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Reflections on 10 Years of High Hopes and Vexations

July 8, 2019

Ten years ago this month, I wrote my first column for The New Moderate and sent it into cyberspace. Its title: Independents Day!

I had actually launched The New Moderate two years earlier as a series of fictional three-way conversations on important topics, featuring a cranky conservative, a sniffish progressive, and the eminently sensible New Moderate. These whimsical pieces were fun to write (and you can still read them today), but by mid-2009 I was ready to do serious battle with the hobgoblins on the right and left – those malign forces that were tearing the country apart with their biases, distortions and sinister genius for creating discord.

Fed up with the stereotypical image of moderates as political milquetoasts, I channeled my inner Patrick Henry and deliberately dramatized the revolutionary potential of a movement based on fairness, balance and common sense. I fired my first salvo and hoped I’d reshape the political landscape. (Doesn’t every political blogger set out to change the world?)

My inaugural column set the tone that I hoped would attract legions of like-minded political misfits who couldn’t identify with either end of the political spectrum:

“Today marks the beginning of our quiet moderate revolution — a long-needed movement that will forever erase the image of moderates as timid, noncommittal nonthinkers who shy away from controversy. Jump into the fray with your own comments… trade opinions with other independent thinkers… and help make the world safe for commonsense ideas that serve the common good. Ideologies are for people who can’t think for themselves. We can do better.”

My New Moderate mission statement, another salvo filled with defiance, hope and high purpose, took the fight even further:

“We moderates are no longer a featureless midpoint between the extremes of right and left. We’re a movement about to be born. If we succeed, we can stop the domination of America by extremist ideologues of both camps — without silencing their voices…

The right and left thrive on their knack for distorting the truth to serve their partisan agendas. Unfortunately, this manipulative strategy works for them: they draw countless disciples to their ranks. But we moderates can do better… let me rephrase that: we need to do better. Desperately. Now. …

Eventually our moderate movement will gather the momentum we need to turn it into a political force. We could even be breaking ground for the creation of a sane, much-needed, long-overdue third party in American politics!

The excesses of the right and left have shown us that special-interest agendas no longer serve the wider interests of the people. The time is right for moderates to make their mark. Not the timid old moderate of popular stereotype, but the fiery NEW MODERATE who can no longer stand to see the truth distorted by self-serving extremist visions.

We’re opinionated, we’re impassioned, we’re ready and willing to break taboos in our drive to make truth and sanity prevail. So take heart, all you embattled moderates: the middle is about to strike back. Let the rebellion start here.”

Today I look back on my rousing call to action with a sad smile. How empowering it felt to launch a righteous movement! And how sobering to realize that today, ten years later, moderates are more marginalized than ever.

The extremists have not only taken over the conversation… they’ve essentially taken over our government. Moderate Democrats and Republicans are reviled by the true believers in both parties. And of course, the media cater to one camp or the other; moderates still don’t have a single cable station or influential online news source to call their own. Social media like Facebook and Twitter have come to resemble battlegrounds lit up by overheated insults and self-righteous whoops from the partisans in the opposing trenches.

I’ve tried to compete with the fanatics, believe me — but aside from inspiring a handful of other moderate bloggers, I’ve made scarcely a ripple in the national pond. CNN’s website recognized The New Moderate in the early going, and their attention helped boost our readership. But as the decade wore on, the chronically contentious American political climate began to fray me at the edges.

We’ve moved from one divisive horror show to the next: the Tea Party… birthers… hostile PC police on college campuses… police shootings of unarmed blacks… the Black Lives Matter movement and its distorted narrative… the triumph of identity politics… alt-right militias… the antifa (anti-fascists using fascist methods)… the ongoing defamation of white males (along with dead white heroes who might have been unintentionally racist)… white supremacists carrying Confederate and Nazi flags… illegal immigrants streaming across the border by the hundreds of thousands and being herded into concentration camps (or given free perks if they elude the authorities)… the ever-widening wealth gap between the one percent and everyone else… Islamic terrorists and right-wing terrorists… the #MeToo movement (i.e., men are presumed guilty if accused by a woman)… mass shootings by crazed (and mostly young white) males… transgender people insisting on using opposite-sex bathrooms and participating in opposite-sex sports… mega-Afro’d Colin Kaepernick and his ongoing beef with our national symbols… and, of course, the uniquely grotesque reign of the uniquely oafish President Donald Trump.

As I contemplated the horrors of our times and despaired of fixing them, the frequency of my posts dwindled from several times a week to once a week and eventually once a month — with occasional longer breaks for vacations and the recharging of intellectual batteries.

Will I continue to sound my moderate yawp above the din of battling partisans, even when it seems hopeless? Even when progressives accuse me of reactionary tendencies and conservatives call me a socialist? Even when The New Moderate is still an obscure nook on the Internet after ten years of impassioned and eminently sensible pontificating?

Shouldn’t I retire meekly to the sidelines, then, and content myself with long walks in bucolic green settings?

Hell no! When both the right and the left have gone off the rails… when half the country hates the other half and we’re edging toward an irreparable rift… when far too many Americans are living in ideological bubbles and can’t see beyond them… we moderates are more essential than ever. As the ideologues threaten to rip America apart, the center must hold. That’s us. I’ll continue to hold the center until my time is up, and I hope you’ll join me. 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three essay collections are available for Kindle on Amazon for $2.99 each. (Just search under “Rick Bayan.”)

185 Comments leave one →
  1. Priscilla permalink
    July 9, 2019 12:27 am

    I was your first commenter!

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 11, 2019 12:28 pm

      I checked. Sorry to say that my old friend and neighbor, Jim Buist, was the first. But you’ve been the most faithful. Thanks for sticking with me all these years and adding your always-insightful commentary.

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 11, 2019 12:47 pm

        Ah, it was solo g ago, I must have “mis-remembered” ( as the politicians always say. 😉 I have some thoughts to add to the comments on this very excellent column…just haven’t had time to type them out yet. Happy Anniversary to TNM!

  2. July 9, 2019 12:59 am

    Rick, Sorry this is long!

    Ten years ago this country was in a very different place than it is today. Ten years ago most political thinking was not based on emotions, and if it was, it was not as wide spread nor was it as communicated.

    Ten years ago Barrack Obama had just taken office and everyone was worried about their jobs, their homes, how they were going to pay the bills and what the heck they would do if they were retired because their retirement funds had gone up in flames.

    After the economy smoothed out and jobs became secure for those that still had them, retirement funds began to recover, the country was enthralled by the fact we had a black president.

    We then had a series of issues that began what I believe was the shift to emotional responses to issues and not logical responses. We had the Henry Lewis Gates arrest that Obama got into the middle of when he said “….Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home, and what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there’s a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.”. He then got into the middle of another issue with Trayvon Martin when he said if he had a son he would look a lot like Trayvon. Both of these issues were a president getting into an emotional argument for cases that needed to be based on facts.

    Further division took place with gay marriage. Why anyone cared about two people of the same sex marrying was none of anyone’s business other than those two people, but those on the right played on emotion because gay marriage was going to destroy marriage in the country as we know it. However, rights of those that did not agree with gay marriage was trampled on when bakers lost businesses, were fined and finally won cases years later when they refused to use their artistic aptitude to decorate cakes. Refusing to sell a product to gays is one thing, refusing to use artistic abilities based on religious beliefs is another. We also had rest room arguments where those that had emotional feelings of a certain sex were allowed to use the facilities of that sex, regardless of their biological sex. There were screamers saying women and young girls were going to be raped, which seems to not have happened. Those against that law used emotions to try to change the law.

    We have had a healthcare debate in the country since Obamacare and now this has all but been eliminated. The argument for Obamacare was people are going to die because they cant get care, but no logical argument has been provided by any party to propose a system that does not infringe on others right to refuse to buy a private product. Such as an actual study and proposal for Medicare or medicaid buyin with premiums based on the individuals income. That was never an honest alternative because the insurance companies were totally against something like that. Just look at their profits since Obamacare to see the impact that had for them.

    We have had years of gun control debate and that has mostly been emotional. It always comes back to a total gun ban will happen because the emotional argument works. That and the fact many do not trust government to stop once they get started.

    And now we see the emotional reaction to the huge increase in the number of illegal immigrants. Coyotes in Central America know that they can sell the families now on going to America, they can file for asylum, be released and maybe never show up for their hearings. That has not happened, but the emotional argument about people drinking out of toilets has taken front page, even though the sink is part of the toilets since they used prison style stainless steel units with the sink above where the tank usually sits. The change that has occurred since Obama administration faced the single males coming to the country is vastly different than the family migration taking place today.

    And those on the far left and the far right are the ones manipulating the emotions through cable TV, prints media and social media. Just a nut case with a sliver of technical ability can spread hate and discontent far and wide in just hours, fanning the emotional responses.

    All while those that call themselves moderates hide in the shadows wondering how this country got so screwed up.

    • Donna permalink
      July 9, 2019 8:57 am

      Well said Ron. However, for me “hiding in the shadows” is too strong a phrase. It feels more like getting shouted down. There’s no opportunity for humor or civility in our discussions these days. I’ve grown weary of it. Your summation was spot on. Emotions are the driving force and easily manipulated by media, cable, and print. We’re all too willing to jump in a story that promotes an agenda.

    • Donna permalink
      July 9, 2019 9:15 am

      On second thought Ron, I think you may be right about hiding. LOL!

    • dhlii permalink
      July 9, 2019 3:49 pm

      I disagree with some of your points, but the main theme is absolutely correct, though there is no sudden point of demarcation 10 years ago.

      The shift in politics started 40+ years ago. It accelerated int he past 20, and again 10 years ago.

      This shift has had many facets – but the gist of it is the politics of emotion over substance.

      Facts do not matter. Everything is an opinion, and any opinion except that of the far left is not merely wrong, but evil.

      Young people are demanding safe spaces – not from actual violence, not from real harm, but from words they do not like. It is not enough not to listen – no one must be allowed to hear.

      We are very nearly living Orwell’s 1984 with “thought crime” and “New Speak”.

      Though there are specific points at which this became worse, the evolution has been gradual hand has taken 40 years – not just 10.

      Trump is just about the total antithesis of all of this – and THAT is why he is so hated.
      He must be impeached, destroyed – not because he has broken a law, but because he has the audacity to laugh at the left wing nuts. That is his great great – embarrasing them. Making them look like fools.

      But we are wrong to think this is somehow about Trump.
      The core problem has been many decades in the making,
      decades before Trump came down an escalator to run for president.

      Trump is not the actual problem, he is merely the man pointing out there is a problem and laughing at those who are the problem.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 11, 2019 12:35 pm

      Good observations, Ron. Overheated emotions might be the common denominator in the extremist successes at both ends of the spectrum. And of course, the prevailing emotion seems to be anger.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 12, 2019 4:16 pm

        You can place as great an importance as you please on emotion inside your own life.

        You may not use emotion as a basis for the use of force against others.
        Therefore emotion has no place in discussions about government.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 12, 2019 4:31 pm

        “I tend to skew a little left on economic issues, but only because of the widening gap between the rich and everyone else (aided by low taxes on capital gains and other perks). I tend to skew a bit to the right on social and cultural issues,”

        I am not sure that I would agree with that assessment of you.
        I do not think you are that “bad” – because economically liberally and socially conservative is very “unmoderate” and about as far from libertarian as you can get.

        I do have problems with “labels” – even “moderate” – they all misrepresent a complex world and complex issues as simple. Or they paint the world as one or two dimensional.

        I am economically conservative – and honestly any other position is pure idiocy.
        We are all far better off today that a decade or 2 or 4 go, and that has been true for almost 500 years. That is a consequence of the western enlightenment.
        Which is inherently economically conservative and socially liberal.

        The specific fixation that you claim appeals to you – the concern about the fact that others might have in your view undeservedly done better than you is the CORE of the worst of the exact same period of time. The french revolution is the epitome of this inequality nonsense.
        And it ended in copious blood and tyranny, as had every similar effort since.

        I would have zero problems boycotting “master cake” or other socially conservative groups.
        But I will absolutely oppose the use of force to compell them or anyone else to behave as I wish. That too has a horrible history – though not near what the economics you claimed has done.

        While I do think you are more left of center than you perceive yourself – you are far more actually moderate, than “socially conservative, economically liberal”.
        The extreme end of “socially conservative, economically liberal” is actual fascism.
        And you are not fascist.

  3. Donna permalink
    July 9, 2019 9:04 am

    Rick I’m very happy to hear that you’ve decided to continue. Once again, I welcome an opportunity for spirited discussion without drawing blood.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 11, 2019 12:41 pm

      Thanks, Donna. I probably shouldn’t have written that I’ll be at it “until my time is up” (that sounds like either a life sentence or a short life expectancy, or both). But I’m not giving up the struggle for sanity anytime soon.

  4. July 9, 2019 9:50 am

    Rick, We need you! Don’t let the haters drown out your voice. Thanks for keeping it going.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 9, 2019 3:59 pm


      Welcome. But please let us all be careful about how we toss words like “haters” about.

      Ron correctly notes that alot of what is wrong with politics is that we are fixated on emotion rather than substance.

      But it is worse than that.

      we can disagree with each other and still manage to share a country and even work together.

      It is harder – but we can call each other names, we can call the ideas of others stupid or idiocy.

      Worse still we can call out opponents idiots or stupid and maybe still walk back from that.

      But once we lob moral hand grenades, there is no backing down.

      When you call others racist, mysoginist, sexist, biggoted, liars, hateful hating haters, it is near impossible to back down.

      At that point one side or the other must “win”, any other resoltion is nearly impossible.

      I do not know if you are left or right, or “a little bit of both” but it does not matter.

      Contra to so many on TNM – we do not have to compromise to get along – sometimes compromise is valueable, sometimes not. But we do have to live with each other, and that is very very hard to do once you have morally tarred and feathered those you disagree with.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 11, 2019 12:43 pm

      My pleasure, kb. (I know who you are!) And thanks again for sharing on Facebook.

  5. Robert Perkin permalink
    July 9, 2019 1:22 pm

    RP–Hi Rick. For some reason, your comments only reach me occasionally. I’ve been a fan ever since reading The Cynics Dictionary many years ago, and have enjoyed your posts and the comments they stimulate (when I have received them). You are a welcome voice in the wilderness. Please fight on.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 11, 2019 12:52 pm

      Thanks, Robert! (I remember your name — did I send you an autographed copy of The Cynic’s Dictionary?) I hope you get my posts more regularly in the future. If you’re on Facebook, you can “like” The New Moderate — I post links to each new column.

  6. dhlii permalink
    July 9, 2019 3:37 pm

    While we ARE more polarized today than in the past, and I am increasingly concerned that this does not end short of violence and destruction,

    We have two huge problems over the past 10 – though alot of the data says 20 years,

    1). The left has moved left, hollowing out the center, not only that the left has become more intolerant – especially of its own members. Left leaning journalists can not even condemn antifa violence. The democratic debates could just as easily been debates in comunist Russia or China.

    2). decades of following Alynsky by the left have resulted in the entire left confusing Alynskies political tactics with Truth. Even the right has started adopting Alynsky’s tactics – Trump is pretty adept at them. Alynsky is NOT about solving problems. Alynsky is about WINNING. Alynsky is about the DESTRUCTION of your opponent.

    When we complain about PC, the term PC is euphamistic. It obscures the fact that PC is about tar and feathering your opponent as evil.

    When you pronounce those you oppose as evil – you had better be right, because there is no coming back.

    The fact that there are two sides to every conflict does NOT mean the middle is the answer.

    Jerry Falwell is dead, as is Fred Phelp’s and Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson is 89.

    The evangelical religious right has almost no power today in politics.

    In 2008 Obama opposed Gay marraige, in 2016 there is no consequential figure on the right that is making an issue of Gay marriage.

    If you are making the argument that there is a consequential “extreme right” today – then you are blind to reality.

    The Tea Party – which is close to the current extreme right fringe of the GOP is NOT “extreme” – not compared to any of those I listed above, or to Jesse Helms, or Strom Thurmond, or even to Sen. Sam Ervin(D). Frankly the TP is only barely distinguishable politically from …. Bill Clinton.
    The left has shifted so far left that fiscally conservative democrats do not exist anymore.
    That Bill Clinton would be a “right wing loon”.

    “We’ve moved from one divisive horror show to the next:”

    “the Tea Party”
    What is wrong with the TP ? They might be on the right, but they are in no way “extreme”,
    There is not a TP issue that was not shared by Blue Dog Democrats 3 decades ago.

    ” birthers…”
    Need I note that the While birther thing was STARTED by Sydney Blumenthal – Hillaries dirty tricks point man, who is also involved in the Steele Dossier and selling it to the FBI.
    And DEMOCRATS are currently “birthering” Kamala Harris.

    “police shootings of unarmed blacks…”
    This is absolutely something we should be concerned about.
    Or more importantly just demanding better behavior from our police.
    BUT …… we also need to not be complete idiots.

    No one who has ever posted at TNM is more “extreme” than I am in reigning in police.
    BUT we have to recognize at the same time – this is NOT the Bull Conner era.
    Things have improved greatly.
    The number of police shootings of unarmed people – not just blacks is MINISCULE.
    One is way too many, but it is WAY WAY WAY down.
    The rate of violence overall – by all of us – police includes is WAY WAY WAY down over my lifetime. Yes, we can and should do better, but if you are making a major end of the world crisis over something that has improved by a factor of 3 in 50 years – the BIG problem is with YOU.

    “the Black Lives Matter movement and its distorted narrative”
    I have zero problems with BLM.
    I have major problems with the fact that the left more broadly worships them and accepts everything from them unquestioningly.
    We need groups like BLM to draw our attention to their problems.
    But WE – not they, need to see the world as it is. The problem with BLM is not BLM, it is that every victim group in the US has been imbued by the left with biblical authority.

    “alt-right militias…”

    Really ? First Militias might be “extreme right”, but they are NOT alt-right.
    Those two things are not the same. If you actually bother to find out about the actual alt-right, they are indistinguishable from the nut jobs on the left. They buy the same racial identity politics, they share the same restrictive views on free speech, they share the same socialist approach to government. They only differ in which racial groups they think are oppressed.

    Actual Militia Groups are primarily people who want LEFT ALONE.
    Few are paying attention, but the religious nut job Bundy’s actually won all of their conflicts with the federal government. Federal Courts found that the FBI deliberately and improperly targeted them. That the FBI did not follow their own rules of engagement and violated their rights. That the FBI was the most likely group to engage in violence.
    I do not share the views of the TP, or the Bundy;s or the militia groups – but my disagrement with them does NOT make them radicals or extremists. Or a threat to the nation or anyone else.

    Many of our past heros were deeply flawed people.

    Absolutely we should call out their flaws, but we MUST remember their accomplishments too.

    What our founders did was incredible – no matter how big a racists some of them were.

    “white supremacists carrying Confederate and Nazi flags…”
    Every single time that occurs anywhere in the US today – you will get a news story.
    It is an incredibly rare event. The KKK staged a rally recently – 5 people showed up, 600 Antifa showed up. The KKK and white supremecists are NOT a consequential threat to the country. There are 10 times as many Antifa in Portland right now as they are KKK and Neo-Nazi’s in the whole US.

    Absolutely the KKK and Neo-Nazis are wrong.
    For the most part they are more powerless and pathetic than anything else.
    It has been 20+ years since there has been an actual violent KKK or Neo-Nazi hate crime in the US. It has been only a few days since the last antifa hate crime.

    “herded into concentration camps”
    When we misuse language we make communications impossible.
    There is no comparison here to the holocaust. There is no comparison to even the incarceration of the Nissei during WWII.

    These immigrants came thousands of miles VOLUNTARILY, knowing they could be incarcerated. Everyone of them is free to return to the country they came from at a moments notice. They have a choice between go home now of your own free choice, or be detained until your hearing – which you have less than a 5% chance of winning.
    They are CHOOSING to to be detained.
    Maybe we should do better, but it is nonsense to pretend this is involuntary incarceration.

    “the ever-widening wealth gap between the one percent and everyone else”

    Look at the actual data. There is not an “everyone else”. what is happening is that the income curve is being flattened and stretched. There is no bump where the middle class used to be. The range of incomes that qualify as middle class are much broader today than 4 decades ago. Most of the middle class today would have been called “rich” 4 decades ago.

    Regardless, if you are green with envy because someone else has more – YOU are the problem. You are better off than you were 10 years ago, 20, 40 years ago.

    “the #MeToo movement”
    I am MOSTLY happy about #metoo. It is quite obvious that the degree of hidden sexual harassment in our culture over the past 40 years – even today is egregious.
    While I am not interested in the claims that women are significantly discriminated against in terms of pay, or oportunity in the workplace today – the data just does not support that,
    I am increasing cognizant that there is alot of sexual harrasment and misconduct, that misconduct is NOT divided by ideology. I beleive that the abusers are the exception not the norm, but we have still been turning a blind eye to them for far too long.

    BUT just because I beleive there is a significant problem, does not mean I beleive every single claim of misconduct.

    Always when you open the floodgates – you get lots of riffraff along with the torrent of legitimacy. Obama discovered a version of that with unaccompanied minors. He moderated US policy towards unaccompanied minors and their numbers multiplied by a factor of 100 in a bit more than a month. If people with legitimate claims of sexual misconduct get well deserved attention – there will ALWAYS be a rush of illegitmate claims to follow.
    It is NEVER correct to believe everything you here – not from any group – no matter how oppressed. We still should not confuse the false claims with the overwhelming evidence of a real problem.

    “mass shootings by crazed (and mostly young white) males”
    By the actual numbers – the majority are NOT “mostly young whites”.

    The fact that violence overall is diminishing in the US means that the exceptions stick out all the more. Yet there is still more violent death in chicago in a year (even just some weekends) than there are mass shooting victims in a decade.

    Mass shootings are an intractible problem. It is nearly impossible to prevent intelligent mentally distrubed people from killing numbers of people if they want.

    As europe has noted – the strictest of gun laws do not prevent terrorists from getting AK-47’s. and do not prevent them from killing people with Trucks either.

    “transgender people insisting on using opposite-sex bathrooms”
    Outside of public schools most people DO NOT CARE!!! There are only a very small number of people on the right who care.

    “participating in opposite-sex sports”
    This is a Left on left conflict – beween feminists and the LGBT community.
    While some on the right are cheering on the feminists, mostly straight white men do not give a damn.

    “mega-Afro’d Colin Kaepernick and his ongoing beef with our national symbols…”
    The “football” issue was resolved quite well without government by the marketplace.

    I suspect that Nike will similarly come to regret pissing on “Bettsy Ross”
    Regardless, the marketplace will decide.
    Wise businesses try to avoid controversies like these.

    “the uniquely grotesque reign of the uniquely oafish President Donald Trump.”
    DT is an incredible paradox – how is it that one of the richest men in the country, connects so incredibly well with “the great unwashed” ? Regardless, even your own language is telling.
    You can like Trump or dislike him – but increasingly he is the Republican Bill Clinton.
    He is a successful president that his political opponents hate with a passion. He leaves alot to be desired as a person.
    I still can not bring myself to vote for him. But I am quite tired of the nonsense about him.
    He is NOT some great threat to democracy. He is at most a weak threat to the unelected (and elected) elites – both left and right, who are used to doing as they please.

    This “grotesque oaf” has done numerous things that 20 years of presidents have promised without delivering.
    The US embassy is in Jerusalem.
    We have the least active military conflicts that we have had in decades, and that is reducing with the day.
    The economy may not be “roaring”, but it is doing far better than the “experts” predicted.

    When Trump has repeatedly and arrogantly said he knows better than the generals or other experts – on the one hand – he has proven he really knows nothing, but on the other he has absolutely proven that he knows how to get things done.

    All of Trump’s accomplishments have been done without congress, and without going outside the rule of law.

    I do not agree with Trump on many issues – but if this is “grotesque oafishness” then “please sir can we have more”

    I would suggest something else. I do not think Trump cares much how you insult him. He is just going to insult you back. I think he revels in the spotlight. I think he is actually having fun as president.

    But his supporters do care. One of the reasons that Trump won was anti-pc backlash.
    He is a bizarely messianic figure for his supporters – they have been hated and despised by so many and he makes it clear – despite his wealth that he is one of them.
    When you are ranting about the racism, mysogyny, bigotry of the majority of americans – Trump makes it clear you are attacking not merely his supporters but HIM. and they may not be able to fight back – but he can. Because you attack him – that makes him their leader.

    The criminal misconduct that was the Obama Whitehouses approach to the Clinton and Trump candidacies might never be fully exposed. But there is no substance to the attacks on Trump regarding the election. Most of us may not fully understand the breadth and depth of the significance of that. But it is still having an impact. You can not sustain this anti-trump hysteria forever without substance, and each week diminishes what little substance there ever was.

    Most of us are not paying attention to the new discoveries of Mueller corruption and conflicts.
    I would strongly suggest reading about Deripska now that he is starting to speak. He not only further undermines the entire Trump Russia nonsense, but the case against manafort, as well as providing a serious conflict of interests for Mueller, and demonstrating that Hillary probably tanked the rescue of an FBI agent who was being held hostage in the mideast.
    He also provided Mueller with exculpatory information regarding Manafort that Mueller DID NOT share – that is a brady violation – that is serious and could well cost Mueller his convictions.

    Elsewhere the Mueller report is undermining Muellers own work. It is increasingly evident from the Mueller report that NOTHING beyond the CrowdStrike report points at Russia for the DNC hacking. Mueller has backed away from claims he made in his indictments, which he has never had to prove in the report.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      July 11, 2019 2:08 pm

      Dave — I’ll try to get back to you when I have time. Meanwhile, thanks for adding your informative (and well-informed) comments here. Even when we disagree, I respect your views.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 20, 2019 8:18 am

      Dave, I just read this entire comment, and it’s excellent. I saw a Pew study that showed exactly what you’ve described ~ that the left has moved very, very far left, and the right has moved a little left.

      THe extreme right is so small as to be completely powerless and without influence. It’s only value is as a bogeyman for the left wing media (but I repeat myself), in situations like Charlottesville, in which they can make a few dozen skinhead-types appear as if they are a national threat.

      The extreme left is growing in size and power, and becoming more intolerant and violent.

      The Overton Window has moved relentlessly leftward, and I fear that Ron’s continued warnings that we are like the frog in the slowly boiling pot, are warranted.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 10:24 am

        “The situation at Charlottesville”.

        Antifa proved they could beat the shit out of those on the alt-right and no one would care.

        We have seen the continuation of that in the subsequent two years.

        Throughout the country Antifa is actively beating the crap out of groups like Patriot Prayer – which are NOT “alt-right” and getting away with it.

        Recently they hospitalized Andrew Ngo – a gay asian, and the media paid zero attention – because Ngo has been critical of antifa and the left in the past.

        We had an antifa member firebomb ICE – and the press said nothing.
        In fact CNN had this particular Antifa member on several times in the past.

  7. Donna permalink
    July 9, 2019 10:32 pm


  8. July 10, 2019 5:17 pm

    Rick, you are the most sane voice on the Internet.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 10, 2019 7:22 pm

      This blog is more of a moderate right wing blog than a purely moderate one, as I have seen it. You won’t make big waves with that, because it is boring and slightly backward leaning, as is all right wing focus. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. But do give yourself permission to acknowledge the horror show of “alternative facts” and emotional power plays over logic and reason, love and freedom. Then maybe you can see where your “boring” begins. Have courage. Decry pining for the past. Stop whining. Only then will be able to attract others to non-extremism.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 10, 2019 10:54 pm

        “This blog is more of a moderate right wing blog than a purely moderate one, as I have seen it. ”

        Nope, to the extent that Rick is not centrist – he is slightly to the left not right.

        If you think otherwise – then I would suggest you live in a left wing bubble.

        There are comenters here from the right, left and libertarian perspective.

        I would also strongly suggest a reality check. Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps are dead.
        The “extreme right” is pretty close to non-existant.

        Most of the views that are called “extreme right” today were held by blue dog democrats a few decades ago. Many were held by Pres. Clinton and some even by Pres. Obama at one point.

        “You won’t make big waves with that, because it is boring”

        Many aspects or reality are boring.

        “and slightly backward leaning”

        Of course they are. we do not abandon what works – even if less than perfectly for every shiny new thing dangled before us. A functioning society is inhernetly backward leaning.
        We must test the new carefully before adopting it.

        “, as is all right wing focus.”
        What is “right wing ?”

        The Nazi’s are purportedly on the extreme right. They were culturally conservative.
        As were Musolini’s fascists. At the same time they were completely socialist.
        Right ? Left ?

        Alan Derschowitz – the epitomy of 60’s liberalism is unwelcome on CNN today and welcome with open arms on Fox. Derschowitz has not changed – but the left has. Progressivism, post modernism are ill-liberal. but they are the left today.

        “But do give yourself permission to acknowledge the horror show of “alternative facts” ”

        What convoluted rhetoric – does it even mean anything ?
        Regardless if you are going to assert something so pretentous – you are obligated to support your claim.

        “emotional power plays over logic and reason, love and freedom.”
        You seem to be confusing the modern left with the modern right.

        “Then maybe you can see where your “boring” begins. Have courage. Decry pining for the past. Stop whining. Only then will be able to attract others to non-extremism.”

        It is the left that is fixated on the past. You had 8 years, you blew it.
        That past is being slowly shredded.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        July 11, 2019 1:10 pm

        I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saddled with the “too conservative” and “too liberal” labels. (That means I must be doing something right — right?)

        There’s actually a grain of truth to both labels: I tend to skew a little left on economic issues, but only because of the widening gap between the rich and everyone else (aided by low taxes on capital gains and other perks). I tend to skew a bit to the right on social and cultural issues, but mainly because the left totally controls the conversation now — and anyone who disagrees is tagged as a racist and/or reported to the thought police.

        In other words, I see myself — and my brand of moderate politics — as balancing the boat when it tips to one side or the other.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 12, 2019 4:45 pm

        The balancing the boat analogy presumes that we know where the balance point is.

        The “extreme” right of my childhood does not exist today.

        We can debate as an example how greatly Trump should be vilified, but if you are claiming Trump is somehow “extreme right wing” – then you are blind to reality.

        I have recently and repeatedly compared Trump politically to a blue dog democrat.
        But Trump is LEFT of blue dog democrats.

        Trump adds elements of chaos to our politics that lots of us – myself included do not like.
        For some the dislike reaches to total outrage.

        We can debate the moral importance of chaos – but it is NOT inherently right or left,
        But it IS what creates the strongest negative reaction to Trump.

        I have read several articles recently that essentially argue that Trump turns Alynski’s rules for radicals against the left. I think that is a very accurate observation.
        I think most of Alynski’s tactics are immoral and wrong.
        But it is unbeleiveably hypocritical for those who have spent 50 years practicing them to fume in outrage against someone who has mastered them.

        Regardles to my point – your “balancing the boat” analogy presume that we know where the balance point is, further that we know that the purported balance point is somehow good.

        The existance of two perspectives diametrically opposed does not lighten one iota the requirement that they – as well as anyone offering an alternative – whether in the middle or anywhere else, must PERSUADE people of the MERITS of their position,.

        Something is no more true or false, because it is in the middle than at one extreme.

        We use force – Government, only when we can justify the use of force.
        True and false do not care about ideology – not even moderate ideology.

    • Rick Bayab permalink
      July 11, 2019 2:03 pm

      KP — Thanks so much for the appreciative comment. I just hope my sanity holds up amid all the madness around us these days.

      • Rick BAYAN permalink
        July 11, 2019 2:04 pm

        A typo on my own name — see, I’m starting to unravel already. 😉

  9. vermontadowhatiwanta permalink
    July 11, 2019 9:45 pm

    Nice piece Rick. By all means continue, Please.

    There is nothing new in the world as far as human behavior goes. The main driver of history always and today is… Vast impersonal forces. Technology, science, human nature, greed, love, fear, curiosity, war, ignorance, capitalism, knowledge, the forces of nature… No one can truly master these forces or much control where they go and what they do in the big picture. We are all just going along together for a ride on the wave of time carrying our delusions of grandeur with us.

    History does of course move quickly forward. Americans my age have lived their lives under the best general conditions that humans have ever lived under. We also have more destructive power at our disposal and have much more impact on the natural world than previous human societies. So, these forces have their pluses and minuses but above all they are impersonal and amoral and generally indestructible. Some people make more noise or have more positive or negative impact than average, but history would go about to the same place in the end without any particular person, movement etc. The Beatles, Hitler, Einstein, Gandhi, these kinds of people give history its flavor and maybe change it a bit in a temporary way.

    The political world is depressing, of course, and I guess its nearly always been depressing for as long as there have been politics. There have been some eras of more general hope than others. We ain’t presently located in one of those eras. Politics is simply the science of manipulating opinion and power to get one’s way. Of course, politics and war go hand in hand, if you can’t win with words and appeals to either logic or emotions, then blow something up, that might work.

    So, I’ve stopped reading almost any news, that has done wonders for my life, mood, and personal achievements, as I knew it would. I focus now on what I can change, my own circumstances and my family’s. If something giant happens they will tell me. Meanwhile, yawn, I have no enthusiasm for being a part of this uninspiring mess of a political system. No one is as powerful an actor as they believe they are or are made out to be by the makers of opinion, myths and legends. Anyone who is annoying me today in a political sense will be dead in a matter of years or decades anyhow. Meanwhile there is a huge universe for of life and eons of time. We are not the center of the universe. Not even millennials are.

    Napoleon, sitting in exile at the end of his life, looking back on how the social changes he had wrought had seemed to vanish said that the most surprising thing to him was how little effect power and force had in the long run. All that blood shed in his wars and for what? Vast impersonal forces undid his plans and he was just a guy on an island who had thought he was the ruler of the world at one point. Yertle the turtle, the king of the mud.

    That goes for all these political jokers, including the basically decent ones.

    I meant to write just a few pithy words. What a windbag I am. Just an old fart rambling, hot air.

    • July 12, 2019 1:31 pm

      Roby/Vermontwhatever: Thank you. Your “few pithy words” turned into a wise and eloquent mini-essay. You’re right, of course, that almost nothing we do makes a difference in the long run. When I reflect on my efforts, I keep thinking of Keats’ epitaph for himself: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” Of course, we still remember Keats today, but eventually, after our species ransacks the planet and totters toward extinction, he won’t even be a footnote. (I’d be delighted to attain footnote status before I’m ready for the compost heap.)

      You’re emulating Doctor Zhivago in your preference for private life over politics. That’s probably as it should be. I remember when the fanatical Strelnikov told Zhivago, “The personal life is dead” — it sent a chill through my young bones. I detest today’s political landscape as much as you do, but I grit my teeth and observe the scene just enough to produce my monthly eruptions.

      My personal life is different; in fact, my Facebook friends know me primarily for my long walks and photographic tours of the Philadelphia area. When I do post anything remotely political, it usually results in a 75-comment shouting match between my conservative and progressive friends.

      Anyway, I hope you retire to private life just enough so that you return here now and then to sound off on our worldly conundrums. I’ve always valued your comments. Meanwhile, enjoy your Vermont summer and avoid the extremists who lie in wait for folks like us!

      • vermontadowhatiwanta permalink
        July 13, 2019 6:55 am

        Rick Thank you. As to that there is no private life anymore, that was simply a pillar of thought in soviet russia. Not a realistic one, one that contributed to the rotting out of that system.

        I may be back to spout, I think that one spout per column of yours is about appropriate. No more hand to hand combat with the opposition, that is a foolish destructive habit.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 13, 2019 10:03 am

        No two people agree on absolutely everything.

        If anyone who disagrees with you is “the opposition” – then you are fighting the entire world.

        You are correct that there is very little private life today.

        Both the left and right have contributed to that.
        At the moment it is the left most intent on shrinking our private lives further.

        Regardless, the more government you want the less control you have of your own life.
        That is a tautology.
        One you seem intent on not recognizing.

        If you want more freedom. more control of your own life – nothing short of disempowering government will get you very far.

        Those who want government to do more and more for us, do not seem to grasp that:
        Whatever you want from govenrment must be paid for – not merely in money, but also in the loss of other choices.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 12, 2019 5:02 pm

      Interesting observations. Aside from the deep seated completely unjustified pessimism and the foreboding sense that our own lives are out of our control there is alot in what you say that I would agree with.

      I think Ghandi was a great man. But Steve Jobs has done much more to improve the lives of billions of people.

      You talk darkly about a variety of forces, imputing that there is all these assorted evils conspiring against you and the rest of us – and I would be naive not to grasp there is actual evil in the world. At the same time – you note you live in the best moment in human history – and I absolutely agree. For all your pessimism not only have the actual forces of light been mostly victorious over those of darkness – but that has been increasingly true for 500 years.

      Recognizing that is VERY important. Even christ tells us to measure a persons good or evil by their fruit. In my lifetime – the population of the planet has doubled. At the same time the standard of living for each individual on the planet has more than doubled.

      for all the good they have done – Mother Theresa and Ghandi did not accomplish that.
      They bear responsibility for only the most miniscule part of it.

      And in fact all the real and imaginary “do gooders” in the world have had nothing to do with the overal improvement of the human condition that you note.

      I am not chastizing those who seek to “do good”.

      But I ask – just as christ, did that you measure good and evil by its fruit.

      250 years ago – Adam Smith observed:

      “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages”

      This is the single most important factor in the unprecedented improvement in the human condition in 150,000 years.

      Not technology.

      You correctly note the minimal effect of Napolean in the end.

      That is not merely True of Bonaparte – but ultimately nearly all use of force over others.
      In the end it wreaks havoc on sometimes myriads of people, but it does not change the course of humanity

    • dhlii permalink
      July 12, 2019 5:27 pm

      I do not know how to respond – You have just said some incredibly important and profound things. But I feel like you have missed much of the significance of your own observations.

      I also feel than any comment I make will drive you the wrong direction – further away from the significance of your own remarks.

  10. July 12, 2019 1:27 pm

    I guess we’ve lost Jay and dduck — too bad they jumped ship just before our tenth anniversary. Pat Riot is still with us, right? But I might have to recruit some new blood. (Makes me sound like a vampire.)

    • dhlii permalink
      July 12, 2019 5:47 pm

      We can only choose to minimize our involvement in “public life” so long as we can constrain what can happen in “public life” sufficiently to preclude it wreaking havoc on our private life.

      The Florida man who went north for 2 months to attend to his fathers funeral and estate, and returned only to find that his municipality had fined him $30,000 and was preparing to sheriff his home, because he had failed to mow the grass, discovered how important it can sometimes be to pay attention to “public life”

      The good news is that most of us most of the time can retreat into our private life, and most of the great and consequential public matters of the moment will not truly disrupt our private lives.

      The bad news is that while the odds favor each of us – heavily, they are still only odds.
      Each of us could be the next victim of government power. Probably we wont, but if we are, there is little or nothing we can do about it.

      For me the purpose of “public life” is not the “betterment of the world” – that happens entirely on its own – or atleast with little input from government.
      The purpose of my “public life” is to decrease the odds that I or anyone else will be the next victim of government.

      To those on the left (or right) I say “persuade me”. Do not try to compel me by force.

      We are bemoaning the increasing bitterness of politics at the moment, but outside of politics we are all mostly doing better than ever.

      How can you shout “hateful hating hater” at your neighbor and be blind that in most every way we are doing better than ever. Are all the assorted ism’s the left rails about gone ?
      Resoundingly no! Yet all are for less consequential today than 40, or 100 years ago.
      Can we do better ? Absolutely – and we will – on our own. We do not need government to force us to.

    • dduck permalink
      July 12, 2019 6:25 pm

      When the clog in the pipe is removed, I will be happy to return.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 13, 2019 10:06 am

        In otherwords you will be happy to return to TNM when you have veto power over the expression of others.

        You are what is wrong with our public life today.

        You are not required to listen to anyone.

        You are not permitted to silence those you do not like.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 13, 2019 10:17 am

        Does it really make sense for you to censor yourself, until you can censor others ?

        You are clearly lurking. That means you are hearing much of what you claim not to wish to hear, while depriving yourself the right to respond.

        You are free to make your own choices.

        The rest of us are free to weigh you buy your choices.

        Yours make no sense to me.

        Robby, made several excellent points in a recent post.

        The world is NOT going to hell.

        It would be nice if we could find some “middle ground” between locking ourselves off from the world and foaming at the mouth over every little thing.

        I am “extremely” libertarian. I am opposed to nearly everything government does. The vast majority of it angers me. I write about it. Rant about it.
        But I have not declared the world is ending.
        I have not demanded that we censor everyone who disagrees with me.
        I am not demanding we abandon the rule of law to swat whatever gnat irritates me at the moment.
        I am not preparing to take up arms or otherwise throw everything out to get what I want.

        You are free to want whatever you want, whether I or anyone else agrees with you or not.

        You are just not free to use force to get it.

  11. Priscilla permalink
    July 13, 2019 10:16 am

    I think I disagree, at least somewhat, with the idea that our problems have to do with political extremism vs. moderate politics. There has always been political extremism…the American Revolution was begun and fought by political extremists. Abolitionism, the women’s suffrage, and the temperance movement were considered extremist, as was much of the civil rights movement. The ACLU has long been considered extremist. The 20th century American left, in the form of the socialist and communist parties, has been considered extremist.

    These political movements, and the varying perceptions of them, have existed throughout our history, and have not significantly impacted our national identity, morality or our perception of our fellow citizens.

    Until now. The problem is not the existence of political extremism, or the divide between the right and left. It’s the politicization of every damned thing in our lives, and the loss of our shared understanding of right and wrong.

    Take the example of Jeffrey Epstein. I have been reading about Epstein for years, and, in everything I have read, he has been identified as a pedophile/pederast, a great friend to the rich and famous elites of both parties, and the owner of a private island in the US Virgin Islands, commonly referred to as “Orgy Island.” Oh yes, his private plane is nicknamed the “Lolita Express.” He received a ridiculously lenient sentence in Florida, in 2004, on sex trafficking charges, after being represented by Alan Dershowitz, a Democrat, and Ken Starr, a Republican, after a deal made by a Democrat state prosecutor and signed off on by a Republican US Attorney.

    But now, he is back in the news, because that Republican US Attorney became Trump’s Secretary of Labor in 2017. The news on Epstein has been less about his own crimes, or those of his patrons, than about a political scandal that could potentially hurt Trump. This, despite the fact that Bill Clinton has, by all accounts, been one of Epstein’s “clients.”
    If it turns out that Trump can’t be tied to Epstein in any significant way, what are the odds that the SDNY and the media will bury the case, and Maureen Comey, daughter of James, and one of the SDNY’s lead prosecutors, will negotiate a plea deal with Epstein? I would say very good odds on that. Because, the goal is not to get a child predator and put him in jail, the goal is to get a political opponent and make sure that he is not re-elected.

    We have lost our moral compass, and those who want it back are often mocked, by those like Anonymous, as wanting to go “back to the past”.

    It’s not about right and left. It’s about right and wrong.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 13, 2019 11:12 am

      In the process of trying to determine what is right and what is wrong we can not start by precluding all perspectives that deviate too far from the center.

      When seeking the truth we must be prepared to follow it wherever it leads – even when it takes us places we are uncomfortable – extreme places.

      In the multi-dimensional space of ideas, there is no law of nature that dictates that the possible, or the good, always lies in the center of the spectrum.

      We should not reject any thoughts because they are extreme,
      We should reject ideas because they are wrong.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 13, 2019 11:28 am

      The Epstein Saga is beyond belief.

      Trump seems particularly unconcerned about Epstein, which suggests that Trump does not think he has anything to fear from Epstein’s prosecution.

      But presuming that the Epstein Saga leads to credible evidence of criminal misconduct by Trump – impeach him or vote him out of office.

      I expect that as this progresses that somehow it will involve Trump – whether there is actual evidence or not. Today every story about evil is somehow painted as a story about Trump.

      So I expect to be arguing that proving that Trump knew Epstein is NOT proof that Trump is a criminal or peodophile.

      Incredibly large numbers of powerful, influential people have shown incredibly bad judgement regarding Epstein.

      We should not convict those people of bad judgement. But wait of actual evidence of criminal conduct.

      We are free to vote based on our measure of anothers judgement – or any other criteria we choose,

      It is near certain that I will be voting as I did in 2016 – for the libertarian. Not so much because of political affiliation – but because neither party can come up with a candidate that is both palitable as a person, and not advocating stupid policies.

      I do not need a candidate I agree with on everything.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 13, 2019 11:40 am

      There are people who likely should go to jail because of the corruption associated with Epstein’s “sweatheart deal”.

      But that does not include Derschowitz and Starr.

      I am a big fan of Gerry Spence. He has defended – often successfully some people who were deemed thoroughly repugnant. Often he was able to demonstrate that was not the case, more often he was able to demonstrate that regardless of our personal dislike they had not committed the crime they were accused of. And sometimes he has defended people who are truly guilty.

      Gerry is one of my hero’s. One of his regrets is that he was asked and declined to defend Timothy McVeigh.

      Everyone – no matter how repugnant is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and the best defense they can get in court. Even Timothy McVeigh, Even Jeffrey Epstein.

      I have spent decades arguing with right wing loons who seem to think it is a moral defect rather than a virtue that my wife defends people who are mostly guilty. People who have heinously murdered others, or quite commonly people who are less well connected and less wealthy versions of Jeffrey Epstein.

      Today I find myself making the same arguments to progressives. It used to be the left understood and advocated for civil and criminal rights.

      Alan Derschowitz defended Nazi’s in the 60’s. Today he is defending Epstein.
      Derschowitz has not changed. But the rest of us – including his purported freinds on the left have.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 13, 2019 11:46 am

      Accosta is gone. I know little about him. I do not know that he was a good or bad US attorney. I do not know whether he was a good or bad Sec. Labor.

      But my understanding regarding Epstein is that Accosta did not get involved until AFTER Epstein had already brokered a sweatheart deal with the local prosecution.

      Accosta was handicapped from the start, because much of what he could charge Epstein with would be barred by double jeophardy provisions in our constitution.

      Accosta might not have opted to be as creative about finding a way to prosecute Epstein as others. I consider that a virtue. I am Not infavor of pitching the constitution in order to “get” a “bad guy”. But I am not aware of any evidence that his handling of Epstein was corrupt.

      That is despite the fact that it is near certain that the FL prosecution of Epstein was corrupt.

      And I am far more concerned about that – than Accosta or even Epstein himself.

      Those who gave Epstein a “sweetheart deal” are WORSE criminals than Epstein himself.

      We must ALWAYS hold those who enforce the law to much higher standards than the rest of us.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 14, 2019 12:19 am

      We only have serious conflicts about what we expect government to do.

      Because what government does is by force. If two parties disagree, and one “wins” and government does something – it does so at the expense of the rights and wealth of the “loser”.

      If you and I disagree about something that does not involve government – and you and others who share your views go ahead anyway, that does not infringe on my rights, and you can not make me pay for it. Any conflict is minor.

      Barnie Frank used to say Government is what we choose to do together.

      That is BUNK, and that is the problem. What government does is what we are FORCED to do together. What churches, community groups, civic organizations do is what we “choose” to do together.

      We would have alot less “extremism” if we did not feel the need to FORCE through government others to do as we wish – and then make them pay for it.

    • July 16, 2019 11:48 pm

      “It’s not about right and left. It’s about right and wrong.”

      My personal opinion of presidents, not including those that everyone knows history ranks at the top, like Washington and Lincoln, puts Truman, Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton in the top five. ( Need to think about #5). Each are there for various reasons, but what I find as common traits is each had their agenda which today in my mind is moderate left to moderate right. And each was willing to accept that their opinion was not the only right answer.

      When it comes to moral issues like Epstein, the right and wrong are black and white issues. Where we seem to be creating two Americas are those issues where compromise might provide guidance that both sides could accept, but extreme views will not allow that to happen.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 17, 2019 5:26 pm

        Clinton was an abysmal person. He was a good president – atleast domestically.

        Kennedy was not nearly so great as he is credited.
        I do not think Truman was all that impressive either.

        Reagan was not “moderate right”. By the standards of the time he was strongly conservative. By todays standards he was an extremist.

        The moral domain is different.

        Moral accusations matter. While I think there is little risk of this – what if Jeffrey Epstein is NOT guilty of what he is being accused of ? My point is not that Epstein is not likely guilty, it is that you should be sure before making moral accusations.
        A false moral accusation is itself a significant moral failure.

        You can be wrong about facts and still be a “good person”, you may not even owe an appology. If you are wrong about a moral accusation – YOU are immoral. There is very little good faith exception. We should be careful when we accuse others of being perverts, liars, racists. But today we are not. That is a big deal.

        Absolutely issues where there is not a “moral issue” where values, rather than principles are in conflict, compromise is possible and often best.

      • July 17, 2019 8:46 pm

        Reagan was not an extremist. Extremist dont compromise. Witness Trump/Pelosi/ Shumer/ McConnell. Hell McConnell blocks most everything Pelosi send him before discussion ever begin.

        Reagan compromised. In todays environment, I wonder if Reagan would even get elected. I know he would never get elected govrnor from California. But even in 1960’s California, you dont make yourself relevant unless you compromised. Given that, Reagan would have too many black marks for the extreme right that controls todays GOP to choose him as their candidate today. Same with 1960’s Kennedy. Way too far from the radical left that controls todays democrats.

        As for your other comments concerning my list, that is all based on personal perspective. Although we agree on a few things, we differ on many, including what makes a good president.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 18, 2019 11:06 am

        I have addressed compromise repeatedly – the merits of compromise have nothing to do with extremism. They have to do with whether and issue is a matter of principle, or merely one of values.

        Reagan shut the government down – as I recall over the MX missle.

        Trump has been prepared to compromise over immigration repeatedly – so long as he gets his wall, pretty much everything else has been on the table.

        Regardless, my point was that Reagan’s positions are MUCH FARTHER RIGHT than Trump’s or myriads of people we call extremists today.

        Even Obama was more “extremist” than those on the right – until he was not.

        The right has a cottage industry of finding Obama Clips where he is telling immigrants not to come to the US or they would be locked up, sent back and separated from their children.
        or other such things.

        What is the “extreme right” today that is of any consequence ?

        Is Richard Spensor of any consequence – and have you bothered to listen to him – he is a SOCIALIST – just a white nationalist SOCIALIST.

        I do not agree with Trump on many things, I do not agree with the Tea Party. I do not agree with lots of Republicans over lots of things. But there is no consequential right today that is actually extremist.

        There are three things that distinguish the left and the right regarding ‘extremism” today.

        Richard Spensor, the KKK and the “alt-right” are tiny. In total accross the entire US they are smaller than the number of Antifa in Portland OR.

        The purportedly mainstream left has embraced the extreme left.
        No one is defending the KKK or Richard Spensor.
        The Antifa member who just firebombed ICE was featured on CNN several times before hand.
        The Whole Trump twitter storm with “the Squad” started over the antifa firebombing of of an ICE facility. Yet Trump telling “the squad” the equivalent of “america love it or leave it” – is somehow racist, but the act of terrorism that started this and the refusal of anyone to condemn it or even cover it those are inconsequential ?

        If any police officer anywhere in the US pulled over a black motorist and used the N word – it would be on the national news for days. Yet an actual terrorist attack on a government facility gets covered only by the “far right” ? I do not think even Fox covered it.
        I can not find a single major outlet that covered it.

        My point as a whole is that there is very little daylight between the “extremist” left and much of the left as a whole. Even where there are differences – the left as a whole is very sympathetic to its own extremists.
        This was essentially the argument the media was trying to make regarding Trump and Charlottesville.

        The last distinction is that the positions of prominent right groups – the freedom caucus, the tea party, fiscal conservatives, ….. right or wrong are not all that extreme or controversial.

        Pick ANY democratic candidate right now – they are ALL pandering to the extreme left. They are ALL trying to sell policies that history tells us FAIL badly – and often bloodily.

        Various republican factions are wrong on various issues but they are not insane.

        The right today is NOT pandering to Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, or Pat Robertson.
        But left is pandering to their nut jobs. And the nutjobs on the left are far more dangerous than the past nutjobs of the right ever were.

      • July 18, 2019 12:43 pm

        Given Reagan’s position on some issues that he “compromised” to get 80% of what he wanted, I still doubt he could get the nomination today.

        Just the fact he accepted the loss of passive aggressive tax credits would have put him in the bulls eye of Grover Norquist and the other tax hawks. They would have bombarded social media about how Reagan wants to increase taxes and how bad that would be for the economy. Reagan approved legislation that increased the gas tax by 5 cents per gallon. Back then that was about a 5% increase in the retail cost per gallon. How would that go over in today’s environment about taxes?

        Look at the huge fights today over immigration and how many senators would be defeated by even farther right candidates if legislation was signed that made legal anyone in the country illegally today like the immigration bill Reagan signed. Any GOP president might even be more likely to have more primary candidates if they were to sign that type legislation.

        Reagan signed into legislation an increase in the social security tax rate, increase the number of employers covered and increased the age of retirement. Democrats would have a hissy fit today, AOC would be calling for his head calling him racist because it impacts the poor and middle class and the right would just add this to the other tax increases that would put him in their targets. How the tax increases were draining business owners and how unfair that tax increase was for small business owners.

        Now don’t go off on what you think of any of these programs. that is not my discussion point. It is about Reagan compromising and the GOP today not accepting any compromise for anything just as the democrats have bunkered down and refused to discuss anything with the GOP. I have doubts Reagan would even be considered for president under these circumstances.

        Bet I could find some stuff if I looked to go along with what I remember Reagan doing that is not what I consider “conservative” as defined as conservative today.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 10:12 am

        “democrats would be calling for his head”

        My point.

        I think Reagan was a great president.

        I do not think Reagan was any more or less open to compromise than Trump.

        In areas that have nothing to do with dealing with democrats – such as foreign relations Trump has been both very tough AND prepared to compromise.

        In domestic areas requiring working with Congress Trump has made it clear from the start there were deals to be made with democrats in areas like immigration.

        Trump passed criminal justice reform – something Obama was unable to do, on a bi-partisan basis.

        I am not trying to say Trump is Reagan – Reagan was far more conservative than Trump.

        But the fundimental differences between Reagan’s presidency and Trump’s is that SOMETIMES with Reagan DEMOCRATS were prepared to compromise. With Trump they are not.

        There are a few strong parallels between them.
        Both were perceived as “dangerous” in terms of foreign policy – unpredictable and prone to start a war. Reagan withdrew US forces from Lebanon, and his only military action was Grenada. Trump is perceived as a loose cannon – he finished the fight he did not start in Syria and is getting us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. He is Threatening Iran – but has pretty much said – we are not going to war with Iran.

        Both passed big tax cuts.
        Both increased military spending.

        Both were invbestigated out the whazoo by congress.
        Though in reagans case there was misconduct, but democrats could not make it stick to Reagan.
        In Trump’s case there is no substance, and yet almost half the country thinks there was.

      • July 19, 2019 10:31 am

        The difference in it “sticking” to Trump and not Reagan is cable news and social media. Everyone knows if its on the news or on the internet its true! 😁

        It was not as easy to spread myths as today.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 1:02 pm

        It is easier to spread myths today.

        It is easier to correct them.

        I think that the power of major media today is far less than in the past.

        At the moment I am absolutely for confronting social media and basically saying:

        Either you get out of the business of censorship, or you do not have DMCA section 302 protection for defamation lawsuits for the content OTHERS publish on your sites.

        If you curate content – you are responsible – even for what you miss.

        I am NOT in favor of new laws regarding social media.
        I am NOT in favor of actually constraining their “right” to censor content.

        But if you privately censor – then you bear responsibility for what you do NOT censor.

        Nick Sandman is suing just about every major media outlet for what may amount to $1B by the time he is done. And he has a high probability of winning.

        Oberlin College was just taken to task for essentially complicity in the defamation of a local bakery.

        There is a high bar protecting the traditional press from Defamation claims.
        But there is an absolute preclusion of defamation claims against social media.

        If they do not engage in any censorship – that is fine.

        But if they do, they should be subject to the same laws as all other content publishers and currators.

      • July 19, 2019 7:49 pm

        So I have not been following social media censorship issues. Anyone working on what you posted, or is this just your idea?

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 10:08 am

        There were just senate hearings on social media censorship.

        Censorship generally is a rising issue and one that separates right and left.
        Also one in which the right and left have switched positions over the course of 50 years.

        I expressed my views regarding how to address the problem.

        While I think it is a serious problem.

        I do not think it requires government to act.

        We just need to apply the law we have meaningfully.

        If you curate what you publish, then you are not neutral and can be sued for defamation.
        If you do not, then you are entitled to protection.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 10:09 am

        I would note that the purpose of section 302 of the DMCA was to prevent censorship.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 1:27 pm

        I am absolutely with JS Mill and Brandeis – the remedy for bad speach is more speach, not enforced silence.

        While I am increasingly concerned about the mess that is our political environment today.

        I am very worried that it will turn violent.
        I think the left is way closer to violence that most perceive.
        Further I do not think the left has the philosophical foundation necescary to resist calls to violence. “By any means necescary” is part of the DNA of the left.
        There are no actual truths on the left, and that makes it much easier to justify anything.

        It is not accidental that the worst bloodshed in human history is driven by the left – from the french revolution through to Venezeula today – and right through Mao and Stalin who are single handedly responsible for about 75% of all bloodshed int he past century.

        I am concerned about the right – but in a different way. There will always be a small number of lone wold nutjobs – and the press will find the means to feature the few that are paintable as right wing rather than just nuts. But they will never amount to an existential threat.

        But there is a valid perception at the moment that the left has not abided by the outcome of the 2016 election. What happens if Trump wins in 2020 and the left gets WORSE ?

        Or what happens if Trump loses – but it strongly appears that loss is due to real chickanery by the left ?

        I doubt either will occur in a big enough way in 2020. But so long as this gets worse, So long as the left gets more and more lawless, many on the right will be slowly driven towards “revolution” – not chaotic violence, but armed resistance – much like in 1776.

        I do not think we are there. Or even close YET, but we are headed that way.

        Regardless, I beleive it was democrat Llyod Benson in the 90’s who said “there is something about things that can not continue as they are, they don’t” While he was speaking of the problems with heatlhcare at the time, it is true of everything. The current state of politics is NOT sustainable. Ultimately it will NOT continue as it is.

        Another alternative to the scenarious above is the disempowerment of the extreme left.

        I think democrats are in grave danger of precisely that. Prior to Trump’s recent “racist” tweet, Pelosi was working hard to get “the squad” in line. Pelosi is not stupid politically.

        There is polling on AOC and “the squad” – they have incredibly high name recognition and incredibly low favorability – about 1/2 of Trump’s. The extreme left might have a small but very strong core of zealous followers, but they alienate the rest of the country.

        That is a recipe for disaster and marginalization for democrats.

        Some aspects of this have been inevtiable.

        I have repeatedly noted how great modern times are compared to the past.

        There are no great social problems for democrats to solve.

        Despite the screetching of racist hateful, hating haters, and accepting that we are not perfect, most of the consequential problems the left has fought are pretty much resolved.

        The culture wars are over – the left won. Or better put freedom and rights for minorities won.

        There are no great cosmic issues for those ont he left to fight for. If you desparately want to “change the world” there is very little big that you can make yourself a part of.

        I think this is a majro factor in nonsense like “free college”, and social security for all.
        Because even though those ideas are batshit, they are all that is left that the left has not tried.

        I think/hope we are at the storm before the calm.

        I also think that it will likely get worse before it gets better.
        I think the left must become thoroughly disallusioned – ON ITS OWN, before we will get anywhere. But I think that is coming.

        I am not saying the extreme left is going away.
        But I am saying that they are at the zenith of their influence within the democratic party,
        BUT already on the downhill side of their influence over the broad population.

        What can not go on – doesn’t.

        I know change is coming, I just do not know what.
        But that change is NOT likely to be governmental – though it will be highly political.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 10:15 am

        Reagan purportedly fixed Social Security forever – how well did that work out ?

        Even FDR promised that Social Security taxes would NEVER be higher than 2% – they are over 13% today. Anyone who can not invest 13% of their income and get a better return than SS is a complete idiot. Worse still government uses SS in a way that bogs down the economy. Private investment would boost it.

      • July 19, 2019 10:46 am

        I never said social security was a good thing.But at the start, I suspect it worked out well since no one had anything in the form of a retirement and few had much left after the depression. Had it not been for the war putting people back to work, heaven only knows how long people would have gone without a job.

        But given they did create social security, they screwed it up big time with the way it was designed. You can not trust government to take your money and expect to get back what you put into it along with a normal rate of return in the end. The other issue was the number of people living past 65 as a percent of the population was far less than today. Had they designed it in a better manner, the SS age would have been based on actuarial studies as to life span, 65 in the 30’s was what the expectation was for women. It was 60 for men. Had that been written into the law and SS age based on a women life expectancy as seem to be the case in the 30’s, SS retirement age would be about 75-77 today.

        As for Reagan, he did the best he could given SS was already in place. That is what compromise is. Knowing something has to be done and getting the best deal possible. It has increased the bankruptcy date by many years with the changes made.

        As for savings, that is a totally different story given student debt, excessive spending and poor career choices made by the current younger generations. That is why AOC and Sanders form of government is so attractive to that group because government takes from those like you and I on up the ladder to the very rich and gives it to those that have no clue for the future.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 11:03 am

        All ponzi schemes work well at the start.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 11:17 am

        “As for savings that is a different story”


        If Students receive money from government for college – whether for free or as a loan,
        that REMOVES that money from the economy in the case of free -permanently.

        It is NOT an investment, it is a cost, and it comes at the immediate expense of all of us.

        We have more college – but less of other things that we clearly value more or we would have chosen to invest in colleges.

        While if government stays out of it the money stays in the economy,
        if it is loaned to students – it is a real investment – which they will be expected to pay back, and which students will feel compelled to get sufficient value in terms of their education.

        We do not borrow 10,000 for a car – that can not be driven, or a home that can not be lived in.

        When government is not involved when we borrow we work hard to get value for the money we borrowed.

        When we pay that money back – it goes back into the economy – not to government.

        I have said repeatedly in the past that every 10% of GDP that government spends COSTS us 1% in growth. That is really solid economic data, derived from studies of most of the countries in the world, it correlates strongly over the past 40+ years – for the US, for the EU, for the OECD, for every consequential economy in the world. Further it appears to hold for the past 200 years – though our data that far back is poorer.

        This should be a tautology. the root of this is that government is much more wastefull and inefficient than the rest of us are. It is the worst posible means of delivering most goods and services. Most americans beleive that government wastes 50% of the taxes it collects, 4th ranked IDEAS RESPEC economist Robert Barro’s numbers indicate that the degree of waste is closer to 65-75% of what is collected. This is not a fixable problem, it is inherent in the nature of government. We should therefore only use government to provide services where efficiency and waste are NOT nearly as important as other factors.
        Such as enforcement of law, and national defense.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 11:29 am

        The income inequality and soak the rich arguments were refuted by Adam Smith (intentionally) 250 years ago.

        The vast majority of the money held by the rich is invested. It is not wealth – atleast not for the uber rich. They do not consume it. They can not consume it. The benefit of that money is exclusively for the rest of us – it creates jobs and goods and services for us.

        The free market reliance on self interest is ultimately by far the most powerful engine of selflessness in existance.

        I have repeatedly asserted that Bill Gates did much more to make the world a better place than Mother Theresa.

        I am not knocking Mother Therasa.
        Nor am I claiming that Gates did what he did through altruism.

        On the global scale the decline of socialism and the increase in free markets over the past 50 years has doubled the standard of living of every one of TWICE AS MANY people now living in the world.

        At a time when almost everywhere in the world is better than it has ever been,
        At a time when our personal wealth regardless of class is double what those like us in the past had, where real poverty, real starvation, real racism, real sexism, real …. are the lowest they have ever been in human history, we are being told by those on the left that this moment in time is the WORST rather than the best.

        Please tell me why does ANYONE beleive this nonsense ?

      • dhlii permalink
        July 18, 2019 11:12 am

        Some things are questions of fact, and some are of opinion.

        If we can not agree on most of the actual facts – we are in deep shit, we are headed for chaos, and anarchy.

        But we can have different oppinions – in some instances a difference of oppinion is either not a disagrement or not a consequential one.

        You and I rank presidents differently – there is no fundimental factual conflict.

        The debate might be interesting – even fun, but it is unlikely to get personal.

        No ones life, liberty or property are in danger because you and I do not agree on Kennedy’s rank as president.

    • July 21, 2019 9:34 pm

      Priscilla: Yes and no… We’ve always had extremists, and some of them have accomplished great things while others have simply been sowers of discord. You’ve touched on what makes today’s political climate so infuriating: the politicization of virtually everything. Here’s just a partial list: art (it has to be “transgressive” now), gender-specific pronouns (and gender in general), late-night talk shows (progressive amen corners), women’s bodies (hands off them!), guns (hands off them! no, ban them!), the climate (it’s heating up! no, it’s not!), Kate Smith (racist songs!), Western civilization (bastion of white supremacists!). Most of the spurious politicization seems to emanate from the left and its breeding ground in collegiate “grievance studies” courses.

      Add social media to this landscape, with extremist views drowning out the middle, and before we know it we have two mutually hostile tribes engaged in a perpetual shouting match. That’s what scares me most about the extremism of our times: it’s not just politicians engaged in the hostilities; it’s the larger public. Two tribes, irreconcilable. (Maybe we need to start our own tribe.)

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 9:03 am

        All of the political conflict we have – whether it is in times that were less bitterly divided or today, are about the use of FORCE.

        If you and I disagree over the color of your house or the height of my grass or whether to eat at Chick-a-filet, or anything else – those conflicts do not consume the nation.

        Government is about the legitimate use of force. Bitter political conflict is ALWAYS about one group seeking to use force against the other to get their way.

        Everything that separates us politically is entirely about one group or another seeking to use force against the other.

        Mr. Phillips of Master Cake does not wish to bake cakes for gay weddings – I am not particularly sympathetic. But how is FORCING him an appropriate solution ?

        In Canada right now a biological man, identifying and dressing as a women has taken several immigrant owned waxing salons to the Human Relations commission to force them to wax his junk. In Canada it is legal to have a business that serves only women, but not one that will not serve men who identify as women.

        I am libertarian. I have zero problems with sex as a business. I do not care whether this person identifies as a woman, or a man, or how they dress. I how not care if they want their privates waxed or are seeking sexual gratification. But I care greatly that the transaction is not voluntary – that FORCE – aka government is being used illegitimately.

        ALWAYS political conflicts are about the use of FORCE.

        And that is root of our currently amplified discord.

        It is extremely rare as individuals that we get this worked up about the ordinary conflicts we have with our neighbors.

        The rancor, and division we see now, is near exclusively reserved for times when one group of us seeks to impose their will on another BY FORCE.

        It is difficult for most of us to understand that we can not morally FORCE others to do what is right.

        Mr. Phillips is wrong – he should sell gay couples their wedding cakes.
        I will be happy to join you in picketting Master Cake.
        But it is more wrong to FORCE Mr. Phillips to make cakes for gay weddings,
        or FORCE canadian waxing boutiques to wax the Junk of some trans person.

        Pretty much all of our political conflicts can be eliminated by asking not who is right or wrong, But whether the use of FORCE can be justified.

        You seem to suggest that the left is the source of our bitterness – and at this moment that is true, but sometimes in the past, and likely in the future that will not be the case.

        The problem is not left/right. It is not “”greivance studies” – though I would go deeper the philosophical roots of greivance studies are post-modernism, and the roots of that is marxism substituting identity for class.

        The problem is the willingness to use FORCE – aka government to compel others do what is “right” without justifying the use of force.

        It is NOT sufficient to be right, to use FORCE against another.

        You will be healthier and live longer if you eat less red meat – I am right about that.
        But FORCING you to do so is morally WRONG!

      • July 22, 2019 12:20 pm

        Wasn’t the Master Cakes case settled where the owner was not required to use creative abilities to provide services to gays?

        I also identify as libertarian, but no where near as pure libertarian as you.

        I have no problem with laws that state you can not refuse to sell to someone based on race, ethnicity, sex or sexual identity.

        But I also do not support forcing someone to decorate a cake in a gay design if they object to the gay life style.

        Gay walks in and wants to buy a cake, fine, sell it!
        Gay wslks in, wsnts cake with gay designed Icing, two male figurines and whatever else gays identify with, sorry, go somewhere else!

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:40 pm

        Wasn’t Master Cake Settled ?

        In the sense that SCOTUS spoke – atleast until the makeup of the court has shifted again – yes.

        In the sense that the quarter of the country on the left is not prepared to resort to violence to get a different outcome – no.

        Regardless, my point is NOT about our courts. It is that there are alot of PEOPLE who would be perfectly happy to use FORCE to compel others to do as they wish.

        In the 50’s it was part of the right. Today it is far too much of the left.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:44 pm

        I support actual FREE EXCHANGE.

        Guy walks in – and you do not want to sell to him because – he is gay, conservative, methodist, short, fine, you are not obligated to sell to anyone.
        Free exchange means free, you can choose to or not.

        It also means I can choose not to do business with you if you will not sell to gays, or short people or methodists of …

        Most problems of discrimination will either be resolved or minimized on their own, without government – without FORCE.

        The left constantly points out “Jim Crow”.

        Jim Crow was a system of LAWS.
        Why ?
        Because absent government FORCE, it was not possible to get merchants to effectively discriminate against blacks.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:48 pm

        I have not “chased” anyone anywhere.

        I have not censored anyone.

        I have never asked anyone to leave,
        Or to shutup.

        My great “offense” is refusing to shutup when ordered to do so.

        That is a crime against humanity.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 9:13 am

        Starting your own tribe will likely make things worse not better.

        Your fixation on compromise is still often the use of FORCE to resolve a conflict.
        Converting our conflicts into a triangle rather than a line does not make them any less vicious.

        So long as you view government as the solution to all problems you will have people fighting to control government in order to get their preferred solution.

        There is no possibility that a country as large and diverse as the US will not inherently have near infinite points of conflict.

        The US is not Norway – with 10m people all with the same genes, the same culture, the same heritage, the same values, the same religion.

        Even the left is at war with itself. You can completely bar the entire right from the debate and still have a holy war over whether an MTF Trans person should be allowed to compete in women’s sports,.

        Women have spent a century fighting for equality, and on the cusp of victory feminism is being taken over by biological men, identifying as women.

      • vermontadowhatiwanta permalink
        July 22, 2019 10:04 am

        “Add social media to this landscape, with extremist views drowning out the middle, and before we know it we have two mutually hostile tribes engaged in a perpetual shouting match. That’s what scares me most about the extremism of our times: it’s not just politicians engaged in the hostilities; it’s the larger public. Two tribes, irreconcilable. (Maybe we need to start our own tribe.)”

        Who is this “we”? How does what you describe differ from TNM when both sides are engaged?

        The only person who has posted here in years who has any real claim at all to being a moderate is Ron and that happens because while he is not ideologically moderate being quite conservative/libertarian, he has enough common sense and common decency not to let his views go to the toxic extremes many others do.

        A few months back I tried to persuade the center/left leaning contingent to leave TNM to the conservatives/libertarians and Dave’s harranges. For whatever reason, my words or just nature taking its course, that is what has happened. TNM is now a conservative/libertarian echo chamber. That is sad, but not nearly as sad as the daily useless hand to hand combat over every news item that simply mirrored the national ideological civil war. It was not any different than what you were saying about the country itself above.

        In other words all we had here before the center/left headed elsewhere is exactly the same thing that you are commenting about.

        Rick you yourself are in your own words socially conservative (sometimes to the point of echoing Dave’s obsession with blaming everything on the left) and economically liberal, although we have heard almost nothing from that liberal side in a long time. Ironically, that makes you an anti-libertarian if libertarians are actually socially liberal and economically conservative. It also makes you a person whose views I have little in common with. We both hate the insane extremes of PC and that is about the end of our ideological overlap.

        So, sadly, this site really has almost no connection at all with moderation as I see it. Just another casualty of the Jerry Springerization of America that our reality show POTUS has achieved.

        America has turned out to be more susceptible and accepting of blatantly vile ideas and pure economic bullshit, as well as to having moved to a post truth civilization like that in Russia, than I would have dreamed possible a few years back. In my daily life things are pretty normal, people don’t seem different from the people I knew before, (of course I am not using social media almost at all), but according to political events and what things people are ready to go along with, I am surrounded increasing by various flavors of idiots and mindless party zombies.

        Someday president Very Large Brain will be in the rear view mirror. Then, PC will be much stronger than ever before thanks to his legacy, and none of his policies will have created a permanent positive outcome from indications as of today. Maybe regarding N. Korea, maybe China, but I have big doubts. All we will have left after he leaves is our culture dragged down to Jerry Springer level, and two bitter tribes, one whose members are increasingly open and accepting ideas they previously recognized as vile, the other whose members are PC to the point of satire, and economically delusional to the point of being hell bent on trying to create the socialist revolution that swept Europe after WWII, which did not work and had to be dismantled.

        In other words, we are screwed and I am sorry to say Rick, but TNM, while being at times interesting, is not much of a haven of moderate thought in the sea of the crassness and ignorance that our political system has achieved.

      • July 22, 2019 12:57 pm

        Roby, I have a request. Go to the other “moderate site” called the moderate voice and read through some of the articles presented. Then report back here with a short comment if you find this site moderate or not. This will give me a good idea as to your definition if moderate.

        Yes, if you read all the comments here, this would be a Libertarian/Conservative blog because Dave dominates the discussion, both in number of comments and number of words per comment, not because of Ricks positions on issues. Dave has chased those like dduck from the site, not Rick.

        However, my definition of moderate is acceptance of positions held by both liberals and conservatives.

        Such as supporting a healthcare reimbursement system for those that have difficulties obtaining coverage, but at the same time strongly opposing any system that forces you, me or anyone else to buy something they dont want or limiting alternative choices to the coverage available to everyone.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:00 pm

        What does it matter what particular viewpoint someone holds – if they make their arguments using facts, logic and reason ?

      • July 22, 2019 8:20 pm

        Because I ask him!!!!!

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:09 pm

        Earlier you posted that your perspective on life was better when you disconnected from TNM, the web, and the media for a few weeks.

        Wow! You grasped – however briefly that the world is not going to hell in the next 5 minutes.

        You chose to pontificate about my posts – but I am NOT among the myriads of sources constantly telling you “the world is going to hell”

        Maybe you want to look for your problem somewhere it might actually be.

        I would prefer that TNM was a place were real issues were debated seriously,

        But I do not miss myriads of posts of “Argh! Trump!”

        If that is what I wanted I can tune in to Rachel Maddow – atleast she can spout “Argh! Trump!” with some eloquence.

        But I do not control either TNM or the world.
        Nor do I want to.
        I have not asked anyone to leave.
        I have not asked anyone to shut up.

      • July 22, 2019 8:25 pm

        Maybe you might want to follow your own advice. If you dont like what Roby post, dont read it!!!!

        I prefer more than just you commenting here because that provides different views on issues, even though you might not personally accept those views as pertinent to the issues involved.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 12:32 pm

        “Maybe you might want to follow your own advice. If you dont like what Roby post, dont read it!!!!”

        I am not constantly claiming the world is going to hell – I have concerns, but I am basically happy. I am following my own advice – I am doing what makes me happy.

        “I prefer more than just you commenting here because that provides different views on issues, even though you might not personally accept those views as pertinent to the issues involved.”

        Robby has returned – and once again – we are no longer discussing “issues”.

        We are discussing “personality”.

        It is not that I do not accept robby’s views as pertinent to the issues involved.

        Please show me an “issue” anywhere in robby’s recent posts ?

        Most of his recent posts (and past ones) have nothing to do with any issues.
        They are all about what people are “good” and which are “bad” with very little reference to why. He complains about “post truth” but where is there anything about truth in his posts ?

        It is like trying to discuss whether Cezzanne or Van Gogh was the better artist based on the sound of their names, or the timbre or their voices.

        Actually it is worse – because the determination of the merits of art is infinitiely subjective and does not involve the use of force. Politics and government are about FORCE.

        If you are going to use force to constrain another persons liberty,
        You are obligated to find some criteria to justify yourself beyond – what I wish falls somewhere between Trump and Sanders.

        What does that mean ?

        I am glad that Robby is back – this discussion – the one that you and I and he are having actually matters.

        I want Robby here – as well as others representing different perspectives.

        Robby accurately reflects the perspective of an enormous number of people – interestingly both right and left. Many Trump supporters are as factually disconnected and as emotionally invested as Robby – they have just invested in Trump rather than the left.

        While Robby’s perspective is interesting – and important, because it is shared by large numbers of people – again not just on the left.

        It is also MORALLY WRONG.

        You and I debate immigration and economics, and some other issues. on some we are farther apart than others. Regardless our debates are not mostly about emotion.
        As a consequence, even when I think you are wrong, you are far less dangerous.

        You can make decisions regarding your own life on whatever basis you wish – and I have no right to do more than wag my finger and say “i told you so” if it all goes to hell.

        But when you make decisions regarding others especially when you do so in the context of politics and government – which ultimately means you are using force.
        You are MORALLY obligated to be not only correct, but also justified.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:13 pm

        “Dave’s obsession with blaming everything on the left”

        I do not “blame” everything on the left.

        My “One Note” spiel is pretty simple.

        You can not use force against others without first justifying it.

        Sometimes it is the left seeking to do so.
        Sometimes it is the right.

        Today it is predominantly the left.

        I have little doubt that given sufficient power for long enough the right would ultimately do as the left is doing today.

        Which would be why I do not want government to have much power.
        I do not want Libertarians to have power over others.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 8:34 pm

        Still got to find a way to blame everything on Trump.

        According to the Pew data the modern polarization of politics started about 2000.
        Prior to that though the left and right were distinct, they were about equal distance from the center, and when either shifted a bit one way they ultimately shifted back.

        Since 2000 the left has been shifting ever further left.
        That process started to accelerate after 2008.

        That is according to Pew – not ME.

        The right still distributes along a bell curve – with the center slightly to the right of the political center of the country.

        But the Pew Data on the left has them distributed along a wedge – almost a cliff, With the peak pretty far to the left dropping off rapidly moving towards the center.

        This is because the left is incredibly INTOLERANT.
        They are even more intolerant of their own.

        Look at what happens to someone like Dave Rubin – the man is gay and was a moderate lefty. He is now being called a NAZI by Google – why ? Because he will interview people from either side of the political spectrum.

      • vermontadowhatiwanta permalink
        July 22, 2019 7:18 pm

        “Go to the other “moderate site” called the moderate voice and read through some of the articles presented. Then report back here with a short comment if you find this site moderate or not. This will give me a good idea as to your definition if moderate.”

        How can anyone really define moderate. Its a relative term and a personal opinion term. There is no such thing as moderate ideology. Its “other,” its not far left and not far right, which terms also have no strict definition and are in the eye of the beholder. So, moderate is a completely debatable term and anyone can have their own definition. Left and right are ideologies or bundles of ideologies. Moderate is the case where the purest or furthest out ideologies of right and left are distasteful and not attractive to a person, that is a moderate person in my view. If someone thinks that our Stable Genius is a lying vile disaster and that Sanders is a delusional crackpot, then they are well on their way to fitting my personal idea of a moderate.

        So my personal definition of a moderate as of today is any politically aware person who is disgusted or terrified, fairly close to equally, though not for the same reasons of both the GOP of Trump and the Dem party of Sanders and his fellow would be Scandinavians.

        The fact that some very extreme leftwing or rightwing people or movements want to sell their ideas as “moderate” means that they understand that there are a lot of voters in the “middle.” They understand that moderate is a desirable word for attracting votes and a desirable concept that has connotations of “reasonable.” Now, who wants to claim that their political aims are not reasonable? So, we are All moderates, we are all reasonable people who want reasonable things, or so we believe.

        People can be relatively moderate compared to their party. Any Democrat who is merely half as delusional as Sanders or AOC can claim to be relatively speaking, a moderate democrat. Likewise any republican who is only half as crazy as the likes of Hannitty and Ingraham and VLB is relatively speaking, a moderate Republican. Just by being basically sane and grounded one can be moderate. Ben Sasse is actually quite conservative. But he is not bull moose crazy so he is a GOP moderate.

        Moderate is a bit like the word artisan. Not long ago McDonalds was claiming to make artisan sandwiches. So, artisan is just an empty phrase, a PR claim. Now, there really Are artisans in the world, and there really Are moderates. But we are living a post-truth civilization so good luck understanding who they are.

      • July 22, 2019 7:51 pm

        Interesting. I have to agree with the majority of your comments.

      • Jay permalink
        July 22, 2019 9:07 pm

        You summed up in stunningly relevant language the sliding scale of definition for who and what is ‘moderate,’ Roby.

        Trump has got to be flushed down the electoral toilet; his foul odor has saturated the nation’s nose buds – but none of the inferior crop of Dems running will assuage my fear of a continuing downward spiral of political-moral disintegration. Biden’s the least offensive choice for me; but only a temporary return to normalcy.

        The US we grew up in, the values taught us we took for granted in that historical time frame, has changed – technologically, demographically, sexually. In a century I see our values, beliefs, assumptions becoming as irreverent to future generation of Americans as the original Dutch settlers became to post Constitutional New Yorkers.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 12:57 pm

        Absolutely – Robby made a long post about what moderate means,

        He said a number of pleasant and appealing things,

        It was clear that he felt strongly and emotionally.

        But in the end he said absolutely nothing.

        And your response is just perfect – and ties into What Robby says perfectly.

        “Trump has got to be flushed down the electoral toilet; his foul odor has saturated the nation’s nose buds ”

        Florid, eloquent, and entirely meaningless. One can substitute any name for Trump – and Robby did, he told us unequivocally that the same is true of Sanders.

        And yet both of you still said nothing.

        As that what you want from TNM ? From the world ?

        A place to rant about those you do not like – without ever having to bother to explain why they are offensive ?

        While you are Robby were gone TNM was much quieter.

        The emotional rhetoric almost completely disappeared,
        The posts were nearly entirely about issues.
        We still disagreed alot – though not always.
        But it was not personal.

        Since Robby has returned I do not think there has been a single comment about any actual issue.

        No discussion of immigration. No discussion of Trade, or foreign policy, or any of hundreds of substantive issues confronting the country.

        The entire discussion has shifted back to emotions and personalities, and meaningless pablum.

        A long diatribe from Robby on the definition of Moderate – that for all its eloquence is best described by Shakespeare “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

        Anyone but the most ardent Trump or Sanders supporter can read it and whole heartily agree – because it has not substance.

        Robby ironically bemoans a “post truth society” at the end of a post that offers not a whitt of truth.

        If we were not ultimately discussing politics and government – none of this would matter.

        Saying nothing in long eloquent diatribes, harms no one.
        Defining moderate as “not Hitler or Mao” is not something to fear.

        But then you jump in making clear the harm. Without asserting much less demonstrating a single fact or argument you make an olfactory justification for the use of force.

        I do not care whether it is Trump, or Sanders or Clinton or Obama or … that offends you so.

        If you want to persuade me to “flush them down the toilet” you need to start with some facts.
        And that is more than a personal requirement.
        The use of force must be justified by more than olfactory offense or other emotions.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 1:29 pm

        I have constantly asked you and everyone else here to consider that Trump is NOT the cause of anything, that he is the symptom.

        I have made little headway on that, I am not sure even with those somewhat supportive of Trump.

        2016 was going to be politically rancorous no matter what. 2020 will certainly be more so.

        Even in 2008 John McCain was repeatedly accused of being racist. Sarah Palin was painted as an idiot and a racist. In 2012 – Mitt Romney was the Racist dujour.

        Then along came Trump. While all his predecessors whined “No! No! I am not a racist” – and “I do not beat my wife either”. Trump attacked back. He revels in being called a racist.

        Why ? Because people like you Jay, have made the claim not merely meaningless, but reflective of your own intolerance and ignorance.

        Trump does not defend himself – he attacks back. He does not need to defend himself, because as much as 50% of the country shares the sentiments that are purportedly racist, and most of the rest understand that right or wrong they are not racism.

        I have said that my reading of the crystal ball is that Trump is going to win big in 2020.

        Why ? Read Rick. Over the years I have repeatedly accused Rick of being left of center.
        But his posts have been slowly shifting right.

        I highly doubt Rick is a Trump supporter. But he is a reflection of the extent to which the left is alienating the country.

        Numerous pundits both left and right have noted that Trump’s attack on “the squad”, has been incredibly strategically effective.
        Yes, it was painted as more evidence of Trump’s racism.
        But if you think most americans – and Trump supporters particularly are offended by Trump saying – before you try to Fuck up this country, maybe you should go back to the “shitholes” you left and show us all how you can fix those first. Many many many americans have said or thought much worse. When you attack Trump you attack them – and he knows it.
        But that is tangential. By attacking “the squad” at the same time Pelosi was trying to bring them in line. Trump drove Pelosi and all democrats to defend them. No matter who is the democratic Nominee – AOC and “the Squad” are going to be the opponent Trump is going to pummel, and more and more any democratic nominee is inextricably bound to them.

        But if Trump did not exist – he would have had to be created.
        Pretty much all that he does is a RESPONSE to the lunacy of the left.

        I linked to an article about Canada’s HRC trying to determine whether a female identifying man can force women’s waxing studio’s to wax his junk.

        It does not matter where you stand – the fundimental point is the left is eating itself.
        The left has become just an orgy of victimhood and offense.
        It is a giant competition to acheive the victimhood prize.
        Are trans men or feminist women at the top of the victimhood pyramid ?
        The answer does not matter – the result is fracture and alienation.

        Trans men and feminists are trading insults and calling each other nazi’s – with justification.

        They left is the boy who cried wolf – and you are a part of it.

        If Trump were an actual wolf – guess what ? through your own fault, you have made yourself dinner.

        But for Trump the left is working hard to assure that we will eventually have a Musollini or Hitler. That is quite often what happens when the left fails.

        Regardless, you can be assured that when you repeatedly cry wolf falsely.

        Eventually the wolf will come.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 1:32 pm

        “The US we grew up in, the values taught us we took for granted in that historical time frame, has changed ”

        Please post about those values.

        Lets discuss actual values and principles.

        I strongly suspect we have substantial common ground.

        But even if we do not, atleast we would be having discussions of substance.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 11:43 am

        “How can anyone really define moderate”

        If you are unable to define moderate – then you can not claim that
        This is moderate
        That is not moderate.

        Of course we live in a “post Truth” society – post modernism – the philosophy underpinning the left today holds that there is no truth only opinion.

        That is a philosophy guaranteed to produce conflict, and absent any means but force of resolving it.

        Regardless. I will be happy to discuss any issue with anyone using facts, logic and reason.

        Further, if you seek to use for you are REQUIRED to justify that use of force with facts, logic and reason.

        If you can not do so, or you are unwilling to do so – then you are the problem, and you are a very serious problem.

        If you are unwilling to constrain your use of force to instances it can be justified with facts, logic and reason, then you guarantee that ultimately there will be violence.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 11:56 am

        Your definition of moderate absolutely insures conflict.

        You have based it on support or opposition to specific personalities.

        You either preclude the possibility that Trump or Sanders could be right about anything,
        Or you have no interest in the issues or facts, only personalities.

        Alot of the conflict here – and elsewhere is driven by much the same view.

        “Trump must go, because …. he is Trump”.

        You bemoan a “truth free society” – and yet you have just defined “moderate” – something that you profess to be a core value, without any connection or reference to truth.

        Is Trump wrong about absolutely everything ?
        Is Sanders wrong about absolutely everything ?

        Even Larry Kudlow, Trump’s Chief economic advisor wrote an op-ed praising AOC for asking the smartest questions of Fed Chair Powell when he appeared before congress.
        And I listened to her questions – and she did.

        World history offers us examples of lots of charasmatic leaders who made us all feel good about ourselves – Hitler, Musollini, Mao, Chavez,

        I do not have the fixation on “moderate” that most here do.
        Actual truth is found wherever it is. Sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right, often in unusual places that are neither left nor right nor center.

        But you have defined moderate even more meaninglessly than centrist or middle,

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 12:06 pm

        Most of us understand that the requirement for precision and accuracy regarding words depends on the context.

        In poetry the precise and accurate use of words is critical – but it is the emotional or graphic precision that matters – not the factual precision.

        If you do not like McDonald’s use of artisan – do not buy their sandwiches.

        But if you are going to use force against me – make laws to constrain my liberty, it is of critical importance that the words you use – both to justify those laws as well as to write those laws are FACTUALLY precise and accurate.

        I can appreciate the “emotional truth” of a poem or music or art, without regard to its factual imperfection.

        I can choose a McDonalds sandwich – independent of the accuracy of the words used to describe it.

        Jailing someone who purchases goods at Walmart for shoplifting because we are imprecisely defining shoplifting to include buying would be morally wrong.

        Missuse of words in the context of the use of force is moral error.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 12:07 pm

        An article on Quillette about the consequences of word mangling

      • vermontadowhatiwanta permalink
        July 23, 2019 12:29 pm

        Now Dave, I came in from out of the blue and took a poke at you, so I’m fair game, its natural that you would take a poke at me.

        Human nature, fair enough.

        Its continuing the same argument without getting anywhere in a repetitive manner for dozens or hundreds of posts or even for almost a dozen years that is in my opinion, first, a silly waste of time, and then an increasing bitter mirror of the national problem as it goes on ad nauseum.

        “If you are unable to define moderate – then you can not claim that
        This is moderate
        That is not moderate.”

        You claim to represent logic. This is not logic.

        Biologists have a hard time defining what a polar bear is. It turns out that polar bears and brown bears can mate and have young. (In fact, so can tigers and lions.) So, if a biological species is defined by the genetic barrier to having viable progeny the species of polar and brown bears turn out to be difficult to nail down.

        But polar bears are not humpback whales. Yes, I Can say that. Just did.

        No, you do not have to exactly define something with absolute precision to be able to identify things that are not it, that is a logical fallacy. If logic does not correspond to common sense then there is a hole in the logic.

        Off white paint and cream paint are often sold as shades of white. But black paint is not white paint, we know that. Well, most of us will admit that anyhow.

        Now, I will disappear again and leave you, Dave, to your rebuttal since you naturally have one coming to you and I suspect that you will be happy to do the equivalent of arguing that if I can’t define white as a paint shade precisely then it logically follows that I can’t say black or deep purple paint are not white. Have fun.

        Hi Jay! (Yes, I am breaking my own advice, but I hope to resist all the temptation of the flock of hanging curve balls that are about to be pitched at me and go back to following my own advice, that is, not to do what I just did for a very good long spell as of now.)

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 2:00 pm

        You successfully anticipated some of my arguments – but you did not address them.

        So a moderate is somewhere between Trump and Sanders – that leaves about 80% of the country. Saying that all moderates are human is only slightly more ambigous.

        Regardless, my point is not about the breadth of your definition or its lack of precision.

        It is about its complete pointlessness.

        Why as an example is Sanders or Trump not moderate ? Is it because both are old white men ? Is it because Trump is a carrot top ?

        What is it about Trump or Sanders that makes them not moderate ?

        I think everyone on TNM likely agrees that Trump and Sanders are not moderate.

        But why matters.

        How can we tell of AOC or Nunes, or Cummings or Jordan are moderate ?

        What are the actual criteria for moderate ?

        Or even more important – since Moderate is about politics,
        What is moderate politics ?

        I have run this reductio ad absurdem dozens of times – and you continue to ignore it.

        If moderate means middle – does that means that those like Dietrich Bonhoffer who opposed Hitler were extremists ? Is the moderate response to real Nazi’s to reduce the genocide by half ?

        You bemoan that we are a “post truth society” – yet you are entirely unwilling to offer what is truth.

        You are the reason we are “post truth” – because there does not appear to be any truth you are prepared to own.

        Take all your posts here EVER, and tell me what I can find in them that offers a truth ?
        What of what you have ever posted here tells me

        How should we then live ?

        Isn’t that what matters ?

        How should we conduct ourselves regarding others ?

        I focus on government and force as this is inherently a political blog,
        and politics is about the use of force in the sphere of government.

        We could also discuss how we should live with respect to our neighbor, or our spouse, but those are not political questions and that would belong on a different blog.

      • vermontadowhatiwanta permalink
        July 23, 2019 1:21 pm

        “Absolutely – Robby made a long post about what moderate means,

        He said a number of pleasant and appealing things,

        It was clear that he felt strongly and emotionally.

        But in the end he said absolutely nothing.”

        Here come the hanging curveballs. I will let Ian Anderson answer you:

        Really don’t mind if you sit this one out
        My words but a whisper, your deafness a shout
        I may make you feel but I can’t make you think
        Your sperm’s in the gutter, your love’s in the sink

        Lines one and two are the pith. Line three you will misunderstand and use against me. Line 4 is not really relevant, but a verse a verse.

        Every other person who reads my recent posts will be able to find actual issues in them, they are numerous. No one else will believe that I have said nothing. I am sure of that.

        Conversation is all in the mind Dave, an exchange of symbols between two minds in an attempt to communicate or understand. Your mind has a barrier against my meanings. That is fine. But do you understand that Your mind is Your universe but it is not THE universe?

        You have set yourself up as the arbiter of what an issue is and what nothing is. You are describing yourself, not my attempt to communicate.

        Bloody megalomaniac tyrannical Libertarian!

        Now, we have done this same dance many times before and it is amusing to me, for a short while. After that it becomes pathological.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 2:29 pm

        I tell you that your post has as much relevance to politics as poetry – and your response is more poetry ?

        Should we raise or lower taxes ?
        Should we jail people for Crack longer than powdered cocaine ?
        Should we go to war with Iran ?
        Should we sanction Russia ?
        Should we have open borders ?
        Should we balance the budget ?

        Does anything in your recent posts address these or any of the myriads of other political questions that face us today ?

        Does anything in any of your posts ever tell us when we are free to use force against others and when we are not ?

        Government is entirely about the justified use for force.

        Government without force is anarchy. Government unjustified use of force is tyranny.

        Your Trump/Sanders analogy – with an actual twist – my duality. my set of extremes is not people, but principles.

        You are constantly telling us all WHO is right and wrong.

        But you pretty much can never tell us WHY.

        Truth is not a person,
        We do not determine truth by who said something.

        You talk about curve balls.

        From day one, I have been clear about my principles.
        Anyone here who is unsure what my principles are needs only to read a few posts.

        Absolutely I am boring, saying much the same thing over and over.
        Real principles are pretty boring.
        You do not get to twist them to suit the moment.
        If you did they would not be principles.

        There are lots and lots and lots of questions in the world I can not answer.
        Like is a polar bear the same species as a brown bear.
        But I am pretty good at being able to determine – easily, when force is justified and when it is not.

        Being able to do that easily is pretty important.

        It should be pretty evident that of all the things we can be wrong about, using force is the one we should be by far the most careful about.

        When someone is about to stab you with a knife – you should not have to poll your friends to come to a consensus as to whether you can use force to defend yourself.

        You have to be able to determine near instantly whether you can hit the guy about to stab you, and that you can not hit the woman in the grocery line who is complaining about how long you are taking.

        This is not something where you should have to recall a poem and ponder the rhyme scheme thirty lines in.

        With respect to government – at one extreme we have tyranny, at the other anarchy.

        That is alot clearer than “Trump and Sanders”.

        Further real principles allow us not merely to determine the different between responding to a rude cashier and a mugger with a knife, but they guide us through all kinds of gradations between

        A little bit of tyranny is better than absolute tyranny, but we are still able to use principles to determine that all tyranny is wrong, even if not equally wrong.

        Can you tell me is 10% Trump or Sanders is right or wrong ?

        You bemoan our post truth society.
        While being completely unequivocal that you have no idea at all what truth is or where to find it.

        You are the problem you are ranting about.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 23, 2019 2:39 pm

        “You have set yourself up as the arbiter of what an issue is and what nothing is. You are describing yourself, not my attempt to communicate.”

        Maybe to some extent I have. Though an awful lot of “what constitutes an issue”.

        It pretty apparent from the title of the blog.

        “The New Moderate
        Politics for the passionate centrist”

        There are plenty of poetry appreciation blogs our there.

        I think it is reasonable for me to expect this is not the correct forum for crochette.

        That discussions of biology are relevant only when they have bearing on politics.

        But if you can talk Rick into re-branding TNM as a poetry appreciation forum – I will go elsewhere.

        Is it “extreme” to expect that a political forum would address issues regarding governance – since politics is defined as the art/science of governing. ?

        Is it tryanny to expect that before you claim to be entitled to us force to restrict my or anyone else’s liberty that you justify your use of force?

        If so you have an odd definition of tyranny.

  12. dhlii permalink
    July 14, 2019 2:43 pm

    Another manufacturered effort to “get Trump” ends.

    There is not and never has been an “emoluments” issue.

    You are free to change the law. But you are not free to warp the constution and existing law to suit your politics.

  13. July 16, 2019 11:30 pm

    Rick, I have tried to find anything close to moderate at other sires and nothing comes close to this site. One prominent site with “Moderate” in its title only post anti-Trump information and is dominated by the far left liberals that cant say a thing without attacking anyone that is not a Democrat voter. They would find a way to blame Trump if California had an earthquake that devestated the state.

    We have interesting discussions here until the comments reach over a few hundred, then some become very personal attacks, much like found elsewhere. But thats politics today.

    Been watching Ken Burns documentary on prohibition. Given the history during this period, I suspect the divisions then were just as great as now. I know the money graft issues with politicians is the same!

    • dhlii permalink
      July 17, 2019 12:32 pm

      Prohibition has some excellent parallels with today.

      It never goes well when one group uses force to compel the rest of us to live as they wish – even when what they want really is for our own good.

      Prohibition destroyed respect for the law in this country. That is ALWAYS what happens when you have laws that do not have NEAR UNIVERSAL support.

      Prohibition created organized crime.

      I do not know if the degree of division is the same as other periods.

      I think we tend to see the past through rose colored glasses.

      I lived through the riots in the 60’s and then later the rodney king riots.
      When I was a kid there were KKK rallies with thousands of participants a few miles from my home in the NORTH.

      Yet I am being told racism is worse than it has ever been, and we have the most racist present ever.

      Nor is it just 20 somethings who never knew a world of actual strife and deprivation,
      but people my own age who saw the same things I did spouting this nonsense.

      If I were to listen to the news – we are more racist than ever. More racist than during Jim Crow, or lynchings, and everything is going to hell and Trump is the cause.

      We can fight over Trump, his policies, his rhetoric, …

      But by any pretense of objective we are better off today than 4 years ago, and better off today that 40 years ago.

      And most of us grasp that we are better off than we would be had Hillary been elected.

      Regardless the most fundimental negative change in the country since Trump was elected is the constant end of the world outrage over Trump.

      Our government has very little to do with our happiness, our day to day lives – while it SHOULD have far less than it does, even as the behemoth it is today, it is MOSTLY inconsequential.

      I think it is arguable that we are marginably but noticably better off in most every way under Trump as compared to Obama, but the differences are still marginal.

      Put simply a substantial portion of the country has gone bat shit crazy.

      This is not so much left vs. right as it is full bull goose loon crazy vs. sane.

      This is not about “policies” it is about rational perspective.

      To the extent that there is anything at ALL that confronts us that is an existential threat – it is our deficits – and that is not a problem anyone is talking about. No matter what your view on any given issue – there is NOTHING that explains the scale of outrage that we have today.

      Robby took a break and says he is calmer. None of the daily outrages while he was gone have mattered. The country is still here. Little different than before. It will still be here tomorow.

      Whether you like Trump or not – we are not only surviving, but we are thriving.
      We will continue to do so – even if Trump is re-elected.

      We can debate the problems of the world and the country. But we are not facing Trumpocalpse.

    • July 21, 2019 10:14 pm

      Ron: I think I know which “moderate” site you mean. I used to cross-post there until I found the audience growing more hostile to any ideas that flew in the face of liberal orthodoxy. It should probably be called “The Mildly Leftist Voice.”

      As I said to Priscilla, the social media have contributed to the deep rift we’re seeing today. Exposed to extreme opinions, people tend to choose sides. Half the country hates the other half, and each side cherry-picks evidence (true or not) to demolish the other side’s beliefs and reinforce its own.

      When Trump tossed those rolls of paper towels in Puerto Rico, I kept thinking that the Democrats would have gushed over Obama if he had been the one doing the tossing. (How touchingly human! How easily he bonds with the people!) And of course, the right-wingers still want to punish Hillary for Benghazi. It never ends.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 9:30 am

        “The mildly leftist Voice” ?

        One of the problems of the moment is that there is no slightly left of center.

        Look at what is happening to democrats right now – the entire party is being dragged to the extreme left. I am not a big Pelosi fan, but she was actually resisting.

        You want to “blame” Trump for something – his choice to go after “the Squad” was brilliant.
        He took the ground right out from under Pelosi.

        BTW I do not see alot of “cherry picking” of evidence. Very little of our political debate (or any other) involves “evidence”.

        I watched a comedy Skit recently – it had nothing to do with politics (and everything).
        It was about the difference between “smart” and “clever” in individual conflicts.

        The “smart” person – provides you with facts, logic and reason showing how you are wrong.
        The “Clever” person – offers a list of every time you have been wrong in the past.

        As you are now, I find myself too often defending Trump.

        Trump is not the issue, he is not the cause of our conflict.
        Nor BTW is social media.

        The core problem is the willingness of all too many of us to go beyond the use of force to punish truly bad conduct to the broad use force to compel good conduct.

        At this moment, that is being done primarily by those on the left.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 22, 2019 10:02 am

        Benghazi is not about Hillary. It is not even about mistakes made by those in government.

        It is about LYING.

        The Marine Barracks Bombing in Lebanon was a much worse event.

        But early on Reagan took personal responsibility and allowed a real and thorough investigation.

        This is also what is troubling about the Clinton Email investigation – all the lying.
        There should have been consequences to Clinton’s email nonsense – not “lock her up”,
        but the end of her political career – as well as those of most of her staff.

        When there are no consequences for bad conduct, you will get more.

        This is what is troubling about the entire Obama administration.

        We have been lied to about Fast and Furious. It really does not matter exactly what the truth is, there is no doubt we were lied to.

        We were lied to about the IRS targeting groups based on viewpoint. Even the idiotic claim that they targeted left wing groups too – does not make anything better.

        Government MAY NOT target individuals or groups based on viewpoint. Not conservative viewpoints, not leftist viewpoints.

        We may not ask “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party”.

        We allowed a coverup of the IRS leaking peoples tax returns. It is irrelevant who.

        We had our govenrment spying on reporters, and congressmen – and we let that slide.

        Why should we be surprised that come the next election the federal government was weaponized to “influence” the election.

        Regardless if we do not punish misconduct we can expect more of it.

        I am not happy with alot of Trump’s conduct – and I will not be voting for him.
        That is the appropriate consequence for bad speech. Bad acts – even by those with silver tongues, Bad acts – even by those I admire, Bad acts – even by those doing so with good intentions, are much more serious than bad speach, and require more serious consequences.

        The importance of all the things you think Republicans have fixated on is:

        Do you want these to become the NORM ?

        I do not want Trump’s rhetoric to become the norm for US politics.

        But I am far more concerned about the actual use of the resources of the US government to target political enemies or to cover up poor choices.

        People – make choices. In government, in business, in their personal lives.
        They make good choices, and they make bad choices.

        Our world, our standard of living, our lives improve when – as tends to happen naturally,
        good choices are rewarded and bad ones have consequences.

        Outside of government, people lose their jobs, their businesses their money or their freedom as a consequence of sufficiently bad choices. Just as they are rewarded for the good choices they make.

        That is the engine that drives human improvement.

      • July 22, 2019 12:38 pm

        Rick, “The Mildly Leftist Voice”? If you believe that site is mildly leftist, your scale from left to right is far different than mine.

        While I put Hannity and Limbaugh on the far right, I put Madow, Mathews and “The Mildly Leftist Voice% on the far right.

  14. July 17, 2019 12:39 pm

    Dave, you continue to support the position that Trump will be reelected. Well, Trump is coming to eastern NC, East Carolina University in Greenville. That was bright red Trump country and overall Trump carried NC by 3% in 2016. Today, his apprval numbers are down 21%, vSenator Tillis is underwater to democrats due to the dislike of Trump and its very possible Trump loses NC. When do you begin to accept Trump losing and the senate flipping due to Trump.

    Trump is a textbook example of how good is completely destroyed by bad. His racist tweets is a total tidel wave to his policies.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 17, 2019 6:05 pm


      I am making a prediction – not a wish.

      In CA – in one of the districts that flipped – the incumbent democrats is already down 6 points against a generic republican. At this moment if the election were held today – she would lose to the same candidate she beat by 3 points just a few months ago.

      Even Ezra Klein thinks Trump’s attack on “the squad” this weekend was premeditated, and might well work strongly in his favor despite the media pummelling.

      AOC has just about the highest name recognition of any politician today – yet she has a 21% approval rating. Omar has a 53% name recognition – which is astounding for a congressmen (AOC’s is in the upper 70’s) yet Omar’s approval rating is in single digits.

      Pelosi spent all last week (and months before) thrying to wrangle the democratic party from AOC and her “squad” and was starting to have some success. While Trump’s tweets atleast temporarily harmed himself, At the sametime they bound Pelosi and the rest of the democratic party all the more firmly to AOC. Pelosi just pushed through a condemnation of the president for attacking AOC – not an “unprovoked attack”. Absolutely Trump’s remarks were “over the top”, but who here wants to say that AOC, Omar, Pressley, Ilbran’s were not also “over the top” ?

      Further Pelosi – and the left attacked Trump for “racism” – sorry, most americans DO NOT see “If you do not like it here – go back and fix the countries you came from” as racist.
      Xenophobic ? Maybe, But Trump once again got democrats and the media to call him racist for something most people – and nearly 100% of his supporters do not think it racist.

      Trump paraphrased the relatively common phrase “american, love it or leave it”.

      That is not “right’ but it is not racist either. And a large portion of people have said exactly that, and more think it.

      Trump keeps defining the election as between him and the socialist and intolerant left, who thinks everyone is a racist, hateful, hating hater. and democrats keep buying into that.

      If democrats want to win in 2020 – they need to stand for something besides “not Trump”, nor are they going to win on the “free everything” platform.

      The more polarized politics remains between now and the election – the more likely Trump wins. It is irrelevant what Trump’s “approval” rating is. What matters is how people will vote.

      Anyway this is just my read of the tea leaves. though I would note that there are an increasing number of pundits saying the same.

      BTW, I do not think this election is even going to be close. But again we are reading Crystal balls. Of the current leading contenders the only democrat who is unlikely to get wiped by Trump is Biden. Trump Biden would be like Obama Romney – Trump would likely win.

      Trump most any other democrat – is like Reagan Mondale, or Bush Dukakis – maybe not quite that bad, but still a route.

      There was an atlantic article with a bunch of 2016 campaign managers who lost to Trump reviewing the democratic field. They were surprisingly kind to most of them. They discussed primary and general election strategies ….
      But universally they said – absent the economy tanking or Trump being caught in bed with a teenager, he will crush whoever opposes him. Almost no one is going to take a risk on a democrat who wants to change everything, at a time when things are going well – not even if they have to pick Trump.

      The odds of my voting for Trump are near zero. The odds of my voting for any of the current likely democrats is below zero. Trump is doing everything he possibly can to keep the Democrats off balance and as far to the left as possible. And they are playing right into his hands.

      If Pelosi continues the disasterous term she has had thus far – democrats may not only give back all their 2018 gains – but then some.
      Democrats took the house in 2018 BECAUSE:
      House republicans in 2016-2018 were a failure. I like Paul Ryan personally. But he was not much of a speaker – nor was Boehner.
      Pelosi is doing worse.
      She promised alot of things.
      She has delivered nothing.
      The D’s who won red districts PROMISED bipartisanship. Whether they like it or not Trump has kept Pelosi and the house on the AOC wingnut train.

      Further the time between now and the election is likely to favor Trump.
      Mueller has nearly shot his wad. Aside from the probably scripted nonsense coming in a few weeks D’s have little good to look forward to.
      Trump has a strong economy. There are numerous deals in the works and some of them will bear fruit. He looks strong globally – WITHOUT risking US soldiers. Even If I think some of his policies were technically mistakes – standing up to China and …. plays incredibly well with his base – and lots of people not in his base.

      And everytime the left shouts “racist” and the rest of us say why aren’t they talking about me ? They lose ground. Moral denunciations are really really dangerous.

      Look I would like a miracle. As angry as I am over his shenanigans during the 2016 election – I would love to See Bill Weld challenge Trump successfully,.

      But that is not happyening,.

      2020 will be Trump vs. either – some democrat that will be palatable to AOC and not most of the country – or Biden – who will have had to tack so far left and debase himself to get elected that any chance he has is gone.

      That is my read of the tea leaves.

      The Senate BTW is another story. 2020 favors Dems. Senate elections are different from presidential and house elections. But Republicans have enough advantages I do not think they are losing the senate. But they might – even if Trump wins, and even if R’s take back the house.

  15. Priscilla permalink
    July 18, 2019 2:46 pm

    “Never before in all our history have these forces [the media and the opposition party] been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.” ~FDR, 1936


    “the smell of fascism has been in the air at this convention.” columnist Drew Pearson, writing about the 1964 GOP Convention

    “These are people who are practicing genocide with a smile; they’re worse than Hitler.” Democrat Rep Major Owens, referring to Newt Gingrich and the GOP Contract with America 1994

    This kind of rhetoric has been used by Democrats and liberals for decades. It’s only because Trump has turned it back on them that we hear about all of this “divisiveness>

    I’m not saying it’s not divisive. I’m saying that Trump didn’t start this. Does it help that this sort of incendiary rhetoric is used by both sides? No, it’s definitely worse, and more dangerous now. But, blaming Trump for this sort of thing is hypocritical in the extreme.

    In the past week all four members of “The Squad” have been asked to disavow Antifa. None of them did.

    • July 18, 2019 6:28 pm

      Priscilla, no Trump did not start this. I stumbled across this article that was written shortly after Trump was elected and before all the massive anti-Trump messages were developed. It actually supports a lot of what Dave continues to preach about Trump knowing his voters.

      But it also points out that much of what is happening today also took place in the 20’s. Had social media been present back then, I doubt we would find any differences with todays environment.

      • Priscilla permalink
        July 19, 2019 8:34 am

        Interesting article, Ron.

        It reminds me of how the “great compromise” that allowed the big and small states to all sign on to the Constitution was based on a similar understanding that, if large population centers were permitted to control the smaller and/or more rural states through proportional representation, there could be no self-governing agreement that would last.

        And, it certainly appears that we are heading away from the Great Compromise, and toward a crack-up of the constitutional order of things in general. Something like 13 states have voted to allot their electoral votes based on the national popular vote, essentially taking away their own citizens’ suffrage in presidential elections. It is highly unlikely that the courts will allow this, but it shows how successful the left has been in convincing people that the reason that Trump won was that the electoral system is somehow “unfair,” and that tyranny by pure democracy is superior to a democratically representative republic.

      • July 19, 2019 10:20 am

        I’m not sure that the courts would not allow it. (Allocation of electors based on national vote). The constitution is very clear in this with little open to interpretation. Article 2, section 1 “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

        If the state legislature passes the The National Popular Vote Interstate Compac, that directs the state to appoint electors based on the national vote.

        Am I missing something?

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 12:41 pm

        The constitution specifices that the State legislature must appoint electors.

        By requiring the appointment of electors the constitution is precluding the legistlature from detailed control of the electors themselves. Otherwise there would be no reason for the constitution to require electors.

        If the legislature dictates too much how the electors must vote – then there was no reason for the constution to have electors in the first place. Instead of having campaigns and elections the state legislatures could just vote every 4 years on who they want as president.

        One of the rules of statutory construction is that to the extent possible all parts of a law should be construed to have meaning.

        The constution or law would likely NEVER be read to say – I give the power to decide an issue to Y and they are required to decide it in exactly this way.

        I would note that is the greatest weakness that strong 2nd amendment advocates have.

        The actual language of the constitution is clear – the right to bear arms is NOT conditioned on militias. The clauses are independent. At the same time the rules of statutory construction REQUIRE that laws and constitution do not contain meaningless words. So what does the militia clause mean – why is t present ?
        The answer actually goes back to the constitutional convention and it will not make anybody happy. The 2nd amendment language was DELIBERATELY intended to mean an “individual right to bear arms” – to delegates from the northern and western states, and to mean formal state militias to southern states. There was not alot of debate – because no one wanted to make the issue clear and then have one side or the other prevail.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 12:45 pm

        No matter what the constitution gives congress the power to override the states on federal election issues.

        Just as with Gerrymandering – Congress can pass election laws and rules that bind all the states, including dictating that a state can not delegate its electoral college votes to the winner of the national popular election.

        But I do not think it would get that far. I actually beleive Scotus would strike these laws down.
        Essentially saying – if the constitution wanted a popular vote election it would have specified one, and you can not change the constitution merely by changing a law – particularly not a state law.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 12:53 pm

        BTW – while I have argued strongly here that SCOTUS and the court shoudl stay OUT of gerrymandering. And SCOTUS wisely did. I have zero problem with congress writing laws to dictate the way congressional districts should be determined.

        Nor do I think that would bee too difficult.

        SCOTUS had previously rules that districts had to be compact, reflect natural boundaries, and natural popular groupings. SCOTUS should NOT have specified that.
        But Congress should.

      • July 19, 2019 7:45 pm

        “SCOTUS had previously rules that districts had to be compact, reflect natural boundaries, and natural popular groupings”.

        Is this a recent ruling? I agree that district resident should be grouped based on some logical rules, but one only needs to look at alomost any state with more than 10 representatives to see it is really not followed.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 9:44 am

        There are numerous redistricting cases.
        compactness,contiguity, equal population are common themes.
        After the VRA passed we had a number of cases compelling and now prohibiting racial gerrymandering.

        One of the points I have been trying to make on several issues is that some government processes are inherently politically corruptable.
        That often trying to “fix” that corrupts the rest of our government.

        We do not want our courts involved in making purely political choices, or in deciding essentially political cases.

        Roberts oddly got that in the Gerrymandering case.

        The issue is NOT whether gerrymandering exists, or whether it is a bad thing – though arguably it is not very consequential, but whether the courts should be corrupted by getting sucked into gerrymandering cases.

        Where humanly possible we should structure those activities that result in high dangers of political corruption – so that the corruption is difficult or impossible.

        We can as an example count votes in public, and give ordinary people and the press broad access to the election process so that attempting to stuff ballot boxes etc is difficult.

        The objective should be to MINIMIZE the role of courts and independent commissions.
        To find STRUCTURAL ways to limit political corruption, NOT oversight processes that can themselves be corrupted.

        We should have runnoffs rather than recounts as an example.

        We should eliminate early voting, and greatly restrict absentee voting.

        We need to get past the nonsensical idea that the objective is to make voting easier – it should be HARD. Regardless, the most important thing is not that it is easy, but that the process is as incorruptable as possible – STRUCTURALLY – not by oversight.

        When we can not acheive that – we should NOT impose oversight – particularly COURT oversight, as that will just corrupt our courts.

        We should tolerate the corruption if possible.

        That is the fundimentally correct part of the current Gerrymandering decision

        Do not corrupt the courts to fix a problem that can not be fixed.

        There is no correct way to determine congressional districts.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 10:01 am

        I am focused on the process less than the method.

        Whatever rules you decide for redistricting – those rules must be enforced.

        It is dangerous to politicize the courts by involving them in political decisions.

        Few of us think that SCOTUS’s gerrymandering decision reflects some idealized best way to determine congressional districts.

        The core of the decision is that redistricting is a dirty political process and the more deeply the courts are involved the more corrupt the courts will become.

        I completely agree with that.

        The Census case is a the perfect example of why the courts should NOT be involved in political questions.

        All the court needed to determine was – if the constitution was followed.
        That is it.

        Instead we have SCOTUS deciding Wilbur Ross’s motives – which is nonsense.

        He – like Trump, Like the rest of us would like a more accurate measure of how many citizens we have in the country.

        What is really disturbing is that we do not actually know.

        Harvard/MIT did a study recently – they beleived that the conventially accepted number – approx. 11m illegal immigrants was TOO HIGH. So they carefully constructed a survey.
        There results was closer to 20M illegal immigrants surprising themselves and the rest of us.

        The point is we do not know.

        The claim – whether by the challengers or those in the census department that they can accurately model it is NONSENSE. Given that different models disagree by as much as a factor of 4.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 19, 2019 10:53 am

        Except for the scale there is nothing being done to Trump that was not done to Sarah Palin.
        Or to Michelle Bachman. Or many other voices on the right.

        One of the reasons that Trump won was because far too many voters here these accusations of racism and say “they could be talking about me”

        This is Trump’s purportedly RACIST tweet.

        You can disagree with it, but you have to be able to read other peoples minds to claim it is racist.

        “So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….”

        BTW “the squad” attacked Pelosi a few days before for her “racist” remarks about them.

        It is not racist to criticize someone who happens to not be white for their actions and words,

    • dhlii permalink
      July 19, 2019 10:18 am

      Things are unusual now – compared to most of our lifetimes,.

      As you are noting – they are not historically unusual.

      Our founders – Jefferson and Adams and their surrogates were particularly brutal,
      Jefferson calling Adams gay – at a time when gay was deemed really really bad.
      And Adam’s accusing Jefferson of cavorting with slaves – which he aparently did.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 19, 2019 10:45 am

      Those on the right have not and are not calling those on the left

      racist, mysoginisy, homophobic, transphobic, biggotted, hateful, hating haters,

      Moral claims are different from factual claims of differences of oppinion or policy.

      We can be wrong about facts, we can be wrong about policy, we can be wrong about oppinions – the worst consequence is diminished credibility.

      False moral claims errode our integrity. They are nearly impossible to recover from.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 19, 2019 6:30 pm

      Ron, I found this article:

      “In assessing the constitutionality of NPV, you have to consider some of its central features. First, NPV abandons the idea that presidential electors represent the people of their own states. Second, it discards an election system balanced among interests and values in favor of one recognizing only national popularity. That popularity need not be high: A state joining the NPV compact agrees to assign its electors to even the winner of a tiny plurality in a multi-candidate election.

      Third, because NPV states would have a majority of votes in the Electoral College, NPV would effectively repeal the Constitution’s provision for run-off elections in the House of Representatives.

      Fourth, NPV requires each state’s election officer to apply the vote tabulations certified by other state election officers—even if those tabulations are known to be fraudulent or erroneous. Indeed, NPV would give state politicians powerful incentives to inflate, by fair means or foul, their vote totals relative to other states.”

      Although, now that SCOTUS has ruled the individual mandate constitutional as well as ruling that the executive branch must have a “good reason” to put a citizenship question on the census, I’m not so sure that even the Supreme Court understands its role……

      • July 19, 2019 8:05 pm

        Amen to thatt!!

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 8:57 am

        Some of the arguments are good. But fundamentally, rewrites the constitution without amending it. The left needs to get past that. Further we all need to get past the nonsense that we are a democracy. Democracies are among the WORST forms of government.

        It is democracy that made Socrates drink Hemlock. The Greek Democracies did not last very long. Our Government was most strongly patterned after the Roman Republic.

        The actual structure of the government is important. Not because the structure itself is sacred, but because the political philosophy that it embodies is.

        The entirety of our constitution is designed to constrain the power of government.

        Alot – too much is made of our founders purported beleif that the articles of confederation had failed, supposedly because they created too weak a federal government.

        The constitutional design of our government deliberately intended to make governing very difficult. The US is not a democracy. It is NOT majority rule. Accomplishing nearly anything in government was supposed to require SUPER MAJORITIES.

        With respect to presidential elections – One (of many) purpose of the arrangement was to prevent exactly what the NPV pushes.

        If we as a nation have decided our founders were wrong – or that Mills later observation that democracy was the most intrusive form of government of all – because there is no limit to the extent to which people are willing to meddle in their neighbors lives.

        Then the least we can do is amend the constitution to do so.

        Law, Government, the courts – are NOT there to find creative ways to circumvent the constitution or the law.

        We are free as a people to change our government however we please. But if we are going to do so, we must do so openly and honestly.

        That means amending – or abolishing the constitution. Not trying to game it.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 20, 2019 9:20 am

        Roberts issues another one of these stupid “one off” decisions, that have no precidential value, and that pretend SCOTUS is their to resolve cases, not issues.

        Oddly the Citzenship decision is completely at odds with the gerrymandering decision.

        In the Gerrymandering decisions Roberts and SCOTUS CORRECTLY understood that they were not their to judge the intentions of those creating congressional districts.

        Each and every one of us is individually free to read and judge the minds of others.
        But collectively through government we many NOT.
        We MAY NOT USE FORCE based on mind reading. We read the law and constitution as they are written. We demand that those in government follow the letter of the law and the constitution. That is something within the domain of human capability to measure.

        Roberts and the lower courts fixated on Ross’s ‘intent” in adding the citizenship question.

        They asked – straight out of 1984, “did Ross commit “thought crime” when he chose to add the citizenship question”. This is an inappropriate question for ANY court.

        The lower courts and the supreme court attempted to pretend that something nefarious was going on. Aside from the fact that the intentions of the actors are irrelevant if the act itself is constitutional, and the fact that ouija board judgements of the intentions of others are not the legitimate domain of the courts, There is no “secret evil intent” here. It was clear from BEFORE the 2016 election, that Trump was actively seeking to clarify that in the US there is a distinction between a CITIZEN and a RESIDENT, and someone who came here illegally.

        Throughout the history of this country that has been true. Citizens have rights that residents do not – such as voting. We also have obligations that residents do not – such as involuntary military service.

        The left has made an enormous deal over the possibility that immigrants – particularly illegal immigrants might be afraid to answer the census if citizenship was asked.

        While there is no actual evidence of that beyond emotional rhetoric – even if it were true “SO WHAT ?”. Every single action of govenrment has negative emotional effects on some people.

        The only relevant questions for SCOTUS are:

        Does this act of government conform to the constitution ?
        If the citizenship question is unconstitutional – then every question aside from how many people live here is unconstitutional.
        Does this act of government infringe on the rights of ….. CITIZENS ?

        That is pretty much it. I think far far too little weight is given to the latter.
        I think that SCOTUS should find far more laws unconstitutional because they infringe on our rights.

        But I do not want any of our courts making ouija board guesses as to what is going on in peoples minds as a basis for deciding what is legal or constitutional.

        The legality or constitutionality of an act is determined by the act itself and the law and constitution. Not guesses as to whether the actor committed “thought crime”

  16. dhlii permalink
    July 19, 2019 11:02 am

    I do not agree with this person. I think he mostly exaggerates the effects of advertising.
    That said this argument is no different from the nonsense that Russian facebook adds flipped the election. EXCEPT that this DEMOCRAT, is claiming that the actions of social media giants gave HRC ATLEAST 2.4M additional votes and possibly as many as 10M.
    That they likely added 10M votes to democrat totals in 2018 and that there ongoing activites will add atleast 10M votes to democrat totals in 2020.

    I found the witnesses disagreement with Cruz towards the end particularly instructive – unlike Koch and Sorros, and Steyer, Google, FB, Twitter can very simply meddle in elections


    The Koch’s would have to pay hundreds of millions to do what Zuckerburg can do for free.

  17. dhlii permalink
    July 19, 2019 12:30 pm

    The constitution gives great latitude to the state LEGISLATURE regarding Federal Elections.

    That is specifically the LEGISLATURE – not the govenor, not the state courts.

    Further responsibility is delegated to CONGRESS.

    I think the consitution is clear – that issues such are “gerrymandering” in federal elections, must be decided by:

    The State Legislature,
    The congress,

    To the extent the courts – state or federal have any role at all, it is in resolving issues regarding the US constitution ONLY.

    States are free to do as they please regarding LOCAL elections,
    but any authority for a federal election not delegated to the state LEGISLATURE, belongs to the federal government.

    SCOTUS’s recent gerrymandering though unsatisfactory to must was CORRECT.
    That does not mean that states should be permitted to gerrymander as they please – though that is probably not as bad a solution as it sounds. The effects of gerrymandering are small and trying to make them large is dangerous.

    Regardless if there are rules that apply to ALL states – those rules must be set by congress.
    Not State courts, and not SCOTUS,

  18. July 20, 2019 10:51 am

    Dave you commented concerning social media censorship.
    I have commented concering the gullibility of American voters and voting based on false stories.

    So here is a story that merges both

    • dhlii permalink
      July 20, 2019 3:32 pm

      I have more problems with the claims in the article you linked than what is purportedly being done.

      I do not want Youtube or anyone else deciding what videos can be posted and which can not based on some personal judgement over what is “fake”

      If you think a video is “fake” – do and post your analysis, make your arguments.

      If your arguments succeed – your credibility is enhanced, and that of whoever you are criticizing is diminished.

      The Acosta video was NOT “slowed down” or “deceptively edited – atleast not the version posted by the whitehouse.

      We have competing political claims of “fake news”.

      I think alot of what we are provided is garbage.

      BUT I get to make my own judgement of what I accept and what I do not based on the information I gather.

      I do not share Project Veritas’s political perspective. But in several years of providing video the only “issue” with anything they have provided, is one of the early accorn videos showed OKeefe dressed in a pimp coat and separately in the Accorn offices implying he dresses as a pimp when he was in the accorn offices – which he did not.
      However he did openly discuss with Accorn that he was running a brothel.

      Anyway PV posts the raw video of everything they do – so you get to decide for yourself.

      I think you can debate the meaning of some of the video’s they post.
      But the claims that they are “fake” or altered are bogus.

      With respect to the other stuff – this “fake” claim, is just a new way to attempt to take down anything that pokes fun at people you like.

      Political carciture is centuries if not millenia old.

      Yes, on occasion people are stupid enough to beleive it.

      An enormous number of people beleive Russia had a consequential impact on the 2016 election.

      You can not (and do not have the right to) dictate what other people beleive to be true.

      The most dangerous thing in Politics is NOT propoganda or “fake news” or false information.
      The most dangerous thing is censorship.

      I linked the video of the testimony of some left leaning professor – claiming that Google and Facebook could alter elections.

      I DO NOT WANT ANYTHING DONE ABOUT THAT – except making the information available.

      There is absolutely no one I trust to decide what we can and can not see or hear.

      All this testimony says to me – is that there are myriads of ways to try to persuade people.

      Anytime anyone says that some form of expression improperly “influenced” an election.
      They are saying that SOME people should be allowed to engage in persuasion and others should not.

      If I am offended by the political advocacy of Google or FaceBook I can choose not to use their services,.

      I can not fix it when someone else decides what I can and can not hear.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 20, 2019 3:42 pm

      Can Mark Zuckerberg send out a GOTV message to people who he thinks will vote for candidates he favors ?

      If Zuckerberg can not – can David Koch ? Tim Steyer ?

      What about the DNC ? the RNC ?

      What about Putin ?

  19. Priscilla permalink
    July 22, 2019 9:47 am

    Interesting. I think I agree with most of this.

    “Yet our increasingly neo-feudal America is best broken down into four broad groups — the oligarchs, the clerisy, the yeomanry and the serfs. The oligarchs dominate the economic realm, including control of information media. Below them are sometimes allied members of the clerisy, the well-educated middle class who set the country’s intellectual and cultural context.

    Below them are the two most numerous classes — the property-owning yeomanry and, most numerous of all, expanding the new serfdom. Understanding these groups provides a valuable insight into 2020’s realities.”

  20. dhlii permalink
    July 23, 2019 3:03 pm

    John Tammy with some excellent economic criticism of Trump – and all other protectionists, and interventionists.

  21. July 24, 2019 3:27 pm

    Well the Mueller hearings just solidified my thoughts about this whole mess. Either Mueller is verging on dementia with his “what page of the report is it on? Ok, yes I agree with that” , or his staff wrote the report and he did not read it other than the summary.

    This has not gone well for the Democrats. Even Pete Williams, NBC news, said this is not the same Mueller that he has de alth with over the years. And Trump has not sufferred any further damage. Even Pelosi said she was not watching most of it, that she was dealing with the budget deal. To me, that says it all.If this was goibgbwell, she would be watching, at least listening while working on other stuff when the GOP was questioning him.

    There will be those that continue down the collusion/conspiracy story. They are the jellyfish of Washington politics. They are the jellyfish of the media and those that believe them are the jelly fish voters.

    • Priscilla permalink
      July 24, 2019 4:31 pm

      Yes, it was a complete dud.

      I actually found myself feeling sorry for Mueller, because he seemed so frail and confused, particularly in the morning session. Certainly not the tough G-man I was expecting. I was glad to see that Devin Nunes used his remaining time to thank Mueller for his service to the country, and for appearing voluntarily before the committees. That was classy, and there was no reason at that point to grill him any further. He clearly is not all that familiar with his own report.

      Hopefully, there are not too many jellyfish….

      • dhlii permalink
        July 24, 2019 8:07 pm

        Your perception, mine, Ron’s and most of the early editorials seems about the same.
        Even the atlantic – which said the Republicans fell short (short of what ?) still thought Mueller was a dud.

        But I fully expect tomorow to be told that what I saw did not happen. That Mueller and the democrats somehow triumphed.

        What I saw was one of the most cohesive demonstrations that there is not and never was any basis for any of this. The impression I got was that Mueller did not actually work that hard. That mostly he just looked at what the press or the Steele Dossier fed him.
        That he was incredibly incurious about anything that did not point directly at Trump.

        I have taken direct aim at Mueller here. I DO NOT think his past record is one that is deserving of respect. I DO NOT think the guy that hounded Richard Jewel, Bruce Ivens and Steven Hatfill – as SOME of the highlights of a long carreer of bullying, is someone we should be canonizing. I want our government purged of people like Mueller – whether they are Republicans or democrats.

        But the man testifying today was more pitiful than pit bull. Several people suggested early dimensia, I am not going there, but certainly he was NOT a pitt bull, his heart did not seem to be in this. He did not talk like the leader of one of the most important investigations in our history. He talked like a grandfather given the task of presenting the incoherent mess that his grandchildren had put together. He did not really understand it. But he loved his grand children. He did not talk like a leader. Or like a person who had significant involvement in writing the report that bears his name.

        He sort of refused to talk about anything outside the four corners of the report. Except when he wanted to. While at the same time refusing to talk about what was actually in the report.
        He did not come accross as someone who did not want to answer the questions being asked so much as someone who could not answer the questions being asked.

        But I am sure tomorow, I will hear that Mueller laid the roadmap for impeachment.

      • July 24, 2019 9:07 pm

        I have said a number of times that Mueller was out for Trump, prolonging the investigation to create an issue for elections and was doing everything he could to get Trump defeated.

        I now have to refine my observation. I don’t think it was him. I dont think he was that involved given what I saw today. I think the cart was being drawn by his team and he was just along for the ride, occassionally pulling the reighs to keep them from going off the cliff.

        As for dementia, that is for doctors to decide. But I did see the same traits when he was searching for words and incoherently putting together sentences, much the same as Reagan when Nancy was feeding him words when he was unable to find the right ones.

        Howver, you may not hear them say what you saw you did not see, but already NBC, even after the Chuck Todd’s “disaster” comment and Pete Williams ” this is not the mueller I knew” comment earlier in the day , NBC news was focused on Muellers comment about Trump possibly being guity but not charging him because of president not being charged while in office.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 25, 2019 12:35 am

        I do not like Mueller. Forget everything related to THIS investigation.
        His history was that of a pitt bull who would destroy people – even if it was evident they were innocent. That is not my idea of a hero. That is not my idea of integrity.

        But today I pittied Mueller. I did not watch the entire public spectacle – but what I did was a disaster for Mueller and Democrats.

        There is speculation about Mueller’s mental state – I have no idea whether that has substance. But what is crystal clear is that Robert Mueller had very little to do with either the report or the investigation. So we had a special counsel investigation that we run by god only knows who ? Certainly no one who was appointed or vetted properly.

        That is the first huge crystal clear take away.

        The next is that from the very begining the SC investigation was an investigation of Trump – not Russia. Mueller repeatedly claimed that everything under the sun – The prior FBI investigation, the credibility of his agents, the fact that all the allegations he was investigating came from Hillary Clinton and Fusion GPS AND THE RUSSIANS, That all kinds of people lied to him or his agents – according to his own report, but NONE were prosecuted – unless they were tied to republicans. The Mueller report claims that Mifsud lied to FBI agents 3 times. Where is the indictment of Mifsud ? The Mueller report perpetuates the nonsense that Mifsud was a Russian operative. If that is true the FBI and MI6 were penetrated by Mifsud at the highest levels. Regardless, Mueller had zero interest in Mifsud – even though Mueller identified him as a Russian Asset targetting the US. BTW we now know that Klimetov – the “russian Spy” that Manafort was giving election data to – was a US Asset.

        Regardless my point is that Mueller was tasked with investigating Russian interferance in the 2016 Election, yet today he repeatedly told congress under oath that all kinds of things that where clearly relevant to russian interferance in the 2016 election were outside his purview,
        Yet somehow Manafort and Cohens taxes and Trump’s liason with Stormy Daniels was inside his brief ?

        I have made my opinion about Mueller clear in the past, and above.
        But Mueller’s testimony made it pretty damn clear that
        Robert Mueller had damn little to do with this investigation.
        and that
        whoever was running it, the investigation was entirely about getting Trump.
        That Russia, and the 2016 election were relevant – only to the extent they might lead to Trump.

        What also appears to be clear is that from the start Rod Rosenstein was protecting Robert Mueller – the person, not the investigation, and that after his appointment as Attorney General Robert Barr was doing the same. Nobody was trying to hide the facts from House Democrats. They were trying to protect Robert Mueller from making a public spectacle of himself. Rep. Gomert attacked Mueller for his friendship with Comey – which is known and sufficient under the circumstances to preclude Mueller from being Special Counsel. But we forget that Robert Barr is also a friend of Mueller. Barr tried fairly hard to protect Mueller from the spectacle he was today.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 25, 2019 12:38 am

        The question regarding charging after he was out of office was a hypothetical.

        Mueller was not asked can Trump be charged and successfully prosecuted after he has left office. Mueller was asked whether the president (any president) can be charged and prosecuted for some unspecified crime after they leave office. It was a question of law, and Mueller answered it correctly – though oddly he got many other questions of law wrong today.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 25, 2019 12:53 am

        I am not speculating on dementia. there are myriads of possibilities that would explain Mueller performance today aside from mental decline. What is clear is that Mueller had minimal involvement not merely with writing the report, but also with running the investigation. He not only was unfamiliar with the report, he was pretty much unfamiliar with anything. You would expect even a distance boss to have a better grasp than he showed.

        This was NOT the Mueller report. This was NOT the Mueller investigation.

        Trump repeatedly says Mueller and 17 angry democrats.
        Trump is wrong – it is just 17 angry democrats.

        If Nadler and Democrats want to know about the investigation they are going to have to subpeona the rest of Mueller’s team. While I expect that many of them would have more familiarity with the investigation that Mueller did today, ultimately they will make shitty witnesses for entirely different reasons.

        Mueller provided the investigation the patina that it was non-political and above board.
        It is obvious today that Mueller had little to do with any of it. That will make it trivial to paint other witnesses as politically motivated.

        I have no idea what Pelosi and democrats will do.
        But I think they have hit the end of the road.

        One republican cross examined Mueller asking him what is it that we got for $25M.
        That is a pretty good question right not.
        It is increasingly evident that there is NOTHING, beyond the Steele Dossier, anonymous leaks to the press, and the CrowdStrike report, That there never was more than that. That there is no more today.

        I do not beleive it came up in Mueller’s testimony, but one editorial from today noted that the “evidence” for “obstruction of justice” is primarily press stories that an anonymous source said that Trump told somebody to fire Mueller or something like that.

        I am all for freedom of the press. I beleive that except under very rare circumstances the press should be able to protect its sources from government.
        HOWEVER, that also means that a press story should not ever be used on its own as evidence of anything.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 24, 2019 4:37 pm

      In a sane world – this should be the end of it.
      Mueller did horribly. Whatever the reason he was clueless.
      He was incredibly evasive – but not in an articulate sense, but in the sense that he appeared to be avoiding answering questions – often questions that WERE inside the scope of his report and his investigation, because he had no idea what the answers were.

      Whatever the reason, this did not help Democrats. This STRONGLY reinfroced Trump’s claims this was a political hatchet job. To some extent it exhonerats Mueller himself – as it appears unlikely that Robert Mueller had anything to do with the investigation and report that bear his name. Which means that the Special Counsel investigation was not in Robert Muellers control, but that of “17 angry democrats”

      With what I saw – Republicans could have done a little better. But Mueller could hardly have done worse.

      There were a few things that I learned – mostly from questions.

      Mueller’s report apparently notes that Mifsud lied to investigators – yet he was not investigated, or prosecuted. Enormous portions of the “evidence” of Trump’s obstruction, is from news reports. i.e. the NYT says that an unnamed white house source says that Trump said. That is not evidence. Evidence is something that you can get a know real person to testify under oath in court.

      We once again have Mueller investigating all the allegations of the Steele Dossier – but NEVER looking into the sources and actual credibility of the dossier itself.
      Mueller’s team – because it appears Mueller was not actually involved, beleived every anonymous claim made about Trump without question. Further they investigated every alleged connection between Trump and Russia, but did not really investigate “Russian interferance in the election” They had absolutely no interest in anything Russian – if it did not have the potential to implicate Trump. They did not look at anything actual russians did, that had anything to do with the election if it did not point at Trump.

      They were lied to – repeatedly by numerous witnesses – but they only indicted those who might lead to Trump.

      The point is NOT that Trump was the target – though at times Mueller publicly stated that Trump was not. The point is that NOTHING else mattered. Mueller was briefed to investigate the entirety of russian interferance in the 2016 election. His gang of Angry Democrats, had no interest in anything Russia did that might not lead to Trump.

      The role of a prosecutor is to find the truth. Not get his target.

  22. dhlii permalink
    July 24, 2019 5:09 pm

    Interesting article on misleading facts and statistics.

  23. dhlii permalink
    July 25, 2019 6:13 pm

    Turley excellent as always.

    The big deal is not Mueller’s performance but that it is being represented so radically differently.

    Mueller’s testimony is available on Youtube for anyone to view.
    You can draw your own conclusions.
    You need not accept mine or MSNBC’s or Fox’s or Tribe’s.

    All of us are going to try to see it through the lense of our own biases.

    But if we are unable to atleast glimpse reality beyond our biases,
    Government is impossible,
    getting along is impossible,
    Anything but chaos is impossible.

    Regardless, after making your own assessment of Mueller’s performance you know have information to assess something else.

    The credibility of others on the same issue.

    If you watch Mueller and you honestly think his performance was stellar – then Fox, as well as all the other sources – including democrats like Tribe who were disappointed, are clearly unable to see things objectively.

    Conversely if you think Mueller left an awful lot to be desired – then you should not be trusting those sources that are today claiming that Mueller nailed Trump to the wall.

    Regardless, if our Honest perceptions are radically different we can not govern, we can not coexist. We will inevitably be at war with each other.

    If however the differences are not honest differences, then whatever group is misrepresenting reality the most is doing real harm. They are making coexistance and governing impossible.

    I think it should be clear to most anyone that Mueller’s testimony provided no help to House democrats and while in theory it could have gone better for Trump, in the realm of the possible, it went about as well as Trump could have hoped.

    If your judgement is not within a reasonable distance of that, then I am unlikely to trust your judgement on much of anything.
    If your judgement is not close to the same, one of us is deeply drowning in cognative bias.

    The left claims intellectual superiority over the rest of us.
    Inarguably there are more professors and phd’s on the left.

    If their judgement of Mueller’s testimony is wishful thinking – they should not be trusted regarding other things – even issues in their chosen field.

  24. dhlii permalink
    July 26, 2019 3:05 pm

    This is another area of extreme polarization where we really do need to find the truth that is actually in the middle.

    Our policing has dramatically improved over the past 50 years. Whatever complaints one might have about purported systemic racism, there is no such thing in policing today.
    That does not mean our policing is perfect. We should commend law enforcement for many many improvements in the past 50 years.

    But we should NOT presume that just because things have improved dramatically that everything is fine. While recognizing that our policing has improved dramatically there are still many many things wrong with it. Much that needs to be improved.
    At the same time as the racism and overall conduct of police officers has improved our civil rights are in the decline. With rare exceptions – mostly the politically connected, in any encounter with law enforcement you are presumed to be a criminal and presumed to be the enemy and you are expected to kow tow to authority without regard for the actual law or your rights. Further our courts have created this mess. It is natural to assume that the police will make use of whatever leeway they are given. It is the job of our courts to say NO – Stop here.

    Moving from the police to the rest of us, as this article notes the treatment of police by the rest of us – particularly those on the left and minorities is declining. This is not going to end well. This is near certain to end in violence.

    As I noted before while we have not entirely eradicated racist police officers, we have pretty much eradicated systemic police racism. When we call every police officer a racist, we make everything worse. And as I said this does not end well.

    Further societies normal reaction to violent lawless conduct is to demand MORE law enforcement and to have less concern for civil rights. I am not aware of any instance ever where even racists or tyranical governments were overthrown my chaotic violent mobs.

    The more we feel chaos the more we demand that government take control BY FORCE, and by WHATEVER MEANS ARE NECESCARY. Despots like Mussolini and Hilter arrise out of chaos and lawlessness.

    Trump is not hitler nor is he a tyrant. But if we continue fomenting chaos as we are the outcome will be a groundswell of demand to restore order by force. It is unimportant whether the resulting tryant is on the left or the right.

  25. dhlii permalink
    July 26, 2019 5:27 pm

    This is pretty amazing. The video does not attempt to correlate any of its findings to ideology,
    But it does an absolutely fantastic job of showing that we have massive amounts of data on the changes that have taken place accross the world over the past 50 years.

    Further that more and more of that data is becoming readily and publicly available, and that the quality of analysis tools is improving dramatically so that we can not merely look at how Africa has changes relative to the rest of the world over the past 50 years but how different parts of africa have changed relative to each other and relative to the world.

    While there was no ideology in the video, it is clear that:

    The world as a whole has improved dramatically over the past 50 years.
    That most of those gains have been near the bottom not the top,
    And that different nations – even parts of nations spiked improvement at different times and at different rates. And that we can therefore seek to correlate that improvement to other factors to determine what the drivers are.

  26. dhlii permalink
    July 27, 2019 7:03 pm

    How well do government programs actually work – rail subsidies edition.

    Killing this should be a no brainer. How much do you want to bet it gets re-authorized.

    I will also bet Trump touts it as somepoint.

    Yall, keep spreading this nonsense that anything that does not attack every sylable from Trump is in the toilet for him.

    I have opposed Trump on several issues.
    Infrastucture spending is one of those.

  27. dhlii permalink
    July 27, 2019 7:23 pm

    Pretty goof article on the reality of election interfereance.

    • July 27, 2019 11:04 pm

      The barn door is open and the animals will never be rounded up. With 2 billions users, there is no way in hell FB and Twitter ( with another billion or so) will ever be able to monitor what is being posted. Maybe Watson could identify foreign election postings, but who else has to computing power to dedicate24 hour surveilence to block it from happening.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 28, 2019 12:28 am

        There are real things that can be done to address actual vulnerabilities in our actual elections. These are mostly the same things we would do to combat fraud.

        Assure that there are paper ballots that can be verified independentoy if needed after the election and verify that those who vote can do so legally. Those not merely protect against inperson voter fraund but also minimize the potential harm of hacking election systems.

        So long as we MANUALLY validate VOTERS, and so long as we are ABLE to manually validate actual votes after the fact from paper records. the most dangerous forms of fraud – including foreign hacking are detectable and circumventable.

        Contra to Robert Mueller claims to congress foreign and particularly Russian interference int eh actual election process is a trivially dispatched problem with techniques we should be doing NO MATTER WHAT.

        As to the portion of “interferenace” that Mueller and the left are more concerned about,
        it not only CAN NOT be prevented, but it SHOULD NOT.

        If Russia, Russians, Chinese, Brits, French, …. want to express their views on US elections – seek to persuade US voters – LET THEM. We can not truly stop them anyway.

        Further the US as well as other Americans have been doing this to foriegn nations – including Russia for 50+ years. If Anything that Russia purportedly did was an “act of war” then so was everything that Voice of America, or Radio Free America, Radio Free Europe, Voice of America have been doing forever.

        One of the distrubing things about the left is their arrogance.

        If Obama does something – it is wonderful.
        If Trump does the same thing it is a crime.

        If Clinton gets dirt from Russia, that is to be encouraged,
        If Trump even thinks about getting dirt on Clinton from Russia that is a crime.

        If the US does something – that is wonderful.
        But if Russia does the same thing it is evil.

        More recently a federal judge has ruled that Mueller’s team FAILED to prove that there was any connection between the Russian Government and the private IRA actors purportedly running the “fake” russian social media accounts.

        Elsewhere another federal judge has ruled that there was no criminal conspiracy between Gen. Flynn and his partner. That likely completely tanks the case against Flynn’s partner and some others, and that means that all these ludicrously stupid claims regarding Flynn and Turkey go down the tubes.

        Flynn’s attorney’s have taken a much more agressive stance, and there is some likelyhood that he may withdrawl from the plea deal.

        There is an increasing number of established instances in which Mueller’s team FAILED to share exculpatory evidence with:

        and even Manafort.

        As an example Manafort was not told that Klimick – the “russian agent” that he purportedly conspired with, was an FBI/State department asset.

        Papadoulis was not told that Mifsud had purportedly lied to the FBI 3 times (according the the Mueller report)

        And the list goes on.

        It is typically hard to appeal a guilty plea. But Brady violations by the government are one reason.

        Nor should we expect this to get better over time.

        One intelligent person recently said that nothing that is coming out – the IG report, the fruits of the investigation of the investigation, …. are going to change the minds of the 25% of the country that is rock solid behind Trump, or the 25% that is rock solid opposed to him.

        But in the middle this matters.

        Rassussen which has had Trump’s approval near exactly the same as Obama’s for most of Trump’s presidency, currently has Trump 7 pts above where Obama was at the same time.

        Even ABC’s most recent approval poll puts Trump at his highest numbers ever – and Above Obama at the same point in his presidency.

        About the only seriously bad news I have heard for Trump is that Q2 2019 growth was only 2.1% – higher than expected, but well below Trump’s average – though still 0.3% above Obama’s average.

        I do not personally beleive that anyone is going to be prosecuted as a consequence of the mess that has occurred over the past 3 years.
        But I do expect to hear alot more bad news for the left trickle out.

        Both Mifsud and Steele have purportedly been interviewed by Durham.

        The left is somehow claiming this could somehow damage Trump ?

        How ? It is highly improbable that either have some secret they have been holding onto for 3 years that inverts what has been found regarding Trump and the Trump campaign.
        But there is an infinite number of possible things they could testify to that would be damaging to the left.

        Regardless, I do not expect the FBI or DOJ to prosecute its own.
        Comey and McCabe and … may stew for a while, but they will not ultimately be held accountable.

        Regardless an enormous number of people – both high in the prior administration and on the left do not seem to grasp basic fundimentals from Emerson
        “When you strike at a king, you must kill him”

        Or what I have said over and over here.

        When you make a moral accusation of another, you must either prove the accusation, or your accusation is itself an immoral act.

  28. dhlii permalink
    July 28, 2019 1:35 am

    After you take away all the guns.

  29. dhlii permalink
    July 28, 2019 6:24 pm

    Peggy Noonan excellent as always

  30. July 30, 2019 3:49 pm

    Whoever is left at Ricks site, excellent article on social media censorship.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 30, 2019 7:20 pm


    • dhlii permalink
      July 30, 2019 9:22 pm

      Some time ago I watched a debate between Ken White and Elie Mystal on free speach and censorship.

      The first part was over government censorship, and addressed hate speach and the like.
      I like Mystal – but White dominated.

      In the next section Mystal was replaced by a woman from the EFF – electronic Freedom Foundation and the debate was over corporate censorship.

      I was surprised because the results were not nearly so clear.

      I near universally argue for individual freedom to do what government can not, including discriminate and censor.
      But my absolutists position – though still intact at the end of the debate was somewhat shaken.

      In the current debate I still side with allowing private censorship.

      I do think there is a role for government – and MAYBE legislation.

      First I think that the courts should strip social media of Section 302 protections from lawsuits.

      Frankly I think such protections should never exist. But at the moment they do.

      the DMCA requires that in return for protections that a neutral public platform is provided.

      That means no censorship.

      Leave Google etc. with a choice – the freedom to censor, in conjuction with the same liability for content as any other publisher, or no censorship and protection.

      That requires no changes to existing law.

      I think that the courts can reasonably determine that a Neutral Public Platform must meet the same conditions for censorship as government must meet.

      In otherwords Google can censor porn, and foul language, but not political speach or “hate speach”.

      I think it is reasonable to say that social media users CAN make choices of their own.

      I think it is reasonable that social media be provided tools to block content on their own.
      But social media companies can only make the same kind of choices for users that government is permitted to.

      There are alternatives – just get rid of the DMCA and the rest of this nonsense entirely and return to the speach standards – for govenrment and content providers that existed in the 20th century.

      Walter Block has made an excellent argument that all defamation laws are counter productive.

      One part of his argument is that because we understand – even if only implicitly that there is a potential legal consequence for defamation. We beleive that when someone says something absolutely horrible about another – it must be true.

  31. Anonymous permalink
    July 31, 2019 9:44 am

    “The escalation of racialized rhetoric from the President of the United States has evoked responses from all sides of the political spectrum. On one side, African American leaders have led the way in rightfully expressing outrage. On the other, those aligned with the President seek to downplay the racial overtones of his attacks, or remain silent.

    As faith leaders who serve at Washington National Cathedral ¬– the sacred space where America gathers at moments of national significance – we feel compelled to ask: After two years of President Trump’s words and actions, when will Americans have enough?

    As Americans, we have had such moments before, and as a people we have acted. Events of the last week call to mind a similarly dark period in our history:

    “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

    That was U.S. Army attorney Joseph Welch on June 9, 1954, when he confronted Senator Joseph McCarthy before a live television audience, effectively ending McCarthy’s notorious hold on the nation. Until then, under the guise of ridding the country of Communist infiltration, McCarthy had free rein to say and do whatever he wished. With unbridled speech, he stoked the fears of an anxious nation with lies; destroyed the careers of countless Americans; and bullied into submissive silence anyone who dared criticize him.

    In retrospect, it’s clear that Welch’s question was directed less toward McCarthy and more to the nation as a whole. Had Americans had enough? Where was our sense of decency?

    We have come to accept a level of insult and abuse in political discourse that violates each person’s sacred identity as a child of God. We have come to accept as normal a steady stream of language and accusations coming from the highest office in the land that plays to racist elements in society.

    This week, President Trump crossed another threshold. Not only did he insult a leader in the fight for racial justice and equality for all persons; not only did he savage the nations from which immigrants to this country have come; but now he has condemned the residents of an entire American city. Where will he go from here?

    Make no mistake about it, words matter. And, Mr. Trump’s words are dangerous.

    These words are more than a “dog-whistle.” When such violent dehumanizing words come from the President of the United States, they are a clarion call, and give cover, to white supremacists who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America. They serve as a call to action from those people to keep America great by ridding it of such infestation. Violent words lead to violent actions.

    When does silence become complicity? What will it take for us all to say, with one voice, that we have had enough? The question is less about the president’s sense of decency, but of ours.

    As leaders of faith who believe in the sacredness of every single human being, the time for silence is over. We must boldly stand witness against the bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and xenophobia that is hurled at us, especially when it comes from the highest offices of this nation. We must say that this will not be tolerated. To stay silent in the face of such rhetoric is for us to tacitly condone the violence of these words. We are compelled to take every opportunity to oppose the indecency and dehumanization that is racism, whether it comes to us through words or actions.

    There is another moment in our history worth recalling. On January 21, 2017, Washington National Cathedral hosted an interfaith national prayer service, a sacred tradition to honor the peaceful transfer of political power. We prayed for the President and his young Administration to have “wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties that they may serve all people of this nation, and promote the dignity and freedom of every person.”

    That remains our prayer today for us all.”

    • July 31, 2019 10:39 am

      Very interesting Anonymous.

      Trump energizes his base with divisive language trying to show how damaging liberal policies have been to America over the years.

      Sanders, Warren, et al, energize their base with divisive language trying to show how damaging the rich have been to America over the years.

      Moderate middle America caught in the middle of a skunk pissing contest, with moderate sensible policies buried in the rubble of political warfare.

      Gone are the days where a handful of extreme left/right leaders are subservient to the Delaney’s, Collins and Manchins.

      • dhlii permalink
        July 31, 2019 6:25 pm

        While I would prefer a world of peace and quiet absent the strident rhetoric from either side.

        There is a gigantic gulf between words and action.

        Apparently this week with Mulvaney’s help the Big Three airlines got a meeting with Trump in the whitehouse. They were seeking protectionist sanctions against Qatar airlines for purportedly unfair competition. The actual facts appear to be complex – the Qatari Airline is government subsidized – atleast partly. But they have also bought exclusively US made aircraft. Further the rule that the Big 3 seek to enforce would harm other smaller american airlines, as well as FedEx and UPS.

        After a shooting match in the whitehouse – Kudlow and the free traders won. Trump sent the Big 3 packing.

        My point is not about the policy so much as:
        Sometimes discussion and debate gets loud, even nasty.
        Ultimately what matters is our acts more than our words.

        Based on his actions Trump is very near the US political center.
        Whether he is to the right or left depends on whether on issues like labor, protectionism, and immigration you thing his issues are on the left or right. Each of those is an issue that many past democrats and sometimes the party as a whole owned.

        Right or wrong they are NOT wildly right of center.

        If you turned off the TV, put in earplugs, and just paid attention to what Trump has done. It would be easy to call him a democrat – from a different era.

        When you talk about “divisive” speech what is it you mean.

        If I call richard Spensor an “asshole” is that “divisive” ?

        If insulting those on the extreme right is not divisive then neither is insulting those on the extreme left.

        Regardless, I am not interesting in complaints about “divisive” language.

        I want to know is what is being said true or false.

        If it is true AND you think it is divisive – so be it.

        If it is false and divisive – what is important is that it is false.

      • July 31, 2019 8:29 pm

        Dave there are ways to communicate issues using two methods. One is how RR, 41 and Bill Clinton communicated. The other is how B.O. and Trump communicated(s). When B.O. talked about racial issues and places like Fergusion, he immediately put the white midrle class males on the defensive. When Trump talks about Baltimore, he immeciately puts those living in Baltimore on the defensive.

        Bill Clinton said exactly the same thing about illegals coming into the country, but did not label every one of them druggies, murderers, etc. Trump did for the most part.

        We have been severly dividec since 2008, not because a black was electex, but hownhe used his blackness and history that alienated a huge part of America. Trump was elected because of white middle class feeling left out, but his attempt to energize his extreme base is also alienating sponsoring me who voted for him because they find his language worse than how B.O. devided us.

        I could notstomach B.O., but to me Trump is far worse.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 1, 2019 6:42 pm

        Does Trump’s choice of language enrage some people ? Absolutely.

        You noted that Obama’s sometimes did too.
        No one tried to impeach him over “clinging to their guns and bibles” or other offensive language.

        Today Video surfaced of Elijah Cummings Testifying under oath that his own district, Drug infested, with 14 year olds walking arround like zombies.
        I have little doubt that given enough time, we will get much more video of Cummings or other democrats saying insulting things about their own districts.

        I do think some of what Trump says is pretty offensive.

        At the same time there is absolutely a double standard.

        Not just for Trump, Trump merely exposes it.

        Democrats of all stripes can say things that no one not pretty far on the left can get away with saying almost anything.
        But anyone from the center left through to the right says the same thing they are immediately accused of being a racist.

        Trump has recently taken to calling the remarks and questions of various reporters racist.
        By the standards he is being judged by, their questions are racist.

        And ultimately while I am offended by Trump’s brutally blunt though calculated language,

        Someone has do destroy this idiotic nonsensical effort to supress speach and to respond to everything by slurring your opponent.

        A great deal of what Trump does is deal with democrats and the press exactly the way they deal with him. And MORE importantly, the way they would deal with most of us if we opened our mouths.

        My crystal ball is no better polished than anyone else’s.

        But Trump won for a reason – and only idiots beleive the russians had anything to do with it.
        Maybe for several reasons. But high among those is because a significant portion of people are REALLY tired of being called hateful hating haters if they say anything – if they disagree with the far left on policy.

        I am for open borders – if we do the other things necescary to make it possible.
        I can live with 75M people coming to the country from elsewhere.

        But I do not think that everyone who disagrees with me is a hateful racist.

        I think we should end the war on drugs.

        But I do not think that everyone who wants to stop MS-13 is racist.

        I keep saying I do not like the way Trump talks – and I do not.

        But that does not mean I do not get a bit of secret pleasure from his putting those who have spent decades “putting the rest of us in our place” with accusations of racism – in their place.

        In 2020 we are going to have much the same Donald Trump running again.
        He will be as caustic as ever.
        But he will have many NEW things going for him.

        1). Democrats bet the house on taking him out – and failed.
        They did not really even lay a glove on him.

        2). The economy is doing better – FOR EVERYONE than it did under Obama.
        Espeically for:
        Minorities and those critical midwestern voters.

        3) Trump has kept more of his campaign promises than any president since Washington.
        Most of you may not like this but that means:


        The left the media, democrats will have spent 4 years saying, Liar, Liar, pants on fire.
        During that time he will have improved things for nearly all of us, and kept most of his promises. That is pretty much the opposite of a liar.

        I have a very very good friend. He exagerates, he tells tall tales, I honestly warn other people not to take anything he says as truth.

        When I need help – I can count on him.

        Over things that matter I can trust him.
        That is far more important than getting details right.

        What matters about

        “If you like your doctor, you can keep them” – is that people were HARMED for relying in it.

        What matters about
        Benghazi was a spontaneous protest – is that PEOPLE DIED on Clinton’s watch and the LIE was an effort to evade responsibility.

        Nearly everything Trump says is true in some sense.
        and if you are hurt by it, you are hurt by the truth of it.

        We can fight about Trump not sugar coating his critique of Baltimore.
        Trump might be litterally wrong about some of his facts.
        But is anyone pretending Baltimore is a mecca ?

        You do not have to like him or his language, but you can rely on what he says and especially his promises.

        And BTW that is a near absolute pre-requisite for Trumps success in business.

        There are few Maddoffs, and they depend on government for protection.

        Success in business almost always comes from the trust of the people you exchange with.

        4). The world has not blown up. Trump has not nuked anyone, or started any wars.

        He has a grating tendency to insult people and then when they are leaning his way flatter the crap out of them,

        Is chaotic as Trump is, he goes into 2020 as the known quantity.

        Democrats do not.
        In 2020 Democrats are in the position Trump was in 2016 – except for one thing,
        Trump was running against a failed presidency and a failed opponent. If you do not accept that characterization, then atleast a “D” grade.
        In 2020, people will rate Trump’s performance – not his favorability.
        And though I think they will mostly overrate it.
        Regardless they will rate it at least one full letter grade above democrats.

        It is going to be really hard to vote against success.

        5). I also think 202 is going beyond Trump.
        For a while Trump has been attacking almost the whole democratic party.
        Further he has been doing so in ways that pushes them to defend their own left flank.
        Making them ALL look like lunatic lefties.

        Making Democrats defend “the squad” and Cummings is really good not just for Trump, but for republicans overall.

        There is a long slog to the election, but Trump is close to having pushed past his problems.
        and democrats problems are only getting worse.

        And Trump is beautifully baiting them to behave stupidly.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 1, 2019 6:44 pm

        Trump’s rhetoric is worse than BO’s.
        His accomplishments are substantially greater.

      • July 31, 2019 8:38 pm

        I swear I have spell check and other stuff turned off, but this fire tablet still changes what I write. “Alienating sponsoring me” should read ” alienating those like me”. Sorry.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 1, 2019 6:45 pm


        I am not appologizing for my own typos’ whatever the cause.

        I do not expect anyone else to appologize for theirs.

      • July 31, 2019 8:49 pm

        Dave “Regardless, I am not interesting in complaints about “divisive” language.”

        You need to stop believing the world rotates around you, that everyone believes as you do and that the way you think is not how everyone else believes.

        Divisive language is accepted by the majority of voters. They either vote GOP based on Trumps divisiveness or vote democrat based on liberal divisive language. There are few thatbreally vote based on issues.

        Why else would all politicians use divisive language to get elected if people voted based on issues.?

        If they voted on issues, leaving our future generations a shit load of debt would be number one. Then, lives still being lost in shit hole countries like Afphganastan would be number 2. Reasonable healthcare reimbursement reform would be on the list, not MFA that would bankrupt hospitals and insurance companies like UHC and Blue Cross.

        So you are only one vote. To Trump and Bernie, you dont count. They want the thousands that have jellyfish brains that vote, and divisive language is what influences them!

      • dhlii permalink
        August 1, 2019 7:51 pm

        “You need to stop believing the world rotates around you,”
        I don’t.
        “that everyone believes as you do”
        I don’t
        “and that the way you think is not how everyone else believes.”
        I don’t.

        “I get to choose what matters to me, Period”. All of us do.

        That is a given, or atleast it is supposed to be.

        It is every person who thinks that their viewpoint is a justification to compel others that “thinks the world revolves arround them”.

        While I enjoy debating issues, I demand only one thing from you or anyone else.
        That you not use or advocate force against me without justification.

        That is all.
        I do not pretend to know how you think.

        Except on the occasional crystal ball gazing – which I make pretty clear is just my personal efforts to gaze into the future and gauge the minds of the masses, I do not attempt to read other peoples minds.

        You and every other person in the world and here are free to speak whatever you want, from whatever motivation you might have.

        Aside from taking pleasure in debate – I really do not care about the differences in our viewpoints – SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT TRY TO IMPOSE YOURS BY FORCE.

        I can post, retire to my own world, write software, go to dinner with my wife, act as a landlord, practice architecture, and enjoy the rest of my life – without any concern for whether we agree or disagree.

        Much as you and I could debate art, or literature or music.
        At the end of the debate, we can hopefully still walk away friends, and regardless safe, because in those domains thus far no one is seeking to use force to compel conformance to their opinion.

        There is little reason that the issues we discuss here should be different.

        But they are. And the primary reason for that is so often so many are hell bent on FORCING their viewpoint on others.

        And I do not mean using strong rhetoric. I do that all the time.
        I am talking about being willing to use ACTUAL FORCE, either personally or through government as a proxy.

        I do not care about “divisive language”. Say whatever you want.
        They are just words.
        What you say is unimportant.
        It is when you seek to put FORCE behind your words that you are truly divisive and dangerous.

        If you vote based on rhetoric – your an idiot, but I can not stop you.
        I do not beleive millions of votes were flipped by Russian persuasion on Social media.
        But even if they were – persuasion is legitimate, FORCE is not.

        Our government may not use FORCE – against its own people OR against Russians, to control who can persuade.

        I do not care if we elect Karl Marx president – so long as we have a functioning constitutional government that precludes him from using force outside the constraints of that constitution.

        The only reason it matters at all who we elect president or senator, or representative or dog catcher, is because we have already broken that constitutional govenrment so badly that they WILL be able to use FORCE to limit our freedom.

        As to “divisive language” – if you are threatening to use FORCE, you should EXPECT anger an divisiveness.

        I have constantly blamed the current divisiveness on the left.
        Well a part of that is temperament.
        A part of it is structural.

        TODAY, the left far more than the right wants to change everything BY FORCE.

        That is inherently divisive. The only difference between modern leftism and slavery is a question of degree. It is still one group seeking to impose its will on the other by force.

        Slavery could not have existed anywhere – without government.
        Modern progressivism requires a powerful tyranical government,

        Limited government does not result in tryanny through force.
        And it results in minimal divisiveness.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 1, 2019 8:01 pm

        We have “devisivness” because we are not ants – we do not all share identical views, and because SOME of us seek to impose those views on others BY FORCE.

        That is the ONLY cause of our divisiveness.

        We are not required to agree on everything. Not sharing views is a GOOD thing not a bad one.
        The bad part, the devisive part the morally wrong part is attemption to impose views BY FORCE.

        Democrats, Republicans, Left. Right,

        It does not matter much at all that we disagree – even virulently.

        It matters very much that some are prepared to use force.

        Further, when you are willing to use force to get your way – you WILL face force in return.

        There is absolutely no way the modern left gets its way in the end.

        I can not tell you exactly how things will go, or how much abuse of liberty it will take,

        but with each restriction on individual liberty you alienate and enrage another small segment of the people. At some point that reaches a tipping point, and either you are overthrown violently, or peacefully, but one way or another creeping infringements on liberty MUST fail.

        One of the things I have been noting this past week is that the modern left is not merely no longer liberal, they are “anti-liberal”.

        You can define fascism myriads of ways – but if you define it as anygry people who will use any means necescary including force, to get their way – then that is the modern left – particularly anti-fa, which is merely the militant wing of modern progressivism.

    • dhlii permalink
      July 31, 2019 6:11 pm

      Walter Williams has an excellent response.

      I find this nonsense pretending that anyone not on the far left is somehow maccarthyite deeply disturbing.

      I beleive it was Omar who tried to give us all lessons about what is an is not macarthyism.

      Get a clue. It is not about accusing people of being communists.
      It is about attempting to suppress viewpoints that you do not like.

      Today that effort is nearly exclusively from the left.

      The Left is no longer “liberal”.

      The left is illiberal.

      I notice in the article you linked the language is now “racialist” – rather than racist.

      Or just more simply – you are not entitled to an opinion because you are:
      or Male
      or Straight,

      and I am
      or brown,
      or gay

      I find it interesting that women get screwed no matter what. The modern left has no place for women. Women are not a real minority, they are not really discriminated against, Women come in behind all groups – except straight white men.

      Even Trans white men have more victimhood points than women.

      I do not want to fixate on MTF trans. I really do not care what you identify as.
      If you ask politely rather than demand – I will probably call you zer if that is what you want.
      But if you claim as a right the ability to use force to control my speech – your morally bankrupt. Your victimhood status does not entitle you to impose your will by force on anyone over anything. Regardless the point is I do not care what you choose to claim to be.
      But I do care what you attempt to force on others. I do not think women – people born with a pair of X chromosomes, should have to compete in sports with you. I do not think you should be providing 15year old girls advice on how to use tampons, I do not think you should be trying to use force to compel Women to wax your testicles.

      Nor is this standard unique to trans people.
      I do not care what race you are, or whatever victimhood status you claim to have,
      your victimhood, does not entitle you to use force against others – not even against actual racists.

      I find it highly offensive that those on the left would cry MacCarthy – when they are so clearly the MacCarthyites – even Joe MacCarthy was not so ignorant as to try to play the victim while screwing over others.

      Alot of things that Trump and his “followers” say – I would not.
      But just because I would not say something does not make it racist.

      Trump’s tweets to “the squad” were mean. They were also well earned.

      Before you tell the rest of us how you are going to solve all the countries problems BY FORCE – go somewhere actually screwed up and fix it. So that you have an iota of credibility.

      Elizabeth Warren is running arround saying “I have a plan for that” to everything.
      Fine, but why should we beleive it will work.
      Thus far your “management” track record, is teaching classes and not having your senate staff revolt. Plans are easy. Actually succeeding is hard. We pay CEO’s well, we pay successfull CEO’s very well, we pay successfull CEO’s of fortune 500 companies that have rising profits exhorbitantly well. We do not do so, because they “have a plan”, we do not do so, because they have advanced degrees, we do not do so because they look and sound good on TV. We do so because they have an unbroken record of exemplary success in a world where failure is the norm.

      Maybe we should pay the president and congress based on their effect on overall standard of living.

      Regardless you do not stand up to bigotry and hate by being hateful and bigoted.
      And the left today is hate-filled and bigoted.

      I am not happy with Trump’s rhetoric. But Trump is tiny in comparison to the tidal wave of hatred spraying from the left.

      Recently a black congress woman wen ballistic attacking a White Male Trump supporter for being a racist for having too many items in the express checkout. Purportedly he called her a bitch – which he admits having done as things got heated. Purportedly he told her to “go back where she came from” which she eventually back pedalled.

      Only problem the “White Male Trump Supporter” was not white – he was cuban, and was not a trump supporter he was a democrat.

      What we had was two entitled left wing nuts pissing over each other and blaming Trump, Republicans and Trump supporters.

      Is this country still racist ? Absolutely – and it and the world will be forever.
      Is racism a consequential problem as it has been for most of our history – not really.
      And if you think that more than a tiny fraction of americans are more racist than you are, you are the one with a problem.

      If you are carping constantly about racism, and bigotry and hate – YOU are the problem.

      I will be happy to debate issues with you. We might even agree on many things.

      That are lots of issues I disagree with Trump about – even ones that you call examples of hateful racism. But just because I agree as a mater of fact or viewpoint, DOES NOT mean I agree with calling those who hold a different perspective hateful racists.
      Everything is not about racism. In fact very little actually is.

      And if you continue calling everyone you disagree with a hateful hating, hater, racist, mysoginyst, bigot, What are you going to say when you actually confront a real hateful racist bigot ? And why do you think anyone will listen ?

      Regardless, I have ZERO interest in those who would wrap themselves in a blanket of moral selfrighteousness while advocating for the use of force against the rest of us.

      Your article ends talking about promoting the freedom of every person.

      When you are prepared to use ONLY your words – and not the governments guns, to respond to an actual hateful racist bigot – then and only then can you utter the world freedom without evoking my EARNED contempt.

  32. dhlii permalink
    July 31, 2019 7:04 pm

    The DCCC just fired all of the white staff. Prior to firing them whites made up just slightly more than 50% of the staff in a country where more than 60% of us are white.

    I am not one for quota’s – but clearly there is no prima fascia case that the DCCC was racist when it hired just under 50% minority staff.

    This article makes a number of points.

    But also misses a few.

    If this is just about patronage – if these jobs do not matter, Then the DCCC is just demonstrating that racism works both ways.

    But if competence actually matters in these roles and the DCCC did not hire less competent whites that they subsequently fired, then the DCCC has just made itself less effective.

    The Sanders and Warren campaigns suffered a different version of this when Sanders and Warren staff all demanding $15.00/hr.

    This is also a big issue/difference between republicans and democrats.
    A far larger portion of Republican campaign staff are volunteers – they are not paid.
    A far larger portion of democratic campaign donations go to pay staff.

    As a result democrats sometimes get a better and more professional staff,
    But they must raise much more money to do so.
    And they get a less enthusiastic and committed staff.

  33. John Say permalink
    August 7, 2019 12:05 pm

    This is important for several reasons:

    The US IC – including under Trump continues to assert that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election. Hidden in those assertions are clarifications that it did not do so differently than it has for decades. But presumptive in those assertions is that the scale was consequential and as Mueller stated to the house – that this was a very serious threat.

    Just recently a contrary to claims incredibly well qualified nominee to replace Coats who is retiring was trashed and ultimately removed himself from consideration because he questioned Mueller vigorously on alleged russian interferance.

    Mueller is proud of prosecuting a number of “russians” as part of his investigation,
    yet, increasingly he is failing in court.

    After making her sound like Matta Hari and demanding that she be incarcerated in solitary for months – because she was such a collosal threat. Mueller eventually negotiated a plea deal with Butina that was time server plus deportation. Something he could have accomplished at any time. Put simply he was never able to demonstrate that Butina was anything but a promiscuous politically active foreign exchange student with a things for guns and the NRA. US foreign exchange students accross the world are at serious risk if they engage in any remotely political activity because of Muellers actions.

    I beleive the rebuke from the courts was because in Mueller’s prosecution of Concord, he has yet to time anyone to the russian government.

    The american people have been led by the left, the press, the DOJ/FBI, and the US IC to beleive that there was a massive russian effort to interfere in the 2016 election.

    The actual facts do not support that.

    It is slowly becoming apparent that many aspects of these claims are lies.

    While I do think James Comey should be prosecuted for leaking classified documents – something he has admitted.

    I do not think that Mueller should be prosecuted for this type of misrepresentation to congress. But neither should all of the people he forced into plea bargans for less consequential misrepresentations.

    • Ron P permalink
      August 7, 2019 8:44 pm

      Like all these hot potato issues that can lead to contempt “of something” charges or even more serious legal charges, this will end up in the ” dead ‘PR used up ‘ letter” file like all that preceeded this one. How many private or congressional investigations have ended up with anything but an internet article with only a few reading

      Mueller is old news replaced by Trump generated mass shooting hatred.

      • John Say permalink
        August 8, 2019 1:07 pm

        The El Passo Shooter apparently was anti-immigrant, But his “manifesto” had numerous echoes of the left in it. Which BTW is not unusual for any of these people.

        The Dayton shooter is being labeled the first Antifa terrorist,

        We have already forgotten that the recent columbine shooters were gay/trans lefties.

        The media and the left work incredibly hard to find something – anything about ever mass killer to prove to themselves and to us that they are racist white supremecists driven by republican ideology.

        Blind to the obvious fact that these are all just broken people, with serious mental health issues. Any ideological component is just their efforts to find in the universe some justification for what they are going to do anyway.

        It is not an accident that quite often their screeds are mixtures of left and right.

        It is not ideology that drives them.

        For all the fan fare these are very rare. More people have died of violence in the top 10 cities in the US in the past few days than have died in mass shootings,. Buy the end of the month, more people will have died violently in chicago. by the end of the year 10 times as many people will have died violently in chicago.

        The deaths in chicago will include a disproportionately large number of children, and be almost entirely minorities.

        By the end of the week more kids will have died from drowning in pools, or playground accidents or from poisoning.

        In one day more children will have died in automobile accidents.

        Alot of things are beyond our ability to control.

        We have more ability to do something about all these other things I listed, and we do nothing.
        While we fixate on doing things that will have no effect, beyond temporarily mollifying the left.

      • Ron P permalink
        August 8, 2019 2:50 pm

        First, please check on the issue that the Columbine shooters were gay/bi. Cant findcanything that sustantiates that other than one person claiming that which was never proven.

        Two, you posted something claiming Muelker may have been in contempt of congress and lied. My point is poop or get off the pot. What reprocussions has anyone paid over the past 20 years from any investigation, congressional or investigative reporting? None that I know of, so why waste the time? Findings are published and then forgotten, overrun by the news of the new day.

      • John Say permalink
        August 8, 2019 7:32 pm

        I was refering to the may 2019 Highlands Ranch school shooters – Highlands ranch is a STEM school 9m from Columbine.

        The Highland Ranch incident was frequently refered to as Columbine II.

        It took 15 minutes of “googling” to find information – even though it was just a few months ago, My guess is for the same reason that if I google “infamous left wing extremists” – I have to go 40 entries in to find someone who is not a purported right wing extremist.

        It is not that left wing extremists are rare – Bill Ayers immediately comes to mind.

        But because we increasingly live in the world of Orwells 1984 where grasping that extremism MUST by definition have atleast two poles, is thought crime.

        I suspect that in a few months I will not be able to google the dayton shooting either.

      • John Say permalink
        August 8, 2019 7:56 pm

        It should be no surprise that I am not a fan of Mueller.

        I have no respect for him or his career.

        But his recent testimony was not only a disaster, but makes it pretty clear that the investigation and report bearing his name is not his work.

        I do not think we should have asked him to be Special Council.

        Nor would I support prosecuting him for false statements he made to congress.

        as to “shitting or getting off the pot”, The SC office condemnation by the NY Federal judge in the Concorde case, Mueller’s statements in his hasty press conference – which while serving other purposes were ALSO specifically intended to correct misrepresentations Mueller’s office made in court – and the court publicly choose NOT to sanction the SC’s office (and AG Barr) for false statements in court, in indictments and in the Mueller report specifically because of Muellers statements in his press conference that everyone involved must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and Mueller’s statements in his congressional testimony that his press conference had NOTHING to do with the threatened sanctions by that federal judge, all of that meets atleast the same standard of “lying”
        As the misstatements by Papadoulis, Van Der Zandt and Cohen, and is siggnigicantly worse than the purported misstatements by Flynn or Stone.

        I do not favor – nor do I think the law supports charges in any of those instances – including Muellers misrepresentations to congress.

        And Mueller’s misrepresentations are actually more problematic – because they were a clear effort to stiffle congress from delving further into the misconduct alleged by the Federal Court handling the concord case.

        I strongly suspect – as did some republican house members that Mueller’s hasty press conference was CLEARLY atleast partly an effort to mollify the Court.

        I suspect that AG Barr DEMANDED that Mueller hold the press conference, because the Judge specifically identified Barr as AG as among those she could hold in contempt if the misrepresentations in the Mueller report and in indictments were not corrected before the jury was selected.

        Based on existing known facts – that is an educated guess with a high probability of being correct.

        But it is NOT mere opinion. It is something that can be verified.
        Either AG Barr did push Mueller to hold the press conference in response to the contempt threat – or he did not. There will be records.

        Either Mueller’s team discussed the press conference as a remedy to the Judges contempt threats or they did not – there will be records.

        If there exists any evidence that Mueller included the awkward digression about the presumption of innocence in his press conference in response to the Courts Contempt threat,
        Then Mueller unequivocally lied to congress. Further that lie unequivocally impeded a congressional investigation.

        Mueller went to substantial effort to correct his FALSE testimony in the morning, with a correction in the afternoon.

        That is something very important to note – as it also applies to all the people Mueller prosecuted for false statements.

        You can not prosecute someone for a false statement if they correct that misstatement.

        But Mueller denied everyone he went after access to their own records, as well as transcripts of their own testimony. So they had no opurtunity to review and correct.
        Everyone testifying before congress as an example is ENTITLED to a transcript of their own testimony, and ENTITLED to revise and correct it.

        Stone and his lawyers spent month’s begging for Transcripts of his testimony before the house, and was denied transcripts on purported national security grounds – despite the fact that he testified publicly, and does not have a security clearance.

        Regardless, Mueller clearly knows that he can and must correct his own testimony when it is in error.

        I expect him to do so, and if he does not, I expect there should be consequences.

      • John Say permalink
        August 8, 2019 8:01 pm

        Scooter Libby was convicted of Perjury, Making false statements and obstruction of justice.

        Flynn lost his job, and appears to have plead guilty to making false statements and could go to jail.

        Papadoulis went to jail for getting the dates wrong of some of his emails.

        Cohen is going to jail for lying to congress – and I can not even figure out about what.


        There are several common threads to all of these.

        Republicans are held to higher standards than democrats.

        Those tasked with upholding the law are held to lower standards than the rest of us.

        So long as either of those remain true we are lawless.

      • John Say permalink
        August 8, 2019 7:12 pm

        Mueller, or more properly the deconstruction of the Trump/Russia Collusion nonsense will be in the news atleast from now until the election, along with other issues like the democratic primary circus,

        It will be in the news for the same reason that every mass shooting garners national headlines.

        Because we can not help but watch when things go to hell.

      • Priscilla permalink
        August 10, 2019 8:39 am

        “What reprocussions has anyone paid over the past 20 years from any investigation, congressional or investigative reporting?”

        Dog and pony shows.

        It’s the same when members of Congress talk about passing laws. Half the time, we already have laws regarding the issue at hand. Immigration and gun control, for example…if we concentrated on enforcement, those problems would be all but solved (ok, maybe some tweaks are needed, but basically, the laws are already on the books.

        This is one of the main reasons that I continue to support Trump. His job, as executive is to ENFORCE the laws of the land, and he attempts, albeit with enormous and intense opposition from both parties, to do so.

        His energy and courage around this seem boundless, although I imagine he will ultimately fail, because our republic will be lost. It will be lost, because the majority of the Congress and the administrative state will ultimately outlast him.

        More people seem to care about his manners.

      • John Say permalink
        August 10, 2019 6:14 pm

        If Congress did nothing aside from pass the budget – and better still work on cutting it, we would be much better off.

        While it is possible that there is legislation that might be beneficial, very little actually is.

        We are not merely past the point we each of us can know the law, we are past the point where experts can know the small part of the law that applies to their field

        In that environment more law has almost no effect, certainly no positive effect,

        We do not need more laws. We need less, far less.

        As Sowell aptly points out, it is beyond the ability of government to compel good conduct through law enforcement. We do not have a tiny fraction of the police force that would be necessary to do so.

        Society only works when the underlying values of ordinary people are strong, and good behavior is a consequence of strong morals.

        Sowell notes that ideas matter.

        Those ideas that strengthen our moral foundations, diminish violence and lawlessness,
        Those that undermine those foundations increase violence and lawlessness.

        Governments role is to deal with that tiny portion of people who do not care about morality at all.

        Government can not make but a small portion of us conform our conduct to the law.

        Any law that will either be rejected or ignored by more than a small portion of us, is worse than no law at all.

        We have seen with the war on drugs, and prohibition what happens when we criminalize conduct too broadly.

        We do not need more laws.

  34. Priscilla permalink
    August 7, 2019 10:53 pm

    I am hard-pressed to criticize the President, when he talks about the reality of living in Elijah Cummings’ district, particularly when Cummings has become a multi-millionaire, while doing nothing to improve the lives of these people:

    • John Say permalink
      August 8, 2019 1:18 pm

      I do not like Cummings. Nor do I like Trump. The two deserve each other.

      But it is not important who I like.

      What matters is what is true.

      Is it Racist for Trump to say that Baltimore is rat infested and crime ridden ?
      If so then why isnt it racist for Cummings to say that Baltimore is drug infested and teens are roaming arround like zombies ?

      An act, or remark can not be racist if done by one person but not if done by another.

      If Trumps or Cummings remarks were false – they still would not be inherently racist,
      but their remarks are true.

      If the truth is racist – then I am going with the truth. If we divorce our actions from facts and reality what we have is anarchy. There is no reason to even try to get the facts right if right and wrong, true and false are matters of opinion.
      It is the congruence of our opinions, our ideology, with facts that stands between us and chaos and unrestrained violence.

  35. John Say permalink
    August 8, 2019 8:07 pm

    “Frank Figluizzi, an NBC News national security contributor, voiced a bizarre criticism of President Donald Trump after Trump ordered flags to be flown at half mast because of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Figluizzi said that the date, August 8th, meant that the shorthand date of 8/8 could be viewed as a reference to 88 which could be a reference to HH (the eighth letter in the alphabet) which could be viewed as a salute to “Heil Hitler.” Figluizzi explained that Trump could be simply ignorant of the obvious reference.”

    Figluizzi was also a former Obama FBI assistant director of counterintelligence.

    That should really really really disturb you.

    So the president ordering Flags to half mast is actually a Nazi Wolf Whistle to White Supremecists ?

  36. John Say permalink
    August 8, 2019 8:12 pm

    “How many more people have to DIE violent deaths at racist hands before impeaching the president for inciting white nationalist terrorism and violence is taken as seriously as impeaching him for obstructing justice? The real national emergency is Donald J. Trump’s terrorism”

    Prof. Lawrence Tribe. Problem the greatest constitutional scholar on the left, and a strong contender for a supreme court justice under Obama.

    This is a person I once greatly respected, even if I did not always agree with.

    “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
    Pres. Obama.

    There is nothing that I can recall Trump ever saying that comes as close to incitement to violence as that remark.

    The left has lost its mind.

  37. John Say permalink
    August 9, 2019 2:03 pm

    Dear Valued Subscriber,

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    But even the pre-eminent VVS is vulnerable to mistakes.

    As some of you are aware, we failed in our commitment to ferociously guard the sanctity of your echo chamber this week. A headline appeared on our front page suggesting Orange Man spoke against racism. While the headline was factual, it was a flagrant betrayal of the service you expect us to provide and we literally stopped the presses to fix it.

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    Our customers’ pomposity and fragility are important to us. We don’t use words like ‘neurotic’ and ‘repellant’ to describe our readers the way shopkeepers, waiters, and dry-cleaners might. We think your quirkiness is the natural byproduct of the cosmopolitan, emotionally lavish life that you lead.

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  38. Priscilla permalink
    August 20, 2019 8:37 pm

    “Unlike you, I fully expect all three arms of government to be in democrat hands.”

    If you are right, Ron, I fully expect the Constitution to be shredded, and civil unrest to become much worse.

    If Americans are foolish enough to elect a socialist president, then I suppose our republic is already as good as gone.

    • August 20, 2019 11:28 pm

      Priscilla, I dont think it will be the socialist, I think it will be Biden if he keeps his gafs at a minimum. Unlike the GOP that allowed the fringes of the party to nominate Trump in 2016, the dems are doing just the opposite. They are dividing their fringe voters among many candidates, while Biden being more moderate is capturing the middle ground for the most part.

      So lets say Biden does defeat Trump. That means they need a net 3 senate seats. Most likely Doug jones will lose unless the GOP pulls another loser out of the winners ass and they nominate Roy Moore again. I did hear he was running and I dont have any reason to believe the GOP voters are not to stupid to nominate him again. But lets say they don’t and Jones loses, then the need 4 seats. Colorado is probably Hickenlooper is a good bet to defeat Gardner. “Any Democrat” is winning NC against Tillis and the governor has a 10 point advantage in the polls now, so his coat tails will help. Trump is neck and neck and I suspect the same big D turnout for 2020 that we saw in 2018, so he is a good bet to not carry NC. And since 76, NC has voted D 5 times and R 5 times, so it is truely a swing state. So now the D’s need 2. Arizona is running a republican that is filling out McCains seat and she lost to a democrat in the last regular election. That one is up for grabs and Arizona is moving much more left than in the past. So now they need 1. That one is harder to find, but Joni Ernst may go down if the farm economy does not improve and a Biden takes Iowa. Now its 50-50. Democrat control.

      And no one knows what is going to happen in 15 months. The economy could tank, the China Trade settled, Trump could decide to begin acting like a respectful adult, China could send troops into Hong Cong, etc. Some good for Trump, so bad.

      I just don’t like what I am seeing.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 21, 2019 9:00 pm

        There are a few things that could happen that are bad for Trump – the economy tanking.

        There are alot of possibilities that are good for Trump

        The IG’s report is due out. I doubt it will make me and many on the right happy.
        But it will still help Trump and hurt the left.
        We will have lots of stories and leaks about investigating the investigators.
        I doubt we will get the prosecutions that are required here.
        But the overall story will still help Trump.

        If Xi capitulates – Trump wins.
        If he does not- so long as the economy does not tailspin – Trump wins

        If Xi puts down the protests in Hong Kong – Trump wins.

        The most dangerous scenarious for Trump are things like:
        A deal with the Taliban, that then goes into afghanistan raping and murdering.
        Or a withdrawl of troops followed by a collapse into chaos.

        And even those worst case outcumes may not hurt him that bad.
        we are tired of sending our soldiers to die or kill in the rest of the world for things we can not figure out.

        Almost anything that happens with North Korea, China, Iran, Russia, actually makes Trump look good.

        I do not doubt the chinese are trying to “influence” our election. I could care less.
        I think they will be completely ineffectual. But all the stories about China trying to tank Trump will wreak havoc on democrats. They will spend the entire 2020 campaign trying to distance themselves from China. The made this Trump/Russia nonsense bed, now they have to lie in it with China. The media will report it, and even if they do not Trump will.

        If immigration issues worsen – that helps Trump. If it improves – that helps Trump.

        On issue after issue – no matter what the future holds Trump wins.

        Not every issue – but the vast majority.

        Trump’s biggest potential weaknesses are jobs, and the economy. I want to see well above 3% growth. But Trump likely wins with every scenario about 2.2%.

        There are troubling signs – but there are also lots of excellent signs.
        Sometimes when a couple of indicators flip it is the cannary in the coal mine.
        Most often it is just a sign that things are never all good, or all bad.
        My read of the NET signs is a slight drop from 3% growth until after the election.
        But that is tea leaves.

        regardless the economy and employment are Trump’s biggest/possibly only threat.

        Brexit is purportedly happening by Oct 31 no matter what.

        I think the odds of a huge trade deal between Johnson and Trump who are kindred spirits is near 100%. That would be a huge win-win. There is pretty much no down side.
        There has been lots of quiet work done on a real FREE TRADE deal between the US and the UK by the out of power side of the brexiters – Farage and the like. So the groundwork is already laid.

        Any deal is leaverage by Johnson with the EU and Trump with China.
        And good for both countries finances and credit.

        But Trump does not need a deal. All he needs is talk of a better relationship with the UK.

      • dhlii permalink
        August 21, 2019 10:23 pm

        You are much more “republican” than I.

        As much as I think that the democrats of the moment are bat shit and have gone too far to the left, I think the possibility of Democrats doing well in 2020 is small, and I do not think that even if they did that the consequences would be that horrible.

        Or better put, I think they likely would, and that would be a good thing.

        We learn from failure.

        I am old enough that I do not have too many cycles of all of this left.
        But still I know what I did not know as a young adult – the world my kids are inheriting will be better than the ones my parents left me. And the world they make better still.

        We may have hiccups along the way, but in the end things get better.

        My greatest fear is not that democrats will win. It is that they will fails so catastrophically that their antecedent will make Trump look tame.
        When things go to hell – that is when strong leaders who promise if we just give them control of everything are most appealing. It does not matter whether those are left or right.

        But even that passes. Hitler and Musolinni are long gone. Stalin and Mao too.

        Putin is in Trouble, and even if he survives – in the long run Russia heads for greater freedom. China has gone as far as it can without giving its people political freedom.

        I do not know if what is going on in Honk Kong is the equivalent of Checklosovakia and Hungary, or Poland, or East Germany – but I do know that is the path China is on.

        In fact the world is one. Today’s totalitarian regimes are all in trouble. The entire world is slowly becoming ever more free,

        While not to the degree I want – still more free.

        That process is often Chaotic. And Trump thrives on chaos.

        I challenge the claim that he is divisive – but I will totally agree that he strives for chaos, because he has more freedom to act in chaos.

    • dhlii permalink
      August 21, 2019 8:32 pm

      Leftism fails. It fails even when it succeeds.

      My worry about the left winning is that the next “backlash” after Trump is going to be MORE extreme than Trump.

  39. rondabellelane permalink
    July 9, 2021 6:41 pm

    Great read Rick, yours and the others as well… although some seem a bit too long winded for my taste – not all ideas need to be said 20 different ways. Hmmm… you do seem to have gotten quite a response. Congratulations!

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