Morning Ed: World Politics {2016.01.26.Th}

Make the FDA Great Again?

Donald Trump is turning “liberals” into preppers. The wealthy, too.

Who did Russia sell its oil company to?

Republicans are trying to turn protesting into “economic terrorism.”

If they can’t (or don’t want to) have free roaming with Europe, could the UK enter one with the Anglosphere? Movement in Australia.

The French Socialist primary happened, and… #BanPrimaries. The good news is that France has runoffs, so Le Pen won’t be trotting into the presidency with 37% of the vote. While Benoît Hamon may have learned something from Jeremy Corbyn, Corbyn’s team is learning from Trump.

Weird. And totally unexpected! More seriously, the places most at risk for this sort of thing are like NYC, Maryland, Massachusetts, and other places where crossing state lines is no big deal. Montana has more flexibility.

Netherlands is stepping up, in response to the global gag rule.

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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355 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World Politics {2016.01.26.Th}

  1. Liberal Preppers: I listened to the NPR article on the New Yorker reporter. My impression was that it had little to do with Trump, per say, but more about the fragility of our infrastructure and the “decivilization” of the american people. They also talked a lot about liberals in Cali getting guns. (LOL) Anyone with half a brain knows that “9 meals from Anarchy” is pretty accurate. Taking steps to CYA is just smart.

    Cig Smuggling: Back when NY increased their taxes on cigs (90s I think) the smugglers were crossing the rivers bringing stuff in from Canada. But it it “for the children” so making it harder for evil smokers and unemployed black dudes selling loosies is just part of the job.


    • As a family that is probably closer to 90-meals from anarchy (as long as the suburbanites don’t cross the mountains and infect us with their anarchy) what struck me as interesting was how complicated and reliant upon complex systems (like global air transportation) their plans were.

      More like skydiving than surviving a crash.

      Hopefully, if things must fall apart, they fall apart with some modicum of decency; but that doesn’t strike me as a great plan. I suppose they are counting on timing the crash just right… which, again, is not a great plan and fairly illustrative of, well, something.


  2. Cig taxes: much like the PA drink tax, DUH!

    Politicians meet the definition of insane (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results).


  3. I wonder if we’ll soon see a day when the libertarian/”patriot” types will realize that Republicans were always the real enemies of freedom?


      • — Ha!

        But seriously, if civil disobedience becomes functionality impossible — well I’ve heard tons of libertarian/”patriot” types flap their gums about “second ammendment solutions.” Did they mean it?

        Trump is an actual fascist, and the Republicans are proving to be his authoritarian fuckboys. So, what will the “angry white men” do?

        We all know what they will do. I’ve always known what they are.


        • There is a lot of moving parts to this. The authoritarian right made a bet on Trump and time will tell how it plays out. Trump winning kind of kicked the can down the road for any hard anti-authoritarian right movement. It will take another high authoritarian left movement, or a complete failure of Trump to deliver to shift defection to the lower libertarian right.

          If there is a y-axis shift/defect, the libertarian movement will crush the GOP. If the left continues to turn it’s back on the anti-authoritarian left we may see some defection of leftist anarchists defecting in the x-axis. Once Chomsky passes I really don’t see any glue holding it together over there. Liberal democrats will continue to reject a pretty significant amount of the lower left. That specific rejection favors turning collectivist anarchist into individual anarchists. That’s a right x-axis shift.

          Right now the anti-authoritarian libertarians have a massive potential for growth on two axis beyond anything seen in the last few decades. It also helps that the right doesn’t fully alienate/reject it’s anti-authoritarians at every unfavorable incident.

          This of course not weighing a social democracy uprising that leads to a ‘throwing sharp things’ divorce via death. “you want Hobbes, you get Hobbes”


          • Out of curiosity what indications do we have to suggest any large mass of voters exist on your asserted anti-authoritarian right wing libertarian axis? In the last GOP nomination fight the only even remotely libertarian candidate, Rand Paul, crapped out after making barely a ripple. The republitarian and libertarianish candidates then lost pretty emphatically to Trump and that was even with the support of the party establishment, the socialcons and the neocons none of whom could ever pass the laugh test for being considered libertarian or anti authoritarian.

            So where is this huge body of votes? I mean I love libertarians but I’ve never seen them demonstrate something approaching mass awareness in the electorate, let alone mass support. I mean Nixon has his silent majority but at least he managed to get elected. What reason do we have to think there’s a huge libertarian constituency out there?


            • The right has a problem. Obama didn’t look like it on that side of the fence, but on this side it looked like he pushed the social agenda in a big way.

              Now there are two options the right has in response. Win the election and move the social furniture back to where it was before Obama, or start destroying furniture. Trump wasn’t coherent on what he was/is going to do. Therefore he had a little bit to offer the ‘move the furniture folks’ and ‘destroy the furniture folks’. The destroy the furniture folks would have been the defector libertarians that would have rolled the dice on him.

              You won’t see big libertarian turnouts until there is a good leader and any hope of moving the furniture to ‘fix’ things has played out. Rand snubbed several far right fellas and was acting, well I guess he was acting smug and more like a ‘leave the furniture where it is at’ politician, than a destroy that furniture libertarian. He needed to go beyond his fathers position and be believable, didn’t work. Neither did those two goof balls that ran. The libertarians really need someone who can dog fight and stick the landing when it counts.


              • So they’re just non-voting and non-polling on both federal and state levels? An invisible mass of anti-social-construction anti authority libertarians waiting for the right candidate to come along and rally them?


                • It kind of depends on how the authoritarian right shakes out over the next few years, no?

                  I mean if he does start destroying the furniture there could be a even greater defect of anti-authoritarians defecting to authoritarians.

                  That scenario and one other is why I didn’t participate in dystopia week. I dare not say what that would look like, or give any road maps.


                  • I suppose it depends on how you define furniture. If he destroys, say, the ACA without replacing it with anything it’s possible he’ll be getting some of these currently invisible libertarians but we can say for certain he’ll be screwing over a lot of voters we already know exist and are betting on him not doing so. If he goes along with Ryan’s more whimsical plans and starts slashing medicare and social security furniture then no doubt he’ll gain some theoretical libertarian support but there’ll be a real life practical mob on their scooters and walkers hobbling to Washington to burn him in effigy.


    • I doubt the Patriot types will, but libertarians have never thought of the GOP as freedom friendly except in a very narrow way. However, as I have said many times before, the GOP is welcoming to libertarians, while large segments of the liberal tent can’t help but be condescending at best, and outright hostile at the worst.


        • Probably make arguments about the proper size and role of government.

          And boggle as the authoritarian left would rather have someone who believed in the whip rule over them in complete faith that, someday, it’d be their turn to hold the whips again rather than agree that maybe we shouldn’t give so many whips to people when it’s their turn to hold them.


        • Useful idiots? Seriously? Not only do you demonstrate the hostility, you also fail to understand how politics works.

          Or is Our Tod merely a useful idiot for the GOP because hes trying to change it from the inside?


          • — I respect Tod to a fair degree. That said, it was obvious to me since the rise of the “Tea Party” that the Republican party was molding itself into the party of white nationalism — and indeed that happened. It was certainly nice to see principled voices speak against that, but all the same, here we are.

            Tod is one guy. Another “libertarian” (self-identified) is my ex-brother-in-law, who ten years ago was a “nice guy” libertarian, egg-head, worked in tech, loved his guns — a decent fellow. But now, a rabid Trump supporter. What happened?

            He still calls himself a “libertarian,” and can spout its principles, but he now supports manifest authoritarianism. How can he?

            Are there more “libertarians” like Tod or like my ex-brother-in-law? I’m not sure. But here we see Jaybird, who loves his “I told you so” game — but I can play those also. I told you America was this racist and sexist. I told you the Republicans were this bad.

            Fun game.

            So what now?


            • White Nationalism is an important part of Republican politics but I’m divided on whether or not it’s a cynical ploy to provide cover for income inequality or a genuine belief. Republicans really don’t do anything that helps White Americans more than other groups besides some culture war issues. During the Apartheid years, the South African parties provided definite material benefits for White South Africans.


            • I dunno. Kinda not listening to anything past one pissed off leftie deciding that the best way to end a war of words was by murdering someone’s mother.

              “Oh, but that was just one person!”

              … yeah. Is this worse or better than a flotilla of death threats? Because I’mma say worse, okay?


            • But here we see Jaybird, who loves his “I told you so” game — but I can play those also. I told you America was this racist and sexist. I told you the Republicans were this bad.

              So what now?

              Let’s make sure that they have less power to screw with other people if ever they gain power.

              Let’s institute something like “federalism” to make sure that there’s a dozen places that could be moved to, if it came to that.

              Of course, that only works within certain starting points of certain cultural norms and mores and if you don’t have those certain cultural norms/mores, these assumptions cease to work. But that’s, like, something that we probably won’t be particularly interested in investigating until it’s too late.

              So, in the short term, I’d suggest there being less power for them to use against us if ever they happen to get their hands on the levers of power.


            • If you look back at my election prediction you will notice I was considering more people like your ex-brother-in-law voting. Fewer actually voted than I predicted. There were parts of Texas that shifted toward blue because libertarianish folks didn’t defect toward authoritarianism. Now the democrats are taking that to mean they are gaining ground, ha!


              • I’ve mentioned Clinton’s surprising good showing in Texas (it’s certainly why I was so confidant Trump couldn’t win — Clinton pulled an Obama 2008 margin in Texas. Doing that and still losing the EC was…a weird outcome), and a lot of it seemed a real disdain for Trump on the part of Boomer-era, steady Republican voters. (Some of it was, of course, the continued blue-ing of Texas, but Obama lost by 16 in 2012 and Clinton lost by 8 or 9 in 2016 — Texas might have gotten 2 points bluer in that time, but not 7 or 8).

                I’m not sure why Texas Republicans disliked him so much. Perhaps, of all things, it’s the Wall. It’s a flipping stupid idea, and Texas would be stuck with a lot of it. Perhaps it’s the sexual assault tape — we’ve got a big streak of old-style “You don’t talk about women that way”.

                Perhaps it’s that Texas is more used to booms and busts (we’re tied mostly to oil prices) and we’re embracing wind and solar pretty heavily — so “MOAR COAL” doesn’t really appeal (it seems backwards) and “Bring back our jobs” is pretty meaningless as we manufacture little and are used to the market swings and know they have jack-all to do with Presidents and a lot to do with the price of oil.

                Maybe it’s just he’s like the most exaggerated version of an idiot Yankee we’ve ever seen in real life. Right up to tacky gold rooms, poor manners, and prone to relentless bragging.


                  • I admit I’m speaking anecdotally, but I’ve got two parents and two in-laws that are steady Republicans (well, my Mom started moving away under Dubya. So three) and not one of them voted for Trump.

                    My father voted for Jill Stein (Clinton is NOT especially loved in Texas, possibly for that same “beating out a Texas darling” thing). I think two voted for Clinton and the last voted for “Someone that wasn’t Trump” but he wouldn’t say who.

                    OTOH, I’ve seen a lot of 30 and 40 something conservatives here who voted for Trump because…..well, I’m not sure why. Their stated reasons would require a ridiculous amount of political naivete in my opinion, but then I’m kinda more into politics than the average person so….maybe skewed perspective.

                    But seriously, the opinions I’ve heard expressed about Trump by boomer age Republicans down here, who have been voting Republican since at least Reagan? You think liberals and Democrats can say mean things about Trump, but dang…


                • Trump didn’t appeal to a certain segment of Texas Republican’s for three main reasons –

                  1.) Their economy is doing quite well so the doom ‘n’ gloom didn’t match up with their lives.

                  2.) Texas relies on free trade for that strong economy

                  3.) And immigration


            • So what now?

              Let’s start with not making sweeping generalizations. Here, I’ll start by addressing what said below. Yes, there are libertarian hostile parts of the conservative coalition, just as there are friendly parts of the liberal coalition, but when it comes to politics, libertarian ideals & politicians get more traction among the GOP than the DNC. This is despite the fact that libertarians in general support significant liberal policy positions.

              For some reason, the GOP can stomach the bits of libertarian ideals they don’t like, and the DNC can’t.


              • I think part of this is that the economic parts of libertarianism is seen as more “real”. Justin Amash gets a lot of love in libertarian circles despite quite a lot of heresies, whereas Ron Wyden gets a lot fewer because of his.


        • Publicly? Stroke their chins, write principled, well reasoned objections to the GOP’s illiberal policies and denounce liberals as being statist and excessively fond of raising taxes thus worse that the right.

          Professionally? Remain in their established positions which are structured around financial support from the right. Change isn’t something any humans love, not even libertarians.

          Privately? Look at the vast masses on the right who have dispelled the illusion that libertarianism has ever had any sort of mass support from that side of the electorate and feel a certain unease.


            • I’m in a cynical mood so I’d imagine probably about the same proportion as any other ideological group. The only way you can get any large proportion of a group of people to put their bodies and freedom on the line to resist authoritarianism is to have the authoritarians put their bodies and freedom on the line for them.


              • North,
                either that or make it profitable. Iran has tons of people who resist authoritarianism. (Please note: this is more or less “allowed” underground stuff). They put their freedom on the line — if caught, they may be shat upon, and I do mean that literally.


            • My friends do. But my friends are the queer sort of libertarians who don’t mind doing things off the books, or pushing liberal policies when they’re the better answer.

              And remind me when you’ve put your freedom on the line to resist curtailments of freedom of speech? Because, if you haven’t, I know an easy way that you can — without even leaving your computer!


        • But the question is, what will they do now?

          Depends on who they is. Some libertarians are reactionary by nature, some lean pretty far left. Most of them will keep fighting on the same issues as they were during the Obama and the GWB administrations. Some examples on various issues:

          Immigration – (Nowrastah, by the way, is the guy who gave the internet the response to Eric Trump’s stupid Skittles metaphor.)

          The surveillance state –

          Executive overreach –

          Also, the whole “Republicans were always the real enemies of freedom” thing is just plain wrong. For one thing how far back are we going? At a certain point, that statement is false in a very matter of fact historical sense. But even if we limit ourselves to the recent past, it depends on which freedoms you want to talk about.

          If you’re talking about the freedom to exercise reproductive rights or pursue a romantic relationship with anyone you want then, yes, Republicans are the bad guys. But there are lots of other freedoms that people care about, like the freedom of a poor or working class mother to send her kids to better schools or the freedom of people to engage in work and commerce without onerous regulations that favor vested interests. Those may not seem particularly important to some people, but they are very important to people stuck in struggling communities, people who have been getting failed welfare state interventions from the left and not much more than platitude for the rights.


      • There are large segments of the conservative tent can’t help but be condescending at best, and outright hostile at the worst to libertarians as well. The liberals do that regarding economics, the conservatives re: civil liberties, foreign policy and immigration.


      • I would say libertarians can’t help but be condescending to liberals because they refuse to see why liberals like the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, etc.

        Ultimately libertarians are focused on negative liberty and see government as an impediment. Liberals see government has having a role in protecting and enforcing liberty and equality.


        • Ultimately libertarians are focused on negative liberty and see government as an impediment. Liberals see government has having a role in protecting and enforcing liberty and equality.

          Who will have more of their priors confirmed by the next four years?


          • A while ago, a sometime OTer posted an article on how more Democrats support free trade than Republicans according to a poll. He asked “Hey fellow libertarians, are we reaching out to the wrong party.”

            A lot of libertarians chimed in about how Democrats/Liberals are bad on other freedom extending parts of the agenda. As far as I can tell, this freedom extending agenda is a complete revulsion to the welfare state and civil liberties based on an extreme adherence to non-coercion and freedom of association uber allies.

            I find that a lot of libertarians discount the idea that coercion and bad social effects can come from forces other than the government.

            Libertarians excessive focus on non-coercion seems extreme to me. There is nothing wrong with non-coercion, it is an important principle but the libertarian world view seems to be “It is better for 32 million people to lose health insurance than it is to force insurance companies to not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions and/or if one person is forced to buy insurance under the individual mandate if they don’t want to.”

            This is out of whack to me.

            Many minority groups pushed for the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 because state governments were either indifferent to minority enfranchisement or actively against it. Same with letting up on Jim Crow and Segregation. Yet none of this seems to enter the libertarian mind.


            • The “Liberaltarian” movement made a handful of attempts, I recall.

              For what it’s worth, I was a big fan of the whole “work with people where you agree with them, do not work with people where you do not agree with them” thing even though it was pointed out to me that I shouldn’t compromise my principles to work with people who supported (bad thing) even though they supported (narrowly) (good thing).

              That’s my advice for liberals and libertarians looking to reach out to each other. Find things that you agree on and ONLY TALK ABOUT THOSE THINGS.

              Once you accomplish those things, then start branching out.

              And avoid the “hey, if you’re a libertarian, doesn’t that mean that you support sexual harassment in the office because people can just quit, you sexist hypocrite?” game until at least after you accomplish *ONE* thing.


                • I am all for open immigration and free trade. But I would like to also have a massive infrastructure spending bill on public goods (public roads, public parks, public transport, public libraries, public schools, etc) with a generous welfare state/retraining for those whose jobs are lost to free trade/automation.

                  My general experience with bleeding heart libertarians is that their preferred stance is “Come on liberals, we don’t need the WPA or Infrastructure spending, just have people who lose jobs open food stalls and you have commerce!!! This is what they do in Hong Kong and South Korea and Taiwan!!!”

                  This ignores the fact that those countries are much smaller, much more urban and dense than the U.S.” They also seem to spend on infrastructure in ways that the U.S. does not. The U.S. seems to take a shabby-chic aesthetic when it comes to infrastructure.

                  Do you think libertarians could work with Democrats to drastically reduce/eliminate tariffs in exchange for generous UI and/or a real infrastructure bill ala the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Progress Admin or no? Politics is about trading and trade-offs and compromise and it seems like a lot of libertarians would rather be purity ponies than compromise.


                  • Well, that’s why you’re a liberal rather than a libertarian.

                    My suggestion is to work with libertarians on open immigration and free trade. Don’t bring up the massive infrastructure spending bill on public goods (public roads, public parks, public transport, public libraries, public schools, etc) with a generous welfare state/retraining for those whose jobs are lost to free trade/automation until you succeed on the open immigration and free trade.

                    Hell, stab the libertarians in the back the second you’ve accomplished the open immigration and the free trade. Call them racists who oppose immigrants if you have to.

                    But if you focus on the massive infrastructure spending bill on public goods (public roads, public parks, public transport, public libraries, public schools, etc) with a generous welfare state/retraining for those whose jobs are lost to free trade/automation *BEFORE* you accomplish the open immigration and the free trade, you’ll find yourself without a liberal/libertarian coalition.

                    Politics is about trading and trade-offs and compromise and it seems like a lot of libertarians would rather be purity ponies than compromise.

                    Another thing to watch out for: if you’re hoping to work with people and get them to compromise with you, don’t spend a whole lot of time mocking people for being hypocrites.

                    As a matter of fact, when you see someone (on your team) mocking someone else (someone that you want to compromise with you) for being a hypocrite, shut that person down hard.

                    Explain the importance of pragmatism and, sometimes, half a loaf and whatnot.

                    After you get the deal you want *THEN* mock the people who made a deal with you for being hypocrites and how, unlike them, you didn’t have to sell your soul to get what you wanted.


                    • But if you focus on the massive infrastructure spending bill on public goods (public roads, public parks, public transport, public libraries, public schools, etc) with a generous welfare state/retraining for those whose jobs are lost to free trade/automation *BEFORE* you accomplish the open immigration and the free trade, you’ll find yourself without a liberal/libertarian coalition.

                      So why is there a conservative/libertarian coalition? Seems like conservatives had no issue hammering consensual crimes, expansionist wars, wars of adventure, massive levels of corporate welfare and military spending without killing the coalition. The ostensible origin of the marriage, anti-Soviet animus, has been dead letter for nearly three decades.


                      • Because where Libertarians and Liberals overlap (when they overlap) is on goals and where Libertarians and Conservatives overlap (when they overlap) is on the process.

                        Conservatives and Libertarians can make coalitions (when they overlap) because they both agree on how it ought to be done. They just disagree on what will happen at the end of the day.

                        Liberals and Libertarians agree on stuff like Gay Marriage and Legal Medicinal Marijuana but get all hung up on Cake Registries and Marijuana Testing Boards and Making Sure That The Children Can’t Buy Medical Cakes Without A License.

                        Libertarians and Conservatives, at least, can agree that Wickard was bullshit and then get some of the Conservatives to shrug at the thought of Colorado legalizing pot. Sometimes.


                        • This is so flatly false it’s not even funny. I could come up with a flipped example easily.

                          Because where Libertarians and Liberals overlap (when they overlap) is on process and where Libertarians and Conservatives overlap (when they overlap) is on the goals.

                          Conservatives and Libertarians can make coalitions (when they overlap) because they both agree on how it ought to be done. They just disagree on what will happen at the end of the day.

                          Conservatives and Libertarians agree on stuff like Tax Cuts and Business Friendliness but get all hung up on Mosque Registries and Favored Company Boards and Making Sure That People on a Made Up List Can’t Get on Planes.

                          Libertarians and Liberals, at least, can agree that Korematsu was bullshit and then get some of the Liberals to shrug at the thought of private clubs choosing their own members. Sometimes.


                          • Conservatives and Libertarians agree on stuff like Tax Cuts and Business Friendliness

                            Taxes and Regulations are “how things are done”.

                            Mosque Registries and Favored Company Boards and No-Fly Lists are areas where they don’t overlap with Conservatives. There are a lot of areas where Libertarians just don’t overlap with Conservatives.

                            Libertarians and Liberals can agree that Korematsu was bullshit because, from the Libertarian point of view, the Japanese people had Rights that were violated by the Government and the Government should not have had the power to put people in camps. Liberals merely agree that the Japanese people had Rights that were violated by the Government.

                            The ends is where they agree. They just get there via different ways.


                            • from the Libertarian point of view, the Japanese … Government should not have had the power to put people in camps. Liberals merely agree that the Japanese people had Rights that were violated by the Government.

                              Which is not a small thing. Not even a big thing. It’s actually THE thing.


                              • Well, it would be THE thing if it were true.

                                Unless you’re requiring outright prison abolitionism to qualify as “not thinking the government should have the power to put people in camps.”

                                Otherwise, you’re mostly just putting straw thoughts in the heads of straw liberals.


                                • Not parsing this. The government has the power to put people in prison (camps) because the government followed it’s process and either extracted a plea or proved it’s case that the person violated the law/the rights of others.

                                  There was no such process for the Japanese, it was a pure, raw exercise of power. Same as how we put people in Gitmo & keep them there.


                                  • I agree with you. The government should have the power to imprison people after proving the threshold of criminal guilt, but not otherwise. That, I believe, is consistent with the common understanding of liberalism.

                                    Stillwater and Jaybird seem to be implying that liberals believe that the government still ought to be able to round people up and put them in camps without reaching that threshold. They seem further to imply that the only ones who believe that the government should not have the power to carry out arbitrary mass incarcerations are libertarians.

                                    I do not believe that position to be compatible with any useful definition of ‘liberalism’.

                                    So I’m saying: the only position I can think of that (a) is not common among liberals, and (b) could be meaningfully interpreted as “the government should not have the power to put people in camps”, is a belief in abolition of the prison system as a whole.


                                    • I agree that it does not fit with any useful description of “liberal”, but we still have an awful lot of liberal politicians and pundits that are OK with stuff like Gitmo. An awful lot of liberal citizens that are OK with it, because the truth is, they want the government to have that kind of power, but to not use it, or only use it on the right kinds of people.

                                      It’s like with civil asset forfeiture. The power was granted to go after drug kingpins. That was the intent. That kind of power should offend every liberal out there, but it didn’t, until it was getting used against regular folks, and even now, there isn’t a call to remove the power, just to alter the incentives a bit, so police won’t be so eager to go after normal people with it.


                                      • Fnerr. I suppose so – I don’t consider those liberal impulses, but I guess if politicians who are in the nominally “liberal” party of the country hold them, counter to whatever high-minded policy statements are in the party’s official charter then it’s hard to insist they’re not opinions common among “liberals” (be they Democrat or Liberal Party of Canada)

                                        By the same token, there are a lot of impulses I’d consider wildly counter to any useful definition of “conservatism” that appear, if not exactly canon, then at least somewhat widespread among Republicans and CPC members…


                    • But real Americans don’t ride Amtrak or the New York subways. Democrats will have to try harder to reach middle America. Politically they have no choice but to ask for those types of earmarks to be removed.


                          • The American love affair with the car makes getting rail funding out of Democratic Presidents hard enough. The people creating Trump’s infrastructure plan might have culture war biases against rail even if Trump does not. Trump’s plan is also supposed to favor private contractors through tax breaks for infrastructure building. Hard to do that with rail.


                            • Trump’s plan is also supposed to favor private contractors through tax breaks for infrastructure building. Hard to do that with rail.

                              I haven’t followed this issue closely enough to feel confident one way or the other about how it evolves moving forward, but there IS a sentiment in the Trump camp that privatizing or in some way creating public-private partnerships to fund infrastructure build-out is a serious option moving forward. I have no idea what the proposals are, but from my pov it can only mean tolls/taxes/something imposed on use by private entities.


                            • The people creating Trump’s infrastructure plan might have culture war biases against rail even if Trump does not.

                              Isn’t that the case with every President?

                              More to the point: given a set of policy proposals, should the fact that one of em was proposed by a “culture warrior” preclude evaluating it on the merits?


        • “I would say libertarians can’t help but be condescending to liberals because they refuse to see why liberals like the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, etc.”

          I would disagree. The intent of these laws was to change the legal restrictions on freedom for some groups. Just as I see no gov’t need to insert itself into marriage, I see no gov’t need to tell people who can and can’t vote (baring basic minimums) or who can ride where on buses, etc.


          • Meh, I think the problem with the CRA is that the liberal faction climbs on it like a high horse and attempts to justify running down people who are in their way.

            It’s like a strategy to create another ‘ugly american’ category.

            From what I here of the Trump supporters, high horse tastes pretty good.


            • Oh yes, I’m loving the “sobbing” and “panic attacks” the left is experiencing. It’s fun listening to NPR get their little jabs in when talking about Trump.

              “Don’t tell me I live in a bubble, I don’t.” says the person who’s only lived in Manhattan and outside of DC, who’s never traveled away from those locations, and only associates with people of like mind (save me). Nope, not a bubble.


              • But the person who insists that the world stop changing (or more accurate, change back to something it never was). so they can live n their same town with their same neighbors, doing their same job, forever — he lives in the real world.


                • Of course they don’t, and I’d never say they did. But that wheat farmer, who lives out in Eastern Washington is more connected to the broader world that the person I referenced above. I know. I lived in that town with the wheat farmer, and the cattle rancher and the Boise Cascade employees.


                  • But that wheat farmer, who lives out in Eastern Washington is more connected to the broader world that the person I referenced above.

                    What’s the “broader world” in this context?


                    • He knew about stuff going on outside his immediate area…like the commodity markets, since it impacted his gross and net. He knew people across the country in the industry/market. He was aware of current events, if only because they might impact his bottom line. He actually had traveled to places and had dealt with those damn Oregonians who won’t let you pump your own gas.

                      That vs my friend who told me she only focuses her attention on one thing, never tolerates dissension to her political beliefs, and has rarely encountered anyone, other than me, that may have a differing view. Anyone who has a different opinion is either stupid, or a fool, and is dismissed out of hand, and she refuses to discuss the topic further. Listening to her rant about how America was infected by “stupidity” on election night and how those blue collar people who lost their jobs “just need to get over it”, while brooking now word in edgewise from me was even more than I was used to.

                      As an example of a self-perpetuating bubble, she related an anecdote to me about an actor she was considering casting. The guy was the husband of a conservative writer. She and the director actually had a conversation where they questioned whether or not this guy would be a good addition to the cast given his “associations”. The horror of having a cast member who’s mate disagrees with her politics was problematic.


                      • Damon,
                        if that wheat farmer doesn’t have some worries about global warming, then he’s more of a fool than your Casting Director friend, because he’s fooling with his bottom line.

                        And I’ll put dollars on him not knowing that Mexico’s splitting at the seams, even with what they’re running in the American papers these days.

                        (Not that I expect your Casting Director friend to actually pay attention to any news that doesn’t support her priors. She’d probably rag me out for payin’ to keep people from immigrating here, too.)


        • Again, , you demonstrate a lack of understanding of libertarian principles.

          Of course government exists to protect liberty & equality. That is one of the very few legitimate purposes of government. Libertarians don’t object to that, they object to using that power to benefit a minority over the majority.

          The objection to the CRA is less about the creation of such, and more about the insistence that it remain untouched despite the march of time, i.e. the supporters of the CRA/VRA/etc. are unwilling to establish and hold to a set of criteria by which we can decide those laws are ready for change, or removal. It’s the exact same reason libertarians object to things like the Patriot Act. It’s not about the need for that power in the moment, but about the refusal to state a firm victory condition by which the law can be reduced or removed.

          I look at the CRA/VRA and say, yes, at the time, those laws were very important, we had to enact them. Now, I don’t know how useful they still are? Perhaps they are in need of a review, and a rewrite to make them more focused on issues as they exist now, rather than 60 years ago? I suspect that they still have a degree of utility, and I really wish that the political party that finds them so important had taken the time to do that review when they held power a few years ago, because I am betting that if someone puts a bug in Trumps ear about them in the next few months, gutting them will be on his agenda before the midterms.


          • Most anti-CRA arguments I’ve seen from libertarians argue that it was bad in 1964 to on pure freedom of association and property rights reasons. The arguments is that owners should be allowed to do whatever they want with their property and businesses even if the results lead to a socially undesirable income like glass ceilings or African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans getting stuck in certain jobs.


            • Heh, I’ve run across those types. I ask them how well they understand what life was like back then. They all seem to have an idea that it was a slightly worse version of what gay rights were maybe 20 years ago.

              I mean, yeah, sure, the CRA on it’s face runs against the ideal, but politics isn’t about ideals, it’s about getting shit done*. The path to equal civil rights without the CRA/VRA/etc. was going to be measured across far too many generations. It was a necessary thing, and even today I wouldn’t repeal it and walk away. But could it use a review? Are there parts that could be struck or amended? Do we need some additions? Are there any victory conditions by which we know the law has outlived it’s utility? I don’t feel like these are questions that anyone would seriously consider because “LANDMARK LEGISLATION**”.

              *I will readily admit this is a problem among libertarians, many who can’t seem to set aside the ideals to achieve practical political victories. I suspect it comes from not having much in the way of political power.

              **Seriously, this is a big problem with our politics. Certain laws are too symbolic and become mythic, such that any fiddling with them is verboten, even if it is long past time they were fiddled with. If something should not be easily fiddled with, amend it to the constitution. Otherwise, fiddling with laws it what legislatures are for.


              • — I’ve said before, my ideal “political dialectic” for the US is the tension between libertarianism and technocratic liberalism. I think between those we might find workable politics.

                So sure, we can look at the CRA, but we might conclude it should be expanded. Certainly I think the VRA should be re-invigorated and applied against Republican gerrymandering.

                My point, I want libertarians pushing back against technocracy, for the same reason I want code reviews. My problems with libertarians is 1) their inability to distinguish technocratic liberals from “the left” and 2) their tolerance for right-wing authoritarianism —

                — and on the latter point, #notalllibertarians, obvi. But too many. I’ve been to a lot of gun shows. Similarly (but in a different folkway), I watched the “techno-libertarians” metastasize into neo-reaction. I watch gamergate unfold.

                I wonder if Milo Y really believes in “free speech” or just “free speech when it offends transgender people.”

                Wanna bet?


                • The ability of libertarians to distinguish between the many shades of the right but being unable to tell the difference between a Vox style liberal Technocrat and somebody on the Further Left is puzzling.


                  • I read shit like this and just think “what the hell?”

                    Libertarians (with a Capital ‘L’) are the ones most likely to be able to explain the distinctions between Anarcho-Capitalists, Anarcho-Socialists, Anarcho-Syndicalists, Mutualists, Agorists, Primitivists, Trans-humanists, and Anarcho-Communists.

                    Jesus Christ, they’re the only ones still reading Marx, for Christ’s sake.

                    What the hell are you talking about?


                  • I am a lefty technocrat! Why I align libertarian is because while my goals are technocratic, how those goals get implemented in our political system is highly problematic. I.E. giving the government the power to achieve my technocratic goals also means giving it the power to achieve decidedly non-technocratic goals.

                    Political power, like money, is highly fungible, and people don’t like having their money or power tightly restricted.


                • Well here’s the problem, it seems to me that there just ain’t very many libertarians. Not really. The GOP’s historical deployment of libertarian pabulum has obscured this a lot over the years but in 2016 Trump basically said “Ya know what? Fish all that libertarian schtick.” Ripped up the pabulum, set it on fire and laughed and he won handily even while the socialcons voted for one of his opponents and the neocons for another.

                  So while I also think a society with a tug of war between technocratic liberals and libertarians would be a very healthy one right now it’d be very one sided. Unless, as Joe Sal theorizes upthread, there’s a huge silent constituency waiting like the Great Pumpkin to fly through the political skies once a true libertarian politician makes a run for one of the major parties.


                  • I’m not buying it.

                    Libertarians are a small group. Others have “leanings” but the majority of Americans like their gov’t big with all kinds of freebies and their taxes low. As for people outside of America? Perfectly willing to let some president drone them to death. Just keep the cable bill low enough.


                  • He said it about religion too. The evangelicals still voted for him.

                    In the end, what you’ve got is a lot of single-issue voters who like to pretend otherwise. BSDI comes from that — because if both sides aren’t the same on everything else, then you might have to vote based on something other than your single issue.

                    But if both sides are equally corrupt, for instance, then there’s no moral problem voting for the corrupt side that’s pro-life or pro-choice. No pesky moral questions to ask.

                    Both sides are the exact same, except for this single issue I care about.


                    • There aren’t many single issue voters on the Democratic side. More Evangelicals probably voted for Trump because of the Supreme Court alone than Pro-Choicers voted for Clinton because of the Supreme Court.


                    • The GOP does seem to have a lot of single or two issue voters that can hold their nose otherwise and vote straight down party line.

                      Unlike Lee, I do think our party has single-issue voters but they tend to be purity ponies and say “I can’t vote for Diane Feinstein or Chuck Schumer because they only vote the way I want 90-95 percent of the time.”


                    • The socialcons have lost on every issue other than abortion (and that remains a grinding stalemate) so sweepingly that their political wing is suing for détente while their internal debates are over whether it’s time to go back to ignoring politics or if it’s time to grab the kids and run for the catacombs before the ‘mo’s give them makeovers. They were pretty open about voting for Trump for desperation reasons and he didn’t vocally piss on their beliefs though he did such a shitty job of pretending to be one of them that it was near insulting.

                      Trump flat out swore up and down that he’d preserve Social Security, Medicare and paired his threats to the ACA with promises to replace it with something that did the same thing only better. That’s flat out libertarian apostasy.


          • you demonstrate a lack of understanding of libertarian principles

            It isn’t necessary to understand libertarian principles.

            Whats necessary is to observe their behavior and draw conclusions of their priorities and values, the same way we do for every other political group.

            I can observe “prolife” American Catholics for example, and note that they care very, very deeply about restricting abortion. But not so deeply about the death penalty. Or government torture of prisoners. Or providing contraception. Or providing prenatal care and assistance. Or postnatal care and assistance.

            It would be confusing, and even foolish to study the Roman Catholic theology about human life in an attempt to understand this phenomenon.


              • No, it’s fair.

                Just like when people are critical of liberals who wring their hands over segregation, but don’t really want those people in their schools or neighborhoods.

                Or conservatives who are all about smaller government, except for law enforcement & the military.


                • As with Oscar’s examples, it proves what is important and what isn’t, what is an urgent priority versus what is given lip service.

                  If it makes anyone feel better, we can use my tribe as an example.
                  Yeah, a lot of liberals give lip service to racial integration but conveniently avoid the hard work of living and working in proximity to minorities.
                  But vehemently protest, lets say, for health care.

                  Getting insurance coverage is an urgent priority; dealing with the things that are important to minorities like stop & frisk or the predatory fines on the poor are less so.

                  I’ve come to see how true it is that we can only be passionate about the things we experience personally.

                  Ferguson is something I experience from afar, like a famine in Sudan.
                  Loss of Medicare is something I see affecting me personally within a couple years.

                  There’s nothing wrong with this; its normal and natural. Its part of why empathy and solidarity are such difficult virtues to inculcate.

                  Getting back to libertarians, we see that government restrictions on a Big Gulp are considered an affront to basic human dignity, an urgent priority.
                  Being denied a Big Gulp because you are black, less so.

                  Those are their priorities, based on their personal lived experiences.


                  • Those are their priorities, based on their personal lived experiences.

                    Note that people in government know this. Which is why police are unlikely to target well dressed white folks in German luxury cars for some friendly civil asset forfeiture.


                    • If they’re black, they’ll pull them over on any pretext though. And “driving a nice luxury car” is sufficient.

                      (I read a fascinating article about an appeals court judge who routinely got pulled over on his commute. Black, nice car ,nice neighborhood. Did not compute.)


          • What Lee said. Most of my debates with libertarians on the issue of CRA and Voting Rights is that they object to them on the grounds of freedom of association uber allies and (in my view) a mistaken belief that market forces would cause the Jim Crow South to fix itself…..eventually. They can never say when eventually was going to be, just that it would be eventually.

            The problem here is that a lot of libertarians are not the people who need to wait for eventually. They will always be served at restaurants, never told that a hotel is “out of rooms” even if the Vacancy sign is blaring in neon glory, never be fired or denied promotion because of their race, sexuality, religion, or gender, and probably never have someone ask them for an ID when trying to vote.

            So the weight of libertarians talking pompously about freedom of association and market forces is much lighter to me than the many minorities who wanted the Federal Government to pass the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. They don’t speak from a place where discrimination is known.

            And I can say the same about libertarians showing a lack of understanding of modern liberal principles. Modern liberalism has existed for more than one hundred years yet a ton of libertarians seem to love calling themselves “classical liberals” and insisting that a view that died out in the late 1880s or so is the true liberalism even though it last for less time than modern liberalism.

            Federalism is not a solution. I don’t see why accidents of geography in the same country should give someone more or less rights based on their race, gender identity, religion, sexuality, ability status, ethnicity, etc. An LGBT person in Alabama or Texas should have the same rights as an LBGT person in California, New York, or Massachusetts. Same with a Jew, a Muslim, a disabled person, etc.


            • Federalism is a solution, since it works against an abusive central government.

              Now it would be interesting if state borders were more fluid. Imagine if the amount of land a state counted within it’s borders was population dependant, and states could be absorbed or born based upon the desires of populations?

              Be like one of those maps Mike Cain likes to create…


              • Federalism is a doctrine whose principal supporter is the Senate Minority Leader.

                Virtually everyone else is perfectly happy to have their preferred policies applied nation-wide.

                Any thoughts as to whether California is empowered to demand that motor vehicles sold in its state have to meet higher pollution control standards than those demanded by the feds? California is now so powerful that it probably could set standards for consumer goods produced world-wide, if it were allowed to do so.


              • Federalism ignores the fact that the central government has been the guarantor of rights against abusive state governments. See: the CRA, the VRA (dcsd.), Brown vs. Board of Education, etc. What the GOP stands for is not an abusive central government so much as letting the states be abusive. When libertarians applaud this (e.g. Cato’s amicus brief in favor of gutting the VRA), they are indeed being useful idiots.


                • I’m sure all those folks getting free room and board with enhanced interrogation at no charge down at Gitmo are so happy to know that the federal government is a rock solid bulwark against the abuse of individual rights.


            • The problem here is that a lot of libertarians are not the people who need to wait for eventually

              Forgot to add that I agree with this, and said as much to Lee. Politics is about getting shit done, and that means you generally don’t get your ideal solution.


            • It’s not hard, and I’m not suggesting they get repealed out of hand. But regular review and fiddling is a good idea, because laws do get outdated, or because the legal environment has shifted and a SCOTUS decision can knock them out entirely.


    • They’ll probably say something like “Statists were always the real enemies of Freedom”.

      They were the ones who knew that giving someone like Obama more power would, someday, turn into giving someone like Trump that exact same power.

      I suppose you could argue that if only we could give someones like Obama that much power forever, we’d be able to avoid someones like Trump, sure.

      But then if, instead of nominating someone like Obama, someone like Clinton gets nominated, next thing you know, someone like Trump gets elected and now we’re wondering whether someone like Trump should have the power that we agree that it’d be okay if someone like Obama wielded it.

      And then something about Rawls’s “veil of ignorance” if they’re feeling feisty.


    • “I wonder if we’ll soon see a day when the libertarian/”patriot” types will realize that Republicans were always the real enemies of freedom?”

      We’re already seeing liberal/”progressive” types realize that states’ rights and the Tenth Amendment were always the saviors of the Republic.


      • ““I wonder if we’ll soon see a day when the libertarian/”patriot” types will realize that Republicans were always the real enemies of freedom?””

        Dude, I’ve been saying on this site for years that it’s the left and the right that are enemies of freedom. The sooner people wake up to that fact, the “more better” things will get.


    • v,
      So, um, a competitor to Wikileaks?
      I wonder if these people have thought this fucking through?
      I really, really hope so, as governments haven’t exactly been playing nice or fair with Assange.

      This is painting a target on your back. I wish them luck, but I don’t think they’ll be successful.


  4. At Disaster Supply Center, a survival kit store in San Rafael, half an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, car kits — with food, water, blankets, ponchos, flashlights, and tents — have been flying off the shelves. Sales in January were up between 20% and 30% compared with a year earlier, according to Michael Skyler, who owns the business along with his wife, Mona. (He declined to disclose exact figures.)

    Hasn’t California also been experiencing, over the past two months, the worst weather in a few decades, so people may either be replenishing their kits (or finally being spurred to get a kit)?


  5. That prompted Deb to order between $200 and $300 worth of dehydrated food — which, in a disaster scenario, she would share with her six cats


  6. I’m not sure how Arkansas becomes part of Appalachia without a whole lot of other states becoming Appalachia as well, and muddying the conclusions drawn. Probably nothing here anyway. Here are the numbers for West Virginia:

    37% Favor AA
    35% Oppose AA
    30% No opinion

    West Virginia’s net favorability (+2) is based on a lot of non responses, which may not be unusual for places with fewer minorities. From crosstabs, percentage white: (AR 84%; KY 91%; WV 95%)

    The more interesting response was high percentages of these three states feeling that the system favors the wealthy or is unfair to most Americans; they are more aligned with Democratic views than Republican on this question.


  7. Well it wouldn’t be very hard for the UK to have an arrangement other English speaking nations. Barring the US they’re all part of the commonwealth and are relatively close in population, size and economic clout. Hell, the Commonwealth still even exists and most of them still share a Monarch with the UK.

    Throw the US in, though, and that all goes out the window.


    • Are we doing wacky conspiracy sorts of things today? The new NATO, with the US, Canada, and the UK, because, well, we wouldn’t want Russia feeling too threatened. And the new NAFTA, where NA becomes North Atlantic, again with the US, Canada, and the UK, because the wall is going to make trade with Mexico tough and the UK needs someone to prop up their post-Brexit economy quickly.

      Thank you, I’ll be here all week.


      • That’s all fun and good but a closer alignment between the UK and her former English speaking colonies isn’t quite that fanciful. They have an awful lot in common culturally and are generally at about the same level of development.

        If, however, you throw the US into the mix then yes it’d get crazy geopolitical fast. It also wouldn’t work because the US is so much larger than all the rest so it’d go from a partnership of peers rapidly into the USA and their little buddies club.


        • This is my take, too. It seems quite feasible for everyone but the US. The other countries would have a problem with regard to our health care system (they don’t want Rose moving there). We would never allow a free movement pact with a bunch of anglospheric countries and nobody else, and we wouldn’t expand it to others.


          • Yep, the US doesn’t fit the bill. Now I could see the reconstituted Anglo sphere Commonwealth being extremely chummy (like besties forever) with the US but I couldn’t imagine the US actually being a formal part of it.


            • Actually, what we are talking here is not a reinvigorated British Commonwealth (which has dwindled to nothing for practical purposes), but bringing back what used to be called, formally, the “White Dominions” only (minus South Africa, who used to be one to the White Dominions way back then).

              From a cultural point of view, a strong White Dominions (it will need a different name soon) Union, including freedom of movement, might make sense. Economics wise, it makes little. We are talking about places (Australia/New Zeland-Canada-U.K.) at opposite ends of the planet


                • All eminently reasonable points, but… Do you think Theresa May is here this for week for some reason other than sucking up to Trump and the Senate Republicans, and throwing the non-English-speaking parts of NATO under the bus, in exchange for a fast-track trade deal? To be announced a week or so before she asks Parliament to invoke Article 50?


                  • No, not really. Then again I look at my own prognosticating powers for the last 2 years and that gives me cause for concern.

                    Then again getting Parliament to invoke Article 50 (which the court ruling says they must do to Brexit) should keep the Hon. PM May plenty busy for the foreseeable future.


  8. “Ever since I saw the movie ‘Deep Impact,’ ” he said. The film, released in 1998, depicts a comet striking the Atlantic, and a race to escape the tsunami. “Everybody’s trying to get out, and they’re stuck in traffic. That scene happened to be filmed near my high school. Every time I drove through that stretch of road, I would think, I need to own a motorcycle because everybody else is screwed.”

    You know who’s also screwed? You on the motorcycle. Because there are no actual hills within 100 miles of actual Virginia Beach.


  9. Some survivalists disparage Hall for creating an exclusive refuge for the wealthy and have threatened to seize his bunker in a crisis. Hall waved away this possibility when I raised it with him over dinner. “You can send all the bullets you want into this place.” If necessary, his guards would return fire, he said. “We’ve got a sniper post.”

    And how much are you paying those guards? Will they stay bought? You sure none of your clients will do anything to tick them off?


      • Which to be fair to the article, in a different conversation someone does make that same point (‘Ah, my helicopter will whisk me away from danger’. ‘Ok, what about the pilot’s family?’)

        The article is quite good, it’s most of the people that haven’t thought they cunning plans all the way through. (like, anyone who buys bitcoins as a hedge)


        • Yeah I read it through and noted that. They were talking about their plane to New Zealand “Oh, and the pilot, the pilots family will need to be on the plane.” Which is shallowly prescient but on further inspection foolish. If society is collapsing what is the over under on you getting ahold of your pilot and getting him and his family to your private plane at the same time you and your family get to the plan (because if he gets there first what’s the over/under on you showing up to an empty runway?)

          Really it’s just rich people spending some money for self enjoyment and fantasy much like all preppers. It’s not exactly rational, it’s just a security blanket and hell, it’s not like they can’t afford it.


          • This is where getting a pilots license comes in real handy. Even if you don’t go whole hog and get instrument rated, but you really should, at least it gives you a fighting chance.


            • I’m utterly ignorant of avionics but isn’t getting rated to pilot a jet capable of a transpacific flight a lot of work? Hell now that I think of it does a private Jet have enough fuel to hump it from New York to New Zealand without refueling? Because if you have to land somewhere in between to top off the tank you’re screwed.


            • Objectively, if civilization is collapsing, you don’t need a license to fly a plane – you just need to know how to fly a plane.

              And flying a plane isn’t tough. We don’t pay pilots to fly planes. We pay them to *land* safely (and take care of anything that goes wrong)


          • North,
            It depends on exactly how powerful they’d be after the apocalypse.
            I would like to repeat that there are some people in this world it is foolish to make enemies of.


    • LOL Good reading.

      Anybody read “Lucifer’s Hammer”?

      Owner: “Go man that sniper nest. We got possible hostiles.”
      Sniper: “Nah, time for you to leave. We are taking over your house. Leave your women.” Points rifle at owner.


  10. Re: “economic terrorism”;

    The warning shot here is how fragile our political and legal institutions are. They rely upon a good faith effort on all parties to observe and respect moral norms of behavior, and tolerate opposition.
    It was first noted during GWB’s term that the Republican Party had become a revolutionary force, one marked by a complete rejection of the idea of loyal opposition.
    In their view, opposition is treason, illegitimate and therefore not to be met with compromise but total war.

    Notice how nearly every single one of the “Never Trumps” have one by one, fallen to their knees and groveled before their Dear Leader, even to the point of proudly repeating what they know to be lies.

    The point for us liberals to take away is that until the fever is broken, “working with” the Republicans is foolish, since it only teaches them that their tactics work and are fruitful.

    Notice that I am using the word “Republicans” because I do see daylight between the Republican Party, its candidates and activists, from the rank and file base.
    Most GOP voters really aren’t revolutionaries, most would be happy for some slight trimming of budgets while maintaining the social welfare apparatus. But its not the base that votes for budgets and bills, so our opposition to the Party has to be total and unflinching.


    • It was first noted during GWB’s term that the Republican Party had become a revolutionary force, one marked by a complete rejection of the idea of loyal opposition.

      Can’t be said enough.


    • “Notice how nearly every single one of the “Never Trumps” have one by one, fallen to their knees and groveled before their Dear Leader, even to the point of proudly repeating what they know to be lies. The point for us liberals to take away is that until the fever is broken, “working with” the Republicans is foolish, since it only teaches them that their tactics work and are fruitful.”

      Yo, Mike Shilling? When you get snotty because people talk about liberals being “smug”? This is what people are looking at when they say that.


      • True, totally beyond the pale. What Chip should have said is that Trump is obviously a closet Muslim who was born in Bosnia, that it’d be treason to work with him and anything he is for the Democrats should be against while publicly claiming otherwise.


        • Nothing that’s not similarly inaccurate about a Republican pointing out that if a poor person didn’t spend so much money on drugs then they wouldn’t be so poor.


        • What is inaccurate about Chip’s statement?


          Notice how nearly every single one of the “Never Trumps” have one by one, fallen to their knees and groveled before their Dear Leader, even to the point of proudly repeating what they know to be lies.

          Lots of Republicans who started out anti-Trump at some point reversed and many of them did so in quote embarrassing ways, Newt Gingrich walking back his Tweet on Drain the Swamp stands out as an example. But specifically says “nearly every single one” which sets a relatively low bar for disapproval.

          As far as I know John McCain hasn’t done this. Mitt Romney had dinner with Trump and said some decent things, but the reporting I’ve seen said that SecState could have been his if he’d been willing to offer an apology. He didn’t. Collin Powell has been consistently anti-Trump. The elder two generations of the Bush family have been either anti-Trump or silent. There’s Evan McMullin and all the Republicans who worked on his campaign and the folks who will be working on the anti-Trump organization that he is reportedly setting up.

          Yes, lots of Republicans sold out for the sake of being on the winning team, which is generally how politics works, but “nearly every single one” is a stretch.


          • I stand corrected then.

            A very high percentage of Republicans have fallen to their knees and grovel before their Dear Leader.

            The others bravely avert their gaze and mutter softly to no one in particular.


            • I don’t know from smug in this instance. I know that Chip made an exaggerated claim.

              Either we care about the accuracy of a statement or we are on the path to false, but still right. And personally, I don’t like where that path has led.


              • I don’t know from smug in this instance. I know that Chip made an exaggerated claim.

                Either we care about the accuracy of a statement or we are on the path to false, but still right. And personally, I don’t like where that path has led.

                Yeah, that’s right. But even if Chip wants to argue in the false, but right direction, which I suspect, that argument doesn’t hold water anyway.

                There’s a fundamental reality in the world that’s different now than a year ago or six months ago. Trump is President, and he deserves the respect and consideration of anybody holding that office, even if his character is substantially lacking from what we would like from that person.

                The Republican Party has actually held up very well. They opposed him when it was appropriate to oppose him, and now they are saluting the uniform now that it’s appropriate. And with few if any exceptions that I can recall, have they tried to deny or excuse Trump’s misbehaviors.

                And in addition, (and this is probably important for the libs watching at home), those things weren’t done for naked political interest, my sense is they ended up bolstering the party’s political standing anyway. Even if Trump crashes and burns (and I expect that to happen before the next Inauguration), I suspect that the GOP as a party is Teflon-ed away from that much more than the libs hope or expect. The libs could learn a lesson: maybe it’s sometimes a good idea to do the right thing.


                • Trump is President, and he deserves the respect and consideration of anybody holding that office, even if his character is substantially lacking from what we would like from that person.

                  I don’t agree with that. When I was in the army I gave respect to the men and women who outranked me, despite what I thought of them, because you respect the rank and not the person.

                  I’m not in the army anymore.

                  Trump ran a campaign in which he actively flouted the existing norms and fostered animosity towards a significant chunk of the population. OK, it worked for him. He won. Congratulations. Now he can reap the decisiveness that he actively sowed and that he continues to court.


                  • I’m not in the army anymore.

                    Oh I think you are. You’re just in a different army than you used to be. And in this army the regulations we’re supposed to follow in terms of saluting the uniform are much different (and in general much weaker) than the other army you used to be in.

                    But because the requirements of respect are weaker, it’s all the more important they are upheld. It’s how we prevent the Hobbesean war of all against all.

                    But more narrowly against Chip’s argument, the GOP establishment is clearly in the army. But even so, they are not out defending Access Hollywood, Trump University, or his inaugural crowd size estimates.

                    It’s not as hard for libs as they want to lead themselves into believing.


                    • Rank in politics is developed out of individual consent. Rank in the army is developed out of threat of court martial.

                      To avoid a Hobbesean war it may be wise to not conflate the two.


                      • Not at all. This is not Soviet Russia, and if you’re not interested in politics, it’s okay and politics doesn’t have to be interested in you.

                        But if you are, you should have higher aspirations than mindless destruction for your participation in it.


                      • I didn’t think he was. The point was, it’s the libs who have argued themselves into thinking, “We have to be completely and totally mobilized into resistance, blah, blah, yada, yada.”

                        The idea of that the generic respect of Americans toward the office of the President is untolerable burden for them is bullshit. They can figure it out. If they try a little bit, they can can even do that while still maintaining their own independent and contrary views, like the Republicans have done. But if they can’t, I don’t think it’s any big loss.


                            • Oh, I sort of agree with you on that. Some will agree with him on whatever, but Trump has had more backbiting from his own party than any honeymoon president in memory. I was referring to how the GOP dealt with the other party in power.


                              • Trump IS the base, whereas Ryan and McConnell are not.

                                The base isn’t falling in line behind Trump, he is falling in line behind them.

                                He never gave two craps about abortion, but is now solidly a prolifer.
                                He never cared about illegal immigration, but now its his signature issue.

                                In contrast, the base has never cared about “market freedom” or deregulation, but the GOP leaders did.

                                So Trump and the base will press for a command and control economy where the government gives carrots and sticks to favored industries to juice job numbers.

                                Trump has no reason to move closer to the GOP elite, what could he possibly gain?

                                Whereas Ryan and McConnell has every reason to move towards Trump, or face a primary from a Trump acolyte.


                                • The threat of a primary is easily the biggest phantom threat in politics. The notion that “the base” can just rise up and take down anyone who doesn’t follow the line is mythical. It does happen, but rarely. It also happens the other way, too. But it happens rarely in either case.

                                  We’ve seen what happens when Paul Ryan gets primaried. Cantor did get knocked off, but that was mostly because he wasn’t paying attention. The number of congressmen that have been successfully taken out in a primary challenge is really, really short.

                                  Ryan’s main concern is holding on to his job as Speaker. McConnell… who knows what’s going on in his mind. But it’s not being primaried. And, in any event, he’s more of a tactician than a political strategist.

                                  In any event, I didn’t say there was or would be a rebellion. Merely that there has been (for good reason) a degree of backbiting against Trump that did not occur with his recent predecessors.


                  • It’s a new America now. I just watched 8 years of “Not my President” and “Go back to Kenya”.

                    I figure them rules have changed. I mean if you can’t beat them, join them.

                    So….yeah, not my President. No respect to the man. No respect to the office. No respect to the Cabinet. No respect to the people that voted for him, the people that push his agenda in Congress.

                    And to single out one of those people in particular — no respect to Senator John McCain — who always voices his concerns, but never can seem to vote them.

                    That’s the world the GOP has made over the last few decades. It’s time to embrace it!

                    After all it works for them, and the proper move IS to match defection with defection.

                    That’s the American that Mitch McConnel, Karl Rove, and Trump built.

                    (In all fairness, Dubya pushed back on it. Sadly Rove and Cheney apparently weighed more)


                    • It’s older than that. We as a society have over inflated the importance & power of the presidency. The pedestal is too high, so it becomes massively important to knock people off of it, or at least make it so unstable that the person up there can’t do much more than hang on.


                      • I gamed out removing Trump from office, from the GOP perspective. (It’s been a week and he’s already causing them huge headaches).

                        Three paths: Resignation, impeachment, and his Cabinet voting him out (followed by Congressional approval)

                        The first is a non-starter, I can’t come up with any way to coax him out of office. Not bribes, not threats, not reason, nothing. Even if he hates being in office.

                        The other two — either way, 30% of the GOP base goes insane and stays insane. Impeachement = stab in the back, Cabinet voting him out due to inability to perform the office = coup.

                        That’s not even getting into longer term political damage to the GOP. They can’t kick him out of office, even if they want to, anymore than they could prevent him from being the nominee.


                        • I don’t know that it would be 30% going insane, but neither does the GOP, and 30% sounds like a good worst case.

                          He represents a cancer that needs to be cut out, but the patient is afraid of surgery and just wants to try some nice herbal tea.


                          • 30% seemed to be the hard core of his primary support, the folks that liked what the Donald was cooking.

                            Those guys never wavered, not for anything.

                            (So to be clear: 30% of the GOP base, not 30% of the voting age US or anything)


                          • Really? It doesn’t look that way to me. The herbal tea looks like it might work.

                            Cut out the Ho-Ho’s and the McDonalds, hit the gym every other day, and in a year or two this might clear up on its own.


                            • Maybe, if the establishment GOP can get a handle on Trump. If he gets a handle on them, however, then he owns the party, and our system is rigged so that only people operating under the banner of Democrat or Republican get to play in the big leagues.


                        • morat20,
                          There’s always assassination or poisoning. Making him unfit for office wouldn’t be all that hard, now would it?
                          *By this I mean drooling and incapable of speech.


                  • Oh yeah, baby, there is nothing sexier on a lib than incoherent snark.

                    Why do you think Mitt Romney interviewed to be Trump’s Secretary of State? Because he wanted to maintain a profile to run for President again in 2020 or 2024? Of course not. As hard as it is for libs to believe, sometimes it’s best just to do the right thing.


                    • I think the reason that the vast majority of Republicans politicians who went from stating unequivocally that Trump was unfit to be president to endorsing him and seeking his political favors is (almost) entirely based on hitching their wagon to the Trump train and avoiding the anger of his supporters. Or, in other words, naked political self interest.

                      That you don’t see that is .. .interesting.


                      • Sort of? I think most people for whom this was the case flipped much earlier than the elections. I’m having difficulty thinking of very many who went from ardently opposed to ardently supportive after the election. The opportunistic time to flip was when he won the primary. An indicator of this is that that was when most electeds flipped.


                        • Exactly, this isn’t about the (few) Never Trumpers who have ‘come around.’ But the primary and beginning of the general had a number of Republican officials who were formally opposed (and used some pretty strong language) endorse the Trump candidacy. The reason was to gain support from the Trump coalition and avoid having Trump attack them.


                      • “Unfit” is a confusing word, because it obscures the important things that change from one time to the next. Specifically, that Trump is the nominee, or Trump is the President, whereas before he wasn’t.

                        The GOP Establishment was perfectly willing to piss off his supporters before. Then things changed.


            • Not all (or most?) exaggerations are smug. But hat gratuitous one against that target in the context of the last year? “Smug” is a more gentle description than what came to my mind.

              That despite not having a problem with the underlying statement (cooperating with the GOP being a bad idea). If he has used the revised wording at the outset, the argument still would have worked and there wouldn’t have been an issue.


                • — Yep. One of the sad-but-true parts of Trumpism is the way it proves that the Republicans were exactly what we said they were, and now as his administration spins up, Trump is proving that he is exactly what we said he was.

                  It’s awful, but at least the illusion is being stripped away.

                  I came across this article today:

                  A year ago I think many here would greet this article as paranoid leftist histrionics, but nope. It’s clear obvious truth.

                  The Republican party is a hate group.


                  • Yes, thats it exactly.
                    The guiding principles of the GOP have all been refuted conclusively by Trump.

                    Fiscal conservatism?
                    Complete bullshit.

                    Smaller government?

                    Utter rot.

                    Burkean Modesty?

                    Religious piety?

                    Strong defense?
                    We have a puppet of a foreign dictator in the White House, and they all bow and kiss his ring.

                    Free markets?
                    They squeal with joy when the Dear Leader barks commands at American corporations.

                    The base doesn’t care about any of these things, never have.

                    They are, who the liberals always said they were.


                    • I’m not sure why [1], but I had an intuitive understanding of this:

                      Most politicians lie about the future (empty promises), but feel obliged to tell the truth about the past (voting record). Trump does the opposite.

                      I knew he was telling the truth about the awful things he will do. I knew he was full of shit about his “accomplishments.” These things were obvious, except I guess they were not.

                      [1] Perhaps being transgender I’ve learned to take hate speech at face value. Those who say they hate me really hate me. Those who wish me harm will really try to harm me, while lying through their teeth about everything else. Apply this model to Trumpism and it’s pretty clear.


                  • v,
                    alright. you’ve labeled them a “hate group”.
                    Now what?

                    It’s quite alright to call something a hate group if all you want is people to steer clear of them… But these people are in control of our government, so labeling them “evil and stuff” is not going to fix anything anytime soon.

                    SPLC has a list of hate groups, but does a lot more to stop hate by armtwisting than by actually putting labels on people.


                    • If they’re a Hate Group, then they’re just as bad as the Nazis.

                      And, as we have established, it’s totally okay to violently assault Nazis in public.

                      Like, I mean, not okay okay, like it’s not okay to just attack anyone, I mean we aren’t calling for Hobbesian anarchy here, clearly we should only attack bad people who deserve it. Like Nazis. And people who are like Nazis. And people who won’t denounce Nazis and those who are like Nazis.


                      • DD,
                        I know the Jews who worked with ex-Nazis. (How else did you expect to get things done in East Germany?)

                        I would respect the fuck out of anyone who went after the folks at Davos. They’d probably die trying, and if not, they’d nearly certainly die afterwards. But, dude, that would be Awesome.

                        But random joe shmuck on the street? Nah, he’s fucking nobody. And going after the Republicans is just going after the pawns.


              • Ok, so then what’s your problem with cooperating with Republicans, and what constitutes cooperation? If the governor of your state is Republican, does reregistering your car every year count as cooperation?


                • Cooperation in this context means working with and sharing co-ownership of an infrastructure bill or PPACA replacement. There is a pretty solid argument for the Democrats to approach these things the way the GOP did with PPACA to begin with: “We won’t help, and they’ll own the outcome.”


                  • Really, why? Leave aside PPACA replacement because the substance and symbolism of that is going to be very difficult with or without Trump. But what’s the problem with an infrastructure bill?

                    Do you think Demo’s don’t like infrastructure bills? Or maybe you think lack of Demo participation in an infrastructure bill will make it and/or the Administration politically unpopular?

                    It seems to me this is horribly myopic. Among other things it seems that the mostly likely outcome is that inner cities and near ring suburbs will get stiffed out of the development projects. Is that an outcome the GOP is supposed to be afraid of?


                    • The infrastructure bill is handing Trump an achievement, helping his stature for 2020. It’s not unlike how the congressional GOP helped out Clinton quite a bit with some achievements for ’96. The alternative being to wait it out and hope that by 2020, you get to produce your own PPACA and infrastructure bill.

                      It’s not my favorite kind of politics, but Trump is in a particular weak position and vulnerable in future elections. And no matter how much Democrats (and some Republicans) try to convince me otherwise, I also believe Trump to be a peculiar animal and substantively different than other Republican or Democratic presidents nominees, justifying a different response. And lastly, the GOP over the last eight years have shown that it can be effective, if looked at in a particular way (and if the administration and their party make compounding errors).


                      • Besides being unethical, it’s always surprising to me how people rationalize themselves into thinking how these things are going to work.

                        There’s two problems that occur to me offhand, one a small picture, the other in the big picture, sorta related maybe.

                        The first is, that in the face of Demo hostility, the GOP can and will unify themselves and simply push what they want through. If push comes to shove they can simply gavel away filibusters and the like. In this context I don’t think that there’s going to be any negative fallout from “owning the outcome.”

                        In the big picture, I suspect that this will prevent us from being able to change power between parties in the future. In this context, the Demo’s hostility to the Trump cabinet is extremely corrosive to the foundations of our Republic and I don’t think you want to be associated with that. Especially as how I don’t think you view yourself as a particularly dogmatic lib in the first place.

                        As this pertains to the reelection of Trump, I agree with you that Trump is likely to be politically weak. But the GOP is general is not. The GOP has the House on lockdown and I suspect they’ll have the Senate on lockdown after 2018. In that case, do you really want to be in a situation where it’s widely believed that we can’t change the party of the Executive?

                        And as a smaller point maybe, and ancillary to that, I don’t necessarily believe Trump is going to be running for reelection anyway. There’s too many other scenarios which would be unlikely for another President but which are plausible for Trump (assassination, resignation, death of natural causes, impeachment, etc).


                        • The fact that the GOP can unify and become a dominate faction is a indication of why this is a factional democracy problem and not a individualist republic problem.

                          In framing this as a foundation of the Republic I think you would need to include the dems hostility if you were going to site the republic as a frame of reference.

                          In that it would no longer be corrosive, but strengthening in reflecting the real measure of what the republic is, all individual voices, especially those not consenting to what is happening.


                          • Forgive me for being dense but I’m not tracking this comment well.

                            So I’ll just briefly restate if that helps. The idea being that the parties need to have some respect for each other and the process to have a productive relationship, even an adversarial one like our parties have.

                            If the Demos try to withdraw consent altogether as an expression of lib factionalism, I suspect what will happen is that GOP will be transformed into the de facto American party and the Demos will become the de facto un-American party and thereby move toward irrelevance.

                            Any sort of bipartisan government needs things like smooth Cabinet appointments and the like.


                            • Fair enough, I was just adding caution that this is occurring outside of what should be a republic, and demonstrate that the mechanics of what social democracy has put together. It is no longer within the functional bounds of a republic, what has been built no longer requires individual consent.

                              Now whether that merits parties being civil in their pursuit of control, I don’t know how that case can be made. Show me proof that it isn’t built to directly conflict.


                    • At the moment the GOP seems pretty cold on the idea of an infrastructure bill. When Trump peddled it to the retreat he didn’t even get applause. What the GOP would -LOVE- would be for Dems to support it along with Trump and the bare minimum of GOP votes for it to pass while all the rest got to posture against government spending. The Dems withholding cooperation on that issue makes a lot of sense in that context. Especially since, as the GOP demonstrated during Obama’s run, voters will blame the Presidents party for a lack of progress and a lack of bipartisanship however the nitty gritty details turn out.

                      Cooperating on infrastructure would also let the GOP continue in their pattern of spending like mad when in power then demanding fiscal restraint when not in power. Why on earth would liberals want to help the GOP out with that?


                      • For me, I’d just as soon avoid major domestic policy legislation until after immigration and the Supreme Court is done.

                        Whatever he does there will be difficult. Though an infrastructure bill does seem to me to be quite a bit easier than taxes or entitlements.

                        If he does do an infrastructure bill, I expect it to be much better than the Obama stimulus package, which was crap. I actually expect that to be in Trump’s wheelhouse as it pertains to competence.


                        • Well I agree partially, it’d be easier than entitlements. I assume the GOP will just pull a Bush W and cut taxes without even gesturing at the deficit. Maybe they’ll bother putting some supply side parsley on top of it, maybe not. So taxes will be easier.

                          Obamas’ stimulus has plenty of fans among economists and people who compare how the US economy fared as compared to other nations in the great recession. Me, I think he overlarded it with useless tax cuts. But he was in his “do anything for bipartisanship” phase so it is what it was.


                          • I think this is all irrelevant until the Supreme Court is resolved. If I were Trump that’s where I’d go first.

                            For reasons I don’t completely understand, the theatrics of Supreme Court nominations since Bork seem to favor the nominee. You’ve got a pile of Demo Senators up for election in 2018, and a significant number of them in red states.

                            The question is how many Demo votes will the nominee get. The answer may be zero but for now at least I doubt it. In any case, the GOP will get internal turmoil among the Demo’s, or the perception of unifying the country as a whole, and if they’re lucky they may even get some of both.

                            Whatever it is, I think that will tell us the lay of the land as it pertains to domestic policy. That will have a profound impact on everything else.


                            • Why should the nominee even get a vote?

                              Its completely improper to appoint a SCOTUS until the American people have had a chance to weigh in with their opinion.

                              No court appointments should be allowed until 2020 elections have been settled, and the people have had their say.


                              • Chip, there’s a number of things I could say about this, but do you really think you’re cute with the coy bullshit? I mean really.

                                We’re going to have a nominee. He’ll probably be comfirmed. Libs probably won’t like him. It will probably help the GOP domestically.

                                Like our unlamented Secretary of State once said, what difference does it make?


                                • Chip, there’s a number of things I could say about this, but do you really think you’re cute with the coy bullshit? I mean really.

                                  You seem to think you are.

                                  It’s a new world! We all get to be the same. I mean Chip hasn’t come up with anything fun like “Lib” as a pejorative, but he’s new to the game. Doesn’t have your experience, right?


                                  • It’s a new world! We all get to be the same. I mean Chip hasn’t come up with anything fun like “Lib” as a pejorative, but he’s new to the game. Doesn’t have your experience, right?

                                    Yeah, I don’t think this is gonna fly. If I have a point to make I usually try to spell it out instead of going for sly, passive-voice bankshots.

                                    “Lib” is an abbreviation. If it’s pejorative, it’s because the libs have fubared the whole world and made it that way. Can’t own that one.


                            • Even Trump probably has the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. I expect he’ll work on infrastructure and the Supreme court nominee replacement.

                              I suspect the Dems will elect not to filibuster the nominee; I have no idea if the nominee will get any Dem votes beyond that, depends on who they are. I also expect that the voters will care not a damn either way as they have previously demonstrated they pay scant to no attention to how their Senators vote on nominees.


    • The Republican Party was well on its ways to becoming a revolutionary force long before GWB became President. They showed signs of this during the Clinton administration and how they tried to gut his Presidency. My guess is that the post-1964 political reconfiguration gave them the worst aspects of the Dixiecrats and the Republican Party.


      • True.
        History usually moves in slow imperceptible steps. The sudden triggers most often were a long time coming, n retrospect.

        I would lay a lot at Reagan’s feet, in that he cheerfully jettisoned the idea of fiscal sobriety while piously paying homage to it. This ushered in the realization of how easy it was to govern in a fact free, consequence free manner.

        To this very day you will run into conservatives adamantly insisting he was a true fiscal conservative.



    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior foreign service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

    Tillerson was actually inside the State Department’s headquarters in Foggy Bottom on Wednesday, taking meetings and getting the lay of the land. I reported Wednesday morning that the Trump team was narrowing its search for his No. 2, and that it was looking to replace the State Department’s long-serving undersecretary for management, Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy, who has been in that job for nine years, was actively involved in the transition and was angling to keep that job under Tillerson, three State Department officials told me.

    Then suddenly on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    Two ways to look at this:

    1. BOOM! Major slap in the face against Trump from State!
    2. Tillerson just got a clean slate to work with


      • In doing more research, this is, apparently, something that always happens every time there’s a major change in the executive. Usually the resignations are declined (or most of them are, anyway) and everybody gets back to work.

        This time, the resignations were accepted.


        • This is not a change in administrations; it’s a corporate takeover. The top levels of management get completely replaced by the new owners. Often the new managers don’t understand the business or the corporate culture, which is why so many acquisitions are failures.


          • Well, that changes things… as Mike says, everyone knows that the Sr. Execs get replaced who replace the Mid execs, who replace the low execs, who then hire their friends to replace the people doing the work. But yeah, that’s a slow burn that (usually) is contained.

            {Part of me did want the passive aggressive coup, though – for science}


    • or

      3. Years of experience just went out the door. Impact? Unknown. Possibly zero. Most likely extremely negative in an unexpected situation. Very unlikely positive.

      The problem with accusing, since 1980, government of being the problem is that when you need government it doesn’t work as well as it might otherwise. But since we’re not living in that alternate timeline we don’t know how things might be different.


    • I was about to post this. I suspect both your points are right. The thing that a lot of people don’t realize about the federal government is that a lot of day to day stuff is handled by non-partisan and non-political appointees. These people are job applicants and they can have decades of institutional and specialized knowledge.

      Now there maybe ideological benefits to Trump if these people quit but things can fall apart quickly without them.


      • Saul,
        It’s the State department. How many of them do you suppose are also working for other departments? Like the CIA, hmm…?

        I worry a lot more about mass exodus from the CIA. But hell, that already happened and you didn’t blow a fucking gasket about it.


      • Per the Washington Post article, these are all appointed positions, serving at the pleasure of the administration. Most times the incoming administration asks them to stay on, at least until things get settled, often much longer. Unclear at this time whether the transition team said “Good riddance!” or whether the assorted undersecretaries said “Don’t bother asking.”


            • Quite possible… I’m just assuming that he will eventually acquire the basic plausible deniability skills that every other press officer already has…I mean, they *will* learn some things, eventually… right?


              • I’d only expect that to happen if it was useful. I don’t see a lot of evidence that flat and obvious denial of reality is costing them anything among their supporters. Sure, the news people are upset about it, but they don’t reach Trump’s base. In fact, infuriating those nerds is probably winning him support.

                As a country, we’ve pretty much discarded the notion that reality is the one thing we really have in common. Now that everybody gets whatever reality they want (or two or three!), we may be in for an interesting few years where the Press Secretary’s job is taken to its obvious conclusion as a pure propaganda source. I guess only time will tell.


    • I think Radley Balko is onto something in his Twitter timeline which reports that the head of the Border Patrol is out (after being on the job for only a little over half a year)


  12. RE: Cigarette taxes.

    When articles like this talk about the state losing billions in tax revenue, remember that choking out Eric Garner is one response to that.


  13. So Trump is proposing a 20 percent tax on all imports to pay for his wall. This might not become legislation, it could be something the GOP balks at. But if he does, it will lead to higher consumer prices and lots of complaints.

    Personally I don’t think Trump or the GOP care. They want to ram through as much of their agenda as possible as they have the chance to do.

    So I am starting to suspect that if Trump does not die or get removed from office somehow, he will be look Hoover.


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