Mother’s Day Forum

Here's what we tell her.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    Long article at WAPO on overturning the Bridgegate convictions is just one more example of how it’s become almost impossible to prosecute political corruption in this country. We’re a banana republic top to bottom.

    It ain’t just Trump.

    6
  2. Teve says:

    CNN:

    Dr. Peter Drobac, a global health expert at the Oxford Saïd Business School, believes that other governments’ experiences indicate that a cautious approach is the right one.
    “There’s no strict recipe that will work elsewhere, but there is a set of principles,” he told CNN by email.
    “First, flatten the curve — or better still, crush the curve — until there is a sustained decrease in new cases. Opening up when you still have uncontrolled community spread, as in parts of the US, is lunacy.”

    1
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mother’s Day Forum

    Thanx for the reminder, James. Tho I’ll probably forget to wish my wife a happy M Day anyway.

    1
  4. Kylopod says:

    I wanted to delve a little more into the incident I brought up the other day about the time Rush Limbaugh claimed Michael J. Fox was faking his Parkinson’s. CSK asked why Limbaugh made such a claim, and I answered “because he’s a jackass,” which I still consider the best answer. But if you want to know the rationale Limbaugh offered, well, here’s straight from the horse’s ass:

    Now, this is Michael J. Fox. He’s got Parkinson’s disease. And in this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it’s purely an act. This is the only time I have ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has. I know he’s got it and he’s raising money for it, but when I’ve seen him in public, I’ve never seen him betray any of the symptoms. But this commercial, he — he’s just all over the place. He can barely control himself. He can control himself enough to stay in the frame of the picture, and he can control himself enough to keep his eyes right on the lens, the teleprompter. But his head and shoulders are moving all over the place, and he is acting like his disease is deteriorating because Jim Talent opposes research that would help him, Michael J. Fox, get cured…. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting, one of the two.

    Well, okay, it seems from the above quote that Limbaugh admitted Fox actually had Parkinson’s, but contended that he was deliberately playing up the symptoms in an ad promoting stem-cell research.

    Note that this is how Limbaugh always operates: he’s always basing his arguments on subjective perceptions of things. Like his statement that Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted a black QB to succeed or that Colin Powell only endorsed Obama because of his race. The nature of this kind of argument is that it’s designed to be unfalsifiable. No matter how ridiculous it may seem to us, for people who find the narratives he’s pushing compelling (e.g. black people are always being given a pass; liberal Hollywood celebrities can’t be trusted), it comes off as brave truth-telling. In the case of his attack on Fox, the fact that he later backpedaled and apologized–something he’s rarely done–suggests he recognized that what he’d said was so obviously wrong he couldn’t get away with continuing to hold it. But there’s no question he framed it in a way that made it hard to disprove; you can present evidence that Fox indeed has Parkinson’s, but how you can you dispute the proposition that “It looks to my eye like he’s exaggerating it”? It’s such a raw appeal to personal opinion that it leaves no room for debating through facts.

    This kind of argumentation is pervasive in the right-wing world. And it’s especially seductive when a person thinks it’s supported by their own personal experience–as was the case with my great-aunt, who backed up Limbaugh’s claim on the grounds that her brother (my grandfather), who had Parkinson’s, didn’t display Fox’s “exaggerated” symptoms. While she was just parroting what Limbaugh had said, she gathered just enough “original evidence” from her own personal life to convince herself she’d made an independent determination.

    This is one of the reasons why quack medical treatments are so popular. It’s very easy, with the aid of confirmation bias combined with the placebo effect, to convince oneself of the benefits of a fake medication. The uncomfortable truth is that you can’t make an objective determination on a medicine’s effectiveness just by taking it yourself and seeing what happens. Of course sometimes a little experimentation is needed given that the same medication can have different effects on different people, but you always are going to need to consult licensed physicians to make that call, and you always are going to need to rely to some extent on the word of experts who have run clinical trials. But that’s distinctly counter-intuitive because so much of our experience with medicine seems to involve experiencing the benefits directly–you take an Advil, your headache goes away. It all depends on whose opinions you consider credible. If you take legitimate medical expertise seriously, you shouldn’t have a problem. But if you think Alex Jones is credible, and you hold conspiratorial views about the medical establishment, you’re going to be susceptible to perceiving that something is working when it isn’t.

    One of the most dangerous phrases in the English language is “common sense.” Whenever people say they’re basing a conclusion on common sense, what they’re really doing is falling back on gut feelings about the way they think the world works–a method of ascertaining truth that is not in fact very reliable, and which keeps them welded to their own prejudices. One of the core strategies of right-wing media is to sow distrust with mainstream sources of information so that the audience puts their trust in charlatans who tell them the plain, obvious, “common sense” truth.

    7
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A beautiful piece from the NYT: I Survived Vietnam. Will I Survive This Pandemic?

    This time the fight has less passion. It is difficult to hate and fight a number with an abbreviation. I am, for now, a witness, tied to victims and repelled by my participation in something I had nothing to do with. The heroes are behind scrubs, masks and hospital walls, anonymous. I do not see them in their uniforms. I commend those blank masks from an empty house, wishing I did not have to share this with them.

    I have the same feeling of isolation and the carelessness, the negligence of numbers from Vietnam. I walk in streets without company and the empty corridors of apartment blocks, the sirens of emergency vehicles replacing the groaned straining of overloaded helicopters lifting off flattened brush. These days I remember and am grateful for that earlier departure from fear, the beautiful country of death. Today, this is the only truth not superimposed, one on the other.

    At the end of a day in this year 2020, I go out into the dusk. The bright star has descended into the horizon. I listen to a song in my mind that I can hum but never voice. I raise my arms, slowly turn in the style of a dancer from a movie and say to myself, this day you have not been touched. The plague has passed you by again and your name is not recorded on the list of fallen. I have been confused for decades but this is a good day.

    2
  6. Teve says:

    @Kylopod:

    One of the most dangerous phrases in the English language is “common sense.” Whenever people say they’re basing a conclusion on common sense, what they’re really doing is falling back on gut feelings about the way they think the world works–a method of ascertaining truth that is not in fact very reliable, and which keeps them welded to their own prejudices. One of the core strategies of right-wing media is to sow distrust with mainstream sources of information so that the audience puts their trust in charlatans who tell them the plain, obvious, “common sense” truth.

    It’s 100% common sense that the sun is the same size as the moon and they both go around the earth.

    7
  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Saw this graph at Digby. Tiny’s right we are leading the world. In incompetence.

    MLB is muttering about opening in July, without fans,of course. The tentative plan sounds doable, fewer than 100 games and minimal travel. The elephant is the room is what happens when some player or member of the support organization inevitably tests positive?

    1
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: The first pitfall in following common sense is that it’s not very common. What is rather common is nonsense and most people have a hard time differentiating between the two.

  9. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    It’s 100% common sense that the sun is the same size as the moon and they both go around the earth.

    It’s utterly bizarre that the moon really is the exact right size at the exact right orbit to perfectly cover the sun during an eclipse, when viewed from the Earth, the only known planet that has beings that can see an eclipse.

    If I believed in God, this would be a pretty obvious sign that the universe was created by some higher power. I mean, that’s basically a signature.

    Instead I just assume that it’s a really weird coincidence and wonder if part of our evolution required stupidly staring at an eclipse. The dumb people with tiny brains stare at the eclipse, go blind and are eaten by tigers, leaving the larger brained ones to survive and breed.

    1
  10. MarkedMan says:

    Steven, does today start a new theme? If so, is it “Things Calvin said to Hobbes”?

    1
  11. Kylopod says:

    @Teve:

    It’s 100% common sense that the sun is the same size as the moon and they both go around the earth.

    In the ’90s there was a Vanessa Williams song that went “Sometimes the snow comes down in June, sometimes the sun goes round the moon.” Well, it’s May and yesterday I looked outside my Manhattan apartment and it was snowing. So maybe….

    4
  12. Teve says:

    @Gustopher:

    If I believed in God, this would be a pretty obvious sign that the universe was created by some higher power. I mean, that’s basically a signature.

    The creationists point to that all the time. And hey, it could be true, there’s no way to refute the vague claim that a magic invisible being did something with magic. 😀

    The moon and the sun being the same apparent size in the sky is just a matter of timing though, the moon’s receding at about an inch and a half per year, so in the past it was much bigger than the sun, and in the future it’ll be much smaller than the sun.

    But I suppose that just shows how extra awesome God was, he got the timing exactly right! 🙂

    3
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Kids these days: Teenager, an Aspiring Detective, Returns $135,000 He Found (NYT)

    What the heck is wrong with him? Take the money and run!

    Gilbert Gallegos Jr., another spokesman, said it appeared that a Wells Fargo contractor had intended to put the money in the A.T.M. but had mistakenly left it on the sidewalk.

    Job opportunity!

  14. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s not only a coincidence, but a temporary one.

    The Moon was once closer than it currently is, and it’s receding even now. Here’s a link explaining why, and a link to an article with a video simulation of the apparent size of the Moon over time.

    Nor is the Moon’s apparent size exactly that of the Sun at all times now, it varies a bit depending on when the Moon is on its orbit. That’s why sometimes when the Moon aligns to eclipse the Sun, we get an annular eclipse rather than a total one.

    An annular eclipse is like a glass of warm lemonade. So if an omnipotent creator is involved, he’d seem to be all-sloppy as well.

    1
  15. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: I’ve posted the last two and started a new theme yesterday; no, it’s not Calvin and Hobbes. I’m not sure if the previous theme was solved.

  16. Mikey says:

    The World Is Taking Pity on Us

    A country that turned out eight combat aircraft every hour at the peak of World War II could not even produce enough 75-cent masks or simple cotton nasal swabs for testing in this pandemic.

    A country that showed the world how to defeat polio now promotes quack remedies involving household disinfectants from the presidential podium.

    A country that rescued postwar Europe with the Marshall Plan didn’t even bother to show up this week at the teleconference of global leaders pledging contributions for a coronavirus vaccine.

    A country that sent George Patton and Dwight Eisenhower to crush the Nazis now fights a war against a viral killer with Jared Kushner, a feckless failed real estate speculator who holds power by virtue of his marriage to the president’s daughter.

    10
  17. CSK says:

    This coming Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments from Trump’s lawyers about why he should not have to turn over his tax and business records to three different Congressional committees and N.Y. state prosecutors. (Trump is suing his own accountants and bankers.) He has lost two times at district court and two times at the appeals court on this matter. Will his pals on the SC rescue him? And…what’s in those records that has to kept from public view?

  18. Kingdaddy says:

    @Gustopher: I forgot who said it (Neal deGrasse Tyson?), but some science popularizer argued that, if aliens really are visiting us, it might be for the amazing coincidence of the size of the moon and the sun in the sky. Eclipses would be the must-see events.

    1
  19. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    “…a nation laid low by the lethal ineptitude of President Trump.”
    Brilliant. Perfect.

  20. Kingdaddy says:

    Re. our recent discussions about free speech: I admit to being pretty worn down, trying to engage in any sort of meaningful dialog. My brush with the anti-vaxxers the other day was not the proverbial straw, but it did make me want to unplug a bit until I could re-charge.

    Yesterday, I caught this posting from a relative:

    Personally I didn’t care for him, thought he was an arrogant SOB, BUT he is a brilliant businessman who had the smarts and gonads to pull the US out of a financial quagmire, and was so blazingly rich that put him pretty much above being bribed by Special interests… I also believe God put him in place even before he became a born again Christian!!! I also think the choices & mistakes he’s made are because he’s a BABY Christian and hasn’t yet learned to tell the difference between GOD’S voice and his own… but he will learn with time…

    Where to begin with someone like this? Certainly, the perception of Trump’s business acumen would be easy to dispel. But then you might easily run into the wall of belief that he was anointed by God. What do you say to that?

    “I’m sorry that you were duped into believing this stuff, but none of it is true.”

    “Why, in the middle of a deadly pandemic, when nearly 80,000 of your fellow Americans have died, are you making excuses for this person?”

    “How dare you claim that anyone is God’s favorite, thereby presuming to know the mind of God?”

    “Do you enjoy being a sucker?”

    “Where was there an economic quagmire in 2016? And what would you call what’s happening now?”

    “In what way do you see this embodiment of the seven deadly sins, who doesn’t go to church and couldn’t quote Jesus of Nazareth if his comb-over depended on it, as being a Christian?”

    “Do you see it as a responsibility of citizenship to be better informed than you are now?”

    I’m seriously fed up with this kind of nonsense. It’s like trying to have a conversation with Stalinists. What’s the basis of dialog?

    14
  21. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Mother’s day.

    So nice, so happy. So many wonderful family memories.

    My wife wondered why I was distanced from my mother. So I introduced her. Now she understands.

    A Toast to All the Brave Kids Who Broke Up with Their Toxic Moms

    1
  22. CSK says:

    @Kingdaddy:
    There is no basis for any kind of rational dialogue with someone who genuinely believes that Trump is a blazingly rich, uber-successful businessman who also happens to be a devout (if recent) Christian.

    2
  23. DrDaveT says:

    @Mikey: I do have one quibble with that editorial, but it only makes things worse:

    Before we take up O’Toole’s question, let’s look at where we rank in the worst global crisis since World War II.

    The worst global crisis since WW2, by orders of magnitude, is global warming. We rank even lower there — we’re not just doing nothing, we’re actively hindering other people’s solutions.

    In the long run, the worst consequence of COVID-19 will be that it made it even less likely that the US would do anything to avert the worst case outcome from climate change.

    3
  24. @MarkedMan: James posted today’s and yesterday’s, so the ball is in his court.

  25. @James Joyner: Mine from last week were Monkees’ songs and it was solved.

    1
  26. Slugger says:

    If the moon was smaller, we might not be here to see it. A large moon affects the weather via tidal effects. A moonless Earth would have a more Venus like atmosphere and be too hot for our kind of life. Now, of course, the Creator knows this and created this particular moon in order to have me sit in my PJs this morning typing on my iPad.

    2
  27. @Kingdaddy:

    I’m seriously fed up with this kind of nonsense. It’s like trying to have a conversation with Stalinists. What’s the basis of dialog?

    To me, the most frustrating part of all of that is that the person would almost certainly not believe the evidence that contradicts the empirically incorrect parts of the statement.

    It is this kind of thing that I was referring to when I made the comment on the other thread about doubts about democracy.

    My sincere question about all of this is: was it not ever thus? Weren’t people always misinformed and making decisions based on the weird and incorrect? Or has it really, truly, gotten worse?

    I am not sure it is worse as much as we can see it. That the friends and family members who wouldn’t talk about this stuff at a gathering will say it one social media.

    But it is wholly depressing in any event.

    4
  28. Teve says:

    @realDonaldTrump

    We are getting great marks for the handling of the CoronaVirus pandemic, especially the very early BAN of people from China, the infectious source, entering the USA. Compare that to the Obama/Sleepy Joe disaster known as H1N1 Swine Flu. Poor marks, bad polls – didn’t have a clue!

    80,121 American deaths so far.

    1
  29. Kylopod says:

    @Kingdaddy: Ever since it was first posted, I’ve been morbidly fascinated by an interview with a Trumpist by a progressive organization at a MAGA rally in Florida last year. I’ve posted it here before, but if you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching it in its entirety (it’s about 3.5 minutes), because it’s one of the wackiest things you’ll ever see; it feels like you’re in Alice in Wonderland or something. There are various elements I could comment on (like the moment the woman denies Trump ever said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any support, or her utterly nonsensical and contradictory definitions of socialism), but to me the most telling moment was not quite as apparently outlandish as some of the other things she said, and is easy to miss, but is still extremely revealing. The exchange (which begins at 2:15 in the clip) goes as follows:

    INTERVIEWER: Trump went bankrupt four times.

    TRUMPIST: No, he didn’t. No he didn’t. No he didn’t. And that’s business.

    INTERVIEWER: But he did!

    TRUMPIST: How many people… Okay, you go bankrupt. How many people could start all over again after a bankruptcy?

    INTERVIEWER: Well he’s not a great businessman if he went bankrupt four times.

    TRUMPIST: Yes he is. Yes he is. Great businessman.

    Notice how quickly the woman went from totally denying Trump went bankrupt to saying his bankruptcies proved what a great businessman he was. She literally contradicted herself in the space of a single breath–and without showing the faintest glimmer of self-awareness, without even a moment of uncertainty in her unshakable belief in Trump’s greatness. It seemed almost like the truth didn’t matter to the woman at all–that no matter what the facts were they always had to be interpreted in a way that was favorable to Trump, yet this is supposedly a true believer, not some professional propagandist. I myself have found a similarly absurdist quality in my conversations with Trumpists (and even before Trump, with right-wingers more generally). It’s almost like being in some kind of dream in which logic is utterly irrelevant and the explanations for what’s happening shifts without warning from one moment to the next.

    6
  30. Kit says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s utterly bizarre that the moon really is the exact right size at the exact right orbit to perfectly cover the sun during an eclipse, when viewed from the Earth

    While not in the same category, there’s also the fact that we always see the same side of the moon (due to it being tidal locked with the Earth). If that weren’t the case, perhaps astronomy would have advanced more quickly.

    This is this, too: Coincidental ‘near’ ratios of mean motion.

    Foucault’s Pendulum — Umberto Eco

    Gentlemen,” he said, “I invite you to go and measure that kiosk. You will see that the length of the counter is one hundred and forty-nine centimeters – in other words, one hundred-billionth of the distance between the earth and the sun. The height at the rear, one hundred and seventy-six centimeters, divided by the width of the window, fifty-six centimeters, is 3.14. The height at the front is nineteen decimeters, equal, in other words, to the number of years of the Greek lunar cycle. The sum of the heights of the two front corners and the two rear corners is one hundred and ninety times two plus one hundred and seventy-six times two, which equals seven hundred and thirty-two, the date of the victory at Poitiers. The thickness of the counter is 3.10 centimeters, and the width of the cornice of the window is 8.8 centimeters. Replacing the numbers before the decimals by the corresponding letters of the alphabet, we obtain C for ten and H for eight, or C10H8, which is the formula for naphthalene.”

    “Fantastic,” I said. “You did all these measurements?” “No,” Aglie said. “They were done on another kiosk, by a certain Jean-Pierre Adam. But I would assume that all lottery kiosks have more or less the same dimensions. With numbers you can do anything you like. Suppose I have the sacred number 9 and I want to get the number 1314, date of the execution of Jacques de Molay – a date dear to anyone who, like me, professes devotion to the Templar tradition of knighthood. What do I do? I multiply nine by one hundred and forty-six, the fateful day of the destruction of Carthage. How did I arrive at this? I divided thirteen hundred and fourteen by two, by three, et cetera, until I found a satisfying date. I could also have divided thirteen hundred and fourteen by 6.28, the double of 3.14, and I would have got two hundred and nine. That is the year in which Attalus I, king of Pergamon, joined the anti-Macedonian League. You see?

    1
  31. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: A lot of people use evidence flexibly to prove their conclusions. 🙁

  32. Mikey says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    I’m seriously fed up with this kind of nonsense. It’s like trying to have a conversation with Stalinists. What’s the basis of dialog?

    A few days ago I made the mistake of engaging with someone on Facebook who had put up a stupid meme comparing COVID-19 to the seasonal flu. I stated the verifiable fact COVID-19 killed more people in the month of April than the flu does in a year, and also provided a link to the great piece in Scientific American that lays out exactly how fatality numbers are counted for each of the two diseases.

    All I got in return was “your numbers are all wrong” and “I don’t believe the COVID-19 death totals” and various other complete denials of reality. When I pointed out the big jump in excess deaths probably indicates we’re actually undercounting COVID-19 deaths, I got “keep drinking the media koolaid.”

    Note that none of those who responded provided any numbers of their own or, indeed, any empirical support for their positions at all. And my providing all of those things was irrelevant. It was the very definition of “talking to the wall.”

    I learned my lesson and won’t be wasting my time that way again.

    6
  33. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    This could be a template for an interview with any member of Cult45. It’s a complete denial of reality.

    1
  34. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    From whom are Trump and Co. getting these great marks? Does he say?

    1
  35. Kit says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    What’s the basis of dialog?

    I’m put in mind of this from Benjamin Franklin:

    If you would persuade, appeal to interest and not to reason

    Unfortunately, that’s become ever more difficult over the past generation, as Republicans have been taught to believe that compromise is weakness. So they are fed crap and told to avoid dialog. Politicians in Washington used to socialize until it was actively discouraged by one side.

    In the end, I think that Democrats have no resort but to meet power with power: only sufficient political pain will bring them back to the real world / negotiation table.

    3
  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    But then you might easily run into the wall of belief that he was anointed by God. What do you say to that?

    That God really really really hates America, especially all the Christian rubes that were dumb enough to fall for this act.

    Oh, you mean without being insulting? You got me.

  37. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My sincere question about all of this is: was it not ever thus? Weren’t people always misinformed and making decisions based on the weird and incorrect? Or has it really, truly, gotten worse?

    I think one could make a case that yahoos had less say in government in the past. For example, the Senate was not originally directly elected. The franchise was smaller and the bar to voting higher. And I suspect this is due to the Founders not having enormous faith in the common man, like pretty much all elite thought going back to Athens. How could the people ever be expected to govern themselves? Well, separation of powers and the rule of law were major elements of the answer. But an informed citizenry were also critical. Now too much of the electorate has poor education, non-existent critical-thinking skills, insufficient access to facts, and, consequently, too much power at the voting booth. As Jefferson said: If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

    One can be optimistic and point to those corners of the global were democracy flourishes. Or, as Voltaire had it, one can look at these dark time and think: Enlightened times will only enlighten a small number of honest men. The common people will always be fanatical.

    1
  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod:

    How many people could start all over again after a bankruptcy?

    Ummmm… Everyone? I mean, isn’t that the whole idea of bankruptcy, that you get to start all over again?

    This woman has nothing on a box of rocks.

    7
  39. Bill says:
  40. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    There was another interview someone did of a man and two women waiting to get into a Trump rally. The interviewer asked the women if there was anything Trump could say or do that would turn them against him. They replied, very simply, “No.”

    Trump was correct when he made that comment about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.

  41. Bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Ummmm… Everyone? I mean, isn’t that the whole idea of bankruptcy, that you get to start all over again?

    Due to big medical bills from fighting my cancer and being mostly unemployed (and unemployable), I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy pro se 7 years ago. My medical bills began mounting again after my bankruptcy was successfully discharged but my ebook selling (which began April 2014) took off in late 2014 and my cancer stabilized at about the same time. Bankruptcy was a fresh start and I got a couple of breaks* in my life afterwards.

    *- The wife and I still lost our house in 2015. For almost five years I staved off foreclosure pro se. At the time, me and the wife would have been out on the street our finances were so bad.

    1
  42. Monala says:

    @Kylopod: Mike Pompeo did a similar switch in a recent interview when asked about whether this Coronavirus was man made or not.

  43. Mister Bluster says:

    Happy Mother’s Day
    Beulah Esther Brown
    1920-2008
    Free of schizophrenia at last.
    Rest in Well Deserved Peace

    3
  44. Kathy says:

    Predictions for November to January:

    Biden beats Trump

    Trump throws a tantrum

    Trump tries to invalidate the election

    Trump throws another tantrum

    Trump resigns

    Pence awards him the medal of freedom

    Trump throws another tantrum, because he wanted the congessional medal of Honor, and a Noble Price*

    Pence gives him a full pardon

    Trump throws another tantrum, because the pardon doesn’t include state offenses

    Trump claims to have been the bestest president in all of history

    Trump throws another tantrum because he can’t attend the inauguration

    Trump dies of COVID-19 while awaiting trial in New York

    * Not my misspelling

    2
  45. Bill says:

    The headline of the day-

    NC deputy fired, facing charges after leading armed group to teen’s home

    And the buffoon and his mob went to the wrong home.

    2
  46. Teve says:

    @Kit:

    Well, separation of powers and the rule of law were major elements of the answer. But an informed citizenry were also critical. Now too much of the electorate has poor education, non-existent critical-thinking skills, insufficient access to facts, and, consequently, too much power at the voting booth

    I reject all Golden Age explanations. People weren’t more educated and contemplative back in some imagined past. People were ignorant idiots then as now. But there were bosses and gatekeepers that suppressed the nuts. Buckley and other power brokers kept the Birchers down, for example. Nobody can keep Gateway Pundit or Lucianne.com down. People didn’t change, technology changed the discourse and let the nuts break through.

    7
  47. @Kit:

    For example, the Senate was not originally directly elected.

    Interestingly, however, the appointed Senate was quite corrupt, which led to popular election and a less corrupt Senate.

    4
  48. @Kit:

    But an informed citizenry were also critical. Now too much of the electorate has poor education, non-existent critical-thinking skills, insufficient access to facts, and, consequently, too much power at the voting booth.

    But by any objective measure, the population is more educated now than ever before. And I say that knowing all the problems with education.

    My grandparents on my mother’s side never made it out of high school (I think my GM didn’t even get past the 8th grade). I am more sure about my Dad’s folks. My wife was the first in her family to graduate from college.

    1
  49. Kit says:

    @Teve:

    I reject all Golden Age explanations.

    I’m far from pining for some Golden Age! I do suspect that the educated class today is likely shallower in its overall culture, yet with much more solid, technical knowledge, and an incomparably wider base. Huge net gain in the aggregate.

    bosses and gatekeepers that suppressed the nuts

    Yes, and this site has been very good about mentioning the breakdown of parties.

    People didn’t change, technology changed the discourse and let the nuts break through.

    Most definitely and this has been something of a hobby horse of mine! All the nuts vibrate to the same frequency today, whereas before each little region likely followed its own local version of idiocy. A lot of the crazy would have averaged out in the aggregate in the House, but today is pulling in the same direction.

    My basic point was that power had to jump through more hoops, and that individuals were less likely to be voting directly. More of a republic and less direct democracy. Senators used to be chosen by a smaller but better educated base, and that’s the only justification (I think) for a bicameral house. That this system existed showed the limits of the faith that the Founders had in the average man. There was never any hope that a nationwide battle of ignorance would find the truth: the common man was intentionally kept away from the levers of power, further then than today.

    I believe that the changes since the founding were predicted on raising the general level of culture and education higher than we have in fact managed. Its a sad commentary that our deeply anti-intellectual streak has made us all but ungovernable in the modern world.

  50. Gustopher says:

    @Teve:

    80,121 American deaths so far.

    And how many survived but will have long-running health issues due to damaged lungs or kidneys?

    It’s one (horrible) thing to kill off 1% of the population. A bunch of money for funerals, and since it hits the elderly so much harder we finally have a Republican Plan to Save Social Security. But then we would be done.

    It’s something else to kill off 1% and leave another 5% (blind guess) with serious health issues going forward. If nothing else, SSDI payments are going to wipe out any savings from dead retirees. Not to mention all the other consequences of a good chunk of the population having health problems. Maybe not enough of them will be so affected that they qualify for SSDI and maybe their life-spans will be shortened enough that it all works out in the end, but even then you still have massive suffering.

    The Republicans who want to open it all up and let grandma take her chances think they are smart, dispassionate people who are ok with that first scenario, but they haven’t even really considered that second scenario. They think the results are binary — you either die or recover completely and are better for it because you have immunity.

    Neitzsche said “That which does not kill me makes me stronger”, but Neitzsche wasn’t an epidemiologist.

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  51. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Interestingly, however, the appointed Senate was quite corrupt, which led to popular election and a less corrupt Senate.

    Like I said above, my point is not to argue for some golden age. But I think the original idea was to have a democracy strong tempered by an elite. Replacing a landed elite with a poorly educated mass effectively control by modern communication heavily directed by an elite defined by immense wealth has not turned out well. There’s no going back, obviously; the present is unsustainable; the future has, at best, shaky theoretical underpinnings. We have plenty of problems. But I think that the US today has moved away from a dependency on elites while also failing at educating and informing the electorate. All the good intentions, thoughts and prayers just are not cutting it. We will find a new equilibrium, but I doubt it will be profoundly democratic.

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  52. Gustopher says:

    @Kit:

    While not in the same category, there’s also the fact that we always see the same side of the moon (due to it being tidal locked with the Earth). If that weren’t the case, perhaps astronomy would have advanced more quickly.

    And then when we did see the other side of the moon it was, frankly, kind of disappointing.

    A better creator would have put something cool on the other side.

    But, it isn’t like a box that has various sizes, or jumping through hoops to show that Barack Hussein Obama comes out to 666 with various Jewish and Hindu numerologies when you write his name in the traditional Kenyan alphabet… this is the two most prominent celestial objects having an utterly bizarre property when viewed by us.

    It’s a much more impressive coincidence.

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  53. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    Part of it is that the earth’s moon is gigantic relative to the size of the planet it’s ordering around, likely due to the fact it was created via a catastrophic collision rather than via the normal process for moons

  54. Liberal Capitalist says:

    The King Crimson guitarist, Robert Fripp, and his wife, Toyah, honor VE heroes with version of the David Bowie song, Heros.

    https://youtu.be/Te0qfJUidHQ

  55. Joe says:

    I cannot help but note, Kingdaddy, that this is your gene pool. My gene pool has the sense not to put these widely held beliefs among them on social media. Time may undermine my boast.

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kingdaddy:

    Where to begin with someone like this?

    I always note the adage attributed to Earnest Aingley:

    Jesus can change your heart, but stupid is forever.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve:

    80,121 American deaths so far.

    Yes, but it would undoubtedly be hundreds of thousands by now if not for the courageous and farsighted actions and wisdom of Trump. Maybe even millions. Just remember how poorly Obama and Sleepy Joe did on H1N1 and what a disaster Obamacare became. I mean get serious; Tyrell didn’t even get to keep his own doctor or buy a good healthcare plan. He has to suffer on with Medicare like the rest of us. History will bear this out.

  58. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kingdaddy: You asked the 2nd question before the 1st, most important question: Does this require dialogue?

    This person has revealed that they are not at a sufficient intellectual baseline to have intellectual dialogue where there is genuine interest in gaining increased perspective from the engagement.

    Democrats and liberals tend to believe that the right combination of words, fact, sprinkler with reason equals persuasion. It does not. Persuasion starts with the most base elements of human emotion. Depending of the level of intellect…alot of times it ends with base emotions as well. That’s just the way it is.

    I was liberated when I realized it’s not my responsibility to educate anyone. It’s their responsibility to seek to be educated-continuously. Once that happens, the education will find them. The minute you try to educate the people that dont want it…you will meet resistance that is counterproductive to your desired outcome. Save your breath. These types of people only respond to power.

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