did someone muck with the backend here

Re: So so fucked.

1

One hopes that Trump is right that the Deep State is on the case.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:25 AM
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It occurred to me this morning, and probably other people have gotten there first, that the whole "Deep State" thing is an attempt to illegitimize the rule of law as it applies to him. That is, an ordinary law enforcement investigation of his crimes is now a Deep State conspiracy.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:39 AM
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What else would it be? Fortunately for Trump, there are plenty of Republicans and useful idiots like Glenn Greenwald who are willing to buy into that lie.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:42 AM
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2 was me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:46 AM
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3: Greenwald doesn't seem like an idiot to me.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:49 AM
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I am occasionally amazed at the transitions made by pundits. I would swear to you that in the '80s, Krauthammer wasn't a complete fucking idiot; and certainly that was true of Kinsley. At the same time, I do wonder how much they stayed the same and I grew.

But Greenwald! Christ! At the outset of his pundit career (and I followed him in his original blog) I thought he was brilliant. Now, it's harder to think of a dumber sonofabitch with a public platform.

The Manichean metaphysics of Star Wars has always annoyed me, but I have to admit, I have been expecting for awhile now that Yglesias and E. Klein will suddenly and irrevocably turn to the Dark Side.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:50 AM
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6 before reading 5, but if he's not an idiot, then he's fucking evil.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:51 AM
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I never did manage to separate Glenn Greenwald and Glenn Beck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:51 AM
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On the hypocrisy of Republicans, I genuinely wonder sometimes how much treason I'd be willing to swallow in exchange for all my favorite legislative projects being enacted. Definitely a non-zero amount.

I think if I loved all policy being passed and international steps being taken, I'd want to ride it for a little bit, just to give universal health care, fairly funded schools, environmental protections etc, a moment to get their sea legs.

I'd be gravely concerned about the peaceful transfer of power to the next person, and the legitimacy of elections bit would still substantially freak me out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:53 AM
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I think there are an awful lot of people on the right who are committed to the idea that letting liberals/leftists run the country is a disaster that's worth doing anything to avoid, and they're willing to let Trump and his ilk set the world on fire for it. If that requires sounding like an idiot, so it goes.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:54 AM
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5 He's just pretending?

Sure, yeah, a whole lot of them are like that, and one sure test for bad faith as against idiocy is whether they would behave the same if the same evidence were revealed about someone named Clinton. Virtually none of the Trump apologists, or, 'both sides!' folks -- yes, I repeat myself -- can pass this test.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:56 AM
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Goddamn it, my browser keeps forgetting me. 10 is me again, agreeing with Heebie, except that I don't think Republicans are happy with current policies so much as afraid of what happens if Democrats are in control.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:56 AM
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I agree with 10.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:57 AM
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I never did manage to separate Glenn Greenwald and Glenn Beck.

Glenns are confusing. Close and Beck are blond, Greenwald and Campbell aren't. But Beck and Campbell are racists and Close and Greenwald aren't. Greenwald and Beck are notably shorter than Close and Campbell. And if you rank them in order of preference as companions for a long train journey, lowest first, it probably goes Beck-Greenwald-Campbell-Close and then, I suppose, Morangie.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 9:59 AM
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I personally think the causation is reversed for most. That is, the more treason they see in the Republican party, the more negative their views of liberals are. They can see the Republican Party is getting worse, but it is easier to lower their views of liberals so that Republicans stay the least-bad option than do the mental/emotional work of becoming not Republican.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:00 AM
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10 describes a certain group of Republicans, but I don't think Greenwald is one of those. There's something else going on with him.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:01 AM
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Setting the world on fire -- rather talking smack about setting the world on fire -- is entertaining. That's a substantial part of their coalition. They don't actually believe they're going to get burned. Which makes them idiots, I guess.

(And some of us, also, mused in the past about burning shit down.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:01 AM
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#notallsmacktalkers


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:03 AM
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Some of us, broadly speaking of leftists or specifically here, are fucking nuts. Every groups has people who are nuts. In fact, everybody is probably nuts on at least one or two semi-important things. The difference is being nuts isn't a necessary prerequisite to holding power or responsible position on the left.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:05 AM
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Maybe I'm grasping for explanations, but it sure seems like Putin has the goods on Greenwald. Lately he's been drawing weird analogies about McCarthyism, which, WTF dude?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:07 AM
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10: As Trump collapses, maybe more Republicans will claim that they supported him as the lesser evil. Trump Republicans who find themselves in decent company will say that sort of thing now. But I don't believe them.

They picked Trump over all of the Republicans, too, and nothing that has happened since has changed their minds. There is a core opposition to democratic institutions that the Republican base shares with Trump and Putin -- and with much of the Deep State. But for the law enforcement and intelligence folks, maybe being in Putin's pocket is a bridge too far. One can hope.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:13 AM
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The Morangie/Greenwald ratio is maybe 100,000,000,000,000 to 1. The Morangie/Beck ratio is infinity divided by 1.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:15 AM
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Speaking of Deep State, shouldn't Julian Assange stop fighting eviction. Even if he lives to 100, he's never going to have a better shot at getting to Russia (or where ever that U.S. can't get him) than between now and November?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:16 AM
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14 Glenn Campbell was a racist? I refuse to believe the man who wrote the sublime "Wichita Lineman" was a racist.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:16 AM
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Or maybe GlenMorangie/Glen Beck is impossible because you can't divide by zero. Help me out nerds!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:19 AM
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24: actually written by Jimmy Webb, author of the somewhat less sublime "MacArthur Park"


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:19 AM
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24: I don't know if Glenn Campbell was a racist, but I know he didn't write "Wichita Lineman". Thank Jimmy Webb for that one.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:20 AM
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Someone left my lineman out in the rain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:21 AM
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I stand corrected.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:22 AM
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26: Pwnd! But "someone left a cake out in the rain" is the most unfairly maligned lyric of all time.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:22 AM
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Don't worry. I'm sure you can get the recipe again. Just look in Cook's Illustrated for "Wet Cake."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:24 AM
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24. Was Jimmy Webb a rascist?


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:24 AM
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Oy. So pwned.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:25 AM
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10 seems right to me, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:25 AM
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The payoff in 14 made me laugh.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:26 AM
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Glenn Campbell was in the Wrecking Crew and played the guitar part on both Ike and Tina's River Deep/Mountain High and Sinatra's Strangers in the Night. I guess that isn't clear evidence that he wasn't racist.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:27 AM
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Wikipedia doesn't have anything about him being racist, but there was this --

In 1965, he had his biggest solo hit yet, reaching number 45 on the Hot 100 with a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". Asked about the pacifist message of the song, he said that "people who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:33 AM
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that song always confused me because I saw the Roland Emmerich movie before hearing about the song.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:39 AM
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That is, the movie with Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme.


Posted by: RH | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:39 AM
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According to wiki, he doesn't seem to have been amazingly political:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Campbell#Politics

He was a totally amazing guitar player, though. I don't think there's anyone else other than George Benson who has had a mainstream singing career while being a total fucking bad-ass player.

Maybe more common in country, I suppose. Vince Gill, Bar Paisley, and the like can seriously play.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:40 AM
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Brad Paisley. FFS.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:46 AM
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"Bar Paisley" is the only Scottish family mentioned in the Gospels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:49 AM
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re: 42

Actual laugh out loud.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:49 AM
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The contrast in modern country between amazing players/terrible songs is just so weird. I've had a couple opportunities to listen to just terrible, awful bands (not Georgia/Florida Line, but in that vicinity) jam out and all the musicians are great and can play so well. And then they just get the worst songs in the worst arrangements and even in their live sets just play those.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:50 AM
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Thanks for the straight line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:51 AM
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I have no idea if the rest of 44 is right, but Georgia/Florida Line is just horrible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:52 AM
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looking it up, they are actually called Florida/Georgia Line, and their twitter handle is FLAGA. Run away in horror!!!!!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:53 AM
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A thought experiment that has occupied my brain ever since a friend proposed it a week ago: Wouldn't the world be a better place had Mitt Romney won in 2012?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:57 AM
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The musicians are often cobbling together several bands and just doing the shitty pop-country to pay the bills, though, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:58 AM
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48 is upsetting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:58 AM
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You can't rule out that they enjoy causing pain to liberals via bad music.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:59 AM
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re: 44

Yeah, Andy Wood plays with Rascall Flatts. And he can literally do anything. Yngwie shred, bluegrass mandolin, chicken pickin' country, bebop. It's insane.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:59 AM
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44: A large supply of skilled musicians, especially ones that can make it as Nashville session players, having to deal with a market that demands godawful dreck?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 10:59 AM
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48: No.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:00 AM
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That doesn't seem like a very hard question. We'd have no Obamacare and the gains we've had from that. We'd have had four more years for all kinds of other completely terrible Republican plans in other areas. There's no reason to think that much of anything else would be better, either. I guess Trump probably wouldn't be President and NATO wouldn't be under as much threat but Mitt Romney's administration would have been way more neocon so there are all kinds of other disasters you have to build in.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:02 AM
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re: 51

I've seen interviews with 'country' session guys* in which they basically talk about their deep love of bebop, The Meters, 30s swing, etc.

"What do you listen to to relax?" (to some dude who plays with Carrie Underwood, or Brad Paisley (himself) or whoever)

"I'm really into Sun Ra."

So yeah, I think if you are really really talented musician who can play in lots of genres, and you really want to make money, the Nashville session scene is one of the few places where you can still get paid and make a proper living as a musician.

* I like nerdy music podcasts and videos


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:02 AM
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To spin that out -- you think that would have kept Russia from messing with the next election? You think Romney wouldn't have cooperated with Congress on shutting down the ACA? You think Romney's replacement for Scalia would have been better than Gorsuch?

A butterfly flaps its wings and everything's different, sure, so it could have all been better, but there's no reason to count on it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:03 AM
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I don't know if Russian's messing with the election would have worked as well if the incumbent president had been a white male.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:06 AM
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47: It looks like they started on Twitter in 2010 with that handle, so at least it's not inspired by you-know-what, although it may have been recontextualized.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:07 AM
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I am not sure that the ACA would have gotten shut down any more than it already has, even if Romney had taken office with a Republican senate in 2013. And Romney would not have fired up the neo-Nazi types the way Trump has. (On the other hand, he did try to move to the right on immigration in the primary.)


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:07 AM
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At this point, anyone in the mainstream of the Republican party is, from my point of view, trying to wreck the country. They're actively trying to increase inequality, prevent enforcement of civil rights laws, so on and so forth you know the drill. Right now, everything looks insane because they're doing it despite not being able to win fair elections. If they could win fair elections -- if Romney won legitimately in 2012 -- it'd look less insane, but he'd do just as much damage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:07 AM
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The ACA would have been a lot easier to repeal in 2013 when very few people had coverage under it yet.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:08 AM
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56: Any podcast recs? The only music podcast I listen to is Song Exploder, which is fine but the episodes vary so much in quality--not because of the host, he's great, but due to how much each musician is willing to think about their own process.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:11 AM
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I am not sure that the ACA would have gotten shut down any more than it already has

The key words there are "not sure". Yes, there's no way to be sure that Romney winning in 2012 wouldn't have put the world on a better track: there's no way to know for sure what would have happened. But believing that 'moderate' Republicans are going to be less damaging doesn't have a great historical record. Remember the last 'compassionate conservative' we elected and the million people he killed?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:11 AM
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61: My doubt isn't about how the Republicans would behave in office, but who would have showed up to the polls in 2016.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:12 AM
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It's hard to spin out any counterfactual but I think Obamacare is presently fucked in a way that will erase the gains made sooner or later (unless we change course). Certainly I think Romney would be a better choice than Trump to create its replacement, but if the replacement is nothing/letting poor people suffer than that's happening either way.

The Supreme Court's fucked either way. A regressive tax bill passes either way.

I think Russia would have still tried to interfere in the 2016 election (let's say it's against Clinton again) but I don't think Romney would have been a willing partner.

No way is President Romney jailing families or blowing up NATO or declaring a trade war against China. No way do Jeff Sessions, Ben Carson, John Bolton, Rex Tillerson, Steve Bannon, or Stephen Miller have jobs in a Romney administration.

The cost is pretty enormous from my view: coddling white Americans whose backlash has resulted in the Trump White House.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:13 AM
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Oh, the Russians probably would have let Romney serve a second term, but there are a lot of elections to mess with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:14 AM
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The cost is pretty enormous from my view: coddling white Americans whose backlash has resulted in the Trump White House.

Spin this sentence out more -- you lost me. The cost of what is enormous, who coddled white Americans when leading to the backlash?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:16 AM
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68: The counterfactual coddled white Americans thereby preventing a backlash.

Did I get that right?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:17 AM
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You're also spotting Romney four years of governance on a general level of competence/non-maliciousness equivalent to Obama. Four years of the Obama EPA, etc., compared to what you get with Republican loyalists in all the agencies. Four more years of all the lower court judges coming out of the Federalist Society.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:20 AM
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Oh, the Russians probably would have let Romney serve a second term, but there are a lot of elections to mess with.

And they're still messing with them without even any fair of retribution (see OP). So even if a Romney administration was not forceful about stopping Russian attacks on our elections, well, then that's just as fucked as we are now. But I don't think conservatives have any native affection for Putin absent a Trump administration, and that they'd try to thwart Russia's attacks.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:20 AM
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If you coddle a white American....


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:20 AM
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69: Oh, if we had been willing to coddle white Americans more by letting Romney win, we could have avoided the Trump backlash?

To quote General Cambronne, "Merde." Anything could have happened, but to count on people who are fucked up enough that Obama enraged them into voting for Trump to get sane if we coddle them? That trick never works.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:23 AM
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re: 63

I guess I mostly listen to guitar ones, but the ones I listen to a fair bit are:

No Guitar is Safe (Jude Gold hosts)
Riff Raff (Shane Theriot hosts)
Guitar Wank (Bruce Forman, Scott Henderson, and guests)

All of them are mixed, depends whose on which week, and there's always a bit of muso grouching about stuff. But sometimes, there's some really interesting stuff.

Other stuff, it's mostly documentaries I find on Youtube, or the BBC.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:23 AM
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But I don't think conservatives have any native affection for Putin absent a Trump administration, and that they'd try to thwart Russia's attacks.

Congressional candidates were pretty cheerful about using the DNC docs even before Trump was in office, weren't they?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:24 AM
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68: Sorry, I'll be clearer. I feel like this thought exercise asks whether it would be worth accepting a lesser evil if it meant cutting off the path that leads to Trump's election. I think that the white backlash to two terms of Obama led (in no small part) to Trump. It feels like a huge injustice to acknowledge or accommodate that white backlash in any way. And yet, I do think that the timeline where Romney wins in 2012 does not lead to Trump and is a better timeline (if not a great one).


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:24 AM
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re: 63

Rick Beato has a thing on Youtube called 'What Makes this Song Great' where he takes songs apart, which is also often really interesting. Even (or sometimes particularly) when it's not a song I like.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:24 AM
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This seems pretty dumb to me. Any mild victory or stemming the tide against the bad is a mild victory stemming the tide against the bad. That's what 2012 was. And so far what's worst about Trump is that he's governed as basically a generic conservative Republican President, albeit with far more disaster risk and more long-term international consequence than a more conventional Republican would have had, but with some upside due to his incompetence. Even if all you got out of beating Romney in 2012 was four years of non-Republican governance that's a pretty big win.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:24 AM
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48 I hate that kind of 'only Nixon could go to China' logic because all it means is that a substantial part of the population is either unhinged, or willing to support the unhinged, notwithstanding anything having to do with actual policy. But there we are: a hecklers' veto on all decent policy.

And, I have to say, I didn't vote for GHWB in 1988, but I think we were way better off with him in office as the Wall fell etc than we would have been with Dukakis facing an unhinged neo-Reaganite opposition claiming that anything other than immediate conquest of the collapsing Soviet Union was treason, pure and simple.

On the other hand, Justice Thomas.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:25 AM
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Congressional candidates were pretty cheerful about using the DNC docs even before Trump was in office, weren't they?

Do you mean that congressional candidates sought out docs from Guccifer? Or that they were just thrilled to have John Podesta's emails on the stump?

I mean, I don't think Putin's play in the 2016 election was solely predicated on Trump being in the race. On the night of the U.S. election Russian state media was reporting on the horrors of a likely Clinton victory; I don't think Russia was betting on Trump to win. So I don't know. The repercussions really ought to be grave for an attack of this scale on U.S. elections, and Putin was willing to risk those repercussions. It's a bonus for him that there are not repercussions and in fact as far as Trump is concerned this is Hillary's fault.

So at best we could say that Putin would still be interfering in U.S. elections from 2016 on. I think the GOP response would be much stronger absent Trump.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:30 AM
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I feel like this thought exercise asks whether it would be worth accepting a lesser evil if it meant cutting off the path that leads to Trump's election.

That is a deal that can never be made looking forward. It is possible (butterfly flapping its wings and all that) that the world would be a better place if Romney had won. But predicting the future (if we're thinking about this in 2012) or an alternative history (if we're thinking about this from here) isn't possible. At any moment, if you've got a choice between a candidate who's going to do a decent job toward good ends, and one who's part of a death cult that wants to wreck the country, you work for the first one, even if you can invent a possible course of events where voting for the death cult averts an even worse outcome in the future. You can't make those sorts of predictions -- all you can do is keep pushing in the right direction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:30 AM
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81: Of course. This is a counterfactual thought experiment.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:31 AM
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Do you mean that congressional candidates sought out docs from Guccifer?

Isn't that alleged in the latest indictment? And of course they were all behind the content of the emails as the scandal rather than the fact of the hacking as the scandal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:31 AM
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And so far what's worst about Trump is that he's governed as basically a generic conservative Republican President, albeit with far more disaster risk and more long-term international consequence than a more conventional Republican would have had, but with some upside due to his incompetence.

Also far more corruption.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:33 AM
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83: Only one candidate, and it's unclear whether this person used any of the information that he or she received. But yeah, nobody in the GOP bothered to ask questions about Wikileaks's source.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:35 AM
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82: I think it's a counterfactual fact experiment that begs the question. If Romney winning the 2012 election would have made the world a better place right now, would it be better for Romney to have won the election? Sure, it's right there in the wording of the question.

If you back up to ask is there any good reason to think that Romney winning the 2012 election would have made the world a better place right now, no, I really don't think there is. Four more years of Republican governance is a substantial loss, and all of your gains are speculative. Not impossible, but nothing I'd count on. Again, remember that GWB was a moderate 'compassionate conservative' -- Romney might have fucked shit up in a way we haven't even thought of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:35 AM
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9: I would need more info. Is it benevolent alien overlords stepping in because their IRB protocols call for it? Is it a Rwanda-like situation where the current government has lost all legitimacy?

If my current government would still be having elections that could be reasonably described as fair and free, I would generally assume the long-term consequences would be worse than any present gain.


Posted by: FB | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:35 AM
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74/77: Thanks, ttaM! I'll give them a listen. I played guitar when I was younger; I wasn't very good at it, but I still enjoy noodling on it occasionally. And I find the theory of music composition and playing fascinating.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:36 AM
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I have a vague memory that Glen Campbell said some pretty nasty things about the civil rights movement. But I could be wrong.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:37 AM
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80. The Russians were investing in chaos, not in any specific non-Clinton candidate. They just happened to draw Trump to an inside straight.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:37 AM
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82 - Not a particularly illuminating one though. Counterfactuals are usually helpful to historians as a way of helping to understand contingency and causation. This is just "if Romney was President Trump probably wouldn't be" which is true but not probative of any issue on the table in 2012 or, for that matter, now.

To take a clearer example, it's like saying that Germany would have been better off if Ludendorff (who was a horrible nightmare) had installed a personal dictatorship in 1920, because then Hitler wouldn't have come to power. In some sense that's probably true, because you can't do much worse than Hitler, even through Ludendorff, though fantastically terrible and anti-semitic and crazy. But it doesn't illuminate the situation in 1920 particularly or any choice realistically available, and it also undersells how bad Ludendorff was.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:38 AM
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I analogy-ban myself.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:40 AM
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These are the questions that make history come alive!


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:43 AM
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Romney might have fucked shit up in a way we haven't even thought of

Maybe! His record doesn't seem to suggest that, but who knows? W's record in Texas certainly didn't give a glimpse of the horrors to come (although he was a weak and bumbling idiot and in hindsight that should have been warning enough). I would not trust Romney to reign in the excesses of the right, although I also think he was only interested in making the wealthy wealthier.

But I do think the Overton window of alt-2018, where there's no President Trump, is appreciably better for the entire world.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:47 AM
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Is it wrong to wonder if some dark money group will start running ads that are "just asking questions" like "do you want Putin to appoint the next Supreme Court justice"?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:48 AM
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That would worry me less than Trump saying the Russians should be involved in the investigation of the election hacking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:50 AM
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The obsequious gap between how Trump behaves around Putin compared to other leaders continues to stagger me. Even if you assume the pee tape is real. I'm just not used to that level of obsequiousness even toward somebody who was vital to your career or who could destroy it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 11:57 AM
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We've been seeing some spectacular, champion-level obsequiousness recently. Pruitt's resignation letter? That cabinet meeting where they went around the table, saying what they loved best about Trump? Pence and his water bottle? I think that's just Trump's notion of proper hierarchical behavior.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:04 PM
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Pruitt's letter was incompatible with being a free citizen and basic human dignity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:05 PM
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I hate that kind of 'only Nixon could go to China' logic because all it means is that a substantial part of the population is either unhinged, or willing to support the unhinged, notwithstanding anything having to do with actual policy.

I think that's the standard meaning of "only Nixon could go to China" but there's another, more reasonable interpretation, in which it's analogous to an "admission against interest." In that if you have a politician opposed to a given policy direction but nevertheless pursuing it, there's a built in protection (for people who are worried about it) against overreach.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:06 PM
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Yes, but the second meaning is apologetic bullshit for the first, true explanation. It's not more reasonable: it's a fucking lie, concocted to justify unreasonable objection to reasonable policy outcomes. Grown-ups don't do it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:09 PM
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94: Definitely, it'd be better if Trump wasn't president. Imagining a Romney win in 2012 as "nothing's worse, and at least he's not Trump," seems really unilluminating to me, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:13 PM
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If the same people who think 'only Nixon could go to China' started solemnly intoning 'only Hillary could go to Russia' then maybe, just maybe, even the tiniest good faith could be presumed. The fact is they never ever say this sort of thing about any issue at all. It's always, every time, the only legitimate policy is policy we make, none other.,

And that, my friend, is a badge of fraud.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:13 PM
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And the underlying assumption is a calumny: Johnson, Humphrey, Carter -- all traitors, unable or, more importantly, unwilling to adequately protect US interests vis-a-vis China.

I hope this feels like a ton of bricks, because finding legitimacy in the illegitimate is exactly how the NYT goes so completely wrong in covering Republicans, and exactly why we are on the cusp of fascism American style.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:18 PM
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I am increasingly thinking this backlash was inevitable - maybe Romney would have meant four or eight more Bush-like years where public racism was still frowned upon and right-wing power was consolidated genteelly, but the Democrats would have continued to dewhiten and the Republicans to age and Foxify, and eventually there would have been a Democratic president who would bring out all that rage, for Trump or someone similar.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:28 PM
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And the underlying assumption is a calumny: Johnson, Humphrey, Carter -- all traitors, unable or, more importantly, unwilling to adequately protect US interests vis-a-vis China.

The one example in which I think it's a useful perspective is the story told in The Climate War (a book which I've recommended before) about efforts to pass a Carbon tax. He spends a lot of time on a legislative attempt which brought together liberal Democrats with some conservative legislators from Coal or Oil states. The theory was that the conservative legislators were valuable as envoys who could try to sell it to fossil fuel industry. In return they got a first look at everything and the chance to make sure that it was a basically acceptable framework.

In Pooley's telling, it almost worked but fell apart in the end and one issue was the difficulty of keeping that alliance together when they really did have conflicting interests. In a case like that I can sympathize with having some deference to the conservative legislators involved in the process, and crediting them with being willing to engage in something which is not an easy step for them.

That said, (a) that's a very unusual situation and (b) an alliance like that only works if it offers practical rewards on both sides; I'm not making a moral argument for including conservatives in the discussion, just saying that it can have instrumental value.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:30 PM
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I don't have any problem with reaching out to reasonable Republicans, where they can be found, to help get reasonable policies passed. McConnell does, though, and that's a problem: only Nixon can go to China ends up becoming only Republicans can nominate Supreme Court justices. And even allowing a hint of legitimacy -- despite all the evidence -- to the former ends up leading, inevitably, to the latter.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:45 PM
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96: I'm just idly asking questions about uncharitable ad campaigns. I assume a group like that would run more. (N.B. I am not in possession of dark money funds.)


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:47 PM
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And apparently there's another new indictment of a Russian agent looking to influence and assist POLITCAL PARTY 1 using GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION 1 as an intermediary. Tough to know which player is which with these cunningly anonymized names.


Posted by: ANONYMOUS POSTER NAMED SCUDDER 1 | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:49 PM
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So I saw this abstract and found it interesting given the recent discussion on Big Sort that is...sort of still topical? Don't have access myself, but would be interested to learn something about the non-wealthy side of Chinese immigration in the US.

https://academic.oup.com/sf/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sf/soy061/5051855


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:49 PM
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There's another Big Sort conversation tomorrow, fwiw. Cyrus has submitted it but I'm milking the posts for time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:50 PM
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111 was only because 110 jogged my memory, not because 110 is a problem in this thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:51 PM
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Russian national just arrested as an unregistered foreign agent, specifically for cultivating relationships with the GOP via the NRA as intermediary.

I want to fucking ACORN the NRA...


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:51 PM
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Damn Minivet broke the code.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:52 PM
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Right now it's 2018 and Trump has been president for a year and a half. If Romney was elected in 2012, then who are we presuming won in 2016? Romney again? Clinton? Someone else? What happened to Paul Ryan's House seat when he vacated it to be vice-president?

Suppose Romney was reelected in 2016. As bad as a year and a half of Trump has been, it probably isn't worse than five and a half years of Romney. Trump's bad, maybe by 2020 we'll wish Romney had won, but it's too early to say.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:53 PM
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111/112: Cool and no worries! Maybe someone with access will give some thoughts if it is at all interesting.

Back to the Romney alternate timelines with you!


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 12:57 PM
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115: Well Mead would be doing really really well, what with all the binders Mitt would be utilizing. So that's a win.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:00 PM
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115.2: Obviously the Dems would have chosen the perfect candidate to go against the plutocrat, Romney -- Bernie Sanders! And he would have won! And this would be our first year with single-payer.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:03 PM
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Mitt's binder usage alone would save more American JOBS than you can imagine!

"Consolidate the benefit departments" says President Mitt. "Binders would probably be a good first step!"


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:03 PM
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119: Especially for the trans men.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:11 PM
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118: And then comes the great anti-Semitic backlash of 2024 and we all wonder if we would have been better off if Sanders had lost in 2020.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:17 PM
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120: "How would binders really solve this problem? What is the actual process you are proposing?" asks aide.

Mitt: "Well, in my experience, you take the velcro straps out and lash them together to form a 'size to fit' V. If you got the boys trained right, all you have to say is "get to the roof!"

Dog: "woof?"

Mixed timelines are very fun.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:19 PM
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The other problem with the Romney counterfactual is that it assumes that everything that follows "Romney loses" is 100% locked in to the way it actually happened in our timeline, so that we get all the downsides of actual history to compare our hypothetical to. In actuality, the "Obama wins" scenario included a better than 50% chance that Clinton gets at least 4 years to consolidate Obama's gains, appoint a couple of Supreme Court justices (who might or might not get confirmed in a Republican Senate), etc. Compare that to: Romney probably gets 8 years to lock in Republican priorities, appoint more anti-choice justices, continue building up the Republican bench in the lower courts, and then maybe progressives get in to try and undo some of the damage (or maybe the Democrats move more towards the center in response to the Republican near-lock on the White House).

Trump getting in wasn't a certain consequence of "Obama wins" by any stretch of the imagination.


Posted by: Dave W.` | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:21 PM
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woof? woof.


Posted by: DOG IN AN ALTERNATE TIMELINE | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:21 PM
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I want to fucking ACORN the NRA...

The thing is, Colbert et al have done this so many times. It just doesn't make a sound. Just last night I was watching the one where Sasha Baron Cohen gets all these congressfolk to read off a script about the value of arming toddlers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:23 PM
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woof! woof! woof!


Posted by: DOG IN AN ALTERNATE TIMELINE | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:24 PM
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Trump getting in wasn't a certain consequence of "Obama wins" by any stretch of the imagination.

No, but "Trump runs" was, I'd argue. (Your points are all well taken.)


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:27 PM
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125: No, obviously they're immune to embarrassment. I meant, use this foreign-agent status as grounds for burning down the organization and salting its fields like they did to ACORN.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:31 PM
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126: "Isn't he a good boy!" says Mitt, "That's just good training, right there. Do you think he just knows where he is?"

Trailing secret service car: "I sure as shit know where he is."
Turns on wipers.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:32 PM
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Right. Trump winning was a fluke even with all the cheating.

But the thing I keep on wanting to push back against is the implicit question being asked by the counterfactual: would the tradeoff have been worth it?

And that is not a tradeoff that's worth evaluating, because that's not a tradeoff that's ever on offer. It's like the ticking-time-bomb/torture scenario -- not morally repugnant the same way, but practically meaningless. At the point of the tradeoff, you can't possibly know if it will have been worth it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:33 PM
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I think 'smasher fails to grapple with the fact that despite distinctly different styles, Trump, like Romney, is an exemplar of what the Republican Party stands for. In many ways, Trump is more benign. (And in many ways not, of course.) Mitch McConnell, let us not forget, urinated all over norm and precedent by giving Trump the Gorsuch nomination, to offer just one example. (There's even videotape of this!)

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, Sarah Palin -- and of course, St. Ron Himself -- are Republican heroes. The Republican Party has been building toward this for decades.

So there's no particular reason to believe that Romney would have kept something like Trump from happening. At most, there's a case to be made that Romney's election in 2012 would have delayed someone-like-Trump (if not Trump himself) until 2020 -- but it's a pretty weak case.

Even in 2012, the political/media ecosystem was desperately hunting for someone like Trump. Had Palin been able to muster sufficient focus (and it wouldn't have taken much) she could have been the Republican nominee in 2012.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:38 PM
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The context for this discussion was an even more tedious debate about electability and how much that should matter for 2020--concerns which you see people register in the wish for a straight white man to run on the left. The thread between those conversations was about what strategies the left can adopt to anticipate white ressentiment and its appeal in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Again, LB, no one at this particular party wished Romney had won or thought that it would be best to get behind a Romney for the greater good in the future. No need to punch anybody in the face.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:41 PM
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*or spit in anyone's face, I mean.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:44 PM
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131: Romney and Trump are really not the same. Conflating the two swerves right around the valid point you are making and drives straight into a tree.

Dog: "Woof?"


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:44 PM
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It's like the ticking-time-bomb/torture scenario -- not morally repugnant the same way, but practically meaningless.

I'm with 'smasher on the value of this sort of counterfactual, and even this particular counterfactual. It made me think. I didn't come up with the correct rebuttal anywhere near as quickly as you and RH did.

You are putting us on a slippery slope here: What's next, banning trolley-car problems?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:49 PM
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82. For a completely pointless and self-indulgent counter-factual, see last Sunday's Boston Globe magazine for "Erasing Bill Clinton": What if GHWB had beaten Clinton in 1992? Well, Gingrich would have been the GOP candidate in '96, and lost to Bill Bradley. [The author is too wussy to even be solid on that, and gives a whole laundry list of other Dems as "maybes" afterwards.] W is waiting in the wings as the story ends.

If Bill Clinton had never been president ("Erasing Bill Clinton" was the title on the paper version)


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:50 PM
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Imagine a world with no counterfactuals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:50 PM
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131: Wait, who is "St. Ron Himself"?


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:51 PM
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132: I don't mean to accuse you of having secretly been on the Mittwagon (and the face-spitting was neB, not me. I couldn't spit in McMegan's face without a stepstool, and it's not really my style).

But that hypothetical seems to me to be thinking about tradeoffs incoherently. Not that's it's morally questionable, but it's intellectually flawed, and therefore a bad habit to get into if you're trying to have useful thoughts about politics. You cannot make electability predictions four years out. You really can't make reliable electability predictions based on demographic characteristics of a candidate.

I mean, what actually seems to have happened with Obama was that he was personally charismatic enough to get elected easily twice, while being demographically enraging enough that a significant number of voters flipped from happily voting for a black man to voting for the most violent racist they could find. No one would have seen that, both steps, coming in 2008.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:52 PM
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138: Ronald McDonald, of course!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:53 PM
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130:Reagan.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:53 PM
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That was to 138, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:55 PM
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135: Dog says "WOOF!" (Google translate: 'Please ban all crashing of vehicles. Maybe even driving of vehicles? definitely all straps.')

[Aside: this alternate reality is surprisingly applicable to any situation. Sorry if it is too much or too soon]


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:56 PM
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Who are going to trust, me or LB?

I'll just tell you that I'm not a tool of the Deep State.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:56 PM
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Romney and Trump are really not the same.

There are important differences. But GW Bush had eight years, and there's still a plausible case to be made that he did more damage than Trump will. There's zero reason to believe that Romney is better than Bush.

Framing this as Trump vs. Romney also errs because it involves a top-down reading of history. Fascism, or whatever you want to call it, is on the march everywhere, and for all practical purposes, there is no opposition to it among Republicans. (How many Republicans officeholders have switched parties post-Trump? How much opposition will Romney provide Trump when he becomes a senator?)

Romney is a reasonable stand-in for the median Republican. So is Mitch McConnell; so is Paul Ryan; so is Mike Pence, and so is Donald Trump. There are important differences among them, but all of them are fucking nightmares. In the political climate that created Trump, all of them would defer to the crazies (just as they have done).


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 1:59 PM
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Romney is a reasonable stand-in for the median Republican. So is Mitch McConnell; so is Paul Ryan; so is Mike Pence, and so is Donald Trump. There are important differences among them, but all of them are fucking nightmares.

I want to agree with the substance of what you're saying completely, except taking Trump off that list of ordinary Republicans. Trump is genuinely a freak -- the problem with the median Republican isn't that they're exactly the same as Trump, but that they'll stick with him, bizarre and fucked up as he is, forever, as well as doing their own horrific levels of damage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:02 PM
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145.3: Trump doesn't just defer to the crazies - he brings his own flavor of crazy to the mix.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:04 PM
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WOOF. woof.


Posted by: alternate to the alternate timeline dog | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:06 PM
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Romney is a reasonable stand-in for the median Republican [ . . . ] and so is Donald Trump.

We don't know if this is true. Neither does the GOP. It continues to be an amazing thing that McConnell and Ryan are willing to stake the party's reputation without know what they're helping Trump to cover up.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:09 PM
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145: Framing this as Trump vs. Romney also errs because it involves a top-down reading of history.

Glad we agree it errs.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:16 PM
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It continues to be an amazing thing that McConnell and Ryan are willing to stake the party's reputation without know what they're helping Trump to cover up.

That's what makes Romney not an important improvement on Trump. There's no reason to think Romney's better (more principled, less crazy, whatever) than McConnell and Ryan and literally all the rest of the Republicans in Congress, who are firmly behind Trump. Right? Romney's a median Republican, and that's what the median Republican is like.

At that point, the median Republican is willing to endorse (loosely stated, but not all that loosely) treason for immediate partisan advantage. Romney is one of those. The choice between Trump and any other Republican is much more about flamboyance than about any meaningful difference in how much damage they're likely to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:20 PM
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WOOF! IT IS TOO SOON TO TELL! WOOF! IT IS TOO SOON TO TELL! QUACK!


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHOU EN LAI WITH A DOGS HEAD AND HUMAN'S BRAIN AND BIRD'S FEET IN AN ALTERNATE TIMELINE | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:21 PM
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It continues to be an amazing thing that McConnell and Ryan are willing to stake the party's reputation without know what they're helping Trump to cover up.

I think this is our central point of disagreement: There is nothing amazing about this at all. Trump is the unchallenged leader of the Republican Party -- not just nominally, but in fact. You might find this shocking, but if the Republicans were squarely faced with a choice between the fortunes of their party and the well-being of the United States of America, there is no question which they would choose. We know this because Republicans have been confronted with this choice repeatedly.

If the 2020 campaign were gearing up in earnest today, Trump would face no substantial challenger within the party. In some sense, the depravity of Republicans is "amazing," but it's not new, and it's not surprising.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:28 PM
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151: I mean, this was just a silly alternate timeline discussion, but clearly Romney would be a superior improvement to Trump.

I guarantee he has never shat in a golden toilet and never liked taco bell (I'm not sure what party that median person would be. Definitely bald though).

The guy implemented Romneycare in MA. He isn't crazy. He doesn't tweet at 4am and get his world view from talking points on morning shows. He wouldn't be a swipe left for the entire western world political community.



Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:33 PM
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154: He was sane when he was governor of Massachusetts, when he was pandering to Massachusetts voters. That tells you nothing about whether he'd be sane when he was pandering to the national Republican electorate. None of the rest of them are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:35 PM
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Unfortunately the sad, horrible truth -- a glance into the abyss --is that we could be better governed if we replaced Americans with Massholes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:39 PM
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156: Can we at least say no to roundabouts?


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:43 PM
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No way. There is a world of difference between Romney and Trump on Russia and any other issue you care to name. (Obama mocked Romney for calling Putin the country's biggest geopolitical rival!) I'd say that Romney is plainly a more principled leader than McConnell. I'd also say that every Republican, almost without exception, has shown total cowardice about confronting Trump. Still, not every Republican is a median Republican, that doesn't make sense to me.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:43 PM
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156: The first hundred Massholes in the phonebook.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:44 PM
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there's still a plausible case to be made that he did more damage than Trump will

Barring impeachment ex machina, with Pelosi assuming the Presidency, I don't see any plausible path for this.

One thing that nobody is addressing in the (probably pointless) hypothetical is what happens in '14. IRL, the GOP gained 8 Senate seats while holding 15. They doubled their lead in the House. It's entirely possible that an anti-Romney backlash flips the House, and there's no way at all that McConnell becomes Leader. It's a really, really different situation than what's happening now. Lefties love to slag on them, but Pelosi/Reid effectively shut the Bush administration down after '06; if they're in opposition to Romney, he doesn't get much done either (although I doubt they'd have the guts to do what McConnell did with the Scalia seat).

All that said, I think the parsimonious assumption is that Romney wins reelection in '16 for all the usual structural reasons, and that that's a disaster. Although it's getting hard to ignore that Republicans have won the 2-party share of the presidential vote once since 1988. SCOTUS and the Electoral College do their damnedest, but the Democratic advantage in Presidential years sure looks sturdy.

So IMO the trade is: our timeline, with Obama at a legislative disadvantage for his 2nd term and then the apocalypse, or Romney with a split Congress for at least 2 years and possible Dem Congress for 2 years followed by HRC with a Dem Congress (and then unimaginable backlash in '18).

FWIW, I think a Romney Administration probably opposes, both rhetorically and practically, Russian electoral interference. Congressional Republicans are despicable, but the intelligence people Romney would have hired, and IMO Romney himself (who called Obama soft on Russia), would have done their fucking jobs.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:45 PM
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Barring impeachment ex machina, with Pelosi assuming the Presidency, I don't see any plausible path for this.

You've got to remember that Bush is starting somewhere pretty close to a million deaths in the lead. Trump is making an excellent show for himself, but that's a lot to make up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:48 PM
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I'd say that Romney is plainly a more principled leader than McConnell.

Has Romney been making public statements about the current Trump/Russia situation? I haven't seen any, but I might not have. Or is he sitting back letting his tacit support for the leader of his party be assumed? (I really don't know the answer -- I wouldn't necessarily have heard if he was speaking out against Trump. But if he hasn't been, than I don't think a whole lot of his principles.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:51 PM
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As of a month ago, Romney seemed to be lined up pretty solidly with Trump: Like so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:52 PM
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The thing I see people doing upthread is saying that, because Trump has in many ways governed like a typical Republican, therefore any Republican would be about as bad. But the reason Trump is so bad is that he has bad policies, ideology-wise, that are being put into practice by gratuitously evil, incompetent, corrupt, and genuinely anti-American people, with great gusto.

The GWB admin, awful as it was, wasn't actually that awful. For instance: Maria is much, much, much worse than Katrina, and the Trump admin literally doesn't care. PR will never be fixed, for any value of "fixed", as long as he's president. That's genuinely worse; I mean, Brownie got fired (or had to resign, whevs). Nobody's getting fired because there are still blackouts in San Juan in 2019.

Like, there is no upside to what Trump is doing. There's no tradeoff. If Putin tells him that Russia is retaking the Baltics, Trump will say OK, and either NATO ceases to function or western Europe fights Russia while the US stands aside. That's not possible under any other Republican prior to Trump's election.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:53 PM
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Barring impeachment ex machina, with Pelosi assuming the Presidency, I don't see any plausible path for this.

The Bush administration launched a global war that has lead to more than a million deaths and witnessed the lost of $1.6 trillion in domestic equity. While I fear Trump's "hold my beer" moment, W set the bar high.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:53 PM
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Romney, per my inbox this afternoon: "President Trump's decision to side with Putin over American intelligence agencies is disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles. Russia remains our number one geopolitical adversary; claiming a moral equivalence between the United States and Russia not only defies reason and history, it undermines our national integrity and impairs our global credibility."


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:55 PM
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161: Deaths can't be the only thing on the scales. How many kidnappings equal one death? Also, we know that civilian deaths from drone strikes are way up, and that deaths in Yemen are up as well. Anyone keeping count?

162: Other than Trump, I'm not aware of anyone in recent American history who's less principled than McConnell. I'm not being hyperbolic. I know how bad they all are. McConnell is worse. Worse than Cheney, worse than Ashcroft, worse than Gingrich even.

Republicans are following Trump, and so they're all traitors. I don't believe that, absent Trump, they would also be acting traitorously. Remember, it was McConnell, not any of the other Republican Senators, who prevented Obama from announcing Russian election hacking.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:58 PM
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166: Honestly, that's a lot more than I expected of him.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 2:59 PM
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The thing I see people doing upthread is saying that, because Trump has in many ways governed like a typical Republican, therefore any Republican would be about as bad.

I at least have been saying that you can't know. Maybe Romney would be better. But you can't look at his principles generally and count on that, because he hasn't got any.

166: To follow up on 'he hasn't got any' -- you've got Romney speaking sharply about Trump the same day he gave an embarrassing press conference with Putin. But a month ago, with everything that Trump has said and done during his tenure, Romney was being supportive. I'm still not giving Romney credit for principles there.

Maybe I'm wrong and he's going to be a consistent anti-Trump voice going forward now? But I'll bet he's back to sucking up for his Senate campaign.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:00 PM
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Deaths can't be the only thing on the scales.

"According to our new arrival, life is more than mere survival."


Posted by: Opinionated Bob Uecker | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:03 PM
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Oh shit, did anyone check on the dog recently?


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:07 PM
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There is a top-down reading of history that is implicit in 'smasher's counterfactual and that I think is over-simple. People fail to understand how much political activity is driven by the environment, rather than by individual leaders.

The US has, for decades, been in a self-reinforcing downward spiral that has led, if not to Trump, then something a lot like Trump. A Romney presidency would have stoked the same fires that resulted in Trump.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:08 PM
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To me it's pretty simple. Most respectable Republicans have deceived themeselves into believing they have principles, and recognize that Trump is a vehicle for delivering on those principles. But they're not blind enough to not find the guy gross and awful at a visceral level. So you get the constant flares of tut-tutting combined with doing nothing but acquiesce in substance. I don't think it's even hypocritical, I think all that is a pretty honest and straightfoward picture of how they feel.

I dunno how that affects our Romney counterfactual. I'd certainly would prefer Romney to have been elected President in 2016 to Trump, if only because Romney's let me feel less constantly and horribly embarrassed and terrified. I certainly think it would be a terrible idea as a voter in 2012 will all information possibly available to a voter at that time to have voted for Romney, and even in retrospect with all information available to one in 2018 giving up 4 years of Republican control seems like a really bad idea. Seems like that's all that's worth saying.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:14 PM
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165: there are a lot of really really terrible things about gdubs. I'd say the rise of the daily show type of political discourse and it's effects on the role of media in this brave new internet world. but the stock market crash is not one of them. That was put into motion under Clinton with removal of glass-seagal in 99 and expanded lending norms of Fannie and Freddie.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:15 PM
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172: What is 'top down reading'? This is the second time it was mentioned in this post and, as I clearly don't know unfogged terminology well enough, I actually don't know what that means in this context.

Too high level to be meaningful?

Weak argument with too much hand waving?

Not thought out and explained enough?

I am actually confused as to what you mean.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:19 PM
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175: I think all that's meant by 'top down' is 'the President controls the party' rather than 'the party produces the President'. The top down theory is that it's a huge problem that Trump is the president. The bottom up theory is that it's a huge problem that the Republican voters elected him and the Republican power structure didn't keep it from happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:27 PM
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That was put into motion under Clinton with removal of glass-seagal in 99 and expanded lending norms of Fannie and Freddie.

Neither Glass-Steagall nor Fannie and Freddie were important causes of the crash. It's reasonable to blame Clinton, but it was his signing of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 that really led in a straight line to the financial meltdown.

But eight years of Republican neglect were also a key. If you start out with the assumption that Republicans (who also supported the CFMA) aren't accountable for public policy, then yeah, it's all Clinton's fault. But there were still plenty of laws being broken that the Republican-controlled government chose not to enforce.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:28 PM
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By the by, I must say that the freakout over this Putin meeting is surprising me. Like, what have you been seeing from this guy over the past 30 months that makes this anything but what you'd expect to happen?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:29 PM
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176: thanks. I follow now. Not the usage I am accustomed to.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:30 PM
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I didn't watch it, but I got the impression that it was sort of shocking to actually watch?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:30 PM
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176: The bottom up theory has no explanation for why hate crimes and very public white supremacy have spiked since the election. If Trump is merely a product of the party, then every ingredient needed for Charlottesville et al was in place before November 2016.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:32 PM
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176: Just saying 'they should have known!' And implying negligence isn't the same as laws enacted that stopped the separation of investment banking and retail banking, combined with government backed entities accepting much broader types of mortgages.

I'm not saying its Clintons fault. But blaming it on bush, a sincere idiot abetted by political party loyalty, who along with everyone else kind of had 9/11 and Katrina to work on, is obtuse at best.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:35 PM
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176: Just saying 'they should have known!' And implying negligence isn't the same as laws enacted that stopped the separation of investment banking and retail banking, combined with government backed entities accepting much broader types of mortgages.

I'm not saying its Clintons fault. But blaming it on bush, a sincere idiot abetted by political party loyalty, who along with everyone else kind of had 9/11 and Katrina to work on, is obtuse at best.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:35 PM
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180: Yeah, I was thinking that. I am viscerally incapable of watching him in any context*, so I can't even imagine.

*I saw part of one of the debates, which I spent pacing and ignoring the screen.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:37 PM
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It was shocking to watch, even for people who have been paying attention. Jaws were slack at the newsroom where I watch. In a political sense it was a massive unforced error on Trump's part: there was absolutely nothing for him to gain doing a side-by-side presser with Putin after a secret meeting. But it was so much worse than that. Landing as it did between two FBI indictments of Russians working to infiltrate the GOP? Even Fox News is reporting this as a catastrophe.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:38 PM
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181: Yeah, I think the real answer is 'a little of both'. I mean, I would trade Romney 2016 for Trump 2016 in a heartbeat without thinking about it -- Romney is wildly less embarrassing and frightening. I'm just balking at trading everything accomplished in the last four years of Obama for a pig in an unprincipled poke.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:40 PM
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Statistical counterfactuals: of all universes where Trump was elected, what percent have now had a nuclear exchange? My guess is 5%, most survivable, some not.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:43 PM
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182 to 181.


Posted by: Montissimoo | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:44 PM
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40 ttam - I haven't yet checked all the comments after yours, but Sacha Distel.


Posted by: Dave Heasman | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 3:49 PM
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and the Republican power structure didn't keep it from happening.

The extreme form of a bottom-up theory is that the Republican power structure couldn't keep it from happening. I think I believe that regarding Trump.

But I have actually been a proponent of what I will call an "environmental" theory of Trump. The system itself created Trump. Both the elites and the proles worked assiduously to put Trump in office, even if that wasn't the intent of the elites.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 4:21 PM
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If Trump is merely a product of the party, then every ingredient needed for Charlottesville et al was in place before November 2016.

Can you really doubt this? I freely grant that Trump's tacit approval of Charlottesville was a genuine innovation on his part, and that it (and similar) fed the Nut-Right. But the Right fed him, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 4:26 PM
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I only saw Trump in the pre-game show with Putin, and I found it shocking, even granting the known fact that Trump has always been in Putin's pocket.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 4:33 PM
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You can have your blog back now.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 4:33 PM
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Thanks, but I'm having a really busy week anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 4:48 PM
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Further to my "environmental" theory, let's remember how right JRoth is, that everything that happened today was well-understood before the election. Yet somehow, the media and the Republicans weren't worried about this at all. Undue Russian influence over a US presidential candidate was -- the elites decided -- not interesting, for reasons that are institutional in nature.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 5:14 PM
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At first I found the media's reaction to this press conference mystifying. What could be less surprising than Trump submitting to Putin? It's like, one of the few constants in his politics. Then I realized: the media is content to cover for Republican treason and lawbreaking, but they do expect, in return, some show for deniability, however implausible, and Trump failed to give it to them. As you can imagine, this puts the media in quite the pickle.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 5:50 PM
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I suspect that is it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 6:01 PM
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Yeah, that's my read, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 6:47 PM
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195 -- Honestly, I think a whole bunch of elite Republicans have thought that Trump was theatrical, but at the end of the day the adults in the room would reel him in. Now it's clear that there aren't, and aren't going to be, any restraints. It's going to be fire and fury from here out.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 7:42 PM
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I wish I could think that optimistically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 7:48 PM
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185: Even Fox News is reporting this as a catastrophe.

Well, the "news" part of the channel did. But Hannity and Carlson were in massive clean up mode (including a long fawning interview with Trump on Hannity). Now, the fact that they needed to do that is a thing. But I suspect this will "blow" over with just a few points of his "popularity" lost. But I do think it will incrementally make running as an R this fall that much harder.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 8:07 PM
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The trade war is spinning out of control, and, impressively, Miller is botching immigration. It's all hands on deck. but we might just win the House after all.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 8:40 PM
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Treason, incompetence, and economic anxiety. Almost as bad as increasing health coverage for Americans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-16-18 8:50 PM
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Posted by: Kanchipuram sarees | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:52 AM
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It's nice when even the spam is being supportive.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:36 AM
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re: 189

Good shout for someone who started off as an excellent instrumentalist and became a hugely successful singer. I don't think remotely in the same league as Benson as a player, though.

There's maybe 10-15 years when, "Who is the best jazz guitarist in the world?" could have been plausibly answered with "George Benson". You could differ on grounds of taste or musical preference, but no-one would think you were crazy for saying it. Lots of people would say the same. I don't think there's ever time when that question would be answered, "Sacha Distel".

Nat Cole is another good example, I suppose. Hugely successful just as a pianist. Good enough to make it onto some of the Metronome All-star recordings, play with Lionel Hampton, etc. Megastar as a singer.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:40 AM
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||

Fucking Brexit.

I think we are likely to crash out with no deal.

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:41 AM
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"My conscience will not allow me to accept a situation in which an entirely unaccountable European bureaucracy imposes rules on us about how we live every aspect of our lives, and we are allowed no say whatsoever in what those rules are," said Jacob Rees-Mogg, a devout Catholic.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 2:12 AM
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I've been on a bit of a rollercoaster on that front. I thought no deal was the most likely outcome for a long time, but then after the first few capitulations and culminating in the December announcement I swung to "shitty BRINO". Since then it's been a long slow swing back to no deal as May failed to get her cabinet to even agree to implement what she'd already committed to. Since about April/May I'm back to no deal being the most likely. That we've only just now, nine months before the exit date, got even a fucking white paper on what the UK wants, the details of which the government immediately voted against, is just bonkers.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 2:17 AM
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Surely May can't last much longer. On the other hand, who the hell would want her job? No one else did last time, that's how she got it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 2:24 AM
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W∞f


Posted by: Infinite dogs in infinite timelines | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 3:00 AM
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207. I no longer see how any other outcome is possible. Maybe if Keir Starmer had compromising photos of all the DUP MPs and blackmailed them each individually while at the same time taking out John McDonnell so that it looks like an accident even to the Special Branch...

210. BJ wants her job. He is so self-consequential that he can't see the downside.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 3:07 AM
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In 2016, many republicans in Congress said they could not support Trump, or would endorse nobody, or whatever. But if they really thought him a existential threat, in our two-party system, they would endorse the Democrat.

Only one endorsed Clinton, that being my Congressman in upstate NY. And Richard Hanna had already decided he did not want to run for re-election.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 4:25 AM
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I'm also coming round to the disaster capitalist take.* That there's only upside for the worst of the Brexit wreckers.

But the level of incompetence stuns even me, as someone who has basically always believed the Tories are evil, venal mediocrities.

Lots of people will die.**

* on top of the 'insane Brexit true believer' take (Redwood, Davis, et al), and the 'cynical self-interest' take (Johnson).
** I don't mean in terms of war or something, i just mean in terms of further endless austerity and recession, endless cuts to benefits and the NHS, food and fuel poverty skyrocketing, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 4:33 AM
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Possibly a war in Ireland.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:13 AM
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Then I realized: the media is content to cover for Republican treason and lawbreaking, but they do expect, in return, some show for deniability, however implausible, and Trump failed to give it to them

Love too cover for treason n lawbreaking...
I don't know! I think it was genuinely jarring to see Trump subordinate himself on live television. There will never be an event that doesn't prompt this I'm-just-shocked-that-you're-shocked cynical auto-response in people, but this was an unlikely performance. I would call this an historic moment.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:14 AM
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216. I do the auto-cynical thing you're talking about, and even do it with myself. As JRoth says in 178, "what you'd expect to happen?"

Well?

But I, too, thought Trump's performance was stunning. I think I expected the bowing and scraping to be conducted behind closed doors, but it seems clear now that Putin forced this meeting specifically for the purpose of humiliating Trump before the world. (In addition to whatever arrangements were made when no witnesses were present.)

And now, maybe, this is the new normal. We'll have a few days of Republican posturing -- Ben Sasse has been making the rounds expressing outrage and hinting at major, strong inaction -- but the Party will get its bearings and remember we have always not been at war with East Asia.

There is always the possibility that at some point, this collapses. Some outrage will be a bridge too far, possibly as a result of the Dems taking a house or two of Congress; possibly as a result of the Mueller probe; possibly because the Deep State really does show up for work someday.

But until then, it's going to be one pussy-grab after another -- one outrage after another that seems impossible to overcome until the media and politicians brush it aside. And I'll be shocked every time, and filled with a bit of self-loathing for being surprised.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:50 AM
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I think the same thing about hard Brexit that I think about Trump lasting until the end of his term: Nobody can persuade me that either of these things is possible, but the alternatives also can't happen.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:53 AM
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I don't know either. I thought the Charlottesville response was kind of a moment, but this is on a much bigger stage. And the way it served as a climax for his NATO/UK fuckwittery highlighted it.

Apparently an "emergency" meeting with Congressional leaders today. My guess is that they agree to break on through to the other side to the new brave international order. Very tentatively. Mid-terms (or utterly disastrous polling close to them) may change the narrative. But not before then. There is white nationalist judicial terrorist to confirm after all!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:57 AM
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214: I am a bit more optimistic. As far as the actual government goes, they have accepted the necessity of staying in all the regulatory stuff - i.e. 90% of the EU - and the plan that's been canned was so astonishingly awful we're much better off with it off the table and hopefully shredded or burned too.

It's abundantly clear that there is no option - not even no deal, in any practical sense - that the Tory nutters will accept, so the only way of passing anything through parliament is to make a deal with Labour, and Labour's conditions include staying in 99% of the EU.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:58 AM
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but it seems clear now that Putin forced this meeting specifically for the purpose of humiliating Trump before the world.

If I had that opportunity, I wouldn't be able to resist it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:03 AM
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214: I am a bit more optimistic. As far as the actual government goes, they have accepted the necessity of staying in all the regulatory stuff
For goods, and with major caveats (particularly around the ECJ). They still want to have their cake and eat it on services, and at least as far as financial services go the Chequers plan is the worst of both worlds -- too close to the EU to make the Brexiteers' Singapore dream possible and too far away to make anything like the status quo viable.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:09 AM
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220. But if, as I'm inclined to agree, the Tory nutters wil not accept any feasible outcome, then ttaM's point about disaster capitalism seems to hold good.

Are the semi-sane Tories likely to be prepared to deal with Labour at that level?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:11 AM
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It's abundantly clear that there is no option - not even no deal, in any practical sense - that the Tory nutters will accept, so the only way of passing anything through parliament is to make a deal with Labour, and Labour's conditions include staying in 99% of the EU.

I don't think May is capable of doing that. Practically, or temperamentally.

I mean, that's a positive outcome if what we get is a fairly softish Brexit off the back of some kind of deal with Labour where some of the worst Brexit stuff is removed, and the Tory hardline Brexiteers get sidelined.

But I can't see any way for May to actually make that happen.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:13 AM
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214/224: Can you spell out the "disaster capitalism" thing a bit more for someone who doesn't follow your politics quite so closely? A thing that has puzzled me about Brexit since the beginning is that I couldn't see who the elites were that benefited from it, and that's usually the cynical take on what drives politics.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:29 AM
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Same here with 225. I thought it was purely a "dog that finally caught the car" situation.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:34 AM
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re: 225

Well, if you are already very rich, or partnered up with the very rich, economic downturns can be pretty good for you, even if they aren't good for everyone else. See: 2008 onwards, basically everywhere. Catastrophically fucking the UK economy can benefit a few, even if it doesn't benefit many.

This is hardly an novel point, and I've seen it made a lot recently.

People like Johnson and Farage do not give a fuck, and for them, there's no real downside. So they can play politics, and take massive risks of a catastrophic Brexit outcome, because how ever it turns out, they win.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:37 AM
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If your client base is basically the property owning employed/professional middle and upper middle classes, sure, you would want to promote economic growth and minimise the impact of Brexit, even if you fundamentally believe in it for political -- sovereignty, or whatever -- reasons.

But if you think they are just peons to be trod on on behalf of the top 1% fo the top 1%, you don't give a shit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:40 AM
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"Disaster capitalism" is a confused concept.

One of the Naomis (Wolf? Klein? Watts? Mitchison?) introduced it in "The Shock Doctrine", where it meant, quite simply, that part of a capitalist economy that makes money out of natural disasters. There is a hurricane, and the government pays a private-sector company to reinstate power supplies. The private company overcharges the government and does a bad job and keeps most of the money. Basically it just means the corruption and peculation you get in disaster relief and similar fields like aid and military logistics.
See also https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/27/disaster-capitalism-antony-loewenstein-review.

But it has now come to mean something more than the Naomis meant - the idea that wealthy people might deliberately create a disaster in order to profit from it. So it's not just that Halliburton made a lot of money from selling troops their shitty food in Iraq; Halliburton actually started the war so they could do it.

This is presumably the sense in which it is used regarding Brexit: that Brexit is being triggered by wealthy people who stand to make money from it. At this point Rees-Mogg is often mentioned, though to be honest he seems to be keener on using it to gain power; yes, his company is shifting to Dublin because (despite his protestations) he knows very well that they won't be able to function in London post a hard Brexit, but that simply makes him a hypocrite who is acting to minimise the damage to himself. He's not going to make more money from Brexit than he would have from Remain, and he knows it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:44 AM
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Naomi Beck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:45 AM
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227: To expand on this, a shorthand way of thinking about it is that chaos enables theft. You don't need to know exactly what the opportunities are going to be to think that if you're politically connected and already rich, you're going to be able to find opportunities to steal things in a crisis.

That's my best guess for the real motivation behind the Iraq war. There may have been some idiot true believers in remaking the Middle East, but there were also a lot of people in power willing to destroy trillions of dollars of value to create opportunities to steal hundreds of millions. The destruction doesn't have to be proportionate to the profit, because they accrue to different people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:47 AM
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Crossed with Ajay, who's describing the same concept but doesn't seem to believe in it as thoroughly as I do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:49 AM
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He's not going to make more money from Brexit than he would have from Remain, and he knows it.

Well, he will if he becomes PM and wangles all the lucrative consulting and speaking roles afterward.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:49 AM
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There may have been some idiot true believers in remaking the Middle East

Does that include ogged? I think we forget how wide-spread support for the Iraq War was.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:53 AM
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224: ask Oli Robbins to draw up a white paper and have the chief whip show it to Jeremy Corbyn, if the answer is positive (even just to the extent of leaving Labour MPs a free vote), call a vote. The difficult bit is getting over the embarrassment of involving the opposition and the ensuing ERG freakout.

That said, if they had the numbers to do anything we'd all be campaigning in the general election rather than having this conversation. In a real sense we're all watching the Tories have a vicious argument about whether or not they're divided.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:54 AM
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I literally can't remember if Ogged was ever pro-war rather than just soft on people who were. But there's a fundamental difference between outsiders who got suckered by the WMD con (I think this showed either inattention or poor critical thinking skills, but there were definitely some people who sincerely fell for it) and insiders who knew that WMD was bullshit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:57 AM
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But it has now come to mean something more than the Naomis meant - the idea that wealthy people might deliberately create a disaster in order to profit from it. So it's not just that Halliburton made a lot of money from selling troops their shitty food in Iraq; Halliburton actually started the war so they could do it.

Not just to profit from it; to use the chaos as an opportunity to change the laws/rules to benefit you.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:58 AM
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Is there any possibility at all of Brexit just not happening? Assume for the sake of argument that the EU would go along with it and the legalities could be finessed: is there any plausible political route to taking it back?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:59 AM
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You mean, is there any possibility of the U.K. asking to undo Brexit?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:01 AM
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233: true. I was sloppy. I should have said "His company is not going to make more money from Brexit than it would have from Remain, and he knows it." He himself is in it for power, and the benefits power brings.

And I really suspect that his religious faith has a role to play here.

Poor and middle-class Catholics in England are not markedly similar from poor and middle-class anything else except that they're a bit more likely to have Irish ancestry (or, these days, Central European ancestry).

But rich English Catholics - those aristocrats and gentry with recusant family histories, or those arriviste strivers like the Moggs who wished they had - are brought up in a very odd atmosphere (I know because I've met a fair few): a constant feeling of grievance, especially towards the UK government and even the monarchy (from which they are still barred, of course); a strong feeling of nostalgia for the pre-Reformation past, to the point where they talk in Lost-Cause-ish terms about the great day when "England is brought back to Mother Church"; and a dismissive contempt for the vaguely liberal ideas that most people in the UK share without thinking too hard about them.

"Sorry about the cathedral," I was told, on attending a Catholic wedding in Bristol. "We used to have a much better one but they took it away from us at the Reformation." It wasn't a joke either. To the person who said that, the modern British monarchy, in fact the entire modern constitution, was founded on acts of monstrous, sacrilegious fraud and theft. The Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Reformation, the Civil War, the Glorious Revolution; that's the root of modern Britain and to him it was all illegitimate.

This is the sort of culture that leads people to dress in a style ninety years out of date (as Mogg does) and mourn the fact that the UK did not enter the Spanish Civil War on Franco's side (as Mogg probably does, to go by what his peers do).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:02 AM
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240.3: not markedly *different*, of course.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:03 AM
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So, why doesn't BJ end up as PM, and there's a no-deal hard Brexit? Doesn't that seem like the likeliest outcome?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:03 AM
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Wouldn't EU membership be more likely to result in a Catholic England? I'm guessing the Polish plumbers aren't Anglican.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:05 AM
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242: it's one possibility. But a leadership challenge in the Conservative Party is a dangerous business; look what happened the last time to everyone who thought he was the obvious next PM.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:06 AM
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Wouldn't EU membership be more likely to result in a Catholic England

No, the EU is a horrible secular liberal institution. If the EU was a sort of Holy Catholic Empire Mogg would probably be squarely behind it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:07 AM
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239: Right, exactly. "We've decided this was a poor idea, and would prefer to remain."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:07 AM
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I should get that on my tombstone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:09 AM
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240: The family from Brideshead Revisited still exists and feels that way?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:09 AM
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224: ask Oli Robbins to draw up a white paper and have the chief whip show it to Jeremy Corbyn, if the answer is positive (even just to the extent of leaving Labour MPs a free vote), call a vote. The difficult bit is getting over the embarrassment of involving the opposition and the ensuing ERG freakout.

How does this happen without triggering 48 letters to the 1922 Committee? Especially since we're already at 40, supposedly.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:10 AM
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How does this happen without triggering 48 letters to the 1922 Committee?

Footnote for the Americans?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:11 AM
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Is there any possibility at all of Brexit just not happening? Assume for the sake of argument that the EU would go along with it and the legalities could be finessed: is there any plausible political route to taking it back?

Plausible? Sure. Likely? No.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:12 AM
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248: yes, basically.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:12 AM
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240 -- At least it wasn't you took it away from us.

As a descendant of true believers who re-crossed the Atlantic to be part of the original Commonwealth, I've grown up knowing that the Restoration was the real mistake.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:12 AM
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250: 48 is the current threshold for triggering a Tory leadership election.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:12 AM
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The 1922 Committee is all the Conservative MPs who aren't ministers. It has a chairman. If you don't like the party leader you write a letter to him privately and say so. When he saves up 48 letters, he trades them in for a leadership contest.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:13 AM
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At least it wasn't you took it away from us.

I think he may have taken me for a Jacobite.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:15 AM
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When he saves up 48 letters, he trades them in for a leadership contest.

Like Greenstamps, but with a bigger surface area to lick.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:16 AM
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252: It seems less harmful than the American version of the "Lost Cause."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:17 AM
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Now I'm imagining Tory backbenchers as Risk cards. If you have a set of Remainers/Wets/Shits, you get double the votes!


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:17 AM
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244 -- ISTM, very much an uninformed outsider, that May has proven that there's no politically viable negotiated middle way. Either the next iteration is real Brexiters taking the helm, or the humiliation of admitting the whole thing was a scam. I'm having a hard time seeing anyone interested in a Tory future embracing the latter . . .

And, if the Tories are going to go all in for real Brexit, -- and how can they not -- then why not let BJ take the fall for the disaster that will ensue?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:18 AM
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Because he might make the disaster even worse?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:19 AM
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I don't follow British news very closely, but the man doesn't scream "competence" to me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:21 AM
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262: But he could present some competition for Putin in the contest to be Trump's very best friend.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:24 AM
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re: 229.last

Yeah, I'm not sure I'd go as far as, 'triggered by people who want to make money from it', but, 'triggered by people who can some way to benefit from it, either way'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:25 AM
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249: let's see the colour of their money. The ERG membership is said to be ~80, the requirement for a no-confidence vote is 159, so they need to exactly double their tally to win. I don't think there's any solution that doesn't involve testing their resistance, shy a change of government of course.

250: to change the leader of the party, 48 MPs must write to the chairman of the 1922 committee, a caucus of Tory MPs who are not currently ministers or shadow ministers. When this number is reached, he declares a vote of no confidence, which can be passed with a simple majority (ie 50% plus one, hence 159). If the vote fails, the letters go in the bin and there cannot be another for 12 months.

There's all sorts of weirdness about the letters thing; the chairman can keep them and nobody knows how long for or how many he might have in a drawer. This has the odd consequence that it might be better for May to have the vote - even to lobby her supporters to write - than to let the ERG keep stringing everyone along.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:26 AM
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Brexit can't fail, it can only be failed. So give it to the guy you want to blame for failing it. The choice of giving it to Labour so they can fail it is pretty bold, but even riskier, right?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:26 AM
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263: The name "Borris" might help Trump think he is dealing with a Russian.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:26 AM
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242: because nobody wants him to be PM.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:29 AM
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Your country's messed up (not that I'm judging) but at least we'll get a book about Boris Johnson's ties to Russia/Putin called "BJ and the Bear."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:33 AM
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It would be funny if we had matching inflated weird-haired leaders. Funny in that tragic kind of way, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:33 AM
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but it seems clear now that Putin forced this meeting specifically for the purpose of humiliating Trump before the world.

If that is the case I wonder if Putin was surprised at how well it worked. Like the expression of surprise on Kim Jong-un's face when Trump saluted that Nork general. Probably not, Putin seems to have taken Trump's measure to a very fine degree.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:34 AM
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Trump's been a sleeper agent since 1987. Putin knows his measure pretty well by now.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:44 AM
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"Sorry about the cathedral," I was told, on attending a Catholic wedding in Bristol. "We used to have a much better one but they took it away from us at the Reformation." It wasn't a joke either. To the person who said that, the modern British monarchy, in fact the entire modern constitution, was founded on acts of monstrous, sacrilegious fraud and theft. The Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Reformation, the Civil War, the Glorious Revolution; that's the root of modern Britain and to him it was all illegitimate.

There's probably an audience of no more than one person for fantasies of a fully-robed Justin Welby going upside the head of these fools with his crosier, then going with a Terry-Tate-style linebacker dance "try and take it back now motherfuckers," but I am that audience of one.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:47 AM
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If Boris becomes PM then we can at least repay the favor of making a balloon caricature during his official visit.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:48 AM
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274: That's right! The Boris balloon and the Donald balloon will be so adorable together!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:52 AM
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Catastrophically fucking the UK economy can benefit a few, even if it doesn't benefit many.

Catastrophically fucking the UK has been profitable for the few in the past. Worked out pretty well for George Soros in '92.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:54 AM
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I've said this before, but Boris Johnson and Trump are both proof that the worst, most cartoonish stereotypes of the ridiculous and loathsome English or American are, basically, true. Hard to argue nuance when cartoon stereotypes are leading the two countries. It's as if France literally elected Pepe Le Pew to be its President. Maybe France will do so sometime soon.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:01 AM
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It's Pepe Le Pen, isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:03 AM
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Eh. The government's attempts to stay in the ERM fucked the UK, not the people selling the pound. It couldn't have done so even without Soros.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:04 AM
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279 is true. The UK government had the option at any time to pull out of the ERM but they tried to stay in. As long as they were willing to throw their money away, Soros (and lots of other people who weren't quite as eyecatchingly Jewish) can't really be blamed for catching it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:12 AM
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279/280: Sorry, you're right, I was trying too hard to parallel ttaM's turn of phrase; he just took advantage of the situation (and I'm in awe of how well he did). Regardless, it furthers the point that rich people do well in predictable financial catastrophes.

240 is amazing. On the cathedrals thing, I've wondered if that's how Catholics in Dublin feel.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:24 AM
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The big banks are pro-remain, the hedge funds pro-brexit. Perhaps to escape European money-laundering regs. But the regulations appear toothless.


Posted by: Dave Heasman | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:24 AM
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Less AML than AIFMD, I'd have thought, and it's far from universal. I know plenty of Remainer hedge fund types. At least in the credit world, I'd bet it's a majority, just not as overwhelming a majority as among banks (not least because a very large number of them are EU nationals). Probably because hedge funds only became EU regulated much more recently, and are generally not heavily regulated elsewhere (or before), so they're mainly seeing the downsides, whereas banks are pretty heavily regulated everywhere so while they may object to specific EU rules, the upsides of passporting and rule harmonisation outweigh the downsides.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:39 AM
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I haven't been following all the back and forth of negotiations, but isn't it the case that the EU recently more or less said, "You really can't pick and choose which parts of being in the EU you 'exit' from, especially if you try to keep all the fun parts but throw away the less fun parts."

The "soft Brexit" position is therefore a fantasy, right?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:47 AM
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Depending on how you define soft Brexit, yes. EEA (the "Norway option") is possible. Switzerland might be possible, although maybe not. "Canada Plus Plus Plus" is a fantasy.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:49 AM
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240, 258: At my wedding in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1987, one of my Brooklynite relatives mentioned how new everything in Charlotte looked, meaning it as a compliment. Several skyscrapers had been opened in the past year or so or were under construction then, and the reception was in a brand new hotel.

One of the locals said, "well, that's because General Sherman burned everything down," referring to an event in 1864-65.

Charlotte was not, in fact, burned down during the U.S. Civil War. The city profited from its gun factories, and never hosted a battle.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:49 AM
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281. I recently went down the wiki rabbit-hole on Dublin cathedrals. Yes, the Roman Catholic's are still ticked off. The seat of the RC bishop, Saint Mary's, is called a pro-cathedral because the papally designated church is occupied by the Church of Ireland. Which gets to another oddity. The Church of Ireland, and formerly the Catholic church, has two cathedrals in Dublin: Saint Patrick's and Christ Church (aka Holy Trinity)!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:07 AM
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It's important when there is a sign-up sheet for a war to go write "Napkins" or something in for your city before the only thing left is "venue."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:07 AM
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Yes, the Roman Catholic's are still ticked off.

Why shouldn't they be? It's not like the U.K. where the congregations mostly switched religions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:08 AM
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Historically speaking the napkins all come from Belgium, which tends to sign up for "venue" a lot as well.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:10 AM
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Sweden signs up for ice and refuses to be guilted into anything more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:11 AM
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||

Ekranotrain!

|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:17 AM
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||

The White House summoned Rod Rosenstein for a meeting this morning. The only item on Trump's agenda is a 2:00 p.m. meeting with Congress today and no one in leadership knows what it's about. Could be a couple of things, none of them great. . .

|>


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:19 AM
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In fact, nearly all possibilities are horrible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:23 AM
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The only item on Trump's agenda is a 2:00 p.m. meeting with Congress today and no one in leadership knows what it's about. Could be a couple of things, none of them great. . .

Maybe it's the Indian National Congress.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:25 AM
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I finally put my finger on what's been so annoying about everybody responding to Gary Kasparov's tweet (to the effect that yesterday was the darkest day in the history of the Presidency) by pointing out Bad Things America Has Done.

Look, any given Fortune 500 CEO has caused more human misery than Trump did yesterday. That's not what this is about, you smug fucks. The reason what Trump did/said was bad wasn't that it bombed Cambodia, enslaved anybody, or committed genocide. It's that it is fundamentally inimical to the job. It's a doctor poisoning patients, an engineer designing a bridge to collapse, a parent starving their child.

Loomis got it right, btw: he cited Buchanan allowing his administration to send weapons South on the eve of the Civil War. That was treasonous, a President working towards the destruction of his nation. Jackson was a fucking monster, but the Trail of Tears was directed at (people who were considered) non-Americans. Say what you will about Truman, but he bombed a country we were at war with.

People are so eager to get off on self-righteousness that they're incapable of forming a coherent thought.

Apologies if this has been hashed over in the past 100-odd comments.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:29 AM
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Most treasonous, perhaps. Darkest, perhaps not.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:31 AM
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297 Yes, it was very poorly phrased.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:33 AM
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Oh, fuck. I'd missed the morning meeting with Rosenstein. That makes the afternoon meeting seem momentous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:34 AM
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293: Twitter says it was a regular, scheduled meeting. Which makes it seem unlikely Trump is going to introduce a KGB agent and tell Rosenstein to make him Mueller's partner.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:35 AM
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299 He's going to inform them that he's firing Mueller, isn't he.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:36 AM
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293: The White House summoned Rod Rosenstein for a meeting this morning.

I assume their viewing the Friday and Monday indictments as pretty much ratfucking.

Also, my understanding is that Coats' message reinforcing the DNI view of hacking was *not* cleared through the White House. So I'm sure more tensions. Reporters will be a the 2:00 PM meeting. (I assume there is a private one before that?)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:37 AM
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Trump must want to be careful not to say something obviously false and treasonous in public with reporters present.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:38 AM
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299: Newer reports say that Rosenstein's morning meeting was routine. We are calling off the alarm (but we have the pre-write ready).


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:39 AM
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Trump is going to make public remarks about his meeting with Putin today. Good times!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 9:41 AM
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Assume for the sake of argument that the EU would go along with it

That's assuming a very large ladder for changing that particular light bulb. Or indeed not changing it.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 10:09 AM
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but we have the pre-write ready
Like an obituary for a nation.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 10:12 AM
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So, Maria Butina looks eerily like my ex and I feel vindicated.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 10:33 AM
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Including the gun?


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 10:37 AM
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y wife and I are going to go see Won't You Be My Neighbor? specifically as a break from the news cycle. Maybe we should just stay in the theater and not come out.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 10:45 AM
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310: Don't forget tissues!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 10:46 AM
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311 Gross!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 11:08 AM
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I'm ashamed I laughed at 312. It's Fred Rogers, for God's sake. Have you no shame? Have I?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 11:22 AM
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And besides, he is well past his NMM date.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 11:34 AM
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Puppets never die.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 11:45 AM
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315: That's what I'm counting on!


Posted by: Trump | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 11:55 AM
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Apparently it was all just a big misunderstanding, everybody.

Trump said he said "would" but he meant "wouldn't"! Just one giant jolly misunderstanding.

(Brb going to stick my head in the oven and wait for death.)


Posted by: (gensym) | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:08 PM
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Without even giving people sufficient time to finish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:17 PM
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Well I'm not Jerry Gallo! I'm Jerry Callo! "C-A-LLO"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:23 PM
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With wisecracks like that, I don't think you're even trying to finish on time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:24 PM
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318 -> 314?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:24 PM
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317: And of course the proposed "correction" makes zero sense in the context of what he actually said. (Much less his later affirmation of it in his Fox interviews.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:27 PM
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318 to 319.last.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:28 PM
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"You mean this? It's a harmless cook book. It's just a little dusty." [blows cover] How To Cook For Humans


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 12:31 PM
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317 later amends his correction to indicate that the press conference was held on opposite day.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:38 PM
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Had lunch with a former Labour cabinet minister recently (not a fan of Corbyn's) and he reckoned that the chance of averting brexit was now about 65%. He said he'd have put them at under 5% just after the referendum. But it is becoming unavoidably obvious that there is no deal which will satisfy the Tory party or otherwise command a Commons majority -- and that's even before we involve any foreigners in our negotiations. So the alternatives are either the complete crash-out on WTO terms, which would lead to immediate catastrophe followed by long-term collapse, or a grovelling retreat.

Possibly, I think, we get (1) followed within a fortnight by a general election and then (2).

But actually things are so fucking ludicrous right now that nobody has a clue.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:38 PM
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or a grovelling retreat

I can provide consulting services for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:43 PM
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I suppose they could invite the Queen to assume direct government. Party like it's 1536!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:54 PM
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Or get Claire Foy to be PM. Then you could choose between stolid E2 Claire Foy and deranged Anne Boleyn Claire Foy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 1:59 PM
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Why not go all the way then and get Helen Mirren?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 2:07 PM
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Anton Lesser -- you can pick between pathetic Harold MacMillan Anton Lesser, deranged Thomas More Anton Lesser, or, I see from imdb, Waslsingham Anton Lesser.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 2:17 PM
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I just learned that the guy who usually sells me shoes was Mr. Rogers shoe salesman also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 3:53 PM
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That was sort of on topic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 3:54 PM
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Because "cry, cry, masturbate, cry" is always on topic.


Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 4:25 PM
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Stop doing that to the shoes, so gross.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 4:27 PM
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And from what I have seen the primo complicit sub-cunts in the mainstream media are playing the
walkback" straight. Some nuance and context but no one even hinting (at least in the primary reporting) that it is an utterly disingenuous ploy that would insult a 10-year old. Holy fuck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 4:52 PM
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Anderson Cooper (and other cable guys I've seen) are at least giving it more of the treatment it deserves. The big newspapers apparently cannot even bring themselves to apply basic adult logic and BS detection when it comes to Trump on the front page.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:06 PM
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While I'm ragging on the jerks, I should note that the NYT's Opinion section did at least publish someone* at the end of last week who opined on the lopsidedness of the deep exploration of the "biases" of Peter Strozk rather than the evident issues with the NY FBI office.

We need to understand the truth of the 2016 election -- not just for the record, but to take steps to prevent any interference in future elections. Mr. Strzok survived the worst the House Republicans could throw at him, including a threat to charge him with contempt for refusing to answer questions on the advice of the F.B.I.'s counsel about an ongoing investigation -- a hallmark of the rule of law in ordinary times. Until congressional overseers make a serious attempt to get to the bottom of the New York field office's role in the election, we'll know they're not serious about learning the truth.

My semi-tame comment on the site ended with "What did Michael Schmidt and Matt Apruzo know and when did they know it?" It did pass moderation about 20 hours after I wrote it.

*Garrett M. Graff--not someone I am familiar with.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:11 PM
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I'm a little relieved that Mr. Rogers died the year I moved to Pittsburgh. It means I've probably never flipped him off in traffic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 5:47 PM
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Speaking of so so fucked, I have not been following the Joe Crowley WFP thingie so i have no idea of the state of play other than that JOE FREAKING LIEBERMAN JUST HAD AN OP-ED PUBLISHED IN THE WSJ ADVOCATING FOR CROWLEY.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's surprise primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley seems likely to hurt Congress, America and the Democratic Party. It doesn't have to.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:11 PM
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339: possibly the motorcade?


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:12 PM
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I can't believe I voted for Franken-Liberman.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:13 PM
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Ok. Time for a mercy killing for the Times:

At a bar in central Pennsylvania, voters wondered if election meddling was really so terrible. At a mall in Arizona, they insisted that Mr. Trump had actually been quite tough on Russia until, well, whatever that was in Finland.

In interviews with conservatives and Trump supporters across a half-dozen states, there were many theories about the president's performance ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:15 PM
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I admit to a little curiosity about what they thought to be worse than election meddling. Let me guess: it involves Hillary Clinton.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:18 PM
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At least, with it being Arizona and all, they had to go to a mall instead of a diner.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:19 PM
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It wasn't even a diner in PA, it was a bar. Because, when teasing out the economic anxieties of Red State America, its important to talk to more than just sober people.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:49 PM
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What's wrong with anxious people who spent time in PA bars? Asking for a friend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 6:51 PM
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In retrospect, is there a more plausible explanation for the weird display in Helsinki than Trump got summoned, dressed down in private, and then marched out for the cameras? Because I realize I am predisposed to believe the worst, up to and including lizard people.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:05 PM
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That's certainly what I think happened.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:07 PM
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I've never met a stable genius, so I'll avoid speculating.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:11 PM
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It's not speculation to assume the pee tape is real.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 7:31 PM
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I'm pretty sure Putin peed on Trump during the meeting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:25 PM
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||
Conversation has moved way on, but I wanted to mention to ttaM that I thought there might be an audience here for demo videos of those homebrewed guitar pedals he has putatively been making. This message brought to you by: the experience of playing lourdes' nice Telecaster that he left unguarded in the living room.
|>


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:31 PM
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Also, I believe Putin informed Trump of his upcoming plans to invade Montenegro.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 07-17-18 8:31 PM
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I really think we're overcomplicating this. You don't need a pee tape when a spreadsheet will do. You don't need to postulate an insecure narcissist who worships strong leaders to explain a man grovelling in front of his chiefest creditor. We all know that Trump businesses have been kept afloat by Russian money. We know that Putin could cut that off if he wished. The Helsinki performance was just Mafia manners.

I actually believe that the pee tape exists, and that Trump is psychologically fucked up. But they are overdetermining explanations for a perfectly straightforward case of a politician who is owned ina a straightforward financial sense by his backers, even if he's incapable of staying bought. He is behaving exactly as he would expect, and demand, anyone else to behave if he controlled them.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 1:47 AM
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In case anyone cares, the upshot of last night's bout of drama was that we're staying in the European medicines regulatory system (government lost the vote by 3) but not as yet in the customs union (government side won by 6). This is after the previous day's vote on the government's own plan that was amended to death and then won by 3 after three Lib Dems didn't make it to the vote.

It looks like the government whips managed to flip 2 of their own MPs back from the previous day and five Labour MPs voted with the government (well, four and a suspended metoo case) while a couple of pro-remain junior ministers resigned.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 2:52 AM
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Also, if you haven't read this you should definitely read it: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/my-great-grandfather-the-nigerian-slave-trader

Includes: families who got rich by trading in slaves, as you've never seen them before. Pots of human heads. Terrible justifications. Weirdly familiar tropes from the other side of the Atlantic.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 2:54 AM
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The last transatlantic slave ship sailed in 1866 and the Royal Niger Company wasn't founded until 1886. It's difficult to see how her great-grandfather could have had a licence from the latter to participate in the former.
I suspect that the oral-history part of this story has undergone some changes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 3:36 AM
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I did wonder about that. They refer to selling to Cuba and Brazil, i.e. the remaining open markets after the US Civil War, but that was already the era of the Royal Navy patrolling off the coast looking for slavers.

I think it's plausible that abolition within Nigeria wouldn't be a practical reality until the British administration actually rolled out in the 1910s, though, and who knows what the Niger Company traders might get up to off the books?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 4:14 AM
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359: yes. I believe that great-grandfather was a slaver; no reason to doubt that. I'm sure that slavery continued in a low-profile way for a long time in Nigeria. As the article suggests, it was a near-universally popular institution in the country and remains very popular even today.

But I think him being part of the transatlantic slave trade as described is pretty improbable. Like I say, family oral tradition tends to be fairly mutable.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 5:10 AM
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I think 355 is right, but probably not demonstrable while DJT remains President; therefore one of the other factors comes into play in respect of impeachment or 25th.

356. won by 3 after three Lib Dems didn't make it to the vote

If they had turned up, what's the procedure for breaking a tie, or does it count as a lose? I foresee many close votes between now and Christmas.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 5:36 AM
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If they had turned up, what's the procedure for breaking a tie, or does it count as a lose?

The Speaker gets the casting vote.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 5:46 AM
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Is there a convention as to which way he votes?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 5:58 AM
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Is there a convention as to which way he votes?

In the event of a tie in a division, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker has the responsibility of giving a casting vote to decide the question. In doing so there are rules as to which side should receive the casting vote. The Speaker should vote so as not to decide the question - in other words, to give the House the opportunity for further debate on an issue. Therefore, if there is a tie on a division such as a Second Reading vote, where failure would kill the Bill being debated, the Speaker will always vote to continue the Bill.
Another rule was established by Speaker Denison in 1867 on the occasion of the tie on Trinity College Fellowships. Denison, giving his casting vote against the motion, declared that any decision must be approved by the majority. The final rule is that the Speaker, in any division upon a bill, should vote to leave a bill in its existing form.

http://www.election.demon.co.uk/ties.html


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 6:03 AM
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Utterly disheartened this AM that apparently we have to seriously ponder whether a "walkback" that would embarrass a 4th-grader is actually a thing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 6:59 AM
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357: Thanks, very interesting.
359.2: As a point of comparison, in Chad the Saharan slave trade and accompanying raiding seems to have peaked in the 1890s, just before the French conquest.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 7:01 AM
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365 - so great when put into other speeches. "Of course, what I meant to say was that we shall NOT fight on the beaches. We shall ALWAYS surrender." "Mr. Gorbachev, do NOT tear down that wall."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 7:08 AM
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I WON'T Always Love you


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 7:10 AM
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I did have sex with that woman.


Posted by: Opinionated Bill Clinton | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 7:10 AM
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I did have sex with that dead crow.


Posted by: Opinionated Corvid | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 7:15 AM
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Much like JPS, I am endlessly fascinated by the dilemma that Trump poses for the media, and their general failure to meet that challenge. Regarding Trump's lame walkback of his humiliation in Russia, Vox fails in an interesting way.

The headline properly describes the content of the story:

Trump just offered one of the boldest lies of his presidency

And the story overall is an effective, Vox-ian effort to provide the context necessary to explain how we know Trump is full of shit.

But what was Trump's lie? Zack Beauchamp's answer to that question is ludicrous. He notes that Trump is claiming (now) to believe his intelligence agencies are right, and that Russia engaged in efforts to manipulate US elections, but ...

He clearly doesn't believe that Russia was involved. He just doesn't ...

Wrong! Trump knows goddam well that Russia was involved. What he is lying about is his prior lies.

Beauchamp gets it right later on:

Trump is trying to gaslight the entire world, to assert that he said something he clearly didn't by sheer force of confident assertion.

Beauchamp's error makes me sympathize (a little) with much worse fuckups by outlets like the NYT. Trump is like a bullshit onion, and you have to work really, really hard to get through all the layers of nonsense.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 8:03 AM
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The only thing we have to fear is not fear itself. I meant to say it's the disastrous policies of Herbert Hoover. Fear is fine when you're fearing them.


Posted by: Franklin Delano Roosevelt | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 8:16 AM
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I AM A CROOK!


Posted by: OPINIONATED RICHARD NIXON | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 8:20 AM
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Oh sorry, what I meant was
Always gonna give you up
Always gonna let you down
Always gonna run around and desert you
Always gonna make you cry
Always gonna say goodbye
Always gonna tell a lie and hurt you


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 8:21 AM
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374: That really works! I like those lyrics better.

Reminds me of back when Culture Club was big, and I would like to reply-sing to Boy George, "Yes, I really want to hurt you! Yes, I really want to see you cry..."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 8:25 AM
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371: I'm kind of even boring myself with this stuff these days. History will not be kind.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 8:42 AM
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Those of you who didn't like 'smasher's counterfactual in 48 are going to really hate the current 538 chat. Topic: Would Republicans Be Better Off If Clinton Were President?

As with 'smasher's thought experiment, the answer seems obvious. (In this case: No!) But a seemingly frivolous question can lead to an interesting conversation -- even if, when all is said and done, the obvious answer ends up actually being correct.

LB in 186 elucidates the appropriate general principle. A bird in the hand ...

But both conversations are invitations to think about the deeper truth: The Republicans, the media, the Deep State and a significant chunk of the electorate have been laboring for decades to bring about something like Trump. Nothing was going to change that.

People don't seem to grasp that Sarah Palin's nomination in 2012 -- and maybe her presidency -- were prevented solely by Palin herself. The actors that created Trump were ready to line up behind Palin, if only she had the necessary will to power.

The optimistic take, such as it is, is now that this work is accomplished -- now that we actually have Trump -- the various actors that created him can consider whether this is what they really want.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:00 AM
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I don't have a dream.

It's not morning in America.

No we can't.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:04 AM
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377: Without reading the article, there's an obvious sense in which the answer is yes. Republicans would be more likely to have access to health insurance under Clinton, they'd be more likely to be protected by federal labor laws under Clinton, they'd be (at least marginally) less likely to be subject to climate-related disasters, and so on.

The Republican Party would be worse off, but Republicans themselves would be better off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:06 AM
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377: Deep State?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:07 AM
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376: JOURNALISM IS THE FIRST DRAFT OF HISTORY.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PHIL GRAHAM | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:15 AM
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HISTORY IS WRITTEN BY THE VICTORS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED WINSTON CHURCHHILL | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:16 AM
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Laszlo, Borge, and, more these days, Orban and Bout.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:25 AM
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377 & 379: The Republican Party is only happy when it rains. The GOP, not just individual Republicans, would be better off under a Clinton presidency, since instead of passing positive policy or evading the scrutiny that Trump has drawn to them, GOP leaders could focus fully on impeaching and indicting Clinton. Everyone is better off in a Clinton victory, except maybe Clinton.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:27 AM
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379: Right. Part of the conversation is defining who we mean by "Republicans." Certainly to the extent that Republicans are Americans -- heck, to the extent they are carbon-based lifeforms -- they are damaged by Trump.

But I think the whole "What's the Matter With Kansas" thing is sort of misguided. This is what the nasty fuckers want, and I think you have to judge their interests accordingly. Anyway, that's by-and-large the context for the 538 chat, although the general welfare of humanity is addressed.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:27 AM
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383: I am enjoying this running gag.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:32 AM
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People don't seem to grasp that Sarah Palin's nomination in 2012 -- and maybe her presidency -- were prevented solely by Palin herself. The actors that created Trump were ready to line up behind Palin, if only she had the necessary will to power.

I am erasing my partially composed comment now that I re-read and see that this paragraph does not say Putin at the end of the first sentence.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:35 AM
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380: Look at how the New York FBI influenced Comey's actions regarding Hillary. (And, of course, look at how Comey himself influenced Comey's actions.) That conduct is of a piece with decades of military/intelligence/bureaucratic behavior.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:35 AM
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||

My fucking colleague that I'm doing a political redistricting project with just exclaimed, "well, this is getting political!" when I said I that Trump might have removed websites giving federal coding guidelines for race and ethnicity - (they haven't, but there are Obama-archived whitehouse websites that gave me pause) - , and I took it in stride and said something like, "It really is something how this kind of political catastrophe gets to every last bit of life," because he's basically uninformed-lefty and I was just rolling with his comment. Then he responded something like "Same as it ever was!" and at that point I wanted to sock him.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:49 AM
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I should clarify: if someone well-informed says "Same as it ever was!" then I nod and know they're talking about the hideous underbelly of America. When someone massively ill-informed says it, then I interpret it to mean "Both sides do it!" and that leads to socking-urges.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:50 AM
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388.1: The IG's report just (AFAIK correctly, with evidence) lambasted NY FBI agents for having (or rather, having on official channels) political animus against candidate Trump.
388 last: For instance? (Honest question.)
Generally: I can buy securocrats disliking and even sabotaging Democrats, but that isn't the same as promoting stupid thugs, which is what Republicanism amounts to.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:52 AM
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388 last: For instance? (Honest question.)

That was Comey's motivation for going public about the 'new' emails right before the election -- he was afraid the NY FBI would leak it if he didn't. That flipped the election. Let me find you a link.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:56 AM
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392: I'm aware. I was asking about the "decades of behavior".


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:59 AM
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Here's something:

Late in the 2016 race, it became clear that sources within the FBI were talking to people on the outside about Clinton. The motives of those sources remain unknown--they might have been political partisans, but they also might simply have been frustrated agents who felt their case wasn't being taken seriously. Former Bureau personnel stress that most agents do not see their jobs as political and would not consciously act in a partisan fashion.

In one particularly memorable example, on November 4, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani told Fox News part of the reason for Comey's announcement was that "there's a revolution going on inside the FBI and it's now at a boiling point," and that "I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents."

"It was clear even at the time that the leaks put pressure on Comey to say something. Now he has hinted at that. He ought to just say so explicitly: He, and our democratic process, were hijacked by Trump-supporting FBI agents who disrespected the rule of law," Bruce Green, a former federal prosecutor and a law professor at Fordham University, said. "Against that background, any claim that the FBI is somehow out to get the current administration ought to ring hollow."

On Sunday night, in an interview with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos, Comey acknowledged that leaks regarding the Clinton Foundation investigation affected his calculus in deciding whether or not to announce that the email probe had been reopened later in the race.

"I knew that there were leaks coming--or appeared to be leaks about criminal investigation of the Clintons coming out of New York," Comey told Stephanopoulos, arguing that criminal investigators are traditionally less circumspect than counter-intelligence agents. "Once you start involving people whose tradition is criminal, and in New York which has a different culture, there is a reasonable likelihood it was going to get out anyway."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:00 AM
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380 More like Derp State.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:02 AM
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In the IG report, former attorney general Loretta Lynch describes a conversation she had with Comey:

And then I said, now, we've got to talk about the New York office in general. And he said yes. And I said we both work with them. We both know them. We both, you know, think highly of them. I said, but this has become a problem. And he said, and he said to me that it had become clear to him, he didn't say over the course of what investigation or whatever, he said it's clear to me that there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:05 AM
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393: Oh, I understand now. I was wondering what rock you'd been living under when I thought you were asking about this election.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:06 AM
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393: Ike called it the military-industrial complex.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:07 AM
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Just probabilistically, securocrats aren't the same people as the standard Trump voter, or even the standard Republican. For starters, a college degree is a basic entry requirement for the FBI, military officers, and I assume most positions at most intelligence agencies, including all leadership positions. I emphasize, I'm not saying these people aren't mostly Republican. I'm just saying that lumping all of them in with the Republican worship of ignorance is dubious.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:10 AM
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398: And Ike would know, being an unimpeachably lefty Democrat constantly obstructed by duplicitous military officers.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:12 AM
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Anyway, I stand to be corrected, but I believe Ike's MIC bit was motivated essentially not by his distrust of the security establishment but by his hatred of the taxation and governance required to support it.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:17 AM
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391: Inspector Generals are, as a group, honest, independent actors with a genuine interest in getting at the truth, and I have no reason to suspect that Horowitz, the DOJ IG, is any different. So it was really interesting to see the IG obscure the way that politics played a role in the FBI's treatment of Clinton when his report overall is clear on that issue.

I would describe Horowitz's behavior, in shorthand, as an example of the influence of the Deep State, which really, really wants to cover up the truth of this. You may have some alternative explanation.

I can buy securocrats disliking and even sabotaging Democrats, but that isn't the same as promoting stupid thugs, which is what Republicanism amounts to.

Wrong. Sabotaging Democrats, as a rule and especially in the last couple of decades of national elections, is the same as promoting stupid thugs.

I'd bet a large sum that the members of the security apparatus voted Trump overall. Do you doubt that?

I'll grant that even if that's true, it's not dispositive. The journalists who paved the way for Trump pretty much all voted for Hillary, after all.

But the sympathies and the conduct of the Deep State have been clear. Will they repent? That remains to be seen. It's a good sign that Comey is openly encouraging people to vote for Democrats. But I'm not sure what it will take for soybean farmers or FBI agents or other "What's the Matter with Kansas" types to desert Trump.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:40 AM
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Can I just say that the fucking phrase "Deep State" needs to die right now if you aren't talking specifically about pre-Erdogan Turkey? BETTER FUCKING CLICHES PEOPLE. I even saw a "neoliberal deep state" reference on Twitter, give that guy the imprecise political trend-word used by people gesturing that they are smart award of the day.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:44 AM
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For one thing, what do people mean. Bureaucrats? In which fucking agency. There are huge differences between the CIA and the FBI, let alone the military. Etc. etc. The US government is big (and hopefully will stay that way). What is the non-deep-state? Elected politicians? The world hasn't fucking run that way ever. FUCK THIS PHRASE.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:47 AM
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Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.

(the Deep State)


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:53 AM
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2nd 403.
402.4: I should have said "not necessarily".
399 last to 402.5.
402 last: As you say, time will tell. I point out though that Mattis had difficulty filling posts at DoD thanks to the number of NSE types who signed #NeverTrump letters in 2016.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 10:57 AM
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399: Just probabilistically, securocrats aren't the same people as the standard Trump voter ...

This is really important and a misunderstood aspect of the confluence of events that brought us to where we are.

There are your ignorant hillbilly Trump supporters (and GW Bush supporters and Reagan supporters) who vote the way they do out of ignorance. And there are your clever, well-informed Trump/Bush supporters who see through all of the bullshit that the candidates feed to the rubes. Plenty of educated, well-informed people voted for Trump. They look around the card table and think they know who the suckers are.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:05 AM
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403: It's hard to talk about the institutional forces that created Trump without some kind of shorthand. "The media" isn't a unitary thing, either. Nor are "the Republicans." I'm satisfied with Mossy's "securocrats," though, if that doesn't offend your delicate sensibilities.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:10 AM
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407: Not disagreeing; but these clever Republicans also are not monolithic: the FBI agents are not the same as the hedge fundies, say.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:11 AM
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||
Preemptively, very drunk today. Sorry for any offenses, claim right arbitrarily later to withdraw claims made.
|>


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:12 AM
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I guess "NSE" isn't a standard acronym? National Security Establishment.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:13 AM
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"National Security Establishment" is better, and would keep distinctions between,say, rando FBI agents in New York, generals, people in random Washington agencies, etc.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:21 AM
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410: I see that Mossy is very not drunk today, and so should be held to the opinions expressed forever.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:22 AM
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409: The hedge fundies are also more heterogenous than their reputation might suggest.

I know a recently retired Deep State NSE guy who tells me that support for Trump was not overwhelming among his peers.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:23 AM
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I'm watching Billions S3 6 months or whatever late and it's increasingly interesting.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:26 AM
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411, 412: Depends where your thrust is, though. To me NSE immediately evokes Kissinger, Condoleeza, pre-1980 GHWB, etc. IOW, the elites who run these organizations and tend to shuffle among them. Whereas "Depp State" is usually intended to evoke the people a layer or two down. I mean, that's probably bullshit--those people don't really have the power, and their bosses are responsible for what happens--but the intent is to finger a different set of actors.

Maybe my connotation of NSE is all wrong, though.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:26 AM
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412: Ah, but the whole point is to talk about all of those people together, as with the varied folks who make up "the media." But I shall try to refrain. I can see how this language would be discomfiting to a neoliberal like you.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:27 AM
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414.last: yes, but what about hatred of HRC?

Did y'all see the C-SPAN segment where an old lady from MD called in to say that she wanted to thank the Russians from saving us from HRC? And of course the reason was that WJC had sex a lot, and HRC was complicit.

Patriots!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:28 AM
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417: Now we're approaching The Village, although IIRC RH hates that term passionately as well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:29 AM
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416: I dunno. If "Deep State" comes from the Turkish context, I think the people at he top of the security forces get there by internal promotion from those lower levels, with elected politicians having limited say in the matter; in the the US the leaders are political appointees, sometimes from the inside, sometimes lateral.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:30 AM
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Whereas "Depp State" is usually intended to evoke the people a layer or two down.

Plus, also, the pirates of the Caribbean.

Anyway, the fact that it goes down the ranks is what makes it "deep." I'd say, rather, that it "includes" those people, rather than consisting of them. That is, the GHWB-types are a subset of the Deep State.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:32 AM
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I see assholes using lazy shorthands to make dumb faux-smart points everywhere!!! BE MORE PRECISE IN YOUR TAKES MOTHERFUCKERS. RARAGRHGHGHGHGHGGGGGHGHGHHGHGGH


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:32 AM
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It is my position that "neoliberal" became a semantically empty political pejorative just when "nazi" became descriptive again. There can only be one.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:35 AM
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the fact that it goes down the ranks is what makes it "deep."

So, "the government." Or maybe "bureaucrats"? Bureaucrats at some unspecified agency? I'm mostly rage-kidding but there's a real point that the imprecision of phrases like this basically reveals imprecision of thought. For example, it makes a big difference if you think "the SDNY office of the FBI hated Hillary Clinton" vs. "some undefined entity known as the deep state hated Hillary Clinton."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:35 AM
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419: The Village is a superset that includes the media, not the intelligence folks. Or possibly the Venn diagrams overlap a bit.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:35 AM
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426

READ MY LIPS. NEW TAXES


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:36 AM
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427

AND I'M NOT EVEN AMERICAN, DIPSHITS.


Posted by: OPINIONATED NICOLE KIDMAN | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:37 AM
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428

can't believe that we are even discussing this shit when there are literally videos of crows fucking dead crows to discuss


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:40 AM
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429

413 Hey


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:40 AM
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430

423 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:41 AM
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431

BACK IN THE '90S PEOPLE WERE CIVILIZED ENOUGH TO DESTROY THE FOOTAGE AFTERWARDS


Posted by: OPINIONATED BRANDON LEE | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:42 AM
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432

HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU.


Posted by: OPINIONATED ROBERT E. LEE | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:45 AM
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433

I mean, it's badly padded, like a network show despite not being network, but the original premise clearly was burnt out and so they lunge out reacting to reality. Could be worse.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:46 AM
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434

432 TO 382, BUT IT... KINDA WORKS?


Posted by: OPINIONATED ROBERT E. LEE | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:46 AM
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435

Like, they finally made the Macbeth references explicit. Could end well? No spoilers, assholes.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:49 AM
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436

My understanding is "Deep State" is supposed to mean "military/security people who throw out the elected government if they get fed up with it, but they don't directly take power in a coup". Have heard this concept applied to Turkey, Thailand, Brazil and others.

You would THINK that the fact that Trump actually took office would mean his fans LESS likely to believe he is the foe of a "Deep State".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 11:52 AM
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437

Trump uses it to mean anybody who wants to investigate him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:01 PM
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438

Which is why I would prefer not to use the term.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:02 PM
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439

430 to 428


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:03 PM
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440

438: Next you're going to say we shouldn't talk about "fake news."


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:04 PM
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Guys, after today no one can argue that the following sentence is not true.

Dinosaurs fuck dead dinosaurs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:05 PM
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442

Wikipedia has an opinion on Deep State. I bet if you found the folks who edited this entry, they'd all be spies and bureaucrats.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:07 PM
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My understanding is "Deep State" is supposed to mean "military/security people who throw out the elected government if they get fed up with it, but they don't directly take power in a coup". Have heard this concept applied to Turkey, Thailand, Brazil and others.

This is right, and even if you define it a little more loosely, I think it needs to be at least unified. If a country has a Deep State, it only has one Deep State. And at that point, I don't think it works. Like, the NY FBI office hated Hillary -- everything I've ever heard about the State Department is that they loved her. Neither one of those organizations is the Deep State: the US hasn't got one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:15 PM
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444

We're deeply committed to being shallow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:19 PM
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Does the basement of a passport office count as "deep state"? I'm not making a pun, I'm describing where I'm currently sitting.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:25 PM
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446

When it comes to sex partners, "dead crow" isn't as bad as it gets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:25 PM
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447

If it gets foggy enough, no-one can see the bottom.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 12:29 PM
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448

Not a great day in Frostbite Falls for US Person 1.


Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 1:13 PM
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Honestly, this is the best thing I've seen the Senate do in years.

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/397673-senators-share-their-fascination-with-sharks-at-hearing


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 3:57 PM
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You know you've spent too long in the water if say something like
sharks are apex predators; they're top of the food chain. If they collapse, the fish underneath them collapse.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 7:26 PM
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398: And Ike would know, being an unimpeachably lefty Democrat constantly obstructed by duplicitous military officers.

There was already a radical right during Eisenhower's time who saw him as having unnecessarily conceded in the fight against the New Deal state, who didn't think even the weak 1957 Civil Rights act should have become law, and also that he was a Communist agent. Their agenda is now ascendant in the Republican party, after all these years.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-18-18 9:31 PM
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