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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.”)

117 Comments leave one →
  1. 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.

      • 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.

    • 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. 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 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 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.

  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. 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.

      • 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.

    • 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. 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.”

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