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The New Moderate’s Guide to a Politicized World

November 30, 2019

I have a startling confession to make: I’m really not fond of politics.

Why, you ask (and I knew you would), do I take pains to write a political blog if I harbor an aversion to the very subject of that blog? I write it because a politically polarized society needs loud voices in the middle – reasonable loud voices to fill that vacuum, lambaste the extremists when they require lambasting, point the way out of our ideological divide, and build a bridge between the more accommodating folks on the right and left.

That’s the ideal. The reality is that the extremists have politicized our culture so thoroughly that we can hardly order a bucket of fried chicken without inadvertently declaring our allegiance to one political tribe or the other.

While the professional politicos have preoccupied themselves with President Trump’s impeachment hearings, I’ve been entertaining myself by compiling a list of formerly innocuous items that the ideologues have tainted with the unmistakable odor of politics. Both political camps have contributed to the mayhem, although I have to credit the left’s academic PC police for having done more than their fair share.

Come along while I guide you through today’s hyper-politicized landscape…

Pronouns. We use them to substitute for regular nouns when the reference is clear. Simple enough, right? But social justice warriors are increasingly rejecting the gender-specific nature of pronouns like he and she, opting instead for the formerly plural they. In some academic circles, using the wrong pronoun – especially when referring to a person of ambiguous gender – can get you shipped to the re-education camp or worse.

Western Civilization. The study of European history, art, literature, music and philosophy used to be the core of a liberal education. Now those who tout the achievements of Western Civilization risk being tagged as white supremacists. (Of course, it’s fine to tout the achievements of non-Western civilizations.)

Guns. Any talk of restricting access to semi-automatic firearms (or the ammo magazines intended to slaughter mass quantities of humans) will be met with sallies of outrage on the right. They need their assault weapons, the reasoning goes, to fight the government troops who come for their assault weapons. O-kay.

Songs, cartoons and movies from racially unenlightened times. Did the late Kate Smith sing “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” 90 years ago? Banish her memory! (No matter that black activist Paul Robeson sang the same song.) Did a flock of jive-talking crows help Dumbo gain the confidence to fly? Racist caricatures! Was the kindly Uncle Remus too happy working for the white folks? Pull the movie out of circulation! No matter how sympathetic the portrayals, the artifacts of the past are to be judged by contemporary “woke” standards.

Nature. The shocking report that 60 percent of the world’s vertebrate animal population (excluding humans, of course) has died off since 1970 doesn’t seem to have moved the Trump administration – except to accelerate the process by pulling out of the Paris climate accords and loosening restrictions on hunting and deforestation. (Take that, tree huggers!) 

Climate change. As glaciers retreat, temperatures rise, and polar bears drown because the nearest Arctic ice floe is miles away, a staunch contingent of climate change deniers has hunkered down and refused to budge. It’s all a liberal plot to destroy private enterprise, right?

Facebook. What started as a lighthearted online platform for rediscovering lost friends, sharing photographs and chuckling over cat videos has morphed into a tool for separating us into mutually hostile tribes. When we read inflammatory cherry-picked news items that confirm our prejudices, we start hating the friends whose prejudices don’t align with ours.

Women’s bodies. Who would have guessed that such a pleasant subject could generate so much nasty political invective? The #MeToo movement sprang from just and reasonable impulses: no woman should tolerate being groped against her will. But does a hand on the shoulder constitute groping? And should that overly handsy man have his career and life ruined based solely on the woman’s account of events? Is flirting dead? Beware of good causes that turn extremist.

Abortion. Here’s a complicated ethical and medical issue that feminists have turned into a political slugfest. As they sound the rallying cry “Hands off my body!” they deliberately ignore the inconvenient truth that a pregnant woman’s body contains a second, genetically distinct body. The pro-choice faction insists that only the woman’s body has rights, while the pro-life faction favors the unborn baby’s rights. Nobody is backing down, so we need a King Solomon to declare abortion permissible during the first half of the pregnancy and off limits after the midpoint – except in rare cases. So let it be written… so let it be done!

Founding Fathers who owned slaves. Bad enough that they’re members of the white patriarchy, but I’m shocked – shocked! – that 18th-century Southern planters owned slaves. Even though George Washington freed his slaves in his will, I think we can expect the U.S. capital to be renamed for a less “offensive” individual – a gay woman of color, maybe? – in the not-too-distant future.

Identity. Speaking of gay women of color, how has the mere fact of racial, sexual or gender identity become such a political lightning rod? On the left, some identities (straight white “cis”-male, for example) are officially reviled while others are celebrated. Is turnabout fair play? Nope.

Holidays that recall mistreatment of natives. Goodbye, Columbus! Outta here, Pilgrims! Columbus Day and Thanksgiving have fallen into disfavor among those who still protest the European conquest of America. Maybe we should just roll back American history and let the continent return to the tranquility of buffalo-infested plains, Stone Age technology and warring tribes. Short of that, I think we can still celebrate our holidays while acknowledging that Western colonial settlement inflicted undue hardships on the native population.

Immigration. Every human being in the Western Hemisphere is the descendant of immigrants – even the so-called Native Americans whose ancestors migrated here from Asia during the Ice Age. Right-wing prejudice against immigrants – illegal or otherwise – dates back to the mid-19th century incursion from Ireland. Now that the primary incursion is coming from Latin America, race is a factor in anti-immigrant sentiment. No sane person favors open borders (sorry, lefties), but we all need to honor immigrants who work to arrive here through legal channels (that’s right, righties).

American flags. Funny, I thought the American flag belonged to all Americans. Some members of racial grievance groups seem to think it belongs to conservative whites – and especially white cops – which is enough to convince them that they can’t salute it or stand for the national anthem. The 13-star Betsy Ross flag is deemed just as oppressive because it dates from a time when blacks were held in bondage. The bottom line is that this alienation from American symbols keeps them from identifying as Americans, and that’s never a good thing.

Grammar. Say what? Yes, we increasingly hear multicultural academics rail against the restrictive rules (imposed by white males, naturally) that govern our language. Is grammar a tool of oppression used by the patriarchy? One never knows, do one? 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available in e-book form for just $2.99 each on Amazon.

103 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill Maggard permalink
    December 1, 2019 5:58 am

    Rick I’m sitting here at 4:00 am on a Sunday morning wondering when our society will completely collapse but when you bring it all back together and make it possible to face all the challenges at our doorsteps. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs and appreciate your humor. I feel social media will be our downfall but hopefully humor will pull us out of the quagmire we now find ourselves. Thanks it’s now 5:00 am and life goes on.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      December 4, 2019 11:48 am

      Thanks for the appreciative note, Bill. I’m convinced that humor not only relieves stress but puts current events in perspective so we don’t get bent out of shape obsessing over them. The fanatics on the far left and right could definitely use a humor transfusion.

      • Jay permalink
        December 4, 2019 1:07 pm

        Today’s moment of humor:

      • December 4, 2019 1:51 pm

        Jay love this, but I can’t send it to people I want to because they don’t have Twitter. Do you know how I can transfer this to a file that I can send in an email or locate the cartoon not in Twitter or Facebook.. All I get is a twitter link any way I have tried. Thanks Ron

      • Jay permalink
        December 4, 2019 2:39 pm

        Try this: It worked on a mobile device with touchable screen. But should be similar procedure on desktop.

        Go to cartoon on twitter.
        Press down on screen to enlarge it.
        Press again for menu to pop up. (Might pop up on first press).
        Choose “save”- that should save it as a jpeg file wherever photos are stored on your device or hard drive, etc.

      • December 4, 2019 4:55 pm

        Thanks. Tried evefything but that.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 4, 2019 4:38 pm

        Almost funny. Pretty good for someone on the left.

        But I always get a kick out of the assertion that people who beleive in CAGW, Still beleive the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, Believe Benghazi was a spontaneous attack over an internet video, beleive that regulating the cosmetics of guns will decrease mass shootings,
        beleive that Ukraine did not meddle in the 2016 election, Beleive Trump was not spied on.

        Can accuse Trump of being a “flat earther”

        But one thing the cartoonist has absolutely right – is Trump has YOU number. He can yank your chain at will, and you will yap.

        Most of the country is not paying attention – because they understand – you have nothing to say.

  2. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 10:22 am


    There are moments I share your depressed view of everything.

    The messages we are getting from everywhere is – the world is going to hell, things are worse than they have ever been, pick anything – Trump, race, …. the doomsday clock is 30 seconds from midnight.

    More recently my wife and I started watching Ken Burns Vietnam. I highly recommend it,
    But honestly ANY historical documentary will do.

    Life is not perfect, we have plenty to improve on. But we live in the best place in the world, in the best moment in human history – except tomorow.

    In 1864 we were killing each other by the hundreds of thousands.
    In 1917 by the millions. In 1944 we were exterminating people we did not like in gas chambers.

    Burn’s reminded me that in the 60’s we were rioting, and looting and bombing, and the national guard was killing students on campus.

    That mass protests took place everywhere all the time.

    That we were the lease racist this country had ever been and 10 times as racist as today.
    That Gay men were bullied and beaten – by the police.

    That women were out of the house, but making much less than men.
    In “Love Story” Oliver is attending Harvard – but Jenny must attend Radcliffe because Harvard only admits men.

    There are moments I fear the country is being torn apart. That things can not go on.

    But then I remember the 60’s – and in comparison today is peaceful and enlightened.

  3. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 10:40 am

    If you wish to understand the causes of the stress tearing our country apart right now, ask yourself:

    What would happen – what would life by like, if legislation and regulation stopped dead now ?

    If there were no UBI, no M4A, if we enforced the laws we have, but did not create any more ?

    We would not bring about utopia, but the world would not end, and infact if we could just accept that government did not need to try to fix whatever irked some group, we would be better off.

    Each year standard of living would rise – not alot, but over the years that adds up.
    Absent big mistakes by government that rise is built in. Absent new regulation that increase is a little larger and faster than otherwise – not alot, but over the years it adds up.

    I lobby constantly for less govenrment – MUCH LESS. But if the only thing we could accomplish is to freeze government as it is and move our efforts, debates, and discussions about how to change the world outside the realm of government, we would be much happier, much better off, the world would work fine. Not perfect, not utopia, but still the best that any human anywhere has ever been able to look forward to.

    Are there things we can do to improve life – absolutely! Even if we can not agree on what those are.

    But only one group pounds out a drum beat that we are all doomed but for changes that we must make right now.

    There is no existential crisis facing us. Not Trump, not climate change, not the environment, not race, not gender, not the national debt.

    It is POSSIBLE that SOME of these things will lower the rate of human improvement.
    It is possible that some might result in a brief kick in the pants – like the housing crisis,
    but none will truly ruin our future.

    We can know for certain that our children – male or female – or something else, straight or gay or … will live in a better world in nearly everyway than we do.

    While I beleive the apocalyptic drumbeat is coming almost entirely from one side of the political spectrum – you need not share than perspective, to grasp that wherever drumbeat comes from THAT is the force trying to tear the country apart.

  4. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 10:52 am


    As I posted above – those looking to “change the world” have the obligation to prove that what they seek to do will be worth the cost.

    You can rant all you want about the NRA or Gun nuts. The fact still are:

    Nothing that anyone has proposed regarding Guns is going to do a damn thing and EVERYONE KNOWS THAT.

    And if you are selling new laws, new restictions – large or small the burden is on you to demonstrate that they will do some good.

    They won’t, you know that, this is nonsense about “feeling good”.


    Do not start a holy war – unless you really and truly can bring about nirvana.

    The civil war and WWII were bloody brutal and horrid. But there is little doubt the world was better afterwords.

    There is NOT alot of other things that government has done EVER that that can be said of.

    Regardless, whatever the issue – lets get rid of the stupid appeals to emotion, the name calling, and slurs and insults. The pretense that those who do not agree with whatever changes we are demanding are evil or the puppets of rich masters.

    If you want to change the world through force, the burden is on YOU to demonstrate that what you propose will meet at the bare minimum the utilitarian ojective of the greatest good.

    IF you can not PROVE that – your DONE. GO AWAY.

    If you are trying to force your will on the rest of us. If you are trying to restrict our liberty further for some benefit that you can not convincingly promise will come about – then STOP – YOU are the problem, not the solution. YOU are what is dividing us – whatever the issue.

  5. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 11:17 am



    Can you name a single Malthusian end of the world claim EVER that has proven true ?

    One ? Even one that has been “a tiny bit true” ?

    These claims that there has been some mass extinction going on have been debunked CONSTANTLY.

    Julian Simon addresses mass extinctions and myriads of other fraudulent scientific claims in
    “The Ultimate Resource II” which is now available online for free.

    This is nearly 1000 pages of facts, statistics data, as well as links and references and supporting documents that refutes the notion that the world is going to hell.

    In 1965 Paul Ehrlich published the “population bomb”. claiming that if we did not REDUCE the world population immediately we would see mass starvation in just a few years.
    55 years later – the population of the world is more than double what it was in 1965.
    The average standard of living is more than double.
    The amount of land we are using to produce food is LESS than in 1965.
    The amount of food we produce is more than 4 times what it was in 1965.
    There is no mass starvation. Not only can we feed the entire earth, but any nation or people who can not feed themselves today without outside help can not do so because of violent political conflict – war. There is no part of the planet today so poor so barren that it can not produce – even in the worst of times more than enough food to feed its own people.


    We spew this political nonsense that one side of the debate is “anti-science”

    But the fact is reality has confirmed that the “anti-science” crowd, is more likely to correctly understand reality – and REAL SCIENCE is the understanding of reality.

    There are an enormous number of very smart people who STILL cling like DOGMA to beleifs that have been PROVEN not just by “science” but ultimately by reality to be FALSE.

    And yet even today more very smart well eductated people beleive things that have been falsified often long ago – and these are the people accusing others of being “anti-science”

    I consider BELIEF in “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” to be a litmus test – and IQ test of sorts.

    In the 80’s ? Maybe you could beleive – though you would still have to get past the fact that no malthusian claim has ever materialized – EVER.

    In the 90’s – from about 1974 through 1998 the earth warmed at a rate about 50% faster than the norm of the past 200 years. That exactly corresponded to the time period in which human CO2 emissions finally reached levels that MIGHT be large enough to effect climate – maybe. Yet from 1998 through to the present – 22 years. the rate of increase has either slowed or completely stopped such that the Trend sing 1974 is Below the trend of the prior 200 years.

    The Earth is warming – slowly as it has for more than 200 years. Though there is good reason to beleive that warming is slowing, and may stop shortly.

    But even if it has not – the likelyhood that 2100 will be more than .5C warmer than today is very small.

  6. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 11:24 am


    I do not care that we are polarized – we have been much more polarized in the past.
    We were certainly more polarized before the Civil War, or during the Vietnam war.

    The Civil war was really really bad, and if there was a less painful way to cleans this country of the original sin of slavery we should have found it. But in the end we did something nobel and necescary – and bloody.

    We were much more polarized during the vietnam war than today.
    We were rioting, at war with police, at war with each other. Blowing things up. Marching like crazy. And we survived.

    The only danger of the current polarization is that the ballance of power will be such that one group can gain the upper hand and restrict all of our liberties by force.

    To some small extent that is near certain anyway. We just need to keep it small.
    So long as government grows slower than the economy – we will survive and thrive.
    Shrinking government would be better, But merely constraining the rate of growth will leave our children with better lives than our own.

  7. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 11:30 am

    Social Media: Facebook, the explosion of information sources, and the death of the MSM.

    While there are growing pains – and much to rant about, overall this too is a good thing.

    There exists some evidence that we need to severely limit the social media use of teens – particularly girls from 13-16 as there is a very strong link between social media use in 13-16 year old girls and VERY serious anxiety and depression, But those same effect do not exist for kids who come to social media after 16.

    Overall the death of the MSM is a good thing.

    There is going to have to be a correction to social media censorhip but left alone the market will eventually correct.

  8. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 11:33 am


    Sorry Rick. I do not see what you seem to see.

    Absolutely we need to grasp that we can not “beleive all women” or all men or all anything.

    We are going to have to ALWAYS weight each claim on the merits and the evidence.
    And we are sometimes going to get it wrong.

    But anytime we do not generally excercise judgement – we will incentivize bad conduct. Whether that is rape of false reporting.

  9. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 11:47 am

    Abortion: I am not going to weigh in. Except to note a couple of things,

    You can view “One Child Nation” on Amazon for free.

    This is a shocking and disturbing account of the One Child policy in China and its effects.
    And yet the movie still underplays the effects.

    Over the last 55 years there have been 338M abortions in China. Most of these were forced, Often they coincide with sterilzation, During the same period there were over 100,000 babies and young children abandoned each year. Between 60 and 70% of these were left to die.
    There were more abortions in china ove the past 55 years than there are people in the US today.

    Over 1 million chinese children have been adopted internationally over that time period.
    more than 1/3 of them to the US.

    The end of the one child policy has reduced the population chinese orphanages by 1/2 and all but eliminated abortions and sterilizations, and China’s population is not growing.

  10. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 11:56 am

    Immigration – Sorry Rick – false dicotomy.

    This vast right wing undercurrent of xenophobes does not exist.

    You can always find one screwball in 330M, but what you claim is a centrist view – is pretty much the standard view on the right.

    Nor is this all about racism – unless we are somehow purportedly more racist against brown people than yellow people.

    The immigration of “white people” to the US is almost non-existant.

    The largest numbers of US immigrants come from Asia.
    The next largest from south of the border, Followed by caribean, Sub Saharan Africa, and the mideast.

  11. December 1, 2019 12:13 pm

    Rick, thanks for the reprieve from Trump, impeachment, corruption and Democrats in this article, but Dave and Jay will bring us back to that realm of reality in short order.

    Most of these divisions you write about are a direct result of our political system. Our Founding Fathers did not anticipate or desire the existence of political parties, viewing them as “factions” dangerous to the public interest. The Founders’ republican ideology called for compromise for the good of the country at the expense of personal interest. Under republican ideology, politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive. But once political parties developed, division occurred, grew and created tribes, not much different than actual tribes in third world countries. Special interest promoted by the parties created tribes that now divide us politically, socially, economically and regionally.

    And those impacted the most are those moderates who view politics much like the founding fathers.

    • December 1, 2019 12:13 pm


    • December 1, 2019 12:15 pm

      “Republican” used under the “Republic” idiology, not party idiology.

    • dhlii permalink
      December 1, 2019 4:42 pm

      Mostly I think Rick’s article is pretty good – except the fatalism.

      And by not addressing Trump or impeachment Rick’s makes it abundantly clear – Trump is not the problem.

      Which circles back to the fatalism.

      There is alot wrong.
      Most of Rick’s complaints, or those of progressives and the left are valid.

      BUT, we still live in the best moment of human existance, except tomorow.

      The world will not come undone with the next Trump Tweet.

      Our future will be less bright – if Bernie or Warren or Biden or …. get elected,
      But it will not be disaster, and even if it goes badly – it will not for long.

      As screwed up as many things are – ultimately within the past 500 years humans have come to terms with individual liberty, and the results have been spectacular.
      Not only has standard of living spiked – but even our screwups are self correcting.

      I keep trying to get yall to grasp – Trump is not the problem, he is the response to the problem.

      I worry about most of the same things Rick does.

      but I know that tomorow will be better. In every way ? No. But overall.

      All the things that are screwed up – the amnesia of the benefits of western thought, the censorship the woke idiocy the naratives over fact – in the long run will self correct.

      Our memories are not so short as to fail to understand that freedom got us where we are and if we screw it up, freedom will bring us back.

      • December 1, 2019 10:16 pm

        Dave “I keep trying to get yall to grasp – Trump is not the problem, he is the response to the problem.”

        I grasped that long ago, about the time of the first debate and Trumps support was around 35%.

        I also know that the world will not come to an end if Sanders or Warren are elected. The worst that will happen is MC4A, more carbon regulation, more labor regulations, higher taxes on the rich, progressive SCOTUS appointments, gun control and higher cost due to climate legislation. But overall little impact on middle America.

        But no matter who is elected, the real problems will not be addressed. Trade will continue that negatively impacts American industries, prices for healthcare will continue to grow due to government’s control of the way providers are required to bill, drug prices will continue to rise due to the drug patent laws that provide for 17 years of patent and then additional years due to tweaking the drugs or the delivery mechanism, wages will rise, but so will cost because more money allows for increasing prices, so those in poverty will continue in poverty, the rich will still find ways to shelter their wealth regardless of taxes and the climate will continue to warm because that is what the climate does ,even without man. College cost will continue to skyrocket because student loans will continue to be easy to obtain.

        However, even if the world does not come to an end, I suspect that due to many of the issues that Rick wrote about will make people much more unhappy with life than they are today. Just because the LGBTQ groups have more rights, manhole covers and mankind are referred to as maintenance hole covers and human kind, he and she are referred to as they, people will not become nicer to each other because government dictates it.

        One only needs to look at the years before Trump and comments on social media to see Trump did not cause this problem. Its just that the liberals and left of center leaners like Jay did not disagree with the environment before Trump and now that their is much more conversation 180 degree from what was present before Trump, it just appears to them things have become much worse.

        people will not become nicer to each other because of government involvement. What will happen is a continuation of the division in America. People will have friends of like political persuasion, avoid those that believe different. People will marry those with the same political views, avoid others that differ. City people will avoid rural America, while rural America will avoid the cities. Hunters will continue to support gun rights, while city folk will continue to oppse them. The rich will get richer, middle America will grow in their envy of those with money and the poor will continue to be avoided by both. Because that is what a divided country does no matter who the President.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 3:15 pm

        “I also know that the world will not come to an end if Sanders or Warren are elected.”

        Great, but an awful lot of politics today is this nonsense that
        This is somehow the worst moment in history,
        That we are more racist, xenophobic, evil than ever
        and that Trump is the end of life as we know it.

        Or from the right that We MUST live with Trump as he is or we will get totalitarian communism.

        I will admit that at times I feel like we are coming apart at the seems and that we might even be approaching civil war.

        But then I watch another episode of Burn’s vietnam – or some other documentary about other times and realize this is just CRAP!!!!

        Absolutely we are highly polarized, but right or left (and mostly the histrionics are from the left)


        “The worst that will happen is MC4A, more carbon regulation, more labor regulations, higher taxes on the rich, progressive SCOTUS appointments, gun control and higher cost due to climate legislation.”

        Progressivism, socialism and big government in general are self defeating.

        A major factor in the economic doldrums of the Obama era was the economic impact of PPACA. Though the other policies mattered too.

        All of the things the left seeks to do – will help some people – though nearly always far less than claimed. The real goal of progressive reforms is to use government to emote caring, not to actually address an issue. Regardless, always the negative impact is greater than the positive.

        If Warren or Sanders win – AND they actually get to do what they promise – the economy will tank – proportionate to the amount of what they want that they get to do. And the consequence of that will be a revolt of voters.

        If they win and they only get to do what can be accomplished by the executive – we will have the same doldrums that we had under Bush and Obama.

        There is a small amount of slack in this – because as the economy grows, as our standard of living rises we can actually afford more of the progressive socialist stuff and even though there is an economic drag to it, the drag is not as bad as if we had a lower standard of living.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 3:25 pm

        If you beleive in individual liberty – then you do not beleive in Government involvement in foreign trade.

        There is no difference between government deciding about Trade with China and NY deciding about Trade with CA, or NYC restricting Trade with Baton Rouge.

        The laws of economics do not work differently between nations than they do between states or cities.

        Economic works to most efficiently match production to consumption.

        If China or Ghana can produce some item at a better value to cost ratio than americans – that is how it SHOULD be.

        It is unimportant and stupid for americans to produce every single thing they need.
        We should not be focused on keeping those jobs that are moving to china or mexico or Bangeledech.

        We should be seeking to create jobs that create sufficient value to support higher wages.

        Our standard of living RISES when low paying jobs leave the country and are replaced by higher value jobs.

        There is no limit to jobs that can be created, and no limit to higher value jobs that can be created.

        But there are limits in what specific people can do and how fast people can change what they do.

        Regardless, government efforts to meddle with trade are mostly self defeating.

        If you “wall” in the economy – you make us all less well off. That is the approach many developing nations took that trapped them in poverty, and it works no better for developed nations.

      • December 2, 2019 4:05 pm

        Dave “If you beleive in individual liberty – then you do not beleive in Government involvement in foreign trade.”

        And there is one major difference in your much more libertarian positions than mine. You believe in open trade. I believe in fair trade. You believe that China can close their country to our products, but ours will be open to their’s. I believe if we open our nation to their junk, then they reciprocate. It is just that they way things are today after years of absolute moronic trade agreements, it takes much more resolve by the government to stick to a plan to get better trade agreements in place.

        Everyone laughed at Ross Perot when he talked of the sucking sounds of jobs going to Mexico. Once it happened, they no longer laughed and now we have USMCA that is being proposed as a better alternative. Who knows, may be, might not be.

        My level of Libertarianism is less than yours, but much more than 90% of the rest of the voters.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 11:22 pm

        If you value “fairness” in any forum over freedom – the results will always be the same.

        The American revolution was about liberty.
        The french fixated on Egalitaire – equality, fairness.

        Life is not “fair”, get over it. You can not make it fair.

        You want to strive for fairness in your own life – go ahead. I am completely with you.

        But when you involve government – the entire concept of fair needs shoved out the window.

        It is possible to come up with a consensus understanding of liberty.
        In fact it is trivial to come up with a near universal definition of liberty – if not an agreement on the extent or limits of permissibly liberty.

        Government can make choices clearly weighing liberty interests against security, the common good, …
        It may not make those choices correctly, but we will usually have a pretty good idea of what is being exchanged for what even if we are not agreed on the relative value of the tradeoff.

        We can not possibly come up with even a majority defintion of “fair”.

        In the context of “fair” trade – I think it is immoral for you to demand that US consumers must pay more for products that the chiese will produce “unfairly” according to you, in order to “fairly” according to you – protect US jobs.

        To me that seems pretty unfair.

        It is not important whether you argree.
        What is important is that my perspective as well and myriads of others are just as valid as yours.

        Liberty can be understood, We disagree only on the weight we give it, not what it is.
        We do not agree on what constitutes “fair” we can not, and never will be able to.

        Whenever you use fair, you are almost always talking about your highly subjective judgement, NOT anything close to a measurable criteria.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 11:28 pm

        I can not keep the chinese from screwing their own people.

        Where we part company is I am not prepared to screw americans to try.

        If you think that Chinese products are “cheap junk” do not buy them.

        If the majority of americans agree – they won’t either.

        It is irelevant whether I agree or disagree with your judgement of chinese products.

        So long as I am free to make my own choices.

        Yes, I absolutely want the chinese people to have the same freedom – but I do not run the chinese government, nor have even a vote.

        What I may not do is restrict the freedom of american consumers BY FORCE to benefit american workers – because in my oppinion that is more fair.

        Can you make the same choice FOR YOURSELF ?

        But you are most defintely not talking about “fair” – you are talking about having government or yourself pick the winners and losers. Nothing more. And you are not even talking about amricans as winners over chinese as losers.
        You are pitting the interests of one group of americans against another.
        And deciding who to use force to favor.

        The fact that I do not think what the Chinese are doing is wise does not mean I think we should compete with them in screwing our own consumers.

      • December 2, 2019 11:59 pm

        Dave “If you think that Chinese products are “cheap junk” do not buy them.”

        How do you buy something when most of the time this is the only shit you can buy.

        Next time I need something and can not find it other than Chinese crap, I will ask you to locate it for me since you seem to think we still produce everything here also.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 1:12 am

        “How do you buy something when most of the time this is the only shit you can buy.”

        That is not true – you just have to pay more.

        Further even if it was true – that just means – the market has spoken, those chinese goods you do not like have been determined by the overwhelming majority of consumers to be of greater value.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 1:14 am

        “Next time I need something and can not find it other than Chinese crap, I will ask you to locate it for me since you seem to think we still produce everything here also.”

        Google is your friend. It is not that hard.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 11:31 pm

        There is nothing of consequence that happened as a result of NAFTA that was not both predictable and predicted. And the net impact was strongly net positive.

        Absolutely millions of jobs were lost to Mexico.
        BUT 4 times as many new ones were created here. Better jobs.

        Further both americans and mexicans were on the whole BETTER OFF.

      • December 3, 2019 12:00 am

        Dave “Absolutely millions of jobs were lost to Mexico.
        BUT 4 times as many new ones were created here. Better jobs.”

        Documentation please.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 1:37 am

        Gauging the impact is difficult.

        The US textiles industry was destroyed post NAFTA, while the expectation is that it would be saved.

        Why ? Not job losses to Mexico, but job losses to china.
        Now textiles are leaving china for cheaper countries.

        Regardless the destruction of the us textile industry was inevitable.

        There are arguments that US jobs gains were not as good as they should have been because of automation – but automation is also inevitable.

        The economy boomed from 94-2001.
        Some claim the job gains claimed by NAFTA proponents are the consequence of a growing economy not NAFTA.
        Some claim the continued economic growth was atleast partly caused by NAFTA.

        I believe the statistics that claim NAFTA job increases greatly exceeded losses.

        Further the losses were only temporary. 75% of those who lost their jobs attributable to NAFTA had jobs 18 months later.

        BTW that is NORMAL for all forms of job losses.

        Your factory automates – you lose your job.
        Forever ?
        No. You go out and get another.

        Whether it is china, mexico, automation … reduced consumer prices are a positive ENDURING benefit to consumers.
        Job losses if they occur are temporary.

        For 22 years I worked for one employer.
        In the past 20 years I have worked for dozens.
        I typically file 2 W2’s and 6-7 1099’s per year.

        I have been fired twice – and rehired by the same person who fired me (and I still work for him).

        My work changes constantly, I am self employed. I am 62 and I will be able to continue what I do now as long as I want, and slowly reduce my workload to suit my abilities and interest in continuing working.

        Right now I am growing my businesses. I am looking for people to work for me.
        I am having lots of trouble finding them.

        We have a worker shortage today – not a worker glut.

        BTW that is the NORM for a growing economy.
        And trade grows economies.

        There is no doubt mexico benefited more than the US from NAFTA.
        But BOTH still benefited.

      • December 3, 2019 12:09 am

        According to the Economic Policy Institute’s study, 61% of the net job losses due to trade with Mexico under NAFTA, or 415,000 jobs, were relatively high paying manufacturing jobs. Since 1993, 38,325 of those job losses are directly related to trade with Mexico and Canada.

        Supporters of NAFTA estimate that some 14 million jobs rely on trade with Canada and Mexico combined, and the nearly 200,000 export-related jobs created annually by NAFTA pay an average salary of 15% to 20% more than the jobs that were lost, according to a PIIE study

        So 415,000 jobs lost and 200,000 export related jobs created at 15%-20% more is still a net loss of 215,000 jobs. And the total income is still less even with the premium on the new jobs.

        That is one reason Trump wants USMCA to stop any further losses.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 1:51 am

        The period from 1993 to 2001 was the longest recorded economic expanision in US history.
        There were many factors for that.
        ONE of those was NAFTA.
        The low end estimate is NAFTA was responsible for an additional .5%/year gain in GDP.
        The high end estimate is 1%.

        Either estimate produces a jobs gain from NAFTA that dwarfs any claimed losses.

        The overwhelming majority of the job loses attributed to NAFTA were inevitable and were either lost to automation or to China – not Mexico.

        But let me make it simpler. Economic growth from 1993-2003 averaged 4%.
        THAT was a really strong economy. Trump would DIE for that economy.

        I think all of us accept that some of that growth was due to NAFTA.
        How much of that growth – and the jobs tied to that growth are you prepared to give up ?

        In 2000 the US government ran a 200B SURPLUS and that would have grown but for Bush and endless wars.

        There were 3M new jobs created EVERY YEAR.

        1% of GDP during that period of time is 70B dollars/year

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 11:36 pm

        “My level of Libertarianism is less than yours, but much more than 90% of the rest of the voters.”

        Who cares ?

        We are not debating an issue of pure ideology.

        We have an enormous amount of data on Trade. We know how all this works.
        The actual laws of economics are not ideology – or to the extent they are they are ideology that works.

        I would be a communist or a socialist – if it worked.
        It does not.

        I think USMCA is a better deal than NAFTA – for the US, for Canada, for Mexico, because it is a step close to true free trade.

        I can support it as better than the status quo or better than the politically possible alternatives.

        But ultimately as something like 95% of economists know – trade barriers are negative, and the country with the lowest barriers – even unilaterally lowest barriers ultimately has a more rapidly rising standard of living than the one that does not.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 3:33 pm

        Look at the economy.

        Within the economy – those places where we have the closest to an actual free market – create more and more value for lower and lower cost – they are inherently DEFLATIONARY,

        In many cases the unadjusted price is LOWER than the past price.

        In all cases the adjusted price is lower than the past price.

        But the more heavily government is involved in ANY market then the price is always higher.

        Education, Heatlh care, it does not matter what area. The more government is involved the higher the future price will be for the same value.

        This “rule” is nearly a perfect binary – black and white.

        You would think given how CLEAR it is that whenever government touches something the price rises and the value declines. we would have understood and learned.

        This is one of the most crystal clear areas of economic information.

        Pick ANYTHING – if government is heavily involved in it – the long term trend will be an increase in the amount of work you need to perform to buy it
        If government is not the amount of work you need to buy it will trend DOWN.


        And yet we are blind.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 3:44 pm

        I do not like our patent system – but our copyright system is MUCH WORSE, and arguably a 17 year patent on a drug is defendable.

        The fundimental problems with drugs is not patents, but government.

        Some of the most expensive drugs today had their patents expire decades ago.
        You can not get FDA approval for a drug that somebody else makes whose patent has expired.

      • December 2, 2019 4:14 pm

        Dave “You can not get FDA approval for a drug that somebody else makes whose patent has expired.”

        Please provide source for this statement. I have a good friend in the pharmacy business. I have never heard him say that. Looking at data, the FDA has increased the number of generic approvals over the past few years, not decreasing them.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 11:59 pm

        My mother owned a business making bottle caps until she died in 2007.

        She owned one of the few companies in the world that made 22mm screw on bottle caps.
        She made a deal with a company to sell them millions of 22mm bottle caps for a generic nitroglycerin tablet

        Nitroglycerin has been used as a vaso dilator to pretty close to halt a heart attack in its tracks for over 130 years.

        There are no patents on Nitro Glycerin as a drug.

        The bottle cap deal fell through because the company could not get FDA permission to sell nitro glycerin tablets.

        There are no unknowns here. 1,2,3-trinitroxypropane was first manufactured in 1847.

        There is nothing to approve, Anyone who wants should be able to use any also approved inert binder and standard amounts of NG to make generic NG tablets.

        But the FDA requires anyone producing a new NG tablet to go through the same process as any other “new drug”.

        This BTW is also true of epinephrine – also in use in medicine for 100+ years. No relevant patents. There is a patent on the “epi-pen” auto injector.
        But it is trivial to create a new design that does not infringe.
        But it is impossible to get FDA approval. Again it most go through the same process as a new drug.

        A company tried selling predosed epinephrine syringes. Again a drug that has been available on the market for 100+ years. You can go to the hospital or your doctor and get epinephrine injected. You are allowed to inject insulin into yourself.

        But if you are at risk of anaphalaxis as a result of allerigies – you can not buy a cheaper but less convenient predosed syringe. You must buy the epi-pen at significantly inflated cost, because the FDA will not approve alternatives.

        This is quite common. It is also true of Premarin – again something patents expired long ago, but the FDA will not approve generics.

        Further we actually have laws that require the FDA to operate differently.
        But the FDA does not follow the law, and in practice can not be made to.

        No one at the FDA will ever lose their job for being overly cautious.
        But you could not get aspirin approved today without a black label to address its side effects,
        and frankly you just could not get it approved.

        No one is going to spend 2B dollars to get a generic epi-pen approved, or generic premarin, or generic nitro-glycerin.

        Nor are they supposed to have to – the approval process for generics is supposed to be easier, but it rarely is.

        I will further note that the problem is worst for older drugs.

        Nitroglycerin, epi-pens, and premarin (or aspirin) did not EVER go through the modern FDA drug approval process. They never had the testing that modern drugs have. They predate the FDA or predate the more stringent laws passed after Thalidamide, and they are permitted because they were grandfathered. But generics of those grandfathered drugs are not themselves grandfathered, and no one at the FDA is going to approve a generic nitroglycerin.

        Also politics quite often comes into play – which companies donate to which politicians, or is the company trying to bring a generic NG to market a US company or foreign owned.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 12:00 am

        Generic approvals should be damn near automatic – they are not even close.
        If the FDA wants to – and quite often they do, they can make a generic go through testing as a new drug.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 3:49 pm

        What is “poverty” ?

        I recall a government minister in the UK testifying before parliment that poverty in the UK stubbornly refused to budge no matter what they did to aleviate it.

        No matter what 16% of britons lived in poverty.

        Duh ? Poverty in britian was DEFINED as the bottom 16% of wage earners.

        The minister was an idiot.

        In the US we have not defined poverty so rigidly – but we still have the same problem.

        Most of my tenants are near poverty. All of my tenants have more and live better than I did as a child – and my family was upper middle class.

        Americans in poverty as the top 1% of the world. And even globally those in poverty are far far better off than 40 years ago.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 3:53 pm


        A liberal is someone who prizes individual liberty.

        I am a liberal. One of the things happening today is many older ACTUAL liberals are getting divorced from the Left.

        Alan Derschowitz is being shunned by the left – because he remains a “liberal” not a progressive.

      • December 2, 2019 4:21 pm

        Well the Democrats chose that term years ago when the party was left of center and progressives were the far left of center.

        So they chose it, let them live with it.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 12:43 am

        Democrats did not choose the term liberal.

        Long ago the term libertarian did not exist. 19th century liberals were what today are called libertarians.

        In the late 19th and early 20th century they OPPOSED progressives. In fact at that period of time progressives had more support from conservatives and even republicans than democrats and liberals.

        But progressivism proved disasterous – eventually the label became disparaging.
        Progressives started calling themselves liberal and over time succeeded in taking ownership of the term. Now they have besmirched the term liberal and are reverting to the label progressive which has lost some of its tarnish over the past century.

        I am entirely in favor of that.

        I would further refer to my rants over language.

        Most of use have a pretty good idea what it means to be marxist, communist, socialist.
        Even progressive is relatively well defined.
        If someone says they are progressive – you have a pretty good idea what their political values are.

        But if they call themselves – or someone else calls them liberal – their values are unclear.

        Alan Derschowitz is a liberal, David Rubin is a liberal, Eric and Bret Weinstein are liberals, Stephen Pinker is a liberal, Johnathn Haidt is a liberal, Jordan Peterson is a liberal.
        All of these people share reasonably close political values – values that are completely at odds with the modern left. Values that are also at odds with modern conservatism.

        I call myself libertarian – because to some extent many people actually know what that means.

        But in reality I am a liberal – like John Stuart Mills, like Thoreaux, like Adam Smith, like Franklin, like John Locke, all self identified liberals. All with values very close to mine.

        Further there are myriads of texts, and history from then and now that calls these giants of history liberals – because they were.

        But the modern left is NOT their intellectual heirs – though quite frequently they have claim to be – though nowadays all 18th and 19th century thinkers are evil white men, so having the left claim ownership of my intellectual heritage is less of a problem today.

        Regardless, in the end any word can mean anything.

        But it is actually important for words – especially important words to hold the same meaning for long periods of time. It is important for the same reasons that originalism is so important regarding the constitution and law.

        In a perfect world we would not have originalism. The meaning of words especially the words of the law and constitutiuon would not change over time.

        Some changes are natural and evolutionary and there is little we can do to stop them.
        Or even more commonly words drift out of common use and get reporposed.

        But sometimes – and quite frequently today we – particularly the left deliberately destroy the meaning of words, as part of the effort to destroy the thoughs and values and principles they represent.

        This is the lesson of 1984 – and newspeak.

        Liberal is one of the very first words than I know of historically that was DELIBERATELY coopted and ultimately changed to mean very nearly the opposite of what it actually means.

        I can live with natural languange changes,. Deliberately deceptive ones are a bigger deal.

        I want “liberal” back.

        Today we see – the left especially, do this with most everything.

        You can call anyone a nazi, a russian asset, as racist, a mysoginist, a homophobe, but god forbid you refer to someone by the wrong pronoun. Or that you should not be completely up to the moment on the politically correct word for someone’s particular minority or victim status.

        Nor is this new. We see exactly the same thing in the USSR, or Mao’s china

        Use the wrong words at the wrong time – and you are a political criminal. You must be re-educated, and of course the words meaning change practically daily.

        Again Both animal farm and 1984 rely on the ability to play games with the meaning of words to bring about dystopia.

        Trump is likely to be impeached for “bribery”. It is irrelevant that bribery has a real meaning that has no resemblance to what Trump is alleged to have done.
        Bribery tested well in focus groups. It is not important that we accuse someone of something they have done. What matters is that we accuse them of something people beleive is bad.

        We have played the same nonsense with emoluments – an old word that was not used for almost 2 centuries, but since there are two emoluments clauses in the constitution – neither of which apply under any definition of emoluments, mangling the meaning of emoluments has become a cudgel to beat on Trump.

        Words have meaning – if you want to play with the meaning – write poetry,
        When you are using them in the context of government they must be used with precision.

        Because it is immoral to use force to infringe on the liberty of others when the words of the law are not clear.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 4:23 pm

        My complaint about your use of liberal raises another issue that Rick dances arround.

        Words and meaning.

        Orwell’s dystopia’s make it clear how incredibly important it is to control language – words.

        And we are watching 1984 happen quite litterally in front of us.

        I really do not give a damn what bathroom someone uses – so long as my children are not involved.

        Run your own life however you wish – so long as you are not forcing me to do the same.

        I do not give a dam whether a round metal plate in the road is called a manhole cover.

        But the near infinite manipulation of language, as well as the fixation on Triggers, and so called hate speach, the intersectional offence driven and victim focused world we have, and the massaging of language to re-inforce that the fixation on feelings rather than facts – especially in our language. The fixation on emotional truth and “narratives”.


        The attempt to use government to control language to change how people think is right out of 1984 and extremely destructive.

        We are not merely trying to silence views we do not like by censorship. We are seeking to deprive them of the language needed to express those views.

        One of the most fundimental problems we have today is the inability to agree on basic facts in enormous numbers of areas.
        And the primary reason we can not agree on facts has to do with manipulation of words.

        Not only do those on the left seek to alter the meaning of words – they also seek to unmoor meaning.

        Every conflict I have with Jay could be easily resolved if Jay would agree to a fixed meaning to words. It does not matter what meaning, just one that is not maleable.

        If Trump and Obama both did X – whatever X is, then if it was wrong for Obama it was wrong for Trump and visa versa.

        But we can not agree on that. We can not hold Trump and Obama or Clinton or Biden to the same standards. Worse we do not even use the same words in the same way when talking about either of them.

        I am fixating on Trump at the moment – when the problem is much larger than Trump.
        But the left makes it so glaringly obvious regarding Trump.

        We are told everything Trump does is ahistorical, unusual, deviant, abnormal, extreme,

        Yet by any standard that is constant, Trump is only unusual in his style and rhetoric.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 4:32 pm

        Absolutely we are becoming more polarized – but WHO is trying to polarize us ?

        I find editorials on new sites about how to austicize your Trump supporting relative at Thanksgiving.

        Study after study show that TODAY conservatives tolerate a wide variety of viewpoints.
        But those on the left punish deviation from dogma – especially of their own.

        I saw this in christian fundimentalists in the 70’s where one minister would send the congregation next door to hell because the baptized twice forward and once backward.

        Look here at TNM – if your posts, if your arguments are nothing more than insults – you are driving people apart not bringing them together.

        Saul Alinsky has had an enormous impact on american politics – because his tactics WORK – to a point. But fundimentally Alinsky is deliberately about polarization, About creating divisions about amplifying differences, The broad use of Alinsky tactics by any significant perspective will drive us apart rather than bringing us together.

    • dhlii permalink
      December 1, 2019 5:17 pm

      Our founders, our constitution – are not sacred, they are not the end, the pinacle the epitomy.

      They are just a monument a way point on the path from slavery to a utopia we can never reach – but get closer to all they time.

      I do not care so much about faction or free speach or the 2nd amendment – but about freedom.

      “The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.

      You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream – the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order – or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism.Reagan

      There is no pivital moment, there is just a path that inexorably leads to greater freedom and greater prosperity.

      You can start at Lexington and concord, or with the magna Carte, or Hamurabi’s code.

      There is no real start and no end. just the better life that comes with more freedom, and the lessor one without.

      WE do not face an existential conflict. Just a speed bump along the way.

      The election of Trump is a reaction, to the woke demands for conformity, to being censored, badgered and bullied into silence.

      There is an editorial today that identifies the lefts attacks as Trump’s secret weapon.

      We see this today and here especially with Jay.

      He can not help but point a shot gun at half the country whenever he takes aim at Trump.

      Anyone who does not share his views is deplorable, stupid – a hateful, hating hater.

      That is why the left lost in 2016, and why they will lose in 2020, and even if they do not, why they must lose ultimately.

      Hatred is poison.

  12. Jay permalink
    December 1, 2019 12:47 pm

    Wonderful synopsis of what ails us politically and culturally, Rick.
    I have nothing to nitpick, nothing at all.

    But I’m not optimistic moderation will triumph.
    Hope I’m wrong.
    Time (always slip sliding away) will tell.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      December 4, 2019 11:55 am

      Thanks, Jay. I’m not an optimist. either. I just hope the bitterness at both ends of the political spectrum resolves itself without bloodshed. Maybe we could use an alien invasion to reunite this country. (I mean space aliens, of course — although I assume they’d be undocumented.)

      • dhlii permalink
        December 4, 2019 1:24 pm

        I have been harping on Ken Burns Vietnam more recently.

        I highly recommend watching it. It is depressing as heel and incredibly uplifting at the same time.

        In the past decade we have been growing ever more bitterly divided. It is easy sometimes to fear that violence and even civil war are just around the corner.

        This is particularly disconcerting as we truly do live in the best place and the best moment of human history.

        But Burn’s unintentionally rams that home.

        We are fighting about the state at the moment. We are being sold that those in the state – in the CIA, DOD, State department FBI, … are the good people saving us from tryanny.

        Yet these same “good people” are in no way consequentially different from the “good people” who got us into vietnam, and relentlessly continued to make it worse and the worse it got the more committed they were to somehow “winning” even though winning was impossible and they new it.

        We feel like we are more bitterly divided than ever. In the 60’s national guardsmen were shooting peach marchers, the police and protesters were beating each others skulls in, there were 100 politically motivated bombings a year. Protests and riots were nearly synonymous.

        We are told that racism is on the rise that we are in the most racist moment in US history.
        In the 60’s we had the summer of rage. We had most of our cities burning.
        There were actual KKK members marching.

        While I share many of your fears Rick. and I find myself worrying that all this will get out of hand. I am heartened by Vietnam.

        Regardless, ultimately we know how this ends.

        History repeats itself – first as a tragedy and then as a farce.

        I do not know whether the left or right wins the next election.
        But I know that while we can not ever kill of the totalitarian left, that it will constantly kill itself off, though it is inevitably reborn, and we start again.

        Is there anyone who thinks Venezuela remains “socialist” ?
        The only question is when does socialism die ?

        In 2020 we have two choices – Kill the extreme left by electing Trump or elect the extreme left and suffer as its own actions drive us to destroy it in 2024 or 2028.

        Obama was a small step towards socialism – and 2016 was a backlash against that.

        Nothing is more effective in destroying the left than for them to actually gain power.

        The problem is that too quickly we forget what the left gaining power means.

        Are there all kinds of problems with the right ? Certainly.

        Is there some existential threat from the right ? Not a chance.

        You talk about the extreme right. What even is that ?

        Are the Pat Robertson social conservatives on the rise again ?
        Is the KKK marching by the 10’s of thousands ?
        Is Cliven Bundy about to stage a million man march in the DC mall ?

        What is the extreme right you are afraid of ?

        Donald Trump ? Ted Cruz ? You have got to be kidding ?

        There is no meaningful extreme right of any consequence.

        What if republicans took over the house and senate and whitehouse in super majorities
        What would they do that would be as disasterous as PPACA, M4A, Free College, ….. ?

        I can complain about some things that some republicans want to do, but the most dangerous thing I can think of coming from the right at the moment would require #neverTrump neo-cons to return to the GOP.

        It would require the Chenney’s and Mattis’s and Boulton’s to regain power, it would require a return to the neo-con foreign policy of US beleigerance and the US as policemen of the world.

        That is highly unlikely.

  13. dhlii permalink
    December 1, 2019 1:46 pm

    You do not have to agree with ALL of this, but much of it is stuff we all already know.

    I would further note this connects, democrats, Neo-Cons, never Trumpers, into a gigantic if disorganized conspiracy running over decades to cover their own asses regarding their own incompetent handling of foriegn and particulary mideastern affairs.

    The story is simple – the US had a legitimate interest in destroying the Taliban post 9/11 and that is pretty much the only thing we have attempted to do in the mideast since 2001 that was legitimate, and even that was not successful.

    Removing Saddam Hussein was a predictable geopolitical disaster that has had the US playing wack-a-mole throughout the mideast afterwords. This disaster sucked in an unified establishment republicans and establishment democrats.

    There is a reason that Candidate Obama quietly repudiated the promises to get the US out of Afghanistan and Iraq and to Close Gitmo – because if he had not he would have had the same problems with the “deep state” that Trump is having now.

    You can reject (maybe) the notion of some grand conspiracy.
    But you can not escape the fact that our military and inteligence and diplomatic core have spent the past 3 decades F’ing up badly in the mideast. AND that much of this was entirely predictable.

    While those testifying in the House impeachment inquiry were not the leaders responsible for this decades long foreign policy debacle that has cost the US $7T and got nothing in return.
    they were all the foot soldiers in this strategy.

    Trump was not supposed to win in 2016. And these people were terrified of Flynn as NSA, as Flynn was intent on exposing their disasterously bad choices over the prior 2 decades.
    Once elected Flynn had to go, and Trump had to be reigned in – like Obama was or destroyed.

    Unlike Obama Trump refused to be reigned in, and continues to grasp that nothing the US has done in the mideast in over 20 years has been anything short of disasterous, and that there is little or nothing to salvage and we are engaged in a sunk costs fallacy of epic proportions. Unlike most politicians, Trump as a highly successful businessman understands that when something has failed you GET OUT. That pumping more treasure in does not make it any better.

    But Getting out leaves almost the entire us intelligence apartus, military, and foreign service with egg on its face.

    Lets put this a different way – we have spent the past 20 years replicating Vietnam with the intention of winning this time, and all that can be said is that improvements in our military have resulted in far less dead americans. Otherwise the outcome has been much the same.

    Our Military, our Intelligence services, Our Foreign Service have failed us in the same way they did in vietnam. Except that while that failure has been on a larger scale it has not acheived the same degree of public recognition as vietnam.

    Both Obama and Trump were “managed” by the assorted agencies, by Selling them a nixonian – peace with honor pig in a poke with the implicit alternative of going to war with the “deep state”

    Trump gave “the generals” and Ambassadors and Spooks a chance, and they have failed, and unlike Obama he appears to be done playing games.

    Ukraine is a sideshow. It is another F’up of the “deep state” over the past decade.
    But it is significant for Trump because Democrats actually did collude with Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election. Neither the Ukrainian effort, nor the hugely overhyped Russian effort had any real impact on the election – though the russian witchhunt has tried to suck everything out of the Trump presidency.

    Regardless, having survived the Russian witch hunt Trump was preparing to take revenge on the “deep state” and this ukraine nonsense is just their effort to strike first.

    But Ukraine is NOT the real focus. The failures in the mideast are the real issue.

  14. Chester Bigelow permalink
    December 2, 2019 9:02 am

    Sounding awfully lefty

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      December 4, 2019 12:06 pm

      I think you might have missed the irony. When I wrote “Goodbye, Columbus!,” for example, I was mocking the leftist viewpoint. If anything, I thought my latest column tilted a little too conservative — but that’s because the social justice warriors on the left give us so much material to work with.

  15. Savannah Jordan permalink
    December 2, 2019 9:50 am

    When I discuss my views on gun control, that is that I actually encourage women and the elderly to own a gun and be proficient in its use but that I also support such things as universal background checks, holding someone criminially responsible if they failed to secure their gun and that gun was used by someone else in a criminal activitiy, and banning weapons that exceed a specific capacity, I am hated by both the pro and con advocates of gun control. There is no mean between the extreme. .

    • December 2, 2019 2:36 pm

      Savannah, what you believe is something many in the middle believe, but support for some like capacity clips fails, not because we dont think that a good idea, but because of government “creap”. Once government gets a foot in the door, they dont stop there. So today, they ban anything over 12 cartridges, then something happens and they ban anything over 8. Finally after instances of violence, they ban a class of weapons and keep going where most guns are banned. It might take 20 years, but it can happen.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 6:15 pm


        There are large numbers of reasons to disagree with magazine size limits.

        All of those reasons are not determinative – a law can survive if it is imperfect,.

        It should not survive if it is not an ACTUAL improvement on the status quo.

        Just “sounding” reasonable, does not make something effective.

        There are many criteria a proposed law must meet to be moral and effective.

        Not being easily circumvented is one of those.

        Government should NEVER make laws that increase the number of criminals.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 2, 2019 11:11 pm

        It does not make sense to even Start the process.

        None of this at the edges stuff will have any effect.
        None at all.

        We can debate whether an outright gun ban will have any effect.
        The evidence is weak, but what of it we have says that an absolute ban would have a negative impact on safety.

        But even that is irrelevant – because it is NOT going to happen.

        There are 300+m guns in the US,
        There are 10+m ar-15 or equivalents.

        Confiscation of those is just not ever going to happen.

        I can argue the tremendous spike in violence that would occur if you tried,
        But even that is irrelevant – because it is not going to happen.

        If you are discussing, thinking about, contemplating a world without guns, you are in some mythical utopia. It is just not happening.

        There is absolutely no sane reason to discuss mythical worlds.

        In the real world you have a choice of options – none of which have the slightest chance of doing any good, and will do nothing beyond virtue signal.

        If that is what you are after – go do it inside your own life. Using the force of government to engage in ineffective virtue signally in highly immoral.

      • December 2, 2019 11:56 pm

        Dave Today SCOTUS debated a law that was repealed by the state of new York that basically prohibited individuals from carrying a gun outside their homes. Basically handgun owners were banned from carrying their pistols anywhere other than seven firing ranges within the city limits. That meant that pistol owners could not carry their guns to a second home, or to shooting ranges or competitions in other states nearby. The lower courts upheld the regulations as justified to protect safety in the most densely populated city in the country.

        I have no problems with additional gun laws like background checks, tightening gun show sales, etc. Its a feel good change for the anti gun lobby that will have little impact and only law abiding individuals will follow that, But if that makes them feel good, fine.

        But anything that has to do with the gun itself or the rights to carry I am against it because this repealed law is exactly what governments do. I hope that SCOTUS does not bail on it and say it is moot because NY repealed the law, but that might happen.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 12:52 am

        We already have background checks for all commerical gun sales – that is something like 99% of all sales.

        Even the “gun show loop hole” is thoroughly misrepresented. You can find others who will explain better than I, but as I understand – if you are a gun dealer at a gun show, you are not exempt from background checks. If you sell more than some small number of guns a year – you must have a dealers license.

        Closing the “gun show loophole” is not about “gun shows” – I do not think a weapon used in a mass killing has ever been bought at a gun show. It is about preventing private individuals from selling (or giving) guns to each other.

        That is a REALLY BIG DEAL.

        I completely oppose government infringement on the liberty of businesses to do anything that does not involve force or fraud or actual harm to others.

        But however bad commecial regulation is, when we foreclose private action that is far worse.

        Mostly this just points out something I have said before – there is no such thing as a pure commercial transaction and no such thing as a pure noncomercial transaction.

        All human exchange is part of a chain whose tails are ALWAYS private persona gains like comfort, affection, time with family and friends, romance. all the things government should NEVER regulate. The regulation of anything including comerical transactions is ALWAYS regulation of non-commerical conduct and values.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 1:09 am

        Background checks.

        Just about all of us oppose “family separation”.

        But there is a reason that family separation started under Obama.

        Long enough ago illegal immigrants were mostly men seeking jobs.
        They would send money home, or eventually bring them families north.

        But we passed laws that made it possible to detain an illegal immigrant captured within 100 miles of the border – hold them until a hearing (usually 30-90 days) and then deport them.
        As opposed to releasing them and then spending 18+ months not finding them.

        Immigrants adapted to the new law by bringing their families – because we would hold lone males, but we would release families so families got the benefits of the old system.

        Obama started “family separation”. but got a political bloody nose.
        The families must be separated – because to detain an immigrant until hearing requires charging them with a crime – the crime of illegally crossing the border. We can not charge children only adults, and we can not jail children with their parents. So they have to be placed until their parents are deported.

        Trump is more immune to criticism. He has stick mostly to familiy separate and enforcing the laws at the border.

        The results – illegal border crossings are DOWN more than 500%.

        Family separation is unpleasant but it works.

        the point is incentives matter.

        The more we expand the number of reasons you can deny someone a gun, the more they will fight or avoid those things.

        Many states require people who have a Protection order against them to turn in their guns.

        This sounds like common sense but in practice it is STUPID.

        Most protection orders are civil and voluntary.
        We want the courts – family courts and the like to be able to easily look at one or both parties and say – STAY AWAY FROM EACH OTHER.

        Typically PFA’s require no finding. And that is what we want.

        But if you tell someone that if their girlfriend, or spouse requests a PFA, they will have to turn in their guns – now they will fight the PFA – and that is NOT what we want.

        WE do not want a PFA to be – “you have been found guilty of abusing someone, you must stay away from them” We want it to be “can you just stay away from your ex while we get through all this ?”

        Well PFA’s are now a criteria that background checks are considering checking,
        As is the no fly list, as is psychiatric treatment.

        Do we want people who have mental health issues not to seek treatment because they might lose their guns ?

        Laws often incentivize behavior quite distant from the law itself.

        Every gun control law has massive unintended consequences.

        I do not even support background checks – they have had no measurable statistical impact.
        Any law that does not have a demonstrable positive effect towards its purpose should not exist.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 1:10 am

        We should never be restricting a few peoples liberty to make others feel good.

        A law that does not accomplish its avowed purpose should not exist.

      • Savannah Jordan permalink
        December 3, 2019 10:24 am

        Hi Ron, I like to use the simile between gun control and the restrictions that we place on driving. I am all for people owning cars but i don’t want them to be allowed to drive 100 mph except on some type of race track. I don’t want them driving without a license or insurance. I want that license to require passing a test. I don’t want them driving if they are drunk. I want them to ignore stop signs or red lights. I don’t want children driving cars. Yes there are many restrictions on driving a car. This does not mean that the government will eventually confiscate our cars. Rights are limited and without them we have anarchy. You may reply that the Constitution protects our right to own a gun and that it forbids all restrictions. The Constitution does not forbid restrictions. If you read the writings of the Founding Fathers they were concerned with the excesses of government, but equally if not more so with the excesses of the passions of the people. They never would have agreed with the notion that rights should be unfettered. Nor would they have agreed to the notion that limitation of our rights means totally cessation of them. If anything, it protects them.

        Lastly, I have heard it argued that the right to own guns is protected under the constitution whereas the right to own a vehicle is not. Actually, the right to own a vehicle is protected under the Constitution. When the passage of the Bill of Rights was being debated, James Madison argued that it would be an extreme hindrance to our liberty because it was implying that our rights were limited to the freedoms listed in those 10 amendments. He argued that our rights were much more extensive in the pursuit of liberty and happiness. The Bill of Rights passed but with the caveat that there were more rights than those delineated in the first 10 amendments. The Preamble of the Constitution states one of its purposes is to “promote the general welfare”. What would be more injurious to our general welfare – the government confiscating our guns or the government confiscating our vehicles.

      • December 3, 2019 11:46 am

        Savannah, nice to have a new person here to communicate with. First, I agree the government does not have the right to restrict ownership of a car, but each state has the right to restrict the way you drive. It is not specific in the bill of rights.

        And you look at the constitution as a living document, evolving as years pass. I view it as static, interpreting the words as written.

        But what I fear is creeping government. I know few instances where laws were written to cover a few things and they did not grow into complete control. The fear I have with any foot in the door gun control is complete control in the future.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 2:06 pm

        I would expect that the regulation of driving would meet the same criteria as regulation of guns – and visa versa.

        That whatever restrictions on our freedom with respect to automobiles is necescary, minimally infringing and effective.

        I have never heard anyone propose that if you seek mental health serivces you should be deprived of your drivers license. Yet we seek to do that with guns.

        I have never heard of anyone proposing that if you are on the no fly list, you should be barred from driving, yet we have proposed to do that with guns.

        Changing the speed limit to 25mph would save 30,000 lives a year.
        We do not do that – because we are wise enough to understand that the cost – even in human life would be even greater.

        If you seek help from a therapist – should you lose your drivers license ?’

        I have a 25 year old car that is essentially junk. I can not get rid of it – because I can not find the title. Laws that seemed to make sense for property valued at half my income make no sense at all for property that is valued at less than a couple of hours work.

        We have empiracle evidence that child car seats are at the very best only equal to ordinary seat belts in protecting Children more than 24 months old, and likely actually worse.
        Yet we are constantly increasing the age and weight of requirements to place children in car seats.

        We know that the strongest correlation between accidents and injury in motor vehicles is drugs and alcohol – approaching 100%. And there is almost no correlation between most other motor vehicle law violations and highway safety – yet we have massive law enforcement efforts targeting motorvehcle law violations that have no impact on safety ?

        I hear add campaigns targetting so called “agressive drivers” – yet statistically you are more likely to be in an automobile accident if you drive 5mph below the average speed of traffic than 15mph above it. We actually know that it is MORE DANGEROUS for all traffic to travel at the same rate.

        Further it is your comparison that scares the hell out of gun rights advocates.

        We are MOSTLY not yet tying all kinds of unrelated things to drivers licenses,
        but we are tying them to other licenses.

        If you fail to make child support payments or student loan payments or an ever growing list of other unrelated conduct, you can lose your business license, your professional license, your ability to make a living.

        There is alot wrong with our licensing system and our automobile laws.
        They are NOT a good model for licensing guns.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 3, 2019 2:30 pm

        Madison is far from the only one arguing that our rights exceed those specified in the constitution – in fact the constitution says precisely that – repeatedly.

        The priviledges and immunities clause was intended to protect nearly infinite rights from government infringement, But when SCOTUS recognized that the priviledges and immunities clause taken as written would have made slavery unconstitutional, they neutered it.
        The 14th ammendment DELIBERATELY echos and gives teeth to the priviledges and immunities clause specifically to add teeth to it.

        The reconstruction republicans added the priviledges and immunities clause for many reasons. One of which they spoke EXPLICITLY on – the priviledges and immunities clause was specifically intended to create an individual right for former slaves to own guns.
        The evidence of this was one of the driving factors behind Heller and its progeny.
        Even more important – the application of the bill or rights and the other portions of the constitution to the states has never been clear. The priviledges and immunties clause of the 14th ammendment explicitly applies to THE STATES.

        Nor is the priviledges and immunities clause the only broad bar to govenrment action – the contracts clause – through to the 1930’s prohibited almost all government (federal and state) regulation of voluntary private transactions. Wickard V Filburn effectively erased the contracts clause from the constitution

        The 9th and tenth ammendments essentially say what you attribute to madison and were added specifically to counter madisons as well as antifederalist opposition to the bill of rights. They were specifically to address the false perception that the bill of rights lists all our rights.

        Madison and the founders would have been as vigorously opposed to govenrment regulation freedom of movement as they were of govenrment regulation of firearms.

        With respect to your car analogy – though there are lots of claims – often in state and local courts to the countrary, Driving is actually recognized as a constitutional right.

        That has never been an issue. The issue is the level of scrutiny.

        There are 3 levels of review that are implicated when a right is infringed on by government.

        Strict Scrutiny is the most difficult for government to pass.

        As the constitution is actually written – it is the standard that any law or regulation of any kind infringing on a right was required to pass.

        Under strict scrutiny very very few restrictions on speech are constitutional permissible.
        Currently the only acceptable restrictions on content are those regarding incitement to violence, and the danger must be clear, present and imminent.

        Intermediate scrutiny ultimately allows most regulation.

        Rational basis review – the lowest level of scrutiny essentially means you have to have a reason – it does not have to be a good reason. Nor does it have to work.

        I would suggest reading Randy Barnet’s “Restoring the last constitution” for an excellent examination of the views of our founders as well as the authors of the reconstruction amendments on the breadth and depth of our rights.

        Put simply they deliberately intended that individual rights be nearly infinite – and actually said that, and that government powers be narrowly constrained and always requiring justification.

    • dhlii permalink
      December 2, 2019 4:56 pm

      I do not “hate” anyone, based on their perspective on gun control.

      Nor do I know opponents of gun control that are hatemongers.

      Most everyone I know who is a big 2nd amendment advocate thinks that gun control advocates are just people who have not learned enough yet.

      For me the issue is not GUNS, it is about liberty, freedom.

      If you beleive – as our founders did, as we have learned over milenia is the only effective way to govern, that government is force, and force can only be used when it can be justified,

      Then the questions regarding gun control are straightforward and simple.

      Is there an actual proveable benefit that exceeds the cost of whatever you are proving.

      The burden of proving that rests ALWAYS with those wishing to use force to constrain others.

      All uses of force – as individuals, and through government MUST be justified.
      No exceptions.

      I do not want to hear your “ideas” regarding Gun Control. I want you to hear a compelling argument – with proof that what you seek to do is the least infringing means of addressing the problem AND that it WILL have a proveably significant beneficial impact.

      Those are NOT the criteria for gun laws. That is the criteria for ALL laws.

      There are an infinite number of “ideas” regarding solving problems – and so long as you are not using force – aka government – you may try whatever idea you wish.

      But where you seek to use force/government – having an idea that “sounds good” or as other posters here sometimes say – is “common sense” is NOT good enough.
      What you seek to do MUST provably work, it MUST be minimally infringing, and it MUST not only solve the problem but not create other problems.

      I will support any gun control measure that meets those criteria.
      I am not away of any that meet those criteria.

      Nor is this merely about Guns. If you wish to restrict the cloths I can buy, or the food I can eat or where I can live – you must meet the same criteria.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      December 4, 2019 12:09 pm

      Savannah, your position on guns is probably too reasonable to be accepted by either camp. I’m with you, of course.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 4, 2019 1:30 pm

        Why is it reasonable EVER to propose anything that if fully adopted WILL NOT have any measurable positive benefit and we KNOW that up front ?

        Why is “moderate” fixated on compromise and the “center” not what works and what does not ?

        Who cares whether some idea is “left” or right, or moderate if it can not possibly work and we know it ?

        Whoever is proposing more government – left or right should ALWAYS at the very barest minimum be obligated to demonstrate that what they are doing will be effective.

        If you think something is a good idea – because it sounds good, because it makes you feel good, because it is a compromise. or any of myriads of other purportedly centrist sentiments,
        But you have no idea whether it works, but you are ready to do it anyway,


        And I do not care what your ideology is.

      • December 4, 2019 1:36 pm

        Rick, like I have comment other times, I can accept limited controls. However, can you clarify one issue.

        Do you believe in creeping government or do you believe government stops and goes no further once they get their foot in the door?

        Do you believe once a crack in the wall of gun rights has been achieved that the progressive government will not continue to chip away at rights when further murders take place?

      • dhlii permalink
        December 4, 2019 4:49 pm

        Creep is not an issue if you START with the requirement that when you wish to impose your will on others by force – which is what government does, the first hurdle is that what you wish to do must demonstrably work.

        there should be no disagreement on that. It should not be a left/right/libertarian issue.

        If you can not demonstrate that the law you are passing has a high probability of at the very least accomplishing your objective – and hopefully with minimal disruption elsewhere, then left, right, center, libertarian we should all agree – you should not do that.

        I am honestly tired of explaining why This ban or that ban is not going to work.
        I am not the one proposing the law. It is those of you who want more laws that are obligated to demonstrate they will work.
        Sounds good, is not enough.

      • December 4, 2019 5:01 pm

        Dave “I am honestly tired of explaining why This ban or that ban is not going to work.”

        Then the solution is stop trying. Some dont agree, some ignore and some dont care. And why not just do the comment on word, then just copy and paste to wordpress. Would save time if you want to continue trying to convince the unconvincable.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 4, 2019 5:30 pm

        Why am I not going to stop ?

        “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a socialist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
        Because I was not a Jew.

        Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

        You worry about going from tiny infringements slowly to large ones.

        I think that is the wrong question.

        An unjustified infringement is morally wrong – regardless of scale.

        A fully justified infringement is right – regardless of scale.

  16. dhlii permalink
    December 4, 2019 10:55 am

    So when do democrats grasp that Faux impeachment has been a disaster ?

    I read numerous editorials by left leaning outlets all critical of either Schiff or Nadler.

    For the most part the criticism is for failure to get results – the end was assumed.
    They are nearly litterally selling Beria’s “show me the man and I will show you the crime”.

    All the democrats hearings have been disasterous. According to left media – because they allowed Republicans to run roughshod over them.

    What does it take to grasp that republican leverage comes from only one of two places – the facts do not favor democrats, and you either provide a a process that is perceived as reasonable or you face attacks over the process. This is the same whether Republicans or democrats are in power. Both parties tend to obstruct the efforts of the other. Those efforts to obstruct are effective only when there is a real perception that the majority is abusing its power. Republicans have that in spades. When the GOP controlled the house, democrats normallized committee obstruction. But they were ineffective at anything beyond delay – because the facts did not support them, the law did not support them, and republicans gave democrats a process that enabled them to make – or fail to make, their points.

    Democrats now find themselves on the opposite side. Having normalized obstruction they have no credibility in dressing down republicans – especially when republicans are bemoaning a lack of due process that has been traditional. And that americans not owned by the left expect as part of processes that seek the facts and justice.

  17. December 5, 2019 11:01 pm

    “Do you believe once a crack in the wall of gun rights has been achieved that the progressive government will not continue to chip away at rights when further murders take place?”

    Well, Ron, I’m not Rick, but I think that Beto O’Rourke made clear where “gun control” activists are going.

    1) blame gun deaths on guns, not people 2) identify guns, not as defensive weapons, but assault weapons 3) anyone who owns a gun therefore becomes a potential assailant 4) public safety requires the confiscation of all firearms, by force if necessary, in order to protect society from these gun-owning assailants.

    Once the government has “saved” us from these dangerous weapons, it can better tell us how to be obedient citizens, and rid us of the scourge of fossil fuels, among other things…..

    • Jay permalink
      December 6, 2019 5:01 pm

      With the following modifications, I agree with your list, Annie Oakley…

      1)blame gun deaths on people who use them
      2) identify guns as defensive or assaultive weapons, and ban the latter.
      3) anyone who owns a gun therefore becomes a potential assailant, as anyone who owns a car becomes a dangerous force – regulate both with rigorous testing and frequent relicensing.
      4) public safety requires the confiscation of some firearms, by force if necessary, in order to protect society from the dangers of assault weapons in the hands of dangerous people

      • dhlii permalink
        December 6, 2019 6:30 pm

        “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”

        That requires Assaultive weapons.

        From our founding individual gun ownership was intended as a threat against government tyranny.

        It is necescary for the people to be sufficiently well armed that government is constrained in infringing on liberty.

        That does not require that the people are armed as well as the military.

        It requires that the people are armed as well as the largest possible portion of govenrment that would actually use force against them in a conflict with the people of an abusive government.

        In east germany in 1989 we learned that 2m protestors against a tyranical government that did not have the support anymore of the police or military could non-violently over through the government.

        But it is not always possible to resist tyranny non-violently.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 6, 2019 6:36 pm

        3) NO!

        You are no more a potential assailant with than without a gun.
        What you are is a more dangerous defender and a more dangerous assailant.

        But the odds of your violating the law do not increase with gun ownership.

        Regardless, you fail the first test of the justification of the use of force.
        You make a false presumption.

        The fact is gun owners are statistically more law abiding.

        Particularly those “assault weapon” owners. There are about 15M AR-15’s in the US, There are about 160 killings with all long guns – of which AR-15’s are a subset/year.
        Of those 160 MOST are justified.

        Put simply the proprtion of AR-15 owners who engage in criminal violence is orders of magnitude lower than the ordinary population.

        Based on the “evidence” if you want to require licensing and training to reduce violence – you need to target the low hanging fruit – those who do NOT own guns – particularly assault weapons.

        BTW who said I thought that our automobile laws were justified ?

      • dhlii permalink
        December 6, 2019 6:40 pm

        4). Absolutely – the government can where actually justified confiscate weapons.

        No one is debating that.

        I have never seen anyone say that convicted terrorists should be allowed to own assault weapons after their release.

        Most states bar felons from owning guns.

        Public safety is a justification for restricting rights.

        But “public safety” is not a magic incantation

        You are still REQUIRED to prove in EVERY INSTANCE that the infringment on liberty is justifed.

        Minimally that means you will actually improve public safety as you claim.
        You are NOT entitled to assume it.

        And thus far the evidence says that most gun restrictions do not accomplish any public safety goals and many make things worse.

    • December 6, 2019 5:41 pm

      Priscilla, after weapons will come speech. We see that on university campuses today after my generation finally opened universities to anyone who wanted to speak. We see that in mass media where more and more opposing views are not covered. Each time and new law is written, drip, drip drip……..

  18. Jay permalink
    December 6, 2019 4:51 pm

    Yay! Finally! Trump talking about something he knows about: toilets!

    • December 6, 2019 5:35 pm

      Hey guys, if you are going to take about anything other than “The New Moderate’s Guide to a Politicized World”, take it back to George W Bush . We don’t need the pissing contest between Dave and Jay with their crap about nothing clogging up this article .Reading there shit storm between each other is like watching are pornographic episode of Steinfeld.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 6, 2019 6:41 pm

        Jay can silence me trivially.

        He can say things that make sense.

      • December 6, 2019 7:50 pm

        Dave, my request was so others did not have to put up hundreds of pissing contest e-mails clogging their in boxes. If you and Jay want to slap each other around endlessly like two punch drunk fighters, fine, but can we keep this new blog by Rick on target?

        Yes, you are free to post wherever you want if Rick does not say anything. Jay is free to slap back at you. But have you not been taught consideration of others in public or semi-public settings?

        I would like to see what a few have to say about moderates thoughts on a “Politicized World” without having to navigate pages of shit you and jay sling at each other hourly.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 12:11 am

        So don’t read them.

        If Jay wants to move this to GWB, or even to private email. That is fine with me.

      • December 7, 2019 6:36 am

        I’m not reading the damn things. I have to sort through them just to delete them. Being considerate to others is not one of your better traits is it? Why is it so hard to chose one blog over another?

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 11:14 pm

        If Jay wishes to move his posts to GWB, that is where my replies will be.

        He also has my email if he wishes a private exchange.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 12:30 am

        I have made alot of comments on “politicized world”.

        I know I sound like a broken Drum – but Watch Ken Burns vietnam if you have not already.
        It will make you feel much better about the world we live in today. Promise.

        I would also suggest searching Youtube for Johnathan Haidt. Particularly his stuff about modern youth.

        The current political culture is as it is for a reason. It is heavily driven by changes in parenting and education a couple of decades back. And it is relatively narrowly confined – not merely by age, but even by affluence, our modern nerousis is mostly confined to young white middle and upper middle class.

        Do not get me wrong – there are plenty of Jay’s – there have always been SOME people like this. But there has been a massive explosion of anxiety and depression among the younger generation, and that is massively impacting our public culture.

        If 10% of the population is normally suffering from anxiety and depression and you boost that to 30-40% in on generational cohort you will radically alter public discourse.
        Further you will reinforce the anxiety in the baseline 10-20%

        Think about it – we grew up with “duck and cover”. My wife and I did not even think about having kids until we were in our 40’s. We expected the world to end in nuclear winter.
        We had vietnam. We had LBJ and Nixon – possibly the most corrupt politicians that ever were. We had the bomb, the pentagon papers, Martin, Robert and John. We had Kent State, We had the weatherman and the summer of rage. We had the chicago Democratic national Convention.

        There is nothing that the current generation of young adults faces that comes close to what we had to be anxious and depressed about – and yet they are MORE – MUCH MORE anxious and depressed than we were.

        That is at the root of our intense hyper politization today.

        Couple that with the fact that while our schools have NEVER done well at teaching civics, logic or critical thinking, but they are far worse today than ever.

        So these young adults do not have the skills needed to mitigate their own anxiety and depression.

        So if you wish to look at causality – look for WHY young adults are anxious and depressed.
        And that is NOT a function of the body politic – at worst that is much better than in the 60’s and 70’s. So why do we have a rising generation of anxious and depressed kids ?

        Trump is not the reason.
        Healthcare is not the reason.
        Politics is not the reason.
        The outside world is not the reason.

        Our parenting and education are the reason.

        The bad news – we are only barely into this, it is going to take a while to understand how we have F’d kids up and change.

        The good news – mostly I think anxious and depressed young adults will grow out of it.
        Though it may take many years.

        The world will not come undone.

        The most important wisdom that comes with age is that most things we think are criseses – arent’.

      • Jay permalink
        December 7, 2019 1:03 am

        Ron, does my post about Trump flushing toilets equate in your mind with pissing contests?

      • December 7, 2019 6:38 am

        What does it have to do with a “moderates view of a politicized world.

        Its just more of your and Dave’s broken record of I hate Trump, I love Trump.

        How many different ways can one make that comment?

      • Jay permalink
        December 7, 2019 2:08 pm

        Negatives for Trump = infinite ♾. 😏

    • dhlii permalink
      December 6, 2019 6:24 pm

      Some part of what Trump said you have a problem with ?

      Do you actually think it is a good idea to have EPA standards that result in more consumption of water as the unintended consequence of trying to reduce water consumption ?

      Trump did not address this – but what is the use of water governments business at all.

      Water is infinitely recycled. But there are localized limits to how much can be consumed.

      We have a system that historically has been the only one ever that converts scarcity into abundance – that is free markets and free exchange.

      If for some reason water (or anything else) is scarce in a free market – its price will rise until:

      a) Demand declines to meet supply
      b) higher prices cause supply to rise to meet demand.
      Or more commonly Both.

      If water saving appliances make sense – the free market will provide them.
      And historically it has,

      If the benefits of saving water are NOT greater than the inconvenience – then in a free market water saving devices will fail – as they should.

      This is a difference between values and principles.

      Free will is a principle. It is immutable. You can infringe on it by force but you can only take it away by the constant and certain application of force.

      Efficient use of water is a value – it competes with many other values – like convenience.
      And the free market price system is what allows US to rank our values.

      How important is water conservation in comparison to convenience, or sanitation, or safety or fire ?

      We resolve that through prices. Humans pay more for what is more valueable.
      And each human does not share identical values. So some will pay even more for convenience.

      In fact one of the reasons we strive to earn more is so that we can pay more for greater convenience. A higher standard of living is by definition MORE free time and greater value delivered.

      If we conserve water more than we would naturally do at its market price – we make ourselves POORER, LESS well off, we are harmed by the regulations.

  19. dhlii permalink
    December 6, 2019 6:59 pm

    Adam Schiff has just dumped on the world the phone records of Gulliania, and Rep. Nunes.

    He has used the power of his office in the house to attempt to do harm to political rivals.

    There is no philosophical or legal difference between Schiff’s actions and those of Trump.

    Trump and Schiff sought an investigations with political as well as other motives.

    Trump used government power to seek that investigation.
    Schiff used government power to actually investigate.

    Nunes and Schiff are clearly bitter personal and political rivals. There is long record of ethics complaints each have filed against the other.

    Innarguably Schiff is seeking to effect the outcome of 2020 elections.

    If the mere fact of having a political motive is sufficient to remove Trump – then Schiff must go too.

    But most of us grasp that is not enough.

    Trump was seeking investigation of actual alleged misconduct.
    Schiff is seeking investigation of actual alleged misconduct.

    Schiff’s and Trump’s actions are legitimate if:

    They have the actual authority to excercise the power of government as he is doing

    Trump is the head of the executive – he is the top law enforcement officer in the country, he is the top prosecutor in the country. He clearly has the constitutional power to investigate.

    Schiff is the head of the House Intell committee.

    That has some oversite power regarding the executive branch, as well as some investigative power with respect to impeachment.

    We can argue whether alone he has sufficient power to act, but lets presume that for the moment. That power is still LIMITED to government – specifically the executive branch.

    Schiff has no power to investigate Gulliani, or Nunes.

    When discussing investigating government – there are no questions of rights – the 4th amendment does not apply. Government is not a person, it has no rights.

    It has powers and priviledges. And that is why house excercises of power – such as subpeona’s of the executive when disputed are arbitrated by the courts.
    There are no rights involved.

    Conversely Nunes and Gulliani are not part of the executive.
    Gulliani can not be investigated by government without meeting the same standard – reasonable suspicion that Trump had to meet. And Gulliani can not be investigated by congress at all.
    Nunes is a private person and/or a member of congress – not the executive.

    This is likely to develop over time – but it is near certain that subpeonaing the records of a fellow congressmen is an egregious ethical violation.

    Schiff had better hope that the GOP does not retake the house, because he could find himself the target of the next impeachment hearings run by Devon Nunes.

    It is both a crime and an impeachable offense to violate the fourth amendment rights of a person.

    And that is one other difference.

    Trump asked for an investigation – the standard to investigate is reasonable suspicion – a very low bar.

    Schiff issued a subpeona. The standard for a subpeona of a private person is probable cause. Schiff is not even close to that.

    • Jay permalink
      December 7, 2019 1:17 am

      “but it is near certain that subpeonaing the records of a fellow congressmen is an egregious ethical violation.”

      Snore. Get the facts right. Nunes phone records weren’t subpoenaed. The Dems targeted the calls of Giuliani and Parnas. Bungling dishonest Nunes calls showed up there. Why didn’t lying deceitful Nunes notify the impeachment committee he sub-chairs he was in contact with people who he knew were under investigation????????????

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 10:31 pm

        I am glad you know all of this for certain. But given that Schiff is reporting calls about people you claim he did not subpeona to people you claim he did not subpeona – you are wrong about atleast one.

        Regardless, it does not matter.

        The 4th amendment applies to ALL private parties – that is Parnas, Gulliani, Solomon, and many others. Gulliani is a lawyer. You have a serious attorney client priviledge problem. The 4th amendment arguably applies to Nunes – though oddly there is a court case where a subpeona of the phone records of a congressmen were quashed because of the speach and debate clause. The decision was that your can not investigate a congress person so long as they are presumptively acting as a congress person – i.e in congressional investigations and/or legislation. I think that is a serious overreach. But that is the state of the law. And when that does not apply – the 4th amendment does.

        In the case of solomon – the 1dt amendment also applies.
        In the case of the executive branch no rights are involved, but priviledges are.

        Turley was unaware of this when he testified last week, but he covered it perfectly.
        If you act as you are claiming Trump acted – you are committing abuse of power.
        If you act as if there are only two branches of government and that you get to proceed unilaterally against the other – you are abusing power.

        So far no one has found a precedent where this has happened before – ever.

        When you are seeking to do something this unusual – you go through the courts.

        The 4th amendment dictates that a search can not be conducted without a sworn warrant.

        It is trivial for me to connect the dots here – this is not merely an abuse of power – it is a crime.

        A warantless search is according to the US constitution a prohibited use of government power – it is abuse of power. Searches require Warrants. Warrants are not subpeonas. Subpeonas are much more limited ( and usually require court approval). Warrants REQUIRE court approval. Schiff is a lawyer – Schiff clerked for a federal judge and served as a Federal Prosecutor – he KNOWS that warrants are required for searches.

        Abuse of government power under color of law is a federal crime – it is also an action that you can sue for – Section 1983.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 10:41 pm

        Get your facts straight. The calls between Nunes and Guliani are from April and May.
        There was no impeachment active at the time. In fact nothing being investigated was happening at that time.

        Regardless – Schiff can not get records of either Nunes or Gulliani without a warrant – a subpeona is NOT a warrant. Warrants require the requestor to assert that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed AND that the requested search will provide evidence.

        Nunes is a clearly a political rival. Schiff’s animosity to Nunes is incredibly well known.
        Further Schiff knows better as HE filed unfounded ethics claims against Nunes for allegedly similar conduct.

        Gulliani is covered by both the 4th amendment and attorney client privildege.

        You can not go after records on ANY attorney without involving the courts – you should already know that from the Cohen case. Not only do you have Trump as a client of Gulliani, but you do not know who Gulliani’s other clients are.

        Parnas is a US Citizen – thought SCOTUS has ruled that the 4th amendment applies to anyone being investigated by government.

        Solomon is both a citizen and a journalist. Even Obama felt it necescary to get a warrant to search Rosen’s phone records.

        As of this moment you STILL do not have probable cause of any crime – you have reasonable suspicion. That gets you an investigation. But without probable cause, you can not search and you can not spy one others.

        So far THIS abuse of power is the only crime.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 10:51 pm

        I am not sure what the fallout from this will be.

        Personally I think Trump should direct Barr to appoint a Special Prosecutor – that is a start.
        Unfortunately I suspect that will not happen.

        Regardless, this is something that has never been done before. If there are no consequences, it is going to become the norm in the future.

        Should Sen. Graham Subpeona Schiff’s or Pelosi’s phone records ? There are allegations that both had contact with the WB before the complaint was filed.

        Or why can’t Barr subpeona Schiff’s phone records ?

        Once again the proper standard is NOT politics – though that should drive us to heightened scrutiny. The standard is reasonable suspicion.

        My speculation about Schiff’s contact and motives with the WB DOES NOT constitute evidence, not even reasonable suspicion. Just as your speculation about Trump’s motives in an otherwise legal act do not create reasonable suspicion.

        Mostly democrats have accepted that – there is no crime in Trump’s actions and a proceeding on the basis that impeachment does not require a crime.
        But absent a crime – there are severe limits to any investigation – including Congress.
        You can not get a warrant without probable cause of a crime. Subpeona’s require public notice of who you are subpeoning and require that they have the oportunity to quash the subpeona in court.

        If this has no consequences – then you are saying the constitution does not apply to congress.

      • dhlii permalink
        December 7, 2019 10:54 pm

        Major timeline problem – these subpeona’s are for records from march april and may.

        NO ONE was under investigation at that time. Further the Zelensky call had not occured – Zelensky was not yet elected.

        Schiff went on an illegal fishing expedition.

  20. Jay permalink
    December 7, 2019 1:25 am

    Elon Musk Wins Defamation Suit.

    “The victory by Tesla Inc’s outspoken chief executive over a Twitter message describing a British cave explorer as “pedo guy” has raised the bar for what amounts to libel online, according to some legal experts.”

    “defendants in modern defamation cases are likely to point to the vitriolic no-holes-barred nature of modern social media, cable TV, and political discourse, in contending that many words and accusations formerly considered defamatory are now understood only as mere opinions, not factual assertions.” Reuters

    • dhlii permalink
      December 7, 2019 1:47 am

      I beleive in near absolute free speech – even vicsious raw free speech.

      I do not beleive there should be defamation laws at all.

      I beleive that if we understood there could be no legal consequence for vile hateful lies – we would be less likely to beleive them.

      I experienced a version of this myself.

      My father died – exactly as predicted by his doctors 18 months prior of complications due to vascular dimensia.

      two of my siblings who refused to beleive the doctors claimed just before he died that his MPOA and POA(me) were killing him.

      They made this claim to the courts. And the courts intervened – slightly hastening his death and making him miserable.

      There was a criminal investigation an autopsy drug tests, and the claim was actually proven false – which is rare.

      But the court was not aware of that, and many people who heard the false allegation were not aware of that.

      Unfortunately you can not claim defamation based on police reports or court filings.
      And claiming that you had been defamed by siblings is a losing battle.

      But lots of people are influenced by outrageous claims.
      The court never quite beleived the allegations.
      But they never quite disbeleived them either.

      After all who alleges murder when there is not some hint of something wrong ?

      And when does a brother accuse another brother of murdering their father if it is not true ?

      I think the Court decision was WRONG on the law.
      While I think 190M in damages is egregious. This was defamation.

      But I also think the law is wrong, so this outcome is correct.

      But I would prefer to see is revoke defamation laws – because they are a bad idea, rather than play games like this.

  21. Jay permalink
    December 7, 2019 1:32 am

    Pence Coverup: VP hides the bacon Under faux security claim:

    • dhlii permalink
      December 7, 2019 10:59 pm

      The courts get to decide if a national security claim warrants quashing a subpeona – not Adam Schiff.

      Take the issue to court.

    • dhlii permalink
      December 7, 2019 11:07 pm

      I am proponent of a very limited scope for national secutity claims and records classifications.
      Probably 10 times what ought to be is ultimately marked as classified.

      But, Schiff is NOT asking to receive information that is unavailable to him.

      Williams testified on whatever this is before – in the House Sciff. The members of the Intelligence committee have already heard it. Any member of congress with a security clearance can be provided with a copy. The house has some unilateral means of declassifying information.

      This is purely a battle about making some bit of information public, that is all.

      Again lets the courts sort it out.

      Generally I do not think that National Security or classification is EVER a legitimate basis for the executive to refuse information to the legislative.

      In this case that information was provided. Congress still has not received much of what the house Intel committee requested prior to 2019 – Rosenstein refused to turn it over – for national security reasons

      I do not think there is ever a National Security basis for depriving the “Gang of eight” of classified information.

      But that is not what we have here. ‘

      We have a request by congress to make public something that was previously considered secret. By default the executive should prevail on that.

      BTW I am not aware of any unilateral declassification authority of the VP.

      Only the president may declassify at whim.

    • dhlii permalink
      December 7, 2019 11:12 pm

      We have a separate game going on here – one which Trump and his lawyers strageized years ago.

      They cooperated fully with Mueller. They are fighting everything with the House.

      I expect that Trump will lose some of these in court – eventually, if this nonsense continues that long. That is what the courts are there for.

      I think there is a snowballs chance in hell of losing this one – Schiff already has the information. This is all about making it public.

      The other possibility is that Trump just makes it public – and you have the same mess you had with the Zelensky call.

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