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Another Divisive Year Bites the Dust

December 31, 2021

As 2020 was wheezing to its close a year ago, most of us were looking forward to a fresh start in 2021. You can hardly blame us. Between the killer coronavirus plague and the often-rancorous “racial reckoning” in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder-by-cop, we were emerging from just possibly the most hellacious year in recent American memory.

The prospects looked promising: a new, relatively normal presidential administration headed by an empathetic soul with a reputation for working across the aisle… the retirement of the most divisive and verbally reckless president in U.S. history… Covid vaccines rolling out to spare us from death, lockdowns and a perpetually masked way of life. What could go wrong?

American tribalism – that’s the simplest answer. On the right, three-quarters of Republicans believed (and still believe) that Trump was robbed of a second term, despite all evidence to the contrary. On January 6, hundreds of Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the official vote count — while Trump himself reportedly enjoyed the spectacle on TV even after multiple conservative pundits privately begged him to stop the madness.

On the left, self-righteous wokesters turned positively Orwellian in their crusade to eradicate “wrongthink” from academia and the media alike. Dissenting renegades were reported to authorities, doxxed, disciplined and frequently expelled. Even corporations hopped on the bandwagon with compulsory “antiracism” training, comparable to the forced loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era.

Worst of all, the pandemic became politicized. Not only politicized, but tribalized. The personal freedom tribe went to war with the social responsibility tribe: refusing to get vaccinated… bristling at imposed lockdowns and safety mandates… screaming at baristas and flight attendants who asked them to mask up… clinging to wild theories that the Deep State was somehow conspiring to control their lives and (via the vaccine) their DNA.

Did The New Moderate stay moderate through all this insanity? Yes and no — I spent much of the year heaping infamy on the wretched excesses of the Trumpsters and wokesters alike. Like the dying (but still feisty) Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, I felt like yelling “A plague on both your houses!” But I usually tried to temper my rage with reason.

For example, I’ll freely admit that Joe Biden hasn’t exactly wowed us during his first year in office. He’s been strangely invisible, at least compared to his predecessor. He botched our exit from Afghanistan, and his “Build Back Better” initiatives were far too sweeping to gain approval from both parties. But even the most astute president wouldn’t have been able to prevent the explosive crime waves in our cities, the creeping inflation, the surge of illegal immigrants at the southern border, and the prolonged, ever-evolving pandemic.

When several of my friends in the anti-Biden tribe started mocking the president’s mental faculties and calling for him to resign or be impeached, I politely reminded them who would succeed Biden if he stepped aside. (They might still revile the man, but I think they’ll be pulling for him to serve the rest of his term.)

I did battle with the wokesters, too. When my state rep announced on Facebook that he introduced a bill proclaiming Thanksgiving as “a day of mourning” for the native tribes who suffered at the hands of white colonists, I told him he was doing his best to drain the joy from one of America’s most beloved holidays. Again, I tried to restrain my outrage – although I did refer to the bill as “wokeness on steroids.”

What about my position on the pandemic? I had no choice but to cast my lot with the “social responsibility” tribe. I’d try to convince my anti-vaxxer friends that their personal freedom ends where it puts others in harm’s way. After all, the exercise of freedom can’t include the right to murder, steal, or – by refusing to take the necessary precautions — infect our fellow-humans with a deadly virus.

Did I convince those anti-vaxxer friends? Nope. They had to maintain their tribal solidarity above all else. Even if they caught the virus themselves or watched loved ones suffer and possibly die from it, I suspect they’d be hard-pressed to change their views.

That’s the raw power of tribalism in America today: like orthodox religions, our contemporary brand of tribalism is a matter of faith, emotion and collective loyalty. Reason, facts and individualism have no home in these tribes, and wayward thinkers must be excommunicated.

That rigid intolerance can work in our favor, believe it or not. As the extremists grow ever more extreme, they’ll be driving most of the remaining rational thinkers out of their ranks. Liberals like Bill Maher and John McWhorter have been denouncing the excesses of wokery, while sensible conservatives like George Will have distanced themselves from the Trump cult.

We moderates need to follow their lead and be fearless in disputing the irrational beliefs of wokesters and Trumpsters alike. (Retired renegades like me have nothing to lose; we can’t be dragged before the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee or canceled by GOP power brokers.) We have to stop the extremists from dominating the conversation. We have to stop them from bullying freethinkers. And we stop them by talking back to them without fear of the consequences.

Will we be called transphobic for insisting that biological males shouldn’t be allowed to compete in women’s sports? Sure. Will we be dubbed racist for criticizing rioters who loot and burn businesses? Of course. Will conservative friends call us socialists for defending the environment, supporting subsidized healthcare, or knocking CEOs who earn 500 times more than their secretaries? Most likely. Will they turn on us when we blame anti-vaxxers for prolonging the pandemic? Possibly, but not our best friends.

During crazy times, the standard derogatory epithets have lost their punch. We independent thinkers need to see through the craziness and be unafraid to speak up. That doesn’t mean we oppose wokeness by turning racist, or that we clobber Republicans simply because they might have voted for Trump. It means we plant our feet in the center and aggressively defend our ground.

We won’t win any converts by mocking the people who hold extremist beliefs; that strategy only raises their hackles and reinforces their tribal bond. Besides, it’s dehumanizing. I still believe we should treat our ideological opponents with respect. We just don’t have to respect their ideas.

We probably won’t change the extremists’ hardwired biases. But if enough of us raise our voices fearlessly without resorting to ridicule, we might help the extremists see just how extreme they are. Better yet, we might be able to engage them in a rational conversation and talk them back down to earth with the rest of us. That can only be a good thing — and besides, we moderates could use the company. At the end of another crazy year, it feels lonelier than ever in the middle. 

Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate. His three brilliant (but inexplicably overlooked) collections of dark-humored essays are available in e-book form on Amazon and elsewhere for the ridiculously low price of $2.99 each.


421 Comments leave one →
  1. Savannah Jordan permalink
    December 31, 2021 12:08 pm

    You may not convince the extremists, but your rhetoric consoles moderates such as myself.

    • rcoase permalink
      December 31, 2021 7:04 pm

      I am less interested in being consoled than in being accurately informed.

      Most of Rick’s post is just a rant. It offers no realistic solutions to problems.
      It does not even seem to understand the real problems.

      The political divisions in the country are not getting healed quickly.
      Compromise is not happening -and even if it did,it would accomplish little beyond pushing problems further into the future.

      Regardless compromise, working together requires TRUST.

      And Rick thoroughly misses the FACT that our institutions – mostly in control of the left have burned peoples trust.

      Rick wants republicans to accept the results of the 2020 election ?
      Why should they ?

      Why should anyone accept anything claimed by the same institutions and people who have been telling bigger and bigger whoppers to us each year ?

      Rick and several others here want us to “trust” our public health experts.
      Again – WHY ? These people have not earned our trust ?

      Rick wants republicans and democrats in congress to work together.
      Why should they ? Democrats are pummelling and crucifying their own members.

      Pelosi appointed a Jan. 6th commission – the conly congressional commission ever in which the minority party did not have proportionate representation and get to choose their own members to appoint.

      With a 4 seat majority in the house – one of the narrowest ever. and the senate relying on Harris to break ties, Democrats are using that tiny amount of power to not only push a radical, not popular and poorly thought out agenda that they can not get their own to support, but they are actively silencing republicans in the house and senate at every oportunity.
      And still things go badly for them.

      It appears near certain republicans will retake the house, and increasingly likely they will retake the senate.

      Is there any reason to expect that Republicans will behave better than democrats ?

      Why should they ?

      It is incredibly difficult to work with people that you can not trust.

      Democrats, the media, the left and those making up our govenrment have proven themselves untrustworthy.

      Reagan and ONeil could joust – but they could also trust each other.
      Gingrich and Clinton were bitter rivals -but they had some ground to trust each other.

      Democrats do not care whether they are trusted. That is incredibly dangerous.

      • Rick Bayan permalink
        January 2, 2022 10:25 am

        Happy New Year, Dave. Glad I’ve inspired you to write commentary faster than I can read it. ;).

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 2, 2022 2:42 pm

        Not my first laugh of the day, but thank you!!

      • January 2, 2022 6:09 pm

        Its the holidays and i am not busy.

        Or more accurately, I am very busy doing things that allow me to post on TNM while doing them.

        Read/Don’t-your choice.

        But the vast majority of what I have posted can be summed up with the observation that

        You are so incredibly concerned with parity that you are blind to what constitutes an actual threat.

        Slavery in the US was heinous, it was indefensible, it was corrosive to the soul of this country, But the harms of slavery were minuscule in comparison to the Nazi’s, the Soviets, Mao.

        Ignoring that the right often gets blamed for the past misconduct of the left.
        And ignoring the reality that we are NOT under any plausible circumstances returning to those past evils.
        Even as the left presents – or too often YOU echo the dangers of the right, these are small compared to the scale of the potential harms of the left, and the real likelihood of those harms.

      • January 2, 2022 6:17 pm

        What does moderate mean to you ?

        I have asked you that many times.

        You have never given a satisfactory answer.

        I could better express what those on the left or the right stand for, than what you think moderates stand for.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      December 31, 2021 10:54 pm

      Thanks, Savannah — and best wishes for a happy (and less politicized) New Year!

  2. Ron P permalink
    December 31, 2021 1:04 pm

    Rick, Happy New Year! Lets make this one better than last year.

    First, I am making a News Years resolution for my comments to not have any personal attacks on others commenting here that may have happened in the past here. I know I am guilty of that and pledge to do better.

    Second, which poll did you use to obtain your information concerning the Republicans that still believe Trump was robbed of the election. I ask that since I have seen numbers from 50% to 66%. The 66% is a Yahoo sponsored poll conducted by You and since I am active in their polling and chats, it is very apparent that the participants at that site are very much right leaning individuals that may make the results much high than normal. But even with just over 50% believing Trump was robbed, one has to remember there is only one cure for stupid.

    As for wokeness, right wing extremism, tribalism, individualism and individual rights, I wonder if this is not all a result of the “me” generation that was and has been raised to believe they are the center of attention, that their desires need to be answered by everyone and no one is allowed to tell them no.

    I also still believe, from what I think is a moderate libertarian position (if that can actually exist) that there are certain things that the federal government should not be able to do, but has gained that power since too many people do not care. For example, I fully support vaccinations. I fully support employers, including the federal government and the military, requiring vaccinations as that is their right. However, the government, through OSHA, has been given the power to regulate safety within an employer and that started out as regulating walking safety, noise, dockside shipyards, exits and entrances, platforms, ventilation, hazardous materials, PPE, sanitation, fire, asbestos and other physical site safety controls. Each of these are site safety issues and have nothing to do with the individuals working at those employers. The President should not have dictatorial powers to control individuals within the employer since that is an indirect control of people. If the federal government believes that employers should be covered by a vaccine mandate, then legislation should be written, debated and passed by congress and not an executive order written by the president. That would then be challenged and sent to SCOTUS for a decision on the constitutionality of the legislation. Even with the E.O. being challenged, the resulting decision will have a much more narrow impact on future actions by the president and congress.

    But we both know legislation would never happen since congress does everything in its power to abdicate controversial legislation to the president and allows them to issue E.O.’s so they are not required to go on record on that type legislation.

    To all reading this. Happy New Year!

    • rcoase permalink
      December 31, 2021 7:31 pm

      Ron, the last poll that I saw – probably in August had 25% of Democrats beleiving that the election was likely stolen.

      It is likely that these numbers will diminish over time -primarily because people will not care for long.

      Though even this is complicated – the worse democrats do at governing, the less legitimate they will be perceived as.

      Regardless, it is very dangerous to have even 10% of the people beleiving an election was stolen.

      Finally regarding elections – it is NOT stupid to beleive that the election was stolen.

      Contra the left – and aparently you and Rick -there has been little meangful inquiry, and what there has been has shown us a disasterously badly conducted election.

      If you want people to trust election results – you have to conduct elections in a manner that can be trusted.

      When you change the rules at the last minute – you ALWAYS damage trust.
      But you especially do so when you have spent the past 5 years lying.

      Why exactly should ANYONE trust an election – when the alleged winners spent the past 5 years trying to undermine the prior election – with LIES ? When they did so not merely by lying – but under oath, and by abuse of power, and by lawlessness ?

      Core to the left today is “the ends justifies the means”. that is NEVER a recipe for Trust.

      Biden accuses Kyle Rittenhouse of being a white supremacists, racist, militia member during the 2020 election – in an event that was OBVIOUS self defense from the start, in which 3 white people with criminal records violently attacked a white boy with a gun.

      Is this someone you would trust ?

      Biden claims that the evidence against himself and his son of political corruption is all Russian disinformation – and yet we know it was not – is this someone you can trust ?

      Biden claims Trump botched Covid murdering americans – and yet more have died since Biden was elected, and now he claims the president does not have sufficient power.

      Duh ? There is not a way to spin that, that is not lies and or incompetence – or both.

      The left and the media spent 4 years attacking Trump as a liar repeatedly throughout his presidency.

      Many many people beleive Trump – specifically because – those accusations all proved false.

      I do not understand how you and Rick and Robby think.

      But people earn my trust. The people telling me the election results are to be trusted – are all proven liars. The people telling me that there is reason to doubt the results – are mostly people with a track record of ultimately proving trustworthy.

      One issue after issue – the election, Covid, CAGW, …. We tend to find mostly the same people on the same sides.

      One set has been caught lying over and over and over. The other has not.

      Where possible I place my trust in FACTS, Logic, Reason.
      But sometimes we do not have sufficient facts to resolve something at the moment.
      When I MUST make decisions relying on trust – such as trust of experts. I rely on people with a track record of accuracy and truth.

      I would further note that Biden is probably in a mess that I doubt he can dig out of.
      Absolutely Biden’s fortunes would improve – if the economy improved.
      I wish it was otherwise – but that is NOT likely. atleast not in the short run.
      In the long run – though Biden is a worse president than Obama – I am not sure even he can keep things in the $hitter for his entire presidency.

      We all want all want things to get better.
      I would be very happy to be wrong.

      I can live in a world in which the things I call leftist nonsense actually work.
      But they do not.

    • rcoase permalink
      December 31, 2021 7:49 pm

      The me generation is a CONSEQUENCE of the preceding nonsense.

      If you are interested in how we got to the idiocy we have now – I would strongly suggest reading the work of Prof. Haidt and others like him.

      While you are correct that some of this nonsense comes from the “me” generation.

      This screwed up generation did not create itself.

      When we are devoid of principles – we no longer have the means to evaluate the comparative merits of different values.

      Rick says that MTF transgendered should not compete in womens sports.

      WHY ?

      This question is just a conflict in values. Why are the opportunities for biological girls more or less important than those of the transgendered ?

      If all you have is values. If you do not have principles, then you have no means by whim or feelings to sort out competing values.

      There was a recent squable because some left leaning professor publicly defended pedophilia.

      Why is pedophila wrong ? In my lifetime most thought homosexuality was wrong, and until very recently no one would have paid much attention to any argument for transgendered.

      If everything is about feelings, if all opinions are equal – why is pedophila wrong ?

      We decide the merits of competing values – by relying on principles.

      We spent thousands of years on the western principles that are now being thoughtlessly tossed.

      But worse still – I have asked You, Robby, Rick what your principles are.

      I would be an exageration to say that I have not gotten a satisfactory answer.
      I have no answer at all.

    • rcoase permalink
      December 31, 2021 7:57 pm

      One of the reasons that it is legitimate for individuals to impose constraints – in the context of those things THEY control – their homes, their jobs, …..

      Is because THEY have to address the consequences of those choices.

      If you have not noticed – absent the force of government there are very very few places that are actually imposing mask or vaccine mandates.

      GM workers just negotiated a contract that barred GM from imposing mandates.

      As far as I can tell though airlines said one thing initially, they ultimately backed down.

      A few states have imposed mandates on hospital workers – and now have national guards working as nurses.

      In my capacity as a business owner, I have to deal with mandates imposed on me by clients and my own on employees. I have to make my clients happy, get work, and I still need to have employees to perform the work.

      I have the POWER to demand whatever I want. But I also face the consequences.
      I risk losing people I can not replace if I am too draconian. I risk being unable to get work, if I do not make clients happy.

      Ultimately I must balance myriads of interests before deciding what to impose.
      And if problems arrise from my choices – I pay the price.

      Government does NOT pay for most of the harms that it causes.

    • rcoase permalink
      December 31, 2021 8:05 pm


      You are big on the constitution.

      There is no general police power given to the federal government by the constitution.

      Legislating mandates via congress does NOT overcome the constitution.

      If you want a federal health power – you must change the constitution.

      You correctly note that OSHA has other powers with regard to workplace safety.

      Those powers too are unconstitutional and should have been tossed long ago.
      Or the constitution amended.

      I am NOT as religiously fixated with the constitution as you.

      But I am MORE committed to “the rule of law” than you.

      While I think the division of responsibilities between federal state and local government is wise. It is not biblical truth.

      I am only a proponent of federalism to the extent that it is a good idea and enshrined in the constitution.

      And the latter is the most important. Neither the president nor the legislature nor the courts should be attempting to circumvent the law and constitution.

      If they are an impediment – change them.

      The principle I am committed to is that of maximizing individual liberty – even in a pandemic.

      If rights do not exist under the worst of circumstances – they do not exist at all.

      What I like about the constitution is that it MOSTLY shares my commitment to maximizing individual liberty.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      January 2, 2022 10:51 am

      Happy New Year, Ron. There have been various polls reporting on the percentage of Republicans who believe Trump won the election. They seem to range from about two-thirds to three-quarters or more. One very recent UMass poll showed that only 21% of Republicans believe that Biden won the election. And 82% of Fox News viewers think Trump actually won. For fringe groups like QAnon the numbers are even more extreme.

      As for the influence of the “Me Generation” on identity politics, you might be on to something there. Although most of today’s wokesters are Gen-X, Millennials or younger, they’ve been carefully taught by leftist Baby Boomers. Identity politics is all about focusing entirely on one’s own group while ignoring the needs and feelings of other groups. MY group… MY needs… MY feelings!

      I agree that our government wasn’t designed to be run by executive orders. Certain emergencies have resulted in bypassing the normal legislative process; think of Lincoln suspending the writ of habeus corpus at the start of the Civil War. When the current pandemic was at its deadliest, it was important to minimize the spread of the virus by draconian means if necessary — especially given all the resistance. Now that the current strain of covid isn’t nearly as lethal, such measures might not be as necessary. But what if the next mutation turns out to be more lethal as well as more contagious? I’d probably opt for top-down mandates — not because I like them, but because so many Americans have been so uncooperative.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 2, 2022 12:29 pm

        Rick, Top down mandates. For the pandemic, they were meant to save lives. And in some cases, such as restricting access to some environments such as gyms, theaters, etc, they may have reduced the spread. Requiring masks may have done the same. But none of that was federal.

        As for federal mandates such as employer mandates, there is going to be ramifications that people do not want to accept in the future if and when that happens. Each time the government takes that one small step into individual behaviors, it only opens the door for new and more controlling rules one must follow.

        Just the fact that there are two major issues today that takes the lives of thousands each year and people want to control individual actions to restrict those deaths shows how important not having those restrictions are. There are those on the right that want to ban all abortions that according to the CDC terminated 629,000 births in 2019. Those people believe each of those abortions took the life of a human. On the other side of the coin, there are those on the left that believe we need mandates that anyone who does not have a medical reason for not having a vaccine, should be required to get it. Bidens employer mandate is not far from that thinking. They believe not being vaccinated is costing 300,000 to 400,000 lives a year.

        I know my position will not be acceptable to either side in these issues but my position is both of these as well as many others should be up to the states and not the federal government as to the laws within their borders. The federal government is way to big and powerful and politicians have ignored the 10th amendment for way too long.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 2, 2022 3:03 pm

        Just one comment Ron… this is not an ‘individual behavior’. It is tantamount to running a red light on a country road at 3AM. There may not be much traffic, but that doesn’t mean you won’t kill someone.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 2, 2022 4:02 pm

        Ronda, I agree 100%. run the red light, you may kill someone. You get a ticket from the police for doing irunning it. You get charged for vehicular manslaughter for killing someone

        I support local law enforcement enforcing a local laws concerning covid. I may not agree with the law, but I agree with it being state and local, just like the laws concerning running stop lights..

        What I do not support is the president, with his pen and paper, telling business across america they have to enforce a covid regulation.

        If you want to compare covid laws to red light regulations as Biden wants, then all traffic regulations would be federally determined where that red light was and then the police would be enforcing it.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 3, 2022 3:36 pm

        Problem: Too many states are NOT supportive of good rules concerning covid, and as long as people can travel from state to state without being inoculated they’re still firing gunshots randomly and hitting others.

        The radical left (some of them) say “Good – they’re culling the herd!” – me? It’s a life, and the lives of others who stepped in front of the bullet.

        So… how many other countries have so many individual ‘countries’ within their boarders with separate laws that they can inflict upon others within that conglomerate of ‘countries’?

        If the states can’t pull together on this, the government must.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 4, 2022 9:41 am

        Ronda, I understand your thinking, but it’s not based on science or the Constitution. There would be no “United States” without the states agreeing to the federalist system.

        Most other countries aren’t governed by this type of system,true. But we are. Changing to an autocratic, nationalized system changes everything.

        After almost 250 years of essentially being the greatest nation on earth, you want to change because of a virus? I truly don’t understand this type of thinking.

        And, I don’t mean that in a snarky way. I just mean it as in, “why would you want to go to a totalitarian top-down government, just to make sure that the government could force people to do things?”

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 4, 2022 12:48 pm

        The ‘greatest nation on earth’ is a belief – not a fact. At times we were the strongest. Sometimes we had a leader we could look up to – but none were without fault.

        So then… I suppose the states should have had their own laws on slavery?

        Our laws were also designed for change when necessary.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 4, 2022 7:25 pm

        Ronda, you are correct, it is a belief , and it happens to ne my belief, that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world. It’s the only nation that has achieved wealth and power greater than any other nation on earth, and, for the most part, avoided the kind of imperialist nation-building that similar world powers have attempted.

        That said, you are also correct in saying that some of our leaders were better than others. I’ve never been a fan of James Buchanan, for example. I don’t blame him for the secession of South Carolina, while he was still president, but, on the other hand, he didn’t do anything to try and stop it. His Secretary of War (now we call it Secretary of Defense) was a traitor, who sympathized with the Confederates and tried to help them, and, while Buchanan wasn’t as bad as his secretary, he also didn’t prepare the country for the Civil War, which left Lincoln in a bad position upon taking office. Buchanan’a not the only one….Wilson was a bad president as well, at least in my view.

        In any case, the southern states DID have their own laws on slavery, but at that time in history, slavery existed around the world. The US is the only nation that fought a civil war to end it. That speaks well of us, I think…

        Changing a law vs. changing the Constitution are 2 very different things. It would be nuts to make our whole system of government easy to mess with, so the Founders made it difficult.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 8, 2022 6:20 pm

        Slavery did not exist in Great Britain… they had abolished it. Tell me – do you like the United Nations? I like the idea, but until there is a real unification where laws can be created for all without the ‘individual parts’ ignoring human rights and suffering, it has about as much clout as you seem to want to give our federal government – except when it was solidly Republican under Trump.

        Sorry, but I recall your posts at that time and a bit after he lost the election. He created our enormous deficit… and it’s rather amazing how democratic presidents – with all their excessive spending, balance it and make things better for the majority…

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 8, 2022 7:07 pm

        By the time of the American Civil War, there were actually a few Western European countries that had abolished slavery. England was only about 30 years before the Emancipation Proclamation, and its colonies in the West Indies had seen a number of extremely violent slave rebellions. The abolitionist movement in the US was in full swing, but, you are correct, the Emancipation Proclamation would not officially end the institution until 1862. Remember, though, that the British slave trade was what established slavery in North America in the first place.

        So, are you suggesting that the UN make laws for the US? I certainly hope not. China uses slave labor to this day, and has a very active organ-harvesting operation. The Uyghurs and Falun Gong people are kept in concentration camps, under horrific conditions. I’d prefer that we not “unify” with China.

        Anyway, I don’t believe that I brought up Trump, did I?

      • January 12, 2022 2:39 pm

        European slavery was predominately made of Serfs, who eventually became peasants much like blacks in the south became sharecroppers after emancipation.

        There were few if any African slaves in Europe. ever. There were only about 5000 blacks in Briton in 1800. there were only about 15000 in 1900. African slavery was something that Europeans primarily inflicted on their colonies. The British had 800,000 african slaves on plantations in the caribean in 1807 when both the US and England abolished the slave trade.

        The most significant african slave trade lasting well into the 20th century was to the mideast.
        Most of these were castrated and then traveled across north africa. more than 2/3 perished on the journey, there is not some substantial modern black population in the mideast – because black slaves were mostly eunuchs

      • January 12, 2022 7:15 am

        I am no fan of the UN – they are a trouble some organization which does more harm than good.

        You seem to be under the illusion that the UN is some kind of world government – they are not and there is no world government.

        The nations of the world have ALWAYS been anarcho-capitalist.

      • January 9, 2022 8:14 am

        “Our laws were also designed for change when necessary.”

        Correct – so why don;t you do exactly that.

        There is no provision int he US constitution for emergency executive powers of any kind.

        If you want them – amend the constitution.

        There is no provision ijn the constitution for not just public health powers, but the powers of just about half the cabinet.

        There is no public education power, no HHS power, no power to build roads – except for military purposes, and on and on.

        Amend the constitution if you want the federal government to do these.

        THEN pass laws.

        Our president swears an oath to uphold the law – not create it.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 8, 2022 6:24 pm

        WHEN states refuse to protect others based on purely political motivations (which they are doing with Covid), yes – just like they did with slavery.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 8, 2022 7:16 pm

        Ronda, I am more than willing to debate this with you, but you’ll have to explain to me how a virus is comparable to the enslavement of human beings.

        Like I said, 3/4 of a million Americans died in order to free the slaves. Do you want to fight another bloody civil war over vaccines that are available to every single American, in every single state, simply because some Americans choose not to get them?

        I’m honestly not clear on what you think should be done.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 10, 2022 1:24 am

        What should be done? Simple…unless there is a physical issue stopping you from getting the shot, get it.
        Hey… if I didn’t care about people, I wouldn’t say this – simply because those who aren’t getting it are really killing themselves more than those with a shot, and I can bet you they are also those I would disagree with politically.

        I just happen to think lives are important.

      • January 11, 2022 2:32 am

        You do not seem to grasp there is a difference between advice and FORCE- law and government.
        I do not think anyone has said that you can not tell others to get vaccinated.

        What many of us are correctly telling you is that neither you nor government can morally FORCE people to get vaccinated.

        I do not think it is so clearly a good idea for everyone as you do, But I certainly think it is a very good idea for most people.

        But every good idea should not be made into law.
        And in fact many “good ideas” result in bad law.

      • January 11, 2022 2:39 am

        Everyone thinks lives are important.

        We do not need the virtue signaling.

        In most instances you are LESS moral than others. if you are willing to impose your will on them for their own good.

        I would suggest that you might want to read the arguments that advocates of slavery made.

        They argued that slavery was for the good of slaves. In many ways that was true.

        At mount Vernon and through most of the south -if you were an indentured servant – you were responsible for your own medical care. If you were a slave you were treated by the plantation owners doctor.

        After the Civil War that is increasing evidence that millions of freed slaves starved to death over the next decade.

        Regardless, if you step on to a moral soapbox, claiming more virtue for youself than others, or condemning the morality of others – you had better expect to have your own morality challenged – and found wanting.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 11, 2022 7:08 pm

        Ronda, if your assumption is that those who choose not to take a vaccine do so because they don’t “care about other people,” you have accepted real “misinformation.”

        I know several young women ( some very liberal) who have chosen not to be jabbed, because they want to get pregnant, and no studies have been done to determine whether fertility and pregnancy can be negatively affected by the vaccine. Keep in mind that thalidomide was prescribed as a safe drug for years to prevent nausea, before it was discovered that it caused horrific birth defects. Tobacco companies lied for years about the link between smoking and lung cancer. I don’t trust Pfizer to be any more honest than Phillip Morris.

        There are many others who refuse the vaccine because they have carefully judged their risk from covid against their risk from the vaccines, and made the opposite choice from you and me. Not because they don’t value human life, but because they also value American freedom and the right to informed consent, not to mention the right to privacy.

        As an example, I can support abortion in the first trimester, but, under no circumstances would I support the federal or any state government forcing a woman to have an abortion, for any reason. And, by force, I don’t necessarily mean holding a woman down and forcing a surgical instrument into her womb…I would also call it force if the President of the US said that any woman who refused his order to have an abortion would be fired from her job, and ineligible for others.

        That sort of force is what fascist/communist-style governments do…

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 11, 2022 7:42 pm

        As stated before, pregnancy & covid? Apples/Oranges. Actually, apples & oranges have a closer relationship.

        I can understand the pregnancy issue, as I can understand people who cannot take the vaccine for other reasons – but they are a small fraction of the ignorance that abounds.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 11, 2022 8:01 pm

        I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you don’t understand. I specifically referred to young women who do not want to take an vaccine that has only a few months of data on side effects.

        Those women have the right to refuse, and, if I were of childbearing age, I would likely consider refusing as well. They are not ignorant, and I am not ignorant.

        How is that Apples to Oranges?

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 11, 2022 8:16 pm

        Sorry Priscilla – I was a bit upset at Ron P accusing me of defending abortions until the child took its first breath… no, I was more than upset.
        If I wasn’t clear, sorry… but I do not see how someone can compare Covid (a disease) with abortion.

        If someone has a valid medical reason for not taking a vaccine for covid, I can understand that. However, those reasons are not in the majority, and some of them are only words. Anyone who does not get vaccinated (other than for those valid reasons) are most probably going to get covid and infect others.

        Were I a far left Democrat, I would say fine – get rid of the idiots… but I’m not – and ignorance is not stupidity. Ignorance is believing far left garbage as much as it is believing far right.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 11, 2022 10:36 pm

        No apology necessary, Ronda, and no offense taken.

        We’re all fortunate to have this “safe space” where we can sometimes get a bit heated, and then back off…. (Thanks, Rick!)

      • January 13, 2022 11:11 am

        The internet is a “safe space”.

        No one can bash you teeth in, you can not get shot.

        If you want someplace where your feelings can not get hurt – go home and turn off the internet.

      • January 13, 2022 7:15 am

        You keep getting things inverted.

        Goverment is required to justify ALL uses of force.

        Including those interfering with abortion.

        Where government can not justify that use of force – either it can not act or it must create an exception.

        People are not required to justify their freedom.
        Government is required to justify infringement.

        You can not tell the difference between what you think is a good idea, and what you can impose by force.

      • January 13, 2022 9:47 am

        Whether you are a “far left democrat” is a different debate.

        You are someone prepared to impose force on others without justification.

        That is immoral, and that is a threat.

      • January 13, 2022 6:26 am

        The comparison is NOT apples and oranges – the rights involved are the same.

        The right to ownership and control of your own body.

        Many arguments for libertarianism START with a persons right to control of their own body, and with the concept that your body is your first property. You OWN your self.

        Libertarians extent a persons right to control of their own body – which is absolute, to control of other property – such as land or cars – which is less absolute.

      • January 13, 2022 6:28 am

        You keep making arguments like “I can understand”.

        It does not matter if you understand.

        I do not need to convince you to make choices about my body or my life.
        Your understanding is not required.

      • January 13, 2022 6:20 am

        We are not obligated to “care about other people”.

        While I do not agree with Rhonda’s argument
        it is also irrelevant.

        Government does not exist to force us to “care about other people”.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 10, 2022 1:26 am

        How does it not compare when you state that the Federal government should let states make their own rules?

      • January 11, 2022 2:29 am

        “How does it not compare when you state that the Federal government should let states make their own rules?”

        Trivial. The constitution does not provide the federal govenrment with a general police power.
        The constitution gives the federal govenrment specific powers narrowly.
        Everything the constitution does not empower the federal government belongs to the states.

        Nor is this unique – nearly every country in the world has multiple layers of govenrment with distinct and separate powers, with the national govenrment typically dealing with national issues.

      • January 12, 2022 7:35 am

        And yet those states that “refuse to protect others” have the same or lower mortality rates than those that purportedly do.

        It was apparent to anyone who was not blind in the summer of 2020 that demographics and geography dictated Covid deaths – not polices.

        The evidence for that is stronger now than then.

        Yet, you are still trying to claim that some blue policy worked.

        NONE DID.

        Maybe the vaccine saved lives – that actually remains to be seen.
        Unless covid is eradicated the best that can be claimed is that vaccines, kicked the can down the road 6 months.

      • January 12, 2022 7:37 am

        You do know that both slavery, and jim crow and lynchings all occured in states were democrats were in power ?

      • January 9, 2022 7:48 am

        Most other countries actually do have government that scales from federal through local.

        It is that way – because it works, and it has mostly been that way for thousands of years.

        While other countries do not have EXACTLY the US federalist system, they are very similar.

        In many countries the federal government is weak compared to that of states or provinces or cantons.

      • January 8, 2022 5:27 am

        Nearly every western and many other countries have similar internal structures to the US.
        A hierarchical structure of govenrment is efficient and commonplace for thousands of years.

        Our founders did not invent the federal/state organization.

        Further those within the EU can cross borders between countries as they wish.

        There is no “if the states can’t pull together the government must”

        The powers of the states and the federal government are defined by the constitution.

        The federal govenrment does not have the power to act on anything merely because they do not like the action taken by some states.

      • January 8, 2022 5:29 am

        If you do not want criticism from me. Do not make so many obvious mistakes.

        Something is not true just because it appeals to you.

      • January 3, 2022 12:44 am

        The data on indoor spread is that indoor transimission is incredibly highly effected by the HVAC system of the buildings.

        The absolute WORST places for indoor transmission are homes.

        The best are either Hotels-where each room has an independent HVAC system with no indoor air exchange – or places like box stores or Schools with massive amounts of air exchanged frequently.

        There has actually been extremely low transmission in gyms.

        Worse still frequent excercise results in significantly lowering your Covid risk.
        Regularly getting 150 minutes of excercise a week reduces your likelyhood of getting covid about as much as vaccination.

        But NOTHING reduces transmission to zero.
        In fact NOTHING reduces transmission below 1.0
        Nothing in combination sustainably reduces transmission below 1.0

      • January 3, 2022 12:45 am

        Todate there is no evidence that any policy anywhere has “saved lives” – though there are some policies that most definitely cost lives.

      • January 3, 2022 1:03 am

        WE have had more deaths in a shorter period of time since we had vaccines than before.

        There is not a single government policy that can show through data that it has actually saved lives.

        I get really tired of this fact free BS.

        If you wish to claim that some govenrment action has a benefit – PROVE IT.

        In 1942 FDR locked up US citizens of japanese descent on dubious claims of saving lives.
        That was popular among some people at the time.

        If you want me to support government mandated ANYTHING

        FIRST you must prove it works.

        Claims are not enough.

        Real world data that is clear to just about everyone.

        There are about 8B people in the world – if ANYTHING worked to thwart Covid – we would see that easily.

      • January 3, 2022 1:05 am

        And you – as well as government ignore the 9th.

        Amendment IX
        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      • January 2, 2022 11:46 pm

        What should terrify you about those polls is that they are little changed over time.

        There are two possible explanations for that. Either people have very good reason to distrust the election; Without even considering the actual evidence of fraud – it is perfectly reasonable to beleive that dishonest people behaaved dishonestly in 2020.

        Should we trust a media that lied for 4 years about russian collusion ?
        Should we trust a party that manufactured that “big lie” from whole cloth ?
        Should we trust a government that has lost any connection to “the rule of law” ?
        It is not as if the 2020 election is the only instance in the past 5 years of lawless political conduct by those in government to “get Trump”.
        No is it as if the lawless conduct stopped on Jan 20, 2021.

        The second reason that these numbers remain high – is that Biden continues to fail.

        If we had real growth of 8% or even 2.5% – after inflation, in 2021 – the election would have been forgotten.

      • January 2, 2022 11:50 pm

        The “me generation” did not magically appear from nowhere.

        I would again suggest reading Prof.Johnathon Haidt about the relatively sudden emergence of all this nonsense, and its actual causes.

        We made this mess – through years of bad parenting and abysmal education.

        Amazingly when you teach children nonsense – they learn nonsense.

      • January 3, 2022 12:08 am

        “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth – nothing more.”

        ― Morpheus

      • January 3, 2022 12:13 am

        Those darn pesky americans –

        “The die is now cast; the colonies must either submit or triumph…. we must not retreat.” – George III

        “Once vigorous measures appear to be the only means left of bringing the Americans to a due submission to the mother country, the colonies will submit.” – George III

        “A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me.” – George III

        “I wish nothing but good; therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor and a scoundrel” – George III

        I’d probably opt for top-down mandates — not because I like them, but because so many Americans have been so uncooperative.

      • January 3, 2022 12:21 am

        If any measures were going to work – they would have done so already.

        The math was against this from the start.

        The transmission rate of the first wave of the 1918 Flu was 1.49,
        The transmission rate of the 2nd was 3.5.

        The transmission rate of the initial wave of Covid was about 3.5.
        For Delta it was about 7.

        The transmission rate of Omicron is purportely 70 times that of Delta.

        LOTS of people are getting Omicron who are tripply vaccinated and can not even figure how they got exposed.

        The Belgian station in Antarctica has 2/3 of people down with Covid.
        Despite everyone being tripply vaccinated, Testing negative before getting on the boat to Antarctica and testing negative on arriving.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 12, 2022 11:04 am

        I did not follow much of this abortion vs vaccination conversation but as far as I can read into Ron’s comments all he did was make an analogy about two issues that involve the Fed government regulating what people choose to do about 2 medical situations. If I understand it correctly libertarians do not think the Federal government should interfere in women getting an abortion; its between them and their doctor in libertarian belief. Likewise, Libertarians don’t believe that the Fed government should be involved in telling people whether or not to get vaccinated. Personally I do not agree with either idea but libertarians are being consistent about personal liberties, which is their choice.

        Seems like a simple analogy that libertarians will understand and others may scratch their heads and say, what?

        In Vermont our legislature passed a law that said no restrictions on abortions. This was in the context of the challenges from the right to Roe and the states that have outlawed abortion. Vermont activists wanted to ensure that if ROe falls Vermont women can still get an abortion. Neither set of laws have effect at present because, Roe, as it stands spells out this right. Conservatives seize on the Vermont law to claim that ghoulish liberals really DO believe that any woman should be able to abort her fetus at any stage of pregnancy. This is not true at all, but passing this law left that interpretation open to the anit abortion fanatics. In Vermont nothing changed as a result of the law. Physicians will not abort healthy fetuses that could survive unless the life of the mother is in jeopardy, before and after the law.

        Planned parenthood and Libertarians are of one mind on abortion unless I am misinformed.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 12, 2022 11:44 am

        Roby, you are correct in what I was trying to do in my comparison I just did it in a incompetent way.

        Now you state “Planned parenthood and Libertarians are of one mind on abortion unless I am misinformed.”

        Here again this is true, but only to the extent of the Libertarians beliefs. Libertarians are the same as any other political group and one like myself do not support abortion at anytime during the pregnancy. Many infants live at 22 weeks, not the norm since that is more close to 24 weeks, but they do survive. I would support a 21 week time period, about 5 months. But that is up to the states to decide in my political thinking.

        Just keep in mind that what most people hear about Libertarians is from the same sources one hears about “socialist” democrats and “Trump” republicans. Everyone gets tossed into that extremist pile of misfits in every political party. And in most cases there are mode with moderate positions within those parties than the hard core extreme believers in 100% of the parties platform.

      • January 13, 2022 3:50 pm

        Given that there is no libertarian position on abortion, and Robby got his owns states proposed change wrong, and he is misrepresenting planned parent hood,

        I have no problem with VT;s proposed constitutional amendment – except that it should be true of ALL govenrment actions.

        But Robby’s post is rife with errors. Mostly I do not think he is deliberately misrepresenting.
        but he is sloppy, and substitutes his misinformed oppinions for things that are actual facts.

      • January 13, 2022 3:55 pm

        With respect to YOUR position.

        Viability is going to move earlier and earlier with medical advances.

        At some point we will be able to fertalize and grow a baby outside the uterous.
        At this time the problems are engineering problems not science problems.

        So viability will eventually become the moment of conception.

        We can quibble whether viability is currently 24 months or 22 or 21, or 15,
        but it will eventually be 0.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:15 pm

        I am not privy to Vermont’s rulings on abortion, but I also do not feel that abortion and covid make for a good analogy, and (since Ron, without any reason whatsoever) accused me of supporting abortion even at the end of pregnancy, I did take offence.

        Covid is a disease, and has the ability to touch us all – pregnancy is not a disease. No one wants covid.

      • January 14, 2022 6:52 pm

        You are pretty thin skinned – particularly for someone so prone to insult others.
        Your arguments are also shallow and not that well thought out.

        So far I see very little daylight between Ron, myself, and even Robby on abortion.
        While I can not even tell what your position is.

        It is clear that you are angry about the debate.
        It is clear that you are certain you are right and Ron is purportedly oppressing you.

        But it is not clear what your position is.
        Only that you are full of hubris and anger.

        Further – Ron rarely insults people, I do not recall his insulting you.

        If you are insulted by applying a reductio ad absurdem to your position – that is your problem.

        Argument is not insult.
        Nor are your feelings evidence of actual injury.

  3. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 2:48 pm


    Still off in never never land.

    What the H311 does “tribalism” mean ?

    Are the jews at war with the italians ? NO!

    The conflicts in this country today are based on:


    They are not even based on principles – because most of the country has no clue what a principle is.

    We are not fundimentally divided by our geographical origen, by our race, by our ethnicity,
    by any of the things normally associated with the term tribe.

    We are divided over our values – and in the rare instance of the few people who actually still have them -by our principles.

    The bitter conflict we have today is not over race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, ….

    With very few exceptions, these issues do not matter.

  4. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 3:29 pm

    “On the right, three-quarters of Republicans believed (and still believe) that Trump was robbed of a second term, despite all evidence to the contrary.”

    Your remark accurately exposes ANOTHER huge conflict we face today.

    What is real ?

    You say “despite evidence to the contrary” – WHAT EVIDENCE ?
    Why Rick should anyone beleive people who have been increasingly lying to us about just about everything – for years ?
    What is wrong with questioning the outcome of an election – when the alleged winners are people who have spent years lying to us – about pretty much everything ?

    We can debate whether those who beleive the election was stolen have proven their case.

    But there actually is ZERO evidence to the contrary. And “One side” – apparently YOUR side, is as in myriads of other issues totally unwilling to even engage in inquiry.

    On issue after issue – we are divided over REALITY. And ONE SIDE – ONLY ONE SIDE, is unwilling to engage in inquiry.

    On 2016 and 2017 – we have an ACTUAL coup attempt in this country. I am not aware of anything like this ever having happened before.

    The Clinton campaign manufacturing garbage about a political opponent – is NOT unusual.
    Politicians lying about their opponents is as old as civilization.

    But I am not aware that ever in US history has the machinery of government been mobilized to attempt to ACTUALLY remove a legitimately elected president.

    This was not angry voters, this was an assortment of those in government.
    This was Obama, and Biden, and Comey, and Rice and Yates. It was agents and bureaucrats, all who used whatever GOVERNMENT power an authority they had to bring down a government they were part of but did not like. This was most of an entire political party. This was most of the media.

    While the american people did not know in 2016 and 2017 how thin the idiotic claims of Russian collusion were – those using them to take out the government KNEW there was no substance.

    We were LIED to.

    We were lied to by powerful people in government.
    We were lied to by the media.
    We were lied to by the leaders of the democratic party.
    We were lied to by those on the left.

    We were lied to by all these people OVER AND OVER.

    Worse still – ultimately these LIARS succeeded.

    Many of the same people who LIED to us over and over and over – now wield great power.

    Now is this the ONLY lie that we have been told by these people.

    Not even close. It does not matter what the issue is – over and over we found those demanding more power, more control of our lives, less liberty LYING to us – over and over.

    And these are the people that you expect that we should beleive about the election ?

  5. rondabellelane permalink
    December 31, 2021 4:10 pm

    Welcome back Rick.

    I agree with most all here, but still (with the hard-core extremists on both sides) seriously doubt that any conversation – polite or otherwise – will create any form of logic to pull them out of those depths. Extremists have already existed. What Trump did was give those in the right a bigger microphone and give those in the left something (more visible and obscene) to point at in a strange justification of woke rhetoric.

    These sides have always existed, as has more silent moderation – they just seldom had something like Trump to follow or despise.

    • rcoase permalink
      January 1, 2022 12:35 am

      You are free to doubt whatever you want.

      But that will not get any of us anywhere.

      While I has serious problems with alot of Rick’s language – it is obvious to the planet that we are increasingly divided.

      There are really only two ways to get past that.

      The first is that one side prevails over the other. That appears to be where we are headed.
      If that is how this ends – my bet is on the right. The left is insecure, clueless, and disconnected from both reality and any understanding of their opposition.

      Who in their right mind thought it was wise to target parents ?
      We can fight over what kids should be taught in schools. You can disagree with those who are challenging their schools. But when you publicly identify parents as domestic terrorists and sic the FBI and DOJ on them – you have jumped the shark.
      Worse still – this was less of a right left conflict than a parent/school conflict.
      The epicenter of this was in Louden County VA,and the overwhelming majority of parents involved were not republicans.

      The other way out of this is to actually sit down, and work things out.

      NOT Compromise – as keeps getting sold here, but actually work towards REAL answers.
      You know – that thing called “The Truth”.
      It means grasping that when you can not establish for certain what the Truth is – that you are NOT free to impose your views by FORCE on others.

      Again my bet would be on the right prevailing. If there were a contest between Alex Jones and any random MSM media host over which was closer to understanding reality – the truth.
      Alex Jones wins hands down – and Jones is Bat $hit crazy.

      The left today has no connection to reality.

      The right – for all its many flaws is light years closer to sanity than the left.

      I would note that even if the right ACTUALLY was as the left claims – which it is not,
      That would not alter much.
      I have argued – though why I have to argue the obvious I do not understand – that we OBVIOUSLY live in the least racist, least sexist, least homophobic place in the world, and moment in history.

      But lets engage in a sort of reductio ad absurdem – an argument taking an absurd position to provide a contrast.

      Lets say the right was looking to return to European colonialism, to return to Jim Crow, to return to the Klan. That would be awful – in comparison to most of the past century. But it would still be vastly superior to the preceding 150,000 years of human existance.

      We are constantly being reminded by the left of how evil our forefathers were. But lost is the FACT that they were STILL the most moral generation up to that point.

      I would further note that for all the myriads of flaws of whatever period it is that the left thinks the right wants to return us to that moment was STILL just like today – the least racist, sexist, …. of any up to that moment. AND for all those flaws – it worked. I can not think of any time in US history up until now in which just about all conditions were not superior to whatever preceded them, and near universally if slowing moving in the right direction.

      That is NOT universally true throughout the world – though it is by far the norm.

      Conversely the left seeks to take us in directions that have FAILED – nearly always with copious bloodshed every single time they have been tried.

      Put simply while I have absolutely no desire at all to go backwards -to shed the myriads of improvements that we have made in race, sex, …. that does NOT make ALL possible moves forward an improvement. In every case accross the world when equity, equality, fairness were elevated above liberty – the results were horrible. MLK noted that the arc of history bends towards justice – that is because it bends towards liberty. The story of world history, and US history is that individual liberty leads to a better file for all, while any other goal leads to decline.

    • rcoase permalink
      January 1, 2022 12:54 am

      Trump did give people a bigger megaphone.

      Everything that “Trump supporters” want is not inherently good. But the reality – stripped of the lunatic rhetorical and insults of the left, is that what Trump supporters want – both the good and the bad is NOT nearly so “extreme” as what those of the left want.

      It is UNIVERSALLY true that “big government” fails.
      It is near universally true that it leads to violence and bloodshed.

      Fears of the left are rational. What the left is pushing for today has historically lead to serious failure of one kind or another – frequently bloody and violent.

      I do not share the positions of MAGA types on several issues, but ultimately they are far less dangerous.

      I would suggest that the mass censorship the left engages in – is NOT to protect you from racism, and hatred, but to protect themselves from competition from ideas that are better than theirs.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      January 2, 2022 11:59 am

      Happy New Year, Ronda! Yes, Trump was like gasoline poured over a smoldering fire. Obama, for all his virtues, was unnecessarily divisive on race, and Bush Ii divided us by starting the war in Iraq, but Trump was divisiveness personified. The Democrats may have had it out for him from the beginning, but he brought most of it on himself with his reckless rhetoric.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 2, 2022 3:01 pm

        Well, you know I had it out for him from the beginning for personal reasons, but his actions supported those feelings – as I knew they would.

      • January 2, 2022 6:27 pm

        Bush won a squeaker of an election – the closest ever in US history.

        That election SHOULD have been a wakeup call, for the need to address election issues.
        It DID result in passing Help Americans Vote – the name alone should have given us all the creeps. Regardless, HAV replaced an assortment of error prone and small scale fraud prone voting machinery with Black Boxes – just about the stupidest move possible.

        Prior to 9/11 Bush was a weak president with no mandate. Had 9/11 never happened he likely would have gone done as a great president – because he would have done nothing and presided over near automatic prosperity. Further we would likely have ended deficits and significantly paid off our debt.

        9/11 unfortunately changed everything – and nearly all in a bad way.

        The quick destruction of the Taliban and departure from Afghanistan was justifiable – but absolutely nothing else.
        And yet we are STILL enmeshed in foreign messes – something Bush litterally ran against.

      • January 2, 2022 6:29 pm

        Obama’s virtue was a fawning press and a silver tongue – that is ALL.
        On just about every other level he was disasterous, and what little good came of his presidency was the consequence of republican opposition that prevented much, but not all of his stupidity.

      • January 2, 2022 11:01 pm

        I will take reckless rhetoric over reckless action.

  6. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 4:40 pm

    Rick – YOU are increasing in the “Tribe of liars”.

    By race the most vaccinated in the US are asians – followed by whites.
    The least vaccinated are blacks followed by hispanics.
    Race BTW is the strongest indicator of vaccine status in the US.

    In the US 505M Doses have been administered, with 38M in the past 28 days – a rate of slightly over 1M/day which has been a near constant rate since the vaccine was first available.

    Vaccination rates are a near perfect match for RISK – which is exactly as it should be.

    The vaccination rates for those over 65 is about 95%.
    The rate declines with age – just as risk declines with age.

    The vaccination rate is highest regardless of age – for those with complications that increase risk.

    Vaccination is not and never was about “social responsiblity”.
    Vaccination decreases YOUR risk.
    If you become infected – whether you are vaccinated or NOT you are a risk to others.
    If you are not infected – vaccinated or not – you are NOT a risk to others.

    Again – we keep getting LIED to, and those like you, buy and then sell those lies. ‘

    Never in human history have we EVER stopped a respiratory virus once it has gained a foothold – NEVER.

    It is mathematically impossible to do more than slow – prolong the impact of a respiratory virus – like the flu – which is about 1/3 as contagious as the original Covid variant.

    If all the assorted measures we were sold actually worked – they would not have been sufficient to stop Covid.

    Advise people to wear masks, to disinfect their hands, to socially distance, to get vaccinated.

    The ONLY group challenging providing Guidance are those on the left – who call ANYTHING they do not agree with “misinformation”.

    Our “experts” rant about masks, more lockdowns, vaccinations.

    But the same people have actively suppressed every other potential mediation.

    HCQ is still being used outside of the west – where it is more effective than the Merk Antiviral approved in the UK – but not yet in the US.

    Ivarmectin appears to be twice as effective as HCQ. About the same as the Pfyser Antiviral that has not been approved.

    Both of these appear to have propholactic effects taken in low doses by the healthy.

    A Gout anti-inflamitory drug (that has lots of unpleasant side effects) reduces the death rate by 50% in severe cases.

    There is probably no single measure – including vaccination that has more benefits than acheiving normal Vitamin D levels. Even with low V-D levels, injecting hospitalized C19 patients with V-D analogs reduces deaths by as much as 70%

    There is now data from vietnam, as well as a badly conducted RCT in Brazil and some work in Canada that regular use of mouthwash decreases infection rates by as much as 70%

    The Covid mortality rate in the US, UK and EU almost double that of Sweden which has done nothing.

    over 9 Billion vaccine doses have been administered world wide. Yet Current weekly case rates are nearly as high as they have ever been.

    Norway has 1/3 the incidence of adverse heart events from the vaccine that Denmark has – and the only difference is that in Norway they aspirate to make sure they did not accidentally hit a blood vessel. For almost 9 months there has been indications that the high number of adverse cardiac events – including death appears to be related to the means of administering the vaccine – yet the CDC has stubbornly refused to recommend a small change that causes no harm and probably saves lives.

    Studies have found that getting between 100 and 150 minutes of excercise per week – regardless of your current health reduces your chance of infection, hospitalization and death by over 50%.

    There are a few studies that show that the MMR vaccine (particularly the mumps portion) may be as much as 70% effective in preventing Covid – with much longer lasting benefits than the Covid Vaccine.

    Yet you hear none of this from the CDC or Faucci, or our “experts”. Further our Social media supresses much of this information – you have to work reasonably hard to find this out.

    It is probable that some of these interventions will NOT hold up – just as the data for Masks is DAMNINGLY bad. The CDC has FINALLY changed their mask recomendation quietly admitting what most of the scientific community has known since the start – 99% of masks being worn currently had no benefit and are likely harmful.

    But ultimately even if every single measure above was adopted and was as effective as optomistically reported – the MATH would still win – Covid would NOT be stopped.

    There is actually a large body of actual “experts” that have come forward – though again the media supresses this, noting that our official government strategy is and has always been WRONG.

    We NEVER had the ability to stop Covid. But we did have the ability to reduce deaths by focusing on the vulnerable. the elderly, those with health problems.

    The left likes to talk about “the most vulnerable” – but in FACT they do not give a damn.

    Our “expert” approach to Covid has from the start been oblivious to actual science, and to protecting those most at risk. We continue the idiotic fight over vaccinating and masking children when transmission from children to adults is incredibly low. Transmission among children is low, and deaths and long term consequences among children are lessthan those of the FLU.

    While at the same time ignoring those actually at risk.

  7. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 4:49 pm

    You correctly note that Biden could not have done anything about many of our problems.
    You were never so kind to Trump on exactly the same problems.

    Biden has finally admitted that the federal government does not have a constitutional public health power.

    But there is a massive difference between Trump and Biden that you blythly ignore.

    Biden mercilessless damned Trump for his handling of Covid, and PROMISED that he would defeat Covid.

    That was a LIE.

    Biden has done far worse than not “WOW” us – he has been an abysmal failure.

    Nor has he been invisible. He pops up all over the place saying stupid things all the time.
    Until more recently the left wing nut press has given him a pass on his incompetence.

    Build Back Better is not “too sweeping” – it is merely a bad idea.
    Elon Musk recently quietly eviscerated it. Stating the economy would do significantly better if the government did NOT spend $3T on ANYTHING

  8. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 4:54 pm

    You constantly fixate on “bipartisanship” – as if it does not matter whether something is a good idea or a bad idea – so long as both republicans and democrats support it.

    This idiotic concept that YOU equate with “moderate” – appears to be in your DNA.

    Are you completely unable to reach a conclusion as to whether something is a good idea or a bad idea ?

  9. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 5:11 pm

    You are correct that none of us are entitled to put others in harms way.

    But you have thoroughly misapplied that point.

    You can not use FORCE against others because of what you BELEIVE.

    Every public intervention regarding Covid has been on the wrong side of the MATH.

    The CDC has provided some good advice – and beyond the ideologically constrained advice they offer – there is plenty of other measures – that may or may not be effective that each of us is FREE to choose with respect to our own selves.

    But it has ALWAYS been insane to claim that these measure are “social responsibility”.

    If as you claim – Masks work – wear them yourself. If you are correct YOU are protecting YOU.

    If as you claim – Vaccines work – if they either prevent you from getting Covid or reduce the odds of hospitalization or death – then they protect YOU – not your neighbor.

    It is logical nonsense to pretend that forcing someone else to vaccinate protects YOU.

    It is an INDIVIDUAL act – not a social one.

    Your “Social Responsibility” nonsense – is inverted.

    If the interventions you support are effective – then do them yourself and you will be safe.
    Forcing others to make the choices you have made – does not make YOU safer.

    I have listed a number – and there are far more interventions – some of which I have done myself – both to reduce my covid risk, and to generally improve my health.

    I have not demanded that you or anyone else take Vitamin D, or get the MMR booster or take Zinc, or wear an N95 mask, or excercise daily, or lose weight or do any of the myriads of things that have more data behind them than much of what you want to force on people.

    There are 54M confirmed cases of Covid in the US over the past 2 years, there are likely 150M people who have been infected and know it.

    What data we have – unfortunately not from the US because the CDC refuses to look into that, is that immunity through infection is as good if not better protection than vaccination,
    It is likely stronger and more long lasting. But at the very least it is about as good as vaccination.

    Forcing people who already had Covid to vaccinate is little different than forcing those who already had 3 jabs to get a 4th – because 4 might be better than 3.

  10. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 5:26 pm

    I want to re-iterate.

    NO ONE – atleast no one not on the left, as attempted to silence YOU or anyone else from advocating that others vaccinate, mask, dance on one foot – if you think that helps.

    NO ONE outside the left opposes efforts to persuade others to do what you beleive is right.

    We part ways when you chose to use FORCE.

    I have aggressively and actively worked to persuade freinds – both left and right, to get vaccinated and boostered. Several of these are people at high risk, who I want to be arround next year.

    Nor am I opposed to PRIVATE requirements.

    My work requires occasionally going into elder care facilities – those facilities demand, my clients demand, and I demand of my own staff, a variety of measures.

    My work also requires that I and those who work for me go into the apartments of others.
    Again those tenants, their landlords, my clients, and make demands that must be met to do so.

    You are free to insist that I wear a moon suit to come into your home – if you wish.
    And I am free to do so, or to decline to enter or reject the work.

    You are free to make what you beleive are rational requests, and I beleive are crazy requests and if I wish to come to your home or work, I must comply.

    That is how individual freedom and rights actually work.

    BUT you are not free to impose your beleifs on me BY FORCE. Certainly not without PROVING that they are justified and necescary.

    There is no “social responsibility” exception to the requirement that you may not use FORCE without justification.

    I particularly find this shocking given the frequency with which those you are willing to allow to use FORCE have been WRONG.

  11. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 5:50 pm


    I want to directly confront you regarding your Trump derangement Syndrome.

    Yours is different from that of say Robby.

    One of the successes of the left – particularly with those purportedly in the center such as yourself, has been to reframe reasonable issues, and solutions as radical.

    You note – atleast partly correctly that spewing insults has lost much of its effect – but that is NOT entirely true.

    “Trump” – is more than a person.
    I have little doubt that Donald J Trump WANTS to run again in 2024, and that if the stars align for him and he is able to that it apears likely he will win decisively.
    But I do not expect that.

    It is highly likely that the Republican presidential candidate in 2024 will NOT be Trump.

    That said with near certainty – Most of Trump’s platform, his policies will dominate the GOP for years to come – regardless of who is the candidate.

    You MIGHT beleive that your issues with Trump are personal rather than based on policies,
    but do you have any doubt that the next Republican presidential candidate is going to be running on very close to the same policies AND that republican candidate is going to be vilified in EXACTLY the same way as Trump is.

    the lead republican contenders for 2024 if Trump does not run are:

    De Santis
    Tim Scott
    Rick Scott
    Tom Cotton

    Interestingly according to Axios Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump poll in the top 4 GOP candidates.

    There are significant differences in the personalities of these candidates.

    But the GOP platform is unlikely to be different if someone other than Donald Trump is running in 2024.

    It is near certain that the left, the democrats and the press will go after each and every one of these with much the same vehemence that they went after Trump.

    You appear to be under the delusion that should Trump disappear something will change.

    Every republican presidential candidate in my lifetime has been called a nazi and a totalitarian. I still recalled the attacks on John McCaine in 2008.

    This has gotten slowly worse overtime.
    It did not get worse because GOP candidates got more racist, or totatlitarian.

    It got worse and will continue to do so as long as it is an effective strategy.

    Larry Elder in California was called the black face of white supremecy -as has Tim Scott.

    The bitterness and retuperation – ARE NOT GOING AWAY.

  12. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 5:56 pm

    You gave kudos to George Will in you post.

    Are you actually familiar with Will ?

    You seem to like Will because of the ways he is not like Trump and because he spoke out against Trump.

    But Will is more like Trump than not -even if he does not seem to recognize that.

    If Will somehow ran as the republican candidate – He would be villified as a Racist, sexist, hateful, hating hater.

    If Will were elected – with few exceptions his policies would be similar to those of Trump.

    My point is that you seem to think that Trump stands for something that is particularly offensive – and yet you do not seem to know what that is.

  13. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 6:24 pm

    You seem to want to pretend that many of the problems we are having have nothing to do with Biden and were not foreseable.

    Everyone expected Covid to fade with 2021. I do not fault Biden form his inability to deal with Covid.

    But I do fault him for LYING about Covid.
    It was never within the power of the president to do anything significnat.
    And it is not within the power of government to do anything effective.

    You may wish to duck that – but it has been true from the start.

    Biden is also responsible for further dividing the country.

    Mandates were WRONG, and unconstitutional from the start.
    Worse still threatening them was assured to create both the bitter divisions and economic problems.

    Almost absent from all government consideration throughout covid was the other impacts of their decisions.

    This video is old, but it is accurate. It is also available on youtube, but I find youtube links tend to not work in wordpress.

    The exact means in which bead govenrment policies will play out is sometimes not predictable. But bad policies will produce bad results.

    Most of the economic mess that Biden has made WAS predictable.

    But even giving him and you the benefit of the doubt – it was not going to end well.

    One of the other things that disturbs me about you Rick is that you seem to confuse intentions with outcomes.

    That again makes you a creature of the left.

    You seem to think that if you seek to have government do something that you beleive is for good, that when it turns out bad – that was neither foreseable, nor blameworthy.

  14. rcoase permalink
    December 31, 2021 6:49 pm

    One more post regarding Economics, and the serious problems we could be facing very soon.

    Most of us are aware of US inflation right now. We are mostly NOT aware of the impact that US inflation has on the rest of the world.

    Contra the left – the massive Quantitative Easing that the fed engaged in starting in 2008 caused significant inflation – but mostly NOT int he US.

    It caused skyrocketing food prices in the rest of the world -particularly the mideast and that is a huge factor in destabilizing the mideast during Obama’s reign.

    Nothing foments violent political unrest more than being unable to afford food.

    We appears to be seeing the same effects right now – food prices in the US are going up.
    That is driving food prices in the world up even more.

    I would further note that food prices – and many other critical prices are immutably linked to energy prices. Most commodities -food,fertilizer, transportation, …. are all highly sensitive to energy prices – in the US and in the world.

    Trump unshackled US energy producers and that had innumerable positive consequences throughout the world and the US.

    Biden has constrained energy – and we are seeing the results and they are likely to get worse.

    We are seeing much the same in the world economy as in the US – with one glaring exception – China.

    Predictions regarding China are always dangerous – their economy is closed and it is not very transparent.

    But there have been problematic rumblings for a long time.

    China is near certainly in the midst of a real estate bubble that makes the 2008 housing bubble look tiny. There are strong indications that China is about to see 16T in personal wealth destroyed – and that could happen incredibly quickly.
    Worse it is likely ALL the accumulated personal wealth of chinese private citizens.
    One of the causes of the chinese real estate bubble is that ordinary chinese had nothing they could invest in except real estate.

    It is currently estimated that there are 4M apartments in that no one is living in, and no one is likely to live in.

    Interestingly the problems China is facing right now are the opposite of those of the US.

    We are already seeing comodity price drops in china – the prices of iron, and copper and most all building supplies are dropping -some precipitously.

    The US is seeing inflation and China is seeing deflation.

    Inflation is bad, high inflation is very bad,.
    Mild deflation is both the norm without a central bank, and generally good.
    But rapid deflation is just about the most economically disruptive event.

    Japan saw something like what China is seeing now – and it resulted in 30 years of economic stagnation. And what happened in Japan was tiny compared to what appears to be going on in China.

    Worse still history teaches – and we have clearly seen that with Putin that actually totalitarian leaders tend to start wars to hide from economic problems.

    Xi has appeared to have an iron fist controlling China for some time.
    How strong will that control be if the chinese economy stumbles ?

    Without factoring in Chinese economic pressures – estimate were that there was about a 30% chance that China would try to invade Taiwan in the next few years.

    Those odds likely increase dramatically if china’s economy is nosediving.

    I would note AGAIN China is still fairly opaque. There are constant predictions of iminent economic failure in China – which so far have not materialized.

    Further Chinese deflation – assuming that China remains politically stable, and non-beligerant, could benefit the world and balance out US and european inflation.
    This would be bad for China, but good for the world.

  15. Priscilla permalink
    December 31, 2021 8:10 pm

    Very good piece, Rick.

    I like to call myself a heterodox political thinker, but even so, I find that my thinking often changes, at an age when I would expect to be less flexible or persuadable, in terms of political ideology.

    As we have discussed here ad infinitum, left and right seem to have been moving to the extremes, with moderates seemingly shrinking in number, but I don’t know if I agree with that. I agree that we are politically divided as a nation, and that those divisions have grown deeper and more entrenched, but I also view that division more as a result of the demagoguery of our political leaders and their media allies than as a result of organic changes in the thinking of the average person.

    For example, I can recall exactly when I began to doubt and, eventually, disbelieve the covid narrative that we needed to accept lockdowns and other draconian restrictions, if we were going to defeat the mysterious respiratory virus that was killing people by the thousands. It was in the summer of 2020, when we were told that the violent and destructive George Floyd race riots in our cities were “mostly peaceful protests against systemic racism.” At the same time, actual peaceful demonstrations against the covid lockdowns and restrictions were called dangerous “super-spreader” events.

    As covid has mutated, as all viruses ultimately do, into a far less serious, albeit more contagious form, we are being gaslighted to believe that this is a bad thing, when, in fact, it’s the begining of the end of the pandemic. I recall Dave saying, probably more than a year ago, that this would likely be what would happen. We’ve seen many deaths, not only from covid itself, but from other diseases like cancer and heart disease, which were ignored during the lockdowns, as well as huge spikes in suicides, overdoses, and related mental health and addiction deaths.

    We’ve been so divided by fear politics, that many of us don’t know how to think rationally anymore. The kind of fear that’s been relentlessly sold to us, by politicians, by the media, by Big Tech, by Big Pharma, etc.,etc. We’ve been told that the very act of questioning covid orthodoxy is evil, dangerous and “anti-science.”. For some of us, this whole thing could be summed up by the old saying “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

    Anyway, I know plenty of people who don’t share my political views but who agree that this has all gone too far. And equally as many who do share my views, but who have been convinced that to question any mainstream narrative, whether it be about covid or otherwise (Jan 6, transgenderism, systemic racism, vaccine mandates, etc) will render them social untouchables.

    • rcoase permalink
      January 1, 2022 2:07 am

      Excellent post Priscilla.

      Frankly much better than Rick’s.

      I would quibble a tiny bit.

      Normally I would say there is far more than unites us that divides us – but honestly the left is so bat $hit crazy today that I am not sure even that is true.
      More accurately there is more that unites ORDINARY PEOPLE – both left and right than divides us.

      Holiday’s in my extended family were often heatedly political. But no matter how stupid each “side” thought the other was, we had dinner together, desert, opened presents, and left without any permanent physical or emotional scars. And we repeated the whole process again at the next holiday. That is less and less common today. Families are divided by politics – and either will not speak of politics together, or do not get together over politics.

      Further much of this comes from the left – not the right. A recent poll queried people regarding their relationships with people with different political views. By large margins, democrats were unwilling to date, marry, have friends, work for, have employees who did not share their political views.

      Increasingly I do not see that peace with those on the left is ever going to be possible.
      Not because the right can not come to peaceful accommodation. But because the left can not.

      I no longer beleive the current political conflicts are sustainable.
      Ultimately I beleive the “right” will prevail. That may occur as the left alienates people.
      It may occur as a result of some violent conflict which the right will win.
      It may occur because the left gets what they want – and as a consequence FAILS.

      While there are some things I will not hold Biden accountable for. Rick is far too forgiving ov Biden and far too willing to let him off the hook.

      Major portions of the disaster that is Biden’s presidency, were completely foreseable – atleast in broad terms.

      We KNOW that Obama leaned left and as a result presided over the weakest recovery since the great depression. Biden has taken an economy chomping to explode and crushed it.

      I did not expect the SCALE of the mess that Biden has made.
      I actually expected that the tail winds that Biden inherited would be stronger than the idiotic mistakes he made. But I had no doubt that Biden;s policies would result in failure – I just expected it to take longer.

      The failure of Covid to fade with the vaccine was the only significant thing that I missed.

      But that does not exonerate Biden. Biden promised that he could do better. And he started office under circumstances where there was reason to expect that Covid would wane and he would get credit if he did nothing. But that is NOT what happened. And frankly in hindsight that was predictable.
      Regardless, when you damn someone else for failure – you MUST be judged by the standard you used to judge them.

      I have made numerous errors in my predictions regarding Covid. Nearly every one of those has been the expectation that Covid would be LESS of a big deal than it was.

      I am constantly carping that much of Covid is MATH. But my own misperceptions were ALL failures to understand how damning the MATH of a disease that had a transmission rate almost 3 times that of the flu would be.

      The effectiveness of mitigation necessary to stop a virus is exponentially tied to the reciprocal of the transmission rate.
      even small increases in transmission rate make it exponentially more likely that everyone who is infect-able will get infected.

      I am still paying careful attention to Sweden. That is where we will get the first clue whether Covid is going to become endemic or whether it will like other epidemics pass.

      Sweden is for the first time in almost a year seeing increasing cases – but not deaths.
      This almost certainly means that Omicron is finding people in Sweden without sufficient immunity. Omicron is incredibly contagious. But that MIGHT be a good thing.

      It dramatically increases the odds that we get to herd immunity globally BEFORE immunity from vaccination or infection wears off.

      But the high transmission rate is a double edged sword.
      One one hand it means that people will get infected far faster and almost no one sane is still pretending there is anything we can do to stop it.
      On the other it means that the number of people with sufficient immunity needed to reach herd immunity is much higher – though we do not have to sustain that immunity very long.

      Again ALL of this is math. While there are a number of real world variables that I have not accounted for that do have an impact – these all act at the margins – they do not alter the fundimentals.

      We have never ever stopped a respiratory virus once it gains a foothold.
      If we can not effectively stop the Flu – we were never going to stop Covid.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      January 2, 2022 11:19 am

      Happy New Year, Priscilla! I remember a recent article (unfortunately, I can’t remember where I saw it) arguing that today’s extremists are actually energized on a hormonal level by their animosity toward those in the opposing tribe. That makes me wonder if the pull of extremism is self-perpetuating. It certainly would explain why the middle is languishing. (We just don’t stir the juices of our audience, although God knows I’ve tried.)

      With the rise of extremism comes the fear of being excommunicated. It’s especially prevalent in leftist environments like academia and much of the media. Moderates and even liberals are terrified of losing their jobs by speaking up against woke excesses.

      I’m not sure I’d put opposition to covid mandates in the same category, though. The pandemic should never have been politicized in the first place, and all our information should have been based entirely on scientific findings. The horrific death toll during the first year should have been enough to convince most skeptics that we all needed to take precautions to stop the spread and protect our fellow humans.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 2:02 pm

        Energized on a hormonal level, huh? That actually makes some sense. There is a level of perpetual anxiety in our society these days, that is probably somewhat ameliorated by lashing out at those who disagree with you. Self-medication by tribal hate?

        My issue these days, at least when it comes to this, is exactly what you describe regarding the left being more willing to gin up this type of toxic tribalism . I fully acknowledge that there are extremists on both sides of the political spectrum, but it is the left which has taken near full control of one of our major political parties (Joe Manchin excluded, of course!). The Democrat Party has essentially sold its soul to socialism and anti-constitutionalism, in hopes of maintaining its hold on full power and control. They’ve adopted the strategy of identity politics to divide us, with hefty assists from the media, academia, and,more recently, the titans of tech, who have an anti-nationalist, pro-globalist perspective that works best when capitalism is subjected to government control (we used to call this fascism). Of course, they are exempted from this control, as they own the controllers.

        Now, here is where you and I will likely disagree ~ and I want to acknowledge that you are one of the few that I would even broach this topic with at this point, given that you have a open mind and a willingness to listen, understand, and debate. I knew that throwing in the “vaccine mandate” thing would elicit a reaction, and I’d like to make clear that there are multiple reasons why I oppose these mandates.

        It’s not that I want to prioritize ‘my’ freedom over ‘your’ health, although I don’t disagree that freedom should always be a priority. But, 1) we know, for certain at this point, that the vaccines do not prevent either infection or transmission of covid. In the case of the omicron variant, they likely don’t work at all 2) As the weaker omicron strain becomes dominant, hospitalizations and deaths are plummeting, despite rising infections. Most medical experts describe omicron’s severity as similar to a cold, maybe a bad cold. Do we want to exclude a huge chunk of citizens from fully participating in society over a cold? 3) There is a growing number of effective therapeutics that reduces the length and severity of covid in those that become effective. More are in the pipeline. 4) Pfizer has become increasingly dishonest and opaque regarding its vaccine data…it won’t disclose the inactive ingredients in the vaccines, it fudged data on its clinical studies, it refuses to admit that thousands of people have suffered serious side effects from its vaccines, etc. Sketchy in the extreme.

        Last but not least, if we’re going to have medical procedures forced on us, this should, at the very least, be legislated by Congress. As a federal judge ruled yesterday, in striking down the mandate for Head Start teachers, “If the Executive branch is allowed to usurp the power of the Legislative branch to make laws, then this country is no longer a democracy — it is a monarchy.”

        I’m not against private entities requiring the shots. But that’s not waht we’re dealing with here. It’s the monarchical fiat forcing private businesses to do so…

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 2:05 pm

        **those that become infected** not effective…

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 2, 2022 3:09 pm

        Priscilla, Omicron may not be the end though. Vaccinations may need to be updated (much as the flu vaccine is) depending on mutations – and the longer so many still go without protection and vaccinations (which I am surrounded by), the longer this will continue and mutate.
        I would personally rather have the flu, and not everyone gets vaccinated for that either.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 2, 2022 4:28 pm

        The flu has been with us since B.C.. Some say 6000 B.C. others different years. There have been flu pandemics worldwide since that time. The most devastating was in 1918 when 675,000 out of a population of 105,000,000 died in the USA. The percentage of deaths to population then would project 2,121,000 deaths today. After about the same period of time, we are at 875,000.

        We still have the flu with us, we still have thousands die each year from the flu and we only reach about 53% of the population getting vaccinated. So when there have been 62% of the population vaccinated and kids just get approved, we have far exceeded the flu vaccine numbers. and remeber, we were told that 70% was the prime number for control. Even today in states exceeding 70%, delta still had high numbers even before Omnicron.

        There are way to many today that believe in fake news and science like Robert Kennedy Jr that will not vaccinate and in most cases it is not political. I look at the case rates in my country by zip code, and over 1/2 of the cases, in total and last 2 weeks, are in zip codes that are highly black and Hispanic. While 55% of the cases are in those 5 zip codes, the total black and Hispanic population is only 27%. These individuals are not the right wing extremist “stupids” that are spreading the misinformation concerning vaccines. But they are very distrustful of government based on historical occurrences

        IMO, Covid is not going away. We are going to live with it just as we live with the flu. Those that will vax, will, those that won’t, will not. it does not matter how many regulations and mandates are issued.. And the more that are, the more resistance will be present, resulting in more division in America because there are too many people thinking they have the right to force others to do what they want them to do.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 3, 2022 3:38 pm

        I agree essentially, but the deaths caused by covid are SO much higher than flu… how can you compare?

      • Ron P permalink
        January 5, 2022 12:39 am

        First, sorry for the delay in response. 2022 is not starting out as a good year so for. January 1 after new years parties, we lost power at 2:30 in the morning. Car came off road, plowed into the power poll coing onto our property. Got it back moring of Jan 1. Then with the strom coming through Sunday. lost power Sunday morning around 5am, Just got it back at 11:43 tonight. Duke power exceeded expectations since the posted right after it went out that it would be bixed at 11:45 Jan 4.

        #1) So as for the flu, vaccines and mandates, my point when comparing the flu is in 1918 the death ratio to population would translate to over 2M american deaths if the same ration was applied, So even though we have had 865ooo+ is no where near what the deaths were from the Spanish flu. And the flu mutated and continues to mutate today, so I believe we will be living with Covid for years. Flu shot in one arm, covid in another.

        #2) I do not think any mandates will do any good what-so-ever with the hard core resistors to the covid vaccine. When you have far left dingbats like RFK Jr and his “Anti-Vax-Anything” crusade, there will be many who will never get a shot. And add to that the right wing dignbats and the minorities that have an historical reason for avoiding anything the government promotes, that means anything approaching 70% is fantastic.

        #3) And this is where we really disagree. When you have individuals like myself that has the distrust of federal government I have, that means there will be many actively opposing any federal mandates.

      • January 9, 2022 8:26 am

        The Flu is not a mutation of the spanish flu

        “The Flu” is a large class of viruses – like “the cold” is a large class.
        Covid and even more so Omicron is closely related to “the cold”.
        But it is not a variant of cold viruses.

        Most flu is not closely related to “the spanish flu”.

        I do not think there has been a flu since 1918 that is an actual variant of that flu.

      • January 9, 2022 8:28 am

        Government is NEVER to be trusted to the level necescary for mandates.

        At the moment it is especially untrustworthy,
        But the power we give to government REQUIRES distrust to check its abuse.

      • January 8, 2022 3:42 am

        The models for containment of Viruses require reducing the infectable population to something close to 10% – for viruses less contageous than Covid.

        Each increase in the transmission rate results in even higher levels of immunity.

        The best immunity figure I have seen for the vaccine is 97% and then only for a very short window.

        The Vaccine was not going to get rid of Covid.

        Figures of 70% or less presume that a large portion of us are naturally resistant, and that others have immunity through infection.

        If everyone is infectable, the required immunization level for a virus as contageous as Delta was over 100% – because 97% for a few weeks is not good enough.

        To be clear – I do not beleive that everyone is infectable – not to delta, not to omicron.
        But with near certainty far more people are infectable to Omicron.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 6:07 pm

        Ronda, a couple of things. Omicron may not be the end of covid, but it’s likely the beginning of the end. Respiratory viruses tend to mutate into less virulent forms, not more virulent ones.

        Secondly, just to reiterate once more: I’m not opposed to vaccines, I’m opposed to federal vaccine mandates, Can local school boards vote to require vaccines? Yes. Can a private company? Yes. Can the federal givernment order that states, municipalities, schools, businesses do so? Not unless there is a clear, emergent danger to the nation, and , even if there is, Congress, NOT the president should authorize anything like that.

        There will probably be a SCOTUS challenge on this, and we’ll see if the Court rules that Biden is actually King Joe.

        I’ve had the flu and covid (not at the same time, thank goodness!). Both very unpleasant. But I am fortunate to be in good health, so that was it.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 3, 2022 3:50 pm

        I understand what you are saying about wanting the state governments to make these laws rather than the federal government, but there’s a problem – it’s just not happening everywhere, and it needs to. This has been made into a political issue, and it is not – it is a health issue.
        Most governments in this world do not have the set-up we do with states essentially making their own rules. In my opinion, this is (for the most part) good – but not when we’re faced with an issue that effects everyone. It is no longer a state issue, plain and simple.

      • January 8, 2022 6:34 pm

        Sorry Ronda,

        The constitution delegates this to the states.

        But I am opposed to even the states doing things that will not work by force.

        You say these problems are everywhere – then why is it the federal government that must in your view solve the problem – why not world government ?

        The FACT is that in all systems all decisions are best made at the lowest feasible level – and most often that is the individual.

        Every single decision can be painted as you paint this.

        If government can force you to mask or vaccinate, there is nothing it can not force you to do.

        Worse still we are not even talking about interventiosns that are known to work.

        Again and again you fail to accept that your prefered measures have been tried and they failed.

      • January 8, 2022 4:16 am

        SCOTUS is addressing the Vaccine mandates right now.

        Omicron may significantly impact their decision.

        Omicron is more contageous, much less deadly,and the vaccine is only marginally effective against it.

      • January 3, 2022 6:23 pm

        The Tribalism description is Highly inaccurate.

        Our divisions are ideological. Tribal STRONGLY implies they are rooted in ties other than ideology, such as ethnicity, race, culture.

        Increasingly politics and race,culture, ethnicity are ever more poorly correlated.

      • January 3, 2022 6:53 pm

        What I am hearing is that the typical omicron infection is LESS severe than a cold.

        Further Omicron is significantly shorter.

        1-2 days at most from exposure to symptoms,
        followed by 3-5 days of symptoms.

        You are typically contageous for half the period in which you have no symptoms and half the period in which you do.

        Theraputics tend to be less effective – because it is over before you get to using them.

        The shorter the period in which you are contageous without symptoms the better.

        Self quarantining when you have symptoms is VERY effective – if you are only contageuos with symptoms.

      • January 3, 2022 7:22 pm

        Respecting individual rights means allowing private employers to require masks or vaccines.

        Private employer must weigh the effect of their decisions on customers, and employees.

        We have seen numerous large employers announce mandates – and then back down.

        There are specific situations where employer mandates are appropriate. There are others it is not.

        Further employers are much more likely to consider rational alternatives orobjections -such as religious, imune disorder or past covid exceptions.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 2, 2022 2:46 pm

        Exactly Rick! It was made political, when it is truly a health issue. I’m still amazed that people can’t see that.

      • January 3, 2022 10:23 am

        Everything that government does is political.

        If you wish to de-politicize Covid – then get government out of it.

      • January 3, 2022 10:36 am

        What “horrific death toll” ?

        The US death rate dropped from 9.5/1000 to 8.5/1000 in 2008.
        Since 2008 it has increased to just under 9/1000 today.

        It is projected to peak at 10.5/1000 in 2050.
        Total US deaths in 2020 and 2021 did not deviate from the UN projections.

        These changes mirror birth rates about 75 years ago.

        Though it is not well covered, it is well documented that the overwhelming majority of Covid deaths are in people who are already dying.

        There are competing estimates for the number of “excess deaths”, but all of these are much smaller than the JHU or CDC reported Covid deaths.

        Over the past 2 years over 1M people have died of cancer.
        Another million+ of heart disease.

        I do not doubt that there was a loss of life years as a result of Covid.
        But it is radically smaller than the covid death tickers would have us beleive.

      • January 3, 2022 10:38 am

        Do you personally know a single person who has died of Covid who was not already near the end of their life ?

        I don’t.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 3, 2022 3:29 pm

        I will never reply again to you, but on this one?? YES!! I personally know of 4 people here in Wisconsin who died, 2 who are currently in ICU, and one other friend who lived in Alabama who died!! None were over 50, and one was only in her 20’s!!

        Sit down and get off your ignorant soapbox!!

      • January 8, 2022 5:09 am

        What is your idea of PERSONALLY KNOW ?

        I am not interested in your 5th cousin twice removed.

        You claimed these people that you KNOW – were not “near the end of their lives”.
        But you offer nothing to support that.

        I do not KNOW – have an actual relationship with, anyone who has died of Covid.
        I do not know of – in any other way but on the news, a single person who died of Covid that did not have serious co-morbidities.

        I KNOW many close personal freinds who have gotten Covid.
        Even more than one who was older and had some with serious health risks – who did NOT die.

        I am not denying that people have died.
        3 million people die in the US every year. 2020 and 2021 were no different.

        Regardless, if you are actually being honest, and you have not yet provided a single reason you should be trusted. You are constantly on the wrong side of issues of basic math and completely clueless about it. Being constantly wrong is NOT the same as lying. But it is not a foundation for trust.

      • January 8, 2022 5:12 am

        Reply, don’t, your choice.

        “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. ”
        John Stuart Mill.

        We find truth in the crucible. When we have subjected what we beleive to criticism, and attack, particularly by the strongest counter arguments, and it survives – we have probably found the truth.

        If you are unwilling to subject what you beleive to the test, you can never know truth.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 5, 2022 6:44 am

        Ron, you have reasonable points and arguments.

        As to mandates, a country wide mandate for all adults would encounter exactly what you say. But a mandate for businesses larger than 100 and the National Guard is is a different story. Those can work. First, the Nat Guard. Imbecile Constitutional idiot Abbott aside, Biden is the Commander in Chief and the Pentagon is fully on board with vaccinations. Every military person got vaccinated in basic training as far as I know. Given that enlisted people run to the conservative side of the spectrum as a group then getting this group vaccinated has additional benefits. The local yahoos may figure out that nobody is dying of vaccination among their friends in the Guard while their communities are full of sick and dying unvaccinated people. I have to give even the rustics in Alabama etc. or at least some of them credit for being able to see reality in this kind of situation eventually.

        Second, the death rate from the Spanish flu. At the time of the Spanish flu nobody understood anything more about a virus than the fact that it was smaller than a bacteria and has a different biology. They had no effective treatment. WWI complicated matters as well.

        So imagine if COVID-19 had hit that world. We have a very different medical world today and the death rate is still horrendous from COVID.

        Given the medical situation in our time it is incredible that such a pandemic could have such a huge impact.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 5, 2022 3:19 pm

        roby, I have no problem with the national guard having a mandate based on military policy. The employee the guardsmen/women, part time and they have the right to issue policies that cover their personnel.

        An employer should not have to enforce a federal law. They should not have to face backlash from their employees. They should not have to fill open positions of employees that quit that may be highly skilled and years of training has been lost. They should not have to put up with employees threatening the supervisors for enforcement of a policy they also may disagree with.

        If any government agency passes a law or regulation, it should be the responsibility of the government agency for the direct enforcement of that regulation, not some supervisor or Human Resource officer in a 200 employee business.

        I Joe Biden wants everyone vaccinated in 100 employee businesses, then let him issues requirements for OSHA and other federal agencies to get off their dead asses and finally do some work. They go out and canvas all the employees at these businesses and issue fines to those emplorees for failure to follow government covid protocols. If need be, call up the military reserve and national guard and have them assist.

        I view the federal employer mandate just as I view the local mandates where some poor smuck is sitting at the door of businesses telling customers to wear a mask and they are catch crap from 1/2 the people who walk in.

      • January 10, 2022 12:45 am

        The national guard is:

        A state organization. Guardsmen are not Federal employees, they are state employees.
        The federal government excercises SOME oversight -because SOMETIMES they can be placed under federal control.

        Further Guards are NOT free to quit.

        Finally,I beleive the GOP got their amendment onto a bill that was passed that barred the pentagon from using vaccine reluctance as the basis for giving someone less than an honorable discharge.

        I am perfectly OK with that as an answer.

        Biden is Commander in Chief. If he wishes to terminate people in the military for not vaccinating – I am fine with that -so long as termination is the only consequence.

        At the same time – if as a result of vaccination terminations, Biden leaves the military weakened – as president he is responsible for that.

        Real employers have to balance the positives and negatives of every decision they make.
        And they have to bear responsibility for those decisions.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 10, 2022 12:16 pm

        Dave, the state is the employer for the national guard and therefore has the right to require whatever they so choose as long as it is legal.

        And those who do not follow military/Guard orders are given a general discharge under honorable conditions, one that preserves any benefits accrued.

      • January 10, 2022 12:49 am

        The mandates fight is essentially over.

        Omicron has likely ended it.

        Presuming that we are as fortunate as I expect and Covid ends with Omicron,

        We can keep fighting over issues where it is obvious that government could not defeat Covid.

        Nature won this.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 10, 2022 12:31 pm

        Dave, the fight is not covid, delta, omicron or any other variant that may occur at this time.

        The fight is how far the federal government can go to force one position on another person. And SCOTUS will decide this regardless if covid suddenly has -0- cases reported.

      • January 9, 2022 3:16 pm

        Do you ever read your own posts.

        Let me paraphrase your post.

        “We should FORCE others to do as I wish, because then they will see that I am right”.

        You are not a moral person.

        I listened to garbage from you about how the GOP and Trump were totalitarian or authoritarian.

        Do you even know what those mean ?

        Totalitarianism and authoritarianism are NOT determined by your beleifs, they are by definition the use of force to impose beleifs.

  16. Vermonta permalink
    January 1, 2022 6:44 pm

    Rick, I feel your pain. When I read your site I even see your pain, the curse of attempting to communicate in internet america. Just impossible to compete with extremists they never stop their screaming and ranting.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      January 1, 2022 7:41 pm

      So true… as we have daily proof…

    • Ron P permalink
      January 2, 2022 12:51 am

      Roby, I must agree that it is impossible to talk to, debate or respond to anyone that has extreme positions. from those that demand the complete banning of conservative speech on university campuses to those that believe the election was stolen. There is no debating, discussing or responding without being the target of speech or actions no one should endure from either extremist positions..

      And that is why we see polls that indicate a very high percent of progressive democrats who will not date or socialize with anyone with differing political views. There is also what I consider a high percent of Republicans that do the same, but about 1/2 the rate as democrats. I tried finding the study showing those numbers, but could not remember where I saw them and could not find them.

      Given the atmosphere created by politicians and covid, we have a two pronged continuing attack on civility that I believe will only grow the division, resulting in more extreme candidates on both sides dominating the political nominations for years to come. And as politics become further divided, so will society.

      Much of the societal division is created by both extreme sides using force to make people do what they want them to do, from abortion rights, gay rights to individual rights. And in regard to this, the.absence of force as promoted by other extremes is not acceptable given human nature, especially in an age where “me” is so prevalent and actions that harm others would go rampant. Currently there is way too many people thinking they have the right to tell others what to do and that is going to continue into 2022 making it worse that 2021, especially with another election on the horizon.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 3, 2022 6:06 am

        About progressives not interbreeding I can strongly verify that. I was a single guy in Vermont about 20 years back and my choices were educated but Uber liberal women (progressive s) or ignoramuses. Since I was in an international environment at the University I had access to other cultures and escaped the progressive ladies altogether. They were impossible. No way they were going to live peacefully with anyone other than their own ideological type.
        My Ukrainian/Russian wife has me living in a much better psychological world than me having to fake progressive extremes to survive. I feel total pity for progressive men living like that.

        Anyhow, I do not know how conservatives intermingle relationship wise but hopefully the progressives limit their influence by sticking to their own type.

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      January 2, 2022 11:36 am

      Thanks, Roby, and Happy New Year. When you look at history, it becomes obvious that tribal animosity must be written into our genes. It would explain war, competing religions and even team sports.

      What’s still shocking to me is how intense that animosity has become during the last ten years or so. As you said, it’s almost impossible to carry in a conversation with extremists at either end of the spectrum. I think the only solution is to de-politicize our culture. But how? Everything is political now, from art to viruses to women’s bodies.

      People like us can try to retreat, like Doctor Zhivago, into private life, poetry and nature, but somehow the damned partisans always ruin it for us. Let’s hope our country regains its sanity so we don’t have to come out and bump those partisan heads together repeatedly during our remaining years on this planet.

      • January 7, 2022 4:43 pm


        I find the constant “tribalism” references to be shallow and annoying.

        There is just so much wrong with the use of tribalism in the contexts it is being used today.

        A tribe is a sub sub group of an ethnicity -it is hierarchically below race, below ethnicity and barely above familiy.

        What you constantly call tribal conflict – is conflict over ideas. Not race,not ethnicity.

        Further in the current PC culture – there is clearly something wrong with “tribalism” – as the tribes are most recently an element of american indian culture.

        We are not allowed to name sports teams the “warriors” or the “chiefs”, or the “braves”.

        Why would “tribalism” not be a derogatory word ?

        Regardless it is inaccurate and deprives the discussion of information.

        We are in the midst of a battle of ideas.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 7, 2022 5:08 pm

        Dave I have not been responding to most of your comments, but this one is worth a try.

        A tribe is now defined as “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.” So even within the American Indian race, there were divisions created by social divisions having their onw leadership and “familiy”

        Today, we are socially and politically divided into tribes based on social, economic, religious or family ties.

        If you really think we are just in a battle of ideas, you need to wake up.

        We are in a battle for the heart and soul of America, the way we live and the way we are governed. No longer are ideas being discussed, the battle is now which tribe is able to gain control of the other tribes and force their way of life on them based on their ideas of how life and government should be.

        Today we have the Pelosi progressives to Trump populists. Neither side is battling with ideas, they are battling using every conceivable method to gain control of your life, my life and any other life. We have Biden trying to force Americans to get vaccinated while on the other hand, we have conservatives trying to force women to carry unwanted children. Those are no longer battles of ideas. It is past the idea stage, it is real and it is right in front of you.

        And each of actions are supported by large groups of individuals that are now considered tribes due to the strong social ties that bind. We see more and more where people will not socialize, date or amrry someone who does not think like them. That is in fact a tribe!

      • January 10, 2022 6:53 pm

        I want to make clear,

        The threat from Trump is not even close to a consequential threat the the actual heart and soul of america.

        That should be obvious. Even if Trump some how brought the country back to the 50’s – which is not happening. that loss/damage would not come close to the damage from the destruction of constructs like the rule of law.

      • January 7, 2022 4:57 pm

        “people like us can retreat …”

        All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent.

        When others – right or left seek to infringe on your liberty – there is no retreating like Dr. Zhivago into private life or poetry.

        The country will not regain its sanity until people like YOU do.

        Evil ideas allowed evil men to gain power and to drench the world in blood, because so many retreated into private life and poetry.

        “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

        56 men signed the declaration of independence ending with that pledge.

        These were not perfect men. But they were all better men than most of us. certainly better men than our leaders today.

        They stood up. They picked the side of liberty, freedom. They did not hide in poetry, most of them suffered, died, lost family or fortunes.

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 1, 2022 9:46 pm

      Yes, sanity would be a wonderful thing. Good to hear from you Pat! Happy New Year!

    • Rick Bayan permalink
      January 2, 2022 11:46 am

      Happy New Year, Pat — good to see you here again. I’m all in favor of national sanity, and I agree that conspiracy theories are a major impediment to regaining it. Of course, both the left and the right are awash in conspiracy theories, and not all of them have a basis in reality.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      January 2, 2022 2:19 pm

      Highly questionable source.

      • January 7, 2022 6:36 pm

        Is there a reason we should trust media bias fact check ?

        I had issues with SOME of the claims of Pat’s source,
        but overall they were more credible than say the CDC.

        As to Fact check organizations – John Stossel is currently suing FB and their fact checkers for calling some of his reporting that is objectively and verifiably correct as false.

        FB and the fact checkers have offered as a defense that “fact checking” – is not actually objective assessments of the facts, it is just oppinion journalism.

        Regardless, if you want me to trust or distrust something – please do your own FactChecking.

        I have little interest in “fact checkers”.

        Faux and biased fact checks are some of the worst of our problems.

      • January 7, 2022 6:40 pm

        With respect to Covid – what is it that our government “experts’ have been right about ?

        As Robby likes to point out – I am not a doctor, or a scientist, or an expert.
        Yet, I have had a far far far better track record regarding Covid than Fauxi or the CDC,

        And in fact as Omicron makes it such that NO ONE beleives government on Covid, more and more the “experts” are now echoing what I and real “experts” have been saying from the start.

        There is no government policy that will make a dent in Covid – not Omicron, not Delta, not the original Wuhan strain.

  17. Priscilla permalink
    January 1, 2022 10:54 pm

    Roby, what in tarnation are you talking about? You’re making about as much sense as those cockatoos.

    I’m careful with my words, and I try not to offend. But I can tell you, and Ronda as well, that most of us who lean even a little bit right, have had some shockingly cruel things said to us, merely because we’ve expressed a fair amount of skepticism regarding some of the more illogical beliefs of those on the left. One gets used to it, but it takes some time.

    My 16 yr. old niece went to visit a friend in Florida. My niece is smart, studious, kind and funny. She does not care a whit about politics. She was invited to visit a friend in Florida last week, and, when she returned, she found herself uninvited from a New Year’s Eve gathering, because the mother of the girl hosting it said that Florida was a “disgusting hotbed of covid.” Zhu offered to take a covid test, which of course was negative, but the girl said that her mother was horrified that anyone would go to Florida now, and doubled down on her refusal. My niece, who is young and naive, is

    Learning how cruel woke liberals can be is often shocking.

    Being called an extremist is a fairly benign, if nonsensical, insult. Go for it.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 2, 2022 8:25 am

      As is well known, I have utter disgust with both the left and right extremists. Yes, they exist. And both sets believe that their own side is the victim of millions of actions and is not at extreme.

      Let’s hear it for conspiracy theories! The best place to find the truth! Let’s hear it for Dave’s tirades, he is full of insight and kind benevolent thoughts! Let’s hear it for extremists and liars they are the chosen people.

      I am deeply sorry I ever tried to talk about politics, it’s impossible in today’s environment and the internet is simply the growth medium for the rot that is consuming America, and not just America.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 2, 2022 2:41 pm

        Admittedly, I lean a bit left – but the only Far Side I like is a cartoon. That said, BRAVO!!

    • rondabellelane permalink
      January 2, 2022 2:34 pm

      Priscilla, I can assure you as well that some shockingly cruel things have been said to me as well by those on the right. I am stupid, called an “idiot” in stores – simply because I wear a mask, and the same occurs to my grandson because he wears one.
      I prefer to use the term ‘ignorant’ when commenting – not stupid, but a lack of knowledge.

      I am not condemning you, but if stating again and again that NOT getting vaccinated because that means you could infect and kill others is on a moral soapbox, so be it.

      Fact – it’s not just us, it’s the world here… and until there are enough people vaccinated, I prefer protection. There are NOT enough people vaccinated and adhering to guidelines designed to protect others. I know. I live with it daily.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 5:17 pm

        Ronda, I have never stated anything of the sort! I am vaccinated, I support and recommend to any vulnerable person that they do so.

        I am 110% opposed to the government forcing anyone to be injected with a vaccine that they don’t want. Its unethical and illegal. Especially when it’s the president unilaterallyordering it.

        Anyone who calls you stupid or an idiot for choosing to wear a mask is a jerk.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 3, 2022 3:43 pm

        I never said you did Priscilla… but others have, and you only mentioned things said to you as a Republican. I merely pointed out that this occurs on both sides.

        We disagree on several points, but we can generally still have a discussion – although often, with friends, I try to state facts rather than discuss things that may only change with more knowledge and time.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 3, 2022 8:34 pm

        When you said “I am not condemning you, but if stating again and again that NOT getting vaccinated because that means you could infect and kill others is on a moral soapbox, so be it,”

        I naturally assumed that the pronoun “you” referred to me, because you were responding to me. If that was not what you meant, I’m glad to hear it.

        What is not debatable is the fact that, in September 2021, Joe Biden issued a proclamation that all private corporations with over 100 employees would have to require, or mandate, that their employees either be injected with non-FDA approved covid vaccines or get tested regularly (no test kits provided). Any company that refused to obey his order would be fined by OSHA. In addition, many federal employees and contractors would also be mandated to get the shot. Members of Congress and their staffs, however, would be exempt from the order. Funny how that always seems to be the case….

        Biden’s mandate is not law, nor is it Constitutional. No president can make laws ~ that is Congress’ job. The president’s job is to enforce the laws that Congress makes. Congress has not enacted any public health mandates regarding covid vaccinations. Many states have legal codes that allow their state legislatures to grant temporary emergency powers to the state’s governors during a public health energency. The US Constitution does not offer that option.

        So, I oppose illegal mandates, not vaccines. That has been my point all along. I understand that many may believe that it’s necessary to force hesitant or even naturally immune people to be injected with vaccines in order to protect other lives. Unfortunately , that’s not true. It’s illegal and unethical to force any human being to be injected with a vaccine or medication.

        And real vaccines protect the vaccinated. As Biden said this past summer in a town hall, “You’re not going to get covid if you have these vaccinations.” “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.”

        That was a lie. Now, I’m not claiming that Biden intentionally lied, but it’s a fact that the vaccines never prevented infection or transmission, yet the President of the US said they did. So it was a lie.

        Anyone who is over 65, is overweight, diabetic, suffers from low vitamin D levels, or has any other comorbidity should probably get vaccinated. Anyone whose employer requires them to get vaccinated can choose to do so or work somewhere else.

        But no one should be forced to get a shot because Joe Biden and/or Tony Fauci say so…

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 4, 2022 12:42 pm

        Priscilla, I just found out 3 more died here from Covid, and 2 are in ICU. They did not get vaccinated. 2 of those who died were in their 30’s and had no other health issues.
        Seems these people are culling their own herd.

        No, I am not smiling at that thought… and that old “lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” is doing it! We’re people – not horses, and laws were made to protect others. Not getting vaccinated is ignorant and political… it needs to be a law.

        Regardless of how much you repeat that Biden lied, he DID do his best with the information we had, and that is hardly a lie.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 4, 2022 8:00 pm

        Should vaccines that don’t prevent infection or transmission of a disease be made mandatory by law?

        Sounds like a bad idea to me. Sort of like legislating mandatory medicines that don’t cure the diseases they are meant to treat.

        I don’t really think that Biden is doing the best with the information he had. He had a year’s worth of clinical data and scientific research on covid. He said he would “shut down the virus.” He inherited not just one, but three vaccines, a number of effective treatments (Regeneron, monoclonal antibodies) , research that showed that healthy weight, good vitamin D and Zinc levels, and good personal hygiene, like handwashing, could greatly mitigate infections, but he chose to ignore all of that and has tried to blame the entire pandemic on people who are not vaccinated, even though he knows that vaccinated people are equally able to catch and transmit covid.

        He always knew (or should have known) that the Mrna vaccines would not “shut down the virus”, because the scientific data said so. He didn’t have to say that anyone who got vaxxed would not get covid.

        But he said it.

        The positive news is that previous pandemics have lasted between 1-3 years, come in 3-4 waves, , and either died out or become endemic.

        Omicron looks like it might be covid’s swan song. (Although, I heard on the news today that France is reporting a new variant. I’m skeptical, but we shall see…)

      • January 9, 2022 8:20 am

        Any variant that is less contageous will be obliterated by Omicron.

        The odds of a more contageous variant are very very small.

        We were dancing on the edge of endemic vs. gone with Delta.

        I strongly suspect that Omicron tips the scales towards gone.

        In fact Democrats should be quietly thankly god.

        It is possible that Omicron may wipe Covid out FAST – we should know whether it will be endemic or gone by April.

        It appears that it will happen fast enough that democrats can falsely claim to have defeated covid.

      • January 9, 2022 8:01 am


        I asked you if you KNEW, not “Knew of”.

        They are not close to the same thing.

        We can all find cherry picked examples to prove our point if we want.

        I would note you have not provided much information on your annecdote.

        Nearly all covid deaths are people with atleast 1 comorbidty.
        A majority are with people who have 2.

        If you are older and not healthy and you are not vaccinated – you are an idiot.
        95% of those of us over 65 are vaccinated.

        If you are young and healthy your risk from Covid is incredibly low.

        40 year old republican anti vaxers are NOT being culled from the herd.
        That is just wishful thinking on your part.

      • January 8, 2022 6:27 pm

        I wish to make a further distinction.

        It is near certain I have called you – or atleast some of your actions and positions stupid in the past, and will likely do so in the future. As will others on the left and right.

        Calling you names because of your own choices is WRONG.
        Insulting you because you advocate for the use of force to constrain the free choices of others is not.

        We are not all equal. In particular we are not equally moral.
        Virtue is what you do FOR others. Not what you do TO them.

      • January 8, 2022 4:05 am

        The numbers of elected Democrats flocking to Florida undermines claims that Republicans are near as hostile to democrats as the reverse.

        Are resturants and businesses refusing to serve Biden’s staff ?

        The only people beating on democrats – are democrats beating on Manchin and Sienama.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 5, 2022 7:21 am

        “Should vaccines that don’t prevent infection or transmission of a disease be made mandatory by law?”

        First, that is absolutely not true of the COVID vaccines, they cut the rate of infection sharply, and therefore the rate of transmission.

        Second, they cut the rate of hospitalization and death even more sharply, from 10 to 15 times.

        So, you are misinformed and spreading nonsense. Your story has the flavor of the right wing conspiracy version of COVID science.

        You got vaccinated. Why did you do that, if it does nothing?

        When are you going to stop just being a predictable rebroadcasting station from the conservative nonsense mothership? You take up each conservative BS fad and never change. You are not really much different from Dave in your ideas.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 5, 2022 3:06 pm

        Roby, first I think anyone that can get the shot, should get the shot.

        From months of data and information provided by CDC and other medical experts, the vaccines were thought to be effective in the blocking of the virus at a high rate.

        This is no longer the message being sent out. What is now being said is the vaccines dop not prevent the disease, but it cuts the severity.

        So this is just another change in direction in this virus information that is being developed as it progresses, but is being used by the anti-vaxers to support positions that can lead to the death of many. who go unvaccinated.

        But I will say once again, any mandate should not be a dictatorial mandate issued by one man in Washington D.C. If there is any mandate that comes out of Washington, it should be through legislation. I would not be supportive of that either since the federal government should not have that type of power. States have relinquished their control of the feds provided by the 10th amendment, but at least those representing their voters would decide at the federal level, not just one man.

      • January 10, 2022 12:21 am


        What is “dave” wrong about?

        If you can not demonstrate that compellingly – then comparing someone to me is a compliment.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 5, 2022 4:28 pm

        Ron, thanks for your reply.
        Yes breakthrough infections are going up, I did not realize how fast I admit that. But according to the first bit of actual data I could find, it happens to be from New York the vaccines still considerably lower the rate of infection. I will do a lot more seawrching but I will give you this as the first thing I was able to pull up that answered my actual question.

        “Breakthrough infections soared by relative standards through December, with 149.5 of 100,000 fully vaccinated New Yorkers getting infected the week of Dec. 20. That compares with a rate of 28.3 breakthrough infections per 100,000 the week of Dec. 6.

        Here is the bottom line–> Unvaccinated New Yorkers are still more than six times as likely to get infected, with a 940.7 daily infection rate per 100,000 residents the week of Dec. 20. <—

        That's still a more than a four-fold increase from their risk of infection the week of Dec. 6.

        In terms of breakthrough hospitalizations, the likelihood nearly doubled last month, from 1.18 per 100,000 fully vaccinated New Yorkers the week of Dec. 6 to 2.08 per 100,000 the week of Dec. 20. The risk grew by exactly the same amount (1.07 times) for unvaccinated New Yorkers, though their risk is still 14 times higher.<– Again the bottom line.

        I did not find the proportional risk of death in this article. Maybe its in there. I am hungry and about to cook dinner so I will look harder later. As well I believe they are calling persons with two shots vaccinated. For those like myself with 3 shots now it is going to be an even stronger improvement of odds for every outcome.

        Thanks for sticking this out, I know you are sick to death of COVID statistics.

      • January 10, 2022 1:00 am

        You still can not see the forest from the trees.

        Losing to Covid is LOSING.

        Take your own data – and recalculate however you wish.

        Will that get you to sustained transmission rates below 1.0 ?

        The answer is NO.

        The half life of vaccines is 6months. that is not long enough.

        You say vaccines reduce severity – SO WHAT ?
        Catch Covid enough times and the death rate is the same.

        You do not seem to grasp that unless you reduce the transmission rate SUSTAINABLY below 1.0 all you are doing is stretching the curve.

        You are not winning, you are just losing more slowly.

        Sacrificing your freedom and quality of life in the process.

      • January 7, 2022 7:22 pm


        To thwart a virus that could infect 100% of people and has a transmission rate of about 1.5 you need to protect about 95% of people to a 99% level. that has been true from Covid Day one.

        That is NOT achievable.

        You can do things that decrease your personal risk – all those do is increase your odds of being one of the few lucky people who do not get Covid.
        That group is very nearly fixed in size, and set by factors that are mostly NOT subject to public polices.

        Though we could increase the size of the population that does not ultimately get and possibly die from Covid by losing weight, lowering anxiety, increasing excercise, increasing the effectiveness of our immune systems.

        There is a reason that Biden talked about 100 days to get covid under control.
        If Vaccines were going to be significantly effective – we would have seen a dramatic decrease in the first 100 days.

        Most of predicting an epidemic is MATH.
        It is NOT wishful thinking.

      • January 7, 2022 7:26 pm

        you can not vaccinate enough people in the world fast enough
        To defeat a disease that spreads as fast as Covid with a vaccine that declines in effectiveness by 50% over 6 months.

        Globally 9B doses have been administered in a bit more than 1 year

        To succeed with the current vaccine you would have to deliver 16B doses in 3 months or less.

        It is called math – and it is no more complex than 4th grade math problems.

      • January 9, 2022 5:12 am

        False moral claims against others are more than error, they are MORAL FAILURE.

        I have offered repeatedly a very simple rule:

        You may not use force against another without justification.
        It is not actually my rule. It is the fundimental rule that mankind has spent 150,000 years developing.

        If you think that I have over simplified or that I am missing 2nd or 3rd order consequences – point that out – as I have done with your simple rule – which turns out not to be so simple after all.

        A great deal of how the world operates, about how humans operate comes down to a small number of simple rules.

        But only a very small number of the infinite number of simple rules actually work, or do not fail when applied broadly.

        Your “simple rule” – fails, It is NOT a valid moral rule and it is immoral to call it one.

        That is a common error of those on the left.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 2, 2022 6:21 pm

      “Roby, what in tarnation are you talking about? You’re making about as much sense as those cockatoos.”

      Priscilla, I wrote a very few words, did not mention you, and you reacted as if I had stuck a pin in you. I think you thought I was speaking particularly of you. I wasn’t. Particular to this site I was speaking of someone else, someone who had produced 20 voluminous negatory tirades against every molecule of Rick’s post before anyone else here had managed more than one.


      If you want to talk of cruelty why do you only focus, like Dave, nearly exclusively on the cruelty on the right?

      So here I can respond in kind, with better ammunition.

      How cruel is it, for example to attack and slander a kid who was hiding in a closet while a gunman was rampaging through is school killing his schoolmates? The terrible offense the kid committed was to campaign for gun control. Conservative hero Laura Ingraham led the charge of personal attacks which were widely repeated with gusto by those great and small in the conservative world. Please, do not expect me to cry for the suffering of conservatives who have to hear comments after their worst behaviors, which have been numerous beyond belief in the trump era. Conservatives could speak up of course, and disavow these words and actions, but most actually approve of many things that I never thought would be said or done by conservatives leaders.

      As we know people can be decent, kind, and intelligent in their personal lives while participating loudly and enthusiastically in idiotic and disgusting political behaviors. So, when one knows a person in some virtual or impersonal way only by their political comments, and those comments are often ignorant and downright nasty, is it surprising that the reaction is to such commenters is “cruel”?

      I can go on the same way about left wing horses asses getting their verbal ass kickings for their many excesses, but you mentioned the sad plight of conservatives so I am replying that frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. These conservative have very often earned it.

      It doesn’t mean that I don’t think the person you describe, that mother of a girl, wasn’t being a jerk.

      But when the behavior rises to the POTUS attacking the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer as a criminal for their COVID actions and asking for a trial, followed by local rightwing numbskulls getting well into a plot to kidnap, try, and punish her, followed after the FBI arrests of the plotters, followed by the POTUS doubling down on his rhetoric about the criminality of the Governor, followed by loyal republicans great and small repeating the rhetoric, then let me know. So far you have your example of a woman going over board and being a jerk. It does not really rise to the same level.

      Finally, (yes I have hit an excessive length) as we close in on the million mark of GOVID deaths, do you really expect that there would not be a great deal of heat and anger about the subject of the COVID response, both regarding the science and the attempts to limit the deaths? We lost 50,000 more or less in Vietnam and the country blew up into protests. So, for a million or so lives do you expect a pillow fight?

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 7:08 pm

        Capiche. (That must be from your Jersey days)

        I’m not surprised that you consider conservatives deserving of cruel treatment.

      • January 8, 2022 4:58 am

        Of course he does.

        Robby has no interest in morality.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 3, 2022 3:53 pm

        Thank you. My reply was shorter, but you covered it nicely.

      • January 8, 2022 4:29 am

        Right now the attention of all is focused on Covid.
        Because that is the great danger we face.

        We are NOT giving equal time to the Flu – even though it is still out their killing people.

        I do not focus on the right or their problems – because they are NOT the most serious threat today.

        If it was the right that was the most serious threat – I would be focused on them.

        If Democrats having taken power, would have focused on meaningful action that I support
        such as ending the drug war ,demilitarizing the police, ending qualified immunity,
        and Republicans were obstructing those actions – I would be criticising primarily republcians.

        But that has not happened.

        Even when democrats pretend to “do the right thing” all too often they do so in the most offensive possible way.

        Republicans – atleast today are by far the “lessor evil”

        When the “greater evil” is no more – I will deal with republicans.

  18. Savannah Jordan permalink
    January 2, 2022 11:56 am

    From what I have read of the history of the United States, our society has always been extremely polarized and has often often used the legal system to suppress opinions that did not agree with current trends in society. When I was growing up in the South, almost no one dared to say they believed Blacks deserved rights equal to Whites. However, what I see today is a level of suppression of opinion that I have never seen exhibited previously in our country. Who would have thought that a college professor would be physically assaulted and forced to resign because he said that entrance into his college should be based upon review of the person’s academic achievements. Additionally, the extremes, seem to be far more bizarre than ever before. Who would have thought that a man like Trump, a man with no political experience, a man who principally relies upon personal insults to get people to accept his policies, would become President. Who would have thought that anyone would give serious consideration to defunding the police! Even now when our cities’ crime rates are soring, the mantra continues. I desperately hope that we can overcome these enormous hurdles, but I know that when a society reaches a high level of affluence, people’s actions become separated from the consequences thus hampering rational thought. I greatly fear that this beautiful, unnatural, rare and fleeting thing called democracy, is collapsing into homo sapiens’ more natural form of government – autocracy.

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 2, 2022 12:55 pm

      Great post, Savannah. I recently saw a simple chart flow chart that basically went like this : Hard Times > Strong Men> Good Times> Weak Men

      Leaving aside the fact that there should probably be some acknowledgment of women in there, I essentially agree with this.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 12:58 pm

        (I should note that I used the the “>” sign as an arrow not to denote greater or lesser)

      • Savannah Jordan permalink
        January 2, 2022 1:30 pm

        Thanks, Priscilla.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 2, 2022 7:07 pm

        I could not find it in my library. I have owned at least 2 copies of it but keep lending them out. Gave one to my son. I can say that the book ISN’T Andrew Jackson, his Life and Times by Brands, which I did find in my library. But a quick look through it showed that it is not the book I mean, promising as the title is. I tried several searches and finally hit pay dirt by searching for only the word Jackson in my amazon purchases over many years,

        Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson (American History) Hardcover – September 30, 2008
        by David S. Reynolds. I bought another copy for 1.55 plus shipping. I really do want to have a copy of this book.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 7:10 pm

        Thanks! It sounds good…and the price is right!

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 2, 2022 5:40 pm

      That is very well said Savannah, all of it, not just the part about trump but especially that things appear to becoming more bizarre. That said, I can relate that speaking of history I have a historical book on the times of Andrew Jackson that relates some of the religious cult movements that occurred in the 1800s and some were as weird and deadly to their participants as anything you can imagine.

      I looked for something on this movement and found this:

      The description in my book on the Times of Jackson was even more vivid, these people were dying along the path of their journey like flies. One last person reached Florida and settled there. (I am tempted to make some joke abut this person being the ancestor of the Gaetz family but that would be embellishing.) The book contained many similar stories about religious cults (the common denominator was that the prophet always had free access to all the women in the sects). As well it documented the dreadful state of knowledge about medicine and science in that time. I will go dig up the book out of my library if anyone is interested in the title and author. It left me with a firm belief that we are much better off now.

      The difference is that today we are far more advanced as far as science and general knowledge goes so one would think that the bizarre things some do today would no longer be happening at this stage.

      But people are people and whether they are wearing a bearskin coat in the wilderness or an expensive suit on Wall street, its the same brain with all its weaknesses.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 2, 2022 6:15 pm

        When you have a chance, Roby, I’d be interested in the name of that book. No rush.

      • Savannah Jordan permalink
        January 2, 2022 6:15 pm

        Hi Vermonta. Interesting article. Yes. ever since people dropped out of the trees, there have been cults with extremely bizarre behavior. Look at Jim Jones and Jonestown. What concerns me is that now a significant part of mainstream society is exhibiting what I call bizarre behavior. .

      • January 8, 2022 4:19 am

        They are beleiving people who have lied to them over and over.

        Regardless, this will all sort itself out.

        Bad ideas ultimately fail.

        We may not agree on which ideas are bad.

        But reality does not care about out ideology.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 2, 2022 6:24 pm

        “What concerns me is that now a significant part of mainstream society is exhibiting what I call bizarre behavior.”

        We have found total agreement. That is always nice.

      • January 8, 2022 4:57 am

        We do not agree regarding WHO is engaged in bizarre behavior.

        You keep looking for Trump splinters, when the nation is being bashed in the skull by Biden boards.

      • January 8, 2022 4:13 am

        The entire Roanoke Colony – larger than Plymouth was obliterated twice.

  19. Pat Riot permalink
    January 2, 2022 11:57 am

    I think there was some sanity in the middle. Perhaps as recently as a few years ago! But now many in the so-called moderate middle are confused from digesting the incessant misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda, and have become their own version of extremism, bulging out like a hernia! Hah! Tolstoy spoke of the “superstition of science,” and scientists being as blindly believed as priests were in ages past. Today we have “corporate science” where trials are set up to fail to help supply the needed data for an agenda. Dissenting opinions and mere questions are censored by an unprecedented collusion between Tech, Pharma, and Government. “Accepting as truth that which is offered by academics and scientists, without stopping to examine it by the exercise of our reason, is the superstition of science.” –Leo Tolstoy, the Wisdom of Humankind.

    Hello Priscilla, Rick, Ian Vermonta, Ron, and Dave the VCL (Verbose Contrarian Logician), et al…’ave a relatively Happy New Year!

  20. rcoase permalink
    January 2, 2022 1:40 pm

    Another excellent editorial by Matt Taibbi.

    Much of the nonsense about “experts” offered here fails most catastrophically when it threatens the right of parents to make the final decisions regarding their children.

    As Taibbi notes – every parent beleives that no one loves their child more than they do – and they are virtually always right.

    Parents seek out “experts” to advise them regarding their children. And they usually defer to those experts.
    But they expect that FINAL decision is THEIRS not the “experts”.

    Those of you RANTING about the purported “selfishness” – a word that you are clueless about, of those who do not follow your dictates about masks, or vaccines or …, completely miss the FACT that people are often making the same choices regarding their CHILDREN.

    Often people who are willing to KOWTOW to experts with regard to themselves stand their ground regarding their children. Many of us are willing to RISK defering to experts regarding ourselves – but NOT when it comes to our children.

    I am personally fortunate – my children are adults. They made their own choices regarding vaccination and masking. I do not know if they made the right choices and we may not know for decades. But they are adults and responsible for their own decisions.

    How they been 10 or 15 years younger – I do not know what I would have done. I am in my mid 60’s. The RIGHT NOW risk of Covid to ME is easily greater than the possibility of vaccine problems 20 years from now.

    But children are different. Atleast one “expert” I trust asserted that CDC data from august showed that there was only 1 Covid death through august 2021 of a healthy child under 12.

    Healthy or otherwise – the deaths of children from Covid are 4 orders of magnitude lower than seniors.

    Covid is not the only area where our children make the failure of leftist nonsense obvious.

    We can pretend to believe in equality with respect to ourselves or others.

    But we KNOW our children are NOT EQUAL. Parents near universally support – art, music, sports, and other school programs specifically targets at students with special needs or talents. Nearly every parent wants the BEST for THEIR child. They do not want equality.
    And they have no interest in deferring to “experts”.

    The same mothers who wear sack cloth and prostrate themselves confessing their own “white privilege”. Are fierce and dangerous momma bears prepared shred any teacher telling their son that he is racist, and inferior because he was born a white male.

    The leftist BS of “selfishness” and idiotic efforts to shame people who choose differently than you are most glaringly exposed as vile – when they are applied to our children.

  21. rcoase permalink
    January 2, 2022 2:21 pm

    Matt Welch writing about the huge messaging failure of the Covid warriors.

    One of the problems with the left, democrats and the media is Hubris.

    Pushing moral superiority does not fly well.

    It was NOT the “basket of deplorables” words that cost Clinton the 2016 election – it was the understanding of so many Americans that Clinton and democrats despise them and see them as inferior.

    The past year, the past 5 years have unending escalation of hubris – that has infected far too many HERE.

    Worse still – the FACTS ultimately undermine all claims of virtue.

    It is possible to still believe that SOME of the policies of the “experts” might offer limited benefits to individuals.

    It is NOT possible to still beleive that any of these policies have been societally effective.
    There is no clear pattern of success – either state by state or country by country demonstrating the benefits of ANY policy.

    Mississippi and Alabama did horribly – so did New York and New Jersey.
    Vermont and Hawaii did well – so did Utah and Alaska.

    When you step up onto a moral soapbox to condem others – you had damn well better be right.

  22. rcoase permalink
    January 2, 2022 3:15 pm

    A surprisingly excellent argument from MSN of all places.

    I have but one disagreement. Those of you who have been shaming others – should feel deeply shamed.

    I have done nearly everything humanly possible to avoid Covid.
    I have done not only everything that has been “recommended” but many things that the experts have ignored or poo-pooed that have shown promise.

    I have done so partly because my of my own risks, but more so because my wife’s are even higher.

    So far I have avoided Covid. Maybe I will continue to do so. Maybe not.

    That is probably not a single person here or on the left that can claim to have done more personally to avoid getting or spreading covid.

    But I have shamed NO ONE for doing less.
    Much of what I have done, I do KNOWING that the benefits are small to non-existant.
    They have NO CHANCE of ending the pandemic, but they do have SMALL chance of reducing the risk for me and those I love who are at risk.

    Much of my own behavior – my personal efforts to thwart getting covid – are NOT driven by experts or rationality, but by emotion – my love of my wife.

    And that is precisely where choices not resting on facts, logic, reason belong.

    Liberty does not require us to be factually and logically correct in everything we do.
    We are free to act stupidly – irrationally, emotionally – in the decisions that we make for ourselves.
    But we are NOT free to use FORCE to compel others where we can not justify that force.
    Justification – at the barest minimum means PROVE that what we seek to compel, actually works.

    It is likely this pandemic is over soon. If we are fortunate enough omicron brings us to herd immunity rapidly and Covid quickly becomes a thing of the past.
    Alternatively – it becomes endemic. It replaces pneumonia is the last straw for those who are already sick and dying.

    Regardless, peoples patience is wearing thin.

    The longer this lasts, the more obvious it is that the “experts” were clueless.
    That the “virtue signalers” are morally bankrupt.
    That we have all been fed a pack of lies.

  23. rcoase permalink
    January 2, 2022 3:48 pm

    The real question is what is the price to be paid for this lying and malfeasance ?

    Biden’s polling is low – but he remains president.

    Democrats gained what power they acheived in 2020 – by LYING.

    The lied about Trump, they lied about Russian Collusion, and they have lied about Covid.

    Omicron may ultimately reduce the shame and well deserved backlash.

    The policies used to defeat Covid would not have worked against the must less contagious flu. But our “experts” and too many of those who fawn over them were unable to admit that.

    Rick rants about those who beleive purportedly without evidence of election fraud.

    Whether there were 10, or 10M fraudulent ballots in 2020 – it si indesputable at this point that the election – and not just the presidential election, was won by people who LIED in order to win. Who bent or broke the rules in order to win. Who had no respect for the law – in order to win, and having won – whatever that mean – continue to have no respect for the rule of law.

    Liberal constitutional Scholar Johnathan Turley is beseeching the Biden DOJ to end its politicization of prosecutions. The Biden DOJ is suing Red States to prevent their returning to pre-pandemic election laws that were less draconian than those of neighboring blue states.

    Trump was impeached for purportedly using government powers to go after political opponents – yet that is the NORM of the Biden DOJ.

    I am angry with Bill Barr – his efforts to restore integrity to the DOJ did not last even to his own resignation.

    Merit Garland has devastated his own status as a martyr.
    Garlands incompetent and politically malfeasant administration as AG has made McConnell increasingly look like a hero and the savior of the courts and the rule of law.

    • Ron P permalink
      January 2, 2022 4:35 pm

      Dave, it is very simple and takes few words to explain how Biden failed.

      The President, even with E.O powers is not a dictator (yet)
      We have about 30% of the people that will blindly follow anything a president say.
      Another 30% will actively resist what they say
      40% dont pay much attention and pick and choose what they will do based on their decisions, not the president.

      So at any time, more than 1/2 of the people will be ignoring the president when it comes to issues like this.

  24. rcoase permalink
    January 2, 2022 4:43 pm

    Much of this – except the final paragraph is excellent.

    The right corporate tax rate is ZERO. The right business tax rate is ZERO.
    Corporate and business taxes are very nearly the worst types of taxes.
    Absolutely the Government should not inventivize businesses to borrow.
    Tax cuts for business interest are a stupid idea. A better one is to end business taxes – so businesses do not make decisions based on taxes.

    No we must NOT channel government spending – we must eliminate it,

    There is no example of govenrment spending that has EVER paid huge dividends.
    There is no example of govenrment spending that has on net been as beneficial as leaving that money in the economy.

    The government can not spend its way out of the current pit it is in.
    Digging the hole deeper will not get us out any faster.
    Spending more money – even in the best possible way – will make the problem worse.

    I would further note that Rappa completely ignores another problem with additional government spending. Current government spending is paid for by debt that has increasingly for a decade been bought by the Federal Reserve. This has insulated the federal government (and the rest of the country) from the rising interest rates that government borrowing normally causes. But it does so at the price of inflation.

    The Fed is between a rock and a hard place.
    If it continues to pump money into the economy by buying government debt inflation will increase. If it stops interest rates will increase.

    It is increasingly likely that we are well past the point where we have no choice but to accept rapidly rising interest rates or higher inflation, and history suggests we will ultimately see BOTH.

    This article TOUCHES – without exploring much the global consequences of the current problems.

    Poor US monetary policy under Obama resulted in inflation too – but nearly all of it was exported – it was seen in higher food and other commodity prices throughout the world.
    The result was violence and instability in the mid-east and north africa and other under developed parts of the world. We are seeing the beginings of that now.

    The problems that the US is currently facing have repercussions not merely in US food and energy prices – but in all kinds of global problems.

    But there is one counter balance to the US problems this article does not address.
    One that is nearly 180 degrees different but possibly even more dangerous.

    As the US is experiencing serious inflation – China appears to be in the midst of or on the verge or significant deflation. 70% of all chinese private investment is in real estate.
    Most of us have heard of the problems of Evergrand. Evergrand is the largest real estate investment company in the world. Not only can’t it meet debt obligations, but it is almost certainly insolvent. its stock value is tanking.
    And Evergrand is probably the tip of the iceberg in China.
    The chinese economy is opaque. it is very hard to know what is actually going on.
    But indications are that there is a $16T real estate bubble in China that is bursting.
    This is more than an order of magnitude larger than the 2006 global housing bubble.

    As the Fed discusses the possibility of monetary tightening – the Chinese are actively losening monetary policy.
    As the US faces inflation – China faces deflation. Raw materials prices in China are Dropping.

    In a perfect world the US monetary problems and those of China could cancel out – atleast for the US.

    But we do not live in a perfect world.

    Historically monetary instabity leads to violence – the most recent example being Putin’s adventures into Georgia, Ukraine, … all started with a declining economy.

    If the economy china starts to look bleak, that will threaten Xi’s reign. that is a threat that can be circumvented by bringing the country into war.

    Many pundits already stated that the next few years are the most likely moment for a conflict between the US and china over Taiwan.

    Who in their right mind wants Biden, Harris, Miley, and Austin running the US military in the event of a face off with China ?

    My view in the crystal ball might not be accurate. But what myriads of people are noting is that when superpowers face monetary instability – the WORLD gets more dangerous.

    Whether it is the danger of direct armed conflict with China or dealing with a world of increased terrorism, revolutions, coups etc. in other countries, the consequences of monetary problems go beyond the obvious. They are global and can be violent.

  25. rcoase permalink
    January 4, 2022 5:22 am

    I have one quiblle with Pudzer.

    Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomena.
    Numerous actions by government increase the price of specific or even whole catagories of goods and services.

    Subsidizing anything not merely makes it cost more but nearly completely eliminates any natural market forces to control that price for so long as the subsidy remains in place.

    Pudzer notes the negative impact on the cost of childcare of subsidizing childcare.

    Somewhere between 1/3 and 100% of the increases in the cost of health care in the US are the result of medicare subsidizing healthcare.

    Subsidized government education loans have accomplished nothing except increase the cost of higher education

    But artificially raising one cost – does NOT inherently create inflation.
    As long as money supply remains unchanged increases in costs in one area MUST be balanced by cuts of some form elsewhere – there is only so much money.
    Either there will be less consumption of higher cost goods, pressure to reduce prices elsewhere or reduced consumption of goods of less value.

    Inflation is ALWAYS the result of increased money supply.

    The Summers quotes address that.

    IT is NOT true that all government spending causes inflation. Spending that is paid for by taxes or normal debt does not inherently increase inflation – though it certainly has other bad impacts.

    CURRENT inflation is caused because for many years Government debt is financed almost entirely by the Federal Reserve.

    The US has NOT been borrowing significantly from foreign or private sources for many years.
    It has been borrowing from the federal reserve.

    This is the Core to MMT Economics. It is Paul Krugmans idiotic claim that a nation that controls its own currency can spend whatever it likes.

    Krugman is correct – it can “spend” as many dollars as it wants.

    But a country can only purchase VALUE equal to what it produces (and can borrow in a free market).

    Government can print money and “spend” more. But it can not increase the total VALUE that can be bought. Spending more dollars for the same amount of value is the defintion of inflation.

    Government actions DO control WHERE inflation occurs.

    Out current inflation is in Energy (and food because of energy) because of government energy policies that reduce the supply of energy.
    The laws of supply and demand are immutable.

    But there would be no inflation absent the fed printing money to buy government debt.

    Worse still we are now between a rock and a hard place.

    The FED has been buying government debt for so long – there is no real market price for government debt. We have enjoyed incredibly low interest rates for government debt for a long time – because the Fed was buying that debt.

    That had several benefits – SHORT TERM – it kept interest rates – not just for government but for everyone LOW. The problem is that at some point the piper still must be paid.

    We are now trapped – if the FED does not stop – inflation will continue.
    If it does stop – interest rates will rise – probably dramatically.
    The cost of the national debt will skyrocket.

    The cost to borrow – for EVERYONE will increase – because we will be back to the situation were government debt is part of the debt market – there will be less money chasing more borrowing.

    Further we KNOW that increase interest rates will TANK the value of many assets.
    Currently housing prices are high and rising. Property is seen as a hedge against inflation -which it usually is. But when interest rates rise – the price of property falls.

    We are in a very dangerous monetary and fiscal situation.

    While there are comparisons made to the 70’s – this is NOT comparable to the 70’s.

    It took decades to create the stagflation of the 70’s.

    What we see right now is more strongly comparable to nations that have had hyperinflation.

    Whether we avoid that depends on what happens to the price of debt – interest rates, as the FED slowly exists financing government debt.

    We likely will be lucky-ish. the US is still the global reserve currency, and our current problems are NOT unfortunately unique.

    Interest rates on US debt will likely rise, but so long as US government debt is less risky that other debt we are not likely to see problems like hyperinflation.

    But avoiding catastrophe is NOT the same as everything being good.

    Further MY assessment of the “likely” price of US debt is just MY oppinion.

    If the price of US debt increases dramatically – things are going to hell – fast.

    A 1% increase in the interest rate on US debt will quickly bring the US debt service cost above the defense budget. Interest rates of 5% – which have been the norm for much of the 20th century would bring debt service to 1/2 the federal budget. Interest rates of 10% – such as in the late 70’s would bring debt service equal to the rest of the federal budget.

    The temptation to return to FED financed debt will be huge – to avert catastrophe.
    But that will just drive ever rising inflation.

    • rcoase permalink
      January 4, 2022 6:47 am

      Here is the nation – with a clueless article on inflation.

      Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomena.
      Milton Friedman.

      Free markets historically NEVER have inflation – they have mild deflation.

      The cost of nearly everything DECLINED through the 19th century.

      Inflation prior to the creation of the federal reserve was ALWAYS seen as bad, and ALWAYS the consequence of some form of currency debasement.

      The laws of supply an demand not only apply to commodities – if demand for a particular good exceed its supply, the price rises, They ALSO apply to MONEY.

      If the supply of money is fixed, rising prices on ONE good or service REQUIRE lower demand for others. You can only spend a dollar ONCE, and if you must pay more for food and gasoline, you will will lower demand for other things.

      Inflation only occurs when money supply increases faster than GDP increases.

      Rising prices on specific goods are the consequence of the laws of supply and demand – and in this instance the bad policies that drove those.

      But inflation is the consequence of profligate monetary policy.

      I would note that there are large numbers of economists that have been warning about the risks that our increasingly MMT based government policy would lead to inflation.

      The only thing they were wrong about is how long it took.

      For those who think I am specifically attacking Biden – absolutely, but NOT solely.

      The seeds for the current mess started long ago – with the policies that resulted from the financial crisis. While Trump reversed many mistakes of Obama, he continued poor monetary policy. It is still likely that absent the massive Covid spending under both Trump and Biden that significant inflation would have reared its head for some time to come.
      The Covid spending accelerated reaching that tipping point.

      Regardless, it is highly likely we are facing a serious economic tipping point.
      There is nothing the Fed can do that is not going to hurt.

  26. rcoase permalink
    January 4, 2022 5:53 am

    This political analysis is from a relatively conservative source- and there are points I disagree with.

    But it is still very interesting.

    We have been in the midst of a significant political re-alignment.
    It started prior to Trump but has dramatically accelerated both during and after Trump.

    While WE tend to see it from the perspective of the US it is a global -or atleast western political re-alignment.

    I noted that Trump accelerated it – primarily by recognizing that it was occuring and tailoring his politics to it.

    REGARDLESS, this should reinforce and argument I have made regarding the incredible anti-Trump hostility here.

    Whether you like it or not “Trumpism” is the future of the GOP.

    Maybe there will be some small tweaking. Maybe the next GOP leader will be less of whatever it is that you find rhetotricially offensive.

    But it is unlikely there will be much deviation from Trump’s core policies for a long time.

    I tend to suspect this analysis’s claim that the GOP base is both stable and growing, while the democratic base is highly stressed and in great danger of fracturing is true.

    Republicans have likely shed neo-cons – good riddance.

    I have not seen the defection of the Romney, Kasich, Sasse types. but this article seems to think that too is likely.

    There are many here who seem to Fawn over the Romney, Kasich, Sasse types.
    That may be at the root of some of the conflict between us.
    while I bear no animosity for that wing of the GOP, they are irrelevant, they have no meaningful political power – in either party, and might as well be moderate democrats.

    Conversely Republican gains with the working class – both white and minority were inevitable – as standards of living rose.But these were accelerated by the direct appeal of Trump to the working class AND by the democrats abandonment of the working class.

    I would note this “realignment” DOES NOT mean a huge shift in political values.

    The fundimental driving force is the same as what drove white immigrant groups from vigorously democrat to solidly republican over time – and that is rising standard of living.

    The better the working class does the LESS interested they are in handouts, and the more interested they are in opportunity.

  27. rcoase permalink
    January 4, 2022 6:14 am

    Here is a published study of the damage done by all the policies to thwart Covid that many here supported.

    This is pretty damning. We have screwed up a generation of children.

    Several here are blaming much of the nonsense of the left on the “me” generation.

    I agree, except that the narcists that are F’ing up everything they touch did not magically appear from nowhere.

    WE created them. Bad policies, bad parenting,and bad education are the direct cause of a generation of narcissists. This did not happen overnight – and it is unlikely to be fixed qucikly.

    The damage caused by bad pandemic policies occured much more abruptly,but it likely will be even more costly.

    Click to access 2021.08.10.21261846v1.full.pdf

    These problems – like those that created the generation of narcists that others here are criticising – are the product of abysmal critical thinking and inability to grasp that there are 2nd and 3rd order impacts of poor policies.

    One of the most fundimental differences between government and private action is not that private actors tend to be smarter and think more critically and deeper – though the do,

    But that when they make mistakes, they easily and automatically correct them.
    Free markets do not tolerate failure – not at any level. Success in the free market requires finding a near perfect balance between satisfying investors, customers and staff.
    People do not have to buy your goods or services,
    The do not have to invest in your company,
    and they do not have to work for you.
    Succeeding REQUIRES satisfying ALL of them – better than your competion.

    Government and those who advocate for it – and many here constantly engage in “magical thinking” – pretending that something that MIGHT have one benefit, MUST be imposed by FORCE -even though it negatively impacts myriads of others. Those advocating for government action – do not even think about the negative impacts, they fixate on hypothetical benefits that rarely materialize.

    And when it is established that they screwed up ?
    There are no consequences.
    We do not even typically reverse course.

  28. Vermonta permalink
    January 4, 2022 6:33 am

    The antivax people are beyond my belief. Period. Whoever they are, whatever ideology or the lack thereof. When I was a kid this did not exist. I went into the army, they vaccinated us. I went to Russia to work, got vaccinated there in order to stay.

    The only reason the COVID death toll, horrendous has not reached the per capita level of that flu pandemic (as Ron carefully showed) is modern science. But we have people who for their various reasons reject modern science, and have movements based on that. Some of these are left wingers more are right wingers.

    It is beyond my comprehension. Idiots now have to be coddled, whether its the PC numbskulls or the anti science and modern medicine numbskulls.

    I am not going to argue with anyone about this, I’ve said my piece.

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 4, 2022 9:03 am

      ” The COVID-19 pandemic provides the government no license to abrogate those freedoms. There is no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment,” O’Connor wrote in his ruling. “There is no military exclusion from our Constitution.”

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 4, 2022 9:51 am

        The Pentagon has mandated this (not Biden BTW). There is 99% compliance. That is a very good thing. This ruling is a temporary injunction, it won’t hold in the long run or we do not have the basic premise of an effective military. The soldiers in the suit presumably got vaccinated when they entered the military. There may be some back and forth about how the Pentagon enforces compliance. It will not change the reality that the military will require vaccination against COVID and whatever else they decide. If they can tear gas you in basic training and order you to land at Normandy, they can vaccinate you. If you won’t follow orders you will be discharged and/or otherwise punished. That is the military.

        Christian religious beliefs did not permit them to be vaccinated? Please. Christ had no recorded statements on vaccination.

        You are pissing in the wind. I am not surprised.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 4, 2022 10:23 am

        Eh, it’s mostly men who piss in the wind. I’m not able.

      • January 9, 2022 7:55 am

        The military is more complex. Actually MUCH more complex.
        But that does not mean mandates will pass constitutional muster there either.

        Particularly where there are not religious exceptions.

        As to the effectiveness of our military – do you really expect the “woke” military to be effective ?

        The US has serious problems with out military.
        Politics takes over when we are not at war.
        While effectiveness matters during war.

        In WWII there were some rough patches at the start when politically savy by incompetent leaders had to fail and be replaced by actual warriors.

        In a modern conflict it is not likely we have time for that.

        Regardless, the navy has had covid outbreaks on vessels that were fully vaccinated.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 4, 2022 10:52 am

        Oh, I have seen it done by ladies, both metaphysically and in reality, but, you get a point, you made me laugh.

      • January 9, 2022 7:45 am

        It is likely that Omincon will obliterate the argument regarding mandates at the supreme court.

        Purportedly Omicron now makes up 95% of sequenced US cases.
        Vaccine and infection based immunity is at best 35% effective against Omicron.

        Further there will be no Omicron vaccine before Omicron has burned through the country.

        It is unlikely that SCOTUS is going to approve something that clearly is going to be useless.

        The only question is whether they will take a strong stand.
        By all apearances they are going to kill mandates -on the basis that the president does not have that power by law, rather than that they are on their face unconstititonal.

    • January 9, 2022 6:54 am

      I would note Robby that there have been more Coivd Deaths under Biden and after the vaccine than under Trump and before.

      There are factors that would have to be regressed out to state anything with certainty, but prior to Omicron it appears that reductions in the death rate from all factors have been small.

      Finally the 1918 Flu MUCH more fatal.

      Global data for the 1918 flu is about 500M infections – there have been 300M covid infections.the world has 4-6 times more people so Covid is probably LESS contageous.

      Estimated deaths are from 17.4M-100M At the low end that is 8-12 times more fatal than C19

      Comparison is complicated because even basic aspects of care and treatment have advanced dramatically since 1918. They did not have respirators in 1918, they did not have anti-inflamatories. Though IV treatments came into existance in the early 19th century they did not get wodely adopted until WWII. That alone is likely to have resulted in significant Flu deaths.

    • January 9, 2022 7:37 am

      It is beyond my comprehension how idiots like YOU – that have to be coddled must force everyone else to make the same choices as you have.

      Most of the people you attack as “anti-science” have made perfectly reasonable choices.

      I would further note – again as a matter of MATH – that it was self evident in early 2021 that Vaccines would not work.

      Their effectiveness, half life and the global rate of vaccination were not even close to high enough.

      If Vaccines were 100% effective for 6 months and then dropped to 50% abruptly.
      If 100% of amercians were vaccinated in less than 6 months,
      you STILL would not elminate Covid from the US or world.
      In fact you would guarantee that it became endemic.

      This is actual SCIENCE – or more accurately MATH.

      Wealthy countries can afford to keep giving boosters forever,
      but unless you eliminate C19 globally, you will have to vaccinate forever.

      Are you actually this blind ?

    • January 9, 2022 7:38 am

      I would further note that the best vaccine has an effectiveness of 97% 3 weeks after the 2nd booster and that declines to 50% over the course of 6 months.

      That is just not good enough to get rid of Covid.

  29. Ron P permalink
    January 5, 2022 1:48 am

    Ronda, one additional comment concerning vaccines. Can we expect our medical facilities, health departments, drug stores and others to vaccinate 330 million people every 6 months like we need right now to mitigate the impact of mutating strains of Covid. Can we expect the drug companies to produce enough vaccine for everyone to get the shot every 6 months.I suspect we cant.

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 5, 2022 7:40 pm

      I suppose, if it’s up to Pfizer, which has generated hundreds of $billions$ from the vaccine, the answer to that would be…”Sure!”

      Of course, Pfizer has a covid pill in the approval pipeline, for when the vaccines are finished, which I suspect they will be soon, given the fact that they don’t protect against omicron.

      We have paid for the “free” vaccines. Now I suppose the pills will be “free” too.

      I was thinking today that both sides of this covid debate sound like different sides of the same coin. When unvaccinated people get severe covid and die, the vax-mandating crowd points to that and says “See, if s/he had been vaccinated, this would not have happened!” When vaccinated people get severe covid and die, the anti-mandaters point to that and say “See, the vaccines don’t work!”

      The truth is clear that vaccination has helped mitigate the virus, but doesn’t prevent you from getting it and spreading it. And it’s rare for vaccinated and boosted people to die from covid, and also rare for people to die from the vaccines. Although both do happen.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 6, 2022 8:00 am

        Provide a reference that Pfizer has made hundreds of billions from covid vaccines. You can’t it’s just more bullshit. They have made a few billion, it’s called capitalism. They don’t work for free.

        You can continue to claim that the vaccine does not prevent people from getting and spreading covid, but in fact it sharply cuts infection rates.

        It does not prevent every inoculated person from infection, no vaccine does. It protects the majority of recipients, this is what vaccines do.

        When I add the implications of your comments up the story I hear is that drug companies are selling ineffective vaccines and making incredible profits. If that is your intended message its hippy bullshit.

        You are not helping, and your political group are doing much more harm than good as they have throughout the covid pandemic. In fact, no good at all, only harm. Thanks

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 6, 2022 10:03 am

        Roby, have you even seen the infection rate graphs from omicron? Estimates, based on location, are that about 70% of those recently infected were fully vaccinated.

        ” Omicron is driving up cases, at least in part, due to its ability to partially evade the immunity generated by vaccines and cause breakthrough infections in large numbers.”

        I have grown accustomed to your finger-wagging at me, but, seriously, you need to get back to a place where you can rationally discuss facts and evidence. It is a fact that omicron is spreading like wild fire among the VACCINATED. That’s not “my political group” saying it, its’s the CDC.

        And, since when are you so opposed to hippies?

      • January 10, 2022 1:12 am

        Pfizer’s 2019 sales were 1.7B.
        Their 2021 sales were $38B

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 6, 2022 10:57 am

        “Roby, have you even seen the infection rate graphs from omicron? Estimates, based on location, are that about 70% of those recently infected were fully vaccinated.”

        Look, I admit this is a bit subtle but, using Vermont as an example, about 95% of people over 70 here are fully vaccinated. Most of the deaths occur in those over 70. Do we conclude from this that vaccination is not only ineffective it is deadly? No! We think a little deeper about the subtleties of statistics treating very inhomogeneous populations. The oldest population is the population with the worst health and is the population that is most at risk and is the population that is most highly vaccinated. So, vaccination works and protects and saves many people but on the face of it if one does not do a bit of thinking it looks like the vaccine kills people. Something like 85% of the Vermont population over 18 are fully vaccinated. The last time I looked about 40% percent of the COVID deaths here were breakthough cases. That stunned me and I did some digging, asked the VT Dept of Health for some data and did some math and then I understood that the vaccine is highly effective. 65% of the COVID deaths in Vermont are occurring in 20% of the population, the unvaccinated. Therefore, yes the vaccine is protecting people and has a large benefit. We see a very small number of deaths here in Vermont, its rare for more than 1 person to die per day or most often zero, which skews the statistics. A larger state with higher mortality provides larger numbers and therefore better statistics.

        So, lets forget Vermont with its small anomalous population and low death rate. I posted an excerpt about New York last night and while the the breakthrough cases under omicron were up by almost 4 times, the rate of infection in vaccinated people was still lower BY SIX TIMES! The hospitilization rate in the vaccinated was better BY 14 TIMES! The death rate was not given but it must have been similar to the hospitilization rate. And this is for fully people many of whom have had no booster. Add the booster and the resistance to COVID-19 would increase even more strongly.

        So what do we conclude? Vaccination protects people from every phase of COVID-19 from infection to death. It is not perfect, no vaccine is.

        I did a lot of thinking last night and this morning, I opened my immunology college text book and refreshed my memory about the adaptive immune system and I wrote a long bit about my opinions on COVID-19 and vaccines. I am 100% sure what I wrote would hold up well to the scrutiny of an actual virologist/immunologist. Read that, if you have not and ask me anything you like. If you will really process what I wrote it should end your confusion about vaccine protection from COVID.

        I understand that you are an intelligent and well meaning person, and one part of your brain gets vaccinated and advises others to do the same. But the political part of your brain spreads misinformation about COVID and vaccination and cheers when a judge halts the military from from enforcing vaccination of the troops. You have one foot in both worlds. The foot you have in the political world of Dave and Pats misinformation and conspiracy theories drives me nuts.

      • January 10, 2022 6:33 am

        You are STILL unable to see the forrest for the tress.

        Absolutely it is possible to look at course data and reach incorrect conclusions.
        You can do that with data at any level of granularity.

        We do not KNOW that vaccinations have little effect on Omicron from the raw/coarse data.
        Though that data STRONGLY implies that.

        We do however know it from other data and studies.

        There are already antibody studies evaluating the effectiveness of Delta or vaccine gnerated antibodies on Omicron. As well as the effectiveness of Omicron antibodies against Delta.

        There are also studies reaching the same results by looking in more detail at who is getting infected

        It is STILL true – in the US, UK and South Africa, that a larger percent of unvaccinated are being infected – BUT the disparity in infection rates between the vaccinated and unvaccinated is much smaller.

      • January 10, 2022 1:08 am

        I do not care that Big Pharma has profited.

        I do care that they have been able to use government to thwart competition.

        While I am arguing that vaccines do not work -because that is the evidence, the most important argument is for freedom – whether they work or not.

        But you can NOT morally infringe on another persons freedom and FAIL to produce a net positive outcome.

        The use of force requires justification.

        Success is NECESSARY but not sufficient to reach justification.

        Ultimately you can not morally FORCE others to act for their own good.

        You are free to persuade.

        Though broad statements like Vaccination is the right choice for everyone are wrong.
        You are free to be wrong, just as those who chose not to vaccinate may be wrong and still free to do so.

    • January 9, 2022 8:30 am

      We actually need to vaccinate MORE than once every 6 months.

      To elimate a virus as contageous as Covid you need sustained 95% or above effectiveness in 100% of the population.

      That is not doable.

  30. Vermonta permalink
    January 6, 2022 9:30 am

    At the moment omicron is the dominant COVID-19 form and at the moment we are losing 1200 per day which would be about 400,000 per year if that rate holds. Are these nearly all omicron cases that are dying or are there still many of the delta cases dying? If it is predominantly omicron that is killing at a 1200 per day rate then the idea that its not deadly and is a “mild” COVID seems incorrect.

    I have never bought the idea that human viruses inevitably mutate to milder forms to avoid going extinct. In a small and not very mobile population, such as the human race was not so long ago in our evolutionary history, this may have been true, a human virus that became too efficient at every phase of its “life cycle” could kill all the local humans and become extinct. But we are long past that stage, there is no shortage of humans and we move around all over the place. COVID-19 will never run out of victims and go extinct. In my opinion, modern human viruses will vary in a range of deadliness as mutations occur, depending on how well the virus performs all of its tasks: entering, evading, replicating, and disseminating. Its optimal (most efficient at all phases) form is not likely to long persist long because it is a sort of “perfect” virus and mutations will inevitably occur that change some of its parameters for the worse, from the standpoint of viral efficiency. So, the virus will not maintain its deadliest form but neither will it gravitate inevitably to its mildest form. It will vary in its features as the flu does producing different levels of deadliness in different forms. The most horrifying attack will be the first attack of a novel virus that people do not have antibodies for and thus have to rely on innate immunity and lack adaptive immunity. Every organism, even bacteria, has some form of immunity but only vertebrates have antibody mediated adaptive immunity. As a virus persists over a long period of time and immunity via the adaptive immune system, the part of the system that involves antibodies and T and M cells and a whole giant system of immune cell types and effector molecules, develops the virus will kill fewer people because more people will be resistive. I do not think there is any such thing as “immunity” to a virus; if it enters a human it will get to some stage in its life cycle before it is either stopped or kills the victim. If it does not reach the point of causing noticeable symptoms that is the best outcome, but its still in your system trying to replicate.

    What means deadly in the context of a virus? Does it mean a virus that kills the largest number of infected people? Or does it mean the virus that eventually kills the largest proportion of the victim population? A virus that kills fewer infected people but infects many more people can kill more people in the end. I realized this morning that maximum deadliness in virology is like maximum profit in microeconomics. You don’t make the maximum profit by charging the highest price in most cases. In any case, the COVID-19 virus does not “care,” evolutionarily speaking, whether it kills or not, it just is guided by evolution to survive and spread.

    The only predictable thing about the future of COVID is that it will continue to mutate and new forms will have new characteristics, some forms will be more deadly and some less, and eventually we will have a high enough level of herd immunity through a combination of vaccine training of the immune system and training of the immune system via actually catching COVID. The immune system learns best by repeated learning episodes, the more the better. I wish I Would get COVID, I have had two Moderna shots and then the booster (I am happy they made a profit performing this large service for me). A mild COVID infection would likely make me resistive for life to severe COVID symptoms.

    All the BS by the various spreaders of misinformation is inevitable, I guess, and is very harmful. That is the human race and the internet only amplifies it. I realize that the actual biological topics are incredibly complex and that no lay person will get more than a very rough outline of the battle between the COVID-19 virus and the human immune system with its huge and baffling sets of parts and processes. Still, it would be good if people who don’t know what they are talking about would realize that they don’t know what they are talking about and that the right or ability to speak publically is not the same as the ability to speak helpfully and constructively based on one’s deep knowledge.

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 6, 2022 8:03 pm

      Honestly, Roby, the idea of “spreading misinformation” seems like BS to me.

      Before you see red on this, please understand that I am not saying that what you have said is BS…in fact, my point is that you may be right and I may be wrong. You’re a smart guy, and I’ve always thought so (and in my better moments, like now, I’ve said so).

      So what’s wrong with just saying, “Priscilla, you are wrong about this, and here are the reasons why.” Or, just, “Hey, you’re wrong, and I’m right. ” I’m good with admitting that I’m wrong when I am provided with evidence to the contrary.

      Simply saying that my evidence is untrue, or “misinformation” is not an argument. It’s certainly fair to say that something I’ve said sounds like BS, and that you would like sources or better sources (not as easy as it sounds these days, but still somewhat possible). But I’m not “spreading” anything, I’m just here on Rick’s blog, discussing news of the day with, at any given point, about 3-4 other people. Not a great place to “spread” anything. Too small an audience, ya know?

      So, when it comes to Omicron, you may be correct. On the other hand, waaay back in March of 2020, when I got the call that I had tested positive for covid, the guy from the lab said, “You actually tested positive for 2 coronaviruses, one was covid-19 and the other was probably just a cold.”

      Was I the first hybrid case? 😉

      • January 10, 2022 4:12 pm

        The suppression of actual misinformation is more dangerous than actual misinformation – in numerous ways.

    • January 10, 2022 1:34 am

      I am not going to argue with you regarding whether the laws of evolution dictate that viruses TEND to mutate towards less severity.

      YOUR experts claim that. I think they are likely correct.

      That said mutation is probabalistic.

      Mutations occur all the time. RNA is prone to mutation.
      Successful mutations do NOT.

      In some riduculously large proportion of mutations – the result FAILS – it is unable to reproduce.

      Of those mutations that are able to reproduce – those that reproduce fastest and spread fastest will out compete those that are slower. In very unique circumstances it is possible for a mutation that is less transmissive to overcome one that is more. but that is a low odds event.

      Omicron is mutating just as fast as prior variants. But every mutation that is inferior to omicron will NOT thrive.
      If Delta or Alpha or something similar resulted from a mutation of Omicron right now – they would NOT survive.

  31. Priscilla permalink
    January 6, 2022 10:24 am

    If you get Omicron, which, by pretty much all accounts, is a cold, you should, acquire natural immunity.

    Delta is still out there, but accounts for very few cases now.

    I’m sure that it is also possible to get a bad case of Omicron, and if you have no immunity and significant comorbidities, you could die. Thousands of people die from the flu every year, but we don’t freak out about it.

    Otherwise, I pretty much agree with everything you write here.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 6, 2022 11:13 am

      Omicron is a fascinating case, most virologists agree that it was generated not by a large population of single point mutations occurring in a large population of people but by dozens of point mutations in one asymptomatic person that accumulated over the course of many months. During that time it has apparently recombined with a cold virus and is a mixture of COVID and a cold. If it is actually responsible for 1200 deaths per day in the US that is much more formidable than any but the most exceptional flu. Our excess deaths in the US over the course of COVID have been I believe over a million and COVID is not over yet. Freaking out never helps but taking such numbers seriously and reacting strenuously is the rational thing to do.

      As well, it is going to be a long haul of bad economic news for many years, you can blame Biden if you want, but in my world no president could have changed this forecast, the economy is highly distorted by the worldwide health crisis, supply chains sometimes nearly broken, employers desperate for workers. This is simply pure economics. It won’t really change until COVID is actually causing deaths at the rate of the flu.

      And, I am sorry to say, that this hybrid is likely to be displaced in a month or so by the next COVID-19 form, which will not likely be a hybrid. This is far from over.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 6, 2022 12:33 pm

        Anyone that thinks the president can change the economy within a few months of taking office is kidding themselves. For one, the legislation that is introduced in any first year of an administration was well on its way to being written before they took office and when it is passed, much of it does not get into the economy for a year or two. Just look at all the money still waiting to be distributed for the covid stimulus program. Small business, rent assistance, etc is still not distributed.

        Bidens $2T dollar stimulus package goes for 10 years. So two presidents after him will get any credit or blame for how that works out if and when anything in that brain fart is passed.

        The supply change issues were a disaster waiting to happen. Create a business climate to move the majority of consumer products overseas where disruptions to the manufacturing can come from many directions, give people thousands to spend (stimulus), increase demand substantially due to stimulus, have ports limited to the amount of products that can be moved daily due to harbor dock limits, trucking issues, storage issues and manpower issues and the supply change breaks. And add to that anything that goes wrong now with vendors, its “supply chain problems” creating the shortage. The president has no control over that at all. Biden announced a program that did little, but the reporting of ships backed up made it look like it worked because they also changed the staging of cargo ships further out to sea, resulting in fewer ships within the miles considered “staged”.

        Congress still holds the power for most things. Joe Manchin and Kristin Sinema have proven that.

      • rcoase permalink
        January 10, 2022 7:43 am

        Same study – but explained in an article that is more accessible.

      • rcoase permalink
        January 10, 2022 8:02 am

        I do not care whether you are sorry or not.

        What is your evidence that Omicron will be quickly displaced ?

        There is no doubt that it will continue to mutate.
        Myriads of mutations likely occur in every human infected with Covid.

        Almost all of those FAIL Mutations are close to random, but success is NOT.

        Success FIRST requires a mutation that can continue to reproduce.
        Only a tiny fraction of mutations will meet that.

        The NEXT requirement is that it will out compete the variant it dervived from.
        Every time the virus increases in transmission rate that increases the transmission rate required from a new variant.

        Variants are not equal.
        Omicron is replacing Delta. Just as Delta replaces its predecessors.
        Just because a new mutation that is capable of reproducing occurs does not mean that it will last long even in its original host.

        It is not impossible that something even more contageous than omicron will develop but with every gain the odds decrease.

        Further both likely and hopefully omicron is so contageous that it will have a short life. The faster it spreads the more quickly herd immunity develops.
        Once that occurs it dies just as quickly as it rose. that is the amount of time you have to develop a new variant. To be successful that variant must be more contageous than Omicron. Further – even if that did happen unless it can reinfect people who had omicron – any new variant will not last long.

        It went though south africa in weeks It spiked in south africa about 4 times faster than Delta. total infections in the UK and the US way more than doubled any previous variant in about 2 weeks. We are seeing 6M cases reported per week in the US and rising.

      • January 10, 2022 8:09 am

        I do not blame either Biden or Trump or any governor or world leader for Covid.

        I do blame them for lying about it.
        I do blame them for false promises regarding Covid.
        I do blame them for destroying the economy.

        Covid has never been anything that government had the ability to fix – you are suddenly coming arround to that – the alternative is that Biden is much worse than Trump.
        Anyway – you owe Trump an appology.

        “220,000 Americans dead,” Biden said during the Oct. 22 debate. “You hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. Anyone who … is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.”

        Biden owes Trump alot more than just an apology.
        But then he owes LOTS of people appologies they will not get.

    • January 10, 2022 6:25 am

      We can not determine the precise mortailty of Omicron from the current macro data without detailed and complex analysis.

      But we can tell that it is atleast 5 times approximately less lethal that delta.

      Because infections have skyrocketed and deaths are down,
      It is likely that most current new deaths are due to Delta while most current new infections are from Omicron. but in about two weeks both deaths and infections will be primarily omicron. If the death rate continues to drop – which it will, that means Omicron is not merely significantly less fatal it is FAR FAR less fatal.

  32. Ron P permalink
    January 6, 2022 12:17 pm

    I am not smart enough to know how to get something out of Facebook and post it as an image on word press. I can do it most anywhere else, but not the God awful software.

    Anyway, this is an image of one of the local large sized hospitals in the local area. It shows the numbers that reflect what has been been talked about here in the last few days. What it does not provide is any data on those with or without co-morbid conditions causing required hospitalizations.

    • Ron P permalink
      January 6, 2022 12:18 pm

      Well, now it put in the image. I give up!

      • January 6, 2022 12:46 pm

        This is Savannah Jordan. wordpess won’t post me as Savannah. I have tried 5 times. The stats from Ballad Health (NE Tennessee/ SW Virginia) are very similar to what you posted for your healthcare system.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 6, 2022 1:08 pm

        Well Savannah, sorry to here you are having problems, but nice to know I am not an idiot and the only one with Word Press issues.

        from most info I have seen, most all the data shows about the same percentage breakdown between hospitalized individuals. It would be nice to know the age breakdown since that has much to do with individuals risk of hospitalization. Those with underlying health issues are normally at an older age, resulting in the vaccines having less protection. And when older, the immune system does not react to a vaccine like it does in younger folks. Both my daughter and myself had the Pfizer vaccine and I had minor reactions, my daughter had major reactions. Her immune system went full speed ahead.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 6, 2022 10:16 pm

        I had a very major reaction. My husband and I both got the J&J vax, he had no reaction other than a little soreness at the injection site. I ended up in the hospital with dehydration. Even covid didn’t hit me that hard! It was like the worst hangover ever…

      • Ron P permalink
        January 6, 2022 11:04 pm

        Well my daughter did not get that bad, but my wife had the worst headache for about 1 1/2 days that she said she has ever had and she had severe headaches many years ago. My daughter was layed low for 2 days, fever, chills, headache, body ache. Not sure if she ever got a booster because she said she had to schedule it around her work schedule and the kids school schedule. She planned on the same immune response as the second one. Neither one had much reaction to the first shot, but the second one was like the shot from hell.

        i suspect you getting the J&J, being one shot, was like the second shot for Pfizer. Your body was tuned up to fight any covid virus since you had it already and was just like getting the first pfizer and when the second came along, it was lights out.

        It is just too bad from what I understand that much of the 2 shot covid vaccine had already been researched & planned for for other covid like viruses( SARS and MERS) and they were just manipulated to address C-19. Had there been less bloviating at the federal level by Fauci, and other federal officials about how fast the government was able to get vaccines to the people, maybe fewer would be against the vaccine. Had it been the drug companies releasing all the information and handling PR, I really believe there would be less misinformation being spread because anything tied to government,will result in at least 25% of the people lining up against something the government does due to distrust. At least many more in the minority community may be getting it based on why they are not in some parts of the country.

      • January 10, 2022 4:17 pm

        I have had all Pfizer and my reaction to each jab has been significantly worse than the prior one.

        My reaction to the 3rd jab was worse than Omicron is being described as,and lasted as long.

        I know many people who have had poor reactions, and many who did not.

        I have heard claims that the worse your reaction the more likely your imunity was high at the time. that sounds reasonable to me – but reasonable is not the same as proven.

      • January 10, 2022 10:53 pm

        There is some preliminary information that I have seen indicating the Omicron is slightly more prevalent in young adults.

        But that could be because young adults are less sequestered right now

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 6, 2022 12:32 pm

      That is very helpful. As always, its data specific to one location. As well, if one knew the percentages of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people in the local population it would only strengthen these trends if more than 50% of the locals are vaccinated. I looked up Novant health, it seems they serve NC and SC so we could take the vaccination rates for NC ( I found 57%) and SC (I found 53%).

      • Ron P permalink
        January 6, 2022 12:49 pm

        I was wrong, this is for all of the Novant hospitals state wide. So one could relate that to the 57% fully vaccinated in NC. They have primary care facilities, but no hospitals I can find in SC

      • January 10, 2022 8:15 am

        It is very hard to get vaccinated vs. unvaccinated data in the US.

        It is actually being tracked but CDC is not making it easily available.

        Senators have asked CDC to do so repeatedly – with no success.

        We do see this data in other countries – the UK is a good source. Also israel.

        But applying israeli data to the rest of the world is complex – Israel developed their own vaccine.

        In the UK last time I checked about 50% of infections are in vaccinated people.
        But this is in the midst of Omicron.

  33. Ron P permalink
    January 6, 2022 1:01 pm

    I did not listen to Bidens Jan 6th speech. I dont listen to most any politician. But I read his complete speech posted by USA today.

    Today I have to say I agree with almost everything published that he said.

    (Guess hell has almost froze over)

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 6, 2022 1:58 pm

      I have not read it but now that you noted it I will.

      It is my opinion, as a bit of a tangent, that Manchin and Sinema are doing their best to save Biden, the Dem party, and the country. This is the time for basic survival, not expensive new initiatives that only one party has enthusiasm for.

      Really, it is going to be very tough times for many years ahead and if we could possibly turn down the volume of the politically motivated thinking and concentrate on the common good, sort of like you know, in Independence Day (the movie) that would really help.

  34. January 7, 2022 9:33 am

    This is Savannah Jordan. Can’t get wordpress to post my name. Hopefully it will post this article, but then again it may not do that. If it does post the article, just curious what people think about the content of this article. A synopsis of what is addressed. Are the actions justified or just an example of wokism that will further divide our nation. This article is on the Persuasion website and it is by Zaid Jilani

    “As the country continues to battle a surge of COVID-19 cases, many authorities are turning to new antiviral treatments, which can aid people diagnosed with the virus who are at high risk of falling seriously ill.

    The problem is, there’s a shortage of these medicines, forcing governments to ration them. …The New York State Department of Health recently released a memorandum authorizing oral antiviral treatment for patients who meet five criteria. One of these is for someone to have “a medical condition or other factors that increase their risk for severe illness,” and the memorandum specifies that being of “Non-white race or Hispanic/Latino ethnicity” qualifies. Their justification for listing race and ethnicity is “longstanding systemic health and social inequities that have contributed to an increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19.”

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 7, 2022 7:50 pm

      My personal opinion is that this is an example of woke racism, of the “two wrongs don’t make a right” variety.

      I suppose one could look at the fact that obesity, diabetes and vitamin D deficiency are all more prevalent in the black community, and all 3 conditions can make one high risk for severe covid, so I’ll stipulate that. that could possibly be the case.

      But, “systemic health” (whatever that means) and social inequity sound more like wokism…

      • Savannah Jordan permalink
        January 8, 2022 12:41 pm

        Sounds that way to me also.

      • January 11, 2022 3:10 am

        Individuals are responsible for themselves.
        Government is responsible to provide “the rule of law”

        There is no reason for govenrment to be involved in healthcare in any way different from its involvement in food, or TV’s.

      • January 11, 2022 4:17 pm

        So PV just dumped a trove of documents demonstrating that Fauxi lied to congress about his involvement in GOF research.

        Fauxi being confronted by Sen. Paul is claiming that Paul – and normal people who think that words have their clear meaning are just confused.

        Regardless, Fauxi has confirmed that the documents dumped by PV are correct.
        Hopefully that will thwart a response by Rhonda or Robby that the documents were dumped by PV therefore you can not trust them.

        What all of this looks like is that Fauxi conspired with Ecco Health Alliance to find creative ways to fund Gain Of Function research – including in Wuhan after the Obama administration banned funding gain of function research.

      • January 12, 2022 1:05 am

        Is there any actual debate that blacks are at greater risk from Covid ?
        I am not aware of any.

        They are at greater risk because of a higher prevalence of well documented risk factors.

        I do not know of anyone that objects to bumping those with diabetes to the head of the line.
        I do not know of anyone who objects to bumping those with more and more significant risk factors to the head of the line.

        I do not even object to bumping healthy people who are black to the head of the line – if you demonstrate that merely being black – even if you are healthy and have normal vitamin D levels puts you at high risk.

        But advancing ANY race purely for reasons of their race,or as is typical today – for things that happened 5 generations ago, is IMMORAL.

        It is also NOT SCIENCE

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 12, 2022 5:56 pm

        “Is there any actual debate that blacks are at greater risk from Covid ?”

        You know, Dave, I thought I read that a while back…around the time that it became clearer that many black people were more hesitant to get vaxxed. But, now that you ask, I don’t recall where I read it, so I will look for a source and report back!

    • January 10, 2022 4:27 pm

      Government is never “forced” to ration, and rationing makes things worse.

      Just look at early Covid issues.

      As Covid initially spiked – all kinds of things were briefly in short supply.

      Hand sanitizer, masks, ventalators, toiletpaper,

      We were told that many of these problems were going to be with us for a while.

      PPE came from china and we would not get enough, ….

      every problem was solved quickly. That is how free markets work.

      That is what they are incredibly good at that nothing else is even close.

  35. Vermonta permalink
    January 7, 2022 9:50 am


    I am posting this at the bottom because what I wrote is too long to go in a skinny box.

    I am a bit surprised that the word misinformation is a sensitive word. Anyhow, first of all, we have a very long history of talking here and there have been some moments of good feelings and some good laughs. I do not suspect you of being a heartless person or a stupid one. We do have an underlying mutual respect despite our differences. So, I regret that I become hot tempered and say things in a blunt way that are wounding to you.

    If I am not careful I could write 10,000 words here to describe why I think this happens. That would take me a lot of time and not even be very effective. Let me see if I can boil this down to a few simple observations (ha).

    Do you remember that just a few days back I made my first post on this topic and I said nothing about you at all and only made a rather general statement about extremists ranting and screaming and ruining conversations? That was Dave I was thinking of, but you took it as an insult to you from out of the blue. Now, I am Irish and Scottish and French and I will admit I have a temper. At least I’m not Italian. I am quite capable of being irritable. You are not an irritable or angry person as far as I can tell, but you are very sensitive. So, we are set up to have this interaction. I have far worse relations with Dave, and when JB was here I had mostly warlike relations with him. Pat, with all his conspiracy theories and his support of trump does not push my buttons much. Ron, I have excellent relations with, even though his politics and yours are often similar regarding actual policies. Ron is doing something very different in his approach to politics than what you do as far as dogmatic thinking and party loyalty go.

    Priscilla, you are an absolutely representative republican/conservative, one could hardly find a person who is more typical of that thinking. I have never been any great friend or admirer of the GOP but the events of the last 5 years have left me scared to death of it. Fear and anger go together, especially in a hot tempered person such as myself. I am infuriated with the republican/conservative world as it now exists in its trumpian form because I am terrified of it. I am in total disbelief at the mass behavior of the r/c world. I would have thought that after Jan 6 some change would have occurred, but it didn’t. Lindsey Graham, a person I once admired and as good a weather vane of r/c opinion as can be found, toyed with having actual convictions and morals for a few days after Jan. 6 and then immediately had his lips sown back on to the trumpian tuckas when he understood that the GOP voters supported all the trumpian destruction and wanted more of the same. I am terrified of the r/c nation that you represent here, it has lost its mind and its moral compass. I would probably get along famously with you and many r/c people if we did not speak of politics.

    I know that you are as frightened of the Dem party as I am of the r/c world. In my opinion the progressives are actually an existential threat… to the dem party. They are a blessing to the GOP. Any calm objective person who understands a bit about politics will understand that the progressives can talk about socialism and propose 93 trillion dollar green new deals but they will never get any of that, the Senate will never be progressive and the electoral collage will always be a huge obstacle to left wing dem candidates. Progressive are irritating as hell but they are an overblown threat in my universe, while as Jan 6 showed that the trumpian GOP is a true existential threat to our democracy, at least in my universe.

    For me it is unacceptable to minimize the harm and the threat that COVID-19 represents, strong measures to contain the death toll and all the other harms are not an “over reaction.” It is likewise unacceptable to me to minimize the seriousness of the trumpian set of behaviors that led to Jan 6. No, those were not tourists. But that is what a large, even a majority element of the r/c world have done over and over.

    So you represent a phenomenon that terrifies and infuriates me. I actually think I am pretty good about trying not to use my strongest and bluntest language.

    I am sorry that the word misinformation seems harsh to you. You stated that Pfizer had generated hundreds of billions off of vaccines. That was wildly wrong. And, it was part of your more general thinking that the vaccine is not effective and therefore the campaign to vaccinate is some sort of Democratic party overreach that is badly conceived, not successful and is fueled by the drug companies desire to make obscene profits off of COVID. Part of that is what I call hippy economic conspiracy BS. In general its what a very influential part of the r/c world is saying and it is beyond my belief that with so many dead anyone can think this way.

    This was nice and fast and concise wasn’t it? And I hardly got going.

    I think we do pretty well Priscilla considering that we represent two different universes of political thought and the fact that this is a deadly and dangerous time between COVID and trump.

    • rondabellelane permalink
      January 8, 2022 5:58 pm

      I am in agreement, and really doubt there is much more I can add, except that I do like Priscilla… and it bothers me when she views disagreement as more of an insult.

      I do blame the right for making covid political, and it’s apparent that most of the Republican representatives are much more into protecting their positions rather than acting on their knowledge – most, although some are simply part of that far-right grouping.

      No, I am not part of the far left, but I also consider them much less of an issue when life is truly the issue.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 8, 2022 11:42 pm

        Ronda. I know this was a discussion with Priscilla, but I have to comment on one thing you wrote:

        “No, I am not part of the far left, but I also consider them much less of an issue when life is truly the issue.”

        One needs to keep in mind that “life” has a different meaning to many people. I view a women’s right to an abortion up to a certain period in the gestation as her choice. But a life is a one outside the womb as well as inside the womb whether that child could live or not when aborted. Abortions takes the life of a child 690,000+ times based on 2018 data.

        So the deaths caused by abortion based on a womens right to choose in one year is not much less than the deaths caused by covid over two years. I do not find, based on those numbers, that the left is any more concerned about life that the right. I find they are as much of an issue about life as the right and their anti vax positions..

        I believe my position on vaccines and that being an individuals choice is not much different than my belief a woman has the right to choose what happens with the child she carries. Both choices impact a third party. Both are alive, just in different stages of life.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 10, 2022 1:14 am

        Sorry, but comparing covid to abortions?? No – I won’t go there – there is no comparison.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 10, 2022 12:47 pm

        That is a matter of opinion, just as all other issues concerning government involvement in a persons body.

        One can believe as ,many on the left do that an unborn child is not a child while many on the right can believe that it is.For many, comparing 600,000 abortions to 800,000 covid deaths has the same meaning. To others, it does not.

        That is why government getting involved in anyone’s private life, no matter if it is covid, abortion or any other issue that impacts there own body is so contentious..That is why government should stay the hell out of a persons private life when it comes to their own body.That is why I do not support a federal mandate on covid vaccinations nor do I support a federal standard for abortions before a certain time period when a child can survive the procedure. “My body. my choice”.

        Your reaction just to my comment appears to be much the same as someone un-vaccinated reaction when told they must vaccinate to protect others. It is personal and it is emotional. And when it is personal, that reaction will never change.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 11, 2022 12:21 pm

        No… they are not the same, and you comparing them is seriously wrong. One is a disease, which has nothing to do with ‘beliefs’ about when life starts.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 11, 2022 12:53 pm

        Like I said, matter of opinion.

        To some a life is a life regardless of it being born or unborn.

        You seem believe life begins once the child has taken its first breath.

        Other believe it starts at conception.

        Death for either should not happen.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 11, 2022 7:46 pm

        Done. Anyone who makes such a statement about when I personally believe life begins, has no credibility.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 11, 2022 11:34 pm

        Ronda, this discussion between you and I is the exact reason it is impossible for two people today to have a discussion without someone leaving with a bad impression.

        This started after you made the comment concerning people not supporting the vaccine mandates and commenting ” No, I am not part of the far left, but I also consider them much less of an issue when life is truly the issue” which I took as insinuating those that believed in that way did not cherish life as much as those on the left. If that was wrong I apologize.

        So I posted what I posted to show that there are two sides of each coin. Nothing more. The issue is neither side can accept that the opposing opinions are just as important to one side as the opinions of the other side. Neither side can accept that. Both view vaccines and abortion as a life and death issue, they just see it in a 180 degree different perspective.

        And our discussion supported that 100% because our debate did not center on my original comment, it centered on the specifics of each issue and not the one core belief that individuals have concerning those issues. Death.

        Maybe the specifics of each issue can not be compared, but to those having opposing views, they can. One only has to have an open mind to look at both sides and accept that this can happen. That does not happen often anymore in our society and that is a core reason for the division that exist today.

        I could care less if women choose to abort or not up to a certain point. That is their choice just as I could care less if one chooses to vaccinate, that is their choice. That is my belief of what freedom in America is all about. But I also understand the emotional reaction each side has to each of these issues because …to…each…person…with…these…views…. they see lives being lost.

        My consistent position in both issue is not the issue itself or the outcome of either situation, it is the role that the federal government plays. And the is no role at all.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:04 pm

        Ron, there ARE times when you simply have to agree to disagree… I neither need to be pounded or insulted by you. When I simply state my point, I do not need a wordsy comeback containing insults. Done.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:19 pm

        Ronda. Sorry for trying to explain what I was trying to convey. Won’t happen again.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:21 pm

        You had already explained. I simply did not agree on your comparison.

      • January 14, 2022 6:57 pm

        The comparison is valid – whether you agree or not.

      • January 14, 2022 6:10 pm

        “Ron, there ARE times when you simply have to agree to disagree”

        We are not ever obligate to agree about anything -not even about disagreeing.

        The only obligation we face is NOT forcing our views on others.

        “I neither need to be pounded or insulted by you. When I simply state my point, I do not need a wordsy comeback containing insults. Done.”

        You do not seem to grasp the difference between a want and a need.

        A man said to the universe:
        “Sir, I exist!”
        “However,” replied the universe,
        “The fact has not created in me
        A sense of obligation.”
        Stephen Crane.

        “You can’t always get what you WANT, but if your try, sometimes you get what you need”.
        Rolling Stones.

      • January 13, 2022 11:22 am

        Rhonda does not appear to be interested in a debate on the issues.

        Abortion is a good example of an issue where there is plenty that each side can argue.

        But pretending that abortion and vaccinations are apples and oranges when the question is whether you have control of your own body is disengenuous.

      • January 13, 2022 6:51 am

        “Done. Anyone who makes such a statement about when I personally believe life begins, has no credibility.”

        This is a very bizarre remark.
        First there is no doubt that “life begins at conception” When a sperm and egg combine – they meet the scientific definiton of life.
        What constitutes “human” life is different question -one science can not answer.
        It can only tell us how a pregancy develops through gestation.

      • January 13, 2022 5:58 am

        We have fixated too much on whether a fetus is a human life.

        While it is true that deciding that a fetus is a human life at some point would allow state intervention – and most states already have laws that allow the prosecution of others for homocide if their actions result in the death of a fetus outside the context of abortion.

        If you stab a pregnant woman and the fetus dies – you can be charged with murder.

        BUT even if you do not accept that a fetus is a human life – it is STILL an independent creature that is IN the woman’s body, and dependant on the womans body but NOT the women’s body.

        A woman has an absolute right to have the fetus removed from her body at any point.
        But she does NOT have the right to require that the fetus is Killed.
        It is IN her body, it is not her body.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 13, 2022 11:54 am

        As I said in a earlier post that you probably have not read before commenting in this manner, the comment was not about abortion, it was about individuals and their response to the issue.

        That is a completely different subject and issue from the abortion debate.

        It is about how one thinks about an issue and their emotional responses to that issue.

        Your body and government getting involved with your body will always bring about an emotional response. Anyone supporting any government action that impacts ones body will bring about that same emotional response.

        I choose this and it was a bad choice. Will choose something different to compare government controls on individual bodies in the future.

      • January 11, 2022 2:41 am

        You do not have to go anywhere. But Ron is free to make whatever comparisons he wishes.

        And abortion can be compared and contrasted with covid in many ways.

      • January 11, 2022 2:43 am

        I WANT SCOTUS to stick to the Casey viability standard for abortion.
        And then I want them to toss all vaccine mandates as unconstitutional

        BOTH would be strong assertions of the right to control your own body.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 9, 2022 10:48 am

        Ronda, please don’t ever think that anything I say here means that I have any personal dislike for anyone. You and I disagree on most things political, but I can easily see that you are a woman of strong convictions, and someone with a kind heart and a good sense of humor.

        I’ve probably said this dozens of times, over the years, but many of my very closest friends and I disagree strongly on politics, but agree on most other things, and trust each other not to let politics corrupt our friendships. I like to debate politics, but I definitely don’t like the recent tendency for everyone to take politics personally. I mean, even I do it, but it’s something that I try to avoid.

        I think that both the left and the right bear responsibility for making covid political, but, in my view, the left bears greater responsibility, because it’s the left that has pushed federal mandates, both mask and vaccination mandates, and it’s those mandates which have drastically divided a population which previously believed that “we were all in this together.”

        I could possibly agree that the far right is crazier than the far left, the far left is still more numerous and more powerful. ( I’m certainly not far right, nor do I consider you far left). The left currently controls pretty much every lever of power in our society, and without pushback will run rampant over some of the values that we all hold dear. The same would be true if the right controlled those institutions. We need two sides.

        So, lets all hope that those of good faith, on both sides, hang in there…

      • January 11, 2022 2:59 am

        How often do you get similar expressions from those on the left.

        There are several recent studies.

        Republicans are perfectly willing to interact in life – to marry, to work for or employ, or to be friends with democrats, but the opposite is much less true.

      • January 11, 2022 3:07 am

        The left owns both the numbers and the crown for most crazy.

        At a recent NCAA womens swiming event,
        a MTF trans gendered person, competed against a FTM trans gendered person and several persons who can get pregnant.

        Why do we still have women’s sports ?

        I can not conceive of a world in which logic still exists that BOTH MTF and FTM trans people could compete as women.

        Or look at the recent Jusse Smollet hoax.

        Smollet is a reasonably afluent and even good actor.
        How is staging your own hate crime against yourself not bat $hit crazy ?

        The problem with the left is not numbers – there are fewer leftists than conservatives.
        The problem is the degree of crazy.

        I linked a Jordan peterson video on postmodernism in a nut shell.

        The left afirmatively rejects reason

      • January 12, 2022 6:51 am

        You can trust democrats or anyone you want with your life.
        But you can not force me to.

        Though I question your judgement.
        Whether they prove sufficient the vaccines are an incredible accomplishment – which “big pharma” deserves credit, and profits. but regardless of their abilities we would sill be undergoing animal trials of these vaccines if that had been left up to democrats.

        The fact that we have numerous vaccines was a gift from Donald J. Trump. Not Biden,not Fauxi,

        Not any of the liars that for some reason you trust.

  36. Priscilla permalink
    January 7, 2022 5:08 pm

    “I think we do pretty well Priscilla considering that we represent two different universes of political thought…”

    Agreed. We’ve developed a “frenemy-ship,” that gets heated, but, in general, conforms to the bounds of mutual respect, and, every now and then, some good laughs.

    I agree with much of what you wrote. Needless to say, my point of view is so different that I can’t agree with all. But, for what it’s worth:

    Yeah, the Pfizer thing should have read hundreds of “millions” not “billions.” I misread the source I was using, and …well, hell, what’s a few extra hundred billions among frenemies?

    The “misinformation” thing? It’s not a particularly offensive word, but it’s a word the the left has decided to use to label anything that the right says as lies. It’s one thing to say that you see things differently from someone else, another to say that they’re spreading lies. I don’t think that you meant it that way, but the toxic nature of political discourse has imbued the word with more negative emotion than it should have.

    It’s funny that you see me as the typical Republican, because I’m so not, especially these days. It’s true that I don’t often criticize Republicans here, and it’s true that, for the past 20 yrs. or so, I’ve voted pretty reliably Republican, but I mostly do both of those things based on my utter disdain for the current Democrat Party, which I view as thoroughly corrupt and willing to do or say anything in order to remain in power. So, basically I dislike and disdain Republicans less, but that doesn’t mean that I like them.

    I won’t get into any discussion of Trump vs. Biden, because I’ve begun to see that politicians on both sides try to create cults of personality, and that’s a bad thing. Suffice it to say that I don’t consider either one of them to have “the right stuff” to lead our country out of the mess it’s in.

    Both covid and Jan 6 have become hopelessly politicized. I don’t know if it’s possible to discuss either topic with someone “on the other team,” simply because any truth of both topics has become lost in the fog of partisan war.
    I get it with Jan 6, but there is something very sinister about politicizing a disease that has victimized everyone.

    So, thanks for your post….I’m sure that this era of good feeling between us will wax and wane, but it was nice to get your reminder that we’ve been at this for well over a decade now, and have remained on reasonably good terms, all things considered!

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 9, 2022 10:00 am

      “I won’t get into any discussion of Trump vs. Biden, because I’ve begun to see that politicians on both sides try to create cults of personality, and that’s a bad thing.”

      Don’t leave out media personalities and some other famous people.

      I have a great fear of demagogues and the people who follow them. Why do people become so attracted to demagogues? Demagogues say something they want to hear and they say it especially loudly and strongly. Take Sanders, he says something that many want to hear. The thing is, aside from that things he says that people want to hear, like the rich have too much power, he is full of shit and poison on almost anything else. But his followers don’t notice. Just, he says something they want to hear especially loudly, so he is their god. They ignore the poisonous and stupid stuff and even begin to believe that too. trump and sanders are the biggest such cult figures but there are plenty of smaller cult figures with large enough followings to become rich and powerful.

      They are all bad, the politicians, the media stars, the influencer celebrities like Gwyneth poltroon and in a world where people always used good judgment they would not exist.

      You might notice that one common thing characterizes Ron and myself: we don’t follow any of them. We can both admire Manchin, but we don’t make a cult out of it. I almost never even think about Biden, although I do support him, he is occupying a tiny portion of my brain and thoughts. I have no favorite media figures and don’t watch the news or read almost any commentary. Ron and I are actual independent in our thinking and therefore flexible. As well, we are both horrified of the idiot things that people from both sides do.

      Ron and I stay sane among the madness and don’t get sucked in and are better for it. It would be a better world if no one joined the parades of the cult leaders.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 9, 2022 10:20 am

        I even hate the term “influencers.”

        I suppose it’s an accurate one, based on the way the world of social media works, but I miss the days when a person of good intentions and charitable behavior was considered a “good example,” “a person to look up to,” or even a “paragon of virtue,” but did not receive payment or use his/her paragon, or influencer, status to convince people to become consumers of brand name products and such.

      • January 12, 2022 11:27 pm

        All I care about these people is that they are confined to the free market. that they are not free to leverage the power of government for themselfs.

        If you want to sell heroin on the street corner go for it.
        I get to express my position by chosing to buy or not buy your product.

        I am increasingly lessa fan of charity -though it is stull superior to government.

        I think Bill Gates the philanthropistis an idiot.
        I think Bill gatesthe entrepeur is an asshole – one who has createdgargantuanamountsof wealth and jobs for himself and others.

        Just as with Meril Streep and Clinton Eastwood – I can revel in what they have accomplished without paying any attention to what they say.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 9, 2022 10:48 am

        I am not sure what Gwyneth poltrows intentions are but the result is ridiculous and promotes fake science. And the expensive candles she sells that smell like her neth4er regions apparently explode. I found this when looking for her behaviors relative to covid:

      • January 12, 2022 11:16 pm

        Even if your rants and laments were somehow true – the solution is trivial.
        People are free to worship whatever cult leaders they want.

        They are not free to impose their prefer cult on others by force.

        Follow Sanders – if that does not work let the the cost fall to you.

        Buy Paltow’s exploding vagina candles – or not,your choice.

      • January 12, 2022 11:20 pm

        Of course you are sucked into the madness – read your own post.

        You suffer from multiple concurrent derangement syndrome

        Preclude government for such a large portion of our lives – and THEN you need not get sucked in. You can live your life as you please with as little or much regard for the feelings of others as you please.

        Accept the domain of govenrment is small – and you can go back to fishing or whatever floats your boat.

        But the larger you make government the more there will be for us all to fight about.

  37. Ron P permalink
    January 8, 2022 12:01 am

    Priscilla, you are correct in your comment about Pfizer and billions in profits. Next year alone they have contracts for $29B in vaccine sales and they expect the profit margin to be 20% on those revenues That is about $5.8B they will split with BioNTech.

    They have brought in $36B this year, so at 20% they are splitting $7.2B.

    So $2.9B plus $3.6B, they are making $6.5B in the two years so far.

    I only post this for documentation. I am not saying this is good or bad because a large number of individual 401 and 403 retirement plans are invested somewhat in drug companies, giving income to those retired or building up a retirement fund. In addition, well run defined benefit plans, which are disappearing and are being replaced by defined contribution plans that individuals have control over also invest in good stocks and drug companies are at the top of that list for income and low risk.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 9, 2022 10:44 am

      Its a very interesting point about the place that the stocks of these companies have in the retirement portfolios of many people. People rarely think about things like that when they are having at the profits that a corporation makes.

      In fact, the pharm industry is full of bad and even repulsive behaviors, I read a whole book about it once and found an examples even in a medication I take, doxazosin.

      I am not a blind admirer of big pharm! (Not that you or anyone said I was.)

      Your figure for the profits of each of the companies is in the same ballpark as mine, something like 10 billion, but not hundreds of billions. As Priscilla admitted, she made the sort of mistake the progressives habitually make, she confused a billion with a million.

      I figure that Moderna made approximately $10 for each of the three shots so about $30. Its a small cost for keeping me from becoming a statistic.

      So, in these case, I say, great on them, and thanks.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 10, 2022 10:43 pm

        Pfizer and Moderna announced early on that they would use the taxpayer funded opportunity to juice their sales for profit.

        J&J announced that it would provide its vax on a not-for-profit basis, since this was a crisis, it didn’t want to profit from a public health emergency. It’s a more diversified corporation, so I guess it felt it could get more value in good will from its vax. I worked for J&J for almost 25 years, and there is no company more concerned with its image.

        Interestingly, I read that Pfizer expects to make $29 billion in covid vax sales in 2022, but that article was from Nov. 2 2021.

        Before Omicron changed the rules of the vaccine game.

        I heard today that Pfizer will have its Omicron shot ready by March. No, seriously…

      • January 12, 2022 11:40 pm

        Drug companies can provide their drugs on whatever basis they please.

        You can choose which vaccine to get based on the policies of that drug company as you prefer.

        As always the problem lies with government.

        All government power comes from selling back to us our freedeom.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 11, 2022 2:11 pm

        “I read that Pfizer expects to make $29 billion in covid vax sales in 2022, but that article was from Nov. 2 2021.”

        Is that sales or profits? I am never clear on the bottom line.

        Its not like I love Pfizer (see the link I posted above about their shenanigans on doxazosin, which I take) or the drug companies but they are a necessary evil and they do work in the capitalist system for their shareholders etc. Last I heard they make most of their profits in the US. But with my hippie days long behind me I am not going to faint if cawperations make a profit.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 16, 2022 10:24 am

        I have no problem with corporations making a profit. That’s, in fact their entire purpose.

        But I also believe, that if something seems “off,” such as the incredible and relentless push to force people to take a vaccine that they don’t want or need ~ like, say, the greatest tennis player of all time, recently recovered from covid, who’s been deported from Australia for refusing the vaccine, despite being a threat to….absolutely no one?

        In situations like this, I say “follow the money.” And that would seem to indicate that the many $billions$ (I don’t want to get myself in trouble like I did before!) is driving international policy, not the other way around…

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 16, 2022 10:29 am

        “Is that sales or profits? I am never clear on the bottom line.”

        The article says “revenue,” so I assume it’s sales.

      • January 12, 2022 11:32 pm

        I do not care about the conduct of Big Pharma.

        Every single thing that stinks regarding Pharma is a product of the fact that our govenrment is for sale.

        I am very upset that Covid became a boon for big business and a punch in the gut to small.

        But that is entirely the misconduct of government – not big business.

    • January 12, 2022 1:10 am

      There is nothing wrong with pfizer profiting – even enormously.

      We should be thankful that they were able to deliver a vaccine so incredibly fast.
      We should thank them with money. ‘

      BUT, I have a great deal of trouble with the fact that Government has allowed Pfizer, Big Pharma to use their influence and money to thwart competitors large and small.

      That is a failure of GOVERNMENT, not Pfizer.

      The way to stop it, is to take the power that is being abused away from government.

  38. rcoase permalink
    January 9, 2022 4:30 pm

    Another editorial this one from unherd noting the power grab by the deep state.

    I would note that over the past 5 years much of what was being kept secret about the russian collusion investigation has been made public.

    This has been highly damaging to the deep state for several reasons:

    The claims leaked to the press by the deep state were NOT supported by the evidence they held and kept secret.

    When finally exposed, none of the secrets bitterly fought over showed any compelling reason for being secret.

    Why is it “secret” the CIA beleived that Putin was more inclinded to favor Clinton than Trump ?

    Why is it secret that the CIA beleived in July 2016 that the Clinton campaign was fabricating a claim of russian collusion with the Trump campaign ?

    Why was nearly everything involved in investigating Flynn secret ?

    While there might be some argument that at the moment of their creation these things were BREIFLY legitimate secrets. There is absolutely no reason that after the election they should have been kept from congress of the american people.

    When deep state secrets are ultimately reveal, the very benign nature of the so called secrets undermines trust in government.

    When there is no legitimate reason to keep things secret – often fighting tooth and nail to do so, it is reasonable for people to buy illegitimate reasons.

    This article posits that Qanon is basically a tin foil hat response to the illegitimate secrecy of the deep state and their malfeasance.

    It may well be.

    But there is also speculation that Qanon is itself a false flag operation being run by the FBI.
    That would sound ludicrous, except that our government and the FBI have not only done things like that before, but there is pretty damning evidence they have been doing exactly that right now. This article mentions Epps and the head of Proud Boys, there is also another “white supremecist performance group” that most beleive is so transparently a government false flag that even the left wing media do not report on their staged events.
    The Witmer kidnapping plot has become a farce – it took 12 FBI agents and sources to get 6 Wolverine militia members to speculate about kidnapping witmer – no actual action was taken.

    I have noted before that there are no gun charges filed related to Jan. 6.
    But there are photos of a few people with guns or with what appear to be guns.
    None of these have been identified or apprehended. None are on the FBI capital wanted lists.

    It would be possible that these were right wing actors with good gun discipline – absolutely no one from the Trump crowd brought and used a weapon on Jan. 6th. the only gun shots were fired by capital police. Armed or not Trump supporters did not resort to the use of arms.

    If the claims of the left regarding 1/6 had the smallest truth – there would have been guns, and they would have been used.

    But an alternate possibiity is that the guns and likely guns identified do not beleong to Trump supporters, but to FBI inserts and provacateurs.

    That latter possibility is most likely BECAUSE the FBI has not merely done nothing, but actively sought to sheild from any investigation those with certain or possible weapons at 1/6
    None are on the wanted list.

    And again the FBI has kept all information on this secret.

    The people identified by the media as likely FBI operatives are NOT protected by FBI silence.

    Any future value they have as informants is GONE. Whether they are informants or not, they have no cover to protect. Nor is their personal safety an issue – if the right was going to harm informants they would have already done so.

    All the secrecy does is protect the role the FBI played in 1/6

    I am going to return briefly to Qanon. I think it is likely that Qanon is NOT an FBI creation.
    HOWEVER I think it is highly likely that the FBI not only closely monitors Qanon,but actively participates.

    The FBI is keeping secret their infiltration of “right wing” groups – because ultimately it is embarrassing, for the FBI.
    Parrallels will be drawn to the Witmer kidnapping plot – as they should.

    And questions would be asked about the FBI’s role in creating the violence on 1/6 or at the very least not properly informing law enforcement and stopping it.

    These are the questions the Jan. 6th commission should be asking but is not.

    These are the questions that will inevitably involve intense legal battles with the FBI in 2023.

  39. rcoase permalink
    January 9, 2022 4:39 pm

    I do not personally care what Fauxi says about anything.

    But here he is admitting that there is a difference between “with Covid” and “from Covid”.

    • rcoase permalink
      January 9, 2022 4:46 pm

      And here is the CDC director noting that “With Covid”isnot the same as “From Covid”

      I fully expect we will see more of this.

      For two years we have universally equated With Covid to From Covid – because that was politically expediant.

      Now that Biden has failed to keep his promises on Covid we are seeing these distinctions drawn. I fully expect that not only the administration – but the left run media and left influenced organizations will re factor their data -starting from Jan 2021 to reduce the seriousness of Covid since 2021 to create a faux impression of success where there was none.

  40. rcoase permalink
    January 9, 2022 6:01 pm

    This article covers TWO big things.

    The first is that left wing nut supreme court justices – like so many on the left even here are completely clueless. How exactly do you decide whether there existed a severe threat justifying government emergency powers when you are MANY orders of magnitude off in the purported facts you beleive.

    The second is that we are increasingly getting real data – in this case from a blue state, that is increasingly absent the idiotic the sky is falling spin.

    Hospitals are NOT being overrun, Nationwide 12% of Hospitalizations are WITH COVID as opposed to FOR COVID -that data is a few weeks old – and Omicron is spiking rapidly.
    But it is NOT spiking hospitalizations and deaths.

    We are in no danger of being overrun – not in the US as a whole, not in NYC.

    Omicron appears to be the most contageous flu equivalent we have ever seen, but interms of risk it is a relatively mild flu equivalent.

    And as is being seen in this article – more and more democrats are coming down from bat $hit crazy to actual sane grasp of reality.

    The next question is whether there will be consequences for those who lied to us for so long.

    “220,000 Americans dead,” Biden said during the Oct. 22 debate. “You hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. Anyone who … is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.”

    When you make moral judgments of others – you judge yourself.

    Biden is no more likely to resign than Trump.
    But Biden is OBVIOUSLY less moral.

    Way to many on the left – and here will forget.

    But alot of america will not.

  41. rcoase permalink
    January 9, 2022 6:39 pm

    There is almost nothing in thisarticle that is new to anyone who has actually followed the Jan. 6 and Witmer events. Nor is Kelley providing original reporting.

    But the article is an excellent summary of what is actually known and what is strongly suspected regarding the FBI’s involvement in 1/6 and the Witmer kidnapping.

    Kelley adds reporting of several additional people who are past FBI informants, likely present informants, who were participants in, and leaders of the events on 1/6.

    The FBI has correctly claimed that much of their conduct is protected first amendment conduct. But that is also true of nearly everyone they have arrested.

    Todate almost no one has been charged with a serious offense. And many of the charges are clearly unconstitutional, or involve extremely broad interpretations of narrow statutes that were never intended for this.

    This article FURTHER exposes the idiocy of the House Jan. 6th commission.

    FBI/DOJ have investigated the crap out of 1/6. They have with certainty greatly exceeded their constitutional authority. They have searched the texts and emails and calls of not just capital protestors, but legislators and members of the executive. And they have found nothing. Worse the DOJ//FBIis actively hiding – just as they did with the Russia collusion nonsense massive amounts of evidence.

    The FBI’s involvement in the Witmer plot is horrendous. When there are 2 agents or informants for every single purported conspirator and when most if not all the ploting was directed by the FBI the lawlessness is with the FBI.

    Further we all have the right to know what the FBI’s role was in the events of 1/6.

    Curriously missing from the entire 1/6 “investigations” is any actual inquiry into the conduct of those within government.

    Responsibility for policing of the capital rests with the speaker of the house – yet Pelosi has refused to allow any of the emails between her office and the capital police before and during this event to be reviewed.

    It is looking increasingly likely that the FBI actively was inciting the event.
    Regardless, they were intricately involved both long before and during.
    If the FBI did not deliberately incite events they were well aware of them ahead of time and did nothing to stop them.

    We are all already well aware that the FBI was deeply politicized against Trump.

    The very least that appears to be true here is that the failed to do their job in order to create a mess than might embarrass Trump.
    Though honestly it is unlikely that their role is that begnign.

    Thus far the FBI has found little of consequence, but self evidently has lots of questions to answer.

    And like the 2020 election – real investigation is NOT occuring.

  42. January 10, 2022 11:01 pm

    There are several disturbing issues in this.

    Robby rants about “misinformation” – and yet here we have a couple of justices of the supreme court who are deciding about vaccine mandates, who purportedly have read lots of testimony and information that is part of the docket for the cases, who still were not merely wrong, but essentially in an alternate reality.

    It is one thing to beleive things that are wrong.
    It is another to say things that are wrong.
    It is a third to be in a position making judgement on the law and the facts and publicly getting the facts wrong.

    What would we think of a supreme court justice hearing an appeal of a murder conviction, who publicly made statements about the crime – that were wildly incorrect ?

  43. Ron P permalink
    January 11, 2022 12:50 pm

    For some like myself, reading articles concerning issues in the news today is disturbing if you believe in the words in the constitution.

    1) Even with the challenge to the vaccine mandate. Biden is going ahead with forcing the employers to require vaccinated employees. That took effect today.

    2) The federal government is forcing private insurers to cover the cost of home covid test.

    3) Biden is going to Atlanta to promote the voting legislation that will require states to provide a number of items for voting, such a minimum of 15 days for early voting, mail-in ballots and set up national standards for voter identification.

    4) Republicans have gone to court to block NY Cities new law allowing noncitizens to vote in municipal elections.

    5) Democrats are going forward with their push to eliminate the senate filibuster.

    So first, I can only say “If you are happy with the current makeup of SCOTUS, you will be happy with future legislation once Trump is relected and has a slim majority in the house and senate.” Be careful what you ask for because some of us don’t think we have the brightest minds on SCOTUS at this time and Harry Reids brain fart allowed that to happen.

    As for 1-4, all of these issues for me are constitutional issues that does not give the feds the right to control. Yes, I agree the feds should have control of elections from a race, sex, age and any other discriminatory position, but I do not believe the feds are given the right to tell any state how many days early voting should be, if they have early voting, if they have mail in ballots or set a national standard that every state has to follow. I support mail in ballots, they have been used in Utah for years with no complaints (Strong GOP red state)_. But that does not mean I think the feds should tell Maine they have to have mail in ballots.

    In addition, I suspect the democrats are going to argue that the feds have the right to control elections as set standards, and then they will argue that New York city should have the right to set their own standards for elections for municipal elections since voting is a states right.

    As for requiring home covid testing, what’s next that they will require private entities to provide?

    And these are just a few more degrees of the warming federal water pot we are experiencing with the loss of rights without many noticing.until we are cooked and can not do anything about it.

    • Priscilla permalink
      January 11, 2022 7:52 pm

      Agreed, Ron.

      The misnamed “voting rights bill,” is simply a way to codify all of the things that f’d up the 2020 election. Here’s my suggestion for anyone who wants federalized elections ~ which is what this bill would create. Have the federal government issue national voter ID, and make Election Day a federal holiday.

      You make the right point about mail-in ballots too. If a state’s legislature (not its governor, not its district or federal courts) votes to have mail elections, ok. I think it’s a bad idea, but it’s what the state election law says.

      I can’t believe that the NYC law allowing illegals to vote isn’t unconstitutional or that those same non-citizens won’t end up voting in state and federal elections, just as many non-citizens in other big cities do….

      It’s interesting that Biden went to Atlanta, the home of “voting rights” poobah, Stacy Abrams, but she blew him off and wouldn’t show up to help the POTUS push her signature issue.

      And, it’ll be interesting to see if the SCOTUS vax mandate decision even changes anything. Now that so many woke corporations have fired, or will soon be firing their employees for not obeying the presdent’s edict, can we even put that genie back in the bottle?

      • January 13, 2022 6:59 am

        38 states require secret ballots.
        Nearly all countries in the world require secret ballots.

        Mailin ballots can NEVER meet the criteria for secret ballots.

        If you want something similar but more secure – you can have broader absentee ballots.

        You can have people go to the court house, the JP’s or even the post office and cast an absentee ballot. Or you can have people register online to have an election worker deliver a ballot to them have them vote and collect that ballot.

        But you can not have a ballot outside of the control of government,
        And you can not have a voter with a ballot where anyone can determine how they voted.
        Not families or friends. It is also illegal in many places and should be in all to take a picture of a ballot – for the same reasons.

        I would note – many of the suggestions I made above are still bad ideas, but they are better than mailin voting.

        You can not prevent fraud in mailin voting.

        If we did not have massive fraud in 2020 – we will. If we keep it up.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 12, 2022 7:27 am

      Ron, I do not have such strong feelings as you do on fed mandates. I understand the argument about states rights, it has some reason to it. But its not a hot issue for me. Its fine by me if corporations mandate vaccination with or without a Biden Fed mandate.

      I think that the idea of changing the filibuster is a grenade waiting to go off on whoever uses it. Since the Senate is inherently more conservative than the country itself, it would be particularly bad for democrats.

      I have the idea that Biden calling to end the fillibuster is theater. Perhaps he really means it but perhaps its posturing.

      No Democrat can be president without strong support of the liberal and progressive voters. Any Dem president will champion some things that those voters want. No Dem president (at least in my lifetime) has ever been as moderate Manchin, not Kennedy, not Clinton, not Carter. All those had their liberal issues that they pressed.

      It is no different from what the Republican presidents have to do, they have to press conservative issues. No GOP president would be as moderate as Manchin either, they will be more conservative than Manchin, or some other actually moderate senator that we could think of.

      So, presidents will be liberal dems and conservative republicans.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 12, 2022 7:39 am

        And one more thing, voting rights, I am For them, very strongly. No one has found any legitimate evidence that voting fraud affected the outcome any recent Presidential election. That is all a lot of conspiracy theory garbage. The thing that “F***ed up” the 2020 election was endless pathetic right wing trumpian nut jobbery in an attempt to steal the election by any means possible. Ask some sane republican, like Christie or Barr.

        The GOP wants to use all these fake allegations as an excuse to make it much harder for blacks to vote, its that simple. If they can succeed at that very dirty game then they will like future results in swing states.

        They must be stopped at that. They really are an evil party. No matter how much I dislike the progressives I will be sending money to sane Dem candidates for the rest of my life because of things like this. I used to want shared power, it was not at all long ago. Now I want a thin Dem majority holding every lever of Fed power the thought of the GOP having control of anything at the Fed level is sickening to me.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 12, 2022 12:10 pm

        roby, I have no problems with insuring voter rights. I have no problem with insuring the integrity of the vote. That is what the feds should do in a national election.

        However, I do not think they should be setting standards for voter ID or no ID, I do not believe they should be directing states on certain items such as having a certain number of early voting days or control changes in location of early voting sites, (John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act) or there should not be any federal mandate on identification when registering or voting (Help America Vote Act). There are many other issues that will end up in courts and cause years of litigation.

        If Utah wants to send every registered voter a ballot, then Utah should be able to do that. If Vermont wants to have 30 days of early voting, then they should have that.

        Anything that does not restrict the right of another individual to vote should be allowed. The feds should not be telling states what they have to have, they should be telling states what they can not do. There is a huge difference in that position and what Boden has proposed and supports is telling states what they have to provide.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:07 pm

        Bravo!! I love reading a sane & thoughtful reply!

      • January 13, 2022 12:29 pm

        What you tend to be for is deceptive labels.

        Are you for mailin voting ?

        Are you for ballot harvesting ?

        Are you for election processes that are not transparent ?

        Of course no one has found sufficient fraud to tip a presidential election – no one has looked.

        I would note that with very rare instances – you can not PROVE fraud after the election.

        That does not mean it did not occur.

        I have covered many of the GA problems before – BTW they have PROVEN that ballots were scanned multiple times in GA.

        More recently the GA fight is over Ballot stuffing/harvesting.

        In GA as in most states only the voter or a family member can return a ballot.

        A voting integrity organization in VAR through FOIA requests got CCTV video of 15% of unattended ballot boxes in GA and they have operatives dumping lots of ballots into the unattended ballot boxes.

      • January 13, 2022 12:35 pm

        As noted proving large scale Fraud after the fact is nearly impossible.

        Proving that the election results are invalid is not.

        Biden won AZ by about 11K votes.

        The Maricopa County Audit found just under 40K instances of multiple ballots from the same person.

        It is not possible after the fact to remove the bogus ballots.

        It is probably possible to determine if one real person voted multiple times, or if a real person voted once, and someone else also voted for that person. but that would require investigation.

        BTW the people voted multiple times problems was one of the smaller problems found in AZ.

      • January 13, 2022 12:38 pm

        If you do not want a recvolution – then you had better have elections that nearly everyone trusts.

        Contra your nonsense – it is NOT the duty of others to “prove fraud”.

        It is the duty of govenrment to PROVE that the election can be trusted.

        That must be PROVEN -not merely to those who like the outcome – but to the overwhelming majority of those who do not.

      • January 13, 2022 1:09 pm

        Proving that the collusion delusion was an ACTUAL Democrat Hoax, took 5 full years.
        4 of those with republicans controlling the whitehouse and senate.
        2 with control of all of the federal government.

        STILL it took 5years of pulling teeth to find out that Clinton sold the DOJ/FBI a fraud – and that the DOJ/FBI bought it and that it was used to kneecapand attemptto take down the legitimately elected president.

        Whether you like it or not – Democrats are not trusted, the media is not trusted, DOJ/FBI are not trusted, The courts are not trusted.

        All for good reason.

        Something that should have taken 5 minutes to expose took 5 years.

        Nor do you seem to grasp that it is easy to beleive that the people who concocted the Collusion Delusion hoax would rig an election.

      • January 13, 2022 1:23 pm

        I would note that PV has video of Ballot harvesting being done in Michigan.
        Where operatives are on video admitting to receiving $300 for each filled out Ballot they were able to deliver.

      • January 13, 2022 2:38 pm

        If you beleive in an election with billions of dollars in donations, that no one would commit fraud if they could – you are gullible as h311.

        If you want to end the allegations – conduct elections such that they can be trusted.

        the requirements are not that hard.

        Secret ballots.
        closed loop systems
        Procedures such that if there is fraud – the fraud will eventually be detected and prosecuted and the penalties will be meaningful.

        There has been plenty of large scale fraud in US elections for as long as the country has existed.

        There is very little that has changed with respect to election security since I was young.

        There is almost no one who does not beleive that LBJ stole his first senate seat with 80K in ballot stuffing.

        There are few states that even both to investigate allegations of election fraud.
        Most election fraud is very hard to prove – deliberately,near impossible to prosecute and has little in the way of penalties.

      • January 13, 2022 2:46 pm

        You are claiming that Republicans are evil – because they have made allegations of fraud.

        If they are as evil as you claim – they are also likely to engage in fraud if they can.

        I have absolutely no doubt that republicans will either pass laws securing elections,
        Find other ways to secure elections – such as the ballot box monitoring True the Vote did in GA, or they will engage is pre-emptive fraud themselves.

        I do not presume that Republicans are boy scouts.

        I would agree with your assessment they are evil – though not for the reasons you claim,
        But they are still the “lessor evil”

        And if you do not beleive Democrats would engage in election fraud – what Hillary did in 2016 Selling the manufactured Steele Dossier to a receptive DOJ/FBI was more heinous than election fraud. It was a soft coup.

        I would note that we saw massive fraud int he 19th century by both parties. Until people got fed up with it and put secret ballot amendments in their constitutions.

      • January 13, 2022 2:54 pm

        Lets see – we have multiple Fauxi lies to congress.

        This week Sen.Marshall asked him for his financial disclosures.

        Fauxi went appoplectic calling Marshall a moron.
        Claiming his financial disclosures are a matter of public record.

        Yet turns out that while they are supposed to be – they are not.
        Those prior to 2019 have been discarded aparently.
        It took a FOIA request and almost 2 years to get the 2019 one.
        And that is heavily redacted.

        And 2020, 2021 – they are still MIA.

        We know Obama banned Gain of Function Research.
        We know that Fauxi paid for Gain of Function research – including in Wuhan.
        We know Fauxi continues to tell congress he did not.
        So how could this be true ?
        Simple – Fauxi changed the defintion of Gain of Function.

        These are people you trust ?

      • January 13, 2022 3:06 pm

        Interesting RCP has Biden job approval at 41.8 – almost the lowest it has been.
        Rassmussen has it at 39.
        Quinipac has his approval at 33.

        RCP has republicans up in the Generic ballot.

        RCP has Trump beating Biden by almost 5pts in 2024

        So aparently most of the country does not agree with you.

        Including alot of democrats.

        Polls can change – and the elections area long way away.

        But they are useful for somethings.

        In this case proving that you are do not reflect the majority of the country – or the center of the country. or the moderates of the country.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 12, 2022 12:53 pm

        What you say all sounds reasonable Ron in a general sense, until political people start trying to game the system in their favor in the election to Federal offices, as we all know, political people never cease to do. Since it is a national election, although I am no Constitutional scholar, it seems to me that the nation as a whole has an interest in preventing blatantly political attempts to change the balance of, say, whose electors go to the college and cast their electoral votes for Georgia.

        Lets be extreme and say that one party did something that simply made it impossible for the voters on the other side to vote. It would be in the national interest of our Constitutional system to protect the ideas about our republican form of voting either in court or by legislation.

        Again, I am no Constitutional scholar, but I will be surprised if the principle that the Fed government can regulate elections to Congress or the POTUS in some ways is not already well established in legal precedents.

      • January 14, 2022 3:36 pm

        There are many issues with this article, but it incredibly accurately describes the nonsense of democrats.

        As the author notes – in 2020 democrats challenged left third party candidates – like the green party across the country – keeping them off the ballot, assuming that people who voted green would vote for Biden if they could not vote Green.

        That is precisely the hypocritical voter supression that democrats claim they oppose.

        And the lawless PA supreme court sided with democrats – as it did in one lawless election decision after another.

        Why would you trust a court that blatantly politically deprives the green party access to the ballot, to decide other election issues ?

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 12, 2022 12:56 pm

        “The feds should not be telling states what they have to have, they should be telling states what they can not do.”

        This seems like a very reasonable statement, I should have read your post more carefully the first time.

      • January 14, 2022 4:10 pm


        When the debate is about how things SHOULD be.
        My argument is always for the maximum of individual freedom short of anarchy.

        When the argument is about how things ARE.
        I stick to the facts.

        I do not understand why you paint me as politically schizophrenic.

        My positions on issues are nearly always predictable based on either the facts or first principles that I have clearly expressed repeatedly.

        I am not “extreme” one moment and reasonable the next.
        I am the same.

        You can persuade me – by demonstrating that I am wrong about the facts,
        by finding a conflict between my principles and my argument,
        or by finding a flaw in my principles.

        I would hope everyone was the same.

      • January 13, 2022 11:43 am

        The senate is not more conservative than the country.

        The democrats agenda is way more progressive than the country.

        There is a reason Biden keeps trying to pretend it is free – that is because people are learning. They do not support progressive agenda’s – give aways – if they have a cost.

        You can buy votes by pormising free things, but when there is even a small cost – people say no.

      • January 13, 2022 11:44 am

        I agree that Biden is likely engaged in theater.
        But even the theater is a bad idea.

      • January 13, 2022 11:49 am

        Every democratic president in my lifetime – except possibly Obama was about a moderate as Manchin.

        Kennedy cut taxes.

        Bill Clinton allowed Hillary to screw up on national heatlh care.
        Clinton him self governed mostly conservatively.
        He blew the expansion of the CRA, and he was not that good at foreign policy.

      • January 13, 2022 11:54 am

        Manchin is increasingly looking like a republican.

        I think he has made it clear he is not flipping to the GOP, but he has threatened to become independent, and he could caucus with republicans.

        I do not think that is happening – but only because hopefully democrats are not backing him into a corner.

        Regardless Biden’s agenda is pretty far left – and it has the support of all house democrats, and nearly all senate democrats.

        If as you claim Manchin represents the moderate wing of the democratic party – the balance is 49:1
        In the real world progressives make up at most 20% of the country, Conservatives are abotu 35% and the rst fall between.

    • January 13, 2022 4:58 am

      The employer mandate is stayed in many federal districts.

      If the federal government wishes to pay for covid testing -it is free to do so.
      It is not free to force others to bear that cost.

      I think it is likely – that with reasonable constraints private insurere might choose topay for Covid tests.

      The Federal govenrment could easily make them tax deductible,even to the extent of making them a refundable tax credit.

      Though I suspect that all these would require congress to act.

      Which is another issue – We are well past the point at which any emergency authority whether of presidents or governor’s should have expired.

      We have legislatures. They – not govenors and presidents make laws.

    • January 13, 2022 5:04 am

      What is the distinction between a citizen and a non-citizen ?

      I am asking for your position as an issue of values and principles – not specifically existing law.

      This is something we should think about as a country.

      What rights do you have by virtue of being present within our borders ?
      What additional rights do you have if you are legally present ?
      What additional rights do you have as a citizen ?

      There are also serious practical issues that these questions raise.

      If NYC allows non-citizens to vote -how will it distinguish between citizens and non-citizens in federal or statewide elections ?

      • Ron P permalink
        January 13, 2022 12:27 pm

        NY City allowing non citizens to vote is up to NYC. No one else. If they want a homeless person voting or they want an illegal alien voting in their elections, so be it. They will set the standards and they will iive with the results.

        Their law can be challenged in the state court system to insure it meets NY state constitutional requirements.

        It is not for someone from Alabama, Tennessee, Florida or New Jersey to try to block that decision,

        As for how they keep non-citizens from getting a national election, that will also be up to them as well as the state since there will be state representatives and senators on those ballots,

        If that impacts national elections, then the results cn e challenged in federal courts.

      • January 15, 2022 1:46 am

        There are two questions – is it wise, and is it constitutional.

        The former is easy – no, but we do not require people to be wise.

        As to the 2nd – it is likely unconstitutional.

        It comes very close to destroying the concept of citizen and citizenship.

        But this is not something I wish to fight over.

        Adam;s was with near certainty elected as a result of backlash over BLM and defund the police.

        If NYC wishes to polarize its own people – let it.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 15, 2022 12:59 pm

        Does the election clause of the constitution cover local elections? I thought it only applied to congressional elections.

      • January 16, 2022 7:13 am

        The federal government has absolutely no voice at all in any elections – except federal elected offices. And they have very limited voice in the election of the president.
        But they have co-equal power to state legislatures in the election of congressmen.

        That said – any regulation of congressional elections will fundimentally be regulation fo all elections.

        States are not going to conduct independent local and federal elections on the same day with different processes.

      • January 15, 2022 1:47 am

        The more complex you make an election the more problems you will have.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 15, 2022 1:01 pm

        So if NYC wants that problem, so be it. I am in N>C> and could care less what problems they have electing city officials.

    • January 13, 2022 5:11 am

      I doubt that Democrats will succeed in eliminating the fillibuster.

      Last I heard Manchin does not support either the elimination of the fillibuster or the election bill being pushed. Maybe that changed.

      It is also my understanding that Manchins polls in WV are stellar.

      It is my understanding that there is some talk about returning to the talking filibuster.
      Democrats are free to do that – but it is a mistake. The Senate shifted to cloture votes specifically because a small group of senators could take over the floor of the senate and keep the senate from conducting business.
      Talking fillibusters not merely block specific legislation -they block a great deal of Senate business.

      But the Senate is free to set its own rules.

      Every rule change that democrats have made so far has ultimately backfired on them.

      A strongly suspect that eliminating the fillibuster will work against democrats in the long run.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 13, 2022 12:20 pm

        Dave “I strongly suspect that eliminating the fillibuster will work against democrats in the long run.”

        Harry Reid ended the filibuster on all appointments except SCOTUS. McConnell extended that when the democrats blocked one of Trumps SCOTUS appointments. And now we have the court we have, Like or not, that is ones own choice.

        But I have used the old saying about cracking the barn door open and all the horses eventually get out. Well this was the case. It supports my constant and consistent comment that one can not trust government and once they crack the door with one minor change, there is not way to stop more damaging changes.

        Most anyone, especially those with children, could understand once Reid cracked the filibuster door for all appointments except SCOTUS,, the next filibuster for a SCOTUS appointment would open the door further, thus eliminating that position from filibusters. Children are masters at finding ways to extend privileges in this manner.

        So if the democrats go on to eliminate it for some specific legislation now, it will only be a matter of a few months before it is changed for most everything else.

        It appears that Manchin and Sinema are the only democrats afraid of a Trump reelection and slim congressional majorities, something today that are a good possibility.

      • January 15, 2022 1:25 am

        I provided a link to an article on ballot harvesting in GA in 2020.

        It is worth reading just to explore the novel means True the vote has employed to catch the FRAUD- and to directly confront Robby – ballet harvesting is FRAUD – even in states it is legal.

        TTV used FOIA requests to get 15% of unattended mailin ballot box CCTV,
        They also placed their own wildlife surveilance cameras at unattended ballot boxes.
        They also bought geolocation data for the ballot boxes from Google. this allowed them to identify the people engaged in ballot harvesting and to contact them – and some confessed.

        Regardless they have been able to demonstrate that some unattended ballot dropboxes had thousands of votes deposited but only about 20 people who dropped off ballots.
        And they have variations of this on multiple ballot boxes.

    • January 13, 2022 5:51 am


      I beleive that we do need some nationwide election laws.
      But I do NOT beleive these should be accomplished by Congressional legislation.
      But by constitutional amendment.

      I think that we need a constitutional amendment that requires:

      Government issued photo ID or an afadavit of eligability to vote with criminal penalties.

      Secret Ballot elections.

      End to end election transparency and public oversight.

      A right of standing for any voter or candidate to challenge any election in which they participated.

      A right of citizens to audit elections – at their own cost.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 13, 2022 12:04 pm

        Wow, I can not believe this, I am more libertarian on this issue than you.

        I accept the constitutional change, but also would support legislative action.

        But I do not want the feds telling states this is what they have to do, I want the legislation that says specifically this is what you can not do.

        I want the states to be free to do whatever they feel is best for their citizens and if they want to exceed the limits the feds place on the states, then that is fine.

        Included in this is mail in ballots, early voting, early voting sites, times that polls open and close, type of ballots or machines and anything else that they do not restrict.

        If Utah, which was one of the first to mail ballots to every registered voter wants to continue to do that, fine. The legislation can be written in such a way that no ballot will be counted if it does not meet certain requirements, but it should not be written that requires any state to offer mail in ballots or blocks main in ballots.

        It should not require every state to offer early voting, nor how many hours each site has early voting or where the sites are located. That is for the state courts to insure equal access to voting sites and hours.

      • January 15, 2022 1:03 am

        If you wish to propose ways to conduct a mailin election that will not permit large scale election fraud, I will be happy to shoot them down.

        Among other things – the more you do to make it impossible to forge ballots – the more complex you make everything, and the more likely you have errors, that defeat everything.

        Again we know from the AZ audit that tens of thousands of blank ballots were photocopied – because precincts ran out. This entirely defeated several antifraud measures.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 15, 2022 12:55 pm

        After further reading who has oversight on elections, I take back my thinking that states should be making rules for themselves and not congress.

        So in many circumstances and issues within the new voting rights law, congress has the right to set standards nationally for national elections.

        Given this, I think it may be time for the country to bite the bullet and set national minimum standards for how national elections are run.

        Now for the issue with mail in ballots, using something like they used for the census where the census was numbered for each household and they tracked that would be a starting point. Then creating a secure QR code or some other means to stop coping of ballots where that image could not re-appear on a copy. With our technology today, there are ways to allow for mail in ballots and having them secure.

        AZ was just being typical government incompetents in the way they handled their’s and congress could make that lazy attitude not allowed if its written correctly.

      • January 16, 2022 6:05 am

        As a concept I have no disagreement with you.

        That said – Congress has very limited power regarding a PRESIDENTIAL election.

        The text of the presidential election clause is significantly different from that regarding Senators, and Congressmen. Aside from setting t he day of the election – which makes early voting in the presidential election unconstitutional. Congress sets the DAY – singular, Congress has no power regarding the presidential election.

        I would further note that this is supported by the fact that it required constitutional amendments to change many aspects of presidential elections.

        YOU place significant importance on the constitution.

        So lets follow it.

      • January 16, 2022 6:48 am

        Making voting more convenient inherently means making it less secure.

        Regardless, the entire democratic voting agenda – too much of which you have bought into blissfully ignores the FACT that any election scheme is going to have some people attempt to commit election fraud.

        We know that ballot harvestors in GA were paid atleast $20/ballot. We know in Michigan they were paid $300/ballot.

        Think of a ballot as something of significant value.
        Atleast 6B was spent on the 2020 election. that was for 150M votes, that is about $40/vote

        Do you seriously beleive that if there was an easier way for candidates to get votes – than persuading voters – some who do so ?

        You can be assured that however you construct election laws, that some very smart but not so moral people will spend a great deal of effort trying to find holes in the process.

      • January 16, 2022 7:09 am

        As you construct your mailin voting process – start thinking like someone trying to commit fraud. think how you will get arround your own systems.

        You do not seem to grasp that election security is very hard.

  44. Vermonta permalink
    January 12, 2022 1:16 pm

    Ron, I am going to reply to you about abortion at the bottom, I can hardly find the top of the thread.

    First, I don’t think libertarians are a monolithic group any more than any other political movement. I was thinking of the basic overall tendencies of libertarians that one might read about in Reason.

    I have long thought, as many people think, that abortion should be much harder to get as one gets closer to viability. Viability itself is a moving target and as well, its is actually very difficult to know exactly how many weeks old a fetus is within a margin of a week or perhaps two.
    I did some looking for statistics and found that

    “Only 1.4 percent (of abortions) occur at or after 21 weeks (CDC, 2014).”

    Click to access pp_abortion_after_the_first_trimester.pdf

    Of those, I would think the vast majority or all involve the health of the mother or a fetus that is deformed.

    I had a friend in grad school who I was talking with about abortion politics and I told her that there was a middle ground of people like myself who thought that abortion should be legal only up to viability. She surprised me. She worked as a volunteer for planned parenthood and informed me that in Vermont (this was 20 years ago) women at PP who were more than 4 months pregnant were told that PP was not going to perform an abortion other than for the reasons of maternal or fetal health. 4 months is about 17 weeks. No doctors in Vermont are pushing the limit of Roe according to this and other sources of information I have found. So the unlimited restrictions situation in Vermont is an illusion.

    But if Roe were to fall or be gutted Texas might actually get its way, and other states where the religious right has the upper hand. They already do everything the can to hound and harass abortion providers and limit the number of places where a woman can get an abortion. Speaking generally, Libertarians are on the side of women who want an abortion and against the religious right who try to prevent it.

    • Ron P permalink
      January 12, 2022 2:13 pm

      First, to all who have been reading the thread on abortion, I apologize for using that as a comparison on the emotional response to that compared to vaccine mandates. I will use something different in the future since this has a life of its own.

      Roby, Ron Paul was one of the more prominent elected officials that were considered “Libertarian” and Rand Paul is much the same. Neither of these individuals are the hard core Libertarian like Dave where government plays little role in daily life.I can not get anywhere close to his level of “hands off” government.

      So I am not really sure what someone like myself would be considered since I do not subscribe to the GOP’s control of women’s bodies and do not subscribe to the democrats desire to control peoples lives through vaccine mandates.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:20 pm

        Ah… now do I get an apology for your unfounded accusation of allowing abortions up to the end of pregnancy?

      • Ron P permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:34 pm

        Yes!. That comment was directed to you, which was wrong, and should have been more general in wording.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 12, 2022 2:49 pm

        Accepted… although I do think that there are few who would allow a late term abortion without the added issue of physical danger to the mother or fetus.

      • January 14, 2022 7:07 pm


        I will essentially repeat Ron’s assertion. “insult”.

        You have Still not explained why early abortion should be legal and late should not.
        That is YOUR failure – not Ron’s or mine.

        It appears clear you do not support late abortion – but it is also clear you have no rational argument regarding abortion. Your postions are preferences – nothing more.

        You make the same error regarding vaccination.

        It is an insult to say that your reasoning is shallow – non existant.

        It is also FACT.

        I am not apologizing for a FACT that you find insulting.

      • January 14, 2022 11:06 pm

        “there are few who would allow a late term abortion without the added issue of physical danger to the mother or fetus.”

        Then be you would be wrong.

        This was so big a deal a docudrama was made of it.

        Ultimately Gosnell was a patsy – many others were doing as he did.

        Gosnell performed abortions after PP no longer would. PP in Philadelphia refered women to him. He was expensive, and he was a butcher. He performed many abortions in the 9th month. Many of the fetus’s he aborted were born alive, and he killed them.
        Further many women were injured by him and some died.

        If you wonder why so many are squeamish about abortion – you can thank Dr, Gosnell.

      • January 14, 2022 7:03 pm

        Sorry, Ron, but I see nothing wrong with your comment.

        If your representation of Rhonda’s position was inaccurate – that would not be because she was clear.

        So far Rhonda is arguing about arguing.

        I still do not know where she stands on abortion or why.

        She keeps complaining that states powers to force vaccinations, and the states power to force pregnancy are different, but she has not explained why.

        The fact that one is about preganacny and one is about disease is not on point.

        In fact the infringement regarding vaccination is worse.

        Government is preventing people from getting abortions, that is NOT the same as forcing them to get abortions.

        To the extent these are different – forced vaccination is worse.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 14, 2022 7:09 pm

        Well I used the pronoun “You” when I commented about people accepting that life starts when the child is born (or something to that effect) instead of using a term like “some” “others”, “many” or one of the words that describe a group and not an individual.

        And in following up my previous comment, please do not start a conversation at this time about restaurant inspections. That was an example only and there will be times in the future when something occurs that will create that conversation in the right format.

        Thanks for commenting concerning my apology, etc, but as of now I think that is best left alone going forward.

      • January 14, 2022 6:57 pm

        Are you ever going to appologize to anyone for misrepresenting their positions ?

        Nearly everyone here misrepresents my positions all the time.

        Further Given that your position is not clear. it is not unreasonable for Ron to have misrepresented it.

        Finally Ron asked a valid question – if you do not support abortion near the end of pregancy – WHY ? What legal factor makes an abortion at 28 weeks illegal and wrong, but one at 5 legal and right ?

        Rather than pummel Ron with insults – make your position clear.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 12, 2022 3:22 pm

        Hmm, Rand Paul is not on my good list, to put it mildly, he is more on my lightening should strike list. I had more liking for your namesake here, Ron Paul.

        I personally had no problem with your analogy but I guess the whole thing went into the weeds in a few posts. Analogies are rarely perfect, and sometimes they are a real stretch.

        To open another can of worms I have often compared abortion rights absolutists to gun rights absolutists. Keep yer laws off of my…

        Again I am no Constitutional scholar but it seems to me that almost no right can be absolute if its thoughtless and inconsiderate use can harm some others person’s exercise of some other right. One person’s rights collide with another person’s rights and that is why we have a court system to decide those kinds of collisions.

        Once or twice online I saw the same advertisement several times for one of those online courses by an expert, this one was an expert on the Constitution. It looked very interesting, the small excerpt of the guy leading a classroom discussion really looked informative. Those courses are expensive though.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 20, 2022 7:48 pm

        Roby, I agree with you that, at least in terms of emotion, the abortion debate and the the gun ontrol debate are comparable.

        The difference is that there is no constitutional guarantee to abortion, which Roe v. Wade said that there was. Like it or not (and I understand that many do not), in order to confiscate or outlaw guns, there needs to be either 1) a repeal of the 2nd Amendment or 2) A change of government. Roe v. Wade is often cited as the reason why abortion cannot be outlawed, but that’s like saying the Dred Scott decision or Plessy v. Feguson meant that slavery or Jim Crow was now enshrined in the Constitution, and could never be change

      • January 14, 2022 6:35 pm

        Rand and Ron Paul are actually fairly differnet.

        Ron Paul is substantially more “hard core” than i am.

        Rand Paul is somewhat less.

        Are you actually familiar with the Paul’s and their positions ?

        Regardless, remarks about “hard core” are not arguments.

        Rick is a “hard core” moderate. He has little clue what moderate actually means – but he absolutely is one dam it – no matter what.

        On issue after issue he will take great care to attack both sides EQUALLY, With no regard for what might be right or wrong.

        Put simply not only are you wrong about the Paul’s and who is “hard core”,
        you are also wrong in presuming it matters.

        I am hard core – against murdering people too.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 14, 2022 7:00 pm

        Everyone has a belief in what they think about any issue. And what they view as their political positioning is not always what others believe since their thinking is skewed bu their political beliefs.

        You can say you are not hard core libertarian. From your perspective you may not be.

        But from others perspectives you may be much more radical in your beliefs than I think you are, and to others you may not be as hard core as I think.

        All I can say is from my political perspective, anyone who believes that government does not have a role in issues like restaurant safety and believes that people getting sick, possibly dying, is OK because the restaurant owner will go out of business at best and have personal responsibility at worst.

        And there are many other issues you have stated that supports how I view your thinking.

        So you can now post 200 comments about restaurant government inspections, but this comment is not about that. I only used it as an example.

        This comment is about perspectives and how ones thinking may be shaped by their own viewpoint.

        As for Rick, I view him as a left leaning moderate.

      • January 15, 2022 1:56 am

        Somethings are beliefs and some are facts.

        As I stated – I fall between Ron and Rand Paul.

        And beleive me you can go more hard core than Ron.

        More and more people are claiming to be libertarian.

        That is mostly good – and they are welcome.

        But more and more those new libertarians have the shallowest understanding of what libertarian means.

        That too is OK.
        Merely identifying as libertarian shifts the political center of the country and that is good.

        Even small efforts that disempower the dominant parties are beneficial.

        But to the extent I am “hard core” today – that would be because the scope of what is libertarian has expanded.

        I have become more libertarian and less conservative or progressive over time.
        But I am still not Ron Paul or Walter Block – though I highly recomend reading him.

      • January 15, 2022 2:01 am

        I would also suggest that terms like “hardcore” or extremist, get abused here – particulry for anyone not on the left.

        You do this, Rick does this, certainly Robby does this.

        Call someone or something extreme and you are absolved of any need to look at it seriously.

        While I do not run away from SOME uses of extreme

        “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

        That is TRUTH.

        I am hard pressed to think of an actual moderate hero. Heroism requires standing up for some principle. That is not something moderates do – especially not here.

        But beyond the fact that some forms of extremism are laudible.

        the label extreme is misused here constantly to avoid having to consider an argument.

        Hard-core is not distinguishable.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 15, 2022 1:17 pm

        OK , so like with many other issues, I use words that most Americans would use that define their thinking on a scale of 1-10, with someone who disagrees with a political platform or political issue completely being a 1 and those agreeing 100% being a 10.

        So instead of a “hard Core” libertarian, I would consider myself a 7 and would consider you a 9. There is not too much that you do not support that the traditional Libertarian Party supports.

        Flipping the scale to the liberal scale. I would rate Rick a 7, something like a Mark Warner from VA.

        As for Roby, he sometimes confuses me but I don’t think he is as liberal as Chuck Shumer, but more so than Warner. Maybe 7.5 to 8 like a Shaheen from NH.

        Now how we place one word on each of these like “hardcore” “moderate” to make it easier to discuss will be interesting.

      • January 17, 2022 1:10 am

        While the libertarian party has a platform for each election, libertrianism is a philosophy, not apolitical party or platform.

        I do not even know what the Libertarian platform in 2020 and 2016 was – though I voted libertarian. I voted for people who adhered to a set of principles, not a party platform.

      • January 15, 2022 2:38 am

        “This comment is about perspectives and how ones thinking may be shaped by their own viewpoint.”
        Maybe – but because you are missing so many things, because you do not know the difference between principles and values, because you do not understand that truths interact in heirarchies, you end up with tangled in knots because you do not see that so much is interdependent – not INDEPENDENT.

        Or put differently – most perspectives are wrong. Most viewpoints are wrong.
        Grasping that “beliefs”do not stand well in a vaccum, that they interact with each other and with things that are true or near certain true, allows us to establish the probability that a beleif is aslo a truth.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 15, 2022 1:21 pm

        “Maybe – but because you are missing so many things, because you do not know the difference between principles and values, because you do not understand that truths interact in heirarchies, you end up with tangled in knots because you do not see that so much is interdependent – not INDEPENDENT.”

        Your viewpoint, just as I said in the earlier post. Others may not see it the same.

        Being a 9 on the Libertarian scale from my perspective blocks your ability to see things from a much less structured viewpoint.

      • January 16, 2022 3:42 pm

        Not my “viewpoint” – reality is not a viewpoint, and that is one of my core points.

        This stupid argument that gets made here all the time – that nearly everything is an oppinion or a view point – is wrong, dangerous, and a core element of post moderism (progressivism).

        In this instance you are rejecting the central premise of science. The entirety of logic, mathematics, and science rests on the understanding that reality has rules and that those rules are NOT independent. That reality itself is hierarchical and rule based.

        We do not get to pick what is true or false out of a hat. We can not reject one part of logic,math, or science – without rejecting everything that comes with that. Nor can we wedge some new bit into logic, math or science if that bit contradicts what is already established.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 16, 2022 4:24 pm

        “This stupid argument that gets made here all the time – that nearly everything is an oppinion or a view point – is wrong, dangerous, and a core element of post moderism (progressivism).”

        Dave then I can only suggest that you move on to another site and find those that have the same desire in what they want from their conversations.

        I find TNM to be where everyone except you expresses a view point or an opinion and you are the only one wanting to force your belief that we can not express an opinion without facts.

        If we want to comment as we have been for years, then that is our choice, not yours.

        You constantly say one can not force others to do what they want them to do. So please take you own advice and stop trying to force us to follow your rules.

        The best for you is to create your own site and set rules for anyone wanting to comment there because I am not going to follow rules you try to set for TNM.

        If I want to say all red is pink without documentation, I will do so until Rick tells me to stop. And I will not change just because you tell me otherwise.

      • January 17, 2022 1:31 am

        “I find TNM to be where everyone except you expresses a view point or an opinion and you are the only one wanting to force your belief that we can not express an opinion without facts.”

        If it is true that everyone on TNM expresses viewpoints of opinions without regard for the facts – that is very dangerous.

        You are not required to prove every utterance you make with facts and evidence.

        But you should expect that assertions that can be supported by facts and evidence are more credible than those that can not ?

        If I say “Humans do not need oxygen to survive” – should that be treated as credible ?

      • January 17, 2022 1:36 am

        Can we dispense with the idiotic arguments about being “forced”.

        When you abuse important words like force, you open the door to driving recklessly to Orwellian dystopias.

        I have never put a gun to your head.
        I have never threatened to make your posting illegal.
        I have neither the power to do so should I want to, nor the desire.

        10,000 posts from me can not FORCE you to do anything.
        Nor do they constitute an attempt to do so.

        I will defend to the death your right to say things that are blatantly wrong.
        That will NOT stop me from pointing out they are blatantly wrong.

      • January 16, 2022 3:45 pm

        All of us here can argue over the root causes of current inflation.
        but hopefully you do not think it is magical – that it is without any cause.

        I strongly suspect that we are nearly all in agreement of the proximate causes of current inflation. Where we part is confusing those proximate causes with root causes.

        Again myriads of things are interrelated.

        A causes B which causes C.

        You can not fix things by fooling around with B – if you do you MIGHT improve C – but you will cause problem D.

      • January 15, 2022 2:44 am

        One further simple point on regulation.

        This is not inherently a libertarian position – though I beleive it is held by many well informed libertarians.

        It is fundamentally a logical, economic, position.

        Regulation is inefficient, it always comes at a cost greater than its value, and it nearly always has unintended negative consequences – WORSE still often ones we are not even aware of.

        What regulation prevents we tend not to ever know about.

        Conversely torts accomplished the same thing and more, far more efficiently AND directly communicates the critical message – DO NO HARM.

        Actually it is slightly more complex than that. The message REALLY is Produce a substantially net positive result.

  45. January 15, 2022 3:33 am

    Another claim of ‘rightwing conspiracy theory” bites the dust.

    On Feb 1. 2020 all the top public health officials in the US were privately debating the origens of Covid. At that time many, most were arguing 50:50 or 60:40 that it came from a lab leak.

    Over the course of 3 days – with no change in actual knowledge or information, the postion was shifted to natural origens because a lab leak claim would be bad for international harmony.

    Shortly after this these same people started slandering anyone who talked about a lab leak as a right wing conspiracy nut racist xeonophobe.

  46. Savannah Jordan permalink
    January 15, 2022 7:10 pm

    Vermonta, The Great Courses has several courses regarding the Constitution. You may already be familiar with them. The prices are very reasonable. I always get mine On Sale. I have rarely been disappointed with their courses. Right now I am listening to a course on the French Revolution. On a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is the best. I would rate it a 12.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 16, 2022 9:29 am

      Thanks Savannah, I looked on Amazon and ordered a used copy of a video from great courses on the debates and opinions of the framers. I also ordered just a general book on the Constitution a week ago.

      I found some video courses online about the Constitution but they were produced by people who were too far to the left or right, so I am not going there.

  47. Savannah Jordan permalink
    January 16, 2022 11:14 am

    I wasn’t planning to make any more comments but I just read this article by Heather MacDonald in the City Journal. She discusses the Jan 6 riots, Biden’s speech and the failure of the media to acknowledge that the BLM/ Antifa riots were more destructive than the January 6 attack. Her final statement is “The events of January 6, 2021, do not meet any legal definition of “insurrection. But if Democrats and the mainstream media insist on the term, then the violence of the last two years has also been an insurrectionary force.”

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 16, 2022 11:32 am

      The extreme elements of left and right act and react on each other. I have written here dozens of times that sanders and pc, cancel culture, and rioting have had their predictable effect of provoking the right. Those left wing extremes did not arise from nowhere either they are part of an endless series of events.

      It does not mean that there is any excuse or justification of the actions of either set of extremists.

      We never had a POTUS before who took the battle as far as Trump, that is something new. The idea that a vp could just decide an election is without president as well. We are on a very bdangerous path and the parties taking us there are playing with fire.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 16, 2022 6:08 pm

        True enough, Roby. I deplore violence, and don’t endorse it on either side.

        Problem as I see it, though, is that the left has been condemning the right for the exact same thing that they have been doing for some time now, and people can see the hypocrisy and unfairness in that.

        It absolutely does not excuse violence by the right, but it sure makes it more likely that it will happen.

        On a related note, just today, I was reading about the enormous number of train robberies in California, due to the fact that “roughly 40% of goods shipped into the U.S. come through the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, before being put on trains or trucks to be hauled to the rest of the nation.” The Los Angeles DA won’t prosecute the robbers. Many of the train robbers are never arrested, and when they are, they’re often let go on little or no bail or have charges reduced to misdemeanors.

        When the government, whose #1 job it is to make and enforce laws that protect the rights of citizens, refuses to do its job, this kind of lawlessness and violence is to be expected. Whether it’s ignoring one side when that side breaks the law, or allowing criminals to rob with impunity, there is no good that will come from it.

        I agree that we are playing with fire, but as long as we continue to elect people who advocate defunding police and eliminating bail, while they blame violence in the country on “white supremacist” parents who complain about CRT at school board meetings, we’re going to continue to burn.

      • January 17, 2022 2:12 am

        It is unfortunate that we are approaching the point at which violence may be justified.

        Violence is never the prefered solution to a problem. It is rarely justified, rarely the best solution.

        But rarely is not never, and it is important that we do not rule out violence.
        Ruling out violence under all circumstances makes us slaves to those who do not.

      • January 17, 2022 2:16 am

        The right is not doing the same thing as the left – usually.

        However imperfect the right me be today it is by far the lessor evil.

        This is why I criticise most efforts here to play “equal time”.

        When and where the right is wrong the right should be taken to task.
        Wrong is wrong – “he did it too” is childish.

        There is no equal time doctrine.
        If we crticised the left and right today proportionate to their error and danger, there would be no time to go after the right.

      • January 17, 2022 2:17 am

        Excellent post.

      • January 17, 2022 1:06 am

        It would have been so much easier and restored trust in our elections (regardless of the outcome) to subject the voting to meaningful scrutiny.

        As to your false claim regarding the VP.

        Had trump asked Pence to do something unconstitutional – that would have been one of the articles of impeachment and I would have voted to bar trump from future office.

        But Trump did not ask for anything that was not within Pence’s constitutional authority to do.
        Part of what the 1/6 commission is seeking to do – is propose legislation that would make congress certifying the electoral vote ceremonial. Pretty much undermining the current democratic claim that it already is.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 17, 2022 9:26 am

        Priscilla, I say the same things over and over, year after year. Pretty boring, eh?

        I will try to put a different perspective in replying to you instead of regurgitating the same old stuff.

        There are some hopeful signs. First of all, conservative judges had the same basic understanding of the Constitution as liberal judges when it came to the election nonsense. They did not live in the land of Lin Wood and Sidney whatsername and the trump voters, they lived in the land of the actual Constitution. As did the GOP election officials in Georgia, Arizona and other places. Barr turned away from the nonsense the GOP voters believe and repudiated it, as did Christy, Romney Cheney, Bush.

        Second, the violence I expected from the right happened all right at the US Congress and at other state legislatures, but random violence did not occur all over the U.S. All that is something at least to be grateful for.

        Third, defund the police is actually over other than in a few progressive cities. As a national movement it was a brief enthusiasm, like occupy wall street. The Dem party is not pushing it and Biden and others repudiated it.

        There will always be nasty things happening in inner cities. Always has been, always will. Just don’t go there. A city is a monstrously complicated affair and it takes large amounts of money and will to prevent chaos. In the inner cities those things are present in insufficient amounts. Progressive cities like Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, are actually affluent strongholds, most progressive places are actually relatively affluent. The affluent progressive cities I named can have their fling with CHOP zones etc. but the affluent do not want to live a crime zone. Burlington Vt. fits the model I am talking about, and they have had their flirtation with defund and signs are that they regret it.

        In my opinion the progressive movement has likely already seen its high point, in order to keep a movement alive it has to succeed at something and they have had few successes.

        The economy is going to be distorted for years because of world wide effects of COVID-19. A lot of people are going to be pissed off and depressed. Eventually it will be over and Putin or Islamic fundamentalists will be problem number 1 again.

        The US will likely get past the trump and progressive populist movements seen on the scale of a decade.

        There is no reason for you or me to go to any of the places where lunacy reigns, we have stable places to live out our normal lives.

        It would be great if we all watched as little political media as possible, from the standpoint of our happiness and sanity.

      • Priscilla permalink
        January 17, 2022 11:52 am

        Can’t find much to argue with here, Roby. So, I won’t! 😉

      • Ron P permalink
        January 17, 2022 7:55 pm

        Roby Barr turned away from the nonsense the GOP voters believe and repudiated it, as did Christy, Romney Cheney, Bush.”

        I have to admit that I voted for Trump in 2020. I did not in 2016 since I had a better choice with Gary Johnson. But in 2020 I did something i will never ever do again. I voted for what I thought was the lessor of two bad choices. After January 6, I see how wrong I was, and how right my previous decisions to never vote for the lessor of two bad was.

        So please keep in mind that there are people like me that are “GOP Voters” (I have many friends like that) that will never vote for Trump again if Republicans have another brain fart and run that guy.

        I think you will find there will be many traditional GOP voters that will skip voting the presidential ticket. And maybe some will cross over and vote for Harris if she is the candidate in 2024. But if it is Harris/Trump, unless the Libertarians can finally field a qualified candidate, I will be skipping that bracket in the ballot.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 17, 2022 12:55 pm

        “Can’t find much to argue with here, Roby. So, I won’t! 😉”

        Nice! How do I make a smiley face?

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 18, 2022 10:43 am

        Ron, I have always made the distinction between those who voted for the GOP choice, trump, only because they don’t ever want a democrat and those who bought the kool aid. That was (the Kool aid group I mean) unfortunately 75% or 80% or more of GOP voters. I never have confused you with the bonafide trump voters.

        I wish that I could believe that a lot of GOP voters will sit out voting for any more trumpian nonsense, but I am not very hopeful.

        As far as Harris goes, Harris backed a fund that bailed out protesters but also bailed out hooligans and rioters during the riots. Now who among them were non-violent protesters and who where hooligans, we gotta let God sort that one out its too hard to tell. Anyhow they were arrested for something and mayhem was going on that ruined the positive intentions to hold cops who actually go way over the line responsible. Harris should have supported a return to calm instead of supporting civil chaos. That disqualifies her from my vote. I don’t think she would get any GOP votes to speak of. I don’t think she could get elected. I doubt she could even get the dem nomination.

        Lets just say that 2024 is still far off and know that a million things will happen between now and then.

      • January 18, 2022 12:46 pm

        Bizare response.

        But that is typical – it is rare for anything you post to actually say anything.

        What is “the kool aide”?

        You say stupid things like this all the time.
        You make shallow arguments based on purportedly shared understanding of things that not only are not shared but are not even meaningful.

        You talk about having “bought the kool aide” – as a means to avoid having to actually discuss
        Trump or Trumpism is meaningful real terms.

        If I actually ask you to define Trumpism, or the “kool aide” or whatever offends you,

        What I will get back is more shallow meaningless drivel.

        Grow up. We are in the midst of a war of ideas, values, and principles.

        And you want to fixate on personalities.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 18, 2022 3:40 pm

        Many of us understand completely what the “kool-aide” is all about.

        Roby believes, as do I that the minority of GOP voters in the 2016 primaries that gave us Trump to start with and the ones that would vote in a primary for Trump in the future are the same as the Jim Jones followers that “drank his kool aide”.

        So stop accusing Roby of being “rare for anything you post to actually say anything”

        It is you that can not comprehend what others are saying. So again, if those here can not communicate in the manner you demand they communicate. begin your own site and set rules there.

        Stop criticizing those that comment in a way you are unable to understand.


      • January 19, 2022 1:47 am

        “So stop accusing Roby of being “rare for anything you post to actually say anything””

        I say that because it is true.

        The vast majority of Robby’s posts are fact free rants, false moral accusations that he refuses to attempt to justify, character assassination – not just of politicans – we tolerate that to some extent, But of others here.

        Worse still – Robby is NOT stupid, he knows better – but does it anyway.

        Should I start posting my speculation of the pyschiatric disorders of others here ?
        Or try to shame them by pretending I know what their family members think of them ?
        Or should I start lying about what others have posted ?
        Can I just make up the arguments, that you or Rick or Robby have made in the past ?

        Is that what you want TNM to be – just another left wing nut slag heap of false vicious clueless personal attacks ?

      • January 19, 2022 1:52 am

        “Stop criticizing those that comment in a way you are unable to understand.”

        No, and FALSE.

        The problem is not that I do not understand Robby, it is that I do.

        False accusations, fact free defamation, of anyone and everyone who disagrees.


      • January 19, 2022 1:55 am

        Stop criticizing ?

        Really ?

        Has TNM become snowflakes R US ?

        Ron, you are way too old to be trying to sell this nonsense.

      • January 19, 2022 1:59 am

        If as you claim – I am wrong, I do not understand, then

        “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence ”
        Whitney V. California
        Justice Brandeis.

      • January 19, 2022 2:02 am

        I have made no demands of anyone.

        But I will NOT stop criticizing meaningless drivel, slander, and fact free nonsense.

      • January 19, 2022 2:44 am

        There were perhaps a dozen at most people at the Capital on 1/6 who were engaged in violence. 700 people were charged many of those are STILL in jail. people are facing multi-year prison sentences for peacefully protesting in the capital.

        In Portland the police declared a riot each of 100 straight days.

        When the police declare something a riot – and you remain, and you lob rocks, and flaming garbage and fireworks and attempt to blind the police with lasers – you are not a protestor any more.

      • January 21, 2022 7:52 am

        Harris is free to put up bail for whoever she pleases.

        And the rest of us are free to question whether she is qualified to be vice president when she put up bail for violent anarchists.

        You do not hold police who go way over the line responsible by burning down target.

        You accused me of defending right wing violence. Yet here you are defending left wing violence.

        Individual Violence against others is only justified in self defense or defense of others.

        The declaration of independence identifies the basis for justifying violence against government – that is when it has lost the trust of the people.

        I will be happy to look at the justification for violence by BLM or Antifa or others on the left, in whatever instances you wish – given that you will look at those on 1/6 the same way and by the same standards.

        There is a legitimate debate to be had regarding policing.
        Lets have that debate – without nonsense about “drinking koolaide”

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 19, 2022 7:27 am

        Dave, last year I wrote to the Portland Mayor, the Portland Police and a Portland paper to say that I, as some sort of liberal democrat in Vermont, felt nothing but disgust at the violent “protesters” in Portland and I wanted them jailed and their mug shots published and the rioting ended.

        I got a nice letter back form the Police Chief and not long thereafter the Mayor made the statement that enough was enough and it was time to “hurt these people a little bit.”

        So that is what I have done about the rioting. Perhaps it was not much but it was something. Now tell me what YOU have done besides defend and now promote right wing violence on TNM and harangue Rick and myself? Changing the world much are you?

        It is sad that by your own description there is so much mental illness your siblings. Nobody can ever explain anything to you, because your mental condition does not allow it. Occasionally, over more than a decade I have made actual attempts to take up your request that I debate with you with facts. It always ended badly with you ranting out of control, the reason is that you are, unfortunately, mentally ill. I don’t say it to be cruel, but it’s an obvious fact. You come here to shit. Its some kind of weird release for you. Meditating would be a better choice, or getting psychiatric help.

        I will go back to ignoring you, and you will go back writing tirades at Rick and myself that no one reads more than 1% of or usually not at all. I guess that is your “contribution” to helping to solve the problems of the times.

      • January 21, 2022 8:07 am

        Writing a letter is :”doing something” – since when ?

        The “Proud Boys”, Kyle Rittenhouse, many of the “right wing groups” you criticise have actually “done something” They are out there suplimenting the police, protecting people and property, keeping groups of protestors apart,

        Whether I agree with these people on some random political issue – THEY are “doing something” about violence.

        They are not “writing letters”.

        This is a fundimental problem with those of you on the left.

        I keep telling you over and over that “most of us think in words, mangling the meaning of words, damages our thinking”.

        Words are not violence, they are also not action.

      • January 21, 2022 8:28 am

        “Now tell me what YOU have done besides defend and now promote right wing violence”

        Still lying.

        Would it be acceptable if I said “Robby is constantly defending and promoting left wing violence” ?

        Since you think writing letters is the same as action – I have probably done 10 times as much as you have.

        I have no more defended and promoted right wing violence than those who said:

        Do you know why there is a second amendment ?
        In case government fails to follow the first one.

        When men take up arms to set other men free,
        there is something sacred and holy in warfare.

        When we decided to take up arms it was because the only other choice was to surender and submit to slavery.

        Such are a well regulated militia, composed of freeholders, citizens and husbandsman, who take up arms to preserve their proprerty and their rights are freeman.

      • January 21, 2022 9:00 am

        Is Hobbes promoting right wing violence ?

      • January 21, 2022 9:02 am

        How about Kennedy ?

      • January 21, 2022 9:34 am


        You do not explain – almost ever.

        Further you appear to believe that anything you say – must be accepted – because you have said it.

        My positions on issues are the result of a great deal of thought, as well as input from many people. People like Adam Smith or John Locke, or Cicero, or Nelson Mandela, or Kennedy, or Jefferson ….

        You seem to like appeals to authority – well these authorities, greatly exceed your credibility or intellect.

        These giants have successfully “explained” liberty, government, to me – while you have failed.

      • January 21, 2022 9:54 am


        1 in 30 people are sociopaths. That means that of every 5 families of 6 one has a sociopath in it.

        If you have been fortunate enough not to have a sociopath as a sibling – you should thank god for your good luck.

        I have know several paranoid schitzophrenics in my life. That is a disability that tears at my heart.

        If you have lived in the world and are aware of those arround you – then you have been close to many people with an assortment of mental health problems.

        It is disturbing that you seem to be so ignorant of this.

      • January 21, 2022 10:50 am

        You should not be comparing yourself to Rick – or almost anyone else here.

        Rick grasps that when he posts, that he will get criticism.
        He seems to understand that TNM is not a forum for sychophants.

        In the many years I have been here Rick has NEVER engaged in a personal attack against a poster, and hist articles are not the fact free, emotional nonsense of your comments.

      • January 21, 2022 10:56 am

        Wow. few of the posters on an obscure block that almost no one reads, read my posts.

        Regardless, Robby, you do not actually read my posts when you respond to them.
        How would ignoring them change anything ?

        Regardless, absolutely nothing will be lost by your ignoring my posts.

        When you actually respond all you do is engage in false and irrelevant personal attack.

        Your idea of a debate is to speculate on the mental infirmity of anyone who disagrees with you.

  48. January 17, 2022 3:38 am

    Salena Zito has been an excellent observer of the mood of the country outside the coastal elites.

  49. Vermonta permalink
    January 17, 2022 9:43 am

    “It is unfortunate that we are approaching the point at which violence may be justified.”

    Dave you have been justifying right wing violence for all of your time here. Its really nothing new but now you say it more explicitly. Well, thanks for being honest.

    Unlike any of the other posters here, you are no one I would ever want to know or meet.

    You have mentioned that you consider your two brothers to be sociopaths. I will bet they think the same of you.

    • dhlii permalink
      January 18, 2022 2:41 pm

      As is typical you are full of schiff

      Right wing violence has not been an actual topic of consequence prior to 1/6

      Absolutely I have opposed idiocy from those like you that the violent behavior of the mentally disturbed is political

      The fact that the unibomber or el passo shooter are not examples of right wing violence
      Or that restricting our rights will not prevent disturbed people from violence
      Is not defending violence

      Put simply you have lied about me
      That is morally repugnant
      But not surprising

      I will be happy to discuss when force – violence is and is not justified

      That has nothing to do with right or left

      Chris cuomo argued that violence against government is sometimes justified during the Floyd riots
      He was correct that violence can be justified
      He was incorrect in trying to justify burning grocery stores over police conduct

      As is typical
      Your remarks are shallow
      Poorly thought out
      And wrong

      Your kool aide is laced with meth

    • dhlii permalink
      January 18, 2022 2:55 pm

      No one else here engages in the repugnant attacks you do

      I call You out for your words and actions
      Not those of others

      I have not attacked your family
      Or pretended to know what your spouse
      Children or relatives think of you

      And worse still you can not even get the facts straight

      I have one brother
      I string suspect he is a high functioning paranoid schizophrenic
      We were very close until his personality changed as he became an adult
      I have two sisters
      One who is likely a sociopath
      She scored 28 on Hares inventory
      Most people score 3-8
      Anything over 30 is a sociopath

      Unlike you I do not pretend to know what other people think

      Regardless no one has ever called me a sociopath
      Further you either do not know what it means
      Or as is typical are just hurling insults without thinking

    • dhlii permalink
      January 18, 2022 2:59 pm

      Do you have a actual argument?

      Are you capable of making an argument?

      Or are you going to keep up the idiotic
      Defamatory personal attacks
      As well as mind reading and putting words into the mouths of people you have not met and no nothing about

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 18, 2022 7:05 pm

        Dave, I’m not insulting you I am describing you. You have five names here, and you think it’s your brother who is a schizophrenic?

        Your psychological issues dominate the flow of this site.

        People only can stand so much.

      • rondabellelane permalink
        January 19, 2022 5:21 pm

        Exactly! I truly wish everyone would just ignore & delete his messages… just NOT worth the time.

      • January 21, 2022 10:59 am

        Talking about ignoring something is not ignoring it.

  50. dhlii permalink
    January 18, 2022 2:23 pm

    Another liberal red pilled

  51. Vermonta permalink
    January 20, 2022 9:51 am

    Here is a Gallup poll that shows Americans being 25% liberal, 37% moderate, and 36%. conservative. That adds up to 98%

    I would guess that half of the liberals are progressives, which would make them 12%. And my guess would be wrong, at least according to according to a recent Pew breakdown.

    I will post a very detailed lengthy Pew breakout of 11 separate ideological groups, progressives make up 6% of the population and 12% of the dem voters according to it.

    So, all this hoopla about punishing Sinema for voting against changing the filibuster and all the democratic energy spent on this losing issue, its all just hot air. Progressives are a legend in their own minds. As a mighty force they fall considerably short.

    The vast majority of democratic voters are not progressives if you believe Pew.

    As well, according to Pew, the populist right are not so numerous either, though they are twice as numerous as progressives, 11% of the general public and 23% of GOP voters.

    We have two parties that cannot say no to their extremes.

    We spend the majority of our political energy in this country hyperventilating about things that are popular with fanatical groups that do not represent the average person at all.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 20, 2022 9:54 am

      Here is the Pew poll. I will send a cherry pie to any person here who can prove that they read the whole thing. <— Being facetious

      But even reading a third of this would be heroic and informative.

    • Ron P permalink
      January 20, 2022 1:37 pm

      Roby, thanks for this information, especially “11% of the general public and 23% of GOP voters.” are populist.

      This seems to support my continued comments about a small minority of the GOP party dominating the party politics.

      And IMO those populist are the ones that are more active in the party nominations and the agenda set since they have much more influence over who gets elected.

      There is little information that can refute that the individuals that receive the the most votes in the first 5-6 primaries will end up the nominee. And in most of those primaries, the top vote getter will receive in the 35% range as did Trump for most of the early primaries In the early primaries, Trump received 24%, 35%, 45%, 32%, and in the 35-40% range for the southern swing. At that time, everyone else was running out of money and dropped out or was running a skeleton campaign like Kasich.

      So looking at those primaries, about 35% of the total GOP voters went to the polls to nominate a candidate. Using an average of 35% for the defining primaries that Trump won, that calculates Trump was the choice of 12% of the total GOP registered to vote. And I use defining since later primaries mean nothing once the candidates have little money to campaign with.

      We are still a centrist country, either left or right leaning. It is just that those left and right leaners could care less what happens until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. And then they are stuck with candidates they may or may not like and have to choose between the least bad. (An act I will never again perform).

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 20, 2022 9:13 pm

        Did you happen to read or at least skim through the whole very lengthy pew document, Ron (or Priscilla)?
        Pew has their own nomenclature, their own categories. There are groups inside the two parties that overlap with what most would call progressive s or loyal Trump supporters. It’s not so simple is the take home message I get.

        Politics would be rather fascinating entertainment if it didn’t affect people’s lives.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 20, 2022 11:22 pm

        Roby I have read or skimmed this. Skimmed the democrat section, read most of the republican. What I did not see in either case was the engagement of the groups when it comes to primaries. They cover how the vote went in the natioal elections as to percentages voting, etc but to me the more important elections are the primaries becasue that is where the candidates we have to vote for in the general are picked.

        So given the general election data, I am all wrong. Trump would have been the pick of close to 60% of the republicans in 2016, not the 35% that voted for him and the 12% I quote of the total GOP voters.

        It would be nice to know why he only got 35% of those voting in 2016 primaries and why he would have received the vast majority using their research had most republicans voted in primaries.

        So given this report, it appears that Trump will be running again and probably winning. If the democrats can get their &*^& together and hold the house, Trump will be in his second term he starts out as a lame duck and little of what he wants would get done. Second terms of presidents are very unproductive because from day one the parties are looking to 4 years out for their newest leader.

        And yes there is that fear that Trump will try to abrogate the constitution to stay in power, but who really thinks he could pull that off.

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 21, 2022 7:44 am

        I am in total agreement about the importance of primaries. I do not understand why so few vote in them, I guess most Americans are really not engaged in politics. That would be a good thing if it were not for the primaries.

        I do not see trump getting nominated again even if he runs. He would be the least likely GOP candidate to win the general election. Women hate him. Yeah, we have been here before I know, but I just don’t see it.

        I do not see how dems keep from losing in 2022, the question will be how badly. As to 2024, there is just too much time, so many things can happen in 3 years. Putin for one. I expect that the economy will be in some stage of recovery and COVID will be down to a lower level. A good GOP election in 2022 may work against the GOP in 2024, they will have 2 years to act like jerks and idiots and they are talented at that.

        As to Putin, a huge number of Russians have died of COVID they have lost something like 3 times as many as they admit. In the real per capita death toll from COVID Russia is in the same league as Peru, their official excess death toll is about one million, though they only admit to 316,000 COVID deaths The Russian economy is in a perpetual lousy state, though 2021 saw some recovery 2022 looks bad. So, Putin is using Ukraine as a diversion for the Russian people, though he would also like to further weaken Biden I am sure and as well is not kidding when he says he wants security assurances.
        If Putin further invades Ukraine I will believe his goals are to show the weakness of the west and Ukraine, embarrass Biden and get the Russian population in a patriotic support of his leadership. The areas he would likely invade are pretty god forsaken and a big economic burden on Russia. Tougher sanctions will put a larger cost in the long run. But he is a tsar so he is free to take actions that hurt his people.

      • Ron P permalink
        January 21, 2022 2:11 pm

        Roby, couple of thoughts, just my opinion to avoid multiple comments about documentation, proof, “how do you know” etc.

        Trump renomination. I agree if there is one strong candidate willing to take on the Trump cult, then he will have substantial opposition that the anti-trumpers can rally around and if they turned out in the primaries, then his defeat could happen. But should we have more than two others challenging him, then the same high turnout of the minorioty of followers can carry him to the nomination again.

        Yes, the republicans acting like republicans can, and most likely will, step on their own future.

        And finally, I don’t think Putin needs to make Biden look weak. After the news conference, Biden is catching hell from the Europeans press for his gaffe about Ukraine and response to Putin and a minor incursion into Ukraine. And now I am seeing comments on social media concerning his comment about election fraud and how we need the election reform bills to insure legitimate elections. Those that believe 2020 was illegitimate now are saying he supports 2020 being illegitimate.

        I don’t think anything fraudulent that occurred in 2020 would have changed an election. I also do not believe there is any election that has been 100% clean. But I do have to say that if one claims future elections need to have election reforms in place to make sure they are legitimate, one needs to have a good story everyone can believe when claims are made that past elections were legitimate..

        These two things make it much easier for internal and external forces to make Biden a weakened leader. It might be best to keep him away from the press going forward becaasue gaffes like this as a senator are overlooked. As a president they are not.

      • January 21, 2022 6:12 pm

        Bidden’s problem is not that he can not get away with as president what he could as Senator.

        It is two fold – most of the country was sold and elected a caretaker – not an activist president.

        Thus far there has been little to distinguish a Biden presidency from a Sanders or Warren one. that is not what voters thought they were buying.

        The next problem is that Biden is not competent and the children are in charge.

        It is not merely Biden’s remarks that have him in trouble, it is his policies.
        The thread that ties the whole biden administration together is incompetence.
        While this normally starts at the top – it is pervasive in this administration.

        The only positive thing democrats have going for them right now is that they own institutions like our schools – and those will not be fixed quickly.

      • January 21, 2022 6:34 pm

        I almost entirely agree with you regarding Putin.

        I would note that Putin gets beligerant when things are going badly at home.

        I do not think that Putin is as strongly motivated by snubbing Biden as you do.
        Though I agree that Putin likes doing so.

        Regardless, Biden is perceived by Putin as weak, impotent.
        That increases the odds of beligerance by Putin.
        Putin is not likely motivated by sanctions.

        What constrains Putin is the possibility of a military defeat.
        That would likely cost him power.
        Biden has done everything in his power to assure that Putin will not risk defeat.

        Putin is not even slighlty afraid of Biden – and that is dangerous.

        And the danger goes beyond Russia.

        If Putin is successful in the Ukriane that increases the chances that Xi will try something with Tiawan. And that is much more consequential

      • January 21, 2022 12:06 pm

        There is no such thing as centrist right leaning or centrist left leaning.

        The Center is the Center by definition.

        Further – of course the country is “centrist”.

        Nazi Germany was “centerist”. Hitler received 86% of the vote in a 1938 plebecite.

        However a country shifts there will always be a center, but that center will NOT be ideologically the same over time.

        The Center in the US drifted left from the 60’s until Obama, but appears to be shifting right since.

        Though one must be careful – as left and right are NOT the same today as in the 60’s

      • Vermonta permalink
        January 21, 2022 8:24 pm

        If the US cannot act militarily against NK (barring some nightmare scenario) then the US cannot act militarily against Russia or China. We will never go into combat with any of those countries unless doomsday is occurring.

        All the constraints on those countries regarding military actions are economic and diplomatic.

        Sometime in the next 100 years Taiwan will very likely be part of China again, perhaps by force or perhaps by implied force. Only economic constraints stop that today and someday China will be economically able to stand against economic retaliation. At that point Taiwan will mostly likely see the writing on the wall and become a semi autonomous republic of China. China has existed for thousands of years, they can wait a decade or a century for Taiwan.

        Putin undermining Biden is not about this week or this month or this year or this presidency. Its about keeping Ukraine out of the Western orbit and scaring the smaller countries that escaped the USSR. Its about a long term reshaping of the situation such that Russia can use “soft power” on the “near abroad.” Its about a decades long patient plan to remake the USSR, if not formally then de facto. Whoever is POTUS Putin use his tsar powers as a man who has no internal constraints to make it clear that the west cannot stop Russia from doing what it wants in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet sphere. He could beat Ukraine in a few days if it came to that, but it won’t. He will just keep them in fear.

        Personally, I would find a way to answer Russia’s legitimate security concerns (which actually do exist) in Ukraine. Its not going to enter NATO and new missile treaties can be negotiated.

      • January 22, 2022 4:02 pm

        I am in not rushing towards war. But it is Biden’s incompetence and weakness that creates these problems.

        Trump is the first president since Carter to NOT start a new conflict.
        He is also exactly like Reagan a president that projected strength and that you did not want to trifle with.

        Neither Putin nor Xi engaged in sabre rattling while Trump was president.

        Because of Biden’s weakness it is likely that Putin will test him, and if he fails – Xi will likely follow.


    • January 21, 2022 11:08 am

      It is possible to agree.

      I would note a few things.

      Progressives are a tiny portion of the people.

      But they dominate political discourse as well as our institutions.

      I think it is inaccurate to describe Trump supporters as populists – though some like Bannon describe things that way.

      Both progressives and the MAGA movement are about ISSUES.

      You can disagree with every issue that “populist” republicans want – if they get their way, the world will not end, in fact on net it will be better.

      Conversely, there is nothing about progressives today that does not make everything worse.

      The democratic party is not intrinsically progressive – Biden is not progressive.
      But their concessions to progressives are the root of the failure of the democratic party and the Biden administration.

    • January 21, 2022 11:13 am

      Pew is not the only poll that has produced similar results.

      There are differences depending on how the questions are asked.

      Different polls have double the number of conservatives – and double the number of progressives – but ratios remain the same.

      In those polls that identify libertarians – they are about double progressives.

      Modern progressivism is illiberal.

  52. Priscilla permalink
    January 20, 2022 7:34 pm

    I do think that Joe Biden is following the lead of the progressives, as are Pelosi and Schumer.

    This is very bad news, and no doubt has to do with the fact that progressives have become the base of the Dem Party. There is talk, in particular, that AOC will primary Schumer in 2022. He’s not vulnerable in the general election, but you never know in a primary, and AOC has refused to say that she won’t challenge him.

    • Vermonta permalink
      January 20, 2022 9:15 pm

      I will admit to not being very impressed with Biden, although his situation was always going to be very tough. Right now it’s advantage gop.

  53. Ron P permalink
    January 20, 2022 11:28 pm

    Would her husband really put his investments into a blind trust or mutual funds and not actively manage his money?

    If this passes, I would bet money that she would decide not to run again just before it bacame effective.

    He is a venture capitalist and that is how he makes money.

  54. January 21, 2022 3:07 pm

    This is information from the UK on actual covid deaths.

    I would note that factor of 10 reduction in Covid deaths still may be too high.
    As Campell notes the average age of someone dying from Covid is GREATER than the life expectance in the UK by several years.

    Through 2020 and 2021 the UK experienced a 7 day DROP in life expectance for men, and a .5 day increase for women.

    And this after well know negative impacts of stupid public Covid policies.

    Recent data from the US notes that from 18-49 the increase in Fentanyl overdoses during the pandemic is greater than Covid deaths for that Cohort. The increase in suicides is likely similar, as is the lost years of life which will persist for some time due to delays in diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, etc.

  55. January 22, 2022 8:34 am

    Excellent article by Salena Zito who has been doing avery good job of covering the polical shifts in flyover country – particularly the rust belt since 2015.

    This article should be particularly appealing here – as it is primarly an analysis of what is going on with moderates.

  56. January 22, 2022 9:08 am

    Interesting article. Presume the same criticism of Rick’s posts – i.e. that the author feels compelled to equally bash the right and the left.

    I would further challenge his assumption that institutions are currently stable – as he notes they are well setup for increasing failure, and no amount of internal political stability will endur increasing institutional failure.

    That said the author does an excellent job of examining the problems with modern institutions.

    While I think he is correct that modern institutions are divorced from the worst extremes of wokeism and the modern left, I am less in agreement that significantly mitigates their danger

  57. January 22, 2022 9:16 am

    This is Historian Victor David Hanson’s recommendation for a GOP 10 commandments platform for 2022.

    I am offering this for discussion. I am not endorsing it.
    It appears increasingly likely that Republicans are likely to take over both the house and the senate. Is the Agenda VDH offers more likely or less likely to inspire you to vote for republicans and why ? Should republicans take over congress how strongly would you support or oppose this agenda ?

    What do you agree with and why. What do you disagree with and why ?

    What in this is significant enough to make you vote republican ?
    What in this would make you vote against republicans ?

    • Ron P permalink
      January 23, 2022 12:58 am

      Dave, My reply on each:
      1. This is good, but mostly just verbiage as most crimes are state crimes and too many states are looking to cut cost of prisoner cost, so doing any search on the internet will provide vast amount of information on shortened prison time. States doing that would not be impacted by this promise.
      2. One executive order after another depending on who is in power. What was not noted in this was changing mileage standards again once the GOP gets in power. and also changing the EV requirements dictated by Biden.
      3. Given the sever labor shortage in America today, this is not possible. Given the need for more workers, the immigration policies need to be completely rewritten which would include a way for those already here and working to stay. Once the immigration policies were changed, then maybe the need for a more secure border would not be needed.
      4. I can support each of these.
      5. Feds need to stay out of the way states do elections. I say that because Utah has had all of the things the GOP wants to get rid of for years before they were bad and only once the liberal states started to adopt these election policies did they become bad. There are those in Utah now trying to go back to the old ways and citizens are not supporting that,.
      6. A string America with a strong foreign policy makes us all safer. Given there are three more years before any change, this may need to be completely rewritten. I suspect Putin will be in Ukraine before long, Bioden will do his economic deal, it will have little impact, Russia will limit flow of gas and oil and Europe will buckle like cheap linoleum flooring. China will see this and find the time for Taiwan to be poart of the mainland is now and they will act. All before a strong leader replaces Biden. (Just my thoughts)
      7.We tried that once, it did not work. A “Simpson Bowles” trype agreement would have been possible when the debt was $7-$8T as it was around 2008. It is not almost $30T and growing at a clip of $1T to $2T a year. Any agreement will require bipartisan support and that wont happen until an economic crisis forcese that change, One can promise a balanced budget to get elected and then forget about it.
      8. That is a compete reversal of GOP policies. If they did that, vast amounts of money would dry up for elections.
      9.Is this supporting civil rights of restricting CRT? If history is taught in school and they had lessons about black wall street and explained what and how that happened, is that CRT or Oklahoma history?
      10.This should be a given.

      I suspect little of this would ever get passed on the senate unless the filibuster was eliminated. Maybe McConnell would do that, but once that is removed only bad thing can happen as there would be no roadblocks for most legislation.

  58. January 22, 2022 9:33 am

    Bari Weiss an excellent liberal journalist who left/was driven out, of a priminent position at NYT has her own excellent substack.

    Here is a wonderful column from a Canadian teacher on the significant harm we are doing to a generation of children.

    What does it take for the covid nazi’s among you to grasp that the destruction your policies are wreaking on the world are far worse than Covid ?

  59. January 22, 2022 10:32 am

    The Jan.6th committee is violating the constitution, supreme court decisions and federal laws.

    It is acting similar too but even more broadly than the 1950’s MacCarthy House Unamerican Activities Committee.

    We have done this before. It is WRONG, it is immoral, it is illegal, and it is unconstitutional.

    Atleast the HUAC had proportionate democratic representation on the committee, with members chosen by their respective parties.

    Regardless, Congress may not investigate private citizens.

    It is highly likely that soon republicans will control the House, Many democrats have retired and likely will retire. It is expected that Pelosi will retire after she loses the house.

    Should republicans construct their own committees with no or only democrats handpicked by republicans to sit on some committee that meets primarily in secret and spends its time investigating democrats ? Subpoenaing their private records ?

  60. January 23, 2022 10:16 am

    I do not care so much about the so called Dark Money.

    I focus on ONE aspect of this article. The open admission of many democrats that absent the same lawless election conditions that were present in 2020 they will lose badly in 2022.

    You can pretend that there was no consequential fraud in 2020. But even democrats are not pretending that they are able to win normal lawful elections.

  61. January 23, 2022 4:28 pm

    Bill Mahr has Barri Weis on.

    I would quibble a bit with Weis – no we do not have data now we did not have two years ago.
    The Data has not demonstrated efficacy of masks from the start.
    Further the harms done by our policies this were known in early 2020.
    Fauxi worked tirelessly to belittle, disempower, all the “experts” that sought to bring the know negative impacts of these policies from the start.

    I have been posting since near the start using actual data from a variety of sources that none of this BS would work.

    Those sources were obviously credible and backed by data at the time.
    Now it is obvious to ordinary people on the streets.

    The question is WHY isn’t clear to many here ?

  62. January 24, 2022 10:38 am

    Excellent article.

    What will it take for most of you here to STOP believing total complete BS ?

    I will concur with Robby and Rick and many here that the woke progressive left is the font of lie after lie.

    BUT ordinary people – particularly democrats and even moderates believe those lies.

    I hear Robby and Rick and others rant about “right wing conspiracy theories” as if we need to fear claims made by the right that are mostly true or at the very least not provably false.

    All too often even the most ridiculous claims of the right end up having a substantial germ of Truth. While pretty much nothing claimed by the left is ever even a little true.

    So when is it that you stop beleiving LIES ? or atleast stop spreading them ?

  63. Vermonta permalink
    January 25, 2022 8:50 am

    Okay, its time for a withdrawal for a time from the news and TNM. I am declaring a two month moratorium on news until April. Its not out of any particular irritation with TNM, its just an experiment in my own self control. Lets see how strong I am. I cut off my morning Hill briefing, etc.

    If anything goes to hell in Russia, Ukraine, or Israel I will hear about it from my wife’s family. Other that that I will attempt to seal myself off. I hope this does not mean that all hell is about to break lose, which often happens when I try to withdraw.

    My lack of a presence here for a few months should not worry anyone. Actually, If it all goes smoothly for two months why should I not try to continue? We will see.

    May everyone here be safe and have a happy late winter and early spring.

    • January 25, 2022 6:00 pm

      It is unlikely Russia will act prior to the end of the olympics.

      If Libertarians ruled the world – you could take a break for as long as you wanted.
      Government would do very little and there would not be much news.

      “Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”

      Adam Smith

    • rondabellelane permalink
      January 27, 2022 12:00 pm

      Same to you. You will be missed.

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