Why partisans look at the same planet and see wildly different curvature

by John Quiggin on October 4, 2019

At Five Thirty Eight, Maggie Koerth-Baker has yet another article bemoaning the way partisanship biases our views. Apparently, one side, based on eyeballing, thinks the earth is flat, while the other, relying on the views of so-called scientists, or the experience of international air travel, regards it as spherical, or nearly so.

In the past, before the rise of partisanship, we would have agreed on a sensible compromise, such as flat on Sundays, spherical on weekdays, and undetermined on Saturdays. Moreover, there was a mix of views, with plenty of Democratic flat-earthers, and Republican sphericalists.

Of course, there is no way to resolve questions of this kind, but apparently, ““warm contact” between political leaders” will enable us to agree to differ, which would be a big improvement, at least until we decided whether to risk sailing over the edge of the world.

{ 279 comments }

1

Hidari 10.04.19 at 7:55 am

Good points in the OP. Just a shame that the page linked to (which I had assumed would be about climate change) was about the murky and obscure Ukraine ‘thing’, which is rapidly turning into a Rorschach test from which psychologists can infer your political Bayesian ‘priors’.

Side note: What is the POINT of 5:38? Its predictions are almost invariably wrong or at least, not accurate enough to be worthwhile, and its perhaps worse than previous punditry in that its false predictions are wrapped up in the jargon of ‘science’. And I speak as someone who read and enjoyed Silver’s book. You’d be better of seeing a soothsayer, or that world cup match predicting octopus.

2

John Quiggin 10.04.19 at 9:41 am

Climate change gets a mention as a case similar to that of presidential scandals (3rd para from bottom). If it had just been the Ukraine thing, I would have passed.

3

nastywoman 10.04.19 at 9:43 am

– as I’m currently in some… let’s say… difficult conversation with some of my fellow Americans who think… not – not that the earth is flat… they think that there is no Climate Crisis and they think that Trump has NOT done anything wrong.

I blame it all on the Internet – as if I wouldn’t have to read all of this stuff on the Internet which is so
wrong! –
wrong!! –
wrong!!!
I never would have this desire to correct it – and could entirely concentrate on finishing a documentary about why Americans are so Partisan,

4

nastywoman 10.04.19 at 9:45 am

and about the murky and obscure Ukraine ‘thing’

5

nastywoman 10.04.19 at 10:01 am

Sorry – had to catch my breath –

– about the murky and obscure Ukraine ‘thing’ –

I also would have preferred to punish the Clownstick – for his real crimes -(especially as so many Fans of Trump tell me: He hasn’t done ANYTHING wrong yet)

BUT since it seems to be impossible to impeach a ”Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening President – because of being ”Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening – we take what we get?

Don’t y’all think?

Especially since the Climate Change Deniers and Racists have this very old – and it seems to be – very successful strategy.
Do everything ”wide open” like asking Russia or China for help against one of your fellow citizens – and so whatever crazy s… you do – you already have announced it and
as a US President you –
any whoo –
can do –
all of the crazy s… you want to do?
– as the job of ”US President” makes anything – even ”dealing” with the Ukraine – or ME? just… ”murky”…
-(as long as he doesn’t grab ME – where I don’t want to be grabbed!)

6

Hidari 10.04.19 at 10:04 am

@2 ‘If it had just been the Ukraine thing, I would have passed’.

Very wise.

7

nastywoman 10.04.19 at 11:12 am

”Very wise”

But we are so very happy –
as there seemed to be now way – by the very mysterious US laws to stop an obvious Racist Birther and corrupt Moron from Running for President.

And now thank’s Trump – we have this Ukrainian thing?
So finally Trump can stop Trump! – or the Deep State can stop the Deep State – and all of it in such a fitting ”Apprentice” Matter – that Von Clownstick finally can yell at himself:

You are fired!!

8

Lee A. Arnold 10.04.19 at 11:59 am

I’ve been trying to identify the “worldview tribes” which institute these group psychologies, draw their borders, and set their priors. So far I’ve got: Religion, Identity, Geography, Politics, Money, Economics, and Science.

Doesn’t matter whether they are true or false, that’s not the point (although of course their believers take them as true). What matters is that they function as group virtues: the clusters of ideas in each one serve as contexts of personal relationship, to increase the trust among their participants, and thus reduce the costs of interaction. The “worldview tribes” save space and time, including grammatical space and time. Which can increase their surpluses of matter and energy.

In the news, while the Ukraine shenanigans have been responded to by each political tribe, in its own way, note that it’s getting Trump impeached — and may well get him removed. And the main reasons will be about the Senate Republican tribe, specifically and ultimately: 1. Trump is a national security risk & he’s setting up the US for future international failures; 2. He’s losing every demographic for the GOP except non-college white males; and 3. He made the cardinal mistake of accusing Joe Biden of wrongdoing, who counts a lot of old, close friends in the foreign policy and national security community, including many on the Republican side of the Senate. Thus, far from being a trifle, the “Ukraine thing” will give us empirical results to test the hypothesis of the inherent powers of a tribe.

Of course now it’s gone on to China… I love how Trump asks a communist dictatorship for help against his political opponent in a democracy — and the patriotic, Constitution-defending media conservatives are all like, “Hey, that is totally OK!” & “He’s wiping out corruption in China!” I literally lmao

9

Collin Street 10.04.19 at 12:26 pm

The thing about eyeballing is that the earth is small enough that the curvature is actually reasonably obvious to the naked eye. I mean, clouds on an overcast day!

Flat earthists are trusting their theory and their brains over the actual evidence their eyes show them.

10

Lee A. Arnold 10.04.19 at 12:44 pm

Another thing for Tribal Studies: One day, Trump may come to be used as a stellar example of how a tribe — any tribe — will be willing to tolerate very deep psychopathies:

1. The US elected Joe Pesci’s character “Tommy” in Goodfellas: shortsighted, rash, ruthless, incompetent, incurable. 2. Trump adds narcissism & exhibitionism, hiding deep insecurity. 3. He also adds a profound chip-on-his-shoulder resentment, from decades of ridicule in the press & public; being shunned by his international plutocratic jet-set, etc.

Thus, we might have guessed beforehand that Trump is not going to go quietly, and he may try to take everybody down with him.

So the Senate GOP has a couple of problems: How to sell Trump’s removal to his voters, because they need those people to come out and vote, to get themselves re-elected in their own districts & states. And what to do, as Trump reveals that Mike Pence was up to his neck in these Ukraine shenanigans too. Otherwise they’ll be looking at President Pelosi.

Trump could destroy the GOP for a generation.

It looks like their best shot would be to run into Nov. 2020 behind the Right Rev. Dr. Pence while trying to re-brand the GOP as “MAGA + Morals”, or similar sanctimonious nonsense. That means Republicans must secretly be hoping Pelosi wraps it up soon, so they can throw him overboard. In turn, that means Pelosi might try to stretch it out to next spring, to roast them all over the flames.

11

NK 10.04.19 at 12:47 pm

@1

They gave Trump a 30% chance in 2016 and were ridiculed for it being so high. Not related as much but they also gave the Toronto Raptors higher chances than other sites and they ended up winning last year’s NBA championships ;).

I enjoy their non-political dive in politics very much. In my own partistan way, I enjoy the schadenfreude that those on the left and right get when they run something like this:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-do-black-democrats-usually-prefer-establishment-candidates/

12

Demigourd 10.04.19 at 12:49 pm

13

Harry 10.04.19 at 1:14 pm

Maybe I’m being obtuse but the final sentence “Maybe if the President wants out of impeachment, it’s time to invite Nancy Pelosi over for pie?” seemed to mock, rather than endorse, the warm contact thesis?

The basic point — that partisanship generates motivated reasoning — just seems right, no? I used to find it embarrassing the way people would attack me (here) for observing that Bill Clinton did serious wrongs (including serious political wrongs) which merited at minimum requiring him to resign, because it was so obvious that they would have a different view of him if he were a Republican. And its cringe-making hearing my free-trader, national security-voting, Christian-voting relatives defending whatever Trump does (when any one of i) his policies, ii) his character, iii) his behavior would have them calling for the death penalty if he were a Democrat).

Hidari — I read 5:38 fairly consistently in the month before the 2016 election. It was closer than any other commentary to getting the election right, consistently emphasizing that a 30% chance of Trump winning meant that if you ran the election 10 times he’d win 3 times. My criticism of them would be that, as it turns out, they probably overestimated his chances.

14

Anarcissie 10.04.19 at 2:52 pm

My personal researches into the shape of the Earth have been that it is neither flat nor spherical, but sort of lumpy. The lumps appear to be of various sizes and durations. I tended to make light of the more aqueous lumps until one of them biffed me rather severely on a visit to the ‘shore’. Anyway, I have brought my researches to the attention of experts, who uniformly rejected them, since their beliefs are religious or tribal rather than the result of careful, direct observation.

15

Robert McGregor 10.04.19 at 4:09 pm

“What is the POINT of 5:38? Its predictions are almost invariably wrong or at least, not accurate enough to be worthwhile, and its perhaps worse than previous punditry in that its false predictions are wrapped up in the jargon of ‘science’ “

1) Pre-2016, the world of political polling was just archaic and faulty. Pollers would call landlines even though landline-users were in no way representative. Different pollers would have definite leanings one political direction or another. Silver just put effort into analyzing the accuracy of the different poller’s “polling models,” and then aggregated them to get more accurate polling numbers overall.
2) Talking more about data is useful. Other journalists and pundits would just report on the elections as if they were horse races.
3) The 538 podcast has created its own niche. There are other more “intellectually heavy” podcasts you can listen to, and there are other more “entertaining” podcast. The 538 podcast tackles “intellectually demanding” issues in politics by trying to use reason and numbers. Their “panels” are made up of young 538 journalists, who are young and talented, and you can usually learn a lot more from then than the CNN headliners.

16

Leo Casey 10.04.19 at 4:15 pm

Harry @ 7:
The problem with just saying “partisanship generates motivated reasoning,” full stop, is that it barely skims the surface of the sort of analysis that is necessary. Political scientists have long observed that, in the US at least, partisan polarization has been asymmetrical, skewed far to the right. I would suggest that the same is true of partisan identification along issue lines (I am substituting for your term reasoning because I think that calling much of what we are discussing reasoning elevates a great deal of it into something it clearly is not, which is just lining up with whom one thinks is one’s team.) Which is precisely why the “can’t we all be friends” rings so hollow (even putting to the side the questions that we are supposed to bracket to be friends). And why the “on the one hand, on the other hand” tropes appear at best naive.

17

BruceJ 10.04.19 at 4:37 pm

maybe it’s just that wicked “partisan” in me, but from my view of the American system, at least these extreme levels of partisanship has come about by one side screaming off full-throttle into neoofascist Crazytown, moving in to the Raving Loonie subdivision, while the other side vainly tries to maintain some sort of grip on normal reality, and keep the lights on.

Despite what one side says, walking into a bank waving a gun and screaming at the top of your lungs ‘THIS IS A ROBBERY!!!’ then strolling otuside and proclaiming ‘I just robbed this bank! Can’t be a crime if I do it in the open!!’….

STILL gets you five to ten for bank robbery…

18

PartisanPanda 10.04.19 at 5:09 pm

Murky, yes, -obscure? Only if you are not following the curatorial journalism of Seth Abramson.

19

PatinIowa 10.04.19 at 5:37 pm

One of those anecdotes, which, if it isn’t true, should be:

“Tell me,” Wittgenstein’s asked a friend, “why do people always say, it was natural for [humanity] to assume that the sun went round the earth rather than that the earth was rotating?” His friend replied, “Well, obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going round the Earth.” Wittgenstein replied, “Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?”
― Ludwig Wittgenstein

The way that 538 put it in the weeks before the election was that Hilary Clinton had a comparable chance of winning the election as a typical NFL kicker of making a field goal from about 40 yards. (I’m not sure of the precise number of yards, but she had, as I recall, a 27% chance of losing.) It struck me then, and it strikes me now as a pretty reasonable way of putting it. It also sent a bolt of fear down my spine.

20

EB 10.04.19 at 5:48 pm

As a striking UAW member stated earlier this week about Trump (to a reporter who was exploring Trump support among unionized workers): “He’s a hot dog, but he’s OUR hot dog.” This fellow felt totally disrespected by the coastal elites.

Issues that are tied to people’s need to circle the wagon when they’re attacked are hard to argue based on facts. I don’t know anyone whose self-respect is dependent on whether or not the earth is flat, even if their reasoning is feeble (and I have a brother-in-law who does believe that). In flat earth types of exchanges, fear and anger do not arise. But once you get into areas where people feel their self-worth is being questioned or attacked, reason has a hard time even being heard, much less respected. And that goes for both sides.

21

BenK 10.04.19 at 6:23 pm

This is another attempt at proclaiming ‘deplorables’ – apparently based on the scientific method, which showed how well it works in prior experience.

A better analogy is that one group of people, having close-up observations of ant communities raising fungi and tree frogs populated by bacteria, symbioses with pitcher plants, and the like, thinks that animals have very specific habitats and features. Another, surveying geological time and the dispersal across continents, sees ants everywhere and believes organisms to be plastic. The groups disagree and struggle for the authority to protect things that they have observed and value.

At the moment, however, the groups are locked in a total civil war.

22

BruceJ 10.04.19 at 6:50 pm

Issues that are tied to people’s need to circle the wagon when they’re attacked are hard to argue based on facts.

Who is doing the attacking here? The ‘liberal coastal elites’ are NOT actually attacking them. Their current situation is almost entirely due to the actions of wealthy right-wing oligarchs, who have spent the last 40 years (nearly 90 if you count the hard-core anti-New Dealers ) on a successful propaganda campaign that it is the very people who made the ‘golden age’ of unions possible were the ones responsible for ending it.

A very successful propaganda campaign at that…

23

John Quiggin 10.04.19 at 6:53 pm

NK @10 I read the article you linked at the same time as I read the one linked in the OP, and didn’t feel any schadenfreude. Nor did I feel what I think you meant, the anguish that would give rise to schadenfreude in centrist observers. It was a straightforward analysis of the reasons why black Democrats are more moderate than white Democrats.

24

Stephen 10.04.19 at 9:34 pm

Maggie Koerth-Baker deplores, rightly, excessive political partisanship.
Nastywoman attacks the US’s “Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening President”.
I strongly distrust President Trump for various reasons, but all the same …

25

Alan White 10.04.19 at 11:00 pm

I’m with nastywoman. Here’s an exercise: name just one virtuous trait that Donald Trump has demonstrated in a clear and chronic fashion over his life.

26

nastywoman 10.04.19 at 11:17 pm

@23
”Maggie Koerth-Baker deplores, rightly, excessive political partisanship.
Nastywoman attacks the US’s “Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening President”… all the same…”

It isn’t ”all the same” –
As nastywoman can’t be ”partisan” – not only because the general definition of ”partisan is ”a strong supporter of a party, cause, or person”- and in the case of the American Duo play we are discussing here – where there are only TWO parties involved.

So somebody who is grown up in a five – six – seven or eight party system never ever can be ”partisan” -(or bi-partisan)

It’s a little bit if you would tell somebody who has four or five nationalities – that one of these nationalities -(the American one) – thinks the earth is flat -(and the German one doesn’t think so)
So in conclusion – the conclusion that Trump is a “Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening President”… isn’t only a truly ”bi-partisan conclusion – you could even call it a ”all parties” conclusion with no possibility in denying or even questioning it.

27

EB 10.05.19 at 12:07 am

@21: True. But who, at the moment, is voicing contempt for rural people, men, and white people? it’s not the Republicans; it’s various sub-groups of the Democratic coalition. If we don’t have more self-discipline on messaging than that, we will lose those constituencies.

28

J-D 10.05.19 at 12:47 am

Hidari

Side note: What is the POINT of 5:38? Its predictions are almost invariably wrong or at least, not accurate enough to be worthwhile, and its perhaps worse than previous punditry in that its false predictions are wrapped up in the jargon of ‘science’.

I don’t follow 5:38, so I’ve got no insight into it.

But I do know that an oracle which is genuinely literally invariably wrong is exactly as valuable as one which is genuinely literally invariably right. If you have the former, you can rely on knowing that what is going to happen is whatever it is predicting will happen; if you have the latter, you can rely on knowing that what is going to happen is whatever it is predicting will not happen.

That’s so grossly implausible, however, that the more likely explanation is that your characterisation of 5:38 is an inaccurate one, possibly tainted by spite.

29

J-D 10.05.19 at 1:21 am

Anarcissie

Anyway, I have brought my researches to the attention of experts, who uniformly rejected them, …

Citation needed.

I have read accounts which describe the Earth as approximating an oblate spheroid: this description does not exclude its being slightly lumpy.

30

J-D 10.05.19 at 1:37 am

EB

But who, at the moment, is voicing contempt for rural people, men, and white people? it’s not the Republicans; it’s various sub-groups of the Democratic coalition.

Citation needed.

31

bad Jim 10.05.19 at 5:14 am

The flat earth theory seems to have been more popular on the southern side of the Mediterranean than it was on the opposite shore. The bible describes a flat earth. The Greeks knew better.

There’s an island roughly 26 miles west of my home, intermittently visible in the oceanic murk known as the “marine layer”. The perspective from the beach, the bluffs, and the hilltops differ so strongly that the only defensible conclusion is a curving horizon. The Greeks’ shore is as rugged as mine; their views informed their opinions.

32

Faustusnotes 10.05.19 at 5:28 am

Given there is an election every four years we will have to follow 538 for a very long time before we can say it is better than flipping a coin.

33

ph 10.05.19 at 7:00 am

I don’t see anything troubling in the OP. We expect partisans to see the world differently. We can tell ourselves that we have the mental equipment to see past our bubbles and I expect many liberals do – tell themselves that. As for trying to recall one virtuous thing any individual might have done, that’s going to be quite a challenge when the self-declared neutral press manages to present a 90 percent negative “neutral” image of the subject.

Something like 70 percent of Democrats trust the press. 90 plus percent of media donations to Dems, which suggests something of a feedback loop, to say the least.

The test for all the geniuses who supported the Iraq war, and that list is long and illustrious (with plenty of America’s finest pundits on board), is to produce an explanation for why the clever could not see understood what a catastrophic mistake sending an extremely substantial part of the US Army all the way to the other side of the world might be, simply in terms of logistics. The army remains, or returns. Getting our heads into the honey-pot or beehive is one problem. Getting our heads out? Not so simple, but somehow that subject never came up.

That there are two sides to every question now seems open to debate. Individual A “must” be guilty of some crime, and sooner or later we’ll figure out what that crime is. Until then, we need to take the appropriate action and treat the individual as guilty. That’s the new normal. And the responsibility for the new normal does not, I stress, rest with those who believe that Saddam is guilty until proven innocent, but rather with Saddam himself, for “breaking” the norms, norms we used to assume we’re instituted to help us avoid making such dumb-ass “Saddam must be guilty” mistakes again, and again, and again.

James Clapper, of “here’s the photographic evidence that Saddam has WMD” comforts the gullible once again, along with Max Boot and other invade Iraq dunces, as the voice of authority for many who used to regard Jimmy as an f-ing moron at best, and a war criminal at worst. Each morning since 2016, good old Jim makes the rounds on news shows as the liberals’ new bestie ‘confirming’ Russia collusion etc.with the same gravitas he employed in 2003, several hundred thousand Iraqi lifetimes ago. Jimmy has a new career trotting out his old schtick, telling people who pay him precisely what they hope to hear. And his old enemies just lap up Jimmy’s swill, cause this time he’s weaving a tale they very much live to hear. That Jimmy and his CIA dumb-ass pals might be peddling more of grift never comes up. Just like in 2003, nobody seems the slightest bit prepared to accept that Jimmy and his buddies might have made up a pile-o-crap once again. Huh?

But that’s cool, because I’m a good and moral person and I can’t find an ounce of virtue in those I oppose. That’s literally the spirit of the Sincere Convert: “If Thou hast any good thing in thee, it is but as a drop of rosewater in a bowl of poison; where fallen it is all corrupted.” Thomas Shepard in 1641.

Charity towards those we disagree with is a duty to understanding, if nothing else. When we allow partisans and algorithms to blinker and shape our world view, we shouldn’t be surprised when we’re the ones who end up paying the freight.

34

nastywoman 10.05.19 at 7:11 am

– and about the “warm contact” between political leaders” – my fellow American learning right now -(the very hard way) – that you just can’t have any ”warm contacts” to any “Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening political leaders” – and you need to be very bipartisan about that from the beginning.

Like when the very obvious “Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening Von Clownstick came down the escalator to announce his candidacy – and we suggested to the New York Times -(we were besty-besty friends with – then) – the headline:

”Racist Birther Runs for President”
(a wonderful poetic headline)

And the NYT just couldn’t do it… because about this… ”warm” thing…?
(and by NOT being ”warm” – we probably could have avoided the whole “Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening Clownstick?)

35

bad Jim 10.05.19 at 7:31 am

All things in moderation, as usual.

Columbus argued that the world was smaller than commonly supposed, that Eratosthenes had used a different measure. Wouldn’t it have been easier to repeat the ancient experiment than to outfit a fleet to sail the other way around?

Within a few years the third son of a Florentine banker, on another expedition, made an astronomical observation which let him calculate his longitude, showing that they had landed on a new continent in the middle of nowhere.

36

Hidari 10.05.19 at 9:20 am

@28: ‘But I do know that an oracle which is genuinely literally invariably wrong is exactly as valuable as one which is genuinely literally invariably right. If you have the former, you can rely on knowing that what is going to happen is whatever it is predicting will happen; if you have the latter, you can rely on knowing that what is going to happen is whatever it is predicting will not happen.’

This is yet another in a long line of stunning insights you have chosen to reveal to the world via CT comments’ threads, which you use in the same way that Moses used Mount Sinai: as a pathway via which timeless and unarguable metaphysical truths can be revealed to the enlightenment craving masses. Perhaps in the future, cyberpilgrims will voyage to this comments thread in the same way that tourists now to go Israel, to finally see the place where Truth was unveiled and Doubt vanquished.

And to think I was alive to see this wisdom finally revealed, after Mankind had suffered in epistemological darkness for so long.

37

nastywoman 10.05.19 at 11:39 am

@33
”because I’m a good and moral person and I can’t find an ounce of virtue in those I oppose”.

Come on – that is impossible with Trump.

He would hire and then fire you faster than you could say:
”because I’m a good and moral person and I can’t find an ounce of virtue in those I oppose”!

38

Lee A. Arnold 10.05.19 at 12:50 pm

538 once again shows its value. Huddy & Yair (2019), linked to by Koerth-Baker at the end of her 538 article, is a very good contribution to the burgeoning literature of “partisan hostility mitigation studies”.

I put that in quotation marks because there is no agreed-upon name for it yet, just as there is no agreed name for motivated group cognition, or perhaps it should be called social cognitive bias. Also ought to write “re-burgeoning”, because the topic has roots as far back as Cold War “Peace Studies” and probably earlier. This literature reports the results of the ways in which partisanship is found to be reduced among participants. And a handful of interesting rubrics have begun to emerge from it that have emotional and intellectual etiologies.

It is fascinating and fertile ground for the future, because it ties into so many other studies: Psychology of emotions. Individual cognitive bias. Group psychology. Political science. Media studies of the rise of many-channels of news media and the resulting business models of extremism and propaganda. Narrative studies. Sociology. History. Economics. Science communication. Etc.

So you can pretty much come at it from any point. For a new-style prediction operation such as 538 this stuff ought to be paramount.

However, my own interests are in the formal logical limits of prediction, the substitution of emotional habit-formation to get along in the world, and how the whole social organism goes from good habit-formation into the social addiction to priors. Because ultimately we are heading into increasing inequality, increasing authoritarianism, climate disaster and species extinction.

So let’s jump up the logical scale a couple of notches, and look at what the “Science Tribe” itself is doing.

Like any of the tribes, when at its worst, the science tribe is subject to its own forms of motivated cognition, intellectual and emotional prejudice, instrumental optimism, hubris.

By contrast the arts and humanities have sort of surrendered: they advanced from the Age of Anxiety (post-World War I) and the end of historical optimism (a hallmark of postmodernism), into the current explosion of artistic polystylism that is curiously non-progressing and tragic: a lot of general despair that is to be leavened by short-term happinesses.

But over the same period, science has gone from great predictive successes within isolable systems, onward to a rather odd position in the field of complex systems, including social systems in which the arts and humanities were once more of a guide. On the one hand, there’s a lot of statistical results that don’t quite amount to a narrative. When the scientists come to the question of the future, they seem to fall back upon a general assumption that individuals, with enough information at their disposal, will automatically coalesce around the best way forward (i.e. the philosophical mix of methodological individualism with voting, price markets, game theory, Bayesianism, etc.).

On the other hand, computation is advancing to replace human reason with technological simulacra. E.g. it won’t always matter how human brains think if AI can do the same job by another means.

Put those two hands together, and you can see the danger. Our commanding methodological reliance upon logic, mathematics, statistics, prediction markets etc. could be taking us right over a cliff.

39

notGoodenough 10.05.19 at 3:24 pm

I find the statement that partisanship leads to motivate reasoning to be true, but fairly useless in and of itself. The question should be how to move past this. As a species, we have developed fairly good (though not perfect, of course) tools – sound epistemology, assessing evidence, etc. The problem is that we now live in a world where accepting the evidence based scientific consensus on global warming is a partisan issue.

To me it is fundementally depressing, because this means that you can’t present evidence and logical arguments to convince people. So now what?

40

Timothy Reynolds 10.05.19 at 3:59 pm

Nothing has caused more damage to American politics than the fact that the left has internalized a joke from 10 -15 years back. But no, reality does not have a liberal bias. Facts don’t have any bias, and political types of all stripes gladly toss reality by the wayside when it contradicts their ideology.

And climate change…is there anything more genuinely bizarre than the fact that two groups–neither of whom intend to actually do anything about the issue other than using it as a political cudgel–spend so much time bickering about this? The right is delusionally ignoring the problem, but I see more internal consistency in their beliefs than on the left. The right doesn’t think it’s happening, so they do nothing. The left acts like the world itself will end and then…proposes things that won’t even dent the issue while acting preventing it’s ‘smear mud on the wound’ policies is dooming the planet. It even looks like large portions of the neoliberal portion of the establishment sees an opportunity to restrict democracy in the name of ‘solving’ the issue by relegating it to unaccountable ‘technocratic’ councils, like some kind of ‘environmental’ Fed. Others just seem to want to convince the hoi polloi to eat bugs.

Climate change is a real thing, but it’s very hard to believe people who say it’s going to cause the oceans to rise, but who keep buying ocean-front property anyway. Even most of you can’t explain the mechanisms, you just take other people’s word for it–which is as good a way to get conned as to be enlightened. If you genuinely want people to believe it, just saying, ‘trust the experts’ isn’t going to work. The experts promised that free trade would raise all boats, and it has not. The experts told us that smoking was fine for decades before they admitted it was not. The experts tell us that increasing the labor pool won’t really hurt poor people–despite the fact that two historical events (the plague and WW2) prove that decreasing the labor pool most definitely raises wages significantly. The experts are, too often to ignore, bought and paid for. So you have to explain to them how trapping greenhouse gasses work, how human output was more like removing those precious few stones that kept a boulder from flattening us, than it was like building that boulder to begin with, that the atmosphere of this planet was once significantly different and what we’ve done is getting the ball rolling on an otherwise natural process. Because that’s accurate, and a lot of people rightfully find it absurd that we can alter the climate all on our lonesome.

But from what I see, most climate change politicians and the elite either won’t sacrifice their profits to fix the problem, or have simply decided that it’s too late to do anything–they may even see the future with automation and believe that a mass die-off among the poor will be good for them. But the neoliberal elite do not plan on solving this problem from what I see. Obama’s laughable ‘attempts’ at it proved that in my eyes, and no President has been as much of a puppet of the neoliberal than he was.

41

Layman 10.05.19 at 5:54 pm

Timothy Reynolds: “The right is delusionally ignoring the problem, but I see more internal consistency in their beliefs than on the left. The right doesn’t think it’s happening, so they do nothing.”

This is as bad a read of the right’s actual beliefs as I’ve read. And once you start with a bad read, the rest of the analysis has to go wrong.

42

nastywoman 10.05.19 at 6:34 pm

@39
Do you know that your comment made me very, very angry? –
as I currently live in – what American friends of mine –
when they come visiting – call ”The Green Paradise”- as everything the so called ”New Green Deal” proposes is already reality.

But let’s go step by step – you write:
And climate change…is there anything more genuinely bizarre than the fact that two groups–neither of whom intend to actually do anything about the issue…

Stop!

The area I live in – managed in less than forty years to change a lake which was some kind of a ”toilet” into a lake where you can drink the amazing clean water – while you are swimming in it. And it is NOT a small lake. It is a lake which borders three countries and is the biggest one in the middle of Europe. And you probably would write that this type of ”cleaning up a lake” has not THAT much to do with ”Climate Change” but it has – as the philosophy behind the clean up – also lead to the clean up of nearly all the cities around the lake of inner-city car traffic – and the result of millions of no emission producing bicycles – which have become the major mode of transportation in these cities.

AND ALL of this – due to policies of ONE group who started years ago ”doing something about it”.

And then sometimes – very stupi conservative Americans are showing up here and telling us:
But, but, but it’s only ”local” and if some Chinese don’t join in – it’s helpless – and we tell them:

So why don’t YOU and all the Chinese are ”joining in”?

And then – some of the more self- depreciating and self-critical American visitors we get confess:
BE-cause we are tremendously egotistical, greedy and stupid conservative a… holes.

So far to your point ”but I see more internal consistency in their beliefs than on the left.

43

bekabot 10.05.19 at 7:31 pm

The test for all the geniuses who supported the Iraq war, and that list is long and illustrious (with plenty of America’s finest pundits on board), is to produce an explanation for why the clever could not see understood what a catastrophic mistake sending an extremely substantial part of the US Army all the way to the other side of the world might be…

OK, ph, point taken. I have a question for you, though, and the question is: who ran that deception, your side or mine? Whose interests were most immediately served? Since this is a question of fact, your reply only needs to be couple of seconds long, should you choose to give one; and should you choose not to, it doesn’t matter much, since everybody here knows the answer anyway. If you’re trying to float the theory that I’m immitigably guilty for having bought what you were selling even though I should have known better, I’m willing to hand you my qualified assent, on the condition that you’ll try to understand why I’ve since grown so allergic to repeating my mistake. You do understand why I’m allergic to the idea of repeating my mistake? I sure hope so. Thanks for your time.

44

Barry 10.05.19 at 8:12 pm

When I read people like ph (is he dipper?) I wonder how the Iraq War ever started, given that all right-wingers were against it.

45

Orange Watch 10.05.19 at 8:55 pm

J-D@30:
Citation needed.

To avoid going too far afield, let’s go with something from the blog roll. Pop over to Lawyers, Guns, and Money for a bit – especially in the comments.

If you’re hoping for someone to go and spend their time looking for a specific example, sorry. Your time is not worth more than mine.

46

J-D 10.05.19 at 10:57 pm

Hidari

Sarcasm!
Is the credit for that use of it yours alone, or did you require assistance?

What impels me to underline platitudes and their implications is finding other people falling short of the acuity necessary to appreciate them fully unaided.

47

J-D 10.05.19 at 11:04 pm

Timothy Reynolds

It even looks like large portions of the neoliberal portion of the establishment sees an opportunity to restrict democracy in the name of ‘solving’ the issue by relegating it to unaccountable ‘technocratic’ councils, like some kind of ‘environmental’ Fed.

Citation needed.

Others just seem to want to convince the hoi polloi to eat bugs.

Citation needed.

Climate change is a real thing, but it’s very hard to believe people who say it’s going to cause the oceans to rise, but who keep buying ocean-front property anyway.

Who are these people? Citation needed.

Even most of you can’t explain the mechanisms, you just take other people’s word for it …

Citation needed.

If you genuinely want people to believe it, just saying, ‘trust the experts’ isn’t going to work.

With what alternative strategy have you had greater success?

But from what I see, most climate change politicians and the elite either won’t sacrifice their profits to fix the problem, or have simply decided that it’s too late to do anything–they may even see the future with automation and believe that a mass die-off among the poor will be good for them.

Citation needed.

Obama’s laughable ‘attempts’ at it proved that in my eyes, and no President has been as much of a puppet of the neoliberal than he was.

Citation needed.

48

Phil Koop 10.05.19 at 11:13 pm

Obligatory Daily Mash

THE BBC is always at pains to present both sides of an argument. Here news editor Nathan Muir discusses the ongoing ‘round or flat Earth’ debate.

A controversy is currently raging as to whether the Earth is flat, or, as some scientists have speculated, spherical.

Certainly photographic images from the Apollo missions would seem to suggest the latter. Others, however, such as the experts at the Flat Earth Society, say this is nonsense and the Earth cannot be round because we’d all roll off.

Therefore in our latest report on the flat/round Earth debate we decided to ask random people in Lincolnshire, far away from metropolitan bias. They maintained that for them the earth is very flat indeed and therefore the whole planet must be the same.

Naturally both sides have accused us of bias.

Flat earthers believe we are in the pay of scientists, who in turn are bribed by NASA – an allegation we take very seriously. Meanwhile ‘Rounders’ insist the BBC should side with them, often in very strong terms such as “Oh for f*ck’s sake!”.

All of which goes to show – we must be doing something right!

So, taking all points of view into account, which is it? Is the Earth flat or round?

As ever in these matters, the truth lies somewhere in between. In all probability the Earth is both flat and round, like a squashed orange.

49

ph 10.05.19 at 11:25 pm

@40 Precisely.

We just finished the laundry using bathwater from last night. We have buckets in every bathroom and in the kitchen so that we can recycle grey water. We separate all trash, recycle plastic bags as they enter the home, and don’t own a car or air conditioner. Most of this thanks to other members of the family. Like you, I do believe climate change is a thing. Facts do not have a bias and honest debates on any topic are rare. So, given the cash and other stakes in the climate change discussion, little wonder that partisans and axe-grinders of one kind or another engage in rhetorical excess of the worst kind. Actions matter. My own view is that imminent destruction is not on the horizon, which means we’re going to have to find real solutions to manage the demands and expectations of great many more people.

I was compelled to bring a class to a department-wide lecture last spring on climate change. Students affirmed that given a choice between air conditioning and saving the planet, cool and comfortable wins out every time. Asserting that “only we can save the planet” is so over the top that’s it’s ridiculous. Climate activism is a bourgeois recreation for first worlders with the wealth and time to invest in building a personal brand, as well as a cliché for corporations. My students look around and see rampant consumerism marketed as ‘green products’ and guess what – they’re not fooled for a second.

Talking about saving the earth feels so good. How about a tattoo! Taking cold showers? Not so much.

50

GMcK 10.06.19 at 12:11 am

Just stopped by to disagree with bad Jim @35. I live in a coastal city and have carefully watched from the beach as the 10-story tall cruise ships sail away. As far as I can tell, they just get smaller and smaller, and still show just as much of their superstructure above the horizon as they do when they’re nearby.

I’m aware of the old stories of sailors seeing the topsails of square riggers disappearing last, but my eyes tell me that that effect doesn’t apply these days to the three-masted Elissa on its semi-annual commemorative cruises. However, Elissa has a power assist. Perhaps the weight of all the carbon injected into the atmosphere since the age of steam began has caused the bulge in the center of civilization (always wherever I am, of course) to flatten out.

I don’t think any “warm contact” is going to change my answer to the immortal question posed by Chico Marx to Margaret Dumont, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”

51

P.M.Lawrence 10.06.19 at 3:23 am

Ph, that strategic trap you describe has come up before, catching the Italians’ best units in East Africa in 1940 and the Egyptians’ best units in the Yemen in 1967. In each case, their second grade troops, officers and other military resources were left to face larger hostilities in other theatres once those broke out. This gave each country an unwarrantedly poor military reputation, even though (say) the Italians did remarkably well in East Africa despite being cut off (they actually conquered British Somaliland until the British could arrange to counter that).

52

ph 10.06.19 at 3:33 am

@ 40 I’ve never supported an invasion or regime change in the ME, or anywhere else. I live in a country that made war illegal, and I support 45 who’s the only president this century has yet to launch an illegal war of choice, like it or not.

There’s a consequence for supping Clapper swill and making lifelong GOP supporters like Comey and Mueller your friends and allies. You and the rest of the “guilty until proven innocent” crowd on the same side as all the wrong people – Boot, Clinton, Clapper, David Brooks, all the NRO clowns, Paul Ryan, Bill Kristol, etc, etc, etc. Not me. You’re the one full of love for Comey-Clapper-Brennan. Not me. I can’t stand them, or their “we’re just going to have launch another war of choice” on the lucky Libyan or Iraqi people. Not me.

MSNBC and the NYT’s “wanted for treason against America” attacks on 45 are literally exactly what the John Birch Society was doing right up until JFK was shot. How’s if feel?

I mentioned the “Save the planet” coffee cup that serves as some sort of sop/fig leaf/security blanket for climate change hypocrites. Your support for 44’s endless war and for the neocon in a pantsuit tells us clearly where you stand, which is firmly on the side of Bush, Cheney, Clapper, Biden, and Clinton – who, like you, declare that their ‘save the Iraqi/Libyan people’ coffee cups makes them ‘liberal’ in some truly f-ed up sense of the term. The dead in Iraq and Libya died at the hands of 43 and 44, presidents and their minions and apologists, like you, who believe war is the solution.

Kristol and your other new friends want to invade/destroy Iran, N. Korea, and Syria. The only thing stopping them is 45. Once/if he’s gone, America returns to what you call ‘normal.’ Bet you can’t wait.

53

Chetan Murthy 10.06.19 at 3:57 am

It’s too tedious to paste and properly blockquote text and such. Orange Watch thinks that J-D’s asking for citation of “Dems denigrate rural voters; GrOPers don’t” is easily answered with “go read Lawyers, Guns & Money.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

First, to the claim was that “various subgroups of the Democratic coalition” do this sort of thing: all the Democratic Presidential candidates are in … (wait for it …) IOWA. Famously majority-minority state, that, no? Geez.

Second, LG&M? Seriously? the place where Erik Loomis blogs all the damn time about the travails of rural and blue-collar voters? Seriously?

Third, LG&M? Seriously? These are a buncha lawyers and academics, mang. They’re not some “subgroup of the Dem coalition”. They’re *academics*.

Geez.

I mean, on that basis, the GrOPers are all child molesters, b/c “various subgroups of the GrOPer coalition” are pedophiles. And of course, rapists. Hell, their leader is both a child molester and a rapist, do I win the grand prize now?

It’s ridiculous.

Oh, and fourth: Barack Obama passed the ACA. Which (ding ding ding) extended health insurance to masses of poor white people. Masses of *rural* poor white people. With a Medicaid extension *designed* to help rural poor white people. Gosh I wonder why that didn’t work so well? Could it be … SATAN? Oh, no, it was Chief Justice John Roberts! Ehh …. same diff, I guess.

54

bad Jim 10.06.19 at 4:33 am

GMcK , just so! I can watch ships sail away and the hulls don’t disappear while the sails remain visible. When they reach the horizon they’re pretty far away. That story should not be told.

However, the view of a nearby island from the beach is not quite the same as the view from an adjoining bluff, and the view from a thousand feet up is much different. Far more distant ships can be seen. When I start my drive downtown I often spot container ships passing behind Catalina; when I reach sea level they’re out of sight.

55

J-D 10.06.19 at 6:17 am

Barry

When I read people like ph (is he dipper?) …

No, they are not the same person, but I’m curious to know what it was that you thought they had in common.

56

dbk 10.06.19 at 6:40 am

Increased partisanship could probably be documented by surveying online news sites and blogs over the past three years – the sites I survey regularly certainly seem to have been circling the wagons, so to speak. (Lawyers, Guns and Money cited @45 above being one example – the [very, very strong] dislike of Sanders, the incipient love for Warren, the snide rejection of publications/writers of whom the front pagers disapprove – are making it more difficult for those attempting to make sense of it all to follow along).

On Ukraine: I am puzzled by the Democrats’ decision to stake their all on this particular hill of wrongdoing, there being so many, many hills available. The argument that “Americans can understand Ukraine” is, frankly, not very compelling for me. And the (Dem) establishment’s casual dismissal of Biden’s son being retained at $50,000 a month as an advisor to a Ukraine natural gas company, viz. “that’s how they do things inside the Beltway” isn’t playing well outside the Beltway. Is it possible the DNC has decided that “Biden’s not the one” and that Ukraine is one way to bring him down without appearing to do so?

On climate change denialism: Yesterday I was thinking about some of the issues raised in previous comments and the following occurred to me, in the wake of torrential and destructive rains this past week where we live: “The rains are God’s tears, weeping in sorrow at the destruction we have wrought on his Creation.” A friend reminded me that this metaphor is useless, given the belief systems of the two sides: the climate change partisans don’t believe in God, and the deniers don’t believe in climate change, apparently hewing to some version of the Word which says, “Here is my Creation. Go and destroy it, and rejoice” or some such.

So there you have it.

I sometimes wonder whether the climate change scientists and movement leaders need to step back and think hard about the basic arguments they are employing to persuade the general public. Clean air, pristine waters, and fertile soil are, after all, goods very much to be desired for their own sake, given that all 9 billion of us depend on them for our survival.

Impeachment is sucking up nearly all the air in the news cycle, and I fear it will do so for many months to come. Meanwhile, via Executive Orders regulations on clean air and water, drilling/fracking/mining/logging, endangered species [did we all note that 3 billion birds have disappeared from North America since 1970?] in previously protected areas are being rolled back at an alarming rate – check out earthjustice.org for the 634 current complaints lodged against the Administration. Shouldn’t some of us be paying attention to this rash of assaults on the commons?

Admittedly despair is not the answer. But sometimes …

57

nastywoman 10.06.19 at 7:08 am

@49+40
”I was compelled to bring a class to a department-wide lecture last spring on climate change”.

And I was compelled to take such lectures on climate change over and over again during the last decade – and when Students affirmed ”that given a choice between air conditioning and saving the planet” their Profs told them that ”cool and comfortable loses every time”.
And when silly students mumbled:
”asserting that “only we can save the planet” is so over the top that’s it’s ridiculous” – their Prof showed them what already had been done – in the area I currently reside.

AND these really ”good” Prof’s taught their students that ”climate activism is NOT a ”bourgeois recreation for first worlders with the wealth and time to invest in building a personal brand, as well as a cliché for corporations”.

It is what every sane and ”good” Human Being does.

And then these students looked around and ”they’re not fooled for a second”.
They saw the ”rampant consumerism” and guess what – they not only consumed less – and started to ride more bikes in order to cut CO2 emission and took a lot more cold showers – BUT they also became voters for the Greens and NOW the Greens rule the WHOLE area I’m currently residing in – and WE all here live the New Green Deal and
I hope that I’m allowed to repeat that PH should NOT be allowed to teach children!
-(nor even grown-ups)

58

J-D 10.06.19 at 7:47 am

Orange Watch

Research project! Excellent! This will be my first time looking at Lawyers, Guns & Money. (Just because I comment here doesn’t mean I’m familiar with everything on the blogroll.) I’m going to start with the most recent post (as at time of commencing the project) and work my way down, and also check the highest-rated comments on each post as I look at it.

The most recent post, ‘The Mastermind Is Revealed’, seems to be directing contempt at Rick Perry, if I’ve understood the sarcasm correctly. The highest-rated comment on it suggests that Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath: I’m not sure whether that counts specifically as contempt for Trump, although it’s obviously some kind of negative evaluation. The next highest rated concurs with the negative evaluation of Perry; the next is directed at Trump.

Next is ‘Music Notes’. I’m going to hazard a guess that’s not the kind of post you were referring to and skip forward.

‘Look In My Eyes, What Do You See’ is directed a specific column, the columnist being Nathan Robinson. The evaluation of the column, and by implication of Nathan Robinson, is negative, although I’m not clear on whether it’s specifically contemptuous. Anyway, if Nathan Robinson is being targetted as representative of a class, that class consists of people who admire Bernie Sanders to excess. The highest rated comments are all agreeing in a negative evaluation of excessive admiration of Bernie Sanders (and excessive admiration in general).

‘It’s The Corruption, Stupid’ praises a column dealing with the subject of kleptocracy. The column (and the praise) are anti-kleptocrat, although it would be odd to describe it as expressing, specifically, contempt for kleptocrats. The highest-rated comment points to Trump as emblematically kleptocratic and harshly condemnatory of ’70,000 dumb shitheads in 3 states’ who made Trump President: in other words, the category being targetted is ‘Trump voters’. The next begins by praising Elizabeth Warren; it does move from there to what could fairly be described as a contemptuous reference to ‘stocking the bench with a bunch of FedSoc lunatics’. The next simply replicates a Twitter exchange, in which somebody suggested that the way to get Trump impeached is for Stormy Daniels to give him a blowjob in the White House which he would then lie about, and Stormy Daniels responded that she’s prepared for the sacrifice: if there’s contempt for anybody there, it’s for Republican politicians.

‘BREAKING! Access To Health Care Improves Health Outcomes’ makes a contemptuous reference to ‘the cadre of know-nothing libertarian hacks determined to deny the obvious’: following hyperlinks suggests that Megan McArdle is being indicated as representative of this category. The highest-rated comment offers no contempt but only thanks for ‘President Obama, Governor Northam, and the Democrats in the General Assembly’. The next highest-rated links to a piece in the New York Times whose author refers to her experience on returning to the rural county she came from: what she perceives there among rural (and mostly white) people is a reflexive resistance to government expenditure on anything, even things that might help themselves. The tone I find in it is not contemptuous but despairing. The next is negative about Republicans.

I’m going to hazard a guess that ‘Do You Even Downvote, Bro?’ is another example of a kind of post you weren’t referring to.

‘Saturday Natsec Roundup’ is mostly a collection of links to material elsewhere.

‘Donald Trump, A Man You Have To Take At His Word’ is contemptuous of Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson. The highest rated comments express contempt for him, for Republican politicians, and more generally for their party and its supporters.

‘Bernie Sanders Had A Heart Attack’ expresses no contempt, or anything close to it, for anybody; it invites people to form their own views on the relevance of the heart attack to his suitability for the nomination, and the highest rated comments respond accordingly.

So I have found some contempt being expressed at Lawyers, Guns & Money, but little or none of what I found was being directed at (and I’m quoting EB’s words here) ‘rural people, men, and white people’, unless you suppose that expressing contempt for Republicans is equivalent to expressing contempt for rural people, men, and white people. I imagine that if I systematically trawled through three months worth of posts and all the comments on them I would find some examples of the kind, but it’s not a salient characteristic, and I’m left wondering why you imagined it was.

Also, when I read EB’s reference to ‘various sub-groups of the Democratic coalition’, it would not have occurred to me to define one of those sub-groups as consisting of bloggers and commenters at Lawyers, Guns & Money.

59

nastywoman 10.06.19 at 11:10 am

and
@56
”Clean air, pristine waters, and fertile soil are, after all, goods very much to be desired for their own sake, given that all 9 billion of us depend on them for our survival”.

That’s why ”the climate change scientists and movement leaders should NOT step back and think hard about the basic arguments they are employing to persuade the general public” – as most of the general public know very well that: ”Clean air, pristine waters, and fertile soil are, after all, goods very much to be desired for their own sake, given that all 9 billion of us depend on them for our survival”.

AND we need the ”the climate change scientists and movement leaders” to totally and absolutely ALARM the people before it is too late.

60

Orange Watch 10.06.19 at 2:32 pm

Chetan Murphy@53:

From the top, laughing, crying, and sighing all the way.

That you suggest “various subgroups of the Democratic coalition” can be exhaustively examined by looking at candidates for a national office is actually quite telling. That you suggest their campaigning on the record in a midwestern state is indicative of the prejudices of subgroups that support each of them is either dishonest or breathtakingly naive.

Yes, Eric Loomis blogs at LGM. So does Scott Lemieux. Does Scott Lemieux blog all the damn time about the travails of rural and blue-collar workers? Does Robert Farley? Does Paul Campos? Does Shakezulu? VacuumSlayer? LGM features different front pagers from different subgroups of the Democratic coalition. Your invocation of Loomis is the Democratic factional equivalent of “I can’t be racist; I have a black friend!”. Having said that, there is a prevailing editorial slant, and it is reflected in the commentariat, which I’ll remind you I specifically pointed to and you entirely erased in your reply. Frankly, your reduction of the Democratic Party to prominent pols and pundits while ignoring the actual party membership is by itself telling, and your apparent inclination to define LGM entirely by its frontpagers while eliding its commentors is of a piece with that.

As to LGM being “a buncha lawyers and academics, mang”… how does demonstrate that those lawyers and academics don’t have specific subgroup allegiances, and that their particular allegiances don’t predominantly align with particular subgroups? Seriously, take a lesson from intersectionality: people have more than one identity at once. And beyond that, being lawyers and academics is itself indicative of a class identity that you’re ignoring because of course you are. The frontpagers and commentators are primarily professional class… and that class has particular tendencies WRT what subgroups of the Democratic Party they align themselves with.

As to your final point… it also pretends class isn’t a thing. Which again is very, very telling. Ignoring class identity is in itself a shibboleth of a specific constellation of subgroups of the Democratic coalition.

Overall, your comment was a litany of various fallacies of composition leavened with motivated myopia.

61

reason 10.06.19 at 4:18 pm

Nasty woman @57
One of the great problems with some of the older democracies is FPTP. The UK had tge chance to move on but rejected for stupid reasons and now can finally see what a great price they pay for it

62

Anarcissie 10.06.19 at 5:09 pm

J-D 10.05.19 at 1:21 am @ 29:
‘Anarcissie:
“Anyway, I have brought my researches to the attention of experts, who uniformly rejected them, …”
Citation needed.’

Tribal elders, coastal New Jersey, 1944-1946
Miss Isola, Spring Lake Public School 1st Grade, 1946

63

Anarcissie 10.06.19 at 5:34 pm

Alan White 10.04.19 at 11:00 pm @ 25
‘I’m with nastywoman. Here’s an exercise: name just one virtuous trait that Donald Trump has demonstrated in a clear and chronic fashion over his life.’

He made it possible for less imaginative nihilists to vote for ‘None of the Above’. It is true they could have voted for the Green Party, the Libertarians, or their dog, but I guess it didn’t occur to them. In a democracy, even nihilists deserve a chance to vote, and given the choices presented to us in recent decades by the established major parties, I can understand their preference.

I must also note that, as ph mentions above, Trump is the first president in quite a while not to start a new war (that I know about), if only by oversight. Give the Devil his due.

64

Chetan Murthy 10.06.19 at 9:03 pm

dbk@56:

On Ukraine: I am puzzled by the Democrats’ decision to stake their all on this particular hill of wrongdoing, there being so many, many hills available. The argument that “Americans can understand Ukraine” is, frankly, not very compelling for me.

Simplicity has its advantages. And this one is simple. The problem with the Russian interference, collusion, obstruction, etc story, is that there were so many actors, so many events, so much noise. It’s easy to manufacture plausible exoneration, easy to confuse gullible Cletuses.

And as someone who grew up in a town (Weatherford, TX) where my middle-school lunch-line time was spent arguing with half-pint Christianists about evolution, a town where people literally looked with suspicion on “big Eastern universities”, I can assure you that a shit-ton of Americans are stupid. A theory of Don Bedsore’s crimes, that’s going to convince them, MUST be bonehead simple, or they won’t buy it. Or more accurately, Fox News will throw up a screen of disinfo that allows them to not buy it.

65

John Ford 10.06.19 at 11:59 pm

Bad Jim @54. Seriously has neither of you ever seen a vessel hull-down? At ten or twelve miles distance, if you’re looking from say 20 feet up, the hull of a laden freighter is down out of sight.

66

Chetan Murthy 10.07.19 at 1:13 am

Another example of looking at the same planet and seeing different curvature:

It’s amusing, the way that some of the media, bloggers, twitterers, pundits, and commenters, conflate “non-college degree” white people with “The White Working Class” with “The Working Class”, and adduce their support for Don Bedsore as proof that a class-based politics is the necessary cure, when

(a) working-class people of color didn’t vote for Don Bedsore, and with a few notable exceptions, they’re all poorer than the median American
(b) Don Bedsore’s voters weren’t “working class” as much as they were Poujadists. A contractor with a truck, and a few undocumented workers he’d like to pay less, so hey, he sure would like it if they were scared shitless.

And then there’s (of course) the old saw that a class-based politics will clear everything up, everybody’ll get to live in the land of milk and honey. As if that worked the last time it was tried (The Great Depression). Or as if it ever worked for women’s rights.

Lotta motivated reasoning going on there.

67

John Quiggin 10.07.19 at 1:19 am

dbk @56 “Increased partisanship could probably be documented by surveying online news sites and blogs over the past three years – the sites I survey regularly certainly seem to have been circling the wagons, so to speak. (Lawyers, Guns and Money cited @45 above being one example – the [very, very strong] dislike of Sanders, the incipient love for Warren, the snide rejection of publications/writers of whom the front pagers disapprove – are making it more difficult for those attempting to make sense of it all to follow along)”

I don’t follow this at all. I don’t read LGM that often, but let’s stipulate that most people there support Warren and don’t like Sanders. Conversely, Jacobin publishes mainly (exclusively?) people who like Sanders and not Warren. It is, after all the middle of the primary campaign.

Are you claiming that LGM (or Jacobin) are adjusting their views on major issues to suit the tactical needs of their preferred candidates? AFAICT, Jacobin supports Sanders because he is explicitly socialist, and Warren is not. I’d guess the converse applies to lots of Warren-supporting progressives. That’s how this process is supposed to work.

68

Alan White 10.07.19 at 2:28 am

@63–

I asked for a virtuous character trait–not a consequence of traits that are much less than virtuous, such as Trump’s obvious self-possession that was translated as “Washington outsider” to his Base. And he’s no avowed pacifist either–he follows paths that all eventually lead (in his mind) to his Base, and magnifying himself. He is a pathological narcissist who so-called self-identified “outsiders” can mold into whatever pleases them in holding on to that amorphous identity, which no doubt includes well-meaning alienated voters but not inconsequentially White Supremacists. Again–name just one real virtuous character trait he himself possesses, and not some weakly defensible consequential factor of his aberrant personality.

69

J-D 10.07.19 at 3:33 am

Anarcissie

Aha! I had not considered that you might be referring to events of such recency. I feel it’s excusable that I wasn’t current with information that was up to the minute to that degree.

70

J-D 10.07.19 at 3:45 am

Orange Watch

Yes, Eric Loomis blogs at LGM. So does Scott Lemieux. Does Scott Lemieux blog all the damn time about the travails of rural and blue-collar workers?

Some of the posts I mentioned in my earlier comment were by Scott Lemieux, and weren’t about the travails of rural and blue-collar workers. Three more recent posts are about the travails of the Trump Administration and its supporters. If somebody blogs all the damn time about the travails of the Trump Administration, that does not equate to an expression of contempt for rural people, men, and white people, and so cannot be evidence of the accuracy of the earlier characterisation by EB (unless, that is, to repeat myself, you consider any expression of contempt for Republicans to equate to contempt for rural people, men, and white people).

71

John Quiggin 10.07.19 at 4:02 am

Chetan @66 I first noticed this use of “white working class” in 2012 http://crookedtimber.org/2012/09/10/the-white-working-class/

72

Timothy Reynolds 10.07.19 at 4:16 am

# 47, literally told you my better strategy. You educate yourselves seriously in the mechanisms of global warming, then educate the general population about it. Stop slamming your fists on the table, pointing at authority and going ‘come one!’ and actually reach people why and how global warming happens.

I admit, I’m dismissive over whether or not people like you actually want to solve the problem, but I do want it solved. And this course of action, rather than ‘trust the experts!’ in the middle of a neoliberal technocrat-led breakdown of our society, should have begun a long time ago.

Most people are ignorant, but they are not stupid. If shown the way, they will walk it. If you act too good to bother, they will dismiss you as another snake-oil salesman.

73

bad Jim 10.07.19 at 4:39 am

John Ford @65: I have to admit that I have not made such an observation, though I have looked for it. To be honest, I have difficulty distinguishing schooners at that distance. I shall take my binoculars downtown the next time the gray whales go by.

74

J-D 10.07.19 at 5:49 am

Timothy ReynoldsI am curious to know what category you have in mind when you refer to ‘people like you [that is, me]’. Of which grouping are you taking me to be a member?

Your answer to my question is incomplete because you haven’t told me what success you have had with the strategy you describe. I have myself made attempts to explain to people the mechanisms of global warming, and so far as I was able to observe it had no effect on their attitudes whatever. But perhaps you’ve found the technique works better? If so, I’d appreciate any more specific tips.

75

faustusnotes 10.07.19 at 7:42 am

so many people whose efforts are not in good faith and not worth engaging on this thread. In the midst of ignoring them I accidentally read a paragraph of ph’s, and I want to just drop in and mention that all the environmentally conscious activities he’s bragging about have nothing to do with his environmental sense. He lives in Japan, where the recycling and waste disposal stuff he is bragging about is a legal requirement (we all do it) and the reuse of water is a common tradition (washing machines even have special fittings to enable them to draw water from the bath). Japanese bathing practices are far from water saving – yes the family reuse the bath water but everyone has a long shower before they get in.

As I observed to my Aussie friends the other day: the government has us cutting our showers and not watering our lawn so a rich dude in central queensland can continue making a killing growing rice in a desert. All this posturing by ph and Timothy Reynolds and their ilk are intended to stop us from taking meaningful action on climate change, and to erect strawmen as a distraction.

We know what to do about it, it’s a political decision not to act, and people like ph and Reynolds don’t want us to act because – contra their protestations – they don’t believe global warming is happening.

76

Daragh McDowell 10.07.19 at 9:00 am

Just a note on Biden and the firing of Viktor Shokin, the Ukrainian prosecutor general at the centre of this scandal. Shokin was epically and openly corrupt – his role in the Poroshenko administration was to make sure that in the aftermath of the Euromaidan that certain rocks weren’t looked under, and that people could keep dipping their beaks as they did prior to Yanukovych getting greedy and trying to monopolise things. In the case of Burisma, the gas company Hunter Biden was on the board of, he was sitting on a dormant investigation for reasons that remain unclear.

The IMF, EU and US, who were keeping Ukraine afloat financially at this time, weren’t particularly keen on pissing money up the wall only for it to line the pockets of the same constellation of corrupt grifters Shokin was protecting. In 2015 they began openly demanding his ouster and in 2016 declared any further aid would be dependent on him pounding sand – rightly so. Biden was the messenger for this, but it was an internationally agreed policy. After Shokin’s ouster, the investigation into Burisma was, IIRC, reopened.

The person who first spun the ‘Biden was helping his son’ narrative was Yuriy Lutsenko, Shokin’s also corrupt successor. Incoming president Zelenskiy was looking to fire him (again, the correct move if you’re looking to fight corruption) and Lutsenko thought by spinning this tale to Giuliani he could get an ally in Washington to help him keep his job. Ken Vogel at the NYT, in a spectacular display of both American parochialism and idiotic bothsidesism, took Giuliani’s talking points at face value and wrote an incredibly bad “Biden – questions remain” story, despite several Ukraine specialists having specifically told him that Shokin’s firing was above board. He is now desperately claiming on Twitter that he totally broke the “Trump pushing Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden” angle.

The TL:DR – whatever one thinks about Biden (not much, in my case) he didn’t do anything wrong here. The circumstances of Shokin’s firing were well established and covered in international media. If people are seeing things differently here, its because of a combination of a) Republicans being terrible people who indulge in conspiracies when their world view is challenged in any way b) the US media being incredibly bad at its job.

77

M Caswell 10.07.19 at 10:12 am

@71- I appear to be #2 1n 2012!

78

notGoodenough 10.07.19 at 10:28 am

Timothy Reynolds @72

I am in agreement that “trust the experts” is not typically a good approach to addressing people´s concerns – I, like most people in the field of science, are happy to explain and provide sources when requested. I find, however, your comment a little perplexing – if you´ll humour me for a moment, I will explain why.

The fundamental mechanism behind AGW is – by most modern scientific standards – absurdly simple (fundamentally based on the vibrational modes of CO2, as it is). Indeed, the mechanism was proposed as early as 1896 (I believe that, rather gratifyingly, “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground” is open access at the RSC). And, while it is true that it has been considerably refined, and that the subsequent complexities (for example the various feedback loops) make an in-depth discussion of the topic challenging, there are considerable resources available (my personal favourite is Real Climate), which are able to discuss AGW in terms of everything from the fundamental science to economic theory. Moreover, since AGW is arguably one of the most open access areas of research, nearly everything (from research papers to datasets) are available. There is no “trust the experts” required – it is possible to give someone a very brief overview of the topic and supply them with resources to investigate for themselves (i.e to say “don´t take my word for it, here are some links you may wish to look at”).

Perhaps I am mistaken, but as far as I can tell there are plenty of opportunities to educate or be educated as one wishes – and there is a plethora of data which can be used to simply illustrate the point.

The issue I have generally had is that people who dispute these conclusions are not doing so on the basis of “well, how does it work” or “where is the evidence”, but rather they appear to have already decided AGW is a fiction and will justify this position in any way they can. Consequently, AGW researchers are “not to be trusted” and “suspicious” in some way they never seem to be able to describe. They don’t “oppose” AGW, they are merely “not convinced it is a result of human activity” or “don´t think it will occur as rapidly as proposed” or “may even be beneficial” – and, when you try to discuss this further and see where the point of disagreement is, they keep shifting goalposts and pointing to things which are pretty irrelevant. These are pretty common tactics, observable in a wide range of areas where people are opposed to what the evidence shows and – like those other areas – there are always a few people willing to throw up smokescreens or to use “argument from authority” to muddy the waters (e.g. those experts say this, our experts say that, who can know for sure?) while ignoring the data. On the hard edge of this, of course, are the extreme conspiracy theorists, to whom AGW is a plot by the new world order/lizard people/delete as applicable to control the masses. I wouldn´t say these people are stupid by any means – many are, in fact, very smart people – but once someone is convinced of a position, they often find ways to justify it to themselves (and yes, pretty much everyone is guilty of this!). The solution is to have a sound epistemology and to follow the evidence – but this is often so at odds with core identity that people will not follow this path.

And, to be clear, this isn´t me saying “I´m an elite and they should just trust me”, this is me saying “I have spent weeks of my own time providing resources and materials, pointing out where they are misinformed, and gently walking them through (while never patronising or being snide) the whole thing from start to finish”, and the result is always the same: “I´m just not convinced” (but they can´t say why they are not convinced, or what would convince them) or “what you say is true, but I am suspicious of this” or “I´ve just read a blog post on this website where they say [repeat already refuted claim] and this disproves everything” – Zombie myths are persistent, after all.

Frankly, I don´t see a route to convincing these people. If the plethora of resources which already exist (at every level, from “I know nothing about science” to “I am an expert in the relevant field”) are not convincing, I don´t really know what else you are expecting. I don´t say this to be dismissive, I mean it very literally – there are people who are experts, and who spend a vast amount of their free time discussing this with anyone who has questions (and they provide clear arguments and evidence, not just saying “trust me because I am a doctor”), and the net result is…not very much progress.

It seems to me that in countries where AGW is seen as non-political, generally the arguments are about how to address it (with, naturally, different people offering different approaches as influenced by their politics). And here while people exist who are skeptics/denialists, in general they are not the majority. In America, where it appears to me (and admittedly I am an outsider, so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong) to have become a political football, AGW itself is the point of disagreement. This would seem to be in accordance with the OP. The problem is that it would seem tricky to correct people when the very basis of disagreement is “you can´t trust science”, since then everything (from the models of temperature change to the mechanism proposed by Arrhenius) is easily dismissed as being partisan. And, if you can´t use science (or, more specifically, the whole of science from molecules to modelling is not admissible as it is “suspicious”) you are left in a position where it is rather tricky to demonstrate anything.

If it is just a matter of “showing the way”, why will people then turn around and say “no, your path is full of rocks, is probably the wrong way, and I expect you are in the pocket of ´big roads´ who just want my tax money to pay for this way in the first place”. It seems to me that if people are motivated to not believe something (for example, because it is a point of ideology), it is rather difficult to change their minds – particularly if there are wealthy companies with a vested interest in muddying the waters.

Perhaps you have a different perspective – maybe you think the books, blogs, websites, twitter accounts, magazines, journals, and yearly global report on AGW (to name but a few resources) are not sufficient, and that something is lacking. If so, I would welcome it if you can suggest what the missing ingredient is.

What is it you said to an AGW skeptic/denier which changed their mind? How did you approach it? What was the point they went “ah yes, I get it now”? I am 100% serious here, as science communication is important and – even though it is not one of my responsibilities – I certainly would be interested to learn what you believe is the best approach, and why others are lacking.

79

HCCarey 10.07.19 at 10:41 am

It seems worth pointing out that using US taxpayer dollars to extort a foreign government into digging up dirt on your potential political rival is in fact illegal, a crime. Its a fact? Did Trump do this? Well it sure looks like it, and evidence that would prove it is sitting on some sort of classified server, where it was sent by aides who were alarmed that Trump had in fact committed a crime. So yes, if he did it he committed a crime and yes, the evidence that he did it is quite strong, and yes, the answer is extant but is being concealed by the alleged perpetrator. These things are as much facts as the shape of the earth.

Is James Clapper a dubious character? Sure. Does the CIA have a sinister history? You bet. Are liberals often annoying? Sure they are. Does Americna capitalism perpetrate all sorts of reprehensible strategies in order to maintain the hold of elites on power? why, yes it does. Is the Constitution itself a product so slavery? Yes it is. my stars, what a long chain of flaw.

None of that changes the quite obvious facts in my first paragraph. Trump appears to have committed a crime. He appears to be acting to conceal the evidence of the crime. Focus, people, focus.

80

nastywoman 10.07.19 at 11:21 am

@72
Excuse ME –
as I probably completely misread your first comments here – because I agree 100 percent with your:
”You educate yourselves seriously in the mechanisms of global warming, then educate the general population about it – and the you actually reach people why and how global warming happens”.

And as – with the examples I posted -(about the already existing ”Green Deal”) –
and how truly pleasant it is to live in such an environment – I also found myself 100 % agreeing with your:
”Most people are ignorant, but they are not stupid. If shown the way, they will walk it”.
-(as again – the area I’m currently residing in – has proven)

So I just have THE (last?) question –
How can somebody who writes:

”You educate yourselves seriously in the mechanisms of global warming, then educate the general population about it – and the you actually reach people why and how global warming happens”.
AND
”Most people are ignorant, but they are not stupid. If shown the way, they will walk it”

– WRITE before:
”the fact that two groups–neither of whom intend to actually do anything about the issue…”

IF the proven fact is – that one of the ”two groups” did so much about it – that I’m now so happily can enjoy – what the one group did –
while you probably can’t?
-(or do you also live in one of these areas – which already prepared themselves so well agains ”climate change” – and if – in which one do you live?)

81

Collin Street 10.07.19 at 11:31 am

The thing about your reactionary small-scale capitalist types isn’t that they’re small-scale capitalists, but that invariably they’ve been trying and failing to become large-scale capitalists, said failure invariably a result of for example staff not showing “loyalty” and for example wishing recieve legal minimum rates for each hour worked and not be randomly abused, or for example suppliers not being willing to sell their products at a loss to support local businesses, or for example tax agencies wanting taxes to be paid on the same basis as everyone else, et cetera.

Not small business people but bad ones. Usually in a protected rent-heavy sector, too.

Which, again, is exactly what my hypothesis would indicate.

82

Orange Watch 10.07.19 at 1:26 pm

J-D@58:

I imagine that if I systematically trawled through three months worth of posts and all the comments on them I would find some examples of the kind, but it’s not a salient characteristic, and I’m left wondering why you imagined it was.

I, on the other hand, am wondering why you seem to be suggesting that looking at three days of posts and some small, unspecified number of the literal hundreds of comments per day would give you insight into the salient characteristics of that site’s readers and writers. Personally, if I were trying to review a large body of online writing, I’d avail myself to modern search technologies – although tragically the comments are not so easily searched. I do appreciate you looking even if you didn’t spend your time well – I garnered my own impression of that masthead’s slant over years of reading the site and its comments, and much of its contempt is expressed tonally.

Some of the posts I mentioned in my earlier comment were by Scott Lemieux, and weren’t about the travails of rural and blue-collar workers.

Scott Lemieux is a fascinating specimen who periodically makes derisive comments about white men’s excessive participation in American politics and punditry. Unironically. On a site where the majority of the posts are from white men. His opinions are, to coin a phrase, indispensable.

Chetan Murthy@66:

You make my point for me with your snarky attempt to conflate analysis based on intersecting class identities and essentialist identities with class-only political analysis. There is a world of political discourse beyond only-class-matters and class-never-matters.

83

Orange Watch 10.07.19 at 2:17 pm

JQ@67:

From the CT blogroll, I’d suggest Naked Capitalism as a better pro-Sanders wagon-circling than Jacobin, as it features comments so it can reflect both a community of opinions and an integrated information ecosystem. It’s not a perfect example, as the site owners ban commentators who disagree with their editorial slant for violating the site’s “no making $#!+ up” policy even when the commentors are making factual observations, while LGM has a relatively liberal policy towards mere dissent.

Having said that, per your query, even in that tighter-knit ontology it appears that the candidate was chosen to match pre-existing views rather than views being matched to the interest of candidates. If we were to go beyond candidates to political narratives, there would be a better case for NC tactically adjusting stances to advance a cause (as they have communal convictions I’d be tempted to call neo-tankie), but generally WRT candidates it’s still broadly how the process is supposed to work even if it’s acrimoniously Balkanized.

84

Anarcissie 10.07.19 at 6:46 pm

Alan White 10.07.19 at 2:28 am @ 68 —

I do not have the power to look into the hearts of men (and other beings) and judge their virtue; I can only go by their external behavior. Unlike the Clintons, Kerry, Bush, McCain, Obama, and so on and on and on, Trump, as far as I know, did not start or actively support any new wars, and seems to be slacking off on some of the old ones. I regard this as a virtue. A thin or temporary or illusory one, maybe, but I have to take what I can get and make the best of it. Do you think such issues are unimportant?

85

tm 10.07.19 at 7:35 pm

It was suggested above that religious believers, as a „tribe“, are climate change deniers. Another example how incredibly America-Centric this forum generally is (despite JQ being Australian).

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudato_si%27

86

bekabot 10.07.19 at 8:46 pm

I’ve never supported an invasion or regime change in the ME, or anywhere else. I live in a country that made war illegal, and I support 45 who’s the only president this century has yet to launch an illegal war of choice, like it or not.” {etc.}

Sure, but I didn’t ask who participated directly/individually in which actions, or who supported what, but who ran which scam and in whose interests. The answer to my question is a very simple one, but I don’t find it here. That much having been acknowledged, it doesn’t sound like we have a lot to talk about, but I’d like to leave you with a thought — which is that it’s harder to get most people to apologize for having been lied to than you might think. Sorry for unpleasantness.

87

Chetan Murthy 10.07.19 at 9:34 pm

John Quiggin @71: Oh, very, very nice! I guess I should have expected it, since this is a blog where the FPers are all academics, and from relevant fields. Bravo!

88

J-D 10.07.19 at 11:28 pm

bekabot

That much having been acknowledged, it doesn’t sound like we have a lot to talk about, but I’d like to leave you with a thought — which is that it’s harder to get most people to apologize for having been lied to than you might think.

I have had the experience of being deceived. It’s an unpleasant one. It’s unsurprising that people find it painful to admit having been deceived, and so I wouldn’t expect it to be easy to get them to do so. I’m not clear, though, on why you would expect people to apologise for having been deceived.

89

Alan White 10.07.19 at 11:55 pm

@75–

Well, one real point of virtue theory is the old adage that you know virtues by their fruits in behavior. I remind you that President Bone Spurs has also at times overtly threatened North Korea and Iran with annihilation–not exactly the fruits of peace. There is no pattern discernible in his behavior of any personality traits that can be rightly judged as virtuous. Compare Trump with Jimmy Carter, or even W in his (I would say) apparent love for his family. Trump has absolutely no admirable personality traits as far as I can see. And again, it seems that defense of Trump must take the diversionary tactics of most Republicans–hey, he only talked about using fire and fury against Little Rocket Man–it was a joke and he really didn’t mean it.

90

John Quiggin 10.08.19 at 12:23 am

@Chetan Thanks!

91

John Quiggin 10.08.19 at 12:32 am

tm @85 From an Australian perspective, the world is America-centric. We import our politics, particularly rightwing politics directly from the US. The observation that religious belief (in particular, Evangelical Christianity) is highly correlated with climate denial is true for us as well. My impression is that the same applies to most of the English-speaking world and that the same pattern is emerging in Europe. Christianist/Trumpists like Orban, Salvini, Law and Justice etc are all deniers.

92

John Quiggin 10.08.19 at 12:40 am

ph @52 This isn’t correct. The first direct US attack on Syrian government forces was undertaken by Trump (and cheered on by the pundits you rightly deplore). Of course, the US was involved in the conflict before that, but if you count this kind of indirect involvement it has expanded under Trump, most obviously in relation to Yemen but also throughout the Middle East

https://www.newsweek.com/trumps-secret-war-us-militarys-presence-middle-east-has-grown-33-percent-past-718089

93

J-D 10.08.19 at 1:46 am

Orange Watch

I, on the other hand, am wondering why you seem to be suggesting that looking at three days of posts and some small, unspecified number of the literal hundreds of comments per day would give you insight into the salient characteristics of that site’s readers and writers.

Salient characteristics are, by definition, the ones that leap out at you. Something can be an important characteristic without being a salient one. If something doesn’t come to your attention when you read the number of posts I did (without selecting the specific posts for reading in a way that would cloud the issue), then it’s not a salient characteristic.

(The comments I looked at, as I think I mentioned, were the ones that got the largest number of upvotes from other commenters. If I had taken the time to read every comment on the posts I looked at, comments on this post here would have closed before I’d finished.)

Personally, if I were trying to review a large body of online writing, I’d avail myself to modern search technologies – although tragically the comments are not so easily searched.

Good idea!

I searched the blog for the word ‘rural’.

(I note that using this technique reveals nothing about what proportion of the blog discusses rural people in any way. It might reveal what the blog has to say about rural people when it says anything at all, but it cannot reveal to what extent this is a preoccupation.)

The top hit was a piece from September 2016 about how people in the plains of eastern Colorado were supporting Republicans against their own economic interests, and attributing this to white pride in a way which could reasonably be considered contemptuous.

The second hit cites an article describing how historical facts about sexual behaviour in rural areas contradict a myth about conventional values. However, if there’s contempt implied here, it’s not directed at this ‘panoply of sexual arrangements’ but at the hypocrisy which covers it up (the perpetrators of which are not necessarily rural people).

The third hit cites a blog post about how people don’t talk about rural poverty in the same way they talk about urban poverty—because of a misconception that rural poverty is an experience of white people in a way that urban poverty isn’t, whereas if people were better informed about rural America they would be aware that non-white people are over-represented among the rural poor just as they are among the urban poor. If there is contempt here, it is not directed at rural people but rather at inattention to rural people, explicitly including leftist inattention: ‘It would do these people a ton of good to get out of the coastal cities and go spend time in McDowell County, West Virginia, Mora County, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation. Maybe they would actually know something about American poverty if they did.’

Subject of the fourth hit: the suffering of people in a rural part of Mexico. I found no indications of contempt for anybody.

Subject of the fifth hit: a book about suburban politics. There’s a passing reference only to rural people: ‘In other words, while the image in our mind of resistance to integration is frothing rural whites killing civil rights workers, Lassiter convincingly shows that politically, the politics of the growing Sunbelt suburbs were far more important.’ If there’s any contempt expressed, it’s for liberals who hypocritically move to the suburbs to get their children into de facto segregated schools. (‘I don’t care if you are a liberal college professor, it’s still a racist act that shows hostility to the Brown decision even today.’)

As far as that goes, which I admit isn’t far (but if the fifth hit has so little to say, good or bad, about rural people, I doubt the value of pursuing the search further), no consistent pattern of contempt for rural people emerges.

I do appreciate you looking even if you didn’t spend your time well – I garnered my own impression of that masthead’s slant over years of reading the site and its comments, and much of its contempt is expressed tonally.

I haven’t done this for you, I’ve done it for me, but you should be able to observe that in doing it I have tried to take note of tone as best I can, and I am able to note contempt emerging clearly in some cases (but not consistently directed at ‘rural people, men, and white people’).

Scott Lemieux is a fascinating specimen who periodically makes derisive comments about white men’s excessive participation in American politics and punditry.

That would be the subject for another search, which I may yet undertake.

94

Anarcissie 10.08.19 at 4:04 am

John Quiggin 10.08.19 at 12:32 am @ 91 —
Some of the resistance to the climate change theory purveyed by experts and elites is probably rooted in the priesthood of all believers, from which we also get such ideas as the liberal rights. It would not be surprising to find them conveyed by the relics of the Protestant revolutions, for example the Evangelicals.

There is also the very persistent charge (see this very discussion) that those who believe differently from oneself are either stupid or evil or both. I think most people are doubtful about taking advice from people who despise them.

95

ph 10.08.19 at 5:19 am

Hi John, I normally respect your work. So, prior to responding I googled “Trump Yemen Regime Change”; “Obama Yemen Regime Change” and “Trump Yemen.” Here are some sample headlines: and links. I recommend you do the same. Here’s a sample:

The Obama administration gave Saudi Arabia too much backing to prosecute its war in Yemen and should have scaled back military support much earlier, a White House aide from that period told TRT World. Comments from Robert Malley, then US President Barack Obama’s point man on the Middle East, come at a key moment in US politics, with lawmakers trying to end US military assistance for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
“The Obama administration didn’t cover itself in glory when it comes to Yemen. To a certain extent, and despite our best intentions, we covered ourselves in shame,” Malley, now president and CEO of the International Crisis Group, a think tank, told TRT World.

“Yemen: The Graveyard of the Obama Doctrine: The human costs of facilitating Saudi Arabia’s proxy war” Atlantic

As for your 33 percent increase, that’s a four-month window 2 years ago, here are the cited numbers: “…Based on the latest report, published November 17, [2017] here are the number of U.S. troops and Department of Defense civilians in each Middle Eastern country: Egypt, 455; Israel, 41; Lebanon, 110; Syria, 1,723; Turkey, 2,265; Jordan, 2,730; Iraq, 9,122; Kuwait, 16,592; Saudi Arabia, 850; Yemen, 14; Oman, 32; United Arab Emirates, 4,240; Qatar, 6,671; Bahrain, 9,335.

As a comparison, here are the numbers from June: Egypt, 392; Israel, 28; Lebanon, 99; Syria, 1,251; Turkey, 1,405; Jordan, 2,469; Iraq, 8,173; Kuwait, 14,790; Saudi Arabia, 730; Yemen, 13; Oman, 30; United Arab Emirates, 1,531; Qatar, 3,164; Bahrain, 6,541.

Based on your own data and on more recent studies I see no evidence that Trump is engaged in any new wars in the ME. You’re welcome to disagree. Meanwhile, on both Syria and Yemen, Trump is horrifying the Democrat and GOP neocons by withdrawing from norther Syria, and on the Yemen front a truce seems to be at hand.

Given 45’s willingness to meet with, rather than bomb, dictators like Kim, I’m convinced he’s the best US president this century.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security/yemeni-government-separatists-close-to-deal-on-ending-aden-stand-off-sources-idUSKBN1WM0XF

45 is getting nailed from all sides over Syria: https://www.apnews.com/ac3115b4eb564288a03a5b8be868d2e5

America first, come what may.

96

Timothy Reynolds 10.08.19 at 5:19 am

“None of that changes the quite obvious facts in my first paragraph. Trump appears to have committed a crime.” #67

And conservatives would care if Obama had not used a dossier paid for by his underling, Hillary Clinton, as an excuse (by lying to the FISA court about the generally accepted validty of said document) to investigate a candidate from the other party.

Sure, you can BS yourself into believing there are real ‘differences’ between the cases. But no Trump supporter cares. Obama changed the game. If he can have his successor’s opponent investigated, then not one of us will give any kind of damn about him investigating his opponent. Neither the media, nor any other neoliberal institution, commands enough respect amongst the population to change our mind. You should not have done that–we all know that, even you know that. Once you did, that changed every rule of the game. Now everyone will do it. There is no escaping that. Had you not, most of us would indeed support impeaching Trump. But you all did that. And you were fine with letting your crooked little king do it. So we don’t care if our crooked king does it, either.
Turnabout is always fair play.

97

nastywoman 10.08.19 at 7:05 am

@84
”I do not have the power to look into the hearts of men (and other beings) and judge their virtue; I can only go by their external behavior”.

Me Too – and so we once interviewed a Trump Fan who told us (on tape)
”To own the Libs all you have to do is to pretend that you are anti-war – then they even vote for Trump”?

Okay – he was pretty drunk already and it was early in the morning but and about ”Unlike the Clintons, Kerry, Bush, McCain, Obama, and so on and on and on, Trump, as far as I know did not start or actively support any new wars…”

BUT this:
”Under Donald Trump, drone strikes far exceed Obama’s numbers
https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/2019/5/8/18619206/under-donald-trump-drone-strikes-far-exceed-obama-s-numbers

Trump scraps requirement to report air strikes https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/06/trump-civilian-deaths-drone-strikes-1207409

New leak claims Trump scrapped Iran nuclear deal ‘to spite Obama’ https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48978484

So did you get ”owned” by all people – a drunk Trump Fan or by Baron FF von Clownstick himself?
-(and sorry Im asking – as this not polite – I know)

98

John Quiggin 10.08.19 at 7:17 am

“There is also the very persistent charge (see this very discussion) that those who believe differently from oneself are either stupid or evil or both. I think most people are doubtful about taking advice from people who despise them”

This is bizarre. As mentioned repeatedly in this thread, lots of people have tried in lots of ways to present the factual information in respectful and digestible ways and have gone nowhere. And there’s been huge solicitude for the supposedly left-behind voters who backed Trump.

Can you point to any rightwing commentator who has referred to liberals or progressives, let alone socialists, without the implication (or direct statement) that they are evil and stupid? I read widely and I can’t recall any.

99

nastywoman 10.08.19 at 7:30 am

BUT as Faust noticed –
from their external ”their external behavior” –
(I liked that ”wording” form Anarch) –
WE ALL know – that people like ph and Reynolds – contra their protestations – actually don’t believe global warming is happening.

So I have no idea why I – ME – who knows like every ”good” human being on this planet that global warming is happening – and that the world is NOT flat and all these other stuff sane people know –

Why am I’m trying so hard to be so… polite and bipartisan to somebody like this Reynolds dude an ph?

Or am I not?

Why am I even here and trying to do this… ”reason-thingy” with somebody – anybody who is just trying so obviously to ”own some Libs”? – like in this ”strategy meeting” of the Trump Team – I once was allowed to attend because I#m blond and cute and I told them I’m a YUUUGE fan of Donald and his golden toilets.
-(and they even didn’t register I was joking)

So why can’t we just tell the Fans of Von Clownstick and himself in a very ”partisan” way over and over again what DeNiro tells him – and JLaw tried to tell Trump personally before he even got elected.

I mean – Trump understands and understood that if you just tell something to the American people often enough – and you repeat it over and over and over again – it’s ”winning” so why not telling such Reynolds and ph characters over and over again just what DeNiro says – and nothing else?

100

Hidari 10.08.19 at 7:45 am

@95
Nixon didn’t start any wars either (assuming you don’t count the covert bombing of Cambodia). Was he a ‘peacenik’ too?

It’s certainly true that Trump is not as bad as he is painted by the ‘liberal’ media, and that, although there are an almost infinite number of good reasons to despise Trump, most ‘mainstream’ pundits have gone out of their way to find bad ones. As has been pointed out (if memory serves it was by Duncan Black (‘Atrios’) but I could be wrong), not only is Trump not the worst American President of the 21st century, he’s not even the worst Republican President of the 21st century. Which is lowering the bar by quite a bit.

Nonetheless the fact that a morally squalid charlatan like Trump is by no means the worst American President says a lot about the American political system. But what it says about this is not palatable to the liberals who have spent their careers extolling the virtues of that same system. So, mainly, it goes unsaid. Instead we get told over and over again (and wrongly) that Trump is an ‘outlier’ a ‘renegade’ ‘one of a kind’ a ‘rotten apple in a barrel of shining spotless perfect apples’ and (the biggest lie of all) that if and when Trump is finally removed from office ‘everything will go back to normal’.

101

tm 10.08.19 at 8:29 am

JQ: I‘m not sure to what extent Salvini tries to coopt religion but to view him as representative of his country s religious community would be more than a bit of a stretch.

102

dbk 10.08.19 at 8:47 am

A few comments to add to my remarks above, in response to further remarks by others.

Orange Watch @82 & 83: On NC, the Jacobin, Current Affairs, LGM et al.
I agree that NC is probably a better site for Sanders support(ers); the site has more clearly delineated the considerable differences between the platforms of Sanders and Warren than others I read regularly.

Re: LGM in particular: I have been reading the site daily for about a decade, and read nearly every post by Lemieux, Campos, and Loomis (don’t follow military stuff, so I don’t read Farley). And yes, it’s the tone which has visibly changed since the 2016 election. For J-D@58, @93: LGM is a site run by academics (primarily) and its readership is mostly urban/suburban. A search for “rural” isn’t going to come up with much, frankly. I haven’t done such a search as yours – I read the site daily, after all – but you might have better luck with “Trump voters,” “Trump’s base,” and similar. There is a general feeling that those “left behind” need to abandon their homes and move to cities, where there are jobs (I’m generalizing, but that’s the drift). The exception is Erik Loomis, who, notably, supported BS in the 2016 primary and has considerably more empathy for the rural and working-class population (having grown up in timber country in Oregon) and for the dispossessed, both rural and urban. He gets a lot of push-back, though, particularly on posts related to integration, particularly of the U.S. public schools.

tim@85 re: the religious beliefs of climate change deniers
My original statement was a generalization and I thank you for the link to Laudato, which I will read and reflect upon. But in general, as JQ remarked above @91, Christian Evangelicals, who form a key segment of Trump’s base, do not accept AGW.
OTOH, many religious organizations /groups are actively involved in Extinction Rebellion NYC; generally speaking, the more liberal faiths in the U.S. do accept AWG.

notGoodenough@78: on the dilemma(s) of conveying the significance of AGW to the general public

This was a really fine statement of the “information gap” dilemma scientists and environmentalists face.
I too am puzzled about how to reach, well, everyone; many scientists have begun to despair (cf., for example https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/07/weight-of-the-world-climate-change-scientist-grief/). George Monbiot and Chris Hedges (among others) have concluded that, given the urgency of change, only mass protests will be effective – something Extinction Rebellion is attempting to bring about (mottoes: Tell the Truth/ Act Now/ Beyond Politics/ and (in the U.S.)/ Just Transition) through its targeted “actions.”

Daragh McDowell @76: on Ukraine/Biden, etc.
I’d be interested in your reaction to Moon of Alabama’s take on the same events, cf. https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/10/biden-timeline.html#comments (the piece, by the way, excerpts from one published at NC by Richard Smith, a generally very reliable investigator/analyst).

I don’t really care about our various takes on the blog / news aggregation sites we all read – I don’t read FiveThirtyEight, so didn’t endeavor to comment on it. And I’m sure that all the commenters have their go-to sites and favorites. That’s fine, that’s normal.

But partisanship on climate change – well, that’s a different matter. Debating how to best effect mitigation / adaptation is one thing, and needs to be conducted on an ongoing basis in many public fora; debating about whether AGW even exists is quite another.

103

Tm 10.08.19 at 9:06 am

JQ: Neither the AFD, Lega, FN, FPOe or SVP or any of the Nordic Rightwing parties are particularly religious. Their anti-Muslim resentment may appeal to some conservative Christians but Afaik religion doesn’t play a positive role for any of these parties.

The US Republicans are in that respect really not comparable to any European party. Of course Trump himself is different from most Republicans. He must be the first openly Godless US president in history and still Evangelicals support him slavishly. American (or Anglo) liberals have yet to analyse and understand why that is so.

Btw where I live, 150 churches recently rang their bells in support of climate protests.

104

nastywoman 10.08.19 at 9:31 am

OR WAIT!

I just saw Ellen -(and how she explained her hanging out with Bush) – and that made totally and absolutely sense.

So I take it all back – EVERYTHING!

I love – absolutely LOVE the ph and Reynolds types .
AND NO MORE ”Partisanship” anymore – ever!

I – ME – WE agree with everything these ph and Reynold types have to say about anything!

Whew –
(and now – as this is out of the way – can we now go back – fighting the Climate Crisis and one of the worst offender FF von Clownstick?)

105

Nigel 10.08.19 at 9:59 am

‘And conservatives would care if Obama had not used a dossier paid for by his underling, Hillary Clinton, as an excuse (by lying to the FISA court about the generally accepted validty of said document) to investigate a candidate from the other party.’

Yeah, if a bunch of criminals hadn’t been under surveillance at Trump Tower, Trump supporters would be totally repelled by this behaviour.

106

HcCarey 10.08.19 at 10:25 am

#79

The Steele dossier was not the foundation of the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. You’re repeating nonsense.

Trump’s ties to Russia were of long standing concern. Google “Felix Sater” for example. Trump’s call outs to Russia predate the Steele dossier. Repeating nonsense doesn’t change anything.

And again, trump committed a crime when he used tax dollars to extort dirt on his opponents. This is very clear, and talking about the Steele dossier won’t change it.

107

J-D 10.08.19 at 11:28 am

Timothy Reynolds

Sure, you can BS yourself into believing there are real ‘differences’ between the cases. But no Trump supporter cares.

The assertion that Trump supporters don’t care about the difference between doing something in a legal way and doing the same thing in an illegal way is not one I would have advanced myself, but now that you’ve suggested it I have no way of disproving it.

108

nastywoman 10.08.19 at 12:48 pm

– and actually the major problem might be ”bipartisanship”?

As there are so many Americans now – who are so confused, that they write stuff like this:
”The Democrats’ alternative to Trump’s efforts to establish a form of presidential dictatorship and create a fascist movement based on anti-immigrant racism and extreme nationalism is to install a government directly run by the CIA and the Pentagon”
– and then they probably think: That’s ”bipartisan”?

While any ”good partisan” -(and not ”partisan” of ”the Dark Side”) knows – that:
”The Democrats’ alternative to Trump’s efforts to establish a form of presidential dictatorship and create a fascist movement based on anti-immigrant racism and extreme nationalism is NOT to install a government directly run by Trump –
(and his CIA and the Pentagon) – as Trump very obviously is the head of the head of the CIA and if just two whistleblower of the YUUUGE CIA whistleblow on Trump – it’s even less than one of Trumps children telling him:

”Dad your are a criminal idiot and you should be impeached”!

109

Anarcissie 10.08.19 at 2:39 pm

nastywoman 10.08.19 at 7:05 am @ 97 —
There seems to be some disagreement here as to whether Trump has started any new wars. Given the present condition of the US government and media, that is not surprising. I’m just going by what I read and guess. And my contribution was in answer to a very limited question, which was whether Trump exhibited even a single virtue. I believe not starting new wars is an (external) virtue, one which cannot be attributed to his immediate predecessors or many of his prominent opponents. But I could be wrong (about Trump, not about the said immediate predecessors and prominent opponents).

I’m not a Trump fan; I just believe in giving the Devil his due, as I said before. If you believe that whether a leader starts new wars or not is unimportant, then we have a deeper difference of values which we would have to resolve to continue the discussion without talking past one another.

John Quiggin 10.08.19 at 7:17 am @ 98 —
In regard to getting climate change skeptics and deniers to change their minds, the classic Dale Carnegie theory is that you have to get inside the mental framework of your targets, which may be tedious or distasteful. There is no use citing authorities because they have already rejected your authorities. As for right-wing commentators etc. who don’t abuse those who differ with them, I might be able to find you a few, but I hope we’re not supposed to take lessons from the Right on the subject.

110

Orange Watch 10.08.19 at 2:52 pm

Murthy@87:

Remind me again whether a plurality of the commentariat of a blog whose frontpagers are academics in relevant fields lost their mind when the labor historian academic in their midst had the gall to post about educational inequality. Lawyers, academics, and other professionals can and do have shared class values, and those can and do color their politics and prejudices, mang, and just because someone fancies themself a forward-thinking progressive who doesn’t SEE class doesn’t mean that they’re not perched comfortably atop a mountain of unexamined privilege they’re loathe to lose, nor that such privilege doesn’t draw them towards specific subgroups of like-minded individuals within the larger tent of their political party.

BTW, on the subject of class, it’s super classy when you engage someone condescendingly but then proceed to not respond to their response to you directly in favor of continously throwing vague passive-aggressive barbs in their direction while conversing with other people because you know they’re still reading the thread.

J-D@93:

I didn’t mean to suggest that you were digging into that for my sake; I really do appreciate that you were willing to do some research based on a random other commenter’s suggestion. It reflects well on you, and I wasn’t giving you enough credit.

Having said that… if you look at what a professional athlete does in the offseason, and during the week you look they’re not doing sports or training, I’d still hesitate to say sports is not a salient part of their identity. To touch on a theme from the other conversation I’m carrying on in this thread, identities are multivalent. If the news of a particular week doesn’t touch on a particular part of that person’s beliefs and biases, it can rest unseen.

As to tone, that further complicates things. Information encoded pragmatically rather than semantically is far more likely to rely on a shared dialect of cues, allusions, and strategic omissions. To try to drag this sub-conversation back closer to the original thread topic, a reason why people look at a set of utterances and draw wildly disparate conclusions about its meaning can be that its meaning is not always a matter of semantics. Reading LGM long-term as someone who does not feel like a member (and let’s be clear, LGM’s commenters are very given to in-group/out-group dynamics) makes my interpretation of their utterances different from an outsider who doesn’t read it regularly – but while my comprehension is closer to that of a long-term insider’s, even then it’s not the same for a number of reasons; of those my observing rather than internalizing shared values is probably the most helpful for me, while the narrowness of my vocabulary in the common pragmatic dialect from my non-exposure to it outside that one forum is the most hindering.

More briefly: you looking over LGM to try to clearly see what is obvious to me because I’ve had years to learn a vocabulary of small offhand remarks and idiomatic allusions was frustratingly informative about problems with ontological intelligibility.

As a parting note, I’ll leave this 2016 LGM post by Eric Loomis which aims some relevant criticism at the rest of that blog’s blindspots and overgeneralization, among other things. Even this is not terribly explicit, but then it doesn’t need to be, because it’s part of an ongoing conversation with continuity of reference, shared interpretations, and particular nuances that were previously established. Sadly, the post has no comments; I think it dates back to before Disqus was adopted as the site’s commenting platform, but I can’t remember exactly when that happened. The Economic Anxiety “Debate” (28/11/2016).

111

JimV 10.08.19 at 5:59 pm

Timothy Reynolds: “And conservatives would care if Obama had not used a dossier paid for by his underling, Hillary Clinton, as an excuse (by lying to the FISA court about the generally accepted validity of said document) to investigate a candidate from the other party.”

That is very disturbing, if true. I had not heard this, so I did some Google research. Assuming the dossier is the Steele Dossier, and the FISA court reference is to wire-taps, your accusation seems to be one that Republican operatives and Fox News have promulgated, but which remains unproven and denied. I base this assessment primarily on the following two sources:

Wikipedia: “Trump Tower wiretapping allegations”

Vox.com: “Fox News has normalized a lie about the origins of the Russia investigation”

Note that republicans Mueller and Comey would have to have been part of a cover-up, as well as numerous other officials, if the accusations were true. Whereas the trigger for this conspiracy theory seems to have been tweets by Trump, a notoriously bad source of reliable information.

As an aside, I prefer the aphorism “two wrongs don’t make a right” to “turnabout is fair play”. The former I heard from my mother, whereas the latter I have only seen in print.

112

steven t johnson 10.08.19 at 6:57 pm

Timothy Reynolds@96 pretends to even-handed “live by the sword, die by the sword” realism. But the issue is about smearing opponents as traitors. It was his superiors who ranted about email servers, Benghazi and Clinton Cash long before. And that’s to amnesty the unbelievable pile of crap similar trash spouted in the Nineties. All of it was hinting treason, treason, treason. Reynolds is whining because his tin god is getting some payback. Trying to claim some sort of evenhandedness in this is contemptible, especially given the man openly asked Russia to do more DNC type dirty tricks.

No sensible, decent human being took the malignant buffoonery of conservatives crying treason against Clinton seriously. And no sensible, decent human being takes smears of treason against Trump seriously either. This was viciously reactionary, hateful politics back during the great purges called McCarthyism. It’s only gotten rottener with time.

People have also tried to present factual information in respectful and digestible ways that the economy is booming, not least Trump himself. Or that NAFTA would help the whole country. Or that a college education would pay off, especially if you lost your previous good job. Or….

113

Chetan Murthy 10.08.19 at 9:04 pm

JQ:

Can you point to any rightwing commentator who has referred to liberals or progressives, let alone socialists, without the implication (or direct statement) that they are evil and stupid? I read widely and I can’t recall any.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the demonization of anybody *one* *scintilla* to the left of the GrOPer movement is a long-standing thing, going back as far as Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his list of words to use and not use, as well as the well-known and widely-respected (on the right) pollster and political operative Frank Luntz. The idea that somehow it’s the left/progressive/liberals who engage in demonization is laughable on its face. Let’s not forget all the GrOPer pols who accused Hillary Clinton of treason for doing exactly what her (GrOPer) predecessors as Secretary of State did, either.

It started at the top and rolled downhill from there. And the top of the GrOPer movement continues to use eliminationist language toward liberals.

114

kinnikinick 10.08.19 at 10:36 pm

I’m starting to appreciate the virtues of hypocrisy.
Doing the work of creating a durable cover story for an indictment, or mixing a few actual criminals into a targeted “corruption probe”, or finding an self-consistent excuse for new regulations – even if the motives are venal, there is some theory of mind involved. An acknowledgement of shared values, or at least the need for a semblance of same, beyond the partisan struggle. More cynically, doing the work of hypocrisy adds some friction to the whims of power – there will be cases where it’s just not worth the effort to build a believable frame job. This new era of “saying the quiet parts out loud” comes with a deep sense of impatience and frustration radiating from those in power – all they want is loyalty and obedience, so why are they constantly hampered by underlings who still expect a convincing excuse?
Most of the time, you can replace “deep state” with “rule of law” and incur no loss of meaning. I think this goes beyond partisanship.
If all I can hope to do is replace your crooked king with my crooked king, our common project of maintaining the facade disappears. That facade is containing forces, not just concealing them.

115

Barry 10.09.19 at 12:10 am

“And conservatives would care if Obama had not used a dossier paid for by his underling, Hillary Clinton, as an excuse (by lying to the FISA court about the generally accepted validty of said document) to investigate a candidate from the other party.”

Gawd.

116

Orange Watch 10.09.19 at 1:35 am

dbk@102:

Thank you for concisely summing up what I had been poorly and verbosely trying to communicate. I need to work on my focus and succinctness.

117

faustusnotes 10.09.19 at 1:51 am

It’s amazing to read dbk write this up above:

There is a general feeling that those “left behind” need to abandon their homes and move to cities, where there are jobs (I’m generalizing, but that’s the drift)

I also have been reading LGM for a few years and I remember very clearly when Kevin D. Williamson wrote in the NRO that poor whites suck and should move cities to get jobs, there was general uproar around the traps and LGM spent quite a bit of March 2016 writing about what a stupid and terrible article Williamson wrote. Yet somehow dbk interprets an article like this as saying workers need to “abandon their homes”.

How can it be that someone who has been “reading LGM for 10 years” could have read the multiple articles by multiple posters in March 2016, attacking this very idea, and yet conclude that there is a “general feeling” that they support it? How indeed can Orange Watch – who has been shown comprehensively to be wrong by J-D with a simple reading of the site – continue to maintain that LGM holds rural whites in contempt? It clearly does not.

What is going on here that people on the left can be so misled about simple, verifiable facts written down by the very people they’re complaining about? What has happened in just 3.5 years that people who claim to be familiar with LGM can forget that the site wrote multiple articles attacking an idea, and instead claim that the writers on that site support the idea they were attacking?

I would like an explanation from dbk and Orange Watch for these mistakes. Why and how did you make them?

118

John Quiggin 10.09.19 at 2:10 am

Striking that Timothy Reynolds first appeared as a concern troll, talking about how the left wasn’t messaging correctly on climate change, before revealing himself as a rightwing conspiracy theorists.

Anarcissie, I have to say that your posts on this thread seem like concern trolling also. But, since you’ve made useful comments in the past, I’m open to a different interpretation. Can you spell out your position on climate science and climate change policy?

119

Chetan Murthy 10.09.19 at 2:36 am

faustusnotes, thank you so much for adducing that Kevin Williamson article! Indeed, he’s pretty damn brutal in that piece. You reminded me of Charley Murray’s _Coming Apart_, where he blames poor whites’ lack of morals, family values, and work ethic, for their economic travails. The same way he blamed poor black people in previous screeds.

Yessirree, two dyed-in-wool liberals there, Williamson and Murray. Yeap, yeap, yeap.

120

Chetan Murthy 10.09.19 at 3:22 am

JQ: I went and re-read Tim Reynolds’ comments, and yeah, it’s clear he’s a climate troll. To put it succinctly, in every other technically-sophisticated field, we accept “epistemic learned helplessness” as the obvious and wisest course. But in the case of climate change, somehow he’s expecting those who believe it’s happening, to actually *convince* those who don’t.

I’m reminded of the arguments over evolution, and how even doctors sometimes end up on the side of creationism, of all the idiocies.

121

Heshel 10.09.19 at 3:47 am

Climate Change deniers channeling Idi Amin:

https://youtu.be/5VMX6zCXHWA?t=50

122

nastywoman 10.09.19 at 7:49 am

@109
”If you believe that whether a leader starts new wars or not is unimportant, then we have a deeper difference of values which we would have to resolve to continue the discussion without talking past one another”.

I believe very much that it is ”not unimportant” wether a a leader starts new wars –
but you wrote:
”I do not have the power to look into the hearts of men (and other beings) and judge their virtue; I can only go by their external behavior”.

And so I posted some examples of Trumps ”external behavior” concerning war and after
explaining that ”we once interviewed a Trump Fan who told us (on tape)
”To own the Libs all you have to do is to pretend that you are anti-war – then they even vote for Trump”?

I asked:
So did you get ”owned” by all people – a drunk Trump Fan or by Baron FF von Clownstick himself?

And as you didn’t answer this question in your last response – we indeed – might be talking ”one another”.
And please – if you respond – don’t tell me – that my question is a silly question – as I have found out – that this argument that ”Trump didn’t start any new Wars” get’s used by the Trump Team to the utmost degree in order to ”own” the Libs again – and make a lot of naive Americans – who are NOT aware that Trump and his Fans just pretend to be ”anti-war” – vote for him again.

123

faustusnotes 10.09.19 at 7:51 am

Chetan, perhaps I’m misreading subtle sarcasm, but I think you might be misunderstanding my comment? I didn’t adduce KW, I used LGM’s multiple critical responses to KW as evidence that they believe exactly the opposite of what dbk says they “generally” say.

I don’t understand how Orange Watch and dbk can make these claims about LGM when there is such abundant and obvious evidence of the exact opposite of what they say. It’s up there with climate denialism in its mendacity. I think J-D made this point pretty clearly by reference to the actual text. It’s like dbk and Orange Watch have confused LGM and National Review Online. This is particularly egregious given LGM’s consistent and serious support for unions and organized labour. I don’t understand why left wing people would turn on their own like this.

124

nastywoman 10.09.19 at 8:32 am

@118
”Striking that Timothy Reynolds first appeared as a concern troll, talking about how the left wasn’t messaging correctly on climate change, before revealing himself as a rightwing conspiracy theorists”.

Yes! –
it is very ”sad” that the Clownsticks of these world have learned so… let’s not say ”well” but perhaps ”viciously” to play some of US Progressives or so called ”Libs”.

And as we have one of the best examples – of their currently most successful ”Game” –
-(The ”Trump Never Started A War-Game”) – AND at the last election even very clever anti-war posters like Glenn Greewnwald fell for this ”Trump-Team-Trick”.
We HAVE to expose such Games anytime somebody plays them with us.

And – sometimes the Gamer might be playing it in ”good faith” – honestly believing that Trump indeed is ”anti-war” BUT then WE have to inform – him or her – that such a belief is NOT the case!

125

Daragh McDowell 10.09.19 at 9:20 am

DBK @102

Has a quick look at the link. Generally speaking, if someone is arguing that “the Maidan Coup” was about gas fracking in Ukraine (which has been about as successful as gas fracking in Poland) and then talks about the “Donetsk People’s Republic” being “established by referendum” (HA!) you can safely dismiss them as someone with precisely zero understanding of Ukraine and its politics, and a yen for attributing any and all political developments to the shadowy designs of the US deep state. A crank in other words. That the idea that Hunter Biden – no-one’s idea of the sharpest knife in the drawer – was the linchpin of this entire geopolitical scheme (which just happened to coincide with Yanukovych rejecting an EU association agreement, which the several hundred thousand Ukrainians in the CIA’s pay apparently took as an excuse to take to the streets) and this isn’t the most ludicrous element of the story should tell you something.

126

nastywoman 10.09.19 at 10:29 am

AND about this ”Ukrainian” thing –
and somehow – understandable? – that Americans have this idea – that Biden –
– or Obama or THE CIA – or any Americans played some kind of an ”important role” in the chaos of a country – trying to become a democracy and thusly trying to move away from Russia – and in the arms of the comparably much more pleasant EU?

Yes!-
Americans played some ”role” – about as YUUUGE as the 400 000 Bucks Trump didn’t want to give to the Ukrainians – in comparison to the Billions the Ukraine get’s from the
EU.

In other words:
It’s really strange – that all these conspiracy theorists on the Internet -who came up with these theories – that it WASN’T mainly ”the Russians” – or certain ”Ukrainian Groups” themselves – who created the terrible chaos – didn’t point to ”Some Great EU” – they instead pointing to some of their fellow countrymen -(mainly THE CIA)

Does that have something to do with OUR exceptionalism? – and this weird way of seeing – even countries which are very, very faaar away from US entirely from our perspective?

And I once had to post an entire history of the Ukrainian War – IN German –
(as them Germans are pretty thorough about this history-stuff) – just in order to convince somebody on the Internet – that there wasn’t a single American name in there. AND even that Bidens bragging to pull some Ukrainian prosecutor was actually done by the EU and the IWF and some Ukrainian ”Influencers”.

-(and please no comeback with the argument – that the IWF is nothing but ”a tool of the US” or something like that)

127

J-D 10.09.19 at 10:45 am

In an early comment to this thread, EB wrote:

But who, at the moment, is voicing contempt for rural people, men, and white people? it’s not the Republicans; it’s various sub-groups of the Democratic coalition. If we don’t have more self-discipline on messaging than that, we will lose those constituencies.

People who feel that the Democratic Party holds them in contempt are extremely unlikely to vote Democrat.

But if rural white men feel that the Democratic Party holds them in contempt, I very much doubt that the way they’re getting that idea is by reading Lawyers, Guns & Money.

128

Lee A. Arnold 10.09.19 at 11:22 am

Timothy Reynolds #97: “lying to the FISA court about the generally accepted validity of said document”

This is false.

From the FISA warrant October 2016: “Source #1, who now owns a foreign business/financial intelligence firm, was approached by an identified U.S. person, who indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia (the identified U.S. person and Source #1 have a long-standing business relationship). The identified U.S. person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.” –pp. 15-16.

This appears to be all that is necessary for a FISA warrant, in the proper language, and all that is legally required.

Trump’s Republican propagandists, or at least Nunes and Gowdy among them, grudgingly conceded this point, all the way back in early 2018: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/05/fbi-footnote-carter-page-warrant-390795

Obviously this falsehood is still being propagated, although it is now updated with qualifying locutions such as “…generally accepted validity…” Still false.

Rewritten, to identify the participants: “Christopher Steele, who now owns a foreign business/financial intelligence firm, was approached by Glen Simpson, who indicated to Steele that Perkins Coie [Clinton’s law firm] had hired Simpson to conduct research regarding Trump’s ties to Russia (Simpson and Steele have a long-standing business relationship). Simpson hired Steele to conduct this research. Simpson never advised Steele as to the motivation behind the research into Trump’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that Simpson was likely looking for information that could discredit Trump’s campaign.”

Remember, the dossier is raw intelligence for a warrant to authorize further investigation, like a tip to the cops — it is NOT a sworn affidavit to be entered as evidence in a trial.

Other falsehoods we read and hear from Trump supporters (to try and head them off):

1. Steele’s antipathy to Trump is legally relevant in a warrant application.
2. The Steele dossier was the only basis for the Carter FISA warrant.
3. The FISA warrant was the basis for the Mueller investigation.
4. All of the items in the Steele dossier have been proven false.
5. The Mueller investigation proved there was no collusion and no obstruction.

So far as we know, these too are all FALSE.

129

reason 10.09.19 at 12:56 pm

I don’t know whether I’m odd but not starting any new wars is a strange criteria for measuring virtue. It is not anything like the same as spreading peace, which really would be a virtue.

130

Anarcissie 10.09.19 at 1:31 pm

John Quiggin 10.09.19 at 2:10 am @ 118 —
I don’t see any concern trolling on my part. Only because you ask: I figured out climate change would occur as a child. This was in the late 1940s. I saw a picture of people burning smoky stuff in orange groves threatened by freezing, and asked one of the tribal elders why that would help, since it did not appear that smudge pots would heat up acres of trees much. I was told that the gases and particulate matter in the smoke would reflect the heat radiating from the ground and thus keep the trees warmer. I thought this was quite remarkable, which is why I remember it now. Later, I asked, ‘Since people burn a lot of stuff and kick up a lot of smoke and gasses and so on, won’t this make the world warmer?’ ‘Yes,’ the elders said, ‘No doubt you’ll see palm trees growing in New York any day now. Har har.’ Later still I saw the same theory in Popular Science or some such magazine. So, when the theory began to be noised about decades later, I was all ready for it. By then, as now, however, you could see gross environmental destruction everywhere, so it was no surprise. Today, I think it’s about 90% probable that things are going to get really, really ugly. But there is nothing much I can do about it, because the institutions which guarantee this result, to wit, capitalism, imperialism, and endless war, are sacred and may not be impugned. Nor may the lifestyles of the rich, famous, and powerful be seriously questioned. Is this view concern trolling? I don’t get it. Yes, you are going about trying to change people’s minds in the wrong way, as Mr. Carnegie could tell you, but does it matter?

131

Orange Watch 10.09.19 at 2:14 pm

fn@123:

I don’t understand how Orange Watch and dbk can make these claims about LGM when there is such abundant and obvious evidence of the exact opposite of what they say.

I’ll explain it for you: you’re ignoring the parts of what we said that don’t fit the narrative you want to present. You’re retorting to a comment referring to the tone at LGM as being largely unsympathetic to non-urban populations in the US, and also noting that the overall tone there shifted significantly after the 2016 election, yet you cited a post from March 2016 as evidence that LGM’s political orientation was being misrepresented. This is, to use your language, up there with climate denialism in its mendacity.

I don’t agree with everything dbk wrote (for example, I’m appalled to see them link MoA as a reliable source of information, let alone a useful source of analysis), but if you’ve read LGM for any length of time it’s hard to see how you can’t have noticed how much more intolerant, vituperative, and outright toxic its community had become over time, with the most dramatic shift coming after November 2016. Pre-election LGM is not the same as post-election LGM, and the change was definitely for the worse.

132

Marc 10.09.19 at 4:09 pm

Presidential primary seasons have a way of bringing out the worst in people. A lot of left-leaning blogs went off the rails in 2008. And in 2016, LG&M went all-in against Sanders, with particularly nasty and over-the-top behavior by commentators. After the Trump election the place had an absolute melt-down, and I stopped reading them for quite awhile.

As a leftist, I find Loomis valuable and he’s why I go there now. Campos can be interesting. Lemieux (2016 era) was consistently wrong in his predictions, and incapable of fairly characterizing people who disagree with him. Maybe he’s changed, but as I no longer read anything that he writes, I wouldn’t know. And I had such horrible interactions with people in the comments there – abusive and awful – that I don’t read them either.

So, there are people who are *not* right wing trolls who had really bad experiences at that place, and I view the characterization by Orange Watch as actually pretty fair based on what it was like when I was reading.

133

tm 10.09.19 at 4:59 pm

“I don’t understand why left wing people would turn on their own like this.”

Simple: these are not left wing people.

Ever since 2016, there has been this ridiculous claim that any criticism of Trump is a sign of contempt for rural white people. Or when you think of it, really the very existence of cosmopolitan urban liberals is an insult to rural who white Trumpists. There’s really nothing a liberal can do to not be guilty of contempt of Trump voters.
Let me nevertheless point out a few facts:
– Rural America isn’t white. Some of the poorest, most disadvantaged rural areas are inhabited by African Americans.
– Republicans don’t give shit about rural America. Obama did more for rural America by passing the ACA than anybody else. Republicans did everything in their power to deny rural Americans this benefit.
– Contempt, even hatred invariably goes the opposite way. No urban politician ever joked about nuking Kansas, and they also don’t vote against emergency aid for rural areas.
– White rural Americans are a small minority, are economically subsidised by the urban centres, and are politically far far over represented, to the detriment of cities like Philadelphia (where I have lived ), which are systematically denied funding for schools and transit by their reactionary, rural dominated legislatures.

There’s you have it, full of contempt, them librls.

134

Layman 10.09.19 at 6:24 pm

Chetan Murthy: “As I’m sure you’re aware, the demonization of anybody *one* *scintilla* to the left of the GrOPer movement is a long-standing thing, going back as far as Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and his list of words to use and not use, as well as the well-known and widely-respected (on the right) pollster and political operative Frank Luntz. The idea that somehow it’s the left/progressive/liberals who engage in demonization is laughable on its face. Let’s not forget all the GrOPer pols who accused Hillary Clinton of treason for doing exactly what her (GrOPer) predecessors as Secretary of State did, either.”

Indeed, whenever the left try to reduce the demonization by moving a bit to the right, the GOP rump simply take a step of their own further rightward and recommence the demonization.

135

anon/portly 10.09.19 at 8:17 pm

Can you point to any rightwing commentator who has referred to liberals or progressives, let alone socialists, without the implication (or direct statement) that they are evil and stupid? I read widely and I can’t recall any.

I’m genuine curious – what’s an example (or a few examples) of an American right-wing commentator who commonly makes this sort of implication or statement? The way this statement is worded is a little confusing, maybe, as I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to mean all the time or just once in a while.

I am sure some left-wing and right-wing commentators make this type of statement occasionally, but I don’t know that I read any who do. Ann Coulter might be an example, but (1) she says a lot of things for (comic, typically) effect, obviously, and (2) I can’t imagine JQ actually bothers reading her, or anyone at all like her.

Chetan Murthy in 113 brings up Gingrich, who was a politician and not a “commentator,” and besides anyone on the left (or right, really) talking about Trump in 2019 and 2020 will find Gingrich’s list insufficient, since while it did have “corrupt” and “incompetent” it was missing “lazy” and “racist.”

136

anon/portly 10.09.19 at 8:28 pm

98 And there’s been huge solicitude for the supposedly left-behind voters who backed Trump.

How does this even make sense? If you’re a “supposedly left-behind voter who backed Trump,” what are you hearing, right now, from the left and from the Democrats? How awful Trump is. The Democrats running for president are not trying to appeal to swing voters, they’re trying to appeal to their base. How can you be “huge[ly] solicit[ous]” toward any group of Trump voters when you are constantly implying bad things about anyone who would vote for Trump?

When it comes to the general election, then I would imagine that the Democratic nominee might temper their rhetoric somewhat in ways meant to appeal to the larger body of potential voters. As bad as Trump is, I don’t think he’s really as bad as most left-wingers think, whose view of Trump is naturally skewed by their dislike of Republicans and Republicans generally. (Alan White asks for a virtuous trait – isn’t there something somewhat virtuous about Trump’s consistency and genuineness and transparency? He doesn’t – well, much – rely on deceit or shiftiness, he is what he is? Even in his bullying or “fake pugnacious” behavior, he’s genuine, and even caves and whines in a genuine fashion?).

Maybe JQ meant that on blogs like CT or LGM there was “huge solicitude” for these voters. (Not that they would be reading them, so probably not, but). Actually the LGM post Orange Watch links to in 110 is about this, but the hugeness of the solicitude is somewhat tempered in a somewhat typical fashion:

These are voters that Democrats can probably get back without appealing to racism, which it absolutely must never do.

“Probably” But maybe not…. (I enjoyed the “which it absolutely must never do” also – in the debate about what LGM is really like, somehow “schoolmarmish” hasn’t come up).

137

Chetan Murthy 10.09.19 at 10:27 pm

faustusnotes:

perhaps I’m misreading subtle sarcasm

No, I wasn’t being sarcastic. You jogged my memory of that KW column wherein he basically excoriated all the poor rural whites to rent a U-Haul and drag their asses to where the jobs be …. skipping all the details that make that so difficult (as LG&M and others rightly dragged him for). He and Charles Murray (amongst probably others), for all their right-wing credentials, heaped scorn and contempt on poor rural whites.

And I’d forgotten about that, hence my thanking you.

138

Alan White 10.09.19 at 11:48 pm

@135– “isn’t there something somewhat virtuous about Trump’s consistency and genuineness and transparency? He doesn’t – well, much – rely on deceit or shiftiness, he is what he is? Even in his bullying or “fake pugnacious” behavior, he’s genuine, and even caves and whines in a genuine fashion?”

This is the funniest thing I’ve read this week. I guess I parse “genuineness and transparency” in our own actual world rather than some remote possible one. Do you think he genuinely loves his Base more than himself, or that he really wants to be transparent about his tax returns? And that’s just two small examples!

As they say on ESPN–c’mon man!

139

faustusnotes 10.10.19 at 1:23 am

anon/portly asks:

I’m genuine curious – what’s an example (or a few examples) of an American right-wing

Again, I wonder what planet some of you supposedly left-wing people are living on. Google “demonrats” and get back to us.

This stuff is trivially easy to investigate and confirm yourself, and anyone with even a passing knowledge of Fox News, hate radio or the rest of the American political climate would know these things. Why adopt this pose?

Orange Watch, my reference to the March 2016 posts was clearly a response to dbk, and I gave a separate response to you which you conflate, as you are wont to do. But let me tackle your specific complaint directly. You say that the “overall tone” changed after November 2016, without giving any evidence. J-D then went through a large number of recent posts, giving an assessment of the tone of the posts and the top-rated comments. Obviously top-rated comments can be assumed to be representative of the tone of the blog (since they’re voted up). You respond with a suggestion that a general search would enable J-D to prove your point, but refuse to do so. So against J-D’s careful reading of a bunch of posts and comments you offer: nothing. You simply repeat your assertion.

But Marc shows what you’re really getting at, and what you really mean when you say its “overall tone” is contemptuous, doesn’t he, when he says this:

LG&M went all-in against Sanders, with particularly nasty and over-the-top behavior by commentators

Your real problem is that LG&M hate Sanders and Stein, and particularly Sanders. That’s how you judge “contempt” for the “real” left from LGM.

But here’s the thing: Sanders is a fraud and a show pony, and any real leftist would hold him in contempt. He’s not a socialist and he’s not anti-war. He’s a millionaire who voted for almost every war and sanction the US ever introduced, and he has held off any transparent investigation of his tax affairs for years in order to hide the money his wife was making from her extremely non-socialist consultancies. He has no policies and has never shown any record of achieving anything in politics, and while others were doing hard work in union and environmental movements he was kibbutzing on stolen land. He is, of course, a staunch defender of Israeli colonial projects. He was beaten by millions of votes in a democratic primary against a very weak leftist, but we’re supposed to believe he would win in the much more conservative and demanding environment of a general election in which every single media organization was out to get him. And of course his sour grapes – and in particular the sour grapes of his millionaire-funded activist buddies like TYT – helped to throw the 2016 election to Trump. But he made sure he cried like a baby when Trump won, which just goes to show what an irresponsible and pointless show pony he is.

Anyone who is genuinely left would be appalled by Sanders’ behavior, the behavior of his supporters, and the way the American left has turned support for a fraudulent millionaire into a litmus test for real left wing values. That is what you really hold against LGM, and that is why you think they hold the left in contempt – because they refuse to treat your show pony grifter as a genuine socialist and pinged him as a fraud from the very beginning. Now the USA is melting down into a fascist hell hole and you want us to think it’s LGM’s fault and not the fault of the assorted grifters and class traitors like TYT, Sanders and his ilk, and you really don’t like it when people with a genuine commitment to the betterment of poor people (in the cities and the country) have the temerity to point out how completely you’ve been fooled.

If that’s not true then prove it by presenting a proper analysis of LGM. Or better still, find a left wing politician or media organization with genuine reach and influence (not a blog) that sneers at poor rural whites. I’ll get you started with an example: Jacobin. What was Jacobin’s response to the Kevin D Williamson post I mentioned above? What did they have to say? I’ll bet you it was nothing.

You, dbk et al, you have no analysis to offer, just assertions and tone trolling. You need to back up these ridiculous claims you make.

140

Collin Street 10.10.19 at 1:42 am

The thing about narcissistic injury is that it’s the most painful thing in the world, of a different nature and degree to any other sort of suffering.

Under those circumstances, comparisons are offensive and completely unacceptable.

141

LFC 10.10.19 at 3:57 am

Just to stick an oar in here before shutting off the computer for the night: My problem with LGM, which admittedly I only read quite sporadically, is not so much the content as the tone. With some exceptions — e.g. Loomis’s posts on history (though not his posts on current events) and Dan Nexon’s and R. Farley’s posts on foreign-policy matters — the front-pagers, esp. S. Lemieux and P. Campos (both of whom sometimes have interesting and persuasive things to say, to be sure), write from an olympian position of always being right, and certain, about everything and never admitting a mistake about anything. And the commentariat there for the most part just engages in collective yelps of approval, leavened occasionally by a genuinely humorous remark.

If you like the dogmatic we-are-right-and-certain-about-everything tone, you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t. As a constant or near-constant tonal frequency, I find it fairly repellent. YMMV.

142

Chetan Murthy 10.10.19 at 3:58 am

anon/portly:

Chetan Murthy in 113 brings up Gingrich, who was a politician and not a “commentator,”

But it wasn’t merely that Gingrich used his list: he enforced a rule that his entire caucus would use it, and from there via the right-wing messaging machine, it was used all over media. Similarly, Frank Luntz (who -is- a comentator, but also an influencer) changed the way the entire right-wing talked about Dems/progressives/liberals. And let’s not forget that GrOPers were using words like “treason” to refer to Hillary Clinton’s email server issues. [And it bears reminding that if she’d been using official state department servers, her emails WOULD have been hacked along with all the others when those servers get penetrated, whereas so far nobody has any evidence that her personal server was ever penetrated. Also worth reminding is that those servers were set up for her husband’s office, hence vetted by the Secret Service.] And the list goes on, I mean, don’t we remember that Barack Obama was a Secret Muslim?

If you really care about this question, you might consult David Niewert’s writings about this. He’s been on this beat for decades.

143

bekabot 10.10.19 at 4:01 am

I’m not clear, though, on why you would expect people to apologise for having been deceived.

I don’t. That’s the point (which I was apparently ineffective at getting across).

144

Chetan Murthy 10.10.19 at 4:18 am

anon/portly:

How does this even make sense? If you’re a “supposedly left-behind voter who backed Trump,” what are you hearing, right now, from the left and from the Democrats? How awful Trump is.

Three thoughts:
(1) perhaps you haven’t been listening to Joe Biden? Or Buttigeig? the Dems are a broad movement, and the idea that they speak with a single voice is ….. just incorrect. Most Dems have taken great pains to try to convince ‘white working class’ voters that they’re on their side.
(2) Perhaps you haven’t noticed the innumerable “Cletus Safaris” put on by the media, to the point where even Doonesbury made fun of them? The media has bent over backwards to pander to these imbeciles.
(3) I must say, that you seem to have slept thru the Obama years. Completely forgotten about what happened then, and the insane levels of demonization to which he was subjected.

Or maybe, just maybe, you’re a troll.

145

Bruce Baugh 10.10.19 at 7:00 am

At the risk of being contrarian :), I have a thought about the original post and linked article.

We have a test case for the warm-relations theory, in the US Congress of the civil rights era. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden is strongly nostalgic for the comity of that era, writing and speaking with great affection of his personal bonds with various prominent racists and segregationists of the tail end of that era.

Did these warm relations in any way promote the cause of racial equality in law and practice? Did they deter the rising tide of racist reaction? Did anything other than good feelings among the participants come out of it?

I don’t think so. But I know I don’t know everything, and am open to evidence of constructive action following from it. It would be nice to think the whole thing isn’t entirely bullshit.

146

politicalfootball 10.10.19 at 1:28 pm

Alan White asks for a virtuous trait – isn’t there something somewhat virtuous about Trump’s consistency and genuineness and transparency? He doesn’t – well, much – rely on deceit or shiftiness, he is what he is? Even in his bullying or “fake pugnacious” behavior, he’s genuine, and even caves and whines in a genuine fashion?

I can’t imagine what White is talking about here. It is widely acknowledged among liberals that Trump’s incompetence has benefits, and that his transparent dishonesty has some advantages over clever deception. I think you would struggle to find someone on the left who wants Trump to substitute actual pugnacity for his fake pugnacity.

As for consistency, well, I guess that’s a word you could use for a consistent lack of consistency. (Just this week, witness his wildly varying statements on the Kurds and Turkey, and his sudden shifts in policy there. It’s true that this sort of thing has been a consistent hallmark of his presidency.)

But really, it’s the Right that refuses to acknowledge Trump’s consistent grifting, erratic behavior, racism, sexism and narcissism.

147

Chetan Murthy 10.10.19 at 7:40 pm

More evidence (as if it were needed, in a world where Pat Robertson blames 9/11 on teh ghey and abortions) that it’s not merely leftists demonizing salt-of-the-earth jes-folks Trump voters: https://www.people-press.org/2019/10/10/partisan-antipathy-more-intense-more-personal/

148

tm 10.10.19 at 8:13 pm

Tens of thousands of people are displaced after Trump invited Turkey to invade Syria, throwing his own former allies the Kurds, who they paid most of the cost of the fight against IS, to the crocodiles.

Trump hasn’t technically started this war but he is fully responsible, he is fully willing to further destabilise the region, exacerbate ethnic conflict and again strengthen the fascistic and terrorist forces in the region.

Message to Trump apologists: if he had wanted to decrease the military footprint of the US, he would have had plenty of opportunities to do so. Ending this rare case of an actually stabilising military force was not among them. This action was not just reckless, it was taken to intentionally destabilise a fragile peace.

One more remark, if “hasn’t started a war in his first threes years in power “ counts as a positive distinction, don’t forget to give Hitler his due.

149

Alan White 10.10.19 at 11:52 pm

@145–please read the entire thread relating to my comments about Trump, and not due to some distorted context of the text quoted. It’s @135–not me–who attempted to ascribe some bizarre notion of virtue to Trump. (See my more recent comment @137 for example.) Here’s my whole reason to raise this issue: it’s a foundational-type puzzle for me that the US electorally (not by popular vote though) placed in office someone who obviously is devoid of any virtues of character whatever–though no doubt the Russian/Republican demonization of Clinton made it a kind of toss-up on that matter. Now however, we have an even clearer picture of the kind of person Trump is. He is not kind. He is not honest. He is not truthful. He loves and is devoted to no one but himself–if you think he loves his family, well, there’s a lot of evidence that he’s deeply compromised on that (recall his cringe-worthy remarks about Ivanka, and jeez, a glaring absence of any evidence whatsoever he spends any “quality time” with Barron, who he welcomed into the world by cavorting with Stormy Daniels). We know who he is. Why anyone would continue to support him–especially given his volatility about any policy based only only how he perceives himself to be popular? As I have stated before here and elsewhere–Kurt Vonnegut as brilliant as he was could not have concocted as dystopian a national narrative as we continue to write, every single freaking day.

150

J-D 10.11.19 at 12:20 am

I am impelled by some recent comments by faustusnotes to make the following points clear:

I came into this discussion without any views about Lawyers, Guns & Money, positive or negative, because I have never been a reader of it.

Having looked it now, just a bit, the only definite view I have formed about it is that there seem to be some interesting posts there. I still don’t have any strong view about it, positive or negative, beyond that.

I enjoyed investigating it the way I have described, and found it interesting, but I don’t think my research findings approach being conclusive. They’re suggestive only. A much more extensive investigation would be required to form definite conclusions about Lawyers, Guns & Money, and I don’t feel impelled to undertake it (although I have found some of the comments about it, positive and negative, interesting and suggestive although not conclusive).

I still think, what I’ve observed before, that the important point for this discussion is that any resentment felt against the Democrats by Trump supporters, or Trump-supporting rural white men specifically, or any other sub-group of Trump voters, or rural white men in general, is not even a little bit a consequence of attitudes towards themselves they’ve seen being expressed at Lawyers, Guns & Money, because the number of them who follow the blog must be insignificant.

If it’s true that rural white men resent the Democrats, it might be important to know why, but the answer to that question is not ‘Because of the awful things Lawyers, Guns & Money say about them’. Much, much earlier in this thread, EB suggested that the Democrats are losing the support of rural white men as a result of the contempt Democrats voice for them. If that’s really happening, Lawyers, Guns & Money is not the place where it’s happening. Citation still needed. A relevant one.

151

anon/portly 10.11.19 at 3:34 am

138 This is the funniest thing I’ve read this week. I guess I parse “genuineness and transparency” in our own actual world rather than some remote possible one.

Well, I should have left that out, it wasn’t a well-considered comment. Surely DT does have some virtues. 62 million people voted for him, and many of them seem to be genuinely appreciative of him. I have no real insight into what people see in him or what his virtues might be. But he is what he is and doesn’t hide it, so “genuineness” and “transparency” I think are not entirely off.

My comment there was related to the idea (98) of having “huge solicitude” for a Trump voter. I actually can find ways to understand and empathize with most political choices, I think, but thinking Donald Trump should be president? I have a difficult time imagining how anyone could conflate or reconcile my astonishment at their political behavior with “huge solicitude” for them.

152

anon/portly 10.11.19 at 4:00 am

139 This stuff is trivially easy to investigate and confirm yourself, and anyone with even a passing knowledge of Fox News, hate radio or the rest of the American political climate would know these things. Why adopt this pose?

133 I’m genuine curious – what’s an example (or a few examples) of an American right-wing commentator who commonly makes this sort of implication or statement?

98 Can you point to any rightwing commentator who has referred to liberals or progressives, let alone socialists, without the implication (or direct statement) that they are evil and stupid? I read widely and I can’t recall any.

Emphasis mine. I was curious about who or what JQ reads that is like this, at least in the American context. I’m guessing he’s not reading Fox News or “hate radio,” whatever that is, even if they do come in readable form, which as far as I know they don’t. And whether or not I have a “passing knowledge of the rest of the American climate,” or am adopting some pose, I’m still curious.

153

faustusnotes 10.11.19 at 4:27 am

Alan White, it wasn’t the electorate. It was the Republicans + the Russians.

154

ph 10.11.19 at 6:07 am

Watching “liberals” cheer for Clapper, Comey, Brenner is something of an eye-opener, to say the least. Now that 45 has elected to end US involvement in northern Syria, with a plan of a kind (unlike 44) to replace US troops with others from a NATO state in good standing (like it or not), we now have “liberals” resurrecting Barry Goldwater’s attack on Richard “soft on the commies” Nixon for abandoning US allies in Viet Nam to the blood-thirsty reds.

I don’t like 45, but I feared his opponent’s enthusiastic and proven appetite for destroying UN nation states would lead the US deeper into ME conflicts.

Exactly which “liberals” support continuing US meddling in Syria and other ME nations?

“Liberals” like TM are lining up along side Boot, Goldberg, Sullivan, the corpse of Charles Krauthammer, and the rest of the “war brings peace” goons who love nothing better than bombing the crap out of folks who can’t fight back. If 45 sends more troops in (see JQ above) or takes troops out ™ – 45 is always “starting” new wars.

Given that neither solution seems to satisfy critics, perhaps the best bet is for the US president to listen to the US people, and most of the citizens of the world, who want an end to US wars in the ME. Silly me.

155

J-D 10.11.19 at 6:24 am

Alan White

It should be obvious that somebody who attracts support as broadly as Donald Trump does receives support from different people for different reasons. If I name some of his qualities which some people admire, it is to be expected that some people support him because of those qualities while others support him despite those qualities (which they may in fact despise); also, that yet other people will oppose him, and even despise him, despite admiring exactly the same qualities in other cases.

All that said–

He is not kind. He is not honest. He is not truthful.

–it’s important not to be misled by the fact that most people purport to place a positive value on kindness, honesty, and truthfulness, and that it’s extremely rare to find somebody expressing a straightforward, unqualified endorsement of cruelty and/or duplicity. The people who do admire these things usually call them something else: toughness, hardness, and realism (while kindness, honesty, and truthfulness they are likely to refer to as weakness, naïveté, and sentimentality). Once you start seeking for them, or just being mentally prepared to identify them, it’s not hard to find examples of people admiring cruelty and/or duplicity (both fictional versions and factual ones), even if only in some cases or subject to qualification.

More specifically, I’m developing the notion that when people say (as many do) that Donald Trump ‘says what he thinks’, very often what they’re referring to is a lack of compunction in attacking his opponents. Maybe you’re like me and you don’t find that an admirable quality; but is it really so difficult to imagine how some people do?

It’s also obvious from the way he talks that Donald Trump admires winners and despises losers. You may not share that attitude, but is it hard to imagine how (to varying degrees) some people do? For somebody who admires winners and despises losers, the emotional reaction may well be stronger the more comprehensive the victory and the defeat, and cruelty and duplicity do make them more comprehensive.

156

nastywoman 10.11.19 at 6:48 am

@139
”But here’s the thing: Sanders is a fraud and a show pony, and any real leftist would hold him in contempt”.

Okay – I also -used to love Bernie – BUT not even as close as you do?
And as you are one of my fellow – so called ”Lefties” – perhaps I can ask you you what bothers me for a long time.

Why are so many of US such amazingly wonderful rational, reasonable and sane people -(compared to all of these crazy Clownstick)
BUT THEN there are some of US – who have this completely irrational LOVE or should we call it ”tick” – or as a Japanese friend of mine would say: TEH HOTS – for somebody or something?

Why?

I mean – if you love Bernie that much – make ”Nookie” with him – and then you will come back here – refreshed – and all ready to encounter the Clownsticks –
(together wit ME – MOI and US!)

157

Hidari 10.11.19 at 8:21 am

‘@149 ‘it’s a foundational-type puzzle for me that the US electorally (not by popular vote though) placed in office someone who obviously is devoid of any virtues of character whatever’

Well let me solve that puzzle for you Alan, although you’re probably not going to like the solution.

The solution to your problem is that our current situation is not American capitalism not working. It’s American capitalism…working (this insight is not original with me, it’s from whoever ran the Mike Gravel Twitter account). Everything is working precisely as it’s supposed to work.

The nature of the feral, amoral rat race that is American capitalism is to select the worst people in America, the most venal, the most corrupt, the most misogynist, the most racist, and then give them as much money and power as possible. Trump, Zuckerberg, Alan Sugar (in the UK), that nutter who ran WeWork, Peter Thiel, Travis Kalanick, the whole bunch of ’em.

Liberal: ‘They can’t all be like that.’

Me: ‘They are all like that.’

Then, the liberal theory is that one can keep a firewall between this agglomeration of money and (therefore) power and keep it totally separate from the (allegedly) autonomous realm of politics.

Surprise!

It don’t work that way. Berlusconi in Italy, Trump in the UK, Michael Bloomberg….it turns out that when you are richer than Croesus, you can effectively buy elections, as Trump effectively bought the last American election (with help from his friends in the corporate media (Sinclair, Fox) and a weak opponent).

To repeat: this is not capitalism not working. It is capitalism working. If you hand the worst people the keys to the kingdom don’t be surprised if they open the door and make themselves at home. Essentially there is no quarter of American intellectual life that doesn’t buy into capitalist ideology (‘entrepeneurs’ as ‘wealth creaters’…all that crap), and so there is no serious counterweight to the idea that the sole purpose of human existence is to become as rich as possible, ‘by all means necessary’. *

Trump is the living embodiment of American values, of the American Dream.

Likewise, American imperialism. As Chalmer Johnson tirelessly pointed out, the American Empire is morally rotting the US from within. Ultimately the US will have to choose (as other imperial powers did before it): will you choose democracy or Empire? You can’t be both. A democratic Empire is a contradiction in terms, in the long term.

The British, the Dutch, and, ahem, the Germans, ultimately chose democracy, and lost their Empires.

So far all the signs are that the Americans are going to make a different choice.

American liberals are like Brutus et al, who killed Caeser, mistakenly thinking that the trend towards autocracy was because purely of his own personal characteristics. But Caeser was a symptom, not a cause. He was an aspiring dictator, yes, but not a very good one (he was far too blatant). Liberals killed Caeser and as a result they got Augustus, who was much better at pretending to ‘save’ the Republic, and creating an elaborate facade of democracy, while in reality abolishing the last remnants of the Roman democratic tradition.

And he did this because the Roman Empire had rotted the Republic from within. Ultimately Roman elites chose Empire over the Republic.

To be frank, it looks like American elites will make the same decision. ‘Killing’ Trump politically will make no difference, and may even hasten the process. Men in their 20s are watching Trump now, envying him, and watching his mistakes. When they make their play for power, they will not make the same mistakes as he did.

Which is a longer way of saying, do not for a second assume that there is a genuine resistance to Trump in the US. There is not. You have anti-democratic forces in the Republican Party, but their ‘opponents’ are merely in favour of a different set of anti-democratic actors (e.g. the CIA, the FBI), as their actions make clear. A genuinely democratic opposition would have anti-imperialism as its core concern, and would also want to strengthen democratic sources of resistance within the US (mainly, of course, trade unions, but also other anti-capitalist groupings). There are few of these people, and they have zero chance of ever achieving power.

Or: tl;dr. The American Empire, ultimately, needs to be governed by an Emperor, and the idea that this person should be democratically elected may soon be perceived as being…a quaint idea.

*Oh and you can forget about the return of the ‘trentes glorieuse’ etc. That only happened because, with the rise of Communism, and internal forces (strong trade unions etc.), elites felt threatened and felt they had to make concessions to ensure political stability. With Communism vanquished, the radical Left crushed, trade unions emasculated, and no real meaningful ideological challenge to capitalist ideology on the horizon, as Branko Milanovic has pointed out, for the first time in human history, a socio-political order, Capitalism, stands universal and unchallenged.

Capitalism faces no threats, so it will make no concessions.

So the future will be like this, only more.

158

Lee A. Arnold 10.11.19 at 12:22 pm

Alan White #149: “…it’s a foundational-type puzzle for me…”

It has a long history. Tyrants have arisen in royal families to take control of states since ancient times, and often gained fervent followers. The framers of the US Constitution knew history and designed the system to correct against these occasional, inevitable sociopaths. (They were also particularly concerned with the case of foreign influence upon factions, because of course almost everyone in the US colonies had contacts in the old world.) The occasional arising of sociopaths in democracies is to be expected. The Nazis for example gained power largely through democratic means. The winning combination for success appears to be: economic distress + moral fear + outgroups that you can hate. In Trump’s case it is also clear that some of his voters believed his campaign rhetoric was a stage act, and that he would straighten-up and be normal after he was elected. Now his supporters stick with him via other sins well-attested by time: ignorance, self-pride and inertia.

159

Anarcissie 10.11.19 at 3:58 pm

reason 10.09.19 at 12:56 pm @ 129:
‘I don’t know whether I’m odd but not starting any new wars is a strange criteria for measuring virtue. It is not anything like the same as spreading peace, which really would be a virtue.’

I agree, but then you have to look at the context. I believe the people I named, recent presidents or presidential candidates, all started or supported starting new wars, wars of choice I might add, whereas apparently (to me) Trump had not, although he had continued some old ones. Now, some say he did too start one or more new wars, so maybe I’m misinformed. No surprise if so. But others seem to be implying that the matter is unimportant, and thus not starting a new war is too unimportant to be accounted a point of virtue. As Stalin famously was supposed to have said, ‘If you kill one man it’s murder; if you kill a million men it’s a statistic.’ Is that how we’re going to judge Trump and his presidential peers? I don’t like it. But if you do, maybe you could enlighten me.

160

LFC 10.11.19 at 6:56 pm

@faustusnotes

Sanders has his flaws, as does every other politician, but your characterization of him is, frankly, ridiculous. This stuff about he’s-rich-so-he-can’t-be-an-actual-leftist is funny. (Of a piece in a way with your (inaccurate) assertion, made here some months ago (maybe it was more like a year or two ago) that Marx was wealthy, when in fact he lived a good deal of his life in what a biographer aptly described as genteel poverty.)

Btw I don’t care that LGM is critical of Sanders and thinks he’s a fraud — if that’s their view, fine. What bothers me a bit, though, is that it almost never seems to enter their mind that they ever could be mistaken about anything.

161

Hidari 10.11.19 at 8:50 pm

Not that I care what LGM say about anything but do they ever attack other candidates with the same vehemence that they attack Sanders?

162

politicalfootball 10.11.19 at 9:22 pm

Now that 45 has elected to end US involvement in northern Syria, with a plan of a kind (unlike 44) to replace US troops with others from a NATO state in good standing

The liberal media never cease to amaze me with their insistence on ignoring the good things that Trump does. You won’t believe this, but in the US, the media are reporting that nobody replaced the US troops, and Turkey promptly invaded.

163

faustusnotes 10.12.19 at 1:15 am

LFC, the tone of certainty that turns you off LGM is both a) very common on the internet and b) completely unrelated to the original claim of contempt for rural whites that was presented here. I’m interested though that you identify one word in my screed (millionaire) and defend against that without addressing any of the rest of Sanders’s problems.

In Australia we had a Prime Minister whose wife made money from classically capitalist consultancies and it didn’t end well. The left isn’t well served by these people. The left is best represented by a union organizer or someone who worked in a real job. Sanders is not such a person, and it is a legitimate complaint against him that he was off kibbutzing when everyone else was working. Has he ever done a real job?

I’m intrigued that commenters like Hidari can be so sure that money can change elections, but so certain simultaneously that the Russians can’t.

I’m also intrigued that Hidari can still make statements like this:

American liberals are like Brutus et al, who killed Caeser, mistakenly thinking that the trend towards autocracy was because purely of his own personal characteristics.

So many citations needed! Who are the “American liberals” Hidari refers to? Where is the evidence that they think “the trend towards autocracy” is purely due to Trump’s “personal characteristics”? And if it is not due in some sense to Trump’s personal characteristics how come it has started happening now and not 30 years ago? Are we to believe that this insidious and all-encompassing neo-liberal ideology, which has been around for 40 years and supported by every branch of US society, took 40 years to get to this stage and when it finally did it chose as its tool the most incompetent fool in human history?

Of course Hidari would have us believe that it’s just a coincidence that this happened only after the NRA was captured by the Russians, the GOP was filled with second-rate grifters, and there was a racist backlash to a black president that led a racist pig who is obviously owned by foreign powers to take over this intellectually bankrupt party.

Corey Robin has been making the argument for the last 3 years that Trump is not an aberration, also arguing (without citations) against “American liberals”. The almost universal response here has been “we can have both”: that Trump is both unique and a generic Republican. But the possibility that fascism arises from both systemic and unique individual reasons is inconceivable to leftists like Hidari because their ideology is built around the idea that everything is always and everywhere due to systemic structural issues. This is why the racist backlash doesn’t get a look-in on the theory, and why they can never answer why this thing happened at this moment and not some other, earlier time. I would like to see an answer to that; and I would also like to see some recognition that Sanders (faux socialist show pony that he is) is not the solution to the problem now, and was not in 2016 either.

164

Collin Street 10.12.19 at 1:18 am

The framers of the US Constitution knew history and designed the system to correct against these occasional, inevitable sociopaths.

Did they? I mean, understand history.

I’m not a historiographer, but the deposition of James II was a pretty major event less than a century prior, so there should be some reasonable documentation of how the mechanisms that lead to its being much less bloody than the deposition of his father were understood in north america in the later 18th century. I mean, it’s comparable with modern-day stuff like world war one and the russian revolution, stuff that we [with our admittedly-better education system] teach to Literally Every Fifteen-Year-Old; we’d expect textbooks and encyclopedias to be full of it. We should be able to see how the US constitution was shaped by these concerns and understandings; maybe the well-documented debate process explicitly mentions this, or something?

Because from my perspective all I can see is that the US constitution replicated the shitty stuart constitution that killed squillions in wars, with the single addition of a mechanism to impeach the king that’s useless because it’s too slow-moving.

165

John Quiggin 10.12.19 at 1:19 am

Hidari @161 I don’t follow LGM closely enough for a comparative analysis), but a quick search suggests that they (or at least Scott Lemieux) are pretty down on Biden
http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/05/the-threat-is-real

My impression is that LGM are backing Warren in the same way that Jacobin is backing Sanders. Is there anything unusual or wrong here?

166

Chetan Murthy 10.12.19 at 1:54 am

Hidari: TL;DR LG&M attacks many, many candidates. Out of glee, and out of conviction. But of the top-tier candidates, yeah, as JQ says, the ones who come in for a drubbing are Sanders and Biden. This doesn’t mean the also-rans don’t get ridiculed — but at some point, that’s no fun, kicking down.

LG&M also …. attacks …. well, maybe I should say farts in the general direction of, while casting aspersions as the stench of her father (of elderberries) at Tulsi Gabba-Gabba-Doo? Erm, I mean, Tulsi Gabbard, of course. And of course there’s been multiple posts about Williamson, too. I mean, brutal, brutal stuff.

They’ve also turned their firehose of scorn at Delaney (though they don’t bother, b/c he’s gone gone gone, gone baby gone). And Licken-Hooper. And DeBlasio. And …. who else? I know there’s another one ….. damn … damn …. damn …. oh right … Bennet/Bullock/Ryan/SleeStack (oh, sorry, I meant Sestak)/Steyer/Moulton. But they don’t focus on these jokers much, except to point out that they could be usefully running for Senate, b/c …. they’re not goin’ anywhere, and why bother? Except for Moulton and Ryan, who are handy pinatas b/c they failed to unseat Pelosi, and NOW they’re gonna run for President? Guffaw.

I left out Yang, but again, he’s …. well, why bother?

167

Chetan Murthy 10.12.19 at 1:55 am

Hidari: Also, I feel it’s relevant to note that at LG&M, all the frontpagers and most of the commentariat are all on Team Broken Glass. As in, we’ll all crawl over broken glass to vote for the Democratic candidate, whomever s/he is. Even Bernie. Even Ol’ Handsy Uncle Joe. The sniping is entirely -entirely- intramural.

168

Matt 10.12.19 at 4:00 am

Hidari asked, Not that I care what LGM say about anything but do they ever attack other candidates with the same vehemence that they attack Sanders?

While my overall take on LGM is a slightly milder version of what LFC says at 160, this is just obviously wrong. Biden is by far the biggest target for attack there. After Biden, it’s probably Gabbard (rightly), and then the parade of hopeless white guy candidates. Sanders himself is only rarely attacked. (In fact, Farley and, I think, one other poster there were even advisors on Sanders’ 2016 campaign.) Sanders’ more stupid supporters – the ones who see him as unique and indispensable – are regularly and rightly attacked, but that’s a different issue all together.

169

ph 10.12.19 at 4:37 am

First, a few compliments. I find CT practically the only left-leaning site worth visiting fairly regularly. That doesn’t mean LGM is poor, but the only surprise for me there on a recent visit is that bianca steele (usually worth reading) posts comments there.

LFC may be right about LGM, but a willingness to be wrong doesn’t seem to be too much to ask. He’s quite right to point that out. I’m very pleased to admit that support for HRC was entirely misplaced. I overestimated her capacity for humanity and honesty, and underestimated her appetite for war. Ditto, my blanket anti-GOP bigotry. For most of my early adult life, I took it as a given that the GOP were simply all bad.

Hidari is worth reading, but I disagree completely with the notion that American capitalism is peculiarly bad. It’s a bad system, but far and away the best, when all adults have the right to vote and serve in government.

What I find mind-boggling is the expectation of some here that somehow, sometime a shiny unicorn will jump out of the pile of shit that is the Iraq war, and if only the US invades enough countries, drops enough bombs, or kills enough bad guys, that somehow “peace with honor” will somehow emerge.

The only question was how long it would take Americans to realized that manufacturing the evidence to invade and destroy Iraq did nothing to bring peace and prosperity to the Iraqi people, and did nothing to bring improve the lives of Americans. Ditto Libya, ditto Syria. That time arrived in 2016.

Then-candidate 45 stood on the Republican stage during the primaries and eviscerated Bushco, trashed liberal Saint John McCain, and the corrupt intelligence and FP establishment for a series of disastrous military, trade, and domestic policies. For 45, the enemy was both establishments.

If 45 is deposed prior to 2020, it won’t be because Sanders or Warren have better policies, it will be because the American permanent military-intelligence complex and their allies succeed in their efforts to regain control over the reigns of power. I’d be astonished if they fail.

However, if 45 manages to hang on, we can expect continued improvement in the conditions of minorities, more jobs, better educational choices, and a more opportunities for women and others. The CIA, FBI, and intelligence establishments and their allies in the press and American academia will do their utmost to bring 45 down until he’s gone.

170

nastywoman 10.12.19 at 4:38 am

@157
”Everything is working precisely as it’s supposed to work”.

– with – perhaps? the exception of the HealthCareSystem and the missing Well Paying and Secure Jobs for the People and the Missing Vacations and the Free Education?

But don’t worry – it also will come to America – it always just takes a little longer in my homeland than here in Europe – and about ”the nature of the feral, amoral rat race that is American capitalism is to select the worst people in America” – I thought so too after the Clownstick was erected and after you mentioned ”the Zuck” –
Do you know – that he was really worried about being outed as an a…hole by this… movie – and then he was sooo relieved that WE ”the people” actually seem to love a… holes and even erect them as Presidents.

BUT that’s all changing now and after Elizabeth will become President – it will get a lot better – and then we just have to have a lot of patience – like they had here in Europe – where it also didn’t happen in a few year – that ”things” got a lot better.
And sometimes I get this impression that some here prefer some kind of ”a revolution” instead BUT as we just had our ”revolution of idiocy” – it was kind of proven that these type of revolutions really… suck and so let’s just turn ”Social-Democratic” – like all the pretty ”cool” countries I know – and then – from time to time make vacations – in ”Marienbad” –
(remember: ”Last year in Marienbad”?)
As – there everything is STILL working precisely as it’s supposed to work.

171

ph 10.12.19 at 4:39 am

reins? I like reigns. Anyway, you get the point.

172

nastywoman 10.12.19 at 4:44 am

Forgot the link –

https://youtu.be/yc6n2McMAnY

173

ph 10.12.19 at 5:32 am

Matt Taibbi, Trump critic understands the greater threat. American, academics cheering for a CIA coup against the US president. https://taibbi.substack.com/p/were-in-a-permanent-coup

If the CIA, FBI and their foreign intelligence allies succeed in removing a “war-loving” president like Trump, what makes anyone think that after Clapper et al succeed, are CIA and FBI officials going to take orders from a socialist like Bernie, or a liberal like Warren?

Susan Power still doesn’t know who actually did the unmasking of US citizens during the closing days of the administration. I’m inclined to believe her, and that 44 was never fully in control. The Bushco security apparatus expanded under 44, with both Clapper and Brennan spying on Americans and elected US representatives “unwittingly.”

This thread is about information, and information filters. Step outside the bubble and read Taibbi, he’s on your side and he’s scared about what’s taking place.

That’s it from me. Sorry about the extra comment, John.

174

dbk 10.12.19 at 5:49 am

Dear faustusnotes,

For heavens’ sake, I like LGM. What person in their right mind would follow a politics blog for a decade if they didn’t admire it?
That said, you are right that my policy preferences are more progressive than those of the majority of LGM commenters. But isn’t it important to read a wide range of views in order to make better decisions? Isn’t that part of becoming an “informed citizenry”? I also read The American Conservative and National Review, because I consider it important to understand others’ political views.
Yes, I prefer BS’s platform over that of other candidates, but note that my preference is not for BS qua individual, but for a number of domestic policies which I believe will begin to remediate serious issues confronting the U.S. Generally speaking when I consider candidates for office (at all levels), I look to their proposed policies and not their personalities.
There are two issues that trouble me, one having to do with how some commenters address – or more properly, do not address in any substantive way – the economic despair which plagues de-industrialized regions (the “Rust Belt,” “Heartland,” “flyover country”) and the other with how the commentariat have responded to direct challenges by Erik Loomis on schools and racial integration, of which he has issued not a few. People only started accepting (not entirely, but more) his position when he posted excerpts from a recent book review he published in the Boston Review, after years of commenters telling him he had no right to challenge them on school integration because he is childless. There’s been quite a bit of NIMBYism exhibited in comment threads on integration – schooling – housing until quite recently, and I found it disheartening. [I recommend the review itself, where Loomis includes an extensive discussion of his interactions with LGM commenters on the subject. Indicative quote: “The fury these posts generate among commenters, who as a whole are upper middle-class white liberals, far surpasses the ire provoked by anything else on the blog.”]
To the point: I understand that you became very angry with me and lashed out, which for some people comes easier than for others. I was upset by your ad hominem criticism, but took a couple days to reflect, and concluded that in fact I do read my own positions into posts at LGM.
Re: BS’s personality and character / “bad” foreign policy positions, etc. I can’t respond. I don’t know him personally, haven’t followed his entire career, and frankly, U.S. politicians’ positions on the ME/NE leave much to be desired regardless of what politician one’s discussing. My own interests and reading focus lie in domestic policy.
So: we can agree to disagree – though courteously, please – or we can attempt to achieve a deeper understanding of one another’s views/positions.
It’s up to you.
Which kind of takes us back to the theme of the OP, doesn’t it?

175

Hidari 10.12.19 at 8:36 am

@159: ‘As Stalin famously was supposed to have said, ‘If you kill one man it’s murder; if you kill a million men it’s a statistic.’ ‘

The modern version of this is of course: ‘If you kill one person it’s murder, if you kill a million people it’s foreign policy’. (American foreign policy, to be specific, although you won’t hear many complaints from the Brits, the Australians, the French etc.)

@163 I believe in a free press: LGM can choose to support whoever it wants.

I have noticed that (despite the fact that he continues to lead the polls and has the overwhelming support of, e.g. the African American community), the corporate media have been pretty down on Biden. I’m not sure quite why that is. After all, he’s a centre-right politician who openly promises to give the Republicans everything they want (as long as they are ‘civil’ about it). This is normally the sort of thing that gets the corpohacks tumescent.

Perhaps they perceive him as being too old, or too compromised by his past alliances (cf his less than spotless record on race and ‘sexual politics’) or, ahem, his present alliances (cough cough, his son, cough cough, Ukraine). Or perhaps there is something else going on, things that are widely known in the ‘Beltway’ but which the hacks have not chosen to share with the plebs. I don’t know.

But it’s certainly true, to repeat, that the preferred candidate of the corporate media (and therefore the corporations which control the corporate media) is Warren. Perhaps they feel that ‘it’s time for a woman’.* Perhaps they feel ABS (Anybody But Sanders). Perhaps they think that Warren’s rhetoric (and past history) indicates that she will provide the illusion of radicalness with none of the substance which in many ways is their best possible outcome. I just don’t know. But it’s definitely been striking.

In any case it’s noticeable that LGM (like most ‘liberal’ news outlets) hates (or at least distrusts) Sanders at least as much as they hate Trump despite that fact that, as Faustnotes notes, Sanders isn’t actually terribly radical by ‘world’ standards, (though he’s unquestionably a decent human being, which makes him something of a rarity in the world of (American) politics.)

Of course I can infer these things more clearly ‘cos I’m on the other side of the pond, where the genuinely radical Corbyn (a man who is, and always has been, openly feminist, pro-LGBQT+ and anti-racist and anti-imperialist) is openly loathed far more than the misogynist thuggish racist Johnson across the entire media spectrum (including the allegedly liberal Guardian and ‘Independent’). So I would assume something similar is going on in the ‘States.

*I’m not saying this is a bad thing to think. Au contraire, I agree with it. I’m just kicking around ideas.

176

faustusnotes 10.12.19 at 8:44 am

Hidari, has it ever occurred to you that Sanders deserves the vitriol directed at him from the left, and that the complaints against him from the left are worth taking seriously?

Politicalfootball, Vox suggests that Trump isn’t withdrawing any troops from Syria or replacing them – just moving 50 away from a unilateral Turkish military action.

177

nastywoman 10.12.19 at 9:44 am

AND guys – please? – excuse the stuff I’m sometimes writing BUT I have been seriously traumatised -(by this ”friend” of ph) and so –
“I wake up each day much like the kid of a very crazy and dangerous dad wakes up, in the sense that I don’t know what the insane dude is going to do?”

And it’s all there:
“Anxiety, foreboding, depression, anger, frustration, fear, bewilderment”
My mind has been annexed; I doubt ALL of my perceptions. “What I know to be real “is itself challenged by this ph friends actions and statements and deeds.”

“Yet I somehow have to get our bed and start working each day and act like things are normal.”

And then – I always thought I’m not a bad chess player – but how do you play chess – with people who even can’t play checkers?

I#m just far too genius for this world – I might have turned into… into…
OH MY GOD?? into some kind of a… Clownstick?

178

nastywoman 10.12.19 at 9:56 am

BUT on the other hand?
-(and after having a truly great breakfast) I now know that we all watching a dying cult!
And soon all of our troubles will be over –(even if Hidari doesn’t believe it)

AND there will be ”a new day” -(with even better breakfasts) and Greta will finally get her ”Noble” – and ALL of the Clownsticks will be locked away and I can go back to Marienbad. -(and to London and Laguna Beach)

179

Lee A. Arnold 10.12.19 at 12:58 pm

Hidari #157: “current situation is…American capitalism…working”

Not really. Every type of system in history has allowed the ascension of stupid crooks. Along with their half-witted courtiers, minions, explainers and mass believers.

The basic problem isn’t the system, it is the limitations of individual cognition. Under the banner of freedom and entrepreneurialism, consumers buy themselves out of a job, and so voters elect a stupid crook who will deny them universal healthcare.

Free market capitalism will be seen as a finite 250-year era, because right now, it is in need of some very serious amendments.

180

Orange Watch 10.12.19 at 1:06 pm

Hidari@161, JQ@163:

The only candidate they might attack more vehemently than Sanders is Gabbard, and since she polls much lower she gets less venom. There was a brief period when they seemed fixed on the idea that the media was pushing Williamson so they upped the vitriol going her way, but generally the only candidates they can’t mention w/o attacking are Sanders and Gabbard. Tellingly, especially in the comments, anti-Biden screeds will be softened with statements how they don’t want to attack him too vigorously since he could well win the nomination or assertions they’ll still enthusiastically campaign for him if he wins. The few times I’ve seen that discrepancy mentioned, a grudging “I guess I’d do the same for Sanders” will be brought up, but I’ve never seen that without an accompanying attack on him to wash the taste out of the speaker’s mouth (which again, professions of contingent support for Biden lack). Biden supporters also get little to no abuse, while Sanders supporters are dismissed as “Bernie Bros”, “Trump curious”, “Putin fellators”, traitors who cost Clinton the election, etc. etc. etc.

It’s probably also worth noting that LGM wasn’t pro-Warren out of the gate; the original alignment was strongly pro-Harris until her campaign failed to gain any noticable momentum. A lot of commenters still favor her above all others even as they cheer for Warren and reluctantly state they could support Biden.

181

Lee A. Arnold 10.12.19 at 1:07 pm

Meanwhile, those who suppose that Trump is better because he said he doesn’t like war are almost endearingly, charmingly childish. It ignores the danger obvious to anyone who has studied history, foreign policy and military strategy that Trump is setting up a big risk of World War III in about 20 years because this “demilitarizing” necessarily entails betraying allies and cozying up to dictators, while he’s also losing trading partners and downsizing to within domestic US borders of hatred, fear and suspicion, yet with advanced militarism.

Consequently if the US falls behind in standard of living, technology and infrastructure while its capitalists run out of the dollar to get a better ROI in Chinese assets that are valued in their separate trade bloc, most of the people in the US will be whooped-up for war, again. And this will be directly traceable back to Trump.

182

Orange Watch 10.12.19 at 1:37 pm

fn@139:

Orange Watch, my reference to the March 2016 posts was clearly a response to dbk, and I gave a separate response to you which you conflate, as you are wont to do.

The statement that a tonal shift occured after the election was in dbk’s comment you purported to respond to with your March 2016 link. It was not in my own comment. You’re conflating everyone you’re disagreeing with into an amorphous amalgamation and obviously not going back to double-check the prior comments you’re making pious pronouncements about. There’s little to no point arguing with you, because you’re not arguing with what I or anyone else said, but rather with your remembered but unverified impressions of what we said.

LFC@141’s observation applies as well to you as LGM. Consistent contemptuousness for those you disagree with coupled with an unwillingness to be self-reflective make it harder to pick out useful insight, and makes that insight harder to trust because past mistakes go unmentioned and unaccounted for.

183

steven t johnson 10.12.19 at 2:41 pm

Hidari@161 asks if LGM attacks other candidates with the vehemence they attack Sanders. Yes, they are even more vicious toward Tulsi Gabbard for being antiwar in Syria. One may wonder why they care so much, given Gabbard is a nobody in the race. But LGM is utterly committed to the empire. That’s why Farley and Nexon, professional counselors for an effective imperialism are there. Thus, merely raising such evil ideas in public enrages them. Also Gabbard was raised in some obscure Hindu minisect (aka cult,) which incompetents like LGM think is therefore nuttier than mainstream religion, which makes her fair game. Plus of course, she’s not white.

They are so vicious they even attack her for supporting Modi, when LGM—including the so-called defense professionals—also support Modi in Kashmir. They of course are very committed to the Uighur cause, including Uighurs fighting jihad in Syria. Gabbard is anti-imperialist like Andrew Bacevich, which is to say, not in any coherent or reliable way. But LGM most certainly is no more hostile to Gabbard for being inconsistently anti-imperialist than they hate Sanders for not being a real socialist. They hate Sanders for being old, for making problems for Clinton, and for being too much of a socialist for them.

LGM also is quite vicious about Marianne Williamson. Again, they are not content to rely on her self-destruction because they absolutely despise cults. Again, their delusion that the popular religions are not objectively saner is invincible.

Pete Buttigieg also earns vituperation far beyond his importance in the race. The reason here of course is that Buttigieg is gay. LGM is committed to the current version of feminism because the militant prudery that plays such a large part makes it safe. I’m not particularly impressed by Buttigieg’s Ellen for President approach, myself. (By the way, Ellen treating George W. Bush warmly was savaged by LGM, because of the gay. Obama actually ignoring his duty and hurting the country to protect Bush from justice has never really been enough of a problem for LGM to change their judgment.)

LGM’s commitment to Warren came fairly late, but it is solid. The way Warren applauded Trump for declaring Ameria will never be socialist probably won their hearts and minds, forever. It was a golden moment, like Obama shaking Bush’s hand to commit to Bush’s TARP (implicitly, saving the banks and screwing the people.)

JQ notes they attack Biden, but overall a great deal of that is about how Biden is too old. But they do seem tempted to join Trump in attacking him for corruption. I believe the real corruption is what’s legal, and the younger Biden accepting jobs is a legal form of influence peddling absent the infamous quid pro quo. LGM however is insanely obsessed with the looniest kind of Russian conspiracy mongering.

184

Tm 10.12.19 at 2:57 pm

154: Trump enthusiastically supports Israeli occupation and annexation of Palestinian lands, supports Saudi war crimes in Yemen, actively seeks conflict with Iran, reversing Obama’s deescalation policy, he just provoked a new military escalation in Syria in an area that has been relatively peaceful for years. But apparently it’s us “liberals like TM” who are responsible for US meddling in the Middle East.

I almost never respond to Trumpist/fascist apologists and am making an exception only because I was directly named. But the dishonesty is and remains breathtaking.

Ana 159: precisely when you look at the context – see above – the claim that Trump is less belligerent than his predecessors doesn’t hold water. Also, don’t judge the evil a leader is capable of doing from less than three years of data.

185

dh 10.12.19 at 4:55 pm

ph sounds very lonely. May I suggest a sexbot that allows him to celebrate his limp withdrawals?

186

William S Berry 10.12.19 at 6:31 pm

do they ever attack other candidates with the same vehemence that they attack Sanders?

No, they don’t. They attack Joe Biden with considerably more vehemence.

Now that 45 has elected to end US involvement in northern Syria, with a plan of a kind (unlike 44) to replace US troops with others from a NATO state in good standing

Ha ha ha! Is it any surprise that ph (kidneystones, need I remind?) is now on the record in support of ethnic cleansing (complete with the resettlement of Arabs in the “cleansed” areas*) , if not genocide?

I have previously described ph as a “pseudo-leftist” and “crypto-fascist”. Time to drop the “crypto-” now, I think.

*The resettlement of parts of Ukraine by Russians after the mass ethnic cleansing of the holodomor was all right, so why not? /s

187

Tm 10.12.19 at 8:56 pm

I have now read so many outrageous claims about the LGM blog that I went there for the first time to check for myself. Boy was I disappointed! No vitriol, no vicious attacks, no warmongering. What I found are mostly well written, often sarcastic pieces of commentary. Is it the sarcasm that some around here find too much? One article I read treats Tulsi Gabbard’s backing out of a debate. Seems like she made a fool of herself and they pointed that out. So?

Just out of curiosity, could interested parties please please provide references for at least some of the wild claims made above? It shouldn’t be hard to do if LGM is such a horrible reactionary institution. Meanwhile I suggest that Any further claim without supporting citation should be considered Bullshit.

188

Donald 10.12.19 at 10:04 pm

“Hidari, has it ever occurred to you that Sanders deserves the vitriol directed at him from the left, and that the complaints against him from the left are worth taking seriously?”

No. This makes no sense. If “ the left”, meaning liberal Democrats, hated Sanders because he isnt sufficiently socialist or anti imperialist then they would hate all the other Democratic candidates much more. You mentioned Israel upthread, I think. Among Democratic presidential candidates Sanders is by far the most critical of Israel. At LGM I’ve seen commenters praise Harris and she is about the most grovelling Israel supporter there is among the Democratic candidates. Asked by the NYT if she had any criticism of Israel on failure to live up to democratic values, she couldn’t think of anything.

I think Sanders is hated for a mixture of mostly bad reasons. Essentially, though, he did in 2016 what people said Nader should have done. He was a radical by American standards but he ran within the Democratic Party, fought to pull it to the left on various issues, criticized corporate corruption and then campaigned for Clinton when she won the nomination. And he was still hated almost as much as Nader by the liberal Democratic mainstream.

Personally I like both Sanders and Warren. I prefer Sanders, but don’t expect him to win and will be reasonably happy to support Warren, at least on domestic issues, but it is clear that the mainstream Democratic Party and the liberal press prefers her. I don’t trust those supporters, but it’s not close to being a dealbreaker for me.

Besides, I’d even vote for Biden over Trump.

189

J-D 10.12.19 at 10:16 pm

Hidari

Not that I care what LGM say about anything but do they ever attack other candidates with the same vehemence that they attack Sanders?

Just looking at the headlines of recent posts (no reading below the fold, and no searching by topic), there’s more evidence of hostility to Trump than there is of hostility to Sanders. Actually, in the headlines of recent posts there’s no evidence at all of hostility to Sanders.

For that matter, in my earlier not-very-thorough investigations, as previously described, I found no evidence of hostility to Sanders: what I found was evidence of hostility to the alleged tendency of (some?) Sanders supporters to insist that the election of Sanders as President was the only hope.

190

Curt Kastens 10.12.19 at 10:24 pm

@ Miguel Diaz Canel,
I would like to encourage you to throw your hat in to the the ring to become the ruler of the USA, Canada, Uk, Australia, and the EU. You have the expirience and track record
to get the job done right. It is true that no one but me ccould possibly imagine that you could hold all of these positions at once. But many years ago no imagined that a pro wrestler could get elected as the govorner of a very important US state without having a manor party endorsement. No one imagined that a game show host could become Pres. of the USA. And no imagined that a comedian could become the leader of the Ukraine , or the future leader of South Africa.
Do not get me wrong. I really do not think that you could win a free or fair election in any of the areas that I just mentioned. There are many reasons for that. Therefore I would like you to take power by more creative means.

Dear Miguel, your success would really piss a lot of people off. But I encourage you to not pay any attention to them. Once the Artic ice cap melts what ever anger people have is going to turn in to terror rather quickly. So those who were pissed off at you are really not going to have much time to dwell on the fact that you were the last leader of their country.
Yet there is an even more important consideration. Lots and lots of people would be afraid of you if you were to be decoding their economic futures, ooops maybe I meant to say deciding their economic features. The thing is these people have a lot in common with my daughter when my daughter was 2 years old.
When my daughter was two we went to the play ground and I should her how much fun the slide was. But when ever she climbed to the top of the slide by herself she was afraid to actually slide down. She cried because she was disappointed in herself that she could not let go. So finally I gave her a shove and down she went. She loved it and had a lot of fun on the slide after that. It was even more fun than the teeter toter.
That is what the last years of humanity will be like once you take charge of things.
Well of course that last comment may not sound very encouraging. It should not discourage you. It is an important time for good leadership n the world and no one has built a better leadership team than you have.
Miguel!
Miguel!
Miguel!

191

J-D 10.12.19 at 11:08 pm

faustusnotes

In Australia we had a Prime Minister whose wife made money from classically capitalist consultancies and it didn’t end well. The left isn’t well served by these people. The left is best represented by a union organizer or someone who worked in a real job. Sanders is not such a person, and it is a legitimate complaint against him that he was off kibbutzing when everyone else was working. Has he ever done a real job?

When I really want to know the answer to a question like this, I look it up, because it’s not hard. Why don’t you?

Wikipedia tells me that Bernie Sanders has been employed as an organiser for the United Packinghouse Workers of America, a Head Start teacher, a psychiatric aide, a carpenter, a filmmaker, and a writer. I’m not sure how many of these you would count as real jobs. I generally find it difficult to tell, when people refer to ‘real jobs’, how they are distinguishing between jobs which are real and jobs which are not.

Since you refer to Kevin Rudd (although you cite his wife’s employment, not his own), I am reminded of how, some time ago, I checked up on the occupational backgrounds of leaders of the Australian Labor Party. Here’s the list: which of these jobs would you consider real and which not?

Chris Watson: compositor
Andy Fisher: coal miner
Billy Hughes: itinerant rural worker, mixed business operator, and doer of odd jobs
Frank Tudor: hatter
Matt Charlton: coal miner
Jimmy Scullin: grocer and journalist
Jack Curtin: journalist
Ben Chifley: train driver
Bert Evatt: barrister
Arthur Calwell: public service clerk
Gough Whitlam: barrister
Bill Hayden: police officer
Bob Hawke: official of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Paul Keating: pay clerk

I guess it must have been while Paul Keating was Prime Minister that I investigated the subject, but now that I’ve got this far, I might as well update:

Kim Beazley: academic
Simon Crean: union official
Mark Latham: political adviser and research assistant
Kevin Rudd: Foreign Affairs officer
Julia Gillard: lawyer
Bill Shorten: union official
Anthony Albanese: party official and political adviser

It’s not obvious to me that there’s any relationship between previous occupational background and performance as party leader, but maybe I’m missing something?

192

ph 10.12.19 at 11:49 pm

I’m gratified to see the pro-US endless war “liberals” on record. Their justifications are precisely the same as Kissinger’s, Cheney’s, Bush’s, Obama’s, and Clinton’s: inside every citizen in the world is an American trying to emerge. We’re not.

The Assad government, like that of Iraq, China,Russia, Libya etc. is that of a sovereign state with a seat at the UN.

Americans of all stripes are so used to bullying and punishing smaller nations around the globe, US troops have been dispatched across the globe at the whim of US intelligence and military decision makers, with a big bump after 9/11.

Botched US military interventions and invasions in the ME intensified the already brutal struggles for power across the region. Shi/Sunni ethnic cleansing in Iraq dramatically increased after America destroyed the existing Iraqi government and disbanded the Iraqi army. America, France, and Britain intervened in the Syrian civil wars against the Assad government (an already brutal regime), effectively eliminating the Assad government’s ability to maintain already minimal services in many parts of Syria.

Members of the Kurdish community, many of whom fled to Syria from Turkey, created a mini-state in northern Syria, similar to the mini-state members of the Kurdish community in “liberated” Iraq did. These communities have been formed as independent states within sovereign states.

That’s the modern genesis, with all the attendant naked political cynicism, lies, promises and demonstrations from US, British, and French intelligence agencies and their elected stooges. The long, sad history of western powers abandoning their “allies/tools” repeats itself again and again.

Predictably, the American citizens who pay in blood and money for US interventions in countries and cultures on the other side of globe have little enthusiasm for long-term wars, especially if those at home are being left behind.

I watched a pair of American academics discuss impeachment yesterday. The pro-impeach individual waved the orange scare doll and warned that 45 could start a war with Korea (North Korea) any day. North Korea is the one nation in the world 45 cannot start a war with.

Why not? Because the US is already atwar with N. Korea and has been for 70 years. This appalling fact that is so much a feature of US life that few Americans seem aware that those living on the Korean peninsula have been waiting 70 years for a formal end to US -N. Korean hostilities. https://time.com/5535864/us-north-korea-war-history/

The hubris of American academics and their support/defense of US military interventions and invasions across the globe is a matter of record. We see it here with academics arguing that US troops must remain within the borders of a sovereign state to maintain order in a state Hillary Clinton and Lindsay Graham et al have done their best to destroy.

A significant percentage of the American electorate no longer supports endless US wars in the ME. These Americans are at odds with the “experts” in the intelligence communities who promote these wars and interventions as “solutions,” otherwise known as “life-firing exercises” in which the military gets to test new weapons systems on the living.

45 isn’t about peace. 45 is the voice of hope for Americans left behind by their own rulers, indifferent to the plight of the lower orders at home. These voters in Michigan and Wisconsin watched the promises of hope and change turn to dust in their mouths, even as wars of intervention and choice continued under 44 raged, drawing America and Americans ever deeper into the ME. It was like Nixon redux from 2009: out of Iraq, into Afghanistan, in 2011, hey, let’s destroy Libya. Syria is the current playground for the masters of the universe who run our world.

The military and intelligence community isn’t about to let 45 take their takes away without a fight. https://taibbi.substack.com/p/were-in-a-permanent-coup

America is still at war with North Korea after 70 years after it started. And because few Americans are affected directly by this war, a frightening number of Americans are unaware of the fact. Out here in Asia, we haven’t forgotten. The Korean people certainly haven’t forgotten. 45 is the first sitting American president to actually visit the North Korean leader and try to build some sort of personal relationship with the isolated leader.

70 years of war. 70 – Give it some thought, and then tell us how US troops can’t leave Syria and the ME until….?

193

steven t johnson 10.13.19 at 12:30 am

Hidari@175 mentions Corbyn. LGM hates Corbyn, wholly endorsing the view that Corbyn is simultaneously a crypto-Nazi antisemite, a Stalinist tyrant threatening humanity and a doddering old fool who can’t deliver the goods, which is a salary working for a Labour MP. See the posts by Brockington.

Brockington is a Platonic ideal of LGM politics, but laid bare to the eyes for all to see. Ostensibly, the positive goal Brockington wants is the EU but the EU imagined not as the hard money, creditor supporting, balanced budget, anti-industrial policy, free market finance, etc. etc. etc. that it is. It is after all hard to pulicly admit the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties made you horny.

No, the reason Brockington/LGM politics supposedly love the EU is that it is the cultural enlightenment of humanity, repository of all things urbane, tasteful and generous to the lowers. And I think they rather like the idea that the EU’s strictures on economic freedom will cause problems for a serious reform program. Certainly, object lessons like Greece or the EU cooperation in besieging Venezuela are not an issue. I think Brockington wants a sincere Tony Blair, somehow never noticing all those years when the Labour Party could have found this political unicorn. LGM prides itself on its common sense realism. LGM cuts-and-pastes a lot of mainstream opinion, thus it is a handy way (I think) to see how foolish and backward the “left” (Overton Window left!) is.

194

J-D 10.13.19 at 12:51 am

Hidari

I have noticed that … the corporate media have been pretty down on Biden.

What negative message about him have they been spreading?

But it’s certainly true, to repeat, that the preferred candidate of the corporate media (and therefore the corporations which control the corporate media) is Warren.

What positive message about her have they been spreading?

In any case it’s noticeable that LGM (like most ‘liberal’ news outlets) hates (or at least distrusts) Sanders …

What negative message about him have they been spreading?

… Corbyn … is openly loathed … across the entire media spectrum (including the allegedly liberal Guardian and ‘Independent’).

What negative message about him is being propagated across the entire media spectrum? (Also, incidentally, why is it that you do not put Guardian in quote marks but you do put Independent in quote marks?)

I don’t pay enough attention to observe what sort of messages about politicians are being propagated in the media, but since you mention them I find I’m curious.

195

J-D 10.13.19 at 1:13 am

faustusnotes

I’m not familiar with the content of the left-wing complaints about Sanders to which you are referring, so if you could give some indication I would appreciate it.

196

J-D 10.13.19 at 1:20 am

Lee A. Arnold

Meanwhile, those who suppose that Trump is better because he said he doesn’t like war are almost endearingly, charmingly childish. It ignores the danger obvious to anyone who has studied history, foreign policy and military strategy that Trump is setting up a big risk of World War III in about 20 years because this “demilitarizing” necessarily entails betraying allies and cozying up to dictators, while he’s also losing trading partners and downsizing to within domestic US borders of hatred, fear and suspicion, yet with advanced militarism.

Consequently if the US falls behind in standard of living, technology and infrastructure while its capitalists run out of the dollar to get a better ROI in Chinese assets that are valued in their separate trade bloc, most of the people in the US will be whooped-up for war, again. And this will be directly traceable back to Trump.

It’s not apparent to me which are the historical observations which support this conclusion, so if you could provide more details I would appreciate it.

What interests me about Trump’s military policies is whether the rate of deaths (and other forms of harm, but I imagine the rates correlate) caused by US government violence has increased or decreased since Trump became President, but I’m not sure whether there’s any way of estimating this.

197

faustusnotes 10.13.19 at 3:16 am

Okay Orange Watch, I’m happy to concede that you think the tone of LGM has always been bad while dbk thinks it changed after the 2016 election. You seem to have been defending dbk, though, so do you now agree with dbk that the tone changed?

It’s abundantly clear that I didn’t use a March 2016 post to disprove the claim of a change of tone, but rather to disprove the specific statement that the general idea at LGM is that poor whites should move. I showed it was exactly the opposite of this idea. In fact LGM has multiple posts arguing for new policies supporting rural communities. Now if dbk is so sure that he/she is right about this very specific point dbk is welcome to find a post at LGM advocating poor whites move. Until such time as dbk bothers to do this, I think my point stands that dbk – who claims to have been reading the blog for a long time and to “admire” it – has completely misrepresented what the blog’s position on a specific policy is. Would either of you care to address this?

Regarding the change of tone, multiple people here are telling you that the tone is not what you say it is, and they are giving specific examples. You, dbk, now Donald, and I guess others are making big claims about the tone of the blog, but you have yet to produce a single example, let alone a coherent argument backed up by sources. Which is funny because the blog is a blog, and all the stuff they said is right there, written in places you can easily link. Why won’t you back up your point with even a single post or link? You suggested J-D do “a search” but J-D used the reasonable shorthand of describing most-rated comments. This is way more than you have bothered to do.

dbk made a specific claim about a specific policy position by a specific blog back at comment 102 and has yet – here at comment 195 – to produce a single piece of evidence to support that position, despite my having made a specific counter argument with evidence. You – even earlier in this thread – presented LGM as an example of a specific type of political position on the American left that pours contempt on rural whites, argued that it was the tone, and have yet – approximately 100 comments and several days later – to present any evidence to support your claim, nor to adequately reply to someone (J-D) who has actually gone to the trouble of checking your claim and found it baseless.

This is why I respond with scorn to the things I read here from the ostensible American left. What you are saying is simply not true, you cannot present even a shred of a hint of a possibility that it’s true, and yet you persevere in constructing an entire political framework – that just so happens to favour an authoritarian racist – around these completely untrue things. And then you get pissed when after 100 comments I happen to forget exactly which of two completely wrong opinions (LGM has always been contemptuous/LGM’s contempt started in 2016) is due to you, and accuse me of bad faith as a conseequence.

I will wait – patiently, and without expectation – for you to begin to present some evidence in support of your political positions. If you can’t come up with any then perhaps you should reconsider them, rather than getting angry that someone else is viewing your fabricated worldview with scorn.

198

nastywoman 10.13.19 at 4:53 am

and how come everybody started to write about another blog and not ”the Intercept”?

The Intercept is another blog too?

199

nastywoman 10.13.19 at 5:08 am

AND what’s about the comment section of the NYT?

From around a 100 comments per article B.T. –
(Before Trump) to – now – sometimes thousands of comments per article –
(and not the type of short and repetitious comments like on something like LGM) –
No! –
Thousands of comments – which in very pleasant and delightful way deconstruct any Clownstick Nonsense – and show – that commenters and comment section influence the the writers of the articles and not the other way around?

200

William S. Berry 10.13.19 at 5:42 am

Steven T. Johnson has a sad.

He drops his Lefty Puritan turds . . . er, I mean offerings, at LGM on a regular basis, and almost never gets an upvote!

In general, on the subject of LGM: Who fucking cares? It’s mainly a political blog; I read it, and occasionally comment, because there are sometimes posts on subjects that interest me (e.g., history and English, my undergraduate majors).

All this talk of contempt and what-have-you is garbage. Of course LGM is sometimes contemptuous, and even vituperative. So fucking what?!

That style of comment is called “polemic”.

Last time I checked, political polemics are not a thing that is unfamiliar to the left. Whence all the goddamned self-righteousness?

201

Hidari 10.13.19 at 7:49 am

@180

‘The only candidate they might attack more vehemently than Sanders is Gabbard…’

Not strictly speaking relevant but a headline in the NYT right now is

‘What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?
As she injects chaos into the 2020 Democratic primary by accusing her own party of “rigging” the election, an array of alt-right internet stars, white nationalists and Russians have praised her.’

From the faux confusion of the headline, to the ‘injects chaos’ line,to the fake outrage of ‘her own party’ (oh give me pearls to clutch!) to the last clause (compare: ‘scientists claim the Earth is round, a view also propounded by an array of alt-right stars, white nationalists, and the Russians’)….., an absolute masterpiece of smear. You’ll go far Lisa Lerer!

@187 ‘One article I read treats Tulsi Gabbard’s backing out of a debate. Seems like she made a fool of herself and they pointed that out. So?’

Yes the word ‘seems’ is doing quite a lot of work there.

202

faustusnotes 10.13.19 at 8:12 am

J-D you can find a lot of left wing critiques of Sanders (and links to others) on LGM and also the blog Balloon Juice (which I guess is considered another “liberal” or “centrist” blog by the Putin-friendly US “left”). Some criticisms are general critiques of his work ethic or competence, which I think are actually really important but which a lot of the Trump-friendly left dismiss because they think anyone who is a professional politician is bad (see also the recent ideas being floated around on twitter about the “professional managerial class”, i.e. the modern American left’s version of “kulaks”).

Some specific examples of policy-specific complaints are:
– the green new deal is not specific enough and not achievable
– medicare for all would create a huge disruption in american healthcare and there’s no evidence that anyone outside the dems would vote for it in the general
– medicare for all would kick a lot of union members off their employer-based insurance without adequate compensation for the years of pay rises and working condition compromises they made to get it
– Sanders’s employees and surrogates are vicious, disruptive bovver boys who create trouble
– Sanders is not a Democrat but wants to use the Dem machinery without doing the hard work to build the party
– Sanders doesn’t understand race issues and this is a killer problem for a left wing politician in the USA

Incidentally someone above said that the LGM crowd love Brockington but in my experience the below the line response to his posts is almost universally negative. And what a contrast it is too that people here are criticizing him for his attitude to Corbyn when Brockington is actually working for Labour in the UK. So simultaneously dismissing the views of an actual political worker while misrepresenting the way he is viewed by his own audience. Legendary move!

203

Lee A. Arnold 10.13.19 at 9:51 am

J-D #196: “…which are the historical observations which support this conclusion…”

Considering all the conditions currently at play, domestically in each country and internationally with the rapid emergence of multiple powers and interests, I’m not sure we can point to one historical circumstance which combines them all. So the response would be book-length.

The combination that concerns me is the limitations in individual cognition (e.g., Trump supporters thinking that short term gains in the business cycle are significant signs of political success, or even attributable to Trump) combined with Trumpism’s own, stated aces-in-the-hole, which are economic and financial dominance (which will fade), military strength (instead of long-term thinking about peaceful complex systems), and the so-called “transactional” approach which often culminates in short-sighted stupid vicious callous ruthlessness (e.g. separating families at the southern border; betraying the Kurds in north Syria).

204

Nigel 10.13.19 at 10:38 am

‘I’m gratified to see the pro-US endless war “liberals” on record. Their justifications are precisely the same as Kissinger’s, Cheney’s, Bush’s, Obama’s, and Clinton’s: inside every citizen in the world is an American trying to emerge. We’re not.’

Ah, yes, now I’m remembering those awesome arguments that anyone who opposed the Iraq invasion was ‘objectively pro-Saddam.’ Congrats on updating that old chestnut. Now being appalled at the massacre of the Kurds makes you objectively pro-Kissinger. Nice.

205

Tm 10.13.19 at 2:30 pm

Hidari: the LGM article I mentioned above- which you can easily read for yourself- links to Gabbard’s own actual words. Let me point out again that in 200+ comments, the LGM-hating fraction so far has failed to present a single reference or direct quote that would substantiate even a single one of the many ridiculous claims that have been made, including that the blog is anti-gay and pro-Modi. And I have to say that I start to understand fn’s anger. You Folks – sorry for lumping you all together, maybe that’s unfair boo hoo hoo- you folks are spreading lies and distortions, doing the work of racist authoritarians and billionaire fascists. Whether out of conviction or stupidity I don’t know. But don’t you folks claim to speak for the Left. You are nothing but reactionary boneheads.

206

steven t johnson 10.13.19 at 2:57 pm

faustusnotes@202 “Incidentally someone above said that the LGM crowd love Brockington but in my experience the below the line response to his posts is almost universally negative. And what a contrast it is too that people here are criticizing him for his attitude to Corbyn when Brockington is actually working for Labour in the UK. So simultaneously dismissing the views of an actual political worker while misrepresenting the way he is viewed by his own audience. Legendary move!”

Brockington posts at LGM, which is conclusive about how much the collective approves of him. The commenters are not so negative, but the few who venture that way tend to be actually in England. The Brockington defenders are unbelievable trolls. One was shameless enough to pretend socialism was an upper class con job and only public school snobs were Corbynites. (The political insight and intellectual rigor at all levels of LGM is shockingly low.)

Apparently Brockington is a Cooperative Party member, first, too. This seems to be a defunct crackpot scheme serving to issue credentials to various fakers like Brockington. The idea Brockington works for the Labour Party is dubious in the extreme. Posting red-baiting hatchet jobs at LGM certainly isn’t working for the Labour Party. Indeed in the US venue, Brockington has never found any Tory as objectionable as Corbyn.

The thing of course is that Corbyn isn’t very left wing at all. But Brockington like all his friends at LGM are underneath the facade pretty reactionary. They flatter themselves they are left, but they’re like the ACLU putting Elizabeth Gurley Flynn on trial. They’re volunteer members of informal Congress for Cultural Freedom. They’re the woke version of the ADA. They’re zombie Kennedy liberals, supporting freedom in Vietnam and All the Good Stuff at home.

As to what Brockington does in England? He spends his time fighting against Corbyn. Very likely he leaks complaints and gossip about the Labour Party to various and sundry friends, including those who will reliably pass on information to parties better able to use gossip against Corbyn. He has openly attacked fellow constituency members! What he does openly strikes me as showing him to be a Blair-ite who pretends to wish—now that it’s so obvious being a Blairite is being a turd—for somebody who wasn’t so blatantly at heart an imperialist, a class collaborationst and a resolute opponent of all fundamental change. What he does in his social and professional contacts I think would often be condemned as blatant disloyalty and subversion in any other context than the struggle against the left/Corbyn.

207

nastywoman 10.13.19 at 3:55 pm

@192
today is what day?!

Today is the Sunday – after the owner of the ”Mafia Rave Club” in Odessa was put behind bars – and you – somebody – who supposedly lives in Japan wrote:
”45 isn’t about peace. 45 is the voice of hope for Americans left behind by their own rulers, indifferent to the plight of the lower orders at home”.

So – how long do you intend to keep this up? –
While the whole wide world knows now – already since Friday? – that the friend of the owner of the Mafia Rave Club in Odessa – who plays ”45” is already ”history” –
”Finished” and completely done –
even without any proof – that – indeed he added some ten floors to his golden toilet?

How long – will somebody in Japan pretend – that ”45” still exists – while 45 is gone – a goner and sad joke about:

”Once Upon a Time in America” – where Americans got fooled by a FF von Clownstick?
-(who actually wasn’t ”some German Robber Baron”)

208

LFC 10.13.19 at 5:15 pm

@Wm S Berry

I don’t give a **** that LGM is contemptuous. My objection is that, even for a political blog, they seem unreflective, ie they seem to assume their own infallibility. This is the last comment from me on this.

209

Orange Watch 10.13.19 at 8:37 pm

fn:

It’s telling that when you were fisked by Donald and J-D you responded by shifting to lazy and unsupported insinuations that leftists are all pro-Trump and pro-Putin rather than addressing the criticisms raised to your prior claims (or even continuing to defend your prior throw-away claim that Sanders supporters are also Stein supporters). You’re not worth addressing in detail because you treat those you disagree with contemptuously and do not afford their utterances the same respect you demand yours be treated with. So I’ll not faithfully go dig up a pile of dog whistles and insinuations from LGM for you to discount or outright ignore. You read that blog, so if you can’t see its smug elitist groupthink it’s because you’re wallowing in it.

Incidentally, it’s nice to see you’ve discovered leftist critiques of the professional-managerial class. At this rate, you should be discovering disco any day now, so enjoy that!

Your position as a liberal Australian living in Japan and getting all your insight into US politics from a self-selected constellation of online communities leaves you with blind spots. You can’t see that rural America feels ignored by the Democratic Party because the media prefers thin analysis either lionizing rural cultural values or dismissing rural economic woes. The amount of ink spilled over the DNC’s refusal to accept the political reality of the American constitutional system and to run at a minimum a 50-state strategy if not a 3000-county strategy is minimal. It’s not interesting to corporate media nor to metropolitan readership. As a foreign national you’ve never gone to the polls in a swing state and seen every local electoral office offering you a choice between Republicans and independents, and possibly even some state-level offices featuring only Republican candidates. I have. Millions of Democrats and independents do every election. So you can sit back in Japan and lecture me on how coastal elites running the DNC know best and how people who supported Sanders over good, decent establishment candidates like Clinton are actually reactionaries, but that won’t convince those of us who saw Obama disassemble his organization in 2008 in preference for paternalistic top-down neoliberal technocracy, and then hollow out the DNC to the point where it had to borrow funds from Clinton to function, and then watched Clinton’s DWS do things like siphoning local Democratic committee fundraising into the Hillary Victory Fund, and then watched the Clinton campaign mismanage those funds so local committees were starved for resources even as Clinton acted as a near-perfect GOP GOTV for a net-negative downballot effect, and then watched Clinton lose to the most hated major-party candidate in decades because she couldn’t possibly lose and was dreaming of absorbing the non-deplorable fiscally conservative Republicans into a permanent neoliberal Democratic ruling coalition. You want to know why “how dare you not trust the professional managerial class to do what’s best for you!??!?” rings hollow? Watch this. This is what you’re advocating by rooting for your favorite team when you treat American politics as a spectator sport. This is what LGM’s commentariat roots for day-in, day-out when they warmly reassure each other that Warren is “pragmatic” and the next best thing to a President Harris.

TM@205:

I can’t say that I can think of any meaningful examples of LGM being anti-gay. That would be odd since its most of its frontpagers and commenters are orthodox liberal and progressive centrists for whom identity politics are supreme, even if the twin identities of race and gender are far more important than any lesser identities (and of course class is not a real identity since the US would be a meritocracy but for all the deplorable institutional racism and sexism). But regionalism? Metropolitanism? Class-based prejudice? Complacent elitism? General toxicity? Go look for references to Cleetus safaris or “economic anxiety” in scare quotes. Go look for lazy dismissals of anyone not enthusiastically supporting the preferred candidate of the moment as a misogynist and/or racist simply by virtue of their disagreement. Look for a refusal to accept that their preferred pols are fallible. Look for new commenters being downvoted and accused of being trolls or even sockpuppets if they don’t toe the line in their first posts while new posters who speak communal wisdom are praised. FFS, look for eliminationist rhetoric getting upvoted or even attaboy’d in the comments rather than being called out by Commenters In Good Standing so long as the targets are acceptable; this might take a while to find, because LGM has its own particular political correctness and not all the quiet parts get said out loud, but it’s there and it’s condoned.

LGM is many things, but self-aware is not one of them, and that can make it hard to see when it dog-whistles to itself. If you don’t see that because you’ve not wasted years reading it for its occasionally very good content and its far-more-consistent window into the worldview of particular subgroups of the Democratic party, I get it – but I also get it if you’re of a piece with its self-selecting hivemind and can’t see its prejudices for that reason.

210

Anarcissie 10.14.19 at 1:14 am

@184: ‘Ana 159: precisely when you look at the context – see above – the claim that Trump is less belligerent than his predecessors doesn’t hold water.’

I never made such a claim. I merely stated that, as far as I knew, he had not started any new wars. I seem to have stirred up quite a bit of Manichaean passion!

211

faustusnotes 10.14.19 at 1:23 am

Here is the most recent Dave Brockington piece on LGM, for those who want to check themselves whether Steven t. johnson’s characterization of the responses to his pieces are as he describes.

Orange Watch, you now say after 200 comments that you refuse to produce evidence to back up your position. Don’t worry! I did your work for you and googled cletus safari and LGM, and found this pearler, in which the author reports on a truck with a bumper sticker calling liberals insane. Amazing that he – a liberal – should report this with scorn! Surely it was just economic anxiety that led this Boulder resident to festoon his car with stickers insulting – nay, pouring contempt – on his political enemies? Perhaps LGM should have restrained themselves from showing contempt for some dude in Boulder who publicly announced his contempt for them?

Those of us who are old enough to remember the Bush era remember the outpouring of hatred after Bush was re-elected. If you bother to use google you can even find some sneering blog posts documenting how nasty those people were. But by all means, continue your unsupported anger at liberals pouring scorn on the people who call them crazy.

Your complaint about the DNC really shows where your political sense is. Your complaint is basically a long, self-indulgent rant about how you don’t like the democrats pursuing a winning strategy. You are not perhaps aware that no political party in any rich country pursues the strategy you want the dems to run? Fielding candidates in every state and every district? You basically want the DNC to pull money and resources from a seat they could retain or flip, and spend them in a seat they know they will lose. Why would they do this? And worse still, you complain when they raise money from big donors, yet you want them to have enough money to fight a 3000 seat campaign.

You also write this:

As a foreign national you’ve never gone to the polls in a swing state and seen every local electoral office offering you a choice between Republicans and independents, and possibly even some state-level offices featuring only Republican candidates.

Perhaps you’re unaware of the fact that other countries have elections too? I have been to vote in many seats in Australia, and I am well aware of the experience of seeing no one you want to vote for on the ballot. I worked with “liberals” from North Shore Sydney who had the depressing experience of voting in electorates near Tony Abbot’s, where there were no credible alternatives, no resources allocated, and no chance of a labour win. We also have the unedifying experience of watching our parties make preference deals we don’t like (you don’t know what a preference deal is, do you? Because you don’t know anything about anything outside of America). What you’re describing is the experience of every disaffected leftist in every electoral system in the world. Why do you expect us to give any special consideration to your particular complaints, especially when you’re emphatically opposed to the Democrats raising the kind of money they would need to pursue the strategy you want?

As Tm said above, you’re just a nihilistic reactionary, blabbering selfishly about how the Democrats won’t do things your way and refusing to consider the consequences of your actions. But you’re doing it from within a faux-Marxist worldview that is entirely constructed and without any supporting evidence or intellectual structure. And it’s not just you – a large section of the American left is consumed by this disorder, and frothing at the mouth over manufactured and entirely fake outrage at people who are actually trying to make a difference. This is why I’m so contemptuous here: you won’t understand it because you won’t face up to the contradictions in your own worldview, but if you did you would understand that you are self-righteously defending a nihilistic, reactionary program. If it were some random youtube comments it would be laughable but here we are on a supposedly academic blog where I have to put up with this nihilistic, ruinous ideology built on lies.

212

randomworker 10.14.19 at 3:43 am

Long time lgm reader. More recent lgm commenter. Noted neoliberal shill. Couple notes:

Cletus safari – this is a press criticism. Ftfnyt goes to talk to 6 rural working class whites who voted for trump and are undecided. One has been to 26 Trump rallies. One is the former county tea party leader, one is chief of surgery at the local hospital, etc etc. Undecided? Like, come on, man!

Economic anxiety – in quotes.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/?s=Economic+anxiety

Carry on.

213

Chetan Murthy 10.14.19 at 4:01 am

It’s amusing, or rather, horrific that we only have to wait a few days for the GrOPers to give us yet another demonstration that they’re eliminationist in the crudest terms. I learned tonight that Don Bedsore gave a talk at a conservative retreat (held at a Trump property), where a video depicting mass murder (of the media and liberals) was shown in approving terms. I’ll post a link, but of course I would add a STRONG trigger warning — it’s based on a scene from a movie that was itself quite grisly. I say again: pretty fricken’ grisly. You’ll find it as the first link in this LG&M post.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/10/american-priorities

As several LG&M commenters pointed out, surely this will get as much approbrium as Kathy Griffin’s video of her drenching a Trump mask in fake blood did. Yes, I’m sure the reichwing will decry this horrific and eliminationist video in no uncertain terms. Or maybe, those who think that it’s the left that advocates for violence, might wake up.

Yeah, figured not.

214

ph 10.14.19 at 10:03 am

I’m not offended by bad political humor, and I’m an immense fan of good political humor. The Griffin “joke” was bad and was condemned by many who don’t like 45. For a slightly less slanted version of what actually happened when the surfaced, the famously pro-45 BBC has the ritual condemnations by all the “right” people.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50039287

I don’t believe that Griffin should have been banished to the wilderness, and I’d prefer people stop apologizing for statements and jokes. Punishing people with job loss etc. for bad taste is far more unjust and damaging to the public good than saying “bad words” on TV, or at forums at universities. But that’s me.

215

nastywoman 10.14.19 at 10:12 am

@210
”I merely stated that, as far as I knew, he had not started any new wars”.

As far as I knew you wrote:
”I do not have the power to look into the hearts of men (and other beings) and judge their virtue; I can only go by their external behavior. Unlike the Clintons, Kerry, Bush, McCain, Obama, and so on and on and on, Trump, as far as I know, did not start or actively support any new wars, and seems to be slacking off on some of the old ones. I regard this as a virtue. A thin or temporary or illusory one, maybe, but I have to take what I can get and make the best of it. Do you think such issues are unimportant”?

And then you were told that such issues are NOT unimportant”
– and about the
”seems to be slacking off on some of the old ones” – you were misinformed and so you
should NOT regard it as some ”virtue” of the Clownstick – AND then you still show up here writing:
”I merely stated that, as far as I knew, he had not started any new wars” – and before you told US that you are not a Fan of Trump.

So?

What and who are you?
And I ask that – because I asked you before if you got fooled by the Trump Team and you didn’t answer? And no value judgement attached – as this is just some kind of a ”professional inquiry”.

216

nastywoman 10.14.19 at 2:09 pm

@214
”I’m not offended by bad political humor”

Everybody is aware of this fact as you voted for the worst political joke EVER – but what’s about ”good” political humour – by NEVER EVER voting for a Clownstick Erection?

217

Anarcissie 10.14.19 at 2:18 pm

@215: ‘What and who are you?’

That’s one o’ those deep philosophical questions, isn’t it? Reminds me of the joke about the German philosopher walking on the grass. Why not stick to one of the issues at hand — like, whether Donald J. Trump is absolutely evil, or just pretty bad? In many ways he seems like a typical modern Republican to me — take from the poor, give to the rich, exploit idpol, lay waste the environment, support imperialism and the wars it necessitates, etc. Not that different, then, from most of our other great leaders. I thought there might be a scintilla of virtue in Trump somewhere, for humans are imperfect; but even the suggestion has caused a frightful outcry among the faithful, and I am loath to persist.

218

alfredlordbleep 10.14.19 at 2:48 pm

Taking off from @214—
cutting political counter-speech such as—

http://crookedtimber.org/2019/10/13/no-true-war-is-bad/#comment-765688

—should be plastered all over feel-good-ness, kumbaya, or how you prefer to recognize it.

219

Chetan Murthy 10.14.19 at 6:19 pm

The mind boggles at ph, but then I remember that he’s a well-known troll. So hey, troll gonna troll. Or Nazi gonna goose-step, I can’t tell the difference.

This is yet another incitement to terrorism, and we’ve already seen the results. It’s called stochastic terrorism.

220

anon/portly 10.14.19 at 6:38 pm

Note that LGM has a piece, right now on the front page, about the Matt Tabibi piece ph links to in comment 192.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/10/and-i-do-not-support-a-full-investigation

It would be difficult to respond to Tabibi’s argument any more wrongly and annoyingly than by asking the following question, as the LGM writer does:

Is “Trump’s opposition is worse than Trump” the point where any distinction between “anti-anti-Trump” and “supports Trump” becomes meaningless?

Right above the extended Tabibi quote ends after Tabibi says “the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump,” but before Tabibi explains what he means by this:

The Trump presidency is the first to reveal a full-blown schism between the intelligence community and the White House. Senior figures in the CIA, NSA, FBI and other agencies made an open break from their would-be boss before Trump’s inauguration, commencing a public war of leaks that has not stopped.

I don’t know what to make of Tabibi’s points or claims, myself, I’m not really informed enough to comment on them one way or another. But if the LGM writer thinks Tabibi is wrong, either he should explain why Tabibi is wrong or else not respond. Tabibi isn’t talking about “Trump’s opposition,” he’s talking about a specific government bureaucracy/media phenomenon. What is the point of the response the LGM writer makes, which is to ask the question quoted above and three other questions which have nothing to do with Tabibi’s points? (You never see anything even remotely like this at CT, I would say).

To prevent the usual suspects from hectoring me in their usual fashion for my obvious stupidity, lapses, etc., let me emphasize that I’m not endorsing Tabibi’s arguments, or commenting on them one way or the other. Nor am I endorsing ph’s view of anything – I’m generally the inverse of ph, political-wise. (For example, whatever ph’s actual argument about NK in 192 really is, I assume it’s nutty, and though at times ph claims to be a Sanders fan, it seems somewhat eccentric for a Sanders fan to write Sean Hannity level swill like the first sentence of the last paragraph of 169).

Anyway, I haven’t read enough of LGM to really say much, but to me the discussion in this thread has missed the point that you can go there and immediately find low-quality offerings – that’s generally been my experience.

221

nastywoman 10.14.19 at 8:22 pm

@217
”In many ways he seems like a typical modern Republican to me — take from the poor, give to the rich, exploit idpol, lay waste the environment, support imperialism and the wars it necessitates, etc. Not that different, then, from most of our other great leaders”.

So he fooled you – into believing that he was –
”like a typical modern Republican — take from the poor, give to the rich, exploit idpol, lay waste the environment, support imperialism and the wars it necessitates, etc. Not that different, then, from most of our other great leaders”?

And I guess – that’s what most Republicans believed too – before they found out that he is/was just this ”Simple Obscene, Loathful, Revolting, Nauseating and Sickening Racist Criminal”?
But it took these Republicans quite some time?… over three years now – while somebody called ”Anarcissie” still thought ”there might be a scintilla of virtue in Trump somewhere, for humans are imperfect”?

And it is not so much the suggestion – that ”there might be a scintilla of virtue in Trump somewhere” which ”has caused” – at least my ”frightful outcry.”
I just can’t believe – that there are still people – who still get fooled by the Clownstick?

(and are they these ”faithful” you were writing about?)

222

JimV 10.14.19 at 9:25 pm

Trump differs from every president I have seen in my lifetime (in my opinion) as illustrated in this anecdote:

Sportscaster Mike Tirico tells this story of the time he played golf with Trump. As Trump sped toward the green in a golf cart, MT was hitting what he thought was the best shot of his life. The green was raised so he couldn’t see it land, but it looked like it hit on the front of the green and was heading straight for the flag. When he got to the green, his ball was nowhere in sight. Trump’s caddy whispered to him, “Your ball was ten feet from the hole. Trump picked it up and threw it into the sand trap.”

Trump claims he has won the annual club champion ship at his favorite golf club something like 11 years in a row, and has had plaques made stating this for those years. Other club members remember things differently.

Source: “Commander in Cheat”, by Rick Reilly.

I am sure that some other presidents cheated at golf by improving their own lies and such, but I don’t think even Nixon (had he played golf) would have gone as far as Trump. This seems like psychopathic behavior to me. Do even psychopaths have some virtues? Maybe, but if so not out of any compassion or consideration for others. (See also his cheating of Charities, his support of the death penalty, etc..) (Recall too that he wanted to send the Army to shoot people trying to cross into the USA at the southern border.)

Psychopathy often prospers , as Shakespeare would say.

223

J-D 10.14.19 at 9:37 pm

Orange Watch

If somebody tells me that rural voters are turning away from the Democratic Party because there’s a blog that says negative things about them, I know it can’t be true.

If somebody tells me that rural voters are turning away from the Democratic Party because when they go to vote for county commissioner or state legislature there are Republican candidates but no Democratic candidates, then I recognise that as the kind of thing that might be true. The question is, how many state legislature seats go uncontested by the Democratic Party, and, for comparison, how many go uncontested by the Republican Party? I don’t know the answer to this question, and I’m not sufficiently interested to do the hard work of collecting the information. However, there’s no reason to believe people who tell me they know what the answer is without doing that hard work. It would require effort to collect that information, but it would be a reasonably straightforward procedure leading to a definite answer if somebody really wanted to know what that answer is.

224

ph 10.15.19 at 4:41 am

@ 220 Record improvements in employment for women, minorities under 45 – this can’t possibly be true: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/04/black-and-hispanic-unemployment-is-at-a-record-low.html

As this thread is about why some people seem dumbfounded when confronted by fact, or just dumb, it’s worth noting that the information deficit on display @220 is likely to be exacerbated by a general reluctance to step out of the bubble. I don’t think anyone here, including @220, is dumb. But a few could stand to vary their information diet a bit. I liked LFC, Orange Watch and other comments on this thread.

The easiest way to get both sides of the ongoing bun fights is to make RCP a regular stop. On any given morning, afternoon, and evening, one can choose articles from VOX, NYT, Wapo, the Nation, Guardian, FOX, NBC, Gallup, Nate Silver 538, etc.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

The Taibbi piece linked above is the most widely read currently at RCP, and the number 1 story of the past week. If Taibbi’s arguments seem unfamiliar, then imagine the FBI and CIA spent 2009 and every year after trying to prove 44 really was a secret Muslim Manchurian candidate. The current Putin-puppet follies and “whistleblower” drama are the children of rebellious CIA, FBI, and leaders hostile to the current president.

Of course, many just don’t care. If you do, then visit RCP to read something different and surprise yourself.

225

J-D 10.15.19 at 7:56 am

faustusnotes

Perhaps you’re unaware of the fact that other countries have elections too? I have been to vote in many seats in Australia, and I am well aware of the experience of seeing no one you want to vote for on the ballot. I worked with “liberals” from North Shore Sydney who had the depressing experience of voting in electorates near Tony Abbot’s, where there were no credible alternatives, no resources allocated, and no chance of a labour win.

I have lived in both very safe Liberal seats and very safe Labor seats, and in both I have always found both a Liberal candidate and a Labor candidate on the ballot paper in every State and Federal election. Sometimes a party with no chance of winning puts minimal effort into campaigning, but there is at least a candidate nominated. In the US, by contrast, in an election for a State legislature (I don’t know that it happens for the US Congress, though), seats can go literally completely uncontested, with only one party nominating a candidate. This is a real difference.

Although these uncontested elections do happen, I don’t know the frequency; and I don’t know that it has the effect on people’s attitudes to parties that Orange Watch alleges.

226

J-D 10.15.19 at 9:48 am

Lee A. Arnold

Considering all the conditions currently at play, domestically in each country and internationally with the rapid emergence of multiple powers and interests, I’m not sure we can point to one historical circumstance which combines them all. So the response would be book-length.

If you can’t give a full account of the historical observations you’re drawing on, I’d appreciate any partial indications.

227

Tm 10.15.19 at 9:58 am

If you want to know who is on the side of low-income folks (white or not) in rural areas, check this out:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-medicaid-experiment-in-arkansas-thousands-lost-coverage-few-gained-jobs-11570964402

Arkansas is one of the most rural states in the union. It also, remarkably, passed the Medicaid expansion despite a Republican-controlled legislature, benefiting a large number of Arkansans. But the Republican governor who replaced a popular but term-limited Democrat has worked hard to kick at tens of thousands of them off the insurance rolls, mostly arbitrarily.

Ana 217: the categories you are employing are inadequate and prevent you from understanding our political condition. There are different kinds of bad, apart from „absolute evil“.

228

Tm 10.15.19 at 12:50 pm

Re fielding candidates in all districts:

I witnessed the midterms 2006 in Arkansas and at the time, I think half or more of seats in the legislature were uncontested. I remember reading in the very same newspaper that a delegation from Ukraine was visiting to learn about American democracy and I thought, Americans really have no self-reflection. I emailed the journalist and he found my observation interesting…

Ironically, at the time Arkansas was Democratic dominated. Within a few years of a black man elected president, the state completely flipped.

To my mind it is a shame for any democracy if voters don’t even get a nominal choice. And this is far from normal. Even a choice between only two candidates is pretty poor.

Uncontested elections are an impoverishment of political debate and it is a stupid strategy for a large party to not field candidates. Of course they won’t invest much money in long shot races.

229

steven t johnson 10.15.19 at 4:21 pm

anon/portly@220 is correct in saying the Lemieux’s attacks on Taibbi avoid his point, paint him with guilt by association and implicitly endorses the notion Trump is a traitor for Ukraine. It takes a certain amount of gall to even attack someone for opposing specific charges of impeachment, considering how reluctant LGM was endorse impeachment on any charges. Most of them loved Pelosi’s political genius and gravitas in opposing impeachment…until a suitable charge was found. Lemieux is at least open to broader range of charges. (No political disagreements among posters are vented on the site, so far as I can tell, as collegiality is all?)

But…Taibbi is wrong because the deep state theory is crap. “Our’ democracy is not subverted by an elite conspiracy. That sort of common sense thinking is just as superficial as Lemieux’s insinuations. The democratic state is always factionalized, and conflicts may be resolved by factional means, including dubious political prosecutions. The state is not the neutral expression of class conflicts. It is the way factions of owners resolve their conflicts. The more insoluble their internal disagreements over tactics and the more their goals require the repression of the majority of the people, the less decorous the methods involved.

But giving Trump a free ride because one faction of the security services is mobilizing in the factional struggle is absurd. One faction of the security services whipped up nonsense about Clinton’s email servers, even cobbling up a public intervention into the campaign. Clinton dutifully retailed the story about who attacked Benghazi, covering up arms dealing with jihadis, and was left out to be pilloried by politicians fed BS by another faction. The deep state theory is a common sense repudiation of a sane theory of the state. I think it’s because of the determination to avoid anything Marxist, but no doubt gullibility, vanity, conformism and the superior sales value play a role too.

230

notGoodenough 10.15.19 at 4:31 pm

Anarcissie @ 217

Personally, I too am not overly concerned with what is within someone’s heart – except in the physiological sense, perhaps – as it would seem to be difficult to ascertain and less impactful than their actions.

It is interesting to see your comment though, as it would appear that we are reading very different comment threads. I did not, for example, see you suggest that there may be a “scintilla of virtue in Trump somewhere”, but rather that he is deserving of credit for not starting a war. I didn’t see a “frightful outcry among the faithful”, but rather the majority of people responding clarifying their objections with a range of arguments, including ‘judging a presidency by one metric is overly simplistic’ and ‘one does not need to start a war in order to destabilise the geopolitical situation’. Perhaps you find these arguments unconvincing, but to imply these were not made or represent cultish behaviour would seem a little overwrought.

It is just my opinion, of course, I am not convinced your suggestion that ‘Donald Trump is being unfairly characterized by people ignoring his actions’ is best served by your unfairly characterising people by ignoring what they’ve written – particularly when you choose to do so in such a dismissively condescending fashion.

But, you know, you do you.

231

notGoodenough 10.15.19 at 5:51 pm

I like to flatter myself that I am a fairly rational person, but (as is, I suspect, for most people) this is just that – flattery.

The truth of the matter is that (outside of my specialisation) there is not enough hours in the day to verify everything. Instead, I have a consistent worldview, developed from a model tested on a few key points, which seems to hold up to most circumstances.

Of course, that is far from perfection.

It would seem to me that the important point is to continue testing assumptions. The scientific method is (in my personal opinion) not important because it somehow represents Truth-with-a-capital-t as laid out by grey-haired experts, but because fundamentally it tries to bake in a methodology which involves testing assumptions, submitting your evidence to peer review, and trying to engage with criticisms.

And, while it is not perfect, this represents a pretty good approach – what those who level criticisms (sometimes fairly, frequently not) have yet to offer is a demonstrably superior methodology. So, I make a rough filter based on “how important is this claim” and “how unlikely is this claim”, and investigate what I can accordingly. I won’t pretend this is flawless, but I try to be open to evidence-based improvements.

To me this ties into the fundamental problem with much of the media in the UK – it is less “bothsidesism” and more just uncritical acceptance of what makes for a good story. The failures of reporting for the Wakefield scandal are depressingly similar to those for the Malyszewicz scare*, and of course there are others. These are non-trivial – people will die as a result of this – but we see this repeated time and again.

I don’t have any answers. I would like it if critical reasoning was taught in schools, I would like it if those who time and again show a lack of judgement are not rapidly rehabilitated and trotted out again and again (and while I’m at it, I would also like a pony!). Sadly, I suspect these would be – at best – bandaids.

The inability of global society to even explain and contextialise the large-scale threats which are coming (let alone plan to deal with them) is…not exactly heartening. For myself, I will continue to try to bail out the sinking ship as best I can – though it is hardly more than a drop in the ocean.

Maybe there will be a way to tackle the thorny issue of helping people reach information and methodology, verifiably,yand relably – though I won’t hold my breath. Certainly, as alluded to in the OP, there are some approaches which are less than helpful.

Good luck to us all – I suspect we may need it.

* I am not implying similar motivations for the principle actors – merely the systematic failures in standards of investigation.

232

Hidari 10.15.19 at 5:52 pm

‘Your complaint is basically a long, self-indulgent rant about how you don’t like the democrats pursuing a winning strategy’.

The idea of the Democrats pursuing a winning strategy is not an easy one for me to get my head around.

233

nastywoman 10.15.19 at 11:16 pm

and I HAVE to – about
@220 and 224
”the information deficit on display”
=
“the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump.”

As me and my friends are pushing the absolute – totally ”hardest” – I’m really glad to hear that – as me and my friends want to become so ”dangerous” that ALL of YOU – from now on –

right away
obey!

234

J-D 10.16.19 at 8:11 am

anon/portly

To prevent the usual suspects from hectoring me in their usual fashion for my obvious stupidity, lapses, etc.

Tabibi, Taibbi? Taibbi, Tabibi?

Tm

I witnessed the midterms 2006 in Arkansas and at the time, I think half or more of seats in the legislature were uncontested.

A single example is easy to look up.

The Democrats ran candidates for 80 out of 100 seats in the State House. The Republicans ran candidates for 52 out of 100 seats. This data point does not count as evidence for the idea that rural voters are moving away from the Democrats because the Democrats don’t offer them candidates to vote for: if anything, the opposite.

Hidari

The idea of the Democrats pursuing a winning strategy is not an easy one for me to get my head around.

Democrats win presidential elections less often than Republicans do, but only a bit less often: if election results reflect party strategies, this suggests that Democratic strategies are only slightly less effective at winning than Republican ones. I suspect the picture would not be much different if other elections as well as presidential ones were factored in, though I admit I haven’t attempted the calculation.

235

faustusnotes 10.16.19 at 8:40 am

Hidari, if you’re having difficulty getting your head around the idea of the democrats pursuing a winning strategy, could I recommend you cast your mind back to the 2018 house elections? It might help.

Tm, the Dems fielded four candidates for the four Arkansas house seats in 2019, and they got smashed by their Republican opponents. It’s also worth noting (per J-D’s request above) that there were lots of seats where Republicans didn’t run any candidates, and Dems won without opposition. From the NY Times there were 40 state house seats with no Dem contender, and 14 state house seats with no Republican contender (and 2 with an independent contender). This means that 14/23 Dem victories occurred without opposition, compared to 40/76 Republican victories – basically the same ratio. Only one state house seat appears to have been flipped – a 50/50 split between a Repub and Dem contender. My free articles for the NYT have expired so I can’t check California but I bet there are lots of democratic victories in California without Republican opposition.

So I wonder, why is it that this is presented here as a Democratic problem, not a Republican problem? If it is generally an issue in US politics why has it been made out here to be some unique decision of Democrats? Maybe it’s a general problem of the US electoral landscape, driven by the difficulty of finding funding to fight so many elections at the same time? Maybe the Democrats’ decision in Arkansas was a smart one, driven by the realities of US electoral politics, and to field a candidate in every division would squander resources they don’t have? [And recall, Orange Watch doesn’t want Dems taking money from corporate donors, but wants a candidate in every division]

And another question about this. You and Orange Watch have both complained about the lack of representation in seats you presumably live in. Why didn’t you or Orange Watch stand for that seat? What makes you special, that you should complain about a lack of representation in the seat you live in, but should not be required to provide that representation yourself? Worse still, Orange Watch wants to see the Dems dragged to the left, and there he/she was in a supposedly swing state, and he/she is complaining that no one stood for election. Orange Watch could have seized that opportunity to represent Orange Watch’s politics in that seat, but Orange Watch didn’t?

I presume you have good reasons for not standing – but your reasons aren’t special. You aren’t special. If no one is standing in that division it probably means that there aren’t many Democrats in that area, or they have made the same calculations as you. I’m sorry, but you can’t complain about lack of representation if you don’t take the task on, and you can’t complain that the party is not taking on your politics if when there is a gap in the party leadership you don’t bother filling it.

(This incidentally is a point LGM make repeatedly – that posturing from the sidelines is way less useful than getting in and doing the work).

236

Lee A. Arnold 10.16.19 at 11:08 am

J-D #226: “partial indications”

Weimar Republic – acute indications for the social psychology of how the US might deteriorate and lash out, into a big war.

The external pressures would have a different causation. In place of Germany’s external conditions of “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” (Keynes’ foreboding prediction) and the rising Nazi right’s call for Lebensraum, substitute instead 1. a declining standard of living vis-a-vis much of the world due to decreases in trade and due to underinvestment in education & infrastructure, and 2. a falling dollar & rising interest rates due to financial flight to balmier shores and to avoid taxation for education & infrastructure.

And instead of Germany’s rising resentment and hatred of WWI’s victors and its own internal “internationalists” (the Jews), substitute instead 1. frustration at the developing countries who are turning to do trade deals with China (thereby shutting out US producers & tech standards) which is going to lead to endless unilateral arguments, 2. Trump’s pushing away of the European allies, and 3. Russia’s remarkably effective cyber-exploitation of US’s internal political divisions, in concert with Russia’s aggressive foreign policy moves which are causing unease among US elites and the dwindling numbers of old allies who still trust the US. At the same time, 4. the US is expanding its military and security apparatus to try to forestall the next terror attack.

So aside from the additions and emendations, an historical example of danger: the sense of insecurity, unease, aloneness, & suspicion of the external world, along with the interior, domestic resentments and hatreds, parallels the Weimar Republic social psychology.

237

Lee A. Arnold 10.16.19 at 12:06 pm

steven t johnson #229: “Taibbi is wrong because the deep state theory is crap.”

The reasons given by the pro-Trumpers for why the FBI, CIA, and presumably the rest of the security establishment don’t like Trump are never questioned. The reasons given are something like: “Trump will drain the swamp and they are all swamp creatures,” “Trump will end wars and they profit from wars,” and/or “They don’t like Trump’s nontraditional, unpresidential style.”

But wait a minute. As a reason for “deep state” action against Trump, this doesn’t add up. Trump has increased the defense & intelligence budgets and installed corporate crooks and lobbyists throughout his Administration. The “deep state” and the intelligence community should LOVE Trump.

And they wouldn’t have been fooled. As Taibbi himself writes, “Trump’s campaign antagonism toward the military and intelligence world was at best a millimeter thick. Like almost everything else he said as a candidate, it was a gimmick, designed to get votes.”

Well wait another minute, does Taibbi think that the “deep staters” would not recognize this, were somehow unaware of this? That they cooked up the Steele dossier out of a hatred of his style, or out of a simple preference for Hillary Clinton? The idea that this is all started with a hatred of Trump or love for Hillary seems naive.

238

Anarcissie 10.16.19 at 3:09 pm

@221 & @222 — Well, we have a difference of opinion. I have a hard time believing Trump is consistent enough to be Absolutely Evil, so when Alan White 10.04.19 at 11:00 pm @ 25 asked anyone to provide a single virtue, I thought hard and came up with the widely held notion that he had not started any new wars. (Some disagree.) I think that is probably all I have said in Trump´s favor, yet this modest suggestion has morphed into my being a dupe and slave of Trump. Now, one way to resolve differences of opinion is to choose some objective measure of the facts being contested. I think I have already suggested body counts, Trump versus his predecessors and competitors. Or is this yet more blasphemy? Is Trump really worse than G.W. Bush, who got maybe a million people killed in Iraq, to say nothing of the tortures, terrors, mutilations, rape, imprisonment, enslavement, and other harms that inevitably attend any war?

@230 — Yes, we do seem to be reading different comments threads, maybe from different universes. In the one I seem to be in, I made an extremely limited suggestion in response a very narrow request, and some people got very excited about it, interpreting it in a most remarkable manner! What happened at your end?

239

Hidari 10.16.19 at 7:56 pm

‘You and Orange Watch have both complained about the lack of representation in seats you presumably live in. ‘

No I haven’t and I don’t.

240

Tm 10.16.19 at 8:10 pm

J-D 234: „This data point does not count as evidence for the idea that rural voters are moving away“ …
I never claimed otherwise. Likewise, fn 235, I didn’t imply this was specifically a problem of the Dem party. I think it’s a problem for democracy for various reasons. But the deeper, underlying problem is an electoral system that ensures that a large portion of votes are wasted. Under Proportional representation, every vote has approximately the same impact.

241

Tm 10.16.19 at 8:28 pm

… and a party that wants to win an election must make an effort to campaign in all parts of the country, not just the potential swing districts as is the case in the US. A consequence in the US is that Reps have no incentive at all to care about urban voters, a tendency which feeds into the ever increasing geographic polarisation, thereby perpetuating itself. As I pointed out earlier, there is far far more right wing contempt for the cities than there is left wing contempt for rural areas.

242

nastywoman 10.16.19 at 8:51 pm

@238
”I have a hard time believing Trump is consistent enough to be Absolutely Evil”

I know – and as I had – and have – identified this belief as the one of the major reasons why so many Americans voted for Trump I’m -(and somebody like JimV) are working really hard against such a belief. And I didn’t call you ”a dupe” or a ”slave” of Trump – but as it was you – who mentioned ”the war” and rightfully explained that ”starting a war” is NOT unimportant – it was very important to inform you – that Trump just pretended to be ”anti-war” in order to have ”uninformed” Americans vote for him.

And can you believe it? he currently is trying the same… am I allowed to call it – ”trick”.

And as you now asked (again) for ”body counts, Trump versus his predecessors and competitors” – and this argument – also – is one of ”the most popular arguments of the Trump Team -(in order to get ”the Moron”) re-elected – it is also the utmost self-defeating one – because it is based on this pretty popular Internet belief – that ALL US President -(even the President who had the YUUUGEST body count in WW2) – are kind of ”war criminals” –
BUT if this would be true -(just by being a US President) – the real decisive differences between these Presidents – would be their ”personality and character” –

Right?

Like the difference between the really ”evil” and ”sadistic” ones –
and the ones who are NOT really ”evil” and ”sadistic” – and as I have explained before – I have met Trump only once – BUT my Dad had watched him in the 70th a few times -(in action) and he can promise you – Yes! – Trump is consistently ”Evil”!

243

Alan White 10.16.19 at 10:21 pm

@238–

My question about identifying any personal virtue in trump–in Aristotle’s sense of an enduring trait, and not something vaguely ascribed on the basis of the consequences of one’s actions/inactions–has yet to be answered in any clear affirmative sense. I nowhere suggested he is “Absolutely Evil” as an evil genius or the like. He’s too self-centered and incompetent for comparison to Pol Pot or Stalin or even Hitler in that way (he’s not particularly schooled enough in history or strategy for that). He’s just devoid of good virtue, and the resulting bumbling self-centeredness protected only by his money and the power that has delivered to him explains any evil–or good–that results. They are accidents entirely a function of the self-deluded egomaniac that he is.

244

faustusnotes 10.17.19 at 1:01 am

Hidari, that paragraph was directed at Tm and Orange Watch, not you.

Tm, I don’t think that proportional representation is the only problem for America’s system. You have too many elections over a very wide range of positions, your primary system is a huge resource drain, and you have a massive urban/rural polarization. And worst of all you have no government funding for parties and a huge problem of money in politics. With an arms race of electoral funding going on it becomes inevitable that you need more and more resources for every seat, which will drive parties to make calculations about which seats to abandon. This is especially true if you have to burn millions and millions of dollars on a primary that takes a year and ends up being a choice between the same three people everyone expected to be in the running, who basically have the same policies.

But you also need, at that local level, people who are willing to step up and do the work. My guess is that in large areas of Arkansas there are so few democrats and the election is such a pointless drubbing that no one is willing to stand up and take on the job. But a good start would be people who complain the Dems aren’t left enough and complain no one is running in their district. They could get out there, run, and drag the party to the left as they do so.

Or they could complain about the DNC on the internet while they wait for someone else to do the hard work.

245

Donald 10.17.19 at 3:06 am

Apparently AOC, Ilhan Omar and Tlaib are going to endorse Sanders. The white Berniebro cliche never had much factual basis, but maybe this will put it to rest. Haha, just kidding.

246

Tm 10.17.19 at 8:54 am

Fn, beside the point but I‘m not American although I have lived in the US. And sure, there are many problems with US democracy.

247

Trader Joe 10.17.19 at 11:30 am

@244 on contested races

On the topic of contested races I’d share the story of Virginia’s 7th district. This particular district was a Republican stronghold dating back to the Nixon years. Representative Bliley (of Grahm, Leech, Bliley fame) and held the seat throughout the 70s and into the 90s holding increasingly powerful committee appointments throughout.

The seat was rarely contested in the general election, indeed the primary for the safe Republican seat was rarely contested until 2001 when Bliley retired and a Virginia party leader – Eric Cantor contested and won the primary and proceeded to remain elected until 2014….when again it was the Republican primary – not the general election, which was contested and against all offs Cantor, who at the time was the minority whip of the house (i.e. #2 highest after speaker) was defeated in his primary by a relatively ill-funded and completely unknown Tea Party Candidate David Brat.

Brat managed to hold the seat for one term and was sufficient disaster that he was unseated by a Democrat who had never run for any political office ever – Spangberger. Her election was the first time a Democrat had won the seat since the 1960s.

The moral of the story – the Republicans themselves cost themselves a safe seat by contesting and in so doing replacing strong candidates with weaker ones. I’m hardly a student of all districts in the US, but I wouldn’t doubt this exact calculus contributes to which seats get contested and defended and which seats face primary challengers and which don’t.

248

notGoodenough 10.17.19 at 12:32 pm

Anarcisse @ 238

I am reluctant to reply too in depth, as a) going point-by-point over my perspective would seem to be of limited interest to anyone other than myself and b) I thought I was relatively clear in my previous post @ 230.

However, since you have asked me directly, I will respond – perhaps then we can agree to disagree, and end the matter there.

As far as I can tell:

Your original claim @ 63 was in response to Alan White, where you stated Donald Trump has not started any new wars is virtuous trait which may be ascribed to him. People have responded, essentially explaining why they don´t agree.

Now, you may find these arguments unconvincing – as is your prerogative, of course – or perhaps you feel the responses do not address the comment in the spirit it was meant (though it would appear others would level the same at you), and had that been the end of the matter I wouldn´t have said anything, as your point of responding in a narrow context to a specific point would have some validity.

However, your subsequent post @ 84, where you seem to suggest that other people are trivialising ´not starting wars´ as a virtue when they propose DT has overall decreased geopolitical stability, @ 94, where you suggest that some in this discussion people are characterising those they disagree with as stupid and evil, and @ 217 where you suggest that CT is behaving in a cultish fashion appeared, at least to me, to be part of conversation which is increasing in heatedness.

As I pointed out in my comment, the phrase the “suggestion has caused a frightful outcry among the faithful” carries with it (at least to me) certain implications about the people you have been responding to. I hope you can appreciate (even if you may disagree) that, from my perspective, characterising those who are disagreeing with you as being of the sheep-like disposition is not particularly constructive to engendering a fruitful discussion – particularly given you make that very point in your post @ 94. My intention was to merely note this, in an attempt to suggest people might wish to deescalate the discussion and bring it back on course. Clearly this has not been particularly successful.

As the conversation has now devolved into whether or not people see Trump as Absolute Evil, and you invite the comparing of body counts as a metric, it seems to me the discussion is increasingly defensive and decreasingly carrying any degree of good faith.

Since I don´t currently foresee this evolving into anything particularly fruitful, I hope you will understand that I intend to refrain from getting involved in this particular discussion from now on – particularly as I suspect this comment will already trespass on the good nature of the bloghost as it is veering dangerously off topic.

249

anon/portly 10.17.19 at 2:28 pm

234 Tabibi, Taibbi? Taibbi, Tabibi?

Thanks, I was obviously reading it wrong. It’s not bibi, it’s ibbi, like Ibbi Andersson, the actress.

229 But giving Trump a free ride because one faction of the security services is mobilizing in the factional struggle is absurd.

stj starts out agreeing with me, then basically decides he agrees with LGM – Taibbi’s piece is all about something like “giving Trump a free ride.” Me, I think Taibbi’s piece is not about Trump much at all, it’s about media/bureaucracy actions or attitudes towards Trump.

That it leads him to be less enthusiastic about impeaching Trump, well, shouldn’t what he describes, if accurate, lead everyone to be less enthusiastic about impeaching Trump? (It shouldn’t lead anyone, as it doesn’t lead Taibbi, to think any more highly of Trump).

250

anon/portly 10.17.19 at 5:47 pm

As this thread is about why some people seem dumbfounded when confronted by fact, or just dumb, it’s worth noting that the information deficit on display @220 is likely to be exacerbated by a general reluctance to step out of the bubble. I don’t think anyone here, including @220, is dumb.

The easiest way to get both sides of the ongoing bun fights is to make RCP a regular stop. On any given morning, afternoon, and evening, one can choose articles from VOX, NYT, Wapo, the Nation, Guardian, FOX, NBC, Gallup, Nate Silver 538, etc.

Hmmm. Okay, I have an “information deficit.” Let me quote 169:

However, if 45 manages to hang on, we can expect continued improvement in the conditions of minorities, more jobs, better educational choices, and a more opportunities for women and others.

At first glance, of course, there’s nothing wrong with this statement. Things improve over time. In particular, the economy tends to improve over time, leading to “more jobs” and “improvements in the condition of minorities,” at least. Why should we expect these things to not improve because “45 manages to hold on?” We should expect that they will improve.

And if 45 doesn’t manage to hold on? ph didn’t cover this case, but we should still expect that they will.

Or should we? I don’t think ph wrote this intending it to be a sort of “no content” statement. I think the clear implication is “we will get these good things if 45 stays, and not get them if 45 doesn’t stay.” (Maybe instead of “not get them” ph thinks something like “more likely to not get them” – it’s not clear if he’s thinking here in terms of probabilities or certainties).

I said ph didn’t intend this to be a content-free statement, but I didn’t say he succeeded.

If we’re going to get these good things if 45 stays and not get them if 45 goes, well, why?
Why? Why? Why why why why why why why? What exactly has Trump done, or is doing, that has brought about these good outcomes, and why will his absence prevent them from continuing?

I suppose at this point ph could say that if I bothered to get out of my information bubble, I would understand his statement. But that’s not true. I am actually quite aware of the possible not-so-zany arguments that could be made in defense of his view, but since he chooses not to advance one, I have no way of knowing what it is.

The problem here isn’t the reader being in a bubble, it’s the writer not actually saying anything.

My advice for people – I’m not singling anyone out here – who have trouble discerning when they are or are not actually making meaningful statements, or when they are or not making statements aptly described as “Hannity level swill” would be to avoid going to RCP and stop keeping up with “both sides of the ongoing bun fights.” More information doesn’t necessarily mean you’re outside a bubble. Or that you are learning anything that is really useful.

Example:

192 45 is the voice of hope for Americans left behind by their own rulers, indifferent to the plight of the lower orders at home. These voters in Michigan and Wisconsin watched the promises of hope and change turn to dust in their mouths….

Unlike the quote from 169, ph is saying something here, this isn’t content-free. But what is he saying? What does he really know? It’s pretty vague. I understand the “left behind” part, which reasonably reflects economic realities in some parts of the Midwest. I think “by their own rulers” is just silly, as the causes of the “left behind” phenomenon are complex, and not in some instances all that closely related to (or deriving from) the actions or inaction of their elected representatives. (Maybe ph believes American presidents can solve all problems – it’s hard to imagine what RCP could be linking to, if it’s pushed his thinking in this direction).

Mainstream R’s and D’s are “indifferent?” “45 is the voice of hope?” Well, maybe. 45 offers new old ideas, to be sure, going after China on trade and immigration generally and promising to bring back manufacturing jobs. Have his actions had any positive effects for “left behind” Midwesterners, as a whole? I think the answer is “obviously not” but maybe this is just the information bubble I’m in again, steering me wrong.

“Watched the promises of hope and change turn to dust in their mouths?” Well, what where their expectations, really? Why were those expectations thwarted? Here maybe ph is smarter than I think and has some argument to make about u-shaped recessions and “austerity” and Fed Policy and so on. With a long period of excess unemployment, obviously some areas of the US suffered more than others. Midwest voters expecting a quick rebound would be certainly disappointed.

Was that Obama’s fault? Is Trump offering real hope? “Too much easy money!” Candidate Trump has been replaced by “not enough easy money!” President Trump, so if Trump could just get some of his wacko/crony Fed picks through Congress….

Sorry, I went on too long there, trying to imagine ph’s underlying argument, or if he really has one. Verdict: the passage from 192 quoted above is just more Hannity-level swill. No doubt I’m only saying that because in failing to read RCP every day, I’m just a complete ignoramus and am missing the obv left right and center. Verdict: (“dumbfounded when confronted by facts, or just dumb”) dumb. Dumb! Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb!

251

Orange Watch 10.17.19 at 7:15 pm

fn@211:

Those of us who are old enough to remember the Bush era remember the outpouring of hatred after Bush was re-elected.

Those of us old enough to remember the Bush era should also remember PUMAs. More Clinton backers voted for McCain than Sanders backers voted for Trump, yet the honest, clear-headed centrists have flushed that tidbit down the memory hole because remembering it would impede their heartfelt desire to blame Sanders and perfidious Berniebros for Clinton’s failings. (This is not terribly relevant to the subject at hand, but it’s more relevant than your comment above.)

Your complaint is basically a long, self-indulgent rant [oh, the irony] about how you don’t like the democrats pursuing a winning strategy. […] Perhaps you’re unaware of the fact that other countries have elections too?

I’m aware of this to a greater degree than you appear to be. Do you know the biggest reason why the Democrats have been struggling in Congress for the last decade? It’s because they neglected state politics in favor of more focus and funding on national politics. The US system is a train wreck in ways you don’t appear to grasp. Losing control of state legislatures and statehouses directly jeopardizes a party’s ability to function at the national level because the state gov’ts control how elections are run and how national-level districts are apportioned. Democrats went from controlling more than half of state legislatures when Obama took office to controlling around a quarter when he left. And that had direct impacts on how national elections played out.

As others pointed out above, the whole point of this is that the Democrats are NOT pursuing a winning strategy – have you not paid ANY attention to elections over the last decade? Furthermore, the Republicans are actually trying to pursue the strategy you claim no major party anywhere pursues, and it was largely responsible for their strength at the ballot box. The reason why these things happened is because of the particular structure of American electoral systems. You know: those structures that exist in US elections but not in the elections that other countries have.

Of course, all this elides that my comment was primarily addressing why professional politicians within the Democratic party aren’t engendering trust or loyalty in rural Democrats, let alone from rural independents. A national party that does not simply ignore local and state elections but actively drains locally-raised funding from state or local parties cannot blithely blame local party members for insufficient enthusiasm nor claim they’re lazy whiners who want someone else to do all the hard work. There is a difference between indifference and sabotage – as is there a difference between up-ballot candidates not campaigning in states and acting as GOTVs for opposing parties.

randomworker@212:

I’m keenly aware of what “Cleetus safari” refers to. They chose the label they did for a reason. Do you think they’d refer to bias-confirming puff-piece trips into black communities as, well… use your imagination. Their choice to faithfully repeat that phrase “ironically” is exactly what it looks like.

And yes, I know very well what most of the FP and commentariat think of the phrase “economic anxiety”. They’re pretty damned frank about how lazily they approach that subject. It has not escaped the notice of the FP minority, either.

J-D@223:

If somebody tells me that rural voters are turning away from the Democratic Party because there’s a blog that says negative things about them, I know it can’t be true.

What if someone told you that a blog saying negative things about various demographic groups is evidence that there are subgroups of the Democratic Party that hold those demographic groups in contempt? For someone who puts as much weight on precision as you do, you’ve wandered pretty far from what I actually said. Admittedly, other commenters like fn doing their best to… shall we say… “operationalize” what I’ve said has hardly helped keep the original context in mind.

If somebody tells me that rural voters are turning away from the Democratic Party because when they go to vote for county commissioner or state legislature there are Republican candidates but no Democratic candidates, then I recognise that as the kind of thing that might be true.

It’s not just about whether there are candidates there. It’s also about how the national party treats the subordinate parties. The DNC actively abused subordinate parties in 2016, but that was not something new – there has been a long trend towards de-emphasizing politics below the national level as unimportant, but the underlying governmental, legal, and constitutional systems that exist in the US did not meaningfully change over the period when this attitude became more prevalent in party leadership – and not coincidentally, during this time party leadership largely came from Third Way and such movements.

252

nastywoman 10.17.19 at 8:58 pm

or
@238

should I just have said it like this:

https://youtu.be/wb219dz_NeA

253

Faustusnotes 10.18.19 at 12:27 am

Orange watch, why is it Democrat’s fault that the republicans engaged in partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression? Yes the dems dropped the ball on state races and didn’t realize how much the gop were going to use state level politics to ratfuck them, but this is the gop’s fault not the dems. Why is it that everything is the dems fault here?

Also I showed pretty clearly that Uncontested elections is not a dem only thing so you need to revise your entire screed on that issue to reflect the facts and not your tired and wrong impressions.

Why is everything the gop does the dems fault!?

254

Faustusnotes 10.18.19 at 12:29 am

And also why don’t you sign up to run for office instead of complaining the dems don’t field candidates and aren’t left enough? Here’s your chance! Why don’t you take it!?

255

Anarcissie 10.18.19 at 1:55 am

@248 etc. — I’m always ready to agree to disagree. ‘Opposition is true friendship,’ as William Blake said (I think). However, when you say ‘I suspect this comment will already trespass on the good nature of the bloghost as it is veering dangerously off topic,’ I must remind you that this particular discussion began with a consideration of Flat-Earth theory, to which I contributed my own original research.

256

Tm 10.18.19 at 8:13 am

OW: some of your points about electoral strategy are no doubt correct. Of course the Dems have made mistakes. They concentrated too much on presidential politics and neglected the states. My impression is that this has been understood and corrected: in 2018 Dems won back many state houses and governorships, as well as the House.

Nevertheless the Dems have won the popular vote in six of the seven last presidential elections. In any other country, this would count as a roaring success.

At the state Level, the Dems have been hampered by shameless gerrymandering, voter suppression and also structural factors – due to America‘s less than democratic electoral system, urban votes generally count less than suburban and rural ones. Now one could talk about what can be done to overcome these disadvantages. One can certainly criticise the leadership for mistakes made. What I find odd is your insistence that the Dem leadership is itself to blame for all the deficits of US democracy. And worse, if I understand correctly you are insinuating that the leadership isn’t just making mistakes as everybody does, they are making those mistakes on purpose as if they were secretly playing for the other side. This is impossible to take seriously.

257

J-D 10.18.19 at 8:59 am

anon/portly

For the most part, the purpose of ph’s comments is not to communicate information but to assert superiority. Therefore, if you have any interest in trying to understand ph’s comments, what you should be trying to understand is not ‘What information is ph trying to communicate?’ but rather ‘How is ph trying to assert superiority?’ It is, therefore, futile hoping for ph to provide clarification of an intended meaning.

Orange Watch

What if someone told you that a blog saying negative things about various demographic groups is evidence that there are subgroups of the Democratic Party that hold those demographic groups in contempt? For someone who puts as much weight on precision as you do, you’ve wandered pretty far from what I actually said.

My use of the word ‘if’ was carefully considered (you might even say it was precise).

However, if you want me to respond directly to the assertion that a blog saying negative things about various demographic groups is evidence that there are subgroups of the Democratic Party that hold those demographic groups in contempt, I respond as follows:
1. the expression ‘subgroups of the Democratic Party’ is too vague to be useful;
2. however, I would accept on general principles that some Democrats hold various demographic groups in contempt, because people holding various demographic groups in contempt is such a common phenomenon; and
3. if somebody asserts that the reason various demographic groups are turning away from the Democratic Party is that some Democrats hold them in contempt, my response would be ‘citation needed’.

When EB wrote that ‘various sub-groups of the Democratic coalition’ were voicing contempt for rural people, men, and white people, and thereby risking the loss of those constituencies for the Democratic Party, I could have responded by asking ‘What do you even mean by “various sub-groups of the Democratic coalition”?’, but instead I responded ‘Citation needed’ partly because I thought that a citation, if provided, had some chance of providing the desired clarification. Well, maybe it has and maybe it hasn’t.

As others pointed out above, the whole point of this is that the Democrats are NOT pursuing a winning strategy – have you not paid ANY attention to elections over the last decade?

In the last decade there have been two Presidential elections: the Democrats won one and the Republicans one.

In the last decade there have been five elections for the United States House: the Democrats won one and the Republicans four.

In the last decade there have been five elections for the United States Senate: the Democrats won a majority of the seats up for election in two and the Republicans in three.

Of course, all this elides that my comment was primarily addressing why professional politicians within the Democratic party aren’t engendering trust or loyalty in rural Democrats, let alone from rural independents. A national party that … actively drains locally-raised funding from state or local parties … up-ballot candidates … acting as GOTVs for opposing parties. … The DNC actively abused subordinate parties in 2016 …

Citation needed.

258

ph 10.18.19 at 10:50 am

@249 Kudos. I think you’ve got this precisely right. I apologize if you believe that I’m calling you dumb. I know how to do that in that event I find that necessary.

I was trying to point out that contra what the NYT tells us, a great many 45 supporters really do see the current president as a symbol of hope and for good reason – record unemployment among minorities, more new jobs going to women than men, and more school choice for families denied access to high-income/high-quality public schools.

I’m going to suggest that part of the reason this sounds like swill to you is because you’ve permitted yourself to believe that many/most of the 50 million or so 45 supporters are racist/misogynists who can’t possible be happy when good things happen to women and minorities. But, perhaps I’m wrong about that. @231 provides an extremely useful comment which provides other reasons why many regular voters tune in to 45 and tune out 45. I’ll close, since you asked, with a few reasons why 45 matters, and what will happen when he leaves.

Adjustable rate Affordable Care Act pricing. In order to sell the rubes on the ACA boondoggle, Dems took a page from the housing crisis and buried the ballooning payments consumers would have to pay once the teaser rates ended in 2016-17.

Outsourcing American jobs: recall that sending your job to Mexico/China is as much a Democratic party platform as it one beloved by Paul Ryan et al. The choice between Blue and Red was which party will make the rich richest while keeping the rest of us docile, dumb, and safely on porn and opioids. (Don’t forget just how much money Big Pharma made during the 44 years fueling opioid addiction.) Got your six, middle America!

Endless wars of regime change – another f-ed policy beloved by both parties. On JQ’s other thread, we have a wonderful comment by a “liberal” longing for the good old days when Daddy (Bush/Obama) would simply knock the unruly Asians heads together to get them to ‘behave.’ Really.

As you don’t watch FOX, or want to visit RCP, you missed Mollie Hemingway’s astute observation on what’s happening in the GOP and in Washington. As she noted, in the 2015-6 season, Republican voters had a clear choice between wars of choice Bush/Rubio/Graham, and Orange Man Bad, who promised to end stupid wars, stupid trade practices, outsourcing jobs, and build a big wall – all anathema to Ryan and the GOP establishment. GOP voters went with Orange Man. Then, voters in America were presented with the same choice – more of the same, or radical change. Voters went with radical change. Surprise!

As I put it to one California Democrat, the only thing Dems seem to be promising America’s young people is a mountain of student debt, a fifteen-dollar an hour minimum wage, a job as a barrista after graduation, mastering the art of foam, and half-assed health insurance while you live in parents’ home until you’re thirty. That doesn’t sound like much to anyone.

Orange Watch has this exactly right – at the state and local level Dems got killed. There’s a chance that change is on the way, but not if the Versailles liberals at the top continue to hold sway. Dems don’t need a leader who can beat 45. They need policies that inspire hope in capitalism and the American dream of making it big.

Cause that’s what Trump is selling – “you, too can make your dreams come true if you work hard and play by the rules. As he put it, in Dallas (lying his face off as usual) we operate by two rules here in Texas “buy American, and hire American.” I tried listening to the Dem debates. Painful, really – Tulsi Gabbard is the only one worth a fig and she’s being damned as a Russian asset by the NYT and CNN for promising to end endless wars.

Under 44, Dems learned to trust Clapper, Brennan and the rest of the regime-change crowd as geniuses. Bad thinking. Now, those who used to oppose the Iraq invasion are freaking out that the US might actually leave the ME.

The US stays in the ME, forever, being Daddy. That’s what happens when 45 leaves.

259

Tm 10.18.19 at 2:57 pm

Also OW: „What if someone told you that a blog saying negative things about various demographic groups is evidence that there are subgroups of the Democratic Party that hold those demographic groups in contempt?“

This reasoning has some validity but to make a case, you’d have to address the question how representative this blog is for the Democratic Party.

Of course so far you haven’t even made slightest attempt to actually make any kind of case. To wit, you have provided absolutely zero evidence for the sweeping claims you have been making. There is absolutely no, zero point zero, evidence than anybody at LGM holds rursl whites in contempt. Meantime your opponents have provided actual verifiable evidence that influential subgroups of the Republican Party hold rural whites in contempt.

The fact that you have failed to respond to literally dozens of challenges and still hold on to a claim that appears to be absolutely false makes you, in my view, a troll.

260

Tm 10.18.19 at 3:27 pm

In other news: While ethnic cleansing by Turkey with US backing is in full swing in North Syria, Trump has ordered thousands more US troops to Saudi Arabia in order to continue his successful and popular program „stop US meddling in the Middle East“.

261

steven t johnson 10.18.19 at 3:33 pm

anon/porty@249 takes me to task for dumping on Taibbi. Taibbi’s crank deep statism approach is highly objectionable because of its substitution of conspiracy for history. History contains many conspiracies, but it isn’t a conspiracy itself. Nor is a highly complex product of history (of class struggle, of war, of changing economy) such as the state. But if I gave the impression I favored LGM versus Taibbi, I thought it was pretty obvious I have a low opinion of LGM, something I follow to see what the evil punditry is up to (LGM is almost entirely cut-and-paste, so it’s largely an ongoing sampler of elite (hireling) opinion.

Insofar as Taibbi is reluctant to support the deep state against the spoiler Trump, well, yeah, it may make some sort of sense in his deep state theory to support Trump against the conspiracy that rule the nation. But the theory is so insanely ideological you can’t use for anything. Burning witches makes perfect sense if they really have Satanic powers.

But insofar as Taibbi is really just saying charges of treason against Trump are preposterous, and I would add exactly the same as crazed Republican charges against Clinton, and therefore implicit appeals to reaction? If that’s what Taibbi means, he’s right. The LGM rage at Trump for not being the right kind of war monger is the same kind of rage against Trump for not hurting the right people. It’s backward, hateful and obscurantism that poisons minds. Hope that clarifies?

Lee A. Arnold@37 seems to take me to task but the substance seems to make essentially the same point. I think deep state theory is a diversion from a class theory of the state. The only nitpick I could find is the suggestion that naivete is the reason. So, I guess I have to say, you win, sir.

262

Orange Watch 10.18.19 at 10:35 pm

fn@253:
You’re trying to make an ad hominem argument by way of appeal to accomplishment, which is as disingenuous as such appeals always are. If someone is running for local office, they would do well to not say they are online when seeking to be pseudonymous. If they are not, there are many valid reasons they might not be beyond your false dichotomy of “running for office or irresponsible whiny hypocrite”, and those reasons have no bearing whatsoever on the argument at hand. If someone learning basketball who was trying to shoot freethrows using their feet with their eyes closed, Stephan Hawking would have been correct in saying they should be using their hands and keeping their eyes open – even if Micheal Jordon insisted they should keep using their feet and not looking. Appeal to accomplishment is almost without fail an attempt to narrow the range of individuals who can criticize someone without actually addressing any of their criticism – and when that criticism is aimed at the status quo, it’s even more insidious as it increases the odds that potential critics will be limited to those currently invested in that status quo.

Also, if we’re tacking on addenda, let me add that the strategy that you claim no major first-world political party has ever tried such an insane political strategy like the “50-state strategy” I mentioned… I didn’t pull that idea out of thin air. It was Howard Dean’s explicit strategy during his tenure as DNC chair from ’05-’09. It didn’t get abandoned until Tim Kaine took over in ’09 and moved to more of a top-down, fundraising über alles, and hold-the-line strategy. It’s debatable whether that abandonment was the cause of the Democrats losing control of Congress, but it’s not deniable that it didn’t prevent them from taking control of it, nor that Republicans became significantly better entrenched after it was abandoned.

Tm@255:
Nothing I said implies that old guard centrist Dems are “playing for the other side”. fn has leveled such accusations at the old guard’s critics, but I’ve made no such claims about them. It’s not that they are to blame for all US democracy’s deficits, either: it’s that they’re refusing to act in a way that acknowledges or mitigates those deficits. Why? By all appearances, mostly because of the Iron Law of Institutions. Their critics are younger, to their left, and have their strength in mass movements; the 3rd Way types have as their foremost advantage their entrenched hierarchy and large-scale donors. Preserving their power within the party requires maintaining control of the party. That alone is enough to explain why they resist democratizing party mechanisms and strategies, while seeking to maintain hierarchy, centralization, and de facto patronage systems. Their assumption is that they can win (enough) elections while also crushing leftist insurgents inside the party. Watching the progression from 2014-2016-2018 suggests they may be right, but they probably aren’t.

Meantime your opponents have provided actual verifiable evidence that influential subgroups of the Republican Party hold rural whites in contempt.

And? This has nothing to do with what I’ve said. Many Republicans absolutely hold the rural working class in utter contempt. That does not absolve Democrats for engaging in lazy Kulturkampf against the inhabitants of “flyover country” more-or-less as a red-meat bonding exercise. This is not an either-or; both sides do it because the subgroups that are doing it share a particular identity that intersects with their identity as partisan members of the Republican or Democratic party. Pretending that “Republican” and “Democrat” are monolithic identities is insane, but that appears to be what you’re arguing – if Democratic policies are a net benefit for rural poor populations, it can only mean that they all intended that and any expressions of contempt were not real – and vice versa WRT Republican indifference and veiled contempt to the populations they pay lip service to even as they routinely push policies that in practice hurt them a great deal. And of course, all this distracts from the fact that the original point was WRT voicing contempt. Even the most sneering and contemptuous regressive Republicans are not given to voice contempt for ” rural people, men, and white people” – and no amount of demonstrating how Republican policies betray unvoiced contempt (because yes, of course they do) will provide the slightest “actual verifiable evidence” that they’re voicing contempt.

(Also, I’ve expressed some frustration at how hard it is to capture contempt for “yokels” is because it’s expressed in comments, which are neither easy to search nor easy to link. Let me reiterate that. You can disagree if you want. I’m not going to go digging through months of frustratingly, infuriatingly self-congratulatory but myopic comments in hopes of finding those I’ve seen before. Believe me or don’t – at this point I think we’ve beat this dead horse quite long enough.)

J-D@256:
I do think you’re doing ph an injustice, albeit not a huge one. They really do seem to be trying to convey information. It’s skewed by a very tight filter, and omits a great deal of critical context, and frankly suffers from many of the same “American-politics-as-spectator-sports” issues that fn’s comments do, but they are unquestionably trying to convey information and persuade their interlocutors. At a bare minimum, they’re trying to plant the seeds of doubt in readers’ political narratives.

(To be clear, I wildly disagree with essentially all their conclusions and a decent chunk of their framing. But they’re clearly trying to convey information and persuade readers. It’s not just virtue signalling.)

263

Orange Watch 10.18.19 at 10:58 pm

Tm@258:

It’s also a bit depressing to see how you’re equating policies that hurt the working class as being “actual verifiable evidence” that the GOP holds rural people, whites, and men in contempt. ISTR Chetan Murthy accusing me of conflating those categories with “the working class” – and while you’re not him, and thus free to lay into me w/o regard to their claims as to who makes what conflations, CM’s observation seems to apply quite well to what you’re doing above. Those categories are not interchangeable, so even if the “actual verifiable evidence” didn’t suffer from other quite severe problems it would not provide evidence of what you claim it does.

264

ph 10.18.19 at 11:08 pm

@260 Largely agree on the analysis, but I still favor capitalism as the better solution. There’s nothing necessary about war. And haven’t seen you or anyone else make a persuasive case war is a necessary function of capitalism. The key point of your position (for me) is that we too frequently overlook the fact that less than a hundred years ago women couldn’t vote, and most of the world was literally divided into empires. The post WWI national empires created the FP problems we’re trying (or not) to disentangle ourselves from.

@making it about individuals rather than arguments, various commenters. Several of the most frequent are among the most argumentative and uninformed on these threads, whose obsessions consist of a/an ongoing nervous breakdown repeated as ALL-CAPS!, etc., or b/tendentious accusations that other commenters arguments are either incomplete, or unclear. For my part, I credit everyone with the ability to make an argument and understand one.

If Orange Watch’s summation of the recent history of events in the Democratic party strikes you as novel and/or surprising, then be assured that you’ve succeeded in insulating yourself from basic fact. OW is not embarking on an investigation into new territory, but rather revisiting well-worn territory utterly familiar to the informed, irrespective of political alignment. I tend not to offer my two cents on matters of economics, because I’ve little to add and much to learn from the better informed.

Claiming to be unaware of the collapse of the Democratic party during 44 years, or the rise in income inequality during, or the bs. defenses mounted by 44 loyalists for why bankers keep their bonuses while black folks lose their houses (yes, African-Americans were disproportionately impacted by the Democrats’ “solution.”) is exactly like arriving in an undergraduate (not graduate) seminar, and announcing to everyone that you never read the newspaper, and ‘hate books.’

No further comment required.

265

Faustusnotes 10.19.19 at 4:07 am

Orange watch, I’m not making an argument from accomplishment, I’m asking you to think about why there are no candidates in certain seats. Is it because the Democratic Party says no, or is it because there are no people with any talent and commitment willing to do it? Think about your reasons for not running in a division you live in that has no candidates, and ask yourself if they’re special, or if you have in your own life and analysis a reason why no one else is doing it.

Also maybe the reason the dems abandoned the dean strategy is they can’t afford it? Remember you don’t want them beholden to big donors. How are they going to fight all those elections without money?

And finally, saying non Americans treat your politics as a spectator sport is entitled, selfish and arrogant in a way you really need to come to terms with. The whole world depends on you people getting your shit together and dealing with global warming. Your nation’s incompetence, conservatism, greed and stupidity is destroying the world for us and we absolutely need you to fix it while we watch helpless. Do you think it’s a spectator sport for the iraqis that your idol voted to starve and kill? What a disgusting thing for a rich America at the center of the American empire to say.

266

Hidari 10.19.19 at 7:00 am

‘Largely agree on the analysis, but I still favor capitalism as the better solution. (I) haven’t seen you or anyone else make a persuasive case war is a necessary function of capitalism. ‘

This is a lovely idea, but it’s probably false. In theory one can imagine a capitalism without imperialism (and imperialism almost always needs war) but it’s interesting that no one has tried it, and no one seriously proposed it. As one of those pictures books you can easily download for free on your Kindle on Amazon Prime (hey! Capitalism working! For a bit)…I think it was called Capitalism for Beginners….pointed out that if one ignores Weber’s nonsense about Protestantism (and you really should) the roots or Western capitalism come from banking arrangements that were put in place to fund the Crusades. The first proto-Capitalist states were places like Venice…and the Venetian navy was used in the Crusades. The link between proto-Capitalism and Western imperialism was there from the start.

But things only really got started after the Black Death, which brought down the feudal system (as the Plague of Justinian brought down the slave empires of antiquity, and as climate change may well bring down our own Empire and system).

Right from the very beginning of the capitalist system there was a global hegemon, an ultimate guarantor of the ‘worth’ of the capitalist system. And it was always Western and it always ultimately relied on military power. Jayman gives the names.

‘Portugal 1494 to 1580 (end of Italian Wars to Spanish-Portuguese Union). Based on Portugal’s dominance in navigation.
Spain 1516 to 1659 (Ascension of Charles I of Spain to Treaty of the Pyrenees). Based on the Spanish dominance of the European battlefields and the global exploration and colonization of the New World.
The Netherlands 1580 to 1688 (1579 Treaty of Utrecht marks the foundation of the Dutch Republic to the Glorious Revolution, William of Orange’s arrival in England). Based on Dutch control of credit and money.
Britain 1688 to 1792 (Glorious Revolution to Napoleonic Wars). Based on British textiles and command of the high seas.
Britain 1815 to 1914 (Congress of Vienna to World War I). Based on British industrial supremacy and railroads.’

(Napoleon, Hitler, and the Russian Communists were of course atempting to break out of the Anglo-American financial and political traitjacket and of course they failed, because the odds were stacked against them).

One may question some of this (you could make a case for arguing that British hegemony lasted as long as the late 1940s or even the mid 1950s). What is not up for debate is the idea that the British are no longer the ultimate guarantors of the global capitalist world order.

It’s the United States, the last and ‘greatest’ of the de facto European Empires.

And it’s obvious why capitalism needs a guarantor: in Foucault’s little aphorism, wherever there is power, there is resistance to power. You need an Empire to do the dirty work: to subvert democratic opposition to capitalism, to destroy trade unions, to ‘discipline’ workers, and, ultimately, to use guns to ensure that the ‘rules based international order’ stays in place.

As I say, this is not necessarily the case: one can just about imagine a capitalist system without a global hegemon. But it’s interesting that no one has tried it.*

So to all intents and purposes, capitalism means Empire, and Empire means war.

*And these things are path dependent. Becasue we have always relied on a global hegemon before, this makes it more likely that we will continue to seek one, because we have persuaded ourselves we need one. It’s the same with climate change. It’s just about possible to imagine an advanced capitalist system without fossil fuels, but it’s difficult, and now we are in a world where fossil fuels are the main source of energy, we seem to be ‘locked in’ to this mode of development. The idea that the capitalist system will reform itself and decarbonise itself, without massive pressure from protest groups and governments, is science fiction.

But! Surprise! The more climate change, scientists tell us, the more war. And the more capitalism, the more war (‘cos Empire). And the more war, the more climate change (the American Armed Forces are the worst polluters on the planet). So: we seem to be in some kind of a death spiral.

267

J-D 10.19.19 at 12:12 pm

Orange Watch

Also, if we’re tacking on addenda, let me add that the strategy that you claim no major first-world political party has ever tried such an insane political strategy like the “50-state strategy” I mentioned… I didn’t pull that idea out of thin air. It was Howard Dean’s explicit strategy during his tenure as DNC chair from ’05-’09.

I remember that, so no citation needed, at least as far as I’m concerned.

It didn’t get abandoned until Tim Kaine took over in ’09 and moved to more of a top-down, fundraising über alles, and hold-the-line strategy.

Citation needed.

268

Lee A. Arnold 10.19.19 at 1:30 pm

steven t johnson #260: “seems to take me to task”

Perhaps I needed an introductory paragraph but we do essentially agree.

My argument is with Taibbi, who hasn’t examined his own presuppositions in another way. He’s worried about the public onslaught by the intelligence agencies. (I would think that more transparency about their involvement, and speaking on camera, would be good for the public to see.) But Taibbi omits to observe that they are not alone — and that their public speaking might be necessary, if there is something serious in Russiagate.

First let’s look at the factions. It might be easy to explain why a faction of the establishment (e.g. the Republican “Freedom Caucus” + some of the FBI in the NY office, etc.) is against Clinton. It boils down to political partisanship.

But the same explanation will not account for the anti-Trump faction, which is much larger: it includes all of the Democrats (of course) + most of the rest of the intelligence & law enforcement community (which is probably 70% Republican, at a wild guess) + the majority of the establishment Republican politicians, in secret (but who have begun to break with Trump publicly, thus returning to their pre-nomination statements, i.e. before he won the primaries).

The sizes of the anti-Clinton and anti-Trump factions in the establishment are vastly asymmetrical.

Well then, what are the motives? Why is such a larger faction of the establishment against Trump? It cannot be because they are the “swamp creatures” and he is “draining the swamp”. He is the biggest swamp creature of all time; his Cabinet is full of corporate crooks and lobbyists, he has enacted high-end tax cuts and increased military spending, and he has been willing to let Congresspeople line up to the porkbarrel in the time-honored tradition.

And it is not due to partisanship. Most establishment Republicans agree with the Democrats on being anti-Trump.

That leaves two other possibilities. 1. They sensed that the shortsightedness of his psychopathy would make him a terrible Commander-in-Chief, and/or 2. He is so corrupt that he has been compromised, and there is something to Russiagate.

Next to consider: Russiagate and Clinton’s emails do not appear to be equivalent.

Indeed the Republicans do not appear to believe that Hillary Clinton is a criminal. They haven’t done much to investigate her, although they had control of both houses of Congress for two years and still control the Senate. (Trump has complained about their lack of investigations.)

To be sure, there are investigations into Clinton & the Democrats, but all of them were instigated by Trump’s command and control of the Executive branch. So far, no results. Just yesterday, Trump’s own State Dept. concluded the same thing that Comey did in 2016: there was no deliberate wrongdoing in Clinton’s handling of emails (just the usual mistakes which have been made for decades, back to when emails were first used).

There are at least three other probes instigated by Trump which are still outstanding: 1. Horowitz/Huber’s investigation of the FISA process (supposedly due soon, and which the Trumpies insist will prove corruption at the highest levels of the FBI). 2. Barr/Durham’s circus to foreign capitals to discover who-said-what about Trump & Russia (as if foreign intelligence services would reveal anything to the White House that might make its way back to Putin!). 3. Giuliani’s lovefest with the Ukrainian-Russian mob to find the DNC server, or dirt on Biden, or…something, anything else, who knows. And which employed a quid pro quo that will be an article of impeachment.

On the other hand there’s Russiagate. Mueller did not exonerate Trump.

The Mueller Report states, “…given these identified gaps, the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report.” (Vol.1 p.10.)

In other words, they did NOT see all of the evidence, and Trump may have committed a criminal conspiracy with Russia. (Or it could mean: they saw all the evidence, but it’s in the counterintelligence portion of the Mueller investigation that is unavailable to the public court, so we can’t charge him with conspiracy here.) And the Report also outlines several charges of obstruction, which will probably be added into the bill of impeachment.

So that’s my argument with Tabbi, who writes, “My discomfort in the last few years, first with Russiagate and now with Ukrainegate and impeachment, stems from the belief that the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump.” — But this is to ignore the whole story, the actors, the motivations, & the evidence so far.

Here, Lemieux is on point: the first thing you should do with your belief is to thoroughly test all of its presuppositions. Otherwise you end up writing a “mood piece” that is more akin to the Thomas Friedman/Maureen Dowd/Peggy Noonan/David Brooks style of column-filler.

269

anon/portly 10.19.19 at 2:59 pm

249 If we’re going to get these good things if 45 stays and not get them if 45 goes, well, why? Why? Why? Why why why why why why why? What exactly has Trump done, or is doing, that has brought about these good outcomes, and why will his absence prevent them from continuing?

258 I was trying to point out that contra what the NYT tells us, a great many 45 supporters really do see the current president as a symbol of hope and for good reason – record unemployment among minorities, more new jobs going to women than men, and more school choice for families denied access to high-income/high-quality public schools.

I’m going to suggest that part of the reason this sounds like swill to you is because you’ve permitted yourself to believe that many/most of the 50 million or so 45 supporters are racist/misogynists who can’t possible be happy when good things happen to women and minorities.

Actually 0% of the reason I think it is aptly described as “swill” has to do with a belief that not only do I not have, but happen to find particularly annoying (and depressing). You will not find even a glimmer of this view expressed in a single comment I have ever made at CT, or anywhere else.

100% of the reason I think it is aptly described as “swill” has to do with the fact that it’s not really saying anything. See the word “why” there in my quote? I put in 10 of them. Apparently I needed more. The point was, and is, what exactly has Trump done, or is doing, that has brought about these good outcomes, and why will his absence prevent them from continuing?

Really, 258 overall is a very gracious response to my comment – thanks, ph. But in all those paragraphs, is there even a hint of what the answer to my question might be?

Maybe it’s all supposed to be self-apparent – Trump is president, unemployment is down, jobs for women are up, minorities are doing well, QED. There’s a 1-to-1 correspondence between various outcomes and who is president. Ours is not to reason why.

I’ll close, since you asked, with a few reasons why 45 matters, and what will happen when he leaves.

Adjustable rate Affordable Care Act pricing is a problem, apparently; what Trump has done or is doing to solve it or whether he’s had any positive impact in this area is apparently unknown.

Outsourcing American jobs is a problem, apparently; what Trump has done or is doing to solve it or whether he’s had any positive impact in this area is apparently unknown.

…keeping the rest of us docile, dumb, and safely on porn and opioids is a problem, apparently; what Trump has done or is doing to solve it or whether he’s had any positive impact in this area is apparently unknown.

…stupid trade practices is a problem, apparently; what Trump has done or is doing to solve it or whether he’s had any positive impact in this area is apparently unknown.

…outsourcing jobs is a problem, apparently; what Trump has done or is doing to solve it or whether he’s had any positive impact in this area is apparently unknown.

Do you see a pattern there? I see a pattern…. Most of what comment 258 seems to be about is the 2016 election and why people voted for Trump, or maybe why they are still behind him. ph said he’d tell us “why 45 matters, and what will happen when he leaves,” but all I can see is a sort of campaign pitch, “why voting for 45 matters,” as it were. That’s all well and good, but that actually has nothing to do with my point, right?

At the risk of sounding absurdly cynical, perhaps, not every campaign promise comes to fruition, does it? Or is there also a 1-to-1 correspondence between Candidate Trump’s statements on various issues and President’s Trump’s performance on those issues? Ours is not to reason why again?

270

Chetan Murthy 10.19.19 at 3:24 pm

Orange Watch @ 263: Surely you know that while not all Greeks are Socrates, Socrates most certainly is a Greek.

When Paul Ryan’s “destroy Medicare by voucherizing it” plan was described by pollsters to voters, nobody could believe that it was real, or that Ryan had proposed it, b/c it was too cruel, too obviously designed to inflict maximum suffering on the middle and working classes. The GrOPers -talk- about protecting workers, but it’s just talk: their only solicitude is for the rich, as we’ve found out these last three years.

You’re right, that after 1988 the Dems turned to the right. You would to, if you’d lost every election since 1968 (setting aside Carter, which was a fluke — you can’t *rely* on the GrOPers electing someone so crooked they resign to avoid impeachment): that’s twenty years, friend. No shit the Dems moved to the right. And sure, Obama wasn’t exactly a firebrand[1]: but he passed the ACA, including the Medicaid expansion, which was a massive, massive thing. Yes, it’d have been nice to do better: but remember that whatever got passed, had to be OK by Holy Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, and Evan Bayh. Amongst others. Too many Blue Dogs with veto power.

[1] The idea that the first black president would be a firebrand is wishful thinking. Imagine how angry white America would have become, if he’d actually been an angry black man, ffs. Now that he’s safely retired, we can speak of our fears that he’d be assassinated. Which were very real.

271

steven t johnson 10.19.19 at 10:10 pm

Re the sanity and decency of common sense of left liberal grounded realists, from the LGM media survey: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/10/and-now-a-bit-of-fun

As a reminder, Clinton actually accused a member of Congress of being a traitor with no evidence whatsoever, except that Gabbard has said the war in Syria was a regime change war using jihadi groups as allies, which happens to be true. It is left as an exercise for the student to figure out why this sort of thing is bad when Trump does it.

272

Hidari 10.20.19 at 9:19 am

@271

That article (and the comments thread) are horrific. But this one is funnier:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/10/the-end-of-the-american-republic

Oh noes! Says Mr White American Liberal man. We is losings ours Republic! Boy get me pearls t’clutch!

Well Mr White Man, perhaps this might have something to do with how you lost your Republic many decades ago?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df4R-xdKvpM

Putting aside the ridiculous comparison to Weimar, the real (and obvious and self-evident and therefore never made) comparison is to (and hey…the clue is in the name) the old Roman Republic. Like the Roman Republic, when the 13 States liberated themselves from the British Empire, they were poor, agrarian, tiny and backward. And the Constitution was written for this state of affairs.

Just as with Rome, the way of doing Government of the US is now almost literally creaking under the strain of running a globe-spanning Empire with unparalleled wealth being sucked into the US from its many colonies. That money is swirling around, rotting away the moral foundation of the country. Trump isn’t Hitler: a much better comparison would be Crassus a man who ‘ amassed an enormous fortune through real estate speculation.’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Licinius_Crassus). When you have enough plutocrats it’s completely obvious that eventually some of them will start to try to turn their financial power to political power. Trump essentially bought the last election, because American politics is now an auction, for sale to the highest bidder, in a country where the worst people on Earth (AKA the ‘friends of Epstein’) are worshipped and handed the keys to the castle. The so-called Russiagate farce and the current ‘impeachment which isn’t really an impeachment’ aren’t what they appear to be: their antecedents are the ‘lawfare’ in which, using concerns about corruption as the alleged causus belli, democratically elected leaders are removed from power by elites. CF the end of Berlusconi: CF also events in Russia and Brazil. ‘Corruption’ is a safe accusation as to make sense of this accusation one has to accept that the system is stable and ‘good’ and that only ‘breaches of the law’ by individual actors are bad. Accusations of corruption by definition make sense only if one accepts that ‘law and order’ (a right-wing phrase) is the desideratum, the laws and rules of the country are just, and that the only problem is that individual actors are not being punished with the full force of the law. The real problem, which is that the whole country is morally and politically rotten from top to bottom and that Trump is a symptom of this (one of many), not a cause, can then be ignored.

Lawfare is warfare by another name: so this is really an undeclared civil war by elites against other elites (watch how the Democrats did not do anything during the endless Russiagate blather: as soon as one of their own was threatened (the corrupt son of the corrupt sexist, racist Biden) they sort of move to impeach…sort of. To a certain extent. This is a battle between white male elites for control: no ideology is involved (another reason that elites love to talk about ‘corruption” : the phrase implies that political problems are really legal ones and that they can be solved by legal means. They can’t)).

As long as the USA keeps its Empire, all those bases abroad (the ‘lilypads’), the largest armed forces the world has ever seen (despite the fact that the US faces no threats and hasn’t done since 1992) de facto control of the World Bank, de facto control of the UN via the Orwelllianly named ‘Security Council’, de facto control of the IMF, the dollar as de facto global currency, all that money being sucked into the country, the political crisis that the US is now in is literally unsolvable.

This does not mean that it won’t be solved. All human-made problems are solvable by humans. The question is: what kind of solution will the Americans choose?

The entire American political system is simply creaking under the weight of the US’ imperial engagements. It’s not fit for purpose and it will therefore collapse. There are three option: either the US divests itself of its Empire as the Brits, French, Portuguese (etc.) did.

Or there is civil war (which one could argue has already started).

Or ‘the third option’: a man or woman who promises to ‘restore the Republic’ but who really has quite a different purpose in mind. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus)

(Note: the fear of liberal elites, some kind of fascist dictator, is, of course, possible, but unlikely. For reasons too long and boring to go into in a comment, one of the key tropes of Orientalism is that ‘we’ are democratic and ‘they’ have dictators. This goes back to Ancient Athens. So an aspiring dictator is unlikely to get the educated middle classes onboard (as Hitler DID get the educated middle classes onboard) which is really what you need for a stable dictatorship.

It’s much more likely that a de facto dictator will instead use the rhetoric of protecting us from a fascist dictator and ‘restoring the Republic’ (as Augustus did). Perhaps the CIA and the NSA are the nearest analogues to Augustus and Brutus in this analogy).

Please note how long it took for the Roman Republic to fall, incidentally. This crisis might well go on for decades or even centuries until it’s resolved. What is certain is that impeaching Trump will solve nothing, even if it happens, which it won’t, because this is not a legal problem, it’s a political one and is only amenable to a political solution.

273

ph 10.20.19 at 9:24 am

@271 And let’s not forget that HRC is accusing a Democratic Congressional representative of treason, one who happens to a minority, a woman, an officer, and a veteran.

Guess which Democratic candidates have Tulsi’s back? Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson. Cory evidently tweeted google-eyes. Gotcher gravitas right here. How many here will connect the non-reaction to OW’s succinct summary of who controls the Democratic party. I’m like trying to imagine what would happen if Stephen Miller, or Bannon, or the terrifying Sean Hannity suggested that a Democratic candidate for president, and a vet is actually a Putin puppet. The entire corporate “left” would go into full melt-down mode, lining up to praise Tulsi and moan in the most predictable way.

I’m frankly disappointed in Sanders. He’s changed a lot since 2016 and not for the better. This is a fitting point for me sign off. Clinton inc. controlled the cash for Dems in 2016, and it looks like her big-pocket pals are still calling the shots. Change from below? Both Sanders and Warren have shown their true colors. If they don’t have the courage to stand up the Clinton machine, who will?

Gabbard is the only one ready to go toe to toe with the biggest and the baddest. ‘Twould be nice to have someone like that running for president. But she’s getting media coverage that’s only slightly better than 45s and it isn’t clear Gabbard (yet) whether has the media-skills to overcome the relentlessly negative coverage she’s getting from the NYT, CNN, et al. I’d love to see her take on Trump. What’s he going to call her?

He’ll need to be very, very careful about that branding exercise. Looks like Tulsi punches back. Bad her.

274

Orange Watch 10.20.19 at 2:18 pm

fn@265:

Orange watch, I’m not making an argument from accomplishment, I’m asking you to think about why there are no candidates in certain seats.

But of course you are. When was the last time you argued that someone should join the local police while encouraging like-minded individuals to do so in order to effect national-scale police reform, and suggested that they’re lazy, hypocritical do-nothing whiners who don’t understand the problem if they don’t? Have you ever suggested that someone enlist in the military in order to effect reform of that institution? For that matter, do you insist that only vegan locavores living off the grid and intimately involved in regional cooperatives can call for top-down environmental reform of large social institutions? You can attempt to reframe your prior statement “What makes you special, that you should complain about a lack of representation in the seat you live in, but should not be required to provide that representation yourself?” as pointing out the difficulty of doing something rather than insisting that those you disagree with maximize individual actions before engaging in collective actions, despite the two not being equally effective. It also is typical rhetorical tunnel vision, insisting that one must either walk or chew gum, but not both. There are leftists organizing in rural areas neglected by the national party, even if your high and distant vantage point doesn’t let you see them. See, here’s the thing: I’ve been voting in the US for a while, and there’s been a decrease in ballot diversity over time. You, OTOH, are a spectator posturing from the sidelines who’s never voted in a US election nor done anything to affect any US election beyond lecturing Americans online. You’re spouting an ideology without having to live with the consequences of it where your interlocutors live – or to even see those consequences.

Also maybe the reason the dems abandoned the dean strategy is they can’t afford it? Remember you don’t want them beholden to big donors. How are they going to fight all those elections without money?

Small donors. Duh. And more importantly, organizing. Politics is not just about money, else Clinton would have won in 2016. For that matter, and very much to the point, Crowley would have beat AOC. The DNC has moved from organizing and voter engagement to expensive consultants helming media campaigns and voter disengagement. Remember Obama’s ’08 electoral organization? That didn’t last. See, here’s the thing. If you were more than a posturing spectator and had instead ever worked in a political campaign, you’d understand that there’s more to politics than money raised – and even when that money is raised, how it’s spent is more important. Areas w/o seasoned organizing personnel and infrastructure coupled with indifferent or hostile electorates have trouble attracting the sort of people who can succeed as candidates. Electoral experience matters – and not just for the candidates. As you yourself said, people have their lives, and reckless personal crusades for the sake of virtue signalling is not an attractive proposition. For someone supposedly on the left, you’re putting a disturbing amount of faith into money and individualism over collective action, shared experience, and mutual aid.

Do you think it’s a spectator sport for the iraqis that your idol voted to starve and kill? What a disgusting thing for a rich America at the center of the American empire to say.

My idol? I can only assume you mean Sanders, but WTH? You’re not exactly refuting the accusation that you’re ignorantly blustering and virtue-signalling w/o really bothering to understand what you’re talking about. Sanders voted against the Iraq war. Remember? HRC as a pragmatic centrist “grown-up in the room” voted for it (and repeated her hawkishness as SecState WRT Libya and Syria). She was also there when WJC bombed and imposed sanctions on Iraq and WJC’s Secretary of State famously opined half a million Iraqi children dead to those sanctions were “worth it” – or are we only supposed to consider her time as FLOTUS when tallying up her experiences becoming the most qualified candidate EVAR but not when examining the complicity that would imply? Or are we instead to only focus on individuals rather than the movements they belong to and champion? That’d be of a piece with your (selective) appeals to accomplishment, after all.

J-D@267: See above.

275

Chetan Murthy 10.20.19 at 4:10 pm

steven t johnson @ 271: dude, read the thread (or at least, the OP) (or at least, her tweets). She didn’t accuse anyone by name. Instead, Tovarisch Tulsi accused *herself*. I mean, all she had to do was stay silent like (checks notes) Warren, Harris, Klobuchar, and Crystal Crazy Lady. I mean, was that so hard? But she didn’t.

Tulsi outed herself. And. It. Is. Glorious.

Oh, and given that our government isn’t going to protect our elections from foreign interference, Hillary’s intervention is a positive good thing. She was right last time, and she’s right this time, too.

276

Chetan Murthy 10.20.19 at 4:12 pm

In the above, for “her tweets” I should have written “the interview”. As in Hillary’s interview, where she leveled the accusation. And (heh) she also named Jill Stein for good measure. And again: good for her!

277

Tm 10.20.19 at 4:43 pm

OW: a commenter above cited an essay in NRO and another a book by Charles Murray as evidence that prominent Republicans hold these groups in contempt. The points I made are different but related.

Having said this: please leave me alone. You have now so often refused to engage in good faith debate, have so often refused to provide minimal evidence for your outlandish and often nonsensical claims, that I must consider your behaviour trolling.

278

Donald 10.20.19 at 6:35 pm

“Gabbard has said the war in Syria was a regime change war using jihadi groups as allies, which happens to be true”

Backing up what Steven T Johnson says —

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/magazine/aleppo-after-the-fall.html

I will post a long excerpt in the next post.

279

Donald 10.20.19 at 6:54 pm

Here is the excerpt from the NYT article. But read the whole article and notice that Robert Worth is not an “ Assadist”. He is quite clear that tge Syrian government committed massive war crimes. Excerpt —

“ It is impossible to live in government-controlled Syria without noticing that there are almost no young men on the street. They are in the army, or they are dead. Veterans must carry their military papers with them or risk on-the-spot re-enlistment. At one checkpoint, government soldiers tried to grab the young Spanish photographer I was working with, who is easily mistaken for a Syrian; they wanted to recruit him. In Latakia, a beach town in the regime’s northwestern heartland, I met a 53-year-old businessman named Munzer Nasser, who commands a militia composed almost entirely of older men; there are no young men left in his village. One of its members, he told me, is a 65-year-old whose three sons have all been killed in the war. Behind the Assad regime’s atrocities lies a fear of demographic exhaustion. Its rebel opponents have no such worries: They can draw on a vast well of Islamist sympathizers across the Arab world.

These facts translate into a genuine gratitude — in regime-controlled areas — toward Russia, whose military intervention in late 2015 may have forestalled a total collapse. Many Syrians say they feel reassured by the sight of Russian soldiers, because they (unlike the army and its allied militias) are not likely to loot or steal. Some of my contacts in regime-controlled areas are even learning Russian. In Latakia, some people told me that their city might have been destroyed if not for the Russians. The city has long been one of Syria’s safe zones, well defended by the army and its militias; there are tent cities full of people who have fled other parts of the country, including thousands from Aleppo. But in the summer of 2015, the rebels were closing in on the Latakia city limits, and mortars were falling downtown. If the rebels had captured the area — where Alawites are the majority — a result would almost certainly have been sectarian mass murder. Many people in the region would have blamed the United States, which armed some of the rebels operating in the area. In this sense, the Russian intervention was a lucky thing for the Obama administration too. Andrew Exum, who worked in the Pentagon at the time, told me that the military drew up contingency plans for a rapid collapse of the regime. The planning sessions were talked about as “catastrophic success.”

—————————

End of excerpt. The remarkable thing about mainstream American politics is that you can find articles like the one above if you look and yet they have no discernible effect on our political discussions. The party line is that we sat by and did nothing in Syria. In fact, we poured weapons into the country, into the hands of people who fought side by side with Al Qaeda and if the rebels had won ( and the Assad regime was wobbly there for awhile), our government apparently had a backup plan ( which I take to mean invasion) to prevent genocide by the rebels. One gets the impression that interventionists think they can fine tune the violent overthrow of a government in a country riven by sectarian extremism and with just the right touch of liberal humanitarian interventionism everything will work out great. If not, we’ll just invade.

But if you read comments about Tulsa’s comments, she is just spouting a Russian talking points.

I am not a Tulsi supporter, btw. I am not at all sure what to make of her ( I don’t mean the crap about Russia. That’s McCarthyism.). But she said something true in the debate about our role in Syria and in mainstream politics you aren’t supposed to admit that our interventionist policies have been utterly immoral. One can say this without defending Trump in any way.

Comments on this entry are closed.