It’s Time for a Tuesday Forum

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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

Comments

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

    Militia members face gun charges, alleged to have come to Kenosha “to pick people off”

    Two Missouri men affiliated with a militia group that celebrates Kyle Rittenhouse as a hero on social media are facing federal charges after a witness told law enforcement the men came to Kenosha to loot and “pick people off.”

    Michael M. Karmo, 40, and Cody E. Smith, 33, both of Hartville, Mo., are facing federal charges of illegal possession of firearms after being arrested Tuesday at a hotel in Pleasant Prairie. Both Smith and Karmo are barred from possessing firearms because of past criminal convictions.

    According to the criminal complaint, Kenosha Police informed the FBI that the department had received a tip that Karmo and an unidentified man were traveling from Missouri to Kenosha “to loot and possibly ‘pick people off.’” The witness told investigators “Karmo told (him) he was going to Kenosha with the intention of possibly using the firearms on people. (The witness) feared that with Karmo’s increase in conspiracy theory talks and other ‘crazy’ political talk he was not in the right mindset to have a firearm.”

    Just the type of people one wants running around with guns.

    He told investigators they are members of the 417 Second Amendment Militia in Missouri.

    The 417 Second Amendment Militia Facebook page — which lists Karmo as a member — has multiple posts about the unrest in Kenosha. At least eight posts on the page support Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from Antioch, Ill., charged with homicide after shooting three people in Kenosha, killing two. Rittenhouse said in interviews before the shooting that he had come to Kenosha as a militia member to protect property.

    The teenager has become a cause celebre for gun rights groups, who argue he acted in self defense. An online fundraiser from a Christian group has raised more than $425,000 for his legal defense.

    How “Christian” of them.

    Former Kenosha Alderman Kevin Mathewson had put out an online call for militias to come to Kenosha last week, posting as “commander” of the Kenosha Guard, a militia group he formed online. His post was shared by the alt-right website Infowars.

    “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our City tonight from the evil thugs?” the Kenosha Guard Facebook post stated. Later that day, a large number of armed people, including Rittenhouse, were on the streets along with protesters.

    The Kenosha Guard Facebook page has since been removed.

    Mathewson told the Kenosha News last week that he stood by his decision to call militia members to the city. “This is what the Second Amendment was written for,” said Mathewson. “We are at war in Kenosha. We are under siege. We are under attack. When law enforcement is outnumbered, that’s when citizens have the right to take up arms to defend their lives, their homes and their businesses.”

    It is long past time we took the “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state,” half of the 2nd Amendment serious. You want to form a militia? Fine. Here’s all the hoops you have to jump thru, here’s all the regulations you will be subjected to, and here’s all the obligations you have to fulfill.

    13
  4. Teve says:

    Man, I love me some Taylor Swift.

    2
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Business leaders warn Boris Johnson that Brexit deal is essential

    Raising the temperature in the talks, Johnson issued an ultimatum to negotiators on Monday, saying an agreement must be reached by 15 October or Britain will walk away.

    However, business leaders warned that British companies were ill-equipped to cope with a no-deal departure from the transition period with the economy in the deepest recession since modern records began. Should a deal fail to be reached in time, business leaders said consumers could face higher prices in the shops as a result of border disruption, tariffs and a weaker pound driving up the cost of imports.
    ……………………………………
    Manufacturers’ groups warned that Brexit stockpiles had been depleted during the Covid lockdown amid widespread disruption to businesses, and that many firms were running out of cash and time to prepare for leaving the EU.

    Paul Everitt, chief executive of UK aerospace lobby group ADS, said manufacturers relied on complex pan-European supply chains. Calling on both sides to take a more pragmatic approach to minimise disruption, he said: “The economic impact of the pandemic makes the cost of failure in negotiations especially severe. No deal would bring new costs and delays that harm our ability to compete in international markets.”

    3
  6. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    I do not know if you are being ironic, but there are some Taylor Swift songs that are not half bad. Catchy.

    She is not someone I would ever seek out. But no shine off ya if you do. She is a talented songwriter.

    But Sia is bae. Superbae. Respect the bow.

    1
  7. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    I do not know if you are being ironic, but there are some Taylor Swift songs that are not half bad.

    I wasn’t even sure he was talking about her music. I thought maybe she’d said something snarky and awesome recently. I checked Google News but couldn’t find anything.

    1
  8. sam says:
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: Fuck that shit.

    2
  10. de stijl says:

    @sam:

    Holy jumping Odin! The way he dodged the collapsing wave. Crikey freakin’ Moses!

    4
  11. SKI says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    How “Christian” of them.

    *Thinks in history*

    Yeah, that actually sounds very on-brand.

    3
  12. CSK says:

    @sam: @OzarkHillbilly: @de stijl:
    My blood ran cold.

    1
  13. de stijl says:

    When I was a pup my peers mocked me as a pop boy. Fuck them.

    This thing we are doing is a bastard form of pop. Hear the melody.

    If we reject all our forebears we are lost.

    This is a new wrinkle, but not a new thing. Revolution happens every generation.

    There are things to discard and things to gain. Pick wisely.

    1
  14. sam says:

    I thought of one of Satchell Paige’s rules for living: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

    8
  15. CSK says:

    There’s an article about Trump’s incoherence by David Graham in today’s http://www.theatlantic.com. It’s very interesting, but it doesn’t take into account something I’ve always wondered, which is if Trump saw how well word salad worked for Sarah Palin, and decided to emulate her. Her audience interpreted what she said to mean exactly what they wanted to hear, and so does his. The fact that it’s gibberish to everyone else is of no importance.

    Speaking jabberwocky also enables Trump to deny he said something, which has been useful to him.

    He’s probably incoherent because of dementia and dysphasia, but the possibility that it’s deliberate is worth considering.

    11
  16. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Not a choice – necessity.

    Trump is incoherent, but not a total fool. He knows that offensive slagging yields real results. He made his bones on Page Six.

    3
  17. sam says:

    @CSK:

    Nah. Addled minds think, or not, alike.

    1
  18. CSK says:

    @sam:
    I realize Trump is addled, to put it kindly. But he’s also, or he used to be, fairly adept at conning a certain type of person. He probably knows that when you spout gibberish, your fans will interpret it to your liking, and it will confuse and irritate your opponents and give you a route to wiggle out of any promises anyone thinks you might have made.

    Another point: Palin’s fans loved her because she spoke like them: badly. So do Trump’s.

    8
  19. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I brought up the problem of stagnant wages in the middle class.

    One related problem is blame. There are several reasons why wages haven’t kept up, from automation to globalization to capital accumulation, and they all contribute to some extent and in some way, but politically it’s expedient to blame it on one’s enemies, or on the objects of one’s prejudice.

    Thus we get that illegal immigrants, or high taxes, or Democratic policies, or the ACA, or Hillary Clinton, are to blame. This is convenient, because there’s no need to actually solve a difficult problem while one garners votes.

    Further, any legitimate opposition to actions like building useless walls, caging children, increasing deficits, etc. can be painted as merely obstructionist.

    One would assume such schemes would collapse eventually, as there is no substantial improvement to the root problem after years and years of these policies. And that does happen, but it requires years and years first, which can inflict a lot of damage.

    Given all of the above, it’s more imperative now to address the issue of decaying standards of living and decent wages.

    7
  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Alas, the record of societies with elites hung from lamp posts seems to argue against such realizations coming in a timely manner.

    3
  21. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I wish I could disagree.

    Still, how desirous are Bezos, Musk, McConnell, et al to hang from lamp posts themselves?

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I’ve been reading Hacker and Pierson’s new book, Let them Eat Tweets. (It’s not about his tweets, the title is a Marie Antoinette reference.) Ties a lot of threads together with the concept of “the conservative dilemma”, that a conservative party lives on the support of the wealthy and powerful, but in order to win a majority vote, they must appeal to the masses. Republicans could run on a program of general prosperity, but that would piss off their masters, who like hoovering up all the money and leaving nothing for anyone else. So Republicans are left with running on the traditional conservative program of blood and soil patriotism and religion, exploiting and aggravating any social cleavage they can find. And also find any way they can to cheat on needing a majority.

    That Trump is being out fundraised, while wasting the money on the inevitable conservative grifts, hints at possible fraying of the Republican/plutocrat plan.

    4
  23. Kathy says:

    @gVOR08:

    That Trump is being out fundraised, while wasting the money on the inevitable conservative grifts, hints at possible fraying of the Republican/plutocrat plan.

    I wish. I think Trump has shown himself to be terrible for the GOP’s masters as well as everyone else. He does mean it when he says he wants chaos. One thing all people engaged in business hate is uncertainty. besides, see what he’s done to the economy by mismanaging the pandemic.

    Not to mention he’s been attacking some of the most powerful, richest companies like Amazon.

    2
  24. CSK says:

    Bob Woodward’s new book about Trump will be out on September 15.

    The title is Rage.

  25. robert sharperson says:

    The Trump distraction of the day. He is accusing the Generals of sending the soldiers into battle battle only to money.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/trump-pentagon-leaders-war-contractors-happy-72870085

    1
  26. JohnSF says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Oh, it’s fine. It’s all good.

    The government have announced that they are introducing a new bill to amend the current Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.
    Which will, a government minister said

    “break international law”

    But, it’s okay!
    It will only

    “go against the treaty in a “specific and limited way”

    Well, I’m sure the EU will be totally cool with it if that’s the case.
    Also US Congress re. Northern Ireland.
    Also anyone else contemplating a treaty arrangement with the UK.

    It would be a farce if it weren’t such a disgrace.

    Shadow Attorney General:

    the government had “an obligation to comply with the law, domestic and international”.
    He added: “Throughout the Brexit process, the government purported to act within the law. This is new. And very bad.”

    No sh*t.

    Sir Jonathan Jones, the Treasury Solicitor and permanent secretary to the Government Legal Department (i.e. the senior professional legal officer; the Attorney General being a politician) has resigned.

    4
  27. Kathy says:

    @robert sharperson:

    That’s so wrong on so many levels, one can’t decide where to even begin.

    So I’ll just say: nothing endears Trump to the troops, and veterans, more than his display of utter ignorance of the term “commander in chief.”

  28. de stijl says:

    For the first time ever America is majority anti-racist and pro or neutral on queer.

    This is a good day.

    2
  29. CSK says:

    @robert sharperson:
    Again, this is pure projection on Trump’s part. Since he values nothing but making money, he assumes that everyone else is as mercenary as he is.

    5
  30. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    I realize Trump is addled, to put it kindly. But he’s also, or he used to be, fairly adept at conning a certain type of person. He probably knows that when you spout gibberish, your fans will interpret it to your liking, and it will confuse and irritate your opponents and give you a route to wiggle out of any promises anyone thinks you might have made.

    I have gotten rather tired of this sort of analysis. I’m not saying it’s 100% wrong. But I think it’s overstated. It’s not so much that Trump is adept at conning a certain type of person as that he’s a con artist by temperament, but he’s so bad at it that the only people who get fooled by it are the dumbest people. By this standard, it’s hard to think of anyone who wouldn’t be “adept at conning a certain type of person,” as long as they were willing to toss aside all morality, and as long as they had the resources and opportunities stemming from being born into inherited wealth. It isn’t hard to fool people who are easily fooled.

    Trump’s gibberish isn’t a tactic, it’s the product of a disorganized mind with no understanding of how to hide the fact that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about–something many con artists and other phonies are able to do with some degree of proficiency.

    A while back Doug here wrote: “it can truly be said there are few politicians in American history who have been quite as skilled as Donald Trump when it comes to being able to lie so easily and so frequently.” As I pointed out to him at the time, what he was describing wasn’t a skill, but simply Trump’s utter lack of shame, and his poor grasp of the more traditional skill of misleading without technically lying. Anyone could lie as prolifically and shamelessly as Trump if they chose to. It’s just that most people don’t make that choice, since most people–even very dishonest and immoral people–have a much better sense of the consequences of that sort of behavior.

    I’m not saying Trump has no skills in the arena of lying and trickery. I’m just struck by how so many people who absolutely despise Trump still manage to fall into an emperor’s-new-clothes mindset where they interpret the absence of something in Trump’s bizarre personality as proof of what’s supposedly there.

    16
  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SKI: It’s right on brand, it’s just not very Christian.

    2
  32. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    I do not know if you are being ironic, but there are some Taylor Swift songs that are not half bad. Catchy.

    Some are excellent. Her new album is pretty uniformly great. She’s been very successful in multiple styles of pop, and I eagerly await her having a midlife crisis and turning towards punk.

    I do think she’s getting a bit old to be writing about high school, and that’s a little cringeworthy, but maybe I’m just getting too old to be listening to songs about high school. But “betty” is a great song anyway.

    4
  33. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: The Republican primary voters had their choice of charlatans, and chose the one who can’t string a sentence together. They wanted incoherent word salad.

    I have no idea what that says about them, though, since it is so foreign to me.

    2
  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: maybe I’m just getting too old to be listening to songs about high school.

    I think you just hit on the reason she leaves me kinda flat.

    2
  35. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: @Kylopod:

    Palin’s fans loved her because she spoke like them: badly. So do Trump’s.

    I’ve known and worked with a lot of Trump voters, blue collar, high school, if that. I can’t think I’ve ever met anyone who talked like Palin or Trump. Maybe not well constructed paragraphs, maybe a limited vocabulary, maybe poor grammar and sentence construction. But I have never met anyone who just threw out word salad like that.

  36. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Sometimes, things happen more on account of circumstances than on account of the people involved. The 2016 election falls along those lines, IMO.

    Remember Trump won several primaries without winning the majority of the vote, but still got all the delegates. The rest of the GOP field was splitting the non-Trump, majority among themselves. these and other factors got him the nomination.

    As for the general election itself, I think the major factor that carried Trump over was a turnout failure, plus the general dislike of Hillary Clinton among Republicans. I can’t prove it, but I think if almost anyone else had run, except perhaps Sanders (who can be successfully labeled a socialist), they’d have won. So add the paucity of serious Democratic candidates with a shot on Trump’s column.

    Turnout largely failed because everyone was convinced Clinton would win, so why bother to vote? It’s like the oft-cited case of several bystanders witnessing a crime, and no one calls the police, because everyone assumes someone must have called the police by now*.

    The dislike for Clinton meant few Republicans, who also disliked Trump, would vote for her. They may have voted Trump, hoping he’d moderate after winning the election, or not believing he’d win, or may have voted for a third party candidate.

    There are other factors, like Comey’s letter, Trump’s appeal to white supremacists, etc. But all that is rather secondary.

    So we have an unusual primary with rules that favored Trump, plus two unpopular candidates int he general election, plus several secondary considerations. And instead of seeing the impersonal black swan, we look for a culprit to pin the blame on, or someone to give credit to, however reluctantly.

    * I know that scenario has been questioned in the murder of Kitty Genovese, so let me tell you about another similar one. An Eastern flight near Miami had a landing gear problem. The cockpit crew was so engrossed in it, they failed to notice that 1) the autopilot was disconnected and 2) they were slowly losing altitude. The pilots may have assumed one of them was checking the altitude and navigation. None were.

    2
  37. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    They identify with the word salad because it’s the way they speak. Like real Americans.

    3
  38. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    If you read some of the comments by Trump supporters at Trump-centric websites, they’re illiterate.

    Besides, when Trump gabbles, he’s owning the libs.

    4
  39. sam says:

    @CSK:

    “He probably knows that when you spout gibberish”

    I dispute that he knows he’s spouting gibberish. He’s not some Mayberry Machiavellian.

    3
  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher:

    They wanted incoherent word salad.

    I think it’s a bit more complicated than that, although the effect is the same. The people who self identify as Republicans seem to want two things in a leader:
    1) The leader sounds absolutely confident and energetic
    2) The leader constantly reinforces their belief/desire that no disruptive change is necessary for them

    Given global warming, the pandemic, aging population, shift in global economic power and on and on and on, “word salad” is the only viable option. You can try the usual technique of mouthing platitudes but that doesn’t satisfy number one. So the leader has to make strong determined statements and, given that those statements are going contradict reality as well as earlier or later statements, the only option is to make them incomprehensible.

    [Edit] I realize I gave the impression that I thought Trump’s nonsense was strategic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Trump is incredibly lucky in that his inability to marshal a coherent thought is actually an advantage in his current line of work.

    5
  41. Bill says:

    n@sam:

    “He probably knows that when you spout gibberish”

    Did Donald Trump ever write or say ‘The man walked into the elephant” instead of the ‘The man who walked into the elevator’? Some non-drinking dung beetle fiction writer did that once.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Trump is incredibly lucky in that his inability to marshal a coherent thought is actually an advantage in his current line of work.

    Hmmm… I don’t think trump has ever done an honest day’s work in his entire life. Nor a dishonest day’s work for that matter.

    1
  43. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kylopod: , CSK,

    It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.

    -Joe Heller, Catch 22

    13
  44. DrDaveT says:

    @robert sharperson:

    The Trump projection of the day.

    FTFY

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Sometimes with your comments I imagine a bearded beatnik in a black sweater in a sweaty underground bar accompanying you on bongos.

    13
  46. Kylopod says:

    @dazedandconfused: Awesome quote.

    1
  47. Jen says:

    I knew that polls would begin to tighten, but that doesn’t make my anxiety about Florida’s recent polling numbers lessen at all.

    I hate that this race is even close. It shouldn’t be.

    4
  48. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    “De Stijl” means The Style. It was a Dutch art movement begun in 1917. Mondrian was its most famous exponent.

    6
  49. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I hope the old fools are snapping their fingers in the audience.

    3
  50. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I’d dearly love right now one of those science fiction gizmos that slow down time, so I could skip the days between now and November 4th (and if necessary another week afterward).

    1
  51. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..Sometimes with your comments I imagine a bearded beatnik in a black sweater in a sweaty underground bar accompanying you on bongos.

    Walter Paisley?

    2
  52. Northerner says:

    @gVOR08:

    Ties a lot of threads together with the concept of “the conservative dilemma”, that a conservative party lives on the support of the wealthy and powerful, but in order to win a majority vote, they must appeal to the masses.

    I’m not sure how it is in America, but in Canada both the Conservative Party (well to the left of your Republicans on most issues) and the Liberal Party (to the left of your Democratic Party on most issues) live on the support of the wealthy and powerful. Cynics would say that the wealthy and powerful support both because the best way to ensure you control the winner of a horse race is to own all the horses.

    If I were wealthy and powerful and interested in controlling things, I’d certainly go the route of making sure every possible winner was indebted to me.

    1
  53. Monala says:

    A mom called 911 to help her 13-year-old with autism. Utah police shot him

    Salt Lake City police are investigating after officers shot a 13-year-old boy with autism whose mother had called 911 for help.

    Golda Barton told KUTV she called police because her son Linden Cameron, who has Asperger’s, was having a mental health episode. Barton, who had just returned to work for the first time in a year, told police her son had “bad separation anxiety” but was unarmed. …

    Barton said two officers entered her home and less than five minutes later she heard them order him to get on the ground followed by several gunshots. Officers didn’t immediately say whether her son was alive and later handcuffed him.

    The shooting left Cameron with injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, intestines and bladder according to a GoFundMe which has raised more than $12,000 for Linden’s hospital bills.

    “He’s a small child. Why didn’t you just tackle him?” Barton said. “He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”

    Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks told reporters officers were called to the area due to a “violent psych issue” involving a juvenile who was “making threats to some folks with a weapon.”

    2
  54. Sleeping Dog says:
  55. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Mondrian is sublime.

    Rectilinear. Good solid colors. The space between. Sets me to right looking at it in peace.

    I chose de stijl as a nym in long days long past and has served me well. Usually. Sometimes I got prickly with others, but I try hard not to attack anymore.

    And if so, the message not the person.

    1
  56. Monala says:

    Resident says ‘house filled with tear gas’ during riot
    He said an officer injured him when he tried to talk to police

    Police declared a riot and deployed tear gas which filled the neighborhood with clouds of gas.

    Some neighbors were caught in the crossfire between protesters and police, and said tear gas leaked into their homes. One man said his home was so full of gas, his 13-year-old son and his friend were screaming inside their home, trying to wash out their eyes in the sink.

    “I open the door to the garage that leads to my kitchen—as soon as I open the door, my eyes immediately started burning. The whole house is filled with tear gas,” said resident Elijah Warren. “I don’t even know what it is at the time because I don’t know what’s going on.”

    Warren also said he was injured when he went outside to see what was going on. He said he was talking to an officer about the impact the gas was having on his son when another officer came up and hit him, giving him a concussion.

    “He was actually listening to me. He was taking the time to listen, like, oh okay, this is a neighbor,” said Warren. “And the other one just hit me.”

    4
  57. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Monala:

    When your only weapon is a gun, every solution is to shoot.

    5
  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: The true aristos never believe it could happen to them for some reason. The levels of obliviousness are breathtaking at times. Case in point, I recall Bezos being shocked at reports from a survey noting dissatisfaction among his employees noting that their complaints were not at all his experience as an Amazon employee. 🙁

    2
  59. Jax says:

    @Monala: I was just about to post that story, as well. Horrifying.

    2
  60. sam says:

    The ‘brushing’ scam that’s behind mystery parcels

    If you’ve ever received a parcel from a shopping platform that you didn’t order, and nobody you know seems to have bought it for you, you might have been caught up in a “brushing” scam.

    It has hit the headlines after thousands of Americans received unsolicited packets of seeds in the mail, but it is not new.

    It’s an illicit way for sellers to get reviews for their products.

    And it doesn’t mean your account has been hacked.

    Here’s an example of how it works: let’s say I set myself up as a seller on Amazon, for my product, Kleinman Candles, which cost £2 each.

    I then set up a load of fake accounts, and I find random names and addresses either from publicly available information or from a leaked database that’s doing the rounds from a previous data breach.

    I order Kleinman Candles from my fake accounts and have them delivered to the addresses I have found, with no information about where they have been sent from.

    I then leave positive reviews for Kleinman Candles from each fake account – which has genuinely made a purchase.
    Glowing reviews
    This way my candle shop page gets filled with glowing reviews (sorry), my sales figures give me an algorithmic popularity boost as a credible merchant – and nobody knows that the only person buying and reviewing my candles is myself.

    3
  61. Monala says:

    I shared about a week ago that many Western Hemisphere nations were creeping past Europe in Covid death rates, and predicted that within a few weeks countries such as Chile, Brazil, the US and Mexico would knock many European nations out of the top ten.

    Well, it’s happened already, but from a different pair of Western Hemisphere nations: Bolivia and Ecuador have suddenly shot up the list, knocking out Italy and Sweden. The remaining European nations in the top 10 Covid deaths per capita are the two micro-states San Marino and Andorra, plus Belgium, the UK and Spain. The UK will probably drop from the top ten soon if Chile, Brazil and the US keep creeping up. Belgium’s death rate is extremely high, so will likely stay, and Spain has had a recent upsurge in Covid cases, so its death rate may start increasing again soon.

    1
  62. de stijl says:

    Bongos, any type of percussion is really hard.

    I cannot even keep a decent beat going. I always speed up. Story of my life.

    Plus the frills and bells and whistles – just can’t do it at all. Not how my brain works.

    A good drummer is worth her weight in gold – keeps everything on track.

    You can fake or make a decent bassist, but a drummer is gold.

    1
  63. Kurtz says:

    @robert sharperson:

    This is strange coming from the modern GOP because it is the Left critique of the Military-Industrial Complex, connected to the study of the National Security State.

    The deep state claims resemble the latter, but unfocused and non-sensical as well as centered on perceived persecution of Trump and Conservatism in general.

    1
  64. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I wouldn’t describe Bezos as a “true aristo” in that he’s not, as far as I know, a blueblood with inherited money and exalted pedigree. But, like most fantastically rich people, he has a concept of reality that doesn’t jibe with that of the vast majority of the populace.

    He is…weird. I saw an interview with him just after he started Amazon, and he giggled all the way through it. Giggled. It was very disconcerting.

    4
  65. ImProPer says:

    @Kathy:

      “Thus we get that illegal immigrants, or high taxes, or Democratic policies, or the ACA, or Hillary Clinton, are to blame. This is convenient, because there’s no need to actually solve a difficult problem while one garners votes.”

    All the above hobgoblins of the right wing you have listed, have been taken out of the equation by Trump’s blitzkrieg against them, and yet here we are.  The worst thing that can happen to right wing  ideology, has happened, they won the election. The narcotic of smugly using  the gift of hindsight to solve complex problems has been antaginized by finding their guy in  the player’s seat of the proverbial 9 dimensional chess board. (Who would of thought that his all  self assuredness, and bragging wouldn’t translate into  real  strategy?)
      For some reason that gift of hindsight had a severe glitch when it came to Trump, and his inability to lead is painfully apparent. Unfortunately not  painful enough yet, for his masochistic followers.
      Now his cult of inverted soothsayers are complaining that he is being unfairly blamed for the Corona virus. I haven’t heard  of any accusations from the unusually broad coalition against the president, as to him actually creating the virus. However it is true that there has been much mourning, and anger for the 350 million or so victims of his unbelievable lack of leadership in responding to it. Even the ones whose persistant hindsight glitch is  threatening us with 4 more years of this plague.

    “Given all of the above, it’s more imperative now to address the issue of decaying standards of living and decent wages.”

    Absolutely, and it is a difficult task. One that will require brilliant leadership, comprised of actual leaders. Leaders smart enough to know that  the most desirable trait of good cabinet and advisors, is that they’re actually smarter than themselves.
      Aside from the obvious of dumping Trump, I hope that Biden will have more of an influence on the far left and the their disdain for the often unglamorous role of getting things accomplished. A key component to achieving the desired goals.

    2
  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Maybe it shouldn’t, but it was bound to be in a country where there are essentially only 2 choices available (noting that anyone voting a third party candidate in the hope of that person winning is probably committable–and even somebody making a “protest vote” in the hope that the mains will pay attention fits the bill for an eval). When the choices, as a practical matter, are 1) pick one of the two or 2) stay home, you’re going to get a close race until one party has become irrelevant to the point that the real choice is 1) pick A or 2) stay home. We’re not to that level of party irrelevance yet.

    2
  67. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    I miss Doug. Good analyst. Great reporter. Much respect to him. He dotted every i.

    The Libertarian in him sometimes led him a bit astray, but he was not a Randian fool.

    God speed to him. Best of luck on his new path.

    5
  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: The music store where I went to grad school had an ad for it’s drum machines–“Our percussion machines keep great time and always show up at the gig sober.”

    5
  69. Joe says:

    Sometimes with your comments [de stijl] I imagine a bearded beatnik in a black sweater in a sweaty underground bar accompanying you on bongos.

    @Mister Bluster
    and Michael Reynolds:

    Maynard G. Krebs (RIP Bob Denver).

    ETA: Sleeping Dog beat me to it.

    2
  70. Jen says:

    @CSK:

    and he giggled all the way through it. Giggled.

    I’ve mentioned before that I work in PR. This is one reason that the firm I used to work at would INSIST that anyone who had any chance of going in front of a camera be media trained.

    Giggling is a stress response for some people. Not many, but enough that it can show up at the d@mndest times. My mom is one of them…I was in the car when she got pulled over for speeding (many, many) years ago.

    She. Couldn’t. Stop. Giggling.

    It was unreal to witness. I was horrified but the police officer either had seen it before or something…he didn’t give her a ticket, just a warning.

    4
  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I’ll bet you a donut against a dollar (note: a good donut here costs $1.25) that Bezos sees himself as the first generation of a new ‘great’ family [eta:] and/or was ‘born’ to greatness.

    1
  72. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    I listen to all sorts of stuff high school me would have cringed or laughed at.

    Fuck him. He was rigid and too cocksure.

    1
  73. de stijl says:

    @Jen:

    You have a foundation and background that is really important and interesting on topics here.

    I encourage you to share that insight.

    Tell us when messaging is done well or poorly and why.

    3
  74. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: There’s an anti-intellectual streak on the right, and it’s hard to get more anti-intellectual than word salad with a side of gibberish.

    That will show the libs! Let’s see them try to argue against “person, woman, man, camera, tv”! Go on, try to have a lofty debate on ideals and ideas with someone freed from the shackles of “subject verb object”! Even Rudy “noun verb 9/11” Giuliani cannot compare to “noun, noun, adverbial-clause, noun, verb, adjective, gerund.”

    2
  75. Jen says:

    @de stijl: Aw, thanks! Will do. 🙂

    2
  76. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I can forgive Bezos a lot because of books.

    First buying books from Amazon, physical books, was a sheer joy, even given the rather high shipping costs to Mexico. Much better, in some respects, than going to a bookstore (my main complaint of bookstores is they don’t have shopping carts*). And my subscription to Audible is among the best-spent money I’ve ever spent.

    That said, like all the new Tech billionaires, he’s an a**hole and gives greed a bad name. And their support of policies that let them run up their score is more harmful to society than almost everything short of Trump.

    * It’s hard to carry more than four books without a cart. One time in a B&N in McAllen, TX. the sales associate was kind enough to follow me around and take the books to stack near the register.

  77. de stijl says:

    @Joe:

    Am I that predictable?

  78. flat earth luddite says:

    @sam: @OzarkHillbilly: @de stijl:
    All that came to mind watching that was “Hail Mary, Mother of God.” Wowsers, Penny!

    2
  79. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Oh, he probably does. But he’s still nouveau riche.
    @Gustopher:
    Indeed. I’ve harped on that anti-intellectualism theme a tedious number of times myself. Nothing, absolutely nothing, says “I’m a true American patriot” like word salad with a side of gibberish.

    2
  80. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    I live two blocks from a great bookstore. It is a godsent boon.

    Plus, the library is just a mile away. And it is a nice walk to get there.

    Libraries and librarians are severely underrated.

    3
  81. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kathy: @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Kathy:
    I suspect that all of them are busy humming to themselves, “I know nothing, I see nothing, I hear nothing. Besides, I’m special and it won’t happen to me.”

    I’m more than a little unhappy with my inner monster at just how much I’m looking forward to all the low hanging fruit from the next revolution. But then again, I haven’t been allowed in the park to play with the nice people for many, many decades.

    1
  82. Mister Bluster says:

    Live long and Prosper
    Star Trek debuted on this day in 1966, the year I graduated from High School.
    I really thought I’d celebrate my 30th birthday on the moon.

    2
  83. Kathy says:

    @ImProPer:

    Absolutely, and it is a difficult task.

    My big worry regarding Biden is that he wants to turn back the clock to before 1992, when politics were close to civilized and things could get done. Turning the clock back most often doesn’t work. Prior to 1992, wages were more in sync with both inflation and productivity, back then a growing economy benefited almost everyone. Now it doesn’t.

    Politics may become more civilized. it’s very unlikely, but it can happen. Without major changes, however, the middle class will continue to decline and decay. even good jobs have become not as good. Like airline pilots.

    Private remedies, ie adaptations to adverse conditions, tend to come first, before policies, if any, catch up to them. So look for multi-generational housing becoming more common over the next decade, along with crappy gig economy jobs with little security, if any. Things can get much worse, making the country more ready to accept a would-be strongman claiming to be able to fix everything, but perhaps one that is more man or woman, rather than the blustering orange mouse who calls himself Donald.

    1
  84. flat earth luddite says:

    @Monala:
    Just guessing based on past life experience, but her attorney will
    1. subpoena records of 911 call from mom
    2. subpoena records of 911 dispatch to police
    3. present both to attorney representing city’s insurer
    4. negotiate substantial settlement for son.
    5. Nothing will happen to the officers involved, because “procedures were followed.”

    3
  85. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    In Heaven, the library is downstairs, and I run the bookstore 🙂

    4
  86. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    I used to train public speakers–everything from HS students doing competitive speaking to upper management who needed to give presentations.

    I cringe at some of the people I see who haven’t been given even the most basic training in how to speak in public. Simple things like how to stand or how to gesture (and not gesticulate wildly) are completely missed. And don’t get me started on the rambling answers to the simplest questions.

    I taught “1+3” for answers. Give a one-word (phrase) answer, then explain it in no more than 3 sentences. Let the questioner ask for follow-up if need be, but stop giving away too much information!

    In China I had a 3-hour consult with a Chinese manager who was applying at a German company. I had to drill this stuff into his head (the Chinese think that more talking is better).

    After the interview he called me up to say he got the job. “They asked the question you said they would! I had the answers!”

    The guy probably doubled his income because of that good interview. 🙂

    7
  87. ImProPer says:

    @robert sharperson:

       Thanks for the link. Interesting strategy of using yet another historically terminal act of betrayal by the so called chess master. Even though it has become  a banal routine for this jackass, however true it might be, I must admit that it still doesn’t cease to amaze me.

    “I’m not saying the military’s in love with me. The soldiers are… ‘The top people in the Pentagon probably aren’t because they want to do nothing but fight wars so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

       The biggest enemy of a grifter running the short con, is time. The only play that leaders of his caliber has, is sacrificing  underlings. His bullhorn of disingenuous, and ephemeral logic, is becoming quite clogged with the webs of his deceit.
      My question now is will Pence or Barr survive until November?
      
      

    2
  88. flat earth luddite says:

    @de stijl:
    Emerson, Lake & Palmer, California Jam 1974 (Karn Evil No. 9) part 2, starting @ 2.52. Basically a 7 minute “ok, boys, go have a smoke, I’ve got this sucka” sequence featuring insane speed, old school stick holding, and a full drum store on a freaking rotisserie. Speeding up isn’t an option! First time I heard him do this I knew I’d never be the drummer I wanted to be.
    Can’t get the link past Cerebus, but it’s available with the info above. Take a trip down memory lane, De Stiil. Good times when I still had hair.

    3
  89. Michael Cain says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yeah, public speaking is an… interesting subject. My last stint in graduate school, each student had to present the results of a quarter-long project. Allotted time, 15 minutes. As the late afternoon and evening wore on, it was clear that there were only two of us in the class who had ever done this before. I had three slides (and the obvious follow-up in my pocket); she had four. One of the traditional students showed up with 75. Equally clear, no one besides the two of us had rehearsed.

    The professor had obviously done this before and knew what to expect. The pizza delivery guy showed up just about the time everyone was getting really hungry.

    3
  90. Dutchgirl says:

    @de stijl: my opportunity to ask: how do you pronounce your nym? In my head it’s Dutch, so that’s how I read it, but maybe that is totally incorrect.

  91. de stijl says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    I shall.

    Thanks!

  92. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Absolutely. All of that is important.

    The media training we would do touches something else. For some reason, when video is involved, even some very good public speakers sometimes short out. I’ve watched it happen. I have no idea what the psychology of this is, but that camera being on can turn even fluid public speakers into quivering messes.

    I think it’s the camera light–it’s a literal “deer in headlight” effect.

  93. de stijl says:

    @Dutchgirl:

    Wow! Great question because it hurts.

    When I picked it in my head it sounded like de steel. When I learned how the Dutch pronounce it properly like de style I was deflated. But fuck that, it’s my nym.

    I do like it lower case. de stijl has an interesting shape and the two dots over the i and j next to each other just look fucking cool.

    In my head it is de steel even though it is the incorrect pronunciation.

    Plus, check Piet Mondrian. It is not everyone’s concept of what art should be. I know it makes me feel centered.

    2
  94. ImProPer says:

    @Kathy:

    “My big worry regarding Biden is that he wants to turn back the clock to before 1992, when politics were close to civilized and things could get done. Turning the clock back most often doesn’t work”

    I share your thoughts. Modern, complex societies cannot be run very well from rearward thinkers. My biggest hope with Biden,
    is that he will bring the younger Democrats in from the emotionally inticing fringes, to the less gratifying seat of leadership. For the future, I don’t think a far left Trump will be much better than our current one.

    2
  95. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I cringe at some of the people I see who haven’t been given even the most basic training in how to speak in public. Simple things like how to stand or how to gesture (and not gesticulate wildly) are completely missed. And don’t get me started on the rambling answers to the simplest questions.

    Sometimes there is something you hate doing, and want to never have to do, so you never learn how. And sometimes, that works out.

    No one has me give presentations at work, because I just babble and gesticulate and bounce between handwavy and overly-accurate at the drop of a hat. And I speak in that special manner that lets people know I don’t give a fuck.

    “Such and such is a service that was abandoned in production, with no support or maintenance, and which handles all the communication to our end-users… when it fails there will be world of hurt for whoever is on call because we have no idea how it works, and most of us cannot even read the language it is written in. We don’t update it because we’ve been trying to get rid of it for years, and who wants to throw good money at something that will be gone in a few months (it will not be gone in a few months). Anyway, you might as well just turn off the pager when that happens and start updating your LinkedIn profile… Also, it’s named after a trickster god, and that’s never a good idea. Sure, tempt fate. What’s the worst that could happen?”

    After a few of those, everyone is scared to have me present anything.

    2
  96. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    I’m only just now starting to work with video. I’m doing a live-stream segment for the small online newspaper I write. So far, it’s not been a problem–but I think part of that is because it’s just a little webcam and not very imposing.

    1
  97. Dutchgirl says:

    @de stijl: There was at least one print in my childhood homes at all times. Grew up with the spelling as Mondriaan, though. Dutch is weird like that.

    1
  98. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I had three slides (and the obvious follow-up in my pocket); she had four. One of the traditional students showed up with 75. Equally clear, no one besides the two of us had rehearsed.

    75 slides for a 15 minute speech? Ouch!

  99. ImProPer says:

    @Kurtz:

    “This is strange coming from the modern GOP because it is the Left critique of the Military-Industrial Complex, connected to the study of the National Security State.”

    The modern right is simply a more dimwitted, but more dangerous version of the far-left. They frequently rely the left’s play-book from the late 60s. Sudden attack on the Military Industrial Complex, the timing is about right.

  100. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    Oh…. you should appreciate this.

    My last job in China was Marketing Director. It was mostly promo materials and the blog. I was also the defacto PR person (because nobody else knew a damn thing, so “something” was better than “nothing”).

    The sales teams used to post “ads” to their personal WeChat accounts, as well as to the official account (what idiot gave the entire sales team access to the official company social media account??).

    One morning, bright and early, I get a message from the German GM: “Have you seen the WeChat account?”

    Me: No.

    GM: Look at it. Tell me that we can fix this.

    uh oh

    So I go to the account and find that someone has posted half a dozen photos in a post. The company logo, 4 shot of our product…. and a photo of Osama bin Laden. “He’s a smart and powerful man. He’d like our product.” In ENGLISH. On the account geared towards WESTERN CLIENTS.

    I got it pulled down within 30 minutes (had to go through a few people to get the order translated properly). There was, fortunately, no blowback from it. None of the Chinese had any clue why it was wrong.

    1
  101. Gustopher says:

    @ImProPer:

    For the future, I don’t think a far left Trump will be much better than our current one.

    I don’t know, I think ironic authoritarianism might be better than sincere authoritarianism.

    Seriously though, we will never have a far left authoritarian with broad appeal to the base, since they will be outflanked on the left and torn down as a corporate whore because they used the wrong pronouns for a boat or something.

    3
  102. de stijl says:

    In baby’s first band Tom played bass and Sarah did drums. We did shitty covers of great songs.

    Tommy moved down to NOLA when we were 18.

    I got in my crappy ride and drove down to see him. 76 Olds Omega.

    He had hooked up with some doofus nazi set.

    Told me how fun it was to shoot people at bus stops with blowguns. Black people.

    I just walked out and drove home. I cried. He was my friend and he went that bad.

  103. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Oh my word.

    That’s a day to remember. Oof. I’m laughing but am also silently panicking on your behalf, that is a PR nightmare!

    2
  104. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    That’s a day to remember. Oof. I’m laughing but am also silently panicking on your behalf, that is a PR nightmare!

    I laugh about it now. If that had happened in the US, it would have been a PR nightmare–one we probably wouldn’t have recovered from. In China it wasn’t even noticed.

    The penultimate straw on the camel’s back for me leaving was when the Chinese boss (technically under the German GM, but a more significant stock-holder–and the one with all the underhanded connections) brought in a new “Sales Manager” who decided that Marketing was her job (despite admitting that she had no marketing experience). She just couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give every sales person access to all the social media accounts to just post whatever they want.

    I politely explained it to her for about five minutes (all the while thinking about the above incident) before I blew up and shouted “Because they’ll fuck it up!”

    The German GM, myself, and the Mexican salesman we hired (great kid!) all left at the same time. As far as I can tell, the company went out of business a year or two later.

    Schadenfreude? What? I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    (Oh, the stories I could tell about that company! But… someone needs to provide the scotch to lubricate my tongue.)

    3
  105. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I had a bossman who was freaking genius at Powerpoint.

    I was too methodical. This is what we are doing, this is how we are doing it. I slaved away for a week, and dude would just knock out 5 slides on the why in an afternoon.

    I stumbled, bumbled, fumbled through my set, and dude would take the podium and just kill it.

    Charisma, vision, and strategy. I could walk rings around him on tactics and technical knowledge, but man that dude was pretty much a genius at what he did well. I could never be him.

    Plus, he was an excellent boss.

    Kudos to Scott K.

  106. de stijl says:

    @Dutchgirl:

    Mondrian (or Mondriaan) is sublime. Dutch vowels are weird.

    You have the best skaters in the world. Distance or sprint. (Short track withstanding.) Why not a decent ice hockey team? It’s basically skating + football – which you are also pretty good at historically.

    I met a guy who was a distance skater from Wisconsin. His thighs and calves were astonishing. He was a good dude. Wore sweats everywhere because store bought trousers would not fit.

  107. ImProPer says:

    @Gustopher:

    If someone on the left becomes disillusioned enough to become authoritarian, wouldn’t that make them a right winger?

  108. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    I despise PowerPoint. It’s probably the worst thing to happen to business in the past 50 years.

    Slides are supposed to be simple supporting documents. If you’re going to write a 50-page slideshow and just read it to me… just give me the damn ppt file. I’ll scan through it in 5 minutes when I have nothing better to do.

  109. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    It’s getting so you should’t call the cops on anyone you’re not willing to see get shot or killed.

  110. ImProPer says:

    @Gustopher:

    As far as the fear of offending would be “boat” protectors, the necessity of saving the ocean is more pressing. For those that are still hurt by this. I hope they will take a sabbatical from the political pulpit, and seek counseling, it will certainly bear much better fruit for them. The pulpit will always there for them when they get better.

  111. Kathy says:

    @ImProPer:

    For the future, I don’t think a far left Trump will be much better than our current one.

    Hell, no. The era of the benevolent despot is long past. Recent history is clear: without a check on the executive’s power, you’ll see numerous abuses, if not outright atrocities. Sometimes even with a check on such power (see Trumps immigration “policy”).

    1
  112. Grewgills says:

    @robert sharperson:
    That could actually be a clever(ish) play for the Bernie Bros. It meshes with what they say and could pick off some votes on Biden’s left flank, or at least unsettle some of them.
    His voters will ignore or creatively reinterpret it.

  113. ImProPer says:

    @Kathy:

    “Hell, no. The era of the benevolent despot is long past. Recent history is clear: without a check on the executive’s power, you’ll see numerous abuses, if not outright atrocities.”

    Absolutely, besides most of us don’t have the stomach for Voltaire’s prescription to make the prior work for any period of time. On the latter, I hope we have learned a lesson about unchecking executive power. Even with the best of intentions, the other side will eventually
    get their turn. Often the consequence of great leadership, is a loss of popularity.

    2
  114. Michael Reynolds says:

    Me and Michael Cohen. We both call Trump a cult leader. We both say his smart move would be to resign and have Pence pardon him.

    Not sure what that says about me.

    2
  115. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You can check your premises and see whether you find an error or flaw.

    Or you can say “even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

    Or you can assume even terrible people can be right sometimes.

    1
  116. Sleeping Dog says:

    Oxford/AstraZeneca covid trial suspended due to adverse reaction.

    Not surprising and the reason why trials are held.

    4
  117. gVOR08 says:

    @Northerner: Hacker and Pierson say a conservative party has essentially one of two paths. They can compromise, trying to provide benefits to both the wealthy and a portion of the masses, basically a slow retreat from plutocracy. Or they can go all in on the wealthy, do little or nothing for anyone else, and try to get enough of the popular vote by lying. They hold up the British Conservative Party as an example of successfully executing the compromise plan. I fear I know nothing of Canadian politics, but Canada does not have the extreme economic inequality of the U. S. and I would wonder if the Canadian Conservative Party is emulating the British Torys. (Hacker and Pierson have not, so far mentioned Brexit, which seems a large shift toward plutocracy.) Republicans have gone all in on supporting the plutocrats, giving little but rhetoric to their base.

  118. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You are a bag man? For the filthy rich?

    1
  119. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Powerpoint is fine. It is a tool.

    You are over-reacting.

    It focuses a speech. The slides themself are not immaterial but supporting documents to the message.

    Slides focus a speech.

  120. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Michael Cohen and I could have been in the mob together. He’s like the archetype for Saul Goodman* in Better Call Saul, a fixer.

    Cohen has intimate knowledge of Trump and has correctly analyzed the man. We agree. Of course I got there with no direct knowledge, but that’s why Cohen is not quite ready to be a war time consigliere.

    *Jimmy McGill.

    1
  121. Mister Bluster says:

    Can’t let this get by. September 8, 1974.

    Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

    1
  122. Mister Bluster says:

    I worked at a municipal sewage treatment plant for two years. That place smelled like a bed of roses compared to the vile stench coming out of Washington DC tonight.

    Justice Department wants to defend Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit
    The US Justice Department, in an extraordinary move on Tuesday, asked to take over the defense of President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll, a woman who has accused Trump of sexual assault.
    While the alleged sexual assault occurred long before Trump became President, the Justice Department argued that it must take over because Trump’s comments spurring the defamation lawsuit came while he was in office. The move — defending Trump at taxpayer expense — comes amid ongoing criticism that the Justice Department has acted in the President’s personal interests.

    2
  123. DrDaveT says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

    Holy crap — I had never realized that Ford’ pardon was a complete blank check. I guess it only applied to federal crimes, but even so — it’s enough to make Nixon wish he’d committed mail fraud, or transported a minor across state lines for immoral purposes…

  124. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT:

    it’s enough to make Nixon wish he’d committed mail fraud, or transported a minor across state lines for immoral purposes…

    Do we know he didn’t?

    More seriously, the pardon cut off any motivation for further investigation, so who the hell knows what he did that didn’t get reported. And I assumed Ford and the GOPs knew of more.

  125. Northerner says:

    @gVOR08:

    I don’t know much about the British Conservative Party, so I’m not sure how similar it is to Canada’s Conservative Party. Until about a couple of decades ago, our Conservative Party (then called the Progressive Conservatives) was socially liberal, fiscally conservative. There were a number of internal fights at that point, during which it went populist (not like Trump or the GOP), then more socially conservative. That’s relative to Canada, and still nothing like the US — for instance even its most right-wing Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, refused to even consider limiting abortion or gay marriage, didn’t want to get rid of our Public Health system (which isn’t perfect — I’d prefer the German system — but which I and most Canadians think is far better than what we hear of the American system), didn’t want to get rid of the social safety net, didn’t want to start pumping money into the military etc, didn’t want to bring in charter schools and so on. He’d be drummed out of the GOP very quickly I suspect.

    In Canada the two ruling parties (in practice, though we have third and fourth parties which play a role in minority gov’t) both try to balance keeping the wealthy happy (and in fact both are supported by Bay Street, Canada’s version of Wall Street) and keeping the 40% of the population needed to get a majority gov’t (multiple parties viable in different ridings across the country mean its rare for any majority gov’t to actually get more than 40% of the vote).

    There’s a lot of talk among partisans about how radically different the Liberals and Conservatives are, but since they agree on most of the big issues (public health, social issues such as abortion and gay marriage etc) and legislate the same on issues they talk differently about (Climate Change for instance — they speak differently about it but legislate the same way), a lot of people think they’re more or less the same. The other two parties that win significant numbers of seats (the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois) are further to the left (the joke is that the Liberals campaign like the NDP and govern like the Conservatives) but are unlikely to ever hold a majority.

    Some people are just as partisan here as in America (at least online, I’ve never seen it in person which makes me wonder how much of the online arguments are just bots in action), but the differences between parties are much smaller, and so most people don’t get worked up over it.

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  126. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I like the phases of his life.

    He was Slippin’ Jimmy of the frivolous lawsuits.

    He went to law school because he wanted to emulate his brother who he envied. In American Samoa of all places. Because that was where he could get in.

    He was a scrub lawyer. Then a public defender.

    He was a fancy pants lawyer.

    Then he was a tv and billboard and bus stop lawyer. Then a cell phone salesman.

    For a story we know the end to already it is fascinating. And writing and acting is so across the board great. By far my fave current show.

    A Greek tragedy.