June 28, 2017 at 10:48 pm #2258
Put links here that you think will be of interest but are off topic.
June 28, 2017 at 10:55 pm #2259
Here’s a first one:
What will Happen when Trump’s Dupes Find Out? by Andrew Bacevich
A discourse on how history evolves, and how history might be changed by Donald J. Trump: “Owing his election in large part to my fellow [white heterosexual American males], Donald Trump is now expected to repay that support by putting things right. Yet as events make it apparent that Trump is no more able to run a government than Bill O’Reilly is able to write history, they may well decide that he is not their friend after all. With that, their patience is likely to run short. It is hardly implausible that Trump’s assigned role in history will be once and for all to ring down the curtain on our specious present, demonstrating definitively just how bankrupt all the triumphalist hokum of the past quarter-century — the history that served “for the time being” — has become.
When that happens, when promises of American greatness restored prove empty, there will be hell to pay.”
August 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm #2815
The WI gerrymandering case will be heard by SCOTUS. Here’s analysis of the tenets of the case, precedent and who the players will be.
August 9, 2017 at 7:45 am #2817
Courts are rightfully reluctant to get involved in what they consider “political matters.” Their view, again rightfully, is that if you don’t like what the elected officials are doing, elect somebody else; don’t run to the courts to fix things. I think the justification for courts to be involved here is that gerrymandering subverts that rationale because the gerrymandering itself prevents the electorate from solving the problem. You can’t rely on the elected officials to correct the unfair practice, because by definition they are the ones who benefit from the unfairness.
June 29, 2017 at 8:50 am #2276
I like it. How about this one:
July 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm #2381
Loved it and he’s right! Pretty amazing that he’s going forward after two defeats. That is what I call gumption!
June 30, 2017 at 11:01 pm #2311
Oh and Chris, remember Ben Sasse is a Republican to watch?
Republicans like Nebraskan Ben Sasse are desperately trying to salvage the situation. He admitted that Trump’s latest tweet was “not normal,” and then proposed repealing the ACA — with a one year delay in implementation. Trump seemed to like the idea, tweeting “if Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal, and then replace at a later date!”
Perhaps Sasse’s idea could work, though it’s unlikely Republicans would support such a decision, given that more people would be harmed by a complete repeal without replace than the current health care bill in the Senate. According to a study by Brookings, Sasse’s approach would mean that 30 million more people would lose health insurance by 2019 — 82% of whom would be working families.
Looks like he cares more about repealing the ACA than he cares about 30 million Americans; and because he’s a coward, he wants to offset the effects until after the 2018 election so it won’t ruin the midterms.
But at least he thinks Trump’s tweets are ‘not normal’, that totally means he has a moral core and clear conscience.
July 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm #2387
Watching with sadness and concern the rapid repeal by EPA Director Scott Pruitt of years of hard work to protect our environment. The NYT had a detailed piece today that describes Pruitt’s actions. It is noteworthy that he is ignoring EPA staff in favor of seeking input from industry and counsel from without. Slash and burn. Our air, water, and public health…
July 5, 2017 at 8:07 pm #2466
Today in Democrats being the dumbass:
Rahm Emanuel: “So I noticed that we’re really struggling to get work…”
Rahm Emanuel: “… and I noticed that it’s hard to get work without a higher education degree or service experience…”
Rahm Emanuel: “… and a high school degree isn’t enough anymore…”
Rahm Emanuel: “… and, finally, that our city has really poor high school graduation rates…”
Rahm Emanuel: “… thus, all told, we can’t graduate people to a high enough level to get work, and we can’t get people to a level where they can move to the next level to educate themselves for work. This is a circular problem that can’t be fixed.”
Rahm Emanuel: “So, clearly we should withhold high school degrees unless people have jobs.”
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Aaron Dow.
July 6, 2017 at 9:40 am #2472
One of the ongoing questions on this blog is whether Democrats are going crazy in the same way Republicans are. In this article, Brian Beutler points out that the far left of the Democratic Party is defending Obamacare vigorously, even though the Republican plan would make the single-payer plan that they really want much more probable in the future.
“if Republicans kill [Obamacare], single payer will suddenly become much more urgent and politically viable. After all, if Trumpcare becomes law, Democrats won’t abandon their commitment to universal health care, but they also would be foolish to try to organize the party around passing Obamacare all over again. Thus, in a perverse way, it is in the left’s long-term political interest for a GOP health care bill to become law—and yet, the most committed single-payer advocates in the country have distinguished themselves as the most vital and effective soldiers in fight against Trumpcare…(On the other hand) The right is dividing itself now between a small group of moderates who would welcome detente in the partisan health care wars and a larger group that demands ideological rigidity—even if the consequence of ideologically rigid health policy would pull single payer from the far-off horizon into the middle-distance.”
July 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm #2473
The Economist has a special report examining support for Donald Trump: https://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21724115-observers-donald-trumps-presidency-who-hope-politics-will-eventually-return
Part depressing, part interesting. Worth reading.
July 10, 2017 at 11:36 pm #2480
Again: it’s extremely difficult not to get riled up when the administration’s actions are not only blatantly malevolent, but they are incredibly ineffective and stupid at doing it.
From a broader perspective I honestly thought the Russian collusion thing wouldn’t have another major news cycle until after the Senate health care was either passed (I still think most likely), shelved (maybe likely), or killed (least likely). By then maybe some new THING would happen and there’d be enough other news cycles to satisfy before things slowed down in the month long summer recess and reporters got itchy again. The CNN mishandling of sources should have quieted and slowed down the editorial approach to ensure whatever new news on the scandal came out was vetted.
For it to go from “You know it’s sort of fishy the Hillary leaks and Trump’s fondness for Russia let’s investigate” straight to “Oh yeah and this one Russian agent totally reached out to Junior specifically about collaborating in damaging Hillary” after only six months is just pure madness. Any halfway competent kleptocrat would have all that decisively buried by now.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Aaron Dow.
July 16, 2017 at 12:21 am #2484
The Electoral College and how it resulted in Trump’s victory despite his loss of the popular vote has been discussed frequently. The US has been there before, most recently in 2000. I was browsing Real Clear Politics just now and ran across the article linked below. Following the near disaster of the 1968 election, in 1969 the House Judiciary Committee drafted a Constitutional amendment that would have scrapped the Electoral College and used the popular vote. If no majority was achieved a second round election would be held using just the top two candidates. This would be similar to the system used by France. It passed the House overwhelmingly, but died in the Senate due to a filibuster led by Strom Thurmond. I found it interesting and it might be worth a read.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by tmerritt15.
July 16, 2017 at 12:42 pm #2486
I just discovered that the above link no longer works. So I copied to the file to a PDF, lightly edited it to eliminate ads and clean up some text. It has been placed it in my dropbox. An updated link is below:
A link to a Facebook page discussing this is below. It also includes the complete text of the proposed constitutional amendment. In reading over this I found that the requirement in the first round was 40% not 50%. I also found that the Electoral College was retained as a formality, but it was required to elect the candidate that met the requirement of 40%.
If an effort to do something like this was revived, this could serve as a good basis. But with the current polarization in the US that is not likely. Unless perhaps Trump’s administration turns out to be so bad (it is on track to do so) that the nation finally reaches a full consensus that something must be done.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by tmerritt15.
July 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm #2499
Below is a link to an article by Nick Hanauer, a Seattle based venture capitalist, regarding inequity. I believe inequity is a serious problem and may be one of the root causes of the political dysfunction in the U.S. Many of my thoughts are similar to the thoughts expressed in this article.
July 23, 2017 at 10:29 pm #2779
July 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm #2782
Right-wing undemocratic authoritarian assholes: “Haha, see, Democrats can’t even elect a president anymore, they’re too concentrated in cities.”
Right-wing undemocratic authoritarian assholes: “And they’ll always struggle in the House of Representatives, which weigh mightier toward the less populated states.”
Right-wing undemocratic authoritarian assholes: “It’s also super cool that state legislators get to kick city folks around and tell them what to do, since city folk can’t possibly hope to maintain entire state legislators!”
Right-wing undemocratic authoritarian assholes: “Too bad about the Senate though, means those godless heathenistic ‘city folk’ can vote in state representation on pure power of sheer numbers.”
- This reply was modified 1 month, 4 weeks ago by Aaron Dow.
July 30, 2017 at 7:45 pm #2790
Fascinating website, “The Bitter Southerner” ( http://bittersoutherner.com/ ). Not really what it sounds like, but an affectionate if sometimes defensive look at Southern culture. There’s stories, photo essays, music, food, books and more.
Check out David Joy’s article “Digging In The Trash” ( http://bittersoutherner.com/digging-in-the-trash-david-joy/ ) He writes: “People don’t understand what would push someone to drugs like methamphetamine or heroin. They don’t understand what would make a man drink like my grandfather. The reason they can’t understand it is because they’ve never been that low. When all you’ve got is a twenty-dollar bill, twenty dollars doesn’t ward off eviction notices. Twenty dollars doesn’t get you health insurance. Twenty dollars doesn’t make a car payment. Twenty dollars doesn’t even keep the lights on. But twenty dollars can take you right out of this world for just a little while. Just a minute. Just long enough to breathe. That’s what every single addict I’ve ever known really wanted: just a second to breathe.
I’ve known addicts all my life. I walked along that edge a long time myself and stumbled time and time again, but luckily never fell over. I’ve had friends die from heroin overdoses. I helped look after a little boy born addicted to crack and watched him struggle to learn the simplest words, all of us doubting he’d ever be able to talk. The boy’s father was a friend of mine’s uncle, a man named Donny. Years ago, Donny wrecked his car and a telephone pole swung down from lines like a wrecking ball, crashed through the windshield, and smashed his fiancée’s brains out right there in the seat beside him. When the law pulled up, Donny was picking pieces of her out of the floorboard and trying to stick them back on her face. He was talking to her like she was still alive. I might’ve wondered a lot of things about him over the course of my life, but I never once wondered why he used. I never once wondered why all he wanted was to leave this world for a little while.” And “What we need to realize is that sometimes people don’t need advice. Sometimes people just need to be heard. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is just to keep our mouths shut and let them empty themselves into our hands.”
- This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Creigh Gordon.
July 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm #2791
Also please take a look at This Appalachia Life. https://www.thisappalachialife.com/single-post/2017/05/10/My-Mother-Wasnt-Trash
August 4, 2017 at 4:47 pm #2812
That’s a profound piece, Creigh. Sometimes it is better not to judge or explain.
July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm #2798
Confession: Anthony Scaramucci was the only development in the administration that I could see the satirical, reality television entertainment appeal. This guy was great: onboarded with the slimiest pontification of ass-kissing political television has ever seen, immediately rolled Priebus and Spicer, and then that New Yorker phonecall man. When people said, “Trump may be politically incorrect but he says what we’re all thinking,” all I could do is ask what thing he ever said that resembles a human thought spoken in English. But when Scaramucci was talking about Bannon’s search for self-fellatio, my reaction was, “I mean we’re all thinking it, thankfully someone actually said it!”
Too bad. This is likely to be the only episode of The Real World: White House that I actually enjoyed. And to think The Mooch sold his company and had divorce proceedings filed against him for it.
Maybe he’ll still be around the administration in some capacity, but damn what a foolish man.
August 1, 2017 at 12:33 pm #2803
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) catches up to the firm perspective and clarity of responsibility Chris Ladd was writing at least three years ago, if not longer: https://t.co/hs8RPKsMuh
That makes him roughly two and a half decades ahead of the rest of his party but he’ll keep on falling behind unless he actually does something about it.
August 4, 2017 at 4:49 pm #2813
And, Flake will also be primaried. It will be interesting to see if he survives.
August 7, 2017 at 11:37 am #2814
If you go down to Virginia today
You’re in for a big surprise
If you go down to Virginia today
You’d better go in disguise
Because every Fascist
That ever there was
Is gathered there
For certain because
Today’s the day the alt-Right
have their picnic
August 9, 2017 at 10:54 am #2818
A fantastic round-up of how political and philosophical expression in the 60s and 70s generated an America run by ‘to each their own reality’ magical thinking, and how right and left sects influenced, mirrored, and built off each other toward that end:
This was documentation I had been seeking for a while, as I had a hunch that, for instance, Midwestern Bircher anti-vax stuff the likes of which are parodied in Dr. Strangelove had to be related to current measles outbreaks in lefty cosmopolitan California, and why libertarian Great Man syndrome has peculiar similarities to Scientology and Mormonism.
I feel that Chris Ladd is documenting the effect of a specific set of fundamentalist activists who took over a party apparatus in a certain region (the South)
I grew up through to adulthood in the Southwest and currently live on the East Coast. Oftentimes I tell people about the communities I grew up around, satellite villages that effectively live persistently 30 minutes to two hours outside whatever the current city limits are, which tended to have a motley group of, invariably, New Age hippie communal groups living right next door to gun-and-gold hoarding end-times libertarians, and how well they got on with each other. Move beyond the two hour drive mark and you’re in cult commune and rancher territory.
People ask why I moved to the East Coast rather than California: I point out that the California has an endemic and fundamentalist belief in making their own realities. It’s not an accident Silicon Valley culture sprouted up in the same state as the Manson Family. The Atlantic article above mentions Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow: probably the most threatening thing I’ve ever read from that author was the line in Bleeding Edge: “It’s like the 60s all over again. These kids actually believe information wants to be free.”
I haven’t fully been able to explain what I’m getting at, so I’ll work on it for the future, but where I’m going is that Silicon Valley culture doesn’t just talk about things like terraforming Mars and the Singularity as mere possibilities or options — they ‘actually believe’ it just like the Mormons believe in a planet dedicated just for them and Christians believe in the Rapture. Bitcoin mining = goldbug hoarding.
Their belief is so fundamentally solid that it’s no surprise that Hollywood — which is now basically an investment arm of Silicon Valley computer generated imaging technology — periodically comes out with movies like Her, Interstellar / The Martian, and even the lovely positivist dystopia Wall-E, while it’s regulated to relatively independent filmmakers from non-American countries to explore the concepts with a sense of unease like Ex-Machina (British), Melancholia (Danish), and Elysium (South Africa).
tl;dr: Hollywood is the propaganda arm of Silicon Valley, which itself is a subculture of ‘magical thinking’ familiar to anybody raised around people who believe crystals are medicine and / or Obama is the antichrist. All describe a peculiarly American individualist belief that reality is just an option, even a consumer choice.
August 10, 2017 at 11:22 am #2819
Washington Post: 52% of all Republicans would be willing to suspend Presidential elections if Trump proposed it.
(Am I right in saying that even when America was at war with us and Japan simultaneously, elections still went ahead?)
August 11, 2017 at 8:59 am #2820
I have a curiosity about this proliferation of statistics regarding the Republican parties rapid swings into intense beliefs. Quite a few articles have acknowledged that the ‘GOP crazy people statistics’ numbers are accelerating.
What if, the reason why 52% of Republicans today would suspend Presidential elections is because last year it would have been something like 45 or 30 or even 20, but the other Republicans that would have ironed that out to a minority left the party or didn’t report ‘Republican’?
That could also be why there are more self-described independents — and over time more self-described independents have been ‘Republican leaning.’
This doesn’t necessarily make the situation better in terms of danger to the system from a minority group of extreme ideologues. But it might make the situation better in terms of greater populace of non-ideologues more willing to put a stop to something if it gets out of hand.
That said, to swing back to being in a funk, that ‘greater populace’ failed to ‘put a stop’ to something that did get out of hand. 45 is literally exactly the circumstances party systems and checks and balances and centrist appeal is supposed to avoid.
September 7, 2017 at 11:17 am #2863
September 7, 2017 at 2:29 pm #2864
Why the Bundy’s Keep Winning in Court:
tl;dr: “We all know they’re guilty, but we don’t trust the government and don’t like the way the judge is treating them.”
September 12, 2017 at 2:40 pm #2868
Harbinger of things to come?
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