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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rukmini Callimachi
    ‏Verified account @rcallimachi

    1. I’ve had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I’ve learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is “razor thin”.

    16 tweet thread, take it as informed speculation, I can not say how well informed.

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  2. Teve says:

    “Freedom of speech isn’t freedom from repercussions. That’s why every person who works retail doesn’t tell you to go fuck yourself.“

    -Matt Fernandez

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  3. Teve says:

    “ If your goal for 2020 is anything more elaborate than “survive” then my friend I do not think you understand what 2020 is gonna be. It’s great that you want to learn the guitar and write that novel but frankly if we aren’t bartering ammo with the last person who remembers how to make antibiotics in a year let’s call it a win.”

    -ed burmilla

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  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Among my regular hobby horses to rail against is the US medical-industrial complex and this is the kind of thing that sets me off.

    My 92-Year-Old Father Didn’t Need More Medical Care

    What if the child of the patient wasn’t himself and oncologist, who recognized the futility of further treatment, but the typical family, who lacked the knowledge to question the professional. Not to mention feared losing their father.

    My mother faced a similar choice, when diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to her liver, fortunately she wasn’t at one of the great Boston medical centers, but a regional hospital where the oncologist was honest with the prognosis and told her treatment would only and days to maybe a few months to her life. She chose hospice and spent the next few weeks, visiting with her grandchildren, remaining siblings and the dozens of her nieces and nephews. Plus long conversations with old friends. She said her good-byes and died peacefully about 20 minutes after my wife and I left her one evening.

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  5. Sleeping Dog says:
  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism

    Me thinks Marginal Revolution is creating a political mule.

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  7. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I like the comment section, for entertainment purposes

    Anon
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    I think we should fight climate change by lowering taxes, lowering the amount of welfare, ending the foreign aid, paying down our debt, putting a 5 year sunset on all federal laws, cutting federal employees by half, restoring all our constitutional rights and freedoms.

    What planet are idiots like that living on? Crackulon?

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Twenty Years of Continuity

    Last night, the US killed Qassem Suleimani in a targeted killing on Iraqi soil. DOD claimed they killed him in a “defensive” move to stop his plotting against US diplomats. Nancy Pelosi already made clear that Trump did not properly brief Congress (though Lindsey Graham says he got briefed while golfing at Mar a Lago).

    Most experts fear this will escalate (indeed, recent events resemble a Colin Kahl think piece about how the US and Iran could escalate into a war without meaning to). That’d be bad enough under a sane president, with competent advisors. But Trump has fired most of the experts in his White House and has been pardoning war criminals (and is thinking of pardoning more). Which means we may well be mobilizing service members to fight for a Commander in Chief they can’t expect to think through the use of force, but who has already demanded that his subordinates violate norms and laws partly because he has a temper problem and partly because he doesn’t understand how slow negotiation and strategy works.

    But I also feel like this moment has been coming for twenty years, enabled by people who disdain Trump but nevertheless get treated as sane….

    Food for thought from Marcy Wheeler.

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  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Teve:

    When I originally read the Cowen piece the other day, I didn’t delve into the comments, but I did this morning and I saw that one, which was pretty moronic. In general you have to wonder what planet are some of those folks living on. And to practice a little both-siderism, there are a number of left leaning blogs, where those commenting hold a similar, if different, tenuous hold on reality.

    One thing that frustrates me about many libertarians that I come across, is there denial of the threats that corporate interests pose to their beloved ‘freedom.’

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  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: All you need to know about Libertarianism is this: they won’t even acknowledge Kansas.

    In the past decade they got the system of government they wanted in Kansas, with Libertarian policies enacted at every level, and it turned out to be the disaster their critics predicted.

    If Libertarianism were a serious political philosophy its adherents would be analyzing Kansas. Exactly how did things go wrong? How could they prevent them if they get a “next time”. Did anything go right? How could they build on that? But Libertarianism is little more than a hobby for billionaires and people who never get past their teenage years. And doing an analyses would require real work. It would also require admission of mistakes and since the primary use of Libertarianism is as a vehicle to claim their special genius, that would be untenable.

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  11. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: i was registered Libertarian in my early 20’s. I was young, white, naive, high-IQ, healthy, privileged, and knew little of the complexities of life. The perfect libertarian idiot. 😛

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  12. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    If Libertarianism were a serious political philosophy its adherents would be analyzing Kansas. Exactly how did things go wrong? How could they prevent them if they get a “next time”. Did anything go right?

    You misunderstand Libertarianism. To the extent that it is a philosophy, it is not outcome-oriented. If taxes were lowered and the role of government was minimized, that was the goal, and it was successful. How those policies actually affected quality of life is irrelevant to libertarians — freedom is quite literally more important than happiness (or anything else) in any even remotely self-consistent version of the philosophy.

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  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Like the adherents to Ayn Rand.

    Let’s be gentle, after all, one of our hosts, Doug, claims libertarian beliefs, though his writings show he is well aware of the limitations of the philosophy. I do find examining public policy issues through a libertarian filter helpful, in that it gives you an understanding when a particular policy goes from being helpful to fully off the rails. But you are correct that Libertarianism fails as a method of governance. Back in the day, I would suggest to libertarian acquaintances that if they were so sure the world would be better with a minimalist/no government, that they should move to Somalia.

    Though I do need to give libertarians credit for something. after the 2010 elections, Rethugs held veto proof majorities in the NH legislature and the Christianists were drooling over the possibility to repeal marriage equality. Rethug leadership put that effort off the second session, realizing it was a loser. When the vote came up the libertarians lined up with the Dems to crush the attempt.

    @Teve:

    Yup, sounds like the typical profile of the libertarians I’ve known.

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  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    I think we should fight climate change by lowering taxes, lowering the amount of welfare, ending the foreign aid, paying down our debt, putting a 5 year sunset on all federal laws, cutting federal employees by half, restoring all our constitutional rights and freedoms.

    See discussion of libertarians above. One of the earmarks of a religion (as opposed to a political philosophy) is that the prescription is always the same, regardless of the symptoms. Libertarians prescribe reduced government for all ills in exactly the same way Christians prescribe prayer, with equal attention to the historical effectiveness of that treatment.

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  15. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Thanks for the link; that’s a much more nuanced and realistic view than the usual. I was particularly struck by the presence of actual empirical questions, such as:

    The State Capacity Libertarian recognizes that demands of mercy are never ending, that economic growth can benefit people more than transfers, and, within the governmental sphere, it is willing to emphasize an analytical, “cold-hearted” comparison between government discretionary spending and transfer spending. Discretionary spending might well win out at many margins.

    So sometimes government interventions in the form of transfers work better than simply promoting overall growth, and sometimes they don’t. It becomes a question of science to figure out which cases are which, and act accordingly. Accept that trickle-down is not automatic, but neither is transfer always a viable long-term solution. Sounds reasonable.

    Most importantly, recognize that there is an objective — benefitting people — to be maximized by whatever policy works best, even if that turns out to be not very libertarian at all. And that is where this author departs from mainstream libertarianism entirely, and returns to the classical liberalism that he claims not to understand…

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  16. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’m fine with libertarian instincts and tendencies, but it can’t be the main principle. It’s like salt on your food, or religion. A little bit is perfectly fine, but if it’s the main ingredient everything’s going downhill at mach 12.

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  17. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: the opposition to “transfers” And “redistribution” is immature and uninformed. Capitalism has positive results and negative ones. It redistributes wealth to the rich. You either have countervailing forces redistributing money back down, through taxes and unions, or you become a third-world country where a handful of people own everything, and everybody else is subsisting.

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  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    I’m fine with libertarian instincts and tendencies, but it can’t be the main principle.

    I have argued before, and will continue to argue, that it can’t be any principle at all if it isn’t the main principle. Either making people happier, healthier, more prosperous, more productive, etc. is more important than minimizing government, or it isn’t. If it is, then pick whatever works best, without regard to how libertarian it is. If it isn’t, then make it the main principle and accept the reduction in happiness, health, prosperity, productivity, etc.

    The belief that you can keep libertarian impulses without making them the main principle depends critically on libertarian policies being (at least in some cases) the best way to achieve the things we really care about most. That’s a question of fact, and the evidence so far is that it isn’t true.

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  19. Teve says:

    Wikipedia:

    Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgement. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing economic and political systems.

    Those are all good things to have tendencies toward. You just don’t carve it on granite tablets and insist everything else is secondary.

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  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: What? Cowen says he made up the term State Capacity Libertarianism. Is there really such a thing? Is he describing some real consensus or just wanking?

    Years ago I saw a commenter, perhaps here, say that he was a libertarian, that he thought individual freedom was important, but he believed that if government could do a thing to make people’s lives better, it should, so what did that make him? I don’t recall that I replied, as I should have, that it made him a liberal, and why did he have a problem with that?

    And yes, Cowen’s commenters are scary.

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  21. Bill says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Among my regular hobby horses to rail against is the US medical-industrial complex and this is the kind of thing that sets me off.

    My 92-Year-Old Father Didn’t Need More Medical Care

    This article from about two years ago still makes me angry.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/health/dermatology-skin-cancer.html

    The doctors are only doing this for the purpose of milking medicare.

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  22. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    Those are all good things to have tendencies toward.

    I’m not willing to concede that, until I see some evidence that they don’t have pernicious side effects (such as wealth concentration or perpetuation of bias or inability to deal with large externalities) that outweigh their obvious attractions. If you want people to thrive, the only things it’s good to have tendencies toward are the things that best help people thrive.

    I agree that having the most real choices for the most people in the future sounds like a pretty good working definition of ‘thriving’ — but it’s not at all clear that libertarian policies (or even tendencies) would help to achieve that state. Poverty and natural disasters, to pick two, can be bigger barriers to liberty than governmental constraint.

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  23. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump

    @realDonaldTrump
    I always said @BarackObama will attack Iran, in some form, prior to the election.

    683
    3:24 PM – Aug 16, 2012

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  24. Kit says:

    I recommend this short article: Why I Am Not a Libertarian:

    Libertarians tend to take property as a given, as if it were natural or existed prior to any government. But defining what can be owned, what owning it means, and keeping track of who owns what — that’s a government intervention in the economy that dwarfs all other government interventions. You see, ownership is a social thing, not an individual thing. I can claim I own something, but what makes my ownership real is that the rest of you don’t own it. My ownership isn’t something I do, it’s something we do.

    [Aside: This is why it’s completely false to say that government programs primarily benefit the poor. Property is a creation of government, so the primary beneficiaries of government are the people who own things — the rich.]

    Libertarians are kids dreaming of what they are going to eat once they are big enough to decide for themselves.

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  25. Teve says:

    @Kit: And there are a number of libertarians who accept intellectual property as a given, because that’s how they make their money, despite the fact that intellectual property is using government force to stop someone from having the same freedom you did.

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  26. Teve says:
  27. steve says:

    Sleeping Dog- Heroic care is a problem. In my network we actively monitor for physicians who are overly aggressive about pushing interventions on patients that have no chance of improving. We have gotten rid of surgeons who were either convinced they could save anyone, or ones who clearly were financially driven. This is not unique to big hospitals BTW. Some of the worst abuses I have seen are at small hospitals.

    Just so you know, the other side of the problem is that families and patients seldom plan for end of life. When that has not happened they usually just ask us to do everything. Even when you tell them that there is no chance of a good outcome and you are pretty sure the pt wouldn’t want the care.

    I still remember getting asked to intubate an obtunded 80 y/o woman whose niece was an ER nurse who was present. She told the ER doc her aunt would not want to be intubated and back on a ventilator. She had gone through that recently and didnt want to do it again and knew she would die soon from her cancer. However, the nurse was not the POA, that was her older brother. A 90 y/o guy who claimed they had never talked over end of life issues. He said that we should do everything we could to extend her life. So, I intubated her while her niece cried in the corner while another nurse held her. It was awful.

    Steve

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  28. Teve says:

    @steve: i read one time that some absurd percentage of one’s total lifetime medical spending happens in the few weeks or months before death. The figure was crazy, like 40%.

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  29. Kit says:

    @Teve: Beware of anyone, especially in politics, who has one big idea to explain everything.

    Libertarianism is easy to mock because it so obviously flies wide of the mark. And personally, I cannot help but scorn any, ahem, political philosophy that can remain so blind to what ails the age. I’m not even the proverbial one-eyed man, but I smell smoke. Some of us want to call the fire department, while others want to talk about the evils of tyranny, and the miraculous power of tax cuts and deregulation.

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  30. Kit says:

    @Teve: Re: unbelievably stupid things people believed last year.

    Satan Is Using Chemtrails To Keep People From Hearing God’s Voice

    I’m afraid if I start laughing at this that I’ll never stop, and will end my life in an insane asylum.

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  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Kit: I loved the,

    Because they think that people only wear red shoes as a way to let the world know that they love to kill and eat children

    The Pope?

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  32. Kathy says:

    I wonder, given conditions in Western countries, what freedoms do Libertarians think they don’t have?

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  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: The only really practicing libertarian I know anything about is Charles Koch, who is, unlike his father, not free to spill oil and chemicals all over the place and fears that he may not remain free to keep selling oil right up to the day we run out.

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  34. de stijl says:

    Reason (Libertarian mag) used to have a blog called Hit & Run.

    I shouldn’t say “used to”, it still exists, but has been over-run by spiteful white guys with a grudge to bear against, well everybody, really. Dumping ground for olds not savvy enough to figure out how 4Chan works.

    It was valid and vital way back when. Naysayers, doubters. Dave Weigel got his start there (writes for WaPo now.)

    joe aka joe from Lowell if you are a LGM reader was a commenter rock star.

    They used to have a fundraiser every other month. Libertarians begging for cash and charity to keep afloat a magazine that the market deemed unworthy of financial success. It was hilarious.

    True believers did not get the rampant hypocrisy of market loser Libertarians begging for charity. Whoosh!

    I used to quote Rand back at them for fun.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I got to see my uncle in New Zealand just before he became too sick to continue. About a week after I left the doctors pulled about 2 liters of mixed fluid and blood out of his lungs, and his son arranged for hospice care at his home. He, too, got to end peacefully and his children were able to see who he had been in the small community in which he was living. Good all the way around.

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trump launches ‘Evangelicals for Trump’ coalition otherwise known as “Satan’s Minions.”

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  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    That’d be bad enough under a sane president, with competent advisors.

    That’s the thing. You can’t get situations like this with a sane president and competent advisors.

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  38. Sleeping Dog says:

    @gVOR08:

    I’ve never heard the term State Capacity Libertarian before. I believe Cowen is trying to climb in off a weakening branch that libertarianism has become. Acknowledging, without saying so, the disaster in Kansas and the failure of Rethug policies over the last 30 years to address the concerns of most of the citizenry, which led to Tiny.

    @Bill:

    Thanks for the link. About 20 years ago I had Moes (sp?) for a carcinoma, since then I’ve made annual trips to the dermatologist and they never found something that they couldn’t freeze for about $125 per lesion. I needed to change dermatologists a couple of years ago and I made a half joking comment to a nurse and nursing assistant that something was always found and I wondered if it were a way to boost revenue. The look on their faces told me that I was likely right.

    Over the last 10 or so years private equity has bought up many dermatology and dental practices around the country and we know what private equity demands.

    @steve:

    Steve, thanks for your perspective. Your point is a good reason that we all should have advanced care directives.

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  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: I’ve seen it as the outcome of a worldview that seems to gravitate toward

    As long as my freedom is maximized, I’m happy. And isn’t my happiness what’s really important, after all?

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  40. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Ditto my 92 year old grandmother.

    Informed choice, support, visiting nurses, hospice… extended her life for a year, and was time well lived.

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  41. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Sort of like “Jews for Hitler“?

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  42. Liberal Capitalist says:

    “Donald Trump is at war with Satanic pedophile-cannibals in the Democratic Party”

    Yeah. When cyhatting about owning teh libs just isn’t good enough… why not plan a raid?

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/cynthia-abcug-qanon-conspiracy-theorist-charged-in-kidnapping-plot

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  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Pretty much.

    By the way, Made a Brussel’s sprouts recipe last night I think came from you: Brussel’s sprouts halved, chicken broth, bacon, brown sugar, garlic (I think) maybe one or 2 other things… @ 350. Turned out REALLY good. Much thanx.

    If I am wrong and the recipe didn’t come from you, many thanx to whomever. Even my wife liked it.

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  44. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: This discussion reminded me I used to read Cowen’s blog, but haven’t for some time, so I took a look. He has a link to a response by Nick Gillespie at Reason to Cowen’s “State Capacity Libertarianism”. I’d offer a quote or a critique, but I can’t really see that Gillespie said anything significant.

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  45. grumpy realist says:

    @steve: I had to deal with the same thing–a very close friend suddenly going under from complications with diabetes. Luckily the nurse had nagged us into doing a Health POA the prior day so I was able to discuss matters with his parents (who were far too weak and feeble to come) and with the doctor…two days of desperate attempts and then we made the decision to take him off life support.

    Be careful about sepsis, guys. Especially a risk if you’re diabetic because of your blood chemistry. It’s a real killer.

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  46. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    I wonder, given conditions in Western countries, what freedoms do Libertarians think they don’t have?

    The Freedom to not help unworthy people.

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  47. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Apparently pointing out the incoherence of libertarianism is my most efficient means of generating downvotes on this site. I’d be delighted if one of those downvoters would actually respond with a reasoned critique of what I said. Until then, I’ll just interpret the thumbs down as annoyance at having illusions shattered.

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  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: You said they were a bunch of selfish pricks who would stomp the living shit out of their grandmothers if it was the only way to avoid paying for her end of life care. In other words, the truth hurts.

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  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I foresee a change of govt in Australia: Falling ash, skies of blood – and now Australia’s anger smoulders

    The sky over Cobargo in New South Wales was still tainted yellow on Thursday afternoon when Australia’s prime minister arrived. For the past month, the country had been ablaze, and the village 240 miles south of Sydney and home to 776 people, had been hit hard.

    Standing in the crowd, Zoey Salucci McDermott, 20, eyed Scott Morrison coolly. She and her young daughter had lost her home in the fires, so when he extended his hand in greeting, she did not reciprocate. “I’ll only shake your hand if you give more funding to the RFS [Rural Fire Service],” McDermott said, holding back tears. “So many people here have lost their homes. We need more help.” The prime minister turned away.
    …………………………..
    As the flames retreated, a white hot anger smouldered. “You’re not welcome, you fuckwit,” a man yelled after Morrison as he retreated under a barrage of insults. Referring to the affluent Sydney suburb where the prime minister has an official residence, he said: “I don’t see Kirribilli burning after the fireworks.”

    The scene, caught on video, has become symbolic of a nation at odds with its leadership as it has endured a week of horror in a rolling, months-long national emergency that has yet to reach its climax.

    That’s it, run away.

    The scale of the destruction is hard to overstate. When the Amazon rainforest caught fire last January, 906,000 hectares burned. And last July, 2.6 million hectares were turned to ash across the Siberian steppe.

    Since the first fires began in Australia in August, more than 5 million hectares have been set aflame, fanned by unusual weather patterns and lower-than-usual humidity that has allowed firefronts to spread rapidly across a bone-dry landscape. The country’s volunteer firefighting forces are exhausted, outgunned and overwhelmed.

    The fires are behaving in unpredictable ways, spreading at night and even returning to areas that have already burned. Conditions on the ground have seen walls of flame, spot fires coalescing into fire tornados and some firefronts burning so hot they have formed their own weather systems. The ensuing lightning strikes have gone on to ignite yet more fires.

    The direct death toll stands at 23, with more expected. Some species have been pushed to extinction, and more than half a billion animals are estimated to have been killed. Farmers have reported running out of bullets as they work to end the suffering of half-dead livestock.
    ………………….
    Authorities in those states which have so far escaped the devastation have been left to watch on nervously. Peak fire season typically hits with the height of summer, leaving those states so far unaffected to wait their turn – with far fewer resources.

    With bushfires flaring so early in the year, volunteers have been sequestered from across the country to assist on the east coast. Their absence means states like Western Australia are reliant on ex-volunteers in the event of emergency.Even regions relatively unaffected by the fires have been unable to escape the consequences. Smoke drift has stained glaciers as far away as New Zealand. In Canberra, the nation’s capital, air quality has been so bad that the postal service has stopped delivering mail.

    Something tells me thoughts and prayers aren’t going to be enough.

    Former New South Wales fire chief Greg Mullins and 22 other former emergency services chiefs wrote to Morrison outlining the potential crisis and asking for more specialised equipment to deal with hotter and longer bushfire periods. They were ignored. Emergency services have been asking for resources since 2016, when the National Aerial Firefighting Centre asked for a “national large air-tanker fleet” to support firefighting operations but were rebuffed. The consistent refusal to stump up the cash or even engage with a chorus of experts warning about a crisis has defined the conservative government’s policy since it took power under Tony Abbott in 2013.

    Now, as the country faces one of the worst natural disasters in its history, a short-term, transactional austerity politics has collided with the long arc of climate change in a way that is clearly visible on the ground. Firefighters in some areas have been forced to crowdfund for basic equipment while until recently the federal government remained steadfast in its refusal to back-pay volunteers for their time, even as the prime minister praised their “spirit”. It took sustained public pressure to drag the government to compensate volunteers, with Morrison announcing last Saturday that they would receive up to $6,000.

    The denial of reality was seemingly reinforced on New Year’s Day, when Morrison held a reception for a professional cricket team at Kirribilli House, the official residence.In a throwback to an earlier scandal when Morrison was photographed on holiday in Hawaii as the first homes were lost in New South Wales,

    As the country burned, the prime minister was pictured playing backyard cricket.

    Literally playing cricket while his country burns.

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  50. Guarneri says:

    I come to you today with an earnest plea to all smart Democrats. Please join me, Greta and Maxine Waters in the fight to save the environment of Chunga Chonga. As an added benefit, Greta has actual tapes proving Trump’s impeachable actions. This is no run of the mill crisis, like Guam tipping over, or Adam Schiff’s incontrovertible, if secret and never to be seen, evidence. This is of most vital importance.

    Thanking you in advance.

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  51. Teve says:

    NEWS: The Iraqi parliament just voted to expel the US military from Iraq.

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  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: Your makeup is slipping Bozo.

    @Teve: Talk about an own goal. I’m really getting tired of all this winning.

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  53. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve seen a lot of talk about Trump’s motivations for the assassination but haven’t seen what I think is the most obvious: his generals were giving him the option of killing someone, of ordering their death. Of course that is the option he picked. At the very start of the campaign he spoke admiringly of “tough” leaders who knew how to handle opposition. He embraced Duterte and all but endorsed his using the police as his personal hit squad. Baby Kim. Xi. Putin. He has made it clear who he admires and why he admires them.

    What is the other thing he’s been fascinated by campaign? Using nuclear weapons on weak countries to show them who is boss.

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  54. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    To the extent that it is a philosophy, it is not outcome-oriented. If taxes were lowered and the role of government was minimized, that was the goal, and it was successful. How those policies actually affected quality of life is irrelevant to libertarians — freedom is quite literally more important than happiness (or anything else) in any even remotely self-consistent version of the philosophy.

    I haven’t read the comments below yet, but here is a short version of what I think.

    The issue with that viewpoint is it ignores two things:

    -the government isn’t the sole source of coercion.

    -extarnalities exist that cannot be addressed without some form of government. Fire service is an example of this. In a community of ten houses, if two opt out and one of those two houses catches fire, either the other houses are put at risk, or the fire is put out and the owners have received a service without contributing to it.

    As @Teve pointed out above, Libertarian philosophy appeals to people who failed to develop their minds beyond being a teenager.

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  55. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: They passed a non-binding resolution. And the Prime Minister who called for a timetable for the US withdrawal is merely an Acting Prime Minister.

    Pompeo said: “We are confident that the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there to fight the counterterror campaign. And we’ll continue to do all the things we need to do to keep America safe.”

    Who can doubt Pompeo? The Iraqi people, if not their government, want the US to fight Iran over there to keep America safe. Those Iraqis really are our best friends.

    Pressed by host Chris Wallace on what the United States will do if the Iraqi parliament passes such a measure, Pompeo declined to say.

    “We’ll have to take a look at what we do when the Iraqi leadership and government makes a decision,” he said. “But the American people should know we’ll make the right decision. We will take actions that, frankly, the previously administration refused to take to do just that.”

    The Iraqi people want us to threaten to ignore a request to leave. They will greet us like liberators. Also, Obama was weak.

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  56. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz:

    extarnalities exist that cannot be addressed without some form of government. Fire service is an example of this. In a community of ten houses, if two opt out and one of those two houses catches fire, either the other houses are put at risk, or the fire is put out and the owners have received a service without contributing to it.

    There are a number of workable solutions, but if the people in the other 8 houses really wanted to be safe, they would have put up giant stone privacy fences to ensure that fire would not spread.

    As it is, they will have to sue the owners of the burnt houses for damages if the fire spreads. The people who just lost most of their wealth. It’s those hippies who banned indentured servitude who screwed this up.

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  57. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    Yeah, I’m not sure that there are workable solutions to the free rider problem that do not entail some form of coercion either via government or something else.

    People don’t live in a bubble and their (in)actions don’t affect only themselves.

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  58. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Yeah, I try to be careful about distinguishing the Right and Left variants of Libertarianism. They are quite different and pretty much irreconcilable.

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  59. Teve says:

    “But the American people should know we’ll make the right decision. We will take actions that, frankly, the previously administration refused to take to do just that.”

    The American people know you’re a dumb, racist, bible-humping shithead.

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  60. Kurtz says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    One of the tweets in a Callimachi thread:

    https://twitter.com/MMcrzyldy/status/1213510454493859840?s=20

    All but the last one describe the GOP for at least the last 25 years.

    Even that last sign–fraudulent elections–isn’t entirely off base. See: Georgia’s Secretary of State running for governor while maintaining control of elections; the constant push to purge voter rolls in Democratic areas.

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  61. Teve says:

    @Realdonaldtrump

    The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!

    12:11 am 1/5/2020

    Oh and by the way there’s just no money for healthcare.

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  62. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment.

    As usual, he’s just making sh!t up. The entire defense budget is less than $700B; the most generous possible parsing of that would put annual spending on “military equipment” well under $500B per year. At best, “we just spent $2T on military equipment” could almost be true if it just means “over the last 5 years we’ve spent about $2T on procuring and maintaining military equipment, just like every other 5 year period since the W administration.”

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