Sunday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    When I was in my late twenties living in Chapel Hill I got the idea to get back in shape. So I put an ad in the relevant Craigslist section for somebody to play tennis with, because it’s a lot easier to get in shape if you have a sport you’re doing, you don’t notice you’re working out. Within a few days a middle-aged Asian woman contacted me and we met a few dozen times to play tennis at a nearby court. I told her that I was trying to get back in shape, and she looked at me and said “you should work out a lot and get body like 300”. I said, is that kind of the best body, the actors who were in 300? She pantomimed waving her face and said yes “you should work out like guy in 300”.

    I love that memory.

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  2. Teve says:

    If anyone likes long reads, William Langewiesche’s Columbia’s Last Flight is so good I wrote 3 papers on it in college. “Miracle Whip on Wonder Bread” I will take to my grave.

    Columbias last Flight

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Damn, it is good, very good indeed. Just finished the break up and the “locking of the doors.” Got a lot more to read. Thanx.

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  4. Kylopod says:

    In 2016, when Republicans lost seats in the House and Senate, lost the popular vote by 3 million, and eked out an electoral college win by the skin of their teeth, it was a yoooooge victory.

    In 2020, when Dems lost seats in the House but retained control, gained control of the Senate, won the popular vote by 7 million, and unseated the first incumbent president in nearly 30 years, everyone’s like “What did Dems do wrong?”

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘There’s a red flag here’: how an ethanol plant is dangerously polluting a US village

    For the residents of Mead, Nebraska, the first sign of something amiss was the stench, the smell of something rotting. People reported eye and throat irritation and nosebleeds. Then colonies of bees started dying, birds and butterflies appeared disoriented and pet dogs grew ill, staggering about with dilated pupils. There is no mystery as to the cause of the concerns in Mead, a farming community so small that its 500 residents refer to it as a village and not a town.

    After multiple complaints to state and federal officials and an inquiry by a researcher from the University of Nebraska, all evidence points to what should be an unlikely culprit – an ethanol plant that, like many others around the United States, turns corn into biofuel.
    ………………………..
    Instead, AltEn has been accumulating thousands of pounds of a smelly, lime-green mash of fermented grains, distributing some to farm fields as a “soil conditioner” and accumulating the rest on the grounds of its plant. It is that waste that some researchers say is dangerously polluting water and soil and probably also posing a health threat to animals and people. They point to testing ordered by state officials that found neonics in AltEn waste at levels many times higher than what is considered safe.

    “Some of the levels recorded are just off the charts,” said Dan Raichel, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)…
    ………………..
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers neonics in food and water safe at a range of up to 70 parts per billion (ppb) depending on the specific pesticide. The agency sets different benchmarks for “aquatic life” freshwater invertebrates. For the neonic known as clothianidin the benchmark is 11ppb and it is 17.5ppb for a neonic called thiamethoxam.

    On the AltEn property, state environmental officials recorded levels of clothianidin at a staggering 427,000ppb in testing of one of the large hills of AltEn waste. Thiamethoxam was detected at 85,100ppb, according to testing ordered by the Nebraska department of agriculture.

    In an AltEn wastewater lagoon, clothianidin was recorded at 31,000ppb and thiamethoxam at 24,000ppb. A third dangerous neonic called imidacloprid was also found in the lagoon, at 312ppb. The EPA aquatic life benchmark for imidacloprid is 0.385ppb. AltEn’s lagoon system holds approximately 175m gallons.

    I love this sentence: “State regulators say they have not tested water or soil or vegetation outside the plant property and have no knowledge of potential wider harm from the spread of the AltEn waste.” Imagine that, if one doesn’t go looking, one is sure to not see what one is hoping isn’t there. Works every time!

    I also love the “NDEE waste permits specialist, offered a defense for the ethanol operation, saying he believed AltEn officials were just “hard-working people trying to make a living”. Yeah, just trying to make a living no matter how many people it kills.

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: “What did Dems do wrong?”

    I’ll take a stab at it: Got their voters to the polls?

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  7. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Well, it was Trump who won in 2016, so of course it was a yuge victory. It couldn’t be anything else. The only reason he lost the popular vote was that 3 million illegals in California voted, remember?

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  8. CSK says:

    According to CNN. Pence hasn’t ruled out invoking the 25th Amendment, but is hesitant to do so for fear Trump might do something really appalling.

    It’s a legitimate concern, even if Pence is in effect the acting president. Who knows what Trump would do to exact vengeance?

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  9. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Here’s what I’d do:

    1) Draft an executive order finding that the prohibition on prosecuting the president does not apply when he’s not in active functions, such as when temporarily removed via the 25th amendment.

    2) Put that order in a safe.

    3) Get the cabinet together and remove Trump.

    4) Get the order out of the safe, sign it, publicize it, and ask the DOJ to send FBI agents to arrest Trump for sedition.

    5) Admit this is a coup, made necessary by having a traitor occupy the Oval Office.

    And before all that:

    0) Recognize that the country’s wellbeing matters more than any political ambitions I might have.

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  10. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Possibly. But you also have to consider the chance that Trump’s fan club will do something to retaliate that will make what happened Wednesday look like a Sunday school picnic.

    I’d love to see Trump booted and humiliated. It would be very soul-satisfying. But the wiser course might be to let him pretend to be president–under severe restraint, of course–until January 20.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I’m hoping your mother is still recovering well.

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  12. Jen says:

    @CSK: I’ve come around to the “let him pretend he’s still an acting president, but make sure he does nothing” side.

    I’ve read a number of first-hand accounts and frankly, even with the deaths on Wednesday we narrowly missed having significant carnage. I am concerned that any actual movement to remove him would result in his brainwashed minions randomly killing people. It seems removed because most of the activity is in DC, but I worry that pockets of violence could break out across the country–this wouldn’t be a localized issue anymore.

    What have we become? This is all so surreal.

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  13. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Thanks. Given her level of activity, I tend to think so.

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  14. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    As you know, I agree completely. All you have to do is watch the horrific videos emerging now of that rabble storming the Capitol chanting “Hang Mike Pence” (presumably from the gallows they’d constructed outside) to know that these people were out for literal blood. God knows what they’d do if their savior was kicked out of office, as much as he deserves it.

    As long as he’s kept under very tight control, and the adults are firmly in charge, it’s probably best to let him lie in bed, eating hamberders and watching daytime tv. Pence isn’t going to launch any nuclear missiles.

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  15. Jen says:

    On a slightly other topic, this piece from the chief content officer/editor at Forbes is quite a read. As a PR professional, I’m kind of glad to see this, because as he writes, “But ultimately in PR, core credibility is the coin of the realm.” Yes.

    Excerpt:

    Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie. We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.

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  16. JohnMcC says:

    Not to be forgotten is that Google press release saying that 17 January is the day that Mr Trump’s followers would arrive in D.C. to celebrate the 2d Amendment. (Because Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet, apparently.)

    My personal preference would be to schedule several rapid trials of the more aggressive insurrectionists with their public hangings on the National Mall scheduled for the 17th at dawn. Half a dozen of the bastards hanging there would have a beneficial effect on the QAnon folks arriving for their celebration.

    Admittedly, my ‘moderation’ is hard to maintain and very easily lost. I’d probably regret it soon after. But not TOO much.

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  17. CSK says:

    @JohnMcC:
    I think there are two events being planned. The one on January 17–the so-called “armed march”–is the first. The second calls for all “patriots” to start gathering in D.C. on January 19, I assume to disrupt the Biden inauguration.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I am concerned that any actual movement to remove him would result in his brainwashed minions randomly killing people. It seems removed because most of the activity is in DC, but I worry that pockets of violence could break out across the country–this wouldn’t be a localized issue anymore.

    In other words, just another day in America. Really, the above has been happening for a while now.

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  19. Liberal Capitalist says:

    This. Wow…

    https://nyegop.org/2021/01/08/a-letter-from-the-chairman/?v=7516fd43adaa

    I can’t even.

    I mean, how, after all that, howcan someone in the GOP, in any role at all, publish this?

    And the comments!!???!

    These people are so gonna head-explode on Jan 21st.

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  20. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, yes, but I think you know exactly what I meant.

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  21. Moosebreath says:

    @Jen:

    “I’ve come around to the “let him pretend he’s still an acting president, but make sure he does nothing” side.”

    @CSK:

    “As long as he’s kept under very tight control, and the adults are firmly in charge, it’s probably best to let him lie in bed, eating hamberders and watching daytime tv. Pence isn’t going to launch any nuclear missiles.”

    Does your “nothing”/”very tight control” prevent Trump from pardoning the people arrested for their parts in Wednesday’s insurrection? Or people who worked with him to ensure the Capitol police were in too small a number, lightly armed and without body armor or substantial barricades, and to ensure the National Guard was not called in too early (which I am not saying happened, but I think we cannot rule it out at this point).

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  22. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    NDEE waste permits specialist, offered a defense for the ethanol operation, saying he believed AltEn officials were just “hard-working people trying to make a living

    That’s funny; that’s exactly the canonical defense that pimps offer…

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  23. owen says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:I just posted on another thread that in spite of appearances, Trump is very deliberate in everything he says, and apparently the author of the article you linked agrees. The author knows that Trump is not conceding to keep hope alive, he is not uttering the words “Biden administration” but rather “new administration”, to keep hope alive. He is sticking to dog whistles that his followers alert to.

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  24. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath:
    Yes, it does. I don’t want him doing anything but stay in his bedroom watching tv. Put him in a straitjacket. Sedate him. Post armed guards outside the door if necessary.

    I said this on the other thread: All the options for dealing with Trump are equally lousy.

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  25. DrDaveT says:

    @Jen: This is the first useful positive action I’ve seen. Better late than never, and I hope other media companies jump on the bandwagon.

    As American democracy rebounds, we need to return to a standard of truth when it comes to how the government communicates with the governed. The easiest way to do that, from where I sit, is to create repercussions for those who don’t follow the civic norms.

    This.

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  26. DrDaveT says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    These people are so gonna head-explode on Jan 21st.

    It’s not their heads I’m worried about.

    I cannot fathom the extent of this shared delusion. Maybe social media are simply making it more obvious how widespread conspiracy crankism has always been, but I don’t think so. I think the positive feedback mechanisms they provide, combined with the deliberate stoking by enemies of democracy, have led us to a degree of mass delusion that is unprecedented.

    I’m horrified to find myself hoping that it is only a few tens of millions (!) of Americans who have been this badly duped. That might be recoverable, as Democrats win elections and shockingly do not convert America into Venezuela, or even Sweden.

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  27. Jen says:

    @Moosebreath: Echoing what CSK said, yes. I want him doing nothing of substance for the next 10 days. He is allowed TV, eating, and potty time. It’s my fervent hope that he pissed Pence and McConnell off so much that they finally have put him in time out, and are holding the 25th over his head so that he stays in line.

    Again agreeing with CSK in “there are no good options to deal with Trump” at this point. There genuinely aren’t.

    The enabling of this president is truly appalling. Even now, Sen. Blunt is blathering about how having “touched the hot stone on Wednesday,” he won’t do it again. This is Sen. Collins’ level “he learned his lesson” stupidity, and I can only hope that something is being done to clip the President’s wings and restrict his actions that we don’t know about.

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  28. CSK says:

    Shit, double shit, and triple shit. I just read on the ABC website that Trump is going to Alamo, Texas on Tuesday to mark the completion of 400 miles of border wall.

    Keep him locked in his bedroom in the White House.

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  29. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: Actually, I’d like to see Trump trussed up in a rig like the one used on Dabney Coleman in Nine to Five. And have a live feed streaming 24-7 until noon on January 20.

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  30. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:
    Yes, I’d like to see that as well.

    I can’t imagine what it must be like in the White House now. It must be like having the premiere lunatic be the head of the asylum. Please, please–get some doctor in there to shoot him up
    with a heavy-duty tranquilizer. Tell him it’s injectable Viagra.

    P.S. Has Melania decamped for warmer climes yet?

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  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Finally got to finish it. Thanx much.

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  32. Jen says:

    @CSK:

    Trump is going to Alamo, Texas

    JFC. Who approved THIS? This messaging is not remotely subtle. F&*$.

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  33. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I don’t know. The news item was very brief. It’s going to be awful. The Alamo, FFS.

    This is appalling. Trump should not be let out in public. He should be confined in the White House and muzzled. Drugged. I don’t care what it takes.

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  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: This is not the persona you channel when dealing with a man that sent goons at your head. Trump obviously didn’t give a damn about what Pence, Schumer, and Pelosi would do once he swung for their heads. To still be calculating what Trump might do in response is an emboldening deference that validates his play.

    The die has been cast. This is not about what Trump’s gonna do. Its about what we are going to do. Can he respond, sure, you plan for counter responses….but fear of a response is not a reason to fool yourself into thinking this is over if you can make it to Jan 20 without provoking him.

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  35. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Sure, but what about his crazy fan club? Look at what they did at the Capitol Building. If they think Trump is being injured in any way, they’ll retaliate on behalf of their God-Emperor, as they’re apparently addressing him on Parler.

    I’ll say it for the third time today: All the options for dealing with this malevolent churl are lousy.

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  36. Jen says:

    @CSK: Technically, Alamo, TX is different than The Alamo Mission, which is in San Antonio, TX, but STILL, the signal is there.

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  37. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Yes. Meeting in San Antonio wouldn’t have had the same ring, would it?

    Probably a lot of his non-Texan followers believe that Alamo is where The Alamo is.

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  38. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    Probably a lot of his non-Texan followers believe that Alamo is where The Alamo is.

    Surely Trump himself believes that.

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  39. CSK says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Oh, I’m sure he did, but someone might have enlightened him by now.

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  40. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: The die has been cast my friend. These people view the defeat of Trump as an existential threat to their survival. They will respond no matter what because Trump and RW media will recast those actions in a way that further inflames and threatens them.

    The only play is to force a recalculation to separate the radical-light from the ones that will act so you have a smaller pool of cultists that you need to neutralize

    Trump is like a pit bull who has tasted human blood. Im afraid violence is no longer unavoidable. This reminds me of the iraq days when we tirelessly worked to will hearts and minds doing all kinds of outreach and good things. Only to look at the public opinion surveys and see our favorability in the shitter. It didn’t matter what we did…we didn’t belong there and that was enough.

    Theses people dont believe Democrats and minorities belong in power. Their very presence there is the inflammatory action. Somebody has to go.

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  41. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    “Their very presence there is the inflammatory action.”

    You’ll get no argument from me on that point. And bear in mind that the Trumpkins hate most Republicans as well. And even in the case of the Republicans they claim to like–Cruz, Hawley, Nunes, Tuberville–it takes very little for them to be cast into outer darkness. Look at Tom Cotton. First he was Golden Boy. Then he chastised Cruz and Hawley. Now he’s a traitor, a loathsome snake who betrayed Real America.

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  42. wr says:

    @CSK: “Probably a lot of his non-Texan followers believe that Alamo is where The Alamo is”

    Probably a lot of his non-Texan followers believe that Alamo Rent-a-Car is where the Alamo is.

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  43. CSK says:

    @wr:
    Well, of course. It’s right next to Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, right. Every politician in DC is storm the Capitol to be the first to take step zero in your plan. It’ll make Wednesday look like a church picnic.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Translated from Forbes-ese on Cracker.Translate:

    Hire whoever you want; just stop publicizing your hires. We don’t want to know.

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  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: @DrDaveT:

    As American democracy rebounds, we need to return to a standard of truth when it comes to how the government communicates with the governed. The easiest way to do that, from where I sit, is to create repercussions for those who don’t follow the civic norms.

    I agree. The problem is that ~47% of the voting population may well believe that supporting Trump IS following civic norms. We HAVE met the enemy, and most assuredly, he IS us.

    (Apologies to Walt Kelly, who is certainly blessed by God to have not lived to see this.)

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  47. Sleeping Dog says:
  48. charon says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alamo,_Texas

    Publicity stunt near the border, near his wall

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  49. charon says:

    From Bloomberg:

    Trump plans to run out the clock on his four years in office by highlighting what he believes are his biggest accomplishments, including the barrier his administration built on at least part of the U.S. border with Mexico. A trip to Alamo, Texas, near the border is expected on Tuesday, a White House spokesman said.

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  50. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, I find that story incredibly heartwarming. However Trump spends his remaining years, I hope it’s suffering from the acutely painful knowledge that all “the best people”–the people whose acceptance he’s yearned for all his life–openly scorn him, and that the only people who love him are the rubes he himself despises.

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  51. Jax says:

    Hahahahaha…….HAHAHAHAHAHA……ehrmagerd, this is magical….some of the people who have been identified have been put on the No-Fly list and there’s video of their reactions available on Twitter!

    Actions, I’d like you to meet Consequences. 😉

    Guess they’re gonna have to go Greyhound….or have their Mommies come get them.

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  52. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    Rather than moving to Mar-a-lago or some place in Palm Beach, he really should consider Tallahassee, Pensacola or Mobile, he’d be among his people and could bask in their adulation. The weather’s not bad, nice beaches and a fair number of golf courses and relative to Palm Beach, the real estate is cheap. He’ll need it to be cheap when his creditors come for it.

    That gets me to thinking, the reason why Melania is looking at other properties in PB, isn’t necessarily that he knows they can’t live at Mar-a-lago (he needs to fight that battle yet), but he expects it to be repossessed.

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  53. Paine says:

    Zip tie guy with the tactical gear and facemask was ID’d and arrested. Good job, feds.

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  54. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Trump would never, ever consider living among the Trumpkins in Tallahassee, Pensacola, or Mobile. No way, no how. What: Dwell in proximity to the rubes and hicks? The little people? The losers?

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  55. Jen says:

    @Paine: Feds are getting a LOT of online help. I’m impressed as hell with this John Scott-Railton. Not only is it impressive crowdsourcing, it’s responsibly done as well.

    I’m really, really relieved to see how fast this is going.

    Attacking the Congress when they are the ones that fund every single federal agency…not smart.

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  56. An Interested Party says:

    Now he’s a traitor, a loathsome snake who betrayed Real America.

    Well, at least the “loathsome snake” characterization is accurate…

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  57. Jax says:

    Good Lord. Trump’s Parler video is up. He’s calling them to war.

    Perhaps we should call Inauguration Day “Fuck Around and Find Out” Day. Have the swearing in ceremony at a secret location, and just wait for them to try it again at the VERY empty Capitol.

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  58. al Ameda says:

    @CSK:

    It’s a legitimate concern, even if Pence is in effect the acting president. Who knows what Trump would do to exact vengeance?

    Think ‘John Gotti.’

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  59. CSK says:

    @Jax:
    Wait, what??? Calling for war??? Seriously? As in shooting? Where did you see this? I’m not going to join Parler to view it.

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  60. CSK says:

    @al Ameda:
    I’m trying not to.

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  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: And here I thought that Melania was looking for other properties because she knows that a divorce is pending. Shows how little I understand the world of the rich.

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  62. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Apparently Melania spent the Wednesday of the insurrection having rugs in the WH photographed for her new coffee table book on decor. When she was asked if she wanted to send a calming message to the rioters, she declined.

    I look forward to seeing her book featured at The Dollar Tree. Maybe she can hold a signing there.

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  63. @CSK: But is it a coffee table book that is also a coffee table?

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  64. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    What a good question. I think not. If that were the case, it might actually be useful.

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  65. Jax says:

    @CSK: I’m trying to find it again, the previous link I saw to Parler on Twitter got deleted…….dannnnng, those Twitter folks are workin hard to shut it down!

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  66. CSK says:

    @Jax:
    Thanks. Can you describe it? Was Trump actually telling people to pick up guns and start shooting?

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  67. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    His problem will be that the people he wants approval from won’t give it and now, those who he’d accept approval from are no longer interested in doing so. That leaves the rubes. Who knows, he might even learn to like chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy and Bud Light.

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  68. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Since he eats steak cooked to a cinder, adorned by ketchup, I don’t think his palate could get any worse than it already is.

    The people from whom he’d most want approval have never given it to him, and never will. That’s his problem, or one of them.

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  69. Jax says:

    Wow. The absolute lack of self-awareness in this article is breathtaking. “The Left is to blame because they forgot to mention he’s a Trump fan”, but the Trump mob killed him? HOLYYYYY shit.

    https://nypost.com/2021/01/10/what-the-left-wants-to-ignore-about-slain-capitol-police-officer/

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  70. Jen says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Excellent Seinfeld reference.

    I’m closing out the weekend on that note, thank you.

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  71. An Interested Party says:

    The absolute lack of self-awareness in this article is breathtaking.

    Surely you don’t expect any self-awareness from an opinion piece published in the New York Post…

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  72. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I think the positive feedback mechanisms they provide, combined with the deliberate stoking by enemies of democracy, have led us to a degree of mass delusion that is unprecedented.

    I’m with you here. Imagine if Goebbels had access to Twitter and Facebook. I’ve read some of the more recent work on conspiracism. It does rise and fall depending on events, economics, etc.

    But it’s difficult to compare to the last decadeish, because distributing pamphlets on street corners and sending newsletters by snail mail never had the reach that social media has.

    Recommendation algorithms increase the efficiency of dissemination. Whereas cranks in the past had to work to find like-minded individuals and potential people to ‘awaken,’ now it’s done for them.

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  73. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Please don’t encourage him to move to Tallahassee. My sister and her family live there and I still want the ability to visit them without being anywhere within 100 miles of Agent Orange.

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