A Forum for Labor Day

Happy Labor Day!

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    You Go! Hank:

    Potsdam’s ‘game of thrones’: New Hampshire village battles over toilet art

    Against a backdrop of heated debate over US statues and monuments, a long-running dispute between Hank Robar, the creator of a series of controversial “Potty Gardens”, and the vexed village elders of of the town of Potsdam in New Hampshire may be one of the strangest.

    For close to 15 years, Robar has been battling the village over a display of toilets and urinals filled with bright flowers he erected on three of his properties as a protest against zoning rules over a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise he planned to open.

    Over that time, the village has battled for the removal of Robar’s Potty Gardens, claiming they contravene a “junk storage” ordinance that prohibits “the deposit, accumulation or maintenance of junk material”.

    In that latest legal effort, the village ordered Robar, 79, to remove the offending porcelain or face their removal by village authorities. Robar’s lawyers meanwhile have filed for a temporary restraining order.

    At issue, is whether the Potty Gardens should be granted first amendment protections as political protest and as artistic free expression.
    Whether Hank Robar and his toilet gardens receive free-speech protection is now under the purview of the federal court system. His 15-year dispute with the village of Potsdam is far from complete – indeed he appears to be planning to add more items to his installations in keeping, he claims, with local traditions.

    “Lawns and porches throughout the North Country – and the Village of Potsdam specifically – are adorned with repurposed milk jugs into painted planters, repurposed tires (also transformed into planters), repurposed beer kegs and other repurposed lawn decorations,” the complaint says.

    He’s got a point there.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Renato Mariotti@renato_mariotti
    Trump official: “The president means no disrespect to our troops; it’s just that the way he speaks, he can sound like an asshole sometimes.”

    Their defense is that Trump means no disrespect because he’s just an asshole. What kind of defense is that?

  5. CSK says:

    I saw that yesterday. Apparently it’s the best they can do in terms of an excuse.

  6. sam says:


    Not to mention Virgins in Bathtubs all over the place.

  7. sam says:
  8. Teve says:

    “…we ain’t in the prisner takin’ bidness. We in the killin’ Naai bidness, and cousin, bidness is A boomin!”

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Things are getting interesting on the other side of the pond:

    Brexit: Boris Johnson to override EU withdrawal agreement

    The move, first reported by the Financial Times, would row back parts of the UK’s agreement with the EU on state aid and customs arrangements for Northern Ireland. It is understood that the UK government believes the original protocol is drafted ambiguously enough to allow for a change of interpretation – a view likely to be fiercely contested by Brussels.
    A government spokesperson said it was hopeful that a deal could still be reached. “As a responsible government, we are considering fall-back options in the event this is not achieved, to ensure the communities of Northern Ireland are protected.”
    Key figures close to the negotiations have already warned that EU leaders and heads of state must intervene before the end of the month to save the talks from collapse.
    On Monday, the prime minister will set a firm deadline of 15 October – the date of the European council – for a deal to be signed, with the mood bleak as formal talks resume this week between the UK’s lead negotiator, David Frost, and the EU’s Michel Barnier.
    If no agreement is reached before the deadline, the UK will “move on” and accept that a deal cannot be struck, Johnson will say, adding that no deal would be a “good outcome”.
    The prime minister will strike a belligerent tone, suggesting there will be no movement from the deadline and claiming the UK is ready to trade on World Trade Organization terms from January.
    “There is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point,” he will say. “If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”

    Von der Leyen warns UK against breaking international law over Brexit deal

    In Brussels, EU diplomats were weary of what is being seen as further posturing by Downing Street.
    “We all remember what happened the last time when someone wanted ‘to put a tiger in a tank and ‘add a bit of oomph in the negotiations”, one said. “Message spinning and posturing is all fine, but it doesn’t really bring us an inch closer to a solution. There has been absolutely no movement from the British side in the talks yet. If this approach doesn’t change quickly, we will be on a road to no-deal with all its negative economic consequences.”
    The diplomatic source added: ““More and more people have come to the conclusion that Brexit ideology trumps Brexit pragmatism in the UK government.
    “If No. 10 really wanted to jump off the Brexit cliff edge for ideological reasons, there would be absolutely no way for the EU to stop this. If, on the other hand, the UK’s approach became more pragmatic and realistic, there would probably be a good chance to save the negotiations and agree on a deal in October.”

    Why is the UK seeking to unpick the EU withdrawal agreement?

    Can the UK break the withdrawal agreement?
    The withdrawal agreement is an international treaty and legally binding. This is why the Irish, with the full backing of the EU, were so keen to get the arrangements for the Irish border nailed down in the withdrawal agreement. They knew the UK could not subsequently wriggle out of the deal without risking its international reputation as a trustworthy nation that stands by its own legal commitments.
    Practically, however, the government can do what it likes as it has an 80-strong majority.
    And, according to the FT which quotes three sources, the government is tabling the legislation in the full knowledge that it will be breaking international law.
    “The bill will explicitly say the government reserves the right to set its own regime, directly setting up UK law in opposition with obligations under the withdrawal agreement, and in full cognisance that this will breach international law,” it said.

    Is the timing significant?
    The revelations emerged on the eve of the resumption of talks on trade and the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
    The eighth round of negotiations are to start on Tuesday but expectations of progress are low.
    Some think this move is designed to create the theatre and heightened tensions needed to create a deal, allowing the UK to appear victorious to its Brexit base, if it wrangles concessions out of the EU. Others believe it could result in the collapse of talks this week.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: And what’s so bad about that? Oh… Wait a minute, I detect a flaw in my reasoning.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And just to raise the stakes:
    Reneging on Brexit deal would strengthen case for breaking up UK, government told

    After it emerged Boris Johnson is drawing up legislation that will override the Brexit withdrawal agreement on Northern Ireland, threatening the collapse of talks with the EU, the SNP said leaving without a deal would cause “lasting damage to Scottish jobs and the economy in the middle of a pandemic”.

    Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader, said “By threatening to undermine the UK’s international treaty obligations and impose a catastrophic no-deal Brexit on Scotland against our will, the prime minister is proving he cannot be trusted and is underlining the need for Scotland to become an independent country.”

    They aren’t too fond of the proposal in Wales either.

  12. Kathy says:

    “Profits are to investors what heroin is to addicts.” Scott Galloway in “The Four.”

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Good Liars@TheGoodLiars
    We performed an exorcism on Ted Cruz. It did not work.

  14. Paine says:

    Peter Wehner at The Atlantic had a depressing realization:

    I know plenty of Trump supporters, and I know many of them to be people of integrity in important areas of their lives. Indeed, some are friends I cherish. But if there is a line Donald Trump could cross that would forfeit the loyalty of his core supporters—including, and in some respects especially, white evangelical Christians—I can’t imagine what it would be. And that is a rather depressing thing to admit.

    Polarization and political tribalism are not new to America; fear and hatred for our fellow citizens have been increasing for decades. We’ve had plenty of presidents who have failed us, in ways large and small. But this moment is different because Donald Trump is different, and because Donald Trump is president. His relentless assault on truth and the institutions of democracy—his provocations and abuse of power, his psychological instability and his emotional volatility, his delusions and his incompetence—are unlike anything we’ve seen before. He needs to be stopped. And his supporters can’t say, as they did in 2016, that they just didn’t know. Now we know. It’s not too late—it’s never too late—to do the right thing.


  15. Kathy says:

    Yesterday’s paper reported an excess deaths number of 120,000 in Mexico from January to August. about 67,500 are confirmed COVID-19 deaths, which leaves 52,500 undetermined.

    They can’t all be COVID-19 deaths, though some are surely related (like people not going to the hospital for fear of catching COVID-19). And given the lockdwons, partial as they were, and reduced road traffic and travel, we can assume fewer traffic fatalities than normal. So let’s assume 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 not accounted as such (like the “atypical pneumonia” reported sometimes).

    That would give Mexico a total death toll from COVID-19 of 117,500. Assuming a 3% mortality rate, this would mean almost 4 million total cases. This is way too high, along the lines of larger countries like Brazil and India. However, the mortality rate seems to be higher, especially in public hospitals. It appears public sector hospitals lack either the equipment and/or manpower to care for the numbers of patients they receive, which means many die without all possible measures being taken.

    If the mortality rate is 6%, then, the total case number would be around 2 million.

    We don’t reelect presidents, but we do have midterm elections every 3 years. The next one is in 2021, and the party in power deserves to be trounced hard.

    This is another reason Trump the king of the covidiots needs to lose as badly as possible come November. He has too many imitators the world over, each of whom is bungling the pandemic as badly as he is.

  16. CSK says:

    Michael Cohen, whose book will be officially available tomorrow, says that Trump admired Putin because of his vast personal wealth (naturally; what other measure of human worth is there, as far as Trump is concerned?) and because Putin runs Russia as if it were his personal company.

    The latter makes perfect sense to me. It also explains why Trump thinks the United States is his own personal fiefdom. If Putin can do it, why can’t he?

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is also pitch perfect:

    The Good Liars@TheGoodLiars
    The first time we saw Ted Cruz.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I know plenty of Trump supporters, and I know many of them to be people of integrity

    One of these is not like the other.

  19. CSK says:

    There are three types of Trump supporters:
    1. Those who acknowledge that he’s loathsome, but prefer him to any Democrat.
    2. Those who believe, apparently sincerely, that Trump is a sterling human being, and all that business about him being a liar, a crook, a bully, a churl, and an incompetent is just libel and slander invented by his enemies.
    3. Those who revel in the fact that Trump is a liar, a crook, a bully, and a churl (but not an incompetent) because it owns the libs, and because Trump is tough and strong.

  20. Kathy says:

    On the vaccine front, it turns out Moderna hasn’t recruited the full 30,000 volunteers for their phase 3 vaccine trial. It also turns out they haven’t recruited enough minorities. Therefore we cannot expect results any time soon.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..The Good Liars@TheGoodLiars We performed an exorcism on Ted Cruz. It did not work.

    But they are liars. So the exorcism did work?

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: “His spirit touched me in my soul. Gaaackk Aaaaaacck…”

  23. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: OMG! I try to keep up on the ‘British’ news but must have fallen down on the job; thanks for the links. Reading the whole series you’ve enclosed above, my first thought was that the Northern Irish Unionists with their rather few votes had PM Johnson by the short hairs and that they expect a benefit of some sort likely to be denied to the Scots. Which has to be one of history’s great miscalculations if it goes badly.

    Explains the intention of Ms Sturgeon to arrange another referendum on independence before May of ’21.

    As John the Baptist said, ‘the axe is laid to the root of the tree’. Or alternatively, someone commented ‘don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’

  24. Kathy says:

    So, part of the employment gains in August were due to the hiring of temporary workers for the census.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Gaaackk Aaaaaacck

  26. An Interested Party says:


    1. Tribal Idiocy
    2. Naïve Stupidity
    3. Tribal and Naïve Foolishness

    And to think that Hillary got into trouble for stating the truth with her comments about deplorables…

  27. CSK says:

    @An Interested Party:
    Well, HRC got in trouble not for stating the truth, but for doing it in such an insulting manner. And that gets to the root of the problem. Trump’s most slavish adherents feel that they’re objects of contempt to the so-called “elites,” or, as they call them with heavy sarcasm, “our betters.” And they are. I’m not an “elite,” but I’m as guilty as anyone else here of calling Trump fans fools and saps who are too dumb to know they’re being conned.

    These people believe that Trump is on their side, that he’s the only person willing to champion them. It’s beside the point that they couldn’t be more mistaken.

    I don’t know if ardent Trump fans can ever be made to see the light. I doubt it. But they’ll never be won over if we keep calling them morons–or deplorables.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:


    I don’t know if ardent Trump fans can ever be made to see the light. I doubt it. But they’ll never be won over if we keep calling them morons–or deplorables.

    But they are morons and deplorables, and they cannot be won over by any means precisely because they are morons and deplorables.

    After the Civil War we played the game of pretending that southerners weren’t treasonous scum and we ended up with the ‘lost cause’ and khaki-wearing Nazis waving Confederate flags and chanting, ‘Jews will not replace us.’ After we got into WW2 we pretended that most of the country had not dragged its feet and by its indifference cost millions of lives. After Civil Rights laws passed we again played nice, buying the fiction of a ‘new south.’ Just three examples of the nice people letting the assholes off the hook.

    I’m not going to play that game. I will not lie for these people. They’re racist, misogynist, bigoted scum. They are people fueled by self-pity and hatred. They have done terrible damage to this country, the most damage we have taken since the Civil War. They are responsible for at least 100,000 of our Covid deaths. They have destroyed our standing in the world, our honor, the respect of other nations. They’ve crippled the federal government and sent gun-toting mobs against BLM demonstrators.

    They don’t want to be called deplorables and morons? Too damn bad, that ship has sailed. I will never knowingly hire, work with or by from anyone who voted for Trump. Not in 2020, not in 2050. Fuck ’em.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnMcC: It all snuck up on me too. I really have no idea of what to make of it. Is it a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Or are they so full of it that they have they convinced themselves that they can pull this off with no personal consequences?

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: But they’ll never be won over if we keep calling them morons–or deplorables.

    I’m not trying to win them over, just trying to outlive as many of the the deplorable morons as I can. I was going to say more but @Michael Reynolds: pretty well covered it and said it better than I ever would have.

  31. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Nice Bill the Cat reference. Thanks!

  32. flat earth luddite says:

    This snuck up on a lot of us, and I actually follow the news across the pond (there’s a nice village in Wales that I’ve got my eye on…). I don’t actually think Johnson understands the concept of personal responsibility (some would say of any responsibility). Wonder where he’ll end up after overseeing the slagging of the last of the British Empire?

  33. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @OzarkHillbilly:
    We and they are at an impasse. The best we can hope for is that Trump loses and they go back under their rocks as they did after Sarah Palin bailed on them.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @flat earth luddite: The Guardian is my daily read. I would have expected to have heard at least the rumblings from those pages.

  35. Michael Cain says:

    The fire relatively near where my wife and I are moving grew by 55 square miles over the weekend (and may add 25 square miles today, the winds are up). It is now big enough and hot enough that the authorities believe the foot of snow forecast to fall on it tomorrow will slow it down, but not extinguish it. (We won’t be living up in fire country, but about five miles out from the foothills. Mom didn’t raise a complete fool.)

  36. Gustopher says:


    I don’t know if ardent Trump fans can ever be made to see the light. I doubt it. But they’ll never be won over if we keep calling them morons–or deplorables.

    I don’t see any strategy that will win them over, though, so why not just keep calling them deplorable morons?

    Facts and arguments don’t reach them. I’m disappointed that the devastation from that derecho in Cornsylvania and the lack of response didn’t bring any dawning on the right that Trump won’t even help his faithful followers — so what can you do? I would donate to relief efforts, but the cap on SALT deductions affected my disposable income, so…. good luck ya dumb yokels! I keep my donations close to home this year.

    And the boat flotilla for Trump that sank each other because of the wake of too many large boats In a small area… these people really are morons.

    Winning hearts and minds may be better than feeling smug, but if it’s off the table, why not embrace the smug?

  37. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: That fire looks terrible! The wind just picked up here, my weather stations says 20 mph sustained with gusts up to 35 so far. Not looking forward to the snow and freezing temps tomorrow, but hopefully it will help with the fires! That one up in Bozeman looks like it really blew up, too.

  38. Kathy says:


    I don’t see any strategy that will win them over, though, so why not just keep calling them deplorable morons?

    If you call them “deplorable morons,” you can claim you did not call them “either deplorables or morons.” 🙂

    I agree you can’t win over the Cult of the King of the Covidiots. But other supporters or plain Trump voters might be persuadable. Or at least may become demotivated enough not to bother to vote. Therefore, it may be a wise idea, no matter how distasteful, to keep from suing the deplorable moron label for all Trump supporters, no matter how moronic and/or deplorable they are.

  39. CSK says:

    Generally, I try to make the best of things if I can’t change them. In this case, it’s probably impossible.

    While I’m on the subject, there’s this:

    I hope the above link doesn’t send me into moderation.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    Question(s) for the day, is the Former Reality Show Host’s campaign running out of money? If so, where did it go?

  41. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    My first guess? Into Trump’s pockets.

  42. Michael Cain says:

    @Jax: Drained the above ground part of my sprinkler system this morning. Tuesday night is supposed to be a hard freeze. Denver may break the record for temperature drop today. The NWS says it’s possible we may see a 70-degree drop in six hours.

  43. Mister Bluster says:
  44. Kylopod says:


    I don’t see any strategy that will win them over, though, so why not just keep calling them deplorable morons?

    I actually think it’s possible to peel a few off by sticking to bread-and-butter issues. I believe some Dems did, in the 2018 midterms. It’s not a strategy I consider particularly fruitful–turnout on our side is much more important–but I do still think it’s possible at the margins.

    The larger point, though, is that this is just a question of diplomacy. They are deplorables. They do bitterly cling to their guns and religion. Democratic politicians are probably better off not saying this aloud, but it’s still the truth. And speaking simply as a commentator on a forum, I’m not going to suppress what I actually believe.

  45. JohnMcC says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Sunday’s NYTimes had a lengthy article (front page in the dead-tree edition/face page with dead electrons) detailing 10’s of millions spent by the Trumps on legal expenses. All from campaign funds.

  46. Matt says:


    And the boat flotilla for Trump that sank each other because of the wake of too many large boats In a small area… these people really are morons.

    While I was not present for the event I did see several pictures taken of the event. In those pictures I saw several boats that were clearly overloaded. Including a pontoon boat that had the back deck nearly in the water..

  47. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Here, in this comment section, I feel no compulsion to try to win Trump voters over. (Forget about avid Trumpers, they are beyond winning over.) No doubt there are many reasons why someone may pull the lever for Trump, but in the few conversations I’ve had with them in the past five years, the people that I know who are basically decent but who still vote for Trump fall into one of two categories. In the first are people who are mostly oblivious but feel it is their duty to vote. In the second are people who are deeply angry. I could imagine the first group moving a bit in one direction or the other, depending on the day and the last thing they heard, but I have no idea how that second group would ever move off their perch. They are angry, and Trump tells them they are right to be angry. The only way I can see appealing to them is to let them be angry about something else, but that would just shift the bad mojo from one negative spiral to another.

    One of the things that make such conversions nearly impossible is a basic characteristic of anger: when you are angry you also believe you are right. This is “righteous anger”, the feeling that your anger is a pure and noble thing in the service of what is just. Many years ago I had a revelation, a sort of anger equivalent of a lucid dreaming moment. I was getting ramped up about something and stating my position with righteous anger, when another part of my brain saw a flaw in my reasoning. That part witnessed a bizarre thing: realizing I was wrong did not change my feeling of being right.

  48. MarkedMan says:


    My first guess? Into Trump’s pockets

    Some of it surely did, but my own guess is that the vast majority was siphoned off by others. Back in the day, when Trump cons were omnipresent in the courts, I remember one finance tycoon type marveling that Trump would pull these cons and then walk away with pocket change, trumpeting to everyone how he screwed his loser partners out of their money, leaving the bulk of the opportunity on the table. He marveled that he had long known Trump was terrible at business, but he was nonetheless astonished to learn he was also terrible at conning people.

    Bottom line, he will have gotten 10-20 million by various shenanigans of using his properties to raise money, but 100 times that will have gone into the political consultants pockets. And to that I say, “Great!” Every dollar stolen from the campaign fund is a dollar not spent messing with the Dems.

  49. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Number 1 bears flushing out as ALOT of people are in this category–that as shitty a human being as they KNOW Donald Trump is–they STILL believe he is preferable to ANY Democrat. Said another way: Simply being a Democrat is automatically inferior to being Donald Trump, the Republican.

    If there is no other evidence of the stunning effectiveness of Right Wing Information Warfare against Democrats–this is it. Yes, I get it–party identification and all that–but that can’t explain willful embrace of Con-men pedophiles, grifters. Shit I like my team(s) but there are limits. There appears to be no limits for Republicans to consider other options.

  50. ImProPer says:


    “These people believe that Trump is on their side, that he’s the only person willing to champion them. It’s beside the point that they couldn’t be more mistaken.

    I don’t know if ardent Trump fans can ever be made to see the light. I doubt it. But they’ll never be won over if we keep calling them morons–or deplorables.”

      Great point. The fact is that most people are caught up in a civil war for personal power. Our current trend to self atomize, makes us in the end, just as pliable as our superstitious ancestors, just more unpredictable in short spurts. The let them share their cake attitude of many elites on the far left, unsurprisingly isn’t a universally celebrated theme among the working classes either. In today’s political atmosphere, that some would choose cancer over hemorrhoids, is the worst choice but pretending that they are choosing hell over nirvana, is unhelpful. Fighting ignorance with wisdom, is much better than ad hominem, and definitely improves the odds of enlightening, if one were so inclined. (However political humor has been a haven from the consequences of our current political shit show)

  51. flat earth luddite says:

    Quotes from today’s Guardian article about Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department:

    Police shoot an average of three to four people in LA county each month, or roughly 45 victims each year, according to an analysis by the LA Times. In the last two decades, officers have killed more than 1,000 people in the county.

    Despite the pandemic shutdowns and heightened attention to police brutality, LA law enforcement is killing civilians at a rate that appears to be fairly consistent with previous years. From the start of 2020 through June, police in the county have killed at least 23 people, according to Youth Justice Coalition (YJC), an activist group.

    And an interior quote in the article from the adult child of one of their victims, a 61-year-old grandfather shot by deputies in his own home:

    ““You can’t say that the system is broken. It’s doing what it was intended to do. It’s operating at optimum level.”

    Note this is the Sheriff’s Department, not LAPD, which has it’s own statistics and issues. My late FIL was a career LEO. Conservative, narrow-minded, and very set in his ways. OTOH, in 19 years of duty, in a (relatively) major city (working Robbery/Homicide), his standing joke was that I’d used my weapon (night shift in a 7/11 early-to-mid 70s) more often than he had. And I never fired mine.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I’m curious–who’s Gary Valentine and why do I care?

  53. Kathy says:


    According to Michael Lewis in “The Fifth Risk,” Trump didn’t want to spend any of his money or any of his campaign money, on a transition team (Lewis assumes because trump knew he’d lose). So he told Christie to raise money for the team.

    Lewis claims Christie raised money from donors, and proceeded to run the transition team. Later Trump claimed whatever Christie raised was his money, and accused him of stealing it and spending it, angrily ordering Christie to shut down the transition team.

    I don’t know if this is true or whether it has been corroborated, but it does seem like something Trump would do, especially if he thought he’d lose and therefore needed no effing transition team. Lewis further claims Trump makes no distinction between his own fortune, and the campaign’s money; both are his. Again, this does sound like Trump down to a T.

    He marveled that he had long known Trump was terrible at business, but he was nonetheless astonished to learn he was also terrible at conning people.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those cons cost him money. That is, whether whatever project he was on wouldn’t have made him more money if he’d dealt fairly, than if he tried to con everyone else involved.

  54. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kylopod: It all comes down to good faith disagreement and keeping the discussion to ideas and not personal attacks. No one has particularly clean hands on the latter but there is opportunity to draw a distinctions between people that attack people and people that attack ideas. They are both wrong about alot–but you can’t treat Rich Lowry like you do Tucker Carlson. One is misguided but genuine–the other is a malicious sock puppet with Billionaire hands up his ass fomenting strife they they’ve bought distance from.

    Democrats, if indeed invested in unity and governance–at some point should define some sort of escalation management strategy so there is room for opposition and disagreement but no air in the room for bad faith actors.

  55. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32: @MarkedMan:
    The people who are supporting Trump despite the fact that they know he’s a creep–and freely admit it–appear to be operating on a purely partisan basis.

    The people who love Trump precisely because he IS a creep are as loathsome as he is.

  56. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    It all comes down to good faith disagreement and keeping the discussion to ideas and not personal attacks.

    I agree. It all depends on one’s reason for stating something which, however justified, people may find insulting. If you’re a politician, your job is to offer something to voters, so it would seem to be pointless and counterproductive to personally attack them–even those whom you don’t think will ever vote for you. Both Hillary and Mitt learned that the hard way. But Hillary was trying to highlight the very real issue of bigotry in Trump’s campaign–something that definitely needed to be discussed, though she should have focused more on Trump himself than on his voters. She was actually trying to reach out to some of Trump’s voters (she said half of his supporters were a basket of deplorables, but that the other half were voters with real and legitimate grievances–yet that qualification got completely lost in the controversy). It seems unfair and hypocritical to point this out, as Trump has openly insulted scores of voters, but the practice isn’t cost-free for a politician (not even Trump, despite the common perception–he’d be a lot more popular if he wasn’t such a raging boor).

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t see a particular dissonance here. Just like Medillin, Colombia was even in the 80s and 90s a clean, safe, well-run city because drug lords don’t want to raise their children in squalid dystopias anymore than anyone else, Trump supporters keep their relationships with the people they know and care about separate from the ratfukkery that identifies their political positions and goals. Just because people such as you and I don’t do it doesn’t mean that it never happens. We just live and think differently is all.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    (there’s a nice village in Wales that I’ve got my eye on…)

    So you have been holding back. I thought so. What does SWMBO think?

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Wait. You live in Seattle, right? What SALT deductions does Washington State have available? Last time I checked, property tax had been capped pretty tightly. And even back in the 80’s my property taxes barely balanced out to warrant taking deductions (I had no deductible medical costs despite being asthmatic–curse that good insurance policy 🙁 ).

  60. Kathy says:


    They are angry, and Trump tells them they are right to be angry. The only way I can see appealing to them is to let them be angry about something else, but that would just shift the bad mojo from one negative spiral to another.

    One could ask what are they so angry about.

    No doubt some are angry that blacks, gays, etc. are to be treated as equals, etc. But, IMO, one thing many are angry about is the stagnation of middle class wages, even if they don’t know about it. That is, the fact that good jobs with good salaries are disappearing, that getting a living wage is getting harder, and that no one in power, the elites and so on seems to give a damn.

    The problem is that most workable solutions get dismissed, or demonized, as “socialism.” Higher taxes for the wealthy? Socialism. Higher minimum wages? Socialism. Universal basic income? Socialism. You get the drift.

    The two problems may be related. Envy doesn’t just mean a desire for what others have. It can also mean a desire to see others have less than one does. How else will you know your worth, fi there are no people lower down than you? This is a strong motivation for racism, too. Maybe a racist doesn’t mind to see black and people of color on his level, or above it even, so long as most are lower. They may even have friends of other races, and sincerely feel affection for them, so how can they be racist? When they mean “those people,” they don’t mean LeBron, or Joe at the office.

    So what can we do as regards stagnant wges?

  61. EddieInCA says:

    Rasmussen, RASUMSSEN, has a new Wisconsin poll out today. Biden by 8.

    Rasmussen. With Biden at 51%. Post Kenosha riots.

  62. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Question(s) for the day, is the Former Reality Show Host’s campaign running out of money? If so, where did it go?

    Too late in the day to bring this up, but have you checked the state of the global black Sharpie supply?

  63. ImProPer says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    “Democrats, if indeed invested in unity and governance–at some point should define some sort of escalation management strategy so there is room for opposition and disagreement but no air in the room for bad faith actors.”

    Well put. There is alot to debate in the future.
    That can wait, removing the cancer in the White House needs to be the number one priority. If the rise of Trump, and the fact that he is still somewhat in the race for a second term doesn’t make the above an imperative, I don’t know what will.

  64. Kathy says:

    Idle question: what are the chances of a constitutional amendment giving the people in US territories votes in the Electoral College? I’m thinking along the lines of DC being given votes with the 23rd amendment, without corresponding congressional representation.

    Of course, there is one salient territory: Puerto Rico. The rest don’t add up to 500,000 in population. Giving them 3 electors among the lot of them, not counting Puerto Rico, wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world (not least because they occupy incredibly different time zones, and some are in the “wrong” side of the international date line).

    And if there were a consensus that Puerto Rico should have representation in the EC, then it might as well be admitted as a state. Giving it 3 votes would be an insult.

    It’s pretty much an idle thought, not a concrete idea. I’m thinking in a throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks way, about ways of tweaking the EC without eliminating it, changing the composition, or changing the number of representatives in the House.

    another thought: add 100 electoral votes to be given proportionally by the results of the popular vote, one vote per percentage point. I don’t think this would have changed the outcome in 2016, or 2000 for that matter, past giving a few minor parties EVs to brag about.

    Or try a different apportionment. Say 70 EVs to the candidate with the most votes, 25 for the second place, and 5 to be divided among the rest. That would have changed outcomes. It would also give a legitimate winner a bigger win.

  65. An Interested Party says:

    Well, HRC got in trouble not for stating the truth, but for doing it in such an insulting manner.

    I’m not so sure about that…I seem to recall she got into trouble more for the fact that she used that word to describe people rather than how she said it…regardless, it’s quite amusing that Democrats/liberals get criticized for charactering certain groups of people while Republicans/conservatives constantly deride “elites” and others who live in the big coastal cities/areas…

  66. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: They are broken people Jim. Someday an anthropologist will write a paper on the how’s wheres and whens it all happened, but for right now? We need only know it is done.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: If Lewis said it, believe it until you have overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Time and again what he has reported has been on the money. He doesn’t make shit up because he doesn’t need to.

    We really are that fucked up.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: Yeah and Obama got chastised for saying people wrap themselves in guns and religion. Which was spot on. What these folks hate. more than anything else, is to be accurately read and described. In other words, they fear the truth.

  69. Kathy says:

    Brilliant reply by American Airlines to a profane Tweet about a refund.


  70. Kathy says:


    I’ve no evidence one way or the other, but in the audiobook Lewis cites no source for this (maybe he does in the print/ebook). I tend to believe it, in particular because the point of that part of the book was to explain why Trump’s people were completely unprepared for the presidential tranistion.

  71. inhumans99 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I do not buy the claim that Trump is hoarding cash until a few weeks before the election to unleash hell (that is that great line from Gladiator, yes?)…by then a good chunk of the country (including Red States) will have already mailed in their votes and Trump will be preaching to the choir as the folks he reaches with his adds were already going to vote for him anyway.

    This is not 2016, where Comey is going to make an announcement a couple weeks before the election that gets what should have been Clinton voters to break for Trump.

    Trump is throwing good money after bad and it seems that his campaign knows it (it is actually quite interesting/revealing that ads from earlier in the year, including digital ones, is not providing the ROI it did like in 2016).

    Biden seems to have plenty of cash ready to counter any impending tsunami of pro-Trump commercials, but I suspect the tsunami will be more like a series of swells that are calm enough to body surf. I do not know if the Trump campaign’s cash is all mixed in with RNC cash but if the RNC’s funds are technically separate from the Trump campaigns they should keep the money they have on hand and save it for a rainy day (speaking of rain, I would kill for rain right about now, holy heck CA is roasting….my parents in Pacoima experienced the same highs yesterday as they had in Las Vegas…which is kinda funny because that is where they lived for a time and I was born there). Even in Fremont, CA it reached a rare triple digit 104 yesterday and close to 100 today. We get some relief from the heat next week, thank goodness.

  72. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No question about that–to be frank, I believe the radicalization model we use for Jihadis joining ISIS applies to these people. It also applies to other factions on the left and right. I mean, what the eff are all those young white anarchist in the streets for? They’ve all but sucked the air out of the room for the BLM movement. The common thread? All these people are convinced that the status quo is so utterly corrupted that it must be torn down completely and remade into something else.

    Anyone that has ever studied the history of civilization understands that the type of people that thrive in rapid de-laminating of society are not the type of people interested in building institutions around higher human values. They order systems around power. This is why Donald Trump brings chaos wherever he goes–he knows very few can operate in it and most have no interest in doing so without a heavy personal stake.

    I personally think there is only a few turds that need to be fished out of the national punch bowl that would make exponential improvement in the quality of life of most Americans–raise taxes, enforce anti-trust laws, update Glass-steagall, and eliminate the system of employer-based health insurance. Look at me–I just wrote a winning agenda for Biden

    But back to ‘radicalization’–at some point we are going to have to accept that, like free speech, there are limits to the free exchange of ideas. Bad faith actors have free reign through the internet and social media to create alternate realities that the mental fragile then act upon. Smarter people than me will have to figure out how to balance this with our national values but the status quo cannot continue indefinitely and this still remain a nation where the world’s most talented want to come to contribute to our society.

  73. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kathy: F&%KS&@t is quite a eloquent and expressive piece of Southern Black slang–one of my favorites.

  74. MarkedMan says:


    But, IMO, one thing many are angry about …

    FWIW my impression is that they are angry first, and vaguely. The reasons come afterwards. Or, perhaps, the actual reasons have nothing to do with the larger world but they feel more comfortable talking about big issues rather than personal ones.

  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: When you figure out a plan that avoids the obvious solution–pay people more money for working–let the Nobel Committee know. There’s a Nobel Prize in pulling a rabbit out of your hat Economics with your name on it waiting to be claimed.

  76. DrDaveT says:


    I know plenty of Trump supporters, and I know many of them to be people of integrity

    Ah, but you cut off the quote just before the key part. He said “I know many of them to be people of integrity in important areas of their lives.” I can guess what those areas are: duty to family, honesty at work, kindness to animals, active membership in a church, etc. Carefully circumscribed integrity that does not touch, at any point, The Other. Integrity within the clan only.

  77. DrDaveT says:


    I don’t know if ardent Trump fans can ever be made to see the light. I doubt it. But they’ll never be won over if we keep calling them morons–or deplorables.

    In the short run, they’re gonna vote for Trump and there’s nothing you can do about that. If the past 4 years (including pre-election) haven’t cured them of that, you and I aren’t going to.

    In the long run, eventually they have to have their noses rubbed in the mess they’ve made. The first step of the 12 step program is admitting you have a problem. Sane society needs to make it clear that their behavior is contemptible and their beliefs (yes, it’s the perfect word) deplorable. Eventually, either that will penetrate the bubble and lead to some peer pressure than can work — perhaps through their children — or they will die out. But as others have pointed out, turning a blind eye does not work in the long run.