow than shrink.

        “Come at the king, you best not miss.” Shakespeare.

      • Jay permalink
        February 7, 2017 6:13 pm

        Hard Data:

        More Than 650,000 People Have Joined a Campaign to Impeach President Trump – TIME

    • Roby permalink
      February 7, 2017 2:19 pm

      Read the Quartz article I posted, by a Hoover Institution research fellow. I agree with it just about completely. I’d be interested in your opinion.

      • February 7, 2017 2:32 pm

        Roby–I agree that some of the negativity you throw out there is based on, as you say, “unreliable poll spin”. It’s a new world where unvetted polls are hard to take seriously. I’ll get back to you when I have a chance to view the Quartz article.

    • Jay permalink
      February 7, 2017 3:36 pm

      Well, his job disapproval polling continues to rise, at 54% during the so-called honeymoon period, so it wouldnt be surprising if a lot of American want him gone ASAP

  26. February 7, 2017 3:04 pm

    Off-topic… but I’ve just updated The New Moderate’s Hit List after neglecting it for the past five years. That was fun. (And feel free to suggest new entries.) Next stop: adding new “Issues” for Righty, Lefty and The New Moderate to debate.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 7, 2017 7:58 pm

      Haha, who is this Rick Bayan guy, and why is he trying to change the subject?

      • February 7, 2017 11:57 pm

        He’s just an attention hog, sort of like the new president — but kinder and gentler.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 8, 2017 10:54 am

        🙂 I’m going to read the Hit List today. Maybe we can start a new thread going there!

      • February 8, 2017 2:51 pm

        I should probably warn you (if it’s not too late) that the Hit List is neither kind nor gentle. It’s a good place to vent immoderately.

  27. February 7, 2017 5:27 pm

    Roby–Just read the Quartz article. My opinion: Could be right about a number of issues, or could be just as wrong as the experts that predicted a landslide victory for HC. To re articulate my position: I would like to give the administration time to bring about positive change, without interference by the “new revolutionaries ” bent on subverting new policies.

    • Jay permalink
      February 7, 2017 6:08 pm

      “I would like to give the administration time to bring about positive change”

      Depends on your definition of ‘positive change’

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 7, 2017 7:55 pm

      RP, thanks for bringing some rational thoughts into the mix here.

      Jay, what is YOUR definition of positive change? Key word there is “positive.”

      Roby, if 40% of Americans want Trump impeached, and they’re signing petitions to have that happen, then 40% of Americans haven’t any idea what impeachment is, or how it works.

      To RP’s point, how many polls told us that Hillary was going to win in a landslide, that Texas was turning red, that Utah would never go for Trump? Oh, and that the Senate would flip to Democrat control? Maybe even the House, if Trump dragged the GOP candidates down…

      Trump won the election by a significant electoral college majority. The electoral college system is how we’ve elected our presidents for almost 230 years. The Republicans held the Senate, and picked up seats in state legislatures across the nation. Those are the polls that count.

      How many elections do the Democrats have to lose, before they realize that their identity-based, left-wing politics are not what Americans want?

      Polls can serve a purpose, help us to get a sense of opinions and attitudes on a certain issue, or how people may vote in a certain election. But they have become politicized, like everything else ~ even the freaking Super Bowl, which Donald Trump’s team won, by the way 😉 ~ and they’re not always reliable tools.

      • Roby permalink
        February 7, 2017 8:40 pm

        “how many polls told us that Hillary was going to win in a landslide”

        None (unless you count the HP ha ha).

        That’s not what polls do and they did not say any of the things you say they did.

        They gave probabilities and showed a tightening race, within the margin of error a tie (Nate Silver anyhow). Called the popular vote just about on the money as well.

        The public as a whole doesn’t want either party’s program (Neither do I!). I know that in my universe. In your universe you are stuck believing that the public wants the GOP program and would be happy with it if only the lyin media would stop spinning everything.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 8, 2017 10:51 am

        Ok, Ok, Roby. How many “articles citing polls” told us about the impending Hillary landslide. Nate Silver and the Rasmussen guy (I forget his first name) tried to tell them, but they were too busy pre-gaming the win,

        By the way, Rasmussen has consistently found that Trump’s approval rating is 53/47, significantly better than the CNN/ORC poll. Rasmussen does have a slight Republican lean, so you can knock off a couple of points.

        But, in general, I think polls have a limited value.

        Anyway, nice rebuttal. Seriously, you’re good. I might even post a hippie picture one day, if I can find one. Although, if I do, you have to post one, as well.

      • Roby permalink
        February 8, 2017 11:19 am

        Thank you for the kind words Priscilla. Is there some other blog you post on somewhere, about petunias or something? I’d love to exchange posts with you one something we could agree on, unfortunately, politics is not going to be it.

        I am absolutely heartsick I am watching the two parties go off cliffs and take the country with them. I wish that I could say that politics doesn’t matter and that we will survive our era of bad politics. 16 years of very inadequate presidents and parties 4 more to come and no one who provides me any hope on the horizon from either party who has a snowballs chance of getting past primary voters. There is no chance that primary voters are going to rally around a person who is suited to being president, or chose a congress that does not have a giant partisan divide. The middle exists but has no vehicle and moderates are laying low, trying to stay out of the way. And why shouldn’t they, they have all the chance of changing things that the opposition has in Russia. We are stuck in a hyperpartisan rut and there is no force that can extract us.

        Priscilla, If I had a way to take my family with me, all of them, I’d leave, Canada, New Zealand, even Sweden. This is a death spiral, its not just trump although he is drastically moving up the timetable. I don’t want to talk about it any more, I really don’t, I have no hope for us. Partisans are eternally full of hope, a great future is always just around the corner, as soon as they strike the fatal blow to the enemy, a golden age will begin. I was hoping for something milder, much more modest: coping semi miraculously with complexities and vast impersonal forces well enough to have a somewhat stable world for my golden years and my kids lifetime. But, damn history, it just marches on till the next catastrophic civilizational earthquake. I know you believe that goodness or rightness is finally winning. Its not how I see it.

        Let me know if there is a blog about antique cars or rock and roll or anything interesting other than politics that you also post on.

      • Jay permalink
        February 8, 2017 3:07 pm

        “We are stuck in a hyperpartisan rut and there is no force that can extract us.”

        Yes. Moderates are doomed to be the leftover residue of grinding wheel ideologies.

        I looked at moving to Canada recently. But after freezing to the bone when I lived north of Syracuse NY, I don’t want to deal with that weather again. Now I’m looking at rural cities in Northern CA or along the Oregon Coast. Hopefully some place subject to frequent power outages, and intermittent WiFi access.

  28. Jay permalink
    February 8, 2017 5:02 pm


    • Jay permalink
      February 8, 2017 5:03 pm

      Trump’s Legacy – is preordained.

  29. Jay permalink
    February 8, 2017 8:20 pm


    White House records show Trump was in the Natl Security Briefing at 10:51 AM, while tweeting about Nordstrom not treating his daughter’s business fairly.

    All those in favor of that kind of behavior, please raise your hands and explain your reasoning.

  30. Jay permalink
    February 9, 2017 12:01 am

    Well, how long before Trump withdraws Gorsuch from SCOTUS nomination?
    Or will gorsuch backtrack and claim he made nosuch statement?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s extended criticism of the judiciary prompted a rebuke Wednesday from his nominee for the Supreme Court, who told a senator that the president’s comments were “demoralizing and disheartening.”

    Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was nominated by Trump to the nation’s high court last week, made the comments after Trump accused an appellate court considering his immigration and refugee executive order of being “so political.” During the weekend, the president labeled a judge who ruled on his executive order a “so-called judge” and referred to the ruling as “ridiculous.”

  31. Anonymous permalink
    February 9, 2017 11:43 am

    Kellyanne Conway used her platform Thursday to urge Americans to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” potentially violating ethics rules of the executive branch.


    Aw, so what.

    • Jay permalink
      February 9, 2017 12:20 pm

      Yeah, who cares. Hopefully Kellyanne will soon be on air at FOX again, touting signed and framed copies of Melania Trump’s photos for her new company: NudieTrump Inc.

    • Jay permalink
      February 9, 2017 3:16 pm

      “Peter Schweizer, who has worked closely with Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon and wrote the book “Clinton Cash,” which was critical of donations to the Clinton Foundation: “They’ve crossed a very, very important bright line, and it’s not good. To encourage Americans to buy goods from companies owned by the first family is totally out of bounds and needs to stop.”

      But when you have an administration headed by a real estate hustler who himself is tweeting on his wife’s business behalf, you know that administration, responsible for enforcing the law, will ignore it.

      Prez Hustler: “I am the effing law!”

      Oh, by the way, Prez Hustler and Kellyanne ConJob are encouraging Americans to buy Chinese products – that’s where the Hustler’s wife imports her product line.

      • Jay permalink
        February 9, 2017 4:49 pm

        That’s obviously daughter, not wife

  32. Jay permalink
    February 9, 2017 12:36 pm


    Donald Trump: a man so obnoxious that karma may see him reincarnated as himself.

    • February 9, 2017 10:42 pm

      Been to busy at my FOUR – yes that is right – part time jobs to be on here. No benefits, I still can’t get 40 hours a week, and the best only pays $11/hr. And again I am college degreed working with other degreed people.

      I will keep saying it, although I feel like all of you dance around it…the reason the economy was so good after WWII was the working people were well-paid. You cannot have a healthy economy when over half of us are living paycheck to paycheck. This must be done world-wide. Companies will just keep moving plants to the lowest paying country if we don’t pay well everywhere. The economy world-wide hasn’t impoved because they don’t pay the workers the middle class wages US workers used to get.

      Yes, the years after WWII were an aberration – but an excellent one. Do you really want to go back to a small portion of extremely wealthy people and everyone else being miserably poor? If companies will not willingly pay workers well, then yes it has to be legislated. You don’t have to go overboard to communism. Balance people, balance.

      The sad thing is the wealthy who are doing this to us would probably all make far more money if they invested in workers instead of hogging every dime for themselves. But I can’t see that Republicans/conservatives who created this mess in the first place being the ones to fight to get us out.

      I just hope it doesn’t have to get bloody. But that is what our ancestors to get the 5 /day 40/hour work week and safety laws. The wealthy probably won’t do what is right because actually it is THEM who feel entitled. (I find it embarrassing that the rich people spend so much time fretting over poor people – they have no money therefore NO power!!)

      rant over

      • February 9, 2017 10:43 pm

        O – and please stop the justification for poor pay that only certain jobs are “worthy” of a middle class wage. Even the least skilled job of 40 hours a week deserves a livable wage.

      • Jay permalink
        February 10, 2017 2:25 am

        It’s a messed up situation for sure. And I agree, we need to find a way to redistribute the wealth more equably – Bernie has that right. But I don’t see how that’s going to happen.

        Short of some major economic disaster like the 1930s Stock Market Crash, or an all out War where our existence is threatened – events that would elicit a national wakening of true unity, cutting through party politics and ideological contankerousness, the divisions will deepen, anger will keep rising, and with a divisive blowhard like Trump in the Oval Office things inevitably will go from bad to worse.

        My sincere sympathies are with you in these rough times..

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 10, 2017 10:04 am

        Moogie, I’m sure that you know that the ACA employer mandate created a situation in which it is far more cost effective for businesses of over 50 employees to have part-time employees than it is to have full-time ones, because any employee who works an average of 30 hours a week or more must be offered health insurance, or else that business is assessed a penalty.

        But, even in the case of smaller businesses, the underwriting of employer provided health plans has changed, and no longer reflects the overall health of the employees, but relies more heavily on their age. This came about because of the legal necessity to ignore pre-existing conditions…..but, in reality, age alone is a pre-existing condition.

        Retail is a good example. It’s almost impossible, these days, to find any retail chain which will hire a full-time employee, other than, say a store manager~ many don’t even hire full time managers, preferring 2 part time ones. And, it’s more profitable to have 10-15 part time sales employees than it is to have 2-3 full-time ones.

        So everyone ends up making less money, not only because of their hourly rate, but because their employer limits them to under 30 hours. A 40 hour a week full-time hourly job has become a rarity, even in fairly large companies.

        I’m not arguing the minimum-wage issue here. It can definitely be a temporary “fix” to force employers to pay their part-timers more. But it’s only temporary, and not really sufficient. Even $20 p/hr is not a living wage, if you can only work 25 hours a week.

        What I am saying is that there are other factors which have caused the collapse of the hourly job-market for all workers, and mandating higher hourly wages, without addressing those issues, particularly health insurance, is not going to help. It’s just going to cause employers to hire fewer workers overall.

  33. Mike Hatcher permalink
    February 10, 2017 11:36 am

    Those of us who would like to see government’s power curbed should be looking for opportunities to cooperate with the left in their current desire to keep Trump in check. Trump’s undermining of certain institutions may not be all that bad. I feel sorry for those who become paranoid about any and all government actions, but I believe it is healthy to carry some skepticism towards all institutions. In fact, I would say the more powerful an institution is, public or private, the more distrust one should carry of said institution. Of course this is the ageless problem of centralizing power and resources to do greater good always creating the potential of it doing greater harm.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 10, 2017 2:16 pm

      Absolutely, Mike. And the left should be looking for opportunities to support Trump’s liberal views, particularly in the areas of tax policy (he is in favor of raising taxes on the “very rich”), universal healthcare coverage, paid maternity leave, and infrastructure spending.

  34. February 10, 2017 6:54 pm

    “….you’d think Orangeman was the second coming of Hitler”

    If Trump was Hitler he would be sending the army into Berkley, rounding up the rioters and shipping them off to some camp and they would never be seen again.

    The only thing reasonably comparable to Hitlers time is the brain washing of kids to accept the teachings of the Third Reich. The only ones doing that today are the teachers from K through doctorate degrees feeding kids liberal crap that conservative parents have to explain why what they were taught was wrong and then get in fights with teachers and school systems because they don’t want their kids indoctrinated into any political philosophy other than the ones they want to teach them

  35. Jay permalink
    February 10, 2017 10:54 pm

    Here’s what Conservative writer Andrew Sullivan thinks of Trump. A brilliantly written and provocative perspective from Right of Center.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 11, 2017 11:31 am

      Andrew Sullivan is a fine writer. I used to read him all the time ~ and then he became rather batty. So, it’s the pot calling the kettle black here.

      But, here is what I will say. Trump is a different kind of person. Has he lied? Do politicians lie. “Bush lied and people died”, right? Obama told the “lie of the year” according to Politifact, “If you like your plan you can keep your plan.” Or, more recently, “We do not pay ransom for hostages.”

      So, the whole concept of “lying” is held to a different standard in politics. And that standard is: if your guy lies it’s a LIE!!!”, if my guy lies, it’s a misunderstanding, or an explanation, or something….. Politics is a dirty business.

      They all lie. I do believe that Gorsuch was discouraged and dismayed about Trump’s tweets. As he probably was about the whole situation, as Gorsuch, of all people, knows about the separation of powers. And crime statistics, like all statistics, can be manipulated to mean whatever you want them to mean, and Trump has been known to spout nonsense, although The Economist (not exactly a conservative rag) says:

      “The Economist has gathered murder statistics for 2016 for the 50 cities with the most murders. These places contain 15% of the country’s population and around 36% of murder victims. Our numbers show that, in 2016, murders increased in 34 of the cities we tracked. Three cities experienced a spike in deaths sharper than the 58% suffered by Chicago. Since cities tend to reflect the country as a whole, this suggests that the murder rate is rising at its fastest pace since the early 1970s.

      So, we ~ all of us, and I include myself ~ need to be careful how we frame these things, and not cherry-pick our sources.

      • Jay permalink
        February 11, 2017 11:56 am

        “But, here is what I will say. Trump is a different kind of person.”

        Ha Ha Ha Ha !

        Kinda like this guy.

      • Jay permalink
        February 11, 2017 12:21 pm

        “So, we ~ all of us, and I include myself ~ need to be careful how we frame these things, and not cherry-pick our sources.”

        Isn’t that exactly what you’re doing by selective omission? This, from the same article:

        “Today’s violence needs to be set in context. Despite the recent uptick, the murder rate in our 50 cities was lower in 2016 than it was in 2007, and for the 26 years before that. Criminologists disagree about why murder became less common. What they do agree on is that the improvement has been uneven. Newark, just ten miles from New York city, has a murder rate that is nine times higher than its neighbour’s. And unlike New York, where murder is at just 15% of its 1990 peak, in Newark the rate has barely budged.”

        Trump the liar keeps repeating over and over and over and over the falsehood that “The murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” And you seem to lack the moral rectitude to CONDEMN him for that.

        I agree the murder rate is horrendous in inner cities, but not throughout the US. The article offers two explanations for the sharp increase there: Fergusson Effect; gang drug-related violence. It doesn’t, however, mention the FACT that it’s become easier for everyone to acquire guns, legally and illegally.

        How is Liar Trump going to fix any of that? With EOs ?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 11, 2017 11:22 pm

        I just can’t with you anymore, Jay.

        You want me to spin the Newark crime stats? Since 1953, every single mayor of Newark has been a Democrat. During that time, Newark has had one of the highest murder rates in the country, as well as one of the lowest rated school systems. Nothing has been done. And NJ has extremely strict gun control laws. Extremely strict. So that’s not the problem.

        The Newark school system is unbelievably bad ~ when Cory Booker was mayor, he accepted a $100 million dollar education grant from Mark Zuckerberg. $100 MILLION. It all went to waste, because Booker caved to the teachers union and would not allow school choice or union contract reform. God forbid he lose the support of the teachers union! The money got spent ~ the schools still suck.

        But we’re talking murder rates……

        Well, both Guiliani (R) and Bloomberg (I) were strong law and order mayors. I have great admiration for Mike Bloomberg on that score. He might have outlawed Big Gulps, but he was tough on crime. DeBlasio (D) has let it all go to waste. Violent crime is rising.

        You can pick and choose your sources,and call Trump a liar all you want, but if you try to tell the average New Yorker that things are better now than they were 5 years ago? Good luck with that.

        (The Psycho thing was pretty funny, I’ll give you that)

      • Jay permalink
        February 12, 2017 10:48 am

        Talk about veering off tangent.
        And not absorbing content: I referenced the increase in inner city crime.
        You avoided the repeated Trump demogogery lies about the crime statistics.

        if you try to tell the average New Yorker that things will get better now that Trump’s president, Good luck with that. Again: what’s his solution to the recent surge? He going to tweet the crime away?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 12, 2017 6:16 pm

        Nope. I simply said that statistics can be spun very differently.

        If crime in a city drops for 20 years, and then begins to rise again for 5, do you say that crime rates are lower than they were 30 years ago, or higher than they’ve been in 5? Both can be true. All depends on how you spin it.

        It’s not worth arguing over, Jay. Statistics is an art as well as a science, and most data can be manipulated to fit a preconceived narrative.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 12, 2017 6:46 pm

        That said, Trump got the murder stat dead wrong. 😉

  36. Priscilla permalink
    February 11, 2017 11:54 am

    By the way, if you haven’t checked out Rick’s “Hit List” (newly revised), there is plenty to discuss over there. And much less scrolling to get to the reply window.

    This has been a public service announcement for TNM.

    • Jay permalink
      February 11, 2017 12:23 pm

      I don’t see a link to the Hit List?
      How do I find it?

    • February 11, 2017 9:40 pm

      Thanks for the announcement, Priscilla. Jay, the Hit List is at the top of the page, although its exact position depends on whether you’re using your phone or computer. On my phone I have to click “Menu.” On my computer it appears as an internal link along with the site’s other pages. Lots of undiscovered territory! The Hit List is the one place on this site where I let loose and have immoderate fun attacking extremist people and ideas.

      • Jay permalink
        February 11, 2017 10:39 pm

        Thanks, I found it.
        Only part way down and already laughing out loud! 😊

    • Jay permalink
      February 12, 2017 12:38 pm

      Above, background on Gorsuch previous decisions.
      Overall, sounds like a reasonable conservative with moderate inclinations

  37. Jay permalink
    February 12, 2017 1:56 pm

    Frightening. Depressing. Brilliant. Dystopian.
    Neoconservative David Frum prognosticates Trump’s 2nd Term.
    (I’ve never felt more like singing the blues..)

    • Jay permalink
      February 12, 2017 2:02 pm

      For beloved America, vanishing from view…

  38. Pat Riot permalink
    February 12, 2017 9:24 pm

    Regarding David Frum’s article, “How to Build an Autocracy” in The Atlantic…

    David Frum was a speech writer for G.W. Bush. Frum is credited with coining the term “Axis of Evil”. What is currently more important than him being a NeoCon, is that he is an “establishment guy”. His dislike of Trump pervades the article and really rears its ugly head toward the end of his consistently slanted article. I found the piece to be another example of someone with shattered illusions building a house of cards out of fearful assumptions. Interesting, ironic, and amusing when establishment types make little or no mention of pre-existing corruption and kleptocracy, while warning that Trump is taking us toward corruption and kleptocracy. Yes, everything was just fine before Trump.

    Multiple-choice question for anybody, but especially for Jay: During the past twelve years, the WH has helped to enable significant portions of the U.S. Government to function as a kleptocracy…

    A. Strongly agree
    B. Somewhat agree
    C. Strongly Disagree

    • Jay permalink
      February 13, 2017 12:23 am

      It’s a waste of time talking AT you – it’s impossible to talk TO you, because you’re a brick wall, everything bounces off your ideological preconceptions, sealing you from reality: SCROTUS, the “So-Called Ruler of the United States,” is already a disaster to the nation.

      There are numerous other conservatives, Neo and otherwise, whose alarmed views match Frum’s: Andrew Sullivan linked above; George Will (FOX fired him for his anti Trump views); Bill Kristol; and dozens more. And yes, they all have shattered illusions – that their party could allow someone as unqualified, unprepared, unsavory and unstable to hijack the nomination.

  39. Jay permalink
    February 13, 2017 12:26 am

    The Spy Revolt Against Trump Begins:

    Intelligence Community pushes back against a White House it considers leaky, untruthful and penetrated by the Kremlin!

    • Jay permalink
      February 13, 2017 12:31 am

      The intelligence community, world wide allies, doesn’t trust the president of the US or his cabinet!

      Putin has an inside source of intelligence, according to that report. And other reports in the foreign press confirm the reluctance to share Intel with the US.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 13, 2017 9:42 am

        Of all the people here, Jay, you have become the least objective. You’ve made the same point over and over ad nauseam. The synapses in your brain have become corrugated into a cardboard “I hate Trump” sign. (I like that last line!)

      • Jay permalink
        February 13, 2017 12:34 pm

        I agree- I am biased against President ( ugg) Chump, and I readily admit it. I believe in truthfulness, probity, rationality, sanity, and I strongly oppose those who are dishonest, deranged, indecent, mentally unstable – and notably all of the above for a president of my country.

        That you slough over all of those imperfections to rationalize minor ideological gains reveals the synapses of your brain have been oxidized, like a rusty lawnmower left out in the rain too long.

  40. Anonymous permalink
    February 13, 2017 9:49 am

    I checked out this website, and article, to give me another persepective (can’t stand the false narratives from CNN, CBS, …). Disapponted. This article is just like all the rest of the liberal media — one-sided and decidedly a Trump-hater.

    • Jay permalink
      February 13, 2017 11:09 am

      He’s a conservative writer and has been for decades.
      You are a .. what exactly ?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 13, 2017 12:16 pm

        “He’s a conservative writer and has been for decades”

        Apparently you are somewhat impressed by that.

        So, he makes his living by giving his opinion, and he was around when we aided Sadaam while we fueded with Iran, and he kept quiet when we shot down an Iranian passenger plane, and he was around for Iran-Contra, and the intelligence reports for Sadaam possessing WMDs, and the bombing of Libya, and he concluded that George Bush was the “right man for the job” as we went in to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes, he’s been right on the money. Hey that could be a play on words, “right on the money”. Welll we don’t need the mid East’s oil quite as much nowadays, and U.S. real estate market is up, and yes some of the most dillusional of the snowflake lefties are still taking tantrums because their self identification fantasies, long comforted by a false narrative steadily released by a considerably controlled top-down media, have been shattered. Excellent.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 13, 2017 12:15 pm

      Jay, I think that Anonymous was referring to Rick’s piece, not the David Frum article.

      Regarding the article, and David Frum……Frum is not a whack job like Andrew Sullivan, and he once worked for for Bush 43. But, at some point during his employment, he turned on Bush, and began writing and commenting as a “conservative” who constantly trashes actual conservatives. Because of this, he is often put on TV panels that pretend to have all sides represented. It would be as if Jim Webb were the liberal Democrat on a CNN panel.
      Frum allows many mainstream outlets to pretend that they are presenting the conservative viewpoint, when they are not.

      There are conservatives who opposed Trump during the election, and who are fairly (and by that I mean that they are “fair”) critical of him today. Roby has frequently cited Jonah Goldberg, I have cited Ben Shapiro. But you insist on citing only “conservatives” who do not, or no longer, hold traditional conservative viewpoints. You actually mention Bill Kristol in your response to Pat, who is an extremely establishment neo-con, but who at least has good conservative bona fides.

      You’ve made clear that you are and will be 100% anti-Trump, regardless of his policies or actions. No matter what anyone else says, you double-down on that position. A good example would be the controversy over the travel ban EO. While others look at the issues involved, this is your view:

      “…the Trump camp screwed up everything. trump,the loud mouth messenger, screwed the message beforehand with his religious Muslim baiting; he poisoned the legal air with his stupid blabbering; his lawyers weren’t prepared to coherently address the basic question they were asked about justifying there is an actual threat posed by these immigrants.
      This is what happens when you have a moron as President.”

      Now, if I thought that you were reasonable, we could engage on a couple of things that you bring up here ~ for example, “his religious Muslim baiting” as well as why DOJ lawyers were unprepared for the 9th Circuit hearing ~ Ron observed that, as well. It would also be interesting to discuss the Observer article, which I read, regarding opposition within the IC to Trump (By the way, are you aware that, until he was named an advisor to Trump, Jared Kushner was the publisher of The Observer, and now his brother-in-law has taken over? The paper tries to present all positions). But, on matters Trump, you have only one position: “He’s a moron!” “But what about this?” “He’s a moron!” “But how about that?” “He’s a moron!”

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 13, 2017 1:05 pm

        Bravo to you, Priscilla, on your patience to still try to reason with him.

        We have all admitted and stated our various concerns, caveats, and fears regarding the abrasive orange man, and we are still able to see over, around, and through to other aspects of our gigantic, productive nation of 300 plus million Americans, but for some people the anti-Trump hate is an eclipse, and it seems to help them hold onto something. For some it seems very personal.

      • Jay permalink
        February 13, 2017 1:35 pm

        Yes he IS a moron as president.

        In that I use the word as an envelope enclosing his many other faults of character and disposition, enumerated in the linked articles. At some level of your own objective reasoning you know I’m right: on balance, he’s the worst person elected president in our lifetime, and our parent’s lifetime as well. He has lowered the bar for presidential rectitude, competence. His worst legacy, however, is the undermining of legitimate American institutions with lies and distortions of epic proportion: the press, the legal system, even our own security agencies have all been brought into disrepute to shake public trust when they dispute, disagree, or contradict him in any fashion. This is classic anti democratic Fascist authoritian strategy, as was explained to you in the linked articles you casually dismissed.

        Trump may indeed just turn out to be a blustering bumbling conjob president who does only short term damage to the nation, and the scars of his presidency may not be as deep as I think they will be. But there are many signs that he may do irrepable harm, and vigilance is the patriotic duty of those who are concerned our democratic institutions and values are under threat from him and his altRight inner circle.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 13, 2017 6:57 pm

        I don’t casually dismiss anything you say or link, Jay. I had actually already read the Andrew Sullivan piece before you linked it, and now I’ve read the Frum piece because you linked it.

        Anyway, I definitely do not believe that Trump is the “worst person elected president in our lifetime.” I believe that, if moral rectitude is going to be the bar, no one could be worse than our 42nd president, who was so sexually profligate that he was accused by multiple women of assault, had sexual liaisons with a 22 year old girl in the Oval Office, lied about it, and likely perjured himself in his testimony about another harassment charge, leading to his impeachment. Aside from his bimbo eruptions, he left a trail of scandal from his years in office that included Travelgate, Whitewater, the removal of FBI files on GOP officials, renting the Lincoln Bedroom to big donors, accepting foreign campaign donations, and selling pardons. Trump will be hard-pressed to beat that record of immorality and corruption ~ heck, he can’t even get a crime statistic wrong without people screaming bloody murder.

        As far as inexperience and incompetence, I would pick Obama. Trump definitely has less actual experience as an elected government official ~ zero, in fact ~ but he has a lifetime of experience in business, finance, entertainment production, and dealing with politicians, Will that eventually translate into governing ability? I don’t know.

        Trump may well turn out to be incompetent at governing, but I think it’s way too early to make that call. If, 2-3 years into his term, he has a debacle such as the rollout, after spending $2B on it, I’ll certainly say that he’s incompetent. Or, if he pulls us out of a war without a SOF agreement, leading to the rise of a terrorist army, I will say that. You know, stuff like that.

        I don’t disagree with everything you say about Trump, Jay, I honestly don’t. But, I think that the way to discuss a president is to watch what he does, acknowledge the good and condemn the bad, If you pre-emptively condemn everything, it’s hard to find common ground.

        Haven’t read the Atlantic article yet, but will do that, and try to comment later.

  41. Pat Riot permalink
    February 13, 2017 10:25 am

    “This is the end of our country.”–Abraham Lincoln haters

    “The world’s computers can’t handle it.” –Y2K prognosticators

    “The end is nigh.”–Jay

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 13, 2017 1:33 pm

      “That you slough over all those imperfections to rationalize…reveals the synapses of your brain have been oxidized, like a rusty lawnmower left out in the rain too long.”

      🙂 A damn good comeback. Here I thought my brain was a BMW–the ultimate driving machine!!! But alas, it is a rusty lawnmower engine, hahaha, that’s pretty funny and made my morning. I wish you had over-reacted so I could just be plain annoyed with constant salvos of anti-trump artillery, but for some masochistic reason I still like you, Jay, and wish I could talk you down off the ledge.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 13, 2017 2:01 pm

        The gains will be featured, and inflated, and spun, and glossed-up and Trumped up, and sometimes merely symbolic, and they will be continually ridiculed and attacked by the holdouts of the left, many of whom speak and think more eloquently than the President of the United States of America (and some just can’t get over that), but the gains will be much more than ideological and symbolic. Many working people will still have some crappy jobs with low wages, but there will still be a sovereign nation, and that’s what soldiers have been willing to die for…

  42. Jay permalink
    February 13, 2017 1:41 pm

    For those who say I only offer anti Trump links, here’s a balanced commentary that presents both sides of the narrative: trump may not be as bad as I think; but then again he could be:

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 11:08 am

      Well, this was an interesting article, Jay. I agree with Pat that it’s more balanced than much of the stuff you link. It acknowledges that Trump may not be a potential tyrant, and also that he may surprise us (?) and be a transformative president. So, Rauch does not condemn him out of hand. That’s fair.

      Where I think that Rauch’s article fails in looking at the potential problems of a Trump presidency, is his failure to acknowledge the ferocity of the left’s opposition to him, and the obvious sabotage of his administration that is playing out ~ and has been playing out~ since before he even took office. This has not been the case with other presidents, and it has put us in uncharted waters when it comes to evaluating what is going on.

      I’ll give you an example, although it’s too recent an example for Rauch to have considered:

      In the case of Michael Flynn (who, if you’ll scroll up a bit, I have had my doubts about, right from the start. I don’t believe that he is a traitor, but he is too tightly wound, was a Democrat before he became a vocal Trump supporter, and his history suggests that he’s playing out a grudge against Obama), there were nine – NINE – anonymous sources, that spoke to the Washington Post, insisting that Flynn had discussed sanctions with the Russian Ambassador. Forget the fact that this proves that either the ambassador’s phone or Flynn’s was bugged, since this was a “private” conversation…..why are these people remaining anonymous?? If we are in danger from Russian infiltration, why not present the evidence up front, demand that Trump answer to it, and stop the leaks?

      David French has addressed this issue of leaking. “You’re helping build and sustain an atmosphere of national anxiety and even (in some quarters) outright hysteria. You’re leading us to believe that the nation is in the very worst of hands, with incompetent and malicious people at the helm……..Given the gravity of the accusations, your continued anonymity tells me nothing good. The “career civil servants” among you may be little more than partisan bureaucrats, using hyperbole to fool gullible reporters.”

      Read the whole thing. It’s quite balanced.

      So what is going on? Partisan political sabotage? Or brave “moles” warning us? At this point, the brave “moles” need to reveal themselves, if they are to be believed. If not, they are merely stoking fear and dread for political gain.

  43. Pat Riot permalink
    February 13, 2017 3:14 pm

    OK, Jonathon Rauch’s piece in The Atlantic was more balanced, but here is a flawed leap that it takes:

    “Some of what always looked like unconditional support for democracy may actually have been conditioned on rising prosperity.”

    In other words (my words here), if subsequent generations aren’t doing better or as well, and the populace perceives it is a downward trend rather than a temporary valley, then the populace begins to withdraw its support. Ok so far, but then Rauch leaps to wonder if this is a “global anti-democratic backlash.”

    No. It’s an anti-status quo backlash, an anti-oligarchy backlash, an anti-consolidation backlash. And populist backlashes are historically ugly, but let’s not make the leap to think the UK’s Brexit or U.S. Trump revolution want to tear out the very roots of democracy.

    Quite the opposite. They want to remove the suffocating plastic covers (only metaphor I came up with on the fly) so that the roots can flourish again for a wider segment of the population, and the right billionaires and millionaires can lead the way (because some of the changes are a bit expensive).

    But then I do like where Rauch goes with the need for people to showcase how a good democracy does flourish or is supposed to function. That’s a good, positive, pro-active, important channeling of energies and something we need.

    • dduck12 permalink
      February 13, 2017 3:47 pm

      If you are not advancing (this is for younger folks) over your parent’s advancements, then you may rightfully think the national hamster wheel you are currently on ain’t the best. Many felt that way, or Trump would have been knocked out early in the primary farce.

  44. dduck12 permalink
    February 13, 2017 3:30 pm

    Jay. Excellent article. Thanks

  45. Jay permalink
    February 13, 2017 10:47 pm

    I follow Gary Kasporov’s posts, tweets and interviews. Over the last year his prognostications and observations concerning Trumps campaign moves and strategies have proven accurate, and I believe his judgments and warnings in regard to events he witnessed in Putin’s Russia should be taken seriously.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 9:58 am

      Did you follow Kasporov’s posts, tweets and interviews regarding Bush and Obama? Just curious……

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 10:12 am

      As well as:

      “GARRY KASPAROV: OK, I have to apologize, I’m emotional, but he proved to be a weak leader. He is the top of the free world, the only man who Putin counts as a potential opponent. And looking at Obama’s actions, in fact, inaction, Putin believes he can do whatever. Every negotiation he’s in, Cuba, Iran, whatever, shows America is weak.”

      Roby once advised me to qualify my statements.

      You could stand to put your comments in context. It’s sometimes as if no history has preceded Trump, or that you have recently woken up from a 20 year nap.

      How many times was Obama accused of emboldening our enemies? What did he say when Romney said that Russia was our geopolitical foe?

      There is no question that we need to get to the bottom of what is happening with Russia, and how much we have been compromised. But, to constantly accuse Trump’s new administration of things that have been happening for years, and to ignore the foreign policy “mess” (Kasparov’s word) that Obama has left, is very naive, Or partisan. Or both.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 14, 2017 10:43 am

        Thank you.

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 2:15 pm

        Take your own advice about putting things in context.

        Kasparov has been consistent about criticizing lax US policy towards Russia, that’s the point! He said neither Obama nor H. Clinton were tough enough on Putin. But now he’s apoplectic over Trump, who is bending over like a sodomite to Putin with his cheeks spread wide for Russian ‘reconciliation.’ He intimates Trump’s ‘bending over’ posture is ten times worse than the previous administration’s – don’t you agree?

        Further, though he was critical of Obama’s Russia policies, he never accused him of being a danger to our own democratic-republic government, as he has Trump, describing him as using “an Americanized version of the brutally effective propaganda of fear and hatred that Vladimir Putin blankets Russia with today.” And as a “would be tyrant”and “demagogue” in Putin like fashion. And if “Trump’s vision comes true, it will be a nightmare, not a dream,” for American government.

        Surely you agree with that too, or you would if you were able to see Trump for what he is, or more precisely what he isn’t: someone who cares about or understands the constitutional balances of our government, or its traditions of presidents trying to govern ALL of the people, not just their core constituents. Kasporov points out this comparison between Trump and Putin as well:

        “It is painful to admit, but Putin was elected in a relatively fair election in 2000. He steadily dismantled Russia’s fragile democracy and succeeded in turning Russians against each other and against the world. It turns out you can go quite far in a democracy by convincing a majority that they are threatened by a minority, and that only you can protect them.”–and-that-is-terrifying/2016/07/23/36397692-50e5-11e6-a7d8-13d06b37f256_story.html?utm_term=.c9aec4e8898e

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 4:34 pm

        Kasparov does not know what Trump’s policy is, THAT’S the point, Jay. He doesn’t like what he heard during the campaign. Kasparov has an interesting, and very emotional POV. He is not privy to any classified information, unless Brennan’s goons are leaking to him too…….

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 10:21 am

      All of that said, Trump had better be squeaky clean on this, or else he’s in trouble. John Brennan clearly hates him, and has left many in the IC ready to leak like a sieve. Same thing with the leftover DOJ people ~ look at what happened with Sally Yates. The long knives are out for Trump, and, if he has something to hide, it will emerge, I have no doubt.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 14, 2017 10:58 am

        “You could stand to put your comments in context. It’s sometimes (qualifier) as if no history has preceded Trump or that you have recently woken up from a 20 year nap”

        🙂 Fantastic!

        Was it Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamota who feared they had awoken a sleeping giant? It may be that the 2016 election has re-awoken America from a 20-year nap. We could get through the present ugliness with a better understanding of priorities.

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 2:37 pm

        Right, look what happened with Sally Yates – she warned the Trump administration WEEKS AGO that Flynn had lied about the sanctions conversation, which numerous spy agencies had recorded, and that the Russians could use that info to blackmail Flynn (and possibly other info recorded during the conversation that hasn’t come out yet?)

        But the Trumpsters sat on that revelation, and did nothing about it; worse, they allowed Flynn to continue to sit in on classified briefings daily, and attend high level planning meetings about Russia and China and North Korea, etc. after they were warned he was a possible security risk.

        Do you think it was in OUR national interest for Trump to suppress that information? If it hadn’t been ‘leaked’ Flynn would still be there. Do you want our national security to be jeopardized like that in the future – just because Trump appointed the person?

        And there’s still a BIGLY unanswered question: did Trump tell Flynn to tell the Russians he would lift those sanctions if elected? How else would Flynn know to say that to them? If so, that would make Trump as much a Liar about the denials as Flynn, and subject to censure.

  46. Priscilla permalink
    February 14, 2017 4:29 pm

    She CLAIMS she warned them weeks ago. That has not been confirmed by anyone, only leaked by “officials” and reported by CNN, the fake news network. And how did she get the information regarding a private call? You believe what you want to believe. TheTrump administration denies it. Washington Post has 9 leakers, who somehow claim to know what the incoming NSA chief was talking to the Russian Ambassador about on a private call. But no one will come forward, or confirm this.

    By the way, Foreign Policy has an interesting article out. Foreign Policy Magazine is a slightly left leaning publication is owned by the same company that owns the Washington Post.

    If this article is accurate, things are far, far more complex than you would like to believe, Jay.

    But, I’m sure you will keep your beliefs.

    • Jay permalink
      February 14, 2017 5:01 pm

      Still defensively smooching Trump’s butt I see.

      “WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was told in late January that his top national security aide had misled his vice president, three weeks before Trump ousted adviser Michael Flynn amid a swirling public controversy over Flynn’s contacts with a Russian official, a White House spokesman said Tuesday.

      Press secretary Sean Spicer said Flynn’s firing on Monday was prompted by a gradual “erosion of that trust” and not any concern about the legality of the retired general’s calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Spicer said the president withheld judgment on Flynn until after the White House counsel’s office conducted a review of the legal issues raised by the calls.”

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:08 pm

        Hummm … I wonder why this reminded me of you, Pricilla 😏.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:10 pm

        That is not confirmation of anything that was claimed by the anonymous officials. Did you even read what you quoted??

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:23 pm

        Dont you know who Spicer is?

        “A timeline of events outlined by Spicer and a U.S. official showed that Trump knew for weeks about Flynn misleading the vice president.”

        “Spicer stressed that the administration believed there was no legal problem with Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, but rather an issue over the president’s trust in his adviser.
        He said the Justice Department sought to notify the White House counsel on Jan. 26. about the discrepancies in Flynn’s accounts.”

        “The White House counsel informed the president immediately. The president asked them to commit a review of whether there was a legal situation there. That was immediately determined there wasn’t. That was what the president believed at the time from what he had been told and he was proved to be correct,” Spicer told reporters.”

        Trump knew for weeks that aide was misleading over Russia: White House

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:13 pm

        Lol, Please refer to me as Kellyanne…..

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:23 pm

        Ok, you got this one, Jay. Spicer DID say that the DOJ warned Trump, and that, as a result he looked into the situation and became concerned that something illegal had been done. And was reassured by his investigation that it hadn’t, but subsequently lost trust in Flynn, based on his briefing of Pence.

        If Flynn did nothing wrong, he shouldn’t have been sacked. But Trump may have discovered other reasons to ask for his resignation.

        Bottom line, Trump had better clean house at DOJ.

        Call me an ass kisser again, buddy, and I may not be so nice to you anymore 😉

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:29 pm

        I didn’t directly call you an ass kisser, Priscilla. Knowing what a sensitive soul you are, I made it a point to Phrase it more delicately than that. 😎

        But feel free to respond in kind if and when it’s deserved, as I am not the least offended by it.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:58 pm

        Nor am I, Jay. Plus, I consider the source 🙂

        By the way, question for you: So, Flynn was “compromised” by the Russians and subject to blackmail, according to the DOJ warning.

        Why would the Russians blackmail a guy who was working with them?

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 7:06 pm

        Uh, gee, I don’t know, maybe like, you know, to make sure he KEEPS working with them?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 6:05 pm

        That’s a serious question, by the way. I can’t figure out why Putin would want to out his own guy who’s working for a president who is also beholden to the Russians. Makes no sense.

        But I’m sure you can explain it.

  47. Jay permalink
    February 14, 2017 4:52 pm

    From David Brooks in today’s NY Times
    “If the current reign of ineptitude continues, Republicans will eventually peel away. The Civil Service will begin to ignore the sloppy White House edicts. The national security apparatus will decide that to prevent a slide to global disorder, it has to run itself.”

    Mutiny on the SS Trump!
    And we know who the heros are!

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 5:05 pm

      Sure, Jay, David Brooks. Opinion columnist for the NYT, very credible. Famously judged Obama by the crease in his pants, lol.

      Try reading Eli Lake, a serious journalist, who has written for Newsweek, Daily Beast and Bloomberg. He’s not a partisan, but he knows how serious this is, and that the deep state is out to destroy Trump.

      “Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do….

      In the end, it was Trump’s decision to cut Flynn loose. In doing this he caved in to his political and bureaucratic opposition.”

      • Jay permalink
        February 14, 2017 5:53 pm

        There ya go again, knocking Moderate Republicans.

        David Brooks as you must know IS a Moderate Republican. His is exactly the kind of voice a reader of a Moderate blog like this one should be glad to hear.

        But you knock/disparage/discount him like you did with the other Conservative’s I referenced recently who are critical of your heart throb Groper in Office, with Hannitylike nit picking nonsensical criticisms.

        Wouldn’t you rather have a sane though somewhat sanctimonious ultra conservative like Pense as president, than the current Nincompoop?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 6:01 pm

        Brooks is a NYT moderate, which is the same as a liberal, Jay. He was a particular favorite of Obama.

        But, my point was that he’s an opinion guy, not a serious journalist.

      • February 14, 2017 8:08 pm

        I haven’t been actively following David Brooks lately, but he made his reputation as “every liberal’s favorite conservative” (i.e., a moderate): a little to the left or right of center on individual issues, but with his feet in neither camp. Sort of like me. I’m not surprised that he’d express serious misgivings about the Trump administration; even George Will threw up his hands.

        You know me, Priscilla. I didn’t fall prey to the “not my president” groupthink. I’m not even opposed to Trump’s seat-of-the-pants style of governing. What disturbs me — deeply — is the ongoing pattern of lies and the refusal to cooperate with the other branches of the government. I really do see an attempt to establish at least quasi-authoritarian rule by Trump and his henchpeople. Stephen Miller was positively chilling recently when he declared that the power of the president “will not be questioned” — even if he was talking about Trump defending America against potential terrorists.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 9:55 pm

        David Brooks has written some things that I consider brilliant, Rick. Just like you. So, I’ll take back my liberal slur 😉

        But, as far as Trump is concerned, I think that you are mistaking his abuse of the bully pulpit (which is something Obama did too, albeit much more smoothly) with abuse of executive power. He hasn’t done anything to indicate that he won’t cooperate with other branches. His EO’s have been legal, if rather dramatically rolled out, and his criticism of Judge Robart was absolutely justified, even if it was rude. He is abiding by the guy’s restraining order, when he could very well have ignored it.

        The lies are weird. They haven’t been like Obama’s lies ~ big, serious ones, that trick people into supporting policies. They’ve been stupid, easily debunked lies, and he just tweets them out, or says them offhand, and then sits back while all hell breaks loose. I don’t know if it’s a strategy, or if he really doesn’t know what he’s talking about half the time.

        I watched the Miller interview. I didn’t get the same take on the “president cannot be questioned” thing. Miller meant pretty much what I just said, which is that the law gives the president absolute authority to ban any non-citizen or group of non-citizens from entering the country. It’s a plenary power, not shared by Congress, and not subject to judiciary rule. Miller was right.

        His weirdly robotic way of saying it was probably disturbing to a lot of people though!

  48. February 14, 2017 5:21 pm

    I find the most unsettling thing about the Flynn affair to be the leaks to the press about a private conversation between a private citizen and a foreign government agent (illegal). At the time of the conversation, Flynn was an advisor to the Trump campaign. Nothing that has come out so far indicates that any promises were made, or any positions taken. I am concerned that the NSA and FBI are so riddled with leakers whose first allegiance is to the “new revolutionaries”, that sensitive negotiations with other nations will be impossible in the future.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 5:39 pm

      Yes, RP. The whole idea that this is being played out in the press, through anonymous leaks is extremely unsettling.

      Anti-Trump forces are exulting over having gotten a scalp, and that is more important to them than the integrity or the security of private or classified communications. Jay’s position sums it up ~ essentially, that Trump should have blabbed out to the world a warning from an acting AG who was disloyal to him, before doing any sort of investigation.

      There could be hundreds of bureaucratic holdovers in the IC who have a greater interest in bringing Trump down, than in US national security. I get that many of them may believe that they are doing the right thing, and that Trump is “dangerous”, but there are certainly those who are doing the bidding of those who want to regain power for less patriotic reasons.

    • Jay permalink
      February 14, 2017 6:32 pm

      The original leaks about the Flynn conversation didn’t come from the government, they were from a Buzzfeed news story based on the dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, former British spy, a private citizen at the time.

      The story was IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE. Trump the liar and Steele the liar each denied the essence of the charge. This despite the fact now confirmed that Sally Yates informed Trump it was true weeks before.

      During those following weeks Trump the liar did not act on the information, allowing Flynn to continue to attend top secret briefings and other high level meetings with world leaders. Dishonest Donald sat his fat lying tRump on that story, and would have continued to ignore it if not for the ‘leak’ which protected the national security, revealing he’s more interested in protecting his ego and reputation than our safety.

      And anyone who doesn’t know Trump cleared the content of that conversation with Flynn before he spoke with the Russian agent is a naïve ignoramus. And those who bitched about Clinton and Obama lying about Benghazi are hypocrites for not taking Trump to task for this more blatant lie.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 14, 2017 6:58 pm

        Jay, private conversations between a foreign ambassador and an American citizen, even a retired 3 star general, soon to be NSA chief are considered SCI ~ Sensitive Compartmentalized Communications. They must be approved by the Director of National Intelligence (James Clapper, at the time this communication took place) and are absolutely briefed to the President (Barack Obama at the time this took place). So a recording or intercept had to be known at the highest levels of intelligence, an a leak of any phone tap would be a major leak, and not public information.

        The conversation, from what I understand, took place on 12/29/16, the same day that Obama announced the sanctions against Russia that Flynn reportedly discussed. That was not part of the dossier, was it? I’m not sure what you’re talking about?

  49. Jay permalink
    February 14, 2017 6:39 pm

    An AG, like all highly placed officials, owes primary loyalty to the nation, not to a president with as dubious judgement and motive as Trump.

    And the scalp was a lying scalp – ask the VP about that. Really, have you no shame, defending liars as regularly as you do purely on party affiliation?

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 14, 2017 7:18 pm

      I’m not sure if he lied to Pence or not. Pence certainly got the wrong impression from their conversation, and it may be that Flynn intentionally misled him, by giving “accurate but incomplete” answers. I don’t know, but since you do, I’ll take your word for it.

      Why an acting AG even has access to this sort of intelligence info, I don’t know. Again, you clearly do….it must be that dossier from Buzzfeed, right?

  50. Jay permalink
    February 15, 2017 12:31 am

    More smoke, more fire:

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 15, 2017 10:43 am

      I read the article. Unsure why you think there is any “there” there. The headline sounds ominous, and then the article goes on to say that all of these intercepts show no evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians. So, the point is?

      The article is shocking mostly in that it shows the extent to which anyone who is associated with Trump, even his business associates, have had their phone calls monitored by US spies.

      These are all private citizens, who have likely done nothing wrong, but have been spied upon, and now may have their private dealings leaked to the press, simply because they are associates of the president (who was a private citizen as well, when most of these intercepts took place).

      How does this any of this differ from the Wikileaks revelations of Jphn Podesta’s emails, which you have condemned?

      It’s ironic that the left has been screaming about Trump being an Orwellian dictator, because he has attempted to use his constitutional authority to vet Middle Eastern refugees and enforce the deportation of illegal alien criminals. Meanwhile, the deep state, with media assistance, is actually acting like Big Brother…..

      • Jay permalink
        February 15, 2017 12:13 pm

        The Russian operatives were the ones under observation, by multiple foreign government surveillance teams – as our officials are monitored as well by foreign security agencies. Surely you’re not suggesting we stop monitoring those Russians known to be members of the Russian security apparatus when they are in contact with Americans on foreign soil.

        And you do know Flynn had been paid for services rendered by the state controlled Russian TV network, right? And that he wasn’t forthcoming about just how much money he received, correct? Was it a token fee, or millions?And that he is on video showing exhurberant enthusiasm for Putin at a public event, ostentatiously applauding him as though Putin was a superstar actor just presented an Acadamy Award.

        If you were in charge of our IAs and saw that a retired United States Army Lieutenant General, who was the 18th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, someone privy to the classified inner workings of that agency, who was overly chummy with Russians with ties to their security agencies, and a confidante of a US presidential candidate to boot – would you ignore that?

        Sometimes it’s hard to judge with Trumpsters where naivety ends, and bad judgement takes over. This appears to be the dividing line you’ve crossed into:

        Welcome to the Blockheaded Twilight Zone!

    • Jay permalink
      February 15, 2017 10:46 am

      “Trump aides and associates made repeated contact with senior Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, current and former U.S. officials told The Times.”

      It’s nothing to be concerned about – they were only exchanging recipes for a collaborative American- Russian Cookbook, tentative title: Vladdie & Donnie’s Best Borscht враки
      (Roby can translate)

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 11:09 am

        Well, right. We already know, for example, that Manafort had business dealings with Russia, As far as I know, business dealings with Russia are not illegal. The Clintons had many. So, I fail to see your point.

        I think this article is on the money. Flynn’s ouster was due more to the cover up than the crime. If so, he deserved to lose his job, and may be in more trouble.

        (there are online translaters, ao I don’t have to ask Roby to translate the Russian word for “bullshit”. And, oddly enough, I knew what it meant, before I even looked it up. Just your style 🙂 )

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 11:29 am

        Serious question: the spying on and leaking to the media of private conversations of American citizens doesn’t bother you at all. as long as it hurts Trump?

      • Jay permalink
        February 15, 2017 12:31 pm

        WASHINGTON (AP) — Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn…

        What, Trump kept the VP out of the loop? Why? Because Trump knew all along Flynn was lying, and wanted to keep it under wraps. Because Trump is a liar himself and thought it no big deal to keep lying to the American public. A liar a liar a liar. And Trumpsters don’t care that they have a Tweeting liar with hidden contacts with the Russians as long as they can gloat over Hillary’s loss, also based on lies lies lies and Russian interventions.

        Trump needs to come clean about his Russian obligations (money money money makes the Donald go ’round). And if he has no business deals with them as he claims, he needs to release his taxes for forensic evaluation to prove he’s not lying lying lying lying lying!

        But the lying liar won’t, because he’s a lying liar.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 15, 2017 4:43 pm

        Bullshit, nonsense, lies. (translation).

        Sorry to leave you alone here Jay, I do look in every day or so out of morbid fascination but mainly I just don’t see the point in people talking to the other side anymore. Sorry to say, but I live in my universe and they live in theirs and events will play out over the next months and years and we will see. I find nearly everything you say logical, e.g. those terrible leaks come from the monitoring of Russian agents. We are supposed to stop that? Really. They seemed to love the wikileaks and FBI leaks just a little while back. They are so busy being defensive that they have missed the main point and seem little concerned about a treasonous president. They would be purple with rage if a liberal dem had done this.

        Were it wikileaks assange releasing such info because it serves the interest of someone like putin, I would be outraged. When it is some American whistleblower leaking to the media, I am fine, 100% fine, with that. Let insiders leak the details of such treasonous acts. That is 100% honorable and necessary. It will all come out with time, this is act 1 of a many act play.

        trumps russian connections and conversations will be found to be very real and very damaging. I consider them treasonous. They are more treason via stupidity, a sort of what would happen if an sleazy pathologically narcissistic reality TV star with an invincibility complex ran for president than treason via cagy diabolical master skullduggery, his team has no respect for boundaries and they in their lack of discipline or respect for rules and norms wound up violating a very serious one, treason. I am rarely 100% sure of anything but I am of this. May the GOP voters and politicians and the fools in the conservative movement who empower trump to break one norm after another bear the blame in the history books and may it burn them very badly as time goes on.

        I expect very little from trump supporters as far as seeing anything wrong here or anywhere regarding his or his team’s actions. He could give the state of the union address nude and painted orange and they would say, well, that is not important and do you remember when Obama…. I’m just not interested in beating my head against that wall any longer, I see signs that trump will finally go down in flames, but followed by what? I can only hope that some actually patriotic group of our leaders of both parties will find a way to guide America to a middle path out of the darkness that is devouring us from right and left.

        America is having a mental illness, will we recover, as some mentally ill people do, or will we just sink further and further? I honestly don’t know, but I fear the latter may be the case.

      • Jay permalink
        February 15, 2017 5:31 pm

        I’m assuming this is you, Roby..
        One small possible positive outcome from getting rid of Flynn:

  51. Jay permalink
    February 15, 2017 1:51 pm

    Did Flynn lie to the FBI.

    January 24 or 25: “FBI agents interviewed Flynn” about the calls with Kislyak. It was unclear “whether Mr. Flynn had a lawyer for his interview or whether anyone at the White House knew the interview was happening.” According to current and former government officials, investigators came away from the meeting “believing that [Flynn] was not entirely forthcoming.”

    Lying to the FBI is a prosecutable offense, remember Scooter Libby? Many high-ranking government officials have gone to jail for perjury and obstruction of justice. Of course Trump could pardon him – further eroding the laws of the land, assuming he’s still in office.

    • February 15, 2017 2:17 pm

      What I find so unbelievably hard to understand is all the outrage concerning Flynn and what he did, said or did not say, and there is so little mention (other than Priscilla) anywhere concerning the infringement of the 4h amendment rights Americans have been guaranteed for years. The NSA has to be stopped in its overreach of spying on Americans. If they spy on a government official that high up the food chain, how our we guaranteed they are not doing the same to us? I supported Rand Paul in his fight against domestic snooping, I supported Apple in its fight to not unlock the S>B> terrorist phone when that program could then be used to unlock all Apple phones and I don’t really give a rats ass if Flynn talked to the Russians before he took the position, but I sure care if his phone conversations were being snooped on without a specific warrant granted by a court. This blanket snooping crap has gone too far.

      ““Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”…Ben Franklin

      Bit by bit, little by little, this disastrous government we have had for the past 20 years has taken liberties we were insured by the constitution and has allowed the government powers it was never intended to have.

      People are so fired up about the poor immigrants that are not being allowed into this country and how unfair those actions are. Well folks, start looking over your shoulder as Uncle Sam is right there watching and listening to every move you make. Trump is not the problem! It is the bureaucrats that have the power to monitor, leak and destroy that is the problem. Maybe people will wake up before its took late and vote out all the idiots that have allowed the overreach of this government and put into place some supporters of the constitution that will guarantee rights so many have died for and remove anyone in government employment that even sneezes a secret and prosecute them to the fullest just like someone in the military caught doing the same.!!!!!!!!!!

      Now Jay, go troll the internet universe for all the websites that contradict my thoughts. Most likely I could counter with a one for one that refutes your searches, but I refuse to get into a pissing contest where there is not good outcome. Just my thoughts based on years of listening to all the news and the changes that have happened over the past 20-25 years.

      • Jay permalink
        February 15, 2017 3:07 pm

        I agree in general that the privacy rights of private citizens have to be better protected.

        But your argument falls flat in regard to Flynn.

        First, HE wasn’t under surveillance, the Russian Ambassador was under surveillance. And American citizens who engage in conversations with Russian Government agents on foreign soil have NO legal privacy rights I know of – isnt that right?

        Second, Flynn wasn’t an ordinary American citizen, but one who had worked for and led our own National Defense Agency. If he was engaged in suspicious activity with the Russian security apparatus he has no right or expectation to privacy in that situation. And if those close Russia associations (including receiving money from their state controlled TV network) doesn’t raise your eyebrows you must be in mental suspended animation.

        Third, we don’t yet know what other information our security agencies are withholding about these Russian connections, or how deeply Trump himself is involved. A month ago we were still hearing blanket denials from Trump and his people that any discussions about sanctions had taken place, which were untrue. Before that we heard LOUD denials from Trump that Russia was involved in hacking and interfering with the election, remember? And that was not true. Denials aren’t self validating; the facts are what counts.

        Trump is an habitual liar, and you know it. He may well be deeply indebted to Russian entities under Putin’s control. He says that’s not so, but why do you think he’s not lying about that too? Many think his taxes hold incriminating evidence of large scale Russian business dealings – he needs to release those taxes for forensic scrutiny, to absolve himself of those accusations. He said he’d do that when campaigning, but that was a lie too. He needs to come clean with the American public, with ALL of us, if he wants to reestablish his credibility in regard to his Russian denials. Why won’t he do that?

        You should be demanding transparency as well. Unless that is you don’t care about being lied to by the president of our nation, over and over and over and….

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 8:04 pm

        So, riddle me this, Jay ~ is transparency generally a feature of criminal investigations? Is there a good reason for why the FBI, police detectives and others investigating crimes might not want the public ~or god forbid, politicians~ knowing what evidence they have, or who they have under surveillance?

        After the investigation is complete and conclusions are reached…that’s the time for transparency. Otherwise, the guilty may escape and/or the innocent be slandered.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 15, 2017 2:34 pm

      Our 24-hour news cycle is a ridiculous circus of shrieking school girls and flamboyant court jesters. Hyper witch hunts.

      Context, perspective, and rationality are drowned out. And it’s not all Trump’s fault, though many times he certainly didn’t help. Shameful to the 10th power. China is going to ask the rest of the world if the U.S. should be nuked to put us out of our misery, and anyone watching our left-right fanaticism will give us a thumbs down. Get a grip, people!

      • Jay permalink
        February 15, 2017 3:11 pm

        But this is what happens when you elect an incompetent DIVISIVE buffoon to be president.

        The blame is righty dropped on those who voted for him. And double blame for those who continue to excuse his disruptive antics.

      • February 15, 2017 5:27 pm

        Jay, I don’t think anyone can say I have said anything in defense of Trump other than maybe on some of his policies. I am more concerned about the impact of any administration and the impact on the country. In this respect, there are two powers that are taking actions that are directly in opposition to a positive outcome for the next 4 years. One, the divisive powers within the White House where there is not a unified voice, even to the point that some of these leaks may be a power move to unify power in the White House. Two, the constant delays and blocking every cabinet appointment by the democrats just to look like they are doing something, even though the only accomplishment is a few days of the position going unfilled.
        Its time for the left to back off and let the chips fall and allow Trump to fail without him being provided a scapegoat. If not he will have a crutch through the remainder of his term which could result in reelection. The same goes for the ACA and the GOP. Let the program die by itself and once it does, then pick up the pieces and write a new plan. They are only giving the left another issue to bash the GOP if they do anything before it dies and the new plan has problems liike any new gov. program.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 6:38 pm

        Oh, good one Jay. Do you blame those who voted for Truman for the Korean War? How about those who voted for Nixon for Watergate? Is all credit due to Bill Clinton’s voters for the Dot Com Bubble and blame for the Burst on Bush’s voter’s

        If Trump turns out to be an incompetent president, it won’t be the fault of those people who voted for him, millions of whom also voted for Obama. The blame will be on Trump.

        So, wait ~ I get it now. They voted for Obama, which led to the policies which led to them voting for Trump! The blame for Trump is on those who voted for Obama! (Not so off-base, actually)

  52. Pat Riot permalink
    February 15, 2017 5:33 pm

    Yeah, Jay, the changes we’ve witnessed in news media across the U.S. and in other developed countries around the world over the last decade are because Trump is a buffoon. Way to put a pin in what was left of your credibility. It’s like you are wearing a pair of glasses with Trump’s face on both lenses–everything you see is through a Trump detestation filter. Pathetic. I could list at least thirty key factors for the current state of our news media, the same mechanisms that hype a snowfall into a “potentially deadly storm,” and then we get a half inch of snow. Yeah that was Obama’s fault, and now it’s Trump’s. They got you sucked way in, man.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 15, 2017 5:45 pm

      “Way to put a pin in what was left of your credibility”

      With you. His credibility is fine with me. You have a view of the world and what makes it tick and what trumps chaos will lead to that has almost no overlap with mine. While I recognize your good intentions, we disagree on causes and effects nearly completely. So, credibility is in the eye of the beholder.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 6:17 pm

        So, Roby, you consider Bradley/Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden “whistleblowers” performing a patriotic service, now?

        They are both Americans who illegally took classified information and gave it to Wikileaks for the purpose of leaking it. That is, by the way, the whole reason it’s called Wiki-LEAKS, right? If they were spooks, they could have gone to the Washington Post.

        So, Manning was a serviceman (now service woman I guess) and Snowden was an IT guy with top security clearance. American citizens both, yet you have condemned them in the past. Funny how partisanship can change your attitude.

        It is a criminal felony to steal a top secret recording of an American, whether it be Barack Obama, Rick Bayan, Ret. LT General Mike Flynn, Beyonce, or Donald Trump and leak it to the press for publication. Anyone who does so is violating the Constitution, not to mention both the spirit and the letter of the law. I hope that the people who have committed these crimes are caught and rot in prison for violating the Constitutional protections afforded to all of us, from the lowliest citizen, to a military commander who has served his country honorably for decades, to the duly elected commander-in-chief.

        If I were as emotional as you two, I might say that you should be ashamed of yourself for buying into such poisonous partisan hatred that you would cheer disloyalty and the rule of law.

        But, I agree with Ron, that this will ultimately play right into Trump’s hand, in the long run. Just as it did in the election.

        Two questions for you both ~ 1)where was this all of this concern over Russia when Obama was sucking up to them? When Hill and Bill were accepting huge donations and giving highly paid speeches. Heck, when W. was looking deep into Vlad’s eye? and 2) If the FBI has been reviewing intercepts and recordings of Trump and his campaign staff for months now, per the NYT, why can’t they figure out what these people were talking about? Do they not understand Russian? Or English, perhaps? Or is it just that they haven’t found anything wrong with the communications?

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 15, 2017 6:53 pm

        I’m pretty sure you explained yourself what is wrong with your logic. The NYT is not wikileaks and no one here sent any top secret information. But if any more splaining is needed Jay will handle it very logically I am sure. trumps Russian connection is flashing you in 1000000 Watt Neon lights.

        You may or may not have noticed but Pat in his defence of trump has been rather a bit emotional himself. Some of us are. Oh well.

        I got logged out, can’t remember my password, not being sneaky.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 6:43 pm

        By the way, I never said I “loved” WikiLeaks, I don’t. But no American, sworn to uphold the Constitution gave John Podesta’s emails to WikiLeaks.

        It was the Russians, remember? Working on behalf of Donald Trump, because they were very afraid of Hillary…….

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 15, 2017 6:59 pm

        As well, I hate to pull rank on you but I know infinately more than you do about how the Obama putin relationship went and your ideas on it are wildly distorted. putin hated dealing with Obama, and hated hillary and has helped trump. But you can spin it it however you want. This is the sort of thing that makes me say that you and I live in separate universes. And when it comes to Russian (that is to say putin’s) attitudes towards our politicians and why they have them, I live in the universe where I actually know what I am talking about.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 7:37 pm

        “When it is some American whistleblower leaking to the media, I am fine, 100% fine, with that. Let insiders leak the details of such treasonous acts. That is 100% honorable and necessary. It will all come out with time, this is act 1 of a many act play.”

        So, perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by this? The conversation between Gen. Flynn and the Russian Ambassador was absolutely classified top secret information that was leaked to The Washington Post by “anonymous” leakers, who had to have had access to it.

        Any intercepts of communications between any private citizen ~ even a hated Trump campaign member ~ would, first of all, be illegal without a FISA warrant, and then would be highly classified information, legally accessible only to the FBI or other government agency, investigating a possible crime. If the crime was determined to have occurred, an indictment would be obtained and an arrest made. Leaking this information to the NYT before such an indictment is unlawful, and if we have spies and FBI agents who are willing to break the law, we’re in bigger trouble than having an incompetent president.

        What you’re describing is not honorable, is not necessary and is not 100% fine. Regardless of how much you may hate the president.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 15, 2017 7:51 pm

      Listen, Roby, I am not going to question your knowledge of Russia or the Russians. But I do know my political history. Obama withdrew from the Middle East, and allowed Russia to come in and be a player. Obama made a deal with the Iranians that gave them billions with which to buy Russian-made jets and armaments. Obama was caught on a hot mic, telling Medvedev to tell “Vladimir” (one assumes it was Putin) that he would be “more flexible” to deal on the SALT talks, after the election. One presumes “more flexible” means more able to disarm in the face of Russian aggression. If that’s Obama being tough on Putin…..

      Until there is actual evidence that Trump has lied about his dealings ~ or, more precisely his lack of dealings ~ with Putin, I’m not going to buy the political accusations that have been made.

      If evidence ~ real evidence, not “unnamed sources have told the NYT that there were communications between Trump campaign officials and Russia” ~ shows up, I will have no problem admitting that I was wrong. Which is more than I can say for Jay and his “Flynn’s conversations were in the PUBLIC SPHERE!” In Buzzfeed! No admission there.

      When IC spooks start leaking to Buzzfeed, we’ve entered an alternate reality for sure.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 7:56 pm

        START not SALT talks….

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 15, 2017 8:31 pm

        “But I do know my political history. Obama withdrew from the Middle East, and allowed Russia to come in and be a player. ”

        Utter nonsense. We’ve even had this conversation before, albeit more gently with some humor. Russia/USSR has been in the middle east forever. Look at a map. When we turned Iraq upside down that is a country that is 800 miles from the Russian border. The Soviet Union bordered the middle east via the republic of Azerbaijan.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 8:45 pm

        I recall our former conversation as agreeing that you were right about Eastern Europe and I had the stronger opinion on the Mideast. But perhaps not.

        In any case, it’s not my personal theory.

        “There is no doubt that Obama’s strategy – or lack thereof – allowed Russia to enter the Middle East as a major regional player that the GCC states see as a new possible partner in some regional contingencies.”

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 15, 2017 9:08 pm

        I wish we could have more humor here, as well, Roby I recall you and Pat being quite funny, while at the same time disagreeing. You and I have had our moments, as well.

        Listen, politics is not life. Or it shouldn’t be, anyway. And politicians, of all stripes, are to be treated with skepticism and not to be fully trusted. But even less so are anonymous spies and undercover operatives, who seek to destroy people, or overthrow leaders, from behind a cloak of anonymity. How you can justify that, just because you think Trump is a incompetent, immoral guy, I don’t know….. But, if you and Jay think that getting rid of Trump, especially by a deep-state coup, is going to solve this country’s problems, then I think you are badly mistaken.

        But, in the interest of humor…..

        There are schizophrenics with Tourette’s who have more control over what comes out of their mouths than Donald Trump.―Bill Maher

        Donald Trump is “the kind of person who goes to the Super Bowl and thinks the people in the huddle are talking about him.”―Eric Schneiderman

        Donald Trump showed his birth certificate to reporters. Who cares about his birth certificate? I want to know if that thing on his head has had its vaccinations.―Craig Ferguson

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 15, 2017 9:18 pm

        Priscilla, I appreciate that.

        But remember, trump going means bringing in a very conservative GOP president in Pence. And I, as a sort of liberal, say, the sooner the better. Because through my lens trump is terrifying, and not because of ideology, because he is unfit by character in a dozen ways.

        The GOP could probably move things in many directions I would not like with Pence as POTUS. They might even actually stage a successful 8 year conservative run.

        I am dead set against this divisive trump revolution. I just watched (still watching really) a revolution up close and personal and it made a very marginal living situation even worse in Ukraine.

        I want Pence.

  53. Anonymous permalink
    February 15, 2017 9:05 pm

    “Obama was caught on a hot mic, telling Medvedev to tell “Vladimir” (one assumes it was Putin) that he would be “more flexible” to deal on the SALT talks, after the election. One presumes “more flexible” means more able to disarm in the face of Russian aggression. If that’s Obama being tough on Putin…..”

    When exactly did we disarm? I must have missed it.

    You have made a repeated issue of that silly restart button under Osama/Clinton. Comparing Obama’s restart button with trumps putin/Russia policy is like comparing a stiff formal awkward smile at a dinner with a belting rendition of Voulez vous couchet avec moi while doing a strip tease.

    Yet its the reset button that seems to you feckless, while you have made little fuss about putin trump brazenly dancing cheek to cheek.

    No one is ever going to “prove” that putin had anything to do with the PCBs that somehow got into Victor Yushchenko, the polonium in Litvinenko, the assassination of journalist Politikovskaya on putins’ birthday, (not the only of putins enemies to die violently on putins birthday either) the rooftop sniping that killed dozens of protesters in Kiev’s Maidan, the missile take own of MH17. And yet I believe you are likely to join me in seeing putins fingerprints on those events even lacking that airtight evidence.

    Your level of caution on how much evidence is needed depends greatly on political circumstances. Hillary, you said quite a few times was probably going to jail or should have gone. That whole prosecution in public opinion with leaked FBI agents weighing was fine to many GOP voters. Ah, but trump must be treated very, very fairly, even with putins lipstick all over him.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 15, 2017 9:17 pm

      I didn’t even mention the red button, lol, I thought I had done that one to death.

      Maybe no one in Russia will be able to prove that Putin is a murdering thug ~ which he is. But here in the US, where we presumably have an open society and a free press, we can prove whether or not Trump is colluding with him or not.

      “Ah, but trump must be treated very, very fairly.”

      Yes, that’s the way we do things in America.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 15, 2017 9:35 pm

        I hate the Clintons. I’m glad not to have Hillary as POTUS. I’d froth at the mouth and make the FBIs person of interest list if she tried to run again.

        But they were not treated fairly, at all. Perhaps justly in some sense, but not fairly. Nor was Obama. Its been a blood sport.

        I do not trust a trump headed government with GOP control of congress to catch trump. I stand by my approval of the leaks. The Pentagon Papers, there is a precedent. its not perfect but not bad either.

        If there was evidence that a Dem president had committed treason I’d want it leaked if that is what it took. I do not want a POTUS who has compromised himself with putin. Its very clear to me that trump has. This is clearly in line with putins plans to use weaponized misinformation and covert meddling to split the west. I am just amazed its worked so well and by which political groups have accepted it.

        I remain sympathetic to legitimate Russian interests and they have legitimate complaints with the west. Its putin that I oppose, and his nasty old school methods.

      • Jay permalink
        February 15, 2017 10:56 pm

        Here’s a comprehensive article by Glenn Greenwald that puts the leaks in perspective, more or less justifying your point of view that they have to be judged in contex to the good or harm they do.

  54. Anonymous permalink
    February 16, 2017 9:20 am

    “When IC spooks start leaking to Buzzfeed, we’ve entered an alternate reality for sure.”

    Oh, we Have entered an alternate reality alright. Its got me scared. putin-assange-trump-GOP voters all on the same page Is spooky.

    “For decades, the Republican Party has been more hawkish toward Russia than Democrats. That’s changed with President Trump’s election. Even everyday Republicans are now more positive than Democrats toward Russia, according to several opinion polls.

    In fact, on the issue of Russia cyber-meddling in the U.S. elections, Republican public opinion more closely resembles public opinion in Russia than overall opinion in the United States.

    Here’s an example. On Feb. 5, Trump spoke with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. After the president reiterated his respect for Putin, O’Reilly interjected, “He’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.” To which Trump responded, “What do you think, our country’s so innocent?”

    This softer line on Russia is out of step not only with GOP elites, but also with overall American views….

    ….Moreover, in 2014 and 2015 CCS surveys, Republicans consistently felt more threat from Russia than Democrats, and were more likely to favor taking military actions to defend Ukraine from Russia. And on the question of Iran’s nuclear program and reducing the world’s nuclear stockpiles, slightly larger majorities of Republicans than Democrats said that Russia was working in a different (vs. same) direction than the United States, the 2016 CCS found.

    All that was before Trump was elected president.

    Perhaps Republicans have a lack of confidence in the intelligence agencies’ conclusions. Or perhaps ordinary Republicans are taking political cues from Trump rather than from traditional Republican hawks such as Rubio and John McCain. Or perhaps Republicans think that whatever hurts the Democrats has to be good for Republicans, even cyber-interference.

    Meanwhile, Trump’s equivocal positions toward Russia, including on the possibility of lifting sanctions, already appear to have consequences. Fighting has escalated in eastern Ukraine with unconfirmed reports of new armor from Russia arriving to rebel-held areas. Russia has deployed cruise missiles, violating a major arms control treaty; had its jets buzz a U.S. aircraft carrier; and sent Russian spy ships patrolling the U.S. East Coast.

    With each sentence of praise for Putin or hints about lifting sanctions, Trump weakens any U.S. bargaining position toward Russia on Ukraine, Syria, nuclear disarmament and so on. No wonder Russians are more optimistic now than they have been since the government annexed Crimea.

    • February 16, 2017 12:52 pm

      “A”, you say “For decades, the Republican Party has been more hawkish toward Russia than Democrats. That’s changed with President Trump’s election.” Well what do we expect from a northeast populist that changed parties 5-6 times over the past 20+ years.

      Donald Trump is not the typical Republican and he is not the leader of the GOP when it comes to the heart of the party. He was a Northeast independent, switching back and forth between parties to fit his wants and needs and when there was a truckload of candidates, many unqualified as himself to be running, he found he could capture a minority of the typical republicans and with the disastrous open primary crap the GOP allows in most states, he brought in the “good ol’ boys, never voted before crowd” and ran up enough votes to create a movement that further energized the “never voted” crowd and stole the primary election.

      Have you heard Lindsay Graham or John McCain, both fairly reasonable and more moderate in their approaches to solutions for America say much positive about Trump. And how about Ryan? And don’t forget about McConnell. He seems to be missing in action the past month except for a couple floor appearances.

      If Donald Trump is going to succeed, he is going to do it with a headwind from both the GOP and the Democrats. As for anything in the way of domestic policy, that will all come from the house and they will tell him to take it or leave it.

      HUMM!!! Sounds like what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the responsibilities of each wing of the government.

      • dduck12 permalink
        February 16, 2017 10:41 pm

        Yup. And Obama was wrong on Russia and Romney warned him.
        Now we have Trump trying to charm cobraman (that’s what he looks like to me). Trump will need more than a tinny flute to do that and maybe Tillerson can be the mongoose-gang leader to do it. Putin is one dangerous dude, and I hope the “finely tuned machine” is up to it.

  55. Pat Riot permalink
    February 16, 2017 10:03 am

    Glenn Greenwald points to the very real double standard when it comes to whistle blowing and leaks (let’s include investigative journalism). So true. Yes. I agree.

    So, even though these leaks are occurring during, or as part of, an unprecedented tempest of attacks (unprecedented because of the power and reach of digital media, not because dissenting views are new) by the establishment to bring down an unqualified character after the establishment underestimated said unqualified character and underestimated REALITY, I still have to agree with the vital importance of free press and the vital importance of some leaking or “justified leaking”. (Yeah that’s a whole discussion unto itself)

    There has been talk of the destruction of “norms”. One of the norms has been the covert activities of a government that is supposed to be representing the will of The People. Sorry I don’t have a line graph or bar chart to “prove” it, but most Trump supporters, even the deplorable ones, believe it or not, don’t want Trump to drain the swamp and create another swamp. We/they will give wide berth and leeway and look the other way to allow much ugliness and some less than noble steps to drain the establishment swamp (Trump’s bad character is the most obvious symbol and reality of this willingness to let the marines charging up the hill to not be boy scouts), but I tell you there are basic, common sense principles underlying the ugliness, not unlike other populist revolutions.

    I don’t see enough cooperation, from either side. The media is too powerful, and unfortunately the negative out-powers the positive (as when a person is accused of say child molesting or something else heinous-it sticks and causes damage no matter what other good the person had done), and the populace is too uneducated and shallow to not be swayed.

    I am not the kind of person who panics. I live by “grace under pressure” for the most part. Sorry so long here, but I think our inability to come together, fueled by the media, is going to further unravel us.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 16, 2017 11:16 am

      Excellent, Pat. I am also not a person who panics. Not to mention, that our democracy has survived much worse that an incompetent president. But the rate at which this anti-Trump craziness is accelerating does truly frighten me. The level of ignorance regarding his policies is not only stunning, but repeated in very incendiary ways by the media. And the idea that anyone who speaks out in favor of Trump should be shut down by protests and riots is not only ant-American, but very dangerous.

      The idea that Trump is a traitor is patently ridiculous. There is zero evidence for this. Zero.
      Saying Putin is a strong leader is treasonous? Hiring a campaign manager who had business ties to Russia is treasonous? Saying the “US has killed people” is treasonous? I would remind Roby and Jay that, in a similar interview, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, laughed out loud when boasting about our illegal war on Libya, a country that posed no imminent threat to the US, and said “We came, we saw, he died! Hehehe!” Not to mention those civilians who died, as we bombed the living crap out of the country. Was Hillary a traitor because she was behind this, and thought it was a great idea to kill people because Khadafi was a dictator? But “no Americans died”, so if we killed a few hundred or a few thousand Libyans, what the hell. And the 4 Americans who died in Benghazi? Oh, it’s such a tiny little number – they don’t really count……

      The Intelligence Community members who are now committing acts of sedition are acting lawlessly and treacherously, attempting to use leaks of classified and highly sensitive information, in a strategic way, to overthrow the elected leader of the country. And the feeding frenzy that the media is stoking, using these seditious leaks, is very dangerous. Much more so than a president who said that he might get along with Putin.

      Trump’s enemies are toying with open revolt, and if you think that that will end well…. I disagree. A NeverTrumper during the election, John Podhoretz writes this excellent column. You might read it and consider it, before you continue wishing and hoping (eh, I thought if the great Dusty Springfield) and applaudinig those who would lawlessly take down an elected president.

    • Jay permalink
      February 16, 2017 12:50 pm

      Trump has exacerbated the divisive decline.

      He very well may turn out to be the trigger event to demolish our traditional constitutional checks and balances. He’s like a virus infiltrating the body politic; and protective elements of the body are reflexively fighting back: the press, the judiciary, the security apparatus – instinctually responding like antibodies to disease.

      Trump has to go. Even an ultra Conservative like Pence is preferable. The nation WILL NOT survive 4 years of Trump trauma, the scars to national unity will persist into the next century.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 16, 2017 1:41 pm

        “Trump has exacerbated the divisive decline.”

        So did Obama. It doesn’t matter.

        It needs to stop, and encouraging lawlessness in order to destroy a president is not going to stop it.

      • Jay permalink
        February 16, 2017 2:19 pm

        Obama, who, I criticized throughout his presidency, mostly for PC related excesses, and wishy-washy indecisive foreign policy, was nowhere near as destructive to the nation as Trump has already proven to be.

        He needs to be removed from office before the velocity of his stupidity and incompetence and dishonesty fractures the nation beyond repair. He gained the presidency through deceit, external and internal; he ‘deserves’ the office in the same way as does an heir who poisons his father to inherit the family estate

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 16, 2017 4:19 pm

        “Obama, who, I criticized throughout his presidency, mostly for PC related excesses, and wishy-washy indecisive foreign policy, was nowhere near as destructive to the nation as Trump has already proven to be.”

        Trump is a product of the divisiveness. Obama’s reliance on identity group politics made America’s political divisions much worse. Don’t blame the divisive politics of the last decade on man who was not part of that, and who has been in office for less than a month. That’s simply not credible.

      • Jay permalink
        February 16, 2017 5:12 pm

        “Trump is a product of the divisiveness.”

        First of all, he’s a manipulator of the divisiveness. He has no firm beliefs on most of the group identity issues Obama exacerbated – they change back and forth depending on what gear of dysfunction his brain is processing at the moment.

        He’s a defective mechanism in the body politic, like a loose blood clot, a pulmonary embolism waiting to happen. We now have in power as President a person making life and death decisions for the nation, politically, economically, socially, that will effect us for decades, who possesses the frightening personality dysfunctions of a habitual liar and a reality denier. Why does he keep lying so much? Why does he refuse to accept facts and ignore evidence as a normal person would when the facts and evidence are irrefutable? That, combined with an insatiable need for admiration and attention, and no tolerance for criticism of any kind, makes him a poster boy for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as does his grandiose self importance and lack of empathy for differing opinions, and need to strike out at those who don’t show him the proper deference and love and asskissing admiration.

        Character/temprement is destiny; now, unfortunately it’s the nation’s destiny as well.

    • February 16, 2017 1:18 pm

      Pat ” I still have to agree with the vital importance of free press ”

      The problem is not the press, They are doing their jobs if they get information and verify the information is creditable. They are providing that important oversight when data is available.

      The problem now in the country is the fact the spy network is running the country, much like J Edgar Hoover run much of the “good and bad” justice in the country for years in the 50’s and 60’s, using blackmail at any time to control politicians.

      There are 16 government agencies with a payroll of over 100,000 individuals, about 1/2 of them directly involved with spying, with 30,000 of those involved with domestic spying. Until the past 3-4 months, each agency did their own thing and did not share everything they captured. Obama signed an executive order instructing these agencies to share all data and now with that order it is virtually impossible to determine where a leak occurred since all 30,000 have that data for the most part. This give cover to anyone of the 30,000 employees of the government to release information if they don’t like something the president is doing.

      So we become a country run by the spies and not one run by elected officials when this occurs. It is not the press doing the harm, it is the ones that think their agenda is more important than the elected officials agenda that can do tremendous harm now and well into the future. Who knows if Trump is playing Mohammed Ali’s “rope-a-dope” making Putin think he is all “lovey dovey” in order to get a upper hand and now with the leaks and resignation, that strategy is gone. Not saying that is what is happening, but is is a possibility. The spies have no right to undermine a President!

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 16, 2017 1:38 pm

        I agree, Ron. And, I have not been clear enough in my comments that the press is not at fault for this situation. Although, it does complicate matters that most of the mainstream press tends to spin information according to their particular agenda, rather than report it, according to ethical journalistic standards. And that goes for the conservative media as well. Good journalism is extremely hard to come by these days.

        That said, if a source from the IC comes to a reporter, or is contacted by a reporter, and gives them some juicy, but illegally obtained, classified information, I can understand why certain journalists would run with it. And, even if the journalist is behaving unethically, by reporting information that they know to be classified, it is not the place of the government to punish them, but rather to root out the felonious spies and other secret operatives who have put politics, and their own agenda, over country.

  56. Priscilla permalink
    February 16, 2017 11:35 am

    And here is something, Roby, that you and I might agree on Releasing the entire tape of the phone call between Gen Flynn and Kislyak. The WHOLE thing, not just leaks and innuendos:

    McCarthy is very critical of Trump in this essay, it’s not what Jay would call a**kissing. But it is also not an hysterical sky-is-falling screed.

    • Jay permalink
      February 16, 2017 1:30 pm

      How about insisting that Trump release his taxes, so we can determine if there is or is not an underlying financial relationship buried in there between Trump and Russia.

      To remove speculation that Trump’s constant cozying up to Putin and Russia has devious implications he needs to allow his taxes to be examined. Although recent polls vary in percentages, most show between 50% to 70% of Americans want Trump to release the taxes. While it’s true far more Democrats are asking for this, Trump is president of the entire nation, not part of it. If he wants to unite and not devide, if he wants to prove he has no ulterior motives for stacking his administration with pro Kremlin advisors and operatives, and those lovee-dovee eyes he keeps rolling at Putin are not the result of surreptitious arrangements, he needs to remove speculation his taxes can confirm them.

      • Jay permalink
        February 16, 2017 1:52 pm

        Additionally these questions are still unanswered.

        Did Flynn take it on his own initiative to tell the Russian embassador sanctions would be lifted, or more likely, was that assurance passed on with Trump’s approval – which at the time would at the least have been technically illegal.

        Why was Flynn so cozy with the Russians after he retired as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, before he was appointed the National Security Advisor to Trump? Cozy to the point of accepting a fee ( he refused to say how much) as a speaking fee. From Wikipedia:

        “On December 10, 2015, Flynn attended a gala dinner in Moscow in honor of RT (formerly “Russia Today”), a Russian government-owned English-language media outlet on which he made semi-regular appearances as an analyst after he retired from U.S. government service. Before the gala, Flynn gave a paid talk on world affairs.[11][12] Flynn defended the Russian payment in an interview with Michael Isikoff.[12] Journalist Michael Crowley of Politico reported that “at a moment of semi-hostility between the U.S. and Russia, the presence of such an important figure at Putin’s table startled” U.S. officials, in reference to president Vladimir Putin’s attendance of the dinner as the guest of honor.[11]

        On February 1, 2017, the ranking Democratic members on six House committees sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, requesting a Department of Defense investigation into Flynn’s connection to RT.[46] The legislators expressed concern that Flynn had violated the anti-bribery Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting money from RT,[46] a state-run Russian propaganda agency.[47]”

        Video of the Putin arrival shows Flynn jumping to his feet, and enthusiastically clapping for Putin like a groupie at a music show. Do these actions seem strange, coming from a former director of the DIA? Don’t you think our security operatives would take notice of someone with as much knowledge of our security apparatus rubbing elbows with our Russian adversaries?

      • February 16, 2017 7:52 pm

        Jay, give up on the taxes. Even the radical opposition doesn’t care about those as they have so much other stuff they are attacking him with!

      • Jay permalink
        February 16, 2017 9:00 pm

        You need to rethink that.

        Daily on the social media accounts I monitor ( yes I have too much time on my hands and should be focusing on more productive projects) Trump’s taxes are a recurring meme. Yesterday as example Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted, “Your nightly reminder that at the center of this strengthening hurricane are the tax returns.” Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass) said in regard to accusations he’s beholding to Russia, “All of this can be clarified with the tax returns. What are the business holdings in Russia, if there are any?” There were others I saw but don’t have time to dig them up.

        Let me ask you this: do you think Trump may be hiding information in his taxes that could indicate he has financial ties to Russia that have influenced his soft behavior towards them? That the Russians may have underwritten his loans or other business activities through shell companies or other veils of deceit, and his atypical Republican smooching of Putin is a quid pro quo for that? Or worse, as suggested by the released dossier by the former English spy, which has gained more credibility recently with confirmation through those phone intercepts conversations they occurred as described, that Russia may possess additional detrimental information to pressure Trump?

        Knowing what you know about Trump’s past cash flow problems, and his previous long history of doing business with the Russians, and his son’s confirmation Russians were a substantial part of their dealings, do you think it’s that far fetched to think there’s information in his taxes to confirm shady arrangements with Russia? Yes or no? And if information of that kind could be uncovered with a forensic examination of his taxes, is that something you, me, all of the American people have a right to know?

        Yes or no?

        If your answer is yes, why aren’t you pressing him to release them?

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 16, 2017 4:13 pm

      Calm down, Jay.

  57. Jay permalink
    February 16, 2017 1:55 pm

    Once again, in lieu of another Trump Twitter outburst, this fictional zeitgeist of irrationality comes to mind:

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 16, 2017 4:08 pm

      Putin represents, among other things,(that was a qualifier), about a g-zillion dollars of oil pumping through the Ukraine. Not surprising if some U.S. officials are excited to see him with visions of global re-structuring in their heads (and associated personal skimming of course to provide security for the official’s grandchildren), and not surprising that elements of the U.S. establishment with its old NATO petro dollar deals want to thwart Trump and any such new deals. Sure it is more than oil, but makes me smirk and shake my head when college-age snowflakes think the battle is about being nice to immigrants, transgender folks, and kittens.

  58. Jay permalink
    February 16, 2017 9:42 pm

    If Shep Smith is suspended from FOX-Trump tomorrow this will be the reason

  59. Jay permalink
    February 16, 2017 10:59 pm

    Here’s a partial transcript from the Disgusting Excuse For A President’s news conference.

    Aside from the incoherent dumbness of his thoughts, he’s once again lying and distorting the truth, as though he’s still campaigning, again insulting Hillary with the false claim SHE sold 20% of our uranium to Russia, patently false on two counts: nine agencies signed off on that agreement; and the uranium is only for use within the US; the Russian company profits from the sales, but have no other control of it.

    The dumb dunce was also informed at the news conference he was spouting incorrect information about the size of his electorial vote victory: it wasn’t the largest since Reagan; both Clinton and Obama did better. When that was pointed out to him he disingenuously sloughed it off, claiming someone else gave him the info. Got that? He’s been boastfully spreading fake info since the election, and he wasn’t told it was false? Or his crime statistics were false. Or his crowd size boasting was false?

    You Conservative Trump voters need to raise your voices in protest against this destructive fool. Ultra conservative Pense will still represent your political objectives, without the incoherent borderline psychopathic undermining drama were being subjected to now.

  60. Anonymous permalink
    February 17, 2017 10:00 am

    I was horrified of the idea of Bernie Sanders becoming president because I know that the people in the red states would fight a second civil war before submitting to the Scandinavian fantasy. But the Bernie supporters don’t even think about that issue. They are sure that Americans really want their program and that the media and the establishment are brainwashing people and preventing their glorious future. If you ask them about the people in the red states they will just say that Germany has free higher education, we can too. Ideological intoxication. No consideration of the fact that a majority of the country don’t want to be Scandinavian.

    Now the trump supporters are doing the same. Since trump himself is a man whose behavior is unpresidential in the extreme, his behavior on average day would be the worst minute of the behavior of any other president in my lifetime, there obviously is Not going to be cooperation. But his supporters, most of whom opposed every molecule of Obama and his ideas, now are wildly offended that cooperation is not happening but constant outrage is. for trumps supporters to believe that he is going to get any other response is pure ideological intoxication.

    I said it a week or so back I’ll repeat it. I would leave the country if I could take all of my family with me. This is what our future looks like, we have 3 ideologies now, right, left, and populist, and the true believers in each one believe that they can shove their ideas down the throat of everyone, and that everyone will like it, only the dreaded media brainwashing is preventing it.

    Cycles of heat and cold bring down mountains over time. Cycles of ideologically intoxicated right, left, and populist fanatics, which is what everyone is slowly becoming in the internet age, or turning apathetic, will bring America down. Every such movement expects the country to cooperate when their side gets power, forgetting that they did not cooperate when the other side had power.

    trump has greatly accelerated the process, but we were already in a low grade civil war prior to trump. Anyone who thinks trump will unify the country is living in a fantasy world. His time will be one of even greater division, which comes first of all from his own ugly character.

    • Jay permalink
      February 17, 2017 12:04 pm

      Should I stay or should I go now?
      Should I stay or should I go now?
      If I go there will be trouble-
      And if I stay it will be double!

      So, if you were able to relocate, where do you think that would be?

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 17, 2017 12:40 pm

        Since, like most normal people, I have too many family entanglements to pick up and go, its just an angry, fearful, and disgusted statement on my part on our future. Which to me looks like one of civil war between increasingly unhinged partisan groups living in their self-contained universes with their own “facts” that is one Anders Behring Breivik style attack leading to another and then to another from spinning into real chaos between right and left. There are 50 million or so people in this country that have become ideological warriors, lots of them are armed to the teeth. I have considered buying my own heavy artillery and stockpiling Campbell’s soup, but then I tell myself that if society really breaks down and stays there we are completely screwed anyhow.

        My most moderate and sensible child and her significant other, an Army officer, are contemplating New Zealand half seriously.

        To be clear, this is not because of trump himself. Its because fanatics are ripping the glue out of our society from many sides and it only gets worse over time.

        Perhaps I underestimate the quiet resolve of the people in our country who are not (yet!) partisan ideologues to right the ship. To date they have been very quiet, its hard to believe they can repel the Vandals.

      • Jay permalink
        February 17, 2017 1:50 pm

        There’s a strong likihood I’ll be moving away from Los Angeles next year, and I did investigate Canada as a possible destination. But colder weather not withstanding, the overall disruption of settling in another country makes that unfeasible.

        So now I’m looking at the Northern California coast, some place away from the hustle and bustle of constant urban ideological confrontation. I’ve found living close to an ocean emotionally comforting, and though I’m in LA, I’m still an hour away from the Pacific. I’d like to be a shorter distance from cantankerous breaking waves, with fishing and boating access, and rough shoreline – a small MODERATE city away from the maddening OC-Left, Populist-Right crowd.

        I’ll be exploring those options on a drive along Hwy 101 this spring, and let you know if I find a place that’s also conducive to classical and jazz guitar contemplation.

    • dduck12 permalink
      February 17, 2017 4:35 pm


  61. Anonymous permalink
    February 17, 2017 1:32 pm

    Here, a ray of sunshine for everyone.

    • Jay permalink
      February 17, 2017 1:54 pm

      Trump will figure a way to screw it up.

    • dduck12 permalink
      February 17, 2017 4:51 pm

      @Anon, 1:32. Yes Trump will try to take credit for nailing ISIS, just as he is taking the blame for the screwed up Yemen raid. This happens when we transition presidents, and is unfair sometimes. And, some may argue that the reduction of forces early on by Obama helped the rise of ISIS. And, round and round we go.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 18, 2017 5:18 pm

      Preemptive journalism, so that, when Mattis creates the plan, and Trump approves it, and it actually works (if it does), The Atlantic can give all the credit to the guy who led from behind, and drew imaginary red lines.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 18, 2017 8:20 pm

        “Preemptive journalism, so that, when Mattis creates the plan, and Trump approves it, and it actually works (if it does), The Atlantic can give all the credit to the guy who led from behind, and drew imaginary red lines.”

        For a person who regularly assails Jay and myself for our criticism and doubt of the Current POTUS, you never miss a chance to aim another kick at the previous one.

        I have no doubt that the article is factual in its description of the anti ISIS campaign under Obama and that in the last 4 years the military has in fact successfully degraded ISIS. The lion’s share of the praise should go to the military, and not just ours, no matter who is president when ISIS limps off into infamy, but denying any positive influence that 44 had on the outcome is absurdly ungenerous. Pretty much what you accuse Jay and I of with 45.

      • Jay permalink
        February 18, 2017 9:25 pm

        And of course the two of us frequently criticized Obama and the Democrats; but Pricilla is the NewModerate Kellyanne constant defender, rationalizer, defender, enabler of Trump, and only criticizes Republicans when they’re critical of President Buffoon.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 18, 2017 9:36 pm

        The Atlantic does not believe that Reagan was responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall or the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, whateverever…..

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 18, 2017 9:58 pm

        So, if I get this right, you enjoyed rolling your eyes at the ungenerosity to Reagan by one author in Atlantic years ago so much that since that time you’ve been ungenerous to Obama and other Dem/lib figures in an effort to spread that eye-rolling pleasure to others. Very thoughtful of you!

      • Jay permalink
        February 19, 2017 1:54 am

        Reagan may have had some minuscule impact on opinion in the Soviet Union to eventually bring down the Wall, but there’s no real evidence the Russians or anyone else on either side of the Wall during the speech was greatly influenced by it. You have authentic contrary proof I’d be glad to see it.

        You can easily find something to disagree with for all magazines and newspapers who publish political opinion, but your reflex to nitpick the negative to defend indefensible Trump is sad.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 19, 2017 8:26 am

        Well, I do believe that Reagan played a very significant role in the fall of the Berlin wall and, more than that, the USSR. His actions on weapons control and military spending towards the USSR at the time appalled me and other liberals, but they worked. And, trumps policies may work in some cases, and if they help us, we should be glad, as the Atlantic article stated. They may, for example help and be helping already with getting Chinese cooperation on N Korea.

        Under Obama the 14 country US coalition has killed an estimated 50,000 ISIS fighters. Being a dignified man he was not running around a la trump thumping his chest, but its a priority and our militaries have tackled ISIS with determination and results. Everyone needs to give credit where its due.

        trump is still an unfit POTUS and I’d like him gone ASAP, but no one is capable of being wrong about everything, not even trump.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 18, 2017 10:19 pm

        Roby, I acknowledge your sincerity. On the other hand, I have no idea what you’re referring to, when you say “The lion’s share of the praise should go to the military, and not just ours, no matter who is president when ISIS limps off into infamy, but denying any positive influence that 44 had on the outcome is absurdly ungenerous.”

        If we attack and defeat ISIS, because Trump makes it a priority, it will be no thanks to Obama. So, you’ll have to explain to me how he will have had any input into its defeat.

        By the way, I think that Milo’s appearance on Bill Maher’s show reflected well on both men. Milo will give the keynote address at the CPAC conference next week, emphasizing the key issue of free speech, as well as the importance of political comedy. As Milo says to Maher, if you don’t show up to the debate, you lose……..

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 18, 2017 10:34 pm

        I think I accidentally linked the obnoxious panel, not the better one on one interview.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 19, 2017 8:34 am

        “I have no idea what you’re referring to, when you say “The lion’s share of the praise should go to the military, ”

        That is incredibly un generous. 50,000 ISIS fighters did not die without military planning, courage, and effort. Trump’s chest pounding may be the sort of thing that catches your attention, but meanwhile competent people have been quietly at work and I have heard very little from ISIS lately.

        I’m glad Mattis is on the case, and I’m glad trump made picked him, but there is already a high priority and effective campaign against ISIS, which is a good thing. If Mattis is able to finish ISIS off I will again acknowledge that Mattis was an excellent move by trump, one of very few, but still excellent.

  62. Jay permalink
    February 17, 2017 3:30 pm


    The complete list of all 80 false things Donald Trump has said in his first 4 weeks as president:

  63. Anonymous permalink
    February 18, 2017 8:40 am

    The graph tells it all.

    I say trump is an idiot, an incompetent, mentally unstable, unfit to be POTUS. If he is not those things then what words describe him?

    Calling the media, specifically MSM outlets, the “enemy of America”? That’s acceptable? Thomas Jefferson would approve?

    If trump supporters commit an act of violence against some MSM outlet will that count as our crystal night? Will Ryan and McConnell then grow a pair and say enough and investigate the trump team contacts with Russian intelligence agents with as much vigor as Clinton was investigated?

    • Jay permalink
      February 18, 2017 12:01 pm

      Check out David Brook’s column today.
      The last line below should resonate here with die heart altReality Donald rationaliazations:

      “Trump’s White House staff is at war with itself. His poll ratings are falling at unprecedented speed. His policy agenda is stalled. F.B.I. investigations are just beginning. This does not feel like a sustainable operation.

      On the other hand, I have trouble seeing exactly how this administration ends. Many of the institutions that would normally ease out or remove a failing president no longer exist.

      There are no longer moral arbiters in Congress like Howard Baker and Sam Ervin to lead a resignation or impeachment process. There is no longer a single media establishment that shapes how the country sees the president. This is no longer a country in which everybody experiences the same reality.”

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 18, 2017 12:23 pm

        Your observations (and of course David Brooks’) are spot on.

        I think his support has hit bottom for now. I don’t think his support will fall much below 40% any time soon and I don’t think it will ever fall much below 35%, 35% of the country are now hardocre trump zombies, never coming back. trump exhaustion may slowly set in for moderate or traditional conservatives. Some large act of violence could move the polls sharply. The stock market bubble bursting would likely trigger a fall to the core 35% level, but Ryan and McConnell won’t not bail on trump unless it fell below 30% I think. So, that 35% is going to drive the country until we fall off a cliff or become great again.

        So no, hard to see how it ends, the GOP congress is not about to impeach him or energetically investigate him anytime soon, he has to break something major that GOP voters care about so obviously that they can’t rationalize it away first. Of course I thought that GOP voters cared about containing putin and hated assange as much as I do, now I just think they care about tax cuts and muslims and little else. There is hating RINOS, moderates, liberals and the MSM of course.

        A good part of the reason that people like you and I are emotional adn worked up about trump is that there are no brakes; congress is GOP held and the dem party seems lost and hopeless. I would take this wretched presidency quite a bit more calmly if dems controlled at least the Senate. 2018 offers very faint hope of restoring congressional balance. So we will have a bleeding wound of an idiot president with 40% approval and it will just go on and on.

      • Jay permalink
        February 18, 2017 2:00 pm

        Yes, sadly you’re right, no end of this sour stomach churning Trump presidency in sight. The Dems will screw chances to recover majorities in either house. I feel like it’s useless to monitor the toilet flush News anymore.

    • February 18, 2017 12:34 pm

      So here is another well respected polling companies results. Not the same as Gallups. Depends on how the questions are asked.

      But given that the far left, the far right and many in the middle hate strong negatives about Trump to start with, why should we expect good approval ratings now.

      Looking at it another way, there was only 57.9% of the eligible voters voting this past election, of which 46% supported Trump. Apply this 46% to the total eligible voter base, then only 26.6% of the eligible voters were Trump supporters. That means there could be as many as 73.4% of Americans with a negative view of Trump to start off with.

      And applying this same formula to Clinton, she only got 27.8% of Americans supporting her.

      Now looking at these numbers, is there any question why we are so divided?

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 18, 2017 12:46 pm

        “Looking at it another way, there was only 57.9% of the eligible voters voting this past election, of which 46% supported Trump. Apply this 46% to the total eligible voter base, then only 26.6% of the eligible voters were Trump supporters. That means there could be as many as 73.4% of Americans with a negative view of Trump to start off with.”

        Ah, if only.

        The aggregation of polls is likely to be closest to the truth. He is down 42-50 here:

        We TNM posters follow politics. Those 90 million eligible voters who didn’t vote mostly do not. As an example, one poll I saw said that Bannon had 20% approval, 40% disapproval, and most of the rest did not know who he is even. So, most of those (ha, fortunate) people don’t hold Any view of trump, approval or disapproval, some of them may believe that trump is a kind of frozen food brand.

        We have entered a new realm, one where a historically unpopular president who is entirely unpresidential in character has no meaningful opposition and none in sight.

      • Jay permalink
        February 18, 2017 1:36 pm

        The numbers don’t tell us why we’re divided, onlymthat we are divided.
        The divide is certainly growing.
        And it’s undeniable Trump is making it worse.
        The longer he’s president, the deeper the wedge will be.
        He’s anathema to reconciliation.
        He’s rot to the foundations of democratic consensus.

        He’s got to go.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 20, 2017 8:45 pm

        Excellent, Ron. I was thinking along the same lines about the number of Americans who didn’t vote, the number who voted for Shillery, and how many who voted for Trump were holding their nose or going for their “lesser of two evils”. Then adding in the constant negative attacks from the well-funded liberal media regarding how utterly horrible and disastrous Trump is, and his approval stats are fairly meaningless to me. How many Americans actually participated in the American Revolution in the 1770’s? Not many actually.

  64. Priscilla permalink
    February 18, 2017 12:47 pm

    dd12, you bring up an interesting point about the issues common to transitioning administrations, particularly those whose policies are so diametrically opposed to the outgoing ones.

    It is common, and to be expected. And the job of the press is to report objectively on it. The press should be skeptical of everything that any administration does, and insist on transparency from the president.

    The mainstream press was never skeptical enough of Obama, and it is absolutely opposed to Trump. So, we have a situation in which a previous administration was treated with kid gloves and this one is treated with near-hysteria (sometimes outright hysteria). John Dickerson of CBS made the comparison to the weather reports before a over-hyped storm, which end up being laughed at, and cause subsequent reports to be ignored. That is happening with the political reporting now.

    The press should not be anti-Trump. It should report honestly on what Trump is saying and doing. The press should never have been pro- Obama. It should have reported honestly on what Obama was saying and doing.

    While I don’t agree that the media is an “enemy” of the people ~ that’s ridiculous hyperbole, and should be condemned ~ it certainly has shown itself to be hyper-partisan and dishonest, uncritically praising one president and trying to destroy another. It sounds as if Dickerson may be getting it, which is a positive sign.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 18, 2017 1:08 pm

      While I don’t agree that the media is an “enemy” of the people ~ that’s ridiculous hyperbole, and should be condemned ~ it certainly has shown itself to be hyper-partisan and dishonest, uncritically praising one president and trying to destroy another.

      Well, bless you for that condemnation (and it prevents me from going on a tear of calling trump supporters, or conservatives, or the GOP “the enemy of the people.”

      “it certainly has shown itself to be hyper-partisan and dishonest, uncritically praising one president and trying to destroy another.”

      How many critical articles on Obama in the MSM would I have to produce to get you to see that the MSM cannot be characterized as uncritical of Obama? I believe I could find hundreds quickly simply by googling the articles by conservative columnists in all the liberal leaning Big City newspapers. And, the MSM, (you simply said the media, but your comment implies that you are targeting the MSM) is a very undefined term, if the liberal Boston Globe qualifies then the conservative leaning Boston Herald does too. If the NYTimes qualifies then the WSJ does as well. If CNN qualifies then FOX qualifies. Even the dreaded MSM comes in flavors right left and center.

      I’ve said it many times, in their repeated media bashing conservative are treating voters as if they had no will, beliefs, or discernment. In other words conservatives see the average non conservative voter as a gullible child. In an age where there is a media flavor for every ideology that is just silly.

      The truth and fact war is being fought battle by battle the MSM may have taken some punches and lost some credibility in this election, in the fullness of time the hatred that is poured onto the MSM from the right will turn out badly for the right and for the country and be rejected by most voters in the middle and moderates.

      Thanks God! the NYTimes is investigating trump, the GOP congress is not going to do so with any energy or seriousness. The NYTimes etc. is the only brakes whatsoever on trump, so he is typically childishly enraged.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 18, 2017 3:35 pm

        Roby, if the NYT were using unbiased investigative methods and reporting on them in a straightforward and balanced way, I might agree with you.

        But that’s not what is happening.

        For example, this past week, the Times had this headline “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.”

        The article goes on to say that “anonymous” sources claimed that “unnamed” campaign “associates” (how many? current? former?) had contact with Russian “intelligence officials”.

        It goes on to say that the FBI is “looking at” Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, Carter Page and Michael Flynn. That the FBI has found “no evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. That it is“not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself.”

        Got that? “No evidence”. Maybe nothing to do “with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself.”

        We basically have a splashy, provocative headline, with no real story, just a lot of stuff we already knew. But the media is running around, hair on fire, claiming that this is proof that Trump and the Russians worked together to bring down Hillary.

        Whether this sort of thing “childishly” enrages the president is immaterial. It’s shoddy journalism from a supposed serious news source, and we deserve better.

      • Jay permalink
        February 18, 2017 5:28 pm

        You also made similar accusations about the Times when they first reported Russian involvement in hacking our election, Priscilla. You intimated they were trying to smear Trump with biased coverage there too. Remember how long you kept insisting there was no real evidence the Russians were behind it and were intentionally trying to hurt Clinton, that the media was jumping to unfounded conclusions to damage Trump?

        This is how investigative journalism stories unfold, piece by piece. During the Watergate scandal the NY Times and other major newspapers early on made similar comments about Nixon’s unproven involvement, with similar objective pronouncements there was no evidence of his direct involvement with the break in and coverup. Then as now with presidential wrong-doing the word ‘yet’ is omitted but implicit: as in “no evidence has YET linked President Nixon to the break-in.” And hence now: “the FBI has NOT YET found evidence of collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

        But they certainly have been investigating the matter, the assumption being where there’s smoke, there’s Trump toasting marshmellows of opportunity for himself.

        Do you think all those contacts between Trump people and Russian officials happened coincidentally during the late stages of the campaign? And occurred without Trump knowledge or approval? If so you probably believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 18, 2017 7:52 pm

        Priscilla, I think you have a point about the headline being too strong, as this is an allegation at this point and should have said so. The headline assumes that the 4 sources are giving accurate information.

        The article itself seems very fair and balanced. Anyone who reads the article itself will have a clean understanding of what the NYTimes is claiming. This sticks out:

        “Two days after the election in November, Sergei A. Ryabkov, the deputy Russian foreign minister, said “there were contacts” during the campaign between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s team.

        “Obviously, we know most of the people from his entourage,” Mr. Ryabkov told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

        The Trump transition team denied Mr. Ryabkov’s statement. “This is not accurate,” Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, said at the time.”

        I’m sorry Priscilla, trump and his team have lied and lied and lied. The fact that they do it clumsily and amateurishly, the fact that his supporters “don’t take him literally” do NOT one bit excuse the fact that this POTUS lies at an unprecedented rate and takes me for a fool. So, other than his die hard supporters and rationalizers, anyone else with a brain knows that any statement from him or his team needs to be investigated before anyone would believe it. Sad.

        Then there is this:

        “But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.”

        So, like the Clintons, he brings this on himself. I know, that was just a little joke ha, ha. Well, its one he would not have made if he had a brain, and now its caught up with him, “it” being the whole pattern of events. He and his team may actually be innocent of collusion with the leaks, but they have certainly stupidly gone out of their way to give people reason to examine their actions very carefully adn be suspicious. The feud trump picked with the intelligence agencies over the Russian election interference is infuriating and damning. He has blown it, its his own damn fault, just like the Clinton hubris is their own damn fault. Its one more piece of evidence that he is unfit.

        For me, this is a very hard issue, because I so strongly wish, for personal reasons, that we Would get along with Russia and find a way to balance power and trust each other and reduce tensions and conflicts. That would be a very good thing, as trump says. Very sadly he has soiled that actually valuable idea, he his team and putin and his team have been very, very clumsy. The long suffering Russian people got yet another bad break.

  65. dduck12 permalink
    February 18, 2017 10:31 pm

    What Priscilla said at 3:55. NYT ignores bad stuff about Dems sometimes, for example it took them too long too start covering the Benghazi roll-out of “clarifications”.
    Any descent writer can bend a story to any bias he wants if the editors don’t object. Yes, context counts; here’s an example that inadvertently/intentionally, made the elder Bush look dumb/whatever:

    BTW, Trump made one semi-correct statement during the Reality Press Conference: that most people don’t know if what they read/see/hear is/are true. He should know as the bigly purveyor of baloney.

    Yes, congress should go full bore to let us know if Trump & Co. are treasonous, as a shrieking Bill Maher blathered Friday night, or just stupid with their Russian friend calls.
    Congress ducking full REAL oversight will potentially seriously divide the country and might make it impossible for Trump to continue governing even in his current idiotic way.

    But people like Maher, hugely popular with so-called sophisticated liberals, a show I used to like, are not making this any easier by acting, what’s a politically correct way to say, hysterically.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 19, 2017 12:47 am

      “BTW, Trump made one semi-correct statement during the Reality Press Conference”

      Haha, the Reality Press Conference ~ I like that!

  66. February 18, 2017 11:32 pm

    JAY!!!!!! Your wish may come true!!!!

    Now he does say that he does not expect an impeachment, so that only leaves 2 scenarios. Death by health related issues or assassination that will happen in the next 13-14 months.

    Since he seems to be in good health for a 70 year old, guess someone is going to do him in. Most likely will be someone from the intelligence community lining up someone like Lee Harvey Oswald (like J Edgar was rumored to have done with JFK). And given the enemies he has created with that department, I would not be one bit surprised.

    Yes I am a conspiracy theorist when it comes to JFK, especially when it came to Hoover! Same with Bobby.

  67. Jay permalink
    February 19, 2017 2:15 am

    (CNN)Sen. John McCain slammed President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media this week by noting dictators “get started by suppressing free press.”

    It was a startling observation from a sitting member of Congress against the President of the United States, especially considering McCain is a member of Trump’s party.

    “I hate the press,” the Arizona Republican sarcastically told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”

    But he continued, “If you want to preserve — I’m very serious now — if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain said in the interview. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 19, 2017 8:39 am

      “I hate the press,” the Arizona Republican sarcastically told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”

      But he continued, “If you want to preserve — I’m very serious now — if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain said in the interview. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”

      Very very beautiful. I have always admired McCain. He is everything the GOP should be but isn’t, a voice of sanity in the GOP wilderness. At this wretched time in our history he is pure gold, the real deal. trump may live to regret his idiotic words and attitude towards an actual American Hero.

  68. Priscilla permalink
    February 19, 2017 10:24 am

    Follow the money……

    Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, the other paper which has been the beneficiary of many intelligence community leaks, has a $600 million contract with the CIA:

    “Former CIA official Ray McGovern said that “what emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post – with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA. In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”

    ““Even with such disclosure, the public should not feel assured they are getting tough-minded reporting on the CIA. One thing is certain: Post reporters and editors are aware that Bezos, as majority owner of Amazon, has a financial stake in maintaining good relations with the CIA – and this sends a clear message to even the hardest-nosed journalist that making the CIA look bad might not be a good career move.”

    • Jay permalink
      February 19, 2017 5:38 pm

      Follow the money… Who owns/controls the World Tribune?
      Is the Unification Church a backer?
      (Didnt they back Nixon during the Watergate imbroglio?)
      Is the editor a Unification Church member?
      Isn’t Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s youngest son, the equally whacky Hyung Jin Moon, a Trump supporter?

      Aren’t these tenuous associations as flimsy as suggestions Bezos will force the Washington Post to soft soap stories about the CIA? And though $600 million is a nice chunk of change, that’s for 10 years of Amazon services. $60 mil a year is chump change for Amazon. Net sales revenue for Amazon In 2016 was $136 BILLION!

      As you probably know the Liberal press was highly critical of the Amazon/CIA deal. The main concern was that Amazion customer privacy could be compromised. The mega Amazon customer data base of customer individual purchases might end up in the sweaty hands of US spies. I was worried too, so I’ve been buying all my recent kitchen equipment – non stick pots&pans, potato peelers, knives and forks – under an alias. 🕵️

  69. Pat Riot permalink
    February 19, 2017 1:16 pm

    Is this TNM thread freezing other people’s devices? My equipment is new and fine with all other sites/content. Too many videos posted?

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 19, 2017 3:10 pm

      Haven’t had a problem. But I’ll stop posting videos….I seem to recall that that was once a problem on this site.

      • February 19, 2017 6:01 pm

        Different problem . Cant comment more than 10 words, then freezes

      • Jay permalink
        February 19, 2017 6:09 pm

        Did you try clearing your browser cache?
        It can be a pain to do, but that could be the problem. Also clearing cookies sometimes helps
        Here’s a site I found. Don’t know if it’s applicable for your setup

  70. Pat Riot permalink
    February 19, 2017 4:16 pm

    No Priscilla, you post whatever you like. I think it must be Jay. He went over the limit of times one person can say Trump is an idiot!

    I can stay on the thread with my LG phone, but my laptop locks up every time. Strange. It must be the Progressive Overlords who have decided my anti-establishment, populist rants are too compelling for their global domination! Haha.

    • Jay permalink
      February 19, 2017 4:47 pm

      I’m not having the problem, Pat, on my desktop or mobile, and if you’re able to download on your phone it may be a laptop specific problem – but I’ll hold off on videos to see if that fixes it for you

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 19, 2017 6:06 pm

        Ok, Jay, thx. That’s very good of you, old sport!

        I wanted to weigh in on the differences/distinctions between a “free press” vs. “extremist media sensationalism” and misleading propaganda, etc., but I am spent at the moment. I’m sure we all here value the role of a free press, but we will disagree as to what is propaganda and what is truthful depending on our worldviews etc. Peace.

      • dduck12 permalink
        February 19, 2017 11:00 pm

        Now you guys tell me about the video problem. I was just about to post a video delivered to my door with Russian, Chinese and Virginia post marks on it. After donning my Acme hazmat suit ($149,95 on ebay), i opened the package and found this video of some guy with a yellow pompadour sagging stomach and bra-ready pectorals standing nude in front of of a full length mirror. Audio: “What a fine-tuned machine”.

      • Jay permalink
        February 20, 2017 2:20 am

        What the hell, one more posted video won’t hurt 😼

  71. Jay permalink
    February 19, 2017 8:37 pm


    Trump family trips cost taxpayers $11.3m in one month – almost as much as Obama’s cost in a year.

  72. Priscilla permalink
    February 20, 2017 10:29 am

    Kevin Williamson has a piece in today’s NR, entitled “The President and the Press.”

    He begins by reminding us of things that the press has written ~ ” he is, as the Washington Post puts it, a hostage to the “fanatical policies of the extreme right.” His administration “insults women” and his unwelcome presence in public life “insults us all.” ….Extreme on economic issues, extreme on the so-called social issues, he even has had an “extreme foreign-policy makeover,” according to The Atlantic. His views on immigration, MSNBC says, represent the Republican party “shrinking down to its most extreme elements.” Paul Krugman laments that he has forsaken all serious policy thinking for “dangerous fantasy.”Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow dogpiled him for his perplexing relationship with Moscow. Vice calls him a “sociopath” and Maureen Dowd dismissed him as “an out-of-touch plutocrat” who keeps “his true nature . . . buried where we can’t see it,” a devious figure who is so awful deep down inside that he “must hide an essential part of who he is” from the public.

    Yes, the mainstream press said all of these things…about Mitt Romney.

    Williamson goes on to say that it it possible to criticize BOTH the president and the press, and that choosing sides in this fight is not going to produce anything positive. We need a solid authoritative press, one that carefully sources and writes its stories. And, although the the press has every right to criticize Trump, Trump also has every right to criticize them.

    As Williamson notes. the mainstream press would have called any Republican president an extremist. They did so with McCain, they did so with Romney, both of whom have been critical of Trump.

    They’ve cried wolf far too many times, and its time to look at both sides of this battle.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 20, 2017 11:36 am

      Seems like a pretty devastating argument… until one thinks for a minute and realizes that a cherry-picking exercise was performed so that that most over the top liberal columnists, e.g. the wretch Krugman, (most of the others not even attributed to individual columnists, just “the Washington Post, etc.) could be made out to be the voice of the monolithic MSM.

      Since there are equally rabid righties whose columns appear in the MSM (because there is a segment of the population that requires and will pay for daily red meat), I can easily do my own cherry-picking exercise and find outrageous quotes about Obama, Clinton, Gore, liberals, etc. and claim that the MSM hates liberals and liberal politicians.

      And, nothing, absolutely nothing, excuses trump for his comment, which was received with huge pleasure and agreement by many on the right I am sure, that those MSM media outlets he listed are the “enemy of America.” If some wingnut burns down his local ABC affiliate to rid us of our enemy will it be clear then that trump is playing with gasoline and matches and is in danger of setting America on fire?

      You were on a much better track when you said that his words (how about his his belief!) should be condemned.

      At some time in this administration, as in every administration, a domestic or foreign policy crisis will occur, something large and dangerous. How will he handle it? He can’t even handle Nordstroms or the press. That is what reasonably keeps me up at night worrying.

    • Jay permalink
      February 20, 2017 12:40 pm

      With apologies to Joni Mitchell:

      I’ve looked at Trump from both sides now
      From up and down and still somehow
      It’s Trump’s delusions I recall
      He doesn’t know anything at all.

      I’ve looked at Trump from lies to gropes
      From vicious threats to petulant mopes
      And still his sycophants don’t recall
      Any of that Trumpism at all.

    • Jay permalink
      February 20, 2017 1:13 pm

      McCain and Romney didn’t insult their rivals during the primary.
      They didn’t deny they groped women after admitting they did on audio tape.
      They didn’t call the MSM Traitors.
      They didn’t insult their own nation to defend Putin.
      They didn’t undermine the security agencies.
      They didn’t attack individual judges.
      They weren’t delusional about crowd sizes.
      They didn’t threaten to exclude ALL Muslim immigration.
      They didn’t threaten to round up ALL illegal immigrants (meaning only Hispanic illegals) and dump them outside our borders (meaning only the Southern border).

      IF the MSM media overstated flaws in McCain’s and Romney’s candidacy, they are right on target with lying, deceptive, incoherent, authoritarian, narcissistic, incompetent Trump.

      Surely no objective observer can deny he is constantly lying and deceptive, mostly incoherent when not reading from notes or TelePromper, authoritarian in impulse and action, more narcissistic than an aging stage actress at her makeup mirror, and incompetent – the disarray of his first month in office speaks for itself.

      The media certainly makes mistakes and often exaggerates for headline attention- and always have from Colonial times onward. But now more than ever they self regulate and correct mistakes of fact – unlike Trump and his yay-Sayers who defend Alt-truth with the zeal huxters selling snake oil.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 20, 2017 1:42 pm

        Yep, right back to the founding fathers and it only works because that is how we are wired as a species:

        “Negative campaigning in the United States can be traced back to lifelong friends, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Back in 1776, the dynamic duo combined powers to help claim America’s independence, and they had nothing but love and respect for one another. But by 1800, party politics had so distanced the pair that, for the first and last time in U.S. history, a president found himself running against his VP.

        Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward. Even Martha Washington succumbed to the propaganda, telling a clergyman that Jefferson was “one of the most detestable of mankind.”


        Back then, presidential candidates didn’t actively campaign. In fact, Adams and Jefferson spent much of the election season at their respective homes in Massachusetts and Virginia. But the key difference between the two politicians was that Jefferson hired a hatchet man named James Callendar to do his smearing for him. Adams, on the other hand, considered himself above such tactics. To Jefferson’s credit, Callendar proved incredibly effective, convincing many Americans that Adams desperately wanted to attack France. Although the claim was completely untrue, voters bought it, and Jefferson won the election.


        Jefferson paid a price for his dirty campaign tactics, though. Callendar served jail time for the slander he wrote about Adams, and when he emerged from prison in 1801, he felt Jefferson still owed him. After Jefferson did little to appease him, Callendar broke a story in 1802 that had only been a rumor until then—that the President was having an affair with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings. In a series of articles, Callendar claimed that Jefferson had lived with Hemings in France and that she had given birth to five of his children. The story plagued Jefferson for the rest of his career. And although generations of historians shrugged off the story as part of Callendar’s propaganda, DNA testing in 1998 showed a link between Hemings’ descendents and the Jefferson family.”

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 20, 2017 2:42 pm

      You guys are missing the whole point. I posted a comment that I thought would lead to a discussion of the first amendment, the media attacks on Trump, and the president’s attacks on the media.

      The point is that BOTH the president and the press deserve criticism, and that the first amendment protects Trump’s right to call out the media, just as it protects the media’s right to call him out.

      Roby, you talk about cherry-picking, but it it not difficult at all to find instances of the press calling McCain and Romney extreme. Just because it is next to impossible to find any positive coverage of Trump, that fact is not negated. Remember the “binders full of women” which was almost universally spun as objectifying and demeaning women after Romney used a very common term to talk about how many women he had considered and hired for high level positions. That was not cherry-picking ~ that was twisting and spinning his words into something that they were not.

      Yes, Roby I did say “You were on a much better track when you said that his words (how about his his belief!) should be condemned.”

      Because I try view these things with a more balanced perspective. As I have noted before ~ the job of the press is to praise the president when he is right, and to condemn him when he is wrong. You are the one, I’m afraid, who sees only through one lens. With no qualifiers, I might add.

      “But now more than ever they self regulate and correct mistakes of fact – unlike Trump and his yay-Sayers who defend Alt-truth with the zeal huxters selling snake oil.”

      No, Jay, the media are generally, not helping correct Trump’s mistakes or lies. They are lying and mis- reporting incorrectly themselves too much of the time, Their fact-checking is often as biased and incorrect as the facts that they’re checking.

      If you two are so blinded by your bias that you cannot see that this was the point, then I give up trying to have any discussion at all with either one of you (yes, I know Jay, that has likely been your goal all along)

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 3:00 pm

        Apologies for the poorly written comment above. I was typing too fast.

      • Jay permalink
        February 20, 2017 3:07 pm

        No, Priscilla, my goal hasn’t/isn’t stopping discussions with you: my goal is to make you see the error of your ways.

        I know that’s futile, like thinking I can flatten a hill by jogging over it daily; but the robust exercise is still beneficial to body and mind.

        The self-regulation isn’t to help Trump correct HIS mistakes; to correct their own mistakes, which they regularly do.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 20, 2017 3:39 pm

        We have different ideas of what the “whole point” is here. To me the whole point is that while trump has every right to criticize the press, what he did went far beyond legitimate criticism, and was reckless and irresponsible, in other words typically trumpian. My whole point is that based on my worldview. I think he will be as much of a dangerous tyrant as he can get away with (like you thought about Obama). Any kind of dignifying his “enemy of America” comments as mere “criticism” is enabling. If trump had a legitimate point, then he blew it with most Americans when he labeled the media, specifically those particular outlets, the enemy of America. Bless McCain, he nailed it. Mattis too, and Pence. The media is not the enemy of America. trump divided America yet again, into the camps of those who will go with him on the idea that the media is the enemy of America and those that won’t. It will work great with his base.

        “As Williamson notes. the mainstream press would have called any Republican president an extremist. They did so with McCain, they did so with Romney, both of whom have been critical of Trump.”

        If Williamson had inserted a qualifier, e.g., Some of the mainstream press or elements of the mainstream press… then I would have had no argument. But he would have had no piece either, not one that would have much interested (many!) conservatives.

        Priscilla, a year or so ago when trump and Sanders first began to emerge as an actual viable candidates you were so disgusted by trump that your reaction was to say you would vote for Bernie before you would vote for trump. I have watched in fascination as you have gone through the famous 4 stages from denial to acceptance and then progressed to a fifth one, embracement. As support for my statement I will point to your first post on this topic, agreeing with Tim’s comment that trump’s presidency has been “stupendous.” I suspect you are going to support him to the bitter end no matter what he does. I’d love to be wrong.

        If you look at your comments and mine you will see there was only one place in my rant to insert a qualifier, and I did: “And, nothing, absolutely nothing, excuses trump for his comment, which was received with huge pleasure and agreement by many on the right I am sure,..” that word “many”, that was the qualifier. Whereas you were quick to fall into the pattern of the original Williamson piece, to wit: those cherry picked quotes about Romney define what the mainstream media does, no qualifiers. I disagree, whole point part B.

        The Kevin Williamson piece itself was just a part of the daily info war, an objective piece for provoking thought would have found the extreme comments that can easily be found in the MSM about liberals for balance. What he is selling is adding one more grievance to the persecution complex that conservatives have about the media via a clever distortion. Its not valid, the worst comments of some journalists and some outlets do not define the MSM. Fox is part of the MSM and if the Atlantic is the MSM! then so is the National Review. What kinds of comments on Clinton and Obama or any other democrat or liberal could we find to outrage liberals in those members of the MSM?

        Conservatives (some!) want sympathy for their perceived wholesale persecution by the MSM; ain’t getting much from me, not today.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 3:54 pm

        Jay, if I change my views on anything, and I often do, it is because I am presented with rational arguments and facts to support them.

        Or even opinions from partisans, who can express them in a way that indicates that they understand that, although they may see things from a particular perspective, they understand that there are cogent arguments both for and against their viewpoint.

        I try to admit my biases, and acknowledge them when I give an opinion. Heck, I even started using qualifiers, after Roby said I didn’t use them enough.

        But, you know, now that I think of it, I don’t believe that I have ever seen you admit that there could be any valid POV other than your own. Not gun control, not abortion, not the greatness and virtuousness of the Clintons, not anything that I can recall.

        But I’m the one who needs to see the “error of my ways.”

        Just keep joggin’ along……

      • Jay permalink
        February 20, 2017 5:35 pm

        “, I don’t believe that I have ever seen you admit that there could be any valid POV other than your own”

        There you go again, filtering reality. My moderate views are flexible and accomodating. On abortion I agree with limitations on 3rd term termination for viable fetuses. On 2nd Amendment I agree citizens have a right to be armed for self protection; but with reasonable limitations on the kinds of weapons they can own, and stricter requirements for those with mental instability. On immigration I’m in favor of limiting entry from combatant terrorist nations; and of reducing the number of illegals already here who haven’t established long time community or family ties. And of severely reducing the flow of drugs into the US. And of toughening postures against Iran and South Korea. And of eliminating political correctness wherever possible. I have a wide POV, wider than your ability to see it.

        Many times I’ve said it’s not the message but the messenger. It doesn’t matter if I like chocolate chip cookies if Darth Vader is handing them out – the evil bearer of gifts is still evil. And Trump is evil in the same way rot is malevolent to apples: it destroys the fruit from within. He’s destroying our traditional infrastructures with insensitive block headed divisiveness, and undermining relationships with allies the same way.

        As to the Clintons, Bill was a better than average president overall, high marks for economy; Hillary was a decent Senator, an average Sec of State, limited for the most part by Obama’s policies and docile temperament. The Clinton Foundation is a saving grace for them: it has done more positive good in the world than the combined philthrophic endeavors of the last 10 US presidents. The unending waves of partisan hatred spewed at them has been disgusting, and continues to be – and the hatred now directed at Trump (deserved for the asinine undignified bullying way he’s behaved and his constant belligerent lying) is partial blowback at the wrongheaded Right – a what goes around comes around cycle they accelerated throughout Obama’s administration as well.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 4:04 pm

        Kevin Williamson was and is still extremely anti-Trump, Roby He does, however, understand the dangers of a press that will not use ethical standards of objectivity.

        He has written before about the fact that it ls largely because we have a biased media that we have Trump. Too many journalists are more interested in producing hit or puff pieces, than they are in balanced and objective investigative journalism, which uses reliable sourcing and is confirmed, if possible, by those who are in a position to know the facts.

        Conservatives are not looking for sympathy ~ you are very wrong about that. But many of them see where we are headed, and realize that wholesale hatred and hysteria is not the way to stop a runaway train

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 20, 2017 4:21 pm

        If he actually wrote that

        “the mainstream press would have called any Republican president an extremist.”

        then he is not following objective standards either.

        I’ll admit that I have not read the piece, just your description of it. I’ll try to hunt it up and read it.

        It very much seems to me that conservatives feel energized by their perceived MSM persecution, with different subsets going to different lengths in their wearing of that hair shirt. Anyone who feels persecuted and complains about it wants sympathy in my understanding of human nature.

        Now, if the purpose of such articles and their reposting is to try to lead trumps opponents to a way to defeat or reign him in, then that is lovely.

        I think that those media outlets themselves reacted rather calmly to being labeled an enemy of America. Can they send the bill for increased security that they will need to protect their employees to the donald?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 6:30 pm

        Roby to be fair, Williamson is an opinion journalist, not a reporter.

        For example, I would not criticize Rachel Maddow for saying the kinds of things that you and Jay say. Well, to be honest, I might criticize her if she misstated facts or figures to make a point. But, my overall point is that Rachel Maddow is not a reporter. She is not writing hard news stories for the Washington Post or the NYT. Stories that are put out there as “fact”. To make the same point for the right, I do not hold someone like Bill O’Reilly to a journalistic standard.

        I do hold network news anchors and reporters in general, to that standard. This is why I am always careful to cite sources that, in general, either declare their bias openly, or make every effort to report objectively. In the NYT article about the contacts that Trump “associates” (a very general term, btw) had with Russia, it should not have taken 3 paragraphs before the “no evidence of collusion” and “maybe this had nothing to do with Trump” disclaimers were made, nor should the headline have implied such collusion, which it did.

        Trump has every right to say that the press is the enemy of the people, if that’s what he thinks. If they don’t like it, they can set their hair on fire, if they have any hair left to burn.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 20, 2017 6:45 pm

        Of course he has the right to speak his mind. But its a dangerous and stupid thing to say. You yourself condemned it. Perhaps you no longer feel that way?

        Just more proof that we have a wretchedly unfit president.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 6:34 pm

        And I still think that the “enemy of the people” thing was the wrong thing to say, and it has been rightly condemned. That doesn’t mean that he should not be allowed to say it.

      • Jay permalink
        February 20, 2017 7:05 pm

        You think he should be allowed to say wrong things?
        Allowed in the connotation it’s acceptable?
        Like he’s allowed to say Cruz’s father was complicit in the JFK assassination?
        And he’s allowed to threaten to “spill the beans’ on Ted Cruz’s wife?
        Or allowed to disparage Carly Fiorina’s face in public?

        He’s legally allowed to be a vulgar asshole I suppose, but should it be socially allowed is another question altogether, agreed? And surely I’m allowed as a private citizen to call him an asshole, but should it be allowed for a President of the US to act like one so frequently?

  73. Jay permalink
    February 20, 2017 12:29 pm

    The Weekly Standard’s objective assessment of the Flynn Resignation Affair.
    I’m betting the Trump apologists will filter and rationalize accordingly.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 20, 2017 8:04 pm

      Roby, did you not read the addendum I added? My time stamp is first, but perhaps you were typing.

      Yes, it was a stupid thing to say. Not necessarily dangerous, but should be condemned in any case.

      Dangerous would be the way that Obama treated the press, pulling phone records from AP reporters, also secretly pulling the phone records and private emails of James Rosen from Fox, as well as having his movements traced. And, of course, there was James Risen of the New York Times, who spent years in a legal battle against the Obama administration for protecting his anonymous sources. Funny, I thought that was a staple of press freedom.

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on Trump’s big mouth being more dangerous than Obama’s justice department.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 8:05 pm

        Oops, my reply ended up in the wrong place, Roby.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 20, 2017 8:17 pm

        “Not necessarily dangerous, but should be condemned in any case.

        Dangerous would be the way that Obama treated the press”

        Yep, you are deep into that 5th stage, embracement. trump is Stupendous!

        You would not fail to believe it was dangerous if a Dem POTUS did it. That factor I mentioned previously of 500 that you use to divide by when its your side and multiply by when its the other side.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 20, 2017 8:36 pm

        I see a difference between threatening or spying on the press and saying mean things about them. I’m actually shocked that you think it was fine for Obama to prosecute a NYT reporter for failing to reveal his sources.

        Again, as I have said many times ~ I am in favor of aggressive press coverage of every president, as long as it is honest and truthful. It was never aggressive enough in covering Obama, it’s now too aggressive in covering Trump, and, in both cases, relatively dishonest.

  74. Pat Riot permalink
    February 20, 2017 10:25 pm

    I have finally caught up with my reading of this thread. Bravo to all, especially the prolific trio of Roby, Jay, and Priscilla. You three are articulate writers, and I have enjoyed your respectful-enough sparring/debate. When you three are hitting your strides, then maybe TNM is a modern version of The Federalist Papers? No, I’m not done complimenting. What? Is it some “norm” that I must stop complimenting now? It’s not ass-kissing. It’s just buttering you up a little before I jump in…

    A few random gems:

    From Jay:
    “…My goal is to make you see the error of your ways. I know that’s futile, like thinking I can flatten a hill by jogging over it daily, but the robust exercise is still beneficial to body and mind”

    Nice, man.

    From Priscilla:
    “We”ll have to agree to disagree on Trump’s big mouth being more dangerous than Obama’s justice department.”

    Bam! Bless you, Priscilla! You get that! And therein lies so much of the divide between those who cannot accept/fathom/excuse/understand Trump’s character flaws and those who think Trump’s flaws are… not “beside the point,” but not as much of a priority as some of his policies (changes in direction for our country).

    And Roby (who my *!%!@*% auto-correct relentlessly changes to Toby), I thank you for the historical perspectives you provide from your reading list, such as the ugliness of the Jefferson vs. Adams campaign camps. This adds a valuable context. While there are some unprecedented features and factors to our present-day divide, we are not completely in the Twilight Zone afterall.

  75. dduck12 permalink
    February 20, 2017 10:53 pm

    I second PR’s comments@ 10:25. Who would a thunk that the only people allowed to vote back when, were as mean as our current crop of presidential candidates. (When did TJ have time to pose for a nickel while producing six little coins with Mrs. TJ’s wife’s half sister, over 40 years.) And, what great/bigly insults they hurled in those days: “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”. Priceless, although coined by Calleder, not TJ, they knew how to insult with wit, which Trump ain’t got much of.

  76. Pat Riot permalink
    February 20, 2017 11:01 pm

    OK, enough with the kindness!

    Jay and Toby, I am going to try once again to flatten your hills, but instead of jogging over them daily… I pop in driving an Earth Mover, a very big, fantastic Earth Mover!

    With respect, you two are still suffering (and Jay much worse, as Toby is able to at least have hope for some outcomes while still loathing Trump’s personality) from the myth/delusion/normalcy bias that a U.S. President must and should fit with your myth/normalcy bias of what a President should be. Stop! Hold on. Don’t you think I get it? I’ve spent my whole life in your camp on that. I continue to admire integrity and virtue, being well-spoken, class, intelligence, etc. I was a boy scout and a proud U.S. Navy Seabee. I’m a son, brother, husband, and father. Jay, I get every ounce and bit of why you despise Trump. He IS a vulgar asshole.

    But I invite you to think outside of the box here, to set all of your pre-conceived notions and principles aside temporarily–NOT TO ALTER YOUR POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW–but to challenge the idea that a U.S. President should always be an admirable character, or that a leader in general must always be an admirable character. Yes, that’s what I said. Interestingly enough, Jay, many of your moderate views stated above are not incongruous with Trump’s, but your loathing of his wretched non-fit for the job seems to be bottomless…back in a moment to finish…

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 20, 2017 11:13 pm

      Pat, first thank you for taking this tack of reasoning and complimenting.

      Every presidency starts out with an ambitious set of plans. Then, outside events happen and everything gets pushed into another path, 9/11, the financial crisis, the Arab Spring, the Cuban Missile Crisis, etc.. I think I am very well in my right mind to doubt that a man who cannot handle a Nordstrom rejection of his daughter merchandise like an adult will be able to handle a Cuban Missile crisis or whatever history has in store for us. That is not mere irrational dislike, that is rational fear.

      How do you think a man with trumps character will handle something like 9/11, god forbid?

      Plus, I believe that his weak character has an excellent chance of inviting a crisis. While he lies and beats his chest bad consequences will befall others.

      As worried as I am of the trump-putin bromance, I am far More terrified of what happens when it breaks up.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 20, 2017 11:18 pm

      And so let’s be clear about the idea on the table for dissection. The idea I want us to examine is this: a U.S President should be a man or woman of great character, or relatively honorable character, otherwise disaster will ensue…

      We can’t say “must be fit for the job” because that assumes and presumes what the fit should be, which brings us back to the idea for examination.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 20, 2017 11:24 pm

        Hello Roby. Your concerns make perfect sense in the old boxes, no condescension intended. If y’all can bear with my attempt at methodical reasoning…

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 20, 2017 11:30 pm

        I’m old. I never moved out of my old box. And generally, I’m not too keen on doing so…

        The Python Monty on living in boxes:

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 21, 2017 10:53 am

        Haha! That was great, Toby. Brought back memories of my childhood, growing up in a garbage can, which stood in an alley….

        And, thanks, Pat ( and dd12 as well) for jumping into the discussion, before it devolved into the old SNL “Point-Counterpoint” parody:

        “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

        “Dan, you pompous ass”

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 21, 2017 11:31 am

        “Brought back memories of my childhood, growing up in a garbage can, which stood in an alley….”

        With your 11 ill tempered Cockatoos no doubt.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 21, 2017 11:36 am

        Sadly, I only had 10 cockatoos 😦

  77. Anonymous permalink
    February 20, 2017 11:36 pm

    U.S President should be a man or woman of great character, or relatively honorable character, otherwise disaster will ensue…

    Disasters will always ensue, like death and taxes. The disasters have an excellent chance of being much larger if the leader has a shitty character. And, the leader having a shity character IS a cultural disaster, with real consequences.

    Had it been Medvedev who was appointed by Yeltsin instead of putin, Russians would have a much brighter future and would have most likely fit fairly calmly into Europe to the benefit of everyone. But they got Mr. KGB and his poisoners instead and look where they are.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 20, 2017 11:55 pm

      For one thing, and we’ve said this before, but not as wonderfully methodically as I am…you are discounting and short-changing the entire rest of our system, including the people you admire and the institutions you admire, and the American people.

      Don’t be afraid.

  78. Pat Riot permalink
    February 20, 2017 11:50 pm

    Everyone here is more articulate than Trump. I don’t think we will have a difficult time getting unanimous agreement on a few things, including un-presidential examples of when a person can succeed in a position or situation while being less than honorable or even horrible. After I give my few examples, some will want to quickly say, BUT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF…THE NUCLEAR CODES…HE’S NOT FIT…

    Please don’t go back into your boxes! We are outside them now, floating around in dark matter with just our intellects…

    Important notes: we are not trying to prove that Trump is the right man for the job, the best man for the job, that his policies are the best, we are not trying to prove conservative principles, liberal principles, or Moderate principles.

    I am not defending Trump.

    I am questioning the idea that the POTUS must be an honorable or esteemable man or woman, or disaster will inevitably follow…

    Lets get a step done and out of the way:
    Non-presidential examples:

    Patton is an obvious example. Obnoxious wingnut. Can we agree it would be more advantageous to have Patton leading the 3rd Army (?) rather than Justin Bieber?

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 20, 2017 11:54 pm

      “Please don’t go back into your boxes! We are outside them now, floating around in dark matter with just our intellects…”

      If I send you my address will you please send me the necessary drugs or other paraphernalia to accomplish this? Its sounds great.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 21, 2017 12:08 am

        Oh it’s easy, and no drugs are needed. A person just needs to simply recall that there were times they were dead wrong about something, let’s see…such as when you and others said Hillary was absolutely inevitable (c’mon, I had to say it again!)

        and so you set all of your notions aside on a shelf to be picked up later while you look at something logically without prejudice…

        Re-curring disclaimer: I am sometimes embarrassed by Trump and am not a fan of his character, or speaking abilities.

        Now, ahem, if you will let the all-time winner of the verbosity award get back to the reasons an honorable person as POTUS is a “nice-to-have” and not necessarily a “got-to-have”…

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 21, 2017 12:18 am

        OK, but when this exercise is through I am going to repeat it on you to get you to agree that Hillary’s character was not the impediment you thought it was to the presidency either, or what ever it was that made you so detest the idea of her being president, since I am damned if I am going to give up my preconceived beliefs without a quid pro quo.

  79. Pat Riot permalink
    February 21, 2017 12:21 am

    Prior knowledge of U.S. – Soviet/Russian relations is not an advantage out here in the dark matter attempting to prove or disprove our one point. That prior knowledge is actually a hindrance. You can pick all of that back up later. Do not be afraid!

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 21, 2017 12:24 am

      Ok, agreed. I will listen to your subsequent Hillary kung-fu.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 21, 2017 12:34 am

        I have learned a thing or two from you here, and I know I will again. But hold up on that Hillary jazz just yet. I want you and others to re-consider or expand the notion/concept of President, to include a version previously anathema to your concept, another aspect, a temporary appendage, like an appendix to the side of one’s bowels (one insult Jay didn’t use yet!) , and I don’t want you to re-consider what you wish for President, not give up your values or knowledge, not change your political worldview.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 21, 2017 12:38 am

        Oh, that was just a little joke, I would not actually put either of us through that again, while you might merit it for trying to disorient my mind, I would not relish the rehash.

        My wife is winking at me. I think its time for me to toddle off tonight.

  80. Pat Riot permalink
    February 21, 2017 8:07 am

    Good night, old sport. Of course I had to sleep too, in a box, a cardboard box, in the middle of the road, and today I have to work 29 hours. Great MP sketch!

  81. Priscilla permalink
    February 21, 2017 11:35 am

    Roby, or Toby (Roby’s twin? ~ and notice, I did not say evil twin), in your readings about presidents, and their character and temperament, you might check out the relationship between Truman and Eisenhower, as inauguration day for Eisenhower approached. I often told this story when I was a teacher…..

    Eisenhower had been very critical of the Korean War, and, prior to Election Day, Truman challenged Eisenhower to come up with a way to resolve it. After the election, Eisenhower actually went to Korea, without really saying what he planned, and returned without explanation. Truman was furious, and denounced Eisenhower who was yet 2 months from becoming president, of undermining him. Of course, there is the whole sub-text of Eisenhower being a 5-star general, and Truman the commander-in-chief (who had actually served in the National Guard and fought in WWI, I think as a captain, but still…).

    There was also the time, during the Eisenhower campaign, when Truman called Eisenhower a “coward” (yes, he actually used that word) for refusing to defend George Marshall against allegations by Joseph McCarthy, who had accused Marshall of being a traitor and associating with communist traitors. Eisenhower had made an impassioned anti-communist speech, in which he had intended to defend Marshall, but then,,,,,,didn’t, leaving McCarthy’s allegations to hang out there).

    Anyway, by the time inauguration day rolled around, the Eisenhowers refused to even get out of the limo to have tea with Harry and Bess. They just sat outside in the limo, refusing to get out.

    Political tensions over Russia and how to treat not only Russians, but communists in general, have been going on for a long time. Just because Donald Trump has said some impolitic things about Putin, doesn’t mean that he is a Russian agent. Lord knows, anyone who picks James Mattis, and now H.R. McMaster, to serve in his administration would be a pretty lame agent of US destruction.

    Plus, I would suggest that we have bigger fish than the communists to fry right now……..

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 21, 2017 11:58 am

      Its a great story. Truman also fired Gen MacArthur for insubordination and negotiating behind his back contrary to his instructions.

      “The practice of intercepting and decrypting diplomatic messages of friend and foe alike was a closely held secret in the 1950s. In mid-March 1951, Truman learned through such intercepts that MacArthur had conversations with diplomats in Spain’s and Portugal’s Tokyo embassies. In these talks, MacArthur had expressed confidence that he would succeed in expanding the Korean War into a major conflict resulting in the permanent disposal of the “Chinese Communist question” and MacArthur did not want either country to be alarmed if this happened. The content of this particular intercept was known by only a very few of Truman’s closest advisers, two being Paul Nitze, Director of the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department and his associate, Charles Burton Marshall. Truman considered MacArthur’s conversations to be outright treachery and concluded that MacArthur had to be relieved, but was unable to act immediately because of MacArthur’s political support and to avoid wider knowledge of the existence of the electronic intercepts of diplomatic messages.”

      Truman’s popularity was in the gutter by the time he left due, in part, to the firing of the hero MacArthur. (So, by the way was Jefferson’s, due to his unjeffersonian ban on trade.)

      Yes, trumps appointment of Mattis and now replacing Flynn with McMaster lead me to believe that the norm has returned to that arena. Now, give credit to all the howling hair on firing and investigating and even leaking because without all that hoopla trump was initially headed in a very naive and opposite direction in dealing with the KGB master poisoner and disinformation specialist putin.

      The Commies are gone but the Russian style of government and foreign policy remains and I do not know of a larger challenge to a stable world, which is not to say that I believe every dispute between the West and Russia is a case of Bad Russia and the Good West. But we are always going to be severely at odds with Russia while anyone like putin is at the wheel, with huge consequences and dangers. Imagine one day, while making a dive bomb run at US military vessels a Russian pilot slips and crashes into the ship, with huge casualties. How quickly could that situation spin out of hand?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 21, 2017 1:24 pm

        We are in agreement on that. It’s kind of chilling that the Russian UN ambassador just died “suddenly.” I mean, he was 64, and they say he had a heart attack, but with Putin, you never know.

        And, I also agree with you that it was perhaps a critical mass of flaming hair and top secret advice that convinced Trump to choose a national security advisor like McMaster to replace Flynn.

        One of the reasons that it’s so dangerous to let political tensions boil over into these kinds of foreign policy disputes, is that a new president, especially one that is new to governing, needs a solid circle of experienced advisors. The dragging pace of Trump’s cabinet nominations can’t help in that sense. There are plenty of legitimate congressional battles to be had, like the budget soon to come out.

        And, yeah, the Truman vs. the 5 star generals is an interesting political story. In many ways, Truman was tasked ~ or certainly believed that he was ~ with re-establishing civilian military control, over the heroes of WWII . He did it, but at great cost to his own popularity.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 21, 2017 2:34 pm

        We are in agreement on that.

        It must have been the cockatoo references that chilled our normal 2 separate universes behavior for a moment of agreement. Pat is probably beaming somewhere.

        And, one thing Pat said that I do have to agree with is that I am probably not giving enough credit to the people in the country who are not trump or trumpists. In this case, everyone who helped in the effort to get Flynn out and McMaster in.

        Here is a link to a piece in the dreaded WaPo that could not be more complimentary to McMaster, written by a columnist who has no love for trump. Ha first it has a few other tidbits, like how much trump is golfing (6 times in the first month) after saying he would not do that a la Obama, and trying to hide it. But then it gets down to strong praise for the McMaster pick.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 22, 2017 11:47 am

        Since today is actually George Washington’s birthday, and we were discussing 5 star generals:

        “On January 19, 1976, a joint Congressional resolution recommended that George Washington be promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States. President Gerald R. Ford implemented the resolution by advancing Washington on October 11, 1976, further mandating that no other officer should ever outrank him. This obviously had little effect on the general, as he had been dead for 177 years”

        From what I know, even the rank of 5 star general was retired, after the death of Omar Bradley, the other 5 star army general of WWII, and 4 stars is the highest rank achievable today, and the rank that James Mattis held, before he retired.

        Now, back to arguing about Trump!

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 22, 2017 12:19 pm

        trump is a five star %^$#*&^. But we all agree on that.

  82. Jay permalink
    February 21, 2017 11:59 am

    For he who is first
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changing…

    Have Changed:

    The Century Has Broken
    David Brooks

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 22, 2017 9:12 pm

      Oh no. I went to sleep the other night and now everyone is back in their boxes, including me!

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 22, 2017 10:02 pm

        I was trying to shed myself of pre-conceived notions and concepts, floating around in dark matter with naked intellect…what was I getting at?

        Oh yeah, I was challenging the notion of what it means to be “Presidential”. Hmmm.

  83. Pat Riot permalink
    February 22, 2017 10:22 pm

    Yes, the Trump fear and loathing is more about the fact that Trump’s rough character goes against fundamental pre-conceived and accepted notions about how the world is supposed to work, how American politics is supposed to work, what the U.S. is or was in some people’s minds: exceptional, a beacon on a hill, working toward higher ideals despite its flaws…

    Yes, I was on to something. I say dislike Trump’s character if you want because you prefer a different type of character for your notion of POTUS, but understand that it’s a notion, in fact a whole basket of pre-conceived notions. I know it’s more than just an image thing, so it is different than the way the modern concept of physical beauty is thin and slender but the women in the paintings from centuries past were rounder and plumper. Not too long ago a man’s big gut was a sign of wealth and prosperity–he was eating well! I know the “presidential thing” is much more than that because we are talking about leadership qualities, virtues…these are the things we must have in a President, yes?

  84. Pat Riot permalink
    February 22, 2017 10:44 pm

    There is this thing called “othering”. We’ve been doing it since we were kids, and everybody does it. I’m bigger than that other person, or smaller, darker than that other person, or lighter. Quicker-witted. More formally educated. Wealthier. More accomplished. Michel Foucault, a French thinker (1926-1984) wrote about othering.

    This othering thing is one of the keys to understanding the Trump fear and loathing.

  85. Pat Riot permalink
    February 22, 2017 11:53 pm

    I”ll get autobiographical now because it is the best way I can think of to illuminate my point, and it will reveal where some of my populist leanings come from.

    I’ve lived my life somewhat crazily by stubbornly insisting on living in white collar world and blue collar world simultaneously, largely because my father was a loving man and best friend who was a maintenance man and back alley philosopher, and I was off excelling in the traditional education system, leading to days when I was a 30-something often changing out of my necktie and dress clothes at work, after my day of managing a research and demonstration project at Lehigh University, then putting on blue jeans and getting on a ladder with my screwgun to install LCD projectors in classroom ceilings, complete with steel anti-theft brackets that I designed myself, having a buddy of mine weld the corners beforehand, so that I could assemble the two halves with a padlock (yes, the students had been stealing projectors from ceilings).

    I thought my white collar/blue collar “dual existence” was cool, and I fancied myself a modern Ben Franklin for other reasons as well, but it was actually a career mistake of mine because professors and administrators at the University, having seen me “laboring” with my hands, soon “othered me” out of more cerebral circles and cliques I had been rising in. It isn’t the norm to do both, and I had opened myself up to a form of image confusion, had violated some of the norms of their group identification, and, whether they felt superior to me or threatened by me or both, I was treated differently, and I understand the half-truths of such prejudices.

    Of course many people experience their own forms of prejudice at different levels.

    This may give a slight hint to my aggravation with the ccondescending attitudes prevalent in the liberal media during 2016 and contuing to present. It isn’t difficult to imagine some of the “othering” that affluent coastal liberals have done along the way in their lives. (Let’s stereotype right back!) As accomplished people who are also politically liberal they identify with “the higher ground” as opposed to
    “lesser, more barbaric things” and this identification is personal and also for their concept of what the U.S. should be, and then along comes Trump and a populist movement. Of course they are saying, “not my President!” But it is less about policies and economic theories, and more about self identification, notions about what they thought the U.S. was,
    and othering. Why would they support a candidate or President who seems to be less than them?

    Nope, I’m not done yet. Roby has been waiting for me to open up, and I think I’m finally getting there….

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 23, 2017 12:53 am

      And so, what my dual existence had taught me deeply and poignantly, besides the prejudices and misunderstandings, is that the skill sets often do not transplant well, in either direction.

      Now it is commonly and generally assumed that many blue collar folks lack the education and sophistication to function at a high level in white collar world, and certainly there is truth to this, albeit conditional/with exceptions.

      Arguably, the reverse of this is not nearly as well communicated in our culture–that more sophisticated skill sets sometimes do not transplant well to functioning at a high level at blue collar tasks and objectives, and not merely because the blue collar jobs are “beneath” the white collar folks, but because the skill sets are different. In more than a few situations, more sophisticated skills and habits are actually a hindrance, and this is part of the reason why some populists don’t trust elites to “get the job done,” and why they give Trump a pass on some of his roguish behavior. It is not uncommon for blue collar foremen and supervisors to be “assholes,” and sometimes they have to be, and so it is not as worrisome as it is to higher-minded liberals accustomed to more politically correct behaviors. In fact, in many blue collar environments, non politically correct behavior is a way to get through the day, to entertain, and it is not an indication of job performance. In a professional office setting, something offensive may be grounds for termination. On a loading dock or construction site they laugh and get back to work.

      And we have to be careful not to be judgemental here. They are different environments, requiring different norms to survive and succeed.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 23, 2017 12:58 am

        Of course I’m generalizing. White collar folks can also be offensive and laugh and get back to work, but the differences I’m talking about do exist, and these differences are part of our current political divide.

  86. Pat Riot permalink
    February 23, 2017 1:36 am

    And this is no condemnation of what I’ve been bluntly calling white collar world, as of course there are virtues and vices at all levels.

    But it is a calling out to those who have forgotten, or who may never have fully realized, how very different people can be, and how functionality can be achieved at all different levels, and how thankfully there are people who are in their glory doing things we want no part of. The cliches are correct that it takes all kinds of people “to make this world go around,” i.e. for society to function. Some people crave the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas, while other people prefer quiter country. It is a mistake to think our way is the prescriptive right way that should be adhered to. We forget that the very opposite sometimes works for other people.

    And so what is this amorphous concept of being “Presidential,” this basket of characteristics? Are all these characteristics necessary to functioning as President? Which traits are most important? Why do some people find Trump refreshing when he says the U.S. is not so innocent, but others are offended and shocked?

    I suppose you are receiving a draft of a book I should write. I’m sorry for being long-winded for this format. I’m almost done!!!

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 23, 2017 2:06 am

      I’m making the claim that the former notion of what it meant to be Presidential is a subjective notion, and a “nice-to-have” but not a “got-to-have,” for the job, and that the liberal left’s refusal to accept Trump is more about their self identification–that they have “othered themselves” separate and away from things that seem brutish and beneath them and lesser than them, and that the reason they fear disaster is that this is strange to them and opposite to them and counter to them and their expectations, a violation of their value preferences, but they should remember that there are more ways than one to skin a chicken.

      Suppose we had elected Steven Hawking the physicist as POTUS. Let’s suppose Mr. Hawking let others do the traveling and hand-shaking for him because of his disability. We could also say that Hawking’s speaking ability would not be the norm. Many on the left would look past these shortcomings or changes to the norm because they would identity or relate with Hawking as a physicist, or as a scientist, or as an intellectual, etc. They’d be willing to sacrifice some of “presidential” if they thought Steven would work for them for climate change or what have you.

  87. Pat Riot permalink
    February 23, 2017 2:20 am

    After all of this, I can’t stop now! It still doesn’t add up to all of Jay’s fear and loathing grenades.

  88. Pat Riot permalink
    February 23, 2017 3:25 am

    I’m not just ranting from a populist amen camp over here. There are a million examples of working class folks who could have avoided trouble if they would have followed the architect’s design or a manager’s direction. It works both ways. I understand top down and central planning. They have their place. I get it.

    What I’m against are prescriptive progressive elites who forget about the diversity and the differences, who have been in one bubble so long they forget that up is down when you flip it around. The Founders understood and designed a structure to protect individual rights and liberties. Some elites have been undermining that structure. One doesn’t need to debate this in an abstract way. Just look at where the money has gone and is going. Just drive out of the affluent areas of America and take a good look at what has happened.

    I like Trump because of what he is and what he isn’t. I”ll judge him by his results. Many on the left are attacking him for the wrong reasons, because his existence pops their bubbles. They should get a grip and focus on policies. Many progressive lefties had no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny, and no God, but they had their bubble about their exceptional and high-minded U.S., and their high-minded selves, and Trump just doesn’t fit with that. Good night.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 23, 2017 1:06 pm

      Well, maybe MY beloved parents are what you might call progressive lefties Your beloved father was blue collar, mine was a liberal college professor. But, he was always building something in his off time, a workaholic, that’s how I came to build several of my own houses and work on cars, etc. You are defensive (maybe sensitive?) of slights aimed at people like your dad, but, oh oh, time for my sensitivity to tingle as well, my “high-minded” parents (who were born and raised far from well to do) have good values too, and we had Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and church (Unitarian, if you can call that church, Ha).

      I was always neither fish nor fowl my whole life and my work history shows it. Its not easy to be an odd duck like you are and I am. Some people will appreciate you and many won’t get you at all.

      I met plenty of kids in school who I am sure went on to very blue collar lives, quite a few of them gave a skinny, bookish, violin playing kids like me the business. I am sure that most of them grew up to be mostly harmless, but I do remember the Assholes very, very well. I met plenty of decent folks and some truly flaming assholes working in factories, as a mechanic, working construction, and in the Army. And I met assholes in the white collar world and the academic world as well. There is a little asshole engine in the human brain, and whatever track a person’s life takes, its still there. But there is often a very different flavor of asshole, more goonish and brutal, when the engine resides in the blue collar (do they really wear collars, let alone blue?) guy (or gal).

      I think you have some romantic notions about the world of labor.

      Interesting, my reading now has moved to Jackson’s time and has revealed that all this ideology about capitalists and labor and fair play to workers was fully formed and completely recognizable in modern form in the early 1800s. The 1% and concentration of wealth a complaining about it and trying to overthrow it or balance it out is NOT a new idea, not at all. Which gives one some idea about how hard it is to “solve”.

  89. Priscilla permalink
    February 23, 2017 9:47 am

    Wow, that was great, Pat, and, if I didn’t have to rush off to a conference today (a white collar extravaganza, trust me), I’d comment a bit more, but, it will have to wait until after a few more links from Jay.

    “In a professional office setting, something offensive may be grounds for termination. On a loading dock or construction site they laugh and get back to work.”

    This (in general, anyway) is extremely key to understanding the Trump phenomenon ~ and it is a phenomenon ~ and generally overlooked by both the left and the right. As I’ve mentioned in the past, my husband has spent his career in the construction business. Of course, as an engineer, manager, owner, etc. he is a white-collar guy….but one who has always admired and enjoyed the more “earthy,” genuine talk of the blue-collar types that he works with. And that is not to say that they are all salt of the earth types, because many of them are earthy, genuine a**holes, lowlifes and druggies. But that is the minority. And it might be an even smaller minority, if it weren’t for certain unions.

    Anyway, these guys ~ and gals, because there are women in the construction trades now (I used “gals” because I used “guys”, even though that word is so 50’s!) come from very diverse backgrounds, and most of them quickly learn that race, religion and politics are open topics on the work site, and very little is considered taboo. This is as opposed to the office environment, in which the most minor, politically incorrect term can get you in major hot water.

    Trump was and is very popular in the blue collar construction world. Because of his policies,yes, but also because of his “rough” talk, which is considered taboo- breaking, So, that’s my comment for this morning….off to the conference.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 23, 2017 11:57 am

      GALS???? Gals?? Just what are you suggesting, Priscilla, that we go BACKWARDS to the 1950s??? So, you’re a mysoginist sympathizer, eh? Probably a racist too. I’m offended. I might have an anxiety attack now. Will my employer pay for a new therapist? I think my dog needs a therapist too–he seems depressed lately. Haha, where does all the sensitivity end?

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 23, 2017 12:39 pm

        Ha, funny. But the problem is that laws and norms and regulations, etc. have to be sort of “one size fits all”. Can you have one set of laws that applies to white collar workers, another for blue collar workers, another for rich guys that were born on third? If trump can grab women by the whatsis and invade dressing rooms of naked contestants and brag about it and blue collar workers think, Wow, Cool, now we’re talking, then what does that mean for my daughters?

        There are actual cases (geez, FOX news, apparently) where real shit happens that should be prevented by society by norm and by law. Its all very funny to find the cases where hypersensitive people are going overboard, usually on campus, but what about the people like Ailes and trump who go overboard in the other direction. Do you have a daughter? Anyhow, you have a wife. How do we find the middle ground? It ain’t easy and trump has made it worse. the trump era will come and go, leaving the overly sensitive activists with a whole new bag of weapons. If only the world were filled with reasonable people. We need laws and norms for when people aren’t reasonable, that is the issue.

    • Jay permalink
      February 23, 2017 8:47 pm

      Things to keep in mind about the average construction worker:
      Their IQ is around 90 (100 is average – I’ll give you the link if you want it)
      They seldom read books (hardcover or iBooks).
      They generally make bad political decisions (the Vietnam Nam Era Nixon Support).
      They’re in the top 10 of professions with highest divorce rates.

  90. Anonymous permalink
    February 23, 2017 2:17 pm

    Pat, I do agree with you that I could be placing too much emphasis on teh POTUS and not having enough faith in other Americans. Here is an article to gives me hope that a moderate America based on common sense and common decency does still exist and will be up to the task of minimizing trump’s damage.

    ‘Greatest threat to democracy’: Commander of bin Laden raid slams Trump’s anti-media sentiment”

    “William H. McRaven, a retired four-star admiral and former Navy SEAL, defended journalists this week, calling President Trump’s denunciation of the media as “the enemy of the American people” the “greatest threat to democracy” he’s seen in his lifetime.

    That’s coming from a man who’s seen major threats to democracy.

    McRaven, who was commander of the secretive Joint Special Operations before he retired from the military, is the man who organized and oversaw the highly risky operation that killed Osama bin Laden almost six years ago. The admiral from Texas had tapped a special unit of Navy SEALs to carry out the May 2011 raid of the elusive terrorist’s hideout, a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock reported shortly after bin Laden’s death.

    McRaven left the military in 2014 after nearly four decades and later became chancellor of the University of Texas System. The UT-Austin alumnus, who has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, addressed a crowd at the university’s college of communication on Tuesday.

    “We must challenge this statement and this sentiment that the news media is the enemy of the American people,” McRaven said, according to the Daily Texan. “This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”….”

    • Jay permalink
      February 23, 2017 4:46 pm

      When I’m feeling abysmally depressed about America, for surcease of sorrow I watch episodes of nightwatch, the reality TV series that follows EMTs and Firefighters and Cops on call in the evening hours in various urban cities.

      The 4th season is in progress now, and episodes of Season 3 is available on Demand. Season 3 follows a core group of magnificent, caring, thoughtful public servants in New Orleans. It ignites and sparks my optimism (temporarily at least) to see them do their jobs with a mix of professionalism, respect, and care.

      Of course I soon see that good feeling evaporate with unstopping episodes of Trumpomania, an unceasing reality TV downer.

    • February 23, 2017 5:40 pm

      “A” is hard to determine just how the negative slant to the press has on democracy in the country. There has always been “editorials” and those have been on the opinion page of the newspapers. But one can look back on FDR and his affair with Lucy Mercer, or JFK and the Kennedy’s affairs with multiple women, including Marilyn Monroe that most every news person knew about, but kept quite, and see how the press today is so different than the press of yesterday.

      I am not saying that those issues with morals, marriage and other affairs should be kept quite. I am not saying that the press should not cover any issue, but when the press chooses to cover one and not another then, in my opinion, they have become something other than “a free and independent press” and have actually become a political arm of one candidate or another.

      A free press should cover all stories the same. That is why they are free so they report anything that is of importance to the citizens, When they choose to cover up issues when they are negative to their political party, then they are no longer free and independent.

      And I do not include any personality on cable TV news after the 6:00 news hour as they are not reporters. They are editorializing issues they find important to their political issues. No one can convince me Maddow, Orielly, Hannity or any of these other clowns on after 7:00 pm are journalist. To me, they just are blow hards that have found a following.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 23, 2017 6:03 pm

        Front page headline, as in their top story. Wtf?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 23, 2017 6:06 pm

        Ron P, I agree.

        “When the press chooses to cover one and not another…”

        Bingo! Or several incessantly…

      • Jay permalink
        February 23, 2017 8:24 pm

        “A free press should cover all stories the same”

        What does that mean all the same?

        The “press” is huge and diversified, and REGIONAL. Media in Texas sees things differently than media in New York. They cover news, or omit news, or filter news through their own regional biases. Which is determined In part by the views and beliefs and prejudices of the people who pay for that media.

        And the most egregious examples of filtering are Conservative media. This is certainly true recently of FOX and numerous local tv news stations and newspapers who have been ignoring all but the major Trump idiocies – but even they got uppity with him when he spouted the The Enemy of the People remarks,

      • February 24, 2017 1:19 am

        Jay, I have tied to avoid commenting on most everything on this article since it is just a rerun of the former Trump article. But i will respond to the news coverage question you left.

        Covering the news “the same” is what I would expect from a free and independent press. If the government enacts legislation or the President issues an E.O. on any issue, I would expect them to read the legislation, report the legislation as written and report it if they agree with the actions or do not agree with the actions. If they have a corporate position on that subject, then that should be posted in the editorial section.

        For instance, there is legislation being proposed in NC to change HB2 transgender bathroom legislation. Both the liberals and conservatives oppose the legislation. But in most all the articles, as well as the TV news coverage, the story line is “the republican legislators” oppose the bill. There is little to no reporting that “Equality North Carolina Executive Director Chris Sgro said anything but a “clean repeal of HB2” is “a distraction from the real issue.” Other liberal leaders and organizations have taken that same position with little to no reporting of that fact.

        This is clearly biased reporting. People deserve to know all the truth, not part of the truth. If all the newspapers and TV news outlets support complete repeal of this bad legislation, then that needs to be in an editorial and all the reporting on the front page should include all the facts, not just facts one decides is pertinent to their own agenda.

        And the same holds true for federal legislation/E.O’s.The free expression of political facts and truths is one important aspect of an open and democratic society. However, when the expression of political facts that leave out critical aspects that can change the beliefs of many when those facts are not known is no longer “free expression of political facts and truths”, but are now distorted facts and partial truths to support a political agenda.. And that biased reporting can lead to decisions made by the public based on piss poor data.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 23, 2017 5:58 pm

      Roby, you are one of my favorite “left-leaning moderates” or moderate liberals (if I may categorize), but we are apart on your last two posts.

      I thought I used enough qualifiers and disclaimers that you wouldn’t think I was condoning Trump’s worst behaviors, nor do I desire a loading dock mentality for POTUS. I was focused at the other end of the spectrum of reactions where people are losing their minds and lamenting the end of civilization.

      On your next post, I think Billy McRaven is dead wrong or was approached to give that opinion (who knows?). The media is not a monolith (to use your term) or a silo. There’s a whole range of media entities from despicable to responsible to retarded. Yesterday or the day before the USA TODAY front page headline was “Trump’s circle favors men 2 to 1”. Wow, that’s really desperate and ridiculous. Maybe they are running out of attack ideas?

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 23, 2017 6:01 pm

        Front page headline, as in their top story. Etc?

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 23, 2017 7:01 pm

        This complimenting thing you are pioneering here is very effective. You are my favorite Pat Riot. I have no idea how to categorize your politics, and if I tried, chances are good it would lead to a failure in the compliment department. I can say that you do Pat Riot better than anyone.

        “I was focused at the other end of the spectrum of reactions where people are losing their minds and lamenting the end of civilization.”

        This reading program I have started on the presidents has been very, very helpful to my understanding of American political history. Its quite clear to me that people have been hysterical forever about politics and presidents. They were hysterical long before the president was followed everywhere by a guy with a suitcase that Could literally end civilization as we know it.

        The press has been a nest of vipers forever, but you know what Pat, we are all adults and can navigate shit and shinola. McCain was correct and I love how he said it:

        “I hate the press,” the Arizona Republican sarcastically told NBC News’ Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.” “I hate you especially. But the fact is we need you. We need a free press. We must have it. It’s vital.”

        But he continued, “If you want to preserve — I’m very serious now — if you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and many times adversarial press,” McCain said in the interview. “And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That’s how dictators get started.”

        That was as priceless, as good as Barry Goldwater telling Jerry Falwell to shut up.

        Conservatives as a group (not individually, since there are plenty of conservatives like Ron who Can tell Shit from Shinola) long ago became no one to talk about media distortions, what with FOX and Breitbart and Daily Caller and hundreds of shock jock conservative commentators like Rush and Anne Coulter. The real Fake News was pioneered by putin and taken up by Breitbart, its a fake, complete and total fake, not a distortion or a sin of omission or biased emphasis, just an out and out fake, propaganda, invention. Bannon’s world.

        I have written up a little analysis two times, you probably saw at least one of them where I pointed out that the least detested presidents in my lifetime, Ford, Bush the elder, and even Carter, were the ones who got just one term. The detested ones who make the opposition turn purple got two. Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, W, and Obama. (OK, Kennedy got shot and Johnson got 1.3 terms and Eisenhower who was president when I arrived was not divisive and got two anyhow, different times). So, I am in favor of not losing perspective and I’d urge other trump opposed persons to stay calm. But,I’d have a lot more calm about me if the dem party were not utterly lost and useless.

  91. Jay permalink
    February 23, 2017 6:32 pm

    For you Etymology Enthusiasts:

    Webster’s 1913 Dictionary


    n. 1. Deceit; fraud.
    2. Something serving to deceive by false show or pretense; falsehood; deceit; worthless but showy matter; hence, things worn out and of no value; rubbish.
    The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither,
    for state to catch these thieves.
    – Shak.
    Upon the coming of Christ, very much, though not all, of this idolatrous trumpery and superstition was driven out of the world.
    – South.
    a. 1. Worthless or deceptive in character.

    WordNet Dictionary
    Noun 1. trumpery – nonsensical talk or writing
    Synonyms: codswallop, folderol, rubbish, tripe, wish-wash, applesauce, trash
    2. trumpery – ornamental objects of no great value
    Synonyms: frills, gimcrackery, gimcracks, falderal, folderol, nonsense

  92. Jay permalink
    February 23, 2017 8:28 pm

    What, They Don’t Want To Come To Trump USA?

    “The Travel Press is Reporting the ‘Trump Slump,’ a Devastating Drop in Tourism to the United States”

    “Experts across the travel industry are warning that masses of tourists are being scared away from visiting the United States, and the loss of tourism jobs could be devastating.”

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 23, 2017 9:19 pm

      Roby, I’m glad you are less panicky, somewhat less worried, though justifiably concerned, as many of us moderates are in seeing the hysteria from both sides. I’ve had my “time to run for the hills” days this past year and a half. (A private water well is one major priority if the hysteria escalates too far.)

      I’m also glad you are somewhat encouraged by Trump’s picks regarding U.S.-Russian relations. Since you have some insider knowledge, I’m relieved that you are slightly relieved.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 23, 2017 11:54 pm

        And I’m relieved that you’re relieved that Roby is slightly relieved!

    • February 24, 2017 1:33 am

      OOPS, they left out one pertinent piece of information. This has been going on for a couple years as the dollar strengthens against foreign currency.

      Supports my thoughts on biased reporting.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 24, 2017 9:27 am

        OK, you are upholding my characterization of you as one who can tell shit from shinola.

        BUT… how are the conservative outlets of the MSM doing, any better? Not a rhetorical question, I would like your opinion.

      • February 24, 2017 1:24 pm

        “BUT… how are the conservative outlets of the MSM doing, any better? Not a rhetorical question, I would like your opinion.”

        I reviewed my previous comments and find where I said nothing concerning the liberal or conservative press and biased reporting. I did use the example of NC HB2 reporting only to support the issue of selective facts.

        With that said, “ALL” of the MSN is selective in reporting its news. Fox News constantly attacked Obama for decisions he made, but when congress did something that was questionable, they ignored it. Now as for Trump and Fox news before the election, they had as much negative comments about him as the other news outlets until his election and now they are falling all over themselves to play nice.

        You comment about Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley and how they covered the news. Try to find anything about marital indiscretion with JFK or J Edgar Hoovers underworld connections and his sexuality. How would that play out today?

      • Jay permalink
        February 24, 2017 3:43 pm

        “Try to find anything about marital indiscretion with JFK or J Edgar Hoovers underworld connections and his sexuality. How would that play out today?”

        Those subjects were taboo in the media back then. Not only the MSM but on radio and tv too. They were not subjects of ‘polite conversation.’

        Now the opposite is true. You can’t turn on any broadcast or cable TV drama that doesent have semi-pornographic make-out or bedroom scenes between characters, with dialog that would have gotten you arrested in the 1950s and 60s.

        Overt sexuality in viewable entertainment is now standard world wide in the industrial democracies. I’m a foreign movie devotee. recently I’ve viewed films or series from Germany, England, Australia, France, Japan, South Korea, Sweden. All share similar raunchy sexual preoccupations and attitudes, like those dominating our own broadcast TV.

        (ASIDE: I’m now watching the 10 episode joint French-English police drama ‘The Tunnell’ which tho somewhat illogical is captivating: action filled, surprising twists, compellingly odd characters, visually interesting locations).

        Not only do sexual mores seem to match our own in the industrial nations, a lot else is similar as well. They have the same class distinctions: equating with our Liberal-Conservative arc, they have techno-educated vrs dense-under educated lower rank working class. The lower class native-born are depicted as brutish and racist. The hero characters are more open and diverse. The rich are smugly self-interested and aloofly obnoxious everywhere. Desirable woman characters are fiercely feminist, sexually liberated, financially independent, and as capable of brutality as their male counterparts. Children older than 12 are snotty brats disrespectful of their parents, most of whom are divorced or separated.

        Why is this ‘liberal’ creative narrative consistent across so many different national divides?

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 24, 2017 10:51 am

        “BUT… how are the conservative outlets of the MSM doing, any better? Not a rhetorical question, I would like your opinion.”

        Part of the problem is that hard news should not be easily identifiable as “liberal” or “conservative.” News reporting should stick to, as much as possible, the quantifiable facts, and not editorialize. I think that there are still some serious news reporters out there, but not many.

        News has become entertainment, and TV news stations ~ all of them~ are, in general, more interested in ratings than in accuracy of factual reporting. Newspapers, the print versions of which have 3 feet in the grave, rely on their online versions to remain profitable, using clickbait and paywalls. Serious journalism is going – or has already gone – the way of the dodo.

        What we generally get these days is more accurately termed infotainment, not journalism.
        When young people are getting most of their “news” from The Comedy Channel, MTV, BuzzFeed and Facebook, it’s highly unlikely that they are seeing much in the way of unbiased journalism.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 24, 2017 10:53 am

        Sorry, I know the question was to Ron. I jumped in.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 24, 2017 11:35 am

        Yes, you did, three lashes with a wet noodle. But it was a good answer, although not a direct one to my precise question. I do not watch FOX, as I do not watch any TV news. But my understanding for example was that the report that said that something like 6% of the Clinton foundation money went to actual good works, when in fact it was more like 90% was reported as “news” not commentary. And that is not news, that is lying that would get a retraction and have a reporter fired at the NYTimes, WSJ, NBC, ABC, etc, except that they would not print it in the first place.

        Your characterization of the infotainment instead of news is good, we can probably all agree.

        A person who wanted to be well informed and was will to work at it could read the NYTimes and the WSJ, both of which in my opinion do have standards of balance, accuracy and fact checking, and then read the more credible right and left of center magazines, National review, Foreign policy, the Atlantic. If one did all that they would get serious attempts at covering the news from right left and center. Read the huffington post and daily caller or whatever and you are simply torturing yourself for nothing.

        It would be interesting to compare the network news of the 60s-70s: ABC, CBS, NBC, somehow to see whether they are much more biased now or much lighter now than they were in the days of Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley etc.. I do read their website news at times (rarely) and it seems to me to be relatively OK, that is, from the center.

  93. Pat Riot permalink
    February 24, 2017 2:50 pm

    Priscilla, your last post regarding the media was right on target. (I hope my joking about the GALS was not ambiguous. I haven’t disagreed with one of your posts for as long as I can remember.) Ron, I also agree it is not just about the ideological slant of what is reported, but what is chosen or not chosen to be reported in the first place.

    No surprise that I agree with the Infotainment description of much of MSM, a.k.a Corporate Media, but also the alternative upstarts soon begin to play the game to pay their bills.

    To make it worse than just being shamefully ratings/profits/advertising–driven, in the sense that they have to grab people’s attention in sensational ways to generate money, there is also the fact that they are not going to throw their sponsors and friends under the bus, unless they have to cut ties. A 3rd layer of trouble is that the Rupert Murdochs and Ted Turners of the world ARE politically motivated AND profit-motivated. So if you’he got a 600 million dollar defense contact, or a few of them, and a particular political candidate is a threat to your contracts, you’re going to allow stories that smear your competition, and you’re going to omit stories that tarnish your allies. These are humans with human nature, and these are business people.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 24, 2017 5:45 pm

      I just caught a “news” report from NPR on my car radio regarding Trump’s CPAC speech. Might as well have been Jay giving the report. So much mocking, actual sniggering…I think two of the guys can’t possibly be fully aware how negative and non-objective they were being. I turned it off twice, cringing, but then forced myself to listen to it. NPR is predominantly lefty-liberal anyway, but I wish I had recorded it so I could mail them a transcript with their mockery underlined. And I don’t believe National Ppublic Radio fits the Corporate model at all because if the donations, though there are sponsors and no frills advertising.

  94. Jay permalink
    February 24, 2017 3:49 pm

    Fuck Trump.

    WASHINGTON — Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

    Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend.

    • Pat Riot permalink
      February 24, 2017 5:49 pm

      I like it. CNN is a propaganda machine anyway. It’s not like Trump only invited Hannity and Fox, haha. If these agencies can’t shift toward objectivity, then good riddance.

      • Jay permalink
        February 24, 2017 7:10 pm

        You’re full of shit.

      • Jay permalink
        February 24, 2017 7:27 pm

        I hit the post button by mistake before I finished.

        CNN is a moderate news source, reliable and cettainly more objective than FOX. They reflect my perspective far more often than FOX or other conservative slanted news sources. Same for The NY Times. And the LA Times. Which were also banned from the substitute briefing. This is an evil bold attempt o control news Trump doesn’t like. If you think that’s good, you’re an asshole moron.

        Here’s the objective ‘news’ FOX presented for morons like you to digest this morning on their site:

        -Trump tells CPAC: Time for all Americans to get off of welfare and get back to work.
        -Kellyanne Conway back in media spotlight she never left.
        -Pence at CPAC: Obamacare is about to end.
        -Hannity at CPAC: Trump needs your help to be successful.
        -Trump blasts leakers after report of FBI, Priebus talk.
        -Chicago violence prompts Trump Tweet.
        -Dems reportedly plan total war on Trump.

        Get the message, Ron? You have the audacity to disparage CNN for not being objective when FOX is a publicity arm of the RNC, distorting truth by omission hourly?

        I’ve had enough of you. You’re an asinine idiot not to be outraged at attempt this blayently Anti America to control press freedom in the US. Too blockheaded to waste any more time dealing with you, or anyone else this stupid here.

        I’m done with you

      • February 25, 2017 12:23 am

        Jay, shut the fuck up if you can not address the correct person that sent you the message. I never said one damn thing about CNN nor did I say anything about Fox. I said the press was biased because they pick and choose what they want to report and make the news slanted in their political agenda. I was not even commenting on the thread that you posted this to. My comments were two or three threads before this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Now go back and read what I posted and you will find “You’re an asinine idiot” that is outraged at words that I did not write and your the one” too blockheaded to waste any more time dealing with you, or anyone else this stupid here.”

        I stopped commenting on anything you posted weeks ago because your comments added nothing to this site other than cut and paste of someone else’s comments. When you become smart enough to form an conscious opinion using reasoning and not pulling thoughts out your ass, then it might be worth addressing that thought.

        Good riddance if you do leave and go somewhere else. Maybe The Moderate Voice will better fit your needs where anyone having an opinion right of Bernie Sanders is chastised like you do anyone here that does not fit into your narrow thinking.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 24, 2017 8:02 pm

        Jay, I recall, as a kid, replying to taunts with the rhyme “I’m rubber, you’re glue ~ whatever you say bounces off me, and sticks to you.”

        That rhyme is particularly applicable to you in this instance. It’s not Pat who is full of it, it’s you.

        Much of the press has been in high dudgeon over this, yet don’t seem to have any problem with the outrageously inaccurate and biased reporting that has been going on, ever since Trump won the election. Just last week, the president gave a 20 minute statement, and then answered questions about anything and everything, for almost an hour and a half. A great deal of news could have been written about that press conference, but CNN chose to make the headline that the president was “unhinged.”

        Obama routinely held private, off-the-record press briefings, as did Bush. And they only invited their favored outlets. Trump has been very accommodating, allowing many more news outlets into the daily briefing and Spicer has taken many more questions than his predecessors.

        It’s about time that news outlets start reporting actual, fact-based news. But, right now, they are hell-bent on destroying this administration, just as they propped up the last. I fully expect that much of the mainstream press~ including Fox, I would assume~ witl begin to boycott the press briefings after what happened today, and it will be to their detriment, as other, more credible news sources will get the information and report it honestly.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 24, 2017 8:11 pm

        The problem is that utterly unobjective people are demanding objectivity. What their idea of objectivity would look like to me would not be how it would look to them.

        There are a lot a ways this war can play out and many of them boomerang on trump and his enablers in the fullness of time. We will see.

        If true objectivity were the standard and there were a way to enforce it, then all the outlets I suspect that you believe in most would go out of business, Priscilla.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 24, 2017 8:39 pm

        “There are a lot a ways this war can play out and many of them boomerang on trump and his enablers in the fullness of time. We will see.”

        I actually agree wth you on that, Roby. (I don’t “believe” in any news outlets, by the way, you should have picked up on that by now. I just dis-believe in some more than others).

        I think that Trump could lose his war with the press, but I think it equally likely that the press loses. As you say, time will tell. Well, you didn’t say that, you were more poetic, “in the fullness of time.” Same thing ~ we’ll all have to wait.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 25, 2017 9:08 am

        dd12, here is my question about the FBI CIA and all of the other 3 letter initial agencies of the intelligence community: why is it all well and good to leak information that may be harmful and/or embarrassing to the administration, and not to clarify when that leaked information is published in a damaging and inaccurate way? (it’s a general question, not aimed at you in particular)

        James Comey is not turning into J Edgar (at least I hope not!), but he certainly has some interesting ideas as to when and how the FBI comments on investigations. Ideas that seem to hurt both parties, and put Comey in the power position.

        As I understand it (and I’m linking the CNN report here, so no one ((!!)) accuses me of using pro-Trump sources, it was the Assistant FBI Director and Comey who told Priebus NOT to worry about the investigation that the NYT had headlined, about the contacts with Russian spies telling him that it was BS “….the officials said McCabe “asked for five minutes alone” and called the reports “BS.””

        So Priebus, who is trying to respond to the untrue BS reports from NYT and CNN, and a bunch of other outlets now picking up the story, and is told that he may say that “highly placed sourcesl” told him this wasn’t true. “The officials said that Comey later called Priebus to echo McCabe’s message, that he believed the story to be inaccurate, but that the FBI could not “get into the position of making statements on every story.”

        So, Comey was fine commenting on Hillary’s ingoing investigation, but is not fine commenting on false media reports alleging treasonous contacts by Trump associates that continue, despite the fact that outlets such as CNN know them to be false?

        The intelligence community, important as it is to our national security, has become a big part of the swamp that needs to be drained.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 25, 2017 9:30 am

        It makes my head hurt to even read your question. I’d rather solve a series of partial differential equations than try to follow it.

        Here is a line from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court that I allowed my students (when I was in grad school, teaching bio labs) to use as a get out of jail card for a question they could not answer once a semester if they could memorize it.

        “”Verily, in the all-wise and unknowable providence of God, who moveth in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, have I never heard the fellow to this question for confusion of the mind and congestion of the ducts of thought. Wherefore I beseech you let the dog and the onions and these people of the strange and godless names work out their several salvations from their piteous and wonderful difficulties without help of mine, for indeed their trouble is sufficient as it is, whereas an I tried to help I should but damage their cause the more and yet mayhap not live myself to see the desolation wrought.”

        Substitute Comey for the Dog and and trump for the onions and it works out.

        I will agree that the US now has a problem with intelligence agencies that we thought we had seen the end of when J. Edgar Hoover left, er, died.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 26, 2017 9:47 am

        Haha, fair enough on the convoluted wording.

        And, yes, once the intelligence agencies can intentionally let a president ~ any president ~ twist slowly in the wind, when they know a damning story to be inaccurate, we all have a very big problem.

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 26, 2017 9:51 am

        Or presidential candidate. Hillary got badly screwed as well. Intent is hard to prove and may not have been there in either case.

  95. Jay permalink
    February 24, 2017 7:28 pm

    I done with the site as well.

    • Priscilla permalink
      February 24, 2017 8:10 pm

      Take a break and cool off, already, Jay. Your Trump derangement has left you with no sense of humor or perspective.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        February 24, 2017 8:27 pm

        I suppose I’m made partly of rubber, because nothing that was said bothers me in the least.

        Anyone who thinks CNN is a moderate site is living in a bubble. It is professionally produced, it’s not sloppy or amateurish at all, which makes it that much more dangerous for its consistently liberal bias, often outrageously so. There are clips available.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 24, 2017 9:40 pm

      Ah, you will be back old warrior. But time off would from the whole sad saga would be good for anyone’s soul.

  96. Priscilla permalink
    February 24, 2017 8:31 pm

    Roby, I would like to get your take on this interview. It’s from the Tucker Carlson show on Fox, (I know, I know, but it’s just an interview) and the guy is a former Bush administration Energy official ~ I think a Deputy Secretary, or something ~ who has a take on the Putin/Trump story that is a bit different than the narrative that Trump is Putin’s puppet, but offers a rationale for why Putin might want everyone to think so.

  97. Priscilla permalink
    February 25, 2017 9:29 am

    I know you haven’t had a chance to respond yet, Roby, but I do recall your admiration for Walter Russell Mead. He has weighed in on the Putin/Trump story, so I’ll add his take as well. He concludes with a comment on the current press coverage:

    “America needs an intellectually solvent and emotionally stable press to give this president the skeptical and searching scrutiny that he needs. What we are getting instead is something much worse for the health of the republic: a blind instinctive rage that lashes out without wounding, that injures its own credibility more than its target, that discredits the press at just the moment where its contributions are most needed.”

    Hear, hear, WRM. It’s not Trump who will take us down, It is the atmosphere of blind rage.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 25, 2017 9:58 am

      “Hear, hear, WRM. It’s not Trump who will take us down, It is the atmosphere of blind rage.”

      Can’t it be both (and more?)?

      Do you really believe that had Hillary been elected we would not also be witnessing blind rage? In that case from the people who own most of the guns, who were chanting “throw her in jail” at the convention? I’m sorry, the POTUS just should not be a man who grabs women by their genitals before saying “hi, I’m donald, pleased to meet you” because he is a rich celebrity, among ten other things that trump is that the POTUS just should not be, including the perpetrator of a scam university, etc. who won the electoral college but lost the popular vote by 2%. We have been set up by history for this turbulence.

      There was no shortage of rage in the conservative world, including its branches of the MSM during Obama’s time. And then there were the W Bush years filled with rage after 911 and then a different rage after the invasion of Iraq, all that wasted blood and trillions and destabilization of the middle east. There has been a tension forming on many fronts, race, income, wealth, ideology, geography, and religion, to name some festering sores, that requires an earthquake apparently to release it, but god only knows how much the earthquake will destroy. . trump himself has been full of incontinent rages, most often trivial ones. trump is the seed, the raging rich child around which the storm is coalescing. My prose is turning purple, I know.

      I’ll read the Meade, I was just wondering whatever happened to him. He is a bit of a know it all, but a talent for sure.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 25, 2017 10:36 am

      So, I read it. I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.

      Vlad putin has over clevered himself again. he does that a lot recently, he is not the master chess player he is often taken for. trump is in fact his nightmare and now liberals have taken up the position that used to he the conservative position on putin’s management of Russia.

      There is a very reasonable other explanation that Meade steers clear of, because he is spinning a narrative of his own about the media and liberals.

      trump was actually doing things that he shouldn’t ought to have been doing, things conservatives would have been quick to turn purple and call treason had a democrat done it. putin and his secret services were gleefully helping, with an assist from assange. They got what they wanted.

      Then, they got caught.

      Everything changed.

      Thanks to who? The people who caught them, the media and the people who screamed loudest, the liberals and McCain and Graham and other similar responsible conservatives who finally bent trump off his original foolishness of putin footsie games.

      trump version 1.0 the candidate was compromised to putin. trump version 2.0 the electee was likewise. trump version 3.0 the post-media/liberal firestorm post-Flynn exposure changed course drastically. Mattis, I am sure, helped. Again, I give trump credit for Mattis, he did a good thing, whether he understood how it would impact his Russian trajectory or not (I think, not).

      trump was doing these traitorous putin cozy things more stupidly and naively than cleverly, but he is a grown man and is the POTUS so he needs to be held accountable anyhow, and stupidity is not a viable excuse.

      On a different angle, Meade treats the media, the press, as a monolith, ho hum. I am not going to take anyone very seriously who takes that line, the media, the press is incredibly diverse, even the liberal and conservative press and far from being monoliths. All the same, that adversarial media coverage and the leaks and the outrage changed trumps path towards being putin’s nightmare from being his naive pliable buddy. Thats a good thing isn’t it Priscilla?

      Perhaps the media is actually doing its job and its working, at least vis a vis putin?

      • Anonymous permalink
        February 25, 2017 10:55 am

        Here is a particularly wrong and uninformed thing Meade wrote:

        “What is happening instead is the identification of the largely ineffective and symbolic sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea as the gold standard of anti-Russia policy. ”

        In fact, yes, the sanctions are the best card the west had, really the only playable card. They are not Obama’s solution, they are the west’s solution, Merkel’s, Poland’s, France’s, Britain’s. NATO’s.

        I once was rather impressed with Meade. Little by little I came to the idea that he seemed to believe that he knows everything about everything about foreign policy because he is a fluent writer and can tell a story well. There are very few such people (foreign policy know everythings) and none of them are political commentators. The few people who have the knowledge that Meade projects having have worked for the State Department or comparable experience for decades. Meade thinks he is Henry Kissinger. He ain’t. And he really is way off the mark on the Russian sanctions, they have had a real effect, and putin hates them and views them as an outrage to be removed.

        If Meade believes that the west had anything better he is free to describe it in detail. If we are very unfortunate trump will take him on as SOS if Tillerson is a bust and then we will see how little Meade understands, which clearly ain’t nearly as much as he projects.

      • Priscilla permalink
        February 25, 2017 9:02 pm

        Well, it’s back to 2 different universes, Roby.

        I still have a great deal of respect and admiration for Mead. His foreign policy experience is vast, and he has always been a political centrist, willing to criticize policies of both parties. Ironically, his bio states that he was the Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, and served with Kissinger on the Council on Foreign Relations from 2003 until 2010. So, he may be no Henry Kissinger….but he’s learned from him.

        The interview that I linked before the Mead essay is interesting because that guy believes that Putin wants the world to think that Trump is his puppet, because Putin is politically weak at home, and hopes that he can strike a bargain to keep Crimea if he can convince Trump that Russian will help the US in Syria. Makes sense to me.

        But then, it also makes sense to me that this whole bogus story of Trump being a Putin agent came directly from the Democrats, who could not believe that Hillary lost, and had to feed a different media narrative to explain their failure. If that narrative gets in the way of a GOP president’s foreign policy, who really cares? He’s a traitor anyway, right?


      • Anonymous permalink
        February 26, 2017 9:39 am

        “because Putin is politically weak at home, and hopes that he can strike a bargain to keep Crimea if he can convince Trump that Russian will help the US in Syria. ”

        Thats daft. Crimea was part of Russia, is again part of Russia and there is no doubt about it. No force could remove it. putin is not hoping to keep Crimea, He IS keeping Crimea, period. He is hoping to get the sanctions removed and be back in G8 etc. He is in Syria for a number of reasons: the Russian navel base, regional geopolitics, expanding the Russian economic sphere, and because its an incentive for the west to treat Russia more carefully in the future.

        Mead has more experience than I realized point for you, but his column was very weak and failed the journalism test that you Pat and Ron have set, it left out so many obvious facts in order to form an overly simple theory that woudl satisfy his subscribers, who by this point are mostly conservatives. He had started to sound fairly conservative last time I checked him out and he sounds even more so now.

        I don’t think that trump is a manchurian candidate and I doubt that many if any serious people do. Thats a nice silly straw man for Mead to knock down. I do not think trump is loyal to Russia rather than the US, that Would Be a ridiculous charge to make against him, adn I don’t think democrats/liberals believe that unless they are wackoos. Simply, he tried to get away with getting an assist from putin and favored Russian lies over the American intelligence agencies, because he is clumsy, arrogant, and inexperienced. He is not trying to sell America out to Russia, who thinks that? His traitorous acts fall way short of being a sort of Benedict Arnold. IF investigations reveal that he had far closer ties to Russian security forces during the campaign than he is admitting that is grounds for impeachment and we should have Pence and he by rights should be in Jail. You do not run an American campaign for POTUS with backchannel Russian help from the FSB and a dictator playing his own game of lying.

        I say again, if it was a democrat you would be using the word traitor just as much as I am using it for trump.

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