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Exit from Afghanistan: the Good, the Bad and the Predictable

August 31, 2021

What can you say about a twenty-year war that ended with a messy, embarrassing and totally demoralizing exit?

That it was unwinnable? Sure, at least for the U.S. We should have learned from our hard experience in Vietnam that you can’t beat a ragtag army of fanatical guerrillas. Why not? Number one, you can’t declare victory by capturing their capital. The warriors simply disperse into the countryside and wait – five, ten, twenty or more years if necessary. Number two, they never surrender like the conventional nation-states of yore. You’d have to hunt the warriors down and kill every last one of them – an impossible task for even the best-equipped army.

No, even the most optimistic military brass should have known that our “liberation” of Afghanistan from its medieval Taliban overlords, coming soon after our invasion in 2001, was just a temporary blip in the history of that remote and inscrutable land. Less of a nation than a motley collection of mountain tribes, Afghanistan has long enjoyed a reputation as “the graveyard of empires” – somehow mustering the ability to foil the three greatest world powers of the past two centuries: first the British, then the Soviets, and finally us.

That much was predictable. What shocked everyone was the suddenness of the collapse… the breathtaking speed of the Taliban resurgence… the sorry capitulation of the U.S.-trained Afghan army… the capture of Kabul while thousands of Americans and Afghan allies still waited to escape… the desperate scenes at the airport… and finally the suicide bombing that killed 13 Americans and some 170 Afghans before they could make their getaway. Biden’s defiant “We will hunt you down” and our successful drone attacks on the authors of the suicide bombing were too little, too late.

In short, the optics were terrible, and in a world dominated by pictures and sound bites, optics matter. The U.S. looked like a hapless dog that had just been soundly thrashed, whimpering as it skulked away with its tail between its legs. International pundits were proclaiming the end of the American “empire.” Partisan Americans (and nearly every American with an opinion seems to be partisan these days) either heaped infamy on President Biden for bungling our exit – or they blamed Trump for having negotiated with the Taliban in the first place. Guess who took the brunt of the abuse.

Both sides of the argument have merit. Biden was foolish to announce our departure date in advance; he might as well have told the Taliban, “It’s all yours – come and get it!” Meanwhile, how were we supposed to evacuate all those U.S. troops and Afghan allies – not to mention the billions of dollars in military hardware – before the enemy closed in and made evacuation impossible? That we managed to rush nearly 150,000 fellow humans out of the hellhole was a minor miracle, but by holding firm to our pre-announced August 31 departure date, we left up to 200 Americans and countless desperate Afghans stranded. Will they ever escape? We’d do what we could to aid their eventual exit, but essentially we were telling the world, “Not our problem.”

That damnable departure date – after twenty years of war, what difference would a few extra weeks have made? When the Taliban threatened “dire consequences” if we overstayed our self-imposed deadline, Biden should have promptly responded with an upraised middle finger and a show of military strength. We needed to stay in Afghanistan until everyone who wanted to get out got out – simple as that. We don’t answer to medieval fanatics – or anyone else, for that matter – especially after we’ve spent two decades and $2 trillion trying to rescue a downtrodden people from the grip of religious tyrants.

So yes, Biden bungled our exit and let us look like losers in the eyes of the world despite a mostly successful airlift out of Afghanistan. Even the left-leaning mainstream media were critical. And yet Trump’s base gave their hero a pass for 1) having negotiated directly with the Taliban without consulting the Afghan government, 2) authorizing the release of some 5,000 (count ‘em) Taliban prisoners to commit mayhem across the country, and 3) announcing a May 2021 departure date for U.S. personnel. (Biden wasn’t the only president who invited the Taliban to “Come and get it.”)

Why the double standard? For one, Trump was already out of office when his exit strategy came to its sour fruition. And of course, Trump’s diehard base would give him a pass on anything short of dancing on the grave of JFK. (On second thought, maybe he’d have to dance on Ronald Reagan’s grave to incur their displeasure.)

So we’ve finally bailed out of an unwinnable war after twenty years. It was something we needed to do, although it should have been done more expertly. But did anything good emerge from our Asiatic adventure – anything that justified the deaths of 2,400 U.S. troops, nearly 4,000 contractors, and over 120,000 Afghans?

Well, nothing could have justified the loss of that many lives. But for twenty years, we gave the people of Afghanistan a taste of life free from the dictates of radical Islam. An entire generation of Afghan women grew up with the knowledge that they could shed their burqas, go to school, work alongside men, and walk freely on the streets without shame or fear. Meanwhile, the men were liberated from their compulsory patriarchal beards. They were even free to fly their beloved kites, which the Taliban had banned when they took power back in the ‘90s.

It won’t be easy to return to Taliban-enforced regulations – even the “kinder, gentler” Taliban that its spokesmen have been relentlessly promoting. Freedom is a heady potion, and now that the Afghans have tasted it, they won’t be as willing to submit to theocratic despots.

As for the U.S., we’ve learned that we can’t build a nation to our specifications, but we can use our influence to promote a culture that embraces individual freedom. Amid all the hand-wringing over our public humiliation, that’s one thing we can still celebrate.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three collections of dark-humored essays are available as Kindle-compatible e-books for the ridiculously low price of $2.99 each. (Just go to Amazon and search under Rick Bayan.)

350 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron P permalink
    August 31, 2021 9:50 pm

    Rick, it will be debated for years on “if” ,when ,where and how, we should have ever entered Afghanistan. It will also be debated for years the actions taken by the following two presidents.

    But what can not be defended is the actions of this third succeeding president and the actions he took. Yes Trump negotiated with the Taliban and had agreements in place. But how he would have exited Afghanistan is an unknown. Only his supporters will say he would have been more successful, his haters will say he would have had the same, But no one will be able to argue his exit would have been worse than what we have seen.

    This president did everything wrong. He reduced the number of troops to the point that there was no way in hell they were going to defend anything. He left hundreds of weapons operational knowing full well the Afghan military would cut and run the minute we left. It happens in all of those radical countries that have a military that relies on the Americans for protection and then they scatter like fleas once that protection is gone.

    History in no way should ever repeat itself. We witnessed on TV in 1975 exactly what happens when we slowly reduce the number of military while the enemy maintains a strong force. The way this exit should have occurred was with a build up of force within the Kabul area with special forces and significantly more than the few thousands sent after kabul was seen to be falling, evacuations of civilian personnel and Taliban supporters begun when the Taliban began taking over towns in the north, military equipment destroyed that could not have been removed and only the same types that the Taliban should have been left in the hands of the Afghan army. Leaving helicopters operational for the Taliban to use is unforgivable. Once the civilians and Afghan personnel were removed then the American military would be sent home, with the special forces and bests units left to the end to maintain a safe environment for those left until all were removed.

    Now some would say we could not foresee the afghan army running like they did. All they needed to do was look around that area to find few willing to fight for their own freedoms when threatened. How many young Syrian males ended up in Europe when ISIS was taking over that country?

    Anyone who believes that that country could have survived after we left is mentally challenged. And there is no way in hell killing 2 ISIS leaders for 13 Americans is an even trade! Biden should have not made anything about the drone strike newsworthy other than it was done. Taking credit for that makes him look more moronic than he has through this whole issue, starting with his “we will hunt you down”. Bet all those ISIS guys are shaking in their boots on that one.

    But as always, this will become an after thought in the minds of Americans, Bidens approval ranking will fall a few points and in 6 months they will be right back where they were because only a handful of Americans paid any price in that war when compared to the total population. We will be back arguing about trillion dollar deficits, CRT, defunding the police and if transgender females that still carry male hardware should be competing in female athletic events.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 1, 2021 6:12 pm

      Ron: I’ll respond to your first comment without getting involved in the back-and-forth with Ronda that followed. You’re right that Biden bungled our exit — I admitted as much, although I give our guys credit for whisking over 100,000 people out of the country on such short notice. And yes, we should have known that our military hardware would end up in enemy hands eventually. (I think they should have destroyed what they couldn’t move out of Afghanistan.)

      But I’d still argue that few experts would have predicted just how fast the Afghan army fell apart. Trump’s release of those 5000 Taliban prisoners definitely didn’t help our cause — I don’t know what he was thinking, other than to carry on with his habit of making nice with despots. He also cut our troop presence and promised an exit date, a plan that Biden shouldn’t have followed — although he stretched our stay by four months.

      We should have kept a stronger force on the ground to ensure a more orderly evacuation. But who knows — they might have had to fight off the Taliban insurgents, which could have cost more American lives.

      Would Trump have extricated our troops and hardware any more effectively than Biden? Doubtful, although he might have used tougher words in warning the Taliban when they encroached on Bagram and Kabul. That’s where his blustering personality might have come in handy.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 1, 2021 9:15 pm

        Hi Rick, not sure if you heard, but AP researched the claims by Trump and other right wing sources on equipment left in Afghanistan…

      • September 2, 2021 12:11 pm

        This is your idea of a rebutal ?

        First, we spent over a trillion dollars in Afghanistan in the course of 20 years, not $80B.

        There is no way to spin this that is not a massive ripoff of US tax payers.

        The point is not about Humvee’s M16’s, drones, and helicopters – it is about collasal waste.

        Your article say much of it was for the salaries of Security forces – we surely did not get what we paid for there.

        Your article talks about it being obsolete. The state of the art Chinese aircraft carrier is inferior to the 3 dozen Vietnam era carriers that are in mothballs. The B52 was designed in 1946 and has been in service since the 50’s.

        The car I currently drive is a 2003 german luxury car – it is fast, handles well and is nearly as luxurious as new. And it costs less to operate than car payments on a new ford focus.

        The M16 dates to before the Vietnam War.

        It is possible that some of what we left in Afghanistan is inferior to what our military uses today. It is still superior to the weapons in the rest of the world.

        In what world is it a rebutal to claim – the “stuff” the Taliban have taken is not worth $80B – even though that is what we paid for it ?

        Regardless if you wish to make the story into why did the US pay so much in Afghanistan and get so little for it – go for it, I am right behind you.

        I would further note there are myriads of stories documenting the massive waste of military supplies long BEFORE we left.

        Afghanistan has been a self licking ice cream cone for the military industrial complex for 2 decades. Tax payers buy things for afghanistan, they disappear along the way, they end up in the hands of the Taliban, or get sold on to our enemies throughout the world.

        The article is likely correct that the Taliban will not be able to use the most valueable things they have acquired.

        But they will be able to sell them to those who will be able to use them.

        Next – do you think there is a way that US soldiers can disable a Humvee or a Helicopter that the Russians or Chinese can not undo ?

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 2, 2021 12:26 pm

        Hey John… you seriously need to go to the doctor about the constant flow of unnecessary and arbitrary crap coming out of your mouth! I gave some information and you play amateur psychiatrist trying to read garbage into it? What is this? Retaliation for constant sitting in the corner for disruption at school or holding soap in your mouth at home for impossible fantasies?

        I was aghast at your initial post… first, because I remembered you were (previously) far too wordy, and second because I did not fall asleep trying to read and you actually had some points I agreed with.

        Seems a night’s sleep brought out the “you” again, clogging up this previously informative and nice blog.

        Post all you want… I (among many) will scroll on by…

      • September 3, 2021 11:41 am

        “Hey John… you seriously need to go to the doctor about the constant flow of unnecessary and arbitrary crap coming out of your mouth! ”

        This is your idea of reasonable and substantive discussion ?

        Most of your posts are insults providing no substance.

        If you do not want long responses – try making fewer errors, valid arguments and less fallacies.

        That is not particularly difficult today – we live in the internet era, you have more actual facts available at your fingertips than armies of researchers had just a few decades ago.

        They is little excuse for ignorance of the facts. .

      • September 3, 2021 11:43 am

        “I gave some information”

        What information ? I do not recall an informative post from you ? Please enlighten me.

        I would be happy to directly address facts – rather than dealing with all this idiotic ad hominem and other fallacies from you ?

      • September 3, 2021 11:46 am

        “and you play amateur psychiatrist trying to read garbage into it?”

        How so ? Have I diagnosed you ? Have I pretended to be able to read your mind ?

        If I have posted something that does not directly address what you have said – please point that out. That would be an error on my part. I am not good at mind reading – none of us are, and I do not try.

        I do not care about your mental health – that is your business,

        Facts, Logic, Reason.

      • September 3, 2021 11:47 am

        “What is this? Retaliation for constant sitting in the corner for disruption at school or holding soap in your mouth at home for impossible fantasies?”

        And you have the gall to accuse me of amateur psychiatry ?

      • September 3, 2021 11:50 am

        “I was aghast at your initial post”

        I do not care about your emotional response.


        “first, because I remembered you were (previously) far too wordy, and second because I did not fall asleep trying to read”

        Again DO YOU HAVE A POINT ?

        “you actually had some points I agreed with.”

        Good, lets identify whatever common ground we have,
        and then lets directly address disagreement – with FACTS, LOGIC and REASON.

        Not Fallacies and Ad Homien.

        “Seems a night’s sleep brought out the “you” again, clogging up this previously informative and nice blog.”

        Again DO YOU HAVE A POINT ?

        “Post all you want… I (among many) will scroll on by…”

        I do not need your permission to post.

        You do not need mine to read or not.

        But you do not speak for others.

      • September 3, 2021 11:51 am

        Is there any part of this post that is not a long pointless personal attack ?

        Do you address a single issue in it that is something more than a poor attack on me ?

      • September 2, 2021 12:28 pm

        Absolutely some republicans are trying to spin the disaster in Afghanistan.

        Not that much spin is needed.

        But they are not lying to the extent that democrats did during the Trump administration.

        There was no Russian collusion – except between the Clinton Campaign and a Russian operative.

        There certainly was no “more than circumstantial” evidence.

        There was no “muslim ban”.

        The 2017 Tax cuts were NOT only for the rich – 80% of americans benefited – DIRECTLY, and all of us benefited from the growing economy and jobs.

        The cages used By CBP to hold children were built by Obama.
        Biden has caged more children so Far than Trump in 4 years – but Biden fixed the Optics – with Plexiglass cages.

        There were no Russian Bounties on US soldiers in afghanistan.

        Biden’s ukrainian corruption was NOT Russian disinformation and Trump’s efforts to get it investigated are precisely what the US government is required to do.

        Hunter Biden’s laptop – now 3 aparently – was NOT Russian disinformation.
        The then Vice president – now president of the United states was meeting with an assortment of powerful foreign businessmen for the benefit of his son, his family and himself.

        The Feds did NOT clear Laffeyette park for a Trump photo OP and they did not use tear gas.

        Covid most likely came from a Lab leak – not a wet market.

        And on and on.

        Democrats, the left, the media have a gigantic credibility problem.

        They LIE constantly, and are caught constantly.

        One of the reasons that tens of millions of people in this country beleive that Trump won the 2020 election is because what they have seen from the left and the media leaves them with no reason to beleive they are honest – that they would not cheat to win an election and cover it up. Worse still – while we may never know the extent of fraud int he 2020 election – the extent of lawlessness is well documented.

      • September 2, 2021 3:35 pm

        You assert that few expert would have predicted.

        We are already seeing plenty of experts inside and outside of government coming forward to disprove that.

        Though I do not think that is all that important.

        I would ask you to think seriously about exactly what you said.

        We have a vast military intelligence state. We have 17 intelligence agencies.
        We have 4 branches of the military, we have the state department, the CIA, NSA, DNI, national security aparatus in the White House.

        We have “experts” at Harvard, at the Ivy’s throughout the country, at military colleges, whose lives are spent assessing exactly this type of information.

        Those inside of government dealing with these issues are about 1000 times more numerous than those dealing with Covid, or with public health and epidemics.

        They are far better educated – atleast in the sense that there is far more study and far more to study than in pandemics.

        And you claim they failed.

        If we can not count on the best and brightest within govenrment – and these are inarguably among the best and brightest, why should we expect the CDC etc to be able to deal with a pandemic ?

        Why do you think that Covid is an easier problem than the pandemic ? Or do you think that those involved are better educated ? Or that we know more about epidemics ?

        You and Robby have far too much faith in government experts – in ANY area.

        Joe Rogan – not some right wing nut, recently got Covid and after spending the past year interviewing people – including myriads of experts on Covid – when he tested positive for Covid, he chose to take Ivermectin, and he claims he was able to get through Covid in 3 days.

        I am not advocating for Ivermectin. But I am pushing for REAL science – REAL studies – of anything that could be helpful – especially cheap drugs with anti-viral and propholacitc properties.

      • September 2, 2021 3:44 pm

        Rick, we had about 3000 troops on the ground BEFORE we started to withdraw.

        What is your idea of a stronger force on the ground ?

        Regardless, we are going to spend a decade analysing the failure in afghanistan.

        I posted an analysis by Fmr. Sen Webb – also a former Marine.

        I am note really fixated on the details right now.

        Even if Trump was still president – withdraw would not have gone smoothly and the Taliban would eventually have taken over.

        That was likely inevitable.

        But the scale of the current disaster was not.

        And probably more important – this disaster is likely to be iconic and pivotal.

        Not because of its importance – but because it is the perfect symbol for Biden and democrats today.

        While there is plenty of blame to go arround. And I do not personally hold Biden individually responsible. There is just a symetry to this that whether litterally true is still damning.

        The withdraw was an incompetent mess – it is likely to become a symbol of, an albatross arround democrats necks.

        A demented leader incompetently executing policies that will inevitably fail catastrophically.

      • September 2, 2021 3:53 pm

        It is near certain that Trump would have managed this more effectively.

        Why ? Because the Taliban fear Trump more.

        Because the Taliban could Trust that Trump would leave. They could afford to wait for that to happen.

        The whole world perceives Biden as weak – likely rightly so.
        They did not Trust Biden to leave – but they did trust correctly that his response to whatever they did would be weak and incompetent.

        In the long run – the difference is minor.

        We were leaving and Afghanistan was going to Fall.

        Trump was not going to send troops back if the Taliban took over after we were out and started executing people.

        It is even possible that this chaotic mess saved more people.

        A slower advance by the Taliban would have resulted in the withdraw of americans.
        But likely would have left those 100,000 afghans likely to be tortured and executed in place.

        And if americans were all out, this country would take less notice of mass executions by the taliban than the mistreatment of pets.

        I absolutely think that what you are calling the “optics” would have been bad – but 1000 times better with Trump.

        But aside fromt he 13 marines killed – the end result would have been about the same.

        But Biden and democrats own the optics of Afghanistan – BECAUSE the image is archetypally true.

  2. rondabellelane permalink
    August 31, 2021 11:16 pm

    …it seems Ron P forgot about the plague and the idiot in charge earlier that scoffed at it… but wondering how many times he was caught between a rock & a hard place created by a predecessor… Yes, Biden made mistakes – that is not disputed – but he didn’t hand most of the country over to terrorists he released.

    Good job Rick!

    • Ron P permalink
      September 1, 2021 12:15 am

      “it seems Ron P forgot about the plague and the idiot in charge earlier that scoffed at it”

      I have NOT FORGOTTEN ANYTHING! Read my comment. What does Covid have to do with this exit plan? Covid was at a very low number and dropping a couple months into his term after Biden took office! And this post by Rick has nothing to do with Covid, that was posted earlier so go back and comment on it there!

      And did I not say “But how he (Trump) would have exited Afghanistan is an unknown. Only his supporters will say he would have been more successful, his haters will say he would have had the same, But no one will be able to argue his exit would have been worse than what we have seen.” I did not defend or criticize him because I have no information on anything he did other than what the media is now reporting. But the worst of the issues seems to be the press pointing out that Trump allowed the release of 5000 Taliban prisoners, so what impact did going from 75,000 Taliban militia to 80,000 really have on this outcome? And what chance did out 5,000 military members have against 75,000?

      You can go back and talk all you want about Trump. I could go back and comment about Obama and even the stupidity of Bush for sending troops in the first place. But that is not what I was commenting about.

      My comments were directed to the total irresponsible and undeniably completely incompetent military exit from Afghanistan.

      And I also did not even mention the fact we have left and there are still Americans wanting to get out and private contractors are providing that service now.

      Is that even defensible after reading some of the issues that were present that further suggest a remarkable lack of military planning? Items like printed forms being required when printers are not widely available in that country.

      So you can defend Biden all you want and shift blame back onto Trump, but Trump has not been president for 8 months and Biden has. On day one if his plan was to get out, his number one goal at that time should have been the evacuation plans and in 8 months something better than what he came up with should have been planned. Anyone with any knowledge of history would know the plan he approved was doomed from the start.

      And remember, he did not have Covid as a big issue after Feb or so when the cases began dropping to a pandemic low in April and May. His attention should have been square on the exit plan.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 1, 2021 9:04 am

        Wow! Where do I begin?

        In your first post you mentioned nothing about the Taliban prisoners Trump released, and in your second post negated them. Funny then how (starting right after Trump released them – without involving any Afghanistan leaders) they immediately started taking over the country with Trump’s blessing.

        And try again with Covid not being a big issue after February:

        I suppose if you only look at stats rather than what’s going on about you, your statement may have some credibility… however, vaccinations were not going well – not enough people were getting them (thank you Trump) and the mutations were already here… even though just starting. So, in terms of a “real and present danger”, Covid was it. Your total negation of Biden, branding him as worse than Trump, holds no credibility when you insist on not putting everything into consideration.

        Yes. Biden made a horrible error in announcing our departure date – but trump did the same AND made the takeover easy – and the Taliban were simply waiting and ready. They knew it was coming, and soon.

        Unlike Trump, Biden listens to opinions that may be different from his own, and I guarantee that he had help with that speech… and sincerely doubt he varied and went off as Trump did on a consistent basis. But yes, the buck stops with him on that awful error.

        Truthfully, you brought up other things that I can easily dispute, but doing so, as well as my above response, will be dismissed – and you can correct me if I’m wrong. If right though, know that I prefer not to waste time.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 1, 2021 12:20 pm

        I will not argue the point about vaccines and the bad way they were distributed. But I will point out that early in the process there was one state that was mentioned as having the highest vaccination rate when it all began, and that was West Virginia. They accepted the vaccines and then distributed those to their pharmacies where they had experience in getting people vaccinated. Most all other states used their health departments that were staffed for a certain number of healthcare visits and procedures and those departments were overwhelmed. That was not a federal issue, that was states making the decisions on how to get their residents the shot. This was also handled in that manner in rural Virginia where I had a friend living. He went to a local pharmacy, registered and when they received the vaccine, they called him and told him when to appear for the shot.

        And if you look back on some comments I was making in January and February, you will see I was very critical of the manner vaccines where being administered and blamed much on the states for not using the local pharmacy networks already in place.

        So yes we can debate what happened in the early part of the Biden administration, but neither of us will change because you appear to be one that thinks Biden does no wrong and in this case, I find he did no good.

        Only history will tell what the ultimate outcome will be since we will be on another subject by Christmas.

      • September 2, 2021 4:06 pm

        Who are the most likely not to get vaccinated ?

        In January the largest single group of Vaccine hestitant people was those with only an HS degree, 2nd were those with Some college – but 3rd were Phd’s.
        By May HS educated hesitance had dropped more than 10% while that of Phd’s had risen to more than any other group.

      • September 2, 2021 5:03 pm

        Wow, prior to withdrawing our military from a country we invaded a decade ago Trump released some of the enemy.

        Was he supposed to hold them forever ?

        Al Queda committed acts of Terrorism against the US. The Taliban merely protected them.
        While that is an act of war it is not a crime, or terrorism and we can not detain enemy combatants forever. As much as we may dislike them – they are not criminals.

        Regardless, Trump gave Ghani a full year to negotiate an arrangement with the Taliban.

        The Taliban was willing to talk. Ghani was not – chosing to bet that the US would not actually leave. He lost that Bet.

      • September 2, 2021 5:34 pm

        Yes, thanks to Trump we have an actual vaccine.

        Do we really need to replay the myriads of comments from “Experts” – telling us all how the vaccine was not possible that quickly ?

        Do we really need to replay the video of just about every prominent democrat including Biden and Harris repeatedly saying they would not trust a Vaccine that Trump had anything to do with.

        Or how about the ACTUAL data – from a survey of 5M people

        Vaccine histance is high in two groups – Those with only an HS degree and those with a Phd.
        And it has been HIGHEST among Phd’s since May.

        Ron noted that different states handled vaccine roll outs differently.

        Among the unvaccinated the single most significant reason is lack of easy access.

        In February I had to travel 1 hr each way TWICE to get vaccinated.

        Most people will not do that. Some want the vaccine from their doctor, some from their pharmacist, regardless if you do not make it easy – they will not get vaccinated.

        US vaccinatures ramped up steadily and linearly from Dec 2020 to 3M/day by mid April 2

        And after the low hanging fruit was all vaccinated have declined to an average of 1M/day.

        The UK has the same pattern. As does France, Germany, Spain and the rest of Europe.

        Trump has never attacked the Vaccine – that is idiocy – he considers it one of his great successes.

        Are those of you on the left logically impaired ?
        Why is it you beleive nonsense like claims that Trump is torpedoing the vaccine or that Putin favored Trump.

        Trump set the Afghan Departure – not Biden, a year in advance.
        Everyone had plenty of time to prepare.

        The Taliban did. The Afghan government did not. Biden did not.

        The problem was not the date, it was the failure to plan for disaster that was likely.

        I have no idea if Biden listens to different opinions. Thus far the evidence is that Biden has nothing to do with actual decision making and that real decisions are made by the children running our government.

        Regardless, you need not listen to anyone else if you succeed.
        When you fail – it is irrelevant how good you claim your process was.

        Biden is failing – not just in afghanistan, but in everything he does.

        The economy is weakening – against predictions in January.

        Biden now has more Covid deaths in 9 months than Trump had in 11.

        You can pretend they are equally good, or equally bad. But Biden promised to do better – Much Better – and he has failed.

        We can debate what Trump did vs. what Biden did – but in fact the details do not matter.
        If Trump was a failure – then Biden is atleast as much of a failure.

        Worse 320+K people died with Biden as president AND a vaccine.
        Since May more than 50% of the country has been vaccinated – should deaths be 50% lower ?

        There are only two possibilities – Covid does not give a $hit about our government policies, or those of Biden are WORSE than Trump.

        Take your pick.

        The economy, foreign relations, the border, national security, energy, on issue after issue the country is doing WORSE often dramatically in the past 9 months.

        Whoever is running the country and however they are doing it they are FAILING.

        Finally – why should Ron or anyone else be interested in arguments of the form

        “I am right, but you will dismiss my arguments, so I will not make them”.

        Arguments made with FACTS, Logic, reason are generally accepted by intelligent – and often less intelligent people.

        And absolutely people will try to “dismiss” you arguments. That is literally the purpose of public debate – to separate the wheat from the chaff.

        If your argument is easily dismissed – you should consider that it does not have merit, that it is unconvincing.

        Regardless we judge arguments and counter arguments – dismissals the same.

        The hold up under scrutiny or they do not.

        Your not entitled to be beleived.

      • September 2, 2021 6:26 pm

        I think it is trivially arguable that though it still would have been bad, a withdraw by Trump would not have been nearly this messy.

        Trump was more of a threat than Biden.

        Trump was leaving no matter what, but he was a far greater threat to unleash the US military on the Taliban if he did not get what he wanted.

        Remember that 20 years ago the Taliban were defeated by a small number of special forces and massive airpower. One of the most effective weapons was the AC-130 gun ships.

        Biden (or whoever is running things) is weak and the world knows it.
        That is a receipe for chaos.

        In the LONG RUN – the results would likely be the same.
        Trump was not going to stop the Taliban from taking over the country.
        But he would have stopped that until Americans were all out.

        Nor would Trump have bought the nonsense from out military leaders.

        Ronda noted Trump trusted his own judgement more than experts.

        Biden trusted experts and failed to plan for the possibility they were wrong.

        In the end I do not think Afghanistan matters much. It is not of consequential US interest.
        And we can take them out quickly in the future should they attack the US again.
        What we can not do is “nation build”.

        But the other Long run issue is that Afghanistan is an albatross arround the neck of democrats, and Some republicans.

        It is probable that Afghainstan will not come up in the 2022 election.

        But I think that it is still a tipping point for Biden and democrats.

        The failure in Afghanistan breaks the dam. people are no longer afraid to note the failures and lack of competence of this administration.

        We will be more inclined to see everything moving forward as failure – especially when it is.

        I do not expect Biden to remain president until 2024. I am not sure I expect him to be president in 2023. I am not sure he will be alive in 2024.

        I have lots of problems with Joe Biden, But the man in the white house is just an old man who does not know what is going on, and should be off with his family looking to enjoy the rest of his life. The WhiteHouse is not MHMR rehab.

        I have more sympathy for Biden than anything else. He now reminds me of My father who dies essentially from Vascular dementia.

        If that is what Biden has – and it is likely based on the leaked medical information, he is not going to live 3 more years.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 1, 2021 6:14 pm

      Thanks, Ronda. From what I’ve read, the Taliban had already recaptured about two thirds of Afghanistan by the time Biden took office — probably with help from those released prisoners.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 1, 2021 9:41 pm

        Well, me & reading – you know… Yes – those areas ARE controlled by the most powerful of the Taliban leaders Trump released.

      • September 2, 2021 2:26 pm

        I have no clue what this “Trump released Taliban leaders” nonsense is supposed to mean.

        The american people have wanted out of Afghanistan for more than a decade and a half.

        Obama promised we would leave – he lied, and infact left office with more Wars and occupations, not less.

        Trump promised we would leave – though he did not get us out as quickly as he promised, it is inarguable that but for Trump we would still be in afghanistan.
        We would not be witnesses the current mess in Afghanistan – we would just be spending Billions to put it off to another day.

        I credit Biden or more accurately the children running the country for not reversing course in Afghanistan. They reversed on myriads of other Trump policies no matter how stupid the reversal was.

        One of the problems in Afghanistan is that the Afghan government did not actually beleive we were leaving after Biden took office.

        Regardless, even in the midst of disaster Biden stuck to leaving and I will credit him – or whoever actually made that decision.

        Next it was nearly inevitable that the Taliban would take over after we left.

        You can debate how quickly that would have occured if Trump were still president – but it was happening no matter what.

        We can debate releasing specific Taliban – though I am not sure what you expect to accomplish.

        Wishing things would have turned out differently does not make that so.

        From the moment we switched from punishing the Taliban for harboring Al Queda to nation building this mess was inevitable.

        You want to blame Trump – sure he gets some blame – he could have left sooner.
        But the real blame falls to Bush and Obama.

        Regardless, Attacking Trump or those republicans who are not neocons over this is fruitless.

        It relies on beleiving that the people are stupid.

        Biden and Company botched the withdraw. That is on them PERIOD.
        But honestly that is only a large problem for democrats because it is symbolic of their broader incompetence. Even the attacks on Biden’s mental capacity are really a proxy for attcking the incometence of democrats as a whole.

        The mess in afghanistan is a symbol – just as Biden is a symbol of the incompetence and failure of the ideas of the left.

        Some are saying that Biden and to a lessor extent democrats are not going to recover from this.

        While I doubt Trump would have had the same disaster – it still would not have gone well.
        Regardless, Trump would have survived – why ? Because he has an actual track record of success. A few blips on a generally good show is not the end of the world – no matter how hard the media tries to pound it in.
        but Afghanistan is likely a large problem for democrats and the left as a whole – as it is emblematic of their WHOLE track record.

        Afghanistan and Biden are becoming a proxy symbol for all that is wrong with the left and democrats.

        Many republicans predicted a blow out in 2022 based on historical patterns.

        I was reluctant to buy that. Biden was elected with the wind at his back.

        He could have taken office, made a few minor changes, and essentially played a kinder gentler Trump – while denying he was Trump – and used the courts and the constitution as reasons he could not just do what the far left wanted.

        But instead he has botched what should have been a strong recovery – myriads of economists were predicting 8% growth in 2021. He has botched Afghanistan – which also could have been an accomplishment, or at the very least much less of a failure.

        We are left trying to make sense of a president that wants to keep Cubans out, but left afghans and south americans in.

        Biden and democrats made a huge issue of Covid in the election. That obligated them to deliver. And they have failed. It does not matter who you try to blame.

        Inargably Biden has done worse with Covid than Trump – despite starting from a can’t loose position.

    • September 2, 2021 6:40 pm

      How is Biden caught between a rock and a hard place created by anyone else.

      Biden reversed pretty much every action that Trump took as president as quickly as possible.

      If he wanted to change his mind about leaving Afghanistan – he could have done so easily.

      But he did not – not because Trump handcuffed him – but because done well or badly it was still 15 years+ past time to leave.

      Trump left Biden with a vaccine no one thought possible.
      With an economy every expected to explode.

      With peace throughout the world to an extent we have not seen since Reagan.

      I listened to the left tell us all for 4 years that Trump had bad relations with foreign leaders.

      Biden is routinely disrespected by everyone – even the UK parliment has voted no confidence in him.

      World leaders walk all over Biden. Trump did not create that – YOU did – anyone who voted from someone clearly failing mentally.

      Less than 40% of voters now think Biden is in charge.

      As to Covid – The number of Deaths in 9 months of Biden has now exceeded 11 months of Trump. Trump started from Square one. Biden has a vaccine and nearly a years worth of actual medical evidence regarding what works and what does not.

      Further Biden promised to do better – he failed.

      There are only two possibilities – the first is Biden is less competent at dealing with Covid than Trump. The alternative is that Covid does not care what we do.

      God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
      courage to change the things I can,
      and wisdom to know the difference.

      I know it is hard for those on the left to grasp that there is much we can not change.

  3. Vermonta permalink
    September 1, 2021 8:36 am

    Very good analysis Rick, one of your best. From what little I know about Afghanistan it rings true. I also agree with Ron’s perspective, harsh but fair and valid. Of course this debacle has political consequences, which we will all fixate on, more than the terrible human tragedy in many cases. I am not going to get into the politics, and I will get through this without saying the T word. There is plenty of blame to spread.

    I will quibble about one detail Rick, its not so that US intervention along the lines of trying to change the direction of a foreign country, a foreign society, has never ever worked, The Marshall plan was a huge success. Japanese military culture under the Emperor was vicious and powerful, see the rape of Nanjing and the death march of Battan or the kidnapping of Korean women to be sex slaves for soldiers, that military Japan was a vile terrible culture. All gone today, Japan is a now a different world and a peaceful prosperous country. The same for West Germany. The Marshall plan changed the world vastly for the better. This has led us to try to repeat it in the middle east and southeast Asia and it has never worked again and probably never will work again. That one American success in society building was particular to the aftermath of WWII.

    I have no deep knowledge of Afghanistan, never been there and never been interested much in the disaster of its history. My son in law, an Army Major, has been there and nearly every other country we have military contact with, but not as infantry, as an engineer. So, he has mostly been not so close to harm’s way in his career, but it has been no picnic either and he has his nightmares. The Vermont Army Nat. Guard infantry unit I was a part of 35 years ago saw no action while I was in it but later it saw action In Iraq and Afghanistan. Vermont Nat Guard soldiers suffered the highest per capita death rate of any state in the Iraq and Afghan wars. So, I do feel some personal connection.

    But it really does not matter what I think or what we all think. It matters what these events will mean for the future and what they will be seen as meaning in 5, 10, 50, 100, or 1000 years. Is this an inflection point in history with terrible (or, somehow, mixed or even good) consequences? Or is it just another rotten episode in a perpetually rotten part of the world? If I live as long as my parents I will have another 25 or at best 35 years to watch and see the meaning of this from the perspective of at least a little distance.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 1, 2021 10:09 am

      Hi Vermonta,

      I believe that Rick specifically left out previous wars:
      “We should have learned from our hard experience in Vietnam that you can’t beat a ragtag army of fanatical guerrillas. Why not? Number one, you can’t declare victory by capturing their capital. The warriors simply disperse into the countryside and wait – five, ten, twenty or more years if necessary. Number two, they never surrender like the conventional nation-states of yore. You’d have to hunt the warriors down and kill every last one of them – an impossible task for even the best-equipped army.”

      …and you can read my other disagreements. 🙂

      • September 2, 2021 4:58 pm

        You have some points regarding insurgencies.

        But for the most part even insurgents must ultimately win on the battle field. They must capture and hold territory.

        The North Vietnamese had to defeat the ARVN.

        And prior to that they had to hold the Ho Chi Min Trail against constant attacks.

        Dien Bin Phu was a disaster for the french. But it was strategically sound – had they been able to pull it off. The fundamental mistakes were tactical – they failed to secure the high ground, and they failed at resupply by air.

        The Germans failed similarly at Stalingrad, but the US succeeded in resupplying Berlin during the cold war.

        Dien Bin Phu was much Like Khe San for the US – except that US held.

        Khe San was high ground near the Ho Chi Mink Trail. So long as the US held it – NVA efforts to resupply the south would fall short.

        The NVA pitted multiple divisions against 2 regiments of US forces at Khe San – and lost – badly.

        But after the base was relieved by overland forces, the military chose to withdraw fearing future similar assaults.

        Of course there would have been future assaults. So long as Khe San was fortified NVA southern supply lines were crippled.

        Regardless my point is that while guerrilla insurgencies can harass the crap out of conventional forces, you ultimately win a war – even an insurgency by taking and holding land.

        Yorktown was necessary to achieve victory int he american revolution.
        The NVA had to eventually defeat the ARVN on the battlefield,
        And the Taliban had to capture the country in Afghanistan.

        Winning can sometimes be accomplished by undermining the will of an adversary and getting them to leave. But they still must leave.

        Aside from some bad political constraints, Vietnam was fundamentally a conventional war and it was won on the battle field by the NVA after the US left.

        Even the american revolution – despite having significant guerrilla warfare tactics was primarily a conventional war.

        Lexington and Concorde were small scale conventional engagements.
        Bunker Hill as a large scale pitched battle that while the colonist technically lost when they ran out of ammunition, substantially changed the character of the war. British casualties were enormous and unsustainable and colonial casualties small.

        Subsequently the British never attacked entrenched colonial forces without substantial planning, numerical superiority and usually the support of fleet artillery.

    • Vermonta permalink
      September 1, 2021 10:15 am

      Yes, you are correct. I was extrapolating a bit too far on his meaning.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 1, 2021 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Roby. Interesting observations about Japan and Germany. Yes, we did spread our brand of representative democracy to those two powers, and quite effectively, after World War II. Maybe the difference is that they already possessed sophisticated cultures that could adapt to our style of government.

      By contrast, Afghanistan is still a collection of tribes (sort of like today’s U.S., but a bit more primitive). Somehow they manage to unify enough to fight off outside threats, but then they retreat into their tribalism when the enemy inevitably backs off. Now that the Taliban is taking over once again, they might actually impose some unity across the country — under the banner of fundamentalist Islam — but of course it’s not the kind of unity we would have liked to see.

      • September 2, 2021 3:20 pm

        This difference is not the primative or tribal nature.

        Had either Japan or Germany established a consequential resistance, we would have failed there too.

        It is important to understand successful insurgency.

        It took the Irish hundreds of years – regardless they prevailed.
        It took india a century to escape british rule – but they prevailed.

        Neither Japan nor Germany had actual insurgencies.

        The colonists escaped british rule in a less than a decade.

        Where there is a persistant insurgency it will always prevail eventually.

        I recently found a video on Rumble about essentially militia groups in the US.

        I have repeated here over and over that there is no consequential KKK or Nei-Nazi’s in the US.

        I was however surprised to find that the militia movement is stronger, and more sophisticated than it ever was.

        Like in the past its posture is currently primarily defensive. They are waiting for government to come after them. They are not insurgents.

        Had there been a real insurgency on Jan. 6th it would have prevailed.

        Different from in the 80’s and 90’s current militias are much more aligned with boht the police and the military.

        The riots of the summer of 2020 were likely a huge mistake for the left as they wedded the police and militias more closely than ever.

        There was real meaningful coordination between police and militias in many parts of the country – and the violence would have been much worse without those militias.

        They are also more strongly tied to the military – a substantial portion of members are ex-military.

        They are also less masculine than in the past – our more integrated military has resulted in more integrated militias.

        I am not aware that Alishi Bennet was part of some militia – but she easily could have been.

        Democrats and the left are right to be afraid of militias – and they actively seek to demonize them as racist because they fear them – probably for good reason.

        The fundimental reason the south lost the civil war was MORAL.

    • September 2, 2021 6:07 pm

      Germany and Japan were actually defeated in a conventional war.

      Though there was some consideration of trying to continue guerrilla warfare in both – neither country had sufficient the will to do so.

      In relative terms the assistance provided to Afghanistan dwarfs the Marshall plan.

      If Aide is what tipps the scales Afghanistan would be a modern western democracy.

      South Korea BTW seems to be doing quite while – and last I checked they are in Asia.

      We tried to repeat the Korean success in Vietnam and filed – primarily because the NVA was able to essentially invade neighboring countries to transport War material to the South.

      In South Korea there is a short border that can be effectively defended and no consequential guerllia movement in the South.

      South Vietnam was much more complex, party because of the factors above, but also because of the Viet Cong.

      Long forgotten and not well understood is the fact that the Viet Cong guerilla movement was only nominally allied with the north.

      South vietnam faced an actual insurecttion – Civil War concurrently with a more traditional pitched war with the NVA.

      The Viet Cong were ultimately destroyed – mostly by the ARVN but partly by the NVA – during and after the War.

      And Vietnam was shorter and less badly mess up than Afghanistan.

    • September 2, 2021 6:08 pm

      Thank you for your service.

  4. Vermonta permalink
    September 1, 2021 9:02 am

    Its rotten of me to do this but I just read today’s news and I am going to change the subject already. If I am understanding this correctly Texas has for all practical purposes outlawed abortion and the SCOTUS has chosen not to intervene although they will do a larger review of Roe later this year. I am completely shocked.

    So, T and the GOP did achieve one “victory,” although I sincerely hope its a pyrric one. If this holds up the 2022 elections will most of all probably be about this.

    One disaster after another.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 1, 2021 9:55 am

      Ugh… but I doubt the elections will be held up.

    • Ron P permalink
      September 1, 2021 12:08 pm

      As I said in my previous comment, Afghanistan will be just a faint flicker in the minds of voters in 2022.

      • September 2, 2021 4:11 pm

        It is likely that Afghanistan will be out of the news by next year.

        But I have noted that afghanistan is a symbolic failure.

        I strongly suspect that it cements the image of Biden as a demented fool, and that image will be hard for many many democrats to escape.

        We do not have to remember afghanistan a year from now to have it reshape our perception permanently.

        Biden and democrat badly need a win – not a phyric win of passing some stupid legislation that further damages the economy. But a real win.

        Something like the Abraham accords, or a deal with North Korea,

        But nothing is likely in the offing.

        Biden has cemented an image of a weak leader and that makes negotiating difficult.

    • September 2, 2021 5:54 pm

      The majority of americans do not support abortion on demand at any time during the pregnancy.

      The TX case will eventually get to the Supreme court and they will hear arguments.
      They chose not to accept an expedited appeal – they rarely do, especially where the federal govenrment is not a primary litigant.

      Rowe was badly decided – and that is part of the problem.

      It has two serious flaws – a lack of any constitutional basis, and a reliance on science that was inevitably going to advance.

      Data from Gutmeyer – that is Planned Parenthoods research Arm long ago indicated that extending the time frame in which an abortion can occur does not alter the frequency with which pregnancies are terminated, it merely changes the cost to do so as the more available late abortions, the more women delay.

      Today women have infinite means of avoiding or terminating pregnancy early and inexpensively. From abundant birth control to cheap morning after pills, to inexpensive early abortions.

      I expect that ultimately the courts will not allow banning abortions after 6 weeks.
      Though it is not the end of the world if they do.

      Regardless, if this is the great evil that you claim and openly alienates most of the public – then the GOP will lose control of TX in the next election cycle.

      Republicans are gambling that Bills like this will not cost them elections.

      We will have to see whether that is correct.

      regardless, the left constantly tells us all that it is OK to restrict purported rights, so long as it is done democratically.

      That has occured in TX. If you live in TX – vote accordingly.

      I would say that this is what you get when you determine what a right is by democratic process, but in fact – there is not a right to an abortion – there is a right to not be pregnant.

      A wiser and more constitutionally sound law (also consistent with Rowe) would be to require that all terminations of pregnancy’s must be conducted by the means most likely to preserve the life of the fetus without increasing the risk to the woman.

      There is an absolute right to control of your body.
      But the fetus is NOT your body.
      You can remove it – even if death results, but you can not intentionally kill it.

  5. September 1, 2021 10:02 am

    Once again Rick – you blow it.

    In 1 minute and 45 sec Tulsi Gabbard addresses everything of consequence regarding Afghanistan.

    The “Afghan War” Was won approximately 90 days after it started 20 years ago.

    What the US “LOST” was an idiotic effort to nation build.
    We wasted 20 years, a trillion dollars, and countless military and civilian lives on something that was never a legitmate goal or mission.

    While unnecescary – addressing your points.

    Once we committed to idiotic nation building, to imposing democracy by force,

    There is no question of sufficient time. There was always sufficient time. The article I linked elsewhere by Fmr Sen. Webb(D) addresses the specific failures of this withdrawl – insufficient Time is NOT among those.

    You do not even get the participants right. The US from the Start SUCCESSFULLY brought Tribal leaders under our wings. You can expect in the near future to see many Tribal leaders stung up by the Taliban for diddling young boys or for selling Opium all with a wink and a nod from the US.

    Biden did not announce the date for our departure in Advance – TRUMP DID.
    That was not the problem. Trump gave the Afghan Government more than a year to negotiate some arrangement with the Taliban. They failed to do so.
    This was not like Vietnam, The Taliban were willing to negotiate, the Afghan Government refused to enter negotiations. The Afghan government did not believe the US would leave.
    They especially did not believe the US would leave when Biden was President.

    The ONE thing that Biden got RIGHT in all of this was as badly as leaving was Botched – he still LEFT. Thank God.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 1, 2021 10:26 am

      IMO, a bit over the top… but you did make some valid points – although the winners were actually corporations who supplied equipment (and hiked prices until Obama checked into them and corrected them as best he could) and those supplying the paid, armed, non US military personnel.

      Bush (I believe) meant well, but was too easily led by those who saw not only what I stated above, but also vast mineral wealth throughout the country… as yet untapped to its’ full extent.

      • September 2, 2021 4:21 pm

        Can we please dispense with the Saint Obama nonsense.

        Obama LIED about Afghanistan – among many many other things.

        Obama is near the center of so many of the worst things that have happened in the past decade. While the Bushies advanced the surveilance state – Obama put it on steroids.
        Obama was caught spying on Congress.

        I have no idea whether Obama did anything Meaningful about the prices of military purchases.

        But he promised to leave – in 90 days, and he did not.

        Absolutely Afghanistan became a self licking ice cream cone – benefiting the military industrial complex at the expense of tax payers.

        I am not especially interested in claims that Obama pushed then into slightly less corruption.

        Is there someone here arguing that we should not have left Afghanistan after removing the Taliban ?

        Everything after than was WRONG – and Obama was a part of it.

        Further I expect that businesses will maximize their profits – that is a moral obligation they have to shareholders.

        It was a moral obligation of govenrment – not merely to not over pay, but to get the h311 out so that we were no buying this stuff.

        Obama could have done that – he did not.

      • September 2, 2021 4:33 pm

        In Matthew 25 when Christ comes to judge the world – does he ask

        “Did you mean well” ?


        “Did you do Good” ?

        In Luke 6 are we asked to Judge a tree by its intentions or by its fruit ?

        The vast majority of socialsits throughout history meant well.

        Socialism is still a system of political economy linked to more blood than any other ideology ever.

        I do not care if you think Bush had good intentions, or Trump had bad ones.

        Bush and Obama were FAILURES. Trump was the most successful president in the 21st century – which is unfortunately not saying much.

        Biden has had the worst 8 months for any president ever.
        He took office with everything running in his favor and has turned nearly everything into headwinds in 8 months.

        I am glad he got out of Afhanistan – because I frankly do not trust him, and he seems to have made it his mission in life to try to undo all things Trump – whether successful or not.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 1, 2021 6:47 pm

      Dave, I know you’re the resident contrarian, but you attempt to dismiss my entire column by cherry-picking a few points I didn’t cover. (Example: I didn’t know that the U.S. had such cozy relations with Afghan tribal leaders. So sue me.) I acknowledged that our initial victory in pushing the Taliban out of power back in 2001 was just a temporary blip — that we should have expected the country to revert to despotic Islamic rule eventually. So we agree on that much.

      Still, we did give the Afghans (especially the women) a taste of freedom during our 20-year misadventure. If Afghanistan becomes another Iran, it will still be seething with an undercurrent of Western-style individualism, just as Iran does even today. I think it’s only a matter of time before Iran dumps its ayatollahs and adopts a Western-style government. It might take a generation or more, but the Afghan people won’t be easy for the Taliban to keep repressed forever.

      • September 2, 2021 11:09 am

        Rick. I am not “cherry picking”.

        I do not expect you to be “expert” regarding Afdghanistan. But if you choose to write about it, Atleast your core points should be right. Further you should not get wrong, things we all lived through.

        Gabbard addressed the mess in Afghanistan in a couple of sentences – and nailed it.

        Is getting the reason we went to Afghanistan wrong “minor” ?

        The shift from deposing the Taliban for an act of war to “nation building” was a huge deal.
        And it went beyond Afghanistan to Iraq and the rest of the middle east.

        I do not expect that you know all about the US relationship with Afghan Tribal leaders – though our involvement with Tribal leaders was core to defeating the Taliban in 90 days with a combination of special forces and air power.
        But you were not wrong – you were 180 wrong about something you CHOSE to write about.

        This was an unforced error.

        I write CONSTANTLY here, that in the internet era it is not hard to be “right all the time”.
        All it requires is checking your claims FIRST.

        While the issue of Tribal leaders is not completely one sided – CIA corrupt dealings with Afghan Tribal leaders substantially undermined the support of the Afghan people, and empowered the Taliban.

        There are many differences between Vietnam and Afghanistan. But there are many similarities. CIA Corrupting influence is one of the similarities.

        Next, the departure date was NOT an issue. Trump telegraphed from before he was elected that he would leave Afghanistan. In 2018 he had a major Row with “the generals” – and he ended up giving them another year to “turn things arround” – they failed.

        Trump almost unilaterally forced our departure from Afghanistan – over the objections of “the generals”, the “deep state”, neo-cons, many other republicans and some democrats. But with the support of the majority of americans. In fact our departure was likely delayed because the DOD was lying to Trump about US strength in Afghanistan, or Trump would have pulled out sooner. Again a frequent news story particularly after the election was assorted members of “the deep state” coming clean – actually celebrating their efforts to thwart Trump as president.

        Trump established in 2020 that the US would leave in August 2021. Biden did not “set the date” – while he had the power to change it, and he had the power to reverse Trumps decision to leave – and I strongly suspect the Ghani Government did not believe that Biden was going to leave right up until Kabul fell.

        One of the few things I will give Biden – or more accurately the children running the Biden administration, is sticking to leaving Afghanistan – even as it went abysmally badly.

        Regardless, one of your key points was “the departure date’ and you were wrong about that, both in how it was set and in how it effected things.

        There is SOME reporting – I do not know if it is true, that the Afghan security forces were Ordered to stand down – to surrender, by higher ups. If true – that is a major factor in the rapid collapse. There are also conflicting stories that Biden or Ghani ordered the Afghan airforce to stand down – that also would have been a major factor in the rapid collapse.
        But again – I do not know whether these were true.

        Ultimately the future of Afghanistan was in the hands of the Afghan people.

      • September 2, 2021 11:19 am

        We did give the Afghan’s a “taste of freedom” – that was NOT OUR JOB.

        That is a very Neo-Con statement – Mattis and the Chenney’s would be proud of you.

        It is not our job to “nation build” – not in Vietnam, not in Afghanistan. The US history of “nation building” is a long an abysmal failure.

        Many of those who experience that freedom are already or soon will pay for it with their lives. Though it is unlikely we will pay much attention.

        Your comparison to Iran is interesting – another nation the CIA botched – repeatedly.

        I would further note that 40 years of seething has so far not brought the Iranians any additional freedom.

        In fact Iranian disidents – freedom fighters – oppose the Obama Iran deal and beleived they were on the Cusp of bringing the Ayatolah’s down when Biden’s elections reversed their fortunes. Biden has freed up Billions of dollars in seized foreign assets that are propping up the regime.

        It is only a matter of time before the Iranian people dump the Ayatolah’s – several life times.

        Most of the Taliban fighters today were not born or were small children when we through the Taliban out 2 decades ago.

      • September 2, 2021 11:27 am

        I do not have the crystal ball that you have regarding the future of Afghanistan.
        I hope you are right. But I am not so sure you are.

        I am more interesting in our – the US past choices and assessing which were legitimate and which were not.

        The US bears some responsibility for the mess that is Iran – Our CIA install the shah – deposing a regime we did not like. We armed the Shah and we turned a blind eye to decades of oppression of his own people. The rise of the Ayatolah’s was the consequence.

        It is 2021 – and they are still in power.

        Our meddling in Afghanistan likely brought the Taliban to power. When we removed them legitimately, further meddling encouraged corruption and was instrumental in returning them to power.

        I do not have a crystal ball to see whether the darkness that is descending on Afghanistan is temporary or for generations.

        But I am not celebrating giving Afghani’s a “taste of freedom” – that has or will cost many of them their lives, or torture, and imprisonment.

      • September 2, 2021 11:52 am

        You avoided politics in this. Yet this issue is steeped in Politics.

        I do not particularly blame Biden for Afghanistan – first – he or the children he has running the government somehow wisely figured out they had to leave afghanistan and they stuck to that – even through this mess. They get some credit for that.
        But Afghanistan has further exposed that Biden is significantly cognitively impaired and is not capable of being president.

        Purportedly medical reports have leaked that he had two strokes PRIOR to the election, and has arithmia that makes small strokes highly likely.

        My father had vascular dimentia – and I watch Biden and cry. I am reliving the end of my father’s life.

        It was sadistic and cruel to put him through a campaign and elect him president.

        Republicans are making hay of the disaster that has occured in Afghanistan. And I do think those “pundits” that say that Biden will not recover are likely correct. Atleast in part because it exposed Biden’s infirmity. We can have sympathy for him, but we know that we have no leader.

        Lest we forget it was Republicans that made the initial mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

        This should be a bipartisan Fiasco.

        I am deeply afraid that neocons will somehow regain power – whether in the democrat or republican party as a result of this.

        One of the core ideological WARS of the moment is that between “America First” and various forms of world governance.

        Trump is the lead of those who see american’s role as a super power to look to american interests FIRST.

        And increasingly Trump is looking good. Independent of the botched exit – we won in Afghanistan in less than 90 days and should have left. We never should have gone to Iraq.

        The use of US military power should be to accomplish legitimate US interests.
        Not Nation Building.

        When I government does not put America First – the consequences are not merely bad for the US – they are bad for the world.

        I would strongly suggest rereading George Washington’s farewell address.

        It is hard to escape Trump – because in so many ways Trump is the standard bearer for a sea change in US politics.

        He has radically transformed the republican party.

        While I do not agree with Trump on everything – I am strongly supportive of much fo the political change that he reflects.

        None of Trump’s issues – are really his. They have all been arround for decades, centuries.

        But today Trump is the icon for those views.

        At the moment Biden has become the icon for the quasi establishment position.

        BOTH parties have changed radically in the past few years.

        As radical the change in the Republican party are – those in the democratic party are even more dramatic.

        Biden is the near perfect symbol for the modern democratic party – corrupt, corporate, incompetent, woke. This is a combination that I would not have thought possible, and I doubt is stable.

        As a Teen the “deep state” was as real as today. But its interests were completely at odds with the left.

        The left of my childhood – was the Berkley free speech movement. Was the pentagon papers was the anti-war movement.
        Today the left is anti-capitalist – but pro woke corporatist, it is pro-censorship, and it is in bed with the deep state it used to be at war with.

        Parts of the historic mess in afghanistan is a reflection of those changing politics.

  6. September 1, 2021 10:09 am

    I honestly hope you are right that it will not be easy to Return to the medevil conditions 2000 Afghanistan.

    But I think the odds are heavily against you.

    Iran was far more modern in 1979 than Afghanistan ever was, and yet it was and still is engulfed int he dark ages.

    There have been brief sparks of light in Iran over the past 40 years – The US government aided in Crushing them.

    Today – as we watch Afghanistan decend into the middle ages, disidents in Iran warn us that the Reign of the Ayatolah’s was nearing collapse, when the Shift in US policies by Biden provided them with much needed Cash to avert collapse.

  7. rondabellelane permalink
    September 1, 2021 12:36 pm

    I refuse to comment further on the post of someone who does not read my posts. “Yes. Biden made a horrible error in announcing our departure date…”

    • Ron P permalink
      September 1, 2021 2:05 pm

      Ronda, both Trump and Biden may have made the mistake of negotiating a date of withdrawal. I tried reading the history of this war and there is way too much to read and understand given all the dates that the major players met, negotiated, broke promises, etc.

      But to sum up may diatribe about Biden earlier, either he had very bad information from our intelligence, along with forgetting what he had learned over a lifetime in the senate on how insurgents operate in taking over countries, or he ignored all of them and ordered the withdrawal with no regards to the outcome, only to get out now so it could be forgotten later in election years.

      Which one, I have no idea. I know what I lean towards believing and that will leak out over the next few years. There will be no congressional investigations on how this happened because the democrats will sweep it under the rug, just as the GOP used that same rug to cover crap that happened during GOP terms. Only the media will be able to uncover the true story if they are interested.

      However it occurred one can only hope that lessons were learned since 2001 and future presidents will keep our noses out of the middle east because those people do not want westerners telling them what to do. Not until the people in those countries are willing to fight for their own freedoms and not run like mice fleeing a burning building will anything change.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 1, 2021 9:28 pm

        Thank you Ron. I remember discussing things with you before, and (while we didn’t always agree) we respected each other… admittedly, you floored me earlier – this is much better.

        No, this may never be looked into – seems far right Republicans (for now) are grasping at anything they think can lead to strength… but I still feel it’s much less of an issue than what we endured under Trump.

        Aside from that, we seriously need to get corporations out of politics! Afghanistan and the surrounding countries are rich gems, oil, and a myriad of other things – corporate pressure will not end until we force it to.

        For the two of us? Peace!

      • Ron P permalink
        September 1, 2021 10:55 pm

        Well I got off on a tangent from the lead in your comment starting with the plague statement after I had thought I had just addressed the withdrawal plans Biden had just completed and was trying to avoid anything other than that.

        One thing that sets me off is politicians who will not take responsibility for their actions and blame predecessors or those that follow for anything that goes wrong, but are the first to claim responsibility when thing go right. And way too many voters buy their kool-aide.

      • September 2, 2021 2:31 pm

        No one in government takes responsibility.

        Heads should roll over this.

        One of my problems with Trump is that he did NOT fire enough people.

        He should have taken office, publicly re-itterated his platform and what he intended and publicly given notice to those in government that did not both impliment his platform and do so successfully that they would be FIRED.

        We elected someone whose motto was practically “your fired” – and he failed to fire clear incompetents.

        No one expect Biden to hold anyone accountable. He can not tie his shoe laces.

      • September 2, 2021 1:51 pm

        Republicans do not need to grasp.

        Frankly the extent to which they are stretching things is tame compared to that of democrats.

        The left should thank God that Biden is non-compis mentis. They have a built in excuse for failure in his mental deficiencies.

        Biden took office with the wind at his back. He is now being driven backward by a huricane.

        The problems of the moment go well beyond afghanistan.

        Inflation, threats of stagflation, a weak economy, a mess at the southern border, his failed promise to deal with Covid, rising crime, enormous debt, gas prices, uncertainty.

        The Democratic platform was that they could do better at all these things than Trump.

        They failed.

        I did not honestly expect Democrats to fail as badly and as quickly as they have.

        I expected that after a qtr or two of weak Covid recovery that we would revert to the weak Obama economy.

        Absolutely Republicans are taking advantage, they are spinning and exagerating.

        But the problems are large and real regardless.

        Leaving afghanistan would likely have been messy – even if it happened under Trump.

        But most people find it hard to beleive Trump would have done worse.

        He extricated the US from Syria without this kind of mess.

      • September 2, 2021 1:56 pm

        You can not get special interests out of politics.

        So long as government has power SOMEONE will seek to rent that power.

        In the unlikely case that you completely eliminated corporate political influence – they would just be replaced by a different interest group.

        This is the problem when you see and empower government to be the solution to all your problems. Others see government the same way – and inevitably they are better it getting government to do their bidding than you are.

        You ranted about the GOP attacks on Afghanistan. We can quible over details.
        We can Quible over whether the Taliban will benefit, but inarguably the US wasted a $hitload of money in Afghanistan. That money was taken from tax payers, and no value was delivered.

      • September 2, 2021 3:56 pm

        There will be investigations.

        The democrats will do a whitewash now.

        If Republicans take back either the house or Senate – there will be further investigations.

        And there needs to be. Both of the batched withdraw and the mess that was 20 years of failed nation building.

      • September 2, 2021 3:58 pm

        Of course things will leak out – they already are.

        Whether Self serving, cover my ass or I told you so myriads of analysts are already leaking assessments that reject the whitehouse narative.

        And this is going so badly neither the whitehouse, state department. DOD or … are insync on messaging.

  8. Savannah Jordan permalink
    September 1, 2021 7:55 pm

    Rick, agree with everything you said except for one of your last statements: ” Freedom is a heady potion, and now that the Afghans have tasted it, they won’t be as willing to submit to theocratic despots.” The patriots of the French Revolution were on fire with a love of liberty and it turned into a blood bath. Democracy demands the awareness and the desire to know and respects where my rights end and another’s rights begin.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 1, 2021 9:35 pm

      Understood, but some tastes are hard to shove aside when experienced. When our country started, there were many against it… there were many who simply went along with the side their neighbors were on.
      Somehow, we made it to where we are now – constantly (along the years) questioning, growing too slow in many ways, and lately exploding into scary places (although ancestors would argue this is nothing new…)

      History has shown that things can grow from many things – including an experience you don’t want to give up…

      • September 2, 2021 2:02 pm

        To learn from history you must confront your mistakes.

        There must be consequences.

        Another of the many problems of government is that those in it do not have any “skin in the game”.

        They are rewarded whether they succeed or fail.

        Many are calling for Miley and Austin’s resignation now.

        Obviously they should go – as should the many many people who were part of this mess.

        Starting with those who botched the withdraw, but including all of those driving the mission to “nation build” in Afghanistan.

        But we see no consequences for lying or failure.

        Here is Glenn Greenwald – no “far right republican” – directly confronting the LIES that those in the Obama administration told us – partly about Snowden, but more broadly.

    • September 2, 2021 11:54 am

      The French revolution is what you get when you shift from valuing freedom to trying to force equality.

      We can all have very nearly equal liberty. We are not and can not be equal in any other way and efforts to force that will always end in blood.

  9. rondabellelane permalink
    September 1, 2021 11:20 pm

    Well Ron, I reacted similarly to your post… but not getting into specifics anymore… I think we’re good.

  10. Priscilla permalink
    September 2, 2021 9:27 am

    America no longer has a clear national identity, a belief in its own righteousness, or a set of shared values and beliefs. The very fact that Joe Biden is president is symptomatic of our lack of civility and cohesion. He is a man who is controlled by…well,who knows who gives him those lists of “journalists” that he is “instructed” to call on… He blames everything on Trump, and openly supports unconstitutional policies (ex: eviction moratorium) supported by the far left. He speaks of Republicans with more anger and vitriol than he speaks of “our partners,” the Taliban.

    It’s pretty clear that neither Biden nor Harris are really in charge of anything, Heck, Kamala Harris hotfooted it out of the country, and stayed out, while this debacle unfolded. Biden appeared a couple of times and read statements from the teleprompter, refusing, in most cases, to answer questions from the press. Now that he’s “declared victory,” he’s apparently back on vacay.

    General Mark Milley claimed that he had “no idea” that the Taliban would be able to take over so quickly. Really? How is that, when other military leaders, actually on the ground, were warning of exactly that? Antony Blinken, SecState, went on all of the Sunday shows to do his best Baghdad Bob (This is the most successful airlift in history!! Ignore those dead marines, and those people being left behind!”) imitation. John Kirby, the increasingly haggard and flustered DOD spokesman, claimed not to even know how many Americans we were abandoning in the country. This is all incompetence on a grand scale. Yet, no one has been fired or resigned in disgrace.

    Nope, just, “oh well, we did the best we could, it just didn’t turn out as we wanted.” As Joe Biden himself would say, if this were some other president’s order, “Come ON, man!” But Biden does as he is instructed. Everyone gets a trophy.

    And the woke State Dept and our new woke military leadership is married to the idea that this is the best possible outcome, with our partners, the Terrorists- oops, I mean the Taliban- while the British Parliament condemns Biden, and the British Treasury Minister responds to Biden’s statements by calling him a “blithering idiot.” But, in his mission accomplished speech, Biden called the operation a great success, and said it was time to move on.

    Yeah, ok. Nothing important here, nothing to see…let’s talk about something else. Like those evil Republicans….

    • Priscilla permalink
      September 2, 2021 9:28 am

      By the way, the Republicans are just as feckless and weak. They just aren’t responsible for this Afghan tragedy.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 2, 2021 12:10 pm

      Uh… sorry Priscilla… but who exactly is labeling ALL Republicans as evil?

      Trump and his far far right? …more like dumb and dumber. Smart people like you who still support him? Honestly, I have no clue. Generally – with personal friends who still think he’s ‘all that’ – we’ve agreed to simply not talk politics. There is no changing them – for several reasons – and I’m done trying.

      This is a forum for discussion, and I sense a rant in the above post – with (sorry) little substantiation. You of all people can do better. If you truly want me to dissect this, I can do so – with substantiation to either clarify or dispute. Your choice.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 2, 2021 1:29 pm

        Ronda, if you think that I said anything inaccurate, by all means, correct me with your sources. WordPress will allow only one link per comment, so I generally refrain from linking now, particularly when there is so much reporting out there. If you have something specific, for which you would like my sources, let me know. I base my opinions on the facts as I’m able to discern them.

        In addition to my horror at the gross incompetence of this withdrawal, I share with many, an anger that it caused the needless deaths of 13 young servicemen and women, who were forced, by their own commanders, to depend on the Taliban to protect them, but who instead got them blown up. These young marines and soldiers should not have even been there, but for the fact that the US was forced to evacuate civilians, who should have been evacuated long before our 2,500 remaining troops were pulled, in the middle of the night, and without warning even to our closest allies. If that is a “rant,” so be it.

        For what it’s worth, however, I am not “far right,” nor am I a “Trump supporter”, at least, not in the sense that you seem to think. I voted for Trump, but he lost. I am not supportive of him running again. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I would vote for Biden or Harris, but the idea that I think Trump is “all that” is simply one of those things that I can only shake my head at. Frankly, it’s an insinuation that I cannot think for myself. I’m sure that you don’t believe that. On the other hand, as incredulous as you may be that anyone could support Trump, is as incredulous as I am that anyone could defend what Biden has done.

      • September 3, 2021 12:05 pm

        There are several major areas related to Afghanistan that merit examination.

        1). Did we have a legitimate basis for attacking Afghanistan/Taliban in the first place ?

        Lost in the mess we have made of afghanistan is the fact that we were justified in going there in the first place.

        I do not think there is much disagreement on that – but if there is someone who wishes to argue differently – I would like to hear that.

        2). Having removed the Taliban from power, what should we have done next ?

        I think that it is self evident that the “Nation Building” effort in Afghanistan was a failure.
        I can not think of anywhere in which we have engaged in successful “nation building”.

        3). Every president starting with Bush has promised to get us out of Afghanistan.
        Why has it taken 20 years ?

        4). The Government “Experts” – in this instance our national security and intelligence services, as well as our military leadership have all been WRONG – dramatically WRONG, for DECADES. Further as with Vietnam (and myriads of other examples) they have not merely been WRONG – but they have been LYING to us. Whether it is the leaks from Manning, or Snowden or the Afghan Papers, pretty much nothing in Afghanistan has gone as we were told and these “experts” knew it was going wrong and knew that they were never going to succeed very nearly from the start.

        5). How do we extricate our selves from messes like Afghanistan ?

        6). How do we prevent future Afghanistan’s ?

      • September 3, 2021 11:21 am

        If you think Trump is “far right” – then you have a warped view of the world.

        What position(s) of Trump makes him “far right” ?

        Most of his core positions have super majority support of americans.
        Most of his positions were held by many democrats in my lifetime.

        if you are labeling Trump “far right” – then you are labeling most of the country “far right” – which is a very twisted political spectrum.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 3, 2021 1:49 pm

        Trump was not far right, but was way out of the main stream from any politician.

        But just looking at N.C., most of the politicians that publically supported him or still do are far right out of what I consider acceptable limits.

      • September 3, 2021 3:41 pm

        “Trump was not far right, but was way out of the main stream from any politician.”

        Again how so ?

        What significant policies of Trump’s did not have majority or supermajority support ?

        “But just looking at N.C., most of the politicians that publically supported him or still do are far right out of what I consider acceptable limits.”

        Again you definition of “far right” is non-existant.

        I do not know who you mean, and you have not made clear what you consider “acceptable limits”

        Are these people advocating a return to slavery ?

        Are they seeking to Tax the crap out of the country ?

        What are the “acceptable limits” that “far right” republicans are violating ?

        I am looking for objective standards – I do not have to agree with yours, but all you have done so far is ambiguous

      • September 3, 2021 11:32 am

        Why do you insist on framing everything with respect to people ?

        As an example – why would you ever support Biden ?

        His political history is farther to the right than you claim Trump is.
        Beyond that he has a long record of misrepresentation lying and plagiarizing.

        If you were to actually trust him – his policies are political nonsense.

        Where Trump either Kept or made a very serious effort to keep most of his campaign promises – Biden lied, and he lied about lying.

        Though even accusing Biden of lying presumes he is not so demented that he actually knew the truth.

        I can not speak for Priscilla, but with respect to my “support” for Trump – there is no such thing.

        I support many of his specific policies.
        I oppose others.
        But I am hard pressed to think of Anything that Democrats seek to acheive that I do not vigorously oppose.
        Even where Trump is wrong about something – such as Immigration – Democrats are unarguably WORSE.

        Finally whatever the problems of Republicans individually or as a group, they are by far the lessor evil.

        And the past 9 months has demonstrated that pretty well.

      • September 3, 2021 11:35 am

        What does “I am done trying” mean ?

        In your private life you are free to do or not do pretty much whatever you please.

        But where you seek to use FORCE – either through government or individually, it is necessary but not sufficient that you persuade ATLEAST a majority of people to go along with you.

      • September 3, 2021 11:37 am

        Whatever your position – and whatever the issue is, yes, I expect that you will support your arguments with Facts, logic and reason.

        But I am not seeing that.

        You are constantly pushing fallacies – various forms of ad hominem, appeals to authority.

        All logical fallices are tangents to substantive discussion of the real issues.

    • September 2, 2021 2:49 pm

      I would challenge you claim that we have lost our national identity.

      I think we are in the midst of a fight over exactly that.

      The left has been incredibly successful, but they are not a majority, or even close and their own success inherently undermines them.

      I read a recent poll on censorship. From 80 to 20 the extent to which people accepted broad censorship inversely correlated to age. That bodes badly for our future.

      But surprisingly the single most anti-censorship age cohort was those UNDER 20.
      they were more strongly anti-censorship than even seniors.

      I am told that they are seeing their own form of “political” censorship in social media and elswhere and they are pushing back – but it is NOT republican/democrat censorship, it is in areas like gaming or the other norms of teens.

      That was heartening.

      I also think the Biden admins massive foreign policy failures – and these go well beyond afghanistan. are important.

      The left claimed we had lost the respect of the world during the Trump administration – but it is clear that Biden has eroded US global respect even further.

      Biden, Putin other world leaders Bully Biden remorselessly – with no expectations of consequences. the left engages in Alynskite divisive tactics domestically but thinks it can Kumbaya the world into behaving.

      You have noted there is no libertarian govenrment in the world.

      I would remind you again that the global governance is and always has been not librtarian, but anarcho-capitalist. It is messy, it is sometimes brutal, but mostly it works, further there is no other choice. As we are seeing “kumbaya” is not an effective foreign policy.

      There are two intertwined elements of US foreign policy. First we must act in our interests – those of the american people. The 2nd is we must act according to our founding principles.

      That conduct earned us global respect – long before we were a superpower,

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 2, 2021 4:31 pm

        “I would challenge you claim that we have lost our national identity.”

        Dave, I base my opinion on the fact that the extreme political and cultural divisions have become so glaring in our country, that the right and the left cannot now agree even on things as basic as the rights guaranteed under the Constitution, or any previous understanding of our shared history, much less whether men can literally become women, or vice-versa.

        Democrats have repeatedly accused Republicans of being traitiors and Republicans are now doing the same to Democrats. I see genuine hate on both sides, and it is being encouraged and exacerbated by many of our political leaders.

        I’d ask you what values the nation shares, because I believe that we have been so thoroughly sliced and diced by identity politics, that we no longer share a national identity or value system.

        The revulsion at this withdrawal is the closest thing that I’ve seen, in quite some time, to a majority opinion being shared by a majority of Americans. Yet, still, most Democrats are defending Biden, not because he’s right, but because they fear that criticizing him will hurt him politically. Ironically, this is exactly what they accused Republicans of doing with Trump.

        It’s like sports super-fans who love a bad call when it helps their team, but hate the same bad call when it goes against them. No real concern over whether it’s the right call.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 2, 2021 6:27 pm

        Priscilla, getting out was right – announcing it was wrong. This is something I stated before, but the screams from the far right are overreaching considering what Trump has done.

        Check out the polls… the real legitimate ones – not Fox or the like. They may not approve of the announcement, but his numbers have seriously not dropped all that much overall.

        I don’t hate anyone but Trump, and I have despised him for some time – well before the election. Lowering his personal taxes… talking privately with countries (like Russia) and coming out looking like a beaten boy… name calling… and much more.

        You say you don’t like Trump, but at the same time you say he’s better than what we have – sorry, but I seriously disagree.

        I DO disagree with ANYONE I feel did wrong – no matter the position that person may hold, and the announcement was wrong – but at the same time, would it really have gone better if unannounced? We will never know – the Taliban were already waiting for this, and ready… Trump announced it months ago, released imprisoned Taliban leaders to take over most of the country, and the outcome was set. No way were we winning this or coming out of it in any way that wouldn’t be criticized.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 2, 2021 8:04 pm

        Hey Ronda, We may be talking about two different things, so let me be clear abour what I’m saying.

        The American public has been very supportive of getting out of Afghanistan for many years now. That is not what we’re discussing here, or at least not the only thing. Most of us agree that withdrawal needed to happen. Personally, I think leaving a status force of 2500 would have been a good idea. We have many thousands of troops in Germany, Japan and South Korea, for strategic reasons. But that’s a topic for another day.

        As always, the devil is in the details, and what is driving Biden’s numbers down is NOT the withdrawal, but the WAY he chose to withdraw. And it wasn’t that he announced it ~ both Obama and Trump announced it too, but then realized that getting out the right way was not so easy.
        Biden chose to ignore the right way and just yanked out the very small force that we had in the country, without letting Great Britain, France, Denmark and other nations know we were going in the middle of the night, without $89B of munitions and high tech fighter jets, Blackhawk, helicopters, tanks and night vision goggles (the “super power” that allowed our special ops marines to do what they did) among other things. I read that the Taliban now is the 26th most powerful military in the world, thanks to our leaving them an army’s worth of US taxpayer stuff.

        So, you referred to polls. I checked the Biden approval polls from this week. None were from Fox, although Fox is a legit poll, which is used by 538 and Real Clear Politics Here they are~ NPR/PBS/Marist: Approve 43%, Disapprove 51%, Rasmussen: Approve 42% Disapprove 56%, Politico Approve 47%, Disapprove 40%, YouGov: Approve 47% Disapprove 46%

        Reuters did a poll asking whether respondants approved or disapproved of Biden’s handling of the withdrawal: Approve 38%, Disapprove 51%

        Trump is no longer the president. Almost every one of his policies has been reversed by Biden, including his plan for withdrawal, so I see no point in arguing over him in this case. This withdrawal was Biden’s withdrawal, not the one that Obama or Trump never did, and Biden alone is accountable, just as Trump or Obama would have been, if this had happened on their watch. Biden promised the Taliban that he would get out, and he promised that, before we left, all American citizens would get out safely.

        He only kept one of those promises. That’s the problem here….

      • September 3, 2021 2:56 pm

        “Priscilla, getting out was right – announcing it was wrong. This is something I stated before, but the screams from the far right are overreaching considering what Trump has done.”

        What absolute nonsense.

        First the August departure was set LONG ago – By Trump.
        Next, the US military can not exist a country bringing tens of thousands of american citizens and over 100,000 people who assisted us secretly overnight.

        This entire “announcing a date” argument is complete idiocy. It is a very stupid straw man.

        Please read Fmr. Marine and Fmr Senator Webb (D)’s analysis of the mess.
        You can agree or disagree but at the very least he is knowledgeable, informed and expert, and this “setting a date” nonsense was not a factor.

        Develop some critical thinking skills. The “setting a date” argument is as stupid as blaming the sun for rising in the morning.

        The US is not going to leave Afghanistan without the entire world knowing that it is happening and without the Taliban being able to take advantage each step along the way.

        You want to rant about the attacks from this “mythical” far right – while your own arguments are complete BS.

        Absolutely many republicans are making political hay out of the Biden failure. Just as democrats have tried to do with the manufactured failure of republicans they concocted.
        That is politics. It is a part of why we do not trust politicians right or left.

        Absolutely many republican claims about Biden’s afghanistan failure are incorrect.
        Just as your “setting a date” claim is complete nonsense.

        One of the reasons we need deep scrutiny of the Afghanistan debacle is to separate the bogus claims from the valid ones – regardless of their sources.

        Regardless, Afghanistan involves many failures. Some of those failures belong to Bush, to Obama, to Trump and to Biden.
        But the botched exit – REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE rests with Biden and his advisors and staff.

        I have identified every president in the 21st century as having atlease partial culpability for much of the mess in Afghanistan. but that culpability is not equal, and more importantly it is not soley the culpability of the president. Myriads of others in our military, in our state deparement and in our intelligence services bear significant responsibility both for the final disasterous departure, and for the two decades of failure than preceded it.
        These people are republicans, democrats, independents. They are what is frequently refered to as “the deep state”, and they have clearly failed the country. Nor is this the first time.

        This is not about “setting the date” – it is about a lifelong culture of error, abuse of power, mistakes of consequence by those in our govenrment.

      • September 3, 2021 3:04 pm

        “Check out the polls… the real legitimate ones – not Fox or the like. They may not approve of the announcement, but his numbers have seriously not dropped all that much overall.”

        Both 538 and RCP have Biden underwater.

        ABC/WP 44%
        Reuters 46%
        NPR/PBS 43%

      • September 3, 2021 3:28 pm

        “I don’t hate anyone but Trump, and I have despised him for some time – well before the election. Lowering his personal taxes… talking privately with countries (like Russia) and coming out looking like a beaten boy… name calling… and much more.”

        Nothing you describe is a reason to hate anyone.

        As Famous Jurist Learned Hand noted over a century ago seeking to pay the lowest possible taxes is not a crime, it is arguably a civic duty.

        I have no idea what “talking with countries” means – Biden is in trouble right now because of leaked private communications with Ghani, throughout the Trump administration Kerry and others engaged in private meetings with foreign leaders in attempts to thwart the official policies of the United states government.

        I have no idea what “coming out looking like a beaten boy” even means.

        I am not happy with the name calling in politics, but it has been going on for a long long time.
        Obama’s vile remarks about Palin and his deprecatory remarks about many american voters long predate those of Trump.

        “You say you don’t like Trump, but at the same time you say he’s better than what we have – sorry, but I seriously disagree.”

        Your free to do agree, disagree, hold whatever view you wish – but if you want to be taken credibly – you need to make your case much better than you have.
        Not only were your reasons for hating Trump poor, they are also off point regarding comparison to the Biden presidency.

        Afghanistan is a disaster – but it is not like it is the sole failure of the Biden administration.
        As noted before in area after area Biden was elected with the wind at his back.
        And still he has failed.
        Consumer confidence is collapsing.
        Inflation is rising.
        Fear by economists – even from the left of stagflation is real.
        Volatility is much higher than Trump.

        The US relations with foreign countries are WORSE.
        Foreign leaders – both enemies and friends do not respect Biden.
        They do not trust him, and they do not fear him.
        Biden is the leader of the worlds sole super power and is still impotent.
        China is pissing all over Biden.
        We have the highest risk that the CCP will try to invade Taiwan that we have ever seen.
        The southern border is a mess – more kids are put in cages per month than the whole Trump admin.
        Biden Promised to do better than Trump with Covid – even with a vaccine he has done worse.

        In area after Area the Biden administration does not know what it is doing, and is failing.

        Trump was not the great president he claimed – but he was still the best president in the 21st century.

        Trump accomplished everything he did in his presidency against strong headwinds, from the left, from the media, from democrats, from you, from many republicans.

        Biden has had until recently a fawning press, and every possible advantage.

        Most americans wanted Biden to succeed. Biden could have taken office, done very little avoided conflict and coasted on a growing economy with the wind at his back.
        Instead he has failed – BY CHOICE.

        “I DO disagree with ANYONE I feel did wrong”
        I do not care what you “feel” – Facts, logic reason.

        “no matter the position that person may hold, and the announcement was wrong – but at the same time, would it really have gone better if unannounced? We will never know”
        Still shilling this stupidity. Yes, we can actually know. As you demonstrate below.

        “the Taliban were already waiting for this, and ready…”

        “Trump announced it months ago,”
        Correct, though actually a year ago.

        “released imprisoned Taliban leaders to take over most of the country,”
        Do you have a crime to charge them with ?

        “and the outcome was set.”
        No actually nothing was Set. Biden took office Jan 20, 2021. He was free to do as he pleased. To leave, to stay, to leave on a specific day, or not.

        “No way were we winning this or coming out of it in any way that wouldn’t be criticized.”
        That is correct, and after 4 years of watching as people like you criticized as Trump succeeded – you are absolutely correct – Biden would be critized no matter how well this went.

        But most people are not stupid. The general public is pretty accurate at assessing Afghanistan.

        We were right to go
        We were wrong to stay.
        We were right to leave.
        Biden botched the withdrawl.

      • September 3, 2021 12:46 pm

        “Dave, I base my opinion on the fact that the extreme political and cultural divisions have become so glaring in our country, that the right and the left cannot now agree even on things as basic as the rights guaranteed under the Constitution, or any previous understanding of our shared history, much less whether men can literally become women, or vice-versa.”

        It is absolutely true that the public sphere is consumed with these glaring divisions.

        I do not think it is true that the country is actually deeply divided.

        This is one place I part with Rick and many moderates.

        There is only one consequential extreme pole today.

        Rhonda claimed Trump was “far right” – how so ? Like or do not like Trump, there is little difference in his positions and those expressed by Bill Clinton or even Barack Obama 15 years ago.

        The same is true of the Republican party as a whole. There is no consequential “far right” to speak of.

        There are no consequential leaders expressing actual far right positions.
        If you actually accept that Richard Spensor, Neo Nazi’s and the KKK are on the right, or that Patriot Prayer, Oath Keepers, … are the “far right” – is there a single elected person that is identified with them ?

        While On the left we have a Democratic Senator (Sanders) openly embracing regimes like Cuba, Venezeulla, and the USSR. Or those like AOC and the squad. Nir is the far left tilt to democrats limited to those few specific party leaders.

      • September 3, 2021 1:30 pm

        “Democrats have repeatedly accused Republicans of being traitiors and Republicans are now doing the same to Democrats.”

        Absolutely, I have noted this specifically about Trump. Much of what we all “hate” about Trump is that he uses the same Alynskyite tactics that the left has employed with incresing frequency for decades against them.

        Read Rules for Radicals. There is absolutely NOTHING ideological about it. While it is a set of tactics written to empower the left, the tactics work for ANYONE.

        You note Republicans increasingly embracing the tactics of democrats – agreed, They have been doing so for some time.

        Whether it is formal shifts like changing house and Senate rules or it is the name calling you are addressing, this is increasing, and will continue to do so until the tactics no longer work.

        Right now the left is appoplectic over the SCOTUS decision not to grant an injunction against the TX abortion law. But missing in the public debate is the REASON fo the courts decision – Standing.

        Standing was the single largest impediment to timely scrutiny of the 2020 Election.

        “I see genuine hate on both sides, and it is being encouraged and exacerbated by many of our political leaders.”

        There is real hate coming from a portion of the left.
        But most of those on the right are justifiably angry – which is not the same thing.

        The left actually HATES much of the country. The rest of us are all racist, mysoginist, homophobic, transphobic, hateful, hating haters.

        This type of thinking has ALWAYS been pervasive on the left. My 30 something year old Nephew who is a Phd student at Stanford and just barely to the right of Anti-fa, is constantly telling his mother – “do not worry mom, when the revolution comes and we start guilotining the haters, I will protect you”..

        Much of what is happening in this particularly political moment in the US most strongly resembles the cultural revolution in China – where Mao unleashed children to tear down everything, to destroy chinese history and culture to persecute adults.

        But there are differences – in the US there is no political power equivalent to Mao.

        Regardless, my point is that for the most part those on the “right” follow the evangelical aphorism “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner.”

        The distinction is extremely important.

        Those on the right do not seek to silence those on the left. They do not seek to deny them service, they do not seek to deprive them of the necesities for a decent life.
        But those on the left have no problem with that. If you oppose the left YOU are the target – not your ideas.

        Look arround TNM – increasingly those on the left drive the discussion to personal attacks unrelated at all to the issues.

        Rhonda has presumed that you support Trump blindly, and then filled an entire post on that.

        What has whether you support Trump or don’t got to do with any issue ?

        Any discussion of Afghanistan MUST address the specific failures and successes of specific people – whether our presidents, or our military and intelligence leaders.

        But for those on the left ALL issues ALWAYS degenerate into relatively generic attacks on specific people and those who presumably “support” them.

        You have unique views on Afghanistan, they are not mine, they are not Trump’s they are yours. I want to hear YOUR views, I am likely to challenge some parts and support others.
        But I benefit from your perspective – even when I disagree. Further when you make a point – even one I disagree with, I think about it. learn and revise my own positions.

        But from far too many on the left (and sometimes on the right) that is not what we get.
        We get personal attacks – not debate on the issue. We get guilt by association, we get appeals to authority, we get hatred, and claims of moral failure. we get all kinds of nonsense – but we do not get a discussion of the actual issue.

        For those on the left holding the incorrect position on an issue is a moral failure.

        I accuse others of moral failure frequently – but only for a few very specific reasons.

        If you use or condone the use of force against others without justifying it – that is a moral failure.

        If you accuse others of moral failure, you are obligated to prove that failure or the moral failure is yours.

        I do not – nor do most people not on the left go arround accusing others of being racists, or liars, or other forms of moral failure simply because we disagree on issues.

        And THAT is a critical difference between those on the left and the rest of us.

      • September 3, 2021 2:05 pm

        “I’d ask you what values the nation shares, because I believe that we have been so thoroughly sliced and diced by identity politics, that we no longer share a national identity or value system.”

        Again much of the conflict is at the far left. We are deceived into believing that it is pervasive by a warped media.

        We have as an example seen an explosion of what I will call “woke” sports in the past few years. People have responded by losing interest in sports.

        People do not want a side of “anti-racism” with their monday night football.
        Most of us do not care if a few people kneel for the national anthem.
        But we do care when all players are coerced into doing so. ‘

        Some of the work I currently do involves a great deal of travel accross about 6 northeast states.

        Once in a blue moon I still see an Obama bumper sticker on a Car – usually in a city.

        I have not seen a Biden sign or sticker since two months after the election.

        The most common “political” symbol I see today are american flags. I see nearly as many flags today as I did after 9/11.

        Those flying american flags MIGHT be democrats or republicans, but it is near certain they are NOT on the left.

        Every single day I see myriads of Trump flags, banners, bumper stickers. Often quite large ones. Sometimes NEW ones.

        The other big symbol I see constantly are the Blue Lives matter flags.

      • September 3, 2021 2:16 pm

        One of the problems regarding these “national identity” issues is that the left does not tolerate even the discussion of the issues.

        I have been a frequent critic of Policing on this Blog over the course of decades.

        I have a long list of reforms I would like to see.

        But demonizing the police and trying to pretend that systemic racism in policing or pretty much anything is some core problem is just idiocy.

        I will be happy to work towards enacting reforms, like ending qualified immunity, asset forfeiture, policing for profit, militarized policing, the war on drugs, …..

        But everything I am looking to change is “at the margins” – I am not looking to reduce or eliminate policing.

        Further it is NONSENSE to believe that social work and various programs or other interventions are a substitute for policing.

        My point is that there is plenty of room for reasoned debate regarding Policing.

        And most of the country would be happy with a reasoned discussion of policing and policing reforms.

        But the relatively small left and their enablers in the media and the democratic party do not allow that.

        What you see as a lack of shared national identity I see as the efforts by those on the left to supress our mostly shared values.

        Though they have been somewhat successful in the public sphere – they have not been successful overall.

      • September 3, 2021 2:34 pm

        I am honestly surprised at the massive amount of failure that it takes to discredit leftist views.

        If you were selling the “collusion delusion” – why should anyone beleive you again about anything else ?

        If you were selling the “Russian Disinformation” nonsense about the Bidens – why should anyone beleive you about anything else ?

        If you were selling myriads of claims that an assortment of things are debunked conspiracy theories – such as the lab leak hypothesis – why should anyone beleive you about anything else ?

        I here constantly from those on the left that Trump is a liar, liar LIAR.

        Please – provide examples of meaningful deliberate lies.

        Demonstrate that Trump has routinely and deliberately mislead people in the way that most democrats and the media do all the time – and I an millions of others will ignore him completely.

        The left and the media constantly rant about the “big lie” of the moment, and in instance after instance prove ultimately wrong. Like the boy who cried wolf eventually they are not beleived.

        Trust in the media is at an all time low. Trust in government is even lower.

        Those are proof that most people do not beleive most of what they hear.

  11. rondabellelane permalink
    September 3, 2021 12:33 am

    Biden’s overall approval ratings are at 49% according to Reuters… lower than they were, and (yes, Afghanistan is now and current) but it won’t stay that way. The person you no longer support get that high on a reputable poll? Sorry, but the polls you mentioned are right leaning – it does matter. Reuters is central.

    The countries you mention where we have soldiers – covering various sites – do not just one city left because the person you no longer support released Taliban leaders without anyone’s approval but his own.

    The amount of operational equipment left by US forces is highly in dispute, with many stating they were rendered in-operational. This is currently at “we shall see” status.

    It is not yet known how many of our citizens are left in Afghanistan.
    They were given enough notice, and were taken before others. Those left claiming citizenship may not actually have it – another we shall see.

    No, Trump is not president… but Trump’s handling of Covid19, his tax cuts for himself & rich buddies, his release of so many Taliban leaders… you cannot negate him in this.

    • September 3, 2021 5:30 pm

      Reuters has Biden at 46 not 49. Only the hill and YouGov have Biden in postive teritory.
      No one has over 49%.
      USA Today has Biden at -14.

    • September 3, 2021 5:34 pm

      The Hill had Trump at 50% on Jan 3 2021.
      Harvard/Harris at 51 on 11/19/2021

      You can find historical data for Trump’s approval rating from varrious polls at RCP.

    • September 3, 2021 5:37 pm

      The amount of equipment left is not particularly consequential.

      The fact that we spent $1T and got NOTHING for it is what matters.
      Biden is not completely personally responsible for that.

      With respect to your direct claim – the FACT is we have turned over an enormous amount of military equipment to what will likely be a terrorist state.

      It is not likely that the Taliban will keep or use much of it – it is going to despots round the world.

    • September 3, 2021 5:42 pm

      Trump dealt with Covid for 11 months. During that time according to YOUR numbers 320K people died of Covid.

      Biden has dealt with Covid for 9 months. During that time 320K people have died of Covid.

      Trump fought Covid without a vaccine – though it is inarguable that we would still be waiting for the vaccine but for Trump. Biden has had a vaccine his entire presidency – and still 320K people have died.

      It is now inevitable that more people will have died in the same time under Biden.

      Biden promised a miracle that he could not deliver.

      You can claim whatever you want regarding Trump and covid – the FACT is that Biden is inarguably worse. And Biden is a LIAR. Biden promised miracles he could not deliver.

  12. Vermonta permalink
    September 3, 2021 7:33 am

    Ronda, I like Biden, I sent him money in the election. I still like him. Watching the reactions on TNM is interesting to me over the years because it gives a window into various types of political believers. Some people here represent a type that is typical of tens of millions of voters, others do not and are their own almost unique type. The site has lacked almost any firm liberal/democratic posters for many years its been libertarian or conservative posters dominating, I have been the token liberal and I am not very liberal. I am sure you have observed who is who here and who represents what ideological group. Dave is unique, he is his own group with his own situation. Priscilla is very firmly republican, has never had a rational word to say about Biden or really any democrat, for more than a decade and will reliably attack any of them. Ron detests all politicians, right and left other than Manchin, so he is consistent. He is on the conservative and libertarian side but I find him to be rational and very fact based and he will often surprise me pleasantly by going against the grain. If you hang around and represent a liberal viewpoint strongly that would be great, its much needed here.

    On polls and Biden: Biden has taken a real 10-12 point hit on the 538 site. I believe its real. He is still in a better position than trump ever was in on 538. Fox polling actually is a very high quality, strange as that may seem, it has been a constant source of anger to the right and to trump. I believe Fox polls. I don’t believe Rasmussen polls, they are a joke. To lose 10-12 points on 538s poll tracker that means that 6% of people have changed their opinion recently, these are the rare persuadable people, the ones who don’t automatically support one side. These are very important people, they decide elections. Since the next POTUS election is 3+ years off this is not yet the end of the world for Biden, but its not good.

    I was sure and said so many times here in the last year that the 2020 election was not going to lead to any better political times, whoever won I was sure was going to be incapable of producing a good mood. The economy will recover from the distortions of COVID19 very slowly. Inflation makes people sour and inflation was inevitable in a workers market with employers unable to fill positions. Supply and demand don’t care who is president.

    The next election cycle is congressional and as of this moment I predict the Dems hold on to the House and Senate. Things are not going well in 2021, which I could and did easily predict, which hurts the Dems, but the GOP is a hideous mess, so that balances things and leaves us where we have been for quite a while, generic dem candidates have a 6-8% preference, but a lot of those dem voters are concentrated in a few places. Our politics will continue to produce no clear cut victor in the struggle between Dem and GOP.

    I never want to see the GOP hold the POTUS again in my lifetime and I will reliably send money to the Dem party at election times. I am not a progressive and will never send money to any progressive group. The moderates still have a 60/40 advantage in the Dem party and Bernie is fading as a phenomenon, while the GOP is 80/20 advantage toward the world of trump.

    One other thing I was certain of during trumps time was that while trump pursued a very, very different foreign policy than the traditional GOP one and GOP voters went along, albeit many of them reluctantly, once a Democrat became president the GOP world would inevitably call him weak, where they called trump strong. I thought trump was very “weak” on foreign policy according to traditional GOP thinking, but his spell over the party was strong. The GOP will now revert back to its previous self on foreign policy with no sense of irony or embarrassment. The GOP as a whole is no more capable of embarrassment than Lindsey Graham is for their crazy actions and 180 degree turns.

    • Ron P permalink
      September 3, 2021 1:04 pm

      roby, Thank you for the honest evaluation of me and my thinking. I will only add that there are four former presidents that anyone coming close to them I would vote for, (beside Manchin). JFK, Ronald Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton. As you can see, sexual conduct for eliminating is not one of my criteria because that would eliminate JFK or Clinton. But their positions today would have to be their positions they held as president, especially financially.

      So I really don’t detest all politicians, just the majority that are way to far out of the middle, which all four of those prior presidents would fall today.

      As for Biden, there is one thing presidents control over all other issues and that is the military. Anything else they are dependent on congress. They can propose, but congress holds the power. When I see the defeat of our military and the unnecessary deaths a couple days before withdrawal of our troops because of total incompetence of leadership in the one area of complete control, that is totally unforgivable in my mind. I can only image the thoughts that will live with the mothers of the last military members killed and how it happened, not in actual combat, but retreating in an totally unprepared manner as it was.

      If I am too crtical, I can only say I believe that to be much more acceptable than lazy faire attitude of those that accept what happened and are already moving on.

      • September 3, 2021 3:53 pm

        I do not think I could vote for Clinton – while he was an excellent president domestically he was disasterous in foreign policy.

        I did not vote for Bush 41 – as vice president he went before the world and lied about the US Vincense. I take lying seriously.

        Carter Botched the iranian hostage crisis, but otherwise was an excellent president.

    • September 3, 2021 4:09 pm

      You like Biden – that is pretty damning.

      Biden has been sleazy his entire political career. He has lied plagerized, molested, probably raped, flip flopped, corrupt and the lead on the wrong side of innumerable issues.

      The best that can be said of him is that there are many who were worse.

      One of the big issues of the moment is policing.

      While I am not an advocate of “defunding the police” and much of the nonsense being proposed. I have advocated for important police reform for decades.

      On every single policing Issue – Biden has universally been on the wrong side in the past but frequently LEADING the charge.

      Biden is responsible for the militarization of policing the drug war, the destruction of the 4th amendment, Asset forfeiture.

      The most notable accomplishments of his senate career are the creation of all the laws the left now seeks to tear down.

      The ONE thing I will give Biden is that he is not competent and has not been for some time.
      We do not generally hold people accountable for past misdeeds when they are not even competent enough to remember them. At the same time rational people do not put demented people into power.

    • September 3, 2021 4:35 pm

      Rassmusen is the only daily presidential tracking Poll anymore.

      RCP and 538 are just Polls of polls.

      538 is a weighted polls usingNate Silvers personal secret Sauce to weight different polls.

      Every single poll has had periods in which it has been highly accurate and others in which it has been bogus.

      Further everyone’s Trend lines fairly closely match. You can pretty much count on the fact that if Biden drops 10pts in Rasmussen, he will drop 10pts everywhere else.

      In Sept 1 2017 Trump was at 42%, in Sept 1, 2021 Biden was at 42%.

      Trump’s polls were higher than Biden’s for the first 3 months of his presidency.
      Biden ran slightly above Trump from March to September.

      Now they are very close to the same.

      I am not going to bet my credibility on future poll predictions.

      But for whatever it is worth my read of the Crystal Ball is that aside from noise Biden is not likely to recover. It is not that Afghanistan was so great a disaster, it is that Biden’s personal appearances came accross so incompetent.

      More and more people grasp that Biden is not the actual president.

      The press is slowly getting harsher.

      And the problems are slowly mounting.

      From late 2020 forward I have been concerned that Republicans were way to sure of the results of 2021. As I have noted before Biden was elected with the wind at his back.

      There is no evidence that Covid responds to policies. But Whoever is in power as Covid passes will reap political rewards. If as I hope we are approaching herd immunity and Covid diminishes in the US and stays reduced – all of which is alot of big ifs – Democrats will benefit in 2022. Despite the fact they have nothing to do with that. Conversely if my and hoplefully all of our hopes are dashed – Democrats will bear the brunt in 2022.
      They may get hit especially hard – because they promised they could do better, Which was an obvious lie.

      Regardless, Biden and democrats and republicans and Trump do not control what will happen with Covid, but whatever happens will have significant political impact in 2022.

      The economy appears to be in trouble. This is a dramatic change since early 2021.
      But it is not the Economy in 2021 that matters in Nov. 2022. It is the economy in 2-3Q 2022.
      That is not perfectly predictable, but the trends run against democrats.

      Further the economy is alteast partly in control of politicians, and they not only have done the wrong things, but seem intent on doubling down on the wrong things.

      Biden is well past any honeymoon – though the left and the media have tried to protract it.

      If things trend well from now thought late 2022 – Democrats will do well.
      I think that is unlikely. There is too much that is likely to go wrong, and too little that is likely to go right.

      Finally, I would be surprised if Biden is still president in Nov. 2022. I am not sure he will be at the end of 2021. But then Wilson remained president for 18 months after an incapacitating stroke.

      Biden has apparently had two small strokes in the past and a heart arithmyia that makes strokes more likelhy – if leaked medical records are to be trusted.
      Regardless, that is consistent with observations and consistent with his decline.

    • September 3, 2021 4:41 pm

      There is absolutely no reason that Covid ever had to have a significant economic impact.
      The 1968 Flu as nearly as bad and went almost unnoticed.

      Trump got a rapid drop and a dramatic recovery, there expectations by most economists were that 3Q 2021 would see 8% (anualized) growth and that 2021 would be a boom year.

      That is not what happened. You can pretend that economics is magical, or you can look at the real world data and correlations. The later ran against the narrative that Biden’s actions as president would spur or sustain growth.

      We are essentially in the midst of a sort of test of whether libertarain economics works.
      And so far it is proving correct – as it has over and over in the past 300 years.

    • September 3, 2021 5:01 pm

      The GOP is not a hideous mess – you are just far more left wing than you claim.

      Regardless, Midterms particularly those in the first term and those when there is single party control are essentially a referendum on the party in power.

      I find it interesting that you predicted 2021 would go badly.
      I do not recall you doing so.
      I do not recall almost anyone doing so.
      Even inflation predictions were all supposed to be mild and in late 2022 but are already upon us.

      I am deeply concerned about the massive Covid spending we have done.
      There is myriads of data – even from left leaning economists regarding the strong negative impact of increasing debt burdens. We are well into the levels of Debt that Reinhart and Roggoff established choke and economy.

      I think much of economics is slightly skewed by the US position as the sole super power, the reserve economy for the world and the dominant economy. But skewed means shifted not repealed.

      I hope to god that NONE of the massive spending being debated now passes.
      We are placing an enormous bet on fairly thoroughly debunked Keynesian and MMT Economics, with potentially disasterous consequences.

      Regardless, I do not think that if we did nothing stupid in 2021 that would be enough for a good economy in 2022.

      The Afghan withdraw was a disaster. I do not think Biden’s approval will significantly recover.
      Not because of the importanced of Afghanistan, but because it took the scales off peoples eyes.

      Biden has been disasterous at foreign policy generally – but absent some crisis like the CCP invading Tiawan, Biden’s disasterous foreign policy will not be a big drag on 2022.
      Elections are rarely about foreign policy.

      The big deal is the economy.

      You think covid recovery will be protracted.
      But the real world evidence is that when the economic problem has cleared – recovery is rapid. Covid itself was never an economic problem.

      Biden is thus far much worse economically than Obama, expecting that Biden will do even as well/poorly as Obama in the next year plus is wishful thinking.

      I honestly hope for a strong recovery – weak economies do real damage and mostly to the least well off. But I would not bet on one.

      The only question I see is how bad will 2022 be – first economically, and then politically.

      I would note there are few pundits who think the dems will hold the house.

      We are still debating the lawless and possibly fraudulent nature of 2020.
      But one thing that should be clear is that the problems in 2020 had little if any impact on the house elections. Democrats can not control the house by fraud or lawlessness – because control of house elections is local. It is irrelevant what shenangans occur in Philidelphia, or Madison, or Pheonix or Atlanta – they will not change the outcome of house elections.

      I doubt – and few pundits think that dems can hold the house even with a good economy in 2022.

    • September 3, 2021 5:12 pm

      Whatever you think – the democratic party is owned by progressives.

      The only thing standing in the way of the worst avalanche of progressive legislation the country has ever seen that would take decades to repair are senators like Manchin and surprisingly Sienama. Whatever the actual demographics of the Democratic party – the POWER is increasingly in the hands of the far left.

      Biden’s conduct as president has NOT been “moderate” it has been extremely progressive.
      And Biden was just about the least nut job Democrat running in 2020.

      Of the potential future republican contenders for president there are better and worse choices. But there is not a one that is worse than Warren, Harris, Sanders.
      There are no serious moderate Democrats with any power or political future.

      AOC and the squad are the far left of the democratic party – yet they have the power.
      Pelosi is at war with Democratic moderates – not her far left – and she is winning.
      Bernie is Fading – AOC is not – nor are myriads of similar left wing nuts.

      Manchin is near the end of his career. And he will near certainly be replaced by a republican.

      Name a single consequential moderate democrat with a bright political future ?

      Democrats have no new Manchin’s in the future waiting to save them from themselves.

      Tulsi Gabbard who many here left and right praised in the past is a complete outcast from her own party.

      The country as a whole is not shifting to the left, but the democratic party is, and the power within the democratic party is shifting far to the left.

    • September 3, 2021 5:27 pm

      I can make no sense of your diatribe on Foreign policy.

      I am not criticizing your position – I can not even tell what it is.

      This is a common problem with those on the left and why I identify you as on the left.

      You make sweeping statements – unanchored to anything.

      Trump is weak, I guess you think Biden is strong – WHY ?
      You do not identify any criteria for your judgements.

      With rare exceptions voters do not vote based on foreign policy.

      That said Trump was very successful with regard to foreign policy, and that is even more evident in comparison to Biden.

      Obama’s foreign policy was “multilateral” – Trump’s was unilateral.
      More accurately Obama sought to act through broad international coalitions.
      Trump sought to act through bilateral agreements.

      Trump was much more successful than Obama – even in building coalitions because he did so one country at a time.

      The shift in foreign policy focus from Russia and the mideast to Asia was inevitable – so Trump only marginally get credit for that. But Trump overcame “deep state” resistance to that shift and advanced the inevitable. Biden is already trying to botch things – but despite his obvious incompetence – both in terms of mental capacity and in terms of the idiocy of democratic foreign policy – Trump foreign policy changes are likely persistent.

      They will endure because chinese containment is in the interests of India, Vietnam, South Korea, Philipeans, Malasian Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan.
      With Trump’s departure and Biden;s weakness the Japanese and Indian’s have stepped in to fill the gap. Chinese expansion is not in the interests of any of the rest of Asia.

      The importance of the mideast waxes and wanes with global energy.
      If you want the US back in wars in the mideast – Vote for the Green New Deal nonsense.

      Regardless, for the moment we are out of the dangerous military entanglements we have in the mideast. I credit Biden – or the children running things for grasping that disasterous or not we needed to leave afghanistan. The question now is can they keep their fingers out of the rest of the mideast.

    • Vermonta permalink
      September 4, 2021 8:40 am

      Priscilla, I have no idea why you are surprised or upset by my rather mild description of your stances here. Your reactions to both trump and Biden are all nearly exactly the same as Dave’s. You were in complete denial during the trump years that that he had any character flaws or that he caused any serious problems, although you have finally begun to change that song a bit now that trumps reign is over. But it was not so very long ago, it was after the election I believe, that you made the totally serious and remarkable statement that you could not think of anything trump had done that was divisive. As to Biden you have been characterizing him as a senile criminal for the last year or so. What about that do you expect me to find rational or take seriously?

      We do sometimes have an overlap Priscilla, but its only when I agree with some element of what conservatives are saying; it is Never when you agree with something from the liberal world, because there is nothing at all that liberals want or believe that you have ever given any strong credit here. If I am wrong correct me.

      I like Biden because he is neither conservative nor progressive. I like him because he is a decent, experienced, capable man. He is not the one whose wish list includes ending the filibuster or packing the court. He has supported little or nothing of Bernienomics. He has a realistic view of Putin and all the other authoritarian leaders whose company trump, in his own words, preferred to that of our allies. He does not go around daily making himself the issue.

      Trump inherited a situation far, far different than the mess Biden has inherited. For the first years of trump the largest problems were the ones trump’s poisonous personality created. Biden has inherited something far different.

      You have been going on for a long time about how Biden promised to unite the country. Seriously, how old are you? Were you born yesterday under a lily pad? Every political campaign has some slogan that promises a new era of great things. None of those things ever happen. Its just fluff for true believers. No one could unite this country if we are speaking of the ideological divide. Going on about how Biden has failed to deliver on that is beyond naïve.

      With a few exceptions you and Dave are two peas in a pod in your reactions to democratic and republican figures, their ideas, and current events. Not to put too fine a point on it, there is nothing there for me to admire or agree with either of you on 95% of the time. I just listen and observe you both as a sort of cultural experiment on everything that is poisonous to me about the right and the present insane GOP. We will agree on nothing in the coming years, unless I happen to agree on some issue with the conservative point of view.

      • September 4, 2021 9:38 am

        Do you live in the real world ?

        I did not vote for Trump – not in 2016, not in 2020.
        Nor did I vote for either Clinton or Biden.

        I am not blind to Trump’s character Flaws.
        Regardless that is a stupid argument – almost the entire left – including you suffer from EXACTLY the character Flaws Trump does.

        You are constantly insulting people rather than making arguments.

        But there is one fundimental differences between Trump and those on the left.
        Trump is right more often, and even when he is wrong he is more frequently closer to right.

        I do not expect perfection from a president. There is not a president in our history that has been perfect.

        But unlike you I am capable of judging them based on FACTS, not emotional nonsense.

        I have defended Trump when he was right.
        I have defended Biden when he was right.

        I will not let Biden or the children running the country off the hook for the mess made in Afghanistan. Both the disasterous departure, and the horrendous decision to stay there for the past 20 years.

        In a world with decent government heads would roll over all of this.
        But then in a world with Decent government we would have left Afghanistan 20 years ago.

        Biden and the children in power get the lion share of the blame for the botched withdraw.

        But the myriads of other bad decisions over the past 20 years were made by the Bushies, the Obamanites and Trumpsters, as well as “the deep state”.

        I credit and continue to credit Biden and the children for Getting out.

        Contra this “blame Trump” idiocy, from Jan 20, 2021 THEY were in power, They had no problem reversing Trump choices on everything else under the sun.

        THEY deserve credit for leaving. Trump may have started the process that ultimately got us out, But Trump DID NOT get us out. He could have, but he did not. He is not as culpable as Bush and Obama – Obama flat out LIED, But Trump did NOT keep his promise to get us out of Afghanistan. He gets credit a A for Effort but a D for results.

        Biden and the Children fail on execution. But they did get us out. They did not have to.
        They could easily have reversed course. They did not. They get credit for that.

        Beyond that I am had pressed to think of much that Biden has done Well as president.

        Every single economic indicator was predicting great times ahead in January. Every day we get more and more economic bad news. That is entirely on Biden and the children.

        Biden did not “inherit a mess” from Trump. Trump did “inherit a mess” from Obama.

      • September 4, 2021 10:03 am

        Yes, Trump “inherited” a far different situation.

        He inherited a weak economy – 1.6% average growth is absymal.
        He inherited a foreign policy mess – the situation in the Mideast was a disaster.
        The US had been sucked into conflicts throughout the mideast,
        He inherited Obama’s stupid Climate policies that would accomplish nothing except choke the US economy.
        He inherited a US Intelligence, national security, and state department still fixated on the Cold War and Russia. Over significant deep state opposition – including from his own party he refocused our foreign policy on the real consequential future threat – China.
        He inherited a Corrupt DOJ and FBI.
        He inherited US foreign policy that was constantly apologizing.
        He inherited a century of regulatory morrass that was choking the country.
        He inherited an immigration mess.

        What Did Biden inherit ?

        Rational foreign policy.
        Restored international respect for the US. Actual US leadership internationally.
        4 years of sane energy policy.
        a mideast that was mostly at peace, and historic peace deals with Israel.
        A US that was not actively engaged in military conflict anywhere in the world.
        An economy that averaged 0.5% better – even through a pandemic.
        An economy that all the “experts” you fawn over were predicting was about to explode.
        He inherited the one tool to Fight Covid that might work, that Trump never had – a Vaccine.
        He inherited an immigration system that was enforcing the law.

        Less than 9 months later what do we have ?

        Foreign policy disasters accross the globe.
        Foreign leaders and countries who do not respect either the US or the president.
        The UK Parliment has actually censured the US.
        More violence in the mideast,
        An energy Mess,.,
        Rising inflation.
        With the prosepect of stagflation or hyper inflation.
        Out side of possibly austrian economists no one was treating inflation as a serious problem 9 months ago.
        An out of control disaster in immigration.
        rising crime and violence throughout the country.
        A pandemic that increasingly has no prospect of ending.

        And I have probably missed several things.

        Trump did not inherit a disaster. But he did inherit a mess the result of two idiotic feckless presidents.

        Biden did not inherit perfection. But he did inherit a country much improved over 4 years with a bright future.

        In January 2021, I cautioned Republicans who thought that the mid terms were going to be a route for Democrats – because Biden was elected with the wind at his back. Democrats could easily have arrived at the midterms having done almost nothing and still looking like saviors as a consequence of improvements that they had to actively thwart to prevent.

        I would still caution republicans not to count their chickens before they are hatched.
        It is a little less than a year before peoples perceptions will determine the midterm.

        But if Biden continues as he has – Republicans will decisively take over the house and the Senate – and the 2022 Senate battlefield is not friendly to Republicans.

      • September 4, 2021 10:05 am

        Why do I have to produce a long list of the differences between what Trump inherited and what Biden did ?

        You are alive ?

        How is it that you are so ignorant of reality ?

      • September 4, 2021 10:07 am

      • September 4, 2021 10:18 am

        The Biden of 50 years in the Senate is neither Conservative nor progressive – THAT Biden was a huge Drug warrior, and responsible for militarizing the police and myriads of other policies that he has disowned today.

        That Biden no longer exists.
        Frankly there is no President Biden. There is a demented old man doing what his handlers expect.

        The children in Power are NOT Moderate. They are incompetent idiots, who are making a mess of things faster than most of us would have thought possible.

        You say they are not progressive ?

        They are pushing this idiotic gazillion gender based PC nonsense throughout the government, the military, and the country. The Whitehouse press secretary can not figure out how to Tell a reporter to shut up about Abortion because he is a man and can not get pregnant – because her idiotic progressive ideology has deprived her of the language to do so.

        How is the current immigration mess anything except progressive ?

        Congress and this administration are looking to spend a gargantuan amount of money on a progressive Christmas list. There are only two things that MIGHT stop this fiscal train wreck.

        Sen. Manchin, and the small possibility that republicans will dig in to oppose raising the debt limit.

        If what we are seeing right now is not progressive – what is ?

      • September 4, 2021 10:20 am

        If you do not wish to label the current administration progressive – Disastrous will work too.

      • September 4, 2021 10:32 am

        So your argument is that because past democratic political campaigns have repeatedly made promises that they never intended to keep that all is good ?

        Bush Promised NOT to engage in “nation building” – HE LIED – I take that seriously.

        Obama Promised to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq – HE LIED – I take that seriously.

        there are several Campaign promises that Trump fell short on – But he atleast Tried.

        Did Obama TRY to get out of the mideast ? Absolutely not. We were MORE deeply involved militarily in MORE places when he left.

        Bush just flat out LIED.

        We have spent the past 4 years with you and your ilk constantly ranting about Trump’s purported LIES.

        You pretend that you think the Truth matters, you pretend that you think Charatcter matters.

        But you do not.

        Biden has not failed to unite the country – He has not TRIED.

        Whether you like it or not – Biden has no mandate. Democrats came within 4 seats of losing the House. the Senate is split 50:50. And Biden a change of 50,000 votes in 3 states would have flipped the electoral college.
        And that is in an election that a substantial portion of americans STILL think was stolen.

        I can not think of a circumstance in which a president would be more obligated to seek common ground, to act only where there was super majority support from Voters.

        But that is NOT what Biden has done.

      • September 4, 2021 10:36 am

        Your argument regarding Biden completely undermines everything that you have ever said about Trump.

        According to you we need not take Biden’s campaign promises seriously.

        So saying anything to win an election is OK with you ?

        I linked to the Biden 200,000 empty chairs campaign add claiming that Covid deaths were the result of failed leadership.

        Was that add all a lie ? Is that just an effort to deceive people to vote for him ?

        You keep saying Character matters. How is lying to people good character ?

      • September 4, 2021 10:49 am

        Robby, uniting this country is trivial.

        All that is necessary is telling those who seek to restrict the liberty of fellow americans to go to hell – that they are not going to get their way – atleast not without persuading super majorities of Americans.

        But this is a core problem that you and I disagree on.

        It is also a core moral failure of yours and the left.

        You do not need the support of the people to REDUCE infringements on liberty.
        It is rarely immoral to reduce the power of government and its infringement on liberty.

        It is rarely moral to increase the power of government and further infringe on liberty.

        Whether it is the current focus issues of masks, and vaccinations, and lockdowns, or other issues like gun control, when government (or anyone) uses FORCE to restrict liberty, many requirements must be met. ONE of those is super majority support.

        All that is necessary to UNITE the country is to accept that.

        When government acts to infringe on liberty is ALWAYS creates division. When it does so without broad support it literally divides the country.

        Progressives actively seek to divide the country.

        This administration and this congress are ACTIVELY dividing the country.

        Trump and Republicans are actively dividing the country – when they act without broad support to increase government power and further infringe on liberty.

        When they have done so – I have opposed them.

      • September 4, 2021 11:31 am

        As is typical you constantly frame everything in terms of People, or Parties.

        Again, I am not republican.
        I do not vote republican, I do not support the republican party.
        Nor am I democrat.

        I do not support ANY party.

        My position on EVERYTHING is based on that specific issue – not party, not personality.

        I do not support any person or any party.

        I have defended Trump on numerous specific issues.
        I have also criticised him on specific issues.

        The republican party as a whole is untrustworthy and corrupt.
        Their only redeeming quality is that Democrats as a whole are MORE untrustworthy and corrupt.

        I have defended Biden (and the children) for having the courage to keep ONE Trump policy over myriads of objections. They DID leave afghanistan. They did not have to. There are many forces right now – left and right arguing that they just could have preserved the status quo for a few more years. Still they went forward, and deserve credit for that.
        And honestly it surprised me that they did so. I fully expected Biden to find a way to quietly put off leaving – He did delay departure from April to August. I expected to see another delay.

        I am hard pressed to think of anything else Biden has done right since taking power.

        Unlike you I am not fixated on people and parties.

        I do care about character – lying matters. Lying in campaigns to get elected is not an exception. Biden should be judged according to the criteria that he used to Judge Trump when running for election.

        That is character, that is morality, that is not hypocritical.

      • September 4, 2021 11:42 am

        While Priscilla and I have differences – that is irrelevant.

        The fact that we frequently reach the same conclusions is just evidence that we may be correct.

        Priscilla makes arguments for her positions. She does not fixate on character assassination, or ad hominem.

        If she is right – it is because she has thought about the issue and reached conclusions based on facts.

        If she is wrong she has made an error of fact or logic.

        Regardless, her views can be judged based on her arguments, the facts, logic and reason.
        Not how good you are at hurling insults.

        Ideologically i share more in common with Ron – though of late Covid fear has driven him to some pretty unlibertarian positions.

        Regardless, you made the same “two peas in a pod” idiotic argument regarding Ron and I in the past.

        Absolutely I make the same equivalence between you and the progressives you claim that you aren’t. yet, you fail to distinguish yourself from them.

        Though that is not your real flaw. That is that you and they are WRONG.

        You are wrong on the issues,
        and you are wrong as a matter of character.

        You and they engage in the same character assassination that you view as a deep flaw in Trump. Trump learned alinskyite techniques by observing the left.

        That character assassination is bad enough – but worse is that you and they are constantly WRONG. You call liar, liar – when there is no lie. You bet your integrity against others and expect no consequence when you are wrong.

      • September 4, 2021 11:52 am

        Here is an interesting recent video by Dr. John Campell.

        He is a Brit who has been reviewing studies and other information regarding Covid since near the start.

        He is an excellent source of studies as well as good statistical analysis. He is also a source regarding the significant differences between the US and the EU in dealing with Covid.

        While the EU does not place a high value on individual liberty, they are far less inclined to politicize science than the US. The EU gets the science wrong quite often, but they are more inclined to correct than the US.

        Campell is reviewing statements made by leading health officials in the EU – the EU equivalent of Dr. Faucci.

        The EU appears to be on the brink of abandoning all efforts to contain Covid EXCEPT vaccination. While they have only partly admitted that lockdowns, masks etc. were NEVER going to work, they have concluded – because that is where the science leads that they will not put a dent in the Delta Variant.

        They are signalling that they are abandoning lockdown, masking, testing, even social distancing, and opening schools without restrictions.
        They are focusing on vaccinating adults and ONLY children with comorbidities that put them at risk. They noted that in the developed world every child that has died of C19 has had comorbidities. That even those children who are hospitalized have comorbidities.
        That C19 has almost no impact on 99.997% of children.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 7, 2021 2:34 pm

        “Priscilla, I have no idea why you are surprised or upset by my rather mild description of your stances here.”

        Roby, I have no idea why you think that calling me irrational is a mild description, lol. I will admit, it pales in comparison to being called a cultist and a traitor, both of which you have called me in the past (well, you called all Trump voters “traitors,” because you believed the phony Russia collusion story~ so you didn’t single me out as the only person who committed treason, but I took it that way). And I do recognize that you think that all Trump supporters were and are irrational, even those who, like me, have moved on from the 2020 election, and don’t intend to support Trump going forward.

        I will tell you how I view you. I think that you are a very smart guy, who geniunely views himself as a moderate, primarily because you don’t like Bernie Sanders and you’re anti-communist in theory. You define Joe Biden as “not progressive,” and I would agree that, in the past, he was not. At this point in time, it is very clear that he is controlled by the dominant far left of his party, and there are lots of examples of that, for those who are willing to see past their biases. You are not.

        If you were honest, you would acknowledge that Trump was a far better foreign policy president than Biden. He understood “peace through strength.” For all of the freaking out that Trump would get us into wars and out of NATO, neither came close to happening. Biden has now essentially destroyed what remains of NATO, by convincing European countries to join us in war, keeping them there for 20 years, then leaving them flat, without warning. He ordered a disastrous withdrawal that has destroyed our standing in the world; a global superpower, forced to surrender to a tribe of illiterate, medieval thugs with AK47’s, running away so fast that we abandoned all of our Afghan allies, while essentially blaming the debacle on them. But we we nice enough to leave all of their biometric data to the Taliban, so that any Afghan who helped us can be tortured and killed.

        Honestly, I don’t know how you’ve convinced yourself that this is just an unfortunate blip on Biden’s inevitable greatness, when it’s one of the worst foreign policy messes in American history. Surrender with dishonor…doesn’t get much worse. I’lll be honest and say that Trump stumbled on Afghanistan as well ~ for political reasons, both Trump and Biden wanted to get the hell out of there, so that they could claim that they ended the longest war. But, Trump knew better than to pull out precipitously, and he also listened to the advice of those who told him to end negotiations with the Taliban. I doubt that this would have gone as badly, if he were commander in chief.

        Perhaps you are the one who was born under a lily pad, and came out believing that defending the indefensible is the only way to argue with those who have different politics than you?

        Finally, because this is getting too long, I’ll call bullshit on your claim that Dave and I are “peas in a pod.” We agree and we disagree. I respect Dave, but we are not simpatico in our political views. You’ve been around long enough to know that.

      • September 9, 2021 12:12 am

        Priscilla – we ARE “peas in a pod”.

        Everyone who disagree’s with Robby is a hateful, hating hater.
        Whatever other differences we have are unimportant in comparison

        I would also note that – in Robby world, and apparently Rhonda world, and Ron World, and Rick world – to frequent posts, and too large a posts are unforgivable sins.

        But personal attacks – those are perfectly acceptable.

        In fact pointing out that those on the left are engaged in personal attacks – and worse – false moral accusations, that is some form of hate speech that is beyond the pale.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 7, 2021 2:40 pm

        ***Joe Biden did not convince our NATO allies to fight with us in Afghanistan, that was George Bush. Biden simply betrayed them, by leaving without notice.

        In my typing haste, I mischaracterized that. Bush is 100% reponsible for getting us into Afghanistan…

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 7, 2021 6:19 pm

        Priscilla, yes – the exit was handled wrong by announcing it – but there is no way to truly say it was worse because of it. The Taliban was expecting it – why? Because they were in control of the majority of the country, and it was handed over to them on a silver platter by Trump.

        You have yet to mention this or address this, although I have mentioned this several times. Trump is VERY much responsible.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 7, 2021 9:13 pm

        Hey Ronda,
        You are correct that you have mentioned this a few times, and that I haven’t addressed it yet, so I will do so in this comment.

        First of all, I want to thank you for making your point without coming at me personally or going on a rant about the horrors of Trump. I appreciate that you are willing to discuss this without namecalling and personal attacks. Seriously, I very much appreciate it.

        Ok, so, first of all, I want to acknowledge that I do not, in any way, consider Joe Biden responsible for the fact that we were in Afghanistan in the first place, and also, that there is no doubt that every president in the 21st century bears responsibility for expanding our original mission there to the point that the original mission was lost (Biden supported Obama’s surge when he was veep). The most responsible for getting us in, and then getting us in deeper, was George Bush, who said we were going in to punish the Taliban and drive them out of the country, which we did in about 2 months, but then decided that we would stay until Afghanistan was a democracy…which was going to be when hell froze over.

        Nonetheless, Obama decided that Afghanistan was the “good war” and got us out of Iraq, which immediately collapsed without a SOF agreement, while he surged thousands of troops into Afghanistan. Trump campaigned on getting us out, and announced in 2019 that we would withdraw by May 2021, based on conditions negotiated with the Taliban. Trump began the withdrawal, set free those 5000 Taliban prisoners, and continued to negotiate, until November 2020, when he lost his re- election. The Trump administration pressured Afghan President Ghani to go along with whatever was agreed to by the US and the Taliban.

        The May 1st date was significant for a few reasons, but the main one was that the withdrawal would be complete before the “fighting season” began. (Sounds stupid, but there is actually a fighting season, which starts in late April and runs through October).

        When Trump left office in January 2021, the Afghan government was in control of the entire country, there were about 2500 American troops left in country and the Taliban had not yet begun to take control, although they had been attacking Afghan forces, who were holding up, due to American close air support.

        Biden decided that the new withdrawal date under his administration would be September 11, 2021 ~ the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. That date was later changed to September 1st.

        The Taliban began moving to defeat the Afghan army in May 2021, and, after the US withdrawal from Kandahar in late May, the Taliban forces began gaining significant victories and controlling territory. By mid-summer they had captured most of the country, and there was serious concern that the Biden administration needed to push back the September 1st date.

        However, Biden insisted that the Afghan army was doing just fine and no change of date was needed. He said that the Taliban only had 15,000 troops, and the Afghan Army had 300,000 American trained troops and the best equipment money could buy. It was no contest. So, withdrawal went full speed ahead.

        During August, as the US began rapidly pulling out the remaining 2500 troops (but not civilian Americans) the Afghan government collapsed, the president fled the country, and the army, no longer with US air support, gave up.

        I know that was lengthy, but I wanted to set out the timeline,, which is outlined in more detail here ( I chose The Guardian, a left-wing British paper, which, over the years has been very anti-Trump)

        So 2 things: 1. Trump began the withdrawal and negotiated the release of prisoners with the Taliban. So, yes, he joins Obama in sharing blame for not figuring out an acceptable exit strategy and, worse, for negotiating with terrorists. Bush still bears responsiblity for the war itself, of course.

        2. No, the Taliban were not in control of the country when Trump left office. In fact, they hadn’t even started to take back territory. It wasn’t until the 2021 “fighting season” that they made their move, but by that time, Biden was dead set on getting out before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. He refused to alter the timeline, even after the Afghan government and army completely collapsed, and continued to insist that everything was going just fine.

        At least until August 15, when President Ghani fled to Qatar, and all hell broke loose.

        I’m not letting Trump off the hook here, but he has NOT been the commander-in-chief for over 7 months, during the entire Taliban advance. And, I honestly don’t think that he would have pulled the military out of country before American and NATO civilians, not to mention Afghan allies. That is just my opinion, of course, and yours may differ.
        The fact, though, is that this botched withdrawal was ordered by Joe Biden, and he bears the responsibility for the debacle that it has become. Just as Trump would have born responsiblity, if he were still POTUS.

        I’m more than willing to discuss, but it seems to me that the facts are pretty clear.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 7, 2021 10:01 pm

        I read the column you sited. NATO began withdrawing troops in May (probably because of Trump’s statement) and this escalated things – not Biden. Also, the release of the Taliban (many of whom were high ranking) was forced upon the government by Trump – not negotiated with – the release was already set. One cannot but question such a decision, as they immediately started their takeover, even if it was not yet complete.

        I also checked out the Guardian. They are a center-left paper, but the left bias is more related to workers rights and the center rating to World reporting. Frankly, a lot of questions are left unanswered, here… but it is evident that Trump’s releases created a flow that quickly eroded standing we had and became a flood. You can read this however you wish, but that release – combined with the ‘Trump’ timely pullout of NATO ended up surrounding the one city left. How did Biden have a choice? Would you rather he had sent more troops in to win? I believe a win was no longer in the cards.

        Blame Biden for his announcement? Fine. Say that announcement made it end the way it did? I see no real proof, only supposition. Actually, I see less proof showing a different ending considering what had already occurred, which was out of Biden’s hands.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 7, 2021 10:22 pm

        Ronda, it was May 2021. Couldn’t have been Trump ~ he was already out of office.

        I do think that we all have to be a bit more willing to criticize presidents that we generally suppor, when they screw up, and praise the presidents that we don’t like when they do good.

        It’s definitely hard to do, in the current atmosphere of bare-knuckle politics, but I’m trying to look at all sides fairly in this case.

        I think that both Biden and Trump were just itching to be the guy that got us out. Public pressure to withdraw had been growing for years, and both felt that they could have their “killing Osama BinLaden moment.”

        As it turned out, neither of them did.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 8, 2021 3:22 pm

        Priscilla, in May 2021 – which I stated – it was the UN that pulled out… because of what trump said and did.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 8, 2021 4:49 pm

        My 2 cents. It can be debated from now until the current generation is dead on who did what wrong in Afghanistan and that should happen so history does not repeat like it did with this war and Vietnam where we lost lives for no reason. Bush, Obama Trump, any one of them could have pulled out but did not.

        But the issue that should be discussed now and is being criticized by both the left and the right is the way we ended up losing 13 additional lives and being humiliated while leaving the country. Someone totally F’ed up in the intelligence gathering or the use of the intelligence that was provided. And as of yesterday there where still planes on the ground with American assets and possibly citizens being held by the Taliban. I heard one time two planes, NPR, not your typical liberal criticizing media outlet reported multiple planes.

        So who screwed up? We need to know. Future leaders need to know to avoid that mistake going forward. If it were military intelligence, then heads should roll . If it was CIA, the same should happen. The buck stops with Biden and if he ignored all the warnings and his actions resulted in 13 additional lives lost, hundreds of Afghan citizens who helps the USA trapped in the county and a possible hostage situation with the planes, the full arm of the government should come down on him! And that needs to be the number one campaign issue in 2024 if he runs because he needs to be held responsible.

        Not until a full investigation takes place can anyone say where the problem lies, so reight now we just have the right and left bickering about Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden with no resolution to be seen coming.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 9, 2021 4:36 pm

        True – and in an answer to Priscilla I stated that a lot was “yet to be determined”. No, I may not feel that Biden was as culpable as you seem to, but that is also yet to be determined – there may be other facts that have not come out yet.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 9, 2021 5:28 pm

        Second try
        There is one of two alternatives I believe that are on the top of the list of different scenerios.
        That was based on a plan had been put into effect well before Trump left office so the military could begin planning for the actual withdrawal. After Biden took office, whatever the actual withdrawal date was, one of two things happened.

        1. The military looked at the 80,000 Taliban fighters and they decided that even without American air support, the 300,000 Afghan member army would be able to hold off any insurgency. That information was given to Biden and based on that info, he told them to proceed with the plan. What they did not envision was the Afghan army turning tail and running like all the young men in the middle east do when threats are great on their lives.

        2. The military looked at the strength of each side and determined that without American air support, the Afghan army would turn tail and run, leaving Americans and American assets vulnerable in Kabul before they could get out. Biden told them B.S. I don’t care, I want all air support reduced, which began in late spring and was not much until late July when it increased again after the Taliban had captured much of the land, with only a few cities left. Horever, at that time the Afghan army had started to crumble and nothing the USA could have done in a couple weeks time would have changed the outcome.

        I know Dave does not care what I think or anyone else thinks because there are not “facts” to back up my position, but for those who do, the causes of this humiliation has to be investigated by congress and anyone else that can find the cause so it can be documented and used in the future. If some 4 star or 5 star gave Biden bad intel, they need to be fired. If they gave Biden good info and he ignored it, the American people need to know. This can not be ignored for a short period of time and then have the country move on to arguing about infrastructure and taxes.

        The lives of 13 military members and all those that died in the last 8 months requires the facts to come out, or what the hell are we asking men and women to join and defend this country for if all we do is ignore political or military mistakes.

      • September 10, 2021 1:25 am

        In case I am not clear enough – I agree with you – Investigate the h311 out of this.

        Congress should always be investigating the screw-ups of the executive.

        It is an important part of their job.

      • September 9, 2021 3:39 am

        Trump is not commander in chief of the UN.

        Each person, each nation, each institution is responsible for its own actions.

        Trump did not make the UN do everything.

        Just as my words, my posts, can not make you do anything.

        The current president of the United states can me those in the executive branch or the military do things. The presidents words are commands, that they are sworn to execute.

        The words of former presidents are not. Trump would not be responsible for the actions of the UN if he were still president.

        Finally – The UN ? Seriously ? When EVER has the UN made a difference ?
        Anywhere in the Mideast ? Rwanda ?

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 8, 2021 4:09 pm

        Sorry Priscilla… not feeling 100% today yet. In response to you I meant NATO, not the UN, and I stated that they pulled out – probably because of what Trump did and the date he set. The Taliban were already succeeding in taking over the country.

        Personally, I cannot see how you can equal Biden stating the date we were leaving, with Trump not only stating a date, but also releasing those Taliban leaders (without any regard to the opinions of the people who were in charge of the country) making it impossible for us to continue.

        Let’s put aside the fact that I personally know how Trump cares only about himself and will actively destroy anyone when it comes to money they worked for and he wants to keep (rather normal for him).

        You say you don’t like Trump… and he’s out now – sort of… but because you are Republican, it seems you feel the need to blame Biden. Personally, I think ANYONE would have been better than Trump, and that includes any other Republican I can think of. Biden was my choice since he was not radical left… and you have yet to prove to me that he is turning that way – especially when you seem to have indicated you wanted out of Afghanistan too, even though you state you would have done it differently.

        Differently is fine – but who’s to say better? I will put blame where blame is needed – regardless of party, but you seem to still feel the need to negate Trump’s part in this which (frankly) I cannot make sense of – except that you feel the need to hold something that’s not there.

        I can stay the mistakes that happened (no matter who made them) and I can honestly put Trump’s mistakes out here as worse than Biden’s. Any other scenario that may have occurred is seriously unknown.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 8, 2021 6:46 pm

        1.The US and its NATO allies began to withdraw from Afghanistan in May 2021, as ordered by the US commander in chief, Joe Biden. Not because 18 months prior, the ex-commander in chief, Donald Trump, had begun
        negotiating a withdrawal with the Taliban.

        2. Thousands of ISIS-K and Al Qaeda terrorists were released after we abandoned Bagram AFB to the Taliban. ISIS-K later claimed credit for slaughtering our 13 servicemen in a suicide attack.
        Like I’ve said before, plenty of blame to go around.

        3. I voted for Trump. Twice. I hope he chooses not to run in 2024.

        4. I’ve been a Democrat, a Republican , and an independent. (Technically, I’m a registered Democrat, because I’ve never bothered to change my registration since voting in a Dem primary back in 2000).

        5. I’ve repeatedly said that every president in the 21st century bears blame for Afghanistan. Bush for getting us in, and not leaving when we had defeated the Taliban. Obama for sending thousands more troops into a bloody lost cause, Trump for agreeing to negotiate with terrorists. But Biden is responsible for totally botching the withdrawal and abandoning American citizens to a hostile terrorist government.

        Right now, the Taliban is refusing to let Americans leave until they get their demands met. Antony Blinken says its the Americans fault for not leaving sooner. Special ops vets who are willing to charter planes to go in and save our own citizens and SIV holders, have flown into Afghanistan at great risk to do what our military has not been allowed to do. This is just one example:

        I do feel like we’re beating a dead horse here. We’re clearly not going to agree on this. We’ll try again on some other issue. Thanks for the discussion.

      • September 9, 2021 2:12 am

        Biden was inargurated on Jan 20, 2021.

        From that date forward there is no “Because Trump” PERIOD.

        Biden has had ZERO problems doing whatever he pleased as president – regardless of what Trump had done or said before.

        Biden had no problem changing the departure from May 1, to August 31.

        From Jan. 20, 2021 forward for good or bad Biden OWNS the presidency.

        The Buck stops with him – or the children pulling his strings.

        The only things Biden inherited from Trump are tail winds – which he has universally squandered.

      • September 9, 2021 2:15 am

        With respect to the guardian – again, why must you decide where some source is politically before evaluating whether what they report is factually correct ?

        I do not think Fox and MSNBC are equivalant, or equally likely to be correct.

        But I do not blindly trust either. I check the facts.

        What is true is true – no matter who it comes from.

      • September 9, 2021 2:20 am

        I find it really odd that everyone here holds this obviously incorrect position that “the announcment” is the cause of all the problems.

        The Taliban started their takeover in April.

        Do you think that they would have arrived at Kabul later had Biden equivocated about the date of the withdraw ?

        When they arrived at Kabul – after taking over much of the country in the prior 6 months. the US military was almost entirely gone.

        The took the city surrounded the airport, and from that moment no one could leave without atleast their implicit permission.

        Dates and announcements of dates do not matter.

        The biggest of the many errors was removing the military FIRST
        Once that was done – Biden’s choices were radically limited.

      • September 9, 2021 2:03 am

        Why should we have to thank people for NOT engaging in name calling ?

        Rhonda made a big deal about respect. Claiming she was entitled to it, that we all are.
        While I presume she meant civility – as respect must be earned,
        Still we should be able to presume civility – we should not be obligated to thank people for not calling us names.

      • September 9, 2021 2:07 am

        Trump did NOT expand our original mission.
        Trump promised to get out.
        All his actions were towards getting out.
        He did not however keep his promise to get out quickly.

        He hears responsibility for not leaving.

        But he did NOT expand the mission.

        It is increasingly evident – that atleast from the start of the Obama administration Biden opposed nation building in afghanistan and advised to leave, and in 2021 he did leave.
        He gets credit for that – even if he badly and dangerously botched the exit.

      • September 9, 2021 2:09 am

        Sorry, like 51% of the country I do not really think Biden is running things.

        The only thing Biden has screwed up since the inauguration – is reading his script.

        The mistakes are on the children running the country.

      • rcoase permalink
        September 9, 2021 12:19 am

        Robert Gates famously said that Joe Biden had the distinction of being on the wrong side of every single national security issue of the past 50 years.

        But as I am learning more about Biden’s history on Afghanistan – it appears that Biden’s advice to Obama in 2009 was to GET OUT NOW. Obama did not listen and we got 12 more years of bloody mess.

        Biden is an absolute disaster as a president so far there are two good things I can say about him as president.

        He did leave Afghanistan – even though he did it in just about the worst possible way.

        SO FAR economists are NOT predicting a recession in the near future – but they have revised growth for 2021 from more than one qtr of 8% growth down to – NOT A RECESSION.

        I can not think of another good thing about the Biden presidency – and aparently 20% of those who voted for Biden are thinking the same.

        We are moving from TDS to BRS – Biden Regret Syndrome.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 4, 2021 8:33 pm

      Yes… it will be a slow process of change…

  13. Priscilla permalink
    September 3, 2021 9:58 am

    “Priscilla is very firmly republican, has never had a rational word to say about Biden or really any democrat, for more than a decade and will reliably attack any of them.”

    Gee, Roby, I can only imagine that you never actually read most of my comments, since I have been criticizing the Republican party pretty consistently for quite some time now ~ years, in fact. As much as I criticize Dems? No …Democrats are way too far the left for me, and married to identity politics, more so than the GOP. But, Republicans are basically Democrat-lite these days, and are so afraid of angering their big donors that they do little but whine about tax cuts and immigration, while not actually doing anything about them. The GOP has little to offer.

    So, that’s all I”ll say about that, and I won’t get into personal insults. I will, however, note that you “reliably attack” Republicans, at least, if not more, than I attack Democrats.

    Joe Biden is the president. Since his election, we have seen an explosion of illegal immigration, with the release of covid-positive migrants into the country, no promised national covid testing strategy, a rocky and ineffective vaccine rollout, 5% inflation and rising, the almost-instant destruction of the oil industry, a failure to open schools, a re-entry into the Paris Accords, which hamstring US industry, while treating China as a “developing nation,” attacks on states that attempt to enact voter ID laws or any restrictions on abortion, and, now, a horribly flawed and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, which resulted in 13 dead American servicemen and left American citizens, green card holders, American allies, and even service dogs, abandoned by their own government, while at the same time setting up the Taliban with tens of billions of $$ of American armaments, vehicles, planes and tanks that we left behind (this, btw, doesn’t count the American bought equipment that the Taliban was able to acquire, while defeating the Afghan militias).

    What has gotten better? Not the economy, not covid, not our global standing or relationships with European allies, not our “cold civil war,” not our education system…even North Korea has announced a restrating of its nuclear program.

    On top of all this, Biden’s promise to unify the country, the whole reason that many voted for him, has never materialized. Not even close.

    So, those are just some of my “rational” reasons for thinking that Biden has been a very poor, even damaging, president thus far. I’m interested in your rational reasons for supporting him. This is an honest question, by the way…I really am interested, if you care to answer.

    • Ron P permalink
      September 3, 2021 1:46 pm

      Priscilla, on your critique of Biden, I need to take a position most would not expect.

      Biden had nothing to do with the roll out of the vaccines once they hit the hands of the private companies distributing the vaccines. McKesson handled the distribution planning and many companies were instrumental in actually transporting the vaccines to the states.

      Once the vaccines were available, Operation Warp Speed plans for public distribution stated in the fall ” Indications are that the administration of the vaccine to individuals will likely take place in a wide variety of locations, including: public and private hospitals and clinics (e.g., federally qualified health centers, rural health centers), medical practices, pharmacies, and potentially government-run mass vaccination locations. Jurisdictions’ immunization programs and the federal government will work together to identify and approve distribution sites and expect the need to expand the network of partner sites to reach all target populations”

      As I have said previously, the screwed up distribution was all due to the states deciding to use their local health departments for the distribution. As you can see by the planning document, the states were not really mentioned as the primary source for the shots.The health departments were not staffed for the onslaught of people wanting a shot, they did not have the software set up for the demand, they developed software that was not adequately tested and failed or had major problems, they used telephone systems that were not adequately staffed or not enough lines available or they required paper forms for registration. Only in West Va and rural America where they did not have the the health departments available and used local pharmacies did the distribution go better and faster, Not perfect, but much better.

      So in this issue, I can not blame the Biden or the feds for the mess that occurred.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 3, 2021 2:29 pm

        Fair enough, Ron, and I appreciate the insight.

        My critique of Biden was based on his own claim, during the campaign, that his administration would vastly improve on the rocky rollout that was beginning at the end of the Trump administration.

        Trump had built up an expectation that the military would be heavily involved in vaccine distribution, but that turned out to not be a realistic expectation. Biden said that he would have a better plan, but his plan was basically the same as Trump’s plan.

        So, that was my thinking, but, given the realities of federal and state communication (or lack thereof) it may be unfair to blame Biden for lack of planning…

      • September 3, 2021 3:49 pm

        Candidate Biden established the criteria for evaluating his performance as president by his promises and his criticism’s of Trump.

        He should be judged as he judged himself.

      • September 3, 2021 3:50 pm

        As you note Biden promised a better plan.

        But self evidently in many many areas – He didn’t.

        Making promises you know you can not keep is lying.

      • September 3, 2021 3:44 pm

        The reason this ultimately devolved to the state – which is the reason nearly everything covid related devolved to the state is there is no federal general police power.

        SCOTUS recently tanked the CDC eviction ban, but the FACT is that the constitution provides for no Federal health power beyond making recomendations – outside issues related to borders.

      • September 3, 2021 3:47 pm

        I can and do Blame Biden for the fact that Covid is still a disaster.

        I fully agree with you that Biden has done everything within his legitmate power – and some beyond that.

        At the same time a major portion of his campaign was the PROMISE to do radically better.

        He failed, and should be judged accordingly.

        Either he lied to get elected, or he was incompetent after, regardless he failed.

        I do hold people responsible for making promises that they can not possibly keep.
        It is still lying.

    • September 3, 2021 6:16 pm

      With few exceptions – when I speak of the Biden presidency – I do not mean Joe Biden.

      More than 50% of the country thinks he is not running things and not competent.

      Regardless the Biden Presidency is off to an extremely bad start, despite starting on the cusp of what should have been a strong recovery, and the fading of Covid.

      Robby now wants to blame Covid from Biden’s weak economy.
      Both false and irrelevant.

      When you promise to do better than Trump and you fail – it does not matter much whether it was ever possible to keep that promise. A promise you know or should know you can’t keep is a lie. Worse still sliming someone else from failing to accomplish what you subsequently fail at yourself is disgusting and defamation.

      These are character flaws. They are among Biden’s character flaws, but they are not flaws limited to Biden. They are common character flaws of democrats.

      Robby wants to pretend that democrats are good people.

      Good people do not constantly and wrongly call others liars. Good people do not use different standards to judge themselves and their friends than those they disagree with. Good people do not call half the country racists.

  14. Ron P permalink
    September 3, 2021 12:30 pm

    Well our attention span is even shorter than I expected. Today the front pages of our local papers national news section was dedicated to Biden “Climate Crisis has Arrived” and “Biden Blast Decision” (SCOTUS Texas Abortion decision). On the last page was “Those Left in Afghanistan say USA Broke Promises”. This happening even before the all 13 military members killed during the retreat are buried.

    So onward toward the 2022 election!

    • September 3, 2021 3:35 pm

      The SCOTUS TX decision was a bad decisions – for exactly the same reason the 2020 election decisions were bad.

      But the TX decisions was fully consistent with Precident.

      SCOTUS refused to grant an injunction because of “standing”.

      The Plantif’s were not claiming any real harm from the defendants.

      The TX law is disasterously wrong for reasons that have nothing to do with abortion., and SCOTUS needs to address those. But that would require altering or eliminating significant portions of “STanding”

  15. September 4, 2021 12:00 pm

    It is September and Sweden has STILL not experienced a spike in cases or deaths since April. delta has had no impact on Sweden, they appear to have reached “herd immunity”.

    We will have to see if that holds.

    I noted in a prior post that the EU appears to be preparing to change policies.
    One of their concerns/expectations is that as we move into Fall and especially Winter Delta is going to be uncontrolable.

    EU “experts” are expecting that nearly every unvaccinated person will get delta by winters end, and atleast 50% of vaccinated people will get Delta in the same time period. With the caveat that the death and hospitalization rates for vaccinated people will be much lower than the unvaccinated.

    Again the EU is preparing to give up as inefective all other means of attempting to control Covid. It is my understanding that Merkel has already announced that Germany will no longer provide free Covid testing.

  16. September 4, 2021 12:10 pm

    It is my hope that the herd immunity we appear to see in Sweden continues to hold, and that we start to see that in the rest of the west shortly.

    There is some reason to expect that – Sweden has so far not seen a spike from Delta.

    But there are no guarantees. I have noted that EU experts are now expecting C19 to be out of control in the fall and winter. They have accepted that herd immunity is unacheivable.
    They are atleast right that the substantially higher transmission rate of Delta requires substantially higher percentages of people to be immune to reach herd immunity.

    The biggest problem that we have coming is that we need to reach and sustain herd immunity under conditions where immunity appears to diminish fairly quickly, otherwise Covid will be with us forever, or atleast until there is an actual cure.

    This means that not only didn’t masking, lockdowns, etc work, they were probably epidemiologically harmful (as well as vastly economically harmful). Flattening the curve slowed the spread of the disease such that we are at risk of never being able to reach herd immunity.

  17. September 4, 2021 12:13 pm

    Zogby Poll – 20% of Biden voters regret voting for Biden, 4% are not sure.

  18. rondabellelane permalink
    September 4, 2021 8:37 pm

    I’m done here I think… discussions are rather impossible with questionable words and links to questionable sites being vomited incessantly… I’ll wait for next month.

    To all of you, stay safe… to all but one, interesting and relative comments.

    • September 5, 2021 12:56 pm

      “I’m done here I think… discussions are rather impossible with questionable words”
      Can we cut the crap ?

      If you have a specific problem with something SAY SO!

      Absolutely discussion is impossible when you have no interest in discussion.

      Make your arguments. Criticise those of others.

      But what purpose does this vague nonsense have ?

      You are free to engage or not as you wish.

      “and links to questionable sites being vomited incessantly… I’ll wait for next month.”

      If Hitler says something that is true – it is still true.

      Many of us link to other sources – generally that is well regarded.

      Is Daily Mail a “questionable source” – regardless, CNN and others are now reporting the same story.

      What about Glenn Greenwald ? He is one of the most respected PROGESSIVE reporters in the national security beat over the past 20 years. He has covered NS issues under Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden. Very importantly he has been consistently througout that entire time. He is gay, lives in Brazil, and is constantly under attack from the right wing Brazilian regime.

      Or Tulsi Gabbard ? She is a prominent democrat, was the representative from Hawaii, and was a democratic candidate for President in 2020.

      Or John Campell ? He is a Prominent Doctor who has been Vloging about Covid – primarily summarizing and analyzing information for various national health services – particularly those in Europe ?

      Are key people in the UK NIH “Fake news” ? Angela Merkel ?

      Or do you have a problem with Biden’s own Campaign Add from Youtube ?

      • Ron P permalink
        September 5, 2021 1:15 pm

        “Can we cut the crap ?

        If you have a specific problem with something SAY SO!”

        OK Dave, you dont seem to be one that understands multiple people when they say they are tired of your diatribes.

        Putting it another way, you have journalist diarrhea leading to too many comments, comments that are too long and constant repeating of comments made over the past upteen years.

        I read the first or second sentences when they show up on my email and if they are pages long, I delete them. Some I just do a mass delete and never read the first word.

        If you want others to read them, then edit you comments, reduce the numbers posted or otherwise continue to drive people away from Ricks site and comments section.

        Rick posts a article, he reads the first few comments made, responds and then he disappears due to the repetitious comments that appear after each one.He is not saying anything since he is not watching what is going on.

        You make some interesting points sometimes, but few read them because they are buried in voluminous crap you constantly posts that overwhelm others time and interest.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 5, 2021 9:12 pm

        Thank you. I responded in agreement to a few points on his first MUCH shorter posts… then? …a cacophony of vomit. I too go to my email and delete his comments, responding to the ones remaining. I also agree that his is ruining this site for others who would post more.

        If he has some sort of mental disability that makes him this way, he should seek help. If not, he should drastically change (which I doubt is possible) or leave.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 5, 2021 11:44 pm

        “If he has some sort of mental disability that makes him this way, he should seek help. If not, he should drastically change (which I doubt is possible) or leave”

        I am sure that it is not mental in the way one would think. But it is a need to be noticed as other sites where comments are made are somewhat the same. The only difference is there comments are just one of many individuals posting hundreds a day, so they get lost and no one really pays much attention. Here, with only 5 or so people commenting, the comments can control the site since Rick does not monitor what is going on.

        But it is very easy for me to sort the comments so they are all grouped and then just delete them at one time.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 5, 2021 11:54 pm

        Yes, deleting is easy… but still, his volumes are completely uncalled for and still remain a turn-off. BTW, I know Rick – told him of your comment. He looked, and responded to me with a thumbs up.

      • September 6, 2021 5:23 pm

        Have I done violence to you ?
        Have I failed to honor some agreement with you ?
        Have I acted to cause you actual harm ?

        If not, your reaction is YOUR problem.
        You chose to psychoanalyze me before.
        Might I suggest that if you are driven to apoplexy as you are claiming by my posts – that maybe it is YOU that is in need of counseling ?

        I have fun here – and at several other cites. My work is irregular, sometimes I am extremely busy and have no time for this. Others I have little to do, and I enjoy posting.

        You are not obligated to read anything anyone posts.
        But I place ZERO credence in your claim that the frequency of size of my posts causes you or anyone else actual harm.

        If you are that fragile – that is your problem – not mine.

      • September 6, 2021 5:28 pm

        I read everything you and every other person here posts.
        I read it thoroughly from end to end.
        I think about each post.
        where something seems incongruent – I put in the effort to check the facts you have asserted.

        All of that is time consuming. I am not obligated to do it, nor can I insist on the same from you.

        But I would suggest that you get more real respect from me, than I am getting from you.

        I may frequently point out where you are wrong.
        But I have never tried to silence you.

        Would you silence me if you had the power to do so ?

        Everyone here knows I am libertarian – EXTREME libertarian according to many of you.
        Why would you think that I would constrain my freedom because of your feelings ?

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 1:25 pm

        Which is what I do. Unfortunately, that may not be so easy for others who visit here, read Rick’s post, scan comments, and (consequentially) abruptly leave. Truly a shame, because I, for the most part, like those here… even if I disagree.

      • September 6, 2021 7:33 pm

        You have not left – why do you presume to know what others who visit here will do ?

        A typical article on the NYT has 5000 comments – and amazingly people still try to post on NYT.

        You keep making this claim that I am some “know it all”.

        Yet over and over you are certain that you know all about me, and about random strangers who may or may not have ever visited here.

        And I am the one who is the arrogant know-it-all ?

      • September 6, 2021 5:15 pm

        “I am sure that it is not mental in the way one would think. But it is a need to be noticed ”
        Priscilla’s first section was about respect – do you think that psychoanalyzing anyone you have not met is respectful ? Civil ?

        Except where YOU have chosen to make me the issue – my posts are all on issues, and usually on topic.

        Read, don’t, your choice.

        “other sites where comments are made are somewhat the same. ”
        Can I suggest that if my behavior is similar in many places, but it is only a problem for YOU HERE, that I am not the problem ?

      • September 6, 2021 5:10 pm

        “If he has some sort of mental disability that makes him this way, he should seek help. ”

        Shame on you.

      • September 6, 2021 4:48 pm

        “OK Dave, you dont seem to be one that understands multiple people when they say they are tired of your diatribes.

        Putting it another way, you have journalist diarrhea leading to too many comments, comments that are too long and constant repeating of comments made over the past upteen years.”

        I understand completely – and I reject it.

        As I posted to Rick – if you want my posts to be shorter – if you want fewer comments,
        make fewer errors.

        “I read the first or second sentences when they show up on my email and if they are pages long, I delete them. Some I just do a mass delete and never read the first word.”

        That is your choice to make. You seem to think that explaining that changes anything.

        This is pretty simple – if there is actually nothing of importance in my posts – deleting them without reading them solves your problem – and yet you continue to rail about it.

        My guess – a bit of mind reading that I typically try to avoid, is that you actually beleive that somewhere buried in the emails you delete without reading is something meaningful that you wish was said more tersely.

        That is your problem – not mine. You, Priscilla, Rick even Robby periodically note the importance of some of my thoughts.

        Well guess what – if you want what you think of as the good, you have to take the bad too.

        Guess what – that is how the world works.
        Most everyone here constantly accuses me of being rigid and dogmatic.
        Yet I am not the one constantly railing against reality.

        I can list all kinds of things I do not like about Trump – as can everyone.
        And those I like, in the end the good outweighed the bad for me.
        That seems a really moderate position.

        In a hypothetical world where everyone vaccinates, has N95 masks, wears them properly, does not touch their masks, washes their hands constantly, social distances, avoids unnescary outings, and self quarantines for 2 weeks if they are exposed – we MIGHT be able to beat Covid – though probably not, even the original variant is just too contageous.
        But we live in the real world – N95 masks do not work that well, Vaccines are useful, but imperfect, almost no one wears n95 masks and no one does so properly, etc, etc.

        We probably could not stop Covid with perfection – but you want to rail and demand that we all do as you wish – which will not happen and will not work and you either know that or should know it. There are riots in europe over much of this nonsense right now.

        One major argument for the dogmatic libertarianism that you rant about is that in the real world you just can not get people to behave the way you want them to.
        Libertarianism provides a philosphical framework for individual liberty – but the FACT is that absent FORCE – and often lots of it – you can not get people to behave as you wish.
        And with Cov id the level of compliance you need is 100% – you can not get that by passing laws – you will actually have to send people out with guns to enforce them.

        Whatever moderate means – if it is divorced the actual behavior of real people – it is just another intellectual excercise in unreality that will fail when applied.

      • September 6, 2021 4:49 pm

        “If you want others to read them, then edit you comments, reduce the numbers posted”

        I reject your offer. Read, don’t read your choice.

      • September 6, 2021 4:51 pm

        “or otherwise continue to drive people away from Ricks site and comments section.”

        I frequent blogs where there are hundred of comments per day.
        NYT has thousands of comments in a few days.
        This is a stupid argument.

      • September 6, 2021 5:01 pm

        “Rick posts a article, he reads the first few comments made, responds and then he disappears”

        He has been doing that for years. that is his perogative.
        It is extremely rare for the person writing an article to respond to comments at all.

        Rick is free to decide how he will spend his time. Just as you are, just as I am.

        But YOU are DEMANDING that I conform to your expectations. You demand that I waste extra hours converting 500 works to 200.

        I am perfectly capable of doing that – and I have no doubt that my posts will be incredibly well written and much more likely to get read and understood.

        It will also cost me alot of time that I have no intentions of giving.

        Read, Don’t, your choice.

        Think of it as a lesson in freedom.

        I can not force you to listen, you can not force me to write as you wish.

        It is possible the world would be better for you, if I did as you wish.
        Why would it be better for me ?

        Lets presume I agreed and did the work to say the same things in 80% less space.
        What assurance do I have that you or anyone else would read them ?

        Again a bit of mind reading, but I do not think that you or anyone else is truly upset by the things you are complaining about.

        I think you are upset because many of the arguments I make are MORAL arguments.
        No one wants to hear that they are on the wrong side of a moral issue.

        “due to the repetitious comments that appear after each one.He is not saying anything since he is not watching what is going on.”

        I can not read Rick;s mind and I do not control his conduct.

        Regardless, he can go, he can stay, he can just like you delete some peoples comments and read others.

      • September 6, 2021 5:03 pm

        “You make some interesting points sometimes, but few read them because they are buried in voluminous crap you constantly posts that overwhelm others time and interest.”

        Guess what – we are int he real world. Sometimes you have to live with what you do not like to get what you do.

      • September 6, 2021 5:07 pm

        Ron, Rick, etc.

        I have made my arguments on this. I could add thousands of pages more, but it will not change anything.

        I am going to try follow Ron’s lead and I am just going to delete further comments about my style of posting.

        If Rick wishes he can ban me.

        Otherwise, I am not interested in further discussion about my posting.

        I would be happy to discuss further the first portion of Priscilla’s post on civility.
        Otherwise your rants about the size or frequency of my posts are just a form of ad hominem.

      • Vermonta permalink
        September 6, 2021 2:41 am

        My 2 cents, yes its an actual mental disability. Its genetic and not changeable. As a for example, if he were not in some way mentally incapacitated he would notice that people he repeatedly and frantically addresses as if they were carrying on a conversation with him simply ignore him 99% of the time. They have long ago discounted the value of his posts, like junk bonds, there are junk posts and junk posters. He does not notice that and goes on pursuing them as if there was really a conversation instead of his one-sided harangue. A mentally competent person would notice that he is not being taken seriously and not waste huge amounts of their their time haranguing people, sometimes for years. He has no self control.

        Then there is his frequent conviction that he knows the absolute truth and that those who disagree with him are not simply expressing an opinion, they are absolutely wrong and he is absolutely right. (Must have driven his family and teachers crazy.) “I have addressed that already” is one of his favorite phrases, as if God has spoken.

        He is just made that way.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 12:35 pm

        That was my impression Vermonta. He states that he welcomes discussion, but he truly doesn’t … he seems incapable of discussion, and has made it impossible for us to discuss anything with him.

      • September 6, 2021 5:48 pm

        “That was my impression Vermonta. He states that he welcomes discussion, but he truly doesn’t … he seems incapable of discussion, and has made it impossible for us to discuss anything with him.”

        You have been free to respond to any posts that I have made.

        You are absolutely assured that I will read every single world that you post and that I will weigh it very carefully before I respond.

        There is no impediment to discussion here – not me, not anyone else.
        No one has tried to silence you.
        You are free to say anything you want.
        And I am free to respond.
        You are free as Ron to delete posts without reading them – that will of course make the discussion you seem to value impossible.
        Regardless, YOU control whether YOU are part of a discussion.

        That is the real world. Nothing makes discussion impossible – unless you presume that discussion requires no one ever disagree with anything you say.

      • September 6, 2021 5:39 pm

        Should I diagnose you Robby ?

        Further – what does it matter ?

        Pick your pleasure, assume I have a MH problem or a genetic issue or whatever you want.

        How does that change anything ?

        “They have long ago discounted the value of his posts, like junk bonds, there are junk posts and junk posters.”

        You are free to do as you wish or beleive as you wish – but your beliefs and actions do not change reality.

        Doing my own Mind reading and diagnosis – I assert hat you ignore my posts precisely because they have merit and you can not refute them.

        You even perform abysmally inside your own alleged area of expertise.

        “Then there is his frequent conviction that he knows the absolute truth and that those who disagree with him are not simply expressing an opinion, they are absolutely wrong and he is absolutely right.”
        If I am wrong about something – address that with FACTS, LOGIC and Reason.

        But you do not, you respond with mountains of fallices.
        You are unwilling to provide support for any claims you make.

        You rant about my conviction that I know the absolute truth – but you are unwilling to confront any challenge to your positions. You make claims, but you do not or can not defend them.

        It is perfectly reasonable for me or anyone else to presume that if you are unable or unwilling to support an argument – that it is likely false.

        “I have addressed that already”

        You can not have it both ways. If I make an argument and you do not respond, I am entitled to presume that argument need not be repeated.

        Or do you wish to have the same argument repeated in full again ?

      • September 6, 2021 5:42 pm

        Robby, the truth is not something we assert, it is something we discover and test.

        You make claims, I make claims

        You presume yours are true, I presume mine are.

        I am no more blunt than you are, no more cock sure than you are, no more arrogant than you are.

        But I am prepared to defend my assertions.

        If you are not, it is reasonable to assume that you can’t.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        September 6, 2021 11:42 am

        I stop engaging with Dave when he replies to one of my comments with four or five consecutive comments, each of which is roughly as long as my original column. I’m just not a fast enough reader to make it worth my time to absorb all that verbiage.

        Dave is a smart guy, and he’s reasonably well-informed (at least from sources that support his beliefs), but he can’t seem to fathom why we’re not all libertarians on a site designed for political moderates. (If I believe that no American should go bankrupt due to medical bills, that makes me a reviled “statist.”)

        Dave, if you’re reading, I welcome contrarian voices here, but you need to shed some of your absolute certainty that your way is the only way. Ayn Rand isn’t God. You’d also benefit from cutting your verbiage by about 80%; we might actually read and respond to you. Good ideas are expressed more forcefully with a minimum of verbal padding.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 12:51 pm

        Thank you.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 6, 2021 1:23 pm

        Rick, thanks. By the way, health care would be a good article as it impacts everyone!

      • September 6, 2021 1:54 pm

        Rick – you are free to engage or not.

        But ignoring criticism because it is too long or too numerous is an extremely poor argument.

        All the current comments on this blog can be read in about half an hour.

        I receive your articles and every comment by email.
        I read every single one.

      • September 6, 2021 2:03 pm

        What I can not fathom is why you have no principles and no moral standards.

        Is the lack of principles or moral standards a prerequisite for being moderate ?

        Regardless, I do reject your definition of moderate that I can put together based on your writing and actions.

        If you convert compromise into a principle – ultimately you will end up with one form of extremism or the other.

        This should be trivial for anyone our age to understand.

        INARGUABLY – Republicans today are substantially to the left of where they were in the 80;s.

        What YOU call the far right at this time – was left of center in 1980.

        If in two decades our politics are split between socialists and communists – is the moderate position squarely between them ?

        There are issues where compromise has value or is an acceptable tactic.
        But it is NEVER a principle, and it can often be immoral.

        That is NOT a libertarain position, it is just reality.

      • September 6, 2021 2:35 pm

        If I believe that no American should go bankrupt due to medical bills, that makes me a reviled “statist.”

        No but it does make you a statist.

        It also means that you are both illogical and blind to reality.

        Presumably you have heard of the term “moral hazard” ?

        That is not a particularly libertarian concept. It is a real world fact.

        i would further note that your position is shallow and ignorant of the facts.

        The entire purpose of bankruptcy is to limit the consequences of bad luck and bad choices.

        The bankruptcy system exists for precisely the purpose that you are trying to avoid.

        Bankruptcy is a new start for people.

        Next I am guessing based on that statement that you wish to argue that health care is a right.

        Of course it is not. Food, shelter, far more fundimental than health care are not rights.

        Nothing is a right that imposes an affirmative obligation on others.

        Many on the left argue that a wealthy society such as ours should be able to provide people with healthcare – missing that self evident in their own argument is that quality healthcare and myriads of other benefits exist only because we have a very high standard of living.

        For 99.99% of human existance healthcare was not an issue – there was none of consequence. Even the most wealthy were too poor to afford healthcare.

        In the early 1900’s one of John D Rockeffeller’s nephews got scarlet fever. Rockefller offered the equivalent of $1B to anyone who could save his nephew – his nephew died.

        For nearly all of human existance people died from things that we cure easily today.

        In November I had a colonoscopy. That night I ended up in the ER with fevers and chills, every bone in my body hurt – I was dying. IV Saline – something simple but only 100 years old quickly preventing immediate death. It took another 8 hours to find the actual cause of my problems – I had a bacterial blood infection caused by the colonoscopy. Before antibiotics these were fatal most of the time. Even today some are antibiotic resistant. I was fortunate and mine responded to amoxacillan – just about the cheapest antibiotic there is.

        Regardless, 100 years ago I would have died. Today this was not even a large hospital bill.
        But even today – in most of the world – I would have died.

        Health care is not and can not be a right. It has a cost, and someone must pay for it no matter what. When it can not be paid for – as in much fo the world – you do not get it ‘PERIOD.

        Your entire healthcare discussion starts with a premise that your are oblivious of that we are wealthy enough to be able to afford it.

        We got to the point to be able to afford it via the very freedom that you constantly find excuses to sacrifice.

        I would further note that as advanced as our healthcare is – we still all die. There are still myriads of things that can kill us and the healthcare system can do nothing about that.
        In another 100 years things that kill us today may prove minor – but only if we continue to have the freedom to constantly raise our standard of living.

        Many here – possibily you like to pretend that it is technology not freedom that brings about these advances. That is nonsense – the prerequistes of developing technology include freedom. The prequisites for utilizing technology after it is developed include freedom.

        The covid vaccine was developed in 2 days and brought to market in 8 months. that could not have happened in any other time and place.

        Bankruptcy is a good thing, in the past we locked people in debtors prisons until they repaid every cent, or if they did not have the money for something – they could not get it.

        The person you wish to “save” from medical bankruptcy is only facing bankruptcy because they already received and benefited from medical treatment they could not afford.

        You seem to think that medical bankruptcy means people went untreated.
        If that was so, they would not be facing bankruptcy.

      • September 6, 2021 2:42 pm

        “Dave, if you’re reading, I welcome contrarian voices here, but you need to shed some of your absolute certainty that your way is the only way. Ayn Rand isn’t God. ”

        Not an objectivist nor have you made an argument.

        I am absolutely certain that we should not murder each other – can we agree on that ?

        If you grasp that, then you should grasp that there can be things that we are absolutely certain about.

        Regardless, if you wish to disabuse me of my certainty of something – the means to do so is trivial. Make a compelling argument.

        An assertion is not wrong because you do not like it, or because it hurts your feelings.
        It is wrong because you can demonstrate its error.

        As I have noted repeatedly – being right today is extremely easy – check your facts before posting them.

        Should I be uncertain that the sun will rise tomorow ? That when I drop a ball it will fall ?

        I will start doubting gravity when there are instances in which it fails.

      • September 6, 2021 2:49 pm

        “You’d also benefit from cutting your verbiage by about 80%;”

        Of course I could. How long does it take you to write a 5000 word essay ? How long to reduce the same content to 2000 words ?

        Anything anyone says in 5000 words can be said better more powerfully in 2000.

        There is absolutely no argument about that.

        You are not telling me or anyone else what I do not already know.

        But what you are ignoring is that it takes an enormous amount of time to reduce 5000 words to 2000.

        Like you I get paid to write, though probably not as frequently as you. When I am paid I am concise. gramatical, and with perfect spelling.

        No one is paying me to post on TNM.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 6, 2021 4:10 pm

        So once again “ITS ALL ABOUT DAVE” because he can not be considerate to others on this site who have ask him, told him or otherwise informed him they do not like how he dominates the site and creates situations they do not appreciate.

        So Dave, since “you dont have time” to edit your diatribes, we will just go on deleting your comments before even reading them, ignoring what you say and let you spend time wasting your time writing the 5000 word statements instead of posting something useful by editing them to 2000 words (even that may be too long)

        Its your call. If you want us to read and respond, consider the request. Otherwise be the person no one pays any attention to other than yourself.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 4:28 pm


      • September 6, 2021 11:28 pm


        YOU chose to make it all about me.

        I did not.

        Take responsibility for your own choices.


        “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

        You complain about debris filling the blog – and those of you who have concocted this fake issue have filled the blog.

        I did not ask you to fixate on me – you did that entirely on your own.

        I would further note that self evident from your idiotic defamatory remarks,
        I did not make this about me – YOU did.

        I would much prefer discussing afghanistan, or Covid, or

        Left wing nuts calling Larry Elder a white supremecist,

        Or why women are free to make health choices about their own bodies in the context of abortion, but not with respect to vaccines or masks

        Or pretty much any other issue in creation.

      • September 6, 2021 11:10 pm

        “So once again “ITS ALL ABOUT DAVE” because he can not be considerate to others on this site who have ask him, told him or otherwise informed him they do not like how he dominates the site and creates situations they do not appreciate.”

        Again and again and again – YOUR dislike for something is completely irrelevant.

        I “dislike” the flase an unsupported claims of moral failure that are so prevalent today – on this site and elsewhere that those making them are not even aware – I hope, that they are doing so.

        Neither you nor other posters here seem to give a $hit about the constant bogus moral preening, the constant bogus or unsupported accusations of moral failure,

        In the grand scheme that is far more consequential.

        This country is not bitterly divided because I post to frequently for your tastes. It is not bitterly divided because my posts are too long for your tastes.

        It is bitterly divided because we are constantly lobbing moral hand grenades at each other without ever supporting accusations.

        “So Dave, since “you dont have time” to edit your diatribes, we will just go on deleting your comments before even reading them, ignoring what you say and let you spend time wasting your time writing the 5000 word statements instead of posting something useful by editing them to 2000 words (even that may be too long)”

        Your pretending there is some meaningful negotiation or means of compromise.
        There is not. I am not agreeing to do anything, but lets say I did – lets say we negotiated your proposed “deal” here. You would be able to verify that I held up my end.
        But it would be impossible to verify that everyone else held up theirs.

        Put simply you are offering nothing. You are pretending to offer something that you think I want, but whether true or not, it is unverifiable.

        “Its your call. If you want us to read and respond, consider the request. Otherwise be the person no one pays any attention to other than yourself.”

        No Ron, it is not “my call”
        Your free to do as you please,
        Just as I am.

        You are asking me to verifiably voluntarily make a choice that one way or the other has real cost to me, in return for something that has little or no cost to you and is unverifiable.

        And you are doing so over a trivial issue while this blog drowns in the actual problem that is dividing the country.

        Frankly I can argue that by flooding the blog I am doing you all a service and making it harder to find the immoral needle in the haystack.

      • September 6, 2021 11:13 pm


        I have made a relatively specific claim of moral misconduct that is self evident in numerous posts and posters on this blog, that is a far greater issue than this idiocy about post size or frequency.

        That is NOT directed at you.

      • September 6, 2021 11:20 pm

        As I think further – you actually have no means of verifying my compliance either – which underlines the stupidity of the request.

        While I have near universally posted under a very limited number of names, and I am only using JBSay here because I can not get my dhlii wordpress ID to work anymore – aparently wordpress problems are endemic.

        On other blogs I post on myriads of posters use multiple ids.

        How would TNM be different if I posted under 5 different ID’s ?

        Or if I found 5 other people who shared many of my views to post on TNM ?

        The entire nonsense that you are upset about is FAKE.

        If there are 500 posts on TNM and 300 of them reflect a perspective similar to mine – what exactly does it matter if they are my posts, my posts under multiple ID’s or just other posters that share my views that come over to join me ?

        Everyone of you is upset about something you have no rational reason to be upset about.

        I am not going to engage in mind reading – but it is pretty reasonable to assume that when people claim to be angry over stupid things, Something else is actually going on.

      • September 6, 2021 11:21 pm

        Why is control of another person so important to you ?

        Whether the issue is post frequency or size, or masks, or vaccination, or ….

        Why is it so important to you that you can compel others to conform to your whim ?

      • September 6, 2021 3:19 pm

        If you want my posts to be dramatically shorter – everyone on TNM has the power to do so simply.

        Do not make so many errors – particularly simple factual mistakes.

        Why should I take your criticism of the size of my posts seriously when others and most specifically YOU are unwilling to take the effort to get your facts correct.

        I put my time into getting the facts correct.

        The credibility of our institutions – the press, government are all at a nadir – why ?
        Because they have been caught in myriads of errors and lies.

        Just as the size of my posts reduces the odds that people read what I say – the errors present in posts and articles here is similarly damaging.

        If I am going to be criticized I would prefer than it was for verbiage than error.

        I posted a link to a video by Tulsi Gabbard – who other TNM posters introduced me to.

        Gabbard dealt with almost every important issue regarding Afghanistan in 1 minute and 45 seconds. Far shorter than anything I have written. Far shorter than anything you have written.

        Gabbard made no mistakes, and she spoke with the authority of a combat veteran.

        That democrats picked Biden or even considered any of the mice running for the Democratic nomination over Gabbard is damning.

      • September 6, 2021 3:39 pm

        I am not going to change the amount of time I spend on TNM posts. To the extent I choose to spend more time on a post – it will be to verify facts – not reduce its size.

        If you wish to insist on smaller posts – fine, I will reduce my posts to a few short paragraphs and increase the number.

        Regardless, there is no benefit to me to putting in the effort to reduce the size of my posts.
        I completely agree that they might be more effective.

        I DO NOT CARE. It is my time and I will use it as I choose.
        I can not make you read what I write. I would hope that you would do so for the many reasons that YOU have listed. Regardless, it is your choice.

        I am also aware that many here and elsewhere choose not to read what I write because they have no interest in challenges to their world view. I can not fix that either. Nor will changing how I write effect that.

        You have criticised me for my purported Randian certainty – Still not an objectivist.
        Regardless, there is little difference between me and other posters here with respect to that criteria.

        Most everyone here makes essentially the same posts over and over reflecting the same world view they did in the last post and the one before and the one before.
        To the extent anyone has shifted their views on anything – you and Ron have drifted slightly to the left.

        Your writing style may not be as blunt as mine, but you are more intractable.

        My positions change rarely, but are ALWAYS driven by the evidence. Over my lifetime I have changed my views on many things. Even today I am constantly reassessing my positions based on what others – here and elsewhere say – and what I see in the real world.

        I am certain I have spent more time considering whether something you, or Ron, or Robby has posted requires me to revise my positions than any of you have.
        I do that all the time. If my views do not change as a result it is because the arguments or facts were not persausive.

        While you and others may be less blunt in their writing, but you do not reconsider your positions based on arguments or evidence. That is far more troubling than my alleged absolute certainty.

        Presumably as a writer you are familiar with George Orwell’s advice to writers – to eliminate weasle words, to state things directly and forcefully. that you need not preface remarks with “I think” or “in my opinion” A statement is either a fact or an opinion and it is weak and poor writing to constantly flag opinions as such.

        I will stick to Orwell’s advice on writing rather than yours.

      • September 6, 2021 4:01 pm

        Rick, I would venture that I review far more sources that do not share my views than you do.

        Frankly that should be trivially obvious. while there is a slowly growing group of increasingly libertarian red pilled former liberals, overall nearly all voices that get heard are on the far left, and the few not on the left, are on the right.

        I am hard pressed to think of a single significant libertarian source today. While libertarians are a growing influence today – particularly for the right, and for those nearer the middle who are uncomfortable with the right but terrified of the left, there are still no consequential libertarian voices. The person I quote the most is John Stuart Mill – and he has been dead for almost 200 years – he certainly not a guest speaker on CNN.

        On Covid my primary source is CDC DATA – as opposed to their often idiotic policy prononcements. After that I spend a fair amount of time following european sources – because oddly social media does not seem to censor european sources nearly as much.
        Dr. John Campell can review the effacacy of ivermectin and youtube ignores it. But if Bret Weinstein and Heather Heyer – US evolutionary biologists mention it they get banned.
        I am also following the assorted european equivalents of the US CDC, NIH, and FDA – again though still incredibly statist, they are far more prone to follow the science than to allow politics to distort it. I am also very watchful of what is happening in specific countries.
        I have been following Sweden carefully since the start. It continues to appear that Sweden has reached herd immunity – even with Delta, and that is very important, because there are an increasing number of experts in Europe that are becoming fatalistic – that no policies will work, and that her immunity is unacheivable, and that we are just going to have to live with Covid forever. I hope that is not true.

        Regardless, while I do not have the giant bug up my ass that so many here have regarding Fox or Tucker Carlson. I occasionally watch Greg Gutfield because he is funny – and we have a dearth of humor today, and increasingly what little there is comes from the right.
        The left has entirely lost its sense of humor. Stephen Colbert used to be brilliant. Today he is dull.

        As someone says “Politics ruins everything” – even comedy.

        On national security issues my goto going all the way back to Bush is Glenn Greenwald.
        For years he has been considered a left wing nut. But since he does not change his views based on who is in power – he is increasingly being blackballed by the left wing press.

        I deliberately try to find left wing sources for much of what I post in the feint hope that those here will be more likely to beleive the truth from CNN than Fox.
        Though the vast majority of my sources are from independent media not the mainstream media. Though again – once some fact is found – it is nearly always possible to find it echoed in NYT or WAPO.

  19. Ron P permalink
    September 5, 2021 1:01 pm

    This has nothing to do with Afghanistan or national politics, but is about politics. In a state where the division between the democrat governor and republican legislature is somewhat close to the division between parties nationally, this shows what can happen when they do something for the good of the people and not their parties. Now I understand there might be things in the bill that are not addressed here, but this legislation seems to provide a mechanism to identify the small number of bad cops that taint the profession where so many are good and risk everything to provide the protection everyone wants, including their lives.

    • Priscilla permalink
      September 5, 2021 3:12 pm

      Ron, NC is one of the few states that still seems to have a functioning 2-party system. Once a state or city has reached the point where the odds of being elected from the minority party are below, say 20%, then you essentially have no real ability to reach consensus through compromise, because the majority party doesn’t have to compromise. So, it just rams through whatever policies it damn well pleases, and to hell with the other side and its voters.

      It used to be that the average American voter saw value in having an executive from one party and a legislature dominated by the other, but we are at a point where the base voters of both parties freak out when they don’t get 100% of what they want. So, the politicians just double down on whatever their base wants, the opposition does the same, and we have, at best, a stalemate, at worst, totalitarian one-party rule. Most major US cities have one-party rule now, and many have had it for over a century.

      I have always thought that the two party system was by far the best (and I still do), but I also think that, for the most part, the 2-party system in this country has been irretrievably broken, and we need a major third party to shake things up. Maybe a fourth, as well.

    • September 6, 2021 4:28 pm

      Interesting but unsubstantial.

      Though it is difficult nearly everything in this bill is available in my state as a result of decades old open records act. Similar to the Federal Freedom of Information act.

      We have seen a flip recently in body cam information. Law enforcement used to resist and stall, but increasingly they are moving rapidly – often in hours to get body cam video out.

      While there is a bad apple problem, there are other problems – many are not resolveable.

      Blacks make up 11% of the country yet commit more than 50% of the murders.

      That is not a spinable fact. It should be obvious that near 50% of the allocation of police resources, near 50% of the police stops, near 50% of the enforcement actions are going to involve minorities as a result.

      Some officers are bad, Some prejudiced, some just arrogant. Some police training is wrong and more likely to trigger conflict. But even if you could eliminate all this – which you can not,
      you will still have the problem that policing is messy bussiness and mistakes will be made.
      The mistakes will be made where the enforcement occurs – and that is in minority communities.

      Further outside of a few left wing nuts – no one wants differently. Polls in black communities demonstrate that as much or more so than the rest of us they want a strong police presence.

      Violence in the US has started to rise – dramatically – reversing 40 year trends. And that violence is primarily in the black community. Your odds of getting robbed, raped or murdered are highest if you are black. So long as we allocate the police where they are most needed we will have more mistakes involving minorities.

      The bill you cited does not address qualified immunity – it is within the power of a state government to waive qualified immunity within that state.
      It does not address militarized policing.

      While I support the effort to make records more accessible – it falls far short of my own state which is not a beacon. And I want access to far more than police records. Government should be as open as possible.

      Finally identifying problems is not solving them. That is why I am focused on qualified immunity. That is the single most consequential police reform we can make.

      All of us – police, citizens tend to adjust our behavior to the likelyhood of consequences.

      I did not see much of a stick in this law.

  20. September 5, 2021 11:53 pm

    “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

  21. September 6, 2021 12:15 am

    The FBI Comes Up Empty-Handed in its Search for an Insurrection

  22. September 6, 2021 12:23 am

    Buzzfeed finds evidence FBI possibly planned and executed Whitmer plot

    FBI Texts reveal that FBI Agents initiated several crimes including several egregious ones such as assassinating Gov. Whitmer and Gov. Northam that the defendants refused.

  23. September 6, 2021 12:26 am

    Absent evidence that Remedsvir is an effective treatment for Covid

    WHO recommends against the use of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients

    The FDA has approved Remedsvir While HCQ and Ivermectin which have shown some benefit in many studies remain unaproved and doctors have been threatened with prosecution if they perscribe them off label – an otherwise common practice.

  24. September 6, 2021 12:28 am

    Media fails to disclose that many of their guests and consultants are employed by or serve on the boards of defense contractors in afghanistan.

  25. September 6, 2021 12:49 am

    I guess this is the people of Afghanistan seething at their loss of freedom.

  26. Priscilla permalink
    September 6, 2021 10:28 am

    It should be possible to have a good, civil discussion here..

    1. Show respect, for both Rick and for the other commenters. There aren’t any “trolls” here, so take advantage of the fact that you might learn something from someone who genuinely disagrees with you. I have to say that I have learned a great deal from Roby, Ron. Dave, and Savannah over the years (and Rick, of course!), despite having disagreements with all of them on key issues. Ronda, you haven’t been around very long, but I am sure that I could say the same of you. And Pat, maybe the most “free-thinker” among us, often has the most unique perspectives of all.

    2. Limit the number of comments that you post in any given day ~ try and respond directly to the comments of others, and give them a chance to respond to you, at least before you move on to an entirely new topic. I think that no more than 3 comments p/day would be a reasonable place to start. If a hot debate gets started, nobody will complain if you post more, as long as your comments are in response to the debate.

    3. Actually read the comments to which you respond.

    Sorry if this is too didactic. Just my two cents.

    • September 6, 2021 11:58 am

      I should not need to say this, but addressing your comment, taking it apart and looking at each of the elements is NOT disrespect. It is not even inherently disagreement.

      I would personally be very happy to see the kind of rules that are used in formal debates.
      I am very good in that forum and most here are not.
      But I doubt that others here would want that.

      Regardless, rules have consequences – many of those are unintended consequences.

      “It should be possible to have a good, civil discussion here..

      1. Show respect”

      I would be happy to consider establishing norms.

      What does respect mean ?

      Many posters here frequently call others names, engage in ad hominem, call other posters liars, trumpsters, racists, …… Often they do so directly, but sometimes it is indirectly,

      Respect is affirmative – it is supposed to be earned.
      Respect is not binary – not insulting others is NOT respecting them.

      Do we limit the requirement for respect to Rick and posters ?

      What about “all democrats are liars” or “all republicans are stupid” those are clearly disrespectful. Further some here are democrats or republicans – can we circumvent a rule against personal attacks by allowing attacks on a person through their identity ?

      “Everyone from Vermont is stupid” as an example ?

      There is a difference between respecting people and respecting opinions.

      Ad Hominem is a fallacy where the argument shifts from attacking the ideas to attacking the person.

      If it is not acceptable to call a person stupid – is it acceptable to call their ideas stupid ? Immoral ?

      If someone advocated for pedophilia are were allowed to attack that idea ?

      “2. Limit the number of comments that you post in any given day”

      If others her actually decide even informally to have such a rule I will follow it. But I would ask why ?

      We have been through this before. Despite claims otherwise there is absolutely no cost to anyone to the number of posts by an individual or in aggregate.

      None of us are free to harm others, the core to nearly all rules is harm reduction.
      Where there is no harm there is no basis for a rule.

      “try and respond directly to the comments of others, and give them a chance to respond to you, at least before you move on to an entirely new topic.”

      I suspect many here think I violate this – I do not. The vast majority of my posts are direct responses to the argument made by another poster. I typically examine THEIR arguments peice by peice, Paragraph by paragraph, sentence, by sentence, sometimes word by word.

      “I think that no more than 3 comments p/day would be a reasonable place to start.”

      Again I do not understand why the quantity of posts harms anyone.

      Regardless there are a number of issues with this.

      If as an example one poster chooses to argue for pedophilia – are we limited to 3 responses to challenge that ?

      Further if you limit the quantity of posts all you do is push towards larger posts.
      I noted that I frequently respond to a single post line by line. break my response into multiple posts to avoid making them too long.

      You are essentially trying to impose something equivalent to LBJ’s FCC “equal time rule”,
      That proved disasterous and was ultimately overruled by SCOTUS.

      Today it is mostly those on the right that would benefit from an “equal time” rule – the public space is dominated by left wing nuts. Reimposing the “equal time” rule would likely end the censorship done by Social Media.

      It would STILL be wrong. a rule is not good based on who it benefits.

      I would strongly support rules requiring civility – though I do not know how to construct those, and while I find most posters here more civil than other places. TNM is NOT a beacon of civility or even close.

      It is extremely difficult to remain civil when your arguments are being attacked – I have trouble doing so, and I am better at remaining respectful than most left posters here.

      If you think that is not true – all that points out is how incredibly hard it is to establish objective measures for civility.

      “If a hot debate gets started, nobody will complain if you post more, as long as your comments are in response to the debate.”

      I do not personally have a problem with an “on topic” rule.

      But I do not see the point of it.

      Typical TNM posts tend to be “on topic” for many days after Rick posts a new topic and then slowly drift off.

      I do not have a problem with that.

      Further what does “on topic” mean ?

      As an example the current topic is the withdraw from afghanistan.

      Does that limit us to events related to afghanistan in the past 9 months ?

      Is Biden’s cognative impairment on topic ? Is a counter claim regarding Trump’s cognition on topic ? Is Bush or Obama or Trump’s afghanistan actions “on topic”.

      It is very easy to expand the scope of discussion.

      “3. Actually read the comments to which you respond.”

      I would hope that everyone here would attest that I CAREFULLY read the entirety of every single post made here. There are many complaints that I knit pick bits and pieces of their posts.

      “Sorry if this is too didactic. Just my two cents.”‘

      I welcome discussion. I am just looking to note ahead that even opening the discussion will result in each of us trying to push for the rules that benefit us and if rules are accepted – to game the rules we do not like.

      That is human nature.

      • Vermonta permalink
        September 6, 2021 12:59 pm

        Priscilla, I thought of responding to your post by saying that your idea was reasonable but its not something Dave would ever agree to. But I decided to wait and let him do his thing. So he did it.

        He is not going to change, he is hard wired. Its part of his condition that he has no ability to change. What he does harms the site considerably, everyone knows it but him. He will hang out here and do what he does until for some reason next month or next year he gets bored and moves on.

        Dave, you are 1000 times more interested in talking to me than I am in talking to you. That ought to be obvious to an intelligent person. It is fascinating to me that you spend your time writing long posts to me that I never read. You should know that is a waste of time, you are talking to yourself. But the way you are wired you never will realize that.

        Why you don’t create your own site and do what Rick does and control your own universe without being a complete pest here is a good question. But I know that you will just continue making Libertarian ideas look bad here in front of people who are sick of you instead of finding a Libertarian audience that might like to have a discussion with you. Your method is Very counter productive but your goal does not seem to actually advance your own cause. Its weird and not intelligent. Intelligence means adaptation to circumstances. Repetition of a routine is something a snail can do.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 1:11 pm

        Agree… even in my short time here this is something I noticed – he harms the site. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there like a short month or two when he didn’t post? People that hadn’t posted here for some time actually posted! They had said they read Rick’s blog each month, but must have felt that their posts would now be read and not assaulted over & over.

        This is not a site for agreement, but for reading, listening, learning, and expressing opinions. He reads with blinders, doesn’t listen, is incapable of considering any thought other than his own (no learning), and (true) his expression of opinions is more akin to that of “God has spoken”.

        And still he states he is not disrespectful… that last trait IS disrespectful.

      • September 6, 2021 7:07 pm

        “Agree… even in my short time here this is something I noticed – he harms the site.”
        Only if harm is defined by your feelings.

        I post here when the site is active and I am not busy.

        “This is not a site for agreement, but for reading, listening, learning, and expressing opinions.”
        Fully agree.

        “He reads with blinders, doesn’t listen, is incapable of considering any thought other than his own (no learning), and (true) his expression of opinions is more akin to that of “God has spoken”.”

        How would you know – you claim to delete my posts without reading.
        But then you claim i dissect every sentence you write – which is it ?

        If I have misunderstood what you have posted – correct me.

      • September 6, 2021 7:21 pm

        correct – I am not respectful. you are not entitled to respect – respect is something you must earn.

        You are entitled to civility – so long as you are civil yourself.

        I would suggest reading your own posts.

        Is it civil to claim that someone else does not listen ?
        That they are uneducated ?
        That they have mental health or genetic issues ?
        That they can not get along with friends or family ?

        and on and on.

        How about if I start saying the same things about you or Robby – would that be civil ?
        Would that be respectful ?

        I will lob one grenade at you – that is that you are hypocritical.

        You are unhappy about something you have absoilutely no right to control and contra your idiotic claims does neither you nor anyone else actual harm, and you use your unfounded feelings as a basis to insult me in myriads of different ways, while at the same time claiming that you are somehow being disrespected.

        So let me make it perfectly clear to you – I do not respect those who personalize arguments,
        who think it is OK to make stupid claims about the mental health of people they have never met, who think it is OK to speculate about their relationships with friends and family.
        Who think it is OK to make false and insulting claims about their education.

        That is ACTUAL disrespect.

        I have think skin, I do not care, I am not going to run away claiming my feelings were hurt.

        I am being more respectful to you and more civil to you than you deserve.

        I am not going to insult your family or speculate about the poor quality of your education or your poor relationships with freinds and family or your mental health issues.

        But I am going to point out your egregious hypocracy.

      • September 6, 2021 7:23 pm

        I thought that the concensus here was that the type of personal attacks that Trump engages in are wrong.

        Why are you channeling Trump ?

        The next time any of you rants about Trump’s style – I will remind you that you are no different.

      • September 6, 2021 6:34 pm

        “Dave, you are 1000 times more interested in talking to me than I am in talking to you.”

        Robby, you are 1000 times more interested in talking about me than I am in talking about you.

        That speaks volumes about you.

      • September 6, 2021 6:40 pm

        “Why you don’t create your own site and do what Rick does and control your own universe ”

        Or not. That is how freedom works, I can do or not do what I please.
        Regardless, I do not owe you an explanation.

        “without being a complete pest here”

        How am I a pest ?

        You claim you do not read my posts, as do several others – then it is not possible for me to cause even the slightest annoyance to you.

        I there is a jar of 10,000 jellybeans, 5,000 are red and the rest are other colors – are the green jelly beans harmed by the red ones ?

        Regardless, you make a variety of claims that are not consistent – about pretty much everything, but even in your character assassination of me.

        With certainty there is something you are not being truthful about.

      • September 6, 2021 6:49 pm

        Your argument is that I should go an engage in verbal masturbation ?
        Just find some libertarian blog and gather together in a circle jerk ?

        Robby, I post in many places.

        You are correct I would like you to engage, but I can not compel you to.

        Despite your numerous errors, and your left tilt, you are more intelligent than most left wing nuts I encounter, and I would prefer to engage with those capable of making a good argument.

        Several here claim I am some know it all and arrogant.
        That is nonsense. I seek Truth. I seek to test the truths I have found in the crucible of debate.

        Debating truth with those who hold the same of near identical views is just mental masturbation.

        “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
        JS Mill.

        I seek to debate what is true with the very best of minds that disagree with me.

        You should be flattered that I engage with you.

        I also post frequently at Johnathan Turley’s blog, there are right wing nuts there and left wing nuts, but most of those on the left are incredibly poor.

        For the most part I am NOT interested in pummeling the helpless.

      • September 6, 2021 6:56 pm

        It seems to me that it would be extremely counter productive to verbally masturbate with other libertarians.

        One of the themes that many of us here write about is the division in this country.

        That is not going to be cured f each of us goes to our mutual websites and masturbates with others who are going to agree with us on everything.

        You may think you fit better at TNM than I do – but there are certainly plenty of blogs that would much more closely reflect your views.
        Or as you constantly point out to me – you could bring up your own blog – there you would never have to worry about conflict. If you did so and I posted you could ban me.

        You have this bizare view that I am obligated to go find a monoculture to post in – but the same is not required of you.

        This kind of nonsense is again why I am constantly identifying you as LEFT.

        The primary identifying characteristic of the left is seeking to control others.

        Some on the right seek that too, but it is not so deeply ingrained. Further the right tends to seek to control others inside the scope of values that right or wrong have been norms for centuries or longer. The left seeks to control everything – the height of your grass, the color of your windows, the pronouns you use.

      • September 6, 2021 7:01 pm

        Except when you transform the debate into one about me my conflicts with you are primarily where you seek to control other peoples lives.

        And here with all these posts about me – you are quite directly looking for the same thing.

        I want you to ferret out the flaws on my arguments regarding the issues of government that we typically discuss.

        I have absolutely no interest in your views on how I should make my own arguments.
        I have no interest in your opinion regarding where I should post.

        The only times I can recall Ever trying to excercise the same control over your life is in response to your efforts to control mine.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 6, 2021 2:02 pm

        “We have been through this before. Despite claims otherwise there is absolutely no cost to anyone to the number of posts by an individual or in aggregate.”

        Dave, i read all of this comment since it was in direct response to one all of us have interest in.

        When you say “no cost to anyone in the number of post”, that may be completely true, but many of us do not have the time to read long comments or multiple comments. Although there are no “cost”, when one opens their email and sees 10-15 comments that they don’t have time to read, it is at minimum it is frustrating. And yes, frustrating is not harm.

        You have also mention “I would personally be very happy to see the kind of rules that are used in formal debates.” You may be very good in forums of that kind, but we are just a bunch of individuals with thoughts on subjects where we make those thoughts known. Following a formal debate format under those conditions is not always possible.

        I agree that there are times that we have been disrespectful. I have mentioned that myself in the past and I have been guilty of that also myself. But many times that disrespect grows from the frustrations from too many comments and too wordy comments.

        As for sticking to the subject, all of us have ideas and thoughts we want to share, But Word Press does not warrant itself to that type of discussion where we can have a “wild care” forum on Ricks site and continue to use it because after 500+ comments it bogs down, it refuses to allow more comments and is basically useless.

        As for the rules, that needs to be Rick that decides anything formal. I will say I think a limit on the number of comments might be a good idea, but I can think of times when two of us might get into a conversations where we use 100 words in each back and forth for 4-5 times and that would break any formal rule.

        As an observation, from my own perspective, when someone posts a comment and then you take that comment and dissect it into 4-5 different subjects and posts 700-1000 word responses for each of the 4-5 issues that is overkill.

        As an unwritten rule, maybe we could request all comments be limited to 500 words (estimated 30 sentences). And try to limit the number.

        but there will always be exceptions, especially if rick picked an issue and we all got into a discussion such as healthcare costs and what we all thought may help with that issue. For every person, there would be a different solution!

      • September 6, 2021 8:10 pm

        “many of us do not have the time to read long comments or multiple comments.”
        So dont.

        “Although there are no “cost”, when one opens their email and sees 10-15 comments that they don’t have time to read, it is at minimum it is frustrating. And yes, frustrating is not harm.”

        I have a copy of the Gulag Archepelogo – I would love to read it. I do not have time.
        That is frustrating.

        It is not Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s fault

        Robby and you correctly note that I might be more effective if my posts were shorter and less numerous.

        I do not disagree. But that would impose a significant cost on me. One I am not prepared to pay.

        I have had to write many times for money constraints on the word count. It is difficult and time consuming to get alot of content into a very small number of words and still be readable.

        My wife is studying for a masters in restorative practices right now, She has a 1000-2000 word essay due every week. Her first drafts are typically 5000 words. It takes hours to pare these down. the results are amazing and powerful.

        I am sorry Ron but I am not going to do that. If Reason, or FEE or the Federalist wishes to hire me to write for them – maybe. But I am not expecting that.

        You can read what I wrote as I wrote it – or not your choice.

        I apologize if that frustrates you. But I am not going to do anything about it.

        But I do thank you for a civil response.

      • September 6, 2021 8:32 pm

        I completely agree that imposing the rules for formal debates is not appropriate.

        I was not actually suggesting that. I was merely pointing out that there is no such thing as presumptively correct rules.

        regardless, I am perfectly willing to have a discussion about “the rules”.

        Rhonda raised the issue of respect. The real issue is civility.
        they are not the same. We are not entitled to respect by default.
        We are entitled to civility.

        I try to hold myself to high standards of civility – but I fail sometimes.

        You are frustrated by the length and frequency of my posts.

        I am frustrated by the extent of incivility of so many here that they are entirely unaware of.

        The more I though about Rick’s tirade about the Selfishness of those not masking or vaccinated the more offended I became.

        That was incivil. It was an accusation of moral failure that Rick did not have sufficient information to make. It was not defensible.

        But such things are the norm today. Accusations of racism and various other claims of hate permeat the public sphere – what is called “anti-racism” today is quite litterally racism.

        Those on the left are litterally arguing for things like segregation that we all excepted as racist 6 decades ago

        the public sphere is one thing. TNM is not supposed to be Daily KOS of TNR or MSNBC,

        Yet false moral accusations not only abound, but they are so normalized those making them are not even aware that is what they are doing.

        But point that out is “disrepectful”.

        All of this “frustrates” me.

        I would be happy to discus actual rules for civility.
        The simplest being do not accuse anyone else – not on the blog, nor out in the world of moral failure without accepting the affirmative obligation to defend your claim.

        If you claim someone lied – be prepared to defend that – with SPECIFICS.

        But I do not expect to get anywhere with this, and even if I did, I expect that such a rule would be honored primarily in breach.

        Regardless in a world where moral accusations are flying about like water in a river, with most being false, I do not really give a crap that others are bothered by the length and frequency of my posts.

        This is the real world – suck it up. Learn to live with what you can not change.
        Isn;t that some kind of moderate position ?

        I have to live with the constant barrage of false moral accusations. You and others can deal with more posts than you can read.

        That said – Rhonda talks about respect. You can expect to be disrespected if you are lobbing moral accusations that you refuse to SPECIFICALLY defend.

        Regardless, I am open to discussion about how to improve TNM.

        In fact even though I think such discussion will NOT produce anything we will all agree to or abide by, it is still worthwhile just to air things out.

      • September 6, 2021 8:39 pm

        Do you think wordy comments and too many posts are on the same level as false or unsupported claims of moral failure ?

        I hope you do not.

        Regardless, the real flaws – as opposed to the personal insults, that everyone here has raised, are neither moral failure nor incivility.

        This is like the micro-agressions nonsense.

        Words are not violence. Words with no intended malice that have “triggered” you are of almost no consequence. You can not equate violence, with offensive rhetoric, with inoffensive rhetoric that offended you. That is an application of the commutative law of BullSchiff.

      • September 6, 2021 8:40 pm

        With respect to comment size – I will agree to try to limit the size of comments.

        But you will get more.

      • September 6, 2021 8:57 pm

        “As an observation, from my own perspective, when someone posts a comment and then you take that comment and dissect it into 4-5 different subjects and posts 700-1000 word responses for each of the 4-5 issues”

        Yup, do that all the time.

        I also think it is important. My dissections may not be efficient, but they are deliberate and reasonable.

        There are two ways that you can “trigger” that – the first is by getting some fact or argument wrong.

        Rhonda would like me to say “I believe you are wrong” – but it makes no difference.

        The second is that the words used in an argument are intentionally or more likely unintentionally misleading.

        As I posted before

        “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

        possibly the most frequent argument technique that I use here is to in one way or another note that the actual meaning of the words uses is at odds with how they are being used and as a result what is being said is false.

        I am absolutely ruthless about making clear that everything govenrment does is FORCE.

        The most common logical error of the left – and even in many cases the right, is to presume that they can accomplish morally through government what would be obviously immoral directly.

        While this is a core tenant to libertarianism. It is much more – it is the core to the social contract, it is the core to western principles of government.

      • September 6, 2021 9:02 pm

        “that is overkill.”


        Most discussions here are not about fiction, or art or music.

        They are about government.

        It is none of my business how accurately you speak or think about most of your life.

        But when you are discussing using force you are obligated to write clearly.

        “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.”

        Or we can go with Orwell, if you wish.

        Regardless, tyranny always starts with the abuse of language.

        It is no accident that we have “newspeak” in 1984.

        The vast majority of issues involving government become simple when we use words clearly and correctly.

    • September 6, 2021 12:47 pm

      I do not think that TNM has a serious problem. While we do not have perfect civility, as you noted there are no real trolls.

      We do however have a serious problem with our public debate and some of the issues at TNM are reflective of that.
      These problems have been coming slowly for a very long time. Most of us who are older remember politics as more civil decades ago – some of that is nostaglia, some if it is real.

      I have specifically argued that the hostile trend essentially started with the left and Alinsky’s rules for radicals. there is probably no perfect starting point certainly things were not perfect before the 60’s and almost 200 years ago they got so bad we had a civil war.

      Regardless, even accounting for nostalgia things have been getting progressively worse for a long long time.

      One of the driving factors – which goes hard AGAINST some of your proposed rules is the increasingly short attention spans and shallow consideration of issues.

      We increasingly have to make points in 250 characters of a tweet.
      There is a place for that – but increasingly ALL forums are about sound bites – about over simplifying – often even lying to make a point in as few words as possible, because every aditional second loses more audience.

      Increasingly truth is not what holds up under scrutiny, but what best taps our emotions in 15 seconds of less.

      A fixation on emotion rather than facts drives us towards emotional attacks rather than factual discussion. And that is a flaw that I find not only in the public sphere – but permeating TNM.

      Those on the left – and some of the rest of us are absolutely livid at Trump over this.
      But Trump is not even close to the source of this.

      I beleive that the incredible republican bitterness towards Clinton in the 90’s was driven primarily by the fact that Clinton shifted the democratic party to the right – co-opting republican issues. The incredible democratic vitriole over Trump is driven by much the same thing.

      Trump is actually a left shift in the Republican party. He is a big step away from the “culture wars”. While the left has bitterly sought to paint Trump and republicans as racist, sexist homophobic, …. – to any rational observer that is false.

      The Republican party under Trump has very successfully appealed to the working class that was the core of democratic support for a century. the parties have almost completely flipped in their bases.

      The shift is so dramatic and the trend is continuing that Ruy Teixeira – the democratic political scientists responsible for the “demographics is destiny” myth is now telling democrats they are in deep trouble.

      Biden’s alleged 2020 victory rested solely on the shoulders of college educated white males.
      Not just Trump, but republicans as a whole gained in nearly every other demographic.

      Ruy Teixeira is telling democrats that their political power now depends on expanding their dominance in that single narrow demographic of highly educated white males.

      Regardless, Trump was inevitable if the Republican party was to survive and democrats are desparate.

      The current fight over “election integrity” – has many levels of nuance.

      Skipping claims of fraud and lawlessness – Republicans – not just Trump would have steam rolled democrats in 2020 taking the house expanding control of the senate and dominating the electoral college but for large scale mail in voting.

      Absolutely there are serious problems involving fraud and lawlessness, and probably without those too – Democrats would have lost. But the future survival of the democratic party REQUIRES making voting so incredibly easy that even uninformed couch potatos who will not walk two blocks to a poll can be cajoled into voting.

      Mailin voting, Ballot harvesting are enormous vectors for fraud – and that is certainly occurring. But the most critical component is that without them democrats will not get millions of votes from people who just do not care enough to go to the polls.

      This is politically dangerous for democrats – and it is not sustainable.

      And this is a recipe for even more political bitterness.

      The republican loss in 2020 was a huge deal – it ensures that the toxic public political climate will continue.

      The bitter politics that so many claim to decry – while practically having invented will continue until it no longer works. I beleive we are close to that. I am honestly surprised that it managed to endure through 4 years of trump.

      But our Trust in government in the media, in institutions has taken a nosedive – that is a direct consequences of the nature of public political discourse.

      When Alinsky wrong his “rules for radicals” – those on the left were on the outside. They were seeking to break in, his techniques are very effective for that. They are counterproductive to the ultimate goals of those on the left – greater state direction of everything.

      Through a wide variety of means democrats, and the left have succeeded in regaining power – but that hold is fragile and it was dependent on very difficult to repeat factors. It is also dependent on restoring confidence in the very instutitons that assaulted.

      I do not know what will happen in 2022 or 2024. I did not expect what happened in 2020. It is possible that democrats can hang on by their fingernails and repeat it – but not indefinitely.

      Regardless, we will see this increasingly bitter public politics – until it fails.

      Only then will it start to fade away.

      And we will likely see it increase in both parties – because it is more effective and less dangerous to republicans. Limited government does not require strong faith in institutions.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 6, 2021 12:47 pm

      Limit on the number of posts per day appears valid, but IMO not always possible – except for those who do not check posts here on a regular basis. Sometimes I’m personally busy and haven’t the time… other times?
      The issue is the length of posts and the number of consecutive posts in a row – seriously not necessary, required, or (finally) interesting to wade through.

      Also, even without name calling, the “feel” of these posts is disrespectful… not “I think” or “I believe” constant affirmations that this one person is wholly and consistently correct every time – and the sites posted are truly questionable.

      …even his answer to you brought up things that I haven’t seen here – quotes, accusations from us of nitpicking… Yes, I read his answer to you… and (of course) he is correct. He is always correct in his own mind.

      This is a page for discussion – not for someone who claims control, puts himself out there as the know-all professor, and pulls our posts apart as if he’s dissecting every sentence.

      • Vermonta permalink
        September 6, 2021 1:04 pm

        Eventually he always moves on after some period. The only thing that can slightly possible help is to ignore him completely. Sometimes he is reasonable or interesting for a very short period and it tempts one… Look how well I am doing at completely ignoring him, ha. But that is the one thing that finally can work. I take the pledge here, I wont even mention his name going forward.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 1:20 pm

        Agreed. I wish we all could agree to this… but one (I know) will always respond at least once before leaving us to wade the swamp.

        Rick doesn’t have the advantage we do – our posts do not come up in his email… (this account was set up long ago, that email no longer exists, and he hasn’t been able to correct that situation)

        BUT we have email, can delete his responses (perhaps he may may leave if he somehow amazingly realizes he is talking to ‘the hand’), and hopefully find a future ahead where he searches for another blog where the creator doesn’t kick him out, or create his own. The last is preferable, as he truly only wants to talk to himself.

      • September 6, 2021 7:27 pm

        Guess what ? In the real world there are myriads of things we can not all agree to.

        There are only two means to resolve that.

        You can either use FORCE,
        or you can deal with those limits that we do have unanimity on.

        This blog is just a microcosm of the world.

        And you are busy lamenting that you do not have the power to get your way through force.

      • September 6, 2021 7:30 pm

        Or you can take your own advice.

        you can “search for another blog where the creator doesn’t kick you out”
        “or create your own”

        This is typical left wing nut idiocy – you are oblivious to the fact that the choices you demand that others must make – have always been options for you.

      • September 6, 2021 7:03 pm

        Sorry robby. not true.

        I have moved away from TNM for a while on a couple of occasions.
        The last was because the site was essentially dead for months.

        I will likely go away if TNM essentially goes dark again.

        I will likely post less when I am busier – my work slowed down alot just prior to labor day.
        Regardless, so long as the blog is active and I have time, I will probably post here.

      • September 6, 2021 5:49 pm

        “Limit on the number of posts per day appears valid, but IMO not always possible – except for those who do not check posts here on a regular basis. Sometimes I’m personally busy and haven’t the time… other times?
        The issue is the length of posts and the number of consecutive posts in a row – seriously not necessary, required, or (finally) interesting to wade through.”

        So you can not even figure out what you would want if you were King.

      • September 6, 2021 6:08 pm

        “Also, even without name calling, the “feel” of these posts is disrespectful… not “I think” or “I believe” constant affirmations that this one person is wholly and consistently correct every time – and the sites posted are truly questionable.”

        You are not entitled to respect – not for yourself not for your opinions.
        You are entitled to civility – so long as you are civil yourself.
        Respect is something each of us must ear.

        I have no interest at all in what you “feel” – that is a completely stupid argument.

        If ANYONE asserts something – they are either asserting a fact, or an opinion
        It is not necescary to say “I think” or “I beleive”. what one writes is ALAYWS either a fact or a beleif.

        I would suggest reading George Orwell on how to write.
        You rant about the length and frequency of my posts but have this delusional position that you are entitled to unnescescary modifiers like “I think” or “I feel” or “I beleive”.

        You are not.

        If I am not consistent – that is a valid argument – actually make it.
        Point out how something I state is not consistent.

        If I am not correct – point that out – use facts, logic, reason,
        those ares supposed to be the way we make arguments the way we engage in discussion.
        Regardless, if you wish to persuade me – that is what you must do.
        I have no interest in your feelings.

        “This is a page for discussion – not for someone who claims control”
        I have absolutely no control here – nor have I claimed control.
        Please do not make false moral assertions about me.

        “puts himself out there as the know-all professor,”
        If that were true it would be trivial to put me in my place.
        There are several of you and one of me.
        Find an error.
        While you are free to assert error from thin air – you are not credible without demonstrating it.
        When you have actually found a real error – and I make those on occasion – though not frequently. Not because I “know it all” – but because I check the claims I make before I write them.

        As I have said repeatedly – being RIGHT ALL THE TIME on the internet is trivial. It does not require knowing it all. It merely requires checking facts before you assert them.

        That is inside the capability of every single poster on this site.

        “and pulls our posts apart as if he’s dissecting every sentence.”

        That is correct. I read and dissect every single sentence. While I do not respond to every sentence, I do respond to most errors.

        You are free to do exactly the same to my posts – I EXPECT YOU TO.
        You are free to tear apart every single sentence and to point out every single error – I EXPECT YOU TO.

        I treat discussion as a crucible. In it we burn away irrelevancies until we are left with a pure product – the truth, for all time.

  27. Priscilla permalink
    September 6, 2021 1:39 pm

    Dave, as far as quantity of comments..that generally doesn’t bother me in the least, but occasionally it does. Not because there is anything wrong with the comments, but because I think that the sheer volume of responses can distract from the original topic. On occasion, I’ve begun to respond to someone’s comment, only to find that, in the time it took me to type my response, we’ve veered off into a snipe fight over a detail, and the overarching issue becomes lost in the noise. I am not blaming you for this, just making the observation that we could all (and I am as guilty as anyone) be more pithy in our comments.

    Ronda, I have to say that I think that Dave loves to debate, but is rarely disrespectful to others, even if it may feel that way. I like the back and forth with him, because he doesn’t get angry, or insult my intelligence when he tells me that he thinks I’m wrong ~ he gives me reasons and facts, some of which I dispute, others which cause me to think twice. And, he can certainly take the considerable heat that he gets.

    Anyway, I probably shouldn’t have gotten into this. It’s Rick’s blog and his rules, and this time I’m off topic!

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 6, 2021 1:50 pm

      Priscilla, Dave and I have made up about this… all over.

    • September 6, 2021 7:43 pm

      Priscilla as the only rational and respectful and civil voice at the moment – I would honestly be interested in your views.

      Currently we have jumped the shark and transformed the topic into pole on Dave idiotically.

      Ronda values respect – while being incredibly disrespectful.
      Joined of course by Robby, and to a more surprising extent than I expected even by Ron.

      If everyone wants to debate the “rules” for the blog – we can have that debate.

      But that is not what is occuring.

      The very people here who are most offended by Trump are behaving exactly like Trump.

      I can deal with this. That does not actually bother me.

      What does is the incredible hypocracy.

      Every time I hear Ron or Robby, or Ronda Rant about Trump’s rhetoric – I will be pointing out their own.

      Apparently only left wing nuts are allowed to insult others.

      None of this surpises me even slightly.

      Why should it – that those who think half the county is racists, hateful hating haters, would themselves be hateful ?

  28. rondabellelane permalink
    September 6, 2021 5:11 pm

    So many deletions LMAO!! Well everyone (minus one). I’m guessing by now we all know what to do – delete those narcissistic comments contained here and respond to those we can have a reasonable discussion with.

    Sorry you can’t do this in your situation Rick, but I suggest you also ignore – unless you observe a change, which I highly doubt. Priscilla, I hope you go along with us on this… you may actually find more like-minded conservative leaning people eventually coming back.

    Either way, we shall achieve peace through deletions… regardless of a person who loves to hear himself talk even when no one else listens.

    • September 6, 2021 11:29 pm


      You need not read my posts,
      You can delete them from your email.

      But they will remain on the web site unless Rick chooses to remove them.

    • September 6, 2021 11:33 pm

      “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
      Mat 7:5

      In what world is it more acceptable to call others a narcissistic, or any of the myriads of other insults you have lobbed today than to post repeatedly ?

  29. Rick Bayan permalink
    September 6, 2021 6:25 pm

    I don’t see individual comments in my e-mail in-box, for which I’m thankful. (My in-box is insanely cluttered as it is.) Even if I had the ability to delete Dave’s comments, I wouldn’t; he’s not a troll, he’s generally well-informed, I even learn from him occasionally (when I have the patience to read him), and above all he has the right to express his opinions here. So no, I wouldn’t think of excommunicating him from our discussions.

    I’m starting to believe, like Roby, that Dave is simply hardwired to do what he does. (Sorry to be talking about you in the third person, Dave.) After I pleaded with him to cut down the volume of his posts, he responded with eight long comments, most of them directed at me. I skimmed them superficially and caught a few points here and there, but I simply can’t take the time to analyze each comment and reply to them.

    Dave, you’re eventually going to be addressing an empty room if you don’t change your approach. Several regulars have already decided to delete your comments, and I hate to see all that commentary go unread. (I have three self-published e-books that hardly anyone reads, so I can sympathize with your plight.)

    Your near-monopoly of the comments section also makes it difficult for new voices to enter the debate. Chances are they don’t read you, either — but the sheer volume of verbiage undoubtedly keeps them from finding an entry point.

    You called me “intransigent.” Now’s your chance to prove that you’re less intransigent than I am. Let’s see if you can slash your comment volume by 80% so that we might actually read you.

    This shouldn’t require more work on your part; you don’t have to spend extra time whittling down what you’ve written. The idea is not to overwrite in the first place. Do I make sense?

    • September 6, 2021 11:56 pm

      First thank you.

      Next, in what world is the nonsense that OTHERS have engaged in the past few days not substantially more egregious than what they claim is anoying them ?

      Next – what rational person would accept and offer to not delete their posts from email ?
      Do all of you think I am stupid ?
      Can I tape Robby or Rhonda’s eyelids open and require that he read and respond cogently to all of my posts if I only post 3 times a day and no more than 200 words ?

      How is the threat of an empty room meaningful ?
      Robby and Rhonda are already begging me to leave – how is that different ?

      Does it matter what voices get silenced if your answer to a problem is forced silence.

      I do not recall calling you intransigent. I searched this and the Selfishness topic and can not find any reference to intransigence from me. Nor does that sound to me like something I would have said about you.

      As to whether that label applies to me – that depends on what it means.

      the dictionary says – unable to change ones views or agree.

      I have changed my views many times. I have reached agreements with people constantly.

      I run multiple businesses. I sign probably 30 contracts a month – another name for contract is agreement.

      What I DO NOT do is trade something for nothing.

      In the “real world” – where I encounter people face to face, I am quite good at getting along with others. I can temper my own views to suit the audience.

      The internet is NOT the real world. There is no reason to diminish the truth in exchange for comity. there is especially not where comity is fictitious.

      This is your blog – you can set the rules or determine what conduct is important to you.

      Calling others narcissists or accusing them of an assortment of mental health problems, or making accusations regarding their relationships with family or friends or coworkers – these are actually egregious.

    • September 7, 2021 12:10 am

      “Your near-monopoly of the comments section also makes it difficult for new voices to enter the debate.”

      There have been very few new voices at TNM in a long time – and I have not been here for about a year.

      I do not mean to piss you off – but do you think I am stupid ?
      An argument is not valid or true just because you make it.

      This unwarranted attack on me has transformed this particular topic into “all about Dave”.
      I did not choose that.

      I would however note that it is par for the course.
      We are divided – across the country and at TNM – not because of long posts, or frequent posts, but because we do not discuss issues we trade insults.

      I seek actual engagement – REAL discussion about issues.
      Contra Robby I have ZERO interest in an echo chamber.
      I want the best and the brightest of those who disagree with me to make their best arguments. The test of the merits of my arguments is not my own attempts to take them apart. That is not going to happen on

      Sometimes it happens here – though not often.

  30. Priscilla permalink
    September 6, 2021 6:35 pm

    Good advice, Rick. I won’t be deleting anyone’s comments.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 6, 2021 8:07 pm

      Priscilla, unfortunately someone cannot take Rick’s advise. You know Rick also… and if (as you say) you’ve read someone’s comments, why aren’t you responding to them? I doubt anything said was nice or even normal.
      Sorry, but even if you sometimes agree with him (as I did early this month), what came of it? Nothing worth reading for whatever snippets of truth that may have been involved.
      His presence lowers the chance of more people posting, and that includes any who would stand with you.

      So yes – I am deleting his posts and not reading them… regardless of how many replies he may send to me … and I’m not only happy about it, but confident that it was and is the proper thing to do to ANYONE who wastes my time and the time of anyone else here.

      • Priscilla permalink
        September 6, 2021 9:31 pm

        Ronda, I didn’t mean that you shouldn’t do what you think is best for your enjoyment of this site. My sincere apologies if it sounded that way.

        I get it ~ you find Dave’s posts annoying. Just ignore his comments, delete them from your email, or whatever it takes. Nothing wrong with any of that. I’d frankly be surprised if we haven’t all done those things at some point.

        It’s not necessary to ostracize anyone. I’ve been on the receiving end of those attempts, and I’m certainly not gonna do that to someone else, that’s all…

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 6, 2021 10:01 pm

        I didn’t know people deleted your post – I certainly wouldn’t have…
        Okay, I suppose (with that in mind) I can see your point… even if I never saw him treat anyone with the simple respect due anyone who made a sincere attempt at communication.

        No, I read nothing of his any longer – unless there is a definite change. He wastes his time responding to me, but hey – he wastes most of his time anyway.

      • September 7, 2021 12:32 am

        You keep misusing respect.

        You are entitled to civility – something you have not given me.

        Respect is something you earn.

        If you post something stupid – you should expect that someone will point out that it is stupid.

        It is not respect for the emperor to flatter his cloths when he is naked.

        If you are not reading what I post – you have no need to keep pointing out that you are not reading what I post.

      • September 7, 2021 12:25 am

  31. September 6, 2021 8:00 pm

    To All.
    Your emotional reactions to my posts are YOUR PROBLEM.

    No Rhonda – we do not owe each other respect. but we do owe each other civility – atleast so long as it is reciprocated. My respect you must earn.

    If I have ever insulted you – rather than your poor arguments – I sincerely apologize.

    If you have a specific instance in which I have insulted you – rather than your arguments – point it out and I will give you a specific apology.

    Those are rules I have for myself. I should be able to expect the same from all of you – but I clearly can not.

    Read your own posts – especially the most recent series. You have been incredibly disrespectful and personally insulting, and you have done so over things you know that you know absolutely nothing about, are none of your business, and completely irrelevant.

    If I were a pedophile who tortures animals, beats his wife and shits on his neighbor – that would have zero bearing on anything that we discuss on TNM.

    But none of those are true. In the real world I am a pretty boring 63 year old, with a wife of 40 years and two kids, two dogs, and a cat – all of whom I love and love me.

    If I accused any of you of being uneducated, or having mental health issues, or being unable to get along with friends or family you would rightly demand an apology, and frankly Rick should justifiably throw me off the blog.

    But I did not of that – several of you did. I do not expect, and will not get an apology – because most of you do not hold the values you claim.
    You demand to be respected – but you do not respect,
    You demand civility – but you are not civil.

    That would be a personal insult – but for the fact that it is true.

  32. September 7, 2021 3:31 am

  33. September 7, 2021 12:07 pm

    • Ron P permalink
      September 7, 2021 1:33 pm

      This may not be correct for the community, but maybe for select families.

      • September 8, 2021 12:45 pm

        Ron, it it is a meme.

        Though there are some important elements of Truth.

        I live right smack in the middle of the Lancaster county amish community.

        Few Amish have been vaccineate.
        Most Amish got Covid some time ago.
        The Amish community likely has herd immunity.

        But directly addressing the meme.

        The Amish community has NOT whigged out over Covid.
        they have mostly ignored it.

        In their world – people get sick. sometimes they die, that is just how it is.
        They do not uproot their lives.
        They continue to live as before.

        PA had lots of rules at various times – The amish ignored them.
        And frankly it was outside the states ability to enforce them.

        Law Enforcement in Lancaster never got sucked into the nonsense that occured int he rest of the country.

        Gov. Wolf could pass whatever edicts he wants – Law enforcement in Lancaster mostly ignored them.

        There were diffences betweent he City of lancaster and the county – the City is democratic, the county is deep red.

        But the amish do not live in the city.

        The amish did not watch the news, they did not mask, they did not for the most part get vaccinated, they did not close their businesses, the continued to go to church – which for the amish is every other Sunday at some church members farm.

        I do not know the specifics of Covid in the Amish community – we know it went through the community like wildfire early on. But subsequently has been rare.

        The amish are demographically older. They are inbred and have a variety of frequent genetic issues. But they are also generally healthy, and they get outside alot.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 8, 2021 3:57 pm

        I was just sharing that story since it appeared to be neutral in its approach and reporting. It was more just some facts concerning the deaths, but it also did not provide the current situation that is occurring in the community now. Somewhat like Sweden that has had no surge at all with the new variants, guess because that can not create division amoung the populace like are news is covering.

        I did see a very interesting article which I can not find now by a large medical facility that supported your many comments about cloth mask not working. They tested many under different situation and said few blocked the virus from being spread. BUT, when the virus was attached to water vapors from the respiratory system, even the cloth mask blocked a large number of those from spreading because the vapor particles were larger than the mesh of the mask and they were trapped in the cloth.

        So given that,and the possibility that mask can work, I am on the side of caution in the need for mask, especially in schools where the surge in cases among kids is concerning. In our county, 30% of the cases are under 17 and 27% is under 14 with 1/2 of those under 12.

        And we now have the Gamma amd Mu variants hitting the USA, which seem to be even more resistant to vaccines than the Delta.

      • September 9, 2021 4:12 am

        If your kid has comorbitities – do not send them to school.

        Masking kinds in schools is idiocy.
        IT is just not going to work.

        If you have kids – they are likely to get Covid.
        They probably will not know it.
        Unless they have health problems they are unbeleivably unlikely to die.

        I beleive the flu is something like 5 times more deadly for kids under 18.

        I am not completely clear on this but I had one source that I can not find that said there was not a single death of a child that did not have comorbidities.
        There are not even hospitalizations of kids without comorbidities.

      • September 9, 2021 4:16 am

        It is my understanding – I beleive from CDC, that Mu and Gama are not concerning.

        Where there are mutliple variants concurrently the most contagious starves out the others.
        Delta is more contageous than Mu and Gama. I would note prior variants are gone in most of the world.

        Also Mu and Gama seem to circumvent the vaccine. They do not circumvent natural immunity or immunity through infection.

      • September 8, 2021 1:09 pm

        Having read your article – I would offer some observations from someone who actually lives in “amish country”.

        Just about the largest concentrations of Amish int he US start 1/2 mile from my home and run east and south from there.

        I beleive Lancaster county has the largest Anabaptist and menonite concentrations in the world. The Menonite Central Committee is hosted a few miles from my home.

        The Amish got hit hard by Covid once it entered their communities – do to their isolation that took longer than much of the country, but it still got it.

        It burned through the community and pretty much left just as quickly.

        For a few months we all avoided the amish as they were unmasked unvaccinated, and highly likely to be infected.

        That is no longer true – they are still unmasked and invaccinated, but they appear to have acheieved natural immunity.

        Red Flags go off for me any time I read “excess deaths”

        As best as I can tell using CDC data and US mortality trends for the past decade the number of actual “excess deaths” in 2020 was about 30K – That BTW is not excess deaths to Covid – that is the total number of people who died greater than the number expected to die.
        It is the some of increased suicides, and increased drug overdoses, and decreased traffic deaths and increased covid deaths and …..

        But most people do not want to listen to the FACT that 90% of Covid deaths are people who were going to die in the next 6 months.

        We also have a hige debate over died From Covid or With covid – as if it matters.

        My father was terminally ill with Vascular dimentia. It was only a question of time before a stroke killed him. He also had terminal liver disease that was discovered by his autopsy.
        And he has bad crones disease – while that was not “terminal” – the treatment for strokes dramatically increases the odds that he would bleed out from Crones – and he nearly did twice.

        But he died of pneumonia. He would not have died of pneumonia had he not been forced into a home. But he would have died one way or another within a few months.

        Had Covid been around in 2013 – that is what would have killed him.

        The actual increase in US mortality over the past almost 2 years – has been tiny.
        Yet we have incensed the entire people, chocked out economy, destroyed jobs, shot anxiety and depression through the roof – using numbers that are obviously bogus.

        Absolutley 600K plus people died with Covid. Many of them died From Covid.
        90% of them were going to die in short order no matter what.

        We have real examples of people who died from covid tragically that likely would not have died but for covid – but these are actually rare.

        The 1968 Flu caused between 1-4M deaths globally and 100K deaths in the US with a population about 1/3 the current population.

        It was not as bad as Covid – but it was close to as bad.

        The 1968 Flu was barely reported on the news.

        Vietnam dominated – Tet, Woodstock dominated, the MLK assassination,. the RFK assassination, Prague Spring, the chicago riots, and the 1968 presidential campaign.

        100K people died and no one asked ANY political candidate about the Hong Kong Flu.

        Ultimately Covid will be the single largest item in the history books for 2020, and 2021 and maybe longer.

        But in reality it is not that consequential.

        I am not actually a big fan of the amish. There are lots of serious problems in the amish communities.

        But they DO have one thing right – they are barely paying any attention to Covid.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 8, 2021 4:26 pm

        Dave, I will agree with you on the dying with covid or dying of covid. One reason that is the case is due to hospital reimbursement. If covid is coded in the medical record, then the hospital gets additional reimbursement. If a patient is admitted and its pneumonia, that person is coded for the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment and would be paid at $5,000. But if it’s COVID-19 pneumonia, then it’s $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000. So there is a lot of reasons to find covid in the patient because anyone admitted for simple pneumonia and is reimbursed at $5,000 generates a significant loss to the hospital treating that patient.

        And yes, many of the deaths that occurred were from nursing homes and the elderly that were dying anyway, but they did not need the help in doing so from governors across America that did noting at best to prevent them from getting it, and others that promoted it in the nursing facilities.

        But when did we become a nation that is so preoccupied with “me” that we forgot about “us”. We can take every regulation that every governor put into place and there will be a large number you and I can agree on. Ones like Michigan where people who owned vacation homes were banned from going to their second homes during lockdowns or governors banning the sale of vegetable seed at bg box stores, but lumber could be sold. And there are many others.

        But if there is any chance what so ever that a mask may stop one or two others from getting sick, what is the big deal about wearing one. But today people are all about me and my comfort and will not do it for others, so regulations and mandates are created, which brings out the anti-left government extreme in droves going against those.

      • September 9, 2021 4:23 am

        The incentives you note are interesting.

        But the most important peice of public health information is what is the effect of Covid on life expectancy. Or put differently – in aggregate from all causes did more people die in 2020 than would have but for covid.

        The answer appears to be about 38,000 more than would have otherwise.
        That is a factor of 20 less than the news is fixated on.

        Another unaddressed facet is the actual years of life lost.

        An 84 year old who dies a week early is sad – it is not a reason to tank the economy.

        We are all fixated on children.

        The death of a child is always more consequential than the death of an 80 year old.

        But this kills very few children and exclusively unhealthy ones.
        There are not many unhealthy children – we can isolate them.
        We can not isolate all kids.

      • September 9, 2021 4:28 am

        It is extremely rare that looking after ME does not produce the best outcome for US.

        I still personally engage in charity. But the real world evidence I see is that my efforts to further my own interests better serve the world than my charity.

        Mother Theresa is wonderful – but Steve Jobs did more good.
        He created jobs accross the world.
        He ended millions of times more poverty than she aleviated.

      • September 9, 2021 4:32 am

        The “if there is a chance” argument is always wrong. It presumes there is no cost, and that is always false. If there was no cost we would wear masks all the time.

        When you restrict freedom – you impose a real cost – often one you can not even guess at the time. If there is a chance is an admission that you do not know if there will be a benefit.

      • September 9, 2021 4:35 am

        Of course you should not “do it for others” – you have no idea if what you do actually benefits others.
        If you can not establish that it benefits you – it is unlikely to benefit others.

        The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      • September 8, 2021 2:04 pm

        Those who make idiotic argument – as in this article that the religious – whether Amish or otherwise beleive that God will protect them do not understand deeply religious communities.

        People do not become completely stupid because they beleive in God.
        The Amish KNOW they are going to die. They have no expectation that “God will protect them” – atleast not from death.

        The do not trust god to protect them from death. They trust god to protect them from hell.

        There is a small undercurrent in evangelical communities – the Amish and menonites are NOT evangelicals – adherents to what is often called the “prosperity gospel”.

        “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?
        My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends”

        But outside of televangelists this is not common.

        I would further note that Mennonites – of which the Amish are a sub sect, are among the most committed to real charity throughout the world. If you see some disaster in the world, some war torn area that no one is able to bring in aide, Typically the First group in is “catholic charities” and the next is the Mennonite Central Committee.

        I would further note that most religious groups tend to be “socially liberal” – Not conservative.
        They may be anti-abortion, and often on the wrong side of the “culture wars”. They also TEND to favor private over public charity. Put they are deeply engaged in charity.
        A disproprotionate portion of foster families, soup kitchens, adoptions, are run by purportedly conservative religious people. For most of US history hospitals have nearly all been religiously affiliated and charity based. Even today 1/3 of Hospitals in the US are owned and operated by the Catholic church – though that is changing. Government is essentially driving religion out of all forms of charity and healthcare. It is not fundimentally possible for any church to run anything more substantial than a soup kitchen without running into a fundimental conflict between their faith and govenrment edicts.

        We had an enormous supreme court battle with Little Sisters of the poor.

        In what world is it sane for the government to essentially force an organization of nuns who have sworn a vow of poverty and dedicated their lives to providing care for the poor to seek to shut them down because their religious principles will not allow them to provide abortions to their employees ?

        The very existance of the case – and the stupidity of the arguments of those on the left reveals their own shallowness, lack of understanding of the world and immorality.

        In what world is it that those who do not share a beleif, get to decide how that beleif is practiced or what constitutes a breach of the principles of that beleif ?

        Mennonite specifically are part of what is typically called the “peace churches” – they are anti-war. My father in law was River Bretheren – another anabaptist group similar to non amish Mennonites he was a conscientious objector to WWII.

        Your article claims to be sourced by someone in lancaster – if so, they have little understanding of the anabapitst culture of the amish. menonites and other lancaster religious sects and not all that much of evangelicals

        The article exemplifies the lefts well known lack of any knowledge or understanding of those that disagree with them.

        Republicans, Trump voters, conservatives, evangelicals, all the various flavors that make ip the right 60% of the country have a much better understanding of the left than the left does of anyone else.

        Much of the left is what Nassem Talib describes as IYI – intellectual yet idiot.

  34. Ron P permalink
    September 7, 2021 1:31 pm

    I have edited as much as I can to shorten, but still 550 words.(Sorry) And we don’t have a healthcare article to reply to.

    Rick mentioned in his September 6th comment that no one should go bankrupt due to healthcare cost. I have mentioned before in comments that we will never get healthcare cost under control with our current system of private providers desiring income, private providers employing individuals seeking the highest salaries, insurance companies as payors desiring lowest cost and government as a payor that sets reimbursement rates that are far less than the cost of providing services. There is no one aligned in wanting to see any medial cost reduced and only working for their own desires.

    For instance, here are three reasons for high medical cost today that is not seen in countries with a government program.

    We now have a nursing shortage of over 1 million nurses needed and that is increasing due to covid. With this type of shortage brought on by early retirements, fear of infections and burnout, providers have to increase salaries in some way to encourage staff to work extra hours. Many RN’s are leaving their current positions for travel positions when they are in a personal position to be able to move around the country every few months. Fastaff, an employment agency in Atlanta is advertising multiple positions across the country that pays ICU RN’s $8,700 per week for 48 hour work week. In most travel agreements, the providers are billed out something around 1.5 times the nurses salary. So if you are in the ICU for 2 weeks, the ICU staffing ration is 1-1, 24-7. This requires 2.8 nurses per week to cover 7 days. That calculates to a cost of $48,000 and with the staffing companies premium of 1.5, $73,000. This does not cover any other cost for diagnostic or medical services during the 14 day ICU stay. And this could be cut by about 50% for each of the 14 days that are moved to a regular medical bed.

    In countries where there is a one payor government system like the U.K., everyone in the medical field is employed by the government. Doctors, nurses, pharmacist, lab tech, etc all are paid by the government and there is no premiums when shortages occur nor is there high salaries for any medical professional. Most now are 50% to 75% of our current salary cost even without the covid premiums.

    Another issue that drives up provider cost is malpractice insurance. OB-GYN malpractice premiums run from $50K-$80K per year. General Surgeons $30K-$45K. This is due in part based on the litigation rules we have in this country where the defendant pays legal cost regardless of outcome. This encourages litigation and in many cases insurance companies pay because it is cheaper than going to court.

    Drug cost are another issue. The cost to bring a drug to market runs from $985 million according to and researchers led by Olivier Wouters, assistant professor of health policy at the London School of Economics estimate the cost at $1.3 billion. These cost are not shared equally with foreign countries. Most of the cost is covered by America since many foreign countries have cost controls that restrict the drugs from being used or their reimbursement to suppliers.

    We can discuss solutions, but none will ever go over well given our current situation in politics

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      September 7, 2021 2:14 pm

      Ron: Good explanation of why medical costs have skyrocketed, but the bottom line is that those medical costs have largely become prohibitive to the majority of Americans — even the insured. (If insurance covers 80% of my hospitalization and my bill comes to $500,000, I still owe $100,000.) I’m also not sure why we allow such a huge disparity between what Americans pay for drugs vs. what other countries pay. (That’s an issue we need to work out with countries that benefit from US-developed drugs.)

      I don’t think I’d want to see all medical professionals become government employees, but the government needs to step in and provide a safety net for Americans with over-the-top medical bills. We could divert tons of money into the system by 1) scaling back our military, which doesn’t need to be bigger than those of the next ten nations combined, 2) eliminating most corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and 3) raising taxes on the rich to pre-Reagan levels.

      Socialism? No… just a partial restoration of the more equitable postwar US economy, which also happened to be an era of tremendous growth.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 7, 2021 4:45 pm

        Rick “1) scaling back our military, which doesn’t need to be bigger than those of the next ten nations combined, 2) eliminating most corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and 3) raising taxes on the rich to pre-Reagan levels.”

        Totally agree with #1, but not to the extent that may result in the outcomes during Carter administration. Some systems and assets need to be replaced.

        Agree with #2, beginning with the requirement of minimum tax on companies with a positive bottom line after a certain number of years. (ie Amazon went years due to loopholes used to carry forward writeoffs, etc. but would be careful to not increase taxes where we drive more companies overseas. Just looking at electronics and how dependent we are on Asia for chips should send shutters through anyone thinking of our dependence on others for so many things.(ie cars, I drove by lots yesterday that usually have large lots full of new cars and there were maybe 25-50 new cars available for sale)

        #3. Get in line. The squad and Bernies already have dibs on increased taxes on the rich that just about total more then their total income a year when you add up all their “tax the rich” proposals over the years. And remember, raising taxes on the rich does little for government revenues because the rich increase charitable donations earlier and larger to avoid taxes.(ie Malinda and Bill Gates foundation)

        However you cant cut healthcare cost unless you control expenses. Hospitals zero base expenses, then set revenue budgets to provide 5% income to fund new equipment replacement. And when no one is aligned in expense control, that is very hard.

      • September 9, 2021 12:58 am

        The negative impact of raising taxes on the rich has little or nothing to do with charitable contributions.

        The negative impact is much more direct.

        Bill Gates will invest whatever money he has in activities that will create jobs. That will grow the economy. Government will be lucky if that spend the money they take from Gates or anyone else and get 1/4 the benefit Gates does.

        I have no love for Bill Gates.

        But if you took 10K from me and said either Give it to Gates or Give it to government but direct it where you think all of us will benefit the most.

        The choice is Gates hands down.

        And that is a very very good way of thinking about it.

        Who do you beleive would spend 10,000 of your money better for you and everyone else – Gates or Government ?

      • September 7, 2021 6:06 pm

        As a former SALT Accountant, I agree about scaling back many of the taxes to pre Reagan – with the exception of tax exemptions that benefit businesses’ efforts to help our environment.

        I specialized in this, and helped secure many exemptions in this area – specifically with landfills who utilized the gas expelled for production of electricity and water run off that was treated naturally until it was then safe and able to return to our natural watersheds.

      • September 9, 2021 1:15 am

        Whatever kind of accountant you are you do not seem to know much about Taxes or govenrment spending.

        The economy responds – negatively to tax increases – and positively to tax decreases.
        It does the same to govenrment spending and government borrowing.

        During the period you are focusing on – 1980 through the present – there is no tax rate change that has shown much demonstrated impact on ACTUAL federal government revenue.
        To the extent there is an effect – when the economy grows revenue increases, when the economy declines tax revenue decreases.

        With a small amount of research you can confirm this.

      • September 9, 2021 12:06 am

        To the extent the government steps in – it will get more not less expensive.

        PPACA stands for the “affordable Care Act” – it costs approximately $2T per decade.
        And STILL the cost of healthcare has risen since it passed – at pretty much the same rate as before, if not faster.

        There has been no change in life expectance trends – the claims that PPACA saved millions or thousands or even hundreds is bunk.

        But for a cost of 200B/year it MIGHT have slightly reduced the number of medical bankruptcies – or more likely NOT.

        You can wish for whatever it is that you want from government – but there is no evidence anywhere ever that government providing anything beyond the fundimentals of the rule of law provides a net benefit.

        Is what you propose socialism ?

        Why does it matter what label you use.
        What actually matters is that government can not deliver what you hope for.
        But it can take away your property, and your liberty.
        Sometimes in small bites, sometimes in large.

        In the prior topic we debated Covid, and masks and vaccines.
        While I do not want to see anyone forced to vaccinate – even I beleive that the vaccines are beneficial – atleast for those with the highest risk.

        But even that beleif is hard to justify with evidence. More americans have died in the 10 months since we have had a vaccine, than in the 10 months we did not.

        One of the fears that some medical experts in Europe – and likelyu quietly in the US are slowly reaching is that our efforts to thwart Covid may have actually made things worse.

        Had Covid been left unchecked – had we not “flattened the curve” – many many people would have died in a very short period of time, but Covid likely would have burned out, and been gone forever.

        We are slowly becoming aware of a new covid problem – if we can not acheive herd immunity before vaccine immunity starts wearing out – we may never reach her immunity.
        We may have covid forever, We may eventually have to learn to live with it.

        I hope that is not the case – but the math is not looking favorable. Vaccine immunity appears to drop below 50% in somewhere between 6-9 months depending on the vaccine and other factors. At the rate we are going it will take more than 2 years to vaccinate the world. During that time we will also have to give 3/4 of the world booster shots.
        Put simply the logistics of actually reaching herd immunity may be impossible.

        We MIGHT do better from natural immunity through infection. The studies so far are mixed, but increasingly seem to be leading to infection based immunity being possibly an order of magnitude stronger and longer lasting than vaccine based immunity – and more resistant to mutations.

        In the end you may discover it is not the unvaccinated that are “selfish” – but the vaccinated.

        Regardless we ONCE AGAIN have a situation where government can not deliver on the promises you want from it.

        You just do not seem to get that it does nto matter what you CALL government actions.
        Regardless of the label – much of what you want from govenrment can not be acheived by government, and possibly not at all.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 9, 2021 5:47 pm

        In reply to Ricks September 7th comments concerning “1) scaling back our military, which doesn’t need to be bigger than those of the next ten nations combined, 2) eliminating most corporate tax shelters and loopholes, and 3) raising taxes on the rich to pre-Reagan levels.” and anyone else that agrees with this comment, you forgot one huge item!

        As a retired financial individual in a healthcare setting. our first priority was cost control. Every expenditure had to be justified in the budget before it was approved and every variance over a certain dollar threshold during the year had to be justified by the manager who spent that money. So why is it that government can take our money, spend it, not justify the expenditure and when we begin to run out, “WELL JUST TAX THE RICH SOME MORE, THEY CAN AFFORD IT, THEY HAVE TOO MUCH ALREADY”.

        I am a financial conservative until someone can prove to me that they are not wasting money and more money is needed. Then I would support more taxes. But there has been no time in my lifetime that I can ever remember government telling the citizens we have looked at 100% of all expenditures, programs and services and determined that 100 percent, or even 90% is being spent wisely.

        Why is this acceptable to liberals? Is it because most liberals do not have as much money as conservatives so taking from the rich to make them equal to the liberals is a good thing? And doing it through wasted government spending is a means to an end?

        Any friend of Ricks might want to share this with rick as he does not read comments and this is directly in response to his comment.

      • September 10, 2021 1:37 am

        a part of the answer to “why” is that congress has delegated a significant portion of its power to the executive.

        There is plenty of data than on average the government gets from 0.25-0.35 in value for every 1.0 spent – compared to private spending.

      • September 10, 2021 1:40 am

        I beleive Biden voters on the whole were significantly more affluent than trump voters.

        The left does not support fiscal efficiency because it stands in the way of their dreams.

        Regardless the more authority to spend politicians have the more power they have.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 10, 2021 1:01 pm

        Hi Ron… Rick couldn’t locate your post, so I sent it to him. Busy day for him… but he will get to you 🙂

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        September 11, 2021 1:38 am

        Ron: Glad you agree with my first two points. As for the third, I know “taxing the rich” sounds like a liberal cliché, but think about it for a minute. Reagan cut taxes on the rich in the hope that they’d create more jobs and the money would “trickle down” to everyone else. Instead, he essentially inaugurated a new Gilded Age, with wealth disparities unseen in this country since the robber baron era.

        George W. Bush cut their taxes again, but those cuts were due to expire — until Trump decided to make them permanent. Meanwhile, wages stagnated, jobs were outsourced, payrolls downsized, and middle class folks too often had their finances ruined by catastrophic illness and exorbitant college tuitions. (The poor at least had their Medicaid and generous financial aid packages from colleges.)

        You cite the chronic waste of government resources, and I agree. But I think we could rein in wasted spending AND collect more taxes from millionaires — first, to fund a safety net for people who would otherwise go broke due to serious illness; second, to relieve much of the tuition burden for college students and their families, who sometimes labor for decades before they can pay off their debts; and third, to steer us back from our current winner-take-all economy, which I think punishes hardworking middle class Americans while creating an entitled elite. I’m not calling for abolishing the top tier — just reducing the yawning gap between them and our struggling middle class by eliminating some of the extra perks they’ve accumulated since the Reagan era. Fair enough?

      • Ron P permalink
        September 11, 2021 1:11 pm

        Rick. what you seem to miss is two items.
        1) Wasting money when it comes from tax payers is not acceptable. no matter if it comes from the rich or the middle class. Did you raise your son to expect everything he wanted and you funded it no matter if is was pure waste, or did you tell him no. Remember, when he does not have any money and you live comfortably, the same relationship exist between you and him,as does that with the rich and the middle class.

        2) Recent studies have just been released that indicate the IRS is forgoing tax receipts. I believe the latest number I saw was $7T over ten years goes uncollected because of IRS inability to enforce tax laws auditing the rich and corporate taxes.

        So if they can’t collect that money now, how the heck are they going to collect it in the future?

        This is just political vocal diarrhea to garner votes from those that overlook the incompetence and inability of government employees and leaders to do their job assigned to them. Instead, just change laws to increase votes of those thinking government does their job. Still nothing will change in the future.

        Congress refuses to increase funding for the IRS to hire and train more auditors. I doubt they need them if those there would do their jobs, but just the fact congress will not hire these people indicates congress could care less if the laws of the country are followed or not. Again, as long as there is the “tax the rich” message, it keeps us divided between “us” and “them”, resulting in a divided country that results in votes for one party or the other.

      • September 11, 2021 1:21 pm

        “You cite the chronic waste of government resources, and I agree. But I think we could rein in wasted spending ”

        WHEN EVER has that been done ? When has there been any consequential effort to do so ?

        Government spending is inherently inefficient and wasteful – and to an extent that is actually a GOOD thing. The Nazi’s are the pneultimate example fo efficient government.

        In fact the ideology of government efficiency IS litterally facism.

        Read Mousolinni. Fascism had an appeal to many americans in the 20’s and 30’s – specifically because it was efficient govenrment working to the purported benefit of society.

        Regardless, My goal – because that is the means that actually accomplishes what you claim you want is Limited government – not more efficient government.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 11, 2021 1:47 pm

        I really don’t care what you call it. Limited or efficient doesn’t matter to me.

        If the government creates a program today to fund XYZ and 10 years from now XYZ is not needed because a new program was created that does much the same, I want XYZ gone! And that does not happen.

        Or if the IRS is charged with doing a specific job, I want that job done, not a bunch of overpaid lazy leaders complaining they have too much work to do.

        I want government on a zero based budget!

        I do not accept a 5 year projection that shows $1 of spending today increasing to $5 in 5 years and then someone says lets spend $4, that is considered a 20% reduction in spending. It is still a 400% increase without justification!

      • September 11, 2021 7:18 pm

        What is a Zero based budget ?

        Regardless, there is a difference between what is acceptable in theory and political reality – something you accuse be of being blind to.

        There is no litteral requirement for a balanced budget,

        The problem is that government does not behave responsibly and lies about it constantly.

        Government will not be fiscally responsible unless placed in a straight jacket.

        Businesses borrow money all the time.
        There is nothing wrong with borrowing money.

        There is not even anything wrong with debt in excess of revenue.

        The fundimental problem is that all borrowing is not equal.

        If I borrow many times my income – for a house at mortgage rates I can afford, there is nothing wrong with that.

        But I borrow many times my income for a world cruise that I will have to pay for for 20 years – that is a problem.

        We need all the handcuffs on government spending we can get – constitutional handcuffs where possible – because government is NOT responsible.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 11, 2021 11:33 pm

        Dave “What is a Zero based budget ?”

        REALLY? Are you going to tell all of us you have no idea what this is?

        Look it up if you don’t

      • September 12, 2021 11:18 am

        Regarding “political reality”.

        We might have an opportunity coming up.

        Congress must approve raising the debt ceiling in the near future or the federal govenrment will be effectively almost shutdown.

        While there is likely to be a massive political fight over it, it is a necescity to raise the debt limit.

        But it is also an opportunity to get something in return.

        Those seeking to do something – whether republicans, or moderate democrats, need to find something to demand that is not only effective – but can glean super majority public appeal.

        So what ONE thing, would you ask for ?

        What would be effective, AND can be communicated effectively to voters ?

      • Ron P permalink
        September 12, 2021 1:37 pm

        Dave, this question is an excellent question and makes one think what should happen to reduce debt.

        I preface my suggestion with the fact I do not think anything will happen with the budget deficits and spending until congress is forced by a fiscal crisis that is outside their manipulative control to solve, much like other countries that have come up against debt crisis.

        In 2022, the current proposed budget presented to congress has a 31% greater expense budget than revenue budget. So solving that problem can not occur in the near future without destroying the economy of the country.

        However, I would want to look at a minimum decrease in the deficit of at least 10% per year though a combination of spending cuts and tax revenue increases. And how the tax revenue increases work, either increased rates or increases from increased economic activity. Spending cuts should be the major portion of the decrease, with tax revenue increases secondary. And tax revenue increases should start with enforcement of the current regulations before any rate changes because changing rates on people and organizations that do not pay taxes based on current regulations will do not good. The second change before any real rate changes would be a required minimum tax on corporations so companies like Amazon can not go years without paying anything, and then when they do it is some minimal percentage.

        And the last thing this should require would be a 2/3rd vote in any future legislation of both houses of congress to overturn the current legislation or next year the congress will just redo whatever is done in 2021 and move to something else.

        The only way that our fiscal house will get in order is through force. Either force by legislation or force by debt crisis. If the first one does not occur, the second one will.

        In 2019, 64% of expenditures were set by law. Social security 23%, Medicare and Medicaid 25%, Interest 8% and veterans and federal retirees pension and health 8%. That only leaves 36% that congress can reduce without legislatively changing an entitlement, which needs to happen now before they are forced to by a crisis much worse to address. And I bet the 2022 proposals has a higher entitlement percentage than this.

        But grab for fairy dust with one hand and this by the other and see if either catches anything!

      • September 11, 2021 3:27 pm

        We are not going to change the size of the pie by changing the way it is sliced ?

        During 2020 the global economy shrunk by 4.4% – the US Shrank by 2.2%.

        Are you debating we did better than the world ?

        Standard of living in the EU is between 25-35 percent lower than the US.

        What is considerd middle class (3rd quintile) in the EU is working class – 2nd Quintil in the US.

        My tenants – mostly bottom of the 2nd qunitile live about as well as the middle class in the EU. they have larger apartments, are as likely to own a car and more likely to own more electronics and labor saving devices.

        What you are selling is an ideology – and not a moderate one.
        It is an ideology that has failed repeatedly in the past.

      • September 11, 2021 3:34 pm

        If you do not want the numerous “contrarian” posts – do not make so many errors.

        You can try to claim that what you are proposing is just an opinion – though mostly it is not.
        Regardless the portions of what you are asserting that are not factual errors and are arguably opinions – or more accurately whether you like the description or not – leftist ideology, they are ideology that has repeatedly FAILED.

        If you wish to propose that we should impose our will on others by FORCE,.

        Then you should at the very least be offering solutions that have not FAILED everytime they have been tried int he past.

        You further elide the FACT that what you seek to do is STILL theft – you wish to pretend you are being robin hood – and stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, But past experience even in the US tells us that government stealing from the rich never benefits the poor.

        I would further note that it is no more moral than stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 11, 2021 5:26 pm

        Hi Rick,

        Yes, the tax rate for billionaires has gone down, and when you look at just 1% of their rate decreasing you are looking at a lot of money – but there is more to look at in this area…

        The corporate tax rate has also gone down! …something few want to discuss because of the related jobs, but it should be discussed because it involves much more money. And where is that money going? Not to the workers, but to the members of the boards and the owners. Payroll itself is a tax deduction for corporations, and those highest in the payroll reap the benefits.

        Bailouts were to protect workers’ jobs… but truly wouldn’t have been necessary but for the high standard of living of those in charge.

        And more – what about overseas plants? Tariffs are really meant to ‘even things up’. In a perfect world, children wouldn’t be exploited as low paid workers and the cost of manufacturing would be the same everywhere – but they’re not even the same state to state in our country. Corporations are designed to take full advantage of low costs – which tariffs are meant to even up – but they don’t. Instead we have tariff wars with countries and nothing evens out for either the workers involved or the purchasing public. Better IMO to simply stop trade with them and lessen consumer need by encouraging manufacturing here.

        Frankly, we are succeeding in eliminating the middle class… so, Feudal Society anyone?

      • September 11, 2021 5:50 pm

      • September 11, 2021 6:14 pm

        The middle class has not been elminated.

        All that has happened and has been happening for a long long time is the curve has been stretched.

        We divide the country into quintiles – 20% of people are in each.
        Over time we find dramatic increases in the top and bottom real incomes for each quintile.

        As noted the median real income in 2000 was 37K – in 2019 it was 68K

      • Vermonta permalink
        September 11, 2021 9:32 am

        Rick let me add my two cents. I have looked at and thought abut actual numbers. Lets take the billionaires, the people Bernie really wants to go after (since he is a millionaire himself he focuses on billionaires). According to one report I read there are 724 Americans who are billionaires. Of those, according to what I read ~600 are “small” billionaires with 1-2 billion (actually, even estimating the net worth of a person who has most of their funds in stocks and other investments is not so easy, their money is not in dollar bills in their mattress). On the other hand you have people like Bezos and Musk with 171 and 150 billion. The total net worth of the 724 American billionaires is estimated (and I do mean estimated) at 4.4 trillion. Lets say that hypothetically you could some how get 10% of that (but you can’t nearly get that), that would be 400 billion. If you could get 1% (maybe that is possible) you could get 40 billion. That is a lot of money but it does not come close to the sort of plans that progressives envision. Some of the wilder ones: a 93 trillion green new deal, Bernie wanted to give every American 2000/month not long ago, I estimated that at 7 trillion per year. The mathematically challenged Sanders believes that the rich can pay that. Not by a long shot, it would just be debt, truly out of control. Bernie and his progressives understand as much about economics as trump and his believers understand about the Constitution.

        What could we do by taking the rich, including the millionaires, more heavily? Any really large taxation on the rich plan would fail for numerous reasons, the first being that they can find ways to avoid it, and those ways distort the economy, in the language of economists, causing unforeseen and unintended consequences. A modest increase in taxes on the rich could net some money. It could be used for some modest purposes. But this pot of gold progressives believe exists, its a mirage.

        Speaking more sensibly, the trump tax cuts of 2017 did significant damage to the idea of a balanced budget. trump in this case was simply doing what nearly any GOP president would do, but he did it, so its OK to blame him. Its grotesque that the poor angry white population was the driving force that elected a billionaire who’s policies then paid large dividends to people like himself. As he said when he campaigned, Trump loves debt. But any GOP president is going to be under pressure to follow the same path and probably will. Bush 41 didn’t follow the Norquist script and it got him a party revolt and 1 term.

        Some actual numbers:

        “The CBO estimated that implementing the Act (the trump tax cuts of 2017) would add an estimated $2.289 trillion to the national debt over ten years,[8] or about $1.891 trillion after taking into account macroeconomic feedback effects, in addition to the $9.8 trillion increase forecast under the current policy baseline and existing $20 trillion national debt.[9]”

        That averages 190 billion per year in a Federal budget of 3-4 trillion. Its not insignificant. The implications of tax cuts to the rich and corporations is that our national debt increases faster. As to new Federal programs, free college tuition or the like, well lets be real, it all depends on just how fast one wants to see the Nat Debt climb. We should not be cutting taxes on the rich in my opinion, but the idea that if we go after them in a big way all kinds of new programs will be possible is an illusion. New programs, progressive pipe dreams or otherwise, will be possible by taking on more debt. taxing the rich would slow the rate of increase in debt.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 11, 2021 1:29 pm

        Roby, Rick seems to be like so many other gullible individuals that believes the message of “tax the rich will solve Americas debt problem”.

        I have said many times and you might remember that I was a firm supporter of Simpson Bowles debt reduction plan. I thought it was well planned and would have accomplished much of the desired outcomes. And it was at the time a plan that could have worked much better than it would work now. Cutting the deficits by 60% with spending decreases and 40% tax increases was a bipartisan, non-political solution.

        But Obama blew that out of the water when “spending cuts” were mentioned. He could not fathom cutting spending, just as McConnell would have torpedoed that due to tax increases.

        The time to pay the piper is fast approaching becasue congresses honey pot is running dry. There is little left in the social security trust funds for congress to use for a lending institution, so they will have to go out into the open market and drive up demand for money. This will increase rates, causing even a larger deficit due to interest costs. The time for 1% money won’t last. And as interest rates increase, the economy will turn south, reducing private and corporate incomes, thus reducing taxes and increasing the deficit even more.

        As for the issue with wealth compared to income like Musk, those that want to tax wealth want to create regulations the IRS would never be able to enforce. If Buffett’s and Musk’s wealth increased $1T this year due to stock increases and their taxes went up and next year they lost $2T in investment due to the stock going down, they would get a reduced tax bill. If the IRS can not enforce current regulations, how would they ever enforce and audit that?

        the IRS tax code needs a complete overhaul with few deductions and exemptions for anyone. But that will never happen, too many people from government to tax accountants depend on regulations for employment.

      • Vermonta permalink
        September 11, 2021 9:43 am

        “The pandemic year has been good to America’s 724 billionaires, who are worth a collective $4.4 trillion on Forbes’ new 2021 World’s Billionaires list—up by nearly $1.5 trillion from last year. But even among this ultra-rich set, wealth is concentrated at the top: the 10 richest American billionaires are worth a combined $1.05 trillion—24% of the U.S. billionaire total—and account for nearly a third of the gains in the past year.

        The biggest U.S. gainer in dollar terms is Elon Musk, who has catapulted from the 20th-wealthiest American on the 2020 Forbes World’s Billionaires list to the second-richest in the world (and the U.S.) on this year’s list. For that he can thank an incredible 728% rise in the stock price of his electric automaker Tesla since last year’s list (which used stock prices from March 18, 2020). In January, Musk briefly passed Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person before slipping back to second place.”

        OK this sounds obscene. But this is net worth not income so lets not confuse that issue. The wealth of these ultra rich is the value of the stocks they own in companies they founded. What does anyone propose to do about that, outlaw founding companies? Put a cap on the amount of stock a founder can own in his company? There is no law to, as Bernies says, outlaw billionaires that would pass the laugh test (or congress). As well it would be actually quite harmful to the economy to do so.

        We are going to have some individuals who found companies that become huge and catapult them into the mega rich category according to the value of their holdings. There is absolutely nothing anyone can do to stop that. The whole premise of progressive economics is delusional.

        OK, I flog Bernie, its so easy. Not everyone who wants to tax the rich more is a progressive. There is a rational argument that some rational change in tax policy on the rich could have an effect on the national debt.

        Just forget the rich paying for everyone’s favorite new program idea.

      • September 11, 2021 5:24 pm

        As you not – it is not income – though it is gain in worth which is essentially the same.

        But the more important point is that it is money not wealth.

        For most of us there is little distinction
        But at a level of worth in the millions increases in worth are not increases in wealth.

        There is no possible world in which Musk can consume even a tiny portion of that $150B.

        GDP last year – the “national” income was about $20T.
        That is what we have to consume.
        Government consumed about 5T of it.
        Leaviing 15T to be consumed by the rest of us.

        The top 1% of the country consumed more than 1%, but not radically more.

        The wealth Musk produced was consumed by the rest of us – not musk.

      • September 11, 2021 5:44 pm

        Again i mostly agree with you.

        This is close to immutable.

        this is not wealth – it actually is more like income, regardless it is money.

        It is not “measured” in money – it is litterally money – Stocks are just a form of money.

        Money is not wealth – it is a vehicle to transfer wealth.

        It does not necescarily result in wealth transfers.

        I would also note AGAIN that all of this follows price’s law.

        Prices law says that 50% of the value produced by any group is produced by the sqrt of the size of the group.

        350M people produced 20T in value
        18K people produced 10T in value
        136 people produced 5T in value
        12 people produced 2.5T in value.

        That is not far off what you claim from Forbes

        In 2000 just under 300M people produced 10T in value.
        Of that about 99% produced 5T in value.

        In 2020 10% more people produced twice the value.

        In 2000 the US median Real income was 37K
        In 2019 it was 65K

      • September 11, 2021 5:45 pm

        Have you and Rick flipped politically ?

        You are almost sounding like a conservative.

      • vermonta permalink
        September 12, 2021 12:04 am

        “Have you and Rick flipped politically ?

        You are almost sounding like a conservative.”

        I simply quote what I learned in college economics classes and conversations with my father and, I admit it, long ago some conversations with you and others here about taxing the rich that sent me looking for facts at that time. My position on this has not changed in 10 years at least.

        Knowing the mechanisms of basic economics is not ideological. The areas we agree on, (and I agree with the principles you stated in 3 posts above) are no more ideological ideological than saying that a piston rod is attached to a crankshaft and a piston travels in a cylinder. My father, for example, is very liberal but is also very well educated on economics and on these basic econ 101 and 102 realities his beliefs are no different than yours.

        I wish passing grades in 2 economics classes would be a requirement to graduate from every college. I wish economics was a required subject in HS as well. How can one vote without out understanding basic economic principles. Yet the vast majority don’t and their version of economics is often like saying a piston rod is attached to a carburetor and a piston travels in a valve guide.

      • September 12, 2021 11:28 am


        You are quite confounding some times.

        Multiple posts in a row which are completely at odds with my perception of you based on most of your posts.

        I strongly suspect that I polarize you – i.e. drive your posts to the left through my posting.

        Polarization is a common problem when there is conflict. We have massive political polarization today.

      • September 12, 2021 11:32 am

        Can I politely suggest that you might look into “Public Choice Theory” ?

        It is “the use of economic tools to deal with traditional problems of political science “.

        “The 1986 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Dr. James Buchanan for proving the Public Choice theorem. Professor Buchanan demonstrated that both politicians and bureaucrats have their own selfish interests as their most important #1 priority – just like the rest of the population.”

      • September 12, 2021 12:38 pm

        Last, I would note that relatively well established laws of economics are no impediment to those in government – themselves often well versed in economics from acting completely at odds to those laws while claiming economics as a justification.

        One of the places I end up at odds with most here is in your failure to grasp that whether it is economics, or virology or climate, that expertise, science, are themselves massively perverted by politics – both national politics and politics within a discipline.

        I believe ans an example that the complete failure of price controls is near universally accepted in economics.

        But price controls are constantly proposed – by those ont he left, by moderates, and often by those on the right.
        Yet, they do not work – or more accurately even if they solve one problem they always create other larger problems.

      • Vermonta permalink
        September 12, 2021 12:53 pm

        “I strongly suspect that I polarize you – i.e. drive your posts to the left through my posting.

        Polarization is a common problem when there is conflict. We have massive political polarization today.”

        That is a very perceptive comment. The opposite is also true, I polarize you. This is a reason why long exchanges of views between people of different belief may have negative effects: positions become exaggerated and hardened.

        When I started posting here, more than a decade ago, I had the same thoughts as Rick about taxing the rich and the harm that occurs due to differences in wealth. We had some discussions here, I did some research, and I long ago gave up the idea that taxing the rich is a path to some wonderful new world. That is not to say that I don’t believe they could not pay somewhat more or that giving the rich tax cuts is a good idea.

        I think my ideas about this here have been consistent for a very long time. Many years ago JB was arguing with a progressive leaning lady from Appalachia and I took his side on economic issues, much to the amusement of Priscilla. I said then and I can only say again, Econ 101-102 material is something solid that I understand well and believe and I will agree with anyone about this basic economics no matter what other disagreements I have.

        I would love to believe that there is a pot of gold to be had be taxing the rich, (and according to polls most Americans DO believe that, including many GOP voters) but there isn’t. People who believe this is a solution are barking up the wrong tree. We waste a lot of our national energy and good will talking about ideas that have no chance of working.

        Christians have had bloody wars about the date of Easter. People throughout history have a huge tendency to separate into camps and go to war over nonsense.

        I will look into your Public Choice Theory.

      • September 13, 2021 1:02 am


        My positions have changed over time – I would hope everyone changes their views driven by evidence and experience.

        I am well aware of the possibilities of polarization as well as cognitive biases and other factors beyond facts and logic that can drive any of us – myself included to into rigid and intractable positions.

        I constantly ask myself if my position is evidence based, or driven by emotion, and if I am shading the evidence to suit my ideology.

        Sticking to a position is not inherently wrong.

    • Priscilla permalink
      September 7, 2021 6:01 pm

      Ron, what solutions do you think would have the most upside, with the least negative effect on consumers? I know that you are not optimistic that anything can get done in our current political environment, but in a perfect world, what do you think would work?

    • rondabellelane permalink
      September 7, 2021 6:14 pm

      I agree Ron, and note that most of the costs are actually attributed to 3rd party corporations. Changing this would be an enormous undertaking, and (although the far left wants it done immediately) will take time – even if our representatives weren’t recipients of overt AND hidden corporate donations.

      We need to look at this – not from the final reality, but backtrack it… correcting it bit by bit from the beginning. No – not something I expect to do in my time, but a start is something I hope to see.

    • September 8, 2021 7:27 pm

      You will never get healthcare costs under control if it is impossible to go bankrupt as a consequence of medical costs.

      Banktuptcy itself is a GOOD thing – not a bad one. Bankruptcy is a means by which people are PARTLY protected from mistakes or bad luck.

      It is still ultimately a subsidy.

      If you rack up $250K of medical expenses, and you go bankrupt and only end up having to pay $5K – then you have been subsidized by the doctor, hospital, …. to the tune of 245K.

      Your cost for that is difficulty borrowing money for several years.

      I do not understand the horror that others seem to have at Bankruptcy – it is not as if we put those who go bankrupt in debtors prison. Or cut off their hands.

      Bankruptcy means that you do not have to pay much of what you owe, and in return it most people will not loan you money for several years.

      Lets say you do not go bankrupt. You continue to owe a substantial amount of money which you are unlikely to be able to pay back AND your credit gets ruined and you can not borrow money easily for many years. Isn’t that Worse ?

      I would further note – that if you have received medical services and you did not pay for them. – whatever the reasons – insurance, Medicare, bankrupcty, ….


      If you went bankrupt – the medical provider ultimately passed the cost on to the other people they provided services for.
      If you received medical care – the government passed to cost on to all the rest of us.
      If you were insured – the cost is paid for by all the people who participated in the insurance plan.

      There is no such thing as something for nothing.
      Someone always pays.

    • September 8, 2021 7:37 pm

      There are on average about 1M banruptcies per year.

      About 90% of those are personal.
      According to the infamous report By Elizabeth Warren when she was a law school professor, only 1/3 of all bankruptcies involve medical debt and the average medical debt discharged in those is $2500

      Medical bankruptcies in the US are not a consequential problem.

      You can not eliminate bankruptcy as the means by which people deal with debt they incurred no matter how they incurred it. Doing so would create a moral hazard that would take down the economy rapidly – no one would pay for anything.

      You can if you wish decide to socialize the cost of bankruptcy if you wish.
      You can have government pay off those you owed the money to.

      Though even that has significant moral hazard, as we saw with the housing bubble.
      Lenders have no reason to vet borrowers or control costs if they are assured to being paid no matter what.

      Regardless we are not talking about a very large problem – the entiety of all medical debt discharged in bankruptcy each year for the entire country is less than $1B,
      it is about 1/4000th the cost of ObamaCare per year

    • September 8, 2021 7:46 pm

      You provided a list of reason that we can not get healthcare costs under control.

      Don’t all private providers of EVERYTHING desire income ?
      Doesn’t everyone employed everywhere want the highest possible Salary ?
      Doesn’t everyone who pays for ANY service seek the lowest cost ?

      Every single part of that is present in every single transaction in the free market all the time.

      Yet, in nearly every other domain real prices go DOWN – Always, and in many cases nominal prices go down.

      Most free market transactions do not involve insurance – but those that do STILL do not have relentlessly increasing prices. My real as opposed to nominal life insurance, car insurance, home insurance are declining in cost – as is most everyone’s.

      So there is nothing special about insurance – given we do not create moral hazard, that drives prices up.

      That inherently means the sole driver of relentless cost increases in healthcare is the last item on your list GOVERNMENT.

      This should not be surprising – look at the market – As I said – nearly all REAL prices decline over time. Those that do not share ONE factor in common – significant government involvement.

    • September 8, 2021 7:59 pm

      Shortages happen in markets all the time. And they drive price increases – TEMPORARILY.

      There was an infamous economic bet made between Julian Simon and Paul Erhlich.

      Simon Bet Erhlich that he could not pick a basket of 10 commodities that would be more expensive in real dollars in 10 years than they were the day the bet was made.

      Ehrlich lost the bet. Numerous people have noted that if Erhlich had made different choices – the outcome would have been different – but the fact is that if you pick 10 commodities at random, the odds of picking a set that will increase is SMALL.

      It is trivial to win the bet in hindsight, it is impossible to do so without knowing the future to pick those few things that will rise.

      But this only works for free markets.

      I saw gas prices in manhattan of $4/Gal a few months ago. the price of gas in 1980 was $1.25/gal. the 2021 inflation adjusted price would be $4.14.

      The real price of gas has declined.

      Shortages happen – all the time, and prices spike, and someone finds a way to get arround the shortage and the price drops – often lower than it was before the shortage.

      This process is inexorable.

      Over a decade long scale real prices always decline – unless govenrment is involved.

      The decline even with shortages, in a free market nothing drives prices up for long.

      One of the easiest ways to tell you do not have a free market is that prices only go up.

    • September 8, 2021 8:50 pm

      I have sympathy for your observations regarding liability insurance costs.

      And there are problems with our courts.
      But AGAIN this is still tangent.

      The average Doctors Salary today is $224K.
      OB sallaries average about 268K – which is higher by the amount you specified as liability insurance.

      As noted there are problems with the courts, But these are STILL minor.

      As you are the healthcare expert – what percent of the cost of a healthcare practice is liability insurance ? 20%, 10%, 5% ?

      If liability insurance costs doubled – how much would healthcare prices rise ?

      How much do you pay for the insurance on your car – as a percent of the total costs for driving ?

      Absolutely we need to address the costs of insurance – but outside of rare and brief spikes, these are a small part of the total costs.

      I noted before that my family had an archtectural practice. While many architects worked for my father, as well as many draftsman, and secretaries, the liability for EVERYTHING the firm produced was to my father. And he was the only person with liability insurance.
      He stamped all the drawings, signed all the contracts, …
      The cost of liability insurance was about 40,000/year. The net revenue for the practice was about $4M/year, The total value of the buildings produced in one year was about $100M.

      I suspect you will see much the same with medical practices. When an OB is insured for $38K – that insurance covers THEIR mistakes, as well as every single person from the practice that works with that particular doctor, it covers the Nurses, the receptionists, the secretaries – everyone in the delivery room.

      The average OB delivers about 250-300 babies a year. That means the insurance cost is about $125/baby. And this does not count that few OB’s are solely engaged in pregnancy.

    • September 8, 2021 9:26 pm

      There are many reasons that the cost to bring a drug to market are high.
      Though the marketing cost for a drug are usually much higher than the development cost.

      Regardless, gthe fundimental problem with the cost of bringing a drug to market is that cost limits the pharmaceutical market to solving problems that are worth Billions of dollars.

      It is virtually impossible to develop a drug that only a few thousand people might need.

      The problem is not that the technology does not exist, but that no one will pay billions to develop a drug that they would have to sell for 10,000/dose.

      Long ago we had a fight over the cost of epi pens here.
      Skipping the fact that the fundimental problem was that the GOVERNMENT made it impossible to sell any equivaent to an epi pen – even though the epi-pen itself is quite simple and quite cheap, the next big problem is that the drugs that make it to market, must pay for the development of those that do not and those that are not yet on the market.

      The actual cost of drugs is miniscule.

      I would further note that we have a huge issue coming in the future that the mRNA vaccines are highlighting.

      The mRNA vaccine is itself essentially a virus, that “infects” a person, and causes them to churn out lots of the spike protein – which the body then develops immunity.

      But the “vaccine” can be trivially re-engineered to produce ANY protein.
      And we are Now at the cusp of being about to design proteins.
      Further we understand that proteins are actually machines, which means that we are not working nearly blind as we are with drugs.

      When humans design a protein they KNOW with reasonable certainty what it will do.

      In the future we will see “vaccines” that generate proteins that can target specific problems,
      That can destroy specific cancers, or myriads of other possibilities.

      This is with absolute certainty coming. Vaccines for existing viruses are the low hanging fruit.

      For all the REAL complaints about the existing Covid Vaccine – we will get better and better with each future effort.

      I beleive the rate of side effects for the Covid vaccines is about double that for the Flu vaccine.

      That is actually pretty good for the first mass effort ever.

      We have already given out more Covid doses than any other vaccine ever in this short a time period.

      Regardless, to my actual point – if you want to produce drugs or solutions for medical problems that are not large enough to justify billions of dollars in development costs you need to do two things.

      You need to scale down the costs to develop – the most significant of which are meeting government safety tests.

      Do we need massive testing for the next headache drug – Absolutely.

      We should always test the crap out of something that will be consumed by billions and that treats a problem that is an inconveinience not a life threat.

      What about a drug that cures a fatal disease that only effects 100,000 people ?
      How much should the safety tests for that be ?

      This is a common problem with regulation.

      No matter what the domain the extent that we should assure that we do no harm is proportionate to the number of people we are dealing with and the significance of the issue we are addressing.

      If people are dying of thirst, have only one source or water that is poisonous.
      And you have 3 days before everyone dies – what degree of safety testing do you need for something that purifies the water ?

      If we had a Covid vaccine that killed one in every 100,000 that took the vaccine – and we had that vaccine in June of 2020 – should every single vulnerable person take it ?

      Of course – 600,000 people died since then.
      The vaccine would have killed 700 people if we vaccinated everyone over 65.

      Every month we delayed meant the vaccine had to be even safer before we should use it.

      The second driver of development costs is the absence of small and medium pharmaceutical companies – which is the direct result of the first driver.

      I would note that Government ALWAYS takes any domain it gets involved in and destroys the small players and advantages the big ones.
      Even when government does not try to do so – that is always the result.

    • September 8, 2021 9:32 pm

      The solution is trivially simple – even given your own description of the problem.

      Get government out of healthcare.

      When you eliminate government from a domain – you entirely eliminate the politics that you think are a core problem.

      While politics exists everywhere – Government politics are one dimensional and in every issue either the left wins, the right wins, or we hit stalemate.

      Get government out and you no longer have left-right one dimensional politics – you have multi-dimensional politics whose power centers are at most confined to a single large business.

      If Politics at Pfyser handicaps them – J&J will have different politics and will try to take advantage.

      If the market is mixed – the norm without government – small players will be able to act when big ones have handicapped themselves.

      Free markets succeed – not just from competition – but from diversity – aspecially diversity of scale.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 12, 2021 1:59 pm

        So Dave, we have had 50+ years of government in healthcare.

        you ask in another comment how one would write a change into the debt ceiling regulation.

        So I ask how would you go about getting about 65 million people covered by Medicare/caid off those programs?

        One does not just snap their fingers and have it happen. even today after more than 10 years of the advantage program, only about 2/3rd have opeted for a private plan funded by the Medicare program.

      • September 13, 2021 1:07 am

        How to end Medicare

        Start by allowing people to opt out.
        I would do the same with SS.

        But there are myriads of other approaches or combinations.
        Do not offer SS and Medicare to people just entering the workforce.

        Reduce coverage which will shift people to private insurance.

        While Obama and Biden are bringing it back, Clinton essentially ended Welfare as we know it.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 13, 2021 12:44 pm

        Dave, thanks for this explanation.

        In so much of your comments it is written as an either/or instead move to scenario. I might be the only one reading them that way, but my background is one where specifics are important.

        I agree with you for the most part, but I am one that does not like, support or want private insurance as the only alternative because I know how private insurance screws over. people. I could have given you pages worth of reading on different cases I knew of during my 30+ years in healthcare. Lets just say once you become an expense to the insurance companies, they find ways to eliminate that expense.

        So I want a government option that people can buy into at the actuarial rates set to insure the program at least breaks even. I want government setting a competitive standard that gives insurance companies competition so they can not get into mahogany lined rooms and decide what they are going to do to limit their expenses after they attract individuals to their product through legal, but deceptive advertising.

        I use medicare Advantage all the time as an example of what competition has done for that product. Right now about 45% of medicare patients have moved to that product due to increased overages. I support having those products available to for whole population with the cost of the product that breaks even or provides some profit. Those profits could then be used to fund coverages for low income people.

        I know you would not agree. You will say if insurance does what I say it does, it will go out of business. But how long has all the large insurance companies been offering health insurance? Have they gone out of business yet doing what they do? No! And not having competition allows them to continue that behavior.

      • September 13, 2021 5:31 pm

        I will give you another “fix” for medicare.

        Require those on medicare to pay 1/3 of the cost of all medical services under 5000.
        And 10% of those over.

        I would note that is what much of Europe does.
        I beleive Switzerland requires that – even from private insurers.

        When the cost of anything is artifically low – or worse free – we over consume and then typically end up rationing it.

      • September 13, 2021 6:02 pm

        I do not want to ever get into the specifics of how to design a product – including insurance.

        Thought the entire medicare debate points out another flaw in government provided services – one size fits all.

        You talk about medicare advantage – I know little about it. I do not need to.

        The farther from government it is the better it will work.

        BTW I WANT everyone involved to be working for a profit – the largest one they can.
        Because ultimately private parties profit by doing an excellent job of given consumers what they want.

        I will talk about ways to get their gradually – but getting government out of all commerce EXCEPT for their legitimate roles in contracts and torts is the objective – that is what will asure us the best quality of goods and services as the lowest prices.

      • Ron P permalink
        September 13, 2021 12:53 pm

        Dave, second question. Based on private insurance only.environment

        Situation: You are a 40 year old middle class male living in a middle class neighborhood in Philadelphia, Wife and 2 kids just entering teen years..Good job. You are diagnosed with some illness that lands you in the hospital and now requires years of treatment and drugs. You are unable to work for months.. Insurance company denies many of the treatments and finally says “we don’t want you as a client”.You are running up thousands in medical debt.

        You face thousands of dollars of health insurance cost for the next 3-4 years. What is your plan for your family without insurance since there are no government options under your “private insurance only” environment?

      • September 13, 2021 1:09 am

        With much of what is currently occuring we are at increasing risk of a catastrophic government failure – that all of a sudden snap your fingers thing.

        I would note that Communism ended throughout the USSR – ALL OF A SUDDEN.

        In fact there is a great deal of historical data that the WORST approach is gradual.
        Gradual really means never.

  35. Ron P permalink
    September 7, 2021 8:35 pm

    Combining my response to three comments by Ronda and Priscilla. Still long, but I edited as much as possible.

    To begin with, backtracking and correcting mistakes made would be impossible since the very first mistake was government reimbursement for hospitals Medicare“cost”, From 1968 to the early 80’s healthcare cost went up significantly faster than inflation because govt paid for medicare/caid patient on cost. So I was part of the problem because the medical staff would asked for diagnostic equipment, we said medicare will pay for 45% of the cost for depreciation (our MC % of patients), so don’t worry about the cost and private payors can produce the profits. That lasted until 1983 and medicare then said, no more, we are paying on flat rate based on service. That caused their services to be paid at less than cost, so private payors (including insurance) had to cover their loss plus income for future equipment replacement. Then insurance said they were not going to pay 100%, so managed care came along and said we will only pay 80% and the rest is written off. Well the solution to that was for hospitals to increase rates by another 20% to cover that part insurance was not paying. And that is much the problem today because no one pays sticker price, if your bill is $100,000 and your insurance pays “80%”, you pay 20% or $20,000, then insurance pays the negotiated rate under contract. That may be $50,000. $50K plus $20K = $70K and the hospital writes off $30K.

    Then the other side of the issue is cost. One issue that raises cost for everyone is our drug patent laws. Patents are good for 20 years once development and after clinical trials and approvals, most likely 10 years. That needs to change, but that will either drive up the cost for the shorter patent period or will reduce research. And with current research moving into gene therapys and other advanced research the cost will only increase. I can not see our drug companies continuing with research or spending billions when patents are reduced unless some there is some private/public partnership where government is also involved in the cost associated with drugs. Once a drug hits the market, then whatever percentage of the cost govt covered, govt gets that part of the revenues until their cost is covered.

    Con laws need to be eliminated as they reduce competition. When states control the number of CT Scanners, MRI machings or specialty services like open heart surgery, it increases cost. Not because there is less competition as the major issue, but because that restricts the number of machines Siemens, GE and other medical equipment manufacturers can produce. So if they are restricted to 5000 machines a year, they price is going to be much higher than if they can produce 10000 and compete between themselves for the increase sales. That is low demand creating low supply resulting in higher priced equipment. And yes, if the doctor across the street charges $500 and you charge $1000, guess who gets the business.

    Finally, a complete revision to the reimbursement systems used by government and insurance companies would have to be written to establish bundled pricing. Right now you call your hospital and ask how much it will cost to have a cyst removed on an ovary and they will quote you a price. Before you are admitted, something happens, you come in through the ER and have the operation. The hospital bills close to what they quoted, but that does not include the ER doctors fee, the radiologist fees or the pathologist fees. Each of these doctors are private contractors providing services to the hospital patients but not employed by the hospital. Those bills can add thousands to the hospital bill. If you came by ambulance, that also can be thousands depending on the distance because they bill by the mileage. And if anyone thinks government or insurance companies are going to force doctors to take a huge pay cut and accept a part of the hospital reimbursement, they are crazy. That has been tried and has been ongoing for 50 years and nothing has changed except the size of their bills.

    I doubt anything can be done with salary cost except to increase the numbers in each profession and over the years supply will reduce cost in the future.

    But the first thing I wold propose if I were in a position to do it would be Medicare buy-in, not the socialist Medicare for all. That will never work because of some of the problems I have listed. If you drastically cut reimbursement, the only think providers can do is cut cost and that would significantly impact quality. But Medicare buy-in would give insurance companies competition just like Medicare Advantage has created competition within the Medicare program. right now medicare advantage has 42% of the market and it grows each year as insurance companies increase what they cover like dental, vision and hearing.

  36. rondabellelane permalink
    September 7, 2021 10:19 pm

    First, I do not consider your response long. It is highly informative, and created with a good deal of consideration for how things are.

    Maybe it’s different elsewhere, but the physicians in my area are really not paid as well as this seems. Yes, upper middle class, but not rich – in fact, I know several sons of now retired doctors who are currently doctors – and their lifestyle and purchase power is not that of their fathers.

    Something has happened, and the money is truly going elsewhere – and I believe it is to the pharmacy companies and the suppliers of medical equipment. Oh – you don’t have to tell me that ambulances and anesthesiologists are separate… I get my bills…

    Because of the Reagan reductions in income tax for the wealthy, subsequent additional tax reductions in that area, and (finally) Trump’s horrendous slash, no – the wealthy (for the most part) will be unwilling participants in their taxes increasing, along with corporations (which enabled them to get more).

    No, not easy… but it CAN be done.

    • Ron P permalink
      September 12, 2021 1:55 pm

      Ronda, again I ask just what good would it do to raise tax rates on the rich if they pay little tax under current rates?

      Before any tax rates are changed, the regulations need to be changed and the IRS needs to enforce what is in the regulations. I can’t link more than one link, but other articles show billions not paid due to lax IRS enforcement.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        September 12, 2021 3:57 pm

        Oh, I agree – a lot needs to be done to correct this – but change HAS occurred, sometimes slow and determined, sometimes fast. Yes, were I to choose I’d pick slow as fast is often violent, but it has to happen or there really won’t be much left for future generations.

  37. September 9, 2021 3:32 am

    I am going to try to make this my last post “about me”

    I was deeply disturbed by the personal attacks over the past several days.
    I want to thank Priscilla for standing up against that.
    While Ron and Rick were not “mostly” perpitrators of these attacks at best they were silent and at worst accepting.

    Regardless, it is clear that at TNM to large or too frequent a post as a greater crime than maligning a person who you have never mets mental health, or family, or ….
    I found that especially disturbing – while the attacks were false – even if they were true – they would be disgusting. A long time ago someone here now gone constantly claimed I had Aspergers – which I do not, and that would be obvious to someone actually familiar with aspergers. But what if I did ? Would the personal attacks be any less vile ?

    If I have ever falsely attacked any of you personally – or attacked you for immutable attributes – please point that out to me and I will profusely appologize.

    I have said you were wrong – when you were wrong.
    I have said you were lying – when you accused others of moral failure without backing up your claim.

    I have said your arguments were stupid – that is probably impolite and I try not to do that.
    But it is not a personal attack even if you choose to take it that way.
    Your arguments are often stupid and I demonstrate that. Regardless, attacking an argument is not attacking a person – or debate would be impossible.

    As I beleive Rhonda noted – I often dissect your posts line by line.
    I expect you to do the same with mine – especially if I make incorrect assertions.
    Regardless, I am never apologizing for that, if it offends you that is your problem.

    I do it to everyone. I have done it to Priscilla.
    Yet, some how we are “two peas in a pod”.
    Are you a narcisist Priscilla ? Does your family and friends hate you ?
    Regardless, Priscilla long ago earned my respect. but not necescarily my agreement.

    I seriously considered leaving for a time or for good. And maybe I will.

    Contra those engaged in brutal and false personal attacks – my posts may reflect me, but they are not “about me”.

    But several posters here – including Rick would rather post “about me” than about any issue.

    I guess that should not surprise me, the posting on issues is so shallow.

    Regardless, Rick argued this obviously illogical position that the frequency of my posts was driving others away. As if TNM has not been shrinking for a decade.
    I mostly left for about a year, when I came back there were fewer people here than when I left. If my posts were a factor – there would be more.

    Regardless, I am now distributing my posts over 4 pseudonyms. While I am not “hiding” that, it still resolves the issue that somehow the posts of one person are driving people away.

    The effect of this is no different than if I managed to get 4 libertarian friends to come here and post with me.

    If Rick does not like this – he can ban me, and I will leave. Regardles, I am responding to his argument – not his request.

    Nor am I doing this to annoy you – though I have no doubt you will be annoyed – anything that you do not like triggers you and anyone on anything that triggers you must be wrong.

    Several of you – including Rick fixate on perception – rather than reality.
    Well – reality has not changed much – but perception has.

    I would hope you would think about that. Everytime I post you know it is me, but that is not how it appears. Reality and perception are at odds.

    That is how I feel about most of your posts. Reality is out there – it is relatively easy to find if you want to. And yet your posts offer unreality – alternate universes.

    Maybe I will decide to leave. Maybe I will not. I am still thinking about that.
    Unless Rick decides to ban me – that is MY CHOICE – again a lesson for you in freedom.

    If others excercising their freedom annoys you – that is YOUR problem.

    IF you are bothered by the size or frequency of posts – that is YOUR problem.

    I am bother by the unreality of many of your posts.
    I am bothered with the automatic, possibly even unaware jump to false moral attacks.
    Those are my problem, because your not going to change, and Rick does not even seem to be able to recognize it.

    Or maybe Rick is doing his moderate thing – and whatever the issue – the answer must be in the middle. I sometimes wonder if moderates are so wedded to the “middle” that they would have compromised and allowed Hitler to stay if he had only killed half as many jews.

  38. rondabellelane permalink
    September 9, 2021 7:07 pm

    Agree that this has to be determined, but the actual cause of the deaths should have the same treatment – quite possibly, someone else created a serious breach causing this.

  39. September 12, 2021 4:29 pm

    Some humor

  40. September 14, 2021 12:54 pm

    Glenn Greenwald – excellent as ever.

    I object to Greenwald’s use of the word “liberal” for those who rarely if ever call themselves liberal and are most decidedly illiberal.

    Further Greenwald barely mentions that as significant portion of those pushing for a war on the american people – are Neo-Conns

    But other than that excellent.

  41. Ron P permalink
    September 14, 2021 11:35 pm

    Couple of short comments concerning health care and covid.

    1) Currently the largest health system in Greensboro N>C> reports that over 1/4 of their pediatric patients are covid patients. So the story about this not impacting kids is bogus.

    2) This same health system employees over 6000 nurses. They have just given a highly unusual salary increase that does not coincide with their fiscal year of a base adjustment of 6%. Using the average salary of $70,000 a year now, based on 6000 nurses, that is a cost increase per year of $25,200,000 for that hospital system and will be covered by increased rates for the Greensboro citizens using those facilities. Just another example of why rates keep increasing.

    And then just tonight, this was reported.

    • September 15, 2021 11:44 pm

      • Ron P permalink
        September 15, 2021 11:51 pm

        What?..Nothing posted.

      • September 15, 2021 11:51 pm

        Aparently Youtube is playing games again.

        This is an excerpt From today’s Megyn Kelly show in which she interviews
        Dr. Jay Bhattacharya who notes that a recent study shows that 1/4 of the Covid deaths are probably not Covid Deaths, and 1/2 the Covid Hospitalizations are not serious. they are people with mild symptoms – but Hospitals are getting paid an extra 50K per patient if they are Covid patients.

        The video is readily available on Youtube, I just can not link to it.

  42. September 19, 2021 1:29 am

    So what does it take to grasp who stupid it is to even try to mask kids ?

    Note that even the teachers trying to force this kid to mask keep putting the mask below his nose – which is ineffective. Further this appears to be a cloth mask – which is ineffective,

  43. September 19, 2021 1:48 am

    As noted AOC appeals to the dictionary.

    Missing from the Video is the context making the irony Obvious

    AOC was attending a 30K/person gala to fund costumes for the Met.

    If AOC has these problems with wealth and priviledge – What was she doing there ?

    Other images from this event and others further provide evidence of the hypocracy of the left.

    The number of videos of democrat politicians putting masks on just before they go on stage, or attending events like the Met Gala where THEY are unmasked, but those providing them services are required to be masked.

    You can not sell yourself as an egalitarian when you are flaunting your priviledge and the glaring lack of those you claim to champion.

    While such hypocracy existed in the USSR and the PRC – not to the extent that it does with the modern left.

  44. September 21, 2021 12:21 pm

    The double standard of the press.

    First the Nunes story was false – the reporter and outlet involved should have known that.
    Nunes has ZERO financial interest in the farm that moved.
    But beyond that the story was also FALSE because the facts were false with respect to the actual owners – who are also suing for defamation.

    So the media had no problem running a false and defamatory story claiming that Nunes was hiring illegal aliens in a business that had no part of that did not hire illegal aliens.
    Not that those were the only errors in the story.

    But the Reporter subsequently doubled down – by much later, after being sued for defamation and being made aware that the story was false – republishing the same story again.

  45. Ron P permalink
    September 25, 2021 10:53 pm

    Here is something that I support 100%. Insurance rates are set in part by the plans historical experience and without vaccines, they made the right decisions to cover that cost. Now with vaccines, if one gets hospitalized it should be on them and not spread to the other plan subscribers in increased rates.

    • September 29, 2021 9:05 am

      If you are overweight your risk of hospitalization from Covid is dramatically higher.
      If you have type II Diabetes your risk is dramatically higher.

      Should the costs of hospitalizations for those who make other poor health choices fall on them ?

      I beleive already existing healthcare law prevents that .

      Can we get rid of those laws ?

      Or lets just get rid of health insurance entirely and then people’s health care costs would to a large extent reflect their personal choices.

      I have only one answer to my own questions above.


      Then all the questions go away.

    • September 29, 2021 9:11 am

      I do not have a problem with what your article is saying – But I would note that despite the spin of the reporter, the insurance companies are just reverting to normal policy coverage for ALL covid patients – not specifically the unvaccinated.

      So far the data on breakthrough infections seems to be tricky. There is no doubt vaccines are working. But information from different sources is demonstrating substantially different benefits.

      With the change you note – Vaccinated people will also have to pay SOME of the costs of their hospitalizations.

      Patients are not being treated differently because they are unvaccinated.
      They are just no longer being treated differently because they have covid.

      I have no problem with this – it eventually had to happen regardless.

      It is increasingly appearing that we are going to have covid floating arround forever.

    • September 29, 2021 9:24 am

      How about policies like this ?

  46. September 29, 2021 9:18 am

    For the benefit of others.

    My wife had Moderna, and received the 3rd Booster about 3 weeks ago.
    The after effects for her were slightly worse than the prior two vaccinations.

    Last Friday I received the 3rd Pfiser shot. 24hrs later I had fever, chills, sweats, I was shaking uncontrollably for a couple of hours. After that I had the worst headache I have had in a decade for more than 24hrs. By Monday I thought I was fine. I had a moderately hard days work monday which mostly went well. But by about 3pm I was exhausted and sufficiently dizzy that I could not drive. Fortunately I had someone with me to drive me home.

    I am told that the worse your reaction the more immunity you had at the time of the booster.
    I hope that is true, It would mean I am super immune.

  47. rcoase permalink
    September 29, 2021 1:56 pm

    Today our military leaders testified before congress regarding the Afghan exit.

    Immediately before they testified Lt. Col. Shlictman a whistleblower who was critical of the withdraw process and asked our leaders to take responsibility for their actions was thrown in the brig.

    He is facing a court-martial for speaking out – though no charges have been filed yet.
    He is in solitary confinement so that he can not speak out further.

    The Lt. Col. arguably violated the USMCJ – as have myriads of people over the past several years, bypassing the chain of command and going public with allegations.

    I would note that Lt. Col. Vindman did much the same thing – and the only consequence to him was he was transfered out of the whitehouse.

    We keep speaking of the dangers of the authoritarian right – yet the evidence is that the right in power is pretty tame. Whether that is because democrats and the press keep check on it, or because it is not inherently authoritarian the results are the same – there is no evidence of actual authoritarian conduct by the right.

    Conversely it is the left that will not tolerate disagreement, and will use whatever power they have to silence opposition – that is totalitarian.

    Had Vindman been jailed to silence him, the press and democrat attacks would have been viscious. Yet there is no difference between Vindman and Schlictman – except that Schlictman stood on his own, and Vindman conspired with others.

    Regardless, if Schlictman’s whistleblowing warrants arrest and solitary confinement so does Vindman’s.

    There is no difference between their conduct.

    The USMCJ makes no distinction between going outside the chain of command when you are right, and when you are wrong. But if there were such a distinction – Vindman would be the clear loser. Nearly the entire world grasps the Afghan withdraw was botched, while the evidence is that Trump had good reason to request investigations from Ukraine into malfeasance prior to the 2016 election by Democrats and the Biden political corruption family.

    • rcoase permalink
      September 29, 2021 2:53 pm

      Today Sec. Def. Austin, JCS Cheif Miley, and CENTCOM McKenzie have all testified that their advice to Biden was to keep 2500 US troops and proportionate NATO forces in Afghanistan atleast through the withdraw, so that both Bagram and Kabul could be protected.

      Either they are lying, or Biden and the WhiteHouse is lying, as Biden has repeatedly said first that the drawdown to 600 troops in Kabul was unanimously recomended, and later that it was a split decsion by the military.

      The Biden whitehouse today is denying there is any contradiction – aparently were really do live in 1984 – words do not mean the same thing in the capital as in the whitehouse.

      Regardless the 3 people testifying ARE the key military commanders/advisors.
      The direct chain of command for Afghanistan is President to Sec. Def, to JCS Chief to CENTCOM.

      All three of these men testified that there may have been other unnamed voices – but THEY are the most consequential voices.

      So what We have is Biden making a choice on the advice of Military leaders who do not appear to exist, that disagreed with the top 3 ranking military leaders in the chain of command for Afghanistan.

      Lt. Col. Schlicter is correct – ALL of these men should RESIGN.
      At BEST they made recommendations to the president that they refused to stand behind, implementing choices that resulted in the deaths of 13 US soldiers and countless others.

      I would Contrast JCS Cheif Miley’s testimony to Congress that he was too important to resign over one issue like this and Gen. Eisenhower’s D-Day letter of resignation that was written in the even the D-Day landings were a failure.

      The Withdraw from Afghanistan was the most important Military action of 2021, and likely of the past several years. It was well known in advance. There is no reason at all that Miley should not have prepared for every possible contingency.

      I have no problem with Miley chosing NOT to resign even if he did not agree with the final choice that Pres. Biden made as to implimenting the withdraw.

      But by chosing not to at that time, he was communicating that even if Biden’s choice was NOT his, that he WOULD be able to impliment it successfully.

      Neither he nor any of the rest of these military leaders did that.

      They were all obligated to resign if Biden ordered them to proceed in a way they could not successfully impliment OR to successfully impliment the final decision of the president.

      There is not a – we tried but it went badly and it is not our fault because the president made a bad choice option.

  48. September 30, 2021 10:51 am

    An excellent piece by Tyler Cowen.

    While the title asks about the merits of the various policies that are part of the democrats 3.5T omnibus,

    The point of the article is that we are no longer debating policies – we are fighting purely over political power.

    No one is discussing the merits of the 3.5T package – purportedly it polls well, but I doubt most of us could clearly describe a single policy proposal that is part of it.

    The debate is over power – will we give Bureaucrats in Washington vastly more power to dictate our lives or not ?

    Will the Red Team or the Blue team win ?\

    If team Blue needs some redeeming political victory – can they find some way to do so that does not pose myriads of serious risks to our future ?

  49. September 30, 2021 10:55 am

    Long but incredible discussion by Glenn Greenwald that starts about 1/6 and the FBI involvement, but devolves into a discussion of the dramatic changes in today’s politics,
    and how is it that on many issues liberals and conservatives are switching sides.

  50. Ron P permalink
    September 30, 2021 11:30 pm

    Hope this does not hit a pay wall. I get daily summaries from WSJ and each week they have a post by Peggy Noonan. I appreciate her writings as they seem to be neutral in political terms, she criticizes both sides. This is a good article on Biden

  51. Ron P permalink
    October 4, 2021 5:31 pm

    How interesting that all hell was going to break loose and Americans were going to be unfairly paying increased prices for cheap Chinese products, and now after 10 months nothing has changed, there appears to be the same agenda in place to place tariffs on products that cost American jobs and silence from the left. And even the right that supported Trumps policies has said nothing.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      October 4, 2021 6:35 pm

      I read that tariffs were removed, but NOT from products costing American jobs. Sounds appropriate. Exactly what will we be paying more for in the ‘cheap Chinese products’ area? Guessing there is a sucker born every minute…

      The far left and the far right always have something to say. No President is perfect, but I generally don’t truly complain until after a year – with the exception of Trump, who started his deliberate destruction to benefit himself early.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 4, 2021 10:45 pm

        Ronda.I have not read anything that indicates any tariffs were removed, but that does not mean they were not. This article also does not say any were removed.

        I support any and all tariffs on all Chinese products until they begin allowing our manufacturers to ship items into their country under the same rules as those coming here. You tag our with a $1, we tag yours with a $1. many on both sides do not agree, they want cheap goods coming in, even if it does cost jobs.Not the low end jobs, but the higher end manufacturing jobs that we need to increase wages in this country and not artificially increasing them by legislation.

        And this labor shortage won’t last. Productivity will change the need for jobs, the economy will slow and other changes will happen where unemployment could become an issue again.

        But my original comment had nothing to do with Trump or Biden agenda’s. Like them or not, that is up to others to decide. My comment was directed at the media that made such a huge deal of the impact of the Trump tariffs on the economy and working class Americans, and now 10 months after taking office, they are still there and his trade representative is still talking about keeping them. Not a word from them now.

        How is it that 18-24 months ago tariffs were so bad, and now they don’t even deserve a sentence about the negative impact?

        People do not care about this country if the media does not tell them what to care about. And when that exist, it is scary what one can image happening in the future.

      • October 5, 2021 1:33 am

        They are discussing removing some – MAYBE.

      • October 5, 2021 1:46 am

        The labor shortage will last as long as the policies that created it continue.

        Though I would note we are adding 2-3M pretty poor mouths to feed at the BOTTOM each year right now.
        No amount of “productivity” will fix that.

        I do not want to predict the economic impact of that – except that it will not be good.

      • October 5, 2021 1:54 am

        With respect to the media – they are hypocrits.

        Haven’t you understood that ?

        There are 10 times as many “kids in cages” per month right now as the entire Trump administration – where are the “kids in cages” stories ?

        The Biden political corruption story gets worse every week – do you see the media covering it ?

        Like grains of sand in an hourglass the evidence of election problems that are most likely FRAUD rises with each passing week. Yet the media fixates on the fact that the hand count of Ballots in AZ nearly matched the one in November ignoring the fact that there are multiple problems that have been found – the smallest being about 33K ballots and the largest several hundred thousand.

        Pick an issue – any issue. The media is near certain on the wrong side of it.

      • October 5, 2021 2:00 am

        While I think I am more sensitive to the hypocracy and intellectual fraud in the media today than you – but if you wish to disagree – fine.

        I am not mostly concerned about that.

        As Lincoln said.
        You can fool all the people some of the time.
        And some of the people all of the time
        But you can not fool all the people all of the time.

        I thnk there are far more people coming to grips with the fact that the media LIES to them – and that has bad consequences.

        If we conducted a normal lawful election in 2020 – the outcome would be different and the country would be better off.

        If we do so in the future – we will start to repair the damage.
        If we do not – if we continue to run elections in a stupid and fraud prone way – even that eventually blows up in the faces of the lawless.

        I think the efforts of the press, the left, government to repress the truth merely mean that when it finally bursts out – as it must, the explosion and consequences will be larger.

      • October 5, 2021 12:29 am

        Ah, yes, the magical Biden argument.

        All tariffs protect jobs at the expense of consumers.

        That is how Tariffs work.
        They are abysmally bad economic policy.

        They are only plausibly justified as foreign policy – not economic policy – and not really even there.

        Regardless, Ron’s well founded point is “How is Biden different from Trump ?”

        And the answer with respect to tariff’s is “not very much”.

        If you wish to beleive that some Tweaks (which have not occured yet) make a world of difference.
        Go ahead – beleive whatever you want. But beleif is an element of religion – not economics.

        Before he became a complete shill for the left and gav e his intelect to arguing whatever stupid economic policy democrats pushed – Paul Krugman got his nobel prize demonstrating that Free Trade is superior to Tarrifs.

    • October 5, 2021 12:21 am

      Did you actually expect Biden to do anything that he said he would ?

      Particularly given that he was speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

      To much of the country he was saying “Trust me – I am a moderate”.
      To progressives he was saying “Trust me – I am a progressive”.

      As president he has managed to piss off almost everyone.

    • October 5, 2021 12:22 am

      What is it that democrats, the media, the left, Biden have been truthful about ?

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