Link Roundup, 7/24/2017

From Quartz: Who is benefiting from Brexit? Mostly Frankfurt.

From Bloomberg: The man who embodies the Davos ethos.

From Undark: A look at the lives and deaths of The Radium Girls.

From Buzzfeed: The lifelong campaign of William Regnery legitimize white nationalism.

From Wired: Our brains are made of memories.

 

 

83 Comments

  1. I am very late to the party, but have come to the realization that I very much fear the changes made in the White House this week. When I look at the damage the puppet tyrant has done with such a highly disfunctional staff, I am terrified of what he can do if Kelly manages to herd all these hissing cobras into a cohesive direction.

    1. It is not the change in personnel. No one will change Trump. The real frightening and unprecedented – in fact the ONLY real NEWS – yesterday – was a Presidential speech to Police officers that sanctioned and encouraged the violation of the constitutional rights of the citizenry and doubled down on the racial dog whistles.

      It is fashionable to discuss Trump as a mentally ill person but I sometimes wonder if he isn’t crazy like a fox. He knew his speech would go viral among police officers but that the media would focus on poor little Reincy. Like holding up a shiny object.

      1. Trump isn’t crazy. He’s intellectually deficient by choice, narcissistic, highly disrespectful of the office he holds and the institutional democracy he heads, revengeful, foul-mouthed, small-minded, and unkind. Did I miss anything?

      2. EJ

        Lazy.

        I don’t mean lazy as in he just sits on a chair watching television, I mean it in the Catholic sense of the sin of acedia, failing to strive for self-improvement. He has no recognition of a world greater than his own perceptions and no interest in making himself greater than he currently is. He’s happy just to be Donald Trump.

        Sad.

      3. Smug. One who is self-satisfied, superior, self-congratulatory, complacent.

        I don’t believe people like Trump can ever be “happy” nor will he allow anyone around him to find peace and happiness. His need to control and sow chaos while seeking continual adulation requires that he bend every circumstance to achieve and dominate every outcome in his sphere. Who could possibly be happy living such a life? Historians will accord Trump a very small footnote in the annals of time. He will be remembered but not as he sees himself. Time is a harsh, truthful measure.

        I don’t feel sorry for those who chose to be in his company but I do feel sorry for our nation. Even as I disdain and frankly abhor this man, it is important to note that he is being “aided and abetted” by the complicit Republican Party. They are equally responsible for the damage being done to the ideals and institutions of our country in their self-serving reach for unbridaled power.

      4. In his mind, self improvement is not possible. He is the proverbial smartest guy in the room in his view. Trump does not believe he has any flaws and trying to point out his shortcomings does not end well. What he sees as visions of grandeur, rational people view as delusions of adequacy.

      5. The Guardian offers this editorial assessment of Donald Trump: (Ms. May, are you listening?)

        “The world is witnessing the dramatic unfolding of a tragedy whose main victims are a seemingly helpless American audience, America’s system of balanced governance and its global reputation as a leading democratic light.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/30/observer-view-of-donald-trump-unifit-for-office?

        Are Americans “helpless” in the face of destructionfrom the whims of this man and the goals of the party that refuses to stand up for our country? I have commented before on this blog about the incredible surge of grassroots activity – propelled by outrage, shock, fear and a deep need to resist the unraveling of our democracy. In a recent Guardian article, it is noted that there are over 5800 resistance groups that are linked to the Indivisible movement. Look back to where it all began – the Women’s Marches throughout the world, and then think about the millions of phone calls, letters, protests, town halls, visits to Congress and the offices of MOC – “Who” were these people? This second Guardian link will shed more light on this movement. It is not being driven by the Democratic Party or the Progressive wing; rather, it’s individually motivated without the aid or support of big donors and that’s what makes it different. It’s different than the Tea Party effort who for all their effectiveness, are still focused on a narrow platform. No, this resistance movement is focused on something far larger than any single issue or person – saving our country. Trump’s legacy may be that he unleashed a (predominently female) force that is never, ever going to look at elections the same way.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/23/trump-resistance-one-adjective-female-womens-march?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

      6. From a former employee.

        Trump consistently argues that he only hires the best people, and when in office his inner circle will consist of “people you’ve never heard of that are better than all of them”. But one source with intimate knowledge of Trump’s working practice, who declined to be named, disagreed entirely.

        “He says he’s going to get the best people around. But he doesn’t do that – he never has,” said the source.

        “Because he doesn’t listen to them, and then they leave. And if anybody is ever credited with doing anything good, he gets rid of them because he hates when anybody else gets credit.”

      7. ““He says he’s going to get the best people around. But he doesn’t do that – he never has,” said the source.

        “Because he doesn’t listen to them, and then they leave. And if anybody is ever credited with doing anything good, he gets rid of them because he hates when anybody else gets credit.””

        Well you know, maybe he’ll ‘drain the swamp’ through pure attrition. I mean, The Mooch has sold his company and is losing his wife over this appointment, how long until he quits or is forced out? Then what does he have remaining? Even if he manages to hold the position, what happens in three and a half years if 45 is voted out of office?

        Imagine if 45 decides to fire Sessions despite the imploring of his advisors? Sessions is now out of the Senate, and out of the administration. He’s respected enough and luckily can play the victim card to get another job, but nevertheless he pretty much gave up his seat over this dude.

        The thing I noticed when 45 was starting to get support was that it was largely from people, like Christie, for instance, who seem to be on their way out anyway. His campaign was a Hail Mary pass from many elements of political society that saw the writing on the wall for their idiosyncratic brands of buggery and hysterics.

        Then there were the bald ambitions of people like Reince Priebus, an effective political operator more than willing to play the party lines like fiddles to aim his music straight to the top. He wouldn’t put his foot down against 45, and now he’s out of the RNC and the administration. The only bad thing about this is that he’ll probably get another job.

        The initial pile-on of these various bloodsuckers was originally very scary because it gave them what felt like a solid foothold to influence the world, essentially, for the near future. The longer they’re in power the more they can stick their probosces into.

        After the last week, it’s now more scary to imagine they’ll actually recover from the damage of the administration by claiming to be a victim of it. But in terms of bloodsucking, they’re all mosquitoes that piled on top of a big, fat, mucilaginous leech. If that leech dies or is torn off, it doesn’t look like they have much a hold of anything else to continue sucking on. And now they’re learning that the blood they’re getting from the leech has become toxic as it’s passed through it’s orange 71 year old skin.

        They all deserve each other.

      8. The comment regarding the Guardian article is right-on-target. That is historically the way things have worked in America. When our Democracy is threatened, either from an external threat or an internal threat, then the citizenry reacts. That is particularly true during a crisis period and we very well may be in such a period now. Some of us lived through the most recent internal threat – that was Nixon and he was forced to resign largely because so much pressure was put on Congress.

        Regarding the other comments in regard to his quality of personnel, they are also right on. The lack of quality was apparent during the campaign. When people like Breitbart, Manafort, Flynn, Lewandowski, etc. have such a major impact, it is apparent that the chief doesn’t have much credibility. That was apparent to me and others, but as I’ve said before the media coverage of the campaign was so lacking in substance that many voters were not aware of these things, chose to ignore them or have been brain washed.

      9. Well, Aaron, you certainly have a way with words. 🙂

        “big, fat, mucilaginous leech.”—-love it.

        The good news is that except for his die hard Trumptards, the tide seems to be turning against him. That horrendous display in front of the Boy Scouts horrified a lot of people. The media, fickle as they are, seems to be getting more critical, even Fake Noise. The constant shuffling of staff indicates chaos and dysfunction which, even though Trump loves it, does not raise a lot of confidence with the public.

        “chose to ignore them or have been brain washed.”

        I think it’s a combination of both. Willful ignorance for the party first , “win at any cost” assholes (the ones brushing off collusion with a shrug) and for the folks who watch and read only RW media, brainwashing is a certainty. You can watch Fake Noise and see the blatant techniques employed.

      1. Kelley has one fundamental problem and that is he a marine. His approach to leadership is top down and regimented. He expects instant obedience without questioning. That works OK in an military environment such as the Marine Corps, but it does not work very well in a civilian environment where there is independent thinking, buy-in of the staff and concurrence of the clientele is required. He has used the regimented command method of leadership with the Department of Homeland Security. Though it may be a government department, many of the agencies in the DHS are police or security agencies, which tend to be organized in a military type fashion. Even the TSA is organized with many aspects similar to a police agency. In general, the DHS is not organized with the requirement of serving the clients in mind. At the White House where everyone has their own agenda and are used to thinking independently, I doubt that method will work.

        Kelley has no experience in government or in the civilian sector, except prior to his enlistment at age 20 and while he was attending college.. He only retired from the Marine Corps in 2016. However, his regimented style will no doubt impress Trump To the extent that the staff has the same objectives as Trump the style may work, but it will likely generate a lot of dissatisfaction and poor morale.

        So the bottom line is I think Fly is correct.

      2. I will watch with great interest to see how Kelly performs. In this administration, I haven’t seen much “independent thinking” unless it syncs with Trump’s. Frankly, this is one of the most authoritarian administrations I can recall in recent American history.

        Let me simply say: Kelly will have his work cut out for him. He’s used to subordinates at least “listening” to what he has to say. In this case, not only is Trump not a listener, he is not a team player. His world revolves around his needs and desires. Full stop. Anyone who would humiliate the members of their team in public in such a crass way, is simply not going to respect authority. Imagine – announcing a major change in COS by tweet? How denigrating is that?

      3. Agree with Fly and tmerritt.

        I’m not surprised Trump surrounds himself with so many Generals. People who aren’t natural leaders fantasize that if only things were run like the military, where people *have* to follow you, then people will automatically do what you say. They imagine that’s what leadership is: you have to do what I say.

        I’ve been in strict, top-down hierarchies (though not the military). Even in such a hierarchy, leaders lead by inspiring their underlings, managing conflicts fairly, and earning the trust and loyalty of their subordinates. IOW, labels and positions mean very little *even* in a hierarchy like the military. It can even be harmful: cases abound about enlisted men in Vietnam “fragging” inexperienced officers whose poor leadership they felt put was putting them in danger.

        The Donald probably doesn’t understand that if your underlings aren’t behaving, it’s you, not them (at the very least, for picking them). And changing underlings (even the CoS), won’t change the underlying leadership deficit, even if that underling implements a military-style, authoritarian, top-down hierarchy.

        As his new henchman “The Mooch” said in a quote to CNN, “the fish stinks from the head down”. (Scaramucci meant to reference Priebus, but he doesn’t realize how correct he is.)

      4. Trump admires generals…law and order…simple compliance without questioning. Yes, that complements his authoritarian views. This from a man who received 5 deferments from the draft during the Vietnam War. Four for being in college, one for “bone spurs”. Like many others in this privileged deferment class, they missed a great character-building experience that military service offers and that Generals Kelly, Mattis, and McMattis exemplify. We can only hope the lessons they can offer will at least be heard.

        But then, they are sitting at the same table as Scaramucci and Bannon (and Trump). What an assortment.

  2. So McCain is the maverick after all. But I also have to love Murkowski refusing to be bullied. Even if you think the ACA is a complete disaster, that way the GOP has tried to replace it was WRONG. Has McConnell finally gotten the hint here? Go back to the beginning, rewrite this from scratch, and use all the standard procedures. Or better yet, drop it and patch the bugs in the ACA.

    1. The party of no got a resounding no from the guy with the biggest stones in the room. Not one to suggest prayer, but if you are prone to do so, mention John. You don’t hear the term statesman used much, be a shame to loose one of the few we have left.

      1. Yes, Senator McCain showed courage – again. He certainly will be remembered for this. I hope his treatment goes well but it is no guarantee. Consider the fact that is he is unable to return to the Senate – either temporarily or long term, McConnell could bring the bill back up (it’s just been sent back to the calendar, after all), and the new vote, even with Pence voting, would tie…unless another Republican senator steps up to stand in McCain’s shoes….

      2. Another Senator who is battling cancer and traveled a long distance to vote: Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. But no suspense with her vote. She’s got stage 4 kidney cancer, so like Sen McCain, she probably doesn’t have much time left. I wish them both good luck with their treatments.

        I’m also disgusted with one of McCain’s primary challengers (and I’m not making any effort to look up her name, because I don’t want to type it here) “volunteering” to take his place. STFU, you insensitive hack.

      3. I didn’t read article you reference (woman offering to “stand in” for McCain; however, if precedent is any indicator, Steve Scalise hasn’t had anyone stand in for him. Yet, Republicans are poised to start on tax reform and they plan to use reconciliation again. Thus, being a vote short might be critica on changes that Democrats strongly oppose.

        I read an article in Brookings this morning on GOP tax reform priorities. Here’s a gist:

        “Leading Republican proposals— including cutting the pass-through business nd corporate tax rate, cutting the top personal income tax rate, and eliminating the alternative minimum tax and estate tax— would all dramatically cut taxes for high-income households. The Tax Policy Center estimates that Trump’s recent proposals— even including the “pay-fors” that could be inferred from the proposals – would give about half of all of the benefits to the top 1 percent and would raise their average after-tax income by 11.5 percent.”

        This doesn’t insure that the GOP plan will track Trump’s, but if it does, it could be a “hard sell” to Dems as well as an opportunity to showcase exactly who Republicans are beholden to (in case there is any doubt). As the article points out, some Dem votes may be needed.

        https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/can-republicans-thread-the-needle-on-tax-policy/?

      4. Really? I haven’t read that. I wouldn’t object so much to reducing tax rates if those who benefit enormously weren’t so stingy about supporting the safety net. Somehow, there’s never enough tax cuts and always too many “hand outs” talk coming from this group.

    2. I haven’t noticed much mention of those two women senators, namely Collins and Murkowski. Both showed a great deal of courage by stating their positions and sticking with them during the entire 3+ days of voting. I know Murkowski and I suspect Collins as well got a great deal of pressure to change their votes. They “persisted”! They deserve a shout-out for keeping their constituents and the people of America in mind. They showed their own “Profile in Courage.”

      When I write to Patty Murray (one of my senators) to thank her for her efforts, I intend to suggest that they be recognized at the next Golden Tennis Shoe award, even though they are from the opposition and are not from the State of Washington.

      I’m not forgetting McCain – he also showed grit and courage, but at this point no politician has much leverage over him. I do wish him the best in his treatment. He will be remembered with a great deal of admiration, as a statesman and a true American hero.

      1. I’ve noticed reports of some negative reaction- that fool Farenthold and his talk of duels (but to be accurate, he did wise up and apologize) and Zinke making one of those “you’re got a nice oil & gas industry there- shame if something bad happens to it” phone calls to Murkowsky. That makes me think that the Trump stupidity is contagious; did you notice which committee she chairs, Sec. Zinke? But these ladies are tough enough to deal with it and I also applaude them for being even braver than McCain on this. They bucked their party line much earlier to oppose this thing that was wrong on so many levels.

  3. An interesting column in Politico today: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/27/paul-ryan-moderates-house-republicans-240954

    Maybe, just maybe the moderates in the House are beginning to find a little stiffness in their spines. If they actually find some backbone, maybe the House will become more reasonable. It would be nirvana, but maybe someday the Hastert Rule will be thrown out and the House will begin to function again. But I know that I am daydreaming!

    1. The Hastert Rule defeats the whole concept of democracy and governing by consensus. Since it’s obvious that the current GOP leadership has no interest in participation of moderate Republicans nor ANY Democrats in the development of legislation, the only recourse is to change leadership.

      Start with defeating Paul Ryan. Then go down the list in the House and Senate hierarchy. It’s called: voting them out of office. I have never been as disgusted with any political party as I have this Republican Party who have knowingly ignored the breaches of democracy by Trump and supported him by refusing to call him out. Their hypocrisy and abdication of responsibility as stewards of government for all America is beyond the pale. Interestingly, the group of GOP “centrists” (their term) runs between 40-50 MOC. The Freedom Caucus has 36 MOC on their roster; however, they are much better organized. Hopefully, the centrist Republicans will prevail over this ultra right dictators and begin to flex their muscle. The Freedom Caucus have been bullies and that has to stop.

      I don’t feel one bit sorry for Paul Ryan. He has disappointed me with his spineless, self-serving leadership. My hope is he is defeated in office before he has a chance to run for president.

      http://www.jenkuznicki.com/8844-2

      1. If the Tuesday Group actually does coalesce and start showing some spine, then some really interesting dynamics could be created in the House. Possibly even leading to two major caucuses in the Republican Conference. Perhaps a more parliamentary system?

      2. On this subject, I just read an article in Politico, that a bipartisan group of House members calling themselves the Problem Solvers have been meeting about once per week and discussing potential actions to take towards stabilizing O’care. These are all moderates. The link is: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/28/house-group-obamacare-repeal-meeting-241083

        Of course, I have been around long enough so I know that these things often do not pan out. Also. there is the problem of Ryan’s willingness to be bullied by the Freedom Caucus. So I essentially have an infinitesimal expectation. But at least there is discussion – that combined with the utter failure of the partisan approach and signs of life in the Centrists, keeps a tiny spark of hope alive.

    1. I’d settle for competent, experienced SOS personnel as opposed to any position that formally represents religion in the name of America. As far as Brownback being named to the post – my cynicism leads me to think Republicans recognize how weak Brownback is and want to push a more viable candidate. Here’s an article that lays out who that might include…Note Kris Korbach….When will the people of KS learn?

      http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article157496979.html

      1. Another point to consider with Trump naming Brownback to this position is that it clears the deck for Kobach to run for Governor….He was short-listed for Trump’s cabinet, now we see how the game is played.

  4. So, Caitlyn Jenner like many Log Cabin Republicans are gob smacked that LGBTQ advocate in Chief is banning transgender people from serving in the military

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/07/26/ray-allen-caitlyn-jenner-slam-trumps-announced-ban-on-transgender-people-in-military/?utm_term=.6b21d0ae4e43

    They remind me of Stewie from Family Guy who beautifully illustrates the actual relationship between my community and Republicans…only I learned it a long time ago. I have no use for those in my community who support these homophobes and choose to believe they are somehow different.

    1. To me this is the most important article to come out about this event:

      http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/trump-transgender-military-ban-behind-the-scenes-240990

      “House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico.

      But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them.

      They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether.

      Trump’s sudden decision was, in part, a last-ditch attempt to save a House proposal full of his campaign promises that was on the verge of defeat, numerous congressional and White House sources said. ”

      […]

      “Numerous House conservatives and defense hawks this week had threatened to derail their own legislation if it did not include a prohibition on Pentagon funding for gender reassignment surgeries, which they deem a waste of taxpayer money. But GOP leaders were caught in a pinch between those demands and those of moderate Republicans who considered the proposal blatantly discriminatory.”

      […]

      “That’s why House lawmakers took the matter to the Trump administration. And when Defense Secretary James Mattis refused to immediately upend the policy, they went straight to the White House. Trump — never one for political correctness — was all too happy to oblige.”

      […]

      “The president’s directive, of course, took the House issue a step beyond paying for gender reassignment surgery and other medical treatment. House Republicans were never debating expelling all transgender troops from the military.

      “This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire,” a senior House Republican aide said in an email. The source said that although GOP leaders asked the White House for help on the taxpayer matter specifically, they weren’t expecting — and got no heads up on — Trump’s far-reaching directive.”

      ——————————————-

      In other words, it’s not just random discrimination committed to distract people from the health care debate and chalk up a base-appealing win, it’s actually random discrimination committed to move forward on expensive and more permanent random discrimination that just happens to be a base-appealing win and distract from the health care debate.

      It’s classic 45 through and through, turning all the dainty “We’re not discriminatory, we’re just concerned about… erm… the budget! Yeah the budget, that’s why we’re focusing on this 0.04-0.13% increase instead of the literally dozens of billions going toward the border wall!” bullshit into an actual bull running around destroying things. The discrimination is made bare and blatant and now all the Republicans have to play catch up — the conservatives by running back home to their base and saying, “Y-yeah, that’s what we’ve been trying to do this whole time yippee! Right? Yeah…” and the moderates with, “Now listen here base I won’t do anything about it and I’ll actively support it, but I don’t specifically have anything to say in support of it.”

      Meanwhile the DoD now has to figure out what to do about the situation, without warning. The costs spent in just general bureaucratic managing of the situation and potential lawsuits, even though it doesn’t actually change current law, will probably quickly overtake the cost of any transgendered surgeries and hormonal therapies.

      But what I’m more worried about is the part about the House Republicans running to 45 to cut right past the administration. Now that they know that’ll work, the Freedom Caucus can essentially just legislate through his Twitter account.

  5. So a couple questions about this gigaplant being built by Foxconn in Wisconsin.

    1. Does anyone know how much technical knowledge is needed for one of these jobs? Does Wisconsin have the worker base to support these 13,000 jobs?

    2. I realize that Scott has been highly successful at destroying unions, driving down wages and working conditions. But is Wisconsin/Foxconn ready for the culture clash, given the working conditions at Foxconn (suicide nets around the buildings)?

    1. Chances are, nothing is going to be built as a part of this deal. What I don’t quite understand is what Foxconn is gaining from these scams. It’s easy to see how it benefits Ryan and Trump. They get a photo op and nobody ever remembers that they failed to deliver (see, Carrier deal). But what is Foxconn getting in return for participating these charades?

      1. I would think that if this ends up a vapourware, the democrats will be all over it for a 2020 election. I mean, by then, it would have to be known, or would the repubs and Foxconn be able to say “don’t worry, it is still coming.”, and be believed? Surely the voting public is not that stupid….what am I saying…..

        As for what Foxconn gets from it, is likely extended goodwill. Or perhaps it is really Apple that gets the goodwill, charade or not. I keep overestimating the memory and intelligence of the general public.

      2. Damn. Yea, that makes sense. All they had to do in return was basically cooperate on a press release. And out of the deal they get a chance to build a factory almost scot-free if they decide they want one. Hmmm. That may explain it.

    1. Yes. Vote to repeal saw 9 Repubs joining all Dems for defeat. On to the next vote. McConnell has about $300B to play with in appeasing members of his party. It is expected that there will be several votes, several bills, with the final bill being the one they really believe they can achieve.

  6. I’m watching with fascination and a lot a disgust Trump’s public bullying of Jeff Sessions. Although I think that Trump is wronging him, I have zero sympathy here; he knew what a foul excuse for a human being Trump is. I agree with the opinions that he won’t step down because he wants that extreme law and order agenda so badly, and he’s already sold his soul for it. I absolute deplore many of his agenda items (more civil forfeitures! more old school war on drugs! more private prisons! police accountability doesn’t matter!) but for the short term I hope he stays put. Should Donnie2scoops be reckless and stupid enough to fire him (and I have no doubt that he is indeed reckless and stupid enough), the Senate had better demand that the next nominee swear under oath not to interfere with the Russia investigation.

      1. I have to wonder if that would turn a few GOP Senators openly against Trump. Some are speaking out against Sessions’ treatment, and Cruz is not liked at all.

        Cruz as AG- would he be worse than Sessions? The upside is that throwing Jeff under the bus would alienate a good chunk of the RW base. The bad news is that Cruz probably would follow an order to fire Mueller.

      2. Could you imagine the Senate hearing for Cruz? The daggers would be out in the open there!

        If millions of other bits of evidence weren’t already enough, how can anyone look at how Trump is treating Sessions and think that you can actually work with him?

      3. I have no pity for any of them. They sold their souls so long ago in this process…when they accepted Trump as their party’s candidate then ignored and were silent in incident after incident. No, I haven’t any respect for the GOP as they are presently constituted. Surprisingly, Jeff Sessions is hanging tough. I think he has figured out he is the fall guy so that Trump can find another AG to fire Mueller. Trump is a snake and Sessions is a politician that has seen lots of them. Even though I detest what Sessions stands for, what Trump is doing is worse than anything Sessions has done.

        Here’s a question – experts have stated that even though it is unwise for Trump to fire Mueller because of appearance of obstruction of justice, he may do so regardless because he has far more to lose from Mueller’s investigation. The sooner he is fired, the better as it is still early in the process. What do you think Republicans will do if Trump takes this extraordinary step? Sessions is buying the party some time by refusing to take Trump’s bait (via disrespect and innuendo), but will the GOP completely fold on this most heinous of acts, or, will some shred of decency and principle emerge from within this group?

      4. “… but will the GOP completely fold on this most heinous of acts, or, will some shred of decency and principle emerge from within this group?”

        I wouldn’t even try to hazard a guess anymore. I grossly overestimated the amount of decency and principle in this country last year.

      5. That’s an interesting question EJ. Would he fire Mueller on Trump’s command? Probably. Would he be backing all of Sessions’ rotten ideas like more civil forfeiture? Probably yes there too. He’s not liked at all in the Senate, and he has a primary challenger and at least one Dem opponent already declared, so he very well could grab that opportunity if it was presented to him.

        I’ve heard talk of Trump trying to make a recess appointment if Sessions does quit/is fired in order to get around the Senate confirmation process, and Chuck Schumer promising to use the filibuster to prevent a recess if that happens.

    1. Sorry, but today’s health care vote is too important to ignore in today’s forum. Note the Senate convenes at noon, EST, today. There are so many features in these bills that are bad that it’s hard to focus, but take a look at the unbridaled authority (including fiscal power) Sec. Price would have over billions of taxpayer dollars and control over states. Blue states could be starved for funds and regulated differently than red states. Where is “smaller government”?
      What could possibly go wrong? From Health Affairs, an excellent, non-partisan source for analysis:

      “BCRA gives HHS substantial, unchecked authority to revise the initial setting of Medicaid per capita caps, to change state cap amounts in future years, and to deny Medicaid funding for public health emergencies if HHS decides that such funding would not be “appropriate.” The latest version of the bill similarly creates major new grant programs with almost no ground rules for dividing money among states. Instead, BCRA gives HHS largely unchecked power to decide who receives the money appropriated by Congress:

      $132 billion in market stabilization grants, which states can spend on insurers, consumers, or providers (including public hospitals). These funds can be distributed using any “allotment methodology” desired by HHS, as long as Alaska gets $1 billion a year.
      The bill says not one word about how to distribute $44.8 billion in grants that “support substance use disorder treatment and recovery support services,” leaving HHS with essentially unlimited authority.
      An equally striking example involves Medicaid block grants. After listing specific provisions of the Medicaid Act that would not apply to states choosing the block-grant option, BCRA adds that “any other provision” of the Medicaid statute “that the Secretary deems appropriate, shall not apply.” To a remarkable degree, defining the permitted range of state policy options would be left in HHS’ hands, without Congressional specification. “

      1. To be clear, there are a lot of really insightful black thinkers on the right. They aren’t Republicans anymore. You really can’t be. But they are still pretty active and vocal. Here are a couple of samples from two of my favorites.

        http://www.browndailyherald.com/2015/11/06/loury-the-political-inefficacy-of-saying-black-lives-matter/

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/a-columbia-professors-critique-of-campus-politics/532335/

    1. Objv – So you are telling us that African-Americans and other minorities are stupid and do not understand who is really eff’ing them over. Because that is what you and every other Republican are doing when this argument is made.

      The modern GOP is the party of white nationalists and supremacist. These groups are supporters of the GOP not Democrats. Even yourself stated you did not approve of Trumps comments but when Hillary called racist and bigots DEPLORABLES well that was a too much for you.

      I will take a racist organization that has changed its ways over one that has taken over that mantle today.

      1. Turtles, Hillary said I was either a racist deplorable or an economic loser. That’s crap.

        There are probably groups on the left that you don’t agree with. Just because you vote Democrat doesn’t necessarily mean you will go poop on a police car or chant, “Pigs in a blanket. Fry them like bacon.”

        Look, there are extremists on both sides. That doesn’t mean that most Republicans are white nationalists or that most Democrats are violent protestors.

        Ask yourself what Democrats have actually done to help minorities. It seems that blacks in cities that have been run by Democrats for years are worse off because Democratic leadership has been unable to create conditions that foster success.

        Hopefully, minority voters will begin to realize that Democrats are just using them.

      2. Let’s start with these two pieces of legislation that Democrats passed that helped Blacks – and women – and advance equality.

        The Civil Rights Act, 1964
        The Voting Rights Act, 1965

        I encourage others who post here to add to the list. Then, Ob, start your list of things Republicans have done to help Blacks.

        Come on – I’ve started the list – knock yourselves out!

      3. >] “Look, there are extremists on both sides. That doesn’t mean that most Republicans are white nationalists or that most Democrats are violent protestors.

        With all respect, Objv, all you’re doing here reverse engineering both-parties-do-it-ism.

        You’re not wrong with you say there are extremists on both sides, but that doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to the vile truth behind the Republican Party and its descent into madness. Democrats’ lacking when it comes to helping minorities is no excuse for that.

    2. @objv: With all due respect, that is some nauseating cherry picking and weaving of a convenient narrative. Let’s take a closer look at those three debunked myths, shall we?

      “Myth #1” – Swain talks about Republicans being competitive in the South prior to the 60s, specifically Herbert Hoover. For some historical context, Republicans were riding a wave of short-lived prosperity in ’28 (that, of course, would lead into the Great Depression the following year) that led to a romp in the presidential election. True, Hoover did win several southern states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, etc.

      Al Smith, the Democrat, won only seven states. He won Massachusetts, of course, and six others. Care to take a whack at what they were?

      Arkansas. Louisiana. Mississippi. Alabama. Georgia. South Carolina.

      All ’28 proved was that it wasn’t impossible for a Republican, under the right conditions, to win some states in the South. Even then though, Democrats kept an iron grip on the most southern of all southern states.

      From there, Swain talks about Ike and his victories in ’52 and ’56. Again, Ike carried states like Texas and Tennessee, yes, but the Democrat, Adlai Stevenson, still carried the heart of Dixie. He lost Louisiana in ’56, but beyond that, he carried all of Smith’s southern states and more. More to the point, that’s the ONLY place he won. Hell, even Massachusetts went Republican before the South did.

      None of that is a debunking of the Southern Strategy. It’s an indictment of it.

      “Myth #2” – Swain argues that Southern Democrats who were against the CRA still stayed with the Democratic Party and their respective seats didn’t switch for another two and a half decades.

      Honestly, this is an argument dependent virtually entirely on ignorance, self-inflicted or otherwise. It premises itself entirely on the presumed idea that political changes happen in a comparative instant. That is just completely at odds with history and anyone who has even a fundamental understanding of politics knows how ludicrous the idea is. The South didn’t flip from Democratic to Republican in an instant. It was a gradual process that took decades, but it did happen.

      “Myth #3” – Nixon, who supposedly came up with the Southern Strategy, lost the Deep South in ’68.

      This is true, but once again, Swain conveniently forgets to bring up who actually DID win Dixie. Was it the Democrat, Hubert Humphrey? Um, no.

      It was George freakin’ Wallace, the virulently racist former governor of Alabama, who ran on the “American Independent” ticket.

      Swain then goes on to talk about Carter, Clinton, and others, but these are all red herrings that miss the broader picture, one that’s clear to everyone here, and, by now, should hopefully be to you as well.

      1. Ryan, the convenient narrative was woven by the Democrats.

        The point is that voters in the South’s main objective was not the promotion and continuation of racism. Other issues were able to sway voters.

        Racism was not the main driver of why the parties flipped. If you and the others believe that – fine with me. You will continue to loose elections.

      2. Objv, what is racism to you? Is it just the irrational belief that whites are inherently superior to minorities and deserve to be treated as such or is it a complex issue that includes the aforementioned, but also, and even more importantly, encourages a culture and a society that benefits whites (even those who bear no ill-will towards African-Americans and others) at the expense of others?

        When you talk about “other issues”, what, exactly, are you talking about? The reason I ask is because when one speaks about racism and how the Republican Party has weaponized it, it’s not a simple issue. As we aspire to create a country and a society that treats all people equally, that goal, by its nature, requires whites to give up on a culture that’s benefited them beyond any of their lifetimes. It’s a scary proposition to many, understandably so, even with a comprehensive plan to replace it.

        Democrats’ problem with racism lies in this fine tightrope that one has to walk when discussing racism. Too often, they take it to a single extreme and fail virtually entirely when it comes to the many varied nuances.

        Bearing all that in mind, I have to wonder if you yourself view racism through a far too narrow scope, hence why you’re so susceptible to bullshit alternative narratives about why the South flipped from Democratic to Republican.

    3. objv – I don’y think Hillary was talking about you when she said “basket of deplorables”. I think she was talking about some well known “deplorables” that had endorsed trump in the previous weeks. Supporters like David Duke and a few White Supremists.

      I agree that all trump supporters are not racists. Some are. Some are misogynists. Some are philistines. Some are dominionists. Some are just rabblerousers. Some have multiple such characteristics. I take you at your word if you say you are none of the above.

      It seems that you are pure at heart. So I don’t know from where your philosophy arises.

      One attribute that all trump voters share, in my opinion, is a complete lack of character judgement. And except for the rabblerousers, all of his supporters will be huugely disappointed.

    1. Thought the same thing at the quote.

      It’s perfectly reasonable to be capable of making a better society and be a producer of goods and services that meet human needs.

      In fact, isn’t the whole underlying philosophy of the ethics of capitalism that it most efficiently meets human needs? So, humans need good society.

  7. Ghosn – fascinating article and man. I like his definition that Identity is additive, not substitutive. Yet as a mature man, he went back to his original cultural identity in selecting his second wife. His comment that to build a better society one should be a politician, not a carmaker deserves reflection – by those entrusted with the responsibility of elected office and those who put them there.

      1. Lisa Murkowski is a Republican I could vote for. (As is TX Speaker, Joe Straus.)
        She’s informed, principled, and stands her ground. Here’s a great look by Nate Silver (538) at why this process imploded and some ideas for going forward. I was pleased to see item#4 in which Silver acknowledges the impact of the grassroots resistance. From women’s marches, to protests at the offices of MOC, to letters, thousands upon thousands of phone calls and emails, people who have never before been engaged in the political process, did so for the first time. And, the majority have been/are women. Murkowski’s courage has been noted by all – even those of us who call ourselves Democrats and Progressives. Courage and principle matter.

        The healthcare debate is far from over, but regular order presents the best and fairest opportunity to put all ideas on the table and do so in full public view. 60 votes will be required which offers Democrats a seat at the table. Health care impact one-sixth of America’s economy and every American. We can do better as a nation than we have if we are willing to approach this issue in a bi-partisan manner. I’m not afraid of change when the process is fair.

        https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-obamacare-repeal-failed/?ex_cid=SigDig

      2. I just read this and it affirms my personal observations to the “T”. The resistance is female-powered. Lots of females. Newbie political activists. Fired up. Hard working.

        Six months thousands of resisters have been enthusiastically making visits to the offices of their MOC, going to meetings to protest, emailing, whatever means of communication that got through. I”m so proud of my fellow female warriors and hope that the lessons and confidence they’ve gained through this first six months will be around when we start organizing for mid-terms. And, I’m not the only one who’s noticing what’s happening.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/23/trump-resistance-one-adjective-female-womens-march?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

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