Ed Gillespie and the ‘good Nazi’ dilemma

Ed Gillespie is the Republican nominee for Governor in Virginia and a thoroughly decent guy. I’ve had the privilege of chatting with him in my old life as a Republican. He represents an older, sane wing of pragmatic conservatives known for placing public interest over partisan squabbles.

Gillespie is the poster child for the dilemma facing so-called ‘rational’ Republicans. When your political party goes rancid, compromise is collaboration. In a post at Forbes I outlined the impact of the party’s corruption on those who still want to operate within its structure. Gillespie has been forced to make peace with Neo-Nazis in order to achieve his political goals. There will be no return to normal, healthy politics until the Republican Party has been thoroughly defeated, and either reformed or replaced. Such a realignment is hard to imagine in the near term, and almost impossible to achieve without some very worrying political disruptions. In the meantime, “nice” political figures like Gillespie are on the wrong side of a nasty moral divide.

92 Comments

  1. Dinner with former work colleagues last night and the discussion of course included the current state of affairs and one in our party said “even if they prove obstruction or maybe even collusion…nothing is going to happen anyway”…what if Mueller can prove obstruction or worse collusion and nothing happens? That bothered me a lot. Especially since Chris has been so spot on about the deterioration of our institutions…and then I read this David Roberts article at Vox this morning….what if there was collusion or obstruction and nothing happens?
    What then? I guess I’m just freaking out.

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/2/16588964/america-epistemic-crisis

    1. I was going to post that too. Dan and Dee Deplorable don’t care that our country is being dismantled. I’ve heard too many Fox devotees say “well, we interfere too”. The thing is they don’t care how they won, as long as they won. They don’t care how awful, corrupt or un-American Trump is as long as he’s in power and “sticking it to the libs.” They are more than willing to look the other way as long as their agenda is being pushed through.

      I won’t even start on the truly stupid, uneducated types that believed in Pizzagate and believe every sin Clinton is accused of, no matter how ridiculous and far-fetched. These are the ones who still insist Obama wasn’t a US citizen and that he’s a secret Muslim and they are buying into this Nov. 4 thing.

    2. Near the end of that Vox article:

      If one side rejects the epistemic authority of society’s core institutions and practices, there’s just nothing left to be done.

      At that point, the sane people have to start killing the mercers’s, bannon’s, and koch’s of the world. We are faced with civil war. There is nothing left to do.

      1. EJ

        There are legal methods short of civil war. Many countries have laws regulating political speech, for example, or banning certain parties and movements. However, in order to pass these the Republican party needs to be removed from power.

      2. EJ, if circumstances come to pass as described in that Vox article, the repubs would NOT be removed from power. That is the point. The article is suggesting a near future where all legal methods of removal, all sanity, are exhausted. The rule of law has failed at that point.

        And we are close to that point.

        Imagine three scenarios, both working from some assumptions listed below:

        a. Mueller returns with incontrovertible facts (to a normal human) that the puppet tyrant and his crew knowingly colluded with the russians to fix the election, then obstructed investigations, and lied under oath about it. Maybe an email from the puppet tyrant stating “yeah, let’s work with the russians and use the data they have given us.”
        b.The Democrats take the House in 2018, and their Senate seats are anywhere between 47 and say 52. Also, bannon has been successful and managed to primary a significant number of moderate republicans and replaced them with fascists/zealots. (Think Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas senate seats)

        Scenario 1:
        Congress votes yes to articles of impeachment, and a number of repub moderate senators vote with the Democrat senators, but because of the bannon block plus any number weak-willed senators that prize tribalism over virtue, the Senate does not get a super-majority. The coup is complete. The puppet tyrant, and the bannon block, now even more confident, truly begin their plan to wipe out the last vestiges of democracy in the states, and try to follow the russian model.

        Scenario 2:
        Congress votes yes, McCain has managed to stay alive long enough and with his friend Graham lead a charge from within the repub party to do the right thing, overcome the bannon block, and the puppet tyrant is impeached. But now, the puppet tyrant and his crew scream “The liberals are staging a coup based on fake news, protect your president!” You then have 35-45% of the population, including the most heavily armed private citizens, who fall into two camps. There are those who refused to believe the lies perpetrated in this liberal attack funded by globalists. And there are those even worse, who simply agree with the puppet tyrant’s policies and view his acquisition of power, at any cost, as acceptable. This 35-45% of the population then takes up arms to protect their leader.

        Scenario 3: Like scenario 2, the puppet tyrant is impeached. The puppet tyrant screams “Lies, coup, protect me!”, but no one decides to be his kind of patriot and defend him or his crew, and the puppet tyrant is lead away to federal prison in chains.

        What do you think is the most likely scenario?

      3. What I find tragically ironic is that these diimwits who support Trump to the bitter end are the same ones who scream about the Constitution and personal liberties but are more than willing, no, eager to cede these liberties to an authoritarian regime. The disconnect is alarming.

      4. Dinsdale,

        A minor technical correction. Impeachment is the House bringing charges. At that point, the Senate sits in trial, requiring a 2/3 vote to convict. Presidents Andrew Johnson and Clinton were impeached, but not convicted. Impeachment and subsequent conviction and the 25th Amendment are the only two Constitutional methods of removing a President from power. Even the 25th Amendment requires a 2/3 vote of both houses to sustain the removal of a President from power. Even then he is still the President, the Vice President only becomes the Acting President according to a strict reading of the 25th Amendment language. The only advantage that the 25th Amendment has is that it bypasses all the legislative procedure required for impeachment and conviction. It is theoretically faster, but that would probably not be the case in practice.

        This is the reason I’ve stated numerous times in this blog that removal of Trump from office by either method is very unlikely to happen. I believe that the most likely means of Trump leaving earlier than January 20, 2021 is resignation, death or abandonment of office, as Chris suggested several months ago. If he was to suffer a major stroke of other physical ailment and was obviously incapacitated, use of the 25th Amendment might be feasible, but that would require that Trump not object to the use of the 25th Amendment process. That would be similar to resignation.

        Given the present political climate, Congress taking action is extraordinarily unlikely. This whole situation makes it clear that we need some significant revision to our electoral laws. But that is another subject.

      5. Agree, sadly. If economy continues to be strong – even with the flat wage structure, T will be re-elected. If Tax Reform fails, that would produce an interesting set of challenges to Republicans, generally…

    3. We have to figure out a way to fight lies with truth. David Brin says that we should hold the Murdochs of the world responsible for out present situation. For me, that would include online social media.

      I think public shaming would be the first thing to try. It’s preferable to civil war.

      1. “We have to figure out a way to fight lies with truth. ”

        This is exactly my biggest anxiety. I just have no idea how. I learned long, long long ago that people can’t be persuaded with arguments or reason; the other forms of persuasion, such as appeals to their emotions, are much more difficult to manage and fleeting victories where they happen. The GOP’s persuasion of a solid bloc of people didn’t result in a power they could control.

        I also come from a background of media criticism and started out, early on in my career, with media epistemology. The fact is that we the American people have been generally media illiterate since the advent of broadcasting media (radio and television), and we never even got a foothold on broadcasting media literacy before being subsumed by the Internet.

        What media literacy programs out there do exist only exist to support certain agendas: whether left or right, progressive or conservative, media literacy groups focus is more about finding ways of enabling their preferred voices than it is about finding ways to instruct the average citizen in having cursory, fundamental media literacy. Literal simple things such as, “If the camera is pointed at that thing, what is happening out of frame?” “How much of the context of this do you really have access to?” “Is the information in this frame supported by information in other angles, other channels, other media, or authoritative or primary sources?”

        When such matters are brought up, it’s always with outrage and self-importance, like seeing the cameraman makes the individual smarter and more aware than ‘the sheeple’. But seeing the cameraman isn’t the media literacy: no shit there’s a cameraman, how the fuck do you think those images are there? You have to have a cameraman. That’s not ‘fake’ or ‘illusion’, it’s physics. Knowing that biases exist in media is only scratching the surface of how they’re used or why, and acting like media being biased is the problem is the problem of misunderstanding media.

        Every single time someone posts an article, from the media, on Facebook saying, “This event is happening AND THE MEDIA WON’T TELL YOU” is someone literally destroying our ability to gather together a logical rhetorical epistemology. If the media isn’t reporting on the event you’re sharing, THEN HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW ABOUT IT?

        And we’re just too far gone. Way too far. The stuff I know is ‘specialized’, ‘academic’, ‘intellectual.’ I haven’t as of yet found simple, rational ways of providing obvious tools for the people who respect and love me interpersonally to not be complete media illiterates. If I can’t even influence the people whose ears I have to ask better questions and be more even-handed in having the conversations necessary to break through this noise, how can I hope to convince people who literally want my girlfriend deported and show up in empty fields in Texas waving guns around expecting Antifa to arrive with the heads of ‘white people’ on pikes?

        It’s getting nuts out there and each step of this game is increasingly overwhelming. All we even need to start out with is people taking the time to understand the difference between an op/ed and a report. Like literally that minor level of distinction speaks volumes of the ability of individual humans to critically think.

        People keep complaining about democracy failing and with it, maybe learning that democracy is problematic. However democracy is only one single part of Enlightenment thinking, which includes notions of humanistic universal suffrage, scientific and rational thinking based on fundamental structures of logic, civic duty and participation, self-representation, and … the ability to read. Now the book isn’t the only tool of communication, there is also radio, television, Internet, and social media. Without the ability to ‘read’ those media, we’re all arguing with each other over what is real without the ability to argue or realize.

      2. Aaron, you are obviously more capable of talking about the problem of false information that affects a large part of our lives. I don’t get to interact with people that disagree with me often. I am definitely in a bubble. So solutions that I propose are simple and admittedly might not work.

        There seems to be two parts to the problem. One is the liar, the other is the believer of the lie.

  2. See this article on Politico: https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/01/trump-impeachment-talk-pelosi-244336

    I personnally like Pelosi’s approach of “No Drama Democrats” and avoiding getting caught up in the Daily Trump Distraction Machine. The nation desperately needs GOVERNANCE and return to NORMAL ORDER at this time. We have not had even a marginally productive Congress since the 111th from 2009 – 2010. The R’s have been trying to push through half baked measures dreamed up by the leadership to achieve the leadership’s ideological predilections. They have so far failed, and now are resorting to every trick imaginable.

    I’m aware that Pelosi has her limitations, may be nearing the end of her effectiveness and may not fully reflect the wishes of some in the party, but she is still the most effective Speaker since prior to 1995 (before Gingrich).

    1. The current Democratic leadership reminds me of the Chris de Burgh song Spanish Train. The train is full of dead souls, and Christ and Lucifer are on the train playing poker for the souls. Lucifer cheats, and Christ plays it straight, and naturally loses.

      The last lines of the song:

      And far away in some recess
      The Lord and the Devil are now playing chess,
      The Devil still cheats and wins more souls,
      And as for the Lord, well, he’s just doing his best…

      Until the Democratic leadership fully grasps what they are fighting, and the tactics needed to defeat that evil, they will keep losing.

      I read today that the republicans in Nevada state senate are now using the Recall method to reverse their losses to the Democrats last year (11-9). They are targeting 3 Dems’s to recall because they feel they have been “radicalized”.

      What are the Dem’s doing about it? Not much, except say “bad form”, and running a PR campaign/petition. Are they going tit-for-tat and starting petitions to get recall elections against the 9 repubs?

      No, because that would make a mockery of the democratic process. Nice to see they can still stand proud because they took the high road if they lose control of the Nevada senate.

      1. I understand the frustrations, The modern R’s always cheat, because power and money is all they understand. That however has led to the current situation of GOVERNANCE ONLY FOR THE WEALTHY.

        The D’s always are at a disadvantage because they care about doing what is right for the people. The D’s may need a street fighter like LBJ. The difficulty with taking this approach is that the D’s could easily lose sight of the ultimate goal of improving the lot of the average person. LBJ’s approach did have its problems. The biggest one is that he agreed to escalate in Vietnam to buy off some of the opposition to the Great Society programs. Many of us on this forum, know the consequences of that decision as we lived through them.

      2. The DNC and/or NV Dem Party should be doing all they can to support these candidates. This is the most absurd, despicable abuse of the political process I’ve seen in a long while…If it works, you can be sure it will be replicated in other states.

      3. >] What are the Dem’s doing about it? Not much, except say “bad form”, and running a PR campaign/petition. Are they going tit-for-tat and starting petitions to get recall elections against the 9 repubs?

        That this is an utterly disgusting political move by NV Republicans is no excuse for Democrats to sink to the same level, only even more far-reaching. If they did, it’d have the same impetus for lawmakers to pursue this strategy, regardless of the outcome. I hear what you’re saying, but Dems have to pour every ounce of their energy into beating this shameless attempt back and then use it as a campaign issue against these Republicans the next chance they get.

        I say all that as one who believes that Dems play nice far too often, but that doesn’t mean throwing one’s self into the gutter just because you might get away with it.

  3. Another Republican Congressman announces retirement. This one, Texas Rep. Hesarling, is integral to the tax reform attempt and closely connected to VP Pence.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/31/politics/jeb-hensarling-retirement-texas/index.html

    Like all the rest, he claims it has nothing to do with Trump. “I never intended to do this forever” is their favorite statement. According to this article, this drives the number of retiring GOP House members to 21.

    But hold on. Here is where I have to step back, as a younger member of the board, to ask some of the older members:

    Is this technically unusual?

    How many MoC’s announce retirement each year? How many Democrats have announced retirement this year? Did rightwing media announce every Dem’s Congressional retirement every time one was announced during the Obama years?

    In short, is this significant, or is it noise that I should ignore for the larger picture?

    Either way, “I never intended to be in Congress forever” is lame. If I was a reporter, my follow up question would always be, “What did you hope to achieve during your time there, and did you achieve it?” You only retire if you succeeded, are bored, or are old. These 21 dudes are neither of the latter two.

    1. I’ve followed Jeb Hensarling for years. His big “thing” has been to eliminate the EX-IMport agency. He’s spent years chasing that goal…Finally achieved most of his plan by getting more conservatives on the board so that they can control it from within. He’s pretty hard-right…I’ve never heard him mentioned as a primary candidate.

    1. Texas crazies you say?

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/01/far-right-conspiracy-theory-us-civil-war

      What I hate about this is that best case scenario of these situations happening are a bunch of dumbfucks show up in a field somewhere with artillery, looking around and blinking dumbly at the surprising lack of adversaries. But that best case scenario still results in proof of concept that really stupid people have weaponry and the willingness to use it to fight said invisible adversaries. Worst case scenario is that, lacking an adversary, they go in search of one to fulfill their needs, or that these events are all trial runs for getting Americans ready to spontaneously shoot each other specially placed social media engagement.

      Un fucking real.

    1. I think this is the most interesting tidbit to come out today. This shows that Mueller is following the classic tactic of closing in on the small fry and and then getting them to squeal. I’ve also read the the indictments against Manafort and Gates had a certain statute of limitations aspect to them. Mueller may have them dead to rights on certain lesser charges that could be nearing the deadline and enough to charge them on the more serious. By moving at this time, he can perhaps get them to start talking. An example of closing in on the medium sized fish.

      1. I must say it’s been amusing this morning reading all the desperate deflections and screams about Hillary and Uranium One, and how SHE paid for the dossier therefore she is the one guilty of collusion coming from the rabid Trumpanzees.

        They are in full meltdown mode because yesterday they were convinced the indictments would be for Hillary and Obama.

      2. I’ve noticed that the last few weeks, there have been many “not so subtle” references to Hillary and Comey from Trump. This has been augmented by new investigations in Congress from the House Comm. on Foreign Intelligence (named because there is no intelligence in the House at present) …MoC Nunes, and the House Oversight Committee with our old friend, Trey Gowdy…See the pattern?

      3. Kayray – the way someone who is guilty as hell reacts! I noticed the sudden emphasis on Hillary, the emails, the campaign, etc. last week and thought that something was about to break in the investigation. Mueller trumped them all on Friday.

      4. Well, just to know, both Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty today. Those of you who have access to last weekend’s WSJ, might want to see how low this paper has gone in its support of DJT. They advocate that T use his executive authority to pardon those who are indicted….holding out that carrot will surely make it more difficult for prosecutors to get any cooperation from T’s supporters….But, the WSJ? What a major disappointment.

      5. Yes. Rupert bought it in 2007 from the family who started it and held onto it for a century…with lots of “Murdoch promises” on maintaining the integrity of the paper…but…$5 B…A neighbor who subscribes gave me a copy of the journal with the article. It is an op-ed by two D.C. attorneys (Repub), David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey. They suggest that Trump can: “end this madness by immediately issuing a blanket presidential pardon to anyone involved in supposed collusion with Russia or Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign, to anyone involved with Russian acquisition of an American uranium company during the Obama administration, and to anyone for any offense that has been investigated by Mr. Mueller’s office. ”

        Millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars plus the preservation of the integrity of investigations are at stake. Basically Casey and Rivkin are offering a legal maneuver to Trump…game, set, match. The only thing they cannot protect him from is impeachment, which this Senate seems loathe to consider….unless it comes “after” they pass tax reform and tax cuts….It’s so very sad to watch this go down in the United States of America.

    2. Remember everybody, call your MoC’s TOMORROW MORNING and make sure they hear the following message:

      Senators:

      “I am calling to urge Senator [___________] to co-sponsor both The Special Counsel Independence Protection Act and The Special Counsel Integrity Act. These acts would ensure that Trump can’t unilaterally fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. We need to protect our democracy from foreign influence and ensure that Trump is not being influenced by Russia.”

      Congresspeople:

      “I am calling to urge Representative _______ to put forward legislation that protects the Special Counsel Mueller from unilaterally being fired by Trump. We need to protect our democracy from foreign influence and ensure that Trump is not being influenced by Russia.”

      It’s a roll of the dice whether 45 gets it through his head to go full stupid, but he’s always capable of it, so better get the calls in now while the temperature has risen.

      1. I am becoming increasingly concerned regarding Trump firing Mueller. I do concur that contacting your Congress People and Senators urging them to support legislation to protect Mueller. I will be contacting my Senators and Representative to encourage them, although I am confident that all three will support such legislation (they are all liberal D’s and women). Nevertheless, encouragement never hurts.

        Mary is absolutely correct in her statement that the GOP is in full denial and suppression. Anything to get their program through, plus they are all terrified of being primaried. And with the hard core national support of 35-40% for Trump with almost all of that support being hard core GOP, they have good reason to be terrified. Additionally, McConnell and Ryan are also in total denial and suppression. Ryan only cares about pushing his Ayn Randian agenda and McConnell just wants to maintain power with the concomitant money and prestige. The GOP in general does not care about governance. There are only a few of the GOP MoC who are willing to break with Trump.

        For a nice fantasy, consider that shortly after the D’s take control of Congress in 2019, Trump and Pence are both forced to resign. The Speaker of the House would be D and we would have a D President with a D Congress. That D President might be Pelosi.

  4. For an unhealthy dose of Anti-Semitism look no further than Berkeley. After Alan Dershowitz spoke on campus, he was confronted with a swastika drawn over his face on a poster and an ugly, Anti-Semitic cartoon published in the school’s newspaper.

    The troubling thing is that the students were not fringe losers like the Neo-Nazis. The students at Berkeley were being groomed to be future leaders and influencers, and yet diversity of thought was met with hostility and even violence when conservative speakers tried to speak on campus.

    Don’t get me wrong, I abhor Anti-Semitism in any form. It should hold no place among conservatives. Why is it tolerated among some liberals?

    From: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/26/alan-dershowitz-berkeley-s-hard-left-stunningly-silent-over-anti-semitic-caricature-me.html

    Shortly after, The Daily Californian – Berkeley’s student newspaper – published an anti-Semitic cartoon, depicting an ugly caricature of me sticking my head through a cardboard cutout. Behind the cardboard I am portrayed stomping on a Palestinian child with my foot, while holding in my hand an Israeli soldier who is shooting an unarmed Palestinian youth. Above the cardboard cutout the title of my speech – The Liberal Case for Israel – is scrawled in capital letters.  

    1. See, this is where you are oh so wrong. I truly don’t know if you are trolling, or if you are being earnest. Bottom line, in some cases, like global warming and Nazism, there are ARE NOT two sides to the discussion. This is one of those cases.

      If you suggesting that Berkeley students are hate Jews, you are definitely trolling.

      There is a vast vast difference between being anti-semitic, and anti-zionist. The extreme right-wing, and most of the Israeli government, like to conflate the two, while they are completely different things. One is about a religion, and the other about the second worst terrorist organization on the planet.

      1. I think she must be trolling. This comment gave her away.

        “It should hold no place among conservatives. Why is it tolerated among some liberals?”

        Lots of anti-Semitism and racism amongst conservatives. She may think it should not hold a place among conservatives but it does and she aligns herself with them.

        Your last sentence is spot on.

      2. Dinsdale, I was being sincere. In no way was I implying that ALL Berkeley students hate Jews. However, there seems to be an intolerance for any thought that does not match many of the students and professors’ extremely liberal views.

        Take the cartoon controversy. Alan Dershowitz wrote:

        “It is shocking that this vile caricature – which would fit comfortably in a Nazi publication – was published in “the official paper of record of the City of Berkeley” (according to the Editor). The cartoon resembles the grotesque anti-Semitic blood libel propaganda splashed across Der Sturmer in the 1930’s, which depicted Jews drinking the blood of gentile children. Canards about Jews as predators – prominently promulgated by the Tzarist forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – were anti-Semitic back then and are still anti-Semitic today, whether espoused by the extreme left or the extreme right.”

        Even though the cartoon was later taken down, it was problematic in that it was even considered for publishing since the caricature went well beyond anti-Zionism and crossed over into anti-Semitism.

      3. kayray, sure there is some anti-Semitism and racism among conservatives and it needs to be denounced. My point is that outright racism is mostly confined to the fringe and the disenfranchised on the right. We can argue all day on issues like voter ID or immigration, but to my mind these issues can be discussed from a more objective point of view that is not necessarily racist.

        On the other hand, the left is noticeably silent when it comes to the violence of Antifa and situations where free political and religious speech is impinged. In many cases, the violence and suppression of speech occurs on college campuses. The actions are being carried out by the elite – which to my mind is more dangerous

      4. Well, not to argue but the right is also noticeably silent on subjects like the recent white nationalist rallies. If you go to message boards they are even encouraging them and actively calling them to go get some “libturds” and “discoloreds”.

      5. EJ

        Sorry, which Lefties are silent about the antifa? All my American Left friends are busy shouting at each other about it. They’ve been busy arguing about it for years. Just google the phrase “punching Nazis” and you’ll get lots of youtube videos, tumblr posts and long thoughtpieces. Even the antifa themselves are busy debating the issue. The national sport of the Left is always and has always been infighting.

        Let’s take this as an example, if we may, to source some alternative facts and trace them to their origin. The phrase “lefties are silent about antifa” is provably, obviously false. From whom did you hear it?

      6. EJ, interesting. I don’t know anyone involved in Antifa so I’ll have to take your word for it. I probably should have said that news sites that are left wing spend precious little time covering Antifa while right wing sites extensively cover them when they cause trouble.

        What is your opinion of those who think violence is an acceptable reaction?

      7. I don’t know anyone involved in anti-fa and I’m not EJ but it seems to me that right wing sites make up stories to induce fear and hysteria from anyone they perceive as “leftists”, foreigners and anyone not 100% white, christian American. Listen to Fox once in awhile. Everything is fear-mongering. I’m not sure what you consider “left wing” news sites, but it could simply be that they don’t perceive anti-fa as being a big enough threat to even speak about. I hadn’t heard about it until very recently. Even right now right wing sites are stoking fear about some kind of Nov. 4 race riot and all I can picture is a bunch of white, gun-wielding rednecks with confederate flags showing up for a non-existent riot ready to shoot some liberals and brown people. This was apparently started by a Russian troll farm to invoke more chaos here. I think this anti-fa group is a hell of a lot smaller than what the right makes it out to be.

      8. I’ve been working the polls in support of a local candidate. It has been amazing to hear the comments from “the other side”…i.e., conservative Republicans…It’s ranged all over the map but lots of emphasis on illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, transgender bathrooms (this is TX), and abortion. Had a real interesting conversation with a woman and older man who queeried me about my religious beliefs…saying they felt the Bible should be the voter guide…that they worked to identify and support candidates who were Christians and shared their religious beliefs….they were proud Trump supporters….I chose not to engage on the inherent contradiction between supporting Trump and being Christians, because….it would have been wasted.

        We tend to associate with those who share our personal and political belief system so it’s useful to actually meet people who have different views….and see how strident they are in promoting their agenda. In this very “red” county (Montgomery – which has the dubious distinction of voting for Trump in the highest percentage in the nation), it’s tough sledding to advocate another POV….but, I do. One day, there will be enough of us to change things politically. It’s a long game and I’m all in.

    2. EJ

      To the credit of the Daily Californian, they retracted the cartoon and published a letter from Dershowitz criticising them.

      Hopefully, other American news sources will regard this as the correct way to behave when they overstep the line. (I’m looking at you, Fox News.)

      1. Boo! Happy Halloween. (Now, that’s me trolling.) I’m glad the Daily Californian took some action. My immediate objective is to get some lunch. Catch up with you later …. 🙂

      2. Objv-

        Wait a sec, you can’t leave that easy! You asked “where’s the response from the left” and within 24 hrs, there it was. Not just the newspaper retracting the cartoon and apologizing, but many “hard left” (i.e from Berkeley, which to a conservative is the same thing…) people writing letters to the editor criticizing the cartoon.

        So where is the moral equivalence now between right-wing nazis and left-wing antifa (again, all people in Berkeley must be anti-fa, just like everyone in Alabama must be crazy trump supporters)? Do you see that you’re wrong when saying both sides are equally evil? Or will you just retreat in the face of evidence that your belief was inaccurate, and wait until you can claim false equivalence again?

        I’m not trying to be mean, and i do hope you enjoy your Halloween (there are more important things to do than read a blog, especially if you have kids in the neighborhood waiting for candy 🙂 ). But this is precisely the type of evidence that should cause people to alter their beliefs. Not that there aren’t beliefs that liberals hold against all evidence (we’ve talked about anti-vaxxers before), but this is one of the common canards, spread since at least GWB, about the false equivalence of liberals and conservatives, that has given cover for otherwise sane conservatives to tolerate the dangerous descent of their side into madness (by thinking “it’s happening to everyone, so it must not be something peculiar about my political philosophy that enables it”).

      3. They’re also doing training. Some stereotypes, such as conspiratorial and subversive Jewry, should not be made in good company. The younger generation may not know this (it seems, on average, Americans could really use a lot more history lessons), and it is the University’s job to rectify that. I think it will do so. It’s a huge embarrassment.

      4. WX, there is equivalence when it comes to violence and smears – generated from the left or the right. Both should be denounced no matter what the political affiliation.

        The cartoon was retracted because Alan Dershowitz has a national platform and was only taken down once it became news. Something so offensive should never have been published in the first place!

        Who wrote letters the letters to the editor? Were they all from the students at Berkeley? I’m guessing that quite a bit of the push to remove the cartoon and apologize came from non-liberals. I’m glad that Dershowitz created a stink. Anti-Semitism should never be allowed to raise its ugly head again.

      5. As a conservative, I believe that a line has been crossed when it comes to violence and destruction of property.

        On the other hand, speech – even the kind of free speech that makes it possible to generate an offensive cartoon, should be protected – and people should have the freedom to condemn it. Media organizations should be free to publish what they want within their own guidelines. The consumers of that media have a right to either accept or be outraged. In the case of The Daily Californian, this system worked.

        I’m glad we are able to have a discussion. I disagree with Chris on many issues. I respect his right to believe the way he does.

        The following is where I have a problem. This is unacceptable whether it comes from Antifa, Black Lives Matter, neo-Nazis, or Environmentalists.

  5. In other news, Western Europe has seen a decline of 75% of its total flying insect population that just so happens to coincide with the introduction of a popular (and easily dispersable) pesticide. Unfortunately, all the bad bugs have started becoming resistant to it, while the good or neutral bugs, well…

    https://secondnexus.com/environment/insect-declines-windshield-phenomenon/?utm_content=inf_10_1164_2&tse_id=INF_643e7de0bc1d11e78240a3a6bbddd67d

    1. EJ

      It’s a problem. Bee populations have also been plummeting, which could have a real impact upon agriculture as they’re needed for pollination.

      I could rant about European agriculture and how it’s been going wrong, but… that would be too off-topic.

    1. Republicans had to repeal Medicaid and cut other safety net programs to offset the promised $5T + in cuts they lauded. When repeal and replace of the ACA, didn’t work, the GOP had to do an end-run and fold in these cuts into the budget. So, now they will slip in the changes they didn’t achieve through repeal, by rolling them into this 30 day budget wonder that 6 men have prepared in a dark room. A bill which savages conservative principles of “balance” and which half of the nation’s elected representatives have not only had no input in, but will have no vote on. (Which goal was always about getting “to” the $$trillions in Medicaid and Medicare and the ACA….)

      There really is no honor left in the GOP. None. I have no sympathy for any of them, even the “formerly fine Republicans” who have aligned with the rest of the red crowd. They are destroying our country, our democratic institutions, hurting innocent people, denigrating our nation in the eyes of the world, putting our country at great risk militarily and environmentally, and have insulted me to my core. I have utter disdain for the party and all who call themselves Republicans.

    2. I found the secret Republican playbook detailing all their intricacies for tax “reform”:
      Economy booming? Cut taxes.
      Economy in recession? Cut taxes.
      Budget surplus? Cut taxes.
      Budget deficit? Cut taxes.
      Peacetime? Cut taxes.
      Fighting two wars? Cut taxes.
      How about for the poor? Woah. Can’t have those lucky duckies not pay their fair share…

      This is why I laugh (and cry a little inside) when Republicans call Paul Ryan their brain trust.

  6. I share this link because the Shields and Brooks segment on PBS News Hour this evening covered many of Chris’s talking points (timely). It was refreshing to hear adults talk about whats really happening and the existential threat it poses to our little experiment. I usually only hear this level of discourse here….nice to see others creating space for discussions like this on television. Never argue with me about the importance of PBS/NPR and what they contribute to the country.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjmwcEuOZqw

    To another extreme, a Russian radio journalist at
    Эхо Москва I listen to was attacked in her studio. She is in critical condition.
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/oct/23/russian-radio-journalist-tatyana-felgenhauer-stabbed-in-neck-at-her-moscow-office

    News journalists not sanctioned by the government are subject to censure, harassment and violence in Russia.

  7. EJ

    Chris: If you maintain any contacts with your old Republican party activists, I’d be interested in hearing what their current mood is. Do they think that it’s possible to harness the energies of the neo-Nazis? Do they believe that the Republican party can be rebuilt afterwards? Is party loyalty simply too strong to prevent them from acting like decent human beings?

    1. I had a really depressing exchange of emails with my state senator. He’s a truly solid guy. I worked on his campaigns going back to his days in the state assembly. U of Chicago grad, smart, honest, the whole package. Here’s some background.

      No one in the local GOP organization was a Trump supporter during the primaries. When I say no one, I mean that literally. A Trump proxy came to present to one of our meetings asking for help getting signs distributed. He was met with total silence. People were looking away, like he was embarrassing himself.

      My state senator is in a solidly Republican district that Clinton won. Over the summer I sent him an email mentioning that fact. I asked how he’s planning to prepare in terms of his posture toward Trump. He went off on me, ALLCAPS and all. I’m reluctant to post the email, but he basically expressed frustration that people were pushing him to take a divisive position on “matters beyond our control.” I was stunned by his tone, which was surprisingly snide and snippy, but I’m not surprised by his irritation. He didn’t ask to be put in this position and frankly, I think he just doesn’t know what to do.

      Responses from other Republicans have been similar. Many of them have left the party. Another local Republican here, Bob Schneider, has defected in a pretty vocal and high-profile way. He blogs here, http://www.chicagonow.com/politics-now/about/.

      A lot of the people who didn’t openly defect have quietly drifted away. Among the ones left, I’ve noticed “The Gillespie Effect.” They have slowly begun adopting the Trump talking points as they are assimilated into the Borg. It really helps you understand how people made their peace with the Nazis. Our urge toward normalization is almost irresistible.

      Next fall will be a very interesting local election here. Lots of first-time Democratic voters. We might see Democrats county level positions for the first time. We’ll see.

      1. “He didn’t ask to be put in this position and frankly, I think he just doesn’t know what to do.”
        You do what is right and pay the cost. Our history is littered with people who took the moral road and paid the price. The Civil War was a struggle where people died to defeat an idea of people owning people. The Reformation was about the idea that people could read the Bible in their own language and make their own decisions of what it meant. A lot of blood was spilt over attaining that right. I still have hope we can ultimately prevail at the ballot box. But I think the idea of a plurality of many peoples uniting on a central idea of freedom and opportunity is worth fighting for.

      2. EJ

        Thanks for that, Chris. That sounds heartbreaking.

        If it’s any consolation, I’ve observed that when people post ALL CAPS RANTS to mild questions, it’s because they’re not trying to intimidate you, but themselves; they’re currently engaged in a battle between their devils and angels about whether to betray their partisan affiliation or their deeply-held principles. If your state senator is in this position, he may be on the verge of coming around; of “breaking good”, as I believe the Americans say.

        It’s the people who stay calm and parrot the talking points who are the truly lost souls. As long as your senator isn’t one of them, I hold out hope.

      3. Why not switch parties? I suppose in the infamy of Illinois politics that’s a whole different kettle of fish, but Beth Fukumoto of Hawaii did it.

        Her general opinion seems to be similar to Bob’s: she has some issues with Democratic economic platforms, but she felt she got a receptive ear to her differences in this regard.

        She also posted these gems more recently:

        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hawaii-rep-beth-fukumoto-japanese-racist-letter_us_599caf06e4b0d8dde999a687

        Of course, the “there is no meaningful racism today” brigade immediately suggested a false-flag operation, of which is discussed briefly at the bottom of the article.

      4. “Why not switch parties?”

        In the case of GOP Senators like Corker, Flake, and McCain, why not declare as Indies? They have nothing to lose here. Murkowski could also pull that off, as she was voted in as technically an Indy (as an end run against getting primaried). They could strike a deal with the Dems- no, we won’t be voting on the liberal side on certain issues, and we want to keep our current committee chairs, but in return we official caucus with you so that Schumer becomes majority leader and you get control of the other committees. And you’re free to subpoena tax returns, protect Mueller’s investigation, etc.

        Far fetched? Maybe. But if you guys really think Trump is that big a threat, that is immediate action that you could take.

      5. “Responses from other Republicans have been similar. Many of them have left the party. Another local Republican here, Bob Schneider, has defected in a pretty vocal and high-profile way.[…]

        A lot of the people who didn’t openly defect have quietly drifted away.”

        To follow up, do you keep in touch with THOSE former Republicans, and are they organized or active in any manner?

        Lastly, I checked out Bob Schneider’s blog and I saw this quote that says something I’ve also been thinking about:

        “Why has there been the ideological shift from rational government to the irrational government within the GOP? Because there are not that many Republicans. Regardless of what polls show, the GOP has lost the popular vote in four of the last five General Elections. They’ve had to bring in new blood to win.”

        The reason ever higher percentages of Republicans have ever-higher extremes of opinion is because as the ‘rational’ ones leave, tap-out, or outright die, it leaves only the core group of people who actually believe in that shit. Because of this, the major thing that frustrates me is that the so-called ‘political re-alignment’ can’t be speed-laned and a group of smart, moneyed non-crazy types just sit down together and outright create a new party from scratch.

        Macron did it in France.

      6. EJ

        Macron might be a good comparison: part of why he succeeded is that, prior to starting his own movement, he had served as Finance Minister and was widely thought to have been excellent at the job. He was that rarest of things: a veteran political insider who had both credibility and integrity, and had managed to avoid earning anyone’s ire.

        (That’s not quite true. A lot of my French friends distrust Macron, especially given the extent to which he’s perceived as being in the pocket of the finance industry. However, he didn’t have pitchfork-wielding mobs going against him in the same way that some others did.)

        The closest that America came to such a figure might have been Secretary Clinton. What happened to her – a succession of manufactured scandals which dented her credibility and whipped up the mobs against her – could have sunk anyone.

      7. Daniel-
        Switching parties in IL isn’t necessarily a great thing: the IL Democratic party has a similar situation with their leader, Michael Madigan (longtime Speaker of the House). Let me be clear: he’s not Trump, by a long shot. And, IMHO, he’s better than Rauner, IL’s current governor. But he has clearly outlived his usefulness, and in many ways, impedes the Dems ability to find common ground with Republicans and/or implement effective policies that the state desperately needs (I say all this as a yellow dog democrat). But his district will vote him in for life, and he maintains an iron grip over the party, so any and all Dems must bend to his wishes regardless of their own private misgivings. To give you an idea of his thirst for power, he screwed over his own daughter’s (currently Att. Gen) plan to run for governor, because it would require him to retire (he’s already the longest-serving Speaker the in the history of the state, but that’s apparently not enough).

        A Republican caught between declaring fealty to Trump or to Madigan is in a tough spot indeed…

        Chris-
        With all that said, while I sympathize with your State Sen. friend, the decision is clear. He doesn’t need to become a democrat, but he could be open about his disagreement with Trump on issues, call him dangerous to the country, etc. etc. and be true to his own beliefs. I doubt he’d even lose his seat in DuPage, because, while it’s Republican, it’s hardly Alabama.

        Sometimes, we fight an easy decision because we know the outcomes will be hard, and we use that avoidance of difficulty to convince ourselves that it’s actually the decision that’s hard. In this case, your friend doesn’t want to lose his seat nor the power & benefits that come from just going with the flow. But putting his own election over his principles probably goes against why he got into politics in the first place. It would fundamentally change his own image of himself. So instead, he convinces himself that it’s actually the decision to break from Trump that’s hard. It’s hard enough for a non-crazy person to do this without having people you respect and trust pointing out the fallacy of their decision and potentially destroying this whole carefully built psychological construct. Hence the all caps.

        Sorry to go all psycho-analytical on your friend (if Bill Frist can diagnose brain death from a video, I can diagnose defense against change from a blog post! 🙂

        2nd question: while no one’s challenging Trump yet, do you think McConnell’s war with Bannon will turn into that battle for the soul of the Republican party that we ultimately need? IMHO, I think lots of Republicans have convinced themselves that Trump is an anomaly, and if they can just wait out the 4 (or 8!) years, things will go back to normal. But Bannon promising a primary challenge for every Republican not named Ted Cruz seems to have triggered their survival instincts, and maybe they’ll come out swinging.

      8. I’ve heard about the infamous Madigan, and before that Blagojevich. And unfortunately they were powerful, and Illinois politics is rather infamous in general…

        Is there any way to work against him from within the party? Unfortunately the toxicity of the GOP is going to make it hard to excise bad governance coming from the Democratic party.

        I’ve mentioned this before, but the Top-Two system I think very good for polarized states, so that an internal Democratic challenger could displace him, though, admittedly, it required our Schwarzenegger wing of the GOP (now on the back foot because they okayed cap-and-trade and a tax) to achieve.

  8. So what’s your call on Va Chris? Does Gillespie get rewarded in the short term for his devil’s deal?

    I agree with you on the GOP Senators; they are all talk and no substantive action. If they truly meant their warnings that Twitler is a risk to start a nuclear war or that he is poison to our system of government, they’d go Indy and make a limited caucusing deal with the Dems. But it’s tax cuts uber alles.

    1. I honestly don’t know what to make of the Virginia race. Gillespie’s attack ads are indeed wrong and might lose him the race, but Northram, in typical Dem fashion, is doing everything he can to lose. His campaign has almost never ventured outside of NoVa, Richmond, and the Norfolk area, giving Gillespie ample room to claim that he (and by extension Dems) don’t care about rural people anymore. He’s also tied himself in knots trying to appease labor unions over a planned pipeline in Western Virginia (one of the main campaign issues) while his running mate is completely opposed to it for environmental reasons.

      As a result, the polls are all over the place. Most show a lead for Northam, but one came out this week showing an 8-point lead for Gillespie with at least 25 percent undecided.

    2. Like shiro said, recent polls have been all over the place. One caveat though is that the two polls that have Gillespie with +8 and +2 are by Hampton and The Polling Place, respectively. These, at least as far as I can see on RCP, are the first ones they’ve ever done for this race, so we don’t have any other work of theirs to compare to.

      That said, best to just play it safe and stick with the average for right now, which still has Northam with a slight lead of just under three points. Needless to say, not exactly the kind of margin you’d be hoping to having going into Election Day.

      1. FWIW, here’s 538’s take on the VA race. I do think this race will be a potent bell weather on the “state of the nation’s” deepest feelings on politics. That is one frightening thought…

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/calm-down-about-those-virginia-polls-folks/?ex_cid=newsletter-top-stories

        On the other point as to why moderate Repubs who are assimilating T positions rather than either leave or fight…I have to stand with Stephen’s rather simple, basic and irrefutable point: “You do what is right and pay the cost. Our history is littered with people who took the moral road and paid the price.”

        I do not think for one minute that (other than Roy Moore) any Republican “likes” or respects T. What is tragic is that they have refused to stand up and hold him accountable. As much as I detest the man, I am more appalled at the Republican Party for its absolute silence which becomes complicity and ultimately acceptance of Trump….in every respect.

        Where Chris and I agree is that the Republican Party as it now exists is a hypocritical, deeply compromised organization and the only way in which rational conservatives rebound is to fail. To do that, they must do what Stephen stated: stand on principle – even if and when it costs them their jobs. In my opinion, they aren’t losing much.

  9. As always your take on the GOP’s present and future is valuable, but I’d submit that there’s an important issue to take with your thesis that “By making Donald Trump the defining symbol of their party, Republicans have distilled our entire political culture down to a single question. Will we abandon our vision that ‘all men are created equal,’ openly redefining America to favor its white male Christian citizens?”

    The GOP didn’t need Trump to question equality and push the supremacy of white males. That’s been on the agenda for Conservatives since the Founding and it’s been explicitly on the GOP slate for at least 50 years. It’s also not the foundational issue of our political culture. The commitment to equality depends on the commitment preceding it in the Declaration: that there are such things in the first place as self-evident truths. America was founded on that radical idea, there are facts to which we all must accede. That commitment is the basis for everything else built on it, not just equality, but science and law, and therefore commerce and justice.

    Today’s Republicans aren’t just attacking equality. They’re attacking the idea of self-evidence and insisting that there are such things as alternative facts, alternatives to reality. That’s what makes them so dangerous today. They’re wrong, for starters, but they’re pursuing something that is fundamentally anti-American in distilling our entire political culture down to the single question, “is there any such thing as a self-evident truth” and worse, in answering it in the negative, saying instead that reality itself can be legislated. They want to make fact a construct of power and not of empiricism, and they want to own the power to make fact. Hence climate change denial, racism made policy, unequal justice, the end of one-man-one-vote, collusion with enemies, etc. Equality is a casualty of that attack but that’s just a fraction of the damage they seek to do.

    1. Conservatism has always been focused on the preservation of an existing order. It hasn’t always been so laser-focused on white racial resentment. More importantly, not since the civil war has one political party been so dominated by open, unapologetic white nationalists. Even when Southern conservatives were a powerful force inside the Democratic Party, they never had this much influence. This is new, unique, and incredibly dangerous.

      1. I’ve often thought that the shift of the Republican Party to the South, thereby attracting the white nationalists throughout the nation and driving out the moderates in the Republican Party was very dangerous. When the Southern conservatives were in the Democratic Party they were moderated by the more liberal tendencies of the Party. Furthermore, I suspect that the more radical ones, e.g. KKK types were not welcome in the Democratic Party, whereas they are in the Republican Party. I agree that the present party alignment is incredibly dangerous. The polarization is probably the worst since immediately prior to the Civil War. I am not sufficiently familiar with the ante-bellum party alignments to form an opinion earlier than that.

      1. I was interested in reading in the full Forbes article that you ” …may feel bound to Republican politics by a position on abortion, foreign policy, fiscal issues…” I hope you’ll develop that thought more fully. I assume you are referencing Republican politics of “yore”… on any of these core issues as they are being legislated at present.

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