Monday’s Forum

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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Giuliani faces the piper this week. FA and now about to find out. We’ll see how much he has to pay, probably early next week..

  2. Sleeping Dog says:
  3. MarkedMan says:

    Over the weekend a few people brought up the “if Israel wanted to take over Gaza, why did they withdraw in the first place” argument. Well, if you listen to the last couple of decades of what the settlers and/or religious fanatics are saying, it is that the Gazans should move to Egypt and then the settlers can take over. So, if this was the policy of the Israelis, albeit one that cannot be spoken aloud, what would be a reasonable (tactically, not morally) strategy to accomplish this? One way would be to start bombing northern Gaza and tell everyone to evacuate to the south, then continue advancing the bombing southward, forcing everyone up against the Egyptian border. Don’t allow food or medical supplies in, creating a starving desperate population. Eventually they will make a break to cross the border, giving the Egyptians the choice to either let them come in or machine gun them as they come across. Either way, it will result in a marked reduction of the number of Palestinians left in Gaza when the shooting stops. Israel will set up against the southern border and never let the Palestinians return.

    And of course, this would answer the question of why the Israelis withdrew in the first place. It wouldn’t work if they had significant numbers of settlers mixed in. This isn’t theoretical, the settlers and the fanatics have openly discussed this for decades. The only question is who controls the Israeli government. The answer is growing increasingly obvious.

  4. Scott says:

    This really disturbs me in ways I can’t yet articulate:

    Republicans to meet allies of Hungary’s Viktor Orbán on ending Ukraine aid

    Allies of Hungary’s far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán will hold a closed-door meeting with Republicans in Washington to push for an end to US military support for Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.

    Members of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs and staff from the Hungarian embassy in Washington will on Monday begin a two-day event hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation thinktank.

    According to a Republican source, some of the attendees, including Republican members of Congress, have been invited to join closed-door talks the next day.

    The meeting will take place against a backdrop of tense debate in Washington over Ukraine’s future. Last week the White House warned that, without congressional action, money to buy more weapons and equipment for Kyiv will run out by the end of the year. On Wednesday Senate Republicans blocked an emergency spending bill to fund the war in Ukraine.

    A diplomatic source close to the Hungarian embassy said: “Orbán is confident that the Ukraine aid will not pass in Congress. That is why he is trying to block assistance from the EU as well.”

    Here we have the Heritage Foundation and a foreign country undermining US foreign policy on US territory. We also have an ostensible NATO ally and partner actively undermining our major political and military alliance in support of an authoritarian enemy. That authoritarian enemy, Russia, is in military alliance with Iran which is trying to destroy our ally Israel Supposedly, the far right, Christian Nationalist Heritage Foundation is supporting Israel. None of it computes.

    Seems to me the Republican right wing is undermining, in overtly treasonous way, our country. And I suspect the culture wars are at the base of this.

    Help me out.

  5. MarkedMan says:


    Help me out

    Treasonous. Corrupt. Stupid. Pick two.

  6. Kelleher '99 says:

    I think Trump will double down and pick Bernie Kerik, former NYPD commissioner as his VP.

    Kerik actually would appeal to the law enforcement vote, but wont help him win any states…

    He actually did try to forge a bond with Black New Yorkers when he was police chief…

  7. Pete S says:


    I think the emphasis has to be on stupid. Doesn’t most of the Ukraine aid really flow to US defense contractors? Is that really the group US Republicans and Heritage Foundation want to oppose?

  8. Chip Daniels says:


    The American conservatives don’t have any coherent policy on much of anything. They are animated almost entirely by resentment and grudges which leads to things which seem on the surface to be inconsistent.

    They hate liberals, so they support Orban and Putin against Ukraine and the West.
    They hate Muslims so they support Israel against Hamas and Iran.
    They hate liberals so they welcome Nazis and white supremacists against Jews and nonwhite people.
    They hate liberals so they support corporations against minimum wage workers.
    They hate queer and nonwhite people so they support government actions against corporates that are “woke”.

    There isn’t a coherent principle at work, its more matter of weighing side they hate the most.

  9. becca says:

    @Scott: Republican candidates have increasingly been selected for their malleability and lack of shame. Things really went into overdrive after Citizens United. The political campaign cash economy has brought out the worst of the worst. Think tanks and “non-profits “ backed by weirdo billionaires set the agenda now. It’s obscene and gross.
    So why are Republicans so willing to sell out America to the likes of Putin and his stable? Money, money, money.

  10. becca says:

    @Chip Daniels: I don’t think Republicans actually hate anything that much. They just fan the flames of hate for profit. Their desire for personal wealth or power outweighs everything. So much of what they say or do is scripted performance, aimed to please or attract deep pockets.

  11. MW Lib says:

    I’ll take Treasonous, Corrupt AND Stupid for $800.00, Alex.

  12. CSK says:

    This is positively nauseating. I guarantee no general ever said this to Trump, anywhere, anytime.

  13. Slugger says:

    @CSK: That is hilarious! A general told him that a debating point was braver than battlefield valor! Who believes such a thing? How can someone who makes such a claim be taken seriously. Of course, Trump is taken seriously by lots of people. I’m out of step with the times.

  14. SenyorDave says:

    @CSK: Maybe the general could recommend that Trump receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service to the country.
    There was a town a couple miles from where I grew up that had a plaque commemorating a CMOH winner who lived there named John Basilone. One day I looked him up and remember thinking what he did sounded like a cartoon (I mean this in the most positive way possible). It basically was unbelievable that one person could have done what he did. He came back to the states, participated in war bond tours, but felt out of place and re-enlisted. He ended being killed in action at Iwo Jima, winning the Navy Cross for his actions on the battlefield.
    That being said, does it really measure up to the valor and honor that Mr. Bonespur showed on that fateful day in 2016 when to great personal sacrifice he stood on a stage and debated Hillary Clinton?

  15. CSK says:

    @Slugger: @SenyorDave:

    What’s most appalling is that anyone would believe this crap.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    I know the Basilone story. Anyone who thinks they’re tough should read his story. I wrote a trilogy set in the European theater of WW2 and used Audie Murphy as a touchstone. If I were ever to do the Pacific, it’d be Basilone . . . except for the fact that in fiction you can’t write something that over-the-top without it seeming ridiculous.

  17. Jen says:

    I have long held the belief that part of our nation’s issue with guns and gun culture is at least somewhat attributable to entertainment, specifically, watching movies wherein a character picks up a gun sliding along the floor and manages to eliminate an entire gang of Bad Guys by squeezing off perfect shots while never getting hit themselves.

    Which is a long way of saying, I think that might also be in play with this finding:

    Almost half the men surveyed think they could land a passenger plane. Experts disagree

    HALF???!!! Oh, to have the confidence on display in that result…

  18. CSK says:


    Somehow, I don’t think so.

  19. Stormy Dragon says:


    If there’s not a mechanical or weather issue, they probably could.

    There was a Mythbusters where they were doing myths from various airplane disaster movies, and one of them was “passenger lands the plane” and the first run through was hilariously anti-climactic because it was just the flight controller telling them how to type several numbers into a computer and then sitting there while plane lands itself.

  20. Neil Hudelson says:


    The half that think they could really annoy the half of us who know we could.

  21. Scott says:

    @CSK: Was that the same debate that Trump brought a bunch of Bill Clinton accusers and sat them in the front row? Does that make Hillary the bravest woman ever?

  22. dazedandconfused says:


    Oh, it’s entirely plausible…for General Flynn.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It is sorta amazing how easy it is to tell when certain authors, often quite good ones, start basing fiction on real life incidents or real experience. The level of believability just plummets. I’m thinking of one of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin series where a significant part of the novel is a multi-ship battle with Aubrey temporarily raised to Admiral to command the British side of the engagement. I love the series and have re-read it multiple times, but that one is excruciating. No one acts in a believable way, with battle hardened captains with decades of experience making laughably amateurish mistakes. And then you get to the post script and find out that it is based on one of the most well documented multi-ship engagements of the war, largely because of the various courts martial that ensued. Almost nothing was made up.

  24. Chip Daniels says:

    We see this a lot in history, where as a tyrant rises to power and does awful things, they are aided by people who may or may not be true believers in the evil, but may just be cynical and amoral.

    Maybe the people who ran the concentration camps and gulags were just amoral functionaries, cynical careerists or true believers. But in the end it doesn’t matter, their actions had the same consequences as if they were believers.

  25. CSK says:


    Well, I don’t know when Trump invented the story about the general, but he told it for the first time last night, speaking in NY.

    Yes, the alleged general was speaking of the same debate as you cite.

  26. ptfe says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Immediately what I thought of. In that they showed that generic passengers are horribly ill-equipped to land planes, which, from experience…yeah, it’s hard. On the other hand, it’s shocking what a person can learn in an hour of “emergency training” directed entirely toward getting the plane down safely (and not necessarily fully on the runway + intact).

    I count myself among the 50% who could land pretty much any plane I find myself in. Then again, I’ve got a few hundred hours and certificates to back it up, so…

  27. Scott says:

    In the ““The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” category:

    A group of 44 House Republicans is demanding the Defense Department “immediately suspend all removal activities” related to a Confederate memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.

    “The Department of Defense must comply with this request or risk denigrating the delicate balance of the principles of separation of powers between Congress and the Executive,” reads the letter led by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.). The group also writes “the Reconciliation Monument does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy; the memorial commemorates reconciliation and national unity.”

    BTW, it is not called the Reconciliation Memorial; it call the Confederate Memorial. They can’t help but lie.

    From the Arlington National Cemetery website

    :In 1900, Congress authorized Confederate remains to be reinterred at Arlington National Cemetery, which designated a special section for them (in what is now Section 16). The Confederate Memorial was erected there in 1914.

    However, to understand more fully why Confederate graves are at a former Union cemetery, and to interpret the memorial’s symbolism, it is necessary to delve more deeply into historical context. By the turn of the twentieth century, Arlington had become a truly national cemetery, a transformation that occurred amidst reconciliation between North and South, enduring racial inequality, and a new war. Reconstruction — the U.S. government’s efforts to reunify the nation and transform the South’s former slavery-based society — effectively ended in 1877. That year, President Rutherford B. Hayes agreed to withdraw federal troops from Southern states, allowing for sectional reconciliation but also the systemic disenfranchisement of African Americans, enforced by white violence and racial segregation in the South. In 1898, mobilization for war against Spain, and the United States’ expanding global power, reinforced a sense of national unity — at least among many white Americans.

    Notably, this “spirit of fraternity” did not include African Americans. In 1871, a group of black soldiers had petitioned the War Department to relocate the graves of hundreds of United States Colored Troops (USCT) from the “Lower Cemetery,” where they were buried alongside former slaves and poor whites, to the main cemetery near Arlington House, where white Civil War veterans lay at rest. The War Department denied the petition. Arlington National Cemetery would remain segregated until 1948, when President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces by executive order.

    In 1906, with Secretary of War William Howard Taft’s approval, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (a hereditary organization of Southern women) began raising funds to erect a memorial in the Confederate section.

    Unveiled in 1914, the Confederate Memorial was designed by noted American sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel, a Confederate veteran and the first Jewish graduate of Virginia Military Institute. The elaborately designed monument offers a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery.

    The elaborately designed monument offers a nostalgic, mythologized vision of the Confederacy, including highly sanitized depictions of slavery. Standing on a 32-foot-tall pedestal, a bronze, classical female figure, crowned with olive leaves, represents the American South. She holds a laurel wreath, a plow stock and a pruning hook, with a Biblical inscription at her feet: “They have beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning hooks.” The statue stands on a pedestal with four cinerary urns, one for each year of the war, and is supported by a frieze with 14 shields, one for each of the 11 Confederate states and the border states of Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri. Thirty-two life-sized figures depict mythical gods alongside Southern soldiers and civilians.

    Two of these figures are portrayed as African American: an enslaved woman depicted as a “Mammy,” holding the infant child of a white officer, and an enslaved man following his owner to war. An inscription of the Latin phrase “Victrix causa diis placuit sed victa Caton” (“The victorious cause was pleasing to the gods, but the lost cause to Cato”) construes the South’s secession as a noble “Lost Cause.”

    The image of the faithful slave, embodied in the two figures on the memorial, appeared widely in American popular culture during the 1910s through 1930s, perhaps most famously in the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind.”

    This history is from the Arlington National Cemetery website. There is more. If they want to put that up in public for all to see the context, then leave the statue. If it is more Lost Cause BS, then take it down.

  28. Neil Hudelson says:


    Is that the one that took place in Mauritius/La Reunion? I just started the series, and just finished that book. I thought the descriptions were all pretty believable, but that could be because I’m reading it during the post-Trump era and I’m primed to believe that a whole roster of people elevated to a position of extreme importance and power are fools and charlatans, the lot of them.

  29. al Ameda says:


    A group of 44 House Republicans is demanding the Defense Department “immediately suspend all removal activities” related to a Confederate memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.

    “The Department of Defense must comply with this request or risk denigrating the delicate balance of the principles of separation of powers between Congress and the Executive,” reads the letter led by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.). The group also writes “the Reconciliation Monument does not honor nor commemorate the Confederacy; the memorial commemorates reconciliation and national unity.”

    Nearly 160 later we’re still fighting the Civil War.
    Sometimes it feels like, politically, we (the Union) lost the war.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: That’s the one. From Wiki:

    The military actions of the novel are very closely based upon the Mauritius campaign of 1809–1811 carried out by the Royal Navy in 1810 under Commodore Josias Rowley with the assistance of army forces under Harry Keating.

    I didn’t read the afterwards until, well, afterward and thought that O’Brien had seriously missed the mark, portraying seasoned captains making ridiculous mistakes such as an experienced captain recklessly driving his ship onto a sandbar and ending up having to burn it to prevent capture.

    The only other time I thought he went AWOL was when he had Stephen lead Jack around France in a bear suit (!!) in “The Post Captain”. I later wondered if that was based on some truth too.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    I love the O’Brien series. And yeah, I’ve read it through probably four times. So far. He’s the gold standard for accuracy in historical fiction. When he died I was really angry that the series had finally ended.

    Someone here mentioned The Wager, a non-fiction account similar to the Shackleton story in that I couldn’t help thinking I’d have given up and walked off into the ice way earlier in the stories.

    When I pitch GONE, because it’s about teenagers rising to seemingly ridiculous levels, I cite Calvin Graham, and the fact that in Nelson’s navy 14 year-old midshipmen used to command gun crews in the middle of ship-to-ship battles where they stood there with 24 pound iron balls flying by.

    Humans aren’t the strongest or fastest creatures on earth, but for sheer, bloody-minded determination to survive against insane odds, homo sapiens takes the cake. 3000 Japanese soldiers vs. one guy? Rounding Cape Horn with starving, scurvied men in an open boat? Kids barely out of puberty fighting on after having an arm blown off?

    It’s almost enough to make me think my gritty determination to endure a hotel without a mini-bar is not quite an inspirational tale of heroism.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Just to make clear who is in charge of Israeli policy. From The Nation:

    A similar plan, laid out in an op-ed by Gila Gamliel, the Israeli minister of intelligence, in the November 19 Jerusalem Post, made clear that the government’s preferred outcome is ethnic cleansing. The only option that she proposed was “to promote the voluntary resettlement of Palestinians in Gaza, for humanitarian reasons, outside of the strip.” Israeli security cabinet member and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter said on Israeli TV on November 12, “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba. Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.” As The Nation’s Jeet Heer noted on Monday, “Netanyahu is now shopping around a proposal to “thin out” Gaza’s population and expel the surviving residents into neighboring countries—a proposal that he is pitching to the leaders of both parties in Congress.

    Yes, a senior Minister in the Israeli government explicitly called what is happening in Gaza a Nakba. From Wiki:

    The Nakba refers to the violent displacement and dispossession of Palestinians, along with the destruction of their society, culture, identity, political rights, and national aspirations. The term is used to describe the events of 1948, as well as the ongoing persecution and displacement of Palestinians throughout the region, including the occupation of the Palestinian territories.

  33. becca says:

    @Chip Daniels: 100% agreement.

  34. dazedandconfused says:


    I suspect most pilots could get through it…assuming they were over Macho Grande, of course.

    Non-pilot? It would take some time to get such a person’s attention directed to the proper gauges and switches verbally. Everything would be a mystery to the poor bastard. Be lucky to get the crash somewhere near an airport, I reckon.

  35. Scott says:

    On the continuing tragedy/oppression/farce of Kate Cox and Texas:

    After state’s high court halts historic abortion ruling, Kate Cox leaves Texas to terminate her non-viable pregnancy

    Kate Cox, a Dallas woman who sued for the right to terminate her non-viable pregnancy, has left Texas to have an abortion outside the state.

    Last Tuesday, Cox filed a historic lawsuit, asking the courts to allow her to terminate her pregnancy after she learned her fetus had full trisomy 18, a lethal fetal anomaly. The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights, said continuing the pregnancy posed a threat to Cox’s health and future fertility, but her doctors refused to perform an abortion due to the state’s near-total ban on the procedure.

    Travis County District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble ruled Thursday that neither Cox, nor her husband or OB/GYN, should be criminally or civilly penalized for terminating her pregnancy. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an emergency petition, asking the state Supreme Court to overturn that ruling. On Friday night, the high court put Guerra Gamble’s order on hold while they considered the merits of the case.

    Meanwhile, though, Cox’s condition was deteriorating, and she was in and out of the emergency room, according to her lawyers.

    What are the odds that she will be prosecuted on top of all this?

  36. Kathy says:


    No time for a nuanced answer:

    It depends on how you define “land.” If it means taking the plane off the air and placing it on solid ground or the surface of a body of water, no matter at what speed, angle, or deceleration, then 100% of all people who ever lived or ever will live are capable of landing any plane.


    Adolph equated screwing around and getting the clap with serving in Vietnam. After that, nothing he does or claims ought to surprise you.

  37. becca says:

    @Scott: I’m curious as to how this is playing in Texas? Is there local media coverage? From what I’ve heard and read, there’s going to be a slew of cases flooding the courts in the coming months. One in Kentucky coming up based on privacy. Some Jewish women are suing on religious grounds. Some serious whirlwinds are ready for reaping.

  38. Kathy says:

    Headline: Giuliani’s lawyer says awarding up to $43m in damages would be ‘death penalty’ for client

    I was under the impression Rudy’s lawyer is supposed to give reasons why his client shouldn’t have to pay punitive damages. Apparently, I was wrong.

  39. Scott says:

    @becca: I really don’t know. I don’t follow much social media and I haven’t seen any commentary yet. It is a story that is going fast; it is the holiday season, etc.

  40. Jen says:

    On the “land a plane” thing:

    * By “land” the article means Can a person with no prior training simply guide everyone to a smooth touchdown?
    * Regarding autopilot, the article states:

    You can’t always rely on autopilot

    A pilot spends about 90% of their time monitoring autopilot systems and making sure everything is working as intended. The other 10% is spent managing problems, taxiing, taking off and landing.

    Takeoffs and landings are arguably the most difficult tasks pilots perform and are always performed manually. Only on very few occasions, and in a handful of aircraft models, can a pilot use autopilot to land the aircraft for them. This is the exception and not the rule. [snip]

    Landing is even more complicated and requires having precise control of the aircraft’s direction and descent rate.

    To land successfully, a pilot must keep an appropriate speed while simultaneously managing gear and flap configuration, adhering to air traffic regulations, communicating with air traffic control and completing several paper and digital checklists.

    Once the aircraft comes close to the runway, they must accurately judge its height, reduce power and adjust the rate of descent – ensuring they land on the correct area of the runway.

    On the ground, they will use the brakes and reverse thrust to bring the aircraft to a complete stop before the runway ends. This all happens within just a few minutes.

    And, it concludes:

    So, if you’ve never even learned the basics of flying, your chances of successfully landing a passenger aircraft with air traffic control’s help are close to zero.

    So no, most people could not.

  41. Joe says:

    @Kathy: The court would not let Giuliani plead poverty without a lot of discovery about his actual net worth, which I am sure this court and jury would take with at least a pound of salt. Beyond “proving” his poverty the plaintiffs can tell him this is more of “you” problem.

  42. gVOR10 says:

    @MarkedMan: @MarkedMan: Yes. It seems obvious that Netanyahu’s plan is to do to the Palestinians what we and the Australians did to aboriginal peoples, while recognizing that in the 21st century he can’t say so.

    Erick Loomis at LGM has a set of numbered comments that I find unusually insightful, clear and, persuasive.

    Third, there are two very different ways the Holocaust is considered and taught today. The first is that this is a specifically Jewish story. The second is that it is a universal story that is relates to human rights generally and the requirement to never let anything like that happen again, no matter what nation or who they are.

    Fourth, this describes the fundamental divide. If you believe the Holocaust is a specifically Jewish story, then you probably think that any behavior to defend Israel is OK. If you believe the Holocaust is just one of many horrible stories of genocide in global history–no worse and no better than the American genocide toward the tribes, the Turkish toward the Armenians, the Khmer Rouge, Rwanda, etc., then you aren’t likely to accept that Israel can do what it is doing to Palestine.

    Eighth, there is at least some real anti-Semitism in leftist communities. It is pretty overstated by those who have an interest in doing so, but it exists and I don’t think it helps to deny this.

    Ninth, there is far more Islamophobia across the nation and the western world than anti-Semitism.

    Eleventh, what Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and a lot of other leading pro-Israel Democrats don’t get is that Netanyahu holds them in massive contempt. He is playing them like a violin. He is a Trump figure who is empowering the worst elements of Israeli society and has no intention of changing this. (I lost the link, but I saw a Haaretz column predicting Netanyahu will fail to destroy Hamas, and he will blame Biden for the failure.)

    Twelfth, any pro-Israel liberal who is siding with Elise Stefanik’s dishonest attacks on college presidents is a useful idiot at best and an idiot no matter what. You are being played as well. Try not to be so stupid.

    Fifteenth, there is a very good chance Joe Biden is going to lose to Donald Trump in 2024 over his unwavering support for the far-right government of Israel. At the very least, Michigan is very much on the brink given its large Islamic population. You can say people are idiots for not voting for Biden over this if you want to, but you have to meet people where they are at and where many of them are at is thinking Biden is a handmaiden to genocide. (Also Ukraine, where GOPs are working to lose Ukraine so they can blame Biden for losing Ukraine.)

    Apologies for the long excerpt, but it’s all worth reading.

  43. JohnMc says:

    @SenyorDave: @Michael Reynolds:
    About Basilone — absolutely agreed. Also about Murphy who has a nice memorial on the Appalachian Trail (where his plane crashed).

    A note about Audie Murphy. I read in a book about his movies that he never drew a sober breath if he could help it and he slept witha loaded pistol every night. Hope that is not true.

  44. gVOR10 says:


    there’s going to be a slew of (abortion) cases flooding the courts in the coming months.

    when Roe was overturned and various trigger and other state laws started to bite, what did take, a few days?, for the horror stories to start coming out, starting with the raped ten year old on OH who had to go to IN for an abortion, weeks ahead of IN also banning it and the IN AG going after the doctor.

    I try to read some conservative media. It started as a desire to understand, now it’s mostly a study in xenopsychology. They’re big on outrage that a guy might lose his fundamental 2A rights over something like domestic abuse. I have yet to hear the first story about someone being mugged or carjacked or home invaded because he had his guns taken away. As I get older I see much of our political divide as between pragmatic consequentialists and fanatic followers of some set of normative beliefs, Popper’s Open and Closed Societies. Over at, say, Volokh, were you to speak of the probabilities of practical consequences from being deprived of arms, most of the commenters and front pagers would react as though you were writing in Greek.

  45. Scott says:

    @becca: @gVOR10: If Kate Cox goes through with her abortion, she could be charged with a 1st degree felony even though she attempted to get approval ahead of time and the State basically said, “We can’t and won’t tell you whether you meet the legal requirements for an exception to our abortion laws”.

    Just do it and we find out later.

    And then there is the whole matter of private suits against anyone who aids and abets which the courts have said “We can’t judge that until it someone actually files a suit.”

    Legal monstrosities.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR10: A few more of Loomis’s points:

    Sixth, if you put people in an open air prison, you basically deserve the attacks you get. Hamas is evil, but such a thing is inevitable when you treat an oppressed population this way.

    “Deserve” is a strong word, but yes. It’s why I cannot get worked up over the Hamas attack — what the hell did the Israelis think would happen? They’re lucky it wasn’t worse.

    I’m a kind person. I would like most people to not get everything they deserve.

    Seventeenth, ethnonationalist states can have no place in a liberal world. If you can’t agree with this when it concerns Israel, just admit you are racist toward the Palestinians and we can move from there.

    Here I disagree. People have a right to self-determination, and that includes self-segregation. If Israeli Jews, Palestinians, the French, or Porcupine enthusiasts, or whoever want to set up their own country to live as they want, and they have the resources to do so, they should have a right to give it a go.

    But, note the word “self-segregation” — that’s not driving people from their homeland, that’s not segregating other people.

    You can draw borders around people. You can provide massive assistance for those on the wrong side of the borders. It doesn’t have to be the India-Pakistan partition all over again.

    “Separate but equal” has never worked, because there’s always been too much of a focus on separate, with “equal” as a fiction. And that’s worked it’s way into liberals’ thinking as a contempt for those who want to live their lives differently from us.

    Look at the way Red States are viewed. We look down at them with their guns and their trucks and their country music and their Covid… We don’t accept that someone might want to live sickly, coughing out the word “yeehaw!”, while fondling their truck nuts and their penis substitutes and that this is an equally valid choice of how to live your life.

    That said, no one has been seriously suggesting a kinder, gentler ethnic cleansing. I think it remains mostly untried solution to the problem, that works on paper. We have the history of other partitions where it went very badly, so it should be possible to anticipate and minimize the known problems (the next set of problems would be harder, as there are doubtless an entire set of unknown problems)

    As a thought experiment: Allocate $1M per Palestinian for resettlement in a neighboring (or non-neighboring) country, $500K direct to the refugee to get set up, $500K to the host country. Does it change the equation?

    I’m sure it shows my inner NeoLiberal, but I cannot help but think that there is a market-oriented answer to this problem, if the Israeli Jews value a religious ethnostate enough.

    Do we know that Morocco (picking a mostly stable country with the same language and religion as most Palestinians that is far enough away from Israel that no one can shoot rockets over the border) wouldn’t want $2.5T to create a very wealthy Little Palestine neighborhood? Or several smaller clusters in multiple countries? Most of Gaza is under 18, we can sweeten the pot with some XBoxes.

    (For $500K and a gaming console, I think we can get most 12 year old Americans to move to Idaho or somewhere like that voluntarily…)

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: Whenever I read things like the argument the GQP is making about Arlington National Cemetery, I become more sympathetic to Eric Loomis’s obituary pieces where he notes some having been buried “on land confiscated from the traitor Robert E. Lee” as his designation for Arlington.

    @al Ameda:

    Sometimes it feels like, politically, we (the Union) lost the war.

    Well sure, but that’s only because you’re assuming that slavery was a crucial issue in the North related to fighting the war. I’m not sure it was, but if citizen-status and liberation for blacks was “the” goal, you’re probably right about the Union losing.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    (I lost the link, but I saw a Haaretz column predicting Netanyahu will fail to destroy Hamas, and he will blame Biden for the failure.)

    Well duh! On both points!

  49. Franklin says:

    @Scott: Dear Texas, please try to prosecute Kate Cox right before next year’s election. Thanks in advance!

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    Audie Murphy became a confirmed alcoholic and abusive. He did sleep with a gun under his pillow and had frequent nightmares. PTSD, obviously, but he denied PTSD (or the contemporary term) was a thing. Being a hero – and he sure as hell was – is not a defense against PTSD.

    He was a little guy, somewhat effeminate looking. Marines turned him down. Navy turned him down. The Army took him but his officers tried to keep him away from the front because he just did not look big enough or tough enough. Needless to say, he got to the front and won essentially every medal the US (and some allied countries, too) had to hand out. Murphy was 5’5″ and maybe 120 soaking wet. He was basically Steve Rogers before the super-soldier serum. I used him as a touchstone for a female character (in my alt history) named Rio – there are quite a few women bigger and stronger than Murphy. His lack of bulging biceps and six-pack abs didn’t impede him much.

  51. Kathy says:

    history moves fast sometimes. Not quite three years after it was ruined, Mr. Tusk has a chance to redeem the name Donald for a chief of the executive branch.

  52. gVOR10 says:


    Here I disagree. People have a right to self-determination, and that includes self-segregation.

    I’ll reference Popper again. A tolerant society can tolerate anything, except intolerance. Because once you do the whole thing breaks down. Ethnonationalist states don’t seem to work very well either. The treaty of Versailles tried to establish ethno states in the rubble of the defeated empires. It was a horror story. Oppression of a minority in Germany was more the rule than the exception in Eastern Europe. Culture War, Kulturkampf, was oppression of German Catholics by German protestants. In our Civil War there were big pockets of southern sympathy, Copperheads, in the North and rebellious enclaves like the Free State of Jones in the South. Many people may want the U. S. to be a white Christian state. Shouldn’t have brought in millions of Africans and stolen half of Mexico. Too late now. And if they succeeded, pretty soon the Evangelicals would be oppressing the Catholics.

    The answer is not to keep sorting finer and finer, but grow up and broaden the definition of “us”.

  53. MarkedMan says:


    People have a right to self-determination, and that includes self-segregation

    I have a slightly different answer. People have the right to segregate themselves, but a government should definitely not be taking sides in exalting one race/religion/sect/ethnicity over another and/or giving special rights or extra votes or what have you. Religious states are by definition undemocratic.

    But… Saudi Arabia exists. Israel exists. Pakistan and Indian and, yes, Iran and Afghanistan. These exist in the world and so must be taken into account. Theory meets reality, and unless theory can figure out a way to get from A to B, it will lose.

  54. Kathy says:


    One thing to keep in mind is how many accidents occur on approach or landing, with pilots who are trained and experienced. Many of this involve bad weather or other difficulties, but some occur in clear weather with everything working perfectly.

    The other important thing is type rating. A pilot has to train and qualify for every type of aircraft they fly. So a B737 pilot won’t have an easy time landing a 787, never mind an A350.

    There was an accident in Mexico years ago involving a cabinet secretary. the big contributing factor, was the pilots were not rated for the small executive jet they were flying.

    Past the Mythbusters experiment, which was criticized by several pilots online, there have been a few pilots willing to go along with someone with minimal training, such as people who’ve played thousands of hours of flight simulator software at home. But the few I’ve read about, confined themselves to take off and/or simple maneuvers in the air. None allowed the wannabe pilot to land.

  55. Modulo Myself says:

    One great American WW2 movie is David Lynch’s The Straight Man, which is about an elderly guy in the plains driving his tractor down the highway to see his sick brother for the first time in many years. There’s a scene in there where he and another WW2 vet are talking about coming home and drinking hard and having nothing to hold onto after what they had seen. It’s about 3 or 4 minutes and it’s devastating and it centers the entire character. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. The movie is entire movie is both sweet and unnerving. It’s like a Spielberg film for adults.

    As far as drinking goes, one thing I’ve noticed is that my generation (and class) drinks way more than our parents. And I think this is because my parents experienced their parents (Dad, in addition to being a vet of either Korea or WW2, was married in the wholesome nuclear fashion to Mom and both were struggling in the wholesome nuclear way) dealing with real trauma via cocktails at 5 every day, and said no way. There was no therapy, no self-help. Only booze and benzos.

  56. Kathy says:

    As week 3 of Hell Week proceeds unabated, a company-wide email yesterday reminded us tomorrow Dec. 12th, is a half day due to the Virgin of Guadalupe holiday (whoever that is*). I asked my coworkers if they’d seen it. they had.

    I then asked “Did it make you laugh or cry?”

    Today’s email reminded us the company Xmas party is on Friday 15th.

    If I’m still conscious by then, I expect I’ll be working late same as everyone else in our department. Hell Week is horrible, but at least I get to skip a loud party (silver lining).

    *I’ve a very vague notion of who she is.

  57. ptfe says:

    @Kathy: Those criticisms aside, there are actual cases of passengers/near-zero-experience students landing planes with “talk down” help from (usually) qualified instructors brought on the radio.

    In a pinch, I really do think almost any reasonably ok pilot could land even a very different plane from what they’re used to, as long as there’s not a “trick” (like a completely different control system or a partially missing wing or something).

    There’s a difference between a one-time emergency event where an unfamiliar pilot is thrust into the role vs a paid agreement to fly a plane you don’t actually know. Nobody would bat an eye at the emergency pilot doing practice runs at 5000′, familiarizing with the plane systems in the air, or going around a few times to increase safety. But you bet your ass there would be questions if the supposedly real pilot came on and said, “just gotta slow the plane down, see how she handles, because I’ve never landed one of these before.”

    Not that I want to test this theory.

  58. Kathy says:


    I’ve heard of such things on smaller prop planes, which have simpler controls and fewer gauges. there’s a reason why one can solo on a Piper Cub but not on a 747.

  59. Kathy says:

    Of course, my last comment blatantly overlooks fighter planes. these are very complex, even without the addition of combat procedures, and invariably flown by a single pilot.